THE PHYSICAL BASIS OF HIGHER STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS

by Richard Prosser

The following short essay on the 'Physical Basis of Higher States of Consciousness' was written about thirty years ago by Philosopher Richard Prosser. I (Geoff Haselhurst) have added further comments (founded on the Metaphysics of Space and Motion and the Wave Structure of Matter, to Prosser's ideas on waves, infinity) and states of awareness / consciousness. (My comments in this font.)

It greatly helps if you first read on the Wave Structure of Matter (WSM - which is simple once known). Briefly summarised, by replacing Particles and Fields in Space and Time (four separate things, which cause the problems), with Matter existing as Spherical Standing Waves in Space, we can explain and solve many of the problems of modern physics, philosophy and metaphysics by connecting the many things (Matter) back to one thing, Space, existing as an Infinite Eternal Wave Medium.


THE PHYSICAL BASIS OF HIGHER STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS

by Richard Prosser

The Vedas proclaim the state of enlightenment that realizes the true nature of the Self in terms of the eternal and unmanifest basis of all existence.

This is true and at the very foundation of mystical spiritual enlightenment. Humans can experience the world in two different ways, the naive real world of separate and discrete (finite) objects which are changing, or the real world, the One infinite and eternal thing which causes and connects the many things. As Leibniz wrote;

Leibniz  - Reality cannot be found except in One single source, because of the interconnection of all things with one another. (Leibniz, 1670) Reality cannot be found except in One single source, because of the interconnection of all things with one another.

In the history of Western scientific ideas, on the other hand, the fundamental reality has been seen in terms of elementary particles and physical fields which have been described in different ways throughout the centuries. Since about 1920, our understanding of the duality between particles and wave fields has been expressed mainly through the mathematical formalism of quantum field theories. Although this formalism is precise and leads to excellent agreement with experimental facts, it does not provide a deeply satisfying intuitive insight into the nature of the reality that manifests both in the form of waves and of particles. In recent years, scientists have begun to interpret this formalism in new ways that do provide a clearer insight into the physical structure that quantum theory describes.

While it is true that mainstream society has been educated with the particle / field conception of matter, this is not actually true of the metaphysical foundations of modern physics. Albert Einstein realised that matter and universe were interconnected, that matter could not be a discrete and separate particle. See: Physics: Albert Einstein's Theory of Special & General Relativity

This presentation describes a new interpretation that gives an intellectual understanding both of the ancient Vedic wisdom and of the changes that occur in awareness and perception as consciousness evolves through the application of spiritual practice.

As we look around the room in which we sit, it seems familiar and substantial. Although some details are unique to this moment in space and time, the overall impression is similar to that which we have become used to throughout our lives. There seems to be nothing especially unique about our current perception, and probably we think it is the only perception that we could have and that it is shared by everyone present.

Yet we know that from a scientific perspective the vision that we have at this moment is not an absolute one. Our vision comes to us via a very small window of the electromagnetic spectrum that our eyes are sensitive to. The electromagnetic spectrum covers the whole range of electromagnetic waves that vary in their wavelength from some thousands of metres to billionths of a metre. Our eyes receive a very small band of waves a bit less than a millionth of a metre in length. If we were able to see in other regions of the spectrum the vision of this room would be entirely different.

For example, if we could receive in the X-ray region we might see a room inhabited by skeletons. If we could see in the infra-red region of the spectrum we might see a room that was largely dark, but that all of us are glowing points of light on account of the warmth that we radiate in that part of the spectrum. On the other hand, if we were sensitive to radio waves we would not see a room at all, but we would see all the television images that are actually present here now accompanied by the radio impulses generated by transmitters from all over the world. From this viewpoint we can know that the reality that we now see and take for granted as the only reality is but one of hundreds of potential realities that are actually present and which we could perceive if we had appropriate sensory receiving apparatus.

Faced with this knowledge that our perceived reality is determined by our sensory apparatus, it is natural to ask whether there is some more fundamental reality that underlies all the myriads of subjective realities that could be possible. Is there some unique objective reality? Could we know it? Could we experience it? In one sense, the whole history of scientific endeavour is the history of man's attempts to answer this question. We can illustrate the current position by going more deeply into the question of what an electromagnetic wave is. Science tells us that an electromagnetic wave has two aspects. Certainly it has wavelike properties.

However, it is interesting to note that no one has ever seen an electromagnetic wave as such, even though everything that we see is brought to us via the medium of electromagnetic waves. There is one experiment in physics that tells us that light must have wavelike nature. This is called interference and is observed when light falls onto two slits in a metal plate: on the far side of the plate a series of fringes is seen. These fringes of interference were observed by an English doctor, Thomas Young, in the eighteenth century and our understanding of them is essentially due to him. Light is supposed to spread out from each slit and fall onto a screen. There are some places on the screen where the light waves reinforce each other. In other places the trough of one wave coincides with the peak from the other wave, in which case they cancel each other out and a dark band results. This experiment confirms the wavelike nature of light, for it is only with waves that something added to something can give nothing.

