An Integral Theory of Everything, Rochester: Inner Traditions, 2004.
Science and the Akashic Field by Ervin Laszlo is after the books of Paracelsus, Mesmer, Reichenbach, Reich, Burr, Lakhovsky, Capra, Emoto, Hunt and Sheldrake the most important book I have read on the integration of the energy paradigm—associated with the perennial notion of the ‘ether’— into the heart of modern science.
Deepak Chopra, M.D. wrote about this book: ‘The most brilliant, comprehensive, and intellectually satisfying integral theory of everything that I have ever read.’
The author introduces the book with the following elucidation that I think is worth to be quoted in its integrality:
Akasha (â · kâ · sha) is a Sanskrit world meaning ‘ether’: all-pervasive space. Originally signifying ‘radiation’ or ‘brilliance’ in Indian philosophy akasha was considered the first and most fundamental of the five elements – the others being vata (air), agni (fire), ap (water), and prithivi (earth). Akasha embraces the properties of all five elements: it is the womb from which everything we perceive with our senses has emerged and into which everything will ultimately re-descend. The Akashic Record (also called The Akashic Chronicle) is the enduring record of all that happens, and has ever happened, in space and time.
There is something like a dialectic movement to be observed in the scientific evolution of humanity. There was first a high development of single individuals that today we call sages, who knew that all life is unity, that essential oneness is the most important feature of our cosmos—and thus that all is somehow interrelated. Then there was a phase of dissection, where the unitary and holistic thinking became split up, and where science that today we qualify as mechanistic ‘clockwork science’ was looking at the parts rather than the whole, and accordingly observed a cosmos that consisted of single elements without relationship to each other. That phase was rather short, some three hundred years at best, and the turn of events occurred in the lifetime and under the physics pulpit of Albert Einstein.
It was as if the Newtonian universe which created classical mechanics was going to pieces, virtually with every day, with the discovery of more and more correlations between phenomena that formerly had been considered as separated, and that were relegated to different scientific disciplines. And there was something like a turning point that we could perhaps correlate with the formulation of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. While Einstein had helped this whole scientific revolution in motion through his early observation that a particle can be particle at times and wave at other times, and that its wave-like state collapses under observation—and thus under the impact of human consciousness—he resisted to admit that relativity theory was not the last word to be said in physics. Meanwhile, the paradoxes accumulated and it all got to a point where holistic thinkers such as Laszlo, who see the big picture, formulated scientifically the coherence factor that links all together in the cosmos. Laszlo called it the information field, Akashic field or A-field.
This field has been called zero-point field by others, or simply field, else quantum vacuum or quantum field by still others. Harold Saxton Burr has anticipated it with his concept of the L-field. However, it has to be seen that Burr was still thinking in terms of electromagnetic fields. The earlier research done on the cosmic life energy by Paracelsus, Swedenborg, Mesmer, Reichenbach, Reich, Lakhovsky and Emoto was explicitly registering that the cosmic energy also is a cosmic memory surface, which is an aspect that was not per se apparent in the earlier research. Laszlo apparently wanted to introduce into the scientific context the esoteric notion of the Akashic Records, which was given substantial weight with the readings of Edgar Cayce together with the notion of one single most potent agent, creator energy or creator principle. Ervin Laszlo explains:
Science and the Akashic Field is a nontechnical introduction to the informed universe, cornerstone of a scientific theory that will grow into a genuine theory of everything. It describes the origins and the essential elements of this theory and explores why and how it is surfacing in quantum physics and cosmology, in the biological sciences, and in the new field of consciousness research. In highlights the theory’s crucial feature: the revolutionary discovery that at the roots of reality there is an interconnecting, information-conserving and information-conveying cosmic field. For thousands of years, mystics and seers, sages and philosophers maintained that there is such a field; in the East they called it the Akashic Field. But the majority of Western scientists considered it a myth. Today, at the new horizons opened by the latest scientific discoveries, this field is being rediscovered. The effects of the Akashic Field are not limited to the physical world: the A-field (as we shall call it) informs all living things – the entire web of life. It also informs our consciousness./3
I won’t comment in this review on the first three chapters that are more or less a summary of the quantum paradoxes, and will thus jump directly to Chapter Four ‘Searching for the Memory of the Universe’ where the author writes that our present science paradigm is not large enough to encompass the new notion of the information field and therefore has to be expanded. He notes four points that I shall quote here as they are mark stones for further research on the matter:
The universe as a whole manifests fine-tuned correlations that defy commonsense explanation.
