Recent Update!

The most recent (January 2021) shorter video presentations providing a preview of my upcoming book, “Consciousness and Spirituality Explained” are:

Each of these videos has about 45-minutes of a PowerPoint presentation followed by about 40 minutes of Questions and Answers. Both of these videos were presented at The Stoa, an online discussion community. These videos are links to The Stoa’s YouTube channel.

For each of those videos, I now have a PDF that has the same content. So, if you would rather read than watch a video, please take a look at these PDFs:

For each PDF, I started with the video’s PowerPoint slides. For some of the slides that had animations, I duplicated the slide several times to show the significant stages of the animation. I also added text in green to many slides to explain what I said verbally in the videos. In some cases, the green text is better than what I said verbally since I had more time to think about it!  In particular, the explanation of my solution to the Hard Problem of Consciousness in Part 1 on pages 75 through 91 is better than what I showed in the video. Please check that out and let me know if you think I have a good solution to the Hard Problem!


Older, longer and more complete presentations  providing a preview of my upcoming book, “Consciousness and Spirituality Explained:” are here:

 Part 1: An Explanation of Consciousness:

 The following content is new as of November 2019. This video gives a summary and abridged version of the new model of consciousness:

 This video gives the full and unabridged version of the model:

 If you don’t want to watch a 2-hour video, you could download this 62-page PDF which is an edited version of the script used by the 2-hour video:

 You could also download the corresponding PowerPoint slide show:

 Part 1 uses a two-agent model (Modeler and Controller). Part 2 uses a three-agent model: the Modeler is renamed as the Experiencer and the Controller is decomposed into the Thinker and Doer.

 Part 2: An Explanation of Spirituality:

 There is no new material here, but if you are curious about and interested in the explanation of spirituality, feel free to watch these older videos. This 43-minute video was recorded in November of 2017, and gives an overview of the model of spirituality:

 That video does not talk about the very rare and fascinating neurological syndrome called Auto Activation Deficit which provides compelling additional evidence for the Thinker. The last half of the following video will explain this syndrome:

 This video was recorded in December 2018 at the Stanford University Complexity Group.


 Have you ever wondered:

 If science can explain spirituality and how various spiritual practices work?

  • Does spirituality fix human problems?
  • Why all human cultures have developed spiritual practices?
  • How does science explain the enlightened states that are reported by some spiritual paths?

A forthcoming book, Spirituality Explained, will suggest credible scientific answers to all of these questions (and more)! Although the working title of this book makes a very bold claim, the ideas in this book have been presented to a significant number of people from various related disciplines (in 35 different presentations). Positive feedback indicates wide agreement that these ideas actually do explain spirituality in a new and very scientific way. This explanation of spirituality contains no “spirits.”

 The Author

 Frank Heile, the author of the forthcoming book, Spirituality Explained, holds a Ph.D. in Physics and considers himself to be a spiritual atheist. He has been doing a number of different spiritual practices (with positive results) for many years (About).

 More about Spirituality Explained

Spirituality Explained uses a specific three-agent model of the human brain (and consciousness) to explain spirituality. The key ideas are:

  • The model of the human brain is composed of three separate but interconnected and interacting agents.
  • Each agent has different goals and uses different techniques for achieving those goals.
  • The names given to these three agents are Thinker, Doer, and Experiencer.


The book uses the three-agent model to explain:

 How human consciousness differs from animal consciousness

    • How spirituality arose when human consciousness changed
  • The problem that spirituality solves and how spiritual practices ameliorate that problem.
  • The properties of spiritual enlightenment
    • How certain practices lead to spiritual enlightenment

The models and other ideas in the book are completely consistent with all currently known laws of physics.


Everyone; atheists, agnostics, spiritual or religious people and even scientists will derive value from this scientific explanation of spirituality.

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Previews of Spirituality Explained

The following videos and PDFs are the most up-to-date, complete and easiest way to get a preview of the contents of the forthcoming book.

“Consciousness Explained” at the Stanford Complexity Group

Frank is excited to announce this 76-minute video of his talk on Dec 6th, 2018, at a seminar sponsored by the Stanford Complexity Group. This is the most complete, compelling, and convincing explanation of consciousness that Frank has ever presented! It contains a significant amount of new content—for example, this talk introduced several new concepts, such as “world model awareness” and a new kind of attention schema. This new video also provides a more straightforward and concise explanation of several aspects of the model. Seven different forms of conscious awareness are explained, including the consciousness experienced in Auto-Activation Deficit syndrome, a rare and very interesting neurological condition. Answers are also proposed to four philosophical questions about consciousness—including the question about free will in humans! Read the abstract (below) and click this image  to watch the video:


This talk presents a materialistic model of consciousness that can explain the distinctions between several different forms of conscious awareness:

  • Non-human animal consciousness
  • Modern human consciousness
  • Flow state consciousness
  • “Enlightened” states of consciousness (also known as “nonduality”)
  • Consciousness experienced in Auto-Activation Deficit syndrome
  • Phenomenal consciousness vs.
    • Access-consciousness – a distinction proposed by NYU philosopher Ned Block
  • How spirituality developed and how its invention changed consciousness

A three-agent model of the brain, combined with the Attention Schema Theory model of awareness proposed by Princeton neuroscientist Michael Graziano, provides a framework to explain these distinctions.

Finally, this model can offer answers to the following philosophical questions:

  • Why does conscious awareness seem to be fundamentally non-physical and to not have a location in space?
  • What conditions cause conscious awareness to arise?
  • Can conscious awareness exist without a “self?”
  • Do humans have free will?

There is bound to be disagreement with the proposed answers to these questions, but these concrete answers provide a starting point for thought-provoking discussions!

Stanford 2018 Poster

Frank presented a poster at the Stanford Neurosciences Institute Symposium. on October 11th, 2018. This poster is about how the three-agent model can explain Auto-Activation Deficit syndrome which is a very interesting and rare neurological condition. Click the button for a readable 8.5×11 formatted PDF that has the content of this poster::

A Model of Consciousness and Spirituality

If you don’t like videos, consider reading the following PDF. It was created by starting with the PowerPoint slides of the talk given in Palo Alto on May 25th, 2018. Then Frank added blue text on each slide to cover the points Frank would have made verbally during the talk:


Stanford 2017 Poster:

The quickest introduction to these ideas is from the single page poster presented at the Stanford Neurosciences Institute Symposium in October 2017. This poster has the clearest and most compelling explanation of the core ideas from the current three agent model. The (unreadable) image below shows the layout of the original poster as presented. If you click on the image you will get a very readable 3 page PDF that contains the (slightly modified) content of that poster. Click below to expand and read the PDF:



14-Minute Interview Video:

The following 14-minute video was created by a two-person documentary video production team at Three Bridges West. They interviewed Frank for an hour in August 2017 and this video is the result. This is an excellent and easy to understand explanation of the core ideas in this model that explains spirituality: Click below to play the video:

The Resources page includes these videos, older videos, and additional PDFs that explain this model.

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