Science and Symbols
W.C. Gough & R.L. Shacklett
Updated May 12, 2006
The genesis of the concepts being presented in this paper first appeared in a Foundation for Mind-Being Research report entitled The Unification of Mind and Matter: A Proposed Scientific Model (Shacklett and Gough, 1991). A summary of the concepts was first published as a three part series in The Journal of Religion and Psychical Research (Gough and Shacklett, 1993). This paper will closely parallel the copyrighted third JRPR article and is being published with the kind permission of The Academy of Religion and Psychical Research, Bloomfield, CT. Although it will outline, it will not discuss the physics details of the model. For those interested, these physics details are covered in the original report and are summarized in the first and second JRPR articles
Our Model, Science, and Symbol
To recognize the close interrelationship between science and symbols, we begin with a review of the key concepts underlying the relationship. The implications for human experience will then be addressed. Modern physics rests upon the foundation of mathematics, a symbolic language. But, what is the foundation upon which this magical mathematics rests? Indeed, what is mathematics and why does it work? If we cannot answer these questions our scientific explanations of the Universe are based ultimately upon things we do not understand.
To address these questions, we have put forth a series of postulates and supporting evidence.
First, we have assumed that the physical world is unfolding at the speed of light out of realms beyond space-time. The realms are viewed as nested in a "Chinese box" or "Russian doll" configuration. Figure 1 illustrates the way the levels relate to each other.
Second, we have recognized that the physical world consists of patterns or forms continuously generated by a dynamic process or wave of creation. Thus, the "weaving" of the fabric of reality involves a continuous back and forth exchange between space-time and the higher realms.
Third, we believe that it is necessary to go beyond the dictionary definition of "consciousness" which tends to limit the meaning to a state of awareness. Rather, we define consciousness to include an essence that is behind awareness -- that which energizes or vitalizes an entity and provides its sense of being. Consciousness at its core is ineffable to us because we are part of it.
Forth, we considered energy, matter and information as three interrelated and interconvertable aspects of the fabric pattern of our physical world. We note that energy (the capacity to do work) and information (the capacity to store and transmit patterns) are defined in science only operationally. Hence they are ultimately indefinable. Whereas, matter is recognized as mostly "empty" space and is discerned by its physical patterns and/or wave resonances.
Fifth, the realm of space-time includes the quantum vacuum (an infinite sea of energy upon which matter "floats"). At the far end of the quantum vacuum we reach the Planck length of 10-33 centimeters where physicists agree that concepts of measure and length no longer have meaning, i.e., the physical world of pattern ceases. This change in quality could be considered a "phase transition" to the spaceless and timeless realms where we have assumed Mind and spirit prevail. Figure 2 illustrates the limits of three dimensional space and clock time.
The major issue confronting a hypothesis that a "reality" exists beyond the physical world of space-time and that it encompasses mind and spirit is the question of "proof". Our model states that this "proof" can never be direct since both the experiments and their mathematical description must be represented by patterns/symbols that of necessity have to be in two or three dimensional form. Thus, we are restricted to "indirect" or "secondary" physical observations of higher dimensional "realities" and, hence, we are limited on what can be "proved." We are dealing with a wholeness -- a wholeness which can't be analyzed (in a strict scientific/objective sense) because we are a part of it.
The experiments on the prediction in quantum theory of non-local correlations currently provide the key evidence in physics pointing to a "reality" beyond space-time. However, we should recognize that the series of key physics experiments "proving" non-locality were not a direct observation of such non-local correlations. Rather, they tested experimentally a simple argument, Bell's Theorem, that indirectly demonstrated the necessary existence of non-local connections (Aspect, et. al., 1981, 1982). Most physicists accept these results as a confirmation of quantum theory. However, non-locality remains a black sheep of the quantum family and physicists avoid drawing too much attention to its bizarre implications. Most physicists assume that non-local influences occur only at the particle level, although quantum physics itself provides no rationale for this assumption. Yet, quantum physics is now being successfully applied, not only to the particle level, but to atoms, to bacteria, and even at the cosmological level (Hawkins, 1988; Kafatos and Nadeau, 1990). We have, therefore, taken the position that non-locality pervades all phenomena and that the world could be filled with innumerable non-local influences even at the macroscopic level of human experience.
