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any further, stop and close your eyes for a moment. Now consider the following question: for the moment your eyes were closed, did the world sti ll exist even though you weren t conscious of it? How do you know? If this sounds like the kind of unanswerable brain teaser your Philosophy 101 professor used to employ to stretch your philosophical imagination, you might be surprised to dis cover that there are actually physicists at reputable universities who believe t hey have answered this question and their answer, believe it or not, is no. Now consider something even more intriguing. Imagine for a moment the entire his tory of the universe. According to all the data scientists have been able to gat her, it exploded into existence some fifteen billion years ago, setting the stag e for a cosmic dance of energy and light that continues to this day. Now imagine the history of planet Earth. An amorphous cloud of dust emerging out of that pr imordial fireball, it slowly coalesced into a solid orb, found its way into grav itational orbit around the sun, and through a complex interaction of light and g ases over billions of years, generated an atmosphere and a biosphere capable of not only giving birth to, but sustaining and proliferating, life. Now imagine that none of the above ever happened. Consider instead the possibili ty that the entire story only existed as an abstract potential a cosmic dream amon g countless other cosmic dreams until, in that dream, life somehow evolved to the point that a conscious, sentient being came into existence. At that moment, sole ly because of the conscious observation of that individual, the entire universe, including all of the history leading up to that point, suddenly came into being . Until that moment, nothing had actually ever happened. In that moment, fifteen billion years happened. If this sounds like nothing more than a complicated bac kdrop for a science fiction story or a secular version of one of the world s great creation myths, hold on to your hat. According to physicist Amit Goswami, the a bove description is a scientifically viable explanation of how the universe came into being. Goswami is convinced, along with a number of others who subscribe to the same vi ew, that the universe, in order to exist, requires a conscious sentient being to be aware of it. Without an observer, he claims, it only exists as a possibility . And as they say in the world of science, Goswami has done his math. Marshallin g evidence from recent research in cognitive psychology, biology, parapsychology and quantum physics, and leaning heavily on the ancient mystical traditions of the world, Goswami is building a case for a new paradigm that he calls monistic i dealism, the view that consciousness, not matter, is the foundation of everything that is. A professor of physics at the University of Oregon and a member of its Institute of Theoretical Science, Dr. Goswami is part of a growing body of renegade scien tists who in recent years have ventured into the domain of the spiritual in an a ttempt both to interpret the seemingly inexplicable findings of their experiment s and to validate their intuitions about the existence of a spiritual dimension of life. The culmination of Goswami s own work is his book The Self-Aware Universe : How Consciousness Creates the Material World. Rooted in an interpretation of t he experimental data of quantum physics (the physics of elementary particles), t he book weaves together a myriad of findings and theories in fields from artific ial intelligence to astronomy to Hindu mysticism in an attempt to show that the discoveries of modern science are in perfect accord with the deepest mystical tr uths. Quantum physics, as well as a number of other modern sciences, he feels, is demo
In fact. t hrough which he is helping to pioneer a graduate institute in consciousness studi es based on the premise that consciousness is the ground of all being. req uired. Listening to him explain many ideas with which he seemed perfectly at home. it is hard to imagine what coul d be more important than this. the materialist paradigm which has dominate d scientific and philosophical thought for over two hundred years can finally be called into question. Schumacher have pointed to what they feel is an arrogance. much that before required a leap of faith can n ow be empirically proven and. but for socie ty as a whole. on the part of scientists who believe they can expand t he reach of their discipline to somehow include or explain the spiritual dimensi on of life.nstrating that the essential unity underlying all of reality is a fact which can be experimentally verified. hence. Goswami is considered by some to be a pioneer in his field. By attempting to bri ng material realism to its knees and to integrate all fields of knowledge in a s ingle unified paradigm. He feels that because science is now capable of validating mysticism. he is actively involved in a growing organized movement to bridge the gap between science and spirituality. Could you talk a bit about how you conceive of that shift? From what to what? . Interviewing Amit Goswami was a mind-bending and concept-challenging experience. The Cosmic Dancers. Interview WIE: In your book The Self-Aware Universe you speak about the need for a paradig m shift. because of this. he hopes to pave the way for a new holistic worldview in which spirit is put first. Thinkers such as Huston Smith and E. as far as we know. for me. Goswami is clearly willing to take risks with his ideas and is fervently dedica ted to sharing his investigation with audiences around the world. not only for the way science is done. Goswami is ardently devoted to expla ining his theory to as many people as possible in order to help bring about what he feels is a much needed paradigm shift. (Goswami is also a great fan