Can We Take Astrology Seriously? — All Things and All Moments Touch at Every Place

This is part of a series of articles I am publishing on Medium Can We Take Astrology Seriously? These were previously an unpublished book I wrote some time ago, Homage to Patric Walker. This article is chapter 6, which follows the Introduction, part 1 and part 2, chapter 1, chapter 2, chapter 3, chapter 4, and chapter 5. (This article makes more sense if you are familiar with the material in chapter 5.)

I set out in the last article to create the beginnings of a world-view which would address the common objections to Astrology. What I have come up with so far are certain fundamental concepts from Jung’s Analytical Psychology — synchronicity, the Self, the unconscious mechanisms of the archetypes — backed up by Hinduism. To many Western readers this may have seemed to be a ‘mystical’ or ‘irrational’ approach, and therefore somewhat dubious. I prefer the term psychological, because I believe that the phenomena described are established facts. Although these concepts may not have been scientifically proven, there is overwhelming anecdotal evidence for them. Whether you believe in them or not, however, I am now going to suggest that these ideas, far from being confined to mystics, are believed, or at least contemplated, by scientists at the cutting edge of twentieth century thought.

In recent years there has been a huge upsurge of interest in quantum physics. In the past, developments in science have often remained remote from popular awareness. This could easily have been the case here too, for the quantum theories are complex, and difficult to come to terms with, even for the scientists themselves. Yet they have felt a need to try to communicate their incredible findings in a comprehensible way to the public, and we owe them an immense debt of gratitude. Works by Fritjof Capra, Paul Davies, Fred Alan Wolf, Danah Zohar, David Bohm and others are now found on the shelves of most popular bookshops.

When I said that quantum physics is at the cutting edge of scientific thought, I was referring to the fact that it has completely revolutionised the way that scientists understand the nature of the material world. It is not just a new development that can be tagged onto the end of the history of science. Moreover, it is a completely successful theory — at least in the opinion of the physicists themselves. Gary Zukav, in his 1979 survey of the history of the new physics (relativity and quantum), The Dancing Wu Li Masters, put it thus: “The statistical predictions of quantum mechanics are always correct. Quantum mechanics is the theory. It has explained everything from subatomic particles to transistors to stellar energy. It never has failed. It has no competition’ (1). Richard Feynman, Nobel Prize winning quantum physicist says: “So far, we have found nothing wrong with the theory of quantum electrodynamics. It is, therefore, I would say, the jewel of physics — our proudest possession (2). “Quantum theory has been the deepest description that physics has available of the nature of reality” (3). What I am trying to say is that if quantum physicists say something, we should pay attention. With this in mind I am going to examine the astrological issues with which I was concerned earlier from this standpoint.

The whole universe is a system, that is also to say a unity. Therefore effects at a distance are not a problem.

The objection of “vast distances” made against Astrology is based upon our observation that there is an enormous volume of empty space separating us from the planets and stars. This observation may, however, be inaccurate:

What we call empty space contains an immense background of energy, and that matter as we know it is a small, ‘quantized’ wavelike excitation on top of this background, rather like a tiny ripple on a vast sea… This vast sea of energy may play a key part in the understanding of the cosmos as a whole…

Space is full rather than empty… What we perceive through the senses as empty space is actually the plenum, which is the ground for the existence of everything, including ourselves. The things that appear to our senses are derivative forms and their true meaning can be seen only when we consider the plenum, in which they are generated and sustained, and into which they must ultimately vanish… The entire universe of matter as we generally observe it is to be treated as a comparatively small pattern of excitation. This excitation pattern is relatively autonomous and gives rise to approximately recurrent, stable and separable projections into a three-dimensional explicate order of manifestation, which is more or less equivalent to that of space as we commonly experience it” (4).

Even if this were not the case, however, there would still be good reason to believe that effects at a distance are not the problem they seem to be:

Things and events once conceived of as separate, parted in both space and time, are seen by the quantum theorist as so integrally linked that their bond mocks the reality of both space and time. They behave, instead, as multiple aspects of some larger whole, their ‘individual’ existences deriving both their definition and their meaning from that whole.

