Thank you very much for coming. I want to start out by defining a couple of words. First of all, paradigm, which is the set of assumptions that are so universally accepted that maybe we don't even recognize that they are assumptions. The other word is heretic, and a heretic is generally the label applied by the orthodoxy to divergent opinions.
I decided as the stance for this thing to tell a story, and my story begins with being born in 1947, which meant that I was in grade school when Sputnik went up. The shock to the ego of this country was such that there was a great convulsion toward pushing everybody into science. The net result was that there was a very subtle overall image put out that if you were smart you were in science and the corollary was, well, if you weren't in science then you weren't really very smart. So being a smart boy, I went into science.
I got to Revelle college at UCSD, and was one of the entering freshmen of the first year through here in 1964. I was working my way through school here, and came to IGPP in 1966, as a lab flunky, an honorable profession. I was working for Bob Moore and Barry Block, who were building quartz gravimeters at the time. These were state of the art in very long period detectors.
I got a BA in mechanical engineering from Revelle in 1968. At that time, 1968, many of you look like you weren't really too conscious at that time, there was a great convulsion going on in this society because the war in Vietnam was going on. In Mexico the revolutionaries were the engineering students, but in the United States they were the philosophy students, and not the engineers. So, I didn't really notice much of what was going on, being a good engineer. But Herbert Marcuse was in the philosophy department, and Angela Davis was his graduate student, and there was a great deal going on at this campus. But I knew enough that I didn't really want to go out into the real world, so I became Bob Moore's graduate student in applied electro physics.
That worked for a couple of years and I got a good grounding in physics during that process. But at one point in 1970, I go into his office to talk to him because he was a little upset with some of my performance. I had the financial support of being a graduate student for the first time and wound up discovering that there were other fields of study that intelligent people were investigating, things like philosophy, psychology, sociology, and religion and all these other studies. I had been doing a great deal of reading.
So I said to Bob, "Bob, It looks to me that we are headed toward global famine and plague in 20 years." He says, "Well, I think it's going to happen in 10 years." And then we sat down to talk about what I would do for the next 5 years, which would have resulted in a document that would sit on a library shelf and collect dust, and maybe 3 people would read. Well, this sort of sapped the determination that a graduate student needs in order to plow through, and persevere to come out the other end. So, I took a leave of absence and left the urban areas, as a matter of fact.
Now some years later, because I continued what I consider my independent post graduate studies, I discovered the field of history of science. This was a real revelation to me. I had taken a history minor, because Revelle requires a non-contiguous minor. So, history was interesting, but the concept of history of science was revolutionary. And I think it's a disservice to anybody who considers themselves in the field of science to not be required to study the history of science. Because it shows that what we are presented with is an unfolding concept. It's not just, well, these people thought such and such, but they were naive or wrong, and we know the truth now. It's an evolution of idea. And many of the ideas that are in current vogue today will turn out to be inappropriate later and vice-verse. For instance, the nature of light went back and forth several times before it got to the answer that light is both particle and wave. It puts it in the context of an evolving idea.
One of the classics in history of science is a book by a fellow named Thomas Kuhn, called Structures in Scientific Revolutions. That were the concept of paradigm was first introduced to me. What he is laying out is how science evolves from one mode of thinking to another. The most recent that is relevant to geophysics, of course, is the acceptance of plate tectonics in the 50's and 60's. There was a very nice talk last Thursday, I don't know how many of you caught that. She was basically laying out how the human factors prevented the acceptance of plate tectonics for almost half a century. What Kuhn lays out is that there is a mode of belief which are the set of assumptions that are the world view. It answers most of the questions, that's why it's accepted. It seems to fit. But generally there is detail that doesn't fit in, and its either dismissed as bad science, fraud, just mistake, or well we don't quite understand this. Finally there is enough of it that builds up that somebody comes along. It's generally a new person to the field. Either a graduate student who doesn't know any better, so they ask questions that challenge the assumptions. Or somebody coming in from another field, that looks at the thing from an outside perspective and says hey, how about this. And, bump, there's a change, and all of a sudden this new set world view becomes the dominant paradigm. Generally, the old guard is not convinced, they die off, and that's how the thing evolves along.
Anyway, I found this all very interesting, but what really struck my fancy was a few years later I discovered that there is a field called the philosophy of science, and that's really where my heart's at. Just to sort of run through how that fits with were we're at, if we go back to the dark ages, Christianity finally comes out of the plague times where a third of the population of Europe was wiped out and they managed to boot Islam out of Europe and took over the library in Toledo, Spain. The Moslems, in the peak of their civilization, had gone into Greece and revived many of the philosophies of Greece that had been lost to Europe through the dark ages and the monotheism of the Christian point of view as presented by the Catholic church. In the library in Toledo were copies of many of the older texts. So, Aristotle and his ilk were reintroduced into Europe. In particular the Aristotelian cosmology, which is that the Earth is the center of everything, surrounding the Earth are these various crystalline shells. Each one holds the moon and the planets and so on. They are perfect, they are unchanging and they are the perfection of God, and all the corruption is here on the planet. They practiced one of the more vigorous ethnic cleansings called the Spanish Inquisition.
