Preface: The Everything Answer Book
By Amit Goswami, PhD
Please enjoy an excerpt from Dr. Amit Goswami’s latest book, The Everything Answer Book: How Quantum Science Explains Love, Death, and the Meaning of Life.
Quantum physics is quite old now; almost a hundred years have passed since its complete mathematical formulation. It has been verified by myriad experiments; technologies work when based on quantum ideas; and our society has begun to use the word “quantum” profusely but often with misconception. The bad news is that despite nearly a hundred years of quantum physics the quantum worldview has still not been accepted by the scientific establishment. Thus, the media blindly follows the lead of establishment science and keeps spreading the archaic Newtonian worldview. Consequently, the quantum worldview has not penetrated the public mind. The good news is that starting with the 1990s, the quantum worldview, thanks to the efforts of an avant-garde group of renegade scientists including myself, has come to full blossom and has given birth to an all inclusive new paradigm of science. We also have a grass roots movement—quantum activism—in place designed to dislodge the stranglehold of the Newtonian worldview on the scientific establishment and the media by directly appealing to people. This book is the latest popular exposition of the quantum worldview and quantum activism.
Part of the mischief rests with circumstances. From the beginning, there were quantum paradoxes from the point of view of the philosophy of the then (and still) prevalent Newtonian paradigm—officially called scientific materialism—everything is phenomenon of matter, material movement in space and time, caused by material interaction. It turns out that these paradoxes were not resolved and settled via experimental data in favor of the quantum worldview until the 1980s and ‘90s. The delay was mostly due to World War II and the shift afterwards of the hub of physics from a philosophy-oriented Europe to practical-minded America. In the meantime, scientific materialism became entrenched. Before the ‘50s, its arena was mainly physics and chemistry—the science of inanimate objects. After the ‘50s, the same philosophy began to dominate biology (biology became chemistry) and the health sciences (medicine became machine medicine), and eventually psychology (psychology became cognitive neuroscience).
The second party to the mischief was the inadvertent enthusiasm of well-meaning scientists to close the matter of understanding quantum physics as quickly as possible. So, a stopgap compromise was made called famously (or should I say notoriously?) The Copenhagen Interpretation pioneered by the famous and amicable Niels Bohr whom every physicist including this author worshipped while he was alive.
The centerpiece of the Copenhagen Interpretation is called the complementarity principle and in its most popularized form it is wrong, both theoretically and experimentally. Quantum mathematics says unequivocally that quantum objects are waves, but of course, experiments say that they are also particles. How can the same object be both wave (stuff that spreads out) and particle (stuff that travels in defined trajectories)? The popular form of the complementarity principle resolves this wave-particle duality paradox with this statement: quantum objects are both waves and particles; however, the wave aspect is revealed in wave-measuring experiments, and the particle aspect is revealed in particle-measuring experiments. Both aspects never show up in the same experiment and are thus complementary.
The correct answer to the paradox of wave-particle duality, theoretically and experimentally, is this: quantum objects are waves of possibility residing in a domain of reality outside of space and time called the domain of potentiality; whenever we measure them, they reveal themselves as particles in space and time. Both the wave and the particle nature can be detected in the same single experiment. Suffice it to say, the popularized version of the complementarity principle, creating the impression that the wave and particle aspect are both aspects of the object in space and time, misled an entire generation or two of physicists to close their minds against the really radical elements of quantum physics—that quantum physics insists on a two-level reality not the one space-time reality of Newtonian physics and scientific materialism. And that quantum physics cannot possibly be made paradox-free without explicitly invoking consciousness into physics.
But of course, it was the movement of consciousness that kept the paradoxes alive, not in the mainstream, but in a cultish sort of way. In the 1980s, an experiment by Alain Aspect and his collaborators resolved the two domains versus one domain of reality issue by discovering the signature of the domain of potentiality: In that domain, no signal is needed for communication; everything is instantly interconnected. In contrast, in space and time, signals, always moving with a speed no greater than the speed of light, mediate communication always taking a finite time.
What does it mean to say that the domain of potentiality is all instantly interconnected? Simply this: the stuff of this domain is one entity or whatever you call it. What should we call it? In 1989, I wrote a paper in a physics journal and followed that up with a popular book in 1993, The Self-Aware Universe with the paradox resolving proposition that the domain of potentiality is our consciousness, not in the form of ordinary ego-consciousness, but as a higher consciousness where we are all one. In manifest awareness, we become separate partly due to the necessity of distinction from the objects (the subject-object distinction) and partly due to our individual conditioning. I also proposed that this higher consciousness is causally empowered by the power of downward causation consisting of the capacity to choose among the many facets of a wave of possibility. It is conscious choice that transforms waves of possibility into particles of actuality.
The philosopher/scientist Willis Harman, at the time the president of the Institute of Noetic Science, was very supportive of my work. He invited me to write a monograph on my research. The new research soon created a new science, science within consciousness; a term I later discovered was already in vogue thanks to Willis. The monograph by the same name was published by IONS in 1994.
Progress came rapidly and always accompanied by strange coincidences of Jungian synchronicity. First, an old woman called me on a radio talk show with the question, “What happens when we die?” I didn’t know except cultural hearsay, so I kept quiet. Then a Theosophist—one of those believers of reincarnation—started taking a course from me on my book but ended up mostly talking about reincarnation. Soon after, I had a dream in which I woke up with the admonition “The Tibetan Book of the Dead is correct; it’s your job to prove it.” Finally, a graduate student of philosophy, a woman, called me and somehow convinced me to be her “therapist” to help her mourn over her boyfriend’s death and eventually overcome it. It is while conversing with this woman and trying to theorize about what does survive our death, I discovered a science of all our experiences—material sensing, vital feeling (of energy), mental thinking (of meaning) and supramental intuitions (of archetypes like love and truth). Based on this discovery, I developed a theory of survival after death and reincarnation. Soon after, I got a call from the author/editor Frank de Marco to write a book on my newest research which I did under the title Physics of the Soul.
