Down the Rabbit Hole Quantum Edition, 20th Century Fox, 2006 (3 DVD Set).
What the Bleep Do We Know!? by William Arntz & Betsy Chasse was a companion for me over months without end. It was the most important documentary I have ever seen.
Life is complexity. Looking at it through the eyes of native peoples, the eyes of Albert Einstein, or the eyes of quantum physicists hardly makes a difference. Actually, the difference is one of precision. Most native tribes do not know much about the subatomic world, yet they know about uncertainty and nonlocality. They do not only know about it, but actively use these laws for connecting with the quantum field.
Most native shamans can be at two locations at the same time, they can relocate instantly, and travel back and forth in time. They do this not for fancy or as a pastime, but for healing people, for doing something useful to a community. And the field responds. Quantum physics teaches us that this is exactly how electrons behave, and electrons are in touch with the base layer of the universe, that is, the quantum vacuum, the level of the Planck scale.
In this review I would like to elucidate and review in some detail what scientists are saying in the movie What the Bleep Do We Know!? My idea is that, given the complexity of the subject, it may not suffice to watch the movie once or twice to really understand what is being said in the film. It is for this reason that I found the idea useful to just typescript some of the most interesting interviews. And I made the discovery that, although I have watched the movie, and even the complete Rabbit Hole Quantum Edition, several times, I got a more complete understanding of the various subjects treated in the movie only once I wrote interviews down word by word, and phrase by phrase.
To begin with, this famous movie is not just about quantum physics, while quantum physics is as it were the ‘hanger’ for the other subjects that I would like to simply list here, as a starting point.
- Basic principles of quantum physics, such as uncertainty and nonlocality;
- The basic unity and integrated wholeness of all life;
- Time and space are just constructs of the basic unity of life;
- We are all interconnected through the quantum field;
- The nonlinear and co-evolving logic of living systems;
- The energy nature of emotions and sexuality;
- The danger connected with following life-denying ideologies;
- The possibility to create our own reality;
- An ethical code based upon one single principle: don’t harm another;
- A liberal approach to all basic life functions;
- Honest and truthful language in dialogue;
- What is the purpose of life?
- Why are we here?
Einstein’s achievements, as we know, were not minor ones. I will throw some light on them here. As I am myself not a physicist, I will reference what Fritjof Capra and others wrote and said about Einstein. To begin with, Fritjof Capra writes in The Turning Point (1987):
At the beginning of modern physics stands the extraordinary intellectual feat of one man—Albert Einstein. In two articles, both published in 1905, Einstein initiated two revolutionary trends in scientific thought. One was his special theory of relativity; the other was a new way of looking at electromagnetic radiation which was to become characteristic of quantum theory, the theory of atomic phenomena. The complete quantum theory was worked out twenty years later by a whole team of physicists. Relativity theory, however, was constructed in its complete form almost entirely by Einstein himself. Einstein’s scientific papers are intellectual monuments that mark the beginning of twentieth-century thought. (Fritjof Capra, The Turning Point, 63)
Einstein marked the important transition between Newtonian physics, and quantum mechanics: it is relativity theory. With relativity, the concept of time changed from an absolute to a relative concept. Einstein namely found that time is relative to velocity, the speed with which a certain amount of mass moves through space. In the Newtonian universe, time was an absolute constant, which is why we can say that relativity theory was nothing short of a revolution in physics. Fritjof Capra explains:
Einstein strongly believed in nature’s inherent harmony, and his deepest concern throughout his scientific life was to find a unified foundation of physics. He began to move toward his goal by constructing a common framework for electrodynamics and mechanics, the two separate theories of classical physics. This framework is known as the special theory of relativity. It unified and completed the structure of classical physics, but at the same time it involved drastic changes in the traditional concepts of space and time and undermined one of the foundations of the Newtonian world view. (Id., 50).
Newton and Planck can be seen as the poles from which Einstein moved away and toward. He moved as it were away from Newton and toward Planck, because Planck was one of the real innovators in physics and one of the founders of quantum mechanics.
The whole development started when Max Planck discovered that the energy of heat radiation is not emitted continuously, but appears in the form of ‘energy packets’. Einstein called these energy packets ‘quanta’ and recognized them as a fundamental aspect of nature. He was bold enough to postulate that light and every other form of electromagnetic radiation can appear not only as electromagnetic waves, but also in the form of these quanta. The light quanta, which gave quantum theory its name, have since been accepted as bona fide particles of a special kind, however, massless and always traveling with the speed of light. (…) At the subatomic level, matter does not exist with certainty at definite places, but rather shows ‘tendencies to exist’, and atomic events do not occur with certainty at definite times and in definite ways, but rather show ‘tendencies to occur’. In the formalism of quantum theory these tendencies are expressed as probabilities and are associated with mathematical quantities which take the form of waves. This is why particles can be waves at the same time. (Id., 56)
Let us first have a look at the relationship between relativity theory and quantum mechanics. Contrary to what popular science magazines sometimes state, relativity theory was not ‘left behind’, and has not been ‘superseded’ by quantum mechanics. The laws of relativity that Einstein found and mathematically described are still valid for the macrocosm at large; they apply in the relationships between large bodies, and in just any situation where a minimum amount of mass is in play. Grossly speaking, they are valid for matter. They are not valid for the subatomic realm where we deal not with mass, but with dynamic patterns. As Fritjof Capra writes in The Turning Point (1982/1987):
The most important consequence of the new relativistic framework has been the realization that mass is nothing but a form of energy. Even an object at rest has energy stored in its mass, and the relation between the two is given by Einstein’s famous equation E = mc2. (Id., 81)
Quantum physicist Fred Alan Wolf states in the Bleep Quantum Edition:
The first inkling in physics that we got, seems to me, came with relativity. That was the first inkling that time was not absolute, that it was not the absolute rule of the universe, that god almighty did not say, one second, one second, one second, one meter, one meter, one meter. Then, the gravitational field: your head is actually moving at a slightly faster rate than your feet. (DVD 1, Side A)
Let me start my review of the Bleep Quantum Edition with a quote by David Albert, Professor & Director of Philosophical Foundations of Physics, Columbia University, that mentions a very interesting point, often overlooked in the ‘cultural’ debate of the new sciences. It responds basically to the question: ‘Would we modify certain behaviors under the influence of what we learn from science?’
The interesting thing about physics is that it is a genuinely new and powerful way of trying to come to grips with the world. I think the experimental method which is important in physics is a very different business from the method of revelation or the method of meditation, or something like that. I don’t think it’s true that for example adherents of, say, Buddhism, could imagine changing their beliefs based upon the outcomes of some experiments people do with electrons. (Id.)
Generally speaking, apart from all science, from all religion and from all learning, we need a certain basic openness for acquiring real knowledge, which first and foremost means self-knowledge. Fred Alan Wolf coins it in the formula that ‘how far you want to go [down the Rabbit Hole] really depends upon how much you want to discover about yourself.’ (Id.)
This is the amazing truth about our interconnected universe: knowledge always includes the observer, which means that whatever we learn about our universe, we learn about ourselves as organic elements of this universe.
If we call the base layer of the universe the quantum field, or the unified field or superstring field, the Planck scale, the A-field, the zero-point-field or the quantum vacuum, it doesn’t make a substantial difference. I do not say that the terms I have put here are really synonymous, but to demonstrate the metaphor, I have approximated the truth somehow.
William A. Tiller clearly says in the Bleep that the zero-point-field and the quantum vacuum are strictly speaking not one and the same thing. So I am well conscious of my metaphorical diction here. What I want to convey is that what really is at the basis of all creation, of all life, and new life, is a vibrational field so subtle that it was being overlooked for centuries, while the Taoist sages were absolutely aware of it, calling it the Tao or the ‘subtle energy.’
Let me collect here some quotes from the Bleep Quantum Edition that show, from different scientific angles, that we are living in a universe that is basically organic and whole, that lives and breathes, that vibrates, and that interconnects all-that-is in a field of total information. This interconnectedness has been called entanglement, nonlocality, connectivity, colocation, coherence, morphic resonance or the quantum field effect.
As Fritjof Capra shows convincingly in his book The Web of Life (1997), summarizing decades of systems research, this universe is a complex whole that consists of networks being nested within larger networks. So what we have as the architecture of our metaverse is not a hierarchy but a horizontal, ‘neuronal’ structure in which networks are nested within networks. The term ‘hierarchy’ is not appropriate here because all these networks have the same ‘value’ within the whole and they all receive the same, that is, all the information there is. Where all is shared, we can’t really talk about a hierarchical structure, but a networked egalitarian structure.
