Quantum Physics or Quantum Mechanics is the study of the nature and behavior of matter and energy on the atomic and subatomic level. Prior to Quantum Mechanics, we had Classical mechanics. Classical mechanics said that waves behaved like waves and particles and behaved like particles. Classical mechanics worked so well that we assumed that it was capable of explaining everything.
Then in 1905, Albert Einstein publishes his theory of relativity. In his theory, Einstein proposed that light was actually made up of individual quantum particles which would later be coined “photons” and that matter, the stuff that makes up everything in the universe, is simply concentrated energy E = mc2. This meant that everything from the table salt in your kitchen to the Plasma spewing out in every direction from the Sun is just different forms of the same thing, energy.
Soon things really got crazy.
We learned through quantum physics that that atoms are mostly made up of, well…empty space. The only reason you aren’t falling right through your chair, hell, right through the planet, is not because things are solid, but because of a force called electromagnetism. What keeps you from passing through your chair is the repulsion between the electrons in your body and the electrons in whatever you are “touching.” In fact, we never actually touch anything. What our bodies interpret as touch is the repulsive force between electrons.
And this was just the beginning.
What about the part about waves behaving like waves and particles behaving like particles?
Quantum mechanics said, “Um, not so fast.”
It turned out that waves can behave like particles and particles can behave like waves. At the quantum level, the world was not so black and white; in fact, in the words of Richard Feynman it was actually…absurd. One of those absurdities was that Quantum physics proved that the fundamental building blocks of matter, which are atoms, weren’t even real.
Werner Heisenberg, considered the father of Quantum Mechanics wrote, “The atoms or elementary particles themselves are not real; they form a world of potentialities or possibilities rather than one of things or facts.”
And that was from the real Heisenberg, not the television methamphetamine dealer. Had it been the later I would’ve understood your concern.
Bernard d’ Espagnat, a French theoretical physicist, took it even a step further when he wrote, “The doctrine that the world is made up of objects whose existence is independent of human consciousness turns out to be in conflict with quantum mechanics and with facts established by experiment.”
It turns out that electrons, protons, atoms, and even molecules are not solid particles. The position of an electron, for example, is everywhere and nowhere simultaneously in what is called a probability cloud, that is, until you interact with it. They appear where the observer expects it to appear.
“Observations,” Paschal Jordan said “not only disturb what is to be measured, they produce it.”
So the force that is stopping you from falling through your chair (electromagnetism) is actually occurring between two things that aren’t real.
As strange as this sounds, this accretion, that what makes up the world is not “real” in the usual sense of the word went right along with a message consistent throughout the Readings.
“All of that plane is illusion except the souls that are there. Come to accept this, and see it for what it is.” – Reading from October 31, 1983
Quantum mechanics also showed something even more incredible. It showed that there is a clear, inarguable relationship, proven by experiment, between consciousness and how particles and waves react with it at the atomic level and subatomic level.
I told you it was crazy.
It was facts like these that prompted Albert Einstein later to say “I can’t accept quantum mechanics because I like to think the moon is there even if I am not looking at it.”
Don’t we all?
Martin Rees wrote, “In the beginning there were only possibilities. The universe could only come into existence if someone observed it. It does not matter that the observers turned up several billion years later. The universe only exists because we are aware of it.”
But that begs the question, if the universe could only come into existence if someone observed it, and the universe is 14 billion years old, and the Earth is only 4.5 billion years old, obviously we are not, nor are any of our earliest ancestors, the observers responsible for the moon holding court in orbit around our planet.
So rest easy, it will still be there in the morning.
For me, personally, there was a more intriguing question in all of this. I am not satisfied with knowing that observing something changes it. I wanted to know HOW does observing something change it? What is that relationship between consciousness and the object being observed? If consciousness is, as we assume, just the result of some particular arrangement of nerve cells and processes that go on between them, how could that possibly end up measurably affecting an object?
To find the answer to that question we have to look for information being collected in another area of knowledge, Near Death Experiences.
Consider this, when the heart stops beating, blood immediately stops flowing to the brain. Ten to twenty seconds after blood stops flowing to the brain, all activity in the brain required for consciousness ceases. How do we know? The readings on the EEG fall flat. An EEG is short for an electroencephalogram which measures electrical activity in the brain. When those readings fall flat, it indicates that there is no measurable electrical activity going on in the brain. If the human brain is the source of consciousness, then by our own understanding of how the brain works, vivid, lucid conscious experiences should be impossible at this point.
However, this isn’t the case.
We have learned through accounts of Near Death Experiences that consciousness continues after all measurable activity in the brain responsible for consciousness has ceased. And not only does consciousness continue, but consciousness is more vivid and lucid when it is not being limited by the human brain.
That’s right. You read that right. I said limited. Consciousness is “limited” by what theoretical physicist Michio Kaku called “the most complex object in the known universe”.
So part of the answer to the relationship between consciousness and the object, lays in the nature of consciousness. If consciousness continues after all measurable brain activity ceases, then consciousness cannot be the product of processes going on between nerve cells. The brain is NOT the source of consciousness.
The scientific assumption that the brain is the source of consciousness is just that, an assumption. I liken it to the assumption that the Sun revolved around the Earth. It wasn’t like that assumption wasn’t based on something. People could just look into the sky and see that the Sun had traveled from the east to the west over the course of a day. It was not only a safe assumption, but a understandable one, and it didn’t prevent us from going about our business of everyday life, we made calendars, predicted seasons, we did everything by it, but it was still inaccurate.
If the brain isn’t the source of consciousness then when we examine the brain, what we are actually studying are the effects of consciousness on the brain, not at all unlike how if we examine a liver we are studying the effects of what has passed through it. This doesn’t make the brain any less fascinating or any less complex; but it does sever us from an inaccurate assumption and frees us to understand how the system ACTUALLY works instead of how we WANT it to work.
I know Near Death Experiences are controversial and not without their skeptics. Skeptics have argued that certain aspects of near death experiences can be replicated in controlled environments by manipulating the brain with drugs like Ketamine and PCP, thus concluding that these experiences that are being reported must reference some misunderstood or undiscovered processes going on in a dying brain.
However people who experience Near Death Experiences often report having experienced much more than a sensation of floating above their bodies and seeing a tunnel. They have reported observing things, activities, conversations that went on in areas of the hospital which would not have been possible for them to know had they not been there. Things that were later verified as being entirely accurate by the people they observed. In other words, there is no known drug that can allow a patient to be aware of information, like a conversation going on in another room or another wing of a hospital. If our current assumptions of consciousness were correct, this information would be absolutely impossible for them to know.
Not to mention people who are physically blind have had Near Death Experiences and report to having sight during their experience. People who are deaf report being able to hear during their Near Death Experience. This is even the case for people who were born blind or born deaf. If this is something that can be replicated by the use of drugs or electro-stimuli to specific areas of the brain then there is no reason why people should suffer blindness or be hearing impaired, right?
The reason Near Death Experiences are controversial has nothing to do with the factualness of the data, but rather what implications the material presents.
If A is true then B must be true.
If consciousness continues after the human brain ceases functioning, then the brain cannot be the source of consciousness. And if consciousness doesn’t cease when the brain stops functioning then the opposite must also be true, consciousness doesn’t come into being with the creation of the brain in utero either.
Again, consider this quote from the Reading July 12, 1996.
“Think of the soul as the essence of each individual on the earth plane. The soul is then connected to the body just before or just after birth. The brain of the body is the focal point for that connection. A whole story could be told about variances there in the connection to the brain, but that shall be for another time.”
Hold on people. We’re just getting started.
To be continued…