The Crusades have never stopped
© Robert Anderson PhD

This article was first published in Dev-ZoneNew Zealand


When cartoons about Muhammad appeared recently in a Danish newspaper,* it ignited a global uproar from Muslims. Even though Ambassadors were recalled and flags were burned, the growing tension between the Muslim and the Christian worlds is not a recent phenomenon. Christians have a lengthy history of religious persecution of Islam. There were seven Crusades between 1095 and 1291, and it is a well-attested fact that they achieved little other than excessive bloodshed of innocent people. Now we have another episode of wars in the Middle East. The Downing Street Memo[i] established the Bush/Blair lies that another Crusade was imminent, the difference being that, as Dick Cheney put it, “It will be a war that will not end in our lifetime.”

So what has changed?
The recent illegal ‘Crusade’ by the Bush Administration is simply a repeat performance, albeit with more horrible weaponry such as that employing depleted uranium (DU). While not trying to defend the Holy Land against the Infidels, using the excuse of destroying mythical weapons of mass destruction, it was just as ineffectual. What is more to the point is that the US has left a legacy of suffering to the world of Islam and to every one else as well.[ii] Professing to be a Christian while bombing a country to radioactive rubble does not support religious affirmations. Bush’s windbaggery - the “Islam is Not the Enemy” speech before Congress - was just that,[iii] but it appears that in the Bush Administration the negation of truth is systemic. It did little to alleviate the dire distress of Muslim women giving birth to grossly deformed children, of children with multiple cancers.[iv] For the women, this is often intensified when husbands abandon them, blaming their wives from an interpretation of the Quran to rationalise their departure.[v] Twelve years of economic sanctions followed by a brutal, and without doubt, nuclear war, has left a deep and enduring scar on Islam. Leaving Muslim mothers and their children to face decades of cancer from the radioactive dust created by DU weapons is unconscionable. Mothers no longer ask, “Is it a boy or a girl?” They ask “Is it normal?”  

The early Crusades were failures. They made no permanent conquests of the Holy Land. So will follow Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran (the next target of US hostility). This current ‘Crusade’ has fostered a harsh and growing intolerance between Muslims and Christians. Whereas, before, there had been a measure of mutual respect now there is a growing gulf. While the issue of respect for Muslim feelings versus freedom of expression is debated in both Muslim and Western mainstream media, highly relevant aspects are carefully airbrushed from the debate. It is patently obvious that weapons of mass destruction did not exist in Iraq - but oil does.

Contemporary theologians who depict the Crusades as Christianity’s war against Islam are woefully wrong. Islam was on the march centuries before the Crusades began. Muslims had conquered the Christian lands of Egypt, Syria, North Africa and Spain by the time Pope Urban II had instigated the first Crusade. Once again, enmity is inevitably building as the West rapes Muslim lands for oil. Only last year, a Muslim cleric in Indonesia called upon his fellow believers “to fight ‘belligerent infidels’ who are Christians.” Reducing Iraq to radioactive rubble could explain his anger.

It is claimed that as Christians we believe all people are equal in dignity before God. This hypocrisy, particularly when measured against the actions of the US Administration and its military, would hardly inspire Muslim confidence. Muslims who do believe in this equality of dignity are losing ground within the Muslim community to the Islamic militants who see all that they stand for being crushed out of existence in the West’s barbaric attempts to gain control of the world’s diminishing oil supplies.

According to Bernard Lewis[vi] in his ‘License to Kill’ at no point do the basic texts of Islam enjoin terrorism and murder. The ‘Jihad’ is often mistranslated as “a holy war.” However, Lewis says it literally means “struggle.” While one of its meanings is a defensive war conducted within the limits of justice, in general it refers to the struggle to surrender to one’s primordial consciousness, a surrender to God. Let us hope that the latter interpretation prevails.

In addition to the post-1991 brutal sanctions against Iraq, there is little doubt that the 2003 war itself, an unjustifiable invasion, caused irreparable damage to Christian/Muslim good will. Sanctions, controlled principally by the US, persistently denied Iraq the importation of the most common and critical medicines and necessities. Most authorities agree, including the UN official Denis Halliday[vii] who supervised the sanctions until he resigned in disgust, that the sanctions led to the premature deaths of about half a million Iraqi children. Halliday launched a scathing attack on the policy of sanctions, branding them “a totally bankrupt concept.” On the other hand, US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, when questioned about this in a televised public interview, responded, “We think it was worth it.”

The world ‘Islam’ is related to the word ‘Salam’ that means peace. But a great deal of work will be required to restore the peace and mutual respect we began to share with Islam before the bloody quagmire of Iraq.
Robert Anderson BSc (Hons), PhD (4 February 1942 to 5 December 2008)
Robert Anderson was a Quaker, teacher, writer, Theosophist, and supporter of peace movements and disarmament.  He believed in the right of everyone to have freedom of speech and religion. He was a Trustee of Physicians and Scientists for Global Responsibility (formerly Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Genetics) and spoke to many public meetings throughout New Zealand over more than a decade on genetic engineering and many other subjects. He was passionate about leaving this world a better place for the generations to come.

Bob authored The Final Pollution: Genetic Apocalypse, the Exploding the Myth ofseries which includes Genetic Engineering, Nanotechnology, Irradiated Foods and Electro Magnetic Radiation, and several other books on environmental, scientific, health and social justice issues. He wrote regularly for Organic NZ and other publications.


Enquiries about books written by Robert Anderson should be addressed to

View his illustrated lectures on this site.


  * Early in 2006.



[i] // revealed that President George W. Bush decided to overthrow invade Iraq in the summer of 2002.

[ii] "It Turns out Depleted Uranium Is Bad for NATO Troops in Kosovo; [What About Everyone Else?]"; by Felicity Arbuthnot; 26 October, 2000.

[iv] The Ultimate War Crime., Dr R.Anderson

[v] “The Doctor the DU and the Dying Children.