Although not generally admitted, we believe that science has already confronted the existence of such limitations. First, we note that a central concept at the heart of quantum physics is the principle of "complementarity" which states that there exists pairs of quantities that describe a whole only when taken together, but which are mutually exclusive in that they can never be measured simultaneously (Kafatos and Nadeau, 1990, pp. 37-38, 83-84). This leads directly to the well-known uncertainty principle that asserts that there are fundamental limits on the accuracy obtainable in simultaneous measurements. There also exists a generally accepted "uncertainty" principle for the world of mathematical symbols -- one that challenges basic assumptions underlying much traditional research in mathematics and logic. It is called Godel's Proof and states that in some cases, mathematicians will not be able to decide whether a theorem can or cannot be proved (Nagel and Newman, 1958).
Symbols are defined as "meaningful" patterns for an individual experiencing them. Since they are patterns that are experienced and expressed in our physical world, they occur in space-time. In agreement with Drs. Carl Jung and Wolfgang Pauli, we have defined the orderings beyond space-time as archetypes or archetypal patterns, i.e., formless forms. The linkage in our physical world via which we access and express archetypal information are symbols. This process creates the dynamism of the whole. The patterns of our bodies including our DNA and the patterns in our brains are part of the feedback access/receive process. If an individual's symbol systems can not express or communicate an experience of the realms of mind and spirit, i.e., the spaceless and timeless realms of archetypal patterns, then the experience is considered ineffable (and sometimes referred to as "religious").
We contend that our scientific symbol system known as mathematics, when it is applied to the higher dimensional symmetry spaces, is in fact mapping characteristics of the archetypal order beyond space-time. Thus, the abstract spaces of mathematical physics are not really "abstract" but correspond to a reality that we can experience via mind and spirit. A key goal of our model is to demonstrate that a mathematical, and hence symbolic, basis already exists in mainstream physics for unfolding the physical world of space-time from this "reality" beyond space-time.
Evidence in the Physical World to Support the Model
Do we have any suggestive evidence in our physical world at the macroscopic level of effects that might be consistent with non-local quantum connections? We are hypothesizing that a non-local effect could be considered as an "injection" of a higher level ordering into our three dimensional reality. This implies that any physical pattern, regardless of size, acts as a "receiver" of information from beyond space-time.
In crystals, there exists an interesting exception to the normal growth process. Such crystals are called "quasicrystals" and represent a real-world embodiment of a geometrical construct called Penrose tiling (Stephens and Goldman, 1991, p51). The symmetries of quasicrystals appear to require the presence of a higher dimensional archetypal pattern to guide the growth. Indeed, Penrose has suggested that some non-local effect related to quantum phenomena might give rise to quasicrystals (Horgan, 1990).
In the plant kingdom bamboo has some unique characteristics. Bamboo has immense vitality and can overcome almost any kind of hardship. It propagates underground in a far-ranging network of growth apparently without end. Yet, every 60-120 years (depending upon the species) the plants of a particular species will flower and die -- "the flowering of one type occurs almost simultaneously all over the country -- and even in those cuttings transplanted into other lands" (Austin & Ueda, 1970). Is this "mass suicide" explainable by the theory of evolution or is it an example of a "genetic receiver" tuned to respond to an archetypal ordering?
In living systems evidence of a linkage to a more encompassing pattern in the mental realm comes from studies of other mammals, birds, fish and insects and their extraordinarily coordinated collective behavior that stretches conventional explanations to their limit or beyond. Rupert Sheldrake's work provides a large base of data supportive of our model (Sheldrake, 1981, 1988, 1991). For example, Sheldrake presents a wealth of data that suggests that individual insects are interacting with a more encompassing pattern or morphic field. Sheldrake recognizes the medium of transmission across time and space may be "a 'morphogenetic aether,' or another 'dimension,' or influences 'beyond' space-time and then re-entering." (Sheldrake, 1988, pp. 111-112).
