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Cosmogenesis And Past-Life Phenomena – David P. Armentrout (Is.18)

by David P. Armentrout


Phenomena associated with past-life and spirit world reports have often met criticism of lacking a logical basis, of lack of congruence with known scientific observations, and absence of a coherent theory by which the wide range of reports can be assembled into a single coherent whole. This very brief philosophical overview uses the methods of astronomical cosmology and combinatory logic to provide a single highly generalized background model. Selected astronomical and physical supporting evidence is cited.

Past-life phenomena have been known for millennia. Various references to the inter-life and yogic experiences of the Light can be found in the Vedas, originating 5000 years ago. Efforts to make philosophical sense out of these experiences have followed. Although many yogis have been successful in communicating this information to their more advanced followers the details in terms of everyday experience have waited until the advent of quantum mechanics and astronomical cosmology. This paper draws from both of these fields to describe one of the models used by yogis, except in more formal terms.

This treatment of cosmology is quite ecumenical. For example, the Logos of Genesis is literally the processual rule by which things got started, and the goal here is to examine that rule. That carries us into strange and wonderful conceptual areas which are rich with a mysterious potentiality hitherto untapped. Yet, in many respects, such logical thoughts are bizarre, they offer something for nothing. As Steven Hawking has been quoted, “The universe may be the ultimate free lunch.” For brevity the Taoist terms Yin and Yang are used, but the same argument can be made with other beginners, e.g. Vedic Prakriti and Purusha. In fact, the Buddhist Kalachakra Tantra is used here as an organizational guide to the process and a portion of the discussion uses complex mathematics and non-Euclidean geometry.

Non-mathematical readers may feel alienated by the symbolic expressions. Having personally avoided math for most of my college career, I fully sympathize with those feelings. I resisted symbolic computations until I was forced into a couple years study by the type of work I do. But I recall those old uncomfortable feelings, so in addition to the math you will find a verbal description of meanings, and a few illustrations. The point is not to make any elegant proofs here, but to communicate concepts. One of those three approaches should suffice, and all the information is ultimately the same.

The basic questions

 In the beginning there was either something or nothing. If something, where did it come from? Either it always existed, it was created, or it arose by itself. Always existing is a problem because things keep combining with other things and available energy tends to run down. (The second law of thermodynamics says entropy always increases.) So, the eternal universe faces an energy crisis. The idea of creation brings up the problem of where are we to get a Creator, and whether the Creator always existed, was created, or was self-originated. The always existing Creator gives the same problem as the eternal

Image credit: David Haith – Photographer

universe, and for the Creator to be created by a Meta-Creator is simply to avoid answering the question. The approach which remains is that the universe must have spontaneously arisen through some kind of self-creative process.

The self-originating universe is less than satisfactory as well, because when we go into the Light in a past-life regression we encounter a Mind which spans all time and space. Some people call it the Cosmic Consciousness. The origination of the universe must have something to do with the origination of the Mind, and that seems to direct us back to the notion of a Creator, and the cycle of questions starts again. However, if we allow the Mind to be self-created, according to some yet to be described eternal principles, and further allow the Mind to be the means by which everyday reality has come into manifestation, then we arrive at a model which is eternal in the sense that the creative essence is immanent, postulates a Creator which is the manifestation of the creative essence, and is temporally self-originating in a universe which has a beginning. This is the model which is supported by present day Hindu and Buddhist sages, by New Age prophets such as Edgar Cayce, and which agrees with past-life and inter-life experiences. Judeo-Christian writings have derived from ancient sources, and after generations of copying there are inevitable errors of commission and omission which make them difficult to assess. However, these ideas are not conspicuously at odds with Biblical ideas. I have chosen to follow an Eastern approach for simplicity.