But light has another characteristic. Besides behaving like a wave, it can also behave as if it were a particle. Perhaps the simplest illustration of this is that when a weak beam of light falls onto a photographic plate which is then developed, it is seen that the plate is covered with a series of small dots as if the light particles had arrived at specific places on the photographic plate. There are many other experiments in which the particle-like nature of light is evident and these particles of light are called photons. This dual nature of light is found to exist also in the case of all the particles that have ever been discovered. All the electrons, protons and neutrons that compose the cells of our bodies have this schizophrenic nature. It is very difficult to understand this dual nature of matter and light because the two aspects are mutually contradictory. A particle is something that is distinctly localised in a very small region of space. A wave on the other hand exists over a wide region of space.

After some 50 years of attempting to understand this mystery most physicists have given up trying and rely instead on a mathematical formula derived from quantum theory that does not solve the mystery but does make very precise predictions concerning the probability that a particle will be detected by a particular measuring apparatus. Quantum theory is arguably the most successful theory ever to emerge from the long history of science: its predictions cove a vast range of phenomena and have been confirmed again and again with almost perfect accuracy. However, quantum theory does not allow us an intuitive insight into the mystery of wave-particle dualism. Neither does it answer the questions pertaining to the fundamental reality and whether this can be perceived or known. This is because the basic elements of the theory are represented by mathematical operations in a multidimensional space and its predictions are statistical in nature.

In recent years some physicists have considered whether it is possible to interpret quantum theory in physical terms rather than in the purely mathematical way that has become orthodox. When we toss a coin and observe the way it falls - heads or tails - we can use statistical theory to calculate the probability that we shall obtain, say, a run of three heads followed by three tails. This probability, namely 1:64, can be experimentally tested and verified. The statistical computation of the likelihood of particular outcomes is one way of giving a scientific account of what happens when we toss a coin. Yet there is another way of describing this phenomenon. If we knew the exact initial conditions for the tossing of the coin, its orientation, velocity, angular momentum, the viscosity of the air and so on, then we could use the laws of mechanics to determine the exact outcome in every case.

These two different ways of describing the same phenomenon are both correct theories. In the same way it is possible to postulate that although quantum theory is a satisfactory statistical theory, there may also be another more complete theory that would give the same statistical results. Such 'hidden variable theories' have been in vogue for about forty years, and in the last ten years considerable progress has been made in their understanding. Following the work of an Irish physicist, John Bell, we now know that if any hidden variable theory is to exactly reproduce all the statistical predictions of quantum theory, then these hidden variables have to be non-local. This implies that if we are to find any model of the particle that is compatible with quantum theory then that model must involve a mechanism by which the particle behaviour can be influenced in principle by every other particle in the universe. I will now present the outline of a non-local hidden variable model of the light particle, the photon, and we shall see that this also provides us with a physical basis for understanding higher states of consciousness.

Imagine an undulating wave that stretches out to an infinite distance in one direction and also in the opposite direction. This wave will have some definite wavelength or distance between its peaks. Now imagine that to this wave is added another infinite wave with another wavelength and that the two are added together. The resulting wave that we obtain will depend upon the particular characteristics of each of the two component waves. We can continue in this way adding waves of different wavelengths. Now the important thing to note is that if we have enough waves and we choose their wavelengths and amplitudes in the right way, then when we combine all these waves together we can obtain a result that is positive only over a limited region of space and everywhere else it adds up to nothing.

It is in this way that the wave and particle aspects of matter and light can be reconciled. The particle may be considered to consist of component waves all of which are unlimited and infinite. Yet when this superposition of infinite waves is observed by an instrument that is sensitive only to their combined effect, that instrument sees a localised particle. The eye is an instrument that normally responds to the resultant effect of the waves in a limited part of the electromagnetic spectrum and consequently it sees a universe of separated objects. But the human nervous system is not totally restricted to the perception of the resultant effect of these infinite vibrations. Under certain circumstances it is possible for us to have awareness also on the level of the infinite substructure of creation.

Prosser explains this very well, and is quite correct with his Wave interpretation. See:

Quantum Physics: Quantum Theory / Wave Mechanics - Historical Analysis and Solutions to Problems of Quantum Theory (Quantum Mechanics). On Planck, Einstein, Bohr, de Broglie, Schrodinger, Heisenberg, Born, Feynman, Wolff.

'Experiments on interference made with particle rays have given brilliant proof that the wave character of the phenomena of motion as assumed by Quantum Theory do, really, correspond to the facts.' (Albert Einstein, 1940)

The notion that all these fragments is separately existent is evidently an illusion, and this illusion cannot do other than lead to endless conflict and confusion. Indeed, the attempt to live according to the notion that the fragments are really separate is, in essence, what has led to the growing series of extremely urgent crises that is confronting us today. Thus, as is now well known, this way of life has brought about pollution, destruction of the balance of nature, over-population, world-wide economic and political disorder and the creation of an overall environment that is neither physically nor mentally healthy for most of the people who live in it. Individually there has developed a widespread feeling of helplessness and despair, in the face of what seems to be an overwhelming mass of disparate social forces, going beyond the control and even the comprehension of the human beings who are caught up in it. (David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order, 1980)