The problem was that as people started to really look at the sky, they noticed that the observation of what the planets did didn't really fit circles. But since they were wedded to the idea of the perfection of the circle they came up with what are called epicycles, which were circles inside of circles. They got very, very complex trying to fit these mathematical concepts into what was being observed with better precision. Copernicus came along and said that the math was a lot easier if you put the sun at the center of the circle, instead of the Earth. He was still into circles, but this was his contribution. The math of the model was easier if you start with the sun in the center. Keller said no they're not really circles, they're ellipses. Then you come along with Galileo, and he said, no this isn't just a model, it really moves. The Earth really moves, and that was his heresy. The church said Huh!, and put him under house arrest for the last third of his life, because he had the audacity to say that the model was reality, and that it really moved.
However, the spirit of inquiry continued, and the Renaissance was going along. The merchant class was rising, and there were other ways of establishing power rather than going through the church. There was a continuing investigation of the nature of reality. They were finding that the universe was not this perfect unchanging thing. There were comets coming by, and there were phases of Venus. The telescope showed that there was more detail than the cosmology of the church and Aristotle allowed. All of these things chipped away at the infallibility of the church.
By the mid 1600's the Royal Society of London was being formed, which was a sort of gentleman's club to discuss science. Every week Robert Hook, their director, would put on a little demonstration, and everyone would sit around and talk about it. They decided that in order to limit controversy, they were only going to focus on material things. They were not going to consider questions of spirit at all. At this point the church was not so powerful that it could execute people or put them under house arrest, but it was still a controversial kind of thing. So they didn't want to buck the philosophy of the spiritual cosmology of the church and they focused just on the material world.
So, we can say that science as we see it today is rooted in a reaction to the theology of the church. And in particular there are three assumptions that the scientific world view is rooted in even today.
The first one is called objectivism. This is the assumption that reality is separate and independent from the observer. That the subjective experience is unverifiable and so therefore is suspect and open to controversy. The key being separate here.
The second assumption is positivism. Only what can be measured is real, such as the physical dimensions of something and maybe the weight. Galileo distrusted color and smell, because they were subjective qualities. It wasn't until a mechanism came along where there could be a quantification of the frequency of the light to give you the color, and the chemistry to give you the smell, that these started to become an acceptable thing. Something that a serious scientist would actually be involved in.
The third assumption is called reductionism. This is the assumption that the whole can be understood by studying it's parts. This assumes that the parts are separate, for one thing, and it's essentially a linear assumption. The whole is equal to the sum of the parts.
Now this world view was pulled together in a wonderful set of equations by Newton and is viewed as the Newtonian world view, although it includes a number of other phenomenon. For instance, Pasteur came along and said there are these microbes and when people get sick, they seem to have these microbes. This fit with the mechanistic world view, a material world view. Even though there were other doctors at the time saying, yes, it's true that everyone who is sick has these microbes, but not everybody with these microbes is sick. Perhaps there is another factor here. But the mechanistic world view was sweeping the planet at the time, because it worked. It was very powerful.
It transformed the face of the planet, literally, with steam engines, weaponry, all kinds of things. It was an enormous burst of creative impact on the planet in the last 3 centuries. It started the population explosion, and it radically undermined the authority of the church. It brought about improvements in life now, through material means, rather than waiting for the hereafter, and paying your tithe and so on. The original scientists were very religious people. Newton spent the last part of his life dedicating his research to a chronology of the Bible. But fairly quickly we come to the point where Descartes said that there is no need for the hypothesis of God. If anything, God was relegated to the watchmaker who set the whole thing up, wound it up, and checked out. The thing has been running ever since.
This worked, like I say, and it held sway because it worked. But there were some serious limitations in it. I would like to call attention primarily to two of them. One is that it assumes reality is four dimensional. It is bounded by what we now see as the space time continuum, and nothing more. Second, there is zero place for consciousness. Awareness does not count.
Within the scientific community there were also problems, as things evolved, primarily in the macro and the micro. In the macroscopic world relativity was the first thing that came along that brought things into question. Part of the Newtonian assumption is an absolute framework of space time, that everything can be positioned in and relative to. That was a very powerful assumption, but it was shown not to be valid at large distances or rapid speeds. Einstein's concepts of relativity brought up the idea that everything is relative to the position and velocity of the observer. The observer in this thing starts to be a significant factor. Things like causality and sequence in time are dependent of where you are standing and how fast you are moving. So you can't be talking about an absolute causality here, in certain situations. It basically started to challenge the irrelevance of the observer, which is an assumption in objectivity.
However, the real problems came along when we started looking into the atom. The further they looked, the more they were confused, because we now know that the numbers are that 99.9999% of an atom is nothing. There's nothing here. This was very perplexing. This was finally codified in the early 1900's by the Copenhagen group with Neils Bohr, and developed into the quantification of quantum mechanics and the probability wave function.
Let me contrast the two world views of Newton and quantum mechanics. With Newton, there were definite objects that had edges and position, while in quantum mechanics all we can talk about is a probability function, a likelihood of something existing. There are no edges to it, there are only decreasing probabilities. In the Newtonian world, there are separate elements, whereas in quantum mechanical world you really need to talk about the whole thing, because there are interference phenomenon. Finally, in the Newtonian world you can know things to arbitrary precision. It's just a matter of measuring more carefully. The world is essentially knowable, in that world view. Whereas, quantum mechanics says, no, that's not possible at all. You get to a point where all you can know is probabilities. Even within that, you can only go to a certain amount of accuracy. The more you know one quality, the less you know about another. There is a cross product that has a limit to it.
