Signs and wonders will be seen – You know my tears – This is the hour – No man shall stop my plan – Trust me!
Follow the hand of God – I will reach for you – Take my hand – Walk with me – Praise the Lord!
You have been called – You are my witness – The Rapture is coming – I am the Light – Expect me!
This is the time of teaching – There shall be a Crusade – Prepare for me – I have risen – Embrace me!
A new day is coming – I am building a Temple – My Church is being restored – Read the signs – Stand!
“The Last Days of Tolemac” is a book of prophecy. It deals with events that are happening in the world today and shows how they fulfill prophecies that were made many centuries ago. The book is set out in a series of questions and answers, and explains in detail:
- What is about to happen to our planet
- Why these events are happening at this time
- What places on earth will be affected
- What the new world will be like
- What we can do to prepare
If you wish to read these prophecies Click Here
As the book explains, our world is about to be transformed. We are about to experience “a new heaven and a new earth” where there will be no more suffering and no more pain. However all of us are faced with a choice. Do we wish to inherit the new world that is coming? Or will we fall victim to the catastrophes that will herald its arrival? What we need to do to survive is explained in the pages of this book.
For the information of readers, The Last Days of Tolemac is now available on Kindle Books as a Digital Download, as well as Allan’s major work entitled The Cosmic Web.
The Cosmic Web deals with the mysteries of life, and shows how we all have within us hidden powers that will transform our lives in the coming age. Many of the stories that appear on this Blog, as well as articles on esoteric aspects of life, have been taken from this book. And as usual with Kindle books, if you click on the cover of either book, you can read part of the contents for free.
Both books can be accessed here
Allan Colston can be contacted at Tolemac@shaw.ca
For the benefit of readers who might be looking for information on specific subjects related to prophecy, the following articles have been included here for easy reference. They can be found in “Articles” listed under the heading “Categories” in the column on the right:
- The Apocalypse Unveiled
- The Rapture Revealed
- The Lost Years of Jesus
- The New Golden Age
- The Last Pope
- The Death of the Pope
- The Doomsday Prophecies
- The Kachina Prophecies of the Hopi
- Rebuilding the Temple of Solomon
- What is “Wormwood” in the Book of Revelation?
- What is “Mystery Babylon” in the Book of Revelation?
- Why America is not Mentioned in “End Time” Prophecy
Over the period of the last four centuries scientists have been remarkably successful in reducing the mysteries of life to behaviour that is both understandable and predictable, and is derived from certain fundamental principles.
These basic principles have now been formulated as scientific “laws”. And because nature has been observed to act in accordance with these laws, these scientific laws have also been equated with the “laws of nature”.
The success achieved by this scientific method of enquiry has convinced scientists that they have at last succeeded in understanding the inner workings of nature, and in so doing, have discovered the fundamental rules that govern the operation of the universe.
What was not realised until very recently, however, was that this success was actually more apparent than real. It has now become evident that these scientific “laws” are not in fact actual properties of nature at all, but simply nature that has been moulded to reflect the current expectations of scientific minds.
The Work of Thomas Kuhn
It was Thomas Kuhn, an American physicist, historian and philosopher of science at the University of California in Berkeley, who first glimpsed this mirroring influence of the mind in its construction of reality, in the course of his research into the early history of chemistry.
Kuhn focused his research on the life and work of the British chemist John Dalton, who has come to be regarded as the founding father of chemistry by virtue of his pioneering work in the formulation of atomic theory.
Dalton believed that atoms of certain elements combined together in chemical reactions with atoms of other elements in proportions which always remained unchanged. These proportions, claimed Dalton, always presented combinations of whole numbers of atoms, and never involved parts of an atom.
We know today, for example, that water is a chemical compound involving two different elements, hydrogen and oxygen. We also know that one molecule of water consists of a combination of two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen, exactly as Dalton predicted.
Furthermore, each molecule of water consists of an unvarying combination of these two elements. We never find two atoms of hydrogen combining with, say, 1.5 atoms of oxygen.
Today, every student of chemistry is taught that Dalton discovered the “real” way in which nature functions. Modern textbooks confirm that this was the way nature had always worked, and that Dalton was merely the first person to tumble to its plan.
However, the truth was not quite so simple. When Kuhn examined the actual historical evidence of that time, it seemed to him that Dalton had not discovered a fundamental “law” of nature at all. Instead, what appeared to have happened was that he had actally been successful in moulding nature to his particular way of thinking.
Prior to John Dalton’s advent into the field of chemistry, a fierce debate had been raging in France between the two chemists, Joseph Proust and Claude Berthollet. Proust claimed that all chemical reactions took place in fixed proportions, while Berthollet argued that chemical compounds could vary in their proportions.