Dark winds

 In the Kalachakra Tantra the logic through which reality originates is referred to as dark winds. This implies that the process is obscure, but that its nature is more or less understandable because it must obey logical rules such as sequence and combination. For example, the result of a combination embodies all the properties of the constituent elements, plus new synergic terms unique to the combination, occurring in none of the parts. For example, handles, a basket, and a wheel can combine to make a wheelbarrow. Notice also that information is non-destructively additive. Adding a phone number to your notebook does not destroy it.

Before anything existed there was nothing at all. There was a void with no taste, no feeling, no size, no shape, no content, and no location. One way to express this in symbols is Q0. There are two general things that can be said about a void: (a) A void has the potential to contain everything which can ever be brought into existence, like a jar which can hold beans. In fact, this jar is so huge that it can hold anything, and still be empty. The interior of this jar is so immense that it is an infinite distance away. And the jar has no exterior limit, no outside surface by which its outward expansion is bounded. Let’s call it Yin, and symbolize it as Qa. (b) A void has no potentiality because it is empty. This is like a jar with its lid on, and which is so tiny that it has no interior space. Instead, this voidness has nothing within it, including no space, no dimension, no description. It is a vanishingly tiny exterior with nothing inside limiting its inward collapse. Let’s call it Yang, and symbolize it as Qw. In terms used by ancient Taoists a void has the quality of being Yin, receptive in nature, and also the quality of being Yang, penetrating in nature. These two potentialities arise at the same instant, are incompatible by nature, yet together they form emptiness in which they are one and the same. We can write Yin as Qa and Yang as Qw. These add to make the initial void, Q0 = Qa + Qw.

Because the Yin and Yang properties are dissimilar and simultaneous they exist logically displaced from one another. Thus there is some relationship, R0, by which they are related: Qa < R0 > Qw. It is important to observe that R0 is a valid relationship even though the two terms which it relates are void. As a result, the initial void now must have the population {R0, Qa, Qw}. We have found a way to get something from nothing.

Of these three terms, none is identical to the others, and if we group the terms together, each individual term is different from the groups. Then there must be relationships R1, R2, R3, R4 associating them: R0<R1>Qa, R0<R2>Qw, R0<R3>{Qa+Qw}, R0<R4>{R0, Qa+Qw}. This now gives a population for the void of {R1, R2, R3, R4, Qa, Qw, {Qa+Qw}}. We have progressed from two terms to three, and then to seven.

Notice that what is happening is simply the formation of every possible combination of every potential relationship. We can extend the same logic to obtain 127 terms at the next repetition of this operation, and 1.7 x 1038 at the next, and so on. This mathematical series is called iterated complexions or iterated power sets. This sequence defines the maximum number of ways that elements of a set can be related. Here, each iteration is one epoch of time. The iterated complexion sequence is the basic building block of conceptual reality. Armentrout (1987) showed that this sequence quite accurately defines the generation of human knowledge. Sir Arthur Eddington used a very similar model of cosmological evolution to devise his model of the universe. (Singh, 1961) The logic in Eddington’s model is more abstract, but in essence the results are the same.

Dark Geometry

 Having discovered how to erect a logical sequence which gets something from nothing, it is interesting to look at the situation geometrically as well. Yin was defined as a hollow with an infinitely large interior, but no exterior. Yang was defined as a point with no interior. We find these in nature in the physical universe which is expanding outward into nothingness, currently with a radius of about thirteen billion light years, and the Planck interval, a sphere so tiny that its interior is a black hole, about 10-34 cm in diameter. We also have a corresponding tiny unit of time, about 10-44 second, the time for light to span the Plank interval. This is the basic chronon, or time quantum. The interesting thing is that Yin and Yang are one and the same, even though they are defined as inverses of one another.

The geometry of Yin and Yang can be likened to surfaces with only a single side. Yin is like a bubble which has an interior surface, but there is no exterior surface. Strange as this may sound, it is not unlike sitting in your house at night. You can see the interior walls, but what is outside has no definition at all. Yang is just the opposite. There is a well defined, but infinitesimally small, exterior surface, but no interior surface. This is more like driving past a darkened building in which you can see the outer walls, but the interior has no definition. If you have a sheet of one-sided paper, a sheet with one real side and one non-side, you could bend it with the real side inward to model Yin or with the real side outward to model Yang.

