[Advaita-l] Something to ponder over

D.V.N.Sarma డి.వి.ఎన్.శర్మ dvnsarma at gmail.com
Sun Sep 16 18:35:24 CDT 2012

Written By *Deepak Chopra*, MD, FACP, *Menas Kafatos*, Ph.D., Fletcher
Jones Endowed Professor in Computational Physics, Chapman University,
and *Rudolph
E. Tanzi*, Ph.D., Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Professor of Neurology at
Harvard University, and Director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at
Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).

The greatest mystery of existence is existence itself. There is the
existence of the universe and there is the existence of the awareness of
existence of the universe. Were it not for this awareness, even if the
universe existed as an external reality, we would not be aware of its
existence, so it would for all practical purpose not exist. Traditional
science assumes, for the most part, that an objective observer independent
reality exists; the universe, stars, galaxies, sun, moon and earth would
still be there if no one was looking. However, modern quantum theory, the
most successful of all scientific creations of the human mind, disagrees.
The properties of a particle, quantum theory tells us, do not even exist
until an observation takes place. Quantum theory disagrees with
traditional, Newtonian physics. Most scientists, although respecting
quantum theory, do not follow its implications. The result is a kind of
schizophrenia between what scientists believe and what they practice. When
we examine this hypothesis of traditional science, we find it more a
metaphysical assumption than a scientific assertion.

How can we assert that an observer-independent reality exists if the
assertion itself is dependent on the existence of a conscious observer?
This raises the additional dilemma of who or what is the observer and where
is this observer located? When scientists in general describe empirical
facts and formulate scientific theories, they forget that neither facts nor
theories are an insight into the true nature of fundamental reality apart
from any observer. What we consider to be empirical facts are entirely
dependent on observation, in agreement with quantum theory. The scientific
observer in this case is an activity of the universe called Homo sapiens
usually with a Ph.D. in physics, biology, neuroscience or other branches of
science. However, many scientists have never really asked the question "Who
am I"?

Most neuroscientists who still don't believe that quantum theory has
anything to do with the brain, would assert that "I", the conscious
observer, is solely an epiphenomenon of the brain; that consciousness is
produced by the brain, just as gastric juices are produced by the stomach
and bile is produced by the gall bladder. The problem with this of course,
is that any neuroscientist worth his/her tenure will tell you that there is
no satisfactory theory in neuroscience that explains how neurochemistry
translates into conscious experience. How do electrochemical phenomena in
the brain create the appreciation of the beauty of a red rose, the taste of
garlic, the smell of onions, the feeling of love, compassion, joy, insight,
intuition, imagination, creativity, free will, or awareness of existence of
self and the universe? There is no physicalist theory based on classical
physics to explain these subjective experiences. Nor, is there any obvious
means for coming up with one.

When traditional science finds itself in such an impasse it might be time
to question some of the basic assumptions about so called
independently-existing reality. We must revisit the idea that science is a
methodology and not an ontology. Current science however is based on a
physicalist ontology. This is the basic belief that reality is physical and
mind is an epiphenomenon of matter (the nervous system). Nonetheless we are
baffled when asked to explain how matter becomes mind. We suggest here a
fundamental revision in our most cherished scientific assumptions. We
boldly suggest that matter, force fields, particles, waves, even the fabric
of space and time are not denizens of fundamental reality but that they are
perceptual and cognitive experiences in consciousness. Actually what we
propose, would be in agreement with what most of the great physicists who
founded quantum theory almost a hundred years ago would hold. But we are
also going beyond, taking the statements of quantum theory to the next
level: All of physical reality is a perceptual experience in consciousness
alone. The experience may turn out to be different for different species.

What is physical reality to a bat, a honey bee, a nematode, a whale, a
dolphin, an eagle, an insect with numerous eyes? There is no fixed physical
reality, no single perception of the world, just numerous ways of
interpreting world views as dictated by one's nervous system and the
specific environment of our planetary existence. We propose that the
worldview of current science as its is being practiced, which operates from
the assumption that human perception and particularly facts emanating from
observations made with human scientific methods are the only fundamental
truth, is clearly flawed. Furthermore the subject / object split that is
the basic premise of the current scientific methods has led to the creation
of arguably detrimental technologies including mechanized death, petroleum
products in our food, genetically modified foods, global warming,
extinction of species, and even the possible extinction of the human
species. Building on the quantum view of the cosmos, which accepts a
non-local, entangled reality that includes observers as fundamental, we
suggest the next natural step, a new science rooted in consciousness, one
that strives to interpret the entire universe, with all its observers, all
modes of observation, and all objects observed as nothing other than
consciousness and it's manifestations!
Rejecting what we believe is the most reasonable and rational approach
proposed here, will lead nowhere and force us to accept randomness and lack
of purpose as the hallmarks of the universe. Such a view is, ultimately,
leading to no meaning for our own very existence. We suggest that
perceptual objects experienced in consciousness, including our very brains,
are not the source of consciousness. We suggest rigorous testing of this
radically different ontology. We feel a holistic science that does not
separate observer from that which is observed would lead to the unraveling
of the mysteries of the universe which at presently seem beyond reach,
leading to an understanding of a conscious universe in which all are
differentiated activities of a single field that is an undivided wholeness
and in some sense bridges external reality with inner being.


More information about the Advaita-l mailing list