This is a fundamental new insight as for millennia all great civilizations around the globe have considered the universe basically consisting of hierarchies, while again, here, the native peoples knew better. How misleading our pre-quantum science was, is vividly described in the Bleep by Lynne McTaggart, author of the book The Field (2002):
Science creates the stories that we build on, and science has told us a very bleak story, it told us that we’re some sort of genetic mistake, that we have genes that use us basically to move on to the next generation, and that we randomly mutate. It said that we are outside of our universe, that we are alone, that we are separate, and that we’re that sort of ‘lonely mistake’ on a lonely planet in a lonely universe … and we are now realizing that this view of the world, this view of separateness, is one of the most destructive things; it’s the thing that creates all the problems in the world. And we are now realizing that that paradigm is wrong, that we aren’t separate; we are all one, we’re all together at the very most elementary level of our being; we’re connected, and so we are trying to understand and absorb ‘what are the implications of that? What does this really mean to me in my life? (Id.)
Dean Radin, Director of Consciousness Research Laboratory at the University of Nevada and author of the books The Conscious Universe (1997) and Entangled Minds (2006) gives an enlightening introduction into the nature of our responsive, living and intelligent universe.
People asked me why does quantum mechanics matter given that it’s all little tiny stuff; who cares? There are three possible answers. From a practical point of view, it doesn’t make any difference at all. I mean you go out to work and drive your car and do all the rest of it. From a second point of view, it actually infiltrates everything in the world, especially the world of electronics. When you go to the supermarket and you do the scanning at the checkout: that’s a quantum-mechanical effect. But I think the important part is the third one which is essentially a philosophical issue. Why are philosophers so passionate about deconstructing the assumptions of the world? I finally got it. I got it as a result of looking at quantum mechanics and comparing it to classical mechanics; they represent two very different ways of thinking about the way the world works—and about what we are. So from a classical perspective, we are machines and with machines, there is no room for a conscious experience, it doesn’t matter if a machine dies, you can kill a machine, you can throw it on a dump, it doesn’t matter. If that is the way the world is, people will behave in that way. But there is another way of thinking about the world which is suggested, is pointed to, by quantum mechanics, which suggested that the world is not that clockwork thing but is more like an organism; it’s a highly interconnected organismic thing of some type, which extends through space and time. And that kind of environment that what I think in the way that I behave has a much greater impact not only on myself but on the rest of the world than what and who is in the classical world. So from a very basic point of view having to do with morals and ethics what I think affects the world that’s, I mean in a sense, that’s really the key for why a worldview change is important. (Id.)
John Hagelin, quantum physicist, Director of the Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy, and Professor at Maharishi University gives perhaps the simplest and most comprehensive explanation of how we can imagine this unified field to be:
Quantum mechanics is really the play and display of information, play and display of potentiality, waves of information, waves of potential electrons; it can’t support the world of electrons, it’s the world of potential electrons. But you have to ask the question: waves of what, really? What is the field that is waving? Is it the ocean? No, it’s a universal ocean, an ocean of pure potentiality, an ocean of abstract potential existence. We call it the unified field or superstring field. And that’s what we are made of. (Id.)
Dean Radin speaks of ‘connectivity’ and ‘entanglement’ as not just one of many properties of the quantum field, but the most characteristic property.
Connectivity among all things is a basic constituent of the fabric of reality. It’s very difficult to wrap your mind around that, but Erwin Schrödinger said—he is one of the founders of quantum mechanics—that entanglement, which is that idea of this connectivity is not just a property of quantum mechanics, it’s the property; it’s the property of quantum mechanics that makes it very strange, and it doesn’t seem to fit in with our ordinary world, our ordinary experience. But in fact, it actually does. (Id.)
It is important to understand that the unified field is a vibrational pattern that is not filled with mass, but where mass is absent. Stuart Hameroff, Professor of Anesthesiology and Psychology, and Associate Director of the Center for Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona describes the properties of the unified field or vacuum field as ‘largely empty space.’ He explains that on the subatomic level, we are moving in wide empty space:
We were told in school that the world is made of stuff, of matter, mass, of atoms. Atoms make the molecules, molecules make the material world and everything is made of that. But atoms actually are mostly empty. For example, if this ball were the nucleus of an atom, a proton of a hydrogen atom for example, the electron circulating around that nucleus, which will describe the outer levels of that atom, would be out there by the mountain over there, roughly 20 miles away, and everything in between is empty. In fact the universe is mostly empty. However when we go down in scale, in the emptiness, we eventually come to a level, a fundamental level of space-time geometry, the fine basement level of the universe, where there is information, there is a pattern, it’s called the Planck scale and it’s the fabric of the universe. At that level there is information that’s there since the big bang. Most of the universe, even of matter, is actually empty. (Id.)
A much more thorough explanation is given by William Tiller, Professor Emeritus of Material Sciences and Engineering, Stanford University, and I hope I have typescripted it correctly here:
Most people think that the vacuum is empty, but for internal self-consistency, consistency of quantum mechanics and relativity theory, there is required to be the equivalent to the 1094 grams of mass energy, each gram being e=mc2 kind of energy. Now that’s a huge number, but what does that mean, practically? Practically, if I can assume that the universe is flat, then more and more astronomical data is showing that it is flat. If I can assume that, then if I take the volume of the vacuum in a single hydrogen atom, that’s about 10-23 cubic centimeters. If I take that amount of vacuum and take the latent energy in that, there is a trillion times more energy there than in all the mass of all of the stars and all of the planets up to 20 billion light years. That’s big, that’s big—and if consciousness allows you to control even a small fraction of that, creating a big bang is no problem. (Id.)
Lynne McTaggart notes that organizations like NASA, British Aerospace all are ‘trying to tab into this incredible unimaginably large energy sea and they feel if they can tab this and travel to different galaxies, so they understand that in empty space, there is this unbelievable energy.’ (Id.)
I am using here Ervin Laszlo’s expression ‘puzzles and fables’ as a metaphor for the many paradoxes quantum physics produces when we look at it with the eyes of ‘conventional’ physics. It was exactly those paradoxes that led to the revolution in physics that we today find is established in some way, but was not just some decades ago.
Thus the puzzles and fables really had a creative impact and it’s as it were through their push-and-pull that the new paradigm in natural and social sciences was going to be leveraged. There is gravity in our science establishment, a fact even the reader of popular science magazines is aware of. This gravitational pull basically holds scientists in outdated views because every move into scientific novelty questions the established organizational structure, thereby causing a threat to existing research funding and, worse, the reputation of the researcher himself.
Now, this is really an old hat, but there is something unique in the current paradigm shift, or transition from the mechanistic to the quantum mechanical paradigm. It’s the fact that the push-and-pull from quantum physics was so strong that that scientific gravity was virtually annihilated our outweighed by a leveraging factor of potentiality which was unknown in all of our pre-quantum science history. Jeffrey Satinover, a psychiatrist and physicist, and author of The Quantum Brain (2001), explains in the Bleep Quantum Edition:
You now can see in numerous labs around the United States objects that are large enough to be seen by the naked eye, and they are in two places simultaneously. You can actually take a photograph. Now, I suppose if you show the photograph, they’d say ‘Oh, there is this nice colored light. I see there is a bit over here and a bit over here. We got a picture of two dots. What’s the big deal?‘ Superposition is pre-detection. What I was speaking about in the film is post-detection. Now, under normal circumstances, a single object, once it has been detected, is in just one position. However, there are states of matter that have been created now in which objects can be in multiple positions simultaneously, not just two, but actually as many as three thousand positions. Now, the first of these objects were called ‘Bose-Einstein Condensates’, and they are single wave functions, meaning they are single particles. But even though they are single wave functions, the wave function has multiple positions. The tricky point here is that it’s still a single wave function, it’s not three thousand separate wave functions. It’s one wave function, so it’s one particle. (Id.)
Thus, the emergence of the new physics was nothing short of a novelty event in human evolutionary history! What is so dramatic about this novelty event? It’s that it brings us back at what Laszlo calls the ‘reenchantment of the cosmos’, thereby linking us back to the oldest of scientific traditions that were not yet fragmented by the mind-body split, the consciousness split so typical for modern times. Hence, science then assumes a quality of religio in its purest sense, a link-back to our foundations, and thereby becomes enchanted itself, and full of religious meaning.
