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The Quantum of Solace

Saumitra Mohan |

For more than two millennia, the physicists have provided materialist explanations for almost everything in our cosmos, including the evolution of life.

However, with Quantum Physics affirming the non-material, spiritual underpinning to the physical world and relegating matter to a secondary position, the classical physicists suddenly seem to be struggling.

Such books as ‘The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra and Dancing Wu Li Masters by Gary Zukav have famously explained the correlation between the two.
In the classical paradigm, the dynamics of a complex system was explained through the properties of its constituent parts.

But, scientists have gradually realised that nature, at the sub-atomic level, is not actually a mechanical universe made of primary building blocks. The sub-atomic reality made of neutron, proton and quarks has been found to be nothing, but a stable pattern of slowed-down energy capturing our attention.

Subatomic particles are not made of any material stuff; they are dynamic patterns of energy. When we observe them, we never see any substance or any fundamental structure. What we observe are dynamic patterns continually changing into one another ~ a continuous ‘dance of energy’.

The quantum phenomenon actually sits well with the insights of oriental metaphysics, thus offering a spiritual dimension to appreciate the nature of material reality.

While material objects have locational certainty correlated to a particular point in time, the quantum does not follow that due to an inherent problem of non-locality.

Even if two fundamental units of photons, which were once linked, get separated by billions of light years, they would remain connected to each other forever, defying the space-time divide and would respond to each other’s movements.

Perhaps that is how spiritually more evolved eastern mystics could teleport themselves to distant locales in a jiffy or telepathically communicate with each other, as also referred in the books, Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda and Living with Himalayan Masters by Swami Rama.

In the reductionist materialistic paradigm, the driving force behind evolution has never been fully explored or understood because it is assumed that there is none. Though a primary understanding clearly points to the evolution of life from the single cell to the complex human form, the evolutionary biologists don’t dare to think beyond the materialist paradigm.

Some biologists and neuro-scientists, in fact, believe that the consciousness is created by the electro-chemical reactions of the brain and could be destroyed by medical interference e.g. by the administration of anaesthesia or simply by death.

They fail to understand that consciousness regains its vitality in a new body in the same fashion as a bulb emits or stops emitting light after being switched on and off. As lighting of the bulb requires flow of electricity through the circuit, similarly the consciousness requires a live organism for its manifestation.

According to some scientists, the evolution of life is nothing but the struggle of consciousness to find greater and better expression in the material realm, if oriental mystics are to be believed. And this evolution, directly or indirectly, is intricately networked as per new scientific discovery.

An individual or an organism can’t have an independent existence. We are all inter-related to each and every physical and non-physical reality. We have to play out our part till we have realised our assigned purpose and till divine energy has exhausted itself of which there is no possibility as energy could never be created or destroyed. So, the creation is likely to continue till infinity.

Neale Donald Walsch in her Conversations with God states that God has created this world to realise Himself. She adds that the Almighty has had a conception of every emotion or material object, but the same would be meaningless unless it is tested through a cosmic play which the Hindus call Maya or the Chinese call Tao.

So, by creating this world, God is actually realising Himself. The myriad organic consciousness is nothing but multiple expressions of the divine consciousness which are all interconnected with every other physical reality, as Quantum Physics has proven.

There have been many true instances or episodes, the reports of which are available on YouTube or on World Wide Web, where many individuals have had ‘near death experiences’ (NDE) or ‘out of body experiences’ (OOBE).

In all these cases, these individuals were confirmed medically dead, but they came back to life and have recounted first-person details of the incidents occurring during the period when they were medically dead, something which could not be possible for a dead person to know.

The story of Dr Eben Alexander, a neuro-surgeon, is one such famous example. All these points to the disconnect between life and consciousness and that consciousness can exist independently of biological ontology.

There have been verified rebirth stories relating how people have given the details of their previous lives. If consciousness ends with cessation of life, then how does it continue to be manifest in the next life. Such rebirth stories can of course be examined and verified.

If genetics and biology explain everything, then what explains the differential personality and intellectual traits of two individuals born of the same parents? It simply shows that the individual spirit or soul carries its consciousness enriched through its several lives. The same has also been borne out by the “past-life regression experiments”, including that of Dr Brian Weiss as narrated in his book, Many Lives, Many Masters.

Unlike the mechanical paradigm, the emerging paradigm is a holistic worldview, seeing the world as an integrated whole rather than a dissociated collection of parts. This perception recognises the fundamental interdependence of all phenomena, including individuals and societies.

The awareness of the unity and mutual inter-relation of all things and events, the experience of all phenomena as manifestations of a basic oneness, is the very essence of oriental mystical traditions.

All things are seen as interdependent, inseparable and as transient patterns of the same overarching reality.

Quantum Physicists have proven beyond doubt that the physical world is not the hard and unchangeable thing it may appear to be.

Instead, it is a very fluid place, continuously built using our individual and collective thoughts. Quantum Physics has proved that thoughts are what hold together this ever-changing field of energy into the ‘objects’ that we see.

Our thoughts are linked to this invisible energy and they determine what the energy forms. Our thoughts literally shift the universe on a particle-by-particle basis to create our physical reality. It is this power of our thoughts that Rhonda Byrne has delineated in her celebrated book, The Secret.

So, while we struggle with our ontology, we should realise that ours is not an isolated existence but interconnected with every other reality in the universe which is subject to change depending on the power of our thoughts.

‘The Law of Attraction’ as discussed in The Secret catches up with us in this unified world. So, we must think positively in order to create and receive positivity in all our actions.

Otherwise, we shall fail our role in this divine drama. When both metaphysics and science are converging today, what prevents us from converging and coexisting with other fellow beings and creatures of this planet? Unless we agree to do so, we shall remain doomed forever.

The writer is an IAS officer, presently posted as the Commissioner of School Education, Govt of West Bengal. The views expressed here are personal and don‘t reflect those of the Government