An Interview with Denis Halliday,

What should we really believe?
© Robert Anderson PhD 
   This Christmas I was delighted to receive professor Dawkins latest book, The God Delusion. As a fellow scientist, I looked forward to reading his views. I was to discover only later the furore this book was causing in all kinds of circles including the blogs and discussions currently rampant to the Internet. Radio New Zealand did two in-depth interviews: Kim Hill interviewing Richard Dawkins and, later the Reverend Richard Randerson.
   This furore should not be unexpected. Unlike a person’s knowledge of chemistry or physics, criticising a person’s faith is taboo in every respect for any culture. Criticising a person’s ideas about God and the afterlife is simply not done. Or, as the well-known saying goes, it is akin to discussing sex in the Victorian living room.
   A perfect example of this was the worldwide furore in February 2006 when a Danish newspaper published cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad. A conflagration of hate quickly spread through the Islamic world. In Pakistan and Indonesia, demonstrators burned Danish flags and made hysterical demands to the Danish government to apologise. As Dr Dawkins said: “Apologise for what? They didn’t draw the cartoons, or publish them. Danes live in a country with a free press, something that people in many Islamic countries might have a hard time understanding.” The crowning glory of such absurd over-the-top behaviour was one placard carried in Britain (apparently without irony) “Behead those who say Islam is a violent religion.”
   I find this exaggerated respect for religion absurd in today’s world. Why is the same respect not shown as to a man’s belief in physics or mathematics? Religious tolerance has taken on a whole new meaning.
   Surprising as it may seem, especially for a Member of the Society of Friends (Quakers), I both enjoyed and agreed with at least 70 percent of what Dawkins was saying. Our beliefs define our vision of the world. They will mould our behaviour and determine our response to other human beings.
   Religion, according to Dawkins, lies behind virtually all of the violence to which our world has been subjected for millennia - and continues to be. Further, the idea of religious acceptance is just as dangerous as it supports and promotes the continuation of blind faith and intolerance of other religious beliefs that cannot possibly be in accord with our own – true - system.
   When a Muslim bomber blows him- or herself to pieces, along with other innocent folk, the role that faith played in these actions is invariably discounted. Instead, we adopt a worldwide war on “terrorism.” This is akin to saying we will declare war on murder; it is an error of category that obscures the true cause. Terrorism is not a source of violence. It is merely one of its human manifestations. We need to ask ourselves why Muslim or other religiously motivated terrorists are doing what they are doing. The belief that killing infidels is looked upon by your God as worthy of a seat in heaven will drive Islamic faithful to commit terrorism.
   Lest we think otherwise, this has nothing to due with education, status or money. Osama Bin Laden is neither poor nor uneducated. Samuel Huntington[i] and others have made the point that religious fundamentalism in the developing world is not simply a movement of the poor and uneducated. Such a faith and belief system controls all of the everyday thoughts and actions of those who accept them. We have witnessed exactly similar violence in the West in the sectarian violence that divided Ireland: Catholics against Protestant.
Doctrine or indoctrination?
   It is an absurd belief system that we can follow a book - the Koran, the Bible or the Bhagavad-Gita, whatever, which we believe without any shred of reasonable proof is written by the Creator of the Universe - that exonerates us from such brutality. It enables an excuse for committing the most terrible acts of violence against other human beings whose belief system is different to our own. As Sam Harris[ii] put it: “People of faith tend to argue that it is not faith itself, but man’s baser nature that inspires such violence. But I take it to be self-evident that ordinary people cannot be moved to burn genial old scholars alive[iii] for blaspheming the Koran.”
   One of the more insidious trends is to ensure that children are thoroughly imbued with the religious belief system of the parent. I’m sure, we are all familiar with the old adage that “give me a child to age five and I'll give you back a Catholic for life.” Is this really fair? We should be teaching our children not what to think, but how to think.
   I will never forget a story my mother-in-law told me of a small child crying bitterly as she walked by our home. On enquiring as to her troubles, it eventually became obvious that the child had been sent on her way to confession and was terrified because she had nothing to confess.
   Nor does this type of fear diminish with age? A Catholic woman in her forties had to seek counselling for a fear that had haunted her for years. Her best friend, an Anglican, had died several years previously. The distress came from her own priest claiming that her friend would have “to spend eternity in hell for not being Catholic.” This man obviously has a mindset stuck in the 16th Century.
   The recent furore over Muslim women wearing the burka is a further instance of religious ideas clouding commonsense and being used to force women into submission. As Dawkins said: “One of the unhappiest spectacles to be seen on our streets today is the image of a woman swathed in shapeless black from head to toe, peering out at the world through a tiny slit. The burka is not just an instrument of oppression of women and cloistral repression of their liberty and their beauty; not just a token of egregious male cruelty and tragically cowed female submission...” it is also an anachronism. How are women students able to work safely in a chemistry laboratory or do physical education or swim in this contraption?
   If we come from a country such as Afghanistan, previously ruled by the Taliban, the case does not arise as they expect their women to remain ignorant, barefoot and childbearing, creatures to be seen – in a burka that is – and not heard. Imagine, in an age when we walk on the moon, use computers and carry out intricate heart surgery, many countries still believe in honour killings. If a daughter is raped, she must be stabbed to death or burnt alive with kerosene to protect the family honour.
   Horrific? If you hold with such religious beliefs and the tenants that they support, then obviously not.