One of the more well know experiments that demonstrates the perplexity of matter at this microscopic level, is the double slit experiment, with either photons or electrons. That was another perplexing issue. It seemed like matter and light responded the same way. They both had particle like quality and wave like quality. You could get interference phenomenon or you could get particulate phenomenon.
In the double slit experiment, you take two narrow slits, fairly close together. Shine a light source or electron source on it, of small enough intensity, so that you can talk about individual photons of light or individual electrons. Probably everyone has already heard the basics of this. When you look at the distribution on the back target, what you find is that when both slits are open, the individual photon or electron arrives at the back plane, the receiver plane in a pattern which is consistent with and interference pattern. It's as if you were shining billions and billions of photons through these two slits, and they interfere to produce alternating bands of light and dark. If you shine light of such low intensity that you are getting, say, a single photon a minute, that photon will arrive as a discrete unit at the back screen, but it will only arrive in areas where a band of light would be, never in an area of a band of dark, even though it's a single photon.
What's even more perplexing is that if you set you experiment up in such a way that you can close one of the slits, and make that decision in the interval of time between when you shine this photon and it leaves the source, and before it gets to the screen. So some time in the transit there, you make the decision, OK, I'm going to close this slit, and the photon knows. It knows what's going on. If one slit is open, it falls in an area consistent with just a spot of light, which you would expect with particles. If two slits are open it will fall in an area consistent with there being an interference pattern. Now this is a very perplexing thing, because, first of all, we don't even allow consciousness, and to assume that a photon is conscious is really pushing things a little. So this is quite a perplexing thing, but very clearly demonstrated, and difficult to get around.
Another aspect of this whole thing is that you get what you look for. If you look for particles, you find particles. If you look for waves, you find waves. So again, it starts to bring in the idea that maybe observation and the act of observing is a relevant phenomenon here, and can't be just dismissed.
Another example, which is a very famous thought experiment, or gedanken experiment, is called Schrödinger's cat. You take a cat, assuming you are not into love of animals too much, and you stick it in a box with a neutron decay source, a vial of poison and a trigger system. The hardware is set up so that if, in a certain window of time, you get a decay, the poison breaks. If you don't get a decay during that window of time, the poison doesn't break. You seal the whole thing up, and leave the room until the window of time has expired. When you come back in, before you open the box, the question is, is that cat dead or alive? You can't tell, because it's only a probability distribution as to whether or not you have had a decay there. It is not a knowable phenomenon. You can't say. All you can say is odds.
So, is the cat really dead, or is the cat really not dead? We start to get into the question of the nature of the objective world. The answer that comes out of the quantum mechanical experiment is that you can't know until you look. As soon as you look, then you have either a dead cat or a live cat. This is called the collapse of the wave equation. You have gone from a probability to a certainty. This is again a very perplexing thing. Now this is a thought experiment, so maybe you can say, well, maybe there is something we don't know about. But there is another experiment that started out as a thought experiment, called the EPR experiment or Bell's inequality, which is a little more subtle.
You can have matter spontaneously appear. That's
another thing that comes out of quantum mechanics. There is a
constant boil of material manifesting and disappearing . There
is a phenomenon known as pair production, where, out of energy,
you can produce a pair of electrons. In order to conserve angular
momentum, in any particular axis, one of them has a spin of up
and the other a spin of down. Now these aren't real spins. This
is an example of where the language that we are working in tends
to confuse us and mislead us. But there has to be that balance,
that symmetry, in order for the thing to work.
So, you get these two electrons and they go zipping off in two directions in your lab. Someplace over there you measure the polarity of the orientation of one of these electrons in a certain axis. Quantum mechanics says that you then know the polarity of orientation of the other electron, if you measure it in the same axis. Einstein was one of the ones who first proposed this, because he had a lot of trouble with quantum mechanics. He said this is crazy, if you look here it affects something over there. This doesn't make sense, but quantum mechanics implies this.
In 1983 there was a Frenchman named Arlain Aspect who did this experiment. And sure enough, quantum mechanics works. Over macroscopic distances, if you measure the second electron in the same axis that you measured the first, you get 100% opposite of the first measurement. However, if you measure the orientation of the second electron in any other axis, you get a random answer, 50% up, 50% down.
Now the subtleties of this are beyond my understanding, and I'll say right up front, this is a non-rigorous talk. What I'm interested in are the concepts implied in here. But a lot of people were quite perplexed by this experiment. In fact, BBC ran a series of radio shows interviewing different physicists about what this stuff means. They thought it was so important that they published the transcripts as a book, The Ghost In The Atom, which is out and available. Basically what comes out of this are three categories of explanation.
The first one is what's called the Copenhagen group, or Neils Bohr's view, which says that there is nothing there in the first place. It's only there when you see it. The English language betrays us. We have this phenomenon where we say, I See That. Those are three separate words. The implication is that there is an I, which is independent. There is a That, which is independent, and there is the act of Seeing, which is independent. The reality out of quantum mechanics, as Bohr interprets it, is, we can only talk about I-See-That, a holism. It's a statement of the entirety of the situation, of the I here and the That there and the relationship as a whole. It's inappropriate to break those up into separate chunks. It's also inappropriate to ask questions about the nature of That, when I'm not looking. Because you have missed the point. So, in the Copenhagen interpretation, there is nothing there except when it is interacted with in an observation form. That might be an instrument, or a human seeing a bottle of beer, whatever. So, their solution is to throw out any kind of an objective reality at all. All you can talk about is the interaction. Very clearly, this brings in the relevance of the observer, the relevance of the subjective, and destroys the concept of the objective entirely.