The most striking characteristics of the unified field are coherence, connectivity, entanglement and nonlocality, while one may argue that all these expressions are saying basically the same, namely that we are all connected, and that isolation and fragmentation, if we experience them, are of our own making, the making namely of our thought interface.
John Hagelin explains that somehow we are not using the brain in the way it was designed to be used. He asserts that the brain is ‘actually specifically designed and carefully engineered to experience the unified field, to experience the unity of life.’ (Id.)
Let me put two quotes from Laszlo’s book Science and the Akashic Field (2004) that serve as an introduction, while they show that the new science is not so new after all, and may be termed a scientific renaissance of yet unfathomable dimensions.
As ancient sages knew, and as scientists are now rediscovering, in-formation is produced by the real world and is conveyed by a fundamental field that is present throughout nature.
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.
—Ervin Laszlo, Science and the Akashic Field (2004), 2, 3
There is a unison agreement now among quantum physicists that this field exists, while there is still little agreement about the main characteristics of quantum physics, that are uncertainty and nonlocality. The ground in the quantum world, as it were, is not solid ground, it’s floating, constantly moving, and this situation creates insecurity, and fear. David Albert explains this in psychological terms that show the conceptual crux of it all, namely the moment we want to formulate it as a solid new science paradigm:
So, on the one hand, you have a theory which from a conceptual standpoint was profoundly puzzling, and on the other hand, from the practical standpoint was vastly more successful than anything we ever had seen before. This is the kind of situation that produces the tension that all the investigations and foundations of quantum mechanics are feeding off of since then; because on the one hand, this is an acutely paradoxical puzzling conceptually confusing theory; on the other hand, we have no option along the lines of throwing it out or neglecting it because it is the most powerful proven tool for predicting the behaviors of physical systems that we have ever had in our hand. (DVD 1, Side A)
As we are with puzzles and fables, Stuart Hameroff explicates the basic laws at the fundamental creative level of the quantum matrix:
The universe is very strange. There seem to be two sets of laws that govern the universe. In our every-day classical world, meaning roughly our space-and-time scales, things are described by Newton’s laws of motion set down hundreds and hundreds of years ago, and they worked very well for billiard balls and canon balls and gravity. However, when we get down to a small scale, on the level of atoms, a different set of laws take over. These are the quantum laws, the laws of quantum mechanics, and at that level particles may be in multiple places at the same time (‘Superposition’), they may behave as waves especially and temporarily (‘Wave-Particle Duality’), they may be interconnected over great distances (‘Entanglement’), they may be unified into one quantum state, into one state governed by one wave function (‘Bose-Einstein Condensates’), and the borderline, the threshold, the curtain between the quantum world and the classical world is really mysterious; it’s called the ‘collapse of the wave function’ because in the quantum world everything is in superposition of multiple possibilities, and in the classical world, these multiple possibilities seem to collapse to particular definite choices – so everything is in one particular place. (Id.)
There is another notion, next to the term ‘entanglement’ that was coined by Dean Radin, it’s the term ‘colocation.’ He explains in the Bleep Quantum Edition:
Einstein didn’t believe that quantum mechanics could be true because it required that there be ‘spooky action at a distance’. That was his term. What he meant was let’s say when we have an ordinary way the fabric of reality is we have these two places in space; they are separate and never the twain shall meet. But in fact it’s not true. At some deeper level that we can’t see with our eyes accurately, two places in space are the same, they are colocated, coexisting. So, if we imagine that common sense, in the literal meaning what your senses tell you about the world, if that’s the way the world is actually constructed, then things like psychic and mystical experiences don’t make any sense at all because the whole point of psychic or mystical experiences, and what makes them strange, is a sense that there is some kind of connection between what’s going on inside your head and things elsewhere, elsewhere in space and in time. So what this view of quantum mechanics provides is a way of framing what these strange experiences are like, and it reframes it from somehow magically information is getting inside my head through signals or forces or something, into a different view, which is that, in a sense your head, yes, is here, but it’s also spread out, spread out through space and time. And so, when I am able to get a telepathic impression from somebody at a distance, it’s not because I somehow jumped out here and got it, but because at some deep level my head and the other person’s head are colocated. (Id.)
You take this notion of an entangled universe and you apply it to human experience, because human experience is part of the universe as well. And you say, well, let’s assume that experiences are entangled – how would it manifest? And we can start going to ways in which it could manifest. If there’s a connection with another mind, we call it telepathy, and if there’s a connection with some other objects somewhere else, we call it clairvoyance, and if there’s a connection that happens to transcend time, we call it precognition; and there’s a connection in which my intention is expressed out in the world in some way, we call it psychokinesis or distant healing. So you can go to a list of perhaps twelve kinds of psychic experience that have gotten labels over the years, like telepathy, but this is really just the tip of the iceberg. (Id.)
Lynne McTaggart explains it in more traditional terms, speaking of a ‘sea of energy:’
We’re all connected. I mean the most fundamental thing is we are all connected by an energy field, we swim in a sea of light, basically, which is the zero-point field; and I say that first of all you have to get away from the whole idea of separateness, because separateness is the biggest problem of the world now. (Id.)
Fred Alan Wolf is one of the quantum physicists who is next to Ervin Laszlo perhaps the most outspoken, and non-hesitant, to claim a total renewal of organized spiritual ritual to reflect the consciousness boost quantum physics triggered both on the individual and the collective scale. He voices his concern in the Bleep in clear terms:
We need a new spiritual milieu, we need a new spiritual way of understanding the nature of what it is to be a human being because the old ways, the old mythologies, the old monarchy-king-god versus the old lawful-scientist’s-way-of-doing-everything are dead. They need to be buried. We need a new realm, a new vision and I think that quantum physics, if anything, can help us get a step up in the right direction. (Id.)
Besides the insight that there is one unified field of vibration, energy and information that interconnects all, creates all and recreates all, for understanding our universe we need to learn about the impact consciousness has upon this unified field. Candace Pert, author of the book Molecules of Emotion (2003), humbly states:
I think the key aspect of the new paradigm, at least in medicine, which is my little piece, is that consciousness is real and has an impact. (Id.)
While Joe Dispenza claims our need to ‘go beyond our senses to create a new paradigm’, Fred Alan Wolf is more explicit in that he points to the danger to focus upon the external world when we expect the world to change. I would term it in the words that all change is an inside-out process and starts at the level of human intention, and thus on the nonmaterial level of reality.
The main question will be what’s going on inside of you, in your brain, in your nervous system, in your nature of observation, how memory works, how mind works; the main question will be that what is happening there is some kind of observer matter into relationship which is a deed making things real for you, affecting how you perceive reality. Such things are not really out there, you know, you are not changing big things, big chairs, big trucks, and bulldozers and rockets, you are not changing all – no. But you are changing how you perceive things and maybe how you think about things, how you feel about things, how you feel about the world. (Id.)
Joe Dispenza gives an important point of information when he compares the total information our human brain receives per second, compared with the information we are actually processing. And the question obviously is why human consciousness evolution has left out or has degraded what I call ‘direct perception’?
We know the answer in the meantime, it’s because the brain mainly serves survival purposes before it serves cognitive completeness and accurate perception.
The amount of information that the brain is processing every single second tells us that there is more to the world than what we are perceiving. … The brain processes 400 billion bits of information a second, but we are aware only of 2000 bits. That means that reality is happening in the brain all the time. (Id.)
This brings me to point to the important difference between our self-reflective consciousness and perception; perception is the more practical tool for consciousness to operate in informing itself. Ideally, perception should be accurate, but isn’t, the way our brain has evolved till now, which is an insight that was voiced already back in the 1960s by Edward de Bono, in his book The Mechanism of Mind (1969).
Now, in the Bleep Quantum Edition, Andrew Newberg, M.D., Director of the Center for Spirituality and Neurosciences, Assistant Professor in Radiology and Psychiatry, and Adjunct Professor at the Department of Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania, points out that perception is the pure receptory process of information gathering, while consciousness is what gives meaning to every single bit of information we receive through our perception interface:
The eyes, or generally the senses are taking this information and they are storing it but you’re not really able to get it to mean anything until you actually put it all together; in some sense it requires the editor’s table to really put the whole thing together, to put your movie together about what your life and your world is actually about. (Id.)