   Manifestly, it is high time that our belief systems were subject to the same, or at least equivalent, careful scrutiny that our scientific and other world knowledge structures are.
   As a scientist, I was never happy with the fairy stories of heaven and hell. Nor was I content to accept the bible or any other book as the indisputable word of God. A book of doubtful authorship, filled with contradictions, vengeance, and possessing the simplistic explanations of the world in which I live, has little appeal.
So what recourse have we to the questions that have concerned humanity for millennia? Where did we come from? Where are we going? What happens to us when we die?
   The first question that sent me on my personal search was the answer I received from an Anglican priest. Although then a teenager, his answer has stayed with me over the years as a perfect example of an innocent ignorance born of this thing they call “faith.” My question was simple, what becomes of all the millions of souls who are not Christians when they die, the millions of Buddhists and Hindus? His answer - Well, I’m sure God has somewhere suitable for them - dumbfounded me. I could see that I had to find the answer to this and other vital questions for myself.
Survival of the human personality after death? True or false?
   There is now a wealth of excellent scientific studies concerning survival of the human personality together with a multitude of near-death experiences (NDE’s) that form a tapestry of proof to those open to reasonable evidence. The work of Professor Ian Stevenson on reincarnation is also a buttress to those disbelieving that we ‘only have one shot’ at the coconut. One of the most moving and convincing programmes on reincarnation was broadcast by the BBC in the 1960’s, the Bloxham Tapes. It would be difficult to offer alternative explanations for the subjects examined.
   Further, the early work carried out by the Cambridge group of scientist and such men as Sir William Crookes, Sir Oliver Lodge and many others, testifies to the veracity of personal survival. For me, the ancient Indian teachings of the Vedantic school are as applicable now as they were thousands of years ago.
   An unknown monk, Swami Vivekananda left India in 1893 on an historic journey to America. Neither the West nor the East was conscious of the new chapter that this unidentified prophet was going to open in the history of mankind. Swami Vivekananda insisted that Vedantic teaching was not inconsistent with science and the two should go hand in hand.
   Since then, science and scientific thoughts have progressed enormously. The discovery of quantum mechanics and relativity has shaken the very foundations of epistemology. In spite of these violent changes, it is only Vedanta that seems to be in a position to absorb the tremendous impact of the new science. Indeed, Vivekananda prophesied that in the coming years the science of Vedanta would be the only acceptable solution for Western man.
   Physicists are heading towards a unity not under the influence of any philosophy or religion, ancient or modern, but by the impact of the results obtained in their experiments. Increasing knowledge of both the microcosmic world of atoms and molecules and the macrocosmic world of black holes have made physicists aware that they have to move deeper into the origins of the universe and still deeper into the way of how consciousness is related to this universe. It would appear more and more that we are living in David Bohm’s ‘dynamic holographic universe.’ The concept of the universe being a giant hologram containing both matter and consciousness as a single field will should excite anyone who has asked the question, what is reality? One of the most exciting books on this topic is The Holographic Universe.[iv]
   As Dr Larry Dossey[v] said in his introduction to the book, “nearly everyone is familiar with holograms, three-dimensional images projected into space with the aid of a laser. Now, two of the world's most eminent thinkers - physicist David Bohm, a former protégé of Einstein and one of the world's most respected quantum physicists, and Stanford neurophysiologist Karl Pribram, one of the architects of our modern understanding of the brain - believe that the universe itself may be a giant hologram. Quite literally a kind of image or construct created, at least in part, by the human mind.
   This remarkable new way of looking at the universe explains not only many of the unsolved puzzles of physics, but also such mysterious occurrences as telepathy, and out-of-body and near-death experiences, ‘lucid’ dreams, and even religious and mystical experiences such as feelings of cosmic unity and miraculous healings.”
   And, it is this that we should be pursuing rather than absurd, blind, 14th Century belief-systems, the like of which lie behind 80 percent of the world’s problems today.
New models
   We urgently need new models of reality to develop our ability to imagine what is possible and to give us new visions of our place in the cosmos. Michael Talbot's, The Holographic Universe, does this and I recommend that you read it.
   To continue to slavishly follow anachronistic religious texts by blind faith is at the least destructive and at most downright dangerous to a world in crisis. A faith that is blind, deaf, dumb and unreasoned threatens our very existence.
   From the religious fanaticism of suicide bombers, to the cruelty of the Taliban against women, to the genital circumcision of African women, and more, requires urgent attention from us all.
   If you are a seeker of truth, and every Theosophist should be, then it’s a wake-up call to wonder, an adventure in ideas. However, should you need to maintain your faith that the bible ‘proves’ God made Earth in seven days, or that your daughter can be stoned to death, or that science has shown ‘it's all mechanical,’ and that there is no room in the universe for consciousness, soul, and spirit, don't read these books.
Robert Anderson BSc (Hons), PhD
(4 February 1942 to 5 December 2008)
Robert Anderson was a Quaker, teacher, writer, Theosophist, and supporter of peace movements and disarmament.  He believed in the right of everyone to have freedom of speech and religion. He was a Trustee of Physicians and Scientists for Global Responsibility (formerly Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Genetics) and spoke to many public meetings throughout New Zealand over more than a decade on genetic engineering and many other subjects. He was passionate about leaving this world a better place for the generations to come.
Bob authored 11 titles.  Enquiries should be addressed to
View his illustrated lectures on this site.