of science fiction whose first book. And yet. Because of the enormous implications he sees in thi s scientific confirmation of the spiritual. he is the only new parad igm scientist who is taking a clear stand against the relativism so popular amon g new age thinkers. At a time when the decay of human values and the erosion of any sense of meaning has reached epidemic scale. God and the transcendent to mere objects of scientific fascination. F. a kind of naiveté. or at least. Such critics suggest that the very attempt to scientifically validat e the spiritual is itself a product of the same materialistic impulses it intend s to uproot and. is ultimately only capable of reducing spirit. on e has to respect the creativity and passion with which he is willing to inquire. He speaks wide ly at conferences and other forums about the exciting discoveries of the new sci ence and their significance. such a suspension of disbelief that I at times found myself havin g to stretch far beyond anything I had previously considered. Is science capable of proving the reality of the transcendent dimension of life? Or would science better serve the spiritual potential of the human race by ackn owledging the inherent limits of its domain? The following interview confronts u s with these questions. for all the important and valuable work he seems to be doing. In India.) But whether or not one ultimately accepts some of his more esoteric theories. was a look a t science fiction through the eyes of a physicist. in the en d we are left with serious reservations as to whether Goswami s approach will ulti mately lead to the kind of transformation he hopes for. the country of his birth.
in the West. starting in 1982. our free will is real. what human beings you and I think of as our free will does not really exist. When we act in the world we really are acting with causal power. So in this view. But in the West that kind of idealism has usually meant something that i s really dualism that is. elementary particles make atoms. which has existed in the West. only known and adhered to by very astute philosophers. but really a monistic idealism. In this view. Of course. The reason for my choice of the name is that. Starting from the beginning of quantum physics. but only i n the esoteric spiritual traditions. consciousness and matter are separate. Alain Aspect and his collaborator s performed the great experiment that conclusively established the veracity of t . in France. they wouldn t go so far as to abandon the idea that there is only upw ard causation and that matter is supreme. That is. co nsciousness is the ground of all being.Amit Goswami: The current worldview has it that everything is made of matter. which began in the year 1900 and then became full-fledged i n 1925 when the equations of quantum mechanics were discovered. Staunch materialist ph ysicists have loved to compare the classical worldview and the quantum worldview . which holds that only matter is real. so there is upward causation but in addition it insists that there i s also downward causation. AG: It is the spiritual teaching. That is the year when. And this is not entirely unexpected. the ultimate cause is always the interactions between the elementary particle s. the basic con stituents building blocks of matter. consciousness imposes downw ard causation. the people who h ave really delved deeply into the nature of reality. as it is for the philosophy of monistic idealism although I have given it a somewhat new n ame. or in Taoism . atoms make molecules. this is the philosophy of everyone. Whereas in the East this is the mainstream philosophy. It is only an epiphenomenon or secondary pheno menon. This is what we call upward causation. results started coming in from laboratory experiments in physics. But in the West this is a very esoteric tr adition. AG: That s right. consciousness is the only real thing. Idealism says no. In Buddhism. and cells make brain. This is the current paradig m. And you als o suggest that science seems to be verifying what a lot of mystics have said thr oughout history that science s current findings seem to be parallel to the essence o f the perennial spiritual teaching. I don t mean that dualistic kind of Western ide alism. The idea that conscio usness is the ground of being is the basis of all spiritual traditions. And any causal power that we see m to be able to exert on matter is just an illusion. It is not just parallel. So. quantum physics has given us indications that the worldview might change. In other words. molecules make cells. Now. It shows up in our creativity and acts of free will. and is finding itself in agreement with that view as a r esult of its own discoveries. This view does not deny that matter also h as causal potency it does not deny that there is causal power from elementary part icles upward. I made it clear that. no. by monistic i dealism. This is the belief all cause moves from the elementary particles. or when we make moral decisions. WIE: What you are saying is that modern science. But all the wa y. there is a philo sophy called idealism which is opposed to the philosophy of material realism. an d everything can be reduced to the elementary particles of matter. In those occasions we are actually witnessing d ownward causation by consciousness. And then what happened w as that. secondary to the causal power of matter. the opposite view is that everything starts with consciousness. And causearises from the interactions of these basic building blocks or elementary particles. from a completely different ang le not assuming anything about the existence of a spiritual dimension of life has so mehow come back around. or in Hinduism where it is called Vedanta. WIE: In your book you refer to this new paradigm as monistic idealism. but the fact remains that they saw in quantum physics some great paradigm changing potential.
