Tag Archives: observer effect

What Does “the Human Universe” Actually Mean?

earth

By Deepak Chopra, MD

 

Most people have never heard the phrase “the human universe,” so it got a major boost from British physicist Brian Cox. A popular science presenter in the UK and physics professor at the University of Manchester, Cox called his latest BBC series by that name. (The amplified text is available in a lavishly illustrated book, Human Universe, written with producer Andrew Cohen, just out in paperback.) Cox covers the biggest unanswered questions, not just in physics but in science: Where are we? Are we alone? Who are we? Why are we here? What is our future? Continue reading

Thinking Outside the (Skull) Box (Part 12)

University of Maryland Brain Cap Technology Turns Thought into MotionClick here to read part 11!

By Deepak Chopra, M.D., Menas C. Kafatos, Ph.D., P. Murali Doraiswamy, MBBS, Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D., Neil Theise, MD

In our prior post we reconstructed the concept of “you”, which we all typically, think of as bounded by the skin and the body it encloses.  But a hallmark of 21st-century science is to tear down boundaries.  A limitless universe that springs from the quantum vacuum, (along with possibly multiple universes) is the setting for an unbounded “you” – a self that merges with creation. The bond that unites you with the universe isn’t simply physical, although every atom in your body comes from stardust, much of it the residue of exploding supernovas in intergalactic space.  Far more importantly, “you” are a mental construct, and therefore the bond that weaves your life into cosmic life is invisible.

We’ve argued that human intelligence most plausibly arose from an intelligent universe. As the great physicist Erwin Schrödinger declared, “To divide or multiply consciousness is something meaningless.” In other words, consciousness is one. It only appears to be divided up into billions of human minds, and likely into uncountable forms of consciousness in other species. In the same way, you might see an aqua sweater as blue while I see it as green, but “color” itself is a single thing; two people can’t have their own separate definition of it.

There’s a telling metaphor in the Vedic tradition: When the sun shines on a perfectly still sea, there is one sun reflecting back. But when the sea is rippled and moving, there are millions of tiny suns shining back. This appearance doesn’t mean that the sun isn’t one. This insight comes very close to an ancient passage from one of the central texts in Indian spirituality, the Yoga Vasistha: “Cosmic consciousness alone exists, now and ever. In it there are no worlds, no created beings. That consciousness reflected in itself appears to be creation.”

In short, either consciousness is unbounded or you haven’t looked deep enough. The reason that Schrödinger felt competent to talk about unbounded consciousness was that physics had finally reached deep enough, to the most fundamental level of nature. In the quantum realm we know for certain that notions of “boundaries” evaporate: the wave functions that describe the locations and boundaries of “particles” extend in all directions to the borders of the universe itself.  Eventually the dissolution of boundaries became total. Einstein, who was a conservative in these matters compared to some of the other quantum pioneers, wrote a condolence letter to a friend who had just lost her husband. It contained the following famous passage: “Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”

Quantum physics forced us to re-conceive ourselves as creatures who appear to be physical and bounded by time, even though our substance isn’t material and has no boundaries in time. Down further in scale, re-conceiving who we are becomes an ever greater imperative: gluons, quarks, neutrinos, mesons, bosons (including the Higgs boson, the so-called “God particle”) all intimately overlap. The universe – and you – continually bubbles up from these shadowy subatomic entities, each sensing, reflecting, and interacting in a seamless whole. In the nanoseconds when these elusive entities escape their invisible domain, science touches on the same picture painted by the Yoga Vasistha, of a creation born of unseen activity beyond the reach of inner thought and probably beyond the reach of imagination as well.

What’s left is mathematics clinging to the edge of the cliff with clutched fingers, hoping not to fall.  But mathematics isn’t reality, while consciousness is. All of us, including scientists, protect our boundaries, finding it hard to join unbounded reality. But if consciousness is real, we don’t have to leap into an alien realm to reach the foundation of creation – it is inside ourselves. The limits of physicality have been reached. This is an area on which there is scientific consensus, thanks to quantum theory: There is a smallest level of scale beneath which one can go no further, at least in this “real” universe of four-dimensional spacetime, known as the Planck scale: 10-35 meters (-1 followed by 35 zeros).  Besides defining where physicality ends, the Planck scale also marks the end point of the environment that encloses material things, such as time, space, and the laws of nature.