[i]                  Huntington P.S., The Clash of Civilisations and the Remaking of World Order. NY Simon & Schuster 1996
[ii]              Harris S., The End of Faith ISBN 0-393-03515-8
[iii]              In 1994, at a village south of Islamabad, police charged a doctor with setting fire to the sacred Koran, a blasphemous crime punishable by death. Before he could be tried, an enraged mob dragged him from the police station, doused him with kerosene, and burned him alive.” J.A. Haught, Holy Hatred: Religious Conflicts of the ‘90s (Amherst, Mass.: Prometheus Books, 1995), 179.
[iv]              Talbot M., The Holographic Universe. ISBN 0-06-092258-3
[v]              Dossey L., Space, Time & Medicine.


Searching for Spiritual Sanity in a Dysfunctional World

A scientist’s view of a world gone mad!

Robert Anderson BSc(Hons) PhD

4 February 1942 to 5 December 2008

 First published in In Touch August/September 2003


Religious knowledge, like any other knowledge, can be examined and subjected to almost the same rigorous scientific analysis we bring to our understanding of all other disciplines in our world. When this is done, it becomes possible to see sense within a world which seems at first sight to be out of control and in deep crisis.

In a few weeks time, a woman will be buried up to her neck and then stoned to death. The reason - having an illegitimate child. She will be allowed to finish breast feeding before the sentence is carried out.

In a continent not too far removed from this woman, a retired New Zealand heart surgeon' is putting together broken hearts with the barest minimum of surgical supplies and in appallingly scant surroundings, healing a people who have been subjected to the brutality of another nation intent on driving them from the lands they have occupied and farmed for centuries. An aggressor who has, ironically, known what it is to be on the end of “the final solution to the Jewish problem.” And yet so few people really stop to wonder why. As a scientist and a Quaker, I find it an enormous and enduring challenge to understand.

The answer, at least for most, would seem to lie in religion. The word religion comes from the Latin, religion to bind back,' and bind it certainly does. For centuries, religion has held human

minds in a prison of creeds and dogmas, unable to expand. Like a bird unable to fly, it has prevented the mind from expanding, from growing, and from searching for truth and light in a world trapped in the paradigm of duality. A belief in hell-fire and damnation is still the fundamentalists' solution to such savagery in today's world of brutality and crime; or the well-known adage used by the insurance world, it was an “Act of God.” The depth of thinking is both shallow and superficial. What real curiosity and discomfort that exists is for the time being satisfied. Only those brave enough to question, to search deeply for answers, are rewarded. As the scriptural saying puts it, “knock and it shall be opened to you.” This does not mean a light tap. The request for real knowledge must come from a deep yearning within and be an unquenchable thirst for answers.

For most enlightened searchers, the Christian Scriptures have succumbed to scientific inquiry and have, in the main, collapsed under such scrutiny. Science deals with facts. It is a fact that the Universe is at least fifteen billion years old and our earth at least 4.5 billion years old. The Genesis story is entertaining, but the earth has been here for over six thousand years so obviously something is amiss here. The Big Bang Theory now has robust scientific evidence supporting it. Furthermore, fossil records show us that life began on this planet in a very primitive state and, through a process where the fittest survived, continued to slowly evolve to the point where life exists as we know it today. There is a statistical argument that, although it could be possible for molecules of amino acids to randomly combine to form DNA and simple life forms, the chance of it happening is utterly remote. It would likely take a trillion universes the same number of years just to have a 50/50 chance of a single DNA molecule forming. This argument is known as “the improbability against the spontaneous evolution of life” hypothesis.

It is due to the Christian Bible that men for centuries believed that the sun revolved around the earth and that Earth was flat, and that devils were the cause of disease. Such a belief system limited astronomical investigations, and crippled scientific research into both hygiene and medicine. Because of the scriptural statement in Exodus 22:18, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live”, tens of thousands of women were tortured and put to death. By misinterpreting the Koran, a woman can be stoned to death and treated merely as a slave to her husband. Because St Paul declared, “Slaves be obedient to your masters,” millions of Christians, including the clergy, sanctimoniously justified slavery as the will of God. Even so, there is a worldwide revival of fundamentalism, possibly fuelled by the increasing brutality, cruelty and hopelessness felt by so many. But is this the real answer? The more people become disempowered, the more helpless they feel. This is particularly illustrated by issues such as youth suicide in our own country; three a week. At a recent meeting of medical practitioners, I listened in a state of disbelief to a harrowing story of how three youths had spent the day carefully planning to murder a driver and steal a car. Having completed their plans, they set off to carry out this savage deed. The first motorist that picked them up shared his food with them and so had to be spared. The second passed round his marijuana joint so thus could not be a victim. The last motorist was an Asian gentleman who managed to stagger away from his car with multiple stab wounds and call the police. When subsequently arrested the only query made by the perpetrators was, “Will we get our Milo to drink?” After all, said one, “we know our rights.”

It would seem that we live in a world gone mad. Should we, ostrich like, bury our heads and simply go about our business? I think not. The answer to this madness, to these extremes, is to search deep within ourselves. One's first question must be, “Is there really a God, Divine Mother, Allah, Krishna or spiritual force of creation behind all this?” As a scientist, I have spent a good deal of my time wondering about this and applying my training to such questions. Let us, therefore, apply scientific reasoning to our first question. Is there some supreme first cause, or must we accept the “blind watchmaker” of Richard Dawkins2atheistic approach? This postulates that, essentially, the whole of creation is an act of coincidence rather than design. This thesis has, I feel quite rightly, been demolished.3The Creationists loved to use the argument that the probability of life evolving is so unlikely, statistically speaking, as to be impossible. But since quantum reality shows that there are actually an infinite number of universes in parallel, the statistical improbability does not really matter. In an infinite number of universes, a universe where life evolved would be a statistical certainty. Even so, I do not believe that mere chance is the solution. After all, what is chance? Just a word? From a scientific point of view, we need only apply our axiom that “there is no effect without cause” to answer this basic question. Look for what is not the cause of man and reason should furnish us with the answer. All that is good, all that is beautiful, seems to be in harmony with this fact. There arc those who would rightly submit that “nature is red in tooth and claw” and therefore not all good. However, to elucidate this further we need to look more deeply into the laws of nature. These laws, contrary to what many churches would have us believe, are inexorable and immutable. They are certainly not subject to the whim of humans.

For instance, look again at the case of the Christian Bible. In June 325, the Council of Nicea opened and progressed over two months. Pope Constantine, in constant attendance, insisted the bishops modify the existing creed to fit their purposes. This creed, with some changes made at a later fourth century council, is still given today in many churches. The Nicene Creed, as it came to be called, ensured that reincarnation was forever vanquished from the Christian Scriptures. The scholar, Arius, and two other bishops, refused to sign the creed and Constantine banished them from the Empire. The other bishops present reportedly went on to celebrate their unity in a great feast at the Imperial Palace. These significant alterations altered the scriptures in a way that would change forever the Christian understanding of the spiritual laws of our world. Even though almost all the major world religions know of, and believe in, some form of reincarnation, the Christian church ruled it an anathema. But do we have any scientific validation for a belief in reincarnation? I think we do. Over several decades, professor lan Stevenson and others have researched and probed into this question. For those lucky enough to have read Stevenson's works,4there seems little doubt that reincarnation does occur. It is easier to verify in those countries sympathetic to the belief than in our own, where children's memories are merely ignored or snuffed out from fear, ignorance or simple indifference. Even so, reliable cases have been documented in the West. An excellent understanding can be gathered by reading the work of psychics such as Edgar Cayce and others with a proven track record. The research of Dr Gina Cerminara is well worth studying in this context.5Why should one human being be born healthy, talented and live a richly creative life while another be born to drudgery and disease? In my travels around India, this dramatic comparison is demonstrated daily in every street.

