Recently, I read two great books on the subject of reality, partly as research for this series. Having read a bit about quantum physics before, I suspected I’d find some interesting parallels in modern scientific thinking and Byron Katie’s ideas, and I was right. Lots of differences, of course. But some similarities, too.
In The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality, Brian Greene puts all of modern physics in layman’s terms. It’s a great book, and I highly recommend it, but what it basically comes down to is this: we don’t know what the hell this is.
Are we living in a dream? An illusion? A hollogram? A parallel universe, one of many? Forget the old questioning of what is up and what is down. We don’t even know what light and matter are. Whatever it is, it’s not Newtonian—not definite. The whole idea of physics—well, it isn’t all that physical, actually.
It’s something . . . else.
Don’t worry, you guys. I’m not going to do the whole quantum physics dance with you. We spiritual people have been to that party before. I’ll simply note that whereas classical physicists see stuff–real matter–quantum physicists see nothing but potentialities.
“Things become definite only when a suitable observation forces them to relinquish quantum possibilities and settle on a specific outcome,” Greene writes. Later, “If superstring theory is proven correct, we will be forced to accept that the reality we have known is but a delicate chiffon draped over a thick and richly textured cosmic fabric.”
Beautiful ideas. And another book takes them further. It’s called Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe, and it may be my favorite scientific work ever. In it, Robert Lanza (and co-author Bob Berman) come to the same conclusion as Greene, then take it one step further, saying that absolute consciousness must exist in order for modern physics to make any sort of sense. A quote: “Our understanding of the universe as a whole has reached a dead end. The ‘meaning’ of quantum physics has been debated since it was first discovered in the 30’s, but we are no closer to understanding it now than we were then . . . This book proposes a new perspective: that our current theories of the physical world don’t work, and can never be made to work, until they account for life and consciousness.” By “account for,” the author means “acknowledge the primary importance of.”
Basically, according to biocentrism, without life and consciousness, nothing truly exists in the way we think of existence.
Holy crap. It’s Byron Katie all over.
There’s more to the story–so very much more. Please do yourself a favor and get the book. Suffice it for now, though, to say that it seems to many physicists that “subatomic particles actually do interact with consciousness at some level.”
God is reality. Consciousness is an inherent part of matter. Hmmm. Pretty similar indeed.
Interestingly, Lanza addresses the whole “reality isn’t real” question, too, bringing us full circle on our wild metaphysical ride. Nothing we perceive, he says, is truly separate from ourselves and our consciousness. Everything we see, hear and touch is just a pattern created by charged particles until our brain interprets it as a sound or a visual thing.
Briefly put: that proverbial tree falling in the woods really wouldn’t make a sound if no one was there to hear it. It would only create some vibrations. And actually, it wouldn’t even fall. Just more vibrations.
Just vibrations; nothing else. Crazy, right?
Ah, this book. Ah, Byron Katie. I love that two opposite things can be true at the same time. Matter has consciousness, but matter isn’t matter. Reality is God, if and inasmuch as it is real.
If I were to speculate on the relationship between these two statements, I suppose I’d resolve the confusion thusly: Reality as we know it isn’t reality at all. Reality is something beyond all this, an unseen vibration or symphony of vibrations.
This is God.
For now, though, our bodies and brains interpret the vibrations in various ways–in colors and shapes and even ideas and situations. This, too, is God, but only a small part, the little we can perceive of It in our so very limited state.
Our reality isn’t real–but it’s part of the picture.
I’m going to stop there. For now.
Read the rest of the series at My Byron Katie Detox: One Year of Questioning My Unhelpful Thoughts.
After Rachel and Matthew had their first child, they had a couple of fights. Well, okay, more than a couple—they fought for over three years. They fought about schedules. They fought about bad habits. They even fought about the lawn mower. And besides actually having their child, it was the best thing that could've happened. Get Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby: A Self-Help Story on Amazon now.