Do we have any evidence that such non-local connections are present between human brains? The experimental test of Bell's theorem indirectly demonstrated in non-living systems the necessary existence of non-local connections. The experiment starts with twin photons that are then separated in physical space; yet a non-local interaction appears to link the two photon twins without crossing the physical space, without decay, and without delay. The closest parallel for humans would be identical twins separated at birth. A fascinating fact is that data from studies of identical twins separated at birth are consistent with and supportive of our model and suggest non-local connections between humans.
In 1981 there was a major survey and reanalysis of all published cases of identical twins separated and reared apart (Farber, 1981). In addition an exhaustive study has been underway since 1983 at the University of Minnesota under Dr. Thomas Bouchard using a twin family registry of 8,400 pairs. (Holden, 1980; Lykken, et. al., 1990). The value of these studies lies in the fact that they are the only studies on human subjects where the genetic component is constant while environmental components are variable (Farber, 1981, p. 31). However, there were surprises that the investigators could not explain by traditional genetics. Farber asks: "Why should most of these twins laugh alike, describe symptoms in the same way, smoke similar number of cigarettes, choose similar creative pursuits, and sometimes even marry the same number of times? -- The suggested specificity at the level of mannerisms and nervous habits is hard to comprehend" (Farber, 1981, p. 269).
In addition, there are many cases in the literature of a trail of similar names inexplicably often associated with such twins. Bouchard describes two adopted infants both named Jim by their adopted parents. When they were reunited at age 39 they found that their lives were marked by a trail of similar names. "Both had dogs named Toy. Both married and divorced women named Linda and had second marriages with women named Betty. They named their sons James Allan and James Alan, respectively" (Holden, 1980, p. 1324) These studies of identical twins reared apart provide surprising evidence in support of the concept of number/letter archetypes of Jung and Pauli and to their manifestation as powerful symbols in our physical world (von Franz, 1974). Remember that the letter symbols in ancient alphabets also had numeric value and that these original alphabets were considered sacred -- possessors of "hidden" power.
Another observation supportive of a non-local quantum linkage discussed by the researchers in both references is the paradox that twins with the least contact appear most frequently to be the most alike. For example, there exists a consistent finding in prior studies that "twins with no contact were more frequently alike than twins with ample opportunity to 'identify' with each other" (Farber, 1981, p 271). In fact, twins when they come into contact "in the interest of establishing their individuality, tend to exaggerate their differences" (Holden, 1980, p. 1325). This fact could be viewed as a demonstration of the power of "free will" to change pre-established patterns.
The evidence from personality studies using identical twins reared apart suggests "that powerful convergent factors must be continuously at work over the entire life span. If this were not true, the divergent factors commonly believed to be continually operative would create greater and greater divergence and drive the correlation for MZA twins (identical twins reared apart) towards zero" (Bouchard, 1986). The technical literature attributes these correlations to a "genetic contribution." Our model suggests that the close coupling at birth for identical twins results in a quantum linkage, possibly at the DNA pattern level, that leads to strong non-local influences between the two brain/body systems. This would represent an added factor to the genetic and environmental factors normally considered. It could also be the basis for the "unexplained" phenomena being observed.
What does our model suggest about a complex system like the human brain? Most of the patterns in the body appear relatively stable. For example, when we look in the mirror, we find ourselves essentially the same as the day before exceptfor what went on in the brain yesterday. The brain represents an ever changing universe of patterns. Let us make some speculations about the brain based upon our model. First, we suggest that the brain may be a set of structures optimized to create, record, or change patterns so that they can resonate with aspects of the mental realm and provide feedback. Second, the brain's function in the physical body is to convert the patterns received from the mental realm into electrochemical feedback to the body. Most of the scientific research on the brain/body connection has been dealing with these electrochemical phenomena. We are suggesting that the pattern changing process has a deeper meaning in terms of a linkage and tuning to archetypal patterns beyond space-time.