To accept the concept of reincarnation requires tremendous courage. A person must be willing to face the inevitable with a calm assurance that this is the lesson that best befits their growth, be it spiritual or physical, for this life time. Contrary to popular belief, I do not accept that a Mozart child is simply a genetic freak or accident. Or that it was the Will of God that Helen Keller was born with all her disabilities. Like Mother Teresa of Calcutta, she came for a very special purpose. Reincarnation should come as no surprise. Nature herself demonstrates this cyclic tendency constantly. Almost everything in the natural world - including the universe itself - is cyclic. Stars and galaxies are born and die constantly in the cycle of heavenly progression.

So what are we to make of this world in which we spend such a short time sojourn?

In the ancient Buddhist text, the Lankavatara Sutra, several interesting comparisons are given. This world, says the text, is as illusory as a mirage in the desert. It is no more substantial than a dream or the reflection of trees in water. But wait - does this not fly in the face of all that science tells us? Not by any means. After several decades of earnest searching, like others before me, I discovered with excitement that the ancient eastern religions - generally regarded by the West as pagan, false, or having no value by Christians - had a full and explicit knowledge of the laws of the universe of which we are all an integral part. What was even more satisfying was that in recent years these laws have been scientifically confirmed. I also found to my astonishment that many scientists who have been essential in pushing forward the barriers of modem scientific thought spent much time in the east. Shroedinger and Heisenberg, for instance, stayed in the Ashram of SriArabindo. No doubt their work on quantum theory would have amused Arabindo since the Vedic literature espoused this concept thousands of years before they even thought of it.

Having discovered that eastern religions have long taught what nuclear and atomic physics has only recently demonstrated - that matter is a process and that our senses give us a very distorted picture of the world in which we live – I feel these religions deserve serious investigation. There have always been two paths. One is the path of absolute awareness achieved through meditation. This is the path that the Buddha took. The other is the path of faith, achieved through prayer; essentially the path of devotion. We may look at this in another way. One path experiences God as pure awareness, called Nirvana in the Buddhist tradition or Samadhi in the Hindu. The other path, that of Mother Teresa, experiences God as having a human-like personality such as Allah, Krishna or the Father. All are equally valid. We also know, from those who have attained that state, that all are eligible to reach it given the will power to do so.

Combine this philosophy with that of the ideas of such scientists as David Bohm and a completely new and exciting model emerges. We live in a moving or dynamic holographic universe. At this most basic level of reality, there is no separateness. Everything is connected to everything else. Thus we have come full circle. This new model of reality should fire the imagination of what is possible and give new visions of our place in the cosmos. It is a wake-up call to wonder, and to realize that all is not lost. Such a theory explains the many aspects of paranormal abilities of the mind such as clairvoyance, psycho kinetics and a whole host of other hitherto unknown abilities. Brain surgeons such as Wilder Penfield and Pribram even extended Bohm's work in attempting to explain human consciousness. Our minds create the illusion of reality “out there” through the same kind of processes as those used in dreaming. But Pribram's assertions, that our brains construct objects, pales beside another of Bohm's conclusions: that we even construct space and time. Like Pribram, Dr Fred Wolf believes that our abilities are in our dreams, and suggests that there may not be much difference between the world at large and the world inside our heads. It all seems to point to the most extraordinary fact that we see and perceive our world as a series of holographic images. As Francis Thompson so beautifully put it:

“All things by immortal power

Near and far, hiddenly

To each other linked are

Thou canst not stir a flower

Without troubling a star.”

It would seem that this is no longer some esoteric Eastern poetic statement, but an unpretentious scientific fact.

So what conclusion can we draw? I have learned that I am part of one big, living cosmos. If we believe we can hurt another person or another living thing without hurting ourselves, we are sadly mistaken. I look at a forest, a flower or a bird and now recognise “that is part of me.” We are connected with all things and, if we send love along those connections, then - and only then – will we be happy and able to cope with a world gone mad.


Robert Anderson BSc(Hons) PhD

Robert Anderson was a Quaker, teacher and writer. He was a Trustee of Physicians and Scientists for Global Responsibility (, a member of Amnesty International, a Theosophist, and a campaigner for peace and disarmament. He believed everyone has the right to equality and respect, freedom of speech and religion He lectured on many subjects to meet the public's right to be independently informed on issues of science, the environment and social justice. He was passionate about making this world a better place for the generations to come. He authored eleven books and regularly wrote for a number of periodicals.

Enquiries about books written by Robert Anderson should be addressed to



1. "In the heart of Gaza” NZ heart surgeon, Alan Kerr, battles for the health of children: the Listener, May 2003.

2. "Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose,” wrote Professor Richard Dawkins, author of The Blind Watchmaker.


4. Stevenson I, “20 Cases suggestive of reincarnation and many other since.”

5. Cerminara G, “Insights for the Age of Aquarius,” published by Quest, 1973.

6. The two scientists mainly responsible for the Quantum Theory and Uncertainly Principle.

7. Dr F A Wolf 1987 Annual meeting, Washington DC.


© Colin W Addison


Possibly the most asked questions down through eons of time, ranking alongside their counterparts, are: Where did we come from? and What's out there?

Paradoxically, the question asked by millions of us can be answered only by each of us individually, according to his or her criteria. Gratifying to know that whatever an individual answer may be, it will be right, for that individual soul as it navigates its unique course along the Pathway of Life.