The question is how to put these ideas together to form a real space in a void. The answer is that we form a hypersphere in which Yin is the volume, with the real side inward, and the non-side outward into larger voidness. The hyper-center is distributed everywhere within, by virtue of being in a state with one additional dimension, and is Yang, with the real side outward and the non-side inward and smaller into voidness. That gives a living space which has two real surfaces, one big and the other small, within which we live. The only problem is how that might be done with Yin and Yang, since we started with the definition that these two extreme terms are actually nothing but two ways of looking at the single nature of voidness.

In order to stick Yin and Yang together, consider a Mobius strip. If you have never made one, now is a great time to do so. Cut a long strip of paper. Twist it one half turn and tape the ends together. The resulting loop has only one side. You can prove this by drawing a continuous line around the loop. When you are halfway around you’ll find that you are now on the backside of the point at which you started. Continuing, you will eventually arrive back at the starting point. Now if you start to write the alphabet on the line you drew you’ll discover that at the halfway point your letters are upside down from the letters you first wrote, but by the time you reach the beginning, they are again right side up. At any point on the loop one “side” is inverted from the other “side”, but otherwise, there is only a single surface.

The Mobius strip is a one sided surface which has two intrinsic dimensions, but which requires one additional dimension in which to perform the half twist. Generalizing the Mobius strip into a closed object requires four dimensions. What this produces is called a Klein bottle, and is a one sided surface which forms a three dimensional bottle in which the neck has been poked through the fourth dimension so as to give the same half twist. Phrased differently, a Klein bottle is a three dimensional Mobius loop. Obviously, we can continue the same sort of construction in any number of dimensions, so that we can form a figure with N dimensions, having only a single surface which is given a half twist in N+1 dimensional space.

How this might look for Yin and Yang is somewhat trickier because we are starting with one-sided surfaces. But if you consider Yin, all dimensions within can be expressed as pointing inward from its infinitely distant interior surface. Yang, on the other hand, is like a point, so all dimensions must be pointing outward from its vanishingly tiny exterior. We can accurately symbolize these two conditions by arrows pointing inward for Yin and arrows pointing outward for Yang. The geometry of our task has now become one of making the direction of the arrows change from one to the other. This is done with a Mobius transformation.

You recall that an additional dimension was required to put the half twist into the paper strip to make the Mobius band. Let’s pretend that the horizontal direction on the page be a current dimension in space, and make the vertical dimension of the paper be the additional dimension in which to make the half twist. We can put Yang at the top and Yin and the bottom. In between, let’s draw the half twist. For convenience, draw it as a circle. Now, slide the Yang arrows down the sides of the circle, all the way to the bottom. The arrows twist around the circle, reverse direction half way, and you have transformed Yang into Yin. In other words, we have drawn a Mobius transformation diagram which illustrates how a single surface forms which looks both like Yin and also like Yang. (For those who enjoy math, another way to do this is to use a complex mapping in which any increment Dx is transformed into a real reflection of its complex inverse e-Dxi.)


 The Kalachakra Tantra tells us that fire arises from voidness. To interpret this we might notice that in the iterated complexion series there arise ordinal sets of terms. Each new set includes all the possible logical combinations of prior terms, expressed as a new collection of terms. There is no pattern to the generation of new sets, except that larger sets arise out of smaller ones, much as today arises out of yesterday and gives rise to tomorrow. Notice also that the stuff of which these sets are composed is pure information, also called entropy. There is no matter involved.

At the first instant of generation, all the sets of relationships based upon elements of voidness are implied. This is an unbounded implication. Ordinality is defined by the natural sequencing of the sets. This process has no end. We can view the entire collection of sets which have been defined at any instant as a beginner term, a set which cannot contain anything because it is fully defined, a new definition of Qw. Thus we can restart the process again at any point. This is like a fire which burns from one end of a field to the other, yet which can also be started at any point of the unburned portion. In practical terms it means that the generation of the universe occurs perpetually at every instant of time. The location which we observe depends only upon our perspective.