How does this pattern changing process in the brain work? The brain is composed of scores of billions - possibly even a trillion - tiny cells called neurons. The neuron itself works electrically. However, the link between neurons is chemical. The chemical links permit the neuron's most astonishing characteristic: Neurons can change their activity, so that identical inputs lead to different outputs. It is as though the neuron has been reprogrammed. This changed activity is known as long-term potentiation (LTP). "Neuron reprogramming appears to be the basic physical event behind all learning" (Bolles, 1991, p.64, Our emphasis).
The firing of the neurons represents a purely physical process. However, when the neurons fire, we become aware of certain qualities of experience. The sensations we feel at the time of firing are a pure quality of awareness, something subjective to be interpreted. These sensations are "immeasurable experiences of awareness" (Bolles, 1991, pp. 163-165). Your brain has changed, but it does not store information about the reason for the change. Instead, the billions of processors in the brain just regularly reprogram themselves. (Bolles, 1991, pp. 65-68)
One's experience of the sensations can be changed by the act of attention. Attention enables us to combine separate sensations into unified objects, and to examine objects closely to be sure of their identity. When the neurons respond to an input, a sensation suddenly enters our awareness. We can then focus our attention upon these sensations and discover qualities that the neuron processors originally missed (Bolles, 1991, pp. 53-54).
The reason is that when a brain cell fires, it is temporarily spent. It cannot fire again, so, when the second input occurs, the cells that have just fired are quiet. This rest period allows a new set of cells to fire. Then they too fall still and yet a third set of cells can fire (Bolles, 1991, pp. 65-73; Lynch and Granger, 1989). This analyzing by the brain of a single focus of attention into a hierarchy of ever more specific qualities arises spontaneously. This is why the ability to maintain a focus of attention is so important in ancient religious and shamanistic practices.
One implication for traditional, psychic healers, and shamen from our model would be the prediction that the brain/body can reestablish a physical pattern if its linkage to the causative pattern in the mental realm hasn't been altered. Thus, if an archetypal pattern remains activated in the mental realm with the patient still strongly coupled to it, a problem originally solved by an alteration of the physical body might reoccur in the same or different form.
Least Action and Constraints
To describe the model's ability to explain how one's thoughts can affect an experiment, we need to review the Principle of Least Action. "Action" is a physical quantity defined by multiplying energy and time. The action for a physical process begins at time T1 and ends at time T2 and takes place over some "path" defined by appropriate physical variables. It turns out that of all the possible ways a physical process can go, Nature always selects the one that minimizes the total action along the path. The Principle has been described as the "Law of Cosmic Laziness."
The Principle of Least Action describes how the universe runs, but this is not sufficient. It is also necessary to explain how the Principle can be applied in a given instance. In physics this is done using the concept of "constraints."
As an illustration consider the difference between a weighted unmanned toboggan and a similar manned toboggan as they make their way to the bottom of a snow-covered hill. The path taken in the first case (unmanned) is governed by Least Action subject to the constraint of the hillside. This path could actually be predicted through mathematical modeling given sufficient computational power and knowledge of the physical parameters and initial conditions.
Notice what happens when we put people on the toboggan and get it started down the same hill in exactly the same way. No longer is it possible to assume the same kind of constraints are acting on the toboggan as before. This time moment by moment choices are being made to change the constraints under which the toboggan is moving. The predictive power of mathematics is no longer of any use since the choices constitute mental acts beyond space and time.
"Choice" played a role even in the unmanned example above, inasmuch as someone had to shove the toboggan to get it started, thus establishing the "initial conditions." All "ordinary" physics and chemistry experiments are like this. The initial conditions of the experiment plus the constraints are determined in advance by human choices; then natural law (i.e., Least Action) is presumed to have complete dominion between T1 and T2. To remove the "thinking effect" in experiments with humans we use a double-blind testing process which is assumed to fall into this category. This reduces to a bare minimum the possibility of human choice altering any of the constraints of the experiment. By having a large enough sample of subjects, there will be an "averaging out" of the perturbing influence of the "thinking effect". Unfortunately, the experimenters are also an integral part and are coupled into the experiment. However, for them the "averaging out" does not work, since there is usually only one or, at most, a few.