Let us start this exploration by taking question two in simplicity: What’s out there? Space travel and the Hubble Telescope remind us of the fact that we are but one dot among many millions of dots in an endless array to infinity. As a mere dot, Earth may not be very significant in the general order of things. It is illogical to think we are the be-all and end-all of Life when literally millions of other worlds are thought capable of supporting life as we know it. A logical extension must be that there are yet more worlds supporting life as we do not know it. Certainly, we are not alone. Yet it seems ridiculous to expect other life forms, likely far removed from ours, to respond to radio signals. We are, however, a precious ‘stepping stone’ in the Cosmos.

It does not require too much imagination, especially in view of ancient writings, to accept that we did in fact ‘migrate’ here from elsewhere. Creationists will, of course, beg to differ. Where did we come from? Out there? Whether ‘seeded’ or ‘migrated’ matters little. The researcher, Sir Laurence Gardner, puts an eloquent case in answer. Let’s not lose the entire plot with an unwarranted concentration on minutiae.

The significant question of pre-eminence is asked in the title. Every soul on this planet should promptly put aside every preconception and pre-learned catechism, and source the comfort within ancient texts, the Bible, and contemporary writings to include Edgar Cayce and modern authors. While one mind will not envisage the whole picture accurately, we can, within our limitations, arrive at a comfortable answer. Here, then, is an hypothesis for discussion and individual evaluation.

An earlier article suggested that, as we are coming into this world and leaving it, we don’t actually belong here. It may not be too great a quantum leap to accept that our true domain (or home) is Spirit. We, as individual souls, are eternal and divine, having been made in the image of The Creator. Intellectually, we cannot conceive of this Elementary Force, but certainly it is not a personalized figure as portrayed by Religion. Our earthly bodies are ‘vehicles’ for this environment. The analogy is the motorcar as the vehicle and the soul as the driver. When the vehicle is finished with, it is discarded, as surely as the cicada discards its ‘body’ attached to a tree trunk, or the butterfly its caterpillar. Examples in Nature are there to help us understand fundamental truths of Life, which is itself Nature. Is it too hard to believe we move on elsewhere and will eventually meet up with loved ones? Science, the great skeptic, has renewed interest in ‘spiritual phenomena.’

Messages within Scripture and from Spirit mention other worlds teaching differing lessons and catering to very different life forms, not too difficult to accept if we accept our own transition from Human Being to Spirit Being. Are these many differing worlds the ‘rooms’ of “In My Father’s house, there are many mansions…?”

For purposes of education and advancement all of humanity, of all colours and creeds in our ‘here and now’ lives, are on Planet Earth with individual specific tasks of learning. Earth is a multi-faceted ‘Play School’ or ‘Kindergarten’ and we members of its classes. Our learning experience in this Dimension is tailor-made for each individual; time is of no significance, hence a long or short life may indicate simply the lesson has been learned, in our terms, quickly or slowly. Upon the soul’s return to Spirit, its ‘education as a pupil’ is examined and further education takes place up to the next incarnation, when the process of Advancement continues in the place and time most suitable. The place may not be Earth, but some other environ.

So the first part of the answer is ‘To Learn’ and by doing so ‘Advance’ towards Ultimate Perfection. Learning, at our present level, is very basic at our play school. We must learn the opposites of hot/cold, love/hate, big/small, black/white, the very basics of life. There will be Advanced Souls present to help and inspire us to achieve. Perhaps we already admire Mozart, who enjoyed such perfection that not one error was ever found in his manuscripts. Inspired? Certainly. And to keep us focused, we have our Guides, our ‘inner voices’ to help and protect. These are assigned as our needs change, so yesterday’s guides may not be those for today.

The second and major part is best summed up ‘To Reconcile.’ This takes two aspects.

The first calls for Tolerance as the means by which we, of multifarious views, creeds and races, learn the hard lessons of ‘getting along’ with each other. Patently obvious, isn’t it, that we have a huge way to go? Nonetheless, we will achieve Tolerance as a lesson for Humanity. (Not without reason does Spirit view Earth as a “warlike place full of hate.”) This first aspect then applies more to ‘Everyone here.’

The second aspect is much more personal, The Reconciliation of The Self. All are aware of the use of the word ‘One.’ The phrase, “Return to the One (the Oneness which is God)” indicates our True Self as that to which we must aspire from our present Duality (as in the Biblical myth taking Adam’s rib to create Woman, the One made Two or Dual).
The prime purpose of Marriage is to facilitate this Reconciliation between the partners in order that their experience together helps advance each one along their chosen path. In a solo situation, unmarried or perhaps widowed, the prime purpose is to Reconcile The Self. This reconciliation of the differences is easier within the partnership of marriage, the purpose for the union, than working alone on one’s self. It is ordained that our natural status is in a relationship with another to facilitate the, essentially, male and female energies, or yin and yang as an example in another culture.

The most sobering finding of any study of comparative religions is just how similar they all are; their very beginnings must inevitably have been at a common point. The Christian Religion is comparatively new yet in its short 2000 years it has distorted into a plethora of cults and creeds of many and varying viewpoints and opinions. The very Tolerance taught by its founder has been utterly ignored. Sadly, were the Jesus of History to return to the Church established in his name, he would not recognize it.

Positively, He and other Masters are here already to help and guide us, to ‘save us from ourselves.’ “I am The Way” is a much more significant and meaningful statement when one appreciates that Life is a journey along a pathway – finding that path and staying on it is the only small problem for each of us. Now, in 2007, we need to see this truth as a signpost pointing us individually and collectively back on to our respective pathways. It is up to each individual solely to assume responsibility for his or her progress. ‘Judgment Day’ will not take the traditional form of a courtroom with the Chief Justice meting out punishment. No, it will be You, the individual, who will assess your pathway and your progress. There will be no ‘hellfire and brimstone’, simply a face-to-face discussion with yourself to discuss where you succeeded and where you failed.