As the various relationships defining the emergent reality are accumulated, they have no pattern, no ordering, no distinction except the specific manner of their arising. They exist only in information space, and have no ordering for the same reason that colors, letters and smells have no intrinsic relationship to one another. All that we can say is that as fast as there is a Mobius transformation by which a relationship can be made between any two terms, joining them in one dimension of information space, there is the implication of other terms which arise, and through which additional Mobius transformations occur. It is as if the universe is aflame with emergent sparks of creation, each of which brings a new dimension.


 The next level of generation of the world, according to the Kalachakra Tantra, is the emanation of water from fire. The dynamic sparks which are emergent from emptiness can be grouped in any manner desired. There is no intrinsic grouping or ordering. Instead, it is as if we are looking through an orchard at the trees planted in regular rows. Depending upon viewpoint, we can look at single trees, or at groups of trees. We can look down rows, across rows, diagonally through the rows etc. By moving our viewpoint we can group the trees into a vast number of configurations. And of course we can group the same sets of trees in lots of different ways. How we group them does not prevent other groupings. In the same way, we can group the emergent sparks which emerge as the voidness undergoes its perpetual Mobius transformations.

For each of the terms thus grouped, the presence in any specific set does not prevent the presence of that term in other sets. However, depending upon inclusions and exclusions among the sets, membership tends to establish patterns of relationships among the sets. Further, it is easier to form sets of few members then sets of many members. This is because for terms with equal probabilities of being somewhere, the probability of inclusion of more terms is the joint probability of all the terms, so the probability of larger sets falls off exponentially. As a result, the various groups of terms have intrinsic properties which differ according to content and size, and as a result, they also differ with respect to how they relate to one another.

We thus have sets of sets of relationships, still emerging actively with each half twist of the Mobius transformation acting on everything previously generated. Within each level of sets, generated from the prior levels, there is no innate pattern. This is like a series of layers of fluid in which the molecules of each layer have no specific arrangement. However, depending upon the way that we choose to arrange the molecules within each layer we can create any desired pattern, like molding and sculpting wax. Information is non-destructively additive and all possible arrangements are equally probable, hence all arrangements are simultaneous.

When sets repeatedly combine, patterns tend to be repeated. For example, non-destructively combining A and B gives {A, B, AB}. Combining again we get {A, B, AB, AAB, BAB, ABAB, AB*}, where AB* is the second occurrence of AB. Because AB and AB* have different histories they can be discriminated, yet they have the same internal structure. Because every iteration repeats the formation, some kind of AB* will occur. Thus, with respect to uniqueness every level differs, with respect to structure every level has repetitive patterns. Repetitive patterns are like repetitive ripples in water. Once formed, they propagate forever.


 Once there exist patterns there must be ways that the patterns can be organized. In an abstract logical system no organization of all patterns is more or less likely than any other, so all occur simultaneously. One way to organize patterns is into probability waves which combine so as to resemble atoms, elements etc. If we look a bit deeper, we find that atoms are simply patterns of probabilities for relationships that imply certain properties with respect to other patterns of probabilities for relationships. It seems as if there is no “matter” at all, but only patterns of relationships and the processes that they undergo.

At this point we ask about the nature of matter. We can see that nothing is eternal, because everything decays and forms other things. If we break down the stuff we’re looking at it tends to vaporize, dissolve, or combine with other stuff. The only thing which seems to actually be consistent is the specific tendencies to break down, vaporize, combine etc. But these are just the tendencies of the groups of initial relational terms as they interact. It seems that the nature of matter is simply consistent patterns of tendencies toward interaction, and the patterns of processes governing those interactions. Physics expresses this in terms of energy flow and probability waves.