Joe Dispenza puts it in even more conclusive terms:
The brain is processing 400 billion bits of information and our awareness is only on 2000; that means reality is happening in the brain all the time; it’s receiving that information, and yet we haven’t integrated it. But if we are giving knowledge and information outside of convention, outside the box of conventions, for example through quantum physics and neurophysiology, and the brain is asked to contemplate, we are asked to contemplate on that, and examine what are some possibilities and potentials, and associate our known with our experiences of what we know, and repeat it over and over again, the brain is going to start to integrate two independent neuronets and is going to create a new vision. And that vision is going to take a flashlight and shining it from the 2000 bits of information that have to do with our body and our environment and time slightly over in the dark, and looking at something new: that’s called realization. (Id.)
How do consciousness, perception and memory work together? This point was well explicated in the Bleep with the example of a woman who is disgusted at all men because she hates her former husband. Amanda, when she was young, grew up in a rather traditional environment where she was not having the opportunity of various love affairs until she married. For her, the marriage and the way her husband was treating her became for her the pattern for her love, or in one word, her love pattern. The problem was that her husband was having affairs with other women, even before Amanda married him.
The tragedy in Amanda’s life was her strong attachment to the past, and to her husband, for paradoxically we cannot let go of people if we hate them. Forgiving him was obviously out of question for her. In addition, she was egocentric enough to believe that her own story was a blueprint ‘for the world’, generalizing her experience and projecting her husband upon all the males she met in her subsequent life.
Now, how does it happen that the brain produces as it were an ‘optionless’ imprint, an imprint that vandalizes the memory surface, to become ‘all over the place’ so that the person virtually sees herself imprisoned by a single phantasm that repeats itself in her memory over and over again, even many years after the original experience? Joe Dispenza explains this mechanism conclusively.
What separates us from all other species is the ratio of our frontal lobe to the rest of the brain. The frontal lobe is an area of the brain that is responsible for firm intention, for decision-making, for regulating behavior, for inspiration. It is the seed of what causes us to take information from our environment and process it in sort of our brain to make decisions and choices. There are different decisions and choices we made in the past. The brain is made of tiny nerve cells called neurons. These neurons have tiny branches that reach out and connect to other neurons to form a neuronet. Each place where they connect is integrated into a spot for a memory. The brain builds in all concepts by a lot of associative memory, for example ideas, thoughts and feelings are often constructed and interconnected in this neuronet, and all have a powerful relationship with one another. The vast concept of love, for instance, is stored in the vast neuronet, but we got the concept of love from many other ideas. Some people have love connected with disappointment; when they think about love, they experience the memory of pain, sorrow, anger and even rage. Rage may be linked with the hurt which may be linked with a specific person who stands as connected with love. (Id.)
After this quote, the mechanism of the brain may be clear to the reader, but it may not yet make sense why the brain does that, or more generally put, why nature has given memory such an importance that, in a case like Amanda’s, obviously, it stands in the way to happiness? Naively put, we may ask ‘Why has nature not given us a key to simply erase any unwanted nasty rubbish memory’ to free the memory surface and help us to see life virtually with new eyes? Well, I was naive enough to ask that question, and much to my benefit, for I received a very clear, and unequivocal answer already years ago. I found this answer, that normally is given by psychiatrists, to my surprise voiced in the Bleep by quantum physicist Amit Goswami:
Every observation can be looked up as a quantum measurement; this quantum measurement produces memory. We always perceive something after reflection in the mirror of memory. It is this reflection in the mirror of memory that gives us that sense of our I-ness, who I am. (Id.)
I never knew that human memory is a result of quantum measurements, but I knew that memory has this huge importance in our human brain because for our survival a firm sense of identity and an equally sure feeling of continuity and constancy of perception is needed, and this is established psychiatric knowledge. One of the most difficult-to-cure emotional and mental disorders, schizophrenia, is namely characterized by the faulty character or absence of one of these three fundamental characteristics of our brain that all have to do with the memory surface.
For example, in case all these three elements are faulty or missing, a person would be irreversibly psychotic and behave, from a body language point of view, much more closely to an animal:
- Personal Identity
I know at any moment that I am I and that I am not another person. I am sure of this. If at any moment, I would suddenly be aware that I am not I but another person, this would cause such a shock that it could lead to sudden death or irreversible mental illness.
- Sense of Continuity
When I wake up in the morning I know that I am I and that the evening before I went to sleep, and thus my life continues. If that feeling of continuity was suddenly absent, even for a minute only, we could suffer such a shock that it could result in sudden death or irreversible mental illness.
- Sense of Constancy of Perception
I know at any moment that my brain continues recording, that my perception is uninterrupted. If at any moment I would become suddenly aware that my brain stops perceiving, this would cause such a shock that it could lead to sudden death or irreversible mental illness.
After this short explanation it may appear clear why evolution has given such a predominant place to memory, especially for the human being! And for this mechanism to work properly, nature has insured to not give us a handle or key for interrupting the memory surface for this could accidentally lead to irreversible brain damage and even death. People who have lost their memory because of accidents have to relearn all and everything like a small child, and it will take years, but without regaining or rather, rebuilding, their memory surface, they cannot progress in any way in their lives, and cannot evolve in their spiritual evolution. So important memory is! It’s almost that you could coin this truth in the saying ‘Human life without memory is an impossibility!’
Now let us see how Joe Dispenza continues his interesting lecture on memory and the brain, for it will become clear why the brain doesn’t even make a difference between what it directly perceives through sensory input, and what it remembers:
The brain does not know the difference between what it sees in its environment and what it remembers because the same specific neuronets are then firing. We know physiologically that nerve cells that fire together, wire together. If you practice something over and over again, those nerve cells have a long-term relationship. If you get angry on a daily basis, feeling frustrated on a daily basis, if you suffer on a daily basis, if you give reasons for the victimization in your life, you are rewiring and reintegrating that neuronet on a daily basis, and that neuronet maintains a long-term relationship with all those other nerve cells, called an ‘identity’. We also know that nerve cells that don’t fire together, no longer wire together; they lose the long-term relationship, because every time we interrupt the thought process, that produces a chemical response in the body; every time, we interrupt it, those nerve cells that are connected to each other, start breaking a long-term relationship. If we practice a mental rehearsal, our skill in doing it will show that certain brain circuits will grow as a result of our effort. (Id.)
The claims that William Tiller is making are not minor ones. I would go as far as saying that they are the most controversial and disputable arguments brought forward in the Bleep. They go beyond the general criticism of the film by David Albert who found that the ‘impact of consciousness’ on matter and generally, the universe, has never been ‘proven’ by quantum mechanics. Wayne B. Jonas, M.D., the former Director of the Medical Research Fellowship at Walter Reed and the Office of Alternative Medicines at the National Institutes of Health states in a note on Dr. Tiller’s book:
In Conscious Acts of Creation, Dr. Tiller makes a claim that would not only revolutionize medicine but our perception and approach to all reality. Unlike many who venture into these realms, Tiller has a distinguished career at Stanford University and a solid grounding in physics. If there are prophets in our extraordinary times, he is likely one of them.
William Tiller doesn’t speak generally about the matter: he simply went about construing devices that do the job because they were ‘conditioned’ by human intention, a beam of strongly focused conscious awareness.
With these devices, it was found possible to raise or lower the pH of water at 1.4 units, which is considerable, so considerable that if that was done to the water in our bodies, we would die upon the alteration!
We took two simple black boxes like this. Inside is a very simple electronic circuit, a few diodes, an oscillator, an eprom, some resistors and capacitors. Basically, that’s it. We wrapped one in aluminum foil, we put it in an electrically grounded Faraday cage, and the other, we set on a table top, around which four very well qualified meditators, highly inner self-managed individuals sat, and they go into a deep meditative state, they cleanse the environment, they make it essentially a sacred space, using their mind in all these procedures, and their intentions, and then one of the four speaks the specific intention for this device. The intention is to influence a particular target experiment, might be to increase the pH of purifying water by 1.4 pH, or to decrease the pH by 1.4 pH units. We have used these devices on all those experiments, and they have been robustly successful. In the meditative process, and after one speaks the particular intention, it’s held various ways by the four for maybe fifteen minutes, and then, so be it, let’s let go. And then a subsidiary intention is stated to seal that imprint into the device. We take one of these devices with its aluminum foil, we put it in a soft package, then put it in a Fedex packet, we ship it 2000 miles away to the laboratory we are using, up in Minnesota, and as soon as it arrives there, it goes in its own electrically isolated Faraday cage. The next day we do the same with the control. (…) Now, we learned over some period of time, there was another factor. We found that the use of these intention-imprinted electrical devices, the continued use of this somehow conditioned the space to some higher level of symmetry, and we start getting new phenomena, that is the devices work, that is the pH which is normal, starts rising, 1.4 pH, if that was the imprint, or starts dropping. You go down 1.4 pH, you are beyond, you are dead. I mean that’s what it means to a human. (Id.)