“The new quantum mechanical notion of relationship follows as a direct consequence of the wave/particle dualism and the tendency of a ‘matter wave’ (or ‘probability wave’) to behave as though it were smeared out all over space and time. For if all potential ‘things’ stretch out infinitely in all directions, how does one speak of any distance between them, or conceive of any separateness? All things and all moments touch each other at every point; the oneness of the overall system is paramount. It follows from this that the once ghostly notion of ‘action at a distance’, where one body can influence another instantaneously, despite there being no apparent exchange of force or energy is, for the quantum physicist, a fact of everyday reality” (5).

That was the theoretical extrapolation; the “everyday reality” to which I assume she is referring are two famous experiments which led to these conclusions. The first is known as the double-slit experiment (6). The conclusion drawn from it was that photons (particles of light) appear to ‘know’ certain information about the experiment. Zukav quotes Henry Stapp: “The central mystery of quantum theory is ‘How does information get around so quick?’ How does the particle know that there are two slits? How does the information about what is happening everywhere else get collected to determine what is likely to happen here?” (7).

So particles appear to be conscious, and to communicate with each other. This conclusion became even more disconcerting after a sequence of scientific events, the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen effect, Bell’s theorem, and the Clauser-Freedman experiment, when it was realised that particles appeared to be communicating with each other instantaneously, that is to say, faster than the speed of light. Zukav describes this as the discovery of “an unexplainable connectedness between particles in two different places” (8).

This result introduced an important concept into the physicists’ thinking — non-locality or ‘action-at-a-distance’. Einstein had shown that quantum mechanics predicted this, and rejected it on that basis, insisting that all phenomena are local in nature. Yet, in Zukav’s words: “Bell’s theorem not only suggests that the world is quite different than it seems, it demands it (his italics). There is no question about it. Something very exciting is happening. Physicists have ‘proved’ rationally, that our very rational ideas about the world in which we live are profoundly deficient’ (p309). However, the theorem did not show that the interconnectedness between particles was the result of faster-than-light communication, which was generally believed to be impossible.

Therefore, by 1975, the small number of physicists who had been following the drama that began with the famous EPR paper forty years earlier had been led to consider the possibility of a fundamental unity lying deeper than quantum theory and relativity, a fundamental unity which somehow allowed faster-than-light connections between apparently separate ‘parts’ of physical reality. Accordingly, a few of them had begun to construct theories based upon the assumption that, even though the particles in the EPR thought experiment and in the actually performed Clauser-Freedman experiment are space-like separated, they are connected, but not by signals!” (p310, his italics).

I hope that, even without an account of the experiments, the central point is clear. To return to Danah Zohar’s book, she puts it thus: “At the subatomic level, such correlation experiments have now been carried out many times on pairs of correlated photons, and the non-local influences which bind their ‘life styles’ have been proven many times over. The photons’ behaviour patterns are so eerily linked across any spatial separation — it could be a few centimetres, it could be all the way across the universe — that it appears there is no space between them” (9). “The process of quantum integration by which new and larger wholes are created is endless, to the extent that at its furthest extreme every particle in the universe can to some degree be related to every other particle, thus creating the quality of unbroken wholeness that can rightly be ascribed to physical reality” (p95).

Thus there are acausal (synchronistic) connections, possibly stretching all the way across the universe. So we cannot criticize Astrology on those grounds.

If matter could be shown to be conscious, then we would have to conclude that the universe, which is an undivided whole, is in some sense alive, an organism.

Is matter alive? We have just seen that sub-atomic particles “appear to be conscious” in the double-slit experiment. Another analogous example is discussed by Fred Alan Wolf who relates how the physicist Richard Feynman noticed that “particles follow a least-action path through the universe. No matter how an object moved, it balanced out energies so as to use as little action as possible”. Feynman says: ‘How does the particle find the right path? … All your instincts on cause and effect go haywire when you say that the particle decides to take the path that is going to give the minimum action. Does it “smell” the neighbouring paths to find out whether or not they have more action?’ It is possible to ‘fool light into taking the wrong paths’. ‘The result is a phenomenon called diffraction, the bending and interfering of light with itself. The way we accomplish this is by blocking the natural light paths. Feynman states: ‘When we put blocks in the way so that the photons could not test all the paths, we found that they couldn’t figure out which way to go’ ” (10).