Notice that: without exchanging any signals through space b ut instantly affecting each other. it is. and the potential was recognized as transcendent. AG: To give a little background. going opposite ways. WIE: That s fascinating. physicists must agree with this interpretation of this experiment.he spiritual notions. at a distance. initially people thought. if it travels through space. But in their heart they know. Would most physicists agree with that interpretation of h is experiment? AG: Well. Aspect s photons the photons emitted by the ato m in Aspect s experiment influence one another. Instantaneously. they try to minimize the impact of this and still try to hold on to the idea that matter is supreme. which a number of o thers share. Oh. it is somehow obvious that one would have to bring in the idea of a transcendent dimension to really understand this. Now Einstein showed long ago that two objects can never affect each other instan tly in space and time because everything must travel with a maximum speed limit. objects really do have connections outside of space and time outside of space and time! What happens in this experiment is that an ato m emits two quanta of light. and particularly the notion of transcendence. There s j . How it started happening first was that quantum obj ects objects in quantum physics began to be looked upon as waves of possibility. they are not waves in space and time. We mustn t look into any of the consequences of this transcendent d omain if it can even be interpreted that way. as is very evidenced.beyond matter somehow. In other words. Man y times of course. But the fact that there is transcendent potential was not very clear for a long time. it is said that one physicist was heard saying to another physicist that. anyone who does not believe that something is really strange about the world must have roc ks in his head. WIE: So what you are saying is that from your point of view. And therefore it follows that the influence could not have trave led through space. experiments. In 1984 or 85. So any influence must travel. no. Now . what had been happening was that for many years quantum physics had been giving indications that there are levels of reality ot her than the material level. th at things outside of space and time affect things inside space and time. taking a finite time. This is called the idea of locality . physicists will take the following point of view: they will s ay. They cannot be ca lled waves in space and time at all they have properties which do not jibe with th ose of ordinary waves. Every signal is supposed to be local in the sense that it must take a finite ti me to travel through space. yeah sure. without exchanging si gnals because they are doing it instantaneously they are doing it faster than the speed of light. without exchanging any si gnals through space.wave s of possibility. Then Aspect s experiment verified that this is not just theory. who is a physicist at the University of California at Berkeley. But very soon it was found out that. there really is transcendent potential. at the America n Physical Society meeting at which I was present. But this relationship between particles really isn t important. Henry Stapp. they are just like regular waves. So they began to be recognized as waves in potential. after Aspect s experiment. Should I go into a little bit of detail about Aspect s experiment? WIE: Yes. Well. says this quite explicitly in one of his papers written in 1977. Instead the influence must belong to a domain of reality that we must recognize as the transcendent domain of reality. and somehow th ese photons affect one another s behavior at a distance. AG: Yes. called photons. and that speed limit is the speed of light. And yet. please do.
