In an ever growing supermarket of choices presented to sate our ontological predilections, how can we invite discernment into the equation so that each new piece of information is carefully scrutinized for their individual contribution of knowledge and not merely as added fuel to our already identified selection of belief systems?

Psychology professor Imants Baruss likens the quest towards the non-subjective understanding of consciousness to a Rorschach blot where the experiential nature of consciousness is interpreted according to the individual’s belief systems. This presupposition can be stretched further onto our psychological predisposition as well as our level of ego identification. Whether it is our sense of control that we feel we may jeopardize by leaping towards a transpersonal (or materialist) answer, our true sense of Self remains untethered from any predetermined notion of consciousness that we behold.

Transpersonal psychology professor Les Lancaster explains the three distinct categories (neurophysicalism, holophysicalism and supernaturalism/transphysicalism) that form part of our subconscious bias towards data interpretation to further understand how the role of belief plays the most central of our reasoning when it comes to our ontological proclivity. In AI terms, the process of information processing and sifting against the deep learning models of neural networks, is called predictive coding—we consciously believe what we sense to experience by correlating new events and data against our chosen model of deep learning; once established, it becomes the foundation of our future reasoning pattern.

One could argue that one of the most important facets of our understanding of consciousness is the acknowledgement of how any evolutionary advance ever made, has been made possible through the transcendence and inclusion of past findings and not by the elimination of previous conclusions. By setting aside our own belief systems and inviting discernment into the picture, we are better equipped to form multi-faceted opinions that house a more holistic and expanded view of life itself and consciousness alike.

Ultimately, by adopting any one stringent category of belief system, we could be furthering the intransigent programming of our already wired neurons, preventing new possible discoveries to arise in the name of our past conditioning. By keeping the door ajar to any theory (divergent or non) we equip ourselves with infinite more possibilities of discovery. The humility in accepting that what we may believe to know is but a drop of thoughts in an infinite ocean of energy, is akin to the Dalai Lama’s statement on scientific analysis: “If scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims”. Adopting a captious reasoning system that is perennially patrolling forgeries in perception, is a sound idea to encompass on the road towards a higher understanding of ourselves and ultimately, consciousness.