A New Perception of Reality
by Alan Mayne
Physics has already travelled far from the simple picture of physical reality
provided by classical physics a century ago. At about that time, certain
anomalous results that could not be explained by classical physics began
to appear. As a result, relativity theory and quantum theory began to emerge
as two major new branches of physics that succeeded in explaining the anomalies
as well as many new phenomena that began to emerge over that time.
At the same time, the picture of physical reality that they presented
often seemed very paradoxical and strange indeed. This article outlines
how modern physics and cosmology view physical reality and the physical
universe, then goes on to explore some even deeper and more radical ideas
about physical reality that are now appearing.
Some paradoxes arise from the wave-particle duality that is at the core
of this theory. For example, experiments on neutrons aimed at a target
through a pair of slits in a screen, show quite definite interference patterns
even when the individual neutrons are fired infrequently (John Barrow,
The World Within the World,1988).
Even more strange, any attempt to determine through which slit a neutron
passes through destroys the interference pattern. As a result, most quantum
physicists have given up the attempt to form pictures of reality and abandoned
attempts to form a full causal explanation of micro-physical phenomena.
They content themselves by deriving accurate theoretical predictions of
experimental results by abstract mathematics.
However, a significant minority of phyicists, of whom Luis de Broglie
and David Bohm are the best known, have produced a counter-interpretation
which allows a space-time
description of micro-events and opens up the possibility of a deeper
understanding of physical reality. In this theory, the motion of a particle
is affected, not only by the usual classical potential but also by a quantum
potential which has appreciable, indeed dramatic affects for very small
Although this interpretation is causal, it is not completely deterministic
as it "opens the door for the creative operation of underlying, and yet
subtler levels of reality". (Bohm and Peat; Science, Order and Creativity,
Big Bang and Black Holes
Recent developments in cosmology are discussed in books by eminent physicists
like Stephen Hawking, Paul Davies, and John Barrow. In this article, only
the briefest glimpse can be given about the many remarkable theories and
observations. The general theory explains gravitation in terms of the curvature
of four-dimensional time-space. It provides for the possibility of a universe
rapidly expanding from an initial "big bang", and then either continuing
its expansion indefinitely, or eventually, after many billions of years,
collapsing back into a "big crunch".
General relativity theory also predicts that, under certain circumstances,
stars literally collapse back into their own gravitational fields. The
result is a "black hole", which is a very small area of extremely high
density, incorporating a "singularity" with zero volume and an infinitely
high density. Gravitation is so intense that no light can escape from a
black hole! There is now extensive observational evidence for the existence
of black holes. Singularities, like those associated with the Big Bang
and Black Holes, are viewed, in effect, as regions where space- time goes
out of existence.
For some time, it was thus believed that it was meaningless to speculate
on what happened before the Big Bang. More recently, by linking ideas from
relativity and quantum theory, it has been possible to postulate theories
such as Alan Guth's "inflationary cosmology", to provide fairly plausible
pictures of possible events before the Big Bang. But the challenge of finding
a true unification of general relativity and quantum theory still remains.
Exploring Deeper Levels of Reality
Bohm has developed his concepts of sub- quantum reality further in his
theory of explicate order and implicate order. The implicate order is a
special case of the 'generative order', "a deeper and more inward order
out of which things can emerge creatively."
The implicate order leads to the 'superimplicate order', which organises
it. In principle, there can be an extension into even higher implicate
orders, organising and affected by the lower orders. Thus, according Bohm,
"the implicate order is a very rich and subtle generative order" and so
is consciousness. Thus mind and matter are two aspects of one whole.
John Davidson in his book "The Secret of the Creative Vacuum -- Man
and the Energy Dance" (1989) carries further this conclusion that mind
and matter, energy and consciousness are intimately intertwined. He explores
the simple idea that the 'vacuum' of 'empty' space "is actually a real
energy field, or state of subtle material substance, out of which all perceivable
matter is formed and levels of manifestation, the energy fields in which
our thoughts and instincts have their existence."
He cites several remarkable but little known researches to support this
view, based on a new 'ether' concept, together with his belief that the
exploration of the 'vacuum' will bring profound and fascinating technological
changes, including virtually unlimited supplies of safe and cheap energy.
He presents a unifying concept of Formative Mind as the universe's hidden
creation mechanism, that links energy, mind and consciousness.
The first scientific questioning of the concept of physical reality
came with Niels Bohr's 'Copenhagen' interpretation of the quantum theory,
which maintained that there was no deep reality, only a description of
it. A BBC TV programme speculated that, perhaps, some time in the future,
our present view of the universe would be seen as mistaken, our present
scientific theories as myths. Our minds and thinking shape our perception
of the world. The new paradigm of the future will view a universe where
consciousness is the primary reality, from which physical reality is derived.
Alan Mayne is the editor of New Paradigms
Newsletter (29 Fairford Crescent, Milton Keynes MK15 9AF, England). This
article originally appeared in the June,1989 edition of New Paradigms Newsletter.
This article was published in New Renaissance magazine Vol.3,
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