So let me say it again; particles appear to be conscious. The critical word of course is ‘appear’. Are they conscious, or do they merely appear to be conscious? (11) Even if we knew the answer to this question, what would be the metaphysical and practical differences?

What does it mean that sub-atomic particles seem to have ‘knowledge’ about the experiments in which they are being made to participate? Here is Danah Zohar discussing Bohm’s views on this phenomenon: “He compares the movements of electrons in the laboratory to those of ballet dancers responding to a musical score, the score itself constituting ‘a common “pool” of information that guides each of the dancers as he takes his steps… Each electron is sensitive not just to the information, or meaning, latent in its own wave packet (its own “part” in the score). It is also non-locally responsive to the information latent in the whole situation…’ For Bohm, this sharing of information, this mutual ‘knowing’, may represent elementary conscious awareness on the part of the electron…” (Or, at least, the electron’s participation in the dual mental/physical nature of meaning and information) (12).

If this is true, the implications are truly exciting; they would necessitate major changes in Western thinking. Zohar, however, sounds a note of caution: “To say that a limited panpsychist view is compatible with quantum physics is not to say that it is necessitated by it. There is nothing in quantum theory as it has been developed so far that has anything whatever to say about the origins of consciousness in quantum reality nor about there being possible proto-conscious properties associated with elementary subatomic particles” (p43). Fred Alan Wolf , however, does not hold back: “Atoms with consciousness, matter with curiosity? Are these peculiar statements for a physicist? I don’t think so. They are simply recognitions of undeniable facts”. “At the atomic level, consciousness is primitive, but necessarily so. Neurons contain possibly several billion atomic ‘consciousnesses’. We might call each such consciousness a mind. All together they are the agents that make up your intelligence agency. At the molecular level, each agent performs a single task: that of noticing itself. It is like one potential reality noticing another potential reality within the same pure qwiff (13). In that sudden mysterious event, one of those potential realities just appears. That act of consciousness is the creation of reality at the atomic and molecular level” (14) and (15).

In conclusion let me point out this quotation which shows just how far quantum physicists have taken this line of thinking: “The wormhole connections of three-dimensional space connect every part of the universe directly with every other part much like the ‘nervous system of a cosmic brain’ ”(16).

The individual consciousness is a microcosm of the Divine consciousness (Atman = Brahman), or even perhaps the material individual is a microcosm of the physical universe.

Danah Zohar: “The mind/body (mind/brain) duality in man is a reflection of the wave/particle duality which underlies all that is. In this way, human being is a tiny microcosm of cosmic being” (17).

Henri Bortoft: “It is now believed that mass is not an intrinsic property of a body, but it is in fact a reflection of the whole of the rest of the universe in that body”(18).

Erwin Schrödinger: “This life of yours which you are living is not merely a piece of this entire existence, but is in a certain sense the ‘whole’; only this whole is not so constituted that it can be surveyed in one single glance. This, as we know, is what the Brahmins express in that sacred, mystic formula which is yet really so simple and so clear: TAT TVAM ASI, this is you. Or, again, in such words as ‘I am in the east and in the west. I am below and above. I AM THIS WHOLE WORLD’ ”.

The third passage is a quotation in Fred Alan Wolf (19). So here we have a quantum physicist talking about the Hindu statement which I have been discussing in earlier chapters as if it were the ‘truth’! He notes that Schrödinger made this statement in 1925, before he created his famous equation, and obviously before most of the history of quantum physics. So he was clearly inclined to these types of views anyway, as he has confirmed elsewhere in his writings. It would perhaps be more significant for my argument if he had been persuaded of them as a consequence of quantum thinking, but I include it to show that mystical thinking is not necessarily confined to mystics, and can extend into the scientific realm. Wolf comments, however: “Schrödinger was indeed prophetic, though his prophecy may have been a self-fulfilling one, since he created the mathematical means by which quantum physicists have come to view the world in this way. I like to think of this statement, ‘I am this whole universe’, as the initial postulate of quantum thinking. I think of it as the one mind seeing itself and accepting the paradoxes of its positions… The position of wholeness taken by Schrödinger I call quantum solipsism. According to solipsism, the self is the only thing that can be known and verified. Nothing else is for sure. According to quantum solipsism, everything depends on you. You create the whole universe; you are the ‘you-niverse’ ”.