What made this debate so provocative was that each man had assembled an impressive collection of physical evidence to support his contention, and that neither man could convince the other of the fallacy of his point of view.
Now Dalton was not a chemist by training, but was in fact a meteorologist. In approaching the new subject of chemistry Dalton sided with Proust, and argued that in all reactions which were purely chemical in nature, atoms would only combine with one another in proportions which were based on combinations of whole numbers of atoms.
He therefore predicted that one atom of an element would combine with one or more atoms of another element, but not with 1.56 parts of an atom. If such a combination did occur, said Dalton, that combination was not a purely chemical reaction.
It became a basic requirement of Daltonian theory that atoms could only combine in fixed proportions of simple whole numbers.
Naturally, Dalton’s conclusions were immediately attacked by Berthollet, and with good reason, for Berthollet was able to provide empirical proof that certain compounds actually were composed of partial combinations of atoms.
When Dalton looked for evidence to justify his conclusions, he found to his consternation that some results matched his theory, and some did not. Even Proust, who supported Dalton’s view that atoms of oxygen and copper would combine together in a ratio of two to one, found that his experiments yielded a result of 1.47 to one.
Despite the brilliant insight which Dalton had bought to bear upon the theory of chemical combinations, the empirical evidence provided by other chemists did not always bear him out. Nature proved to be far from uniform, and for many years continued to defy Dalton’s neatly ordered plan.
As Thomas Kuhn explains, nature still had to be moulded into Dalton’s chemical paradigm.
“But it is hard to make nature fit a paradigm. That is why the puzzles of normal science are so challenging and also why measurements undertaken without a paradigm so seldom lead to any conclusions at all. Chemists could not, therefore, simply accept Dalton’s theory on the evidence, for much of it was still negative.
Instead, even after accepting the theory, they still had to beat nature into line, a process which, in the event, took almost another generation. When it was done, even the percentage composition of well-known compounds was different. The data themselves had changed.” 1
Creating a Successful Paradigm
The universe was not revealed by Dalton to have been created according to the magic formula of whole-number combinations of atoms. Instead, Dalton’s atomic theory was merely a creation of his mind.
What made Dalton’s theory so attractive to other scientific minds, was that his theory made it possible to assimilate the work of other people like Richter and Gay-Lussac, as well as opening up new possibilities for chemical experimentation.
Had Dalton’s theory initially been rejected on the basis of the conflicting evidence of the time, it is probable that chemistry would never have come to yield the rich practical benefits which we experience today.
Fortunately, as it happened, his theory was successful in gathering converts, even though not all of these early recruits could always achieve the experimental results which his theory demanded.
Yet, as belief in the validity and elegance of the new theory grew, so experimenters began increasingly to produce the results that were expected until there came a time, about a generation later, when they reached uniformity.
It was only then, when nature had been manipulated into a common groove, that chemists could talk with confidence of chemical composition as a fixed “law of nature”. The consistency that then appeared in nature paralleled the consistency of scientific minds.
Nature had gradually been moulded by the minds of chemists until it was able to reproduce that consistency which allows us today to speak of the proportions of atomic reactions as a scientific law.
In truth there never was, nor ever will be any law of nature governing chemical combinations. “Reality” had merely come to mirror the content of people’s minds, as the Sages had predicted.
In the light of the revelations of mystics, we can begin to see how this amazing transformation of the chemical constituency of the universe came to occur.
Our Compliant Universe
To understand this process we need to recognise the fact that the universe is not a physical, objective phenomenon existing independently of our minds. What we consider to be the world outside of us is in fact nothing but a series of images appearing in consciousness.
We have learned to project these images into the form of three-dimensional objects which then appear to have an existence that is independent of ourselves. In the course of shaping our phenomenal world, we have been guided by the ideas of others, and have learned to create a world that is similar to that created by other minds.
We need to understand, furthermore, that the projections of our minds are projections which are coloured by our beliefs, as represented by our thoughts. The way in which we learn to create a common world is by acquiring those beliefs which are common to the group.
To the early pioneers of chemistry, who were making their first forays into the world of chemical analysis, there were conflicting schools of thought regarding the nature of chemical combinations. As can be expected, therefore, these early chemists found that they obtained experimental data which supported a variety of views.
Certain experiments yielded combinations of whole numbers of atoms, while others represented fractional combinations. This was the stage at which the French chemists Proust and Berthollet had their dramatic confrontation.