We don’t know for sure what the smallest entities are like.  (The five senses don’t help at such an inconceivable scale.) Some think they are the “multidimensional strings” of string theory, but there are other theories as well each sorely lacking in evidence but backed up by various intricate and beautiful mathematical formulations – indeed, the real problem is that there are too many mathematical possibilities that all seem equally valid – or invalid. Whatever the smallest “stuff” is, it cannot be subdivided into smaller bits and pieces with known locations in time and space.  Instead, the universe emerges from the energetic void that is the foundational nature of creation. But even “void” is a tricky term, since the pre-creation state isn’t empty, a pure, empty, vacuum. There are huge amounts of energy linked to vast numbers of virtual particles that potentially manifest an observable reality. Emptiness is spontaneously and continuously giving rise to these tiniest entities, coming and going in a “quantum foam.”  Thus, from the smallest level of scale, the universe is not a place, an empty box in which we reside.  Creation is a process that brings existence out of non-existence. You are that process. You are seamlessly woven into a reality that is complete, whole, and perfect just as it is.

Surprisingly to some but not to all, the subjective experiences found in the Yoga Vasistha and many other ancient texts emphasize the unity of experience. These texts, as it turns out, precisely reflect our objective scientific understanding of how the universe arises. The usual terms attached to ancient texts (e.g., spiritual, religious, wise, intuitive, enlightened) send up red flags to scientists and their ingrained distrust of subjectivity. So let’s resort to a neutral term that links subject and object: observation. In a reality where artificial boundaries have collapsed, the “in here” of subjectivity is no longer walled off from the “out there” of objectivity. The seamless flow of creation expresses itself in both. An observer-based science can be founded on meditation or the Hubble telescope. In a dualistic framework these are opposite poles.  But they come together in an unbounded framework.

For a century quantum physics has wrestled with the so-called observer effect as it impinges on isolated waves and particles. It was mind-blowing enough to believe that the process of observation turned waves into particles.  But the logical extension is mind-expanding: Everything in the universe depends on the linkage between observer, observed, and the act of observation. If it is willing to adopt a touch of humility, science will see that ancient contemplative traditions arrived at conclusions that were not duplicated until “objective” methods acquired incredibly advanced, precise tools. The Higgs boson required billions of dollars in machinery, and countless hours of theorizing, in order to pry out a new piece of knowledge about how subatomic particles emerge from the void. The ancient wisdom traditions began with the big picture instead, and their descriptions of the big picture still outstrip ours. The ancient explorers of consciousness understood the nature of the void, encountered not through mathematical calculation but through direct experience. The void revealed itself to be none other than mind, usually written as Mind to signify that it lies beyond our small, personal minds.

To be continued… 

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Deepak Chopra, MD is the author of more than 75 books translated into over 35 languages with over twenty New York Times bestsellers.  Chopra serves as Founder of The Chopra Foundation. Menas Kafatos, Ph.D., Fletcher Jones Endowed Professor in Computational Physics, Director of the Center of Excellence at Chapman University, 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), co-author with Deepak Chopra of Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-being. (Harmony) Neil Theise, MD, Professor, Pathology and Medicine, (Division of Digestive Diseases) and Director of the Liver and Stem Cell Research Laboratory, Beth Israel Medical Center — Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York.  www.neiltheise.com  neiltheise.wordpress.com

Deepak Chopra: God Will Be Back Tomorrow (Really)

Can a secular age return to an age of faith? No.

Despite the hopes of people who still follow traditional religions, the modern age is too entrenched in its values to ever regain faith as it was once known. The issue isn’t church attendance, which has been declining in every developed country for decades. Nor is it fundamentalism, which is like a family squabble among believers. The core issue that has led to the decline of religion has to do with reality itself.

In the modern age, reality has been defined by science, and wherever science goes, so will God. Many people assume that God has no chance of returning, that science has permanently vanquished the reality defined by religion. But the story is more complicated than that. Let me look at the picture in the broadest terms. What would it take to make the universe a living thing? What would it take to make it human once again, a secure home for us instead of a cold, meaningless place? What would it take to give God a future?

As disconnected as these questions may seem, the deeper one looks, all three issues – a living universe, a human universe, and a universe that holds a place for God – start to merge.  If they actually do merge, our view of reality will radically shift. There have been great physicists who were deeply religious, such as Sir Isaac Newton, or who had a religious feeling when confronting the universe, such as Albert Einstein, but God isn’t the right place to start with these huge issues. No matter who or what created the universe, it’s here now, and we have to relate to it.