The second solution, for people who couldn't quite handle that one, said, for the example of Schrödinger's cat, the truth is that there are two cats. When there is a choice, both of them are real. If we look in the box and the cat is alive, then we are in that reality. But there is another reality where we have looked in and see a dead cat. However, we can't communicate between realities. You can imagine the number of quantum mechanical decisions happening in a minute. There are that many billions and billions of parallel realities. This is serious, this is not science fiction. I've read a lot of science fiction proposing this, but these are serious physicists saying, this is how the real world works. Some people don't like this solution either, but it fits, you see. That's the point, it fits the observed phenomenon.
The third solution is primarily proposed by a physicist named David Bohm, who is English. The summery is that there is a higher order reality. For instance, if I was to take a 2 dimensional slice of my fingers here, it would look like four independent entities, that are moving around. If we were stuck in that 2 dimensional view, we would start to ask questions like, how do they communicate? Where are they sending signals? What's going on? But the truth is that the communication is taking place outside the 2 dimensional slice. That's why it's confusing if we insist that we look only 2 dimensionally, because the patterning and interconnectedness is happening on a higher order.
Bohm calls that higher order the implicate order. The implicate order is a higher dimension that contains this patterning and some of it expresses as an explicate expression, explicitly, which infolds and outfolds from the implicate. I'll get into him a little more, because this introduces the idea that maybe the limitation of 4 dimensions is inappropriate. The image of space time works OK, but it's not a full answer, and to insist on it is a serious mistake.
When I first encountered some of David Bohm's writings, I called up to the physics department to run it by them, and see what his credentials were. It turns out that he has paid his dues. He had a quantum mechanical magnetic field effect named after him, and he is a serious player. But he is also one of the few people in this field who are interested in the implications of this stuff. A lot of quantum mechanics is like driving on the freeway at night. As long as you get on the right freeway, follow the signs, and stay between the lines, you get to where you are going. But you have no idea of the landscape you have gone through. It works, it gets you there, but the appreciation of the larger whole is lost. Bohm is interested in the appreciation of the larger whole.
He suggests one way of looking at this. Suppose that you have a goldfish in a tank, and you have two video cameras at 90 degrees to the tank. In another room you have two TV monitors. Now somebody comes in and looks at the monitors. It looks like there are two goldfish there. They are obviously different goldfish, look at them. They look different. But they seem to be quite beautifully choreographed. When one turns, the other seems to turn. The assumption that they are separate, leads to questions about how do these separate entities communicate. What we understand when we look at the whole thing is that they don't communicate, because the error is in believing that they are separate. In reality they are two aspects of the same thing. So the fact that they are coordinated in their motion is no big surprise. Our errors comes from the assumption that they are separate.
Another thing that Bohm has calculated and proposes, is that in the nature of the space time continuum, there is an enormous amount of energy. It's a huge number, on the order of the energy of the mass equivalent of the entire universe, in each cubic centimeter. This is the vacuum state, with no matter or energy in it. It's just inherent in the nature of space time. So, the existence or nonexistence of matter in a particular volume of space, is like a small AC ripple on top of a large DC offset, like waves on the ocean. What we are seeing is a slight increase in the energy level, and we perceive that as the presence or absence of matter. Just like when we are at sea, we see the changes in the shape of the surface of the water without any awareness of the depth of the water below us. This is a consequence of the level of perception we have.
Another example, or image, is the phenomenon known as pressure ridge clouds. The flow of air across a mountain ridge creates pressure waves or ripples, which change the dew point. So you get clouds that are parallel to the mountains, reflecting the invisible pattern of the pressure waves. The same thing may be true of matter. What we are perceiving is the consequence of ripples in a different phenomenon. Where we see matter, it may be like a condensation, similar to a dew point change, or a slight peaking, like an ocean wave.
Once we start to consider higher dimensional realities, there are a number of other models that we take for granted, like the complex plane. We talk about an imaginary axis, giving us a plane. The power of the mathematics gives us all kinds of electronics and analysis. Yet we look at it just as a mathematical model. In astrophysics, one of the current theories is called string theory, which has as many as 10 dimensions to it, as a way of describing the fundamental concepts of astrophysics.
Another very powerful mathematical tool is fractals. Fractals have as their seed function, a higher dimensional core. This is a very simple equation which generates a very complex expression out into the lower order reality. Another interesting aspect of fractals, is that they introduce the concept of a fractional dimension. For instance, you take a line on a plane, and convolute it a great deal, as a fractal does. You can imagine filling the entire plane with the line, yet the line never intersects itself. So, you can talk about the line having a dimension of 1.5 , or a dimension of 1.7, which is a measure of the degree of convolution. We can talk about a surface so convoluted that it almost fills a volume, yet is still a surface. Perhaps, there is the possibility of a convoluted volume which is starting to push into a higher dimension.
The most powerful mathematics going now, is chaos theory, which deals with nonlinear systems. Nonlinear being anyplace where the output affects the input of the next phase of the system. Natural reality tends to be nonlinear. We generally do linear math because it's easier. It's only been in last decade or so that the computers have been heavy enough to do the calculations and the iterations necessary to even begin nonlinear analysis. It's still fairly modest.
