Dr. Edgar Mitchell, Way of the Explorer, New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1996.
For at least five thousand years human beings have suspected that there is something more to our being than just the physical self. Spirit is not so easily dismissed as the strict materialist would have it. Yet if the spirit world does exist apart from the body and can produce creativity, thought, and other such functions, why do we need a brain? Indeed, why do we need a body at all? It seems rather doubtful that nature required fifteen billion years to evolve a method of self-reflective knowing that can perform all the complex information-management functions we find in a brain/body, and a parallel system thats nonphysical. The energy density at the high-frequency end of the electromagnetic spectrum is sufficient to permit a variety of undiscovered physical structures. Perhaps these energies might account for some of the mystical insights and visions. But in our space/time world such high energies are destructive to macro world structures. Frequencies above X rays (even prolonged exposure to sunlight or infrared radiation) damage our bodies. Atomic structures with atomic numbers greater than ninety-two are unstable and not found in nature. It is, therefore, quite difficult to imagine how nature might have organized energy structures in the universe that we cannot detect, since we can detect the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Moreover, there is no known basis for any other fundamental form of energy. Beings of Light, or angels, or even discarnate humans, as frequently reported in mystical writings through the ages, would emit the destructive radiation of a nuclear reactor, were they composed of high-frequency energy. Wherever angels tread, deadly ruin would surely follow. Again, the principle of parsimony suggests that realms, dimensions, energies, and entities not detectable from within the macro scale universe must be considered as metaphors for experiences that need a new interpretation. A dyadic model suggests that there are other interpretations. The traditional evidence for the existence of such entities is more likely a product of limited knowledge, tangled thought, imagination, and a minimum of independent validation. A natural universe should be knowable and subject to validation. But how would such a model explain the ubiquitous experience of persons of all cultures who claim to sense nonlocal information, who believe they have lived past lives, who experience unseen dimensions and entities, and seem capable of influencing matter nonlocally like Uri Geller? Two seemingly unrelated concepts when taken together appear to offer answers: the concepts of holographic information and the zero-point field. We've all seen the amazing display of laser technology that can produce three-dimensional images though they are too ephemeral to experience with the touch. In other words, one can see them but also walk through them. The two-dimensional hologram, made with coherent beams focused on a photographic plate, is common in any novelty store. Holographic technology is just an exotic extension of the infamous double-slit experiment, although it uses coherent laser beams to create an interference pattern, which in this case is a holographic image. The significant point is that a large amount of research suggests the brain manages information in a similar fashion. A hologram analogy is valid, not only for the visual sense, but for all the senses as well. The brain (and every cell of the body) is a quantum device. And every quantum entity has both a local (particle) and a nonlocal (wave) aspect. Prodigious amounts of information can be carried in this holographic manner including, theoretically, the entire space/time history of the learning organism. In other words, the totality of our subjective experiences can be thought of as a multimedia hologram in resonance with the zero-point field. We can observe the resonance of a violin string when a note is struck nearby corresponding to its natural frequency, or when a vocalist shatters a glass with a strong falsetto. But it's a bit more difficult to imagine every structure and every point in the universe resonating with the underlying infinite unstructured energy of the zero-point field. The quantum mechanical type resonance is an exchange of energy with the zero-point field such that the "phase change" (interference pattern) of quantum energy carries complete information about the history of the system.* In other words, one may think of the quantum resonance as carrying the information to create a hologram of the entire inner experience of an individual. This phenomenon provides a possible explanation for a host of visions, apparitions, and encounters with other "beings." It also can explain Carl Jung's concept of the collective unconscious and the reason why archetypal symbols recur in dreams, regression therapy, and shamanistic rituals.** Were it physically possible to place a sentient observer at the zero-point, looking at the macro world from beyond space-time, the observer should perceive the exchanges of energy in the underlying structure in electrodynamic balance and in resonance with Self and experience the connectedness of all things. Those who explore the samadhi states report precisely this same phenomenon as scintillating points of light when experiencing The All That Is. My own experiences in the meditative state confirm these accounts. But is this possible? Are our sensory mechanisms sensitive enough to detect these tiny exchanges of energy? A mysterious experiment we performed aboard Apollo 14 on the way home from the moon demonstrated to me that it could be. Nature indeed possesses the means. While rotating in the barbecue mode as we sped toward earth, Houston had us turn off the cabin lights and pull eye patches over our heads so that we could see no residual light. When Stu, Al, and I did so, we all observed something quite extraordinary. After we waited a few seconds, what looked like a meteor trail flared by. These individual traces of solar particles in the form of gamma rays crossed through an eye, stimulating an optical response, as they made their way through the vacuum of space.*** The gamma particles had penetrated the command module walls, the eye patches, and our eyelids, even perhaps our skulls, to register on the optic nerve. This demonstrated to me that we do have the means to register small packets of energy that interact with our bodies. I would suggest that noticing quantum exchanges while in deep meditation is precisely what the ascetic disciplines have been doing for centuries. The zero-point field resonates with each point in the universe but is outside space-time; it can only be described as infinite and eternal. When one shifts one's point of view from the samadhi to the existential state where existence and location in space-time is the more prominent reality, then the zero-point field appears to exist at each point in the macro scale universe. One can observe from the zero-point or from the macro scale world, but not both simultaneously. In other words, by merely internally shifting one's point of view, one moves from the nonlocal god-viewpoint to the local human-viewpoint, yet need go nowhere. One's experience depends entirely upon the point of view that awareness chooses to experience within the spectrum of consciousness.
*This capability is called the Berry phase, or geometric phase, of a quantum system and has been experimentally validated. This mechanism by which the brain operates was proposed by Peter Marcer in World Futures, vol. 44, pp. 149159 (1995).
**Early work by Harold Puthoff (1980s) and recent work by physicist Peter Marcer and professor Ervin Lazlo, reported in private discussion (1995), help validate my belief that virtually all "psychic events" can be mathematically mapped as quantum exchanges in the brain between the zero-point field and macro world objects.
***Such radiation is of course hazardous, as it can pass through metal walls just as easily as it can one's body.
The Endless Search © 2004 Ian C. MacFarlane