When Dalton appeared on the scene and argued persuasively in favour of the merits of the whole number ratio, his theory had an internal elegance which immediately appealed to many chemists.
Not everyone was convinced, however, and we can see how for several decades experimental results continued to defy Dalton’s theory. As more and more chemists came to share the Daltonian view, so the experimental results which they obtained came more and more to consolidate into the whole number pattern.
Fractional results became increasingly rare until, after the space of about another generation, they virtually disappeared, allowing the Daltonian theory of chemical combinations to reign supreme. Once all the chemists had begun to think alike, so their results came to reflect this uniformity.
It was this uniformity which served to demonstrate to succeeding generations of students the validity of Dalton’s theory, and that it was in fact a true reflection of the workings of nature.
Today, the textbooks of chemistry leave no doubt at all in the minds of aspiring students that this is a law of nature. Because the novice comes to be indoctrinated into the structure of belief of the overwhelming majority, he or she continues to sustain this universal conformity.
This fundamental belief of chemistry then continues to be verified and validated in the world by each student anew. Yet what their education actually teaches them to do, is to continue to manipulate nature into the accepted pattern of belief.
The Inconsistencies of Science
Although this unifying conditioning is at work equally in all spheres of science, not all students succumb to this conditioning. So, from time to time, odd anomalous results continue to occur. These anomalies are attributed to the shortcomings of the individual student, who is counselled to persist until the accepted or “real” result is obtained.
In the course of education and professional practice these anomalous results tend to be eradicated, as students successfully adopt the universal patterns of belief. Those pupils who consistently fail to embrace the common mould are inevitably branded as being “unscientific”. So they fail to gain admittance to the official sanctuary of science.
The vast emporium of science does not remain static, for there continue to be vendors of new ideas in every field. However, the pioneers of these new advances continue to experience the same frustrations which tormented the early explorers of chemistry. They too find themselves confronted by conflicting results, with no clear evidence as to which idea is the “correct” one.
It is only after the passage of time, and as one single climate of belief comes to predominate, that the results of practical experimentation come to match each other in a consistent way. The Cambridge physicist and Nobel prizewinner Brian Josephson commented on this strange variability of empirical data when he wrote:
“Currently in physics there’s the strange phenomenon that the laws of nature seem to keep on changing. New symmetry violations are being discovered, the velocity of light is found to be different from what people thought it was, and so on.
An odd thing, which may or may not be significant, is that sometimes when a new observation is made different people get different results. In one instance a particular symmetry was broken on one side of the Atlantic, but not on the other; however, after a while everyone got the same results.
The conventional explanation would be that errors were being made on one side of the ocean, but conceivably the true explanation is that the discrepant results were genuine, and that it was the process of communication of knowledge from one side of the Atlantic to the other which caused a kind of phase transition or ordering process, as a result of which identical results were subsequently found in both places.” 2
What Josephson has referred to as “a kind of phase transition or ordering process” which subsequently causes identical results is, in fact, nothing less than the mirroring process of the mind as described by the mystics, and alluded to in the following words:
“The thoughts are the content of the mind, and they shape the universe.” (Ramana Maharshi)
“What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow: our life is the creation of our mind.” (Dhammapada)
“The world becomes for one whatever one is accustomed to think of it. (Tripura Rahasya)
“Experience is shaped by belief and belief is shaped by experience.” (Nisargadatta Maharaj)
Any system of ideas is equally fertile ground for science. There is no theory, whether inherently scientific or not, which is unable to yield fruitful results. There is no limit to the range of theories which can be validated by belief, or manifested by the application of the necessary mental energy.
But, in order to succeed, any new scientific theory, like any new religious faith, has to secure recruits. Without this proselytisation, no scientific theory can hope to accumulate the necessary data of evidential proof. It is through the medium of the spoken and written word that this process of cross-fertilisation takes place.
New scientific theories generate their support in various ways. They gather new devotees either through their inherent elegance and charm, or else through their ability to explain phenomena which were hitherto misunderstood, or viewed in a different light.
The ideas of Newton, Maxwell and Einstein were only able to succeed in achieving the status of scientific paradigms because of their success in soliciting supporters. These supporters were not easily come by at first.
As the years passed, however, and especially as their former opponents retired and died, so the new adherents came to achieve a dominant position of influence. Once a platform of power had been attained and a consensus reached, the natural forces of the paradigm assumed control.
Textbooks were rewritten to accommodate the new ideas, to make them seem as if they were a logical outgrowth of earlier science. Later generations of students were then indoctrinated into accepting the fact that these new theories were proven evidence of the way that nature “really was”.