In chaos theory, there is a phenomenon called strange attractors, which are patterns of order within chaos, defined mathematically as higher dimensional functions. Within chaotic systems there are patterns of order, and within orderly systems there are areas of chaos. Even planetary mechanics, the bastion of Newtonian mechanics, is now being looked at as having chaotic function. It's not possible to do the prediction very far into the future, because the subtleties of the gravitational interactions start to intrude on each other.
Clearly, if we are talking nonlinear systems here, that destroys the assumption of reductionism. In a nonlinear system, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. In order to understand the whole, you have to look at the whole. You can't understand the whole by breaking it down, trying to understand the parts. Then thinking you can add them together again.
There is a story I like, that relates to this. One man is out at night , under a street light, diligently looking around on the ground. A friend comes up and says, what are you doing? The first guy says, well, I lost my car keys. So they look around for awhile. Finally, the second guy says, are you sure you lost your keys here? The first guy replies, no, I lost them up the street, but the light is better here. That's sort of how linear math is. The math works, but it's not a linear world.
Well, these are just mathematical models. What's to make us think that there is any reality in it? Galileo's heresy was in believing that the model was real. There is another more recent example of a fellow named DeBroglie. He was a graduate student who didn't know any better. When quantum mechanics was first being proposed, he said, if light, which has a wave like phenomenon, also has a particle like phenomenon, maybe electrons, which have a particle like phenomenon, also have a wavelength. He calculated what it should be. But everyone said he was crazy, that he didn't know anything yet. That once he graduated, then he would know. Fortunately for him, some people had been doing some x-ray analysis, running electrons through crystals. On reexamining their data, they saw interference patterns which implied a wavelength equal to DeBroglie's calculation. So DeBroglie got his degree, and into the history books.
There is another example, in a different field, of higher order patterning. A British biologist, named Rupert Sheldrake, has proposed a phenomenon called morphic resonance. In biology there are some serious questions. Take, say, a chicken embryo, and start with one fertilized cell. Allow it to divide 2 times, so that you have 4 cells. They are basically undifferentiated at that point. If you were to track one particular one, it would develop, say, all the skin of the chicken. Now if you squash that one cell, you don't wind up with a skinless chicken. What happens is that one of the other 3 cells starts to differentiate in a manner that it wouldn't have originally. You wind up with a slightly smaller chicken, rather than an incomplete chicken.
The question is, how does it know to do that? What Sheldrake is proposing is that there is a patterning that exists in a larger dimension, outside the space time continuum. The physical manifestation of the chicken embryo resonates with that pattern. That resonance tunes the development of the evolving embryo, so that you wind up with a full chicken.
This resonance seems to apply in other phenomenon, too. When a new chemical is synthesized, it is difficult to get it to crystallize the first time. But once it has been crystallized, it is easier to do it again, even at physically remote locations, which excludes considerations of seed crystals.
What got Sheldrake into this whole idea was studying rat data. In the 20's and 30's, there was a great deal of interest in running standard rats through standard mazes, to show that they could learn through genetics. So the genetics were very well documented. They didn't prove what they were looking for, but when Sheldrake went back and looked at the data, he discovered, that in subsequent years, a new rat ran the maze for the first time, learned the maze more quickly. So rats in the 30's were learning it faster than rats in the 20's. The genetics were well enough known that he knew there was no connection there. These experiments were done in widely disparate parts of the planet, as well.
So, he is suggesting that in learning patterns, when something is known by a number of individuals, it makes it easier to be known by other members of that same species. This may go a long way toward explaining animal intuition. I had a cat that we raised from a kitten. It became a momma cat, and it knew how to be a fine momma cat without anyone teaching it. How did that happen? Maybe it wasn't just a physical genetic thing. Maybe there is a resonance there that taps into this information. That brings us back to the issue of consciousness again.
Now in the west, consciousness is really a
fairly recent kind of thinking.
We have a waking consciousness, we all can agree on that, anyway. But Freud was less than a century ago, and his contribution was the introduction of the idea of a relevant personal subconscious. Jung suggested that we also have a collective unconscious. By virtue of being humans, we are affected by archetypal energies, which resonate through our humanity.
Now Jung is a very interesting character, who was working at the same time as the Copenhagen group. In fact, Wolfgang Pauli was his friend and client. Pauli had the exclusion principle named after him. So Jung was very aware of everything that was going on in the development of quantum mechanics. While the physicists were working on a universal theory of matter, he was working on a universal theory of consciousness, an inclusive theory. He wrote the introduction to Wilhelm's translation of the I Ching. This popular translation brought that philosophy to the west.
The I Ching, is, among other things, a divinatory tool. The proposal is that by casting yarrow stalks or coins, you are getting relevant information out of this book of changes. This seems contrary to common sense, in that you are talking about an acausal reality. Jung's suggestion is that there is a phenomenon called synchronicity, which you may have heard of. That is meaningful acausal reality. Now if we look at the idea that reality is joined together in a higher dimension, then the factors that go in to throwing these coins, may be reflections of the larger whole. So meaning can come through them that way.
More recently, there is a fellow named Grof,
who has introduced the concepts of transpersonal psychology and
supra consciousness. An individual's experience can transcend
their birth. There is relevance that comes through experiences
in the womb, and there is even relevance coming from previous
lives. This introduces the issue of reincarnation, which billions
of people on the planet feel is relevant. It works in Tibet, for
instance, where the Dalai Lama is the 15th or 16th in a sequence.