My friend the biophysicist Beverly Rubik called me in 1998 asking me to contribute an article on my research on quantum physics and consciousness for an anthology she was completing. In 1999, I joined a group of thirty new paradigm thinkers to attend a conference with the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India. Big melodrama took place there. First the physicist Fred Alan Wolf and I had a verbal battle of egos: whose approach to the new paradigm is the correct one? Others joined in; the organizers complained to the Dalai Lama; and he laughed and laughed, “Scientists will be scientists.” After peace was thus established, the Dalai Lama asked us to apply our new paradigm ideas to social issues. This caught my attention. When I returned to the States, I wrote the article for Beverly applying quantum physics to health and healing in which I developed a theory of what Deepak Chopra called quantum healing—spontaneous healing.
Around the same time, I was in Brazil and a young man asked me, “Are you good friends with Deepak Chopra?” Of course, that was natural, as both of us were of Indian origin and also researchers of consciousness. When I said “No,” this young man said, “I can correct that.” I don’t know what he did, but soon after I got an invitation to visit Deepak in San Diego, which I did. Deepak had just published a book Perfect Health on Ayurveda, an alternative healing system from India. He gave me a copy and wanted me to read it.
One thing led to another in this way and soon I ended up developing the scientific validity of an idea that physicians of alternative medicine have been using since millennia. Since we are more than our physical body, disease in our “subtle” bodies can also be responsible for physical disease, especially chronic disease. And then their healing is achieved not only by the cure of the physical symptoms, but healing the disease at the appropriate source.
Practitioners of health sciences, physical and mental, deal with actual human beings and machine medicine that began its dominance of how to heal human clients did not always meet with their enthusiastic approval. When I wrote a book The Quantum Doctor on integrating conventional “machine” medicine and alternative more human medicines, the quantum worldview began getting some traction among alternative medicine practitioners and even among avant-garde allopathic practitioners. Deepak was so enthusiastic about the book that he wrote the foreword to a later edition of the book.
But conventional medicine is based on the biology paradigm and to relax the strangle hold of scientific materialism on conventional medicine we have to go by the way of introducing consciousness in biology. I began that work in the 1990s and eventually in 2008 wrote a book Creative Evolution where I proposed a consciousness-based scientific theory of evolution that explains the fossil gaps and the biological arrow of time for evolution from simplicity to complexity, two important pieces of data that Darwinism and its offshoots cannot explain. In that book I integrated ideas of Sri Aurobindo and Teilhard de Chardin about the future of humanity within a scientific approach. I also integrated Rupert Sheldrake’s great ideas about morphogenetic fields (blueprints of biological form making) under the umbrella of science within consciousness.
The biology establishment, however, has been very resistant to quantum physics, although thanks to the empirical work on epigenetics and popular books by the biologists Bruce Lipton, Mae Wan Ho, and others the strangle hold is gradually losing its power.
In 2009, with the intention to accelerate the paradigm shift, I began a movement called quantum activism to popularize the quantum worldview via creating a group of people with the avowed motive of transforming themselves and their societies via practicing quantum principles. This has gained some attention in not only America, but in Brazil, Europe, Australia, and Japan as well.
In 2014, I went to Tokyo to conduct a workshop and the company Voice, Inc., that sponsored me arranged for an extensive dialog between myself and an erudite Japanese businessman/philosopher Masumi Hori on the quantum worldview and quantum activism. This book is mainly a revised version of those dialogs. For the sake of completeness, I have added a few more interviews, notably one with the author Eva Herr, that further address the subject.
Frankly, readers and friends and fellow quantum activists always criticize me for writing like a scientist at a level often a little too obtuse for nonscientist readers. Well, I think, you will not have such complaints leveled against this book. This is Quantum Physics 101 for nonscientists. And that is one of its main virtues and one reason for publishing it. In the main, of course, this is an update of my entire work until now and therein lays its value. However, beware of repetition. There is plenty of it because I think it brings completeness to the point of discussion at hand at that point of the dialog. You don’t have to look back every time you encounter an idea. Well anyway, if reading it inspires you to become a quantum activist, my effort will be worthwhile.
I will end the prolog with a quote from one of the dialogs: “About this book that we have created, I must say, that without the creative participation of the entire group of interviewers, the book could not be what it is. In summary, I think the entire thrust is where consciousness research, where the understanding of the quantum worldview, is leading us. This new paradigm of science that is slowly but surely replacing the old, Newtonian paradigm of science is it; it is the future of science. This is the essence of everything, the basis for a theory of everything. This book was created by actual, live conversations between people who sat around a table. One is the questioner, one is the answerer, in some cases, there was the translator, then at some stage of publication there will be an editor, a photographer, and all that. But all these are just roles. The dynamics of our new jargon is governed by the totality that we call signal-less communication–non-local communication–that takes place out of the oneness behind all the inherent separateness—the ground of being that we are all connected to.”
I thank Voice, Inc. for inviting me to Tokyo and Masumi Hori for the dialogs I had with him. I thank Tatiana Hill for transcribing the tapes of those interviews. I thank Eva Herr for the interview that I had with her. I thank some of the other journalists whose names I don’t have on record for their contribution as well. I thank Judith Greentree for a thorough reading of the manuscript and for some humorous comments that I incorporated in the book. Heartfelt thanks are due to Sara Sgarlat, Mimi Hill, and Terry Way for their contribution. I thank the editorial stuff of Hampton Roads for a wonderful job of production. I thank you all.