Amit Goswami, Ph.D. | The answer to everything is quantum

Dr-Amit-GoswamiAlmost 100 years have passed since the complete mathematical formulation of  quantum physics. It has been verified by myriad experiments and its concepts have been successfully applied in many technologies. Indeed, we have begun to use the word “quantum” in our daily discourse—often without fully understanding its deeper meaning.

And yet, despite its effective integration into our society, the quantum worldview has still not been fully accepted by the scientific community, which continues to espouse and defend the archaic Newtonian worldview. Consequently, the full implications of the quantum worldview have not yet penetrated the public mind.

The good news is that, in the 1990s, thanks to the efforts of an avant-garde group of renegade scientists including myself, the quantum worldview began to mature and gave birth to an all-inclusive new scientific paradigm. A grassroots movement known as “quantum activism” has begun to dislodge the stranglehold of Newtonian physics on the scientific establishment by appealing directly to people. This book is a part of that movement and the latest popular exposition of the quantum worldview.

Part of the mischief derives from circumstances. The prevailing Newtonian paradigm was always fraught with paradoxes. Officially known as scientific materialism, this worldview proposed that everything exists merely as a phenomenon of matter—material movement in space and time, caused by material interaction. The paradoxes implicit in this view were never resolved. It wasn’t until the 1980s and 1990s that scientific materialism came under serious scrutiny by the scientific community, prompted by new experimental data. Previously, the worldview of scientific materialism was much aided by the shift of physics away from a philosophy-oriented European approach to the more pragmatic American approach that followed World War II. Before the 1950s, scientific materialism was firmly entrenched only in the disciplines of physics and chemistry—the science of inanimate objects. After the 1950s, it also began to dominate biology (which became chemistry), the health sciences (which became almost “mechanical”), and eventually psychology (which became cognitive neuroscience).

The second party to the mischief was the inadvertent enthusiasm of well-meaning scientists to close off the debate surrounding the meaning of quantum physics as quickly as possible. So, a compromise—dubbed famously (or should I say, infamously) the Copenhagen Interpretation—was reached. This interpretation was pioneered by the famous and amicable Niels Bohr, whom every physicist (including myself) worshipped.

The centerpiece of the Copenhagen Interpretation is called the “complementarity principle,” which, in its popularized form, is simply wrong, both theoretically and experimentally. Quantum mathematics says unequivocally that quantum objects are waves. But of course, experiments say that they are also particles. How can the same object be both a wave—something that spreads out—and a particle—something that travels in a defined trajectory? The popular form of the complementarity principle resolves this wave-particle paradox by claiming that quantum objects are both waves and particles. The wave aspect is revealed in wave-measuring experiments; the particle aspect is revealed in particle-measuring experiments. But both aspects never show up in the same experiment and are thus called complementary.

However, the correct answer to the paradox of wave-particle duality—both theoretically and experimentally—is this: Quantum objects are waves of possibility residing in a domain of reality outside of space and time called the domain of potentiality. Whenever we measure these objects, they reveal themselves as particles in space and time. So both the wave and the particle aspects of an object can, in fact, be detected in a single experiment. Unfortunately, the popularized version of the complementarity principle, which created the impression that the wave and particle aspects of an object both exist in space and time, misled an entire generation or two of physicists and caused them to close their minds to the really radical elements of quantum physics. In fact, quantum physics insists on a two-level reality, not the single space-time reality of Newtonian physics and scientific materialism. Moreover, quantum physics cannot possibly be made paradox-free without explicitly invoking consciousness.

But of course, it was the role of consciousness that kept the paradox alive—not in the mainstream, but in a cultish sort of way. In the 1980s, an experiment by Alain Aspect and his collaborators resolved the issue of a dual versus a single domain of reality by discerning the domain of potentiality from the domain of space and time. In the former, no signal is needed for communication; everything is instantaneously  interconnected. By contrast, in space and time, signals, always moving with a speed no greater than the speed of light, mediate communication, which always occurs in finite time.

What does it mean to say that the domain of potentiality is all instantaneously interconnected? Simply this: Everything in the domain of potentiality is one entity. In a scientific paper published in 1989, and again in 1993 in The Self-Aware Universe, I arrived at the paradox-resolving proposition that the domain of potentiality is our consciousness—not in the form of ordinary ego-consciousness, but as a higher consciousness in which we are all one. In manifest awareness, we become separate partly due to the necessity of distinction from other objects (the subject-object distinction) and partly due to our individual conditioning. I also proposed that this higher One consciousness is causally empowered by downward causation—the capacity to choose among the many facets of a wave of possibility. It is conscious choice that transforms waves of possibility into particles of actuality.