So the idea of the individual being a microcosm of the universe is not unknown to quantum physics, it may even be the initial postulate of quantum thinking. Better still, however, there is some physical evidence of the possibility of the whole being encoded in its parts; this arrived with the discovery of the hologram. Here is Henri Bortoft, a student of David Bohm, describing the phenomenon:

The advent of the laser has made possible the practical development of a radically different kind of photography. Hologram is the name given to the special kind of photographic plate produced with the highly coherent light of a laser — i.e. light which holds together and does not disperse… The hologram does not record an image of the object photographed but provides an optical reconstruction of the original object… exactly as if the original object were being observed. What is seen is to all optical appearances the object itself in full three-dimensional form, being displaced in apparent position when seen from different perspectives… in the same way as the original object (20).

“A hologram has several remarkable properties in addition to those related to the three-dimensional nature of the optical reconstruction which it permits. The particular property which is of direct concern in understanding wholeness is the pervasiveness of the whole optical object throughout the plate. If the hologram plate is broken into fragments and one fragment is illuminated, it is found that the same three-dimensional optical reconstruction of the original object is produced. There is nothing missing; the only difference is that the reconstruction is less well defined. The entire original object can be optically reconstructed from any fragment of the original hologram, but as the fragments get smaller and smaller the resolution deteriorates until the reconstruction becomes so blotchy and ill-defined as to become unrecognizable” (21).

David Bohm provides a more detailed — but more complicated — account of the same phenomenon in Wholeness and the Implicate Order (22), Here are some especially appropriate quotations from the section: “Relativity and quantum theory imply undivided wholeness, in which analysis into distinct and well-defined parts is no longer relevant. Is there an instrument that can help give a certain immediate perceptual insight into what can be meant by undivided wholeness, as the lens did for what can be meant by analysis of a system into parts? It is suggested here that one can obtain such insight by considering hologram. (The word is derived from the Greek words ‘holo’, meaning ‘whole’, and ‘gram’ meaning ‘to write’. Thus, the hologram is an instrument that, as it were, ‘writes the whole’.)” (p145).

The differences (in the interference patterns) indicated… are, however, not only in the plate. Indeed, the latter is of secondary significance, in the sense that its main function is to make a relatively permanent ‘written record’ of the interference pattern of the light that is present in each region of space. More generally, however, in each such region, the movement of the light implicitly contains a vast range of distinctions of order and measure, appropriate to a whole illuminated structure. Indeed, in principle, this structure extends over the whole universe and over the whole past, with implications for the whole future…” (p148).

He then comments: “There is the germ of a new notion of order here. This order is not to be understood solely in terms of a regular arrangement of objects (e.g., in rows) or as a regular arrangement of events (e.g. in a series). Rather, a total order is contained, in some implicit sense, in each region of space and time. Now, the word ‘implicit’ is based on the verb ‘to implicate’. This means ‘to fold inward’… So we may be led to explore the notion that in some sense each region contains a total structure ‘enfolded’ within it” (p149).

In other words, the microcosm is a reflection of the macrocosm!

Bohm concludes: “To generalize so as to emphasize undivided wholeness, we shall say that what ‘carries’ an implicate order is The Holomovement, which is an unbroken and undivided totality. In certain cases, we can abstract particular aspects of the holomovement (e.g. light, electrons, sound, etc) but more generally, all forms of the holomovement merge and are inseparable. Thus, in its totality, the holomovement is not limited in any specifiable way at all. It is not required to conform to any particular order, or to be bounded by any particular measure. Thus the holomovement is undefinable and immeasurable” (p151, his italics).

This is beginning to sound like mysticism; surely this is the ‘ground of being’. The ‘holomovement’ seems to be Bohm’s word for Brahman, or the Tao. This becomes even more apparent later when he talks about “the unbroken wholeness of the totality of existence as an undivided flowing movement without borders… The implicate order is particularly suitable for the understanding of such unbroken wholeness in flowing movement, for in the implicate order the totality of existence is enfolded within each region of space (and time). So, whatever part, element, or aspect we may abstract in thought, this still enfolds the whole and is therefore intrinsically related to the totality from which it has been abstracted” (p172).

