Hinduism Today Magazine Issues and Articles
Mind Bridge
Category : October 1984

Mind Bridge

Monism in the New Physics



The "new physics"-quantam and astrophysics-span the unimaginably microscopic realm of sub-atomic energies to the macroscopic vastness of a rapidly stretching cosmos tens of billions of light years in extent. Over the past 60 years this 'discovered' knowledge has wrought a two-edged revolution on our planet and in man's mind.

One edge has knifed its way through molecule structures into the sub-atomic particle world providing a knowledge that birthed high-tech wizardry-supercomputers that perform billions of operations a second, solid-state lasers smaller than a pinhead, manned lunar missions, unmanned probes that have landed on or flown by 4 planets and burst through the outer envelope of our solar system out into deep space.

The other edge has sliced up Western man's philosophical perceptions of the universe as a whole, of space and time, his concepts of supermicro matter, his definition of mind and consciousness and how these relate to our bodily and cosmic existence. Inside the seeming solidness of our world, the interior of atomic matter revealed an awesome emptiness, a 99.9% energy field space, with in nucleus and orbiting particles zapping around at velocities approximating light speed. Further, the very nuclear particles themselves dissolved from concrete, possibly specks, to universally interconnected patterns of energy crystalizing in and out of matter states a billion times a second. Finally, these energy patterns of nuclear "matter" could manifest as individual particles or as multi-dimensional field waves depending on how man's mind observed them. Mind itself was part of the cosmic magma.

Science's world view was ripped out of its dualistic tunnelvision and forced to refocus on fundamental monism as the essential nature of the cosmos and man. At the energy/matter fountainhead of that monism was consciousness, pure consciousness. Suddenly, the subject/object reality of our rock solid world was supplanted by the 'void' of consciousness. Physics was looking at a twoness-out-of-oneness reality. And, echoing the first hints of convergence between Western physics and yogic metaphysics, man's individual consciousness was directly participating in the cosmic fabrication process. Consciousness was the fabric of the cosmos, the gossamer warp and woof from which nuclear-fired suns, slow-wheeling galaxies and man's brain-controlled body are woven. As Arthur Eddington, a renowned astrophysicist, stated, "The stuff of the world is mind-stuff. This mind-stuff is not spread out in time and space; on the contrary, it is time and space that are spun out of it...science cannot, regardless of further progress, encroach on the background or substratum from which it springs; an dour consciousness obviously lies in this background-indeed is the background.

Hard, absolute dualism-a non reducible or unbridgeable gap between things, from unseeably small nuclear particles to supergalatic clusters, and distinctions between mind and matter and consciousness and mind-was crushed into the very consciousness that conceived it. In our cosmos, oneness was the malleable, absolute reality. Another great physicist, James Jeans, observed,"...the rigid dualisms: mind-matter, soul-body, God and man-ontological dualisms: typical of the analytical mind of the West-have become outdated." The same is true of the East's equally analytical mind which produced similar rigid dualisms.

Physicists with their mathematics and groping intuition had turned the cosmos transparent to the normal world we sense and reconstruct in our brains. They were looking inside the cosmos, but they weren't experiencing it in the yogic sense, a very big difference. It was a difference that even the early quantam physicists cognized. With that deduced realization, two processes were triggered that are accelerating today and are rapidly interweaving physics and metaphysics.

When physicists plunged inside the universe and found fundamental oneness based on consciousness, deism (the perception of personal deity as completely separate from world- often depicted as residing in an atmospheric heaven) and absolute dualism died. In their death though a sense of religion crept into physics. Eddington stated, "Religion first became possible for a reasonable scientific man about the year 1927." And that waft of religion from the very beginning of the "new physics" took on an Eastern mystic flavor, drawing on both Hindu and Buddhist wisdom. Gradually over the past 2 decades, with a new generation of eager, inquisitive physicists, and some startling and now-proven pan-universe connections between particle fields, the comparisons between physics and metaphysics have become practices-meditative practices One author has predicted that "physics curricula of the 21st century could include classes in meditation." Another (neuropsychologist) concluded," Hindu and Buddhism philosophy deals with models rather like those of the new physics. Some of these philosophies, which depend not on experiment but on sophisticated introspection have strikingly anticipated the objective findings of physics, and one is bound to take another look at the Vedic introspective yogas..."

Since physicists arrived so abruptly at consciousness as the ground of energy/mass, and since they naturally hold a humanistic mindset, there was (and is) tendency to jump to Shankaran Vedanta as the philosophy most descriptive of their findings. Pure consciousness was the ultimate real, and the cosmos as we perceive it was illusory maya, an unreal.

But now, along with the monism, a recognition of pantheism and theism is being introduced by both pioneering physicists and biologists. Physicists have long been awed by the architecture of order prevalent in the universe-relations of space and time, both macro-and microcosmic-that they themselves call "miraculous" And in the realm of biology where that order creates and sustains organic life, there is still little inking as to how life manifests and especially about the connection of mind to life. The result is that some Physicists, like Nobel laureate Brian Josephson, are turning to the Yoga and Samkhya theologies of Hinduism. He recently undertook an odyssey to India to further His understanding and perhaps inner experience of these world views. Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, a biologist who has lived in India since 1974, has recently elucidated and experimentally verified his" morphogenetic field" and "morphic resonance" theories that interject an unseen field between consciousness and our world-an astral type dimension. Dr. Sheldrake describes his field as "invisible organizing structures that mold or shape things like crystals, plants and animals and also have an organizing effect on behaviour. These morphogenetic fields contain information gathered from all past history and evolution..." Scientists are now explaining physics and biophysics in "degrees of reality," recognizing what has long been known and experienced in yoga that there are different levels of reality erupting out of the substratum of pure consciousness-a dualism encompassed within monism.