How?  One of the oldest ideas, which can be found in every culture, holds that Nature is a mirror.  We relate to it by seeing ourselves, but not passively. Messages are constantly going back and forth about birth and death about constant change and the bond between our life and Nature itself.  To the ancients, a natural disaster – fire, flood, earthquake – showed that the gods were angry. If the gods were appeased, the harvest was good and the sun shone. It was unquestioned that the universe meant something, and usually it meant that a loving deity had created a special place for his children.

It’s astonishing how quickly a timeless worldview was utterly destroyed by science. Now we relate to a completely mechanistic universe devoid of purpose, one that operates through random chance perfectly meshed with evolution operating through random genetic mutations. The mirror has shattered. We no longer see ourselves in it, because there’s nothing meaningful to see, no purpose, no Creator. Even more absurd is the notion that Nature is sending us messages – from the collision of quarks to the collision of galaxies, nothing is happening “out there” to reflect human existence.

More than any other science, quantum physics delivered Nature to its present state as random and meaningless.  The reliable world of the five senses was undercut by the quantum world, where nothing known to the five senses holds true. It seems totally impossible that the gap between the two worlds could ever be closed. Yet it can’t remain open, either. Human life is meaningful, not random. It is filled with purpose, intelligence, creativity, and values like love and compassion.  No one has explained how matter and energy acquired purpose, meaning, and all the rest. Electrons and hydrogen atoms floating in the bleakness of outer space bear no resemblance to the electrons and hydrogen atoms in your brain. Their random activity somehow turned into the most orderly, intelligent, creative activity in the known universe. How?

Let’s say we want to take this question personally. Reality is an interesting topic, but it becomes a fascinating topic when it’s your personal reality. If you knew where your own intelligence came from, why you are alive, where you are going, and what the next leap in your evolution will be, everything would change for you. In their pursuit of a Theory of Everything, the holy grail of modern physics, scientists have bypassed a Theory of Me, an explanation for why each of us matters.  That, in a nutshell, is what’s at stake. How do we fill in the gap created by the quantum revolution, so that the world we experience personally matches the data collected by science?

Science is considering this issue on several fronts. Neuroscience is delving into the brain processes associated with subjective feelings like love, compassion and faith. The prospect that the brain has a quantum foundation is being taken seriously. For a long time the “observer effect” has been part of quantum mechanics. This is the effect that occurs simply by having an observer make measurements. Although by no means a consensus, some physicists hold that particles comes into existence only when observed, that without an observer they exist only as probability waves. Finally, cosmologists must answer the riddle of why the early universe was so fine tuned. The various constants like gravity, the speed of light, and the values of the strong and weak force are precisely meshed, and even the slightest change would have caused the early universe either to implode or to fly apart in in such a way that matter could never have formed.  One school of thought holds that human beings may be the end product of the universe. The events that led to our emergence are too fine-tuned to be random.

I’ve barely sketched in a wholesale shift that has the effect of making a human universe possible, one in which evolution is working toward a goal – namely, us. But all of these trends ultimately may depend on a single hypothesis: the conscious universe. A quick search of Amazon reveals a clutch of books devoted to the living universe, the holographic universe, and so on. In their different ways, these books attempt to answer the Big Question: How did mind enter the cosmos? It is all but impossible to derive mind from the random bombardment of atoms. It is far easier to place the seeds of consciousness inside the precreated state, the void from which time, space, matter, and energy emerged. The precreated state is inconceivable, because we can only describe reality as we know it, which means using thought processes that depend on time, space, matter, and energy.

Once you are forced to look at the precreated state (a perfectly respectable inquiry – string theory does it, for example) all possibilities are open; the playing field is level.  Something organized the universe from the precreated state. Something outside time gave rise to time; something outside space gave rise to space.  Perhaps that something is a kind of proto-consciousness, or an infinite consciousness, or the very framework for mind itself. Terminology gets blurry; indeed, being able to think about the precreated state is extremely questionable. I am not sneaking a Biblical God – or the ancient gods – back into the picture. If science fully confronts where intelligence, creativity, and the operation of mind came from, what will shift is the story of reality. As reality goes, so goes God. The two are inevitably linked, since God is a verbal tag for the source of creation. Verbal tags are clung to for emotional reasons, which isn’t science

But relating to reality is science, and so is true knowledge.  It is undoubtedly true that we are conscious beings, and just as true that everything we know comes via experience. Reality is experienced in consciousness.  The world’s wisdom traditions agree that there is a source beyond the world of the five senses that gave rise to intelligence, creativity, love, and so on. By staring into the precreated state of the universe, science has arrived at the juncture where the source of creation must be confronted. No one can predict where this investigation will wind up. But something like God has a future, and there’s a good chance that this something will be God.