The hologram seems to have far-reaching implications, and makes physicists very excited! The following quotations are from Michael Talbot:

Keith Floyd proposes that a ‘holographic model of consciousness’ makes such brain processes as memory, perception, and imaging clearly explainable…”.

The brain’s capabilities can store many more bits than one per second; again, only a holographic model of consciousness appears to explain such a talent”.

Discussing Geoffrey Chew’s ‘bootstrap’ philosophy, he says: “No longer can we look at the world as built of fundamental entities with fundamental properties… It is a hologram, a dynamic web of interrelated events in which each part of the web determines the structure of the whole”.

A holographic view of consciousness displaces the view of the behaviorists that all our mental behavior can be interpreted in terms of stimulus and response. Our thought processes are holographic in that all thoughts are infinitely cross-referenced with all other thoughts”.

We are told, then, that if the reality we perceive as the physical universe is examined microscopically, we will find it to be a super-hologram. As Charles Muses puts it, ‘We live in a projection world of solid, neuro-“wired” holograms — a world of simulacra’ ”.

In this cosmic brain the paths of time spread out like the branchlike neurons which interconnect the various portions of the human brain. The macrocosm is the microcosm. In a universe in which the linear time sequence of the illusory past and the illusory future is due merely to the constructive interference of all possible pasts and futures, the human mind becomes the pivot. It is the filtering mechanism — the synapses in the nervous system of the cosmic brain” (23). (For the sake of balance I would like to note that Danah Zohar has some reservations about the importance of the hologram (24).)

There is some overlapping of consciousness and matter, which would allow them to affect each other and which would therefore, theoretically at least, enable personality to reflect the pattern of the solar system.

Danah Zohar: “(Nagel) argues that both these proto-mental properties and the elementary matter with which they are associated might derive from a common source, from a more fundamental level of reality that itself has a two-sided potential to become both the mental and the material. ‘Such reducibility to a common base would have the advantage of explaining how there could be necessary causal connections in either direction, between mental and physical phenomena’ ” (25).

This statement addresses the same issue that I discussed from a psychological perspective in the last chapter, where I described it as one of the major stumbling blocks to an acceptance of Astrology, how the planets (matter) might affect personality (consciousness). There I discussed the possible role of the archetypes in the formation of both. When Danah Zohar talks about “a more fundamental level of reality that itself has a two-sided potential to become both the mental and the material”, she is clearly referring to the world of the archetypes from the standpoint of science. For quantum physicists this major stumbling block is no problem at all; nature has forced them to think otherwise.

As can be seen from the title, this issue is in fact the whole raison d’être of her book, and she discusses it in detail in chapter 4. Having decided that even snails and earthworms probably have some form of consciousness, however limited, she goes on to discuss Panpsychism, the belief that inanimate objects are also conscious. She notes that there is a historical precedent for this way of thinking — Parmenides, Heraclitus, Plato, the Renaissance, Spinoza, Leibnitz, Lotze, Fechner, William James — which continues into the twentieth century with thinkers like Teilhard de Chardin and A.N. Whitehead. She notes that there is a full version of Panpsychism “which believes that every mountain, tree, flower and dust particle actually possesses an inner psychological life”, but is herself concerned with a more ‘limited’ panpsychism, which finds itself unable to make meaningful distinctions between living organisms and matter. In this context she notes that “there is only one basic kind of matter. It follows then that all things — animate and inanimate — are made of it, (and) that some of this matter has the undoubted capacity for conscious life”, (p39). She then adds: “Unless consciousness is something which just suddenly emerges, just gets added on with no apparent cause, then it was there in some form all along as a basic property of the constituents of all matter” (p40).

David Bohm, thinking in similar mode, explains how the implicate order “may be extended to the field of consciousness, to indicate certain general lines along which it is possible to comprehend both cosmos and consciousness as a single unbroken totality of movement” and “…the comprehension of both inanimate matter and life on the basis of a single ground, common to both” (26). It is difficult to understand this conclusion without an exact appreciation of what he means by the ‘implicate order’. This concept is clearly related to that of the holomovement quoted above, so that is a useful starting point; hopefully what follows will make the idea clearer.