 At some level of complexity a pattern of elements occurs which combines according to its status. Then a sequence follows which can be interpreted as self-reflexive choice. Each combination adds traits from context, so this system evolves, and

Image credit: David Haith – Photographer

thus acts intelligent. This necessarily occurs at a single point of development, and leads to a single self-reflexive system. We might call it Mind, the Cosmic Consciousness, Brahman, Buddha-Mind, God-Mind, etc. The sequence of combinations which preserves its self-reflexive nature is the worldline of Mind.

Other sequences also exist, since all patterns of organization manifest to an interactive viewpoint. They are internal parallel universes with other minds. In fact, Edgar Cayce tells us that after the initial instant of creation of the Mind, every possible alternative mind also emerged. Some of these were in agreement, settling into consonance with Mind. Others were, and still are, in dissonance, manifesting in the world as people who are highly individualistic, selfish etc. In reading 3976-8 Cayce points out that much of the dissonance in the world today is simply the process of these stray minds floundering about in an effort to find their way into a useful relationship with everyone else. Perhaps he discordant voices which plague people with schizoaffective disorder are due to an embodiment that has somehow included some of these discordant newly emergent minds. If so, past-life therapy may be a useful approach to treatment.

The body of Mind is necessarily the entire universe and all that exists within the universe is part of it. Local minds are also part, just as your various organs are part of a body ruled by your central intelligence, yet each also has its own internal regulatory system. Formation of the same Mind pattern is repetitive, just as the set AB* was formed perpetually after initial definition. Thus sisters may be twins, and fathers may have similar sons. However, Mind integrates the entirety of the universe, and moves on faster that its successor minds. There is no danger of overtaking or outsmarting God.

Schrodinger’s Cat

 For each mind many possible futures might occur. These are determined by surrounding terms with which they might interact. For example, you might continue reading, or stop for dinner, or go to bed, etc. These possibilities all occur for you with equal validity. Many worldlines project into your future. You may choose any one of them. You have many choices, but only one future. This led to a quantum mechanical puzzle.

Quantum mechanics says that until an experiment is resolved to a unique conclusion, the quantum definition contains all possible outcomes. We have see how worldlines diverge into various futures. Until we choose one specific state the definition of our future contains all possibilities. Schrodinger proposed to place a cat in a sealed box with exactly 50% chance of a poison device causing its death. He then posed the problem of determining the quantum state of the cat prior to opening the box. Theoretically, until the box is opened the cat’s quantum state is half alive and half dead, a rather disturbing notion. Similarly, for a flipped coin, until it lands, its quantum state is half heads and half tails. This was a highly unsatisfactory perspective led to a reinterpretation of worldlines. (DeWitt, 1973)

All the worldlines converging upon and diverging from the cat experiment are equally valid. There is a Cat-Alive worldline and a Cat-Dead worldline. In fact a split forming a new worldline occurs every time a decision is made, which means a potential split in every microscopic instant of time. Physicist Hugh Everett suggested regarding every worldline as valid. The result is that at every decision point a parallel universe splits off. (Everett, 1957) The physics community choked on the idea. The minimum interval of time is the Planck interval, about 10-44 seconds. It was difficult to visualize the generation of 1044 alternate parallel universes per second, to say nothing of all the further state splits that each would engender.

Physical Support

 The astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered that universe expands at an increasing rate of about 25 mph per 1000 light years. Expansion reaches the speed of light in about 13 x 109 light years. The Friedman (Big Bang) cosmogenesis model thus says that the universe is 13 x 109 years old. We can find galaxies 13 x 109 light years to the East, and 13 x 109 light years to the West, so far apart that they do not interact. Regardless of the inability of all parts to interact and churn it, we see a homogeneous distribution of matter and energy in all directions with error less than 0.001%. How to explain this is the horizon problem. (Earman, J., 1995)

We have already proposed a solution. If everyday reality is one of a huge number of abstract logical combinations, entropy, not matter, then all potential worldlines and parallel universes have already been created. (This is not predestination any more than wandering through a new city in which the streets have already been laid out.) We move by selecting the worldline that works for us. The Beginning was a logical singularity from which diverges every possible combination of worldlines. As we saw, these occur in a strictly probabilistic distribution. The universe as we know it is only an interpretation of these worldlines, one ordering of this probability distribution. It appears homogeneous because it arises from a homogeneous logical matrix. This resolves the horizon paradox.