Let me add on here what Alexandra Bruce wrote about these experiments, as she is an author who published a critical book about the movie, entitled Beyond the Bleep (2005). Alexandra unveiled a few secrets and abnormalities about the film that I ignored before reading her study. Now, about Tiller’s experiments, while her approach is critical and her anonymous physicist advisor was outspokenly skeptical regarding Tiller’s experiments, Alexandra writes in her summary of Chapter Ten, ‘William Tiller and Conscious Acts of Creation’:
Tiller’s ideas are certainly intriguing, suggesting a mathematical and completely scientific explanation of the soul, consciousness and the interplay between the subtle and gross physical realms. It is especially interesting that Tiller’s experimenters recorded and documented the residual effects of consciousness on a location used in numerous experiments, where by the effects of the ‘imprinting’ continued to resonate in the space and affect the subsequent experiments.
—Alexandra Bruce, Beyond the Bleep: The Definite Unauthorized Guide to ‘What the Bleep Do We Know!?’, New York: Disinformation, 2005, p. 150.
One could possibly doubt these findings if they were standing alone in a desert landscape of innovative science, but they don’t. They are not isolated research events and actually fit rather well in a series of similar experiments conducted by other researchers over the last two decades or so.
Let me first come back to Dean Radin, whose scientific corroboration of psychic phenomena has grown largely beyond the ‘Uri Geller’ audience in that they can be said to represent conclusive scientific evidence as to the existence of psychic powers and the various phenomena correlated to exercising those powers, consciously or unconsciously. Today, any skeptic who rants about mental derangement when psychic phenomena are concerned really should engage a reality check with Radin’s research, or he risks to lose his credulous negativist audience. Nobody can ever be so negative to discard out scientific research that has been time-tested and peer-reviewed, or he risks to lose his own credibility as a ‘skeptic’.
Dean Radin reports random-number generator experiments that are really uncanny and seem to stand in line with Tiller’s experiments in that they show that human intention does matter and influences research results on a probability scale considerably higher than random, and thus largely beyond pure chance.
One type of random-number generators type of experiment has been conducted many many times, hundreds of times over the past four decades or so, since around the 1960s. That’s been a random generator that only produces sequences of random bits, zeroes and ones, like clipping coins, and you would simply ask somebody to press the button would produce 200 bits and you ask them to say ‘Well, try to make it produce more one bits than zero bits, and when you take the entire body of literature, all of the hundreds of experiments that had been done, you can ask a single question. Did it matter that people were trying to push it toward one or to push it toward zeroes, and the overall answer is ‘Yes, it does matter. Somehow intention is correlated with the operation, with the output of these random number generators, such that if you wish for more ones, somehow the generators produce more ones. (Id.)
What is a random number generator? It is an electronic device quite similar to those construed by Tiller’s team, that consist of a few diodes, resistors, an eprom and a simple electronic circuit. Other scientists and authors agree. Fred Alan Wolf, not minor a capacity in quantum physics, states in the film:
That actually keeps us wonder how people can affect the world they see. You bet that they are! Every single one of us affects the reality that we see, even if we try to hide from that and play victim. We all are doing it. (Id.)
Lynne McTaggart says that those who think about quantum physics being ‘arbitrary’ and ‘random’, forget to account for ‘the extraordinary effect of human thought, of human intention.’ (Id.) So why do obviously only a select few really create their own reality? Why are we not all creating our own reality in a conscious and deliberate manner? Is it because we lack out on the basic knowledge that we do have this capacity?
This is certainly one of the reasons. Our schools as good as never tell children about those things, and geniuses different from ordinary people in that they validate their intuitive knowledge higher than any knowledge they absorb from schools, universities or the media. William Tiller brings it on a simple equation, saying that most people ‘don’t affect reality in a substantial consistent way because they don’t believe they can.’ (Id.) Regarding psychic powers, researched showed that indeed, when we maintain negative beliefs about the existence of those powers, we enjoy them to a much lesser extent. Hence, such beliefs are actually ‘negatively creative’ and thereby can positively obstruct our human potential!
In addition, Joe Dispenza references experimental data that suggest that ‘the average person loses their intention span every six to ten seconds per minute’. (Id.) As a matter of fact, when intention is not consistent, its effect upon the quantum field of life is considerably weakened. My work with self-suggestions showed me over the years that affirmations that are short-lived and inconstant are little effective; worse, they can even produce the opposite effect when they are outweighed by negative self-talk or strong resentment impacting upon the person’s emotions for a prolonged period of time. To put it in a slogan, when you are not consistent in a positive manner, you are very likely to be consistent in a negative manner, so your outcome will be pretty much the contrary of what you expected! When you wish a Cadillac today and a Mercedes tomorrow, and you do not consolidate your wish list, you create only confusion in your mind, and the outcome will be either nothing or a negative. This is why being ‘single focused’ is important for success.
When one wants to focus intent you want to be a singleness of mind, that’s why some of the old occult teachings teach people to focus on a flame, a match flame in fact, so that you learn to bring your attention into a very short channel so that the energy density becomes greater. (Id.)
It is indeed all a matter of channeling creative energy, part of which process is to bundle the energy beam, so as to render it targeted. The power of our creation really depends on the mental and emotional energy invested in it, when this energy is consistent with the intention it contains. Why is this so? It has to do with the layered structure of consciousness. There are various layers and the art of reality creation is to remain on one single layer, and not switch layers. Hagelin explains:
The mind is structured in layers just like the universe is structured in layers, from superficial to profound, and if we use the mind at the very superficial level of ordinary thought, we have very limited power and barely move a speck of dust across the table top, without using our hands, so weak consciousness can be. But at the deepest level of consciousness, consciousness creates universes. There are just different levels of truth. The deepest level of truth that is covered by science and by philosophy is the fundamental truth of unity, and on that deepest subnuclear level of our reality, you and I are literally one. (Id.)
We have seen so far in this review that when we are using the quantum field as the unifying intelligent base layer of the universe, we can bring about what Tiller calls ‘conscious acts of creation.’ That means we can co-create reality, using intention as the motor, for we then attune the quantum space to our intentional vibration. It’s exactly what Tiller’s experiments were about, only that they attuned an electronic box to receive conscious intention, and to propagate it later, and you are going to do this with your subconscious mind. Your black box is your own unconscious.
Candace B. Pert, Professor of Physiology and Biophysics, Georgetown University Medical School and author of Molecules of Emotion (2003) boldly states in the Bleep Quantum Edition:
And we all create our own realities, and we do that because we are the observer; we are each the own observer of our own reality; and each of our individual consciousnesses creates our own individual reality, in the most amazing way. (Id.)
I find it intriguing to see in which precise ways the insights of quantum physicists, spiritual teachers, successful psychiatrists, famous artists and outstanding entrepreneurs coincide when it goes to explain the why and how of programming one’s personal reality. This shows me that this information and insight is available to all of us, and not only to some chosen elite. This insight is intuition! What most mediocre people do is to foreclose, in one or the other way, this natural knowledge about high achievement in order to justify their limitative worldview and to have a reason for engaging in self-pity and endless procrastination.
Let us see, what on the other hand a conscious individual has to say about the subject, and how we can relate his teaching about creating reality with other known methods of reality creation. Joe Dispenza explains:
I wake up in the morning and I consciously create my day in the way I want it to happen. Now, sometimes, because my mind is examining all the things that I need to get done, it takes me a little bit to settle down and get the point of what I am actually intending to creating my day. But here’s the thing, when I create my day, and out of nowhere, little things happen that are so unexplainable. I know that they are the process or the result of my creation. And the more I do that, the more I build the neuronet in my brain; that I accept it, that’s possible, gives me the power and the incentive to do it the next day.
So in order for us to change the chemistry, we would literally have to change the neuronet, which means we have to change our identity, which means we have to change our attitude, and change the way we interact with our environment. And every time we keep being the same person, and keep experiencing the same attitudes, all we are doing is reinforcing ourselves as our identity. (Id.)