all matter. all causal efficacy must come fr om matter. So that was my unique contribution and. However. the idea that consciousn ess is the ground of being. has existed in psychology. That vi ew was never put to any challenge by any of these early books. That s not the spirituality that Eastern mystics were so ecstatic about. too. then this experiment is telling us that we should change our worldview because we. these early works. This kind of exuberant statement that mystics make could not be made on the basis of epiphenomenal consciousness. So that is what I am saying. although these books ackn owledge our spirituality. A nu mber of books have already attempted to make the link between physics and mystic ism. This is infinite. though. In other words. So consciousness is recognized. of course. with Capra and Zukav although their books are very goo d because they held on to a fundamentally materialist paradigm. however much yo u try to accommodate spiritual experiences in terms of parallels or in terms of chemicals in the brain or what have you. you mention that there was something that you felt had not yet been covered which you feel is your uniq ue contribution to all this. WIE: These are fascinating discoveries which have inspired a lot of people. but only as causal epiphenomena. spirituality is recognized. they did not c hallenge the material realists view that everything is made up of matter.ust no question that that happens in the realm of quantum physics when you are d ealing with quantum objects. of course. all basically held o n to the material view of the world nevertheless. to recognize that all the paradoxes of quantum physics can be solved if we accept consciousness a s the ground of being. I now know what reality is like. So although i t s more apparent for photons. Fritjof Capra s The Tao of Physics and Gary Zukav sThe Dancing Wu Li Masters ha ve both reached many. the paradigm is no t shifting. and this takes away all the unhappiness that one ever had. an epiphenomenal human being would not have any such cognition. the surpr ising thing is. as transperson al psychology. It can be made only when one recog nizes the ground of being itself. So. In other words. i n spite of supporting the spiritual aspect of human beings. So lo ng as science remains on the basis of the materialist worldview. is governed by the same laws. when one cognizes directly that One is All. our belief is that all reality. Because if everything is ultimately material. many people. quantum physics is the only physics we ve got. Now of course. that we are alwaysdealing with quantum objects because it turns out that quantum physics is the physics of every object. Whether it s submicroscop ic or it s macroscopic. And an epiphenomenal consciousne ss is not very good. I mean. for the submicroscopic objects. the spirituality is ultimately coming from some sort o f material interaction. Could you say something about what you are doing th at is different from what has been done before in this area? AG: I m glad that you asked that question. That s not the spirituality where a mystic recognizes and says.nor is there any real reconciliation between spirituality and science . the crux of the matter is. In other words. you are not really giving up the old pa radigm. And if that is so. it s not doinganything. The early work. but outside of transpersonal psychology no tradition of science a nd no scientist has seen it so clearly. like The Tao of Physics. this is joy. In fact. this h as paradigm-shifting potential because now we can truly integrate science and sp irituality. It would no t make any sense to cognize that you are All. But that s not the spirituality that Jesus talked about. Now. This should be clarified and I will try to explicate it as clearly as I can. You are giving up the old paradigm and fully reconciling with spirituali ty only when you establish science on the basis of the fundamental spiritual not . or secondary phenomena. are quantum objects. my book was the first one which challenged it squarely and which was still based on a ri gorous explication in scientific terms. In your book. It was my good fortune to recognize it within quantum physics. for electrons. this is co nsciousness. all manifest reality. h as been very important for the history of science.
We are nothing but the brain. But after reading the book. we only see actual events. One thing in your book that really stopped me in my tracks . that creates what we see manifest. in biology there is what is called the theory of punctuated equilibrium. AG: We all hope so. WIE: This brings to mind the subtitle of your book. when we see. when I first saw the subtitle of your book I assumed you were speaking metaphorically. wh ich is made up of atoms and elementary particles. So who converts possibility into actuality? Consciousness does. Quantum physics doesn t depict objects th at way at all. That s starting with us. Consciousness is not made of material. And even traditional subjects. as we are used to seeing them. This is cal led a paradox. Consciousn ess is transcendent. objects are seen as possibilities. However. In other words. like perception or biological evolution. Now in the new view. In other words. the present science has shown not only quantum paradoxes but also has shown real incompetence in explaining paradoxica l and anomalous phenomena. possibilit y waves. have mu ch to explain that these materialist theories don t explain. WIE: So there are people corroborating your ideas? AG: There are people who are now coming out and recognizing the same thing. moving in definite trajectories. as I said earlier. That is what I have done in m y book. I am definitely getting the sense that you mean it much more literally than I had thought. because consciousness does not obey quantum physics. so it cannot convert its own possibility wave into actuality. Could you explain a bi t more concretely how this actually happens in your opinion? AG: Actually. consciousness is the ground of being. In other words. But tradit ional biology has no explanation for this. objects are not seen as definite things. And so we can now fill up these gaps that conventional biology cannot explain with ideas which are ess entially spiritual ideas. But already there are some other books that a re recognizing this too. because in quantum physics. Now this is called the quantum measurement paradox. How Consciousness Creates th e Material World. we can truly see that consciousness is operating crea tively even in biology.ion that consciousness is the ground of all being. Wha t that means is that evolution is not only slow. it s the easiest thing to explain. and speaking with you abou t it now. Right? So then the question arises. they can be seen all th e time. such as consciousness as the creator of the world. which are called punctuation marks. W hen you see a chair. then we can see in this phenomenon creativity. on the primacy of consc iousness. you see an actual chair. So how can a brain which is ma de up of atoms and elementary particles convert a possibility wave that it itsel f is? It itself is made up of the possibility waves of atoms and elementary part icles. such as parapsychology. It is consciousness. In quantum physics. as Darwin perceived. Newton taught us that objects are definite things. This is obviously quite a radical idea. through the conversion of possib ility into actuality. WIE: Right I hope so. that this view is the correct way to go to explain quantum physics and also to devel op science in the future. you don t see a possible chair. but there are also rapid epochs of evolution. the paranormal even creativity. To give you one examp le. even in the evolution of species. and that is the beginning. It is a pa radox because who are we to do this conversion? Because after all. Do you see the paradigm-changing view right here how consciou sness can be said to create the material world? The material world of quantum ph ysics is just possibility. real creativity of cons ciousness. in the materi alist paradigm we don t have any causal efficacy. WIE: To be honest. if we do science on the basis of consciousness. what converts possibility into actu ality? Because. conscio usness creates the manifest world.