When one dies, they go find where he comes back. They have successfully
done this for a series of incarnations. These are all considerations
in the realm of consciousness.
In the last 20 years there has been an increased interest in what are called multiple personalities. They are finding that some people who have had extreme abuse in their childhood, will fraction their personality. In one case there were more than 135 different personalities in one body. What is remarkable to me, is that when an individual changes from one personality to the next, their vocal patterns change, reflecting changes in the tension in their vocal chord muscles. Their brain wave patterns change, and their allergy reactions change, which means that the shift is taking place down at the cellular level of the immune system.
The immune system is very fascinating, because we have a situation where 3 cells get together, and they decide what is me and what isn't me. You have a macrophage which runs around and tears apart anything it comes across. It holds the parts up and says, heh, check this out. Then a helper T cell and a B cell come along. They decide, between the 3 of them, is this part of me or not? If it's part of me, they just go along as before, and nothing happens. If it's not part of me, the B cell takes on the reciprocal shape of the part in question, and then clones itself as anti-bodies. Anytime it comes across this shape again, it will bond to it. The back end of the anti-body is recognized as self by the killer T cells. They grab onto the anti-body, and using it as leverage, pierce the invading cell's wall, and injects destructive acids. This blows the invader apart. That's how we keep ourselves healthy. So the call made by these cells determines my state of health. If that call is miscalled, we get either auto immune reactions like allergies, or disease flourishes, because it isn't culled out. So health is a fine dynamic line all the time.
This refers back to the question of how does
the photon know if the slit is closed or not? How do these cells
know what is me or not? The confusion comes from viewing these
as separate and independent entities, rather than manifestations
of an interconnected whole.
One of the models which is coming up to describe all this is the holographic model. Ten years ago, simultaneously out of neurophysiology and quantum mechanics, the hologram arose as the best model to make sense out of what is going on. A hologram is an interesting phenomenon, in that each part is a consequence of the whole. Unlike a photographic negative, where you have a one to one mapping between the negative and the image, in a hologram the whole thing is mapped into every single point, by interference effects. This is like the surface of the ocean, again, where the existence of a particular wave is a consequence of all the different forces coming together. That wave peak coming together at that point at that time, can only be understood as a consequence of the whole thing.
OK, so what? Why is this of any importance at all, other than just something to think about? I think that, at the largest level, we have a great deal of technology, that has been built based on the new inclusive philosophy of quantum mechanics, but is being applied in the old exclusive philosophy of Newtonian mechanics, and that is destroying our civilization and the planet we live on.
There are 4 forces recognized by physics, gravity, electrochemical, and the 2 nuclear forces. Up until the first nuclear device was detonated, only the first two had been utilized by mankind. By accessing the 2 nuclear forces, we have tapped into something that is orders of magnitude stronger than gravity or the electrochemical force.
One of these very powerful technologies is the nuclear weapon. We are applying this power the way we have always applied power. As soon as we get some, we beat up our neighbors. The problem is, in war, there is the assumption that there is a separation between me and the other. The first step is to dehumanize the other, whether they are godless communists, pagans, heretics, or whatever. The assumption is that I can kill that part, and because it is separate from me, I will be unaffected. In fact, it's assumed that I will benefit. But we find with nuclear weapons, that there is so much power, and it is coming from an inclusive philosophy, that if we really go to war, we die too. When Einstein saw the first nuclear tests, he said, this changes everything, except our way of thinking.
So this has pushed things. We have vaporized two Japanese cities, but since then, there has not been an all out war on the planet. We have had this very strange stasis for half a century, which is just now in the process of collapsing.
The second powerful technology that has come out of all this is computers. The field effect, a quantum mechanical phenomenon, is essential in the development of transistors and the micro miniaturization that has created such powerful computers. Everyone in this room is affected by computers. It is amazing to me to see, over 20 years, the shift in the nature of what constitutes research. There was a machine shop with 2 machinists at IGPP 20 years ago, because the nature of the science was hardware driven. The mission was going out and gathering data and directly interacting with the world. Now a good part of what it means to be a student here, is shepherding a data set through the appropriate software and interpreting what it means. This is not a dismissal, but just a comment on the fact that there has been a significant shift.
Computers have also unified the world economy. We can now have a situation where computer trading will collapse the stock market, because they respond faster than the humans who direct them.
Another aspect of all this showed up last fall, when I went to my auto teller to get some money. Even though I live in northern California, the auto teller was down because snow had collapsed the roof of a data center in New Jersey, which housed the computers that ran the teller network all over the country. So the interconnectedness of life is becoming more evident through computer hardware.
Another form of the new technology is pharmaceuticals. The manipulation of molecular bio-chemistry is rooted in the physics of quantum mechanics. Pharmaceuticals have revolutionized the planet. Among other things they have contributed to the massive population explosion.
The petrochemical industry has also developed from the physical chemistry rooted in quantum mechanics. One of the many important products being pesticides, which have amazing consequences. I like pesticides. They are another example of war, where this time the enemy is not even human. We don't have to worry about dehumanizing them, they are just bugs. So it's all right if we are going to kill them.
But there are problems with all this. We are discovering that there are certain pesticides that we don't want in this country. But even though we ban them in this country, we manufacture them here, to the detriment of the neighbors around the plants. Then we ship them to some poor third world country, that doesn't have the benefit of our enlightened environmental views. They, of course, spread the pesticides all over everything, and then ship the vegetables back to us. So, again, this phenomenon of thinking that we have a separation going is an illusion. We are eating this stuff.
