Michael Tymn's Review of
James Beichler's “To Die For”
As posted on AMAZON
In London, people riding the Underground train system are warned to "mind the gap," referring to the gap between the boarding platform and the train. Minding gaps is what this book is all about - the gaps between mind and matter, science and religion, materialism and spiritualism, the normal and the paranormal, quantum theory and relativity theory, the orthodox and the unorthodox, the first scientific revolution and the second scientific revolution, the three-dimensional world and the four-dimensional world, the four-dimensional world and the five-dimensional world, life and death, death and after death, mind and consciousness. To me, the author's lengthy discussion of the last-named gap, between mind and consciousness, and his theories explaining how this gap affects us after physical death make the book very special and unique.
"Mind interprets our sensed world and environment using reason, the cumulative result of real experiences of the material four-dimensional world placed within a specific mental framework or worldview," author Beichler, a semi-retired physics professor, explains, "while consciousness deals more with intuition, our innate feelings and subconscious understanding of the larger five-dimensional framework of physical reality."
Because all of our normal experiences come through our five senses, which operate in three-dimensional space, it is difficult to comprehend 4-D space. However, Beichler contends that our consciousness operates in 4-D space via "psi" or the sixth sense. A 4-D space with time gives a 5-D space-time dimension, which, Beichler, points out, was Kaluza'a 1921 extension of Einstein's 4-D space-time theory that we call general relativity.
Within this broader framework, Beichler establishes a theory of death which encompasses many things learned from paranormal phenomena, like near-death experiences and mediumship. As Beichler sees it, when mind is much more evolved than consciousness, those making the transition from this life to the larger life may be faced with a very big gap, thus encountering "boarding" problems. "If the person had achieved a higher level of consciousness, such as enlightenment, then the mind would already have memories of five-dimensional experience and would then merge with less difficulty into its new state of being," he offers. In such a case where mind - one rich in rational thinking - significanty exceeds (spiritual) consciousness, the mind might be "stuck" in its four-dimensional reality and not even realize that the body is dead. Or this "handicapped mind," still expecting input from the five senses, might experience a total blackness or "nothingness" because of the lack of consciousness.
"People with a more developed consciousness immediately utilize the connectivity of their consciousness to other portions of the five-dimensional single field to orient and prioritize the mind rather than using the mind to expand consciousness within their new five-dimensional habitat," Beichler further explains.
Beichler's model explains many of the characteristics and properties of the near-death experience. For example, noting that not all experiencers undergo a past-life review, he concludes that those who have a highly-developed consciousness - one that has kept pace with the development of the mind - probably don't need a life review as they have likely constantly reviewed their actions when alive in the flesh. At the other extreme, there are those not advanced enough in their conscious evolution to appreciate a life review, and still others who may not accept a life review because they deny their death and sense nothing at all. "In other words, people's minds seize upon the most familiar surroundings when they enter the new environment of the five-dimensional universe, but can still reject the experience completely depending upon their mind set and mental priorities at the time of death," Beichler offers.
Indeed, the mysteries of life and death present themselves as a very complex jigsaw puzzle that no one has been able to completely put together. Of course, there are scientific fundamentalists who think they have it figured out and religious fundamentalists who believe it is all spelled out for them in certain books. However, much of it remains a mystery to thinking, open-minded people. Beichler doesn't pretend to have all the answers but his model seemingly puts all the pieces of the puzzle in place, offering us a universe of purpose and one in which mind and consciousness survive beyond death.
Beichler begins by discussing the evolution of science and philosophy, from Aristotle on through Kepler, Galileo, Descartes, and Newton and up through Planck and Einstein to the present. The first scientific revolution, he explains, was triggered by Descartes' differentiation between mind and matter, but the failure of science to completely and accurately define those two subjects led to the second scientific revolution. Still, science went off on a tangent and came up with mutually incompatible ideas, leaving mind and consciousness without clear definitions. He takes on the task of providing definitions.
"It is hoped that To Die For will teach people not to fear death, but to embrace it when it comes," Beichler states in the Introduction. "Nor should people ever force death to come when it is not due. Death is natural and should be viewed as a celebration of life, neither welcomed nor forced before its time, but accepted for what it is when it comes calling."