Astonishingly close correlations exist on the level of the quantum: every particle that has ever occupied the same quantum state as another particle remains correlated with it in a mysterious, nonenergetic way.
Post-Darwinian evolutionary theory and quantum biology discover similarly puzzling correlation within the organism and between the organism and its milieu.
The correlations that come to light in the farther reaches of consciousness research are just as strange: they are in the form of ‘transpersonal connections’ between the consciousness of one person and the mind and body of another./45
Let’s not forget to mention Nikola Tesla here, who was one of the early pioneers and who said, as reported by Laszlo, that the curvature of space, which was Einstein’s explanation of the interconnectedness of quantum phenomena, as for example the slowing down of clocks and the shrinking of yardsticks near the speed of light, was not the answer. Contrary to Fritjof Capra who argues more on the line of Einstein, denying the existence of the ether as a valid scientific term, Laszlo affirmed it as an ‘invisible energy field’, calling it the ‘luminiferous ether’ in his background brief ‘The Quantum Vacuum’ and showed that it is a ‘physically real cosmic plenum’. Let me quote the question before I am going to follow Laszlo’s reasoning on how the vacuum can be an information field:
The quantum vacuum, it appears, transports light, energy, pressure, and sound. Could it have a further property by means of which it correlates separate and possibly distant events? Could it create the correlations that make for the amazing coherence of the quantum, of the organism, of consciousness—and of the whole universe? The vacuum could indeed have such a property. It could be not just a superdense sea of energy, but also a sea of information./50
And let’s not forget the research of Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell, who basically came to this conclusion, as an answer to Laszlo’s question. Laszlo reports:
According to Mitchell, information is part of the very substance of the universe. It is one part of the ‘dyad’ of which the other part is energy. Information is present everywhere, and has been present since the birth of the universe. The quantum vacuum, Mitchell said, is the holographic information mechanism that records the historical experience of matter./51
The scientific explanation of how the quantum vacuum impacts upon the historical experience of matter, Laszlo reports, was explained by a theory presented by Russian researchers and that is known as the torsion-wave theory. According to this theory, torsion waves, which thus must be thought of as information rays, link the universe at a group speed of the order of 109 c—one billion times the speed of light! The information aspect of the waves was explained, according to Laszlo by a Hungarian researcher as related to the spin of the particle, which results in a magnetic effect. The magnetic impulse becomes registered in the vacuum in the form of minute vortices. Laszlo writes:
These minute spinning structures travel through the vacuum, and they interact with each other. When two or more of these torsion waves meet, they form an interference pattern that integrates the strands of information on the particles that created them. This interference pattern carries information on the entire ensemble of the particles./52
As this kind of connectedness may be difficult to comprehend, Laszlo compares it with the sea. As the water of the sea interconnects all vessels, fish, and other objects in the water, and as the waves of water impact upon the motion of ships, these objects all being ‘in-formed’ by the motion, so do the torsion waves modulate all things in the cosmos, by creating complex patterns. Practically, we can deduce the location, speed and even the tonnage of vessels by analyzing the resulting wave-interference patterns. And here is a sentence to be carefully noted for it fully confirms Masaru Emoto’s idea that water contains a memory:
Water has a remarkable capacity to register and conserve information, as indicated by, among other things, homeopathic remedies that remain effective even when not a single molecule of the original substance remains in a dilution./53
The next very important clarification regards the oft debated question if the quantum vacuum is really frictionless; many question that a frictionless vacuum could exist at all. Yet, Laszlo points to the recognized superfluidity of supercooled helium (2.17 Kelvin), which is a vacuum that according to John Wheeler’s calculations has an energy density of 1094 erg per cubic centimeter, which is more than the energy associated with all the matter particles in the universe, when measured moving at the speed of the light. Laszlo concludes:
The fact is that the vacuum is both superfluid and superdense—much like helium near the absolute zero of temperature. This is a mind-boggling combination, for how can something be denser than anything else and at the same time more fluid than anything else? The vacuum, just like supercooled helium, may be a mind-boggling medium, but it is not a supernatural one./54
Now, let us look what information does to the vacuum. Laszlo speaks of a ground state, which is when no information flow is registered. When vortices excite the vacuum, what happens is that interference patterns are created which contain the actual information. Laszlo concludes:
As the vortices of individual things merge, the information they carry is not overwritten, for the waves superpose one on the other. And the superposed waves are in a sense / everywhere throughout the vacuum. This, too, is a natural phenomenon: it is familiar in the form of holograms.