The reason that most physicists and chemists do not worry about (or are unaware of) such effects is that the experiments with which they are concerned are sufficiently "robust" so as to be immune from the effects. A "sensitive" experiment, on the other hand, would be affected by very slight changes in the constraints. "Subtle energy" experiments, by definition, fall into this category. What better illustration of this can be found than the fact that telepathic experiences appear to be influenced by the earth's magnetic field! (Spottiswoode, 1990).
Quantum theory may impose a lower limit on "choice" by "quantizing" action (Young, 1976). Therefore, if choice cannot be broken down into smaller units, the quantum of action may represent some kind of fundamental act of consciousnesscomparable to a basic "yes-no" decision.
Constraints and the Brain
Habits and beliefs are highly individualized patterns which regulate much of our behavior and thought. These are represented on the physical plane as structural constraints in the form of well-worn neural pathways in the central nervous system. This set of constraints has almost as much importance as body structure itself. These constraints form the interface between our mental attitude and physical emotion, and thus play a causal role in the hormonal chemistry of the body. An individual's belief system can therefore be regarded as a key factor in the body's state of health and its ability to recover from dis-ease.
Beliefs, because they do represent thought patterns which have become more or less rigid, determine to a large degree how flexible the brain is in its ability to tune in to a wide variety of archetypal patterns beyond space-time. This ability is the doorway to the paranormal, to healing, to shamanic practice, to otherwise "impossible" phenomena. The mind can activate non-local connections that operate beyond space-time. Thus, an individual can focus "attention" and "intention" on a distant target (i.e., outside one's own body) and superimpose a new pattern on that target, with its corresponding new constraint system. A new Least Action "pathway" is the result, and the state of the target is altered. The physicist, Fred Alan Wolf, discusses the concept of least action pathways extensively in his book on physics and shamanic practices, The Eagle's Quest (Wolf, 1991).
The concept of "letting go," which teaches that the achievement of a desired paranormal result is more likely if only theresult is specified in mind, not the intermediate steps, can also be understood through least action and constraints. Physical processes usually involve the exchange of energy between a target system and its environment. If the constraints for a process are set in such a way that the necessary energy is not available, then the process will not go. If, however, only the end result is specified in mind and the limiting constraints relaxed (by "letting go"), a least action path to the goal will be found. We would speculate that this is accomplished through consciousness operating at levels higher than the individual mind.
We have focused upon the brain as the key for the pattern linkage beyond space-time because of the great emphasis placed upon the brain by Western society. However, every pattern associated with a person whether it be a molecule such as DNA, or an organ such as the heart, or the energy field patterns associated with their functioning are linked to the archetypes of the spaceless-timeless realms. A two-dimensional analogy would be to draw a diagram of a human with various internal organs upon a sheet of paper. Note that the pattern for the human figure and for the internal organs all remain in continuous contact with the more encompassing three dimensional world in which they are "nested." Thus, in addition to the brain, you can think of informational input from beyond space-time coming directly to the immune and nervous systems, to the endocrine glands, to specific organs, and to every cell. In effect we have a "thinking body" -- this expression has been used by Dr. Deepak Chopra is his book "Quantum Healing." (Chopra, 1990)
The body should be considered a dynamic and not a static system. At the atomic level our body continually changes -- 98% of the atoms in our body were not there a year ago (Chopra, 1990 pp. 48-49). We are very much like a whirlpool of water in which the water molecules are continuously being replaced, but the form of the whirlpool -- its pattern -- stays. In a similar manner, our body's pattern stays and changes relatively slowly but the atoms that form the material basis for the body are flowing right through us. We postulate that there exists a feedback process -- a direct linkage between the patterns of the physical realm and the patterns of the mental and higher realms -- the archetypes of Jung and Pauli. In fact, if we accept the concept that the memory pattern of our body outlives the body's physical components, then it is plausible to think that there may be patterns associated with us in the spaceless-timeless realm that continue after death and that they could even "reincarnate" into a new body.