To everyday ‘common-sense’ consciousness, there are inanimate objects and there are various forms of life — even if they exist at different levels, and exhibit different ‘degrees’ of consciousness: humans, other mammals, insects, plants etc. This perception is intimately bound up with our observation that there are actually separate entities out there, there are such ‘things’ as a knife, a car, and ‘life-forms’ such as a spider, a cat, which exist at various distances independently of each other, some of which are conscious and some of which are not. Quantum physics teaches us that this perception is in some sense an illusion. Solid objects do not really exist, for they consist of molecules, which consist of atoms, which consist of sub-atomic particles, which do not ‘exist’ as such. Rather they come into being and are annihilated very quickly, and are not intimately associated with any particular object. As Danah Zohar says:

Our living bodies are in constant, dynamic interchange with other bodies and with the inanimate world around us” (p40).

Richard Feynman puts it somewhat more humorously: “So what is this mind, what are these atoms with consciousness? Last week’s potatoes! That is what now can remember what was going on in my mind a year ago — a mind which has long ago been replaced. That is what it means when one discovers how long it takes for the atoms of the brain to be replaced by other atoms, to note that the thing which I call my individuality is only a pattern or dance. The atoms come into my brain, dance a dance, then go out; always new atoms but always doing the same dance, remembering what the dance was yesterday” (27).

Thus what we perceive as permanent objects continuous in time, including brains, are more like patterns of energy, ideas which are sustained in being by what Bohm calls the Implicate Order, a hidden ground of being. With this in mind, we can pursue his ideas further. This is how he discusses the formation of plants: “This growth starts from a seed, but the seed contributes little or nothing to the actual material substance of the plant or to the energy needed to make it grow. This latter comes almost entirely from the soil, the water, the air and the sunlight. According to modern theories the seed contains information, in the form of DNA, and this information somehow ‘directs’ the environment to form a corresponding plant… As the plant is formed, maintained and dissolved by the exchange of matter and energy with its environment, at which point can we say that there is a sharp distinction between what is alive and what is not? Clearly, a molecule of carbon dioxide that crosses a cell boundary into a leaf does not suddenly ‘come alive’ nor does a molecule of oxygen suddenly ‘die’ when it is released to the atmosphere. Rather, life itself has to be regarded as belonging in some sense to a totality, including plant and environment.

It may indeed be said that life is enfolded in the totality and that, even when it is not manifest, it is somehow ‘implicit’ in what we generally call a situation in which there is no life. We can illustrate this by considering the ensemble of all the atoms that are now in the environment but that are eventually going to constitute a plant that will grow from a certain seed” (28).

Thinking along these lines he concludes: “In some sense consciousness (which we take to include thought, feeling, desire, will, etc.) is to be comprehended in terms of the implicate order, along with reality as a whole. That is to say, we are suggesting that the implicate order applies both to matter (living and non-living) and to consciouness, and that it can therefore make possible an understanding of the general relationship of these two, from which we may be able to come to some notion of a common ground of both” (p196).

That brings to an end my investigation of what quantum physics might have to say about astrological ideas. I hope that it is obvious from what I have said that in no way am I suggesting that quantum physics proves the truth of Astrology, nor does it predict it, to use the scientific terminology; in fact it has absolutely nothing to say about it, but at the same time says nothing which contradicts it. What I believe I have done is to construct the world-view that Astrology would require, and discovered that, far from being the superstitions of primitives or the delusions of the insane, it is in fact virtually identical with that of quantum physics and Analytical (Jungian) Psychology, the best science and arguably the best psychology available to us. The rationalists dismiss Astrology because it is a crazy idea; it offends against their longing for an orderly and comprehensible universe. These other two disciplines tell us, however, that the universe is crazy, or at least irrational; it’s just that, for some equally crazy reason, it seems logical. As I see it, this is the position we have arrived at:

If human consciousness and the matter which composes the solar system are different manifestations of a deeper, common ground of being, (and quantum physics says that they are), and if each area of space-time enfolds the whole, in particular if each human consciousness enfolds the whole of the universe (and quantum physics says that it does), then it follows logically that the individual and the cosmos are intimately related. In fact the individual enfolds the whole universe.