Philosopher and scientist Willis Harman, at the time president of the Institute of Noetic Science (IONS), was very supportive of my work. He invited me to write a monograph on my research. The new research soon created a new science—“science within consciousness,” a term I later discovered was already in vogue thanks to Harman. A monograph by the same name was published by IONS in 1994.

Progress in the field came rapidly and was always accompanied by strange coincidences of Jungian synchronicity. First, an old woman called me on a radio talk show with the question: What happens when we die? I didn’t know how to answer her without resorting to cultural clichés, so I kept quiet. Then a Theosophist—a believer in reincarnation—took a course from me based on my book, but ended up mostly talking about reincarnation. Soon after, I had a dream in which I woke up remembering this admonition: The Tibetan Book of the Dead is correct; it’s your job to prove it. Finally, a graduate student of philosophy called me and asked me to help her mourn and overcome the impact of her boyfriend’s death. It was while conversing with her and trying to theorize about what survives us in death that I began to see the possibility of a science of all our experiences—material sensing (sensation), vital feeling (energy), mental thinking (meaning), and supramental intuitions (archetypes like love and truth). From this, I developed a theory of survival after death and reincarnation. Soon after, I got a call from author and editor Frank de Marco asking me to write a book on my newest research. This appeared in 2001 under the title Physics of the Soul.

Biophysicist Beverly Rubik called me in 1998 and asked me to contribute an article on my research to an anthology she was compiling. In 1999, I joined a group of 30 new-paradigm thinkers at a conference with the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India. This conference turned fractious. First, physicist Fred Alan Wolf and I had a verbal battle over whose approach to the new paradigm was correct. Others joined in; the organizers complained to the Dalai Lama. He simply laughed and said: “Scientists will be scientists.” After peace was established, the Dalai Lama asked us to apply our new paradigm to social issues. This caught my attention. When I returned to the United States, I wrote the article Beverly Rubik had requested, applying quantum physics to health and healing. Here, I developed a theory of what Deepak Chopra called “quantum healing”— spontaneous healing without medical intervention.

Around the same time, I visited Brazil, where a young man asked me if I knew Deepak Chopra. When I said I did not, he said, “I can correct that.” Soon after, I got an invitation to visit Deepak in San Diego. He had just published his book Perfect Health (2000), which discussed Ayurveda, an alternative healing system from India. He gave me a copy and asked me to read it. As a result, I ended up proving the scientific validity of an idea that physicians of alternative medicine have been using for millennia. Since we are more than our physical bodies, diseases in our “subtle” bodies can also be responsible for physical disease, especially chronic disease. And thus healing can be approached, not only through curing physical symptoms, but also through healing disease at its more subtle source.

Practitioners of the health sciences, physical and mental, deal with actual human beings. Thus they do not always give their enthusiastic approval to the allopathic model of medicine—the more “mechanical” model that grew out of scientific materialism. When I wrote The Quantum Doctor (2004), which dealt with integrating conventional “mechanical” medicine and more human alternative medicines, the quantum worldview began to get some traction among alternative medicine practitioners and even among some avant-garde allopaths. Deepak was so enthusiastic about the book that he wrote the foreword to a later edition.

Medicine is based on biology. To relax the stranglehold of scientific materialism on medicine, we must introduce consciousness into biology. I began that work in the 1990s and, in 2008, proposed a consciousness-based scientific theory of evolution in my book Creative Evolution. This theory explains the fossil gaps and the biological “arrow of time” required for evolution to move from simplicity to complexity—two important pieces of data that Darwinism and its offshoots cannot explain. In Creative Evolution, I also integrated ideas of Sri Aurobindo and Teilhard de Chardin about the future of humanity into a scientific approach. I drew on ideas developed by Rupert Sheldrake about morphogenetic fields (blueprints for biological form-making), bringing them under the umbrella of science within consciousness.

The biology establishment, however, has been very resistant to the influence of quantum physics, although—thanks to the empirical work on epigenetics and popular books by biologists Bruce Lipton, Mae Wan Ho, and others—quantum biology is gradually gaining ground.

In 2009, I set out to accelerate this paradigm shift by founding a movement called “quantum activism.” My goal was to popularize the quantum worldview by bringing together a group of people dedicated to transforming themselves and their societies through practicing quantum principles. This has gained some attention, not only in America, but also in Brazil, Europe, India, and Japan, and even in the Middle East. In 2014, I went to Japan for an extensive dialog on the quantum worldview and quantum activism with erudite Japanese businessman and philosopher Masumi Hori. This book leans heavily on those dialogs. To this, I have added other interviews, notably one with author Eva Herr.

