A GREAT CONTROVERSY
- From: jak1949@xxxxxxxxx (Jack McKinney)
- Date: Sat, 23 Oct 2010 06:27:06 -0500
[Snip] As far-fetched as this idea may sound to many people, it is
precisely at the crux of some of the greatest controversies among some
of the most brilliant minds of recent history. In a quote from his
autobiographical notes, for example, Albert Einstein shared his belief
that we're essentially passive observers living in a universe already in
place, one in which we seem to have little influence: "Out yonder there
was this huge world," he said, "which exists independently of us humans
beings and which stands before us like a great, eternal riddle, at least
partially accessible to our inspection and thinking."
In contrast to Einstein's perspective, which is still widely held by
many scientists today, John Wheeler, a Princeton physicist and colleague
of Einstein, offer a radically different view of our role in creation.
In term that are bold, clear, and graphic, Wheeler says, "we had this
old idea, there was a universe out there, and here is man, the observer,
safely protected from the universe by a six-inch slab of plate glass,"
Referring to the late-20th century experiments that show s how simply
looking at something changes that something. Wheeler continues, "Now we
learn from the quantum world that even to observe so minuscule an object
as an electron we have to shatter that plate of glass: we have to reach
in there .... So the old word observer simply has to be crossed off the
books, and we must put in the new word participator.
What a shift! In a radically different interpretation of our
relationship to the world we live in, Wheeler states that it's
impossible for us to simply watch the universe happen around us.
Experiments in quantum physics, in fact, do show that simply looking at
something as tiny as an electron -- just focusing our awareness upon
what it's doing for even an instant in time -- changes its properties
while we're watching it. The experiments suggest that the very act of
observation is an act of creation, and that consciousness is doing the
creating. These findings seem to support Wheeler's proposition that we
can no longer consider ourselves merely onlookers who have no effect on
the world that we're observing.
To think of ourselves as participating in creation rather than simply
passing through the universe during the brief period of a lifetime
requires a new perception of what the cosmos is and how it works. The
groundwork for such a radical worldview was the basis for a series of
books and papers by another Princeton physicist and colleague of
Einstein, David Bohm. Before his death in 1992, Bohm left us two
pioneering theories that offer a very different -- and to some ways, a
nearly holistic -- view of the universe and our role in it.
The first was an interpretation of quantum physics that set the stage
for Bohm's meeting and subsequent friendship with Einstein. It was this
theory that opened the door to what Bohm called the "creative operation
of underlying ... levels of reality," In other words, he believed that
there are deeper or higher planes of creation that held the template for
what happens in our world. It's from these sublet levels of reality that
our physical world originates.
His second theory was an explanation, of the universe as a single
unified system of nature, connected in ways that aren't always obvious.
During his early work at the University of California's Lawerence
Radiation Laboratory, Bohm had the opportunity to observe small
particles of atoms in a special gaseous state called plasma. Bohm found
that when the particles were in this plasma, they behaved less like the
individual units that we typically think of and more like they were
connected to one another as part of a greater existence. These
experiments laid the foundation for the pioneering work for which Bohm
is probably best remembered -- his 1980 book, Wholeness and the
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