With the growth of conviction in the efficacy of these new ideas, new empirical data came to mirror these ideas in a consistent way, which then became further proof that the faith which they had placed in these new scientific theories was justified.
There are numerous instances on record where new theories have failed to garner the necessary scientific support. In such cases the budding theory has been condemned as being scientifically sterile, just like the Biblical seed that fell on stony ground.
While these theories may well have been intrinsically sound, and may even have been supported by convincing evidential proof, their failure to gain admission to the official Halls of Academe, has doomed them to be outcast.
The irony of these rejected theories is that they are invariably castigated as being “unscientific.” Yet, in most cases, the problem lies not with the question of their scientific pedigree, but with the fact that they are out of step with the conventional thinking of their time.
Because science has been built upon the foundation of belief that the universe operates in a consistent and predictable manner, the edifice of science has been forced to reflect this consistency. New theories cannot therefore be admitted to the scientific corpus unless they can be shown to be related in some fashion to what has already been accepted.
New theories are not permitted to stand alone, devoid of associated scientific support. The fact that these novel theories may be verifiable in “reality” is then beside the point. They are doomed to be ignored by virtue of their illegitimate birth, as we may see from the following example.
In 1949, a Czechoslovakian citizen named Karel Drbal applied to the Czechoslovakian Patent Office for a patent on a device which, he claimed, could sharpen razor blades. Drbal’s device was quite a simple affair, so simple in fact that the chief patent examiner was quite unable to fathom how it worked.
To test its claims, therefore, the examiner personally used this device for ten years before supporting its claim before the patent commission. In 1959, Karel Drbal finally succeeded in being awarded Patent No 91,304 for his unusual device. 3
The sharpener concerned turned out to be a cardboard model of a pyramid, constructed according to the dimensions of the ancient Egyptian pyramid of Cheops. By an odd series of circumstances, Drbal’s invention was fated to spread across the world in subsequent decades as the miracle of “pyramid power”.
By the nineteen seventies this magical power was alleged not only to be able to sharpen razor blades, but also to relieve headaches, restore skin tissue, aid relaxation, promote inner healing, improve sleep, enhance plant growth, hasten seed germination, revive ailing plants, sweeten the taste of coffee, reduce rust, preserve milk and yoghurt, plus a host of other wonderful remedies.
It was in short a panacea for all ills. Unfortunately the bubble finally burst, and pyramid power was relegated to the domain of such pseudo-scientific myths as phlogiston and animal magnetism. The power of the pyramid was officially exposed as a grand psychological deception that had been fostered on a gullible public by the power of suggestion.
Sadly for Drbal, no millions of dollars were to flow into his pockets, nor would he become regaled as a latter day genius, to be ranked along with the scientific giants for the discovery of a new form of energy. Pyramid power was doomed to be forgotten as an irrelevant anomaly.
Yet the irony of this strange saga was, if any solace can be afforded to Drbal, that his original cardboard pyramid continued to sharpen razor blades. The unchallengeable fact was that it really worked. The problem was that it only tended to work for those who believed it would, and when it did work, those people were unable to say why it worked.
Although the power of the pyramid was attributed to a force called “Neoenergy”, science did not welcome this foundling child, because nobody could explain what Neoenergy was, or how it might be related to any other known form of energy.
Drbal himself volunteered the opinion that his razor blades were sharpened by a process of “dehydration and anoxidation”. The razor blade remained sharp he said, because the power of the pyramid forced water molecules out of the metal blade.
Clearly, this was not the sort of explanation that was likely to prompt a chair in pyramidology at Princeton, Harvard or Cambridge. Pyramid power died a natural death, as have many other theories and devices that were inexplicable in terms of the scientific paradigm of their times.
Had it been possible, however, to incorporate the concept of Neoenergy within the accepted framework of existing scientific belief, and to reinforce this belief with the power of consensual agreement through education in every school and university, we would all no doubt today be driving vehicles powered by the miraculous force of Neoenergy.
(Continued in Part Four)
1 Thomas Kuhn, “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions“, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1970, pp. 132-134.
2 Brian Josephson, “Possible Connections between Psychic Phenomena and Quantum Mechanics“, New Horizons, Vol. I, No.5, 1975, p. 226.
3 Serge King, “Neoenergy and Geometric Forms“, in “Future Science”, op.cit., pp. 193-197.
The underlying purpose of all science is the search for scientific laws.
In order to qualify as laws, they must not simply be theoretical ideas, often expressed in mathematical terms, but must also conform to actual experience and be supported by empirical evidence obtained by experimentation.