A more subtle problem has just come out in the last few months. Part of my window into science is the weekly Science News. They had a couple of focus articles in January of 94. It has been known that DDT, PCB's, and some of the strong detergents, in sufficient concentrations, will kill you. At lesser doses, they cause cancer. At even lesser doses, they mutate embryos and mangle DNA. But now it has been shown that at even subtler concentrations, parts per million, they upset your hormonal balance. They act in mammals as if we are awash with estrogen.
Now estrogen has been associated with breast cancer, and there has been an enormous rise in breast cancer in both men and women. Also, in mammal embryos, everyone starts out as a female. At some point the genes kick in, and in the males, testosterone is produced in greater abundance that estrogen. The excess production is what generates the males form of the species. Now if you take this balance and overwhelm it with an estrogen like substance, you wind up with situations where there is an increase in malformed or non existent male sexual organs, and decreased production of viable sperm. In this country the male sperm count has dropped 50% in the last 30 years. There are some species where the youngest member is 30 years old, so they are extinct, but they just aren't dead yet.
So, again, we have a situation where something which has been designed to operate in a world view of separation winds up being quite inclusive, because it's coming from a technology based on quantum physics, which is an inclusive philosophy.
Positivism is an insistence on quantification. One assessment of the problems on the planet is that we have sacrificed every value system there is, for the fiscal one. The bottom line rules, which is counting, quantification. So we have a society where it is profitable to kill people and the planet, which, of course, is not a real long term survival plan. But that is what is running right now, and we are still totally engrossed in it.
Another aspect is the impact on health care. I've just laid out one of the adverse affects from pesticides. But a consequence of focusing on mechanistic solutions to health, is that it generates a surrender of personal responsibility. The pill, or the doctor, will fix us. We don't count, the subjective doesn't count. It's all in the machinery. The health industry is a crisis management system, more inclined to do a quadruple by-pass than suggest a simple dietary change 20 years back. The cost of this is part of what is stressing our civilization to bankruptcy. All of the recent labor negotiations have focused around health care. Health care was a big issue in the last election, and will continue to be a big thing.
What we wind up with, by focusing on the mechanistic, is that we exclude consideration of subjective alternatives. For example, the idea that what we believe and think affects our health. Now this is a brand new concept to the AMA, but people in other parts of the world have know it for years. In the Hindu tradition, their medicine is called ayarvedic medicine, which is being promoted in this country be a physician named Depok Chopra. He has several books out on the subject. His basic thesis is that what we think is essential to our state of health, and that is a place where we can take responsibility and have effect.
Stress reduction is another example. There are heart therapies now, which use meditation, vegetarian diet, exercise, and group therapy. These methods have great success, even for patients who don't respond to traditional medicated treatments. There is another phenomenon called the placebo effect. If you give a group of people anything, about 30% of them get better. It doesn't matter what it is. UCSD Medical Center is beginning to study this, because it is a real phenomenon. They don't understand why it works, but it seems to involve peoples expectations of getting well.
There has been a great deal of success using visualization in healing, and even is sports performance. They are finding that spending 40 minutes visualizing successful completion of a particular task has almost as much affect on improving performance as practicing for an equivalent period of time. Putting the two together has even greater affect. This is a very hot item in the sports world, where improved performance is the whole point.
There is an organization called The Institute For Noetic Sciences, formed by former astronaut Edwin Walker. When he was coming back from the moon, he was so blown away by seeing the entire planet, that his whole perception of the world was shifted. He felt he had to do something as a result. Twenty years ago he started this institute, which gives seed money for researchers who are working on the fringe. This allows them to publish, get a track record, and then go after more traditional funding sources.
One of their earlier projects was promoting neuropsychoimmunology, which is the relationship between what we think and the functioning of our neural system, as it interacts with the immune system. This is now a mainstream field of study. Their most recent work has been a literature search through the medical journals, looking for cases of spontaneous remission. Doctors sometimes have a patient who is terminal, for whom they can do nothing. Yet something happens, for no known reason, and the patient is cured. Maybe part of a pelvis reappears or a tumor disappears overnight. The doctors have no explanation, but out of integrity to their craft, they will write up a small blurb for the medical journals, even though it's buried in the back pages with the want ads. The literature search turned up 3000 of these cases. This was made available as a reference data base, and the best 800 were published. Now people can begin looking at these and start asking questions about what is going on with spontaneous healing. This is not an aberrant phenomenon, not bad science, not bad record keeping. There is something happening here, and maybe it's important.
Even in geophysics, there are some different
directions we might consider. I want to read from Science News,
February 12th, 1994.
Although scientists give Wigner and others of his time, credit for formulating the drift hypothesis of plate tectonics, a researcher has now traced elements of the idea back 3 centuries earlier to a Dutch cartographer named Abraham Ortelius. James Rome, a professor of classics at Bard College in Anandale On The Hudson, reports in the February third Nature, that Ortelius, in 1596, suggested that the continents were once joined, but later separated. In his work, he postulated that earthquakes and floods tore America from Africa and Europe. The vestiges of the rupture reveal themselves if someone brings forward a map of the world and considers carefully the coasts of these three continents. Although people today might find it obvious that the continents can fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, Rome says that the match became self evident only after a theory of continental drift gained wide spread circulation. Without an explanation of what that might mean, it is very hard to see the phenomenon itself.