The ‘cycling’ between Spirit and ‘Earthly (or other) locations’ clearly indicates Reincarnation as a prerequisite for Advancement towards Oneness. Western Religions tend to dismiss reincarnation even though the Bible itself contains many references. Life after Life is a wonderful positive belief of the certainty that Death is not an end in itself, but simply a Transition amply reinforced with examples from Nature.

It is a great sadness that religious leaders down through the centuries have opted to distort Truth for their own temporal advancement without heed to the harm created by their corrupt leadership. The present-day hope is that the accumulated wealth of information is available freely to each individual. All that is required is interest, resolve and application. With that focus, Inspiration will be granted and truly the “scales will fall from [their] eyes.”

“Seek and ye shall find, ask and it shall be granted unto thee” has today as much positivity as it had when first uttered. Whether or not we acknowledge Ancient Wisdom, whether or not we embrace other cultures or cling rigidly to our own, we will all, individually and eventually, in our own time, manifest as true “Sons of God” and return to The Source from which we originated.

© Colin W Addison


Who am I really?

 Robert Anderson BSc(Hons) PhD

4 February 1942 to 5 December 2008


There are always moments in our life when the world no longer stimulates us and we feel deeply apathetic, even abandoned. This can be a valuable emotion because it motivates us towards the search for our real nature - a nature beyond appearances.

When we no longer find interest in activities and states, when we no longer feel much pleasure in objects and human relationships, we find ourselves asking, "Is there something wrong with this world, or with my attitude towards it?"

This sort of doubt can lead us to the question, "What is the meaning of my existence?"

"Who am I?”

"What is my true nature?"

Sooner or later any intelligent person asks these questions and we should look at them closely. We humans have always asked these basic questions that are without doubt the most important questions we ever ask ourselves. I want to share with you some ideas that may help us to understand these questions based on the teachings of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj.

Within us, there is the deep-rooted belief-system, based on illusion, that all objects and our surroundings are separate from us, outside us. Yet we identify with the body, senses and mind and create a separate world of you and I.

Deepac Chopra put it beautifully: "We believe we are simply a skin encapsulated ego, enmeshed in a bag of flesh and bones, confined to a prison of time and causation, squeezed into the volume of a body for the span of a life time.”

This is not what we are. What we are, our Self, does not exist in space and time at all. But if we can get a deep experiential (experience) knowledge of who we are, all of these other questions which arise will be solved. So what is our starting point?

We all have in common one thing: consciousness. The only capital, as it were, that a human being has is consciousness - or "I am". I'll try and illustrate this for you.

When we are born the knowledge 'I am' or consciousness is the only 'capital' a sentient being has. Indeed, without consciousness we would not have any sentience - awareness, feeling, seeing, hearing, sensing in the broadest meaning of the word. We became aware that this "me" always seems to be at the centre of things and plays several roles. "I am tired." "I am cold." "I am working."

With open-minded alertness, it becomes apparent that the body feels cold, or tired, or is working, not the "I".  Not the observer.

In the same way when we look at our emotions. "I am depressed” “I am bored” I am identifying myself with these thoughts or feelings.

 What do we become aware of when we enquire into consciousness? In looking at this relation between the "self” and its qualifications it becomes obvious that we are taking ourselves to be this ''ME''.

But this "me" has no continual reality. It is a false conclusion. Because we have mistaken our real Self for this impostor it generates a feeling of insecurity. We feel doubt, a sensation of isolation. The "me" can only live in relation to objects.

 So what do we do? We spend all our energy and time trying to fulfil the insatiable insecurity of this “me.”

We live in anxiety, fear and desire, trying, at one and the same time, to be as individualistic as possible and at the same time trying to overcome this separateness. To live in this way is both frustrating and depressing. It is the major cause of all the loneliness in the world today. This loneliness may be temporarily hidden by activity, but sooner or later our real nature will make itself felt and our questioning will become even more urgent.

 So let us return to our original question - who am I? Who am I really? If we can answer this one basic question, we have the answer to all these other related questions. Where did I come from? Where was I before I was born, and what happens to me, when I die?

 Our minds are constantly involved in a process of conceptualising. On the odd occasion, when we are not thinking, not conceptualising, we may be able to find the answer to who we are.

 How do we realise this? We realise it, only when our mind is still. If you like, we are the tiny gap between our thoughts. In that small space of silence, when the mind is still, the small self communicates with the larger Self. In that gap, the only thing we are conscious of is, I am. What we are, our self, does not exist in time and space.

 On the plane of existence we can speak of living and dying, but they are only images created by the mind - more conceptualising. What we really are is beyond birth and death. This is put poetically by the Bhagavad-gita. ]

 These (others) are merely conceptual ideas. Conceptualisation goes on in consciousness all the time. When it ceases, as it does when we are in deep sleep, what is it that remains? If we can find this out, we may be able to solve our problem.

 When this I-am-ness is not present, as in deep sleep, there is no body, no outside world, and no God. It is evident then that a tiny speck of this consciousness contains the entire universe.

 It should be apparent to us now that the culprit is consciousness. This is the source of all our conceptualising. All existence is an expression of consciousness. When consciousness arises so does existence and with it duality.

 In the ancient Vedic scriptures, this represents the dance of Siva. Up and down, night and day, on and off, evil and good. Without this the universe would be undancing, it would be static.

 So what you are is fundamentally without cause and completely independent. When we take ourselves to be an individual doer, who lives in a world of choice, it is nothing more than an illusion of our ego. When the body wakes up in the morning, our world appears in a flash. It is perceived by the five senses and conceived by the brain. There are infinite forms and names but none of them exist outside our consciousness. Our relations do not exist, and neither does ‘our’ world.

 However, we do have to understand an important point here. Consciousness must have something through which it can express itself. Consciousness cannot exist without a physical body, and since existence of the body is temporal, consciousness also must be temporal. And this is our stumbling block.