It is quite possible for a law to be valid theoretically, yet fail to be a true representation of the physical universe. So for example, the Greek mathematician Euclid claimed that it was a mathematical law that the sum of the three angles of any triangle would always amount to 180°, or two right-angles.
But as Einstein subsequently discovered, this did not match the results of his own experiments, because space-time was actually found to be curved and not flat. Euclid’s law therefore could not be accepted as an empirical law, nor could it be regarded as scientific truth.
Prediction and Science
Scientific laws are thus derived from actual observation. They represent a summary of past experience. Nature is believed to operate in a manner which conforms to these laws because this is what scientists have consistently found to be true, in terms of their experiments.
Because science is founded upon reason, it is assumed that what was true of natural behaviour in the past will equally well be true of all natural behaviour in the future. The limits of future possibilities tend, therefore, to be interpreted in the light of past-experience.
Yet historical observation has seldom proved to be a true guide to future possibilities. There have been numerous instances where new developments and inventions have initially been rejected on the grounds that they conflicted with the known “laws of nature”.
For example, when the incandescent light bulb was first invented, a scientific commission was formed in Britain to evaluate its future possibilities. This commission subsequently reported back to Parliament in 1878 that the light bulb was:
“…unworthy of the attention of practical or scientific men. It is impossible to adapt electrical lighting to households. Any attempt to do so is futile for it would flaunt the laws of the universe. On this the most eminent scientists agree.” 1
We may be amused today at the ignorance displayed by this Parliamentary Commission. Yet it was composed of scientists who were all highly respected people within their various fields of specialisation.
It is worth recalling too, that at the beginning of the 20th century it was considered impossible to travel at fifty miles (eighty kilometres) an hour, or to fly above the ground in a vehicle heavier than air. The explanation given in both of these two cases was also that to do so would contravene the “laws of nature”.
Scientists have, in fact, been poor prognosticators of the future. Even Einstein rejected the idea that nuclear energy would ever be utilised by humanity, when he declared in 1932 that “there is not the slightest indication that (nuclear) energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.” 2
As it happened, scientists succeeded in shattering the atom at will a bare decade or so after these words were spoken. In another momentous statement which has since become famous, the British Astronomer Royal, Dr Richard Woolley, announced in January 1956 that “space travel is utter bilge“. 3
The reason why scientists have traditionally been poor prophets is a legacy of the classical age of science, when the universe was regarded as being a giant machine, operating according to certain basic principles which were presumed to have already been discovered.
These “laws”, according to which Nature was considered to operate, were the product of past observation. When the “new” physics of quantum mechanics exposed the shortcomings of the Giant Machine, and challenged the accepted belief that it was possible to examine the universe in any objective or neutral way, these laws in turn became more vulnerable.
Once the status of the observer gave way to the idea of the participator, the experimenter who actively influenced the results of each experiment, past observation could no longer be accepted without question as acknowledged truth. The universe became at once a far more dynamic place, and one that was filled with new subjective possibilities.
The Search for Facts
In its pursuit of meaning in this universe of experience, the fundamental ingredients of science are “facts”. Facts may be different things or different circumstances. They may be objects or portions of objects, or they may be events or patterns of events.
Whatever each datum happens to be, it does not become a scientific fact until a measurement of some sort is made. Science does not present itself as art. It is not a pursuit whereby one individual relates to his or her environment in an individual and unique way. Science represents a body of knowledge that is based on the experiments of vast numbers of individuals.
It is a necessary requirement of science, that what is regarded as a fact by one scientist must be equally recognisable as such by another, albeit with the requisite education and experience. Again, facts only become facts when they are measured.
The temperature of boiling water only becomes a fact when it is observed according to a system of measurement. Furthermore, this measurement must be capable of being replicated by anyone else. It is out of countless such observations made by successive generations of scientifically trained observers, that the corpus of scientific knowledge has been acquired.
Now facts are meaningless by themselves. The temperature of boiling water carries no meaning when compared to the colour of a tortoise shell or the speed of an approaching taxi. Although these are legitimate facts in themselves, they only acquire scientific significance when they can be linked together in a meaningful way.
Facts only become of interest to a scientist when they can be combined in the form of a theory. As the physicist W. F. Barrett has pointed out, “without a theory facts are a mob, not an army“.
It is only when facts can be grouped together in a significant way, either as a pattern of similar facts, or in comparison with others, that they assume meaning to a scientist. It goes without saying that a fact is not significant unless it is recognised to be significant.
The level of mercury in a thermometer is an important fact to a chemist who is conducting an experiment involving heat, but is meaningless to an aboriginal forest dweller who has never seen a thermometer and has no idea of its function.