In the ancient wisdom, there were three key centers in the physical body: the brain, the heart, and the generative system. Unlike Western society, to the ancients the patterns of the heart were considered the most important. "The secret doctrine declares that every part and member of the body is epitomized in the brain, in turn, that all that is in the brain is epitomized in the heart" (Hall, 1988). The heart was considered the spiritual center. This would be equivalent in our model to saying that the patterns of the heart center have a direct non-local linkage to archetypes beyond the physical and mental realms. Such a position is supported by the Christian religion: "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God" (Holy Bible, Matthew 5:8).
Although there has been little scientific research to uphold this position, some recent experiments that include an electrocardiogram (ECG) of the heart have been suggestive (McCraty, et. al. 1993). The normally scattered and incoherent power spectrum of the ECG was observed to become dramatically ordered and coherent when a person experiences deep feelings of love, care, or appreciation as shown in Figure 3. Hence, the deep feelings of love may create patterns in our bodies that connect us to an archetypal ordering principle beyond the realm of Mind. When this connection is invoked, an organizing essence or mechanism capable of energizing via the "least action principle" on both the mental and physical levels may be activated. Through the removal of "constraints," this process could restore balance or bring greater harmony with a more encompassing whole.
The process by which this is accomplished in our physical body would have to be observable in space-time. Since the heart produces the strongest electromagnetic field in the body, all cells in the body exist in, and therefore could be affected by, this coherent electromagnetic field pattern and hence experience a force. This would lend support to the statement by the well known mystic Alice Bailey that "The soul, seated in the heart, is --- the central nucleus of positive energy by means of which all the atoms of the body are held in their right place and subordinated to the 'will-to-be' of the soul" (Bailey, 1979). Hence, the close linkage between love-symbolism and heart-symbolism may exist because the love experience represents a force which urges the lover towards a given center of a more encompassing unity (Cirlot, 1971).
The common foundation for both modern science and ancient metaphysics is the use of symbols. Although both have the same goal of affecting or changing physical reality, they applied their symbols differently. The scientists and engineers seek to understand and modify the world through their use of (mathematical) symbols -- a process external to their own person. The mystics and shamen seek to understand and modify the world through their use of (sacred) symbols -- a process internal to their own person. Thus, the scientist/engineer/doctor performs the change at the physical pattern level -- within space-time . Whereas, the mystic/shaman/healer performs the change at the archetypal pattern level -- beyond space-time.
The lowest common denominator in the physical world agreed to by all the sciences resides in "pattern" and in the change of "pattern." It is the patterns of nature that both modern science and ancient metaphysics study. Both accomplish this study by the application of special patterns, called symbols, that have meaning for the individuals using them. This meaning can differ depending upon the cultural and personal environment experienced by the individuals during their life. Thus, the meaning of symbols can change over time -- but not the symbol itself.
This distinction is important. Our model assumes that all patterns/symbols are connected to and serve as mediators with archetypal orderings beyond physical space-time. But not all patterns are coupled to and hence have a meaning or an effect upon one's body/brain. Science recognizes that the patterns of physical matter, i.e., each specific atom, correspond to an energy content (E=mc2) and that it takes energy to change (transmute) such a pattern. The resulting changed pattern, an alteration in the form of matter, will have either an increase or decrease in potential energy. Our model extends this concept to recognize that every symbol stores potential energy.
Every system, including our physical system, is "designed" so that there will be a coupling to certain patterns. This coupling changes over time. Thus, physical/chemical patterns, wave/sound patterns, and symbol/language patterns all have the potential to produce changes in our physical bodies, our chemical electrical systems and/or our feelings and emotions. However, a pattern/symbol has power only to the extent that it can resonate or couple with an existing operative pattern within an individual. Only then can we experience/release the potential energy stored in the pattern. A resonance is another way of saying "lock and key" patterns. Thus, to release energy one must have "the appropriate key to fit the lock" before a new pattern -- new information -- can be integrated within our body/brain. In our bodies there are parallel paths through which this coupling process for patterns/symbols operates, for example, via the head, the heart, and/or the gut.