In a holographic recording—created by the interference pattern of two light beams—there is no one-to-one correspondence between points on the surface of the object that is recorded and points in the recording itself. Holograms carry information in a distributed form, so all the information that makes up a hologram is present in every part of it./54-55
I would like to mention here the excellent study by Michael Talbot, The Holographic Universe, which I equally reviewed, and that gains a much greater importance after these revelations about the actual nature of holograms, and how they are created. Laszlo ends the chapter with the lucid statement that ‘the quantum vacuum generates the holographic field that is the memory of the universe.’ It could not be clearer.
To keep this book review in reasonable boundaries, I am going to jump the 5th chapter about cosmic fables, the paradoxes physicists regularly encountered in the first decades of quantum physics. Now, the 6th Chapter is really explosive again, as it deals in detail with the A-Field Effect. To begin with, the author writes:
The A-field conveys information, and this information, subtle as it is, has a notable effect: it makes for correlation and creates coherence. This ‘in-forming’ of everything by everything else is universal, but it is not universally the same. Universal information does not mean uniform information. The A-field conveys the most direct, intense, and therefore evident information between things that are closely similar to one another (i.e., that are ‘isomorphic’—have the same basic form). This is because the A-field information is carried by superposed vacuum wave-interference patterns that are equivalent to holograms. We know that in a hologram every element meshes with isomorphic elements: with those that are similar to it. Scientists call such meshing ‘conjugation’—a holographic pattern is conjugate with similar patterns in any assortment of patterns, however vast./107
Practical experience bears this out. Using the conjugate pattern as the ‘key’, we can pick out any single pattern in the complex wave pattern of a hologram. We need merely to insert the given wave pattern into the welter of patterns in the hologram and it attaches to patterns that are conjugate with it. This is similar to the phenomenon of resonance. Tuning forks and strings on musical instruments resonate with other forks and strings that are tuned to the same frequency, or to entire octaves higher or lower than their frequency, but not with forks and strings tuned to different frequencies./Id.
Regarding evolution, Laszlo states that while the universe does not have a definite direction, there is evolution toward growing structure and complexity. And further:
The evolution of the Metaverse is cyclic but not repetitive. One universe informs the other; there is progress from universe to universe. Thus, each universe is more evolved than the one before./131
Another important information provided by the author is the fact that evolution on planet earth cannot be explained with Darwin’s early theory of chance mutations.
The evolution of life on Earth did not rely on chance mutations, nor did it require the physical importation of organisms or proto-organisms from elsewhere in the solar system, as the ‘biological seeding’ theories of the origins of life suggest. Instead, the chemical soup out of which the first proto-organisms arose was informed by the A-field-conveyed traces of extraterrestrial life. Life on Earth was not biologically, but rather informationally seeded./136
Laszlo’s allusion to ‘alien seeding’ as a creational myth is interesting, for it can indeed be found in esoteric and religious writings, channeled messages and also in the books of Terence McKenna, who contended to have received this information from psychedelic mushrooms. Now, regarding the big question as to what is ‘reality’, a question so big that all religions tackle it, Laszlo gives a stupendously clear and straightforward answer:
The answer to this age-old question is now relatively straightforward. The primary reality is the quantum vacuum, the energy- and information-filled field plenum that underlies our universe, and all universes in the Metaverse. /140
All we experience in our lifetime—all our perceptions, feelings, and thought processes—have cerebral functions associated with them. These functions have wave-forms equivalents, since our brain, like other things in space and time, creates information-carrying vortices—it ‘makes waves.’ The waves propagate in the vacuum and interfere with the waves created by the bodies and brains of other people, giving rise to complex holograms. Generations after generations of humans have left their holographic traces in the A-field. These individual holograms integrate in a super-hologram, which is the encompassing hologram of a tribe, community, or culture. The collective holograms interface and integrate in turn with the super-superhologram of all people. This is the collective information pool of humankind./150