All facts, therefore, only become facts in relation to a particular attitude of mind. It is the mental outlook of the individual that determines which facts are significant and how they may be linked together in a meaningful way.
The Early History of Science
The early scientific investigators of the sixteenth century had no precedents as to what was significant and what was not, and they proceeded according to their own inner curiosity and conviction.
These scientific pioneers communicated the results of their investigations to others, and did so in ways which made it possible for others to duplicate them for their own satisfaction. In due course, people of similar theoretical persuasions banded together to form schools of common interest.
Although the early history of science was characterised by independent and localised research, with no general consensus between members of different schools of thought, there appeared certain scientists who were men of such towering intellectual ability, and who were able to coordinate facts in novel ways of such brilliant ingenuity, that they were able to dominate the science of their day.
These men of genius were able to explain nature in ways which transformed the previously accepted habits of thought.
The first of these men in the history of western science was Copernicus. Copernicus did not discover facts which were unknown to astronomers trained in the Ptolemaic school of astronomy. What he did was to explain these facts in a completely new way.
It was his brilliant and revolutionary insight which enabled subsequent generations of astronomers to add a wealth of information about celestial objects, and to explain this information in ways which overcame the problems inherent in the Ptolemaic system of astronomy.
Other examples of these intellectual giants were Sir Isaac Newton, the British physicist James Maxwell, and Albert Einstein. These men revolutionised the theoretical constructs of their times, in ways which had profound implications for future scientific research and development.
Science and Revolution
In referring to such men, the scientific historian Thomas Kuhn wrote that each “transformed the scientific imagination in ways that we shall ultimately need to describe as a transformation of the world within which scientific work was done.” 4
Kuhn called these transformations scientific revolutions, and he used the term “paradigm” to describe them. He defined a scientific paradigm as “the entire constellation of beliefs, values, techniques, and so on shared by members of a given community.” 5
Paradigms according to Kuhn, were scientific revolutions which altered the entire perspectives of their times, being “universally recognised scientific achievements that for a time provided model problems and solutions to a community of practitioners.” 6
In tracing the history of the scientific adventure, Kuhn noted that progress was far from linear, in which one scientific discovery led naturally to another. Instead, he found that scientific development followed a somewhat similar course to the social and political upheavals of those years, in which steady development was punctuated by outbreaks of sudden violence, leading to dramatic changes in the nature of those societies.
In between these outbreaks of violence, there occurred periods of relative stability in which progress was again able to follow its normal course. In dissecting the nature of these scientific revolutions, Kuhn found that, like their social counterparts, each tended to display a common character, and to develop in common ways.
He found, for example, that each new scientific revolution did more than build upon the theories of its predecessors, for each completely changed the foundations of the past. As each new paradigm became entrenched, it was necessary not only to reconstruct past theory, but also to re-evaluate past fact.
A new paradigm was not just an incremental advance on what was already known, but demonstrated a complete revision of the past. It also provided new avenues for solving the anomalies of the past and opened up new vistas for potential exploration.
Although Kuhn found that no paradigm was able to explain all the facts with which it was confronted, each new paradigm came to be accepted by the scientific community as being clearly superior to the one it superseded.
According to Kuhn, once a paradigm became universally accepted, it became possible for scientists to operate within a designated and expressed body of belief, and to apply these beliefs in novel ways. Kuhn referred to the science practised within any paradigm as “normal” science.
Under an accepted scientific paradigm, it was no longer necessary for the individual scientist to re-evaluate the entire history of science. He or she was able to work within a framework of belief that was universally acknowledged.
It was an inevitable result of the success of each new paradigm that textbooks came to be rewritten, in order to incorporate these new beliefs. The new generation of textbooks then presented the new paradigm in the light of historical perspective, in a way that suggested that it was a simple and logical outgrowth of the past.
But Kuhn found that this was seldom the case, for like all revolutions, new paradigms succeed by convulsively shaking up the accepted order of the past. As he explained:
“From the beginning of the scientific enterprise, a textbook presentation implies scientists have striven for the particular objectives that are embodied in today’s paradigm. But that is not the way a science develops. Many of the puzzles of contemporary normal science did not exist until after the most recent revolution. Very few of them can be traced back to the historic beginning of the science within which they occur.” 7
New generations of students learn from a new generation of textbooks which suggest, not only that the history of science has been linear and cumulative, but that new answers have been found for old questions. Antiquated science is presented in the form of out-of-date beliefs based on inadequate information or limited understanding.
