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Posts Tagged ‘Qualia’

From Quanta to Qualia: What Nature Is Really Telling Us

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 17, 2012

By Deepak Chopra, Author, ‘Spiritual Solutions’; founder, The Chopra Foundation

Co-written with Menas Kafatos, Ph.D., and Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D.

What would it take to make the universe a living thing? What would it take to make it human once again, a secure home for us instead of a cold, meaningless place? What would it take to give God a future? As disconnected as these questions may seem, they are on the minds of some farseeing thinkers. And the deeper one looks, the more it appears that all three issues — a living universe, a human universe and a universe that holds a place for God — start to merge. If they actually do merge, nothing will ever be the same again. Not just science but everyday existence will be completely overturned.

There have been great physicists who were deeply religious, such as Sir Isaac Newton, or who had a religious feeling when confronting the universe, such as Albert Einstein, but God isn’t the right place to start with these huge issues. God, in fact, is a red herring. No matter who or what created the universe, it’s here now, and we have to relate to it. How? One of the oldest ideas, which can be found in every culture, holds that nature is a mirror. We relate to it by seeing ourselves, but not passively. Messages are constantly going back and forth about birth and death, about constant change and the bond between our life and nature itself. To the ancients a natural disaster — fire, flood or earthquake — showed that nature was angry. If nature was appeased, the harvest was good and the sun shone. It was unquestioned that the universe meant something, and usually it meant that a loving deity had created a special place for his children.

It’s astonishing how quickly a timeless worldview was utterly destroyed by science. The demolition project that included Darwin, Freud, Einstein and all the other quantum pioneers doesn’t need retracting. We relate to a completely mechanistic universe devoid of purpose, one that operates through random chance, perfectly meshed with evolution operating through random genetic mutations. The mirror has shattered. We no longer see ourselves, because there’s nothing meaningful to see, no purpose, no creator. Even more absurd is the notion that nature is sending us messages; from the collision of quarks to the collision of galaxies, nothing is happening “out there” to reflect human existence. Read the rest of this entry »

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From Quanta to Qualia: The Mystery of Reality

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 9, 2012

By Deepak Chopra

This piece was co-written with Menas Kafatos, Ph.D. and Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D.

Wherever reality leads, science follows. The two are inseparably linked, as they must be when science is our way of knowing reality. Reality shifts in ways that are unpredictable and strange. Time and space took very strange turns a century ago, for example, while cause and effect turned into a game of probabilities, and the solid physical universe dissolved into invisible energy clouds. Quantum theory had arrived, keeping pace with where reality led it. What Einstein called the “spookiness” of activity at the quantum level has only become spookier since.

Now it appears that reality is about to lead us into new, unexpected paths once more. A hint of the future was provided decades ago by one of the most brilliant quantum pioneers, Wolfgang Pauli, when he said, “It is my personal opinion that in the science of the future reality will neither be ‘psychic’ nor ‘physical’ but somehow both and somehow neither.” By using a word that science shuns, “psychic,” Pauli was pointing to a kind of ultimate mystery. The vast physical mechanism we call the universe behaves more like a mind than like a machine. To thousands of working physicists, the riddle of mind and matter doesn’t apply to their research. But the founder of quantum physics, Max Planck, had no doubt that mind would eventually become the elephant in the room, an issue too massive and obvious to ignore. Planck is worth quoting in full: “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”

The reason that mixing mind with matter disturbs many scientists isn’t a secret. Mind rules the subjective world, while matter is the basis of the physical world, and science is dedicated to gathering objective data from it. Subjectivity is fickle, individual, shifting, and prey to all kinds of bias, if not outright delusion. Consciousness therefore has been systematically excluded from scientific consideration; it’s simply a given that all of us are conscious, and a given doesn’t need to be factored into the equation. Read the rest of this entry »

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