The Light

With the universe expanding at a fantastic rate, our motion along our individual worldlines allows us almost unlimited choice. We need only to pursue a logical sequence of events. However, the selection of an embodiment for our mind means that we become dependent upon identification with a physical body which wears out and falls off, leaving the individual mind on its own. Some people hang around the material world, eventually getting reattached to a new body, either getting their own or finding one belonging to someone else. Others cease to view themselves as individuals and identify with the surrounding universe, and thus with Mind. Upon merger into Mind mundane cravings get snuffed out, for the same reason that a candle will be snuffed after floodlights are turned on. This state is called nirvana.

Because Mind has an embodiment which is the entire universe, it sees reality as a hologram. Every part accords with every other part, and Mind extends itself outward through various organs of extension within the universal hologram, such as you and me. The extension is outward into newly created chaos which results from the perpetual dynamism of the Mobius transformation which continues to extend potential reality. We are each a tiny part of the whole, acting locally to change some tiny part of this chaos into an ordered pattern which is integrated into the universal One. While acting as extended effectors we feel independent. At the end of activity we feel as if we are again part of the central Oneness. The experience, whether at death or through yoga practices which attain samadhi, is that everything is one thing; Light. Indeed, the patterns of repetitive relationships which emerged in the water phase of evolution are essentially like waves of light as physics would view them. At death our energy pattern, the range of our influence, expands away at the speed of light. We become light and have the experience that everything around us is light and time stops. For elaboration, see Max Born’s book on relativity (1965).

Back to Godhead

 Throughout this paper we have described processes, but never causes. Edgar Cayce gives a wonderful explanation of causality, summed up in the single term force. The cause of everything happening is the innate force which brings it forth. This force is a tendency toward formation of combinations. It is this same force which causes Yin to combine with Yang, so that the emptiness twists around upon itself to combine into an expanding bubble within emptiness. This idea has been around for a long time, and is no different than the Uncaused Cause proposed by St Thomas Aquinas, or Henri Bergson’s elan vital. For the Hindu it is the ultimate nature of Brahman, hidden in pre-existence. For the Buddhist it is the tendency for Mind to occur, and for all to merge into oneness in Mind.

Patterns of information combine, and the logical processes governing the appearance of that information also combine. We, little more than changing patterns of information, thus can evolve toward the Light. When we identify with a pattern of individuality we find ourselves returning to individual experiences in a universe of matter. This is a common experience, the birth of the individual actor. When we identify with Oneness we return to the Light, whether at death, doing a regression, or as a yogi in samadhi. Having come full circle, we then have both a sense of the transcendent which preceded us, and also the mundane within which we ourselves occur. And as we move from the mundane to the transcendent we again encounter the diversity of Yin and Yang within which we evolve. As a patient remarked, “I feel like a drop of water in a bucket. I am still my individual self, yet I am one with all the rest of the water as well.”



Armentrout, D. An Attributive Systems Model of the Generation of Knowledge. Ann Arbor: UMI, 1987.

Born, M. Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. NY: Dover Publications, 1965.

DeWitt, B. Quantum mechanics and reality. in DeWitt, B. and Graham, N. (eds) The Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. (pp. 155-165) Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1973.

Earman, J. Bangs, Crunches, Shrieks and Whimpers. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Everett, H. Relative state formulation of quantum mechanics. Review of Modern Physics. 29: 454-462, 1957.

Singh, J. Great Ideas and Theories of Modern Cosmology. NY: Dover Publications, 1961.