Let me now ask a common and actually very old question. ‘Who is creating reality in us, our ego or inner controller, or our higher self?’ Indeed, for mechanistic thinkers, the idea of reality creation must be frightening because they imagine people would ‘mess up’ the world with creating highly contradictory realities, which at the end would fight against each other. This is really a misconception and was unveiled as such by Fred Alan Wolf:
One of the things that comes up about creating reality is what happens when there are two people each creating a different reality. What there happens, what goes on there? Well, the first thing to realize, the idea that you create your own reality, if by ‘you’ you mean that ego person that you think is running your show creates your reality, is probably wrong. It’s probably not that you that’s creating your reality at all. The you that really is creating your reality is what I call the ‘gooey in between the frames stuff’; that’s the true you. (Id.)
I think this is a very important point. It is obvious that, if reality was created by our egos, the dim picture given by mechanistic thinkers would probably be true. But it’s not our ego that is in any way involved in creating reality. Amit Goswami, Professor Emeritus of Physics, University of Oregon, explains that all choices about how we wish our reality to be are being made in a nonordinary state of consciousness, not with our day-to-day thoughts and emotional patterns.
The place from where we choose to create my own reality, that place of consciousness is a very special nonordinary state of being where the subject-object split tends to disappear. And it is from this nonordinary state that I choose; and therefore, the ordinary exultation of the new ager also disappeared until it was forced to face the reality that there is really no free lunch: we have to meditate and reach these nonordinary states of consciousness before we become the creator of our own reality. (Id.)
This means we have to engage in a more or less thorough and consistent spiritual practice in order to be able to reach a deep meditative state where the inner controller or ‘survival program’ is put to rest, and where we connect with the quantum field, which is a field of infinite possibilities, of pure potentiality. Within that innermost realm, and only there, we can reach out into novelty.
In all great success there is an element of novelty, something that was hardly predictable before the person succeeded on their particular path; this is what makes the essential part of success in that it is part of a new reality that has been created, consciously or implicitly. As Edward de Bono states it: ‘Once a new idea springs into existence it cannot be unthought.’ Imagination alone does not bring the result; it depends on how it is channeled. It seems that imagination must serve a clearly defined purpose or intention in order to be effective as a ‘reality creating device.’
I think if we keep quantum physics and the understanding very simple for the lay person that our observation has a direct effect on our world, I think if we keep it very simple, then people can get about the business of beginning to practice the skill of observation. See, the subatomic world responds to our observation but the average person loses their attention span every six to ten seconds per minute. (…) If we’re given the proper knowledge, the proper understanding, and given the proper instruction, we should begin to see measurable feedback in our life; if you make the effort to sit down and design a new life, and you make it the most important thing, and you spend time every day feeding it like the gardener feeds a seed, you will produce fruit. (Id.)
William A. Tiller
It has such flexibility that anything you want to create, it will create, and you learn that your intention causes this thing to materialize once you are conscious enough. (Id.)
Some people, influenced by religious dogma, tend to this they were ‘too insignificant’ to have any impact upon their lives? If this was so, we could not be co-creators, and we could not create our own reality. William Tiller states:
Capacity is in our bodies to be coherent. And that manifests higher and higher energy density levels, and to be big time creators. Just up to us, we have the free will to not do it, or to do it, and then it just takes time, and practice. (Id.)
A philosopher once compared humans with the billions of grains of sand on a beach, and this image has been interpreted as a metaphor for the insignificance of human beings in the cosmos. This is, in my view, a fundamental error. Who, tell me, knows about the importance of an individual grain of sand in the whole of the cosmos, or even the whole of creation?
The problem with reality creation is that if you work from a negative interface, you will create a negative reality. Hence the importance of clearing the memory surface through prayer and meditation, as a process of inner cleansing. When people are stuck in emotional hangups, they need to work through those hangups first in order to be able to create a consistent, and consistently positive, reality. Let us see what Dr. Daniel Monti, Director of Mind-Body Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University has to say about this:
Sometimes it requires understanding that emotional pattern and connecting the parts of the nervous system that are about emotional survival and cognitive appraisal, and working through the emotional stuckness. That’s why I suppose there are so many different types of therapies; there is therapies that are geared more looking at emotions, more looking at cognitions, more looking at behavioral ways you can help yourself get out of the pattern. But I think, again, looking at the human organism, as every living system, as an integrated whole, that there are ways of integrating cognition, emotion, behavior, physiology in your approach to change. Then, that’s what is going to be most helpful. And there are a variety of techniques that can help a person to do that. See, I think what you want here is ‘What is that thing a person can do?’ Well, I don’t think there is a thing. I think there is a process. For somebody who is in that kind of a pattern, there is a process of things that person has to go through before they can do that in a consistent way, repeatedly, so that they actually relearnt a new way of behaving. (Id.)
But please do not lure yourself with the great promises done in the Bleep. I do not say they are wrong, I do not say they are exaggerated. I do say they apply for people who do not suffer from major hangups! If you are as ‘incurable’ as Amanda do not blame the Bleep if reality creation doesn’t work for you but get to see the whole of the picture! If you have a hangup with your past, you can’t just simply apply the teachings of the movie, but first have to clear your memory surface from the negative imprint. On the other hand, people are often overwhelmed with beliefs and ideologies that they take for granted, which means they take religious, social or political concepts for ‘reality’ and behave according to the demands imposed by those group fantasies.
Dr. Miceal Ledwith, theologian and formerly Professor of Systematic Theology at Maynooth College in Ireland, explains:
These are bizarre ideas, but obviously they have a great hold on the fears and the limitations, and the insecurities of people, which is why religion can play so effectively, whether deliberately or otherwise, on those insecurities. People fall in line very readily when they are trapped by these cosmic sentences of everlasting punishment. (Id.)
Fritjof Capra speaks of a ‘sustainable science’ to be worked out for the future, and Valerie Hunt, already back in the 1980s, envisioned a ‘Science of the Human Vibrations of Consciousness’, sub-title of her book Infinite Mind (1989/1996). In the Bleep Quantum Edition, the question was answered implicitly and the contours of such a new science are still blurred from what I could gather in the film. However, this lacking sharpness doesn’t surprise. I actually think it’s because of the high level of complexity involved that it will take years or decades to work this science out, and it will probably not be done single-handedly but as a complex team project. What I have got from the film is that the main part of that science somehow would deal with human intention and how intention impacts upon our material world. Another task of that science would be to integrate the insights we gained from quantum physics, with those gained by psychoneuroimmunology, and the vibrational nature of human emotions.
Joe Dispenza gives useful comments on how we actually can impact upon our neuronet by focusing on certain wanted outcomes, stopping to focus on unwanted ones. But even prior to using such techniques that he boils down to the slogan ‘creating my day’, he explains that all knowledge gathering leads to changes in the neuronet, which actually means that the old maxim that ‘books make you wiser’ is true, not just in the literal sense that you gain more knowledge, but in the sense that the very fact of gathering knowledge regularly through reading books renders your neuronet more complex, with the result that your IQ will go up because of more ‘preferred pathways’ in your grey matter. I think this is important to know as a starting point.
Knowledge allows the brain to begin to become wired, and we will begin to see what has always existed, but because we live in those routine-automated programs, we’re unable to see because we are processing mind from the familiar. To learn knowledge means we’re learning new things, and learning new things means we’re gathering information and creating the circuitry now to begin to develop the sensitivity to begin to see things the first time. (DVD 1, Side A)
While Dr. Daniel Monti puts the stress on the therapeutic nature of this knowledge, speaking of a basic ‘ability to change’ that is part of the nervous system and makes out its ‘plasticity’, for Stuart Hameroff and Fred Alan Wolf, it’s also the fact that science and spirituality will begin to function as complementary ingredients in that kind of metascience to be created in the future. Fred Alan Wolf affirms that while quantum physics was mainly an achievement of the 20th century, the ‘new reaching of science and spirituality’ will be one of the tenets of the 21st.