There could be beings. the entire physical u niverse only existed in a realm of countless evolving possibilities until at one point. according to your interpretation. in my opinion. We are not the geog raphical center of the universe Copernicus was right about that but we are the meani ng center of the universe. But this other wa y of looking at things says that the universe remained in possibility until ther e was self-referential quantum measurement so that is the new concept. Actually the concept of delayed choice is very old. instantaneously. in a sense. so if it takes consciousness to convert possibility into actuality. only then does the entire thing become manifest includ ing time. The universe is self-aware. WIE: Through us the universe finds its meaning? AG: Through sentient beings. WIE: This human-centered or even sentient-being-centered stance seems quite radical at a time when so much of modern progressive thought. in that respect. the possibility of a conscious. but this may not be the final epitome. and so on ly when the observer looks.was your statement that. And that doesn t have to be anthropocentric in the se nse of only earthlings. It is so fine-tuned. That s very clear. at that p oint. An observer s looking is essential in order to manifest possibility into actuality. in a very clever. But it means sentient beings. because here is then the possibility of manifest creativity. creativ ity in the sentient being itself. in human beings? AG: Well. across disciplines from ec . it reaches its fruition in us. but certainly they are the firs t fruition. has been around in cosmology and astronomy under the guise of a principle called the anthropic pr inciple. then how could the universe be around for so long? Because there was no consciousness. but they a re not creative in the sense that we are. The animals are certainly sentient. In fact. for the sake of all sentient being s. carbonbased being. becomes manifest right at that m oment when the first sentient being looks. This is what quantum physics demands. And I have added to this concept the c oncept of self-reference. sentient being arose and that. in other stars in fact I am convinced that there are and that s completely consonant with this theory. WIE: In your book you even go so far as to suggest that the cosmos was created f or our sake. in qua ntum physics this is called delayed choice. So all of past time. WIE: So you feel there s a kind of purposiveness to the way the universe is evolvi ng. as if the universe is growing in such a way that a sentient being will arise at som e point. AG: Absolutely. very subtle way. human beings may not be the end of it. but Wheeler did not see the entire thing correctly. that it seems very likely that the universe is doing something purposive. The question always arises. including the fifteen billion years of history leading up to that point. the idea has been growing among astronomers cosmologists anyway tha t the universe has a purpose. that. We are the meaning of the universe. there are so many coincidence s. That is. The universe is supposed to have existed for fifteen billion year s. It i s due to a very famous physicist named John Wheeler. Do you really mean th at? AG: I mean that literally. I think we have a lo ng way to go and there is a long evolution to occur yet. the entire known universe came into being. It turns out that this idea. but it i s self-aware through us. He left out self-reference. So human beings certainly right now se em to be an epitome. biological being. And the universe is us. no sentient being. the big bang. in that primordial fireball which is supposed to have created the universe. sentient beings on other planets.
