Welcome to Simply Consciousness…. I am honored today to have the opportunity to interview Silicon Valley investment banker, author & podcast host Mark Gober.
Mark, can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
My professional career has been in the financial industry. After graduating from Princeton, I went into investment banking in New York where I worked for UBS during the financial crisis. I’m now a Partner at Sherpa Technology Group in Silicon Valley, advising technology companies on business and innovation strategy.
Outside the office, I’ve taken a big interest in consciousness and the nature of reality. I wrote the book AN END TO UPSIDE DOWN THINKING: Dispelling the Myth That the Brain Produces Consciousness, and the Implications for Everyday Life. I’m also the host of the podcast Where Is My Mind?
What is your definition of consciousness?
If we’re being fully precise, I’d say consciousness cannot be defined using language because it is unlimited (whereas language automatically imposes a limitation). But since language is a helpful communication tool, I typically define consciousness as “that which experiences.” For example, if I say “I am reading a book”, the “I” in that sentence is the consciousness or awareness having the experience.
How did your awareness process started?
It began unexpectedly in August of 2016. I was listening to podcasts for fun and stumbled across interviews that delved into “anomalies” of consciousness which some might call “paranormal” (e.g., psychic abilities, surviving bodily death, etc.). I then began to research extensively in my spare time, which turned into an uncontrollable obsession. All I wanted to do was research. The more I researched, the more I realized that the paradigm of reality I had been taught was incomplete…meaning I needed to rethink everything I thought to be true.
Today’s dominant scientific paradigm says that consciousness comes from chemical activity in our brains. I was shocked to learn that this is only an assumption and science has no idea how a brain could actually make consciousness. It’s even called “the hard problem” of consciousness, and Science magazine has called it the #2 question remaining in all of science. My research was suggesting that we haven’t solved the hard problem because we’re asking the wrong question: consciousness doesn’t come from the brain in the first place. Rather, consciousness is the basis of all reality and the brain filters or restricts consciousness. So instead of saying the brain creates consciousness, it’s actually the other way around. Our brains, bodies, and even the physical universe are products of (and exist within) consciousness.
Some of the implications of this idea are that we all have psychic abilities (though sometimes they’re subtle), consciousness continues when the body dies, and we’re all interconnected as part of the same underlying consciousness.
I couldn’t believe how much credible research supported these ideas. The science came from places like the University of Virginia (Division of Perceptual Studies), the CIA, Princeton University (a lab run by the former Dean of Engineering), peer-reviewed scientific papers from credible outlets (e.g., American Psychologist), and more.
After about a year of researching nonstop, I wrote the manuscript of An End to Upside Down Thinking (later published in October 2018) which summarizes the evidence for consciousness beyond the brain. I examine evidence for phenomena like remote viewing, telepathy, precognition, psychokinesis, near-death experiences, mediumship, and children with memories of previous lives.
What are you the most aware of in your daily life?
I can almost look at my life through the lens of “before paradigm shift” and “after paradigm shift.” Before the paradigm shift, when I thought consciousness came from the brain, I thought that when we die it’s over, we’re all separate, and life has no real meaning (beyond whatever we rationalize).
Now I think the evidence points toward something completely different: this life is not the end of consciousness, we’re all interconnected, and life does have meaning.
More than that, this idea implies a new way of looking at identity. I previously viewed my identity as my body. Now, I view my identity as my consciousness, which is part of the same underlying consciousness as everyone else’s. Throughout the day I’m constantly aware of this idea and it impacts my behavior and priorities.
What was the deepest internal change that you have personally experienced from transforming your consciousness and how it did impact your life in both spiritual and practical ways?
My deepest internal shift has been the appreciation of interconnectedness. I’m much more cognizant of how my actions are impacting others, and I try to engage in activities that uplift others.
What is the best advice, words of wisdom that you would like to share with our readers about the importance of becoming more conscious?
What we perceive with our normal senses (e.g., eyes, ears) is a tiny, tiny sliver of reality. However, there is a natural tendency to extrapolate based on our impoverished senses and think we know much more about the nature of reality than we actually do.
When we acknowledge the substantial limitations of our senses and brainpower, a radical humility arises: there is so much in existence that we don’t perceive and couldn’t possibly comprehend. So it’s probably wise to exist in a curious state of “not knowing” rather than thinking we know so much.
Please inspire us by telling us about your current project or projects.
I recently joined the Board of Directors at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS), a consciousness-focused research center in Petaluma, CA, founded by the Apollo 14 astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell. IONS is one of the few groups in the world to scientifically study phenomena like mind-matter interactions, energy healing, telepathic communications, and more. Unfortunately, these topics are considered taboo in traditional academic circles and therefore get much less funding than they deserve. So I’m thrilled to be involved with an organization that is brave enough to study what I consider to the most important science of our era.
What is the biggest problem in the world today?
The biggest problem in the world today is a misunderstanding of reality. There is a prevailing view that we are all finite beings who die when the body dies and who are separate from one another.
That view is now being challenged and updated by emerging science which points to the idea that we’re infinite beings who are interconnected. If we were to internalize that idea as a society, many of the negative behaviors we see would no longer make sense.
Altruism would become more of our default-mode because helping others is, in effect, a way of helping our “self” as part of the same underlying consciousness. In this sense, altruism could be viewed has the highest form of “selfishness.”
When we turn on the news and see violence, geopolitical issues, social prejudices, and more, there can be a tendency to blame individuals who we label as “bad.” I think that misses the core point. It focuses on the symptom rather than the disease. The disease is the misunderstanding of reality; the “upside down” (and unproven) belief that consciousness comes from the brain.