In my view, the main problem part of that new science will be its lacking coherence, or the rather enormous task to work out this coherence, while for the moment, the picture quantum physics offers is, to repeat it, one of ‘fables and puzzles’. There is not much help in Tiller’s statements that we are co-creators and somehow responsible for all we find ‘out there’ in the world, not only because Krishnamurti said this before him. There is also not much help in the insight that when you come back out of the rabbit hole, you have gained what Terence McKenna called ‘the greater picture’ and you come to a point of ‘sudden realization’ of your true nature. There is practically speaking no controversy about these assumptions; the problem is how to integrate them with quantum physics without, as Professor Albert would put it, ‘grabbing at those concepts’ in an attempt to justify your desired outcome with quantum physics as the ultimate backup provider for ‘all kinds of agendas’.
But before I am discussing Albert’s rather important ‘dissenting vote’ on that matter, let me provide some quotes that make it clear enough that on the very matter of quantum physics, we are far away from something like a scientific theory that is sustainable and sufficiently discussed so that a consensus doctorum could be reached in the near future.
To say, I am convinced that no such consensus will be reached; in the contrary, I speculate that the paradoxes and various split theories will duplicate and several branches will develop within quantum physics that divide scientists even more into various camps. Fred Alan Wolf explains:
Let’s talk about the subatomic world, and then we talk about what science has to do with reality. The first thing to know about the subatomic world is that it’s totally fantasy-created by mad physicists trying to figure out what the heck is going on when they do these little experiments. With little experiments I mean big energy in very little spaces and little pieces of time. It gets pretty nutty at that realm of things, and so subatomic physics was invented to try to figure that all out. We need a new science down there, it’s called quantum physics and it is subject to a whole range of hypotheses, thoughts, feelings, intuitions as to what the heck is really going on. (Id.)
The new science Fred Alan Wolf talks about is in his terms quantum physics itself, not a science that goes beyond quantum physics and integrates it in a larger whole. But I wonder if this statement is to be taken serious because quantum physics is not ‘a new science’, it’s around since quite a time now, and the fact that there is very little consensus within the scientific community regarding quantum physics doesn’t make this science a bit ‘newer’, while it may make it a huge bit more inaccessible for the lay person. If already scientists are virtually wading in a mess of split-opinions, how can the lay person ever get an accurate picture of that ‘science’, I wonder? I guess many a person confronted for the first time with quantum physics will simply discard out the very idea that it’s a science.
Where is the order, the methodic consistency, and the verifiability of all parameters of that science? There is very little to find that at least in traditional terms could qualify quantum physics as a real science. And let me agree with Professor Albert here, that the Bleep really made the quantum mess even bigger. There is one figure in the film that I do not quote in this review and that I do not even name because of various reasons, for that figure did a good job to instill in the movie’s audience the clear impression that quantum physics can legally serve as the ‘overall denominator’ for making huge amounts of money on people’s complete naiveté regarding the spiritual facts of life. And here is where I myself was put off, and where my inner coherence was disturbed when we are talking about science. Otherwise, honestly, I wouldn’t bother, there is all kind camps in the new age, but why calling them scientific?
I will now provide some quotes from DVD 1, Side A that all point to the hitherto unresolved riddles in quantum physics and the fact that, to paraphrase Dr. Albert, most of them simply go against our ‘psychological reality’.
The fundamental equations of physics have a property which is referred to as time-reversal symmetry. And what time-reversal symmetry means is that a set of laws which are time-reversal symmetric are laws that have a falling feature; for any process that is in accord with those laws, the same process going backwards is exactly as much in accord with those laws. That ought to mean that … people get younger looking as often as they get older, that we have the same kind of access vis-à-vis knowledge to the future as we do to the past, that by acting now we ought to influence the past, just as much as we can influence the future. All of that is wrong, all of that comes into violent conflict with the way we psychologically experience the world.
Fred Alan Wolf
One of the most unpalatable ideas, still, in spite of the fact that quantum physics is being around for a long time is the possibility or the notion that the future can have a causative effect on the present. We believe that the past can have a causative effect on the present. I hold the ball, I drop it, and my dropping it is the cause of its falling to the ground; but could the ground be the cause of my dropping the ball in the first place?
Our everyday conscious experience is that it seems we are moving forward in time. In quantum theory it also goes backwards in time and there is something suggesting that processes in our brain or our consciousness project backwards in time.
We don’t know, in quantum mechanics, how to hook ourselves as observers up with the world; we don’t know how to treat ourselves as observers, as just another part of the physical system that we are describing. The only way we are doing quantum mechanics, as it is traditionally formulated, is to keep the observer outside of the system we are describing. The moment you put them in you get all those paradoxes, and we are forced to say in quantum mechanics and we are saying things like ‘Look, the book is doing what it is doing because of quantum mechanics and that is because I am there and I see it. And you better not try to analyze that second part of sentence in terms of a quantum mechanics tool because it’s going to break down. That’s why there are these two separate laws of the evolution of physical systems, one that applies when you are not looking at them, the other that applies when you are. But that’s crazy!
Fred Alan Wolf
There is no way that we are ever going to mathematize or put into mathematical formula this very act in which a conscious observer comes up with the answer. People say ‘Oh, measure it, record it, it’s on the tape, it’s recorded!’ You forgot one part in the equation: somebody has to look at the tape and until somebody looks at the tape, it isn’t recorded at all.
It’s easy to generate situations where the equations of motion would predict let’s say the wave function that makes the size of a certain basket ball; it’s uniformly scripted all over the basket ball. You don’t have any idea what a stake like that would look like. According to the law of quantum mechanics, that’s supposed to be a state in which it fails to make any sense even to ask the question ‘Where is the basket ball?’
We did these experiments and we got certain results, and in the light of these results, we asked the question of the form which path that the electron could have taken. And if there are two options like that, it’s just a matter of standard classical logic. There are four logic possibilities. A, B. Both. Neither. Okay? We went through those possibilities, one by one, and designed an experiment in each case to test that possibility. And the answer in each of the four cases was negative. Okay? It doesn’t go through route A. How do we know that? Because when we put in a total of nothing box in route A, it has an effect on this particle. But a total of nothing boxes don’t have an effect on particles that pass through them. It doesn’t go through route B for the same reason. It doesn’t go through both routes because if we stop the experiment in the middle, we always find it either on one route or the other, but not both, and it doesn’t take neither route because if we just block up the two routes and leave everything else open, nothing gets through. So we can systematically, piece by piece, eliminate all of the four logical possibilities, okay, given the assumption that it makes sense to ask the question ‘Which route did it take?’
Now, let us apply some common sense regarding that ‘new science’ to be created, that shall be, when we take the Bleep serious, an amalgam of quantum physics, psychoneuroimmunology, research on human intention, techniques for creating our own reality, and the quest for self-knowledge through meditation, yoga or other kinds of constant spiritual practice.
Now, I find this very beautiful indeed, and a wonderful perspective for our future, and human evolution in general. But how will it be possible to reach a true integration of science and spirituality in view of the fact that quantum physics actually gets more fragmented over time, and dissected in various camps or ‘dissenting opinions’?
It doesn’t make sense. It is logical that for reaching the highest level of coherence and integrated complexity of such a metascience, the first thing to do is to integrate quantum physics itself as the main part of that science, and to reach a scientific consensus so that we can talk about one single body of quantum physics. What we have now is not one science of quantum physics, but at least five or ten different sciences of quantum physics, depending on the ‘interpretation’ you take. The world is explained in totally different terms if you take the ‘Copenhagen interpretation’ or the ‘Parallel worlds hypothesis’, or else Roger Penrose’s model. And here I don’t even need to talk about alternative models such as Rupert Sheldrake’s morphic resonance, that also make sense somehow.
Professor David Albert was very explicit about claims being made in the Bleep that were not in his view in alignment with the precepts of quantum physics. As Alexandra Bruce writes in Beyond the Bleep (2005), Albert was publicly disgruntled at the Bleep, and was giving statements in various newspapers to vent his anger at being misrepresented in the final cut of the movie.
I do agree that a quantum physicist should not seek enlightenment from any other source than science itself. Here, Albert is only consistent with his own expansive scientific insights and ideas. And he shows perhaps more character than the other scientists in the film in his attempt at safeguarding the virtue of ‘scientific correctness’ to a point to sweep spiritual merchants out of the temple.
Now, this is of course valid only for the first version of the film, the original What the Bleep movie, not for the later Quantum Edition where the entire set of critical interviews is published on DVD 1, Side B. It has to be noted also that Albert’s criticism never is personal, at least not from the material contained on the DVD set. I do not know about other statements or what he said to the press other than what Alexandra quoted in her booklet.