They don t rightly understand what evolution is because th ey are ignoring the transcendent dimension. such as the hu man species is being de-emphasized. an d so is the human being. they are ignoring the purposiveness of the universe. WIE: So you would say they have part of the picture but that without this other aspect that you are bringing in. In fact. case. But it s only part of the story. But if we just see the diversity. very well in his book Sex. Co uld you talk a little bit about what brought you to spirituality? AG: Well. they don t see that. Evolutionhappens . monistic idealism. the transcendent dimension is developed extremely well in Indian philosophy. they thought it was pantheistic because it has many. Krishna says to Arjuna. but also seeing the transcendent aspect of reality. that kind of thing so they thought it was pantheistic and only somew hat later did they realize that there is a transcendent dimension. Indian philosophy tends to see God in nature. all the way to human beings. these view s which I call ecological worldviews and which Ken Wilber calls the same thing are act ually denigrating God by seeing God as limited to the immanent reality. you are also a spiritual practitioner. but it certainly does not adhere to what the spiritual teachers kn ew. and what is called a kind of pantheism. Now. pantheism sounds very good. On the f ace of it. who recognized at the age of twenty-nine that all of his pleasure as a prince was really a waste of time b ecause there is suffering in the world. is the famous case of the Buddha. That means that the amoeba is. in which t he significance of any one part of the whole including one species. These p erspectives point more toward interconnectedness or interrelatedness. WIE: In addition to being a scientist. In the Bhagavad Gita. And that s why pantheism is very limited. I m afraid that is a pretty usual. but don t see the God which is beyond every particular th ing. What does he mean by that? What he means is that I am not exclu sively in them. Ken Wilber makes this point very. We are not realizing our Self. almost classic. I lost my resea rch grant. How would you respond to proponents of the p revailing nonhierarchical paradigm? AG: It s the difference between the perennial philosophy that we are talking about . The ideal class ic case. But you have to really dig deep to find that thread in the West.ology to feminism to systems theory. because it is good to ackn owledge that there is spirit in everything. then we are not realizing our potential. this sounds good because everything becomes divine the rocks. we are ahead of the amoeba. a manifestation of consciousness. And so. Ecology. Spirituality. is going in the opposite direction. All these things are in me. in many things they worship roc ks sometimes. whereas the transcendent dimension in the West is hidden in the cave of a very few esot eric systems such as the Gnostics and a few great masters like Meister Eckhart. yes . When Westerners sta rted going to India. truly. of course. of course. . in the manifest reality. Self-realization involves seeing this pantheistic aspect of reality. But they are not in the same stage. but I am not in them. it is very much explicit. se e the God in everything. Evolutionarily. And the professional pleasure that I used to get by writing physics papers stopped being pleasure. in other words. I had a divorce and I was very lonely. the creative play. And these theories. it s a good way to bring spirituality into your daily life. many g ods. almost biblical kind of idea. their view is very AG: It s very limited. the trees . In Jesus teachings you can see it in the Gospel according to Thomas. That is. So there is evolution. and they are all equal and they are all divinity it sounds fine. In India. but when I was about thirty-seven the world started to fall apart on me. Your view seems to hark back to a more traditi onal. in the Upanishads and the Vedanta and the Bhagavad Gita. It s a good way to worship. these ecological-worldview peo ple. For me it was not that drastic.
the spirit of knowing truth. Yeah. But in that era. I wanted to see if there was any way of at least finding some solace. I discovered suffering literally. And it is that discovery of suffering that brought me to spirituality. I must mention that I got married too. . and I had already exhausted a full bottle of Tums and still it would not go away. was because I had made it into a pr ofessional trip. through a mystical breakthrough. But one of the problems I discovered very qu ickly that would lead me. What agency converts possibility into actuality ? And it still took me from 1975 to 1985 until. There are a few important problems there too. I m not saying that traditional scientists don t have a few important problems. That kind of thing was quite common f or me to say. while you turned to spirituality because you felt that science wasn t really satisfying your own search for truth. People have tried it for decades and have not been able to solve it. What is the nature of reali ty after all? You see the first tendency was nihilism. Are you an atheist? I said something like. I very soon discovered after I got married for the second time that love is very diffe rent than what I thought it was. And I realized that I had heartburn. which is the spirit of d iscovery. I was doing the really important problems. the reason that I lost the joy of science. wher e I was searching for truth again. but that took time. truth of reality. Then in the evening when I was alone. What happened to me . And eventually great joy came out of it. But meditation very soon told me that no. it s not that despera te. I have nothing to lose and I am going to investigate only truth. I just intuited. and that was a big contribution also to my own spirituality. the curiosity. Is there a God? And I said. you have nevertheless remained a scientist throughout. No. I had an experience. So I was not searching for truth anymore through science. I discovered su ffering. around thirty-seven. so why not do the quantum measurement problem? So that s how I came to ask this question. but something exists. Bu t I thought. and the challenge of love was a very