Deepak Chopra MD, FACP, is the author of more than 65 books including numerous New York Times bestsellers.  His latest novel, God: A Story of Revelation(HarperOne)  

www.deepakchopra.com

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photo by: kevin dooley

Love: Just Do It

Technology just taught me something about love yesterday in the lab at the Institute of Noetic Sciences. 

Dr. Dean Radin and his assistant, Leena Michel, are setting up a study on the effects of intention on light.  It is already known that the observer effect changes how light operates as either a wave or a particle.  Dean wants to measure the brain activity of the observer to see how it is different when it is influencing or not influencing the light in a little black box.  This is all done in an electro-magnetically sealed room called a Faraday cage.

Leena set me up with a headset that had contacts on it to measure my brain activity.  Some upbeat, devotional music was played into the headphones and I was told alternately to either send intention to the light in the box or to relax and not send.  The more I was able to affect the light, the louder the music would get. 

I closed my eyes and began the session in the relaxed state thinking about the beach where I spent the weekend.   I was then told to send intention to the light and the music dropped so low that I could barely hear it.  I tried another mental image on the next round and the same thing happened…quiet music.  I then started thinking of my daughter and when I went back into the intentional state I noticed the music got a little louder.   I then started thinking of the thing I love most, watching my daughter dance (she’s been studying for 9 years), and what do you know but the music got even louder still.  I drifted to seeing her at her recital this past June, dancing a really beautiful and motivational performance the class had worked really hard on.  I burst at the seams with immense love and pride for her at the recital as I watched her experiencing her bliss of dancing.  It was like bliss²….my bliss was seeing her in her bliss and it was a vibrantly happy, almost heart-wrenching and powerful love feeling that radiated out of me.   I could feel my heart get bigger with the bigness of the emotion I felt.   In the lab, I wasn’t thinking about being at the recital, I was actually re-living the feelings I had at the recital and the music got louder and louder!  My love was affecting the light!

I started thinking about how cool that was that I was able to affect the light in that way, and you know what happened?  The music dropped way down again.  “What the heck?” I thought.  “I’m thinking about how much I love my daughter and her dancing, why is the music getting softer?” 

But then it dawned on me, “Maybe it’s because now I am THINKING ABOUT loving her, not FEELING the FEELING of loving of her like I was before.”  So then I stopped thinking and just let myself be in the love again, and you know what happened then?  The music got louder again!

I’ve been told before that I think too much.  I never really understood what that meant.  I need to think to do functional things like do my taxes and write this blog entry.  I am an intelligent, well-educated person and I like using my mind to go into crazy cosmic thoughts and mind-bending revelations.  But to experience first-hand how thinking blocked the mind-blowing power of love helped me to finally understand that when it comes to love, I need to stop thinking and just start doing… I am a conduit for love and it is ok for me to FEEL it.

I felt so much love and so much freedom to love while sitting there in the Faraday cage, with the brainwave sensor on my headset and the devotional music playing, that two soft, gentle tears spilled slowly over the crest of my eyelashes and rolled tenderly down my face.  I was astounded at the implications of what I was experiencing.

I read something once by Jean Houston where she talked about how the secret of the true reality of the universe is in the light.  Waves, particles, holograms, electro-magnetism… I don’t know how those work, I’m not a scientist.  But I do know that when I was radiating love, I affected the light.

I’m pretty sure that it’s not going to be our thoughts that save us.  It is going to be the love we feel that evolves our humanity.  Maybe that’s why we incarnate and why other dimensions depend on us here in the 3rd dimension.  It is we who are tasked with bringing the love into manifest form and affecting the light.

Shine your love.  Shine the light.  Change the world.

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Lisa is the Bookings and Contracts Manager at the EarthRise Retreat Center at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (www.noetic.org), which conducts and sponsors leading-edge research into the potentials and powers of consciousness.

Lisa’s Website http://areasonforbeinghere.wordpress.com/

 PHOTO (cc): Flickr / scoobymoo

Which is Real, the Moon or God?

Most people have spent at least a few minutes pondering a famous riddle, although they may not know that it originated in Zen Buddhism: If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Strangely, this turns out to be a pivotal question if you want to prove that God exists, or doesn’t.

