Richard Grossinger. Bottoming Out The Universe; Why There is Something Rather than Nothing. Park Street Press, 2020.
The sub-title of this book is a helpful guide to its intention - why there is something rather than nothing? A question you may never have asked yourself before. But, one that, it turns out, is rather important. This is posed here in reference to the universe, and, most particularly, to the nature of consciousness interacting with it.
Material science tends to regard it as an epiphenomenon of the ever increasing complexity of matter as we probe deeper into the building blocks of space. But mysticism has for centuries tended to see it the other way around – with consciousness able to lord over matter resulting in extraordinary phenomena.
In essence that conflict is what this book examines and, be warned, it is not an easy passage. Whatever your starting perspective you will likely face some degree of challenge in how the author, an anthropologist and a prolific writer who has taken a deep interest in 'fringe' phenomena and Spiritual thinking, takes on the puzzle. Indeed he seeks to embrace it whilst trying to posit a neutral stance on some very big questions arising from what at heart is a fundamental clash of big ticket philosophies.
You will nonetheless be rewarded if you have any degree of interest in such questions that mainstream science tends to evade due to an inevitable aura of kookery that can be off-putting to materialist ideas. If you can look beyond this it will prove a fascinating book. Be prepared because it juggles concepts like a vaudeville balancing act and posits deep ideas that simmer in your mind as the author moves onto new territory that you likely never thought could relate to what has just been discussed.
At times the coverage seems a little superficial, in that he plays a bit like a bored kitten with assorted topics such as crop circles or abductions and homes in on things with which he has some deeper personal relationship. Such as the messages from 'Seth' a renowned Spirit entity who loved to chatter through a medium about the nature of many planes of existence. How and why these may enlighten us about the basis of reality becomes a fascination throughout the text, mirroring the overall aim of somehow bringing together the disparate worlds of hard science and mysticism.
Much of the focus of the book is centred on past lives. He tells in great detail the remarkable story of a boy who from ages two to four (starting in 2000) had a vivid memory that began as nightmares scaring his parents. They were – he said – recall of who he was before he 'chose them' as his new family. He even was able to describe visiting them in a ‘pink hotel’ in Hawaii where they were just before his mother got pregnant! He claimed that he had been shot down in World War Two and seemed to know a lot about planes.
The father went to extraordinary lengths to research the facts and it all checked out. He travelled thousands of miles to a reunion of the ship in question (not a famous carrier) and tracked down a now very elderly person who flew with 'his son' if indeed he really 'was' that fated pilot. Like many 'past life' stories they seem to make you yearn to believe this little boy really once was that pilot from that aircraft carrier in the Pacific war. But the author is more interested in deeper questions. Like WHAT was actually transmitted through time and how?
And that is where the book then heads looking at what these stories might reveal about the way echoes of consciousness transmigrate and what actually survives? He notes, if you restore the rotten timbers of a Viking longboat do you end up with a reproduction no longer the original bit by bit or is it still the same ship just with parts replaced. Much in the way our skin cells replace themselves and so we are never the same physical being from start to finish and yet our consciousness never seems to really notice that transmutation.
This book is full of deep questions looked at from both the caution of science and the free thinking philosophy of mysticism. If that kind of thing floats your boat then you will enjoy this book just as I did. – Jenny Randles.