Consciousness, Spirituality, and Postmaterialist Science: An Empirical and Experiential Approach

Gary E. Schwartz

in The Oxford Handbook of Psychology and Spirituality

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199729920
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Consciousness, Spirituality, and Postmaterialist Science: An Empirical and Experiential Approach

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Consciousness and spirituality are inherently experiential processes. The definition of “spirituality” ranges from (1) personal opinions regarding the meaning of life and being part of something greater, through (2) experiences of transcendental states and oneness, to (3) beliefs regarding the existence of spirit, life after death, reincarnation, angels and guides, and some sort of omnipresent infinite intelligence and power. Academic psychology has typically taken a materialistic view toward consciousness and spirituality; both are interpreted as neurobiological processes shaped by genetics and developmental and cultural factors. However, as reviewed in this chapter, contemporary consciousness research provides emerging proof-of-concept evidence suggesting that (1) mind is separate from brain, (2) spirit and soul are comparable to energy and information that persist in the vacuum of space, (3) people can receive intuitive information that is accurate and useful in their individual and collective lives, and (4) physical and psychological health can be fostered by active loving spiritual processes. The evidence points toward the emergence of a postmaterialist paradigm in psychology and science in general.

Keywords: consciousness; spirituality; materialism; postmaterialism; the mind–brain relationship; the Big Five; parapsychology; survival of consciousness; continuity of consciousness; spirit; soul; information; energy; intuition; energy healing; spir

Article.  9676 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology

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