To the historian of science, however, the scientific theories of the past are as intrinsically scientific and sound as any that are current today. Because of this it seems likely that those theories which are today accorded the sanctity of scientific “truth” will one day be replaced, and in due course will be regarded as equally unscientific, in the light of a new framework of belief.
The Foundation of Belief
The validity of any scientific theory rests therefore upon its underlying foundation of belief. When the structure of that belief changes, then the theory which had previously seemed to be entirely adequate, comes to be recognised as being scientifically deficient.
For as long as the scientific paradigm prevails, normal science conducts a vigorous campaign to force nature into line with those conceptual beliefs which characterise the new paradigm, motivated by the conviction that this new paradigm is able to reveal nature “as it really is”.
Within the limitations of the paradigm, this normal science at first succeeds brilliantly in solving problems which could hardly have been imagined in the past. The range of technological achievements and practical utilisation grows apace.
The paradigm does, however, exert a subtle restraining influence upon the practitioners of this normal science. It inevitably determines what scientific problems are valid within that paradigm, and which are to be ignored as being unscientific.
Kuhn also points to another subtle characteristic of each scientific revolution which he calls the “invisibility” of the paradigm. Those practitioners of normal science who have been trained within a specific paradigm, and who have acquired its underlying philosophy of belief, seldom see the limiting pressures of the paradigm itself. They remain unable to extricate themselves from the limitations of their paradigm, for they are generally unaware of its existence.
Normal science works within a paradigm and, as Kuhn points out, is at first spectacularly successful in resolving problems that arise within the framework of that paradigm. As the body of data generated by normal science grows, however, certain anomalies appear which cannot be explained by the paradigm.
Initially these anomalies are small in number, and can easily be dismissed as being of little consequence in the overall scheme of things. As they grow more numerous, it becomes increasingly difficult to ignore them and the prevailing paradigm becomes increasingly unwieldy or contrived.
It was precisely this state of unwieldy complexity in Ptolemaic astronomy, which was reduced to explaining the motion of celestial objects by means of an increasing number of epicycles, that led to the breakthrough of understanding provided by Copernicus.
When a scientific paradigm is overburdened by anomalies which it is unable to explain, it becomes ripe for revolutionary crisis. These crises have generally been resolved in the history of western science by lonely men of genius, who have been able to present an entirely new way of evaluating past data.
Founders of new paradigms are invariably young men who have, in one way or another, escaped the conditioning of their colleagues, and who have not yet become entrenched within their professions.
They are thus able to bring a new vision to their fields of practice, and to link past data in revolutionary ways which are successful in explaining most of the unexplained anomalies of the past.
These revolutionary purveyors of new ideas have traditionally met with a wave of resistance from “normal” scientists who have been conditioned in the old habits of thinking. Not surprisingly, this resistance has been particularly marked among those scientists whose status and reputation have been built upon the old ideas, and therefore have the most to lose by an overthrow of the old regime.
Each scientific revolution proceeds therefore very much like its social or military counterpart. It is led by a young and bold leader, who is successful in drawing to his or her side recruits, who then do battle with the old guard who have become entrenched in the traditional ways of thinking.
Success, however, does not come easily or immediately. It often takes several generations before victory is complete and the old paradigm is successfully demolished.
As Max Planck, who was himself a progenitor of new ideas, sadly reflected: “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” 8
Planck had good reason for this comment, for he was able to draw on the harsh criticism and initial rejection which greeted his discovery of the quantum. But he was in good company, for it took almost a hundred years for the ideas of Copernicus to become generally accepted, while Newton’s theories were not adopted in his own lifetime.
Einstein’s theory of relativity, arguably the most explosive theory in the history of science, and which daily dominates our lives in the form of the nuclear threat, was met with initial disbelief and to this day has failed to merit the Nobel prize for physics.
We have seen that science concerns itself with “observables.” As scientists have penetrated ever more deeply into the secrets of matter, they have come to examine more closely this question of observation.
Under the paradigm of classical physics dominated by Sir Isaac Newton, matter was considered to be something inert which had definite substance, and which existed and moved in empty space.
In the 20th century matter has been discovered to be something far more subtle. We have found that we can never, even in principle, learn anything about the actual nature of matter directly. All we can ever know about the world is what our senses tell us.
The nuclear physicist who charts the path of an electron through a cloud chamber is not in direct contact with reality. All he or she can say with certainty is that what was taken for an electron interacted with the cloud chamber and revealed itself to his or her senses in a particular way.
All of physical science rests ultimately upon the evidence of the senses. Even the instruments of science are simply extensions of the senses. The evidence that reveals itself to the scientist is never an objective reality which exists independently of the mind.