The most important characteristic of the Eastern world view - one could almost say the essence of it - is the awareness of the unity and mutual interrelation of all things and events, the experience of all phenomena in the world as manifestations of a basic oneness. All things are seen as interdependent and inseparable parts of this cosmic whole; as different manifestations of the same ultimate reality. (Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics)

A careful analysis of the process of observation in atomic physics has shown that the subatomic particles have no meaning as isolated entities, but can only be understood as interconnections between the preparation of an experiment and the subsequent measurement. Quantum theory thus reveals a basic oneness of the universe. The mathematical framework of quantum theory has passed countless successful tests and is now universally accepted as a consistent and accurate description of all atomic phenomena. The verbal interpretation, on the other hand, i.e. the metaphysics of quantum theory, is on far less solid ground. In fact, in more than forty years physicists have not been able to provide a clear metaphysical model. (Capra, 1975)

The Vedas proclaim the state of enlightenment that realizes the true nature of the Self in terms of the eternal unmanifest basis of all that exists. They speak of the unchanging unity of life that underlies all creation and that That alone is. "I am That, thou art That, all this is That" is the essence of Vedic teaching. Down through the ages the great sages have taught us that it is possible to realise the unlimited eternal nature of the Self and to know by direct experience the fundamental unity of all life. This has been the message of Vyasa, of Krishna, Buddha, Shankara and of Christ.

The expansion of consciousness to include awareness of the unlimited Self is facilitated by meditation. It is not that the mind has to be taught how to expand. The whole process is natural and the mind itself spontaneously develops this new kind of awareness if it is allowed to do so. But meditation allows this new awareness to be cultivated in a systematic fashion. In the beginning, this pure awareness cannot be sustained for very long because of the impurities of 'Samskaras' that cloud it. Eventually these dissolve and pure consciousness, soul consciousness or transcendental consciousness, as it has been called, grows increasingly in the awareness both during and after meditation.

What is this experience of pure consciousness like? Essentially the experience is transcendental. It is perhaps easier to experience than describe, but some of the great artists, poets and scientists have given us their accounts of the heightened awareness that accompanies pure consciousness. Plotinus speaks of a state in which;

All things are transparent and there is nothing dark or impenetrable, but everyone is manifest to everyone internally and all things are manifest, for light is manifest to light. For everyone has all things in himself and sees all things in another, so that all things are everywhere and all is all and each is all, and the glory is infinite.

The seventeenth century poet Thomas Traherne describes his vision of the infinite eternity underlying everything:

The corn was orient and immortal wheat which never should be reaped nor was ever sown. I thought it had stood from everlasting to everlasting.... But all things abided eternally in their proper places. Eternity was manifest in the light of day and something infinite behind everything appeared which talked with my expectation and moved my desire. The City seemed to stand in Eden or to be built in Heaven. The streets were mine, the temple was mine, the people, their clothes and gold were mine as much as their sparkling eyes, fair skins, and ruddy faces. The skies were mine and so were the sun and moon and stars, and all the world was mine and I the only spectator and enjoyer of it.

Closer to our time, Albert Einstein wrote in a letter to the Queen of Belgium in 1939:

"There are moments when one feels free from one's own identification with human limitations and inadequacies. At such moments one imagines that one stands on some spot of a small planet gazing in amazement at the cold yet profoundly moving beauty of the eternal, the unfathomable. Life and earth flow into one and there is neither evolution nor destiny, only being." (Albert Einstein)

The development of higher consciousness, which these extracts exhibit, has sometimes been likened to a second birth. Jesus said "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God".

"How can a man be born when he is old?" said Nicodemus. "Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb and be born?"

Jesus answered "Verily, verily I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of flesh is flesh; and that which is born of Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, You must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeneth and thou heareth the sound thereof but canst not tell whence it cometh nor whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit."

In the realm of the infinite substructure, of pure consciousness, there is no coming or going because life on this level is infinite, eternal and unchanging. Yet awareness on this level is real, but it is different from awareness in the field of separate objects.

Thus we see that in the objective physical world there is a realm of separate objects, but when this is perceived from another perspective we find all these objects are connected and can be thought of as vibrations in an eternal, unmanifest, infinite continuum of existence. In the subjective realm of consciousness there is awareness of separated objects, but there can also be another kind of awareness of pure consciousness, or soul consciousness which lies in the transcendental field beyond the awareness of separation. The opportunity that human life offers is to live the full value both of the relative changing field of life and of the absolute eternal field of life. Through knowledge we can understand intellectually how this could be. Through the spiritual practice of meditation we can experience that reality. In this way both science and spiritual practice are combined in the highest fulfillment of life.

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Biography: Geoffrey Haselhurst, Philosopher of Science, Theoretical Physics, Metaphysics, Evolution. Our world is in great trouble due to human behaviour founded on myths and customs that are causing the destruction of Nature and climate change. We can now deduce the most simple science theory of reality - the wave structure of matter in space. By understanding how we and everything around us are interconnected in Space we can then deduce solutions to the fundamental problems of human knowledge in physics, philosophy, metaphysics, theology, education, health, evolution and ecology, politics and society.

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