That is exactly what Astrology claims.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

graham.pemberton@aol.co.uk

I hope you are enjoying my articles. I have written much on other subjects apart from Astrology. For a full list it is easiest to visit my website (click here). They are also available at Medium, if you look at my profile.

Footnotes:

(1) Fontana, 1980, p306

(2) QED, Penguin, 1990, p8

(3) Quantum, BBC Radio 4 programme, December 1st 1999

(4) David Bohm: Wholeness and the Implicate Order, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1995, pp191–2

(5) Danah Zohar: The Quantum Self, Flamingo, 1991, p18. See also the preface in Causality and Chance in Modern Physics, David Bohm, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1984, for a similar discussion.

(6) For an account of this, see The Dancing Wu Li Masters, as (1), p85 et seq.

(7) ibid. pp87–88

(8) ibid. p302. In order to avoid overcomplicating this text I am not going to give the scientific details. For a full account see [50], p298 et seq. I will just mention in passing that one theory to account for this phenomenon is the speculated existence of a type of particle called a tachyon, which moves faster than the speed of light. See [50] pp310–311, and [46], p93 et seq., which includes this quote from Jack Sarfatti: ‘The tachyonic segment of the electron’s world line is detected as an instantaneous discrete quantum jump which can take zero real co-ordinate time as measured in the laboratory’ (Implications of Meta-Physics for Psychoenergetic Systems, in Psychoenergetic Systems vol. 1, Gordon and Breach, 1974.)

(9) as (5), p20

(10) Taking the Quantum Leap, Harper and Row,1989, pp196–8

(11) After all, computers appear to be conscious because an intelligence — the programme — permeates them, but I have never heard anyone suggest that they are really conscious, especially not when they are turned off.

(12) The Quantum Self, Flamingo, 1991, p43. The sentence in brackets is Zohar’s own footnote.

(13) Wolf’s abbreviation of ‘quantum wave function’, that is to say a ‘matter wave’.

(14) as (10), pp227 and 240

(15) Danah Zohar has an interesting theory which is a variation of this idea. She says that consciousness “can in no sense be a ‘property’ of matter… It cannot be traced back to the being of one elementary particle of matter because it is essentially a relationship between two or more particles… It can only arise where at least two things come together… Our human consciousness therefore, is not different in kind from that associated with more elementary life forms or with elementary matter, but is different in degree and complexity”. (The Quantum Self, p86)

(16) Mysticism and the New Physics, Michael Talbot, Routledge, 1981, p174. Talbot says that he is quoting Jack Sarfatti in Space-Time and Beyond. This book was written by Wolf and Toben, however. So there is some confusion. In their book this idea is expressed on p34, but does not seem to be the direct source for Talbot.

(17) The Quantum Self, Flamingo, 1991, p83

(18) The Wholeness of Nature: Goethe’s Way of Science, Floris, 1996, p5

(19) as (10), p182. The original was: J. Bernstein, “I Am This Whole World: Erwin Schrödinger,” in Project Physics Reader 5 New York, Rinehart & Winston, 1968–69, p179. Schrödinger discusses this in more detail in My View of the World, CUP, 1964.

(20) In other words, “If you have a hologram of an apple you can tilt the plate a little to one side and actually see behind the apple”. As (16), p44

(21) as (18), p4

(22) as (4), p144 et seq.

(23) as (16), p53, p55, p58, p59, p83, p84, pp174–175

(24) For her complete exposition see The Quantum Self, pp55–57, the main points of which are:

1) “Both the ‘holographic paradigm’ in general and the holographic model of the brain in particular have their attractive qualities… But even as a metaphor it goes too far in some respects, being as extreme in its own emphasis on the wave-like side of being as mechanism and the computer model are in their emphasis on the particle side”.

2) “the holographic model… can’t account for the ‘I’ of consciousness”.

(25) as (17) p41

(26) as (4), pp172 and 193

(27) as (10), quoted by Fred Alan Wolf, p228

(28) as (4), pp193–4

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