About the author

Frank Heile, the author of Spirituality Explained, holds a Ph.D. in Physics and considers himself to be an atheist. He has been practicing a number of different spiritual disciplines (with positive results) for many years. Frank has actively researched and written about topics on the question-and-answer site, He has written more than 1,000 answers to Quora questions about physics, astrophysics, cosmology and particle physics. He has also written a number of answers that explain parts of the three-agent model of consciousness and spirituality. He also curates a blog called Consciousness Science. See the Writings page for links to those answers and selected blog posts. Frank has been honored as one of Quora’s “Top Writers” four times (2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013). In addition, nine of Frank’s answers have been republished on sites such as Slate, HuffingtonPost, and Gizmodo.

About the development of this model
A number of influences factor into Frank’s development of the three-agent model.


  • He was raised Catholic, then converted to atheism in High School.
  • He participates in multiple 12-step programs, which are spiritual programs that require a connection with a “Higher Power.”
  • Frank uses his “Higher Self” (or intuition) for his Higher Power in the 12-step programs.
  • He read Hofstadter’s Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid and Jaynes’ The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, which prompted the idea of a two-agent model.
  • He developed the two-agent model and realized it explained the origin of spirituality and why spiritual practices work.
  • He started reading about enlightenment and doing practices that could lead to enlightenment.
  • He realized (in 2014) that adding a third agent explained more about enlightenment.
  • He learned about neuroscience by reading books and articles, going to many Stanford neuroscience and psychology colloquia, and attending many conferences on consciousness, neuroscience, and spirituality.
  • He presented these ideas 22 times at conferences and meetups (from poster sessions to 60-minute lectures).  See the Events page for details of these presentations.
  • He posted three videos on YouTube that explain this model in detail (see the Resources page).
About Frank's career

Photo by Tony Solecitto

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