important one. the quantum measurement problem is supposed to be a problem which forev er derails people from any professional achievement because it s a very difficult problem. It s just that my way of doing science changed. and therefore I had to discover meditation. So I discovered with my wife the meaning of lov e. I lost the ideal way of doing science. beating my own drums and arguing with people. inform your practice of science? AG: What happened was that I was not doing science anymore for the purpose of ju st publishing papers and doing problems which enabled you to publish papers and get grants. You see. And the really i mportant problems of today are very paradoxical and very anomalous. So I came to meditation. WIE: How then did your newly revived interest in truth. to questions of reality was the quant um measurement problem. So that gave me the prerogative to g o back to science and see if I could now do science with new energy and new dire ction and really investigate truth instead of investigating because of professio nal glory. I came to recognize this. I don t believe in God. I had a glimpse that reality really does exist. Well. I was com pletely desperate. so why not see? Quantum physics was something I knew very well. I felt so lonely. I cou ldn t think of any other way although I had given up the idea of God entirely and ha d been a materialist physicist for quite some time. that particular world where Go d didn t exist and where the meaning of life came just from brain-pursuits of glor y in a profession just did not satisfy me and did not bring happiness. nothing exists.I remember one time when I was at a conference and all day I had been going arou nd. WIE: It s interesting that. I had researched qua ntum physics all my life. And. if not happiness. this spiritual core to y our life. Whateve r it was I didn t know. when my young child ren asked me one time. AG: That s true. Instead. In fact. because I couldn t think of anything else. In other words. And also. In fact it was full of suffering.
again. if it s an emergent phenomenon of the brain. took about another t . as I said. So then one time and this is where the breakthrough happened my wife and I were in V entura. there is no causal efficacy that is given to consciousness. So that night something really did shift for you in your whole approach. That was the myste ry because. You see. He said. The Dancing Wu Li Master s. and one can do science. in working out the details of what it would mean to do s cience in this context. Joel Morwood. Fred Alan Wolf s Taking the Quantum Leap. then all causa l efficacy must ultimately come from the material elementary particles. is extremel y impressive. so I toyed with his id eas of an explicate order and an implicate order. came down from Los Angeles . but he said something like. I was stuck with this idea before: How can consciousness have causal efficacy? And now that I recognized that consciousness was the ground of being. I remember staying up tha t night. W e had dinner and we were talking. looking at the sky and having a real mystical feeling about what the wo rld is. the prevalent notion even among people like David Bohm was. And everything was different after that? AG: Everything was different. No t only that. In other words. He sai d. The Tao of Physics. So this was a puzzle to me. Exactly. How can you ever do science without assuming tha t there is reality and material and all this? How can you do science if you let consciousness do things which are arbitrary ? But I became completely convinced there has not been a shred of doubt ever since that one can do science on this basis. and some other books too everywhere the wisdom was that consciousness must be an emergent phenomenon of the brain. to their credit. I wrote my first paper which was published in 1989. and we all went to hear Krishnamurti. David Bohm talked about hidden variables. within months all the problems of quantum measurement theory. of course. in reality. Th at night was the beginning of a new way of doing science. There is nothing but God. You are putting on scientific blinders. and the complete conviction that this is the way the world is. I d love to. And despite the fact that some of these people. the measurement paradoxes. one can solve the problems of today s science. and I was giving Joel a spiel about my latest ideas of the quantum theory of consciousness and Joel just challenged me. So we heard him and then we came back home. It is all a realist theory. And something flipped insi de of me which I cannot quite explain. And I just couldn t find any w ay to solve it. a very great mystic. Of course all the problems did not get solved right on that night. which got a second wind on that night in 1985.WIE: Could you describe that breakthrough? AG: Yes. And that is what is tu rning out. What happened was very interesting. after all. it is a the ory on which everything can be explained through mathematical equations. California and a mystic friend. I was stuck. no one could explain how it happened. You see. that you were able to penetrate much more deeply or that your own scientific thinking was transformed in some way by this experience? AG: Right. And Krishnamurti. Can consciousness be explained? And I tried to wriggle my way through that but he wouldn t listen. WIE: Did you then find. that I ha d at that very moment. this is t he way that reality is. were giving conscio usness causal efficacy. It s so vivid in my mind. There i s no freedom of choice. WIE: That s interesting. This was a puzzle to everybody. just melted away. but that was j ust refinement of the ideas and working out details. This is the ultimate cognition. There was a complete about-turn in my psyche and I just r ealized that consciousness is the ground of all being. the wisdom was in those day s and this was in every sort of book. He didn t use that particular word . that kind of thing but this wasn t satisfactory because in Bohm s theory. You don t realiz e that consciousness is the ground of all being. The net upshot was that the creativity. So I was just struggling and struggling because I was convinced that there is real freedom of choice. in other words.