Thus, our model not only clarifies the great emphasis placed upon symbols and thought patterns by the mystic and religious traditions, but also phenomena such as the power of the placebo. Pills given by men/women in white coats called doctors have the power to heal because in modern day society they represent an operative symbol associated with the thought pattern of our body getting well, i.e., reestablishing a body pattern associated with health.
Human Behavior and Perception
These basic ideas serve as a framework for understanding the much more complicated (and interesting) subject of human behavior. Science has demonstrated that in the world described by quantum theory, human perception is not an adequate tool for explaining this universe. What our experience gives us is the "illusion" of direct, unmediated access to the external world. Cognitive science has demonstrated conclusively that there is no way for a human to "sense" or experience the physical world directly. What seems to be our experience of an objective exterior world is in fact a subjective picture that we construct.
Thus, perception is about sensory qualities, not the quantities discussed by physicists. Perception is how we get to the identity and individuality of things -- how we recognize the essence of an event, i.e., perceive only the unity that characterizes the event, rather than the diversity that creates it. Hence, perception refers to how an individual responds to the patterns/symbols he or she interacts with and, thus, the meaning attributed to them. The source of the patterns can be either from the physical or the archetypal realms. Meaning attributed to patterns/symbols originating from the archetypal level beyond space-time is often referred to as "inner knowing." How they enter our body/brain will determine whether they are considered "intellectual knowing," "heart knowing," or "gut knowing."
The perception of all patterns/symbols is both culturally and individually dependent. Everything we have previously seen or experienced affects what we presently see or experience (Shepard, 1990). This includes our "inner knowing" perceptions and, hence, the meanings we attribute to them. For a quick example of how your old patterns affect your new patterns look at the triangle of Figure 4. You mentally fill in the white triangle. To convince yourself, focus your attention only upon the missing portion of the black line and you will see the white line disappear. It's an imaginary line that you have created because you know it "should" be there (Kanizsa, 1976/1986).
To illustrate the dynamics of human experience let's use the analogy of a motion picture and how we perceive the apparent motion effect. In a movie, "afterimages explain why we do not notice the flicker of the projection, but it does nothing to explain how we see still images move. Why doesn't afterimage just turn all movie scenes into a blurry mess?" (Bolles, 1991, p. 19) Our model suggests that at some deep level the physical universe may be like a motion picture with feedback in which each "frame" represents a choice/decision -- a quantum of action. We are continually interacting via both our physical action and thought patterns with the whole and, thereby, altering the next "frame."
The model being proposed assumes that everyday reality is not simply "out there" nor is it "within." Rather, we suggest it is a "perception" we construct from aspects of the "unity" within which we are immersed. The model implies that our experience of everyday "reality" depends upon both the current physical world inputs and quantum linkages to the archetypal patterns of the mental and higher realms. Linkages that have been constructed over time. Whatever our current reality and the meaning we attribute to our life, that reality, and hence our lives, can be altered by changing the focus of our intention and attention. The model predicts that these changes in perception will require energy and work since new "least action" pathways must be created in the brain. However, the choice is ours -- the brain/body system is "tunable." If appropriate choices are made, such changes can move one to more encompassing wholes and, hence, to a new reality with unimagined vistas.
Summary and Implications
All of science depends upon the use of simplifying assumptions. The evolution of Western science has evolved as these simplifying assumptions have been relaxed. In classical Newtonian physics the assumption is made that the system being studied is sufficiently robust to be independent of many external pattern changes in space and time. In quantum physics these external pattern changes, known as the "observer effect," are taken into account, at least on the microscopic scale. The key simplifying assumption underlying modern science is that space-time is a closed system and, hence, only patterns originating in the physical world need be considered. In this paper we have attempted to make the case that an expanded science is now warranted, particularly in the life sciences -- one that considers not only space-time patterns but the effects in the physical world from "archetypal" patterns originating beyond space-time.
This expanded science recognizes 1) the unifying power of the pattern/symbol, and 2) mind and spirit as different than but not separate from the physical. Mathematical concepts already exist for the physics of this expanded science. We therefore outlined a conceptual model for this expanded science which illustrates that the realms beyond space-time and matter can be united using conventional scientific terminology. The connecting elements of the model are taken from mathematical physics which, we have argued, provides the best "pictures" of the invisible structures beyond the level of atoms including the very fabric of space-time itself. An important factor in the model is the argument that space-time is not an impermeable barrier (see Figure 2) which confines human experience to the world of matter.