But I definitely consider Albert’s ‘dissenting vote’ as important enough to be discussed more in detail, and that is the reason I have decided to quote the most important part of the interview in full length, and by the way, from my own typescript of the Quantum Edition.
One of the important innovations of quantum mechanics is that a certain fantasy that held in physics up until then about the possibility of observing something entirely passively, observing it without affecting it in the process of observing, however things turn out, it’s fairly clear now that quantum mechanics will have ended that permanently. Looking at things involves interacting with them and it involves interacting with them in a way whose effect can’t be minimized, no matter how delicate your technology is …
The physical process of making a measurement has a very profound effect. There have been a whole bunch of speculations in the literature as to what it is about the process of making a measurement that has this effect and how it is that the process of making measurements have the effects that they do? One of the speculations about this which had its heyday in the 1950s and 60s in the scientific and philosophical literature was that the active agent here was consciousness, and people were excited about this for all sorts of obvious reasons because that is a very new sort of link between physics and something that seemed altogether outside of physics until then.
Much of the talk that goes on in quantum mechanics that goes on in the film is centered around these speculations, and one of the points I wanted to make this morning was that those speculations haven’t played a role in what I regard as the serious scientific and philosophical literature on this subject, for thirty years or so. There was a certain period where people were speculating like that, there was, as I mentioned this morning, a series of progressively more and more embarrassing conversations of the form ‘Well, can I cause these effects with my consciousness, can a mouse cause these effects with its consciousness?’
Eventually, it was clear that the words involved here were so imprecise, were so slippery, that you wouldn’t be able building a useful scientific theory around them; and the idea was dropped. It’s also the case that even if those ideas had turned out to be useful and true in physics, they wouldn’t have produced the picture of the world that seems to me we get in ‘What the Bleep’; even if consciousness was the agent, all these theories had the operations of this consciousness regulated by very strict external concrete solid mathematical laws. The jump from the involvement of consciousness, even if it was there, to these larger claims like ‘I create my own reality’, ‘I choose my experience’, ‘consciousness is the foundation of all being’, ‘there is room in the world for this intangible phenomenon of freedom’, and so on and so forth, these wouldn’t have followed even if the consciousness picture of measurement had succeeded; and the consciousness picture of measurement didn’t succeed.
The positive thing to say is there is a huge amount of interesting work going on over the last twenty years, trying to understand how measurements do cause the effects that they cause. This work is all in a vein that this film would call a much more mechanistic picture of the world; this work has to do with trying to figure out how to alter the equations in order to produce these changes, or how to add physical things to our picture of the world in order to show how these changes come about; they are not at all centered on issues of the possible agency of consciousness.
If there’s something you wanna put your finger on, one of the profound philosophical shifts between classical mechanics and quantum mechanics, it’s that classical mechanics is built from the ground up around what we now know is a fantasy of the possibility of observing things passively, or the possibility of when you get more and more careful, more and more closely approaching the position of observing things in a perfectly passive way, observing things in such a way that you are sure that you’re not in the process of disturbing something changing the very thing you are trying to observe.
Quantum mechanics put a decisive end to that; this phenomenon of incompatible observables that I was talking about this morning makes it very clear that with measurements, there is a minimum and finite disturbance that you are going to have to cause to any system by measuring anyone of its physical variables, and there is going to be no way, no kind of technological advancement that can reduce it below that definite finite level.
Mind you, everybody always knew that in order to measure a system you have to interact physically with it in one way or the other, but like I say, the fantasy was that you could make this interaction more and more delicate, as your technology got better. Quantum mechanics put a decisive end to that; quantum mechanics gives us a theoretical unsurpassable finite minimum interaction which you must have with the system, if you’re going to get any information out of it. That’s a very decisive change.
So this picture of ‘passive observation’ is gone; like I say, it was a tempting move in the context of the discovery like that to say ‘Well, what we mean by observation, what is it that is disturbing?’, it was a natural thing to grab at something like consciousness; observers have consciousness, and so on and so forth; there were other things they grabbed at just as instinctively: macroscopicness, the macroscopicness of the measuring apparatus as opposed to the microscopicness of the measuring object, the cut between subject and object; there were all sorts of things to grab at. Consciousness was one of the things that was grabbed at; it was grabbed at very tentatively; it was in fairly short order followed up to the point where it looked like a dead end in so far as the progress of physics was concerned, and it hasn’t played a role since then, except in certain attempts to appropriate quantum mechanics to other kinds of agendas, new age agendas, or deconstructionist agendas, or post-structuralist agendas, and so on and so forth.
Science is a very messy, very back-and-forth, very complicated, very social, very human institution, like other institutions. Of course, there isn’t universal agreement among scientists, particularly about the foundations of quantum mechanics, of course there are messes all over the place – but if you just say that and leave it there, I think you are not doing the situation justice. There is still a really important distinction between two quite different ways that you can come at the world; both of them are imperfect, both of them are messy, both of them are back-and-forth, but there is a pasture of coming at the world with the demand that you are going to find something that makes you feel good, that you are going to find something therapeutic, that you are going to find what lies at the center of the universe, what lies at the foundation of all being, is some attractive, powerful, safe, accessible, reassuring image of yourself.
This is the way the Vatican came at the world in its dispute with Galilei, this is the way the Victorians came at the world in their dispute with Darwin. The problem that the Vatican had with Galileo is that humanity was being displaced from the center of the universe, the problem that the Victorians had with Darwin was that the ancestry of humanity was not as dignified and not as reassuring as people wanted it to be. It seems to me that one of the important historical distinctions that science is entitled to is that it’s science that always represents the resistance to this impost; it’s science that always represents the demand that you come at the world with open and authentic wonder and with sharp, cold, clear eyes, and in a way that singularly intends on getting at the truth, whether the truth ends up being reassuring and therapeutic, or not.
The statements in the film in the form of ‘consciousness is the ground of all being’ or ‘consciousness links up with the consciousness of the unified field’, and so on and so forth, I must say this was primarily disturbing to me. I hear in all this vivid echoes of the Vatican’s position that the earth is at the center of the universe, or of the anti-Darwinian position, that man was created by God, that we are somehow specially important, that we somehow have a special role to play, or a special link, a special connection with what’s at the foundation of the world. We don’t know that, and our job in searching through the world is to find out if that’s true or not, not to come at the world with a demand that it be true, or not to select which scientific theory or belief whether that scientific theory or belief seems to endorse that kind of claim. (DVD 1, Side B)
Let me begin my discussion from the end of this quote upward, for the simple reason that his last paragraph is a stark rhetoric that questions the self-image of the moviemakers who understand themselves as open-minded, anti-clerical and progressive people. In fact, the movie was attacked most by Christian fundamentalist circles in American society, so what Albert is saying here really sounds like paradoxical.
But I will try to develop his whole idea from that statement ‘upwards’ in his speech, as I believe it will be easier to understand his point than by going ‘downwards’ in his speech, the way he developed his argument. We simply face the peak argument at the end, which is why I begin ‘with the end in mind.’
Let me first ask a loaded question. Is it legitimate to bring a comforting message to an audience of mostly non-scientists that uses science as the backup for one’s good-willed and, why not, humanitarian intention?
I think we all agree that it’s legitimate to bring comforting messages to people in our cinemas, rather than bringing out movies that are filled with murder, violence and perversity. But is it legitimate to do so and quote scientific insights and theories to corroborate one’s message? I think it is provided that what one refers to in terms of ‘scientific insights and theories’ really holds the promise, and really can be extrapolated in that manner, without appropriating the scientific method for justifying one’s particular agenda.
So, to bring it to the point, does quantum physics, from all we know about it, conclusively explain that:
- Science and spirituality are not opposed, but complementary;
- We create our own reality;
- We impact upon reality by conscious awareness;
- We have psychic powers through the unified field;
- We can be ‘avatars’ just as ‘the Buddhas and Jesus’ (William Tiller);
When we look at Albert’s argument closely, we see that he doesn’t want to say the filmmakers are as fundamentalist as the Vatican was toward Galileo, but he sees a parallel in a postulate to ‘bring a good message to the masses’ that can indeed be detected behind both forms of behavior.
Now let us put this question squarely in our lap: ‘Is science supposed to give comforting messages to the masses’? Is science to be salvational?
The answer here, not only Albert’s, but generally, is a clear no. Science is not supposed to give us any specific vintage of truth, it is only supposed to give us truth. What we do with that truth is not science’s affair.