I want to explain the whole issue in detail, but if you want to view a vigorous and often contentious debate about God and whether He has a future, ABC Nightline is running Tuesday (March 23). The Nightline episode contains only excerpts, but the full debate will be available online at Nightline/FaceOff/ .

The location was at Cal Tech, where God probably isn’t a pressing topic compared to quantum physics. Yet as it turns out, the two are vitally linked. What you think about reality depends on quantum physics, and since God is the ultimate reality, His existence hinges on such things as waves and particles. This wasn’t a crude argument between believers and non-believers. It was an attempt to see if the most up-to-date science made God’s existence unlikely, which is what atheists led by Richard Dawkins believe.

Taking that position in the debate was Dr. Michael Shermer, the editor of Skeptics magazine, and Sam Harris, author of Letter to a Christian Nation. As staunch materialists, they offered a simple attack on God — nothing is scientifically valid unless it can be seen and measured. Since God has no physical presence in the world, there can be no measurement of His existence. Without a physical presence, the deity is reduced to being subjective. Millions of people were taught to believe in a supreme being. If they paid attention to science, they’d realized that their faith has no real basis.

On the other side, I and my partner, the noted philosopher and writer Jean Houston, rejected materialism. We held that science is about objective data, but human beings have rich internal experiences that are valid. These experiences give rise to art, morality, psychology, and everyday things like love, truth, honor, and so on. Is science really in a position to call human experience itself wrong if it cannot be seen and measured?

Our opponents of course argue that ethics, values, meaning, and purpose are all reducible to brain phenomena. While we hold that brain phenomena are merely representations of consciousness and not the experience itself. Yet it was obvious to me and Jean that God has been greatly undermined by materialist science, and also by organized religion, with its simplistic Sunday school lessons about a bearded patriarch sitting on His throne above the clouds. (The very notion that God is referred to as He implies gender, which a supreme being couldn’t have if such a being is beyond time and space.) No, God can’t have a future until the arguments against Him are discredited, and as it happens, rank materialism has been dismantled by science itself, and in particular by quantum physics.

Here, the discussion gets rather technical, but let’s venture forward on a basic question. Does the moon exist if no one is there to see it? This was the last topic our debate arrived at, and afterwards Dr. Shermer and I continued to discuss it, not as adversaries in a heated debate but in hopes of reaching some kind of understanding or common ground. (Shermer’s summary of our discussion can be found here ) The common sense notion is that of course the moon exists without human beings to look at it. It existed long before life on Earth; it will be around if human folly wipes out our species in some possible future. People aren’t going to be argued out of common sense, no matter how tricky your science or philosophy. Yet, surprisingly, physics starts to fall apart if you cling too stubbornly to common sense.

One of the most famous quips about quantum physics is that it isn’t stranger than you imagine — it’s stranger than you can imagine. This is because quantum physics disposed of raw materialism long ago, showing that solid objects are made up of invisible waves of energy, and those waves themselves disappear into clouds of mere possibilities. Every rock, tree, and cloud is made up of molecules, which in turn are made up of atoms, and they in turn are made up of elementary particles like electrons, protons, and neutrons. It would be consistent with common sense if these particles, and the subatomic particles that they can be broken down into, were solid and stable in spacetime. But they aren’t.

Thanks to two breakthrough ideas — the Uncertainty Principle and the Observer Effect — nothing in Nature can be seen as solid and fixed in spacetime. The Uncertainty Principle says, in its simplest terms, that you cannot know the position of a particle and its momentum at the same time. The observer effect says that particles are only a superposition of possibility waves until a non-material observer causes them to collapse from one state, a wave, into another, a particle. Already I can see readers glazing over, but these are important points for the existence of God and also for our existence.

All solid objects exist, in essence, as invisible waves that extend infinitely in all directions. When an observer enters the picture, the wave collapses into a point, and that point is a spacetime event — or a particle — that you can measure. So it turns out that looking at a virtual electron (waves) causes it to appear as an actual electron (particle). Is the same true of the moon? Does it appear because consciousness is collapsing possibility waves as the moon?

On the side of materialism, Shermer and many others say no. Quantum behavior, or as Shermer calls it "Quantum weirdness," is confined to the microscopic world. It doesn’t leak into the macroscopic world of rocks, trees, clouds — and the moon. But there are three weaknesses in this argument:

1. Recent discoveries have produced quantum weirdness on the macroscopic level. See this article about "supersizing" quantum mechanics

2. Quantum physics is behind all kinds of technologies used in the big everyday world: transistors, superconductors, experiments with superfluids. There are even cutting-edge experiments with time travel and teleportation, very Star Trek, although so far the results are on the level of light beams, not Scottie and Captain Kirk.

