Updated: Jun 8
A consciousness conversation with Dr Gavin Rowland
Years before this cover was made, I created the artwork "Meditation". The idea behind this picture was to portray a dissolving mind in a state of meditation. The emptiness and tranquility bring you to another dimension beyond the mind, thought-forms, beyond the limits of your knowledge.
I remember seeing the title of the book and reading into the task description of one of the current design contests. I immediately knew I had to do it. It was like a flash in my mind. Less than 8 hours remained until the end of the contest. I managed to get on 2 hours before the end, and I won. I won the cover contest without being asked about any changes in it. It was so exciting and invigorating!
I would like to introduce you the author of the book Mind Beyond Matter: How the Non-Material Self Can Explain the Phenomenon of Consciousness and Complete Our Understanding of Reality, Dr. Gavin Rowland, a general medical practitioner in Australia with a special interest in mental health. He is a published author in the Journal of Consciousness Exploration and Research Oct 2016, а guest on the radio program "But I Feel Good" with Jacqui Chaplin, and participant at the 2016 Science of Consciousness conference, Tucson, Arizona.
Dr. Gavin Rowland believes that "... dark energy holds the solution to an understanding of all things mental. That includes not only the basic questions of consciousness, but an understanding of emotions, mental illness, and spirituality. Changing our understanding of the fundamentals of reality can change our view of everyday reality in powerful ways."
Could dark energy be the missing ingredient in our search for an understanding of minds? Could dark energy be the stuff of consciousness itself? Mind Beyond Matter is an exploration of this possibility.
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Dr. Rowland, why did you write this book?
In my opinion, inquiry into the big questions has become very limited and conservative. I wanted to look at approaches that are implied by what has been discovered so far but are being neglected. I have proposed that the mind is a nonmaterial thing that interacts with the material brain, and I have also proposed that there is a dimension of constructiveness within space and time.
How does that play out when it comes to explaining the workings of the mind?
Because of this dimension, our mind has a destructive-constructive polarity to it. The degree to which it is destructive or constructive has a lot to do with our formative experiences and a lot to do with our current circumstances. It’s a long story as to how I get to this level of explanation – it’s towards the end of the book. This is where the theory really starts to pay off.
People with mental illnesses know that their conditions have a lot to do with their past and present circumstances, and yet the current model of mental illness tells them that these problems are biological conditions of the brain. I’m a medical practitioner and I don’t discount biological factors, but the additional layers of complexity added by my theory lead to a deeper understanding of many questions - of mental health, mental illness, free will and good vs evil.
What has been the reception of your book?
Of those who have read the book, the reception has been excellent. It’s not an easy read, so some people get stuck in the early chapters. Amid the ‘experts’ of the field, my work has been completely ignored. This is a shame. I make use of a nonmaterial substance called dark energy, which has been part of our standard understanding of the universe for the past twenty years. To date, there has been no work, apart from mine, to incorporate the possibilities of dark energy into the big questions.
Is this what you mean by inquiry into the big questions being limited and conservative these days?
Partly, yes. It seems that if you want to be a credible theorist, you have to come up with explanations that are entirely material. Nonmaterial is pretty much taboo in science. So because new things to measure seem to be drying up, the popular explanations are that the material structure that would explain everything has to be too big or too small for us to observe. So on the big side, we have multiverses and on the small side, we have string theory and so forth. In the science of consciousness, it has become popular for theorists to say that then nature of mind is hiding somewhere material – in the complexity of the brain, or as a fundamental property of matter. But none of these approaches pay off in any deeper explanation of the mind. They are more ways of ‘explaining away’ our problems.
So where to for your theory now?
I’m happy to leave it out there for now. I published in 2015 and nothing is new since then. But I’m still in my 40’s so hopefully within my lifetime things will change.
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The book Mind Beyond Matter: How the Non-Material Self Can Explain the Phenomenon of Consciousness and Complete Our Understanding of Reality is available as an ebook on the author's website, on Amazon. The print edition you can buy through major online booksellers. Enjoy!