By Deepak Chopra, M.D., Menas C. Kafatos, Ph.D., P. Murali Doraiswamy, MBBS, and Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D.
In this series of posts we’d like to formulate a new picture of truth that replaces the flawed principles of science as it exists today. What is needed is an expanded science that grows out of facing – and correcting – some mistaken beliefs. Science follows wherever reality leads it. We think that reality has led to a place that isn’t explained by quantum mechanics alone. A new set of principles is needed to replace the current ones:
- There is no objective, external universe. What we perceive as physical objects and events are actually reflections of how the human brain perceives things.
- Reality is one, a constantly shifting whole. It is pure process in which every event is connected to every other. The process is falsified when it is frozen and chopped up into isolated bits and pieces of data. As Wordsworth rightly said, “We murder to dissect.” Particles have been replaced by events and by relationships between ever-changing fields of energy.
- We live in a participatory universe. The observer is blended into the thing he observes. Ultimately, there is no distinction between observer and observed. Both are expressions of consciousness as it unfolds in time and space.
- Space and time are not pre-existent and everlasting. They may have arisen with the emerging early cosmos.
Stated this baldy, the principles of an expanded science sound arcane and far-fetched. But that’s the nature of a paradigm shift. Everything gets reinterpreted in a radical way, and if you don’t buy into the shift, the reinterpretation sounds outlandish. To a mainstream scientist, still stuck in the 18th century world view, nothing is more outlandish than the following statements:
- Consciousness is the ultimate reality. There is only one consciousness, which pervades existence.
- Out of primal consciousness all the matter and energy in the universe emerged.
- Primal consciousness continues to play itself out as the evolving universe. But the source of consciousness is inconceivable, since it lies beyond time and space.
- The human mind is an expression of primal consciousness, which is why we are able to perceive reality in the first place.
- Mind comes first, matter derives from it.
- To finally know reality, our subjective experience is a truer guide than the collection of facts. After all, this experience is the only reality we live with throughout our lives.
The last point is where the lives of ordinary people are affected. Facts are no substitute for experience, and to say that scientific rationality will solve everything is a dangerous notion. A physicist might spend his day wondering about the state of the world, fearing the rise of terrorism, arguing with his wife over how to raise the kids, and feeling anxious about amassing a retirement fund. We can all identify with such a day. But if in the middle of the day our physicist collects a new fact about a subatomic particle, only that would be scientifically significant. The rest doesn’t matter, even though in reality the rest matters enormously as experience. We aren’t doubting the value of new findings about subatomic particles, only putting things into perspective. An expanded science cannot afford to shirk subjective experience through an abstract devotion to objectivity.
In the new paradigm, a purely objective science is a chimera, an illusion kept intact by excluding the actual experience of life as lived. One of the dogmas of current science is that everything can be known through the reductionist method. (Quantum theory actually provided limits to everything being known, although most practicing scientists sweep this under the rug.) In other words, the whole is understood by breaking it down into its component parts, the way anatomy breaks down the body into cells, tissues, and organs. Yet the reductionist method is exactly what keeps us from seeing the larger reality we are all participating in. A skeptic will protest, “If you don’t believe in reductionism, you aren’t a real scientist.” To which one can reply, “I’m still a real scientist, just not the kind you are.” This at least offers a choice.
We want to show in these posts that truth is very different from the measurements that science relies upon as it explores finer and finer levels of Nature. Like it or not, the pursuit of the truth is edging us closer to the Truth, as conceived of in Plato’s idealism, Indian Vedanta, and Buddhist philosophies. The universe has a source, and it is consciousness.
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Deepak Chopra , MD is the author of more than 70 books with twenty-one New York Times bestsellers, including co-author with Sanjiv Chopra, MD of Brotherhood: Dharma, Destiny, and The American Dream, and co-author with Rudolph Tanzi of Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-being (Harmony). Chopra serves as Founder of The Chopra Foundation and host of Sages and Scientists Symposium – August 16-18, 2013 at La Costa Resort and Spa.
Menas Kafatos, Ph.D., Fletcher Jones Endowed Professor in Computational Physics, Director of the Center of Excellence at Chapman University, is co-author with Deepak Chopra of the forthcoming book, Who Made God and Other Cosmic Riddles. (Harmony)
P. Murali Doraiswamy, MBBS, FRCP, Professor of Psychiatry, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina and a leading physician scientist in the area of mental health, cognitive neuroscience and mind-body medicine.
Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D., Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology at Harvard University, and Director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), is co-author with Deepak Chopra of Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-being. (Harmony)