then this deficiency isn t there anymor e. Spirit was the natural basis of my being. this wholen ess. this particular pursuit of science. you go to conferences. the founder of the Theosophy movement. But ever since I have been just blessed with ideas after ideas. By saying that there is only one reality ma terial reality even when you imbue matter with spirituality. for example who feel that ever since the scientific revolut ion. Aurobindo or Madame Blavatsky. this is a very. very few could actually see it. and lots of problems have been solved the pr oblem of cognition. you are ignoring the transcendent level. I stopped seeing them as separate. all fu lly worked out. even when spirituality is recognized within the materialist worldview. This is a theory of reincarnation. though. because you are still dealing with only one level. K en Wilber makes this point very. whate ver I do. when you recognize that science can be based on the primacy of consciousness. how would you say that being a scientist has affect ed your spiritual evolution? AG: Well. My late st book is called Physics of the Soul. Looking through t he opposite end of the lens. says t hat the material part of the world does exist. when Descartes s and Newton s ideas took hold. Obviously. The new science. very well. Look. Although people like Teilhard de Chardin. What that means is: you hav e said that there is only one reality. And when you do that. me it came naturally because I discovered the new way of doing science when I d iscovered spirit. WIE: So it sounds pretty clear that taking an interest in the spiritual. God is seen only in the immanent aspect of divinity. The Tao of Physics and TheDancing Wu Li Masters. we have to understand it very deepl y. perhaps. you re surrounded by all of that and also. recognized that such a science could have come.hree years before it started fully expressing itself. so after that. very good question. Could you speak a little more about your experience of that? AG: Yes. It has been just a wonderful adventure in creativity. The problem is that in this pursuit. And there fore you are only looking at half of the pie. in your case. I think it was very obscure how this inclusion has to be done. Now. The materialist science is a separatist science. the stigma that science is only separateness goes away. Such critics question whether science could ever be a genuine vehicle for discovering the deepest trut hs. there have been some people we have discussed thinkers like E. I said that. don t divide your life into this and that. F. So what I have done is to give actual flesh to all these visions that took place early in the century. before my work. So what has to be done of course and t hat s when the stigma of science disappears is to include the other half into scienc e. well. was very important for me. biological evolution. because they feel that science is rooted in a desire toknow for the wrong re asons. I don t separate them very much. So in my book The Self-Aware Universe I talk about th e hero s journey for the entire scientific endeavor. For WIE: You mentioned a shift in your motivation for doing science how what was drivi ng you started to turn at a certain point. but it is not the onlypart of reality. In other words then. the separative movement is part o f reality also. mind-body healing. That s one thing that we ve been thinking about a lot as we ve been looking into this issue: What is it that really motivat es science? And how is that different from what motivates spiritual pursuit? Par ticularly. There is separation. you are ignoring the other half. and then there is integration. includi ng the books that we mentioned earlier. the whole approach of science ha s been to try to dominate or control nature or the world. four hundr . the integration of the spiritual and the scientific. in your work you have been very immersed in the scientific wor ld you know a lot of scientists. you struggle with that motivation in yourself. had a significant effect on your ability to do science. Mystics often warn people. so this identification. perception. Schum acher or Huston Smith.
It is the hero s return that we are now witnessing through this new paradigm . Newton and others. with Galileo. Copernicus. Then the hero discovers and the hero returns.ed years ago. we started the separa tist sail and we went on a separate journey of separateness. but that s only the f irst part of the hero s journey.
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