 This is our stumbling block. The problem has been created in consciousness and recognized in consciousness, and it is this consciousness itself which is trying to understand its own nature? It is, therefore, impossible for us to understand conceptually who or what we really are?

 Let us try to examine why this is. When we use the word 'really' - what are we 'really'? What do we mean? We use the word 'real' to mean something that is perceptible to our senses. The body is perceptible to the senses, but is the body “really” you? In spite of all their limitations, we must use the words correctly here.

 We have a saying in the West "seeing is believing". If it has existence in space and time, I can see it, touch it, then it must be real. We consider as 'real' anything that is perceptible to the senses and yet every imaginable thing that is sensed must pass through an interpretation by the mind before it is understood.

And anything that is thus understood is, as we have shown, only an appearance in the consciousness of the observer.

 Now, this concept is very hard to grasp so I will try and explain using a simple analogy. Let us examine our perceptions. I see a rose. How does this knowledge come to me? What the philosophers call "the-thing-in-itself' or the 'Truth' of the object is unknown to me. I can never know this in my ordinary state of consciousness. The rose acts on my mind and the mind RE-ACTS.

 Now the mind is like a lake. When I throw a stone into the lake, a reactionary wave comes towards the stone. This wave is nothing like the stone at all; it is a wave. The rose is like a stone which strikes the mind and the mind throws up a wave towards it.

 This wave is what we call the rose.

 If I look at you. You, as a reality are unknown to me. You act upon my mind, the mind throws a wave in the direction from which the impact comes. And that wave is what I call you. There are thus two elements in perception:one coming from outside and one coming from inside. The combination of these two makes our external Universe. In other words, all our knowledge is by reaction.

 Let us apply the same analogy to ourselves. The real self within me is also unknown. Let us call it big S. When I know myself as Bob Anderson, it is 'S' + my mind. That 'S' strikes a blow on my mind. Our whole world is some unknown 'S' + mind. Thus the idea of being a person, is nothing other than an image held together by our memories. The personality is nothing other than a projection. It is a habit created by memory and nourished by our desires.

 By asking ourselves the question "Who am I" and lucidly observing the questioner, we see they are all forms that appear and disappear within this consciousness of "I am”. This is the ever-living background against which everything occurs.

 Let us go further back to the state that prevailed prior to the appearance of this physical form, prior even to the conception of this body. If I were to ask you to tell me something about yourself before you were conceived, your answer would most probably be "I don't know." This 'I' who does not know that state. In fact, the "I" who knew nothing until consciousness appeared is what we really are.

 When we talk of birth, we mean the birth of the ego, of the me. By death we mean death of the ego. Once this identification with a supposed separate entity takes place, the concept of duality is born. This gets broadened and the conditioning becomes stronger and stronger as we grow into adults. The separate subject-entity then sets itself up to analyze and judge. The entire scheme of inter-related opposites comes into existence: good and bad; big and small. It provides scope for judging and condemnation. It may be easier to express this in the following way.

 If consciousness is time-bound, there is no 'entity' to do anything. We experience ourselves objectively as the body and subjectively as the mind.

 Here, it may help us if we look more closely at the concept of time and space. Why are they necessary?

 Space is needed for objectifying and time to measure the duration of this extension in space. Without space, how could objects have a form and become visible? Without time, duration for the appearance, how could they be perceived?

 How is time experienced? What is this thing we call time which causes aging, entropy and death? Time is simply a movement in consciousness. Consciousness is always in movement, this is the nature of consciousness. Even when we sleep, consciousness is moving towards waking. If we could 'realize' or I should say apperceive this knowledge we would be able to see exactly how and where all our illusion arises.

 This word apperceive is important. It is a term we normally don't use. The dictionary defines it as, "a transcendental process of psychological assimilation and simultaneous experiential understanding of a truth."

What a mouthful! In other words, not using the mind to get there. "A kind of wisdom leap in understanding."

 Having made this leap in understanding, it is instant and irreversible. Let us go slowly through what we have said. We will find peace when there is apperception of this Truth. What we are searching for 'in the normal' sense of the word, cannot be found, for the very simple reason that, that which is searching and that which is sought are the same. Or, as all ancient scriptures have told us, the seeker and the sought are one.

 What do we mean by that? It means that we can never know our real nature. We can only know what we are not. Knowledge of the world of shapes and forms is not true knowledge. Objective knowledge is only superimposed perception or concept. True knowledge is knowledge of the Self. The body and the mind have no reality in themselves. They are entirely dependent on consciousness. They change constantly.

 It is this changeless background that allows us to realize this. The body and the mind come into existence only when we think of them. Thus they are seen to be discontinuous. Any question we might ask ourselves about our true nature springs from the feeling of being, otherwise we could not even imagine this question. As that great mystic, Meister Eckhart, once explained it: "God is seeking Himself."

 Of all the things we can teach each other, the prospect of realization of our true nature is the most important. We can give sustenance, food or shelter to our fellow travellers, but the prospect of realization is the greatest. Once attained, no one can take it away from us. Your true nature transcends the mind and the body. This is why the question "Who am I?" can never be answered. Living is to be found in the timeless "now”. So how can we benefit from this knowledge?

 We do not need to accumulate more things. We do not need to learn new ways to meditate or relax. All this accumulation of techniques and states merely feeds the vanity. Conflict and problems all derive from the mind as it tries to justify its existence. When you see this suddenly, in the utter conviction of total awareness, you become conscious of what you have never ceased to be: the unfathomable bliss of the self. The wave has sunk back into the ocean. You have returned home.


Robert Anderson BSc(Hons) PhD

 Robert Anderson was a Quaker, teacher, writer and a Theosophist. He was a Trustee of Physicians and Scientists for Global Responsibility, a member of Amnesty International, and a campaigner for peace and disarmament. He believed everyone has the right to equality and respect, freedom of speech and religion He lectured on many subjects to meet the public's right to be independently informed on issues of science, the environment and social justice. He was passionate about making this world a better place for the generations to come.

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