3. Most crucial of all, if you don’t allow quantum phenomenon to interact with the big world, you run into a huge problem with physics itself. Quantum physics is the basis of our macroscopic physical world, so there has to be an interaction, even if that interaction is not fully understood.

Now we are getting somewhere in undermining the certainty that makes materialists too stubborn and certain of themselves. If you don’t admit that the moon is behaving in a quantum fashion, that’s a bit like saying that red blood cells absorb oxygen but the human body as a whole doesn’t. The part and the whole must conform to each other. Having kicked a few rungs out of the materialist position, it’s now possible to see what the alternative may be.

The basic understanding of the collapse of the wave function is called the Copenhagen Interpretation, in which a non-material observer is involved in quantum measurement. John von Neumann demonstrated that an understanding of the collapse of the wave function requires consciousness. Without an observer, there is no collapse, no particle, no matter, no measurement. Alternative quantum theories such as transactional interpretation and many-worlds theory try to get around the need of consciousness or an observer, but fail in the end.

Rethinking Darwinism: How We Can Expand Our Own Ideas on the Evolution of the Universe

This year, the world celebrated Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday. But now that all the backslapping is nearing an end, it may be time to reflect on where things really stand. When Darwin finished writing "Origin of Species" in the fall of 1859 — exactly 150 years ago — the theory of evolution became part of the Newtonian world picture. However, since that time, major puzzles of mainstream science have forced a re-evaluation of the nature of the universe that goes far beyond anything Darwin could have imagined.

One new theory — called biocentrism — proposes that an accurate understanding of the world requires putting observers firmly into the equation, and that life may not be the accident of physics and chemistry that evolution suggests (Lanza and Berman, Biocentrism, BenBella, 2009). In short, the attempt to explain the nature of the universe, its origins, and what is really going on, including evolution, requires an understanding of how the observer — consciousness — plays a role.

The current model proposes that the universe was until rather recently a lifeless collection of particles bouncing against each other, and obeying predetermined rules that were mysterious in their origin. The universe is presented as a watch that somehow wound itself and that, allowing for a degree of quantum randomness, will unwind in a semi-predictable way. But there are many problems with this paradigm — some obvious, others rarely mentioned but just as fundamental. But the overarching problem involves life, even if the way it changes forms can be apprehended using Darwinian mechanisms.

Why, for instance, are the laws of nature exactly balanced for life to exist? There are over 200 physical parameters within the solar system and universe so exact that it strains credulity to propose that they are random — even if that is exactly what contemporary physics baldly suggests. These fundamental constants (like the strength of gravity) are not predicted by any theory — all seem to be carefully chosen, often with great precision, to allow for existence of life. Tweak any of them and you never existed.

Beyond these laws and constants, consider everything that had to happen to bring about humans. There are literally trillions of events that had to be just right — ‘this way’ and not ‘that way’ — for us to be here. Consider the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs — if its trajectory had been slightly different, or the asteroid had been slightly larger, we might not be here. The odds are astronomically against everything happening exactly right. So the question is, is it dumb luck? But if you say something is an accident, it usually means you don’t understand the reason for it.

Being here may be no more an accident than the sun rising in the morning. Perhaps biocentrism is right — perhaps the past is simply the spatio-temporal logic of the observer. No physicist challenges the fact that particles do not exist with definite physical properties until they are observed. If the present determines the past as Stephen Hawking, John Wheeler (who coined the word ‘black hole’), and others have suggested, then it couldn’t be any other way.

Darwin’s theory of evolution is an enormous over-simplification. It’s helpful if you want to connect the dots and understand the interrelatedness of life on the planet — and it’s simple enough to teach to children between recess and lunch. But it fails to capture the driving force and what’s really going on.

It is time to step back and take a look at the big picture. Evolution reminds us that we evolved in the forest roof to collect fruit and berries, not to ponder the nature of life itself. The challenge, alas, is to peer not just behind our ancestral way of thinking, but to grasp the world in a way that is at the same time simpler and more demanding than what we are accustomed to.

Published in the San Francisco Chronicl

 By Robert Lanza and Deepak Chopra

Robert Lanza, MD is considered one of the leading scientists in the world. He is the author of   Biocentrism-Consciousness-Understanding-Nature-Universe

www.deepakchopra.com.

To follow Deepak on Twitter, go to www.twitter.com/Deepak_Chopra.

 

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