Accordingly, we used the Penrose twistor as an example of one approach to provide us with an acceptable connecting link between the level of elementary particles and abstract spaces beyond space-time. This final connection between lower and higher dimensional spaces was accomplished using the mathematical device called a fiber bundle (Shacklett and Gough, 1991, pp. 30-32). The identification of abstract mathematical spaces with archetypal levels is a unique aspect of the model and represents a departure from mathematical orthodoxy. Physicists, typically, have not gone this far, contending that these are the "internal spaces" of particles or merely "abstract spaces." The dynamic aspects of the model were emphasized by showing that the mind-matter connection was bi-directional and provided continuous up-dating between an archetypal pattern and the physical projection.
There are numerous further implications and ramifications of the model. We will list several since they illustrate the wide range of the explanatory power of this expanded approach to science.
1. Consistent reproducibility is treated by modern science as if it were an absolute law of nature. However, this convenient tenet arises only because of the simplifying assumption that space-time forms a closed manifold (Gough, 1992). Under our expanded science, "real" effects that could originate beyond space-time may not be consistently reproducible. For example, religious miracles and medical "spontaneous" remissions would need to be evaluated on this broader scientific basis.
2. The great variety of parapsychological phenomena falling under the categories of extra-sensory perception and psychokinesis can be understood in terms of a direct Mind-matter connection (Mitchell, 1974).
3. Pattern-based psychologies such as the enneagram from the ancient Sufi teachings, The I Ching: The Book of Changesfrom ancient China, or the Tarot from 14th century Europe whose origins actually may be in ancient Egypt are illuminated by the model (Palmer, 1988; Wilhelm, 1950; Metzner, 1971, pp. 14-29, 54-81).
4. Western and Indian Vedic astrology can be understood in terms of the effects of nested patterns and need not be explained by any kind of physical influence emanating from planets and stars (Metzner, 1971, pp. 106-140).
5. Information storage in physical materials as manifested in psychometry, homeopathic remedies, crystals, and sacred relics is comprehended by the model and recognized as subtle patterns nested within the larger pattern -- in physics this is called the "fine structure."
6. The importance of body position in Indian Yoga, Chinese QiGong exercises (Dong & Esser, 1990), and sacred dances can be inferred based upon the model because of the body's positional pattern influence upon every organ, cell, etc. within the body.
7. The model provides hints that could result in a deeper understanding of chaos theory, entropy and the arrow of time due to the assumed weaving of space-time from realms beyond space-time.
We wish to emphasize that a model is a simplifying suggestion or proposal on how to think about something that is more complicated. Therefore, we concluded this paper by providing examples of how to use the model to think about phenomena at the human level -- to understand how we perceive "reality" and the role that the body/brain plays in connecting us to the appropriate patterns beyond space-time. The patterns that form the basis of our belief systems and habitual thinking were thereby tied in to the set of real physical constraints that govern the electrochemistry of the body. Thus, the model provides a physical basis for understanding why there can be no actual limits to human potential.
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CAPTIONS FOR FIGURES
Figure 1. Relationship between the various interconnected and nested realms in the model (Art by Robert Bourdeaux, 8510 Brink Rd., Gaithersburg, MD 20879).
Figure 2. The limits of the Physical Realm: Beyond the Planck Length concepts of measure and length no longer have scientific meaning.
Figure 3. The ECG Frequency Spectra of the heart was obtained by analyzing eight seconds of the ECG time waveform of heartbeat data via a fast Fourier transform to determine the data frequency content. Copyright (C) 1993 by The Institute of HeartMath, 14700 West Park Ave., Boulder Creek, CA 95006. All rights reserved.
Figure 4. Perception of an invisible triangle. From "Subjective Contours," by Gaetano Kanizsa. Copyright (C) 1976 byScientific American, Inc. All rights reserved.