This requirement that we have to know how it can happen, before we will even allow consideration, is perhaps an extreme limitation.
There is a book called When Snakes Awaken, with an introduction by Peter Molnar. It's a collection of anecdotal evidence, from all over the world, going back centuries, of precursor phenomenon to earthquakes. This, of course, is the holy grail in geophysics. If we could know when it's going to happen, and tell people, then there would be funding up the wazoo. Now, the Chinese actually pulled this off. As a result of their social structure and the rural nature of their economy, they trained a lot of people to look for simple signs. Signs like, changes in well height, changes in animal behavior, changes in water turbidity. If they saw these, they would call into a central command. If these signs showed up over a large area, then an alert would be put out. They managed to call an earthquake a few days before it happened, and evacuated a city, which is a little hard to do in a democracy. The quake destroyed the city with no loss of life. The AGU actually had a conference about this, because it was as success that was difficult to ignore. A few years later, they missed a call, and a few hundred thousand people died, but there is some question if that wasn't a political problem rather than a failure of the detection system.
And then we come down to the question of how this all impacts us as individuals. I feel that our society is at an extreme crisis point. The old systems are falling apart. They are either bankrupt or constipated. They are not adequate to deal with things. Science is requiring more and more bucks at a time of diminishing resources. The push is on to make science even more of a hand maiden to technology. So that we will not be doing research out of a passionate desire to learn, but rather, driven by what will sell in the world market. So new vision is required. Fortunately, we have the perfect work station. We are all aware conscious individuals, and we can tap into creativity and inspiration ourselves. It doesn't have to go through any funding agency.
The primary issue here is pattern recognition. Another limitation we have is the assumption of randomness. Randomness, instead of being a quality of the situation we are observing, is a state of our own ignorance. Rather than saying there is no pattern there, all we can truly say is that we don't perceive a pattern there. An example might be, if you are all red green color blind, and I am not, and I am picking all the red marbles out of a red and green assortment here, it looks like I'm doing a random act. But I know that I am doing a patterned act. So, whenever we are confronted with an apparently random phenomenon, rather than attributing that as quality of the object, we need to recognize that it is a state of our awareness.
There are some wonderful stories about how that creative process of seeing pattern recognition comes to people. The fellow that came up with the pattern of the benzene ring, said that he had had a dream the night before of a snake eating it's tail. He had been working on the project of the structure of benzene and there it was. Walking down a spiral staircase is supposed to have induced an understanding of the structure of the DNA molecule.
The story I like the best is Feynman's story. He got his degree for developing quantum electrodynamics. He was at Princeton. He read everything there was on the subject, and then he got on a bus across country to LA. When he got to LA, he got back on a bus to Princeton. Someplace in the Midwest, it came to him. He got off the bus, wrote it down, and flew back to Princeton, got his doctorate, and the rest is history.
The final thing I would like to leave you with
is a quote I saw this weekend, from Einstein. "Imagination
is more important than knowledge."
Q: "Are you saying that quantum mechanics completely undermines the traditional scientific method?"
I would not say completely undermines. What
I am suggesting here is that we examine what are the assumptions
that are inherent in the way we are operating, and then see whether
the data supports an adamant belief in those assumptions. My contention
is that, no, it doesn't. It at least questions the whole concept
of the absolute separation between the subject and the observer.
It questions whether there is a reality out there which has measurable
qualities that are totally independent of myself. The problem
I have, is that if we talk in the environment of an interference
phenomenon, everything affects everything. So, the assumption
that we can isolate this part here, and do any kind of measurement
on it, is perhaps erroneous. Now, as an approximation, it seems
to work. Billiard balls work, and cannons work and so on. But
when we start to get into a realm where we are considering consciousness
issues, and particularly issues around health, where the nature
of the physiology is influenced by the state of mind, it brings
up questions. That's all I'm saying.
Q: "You mean that the state of mind isn't mechanical?"
I don't think so. The classic scientific story is the big bang, concentration of elementary particles into hydrogen, which collect into stars, which blow up, forming heavier elements. Eventually planets form and cool and we get life. Then something happens, poof! We have DNA and protein, we don't know how, really, but we wave our hands and intone "random", which is the new god. Evolution increases complexity until we get a mammalian brain, and "bingo", now there is consciousness. This assumes that everything resides in the gland. There is a lot of data that has to be thrown out if you are going to believe that. And I think that is a mistake. Now obviously, the physiology affects the psychology, but it seems also obvious, that the psychology affects the physiology.
Now I'm not making a case for any adamant position here. I am mostly making a case against adamant position and opening consideration to things. If we are coming to an era where new ideas are needed, then the dilemma is how to separate the wacko ideas from what will become the obvious, later. That is very difficult. When people were first proposing that continents moved around, it was considered ridiculous. When people first proposed that the Earth moved, that was considered ridiculous. We are still rooted in these older concepts. We talk about "heat flow", which is a term which comes from a time when heat was thought to be a liquid called phlogiston. We still watch the "sun set", rather than the "Earth turn". Our language is rooted in belief patterns that our intelligence tells us are not relevant any more. The assumptions that we do not recognize are the ones that get us. What I am suggesting is that we examine some of these fundamental assumptions that are predominant in the scientific paradigm.