The result is a sort of Quantum Physics 101 for nonscientists. It contains elements from all of my previous work and I hope it will inspire you to become a quantum activist. I hope to convince you that consciousness research and an understanding of the quantum worldview is the future of science. It is the foundation of a new paradigm that can lead us to the answer to everything.

— From The EVERYTHING Answer Book: How Quantum Science Explains Love, Death, and the
Meaning of Life, by Amit Goswami, Ph.D., to be published April 2017 by Hampton Roads Publishing Company, used with permission.



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One Response to Amit Goswami, Ph.D. | The answer to everything is quantum

  1. basudeba mishra February 22, 2017 at 4:03 am #

    What is Quantum Theory? It is not one coherent theory. There are a large number of different approaches or formulations to the foundations of QM. There is the Heisenberg’s Matrix Formulation, Schrödinger’s Wave-function Formulation, Feynman’s Path Integral Formulation, Second Quantization Formulation, Wigner’s Phase Space Formulation, Density Matrix Formulation, Schwinger’s Variational Formulation, de Broglie-Bohm’s Pilot Wave Formulation, Hamilton-Jacobi Formulation etc. There are several Quantum Mechanical pictures based on placement of time-dependence. There is the Schrödinger Picture: time-dependent Wave-functions, the Heisenberg Picture: time-dependent operators and the Interaction Picture: time-dependence split. The different approaches are in fact, modifications of the theory. Each one introduces some prominent new theoretical aspect with new equations, which needs to be interpreted or explained differently. Thus, there are many different interpretations of QM, which are very difficult to characterize. Prominent among these are; the Realistic Interpretation: wave-function describes reality, the Positivistic Interpretation: wave-function contains only the information about reality, the famous Copenhagen Interpretation: which is the orthodox Interpretation. Then there is Bohm’s Causal Interpretation, Everett’s Many World’s Interpretation, Mermin’s Ithaca Interpretation, Brukner-Zeilinger interpretation, etc. With so many contradictory views, quantum physics is not a coherent theory, but is truly weird.

    There are a plethora of other postulates in QM; such as: the Operator postulate, the Hermitian property postulate, Basis set postulate, Expectation value postulate, Time evolution postulate, etc. The list goes on and on and includes such undiscovered entities as strings, foams and exotic particles like the Standard Model (SM) Higgs boson (LHC at CERN is not sure!), graviton, a plethora of the numerous supersymmetric partners and now the ‘chameleon’! Yet, till now it is not clear what quantum mechanics is about? What does it describe? It is said that quantum mechanical systems are completely described by its wave function? From this it would appear that quantum mechanics is fundamentally about the behavior of wave-functions. But do the scientists really believe that wave-functions describe reality? Even Schrödinger, the founder of the wave-function, found this impossible to believe! He writes (Schrödinger 1935): “That it is an abstract, unintuitive mathematical construct is a scruple that almost always surfaces against new aids to thought and that carries no great message”. Rather, he was worried about the “blurring” suggested by the spread-out character of the wave-function, which he describes as, “affects macroscopically tangible and visible things, for which the term ‘blurring’ seems simply wrong”.

    Quantum Field Theory (QFT) is the extension of Quantum Mechanics (QM) dealing with particles over to fields. In spite of the reported advancements in QFT, there is very little back up experimental proof to validate many postulates including the existence of Higgs field or fields, bare mass, bare charge, infinite charge, supersymmetric partners, graviton, etc. QFT is based on the information gathered from particle accelerators which scatter and collide particles. But interestingly, the particle interpretation has the best arguments against QFT.

    The principle of mass-energy equivalence (e = mc2), which is treated as the corner-stone principle of all nuclear interactions, binding energies of atoms and nucleons, etc., enters physics only as a corollary of the transformation equations between frames of references in relative motion. QM cannot justify this equivalence principle on its own, even though it is the theory concerned about the energy exchanges and interactions of fundamental particles. General relativity breaks down when gravity is very strong: when describing the big bang or the heart of a black hole. The standard model has to be stretched to the breaking point to account for the masses of the universe’s fundamental particles. The two main theories of the last century; QM and relativity, are incompatible, having entirely different notions: such as for the concept of time. This incompatibility has made it difficult to unite the two in a single “Theory of everything”. There are almost infinite numbers of the “Theory of Everything” or the “Grand Unified Theory”. But none of them are free from contradictions. Modern science thrives on propaganda, the cult of incomprehensibility, reductionism and superstitious belief in the “established theories”.

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