Recently I ran across this amusing but thought provoking CGI video supposedly by Zak Field (can't find the original page, so apologies for the Facebook link).

In it, the "alien" being questioned refers to "so called life":

Death is a human construct. It does not exist. You will experience and have experienced every instance of so called life. You. Me. Him. We are instances of the same life, separated by what you call death.

To put it another way, "life" is merely that singular entity observing from every potential point of consciousness. When one point of consciousness "dies" we/it move to the next to observe. Right now, "I" may be observing but in "my" future this body dies and then "I" start observing at a different point in time when a new organism that can support consciousness "comes online". This would be you, the person reading this, and it would start at the time you are capable of having subjective experience because the movement of this singular lone consciousness (you/me/us) would not follow a linear progression from one seat of consciousness to the next. Basically, infinite reincarnation into every possible life form independent of time.

Is this a particular school of thought on consciousness and is there a name for it?

I've contemplated this same theory independently for a while now but have not been able to figure out if it relates to anything formal in philosophy. To see it in this video was a pleasant surprise, but I'd like a handy classification to associate with it if there is one.

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    Hi, welcome to Phil SE. You may want to elaborate on what you consider the "theory" to be, the quote is too vague and cryptic. On "death does not exist" try “You are immortal; it is impossible not to be” thread, but I can't tell if this is what you are looking for philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/30172/… Another possibility is the universal soul (Atman) in Hinduism en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – Conifold
    Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 0:09
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    The theory is in the title and is expanded by the quote. To rephrase, the essence of the theory behind the quote is that we are all the same living entity simultaneously in a non-local non-linear fashion. I've updated with an expansion. Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 1:23
  • Sorry, but the idea (not really a theory) seems so generic that it could cover any "cosmic mind" philosophy out there: six Hindu schools, Buddhists, neo-Platonists, Christian mystics, Spinoza, Leibniz, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Peirce, Whitehead, Bergson, Teilhard de Chardin... I can go on. Here is Google book search for "cosmic mind" and "individuation" google.com/…
    – Conifold
    Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 2:32
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    @Conifold I'm neither referring to a cosmic mind that stretches across all minds at once as if some observing deity, nor all minds linked together. I am referring to each actually being one being that experiences every living entity's life only during the time they are alive, then moving to the next regardless of what point in time the next living entity is at. From the point of view of each person, it appears there are many entities existing at the same time, but only because they don't retain memories from previous points of existence. Infinite nonlinear reincarnation into every life form. Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 2:44
  • This is better, but your temporal distinctions are problematic. "Time" is meaningless to most such "minds", and so are "linked together", "memories" and "at the same time". Their eternity is atemporal and aspatial, the spatio-temporality of individuated experiences, your "points of existence" of "I", is illusory anyway. The "mind" doesn't have to be "observing deity", or even rational either, at most you may exclude some monotheists with that. "Nonlinear reincarnation" is obscure to me, but nailing your super-I to time external to it is not a promising way to make it super.
    – Conifold
    Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 3:46

4 Answers 4


This is an ancient idea. But it has taken form recently as "Open Individualism" by Daniel Kolak:


  • This seems to fit the bill, especially when expanded upon in Kolak's own wikipedia entry: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Kolak Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 18:24
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    You may be interested in this then: Science & Consciousness: "It seems to me that light is the first level of manifestation both in the physical realm and the realm of mind. ... What they are really saying is that the pure self, the most fundamental level of our being, is God. In other words, God is consciousness -- not consciousness of any particular thing, but the very faculty of consciousness that is present in all things." Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 9:57
  • @ChrisDegnen that is really interesting, thanks! Commented Aug 26, 2016 at 14:32

This seems to be a local elaboration of the Hegelian pantheistic philosophy of history. Everything is God, and therefore so are you. Time is God's way of investigating his own essence. So when the process of time is complete, all perspectives will converge, and the distinction between instances of perspective will be irrelevant.

The idea of succession obviously lacks coherence here, we are all going to be the same consciousness, when there is no time, so we are all the same consciousness eternally, and therefore now.

  • Well you say "when they all converge" but "when" doesn't make sense here as it lacks both direction and dimension - perhaps there are many time dimensions. Furthermore, perhaps there are oscillations of convergence and separation, again infinitely. DMT trips seem to be moments of convergence with respect to human time, and with a human life as an anchor. All seems to fit in nicely with Alan Watts's "hide and seek" analogy.
    – samthebest
    Commented Sep 14, 2017 at 15:27
  • @samthebest From our own position, there is a when. The end of time is a point in time, even for a Hegelian. In the broader sense, this disappears, but it serves the purpose it has until that point. So why complain about it?
    – user9166
    Commented Sep 14, 2017 at 21:57
  • I don't really know why I'm complaining. Just adding that the notion of convergence is itself very interesting, and could be explored further. Well whatever it is I mean, deep down you know that also, because you are me.
    – samthebest
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 8:16
  • @samthebest My favorite version of 'Hegel's God' is also from a tryptamine researcher/enthisiast -- youtube.com/watch?v=k1k_ed5IShg
    – user9166
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 15:51

(Microscopically) “The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.” - Carl Sagan

(Macroscopically 1) The Gaia Hypothesis "encompasses all the living and non-living components of Earth’s biosphere and proposes that the complex interacting systems regulate the environment to a very high degree... So much so, that the planet may be viewed as a single organism in its own right."

(Macroscopically 2) "According to a study published in Nature's Scientific Reports, the universe may be growing in the same way as a giant brain - with the electrical firing between brain cells 'mirrored' by the shape of expanding galaxies." - Michael Rundle from the Huffington Post, 2012


A variation of this point of view forms the basis of a school of Hindu philosophy known as Advaita Vedanta. The Sanskrit word advaita is translated as “non-dual,” and reflects the belief that the self and the ultimate reality (Brahman) are essentially identical. This idea is one of the main themes of the Upanishads, which date back to the second or first millennium BCE, as well as the commentaries authored by the eighth-century Hindu scholar Shankaracharya. From this perspective, everything is Brahman and the conventional distinction that is drawn among individual selves is caused by our collective ignorance of the one true reality. In Advaita Vedanta, liberation from suffering and the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth consists in recognizing the unity of the self and Brahman - the one true consciousness that is the source of eternal bliss (Sat-Chit-Ananda in Sanskrit).

Note that I am not necessarily advocating this point of view, but merely pointing out that it does provide many interesting insights into the question that you have asked.

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