The new view of reality, as indicated by the new physics, is that the “observer” of classical physics has had to be replaced by the concept of “participator”. A person who sets up an experiment inevitably influences the result of that experiment by virtue of the act of participation.
According to this new view of reality, it is never possible to examine nature “as it really is”, but only through that particular filter which characterises each individual mind. The outcome of any experiment will thus inevitably be dominated by the contents of that mind.
The very essence of the scientific enterprise has been an attempt to reduce all human experience to certain fundamental principles which are true for every person. In undertaking this pursuit, science has operated under certain subtle assumptions which have seldom been recognized, let alone challenged.
The first and most important assumption is that the phenomena with which it deals form part of a physical universe that is both “real” and exists “objectively” in space.
Secondly, science has assumed that this “real” universe is experienced equally by everyone alike. That being so, scientists have logically concluded that any result obtained by a trained scientist in any one discipline, will automatically match the result achieved by any other scientist in that discipline who follows the same protocol.
Thirdly, the entire scientific quest is based upon the assumption that the universe is both rational and consistent, and that all phenomena can ultimately be reduced to a single set of rules. Within the boundaries of these overall assumptions scientists have set to work to identify those rules.
Yet the irony is that, because each of these three assumptions has now been found to be false, all of the so-called “laws” deduced by scientists from this data over the last four hundred years, must necessarily be false as well.
(Continued in Part Three)
1 Quoted in “Future Science“, edited by John White and Stanley Krippner, Anchor, New York, 1977, pp. 344-345.
2 C. Cerf and V. Navasky, “The Experts Speak“, Pantheon Books, New York, 1984, p. 215.
3 Ibid, p. 258.
4 Thomas Kuhn, “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions“, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1970, p. 6.
5 Ibid, p. 175.
6 Ibid, p.viii.
7 Ibid, p. 140.
8 Max Planck, “Scientific Autobiography“, translated by F.Gaynon, Philosophical Library, New York, 1949, pp. 33-34.
As has been pointed out in earlier posts, the world that appears to exist outside of ourselves is an illusion. What seems to us to be a solid, physical and objective reality, is in fact an outward projection of images that exist subjectively in consciousness.
What this means is that the universe that appears to surround us is actually a projection of our minds. And because there is nothing physical outside of ourselves, there obviously cannot be any such thing as a Creator of the cosmos, or any “law” that governs the workings of the universe.
However, over the course of the last four centuries, our lives have become so dominated by the technological marvels bestowed upon us by science, that science has now become the accepted yardstick for determining what is real, as well as the final authority on what is true.
So if we want to understand how scientists have allowed themselves to be misled, and how the fallacy of a real, physical universe obeying various fundamental laws of nature has come to be accepted as scientific truth, we need to take a closer look at the way in which the history of science has actually unfolded.
The Quest for Knowledge
Science stands today as a monument to mankind’s insatiable curiosity for knowledge and understanding. The word science itself is derived from the Latin root Scire, meaning “to know”. In the words of the American physicist Henry Margenau, the aim of science is “to organize, to make rational and meaningful, all cognitive human experience.” 1
The success of science, and the reason why it has proved to be the dominant description of reality on the planet today, is due to its success in doing just what Margenau has described.
Science has enabled us to explain our experiences in this mysterious universe in terms which, if not clearly understandable to all, are at least meaningful to those who have devoted themselves to a study of those terms. No man or woman today is capable of grasping every aspect of physical science. It is an edifice that has grown too large to be encompassed by a single mind.
However, the various rooms of this edifice are not isolated from one another. They are connected by common pathways of thought which are rational and consistent in themselves. The vast complex that is modern science therefore presents itself as a coherent and uniform whole.
The history of Western science began some two and a half thousand years ago with the philosophical theories of the early Greeks, and the first scientists are considered to have been men like Aristotle, Archimedes, Hippocrates, Galen, Ptolemy and Euclid.
There is however, one way in which modern science differs markedly from that practised by the early Greeks. The early progenitors of science were content to derive an intuitive understanding of the universe based on philosophical reflection. Their laws of nature were invariably intuitively deduced.
The Greeks did not feel the need to prove their deductive laws by means of physical experiments, to see whether what they had theorised actually was a true reflection of the outer world.
It took almost another two millennia for the scientific method as we have come to know it today to reach full maturity. It did so primarily in the person of Sir Isaac Newton, who stressed the necessity for linking observation and experiment into a unified system of rational investigation.
The Need for Observation
For Newton, the basis of all science was observation. In order for anything to be explained, it had first to be observed. If something could not be observed it was pointless to discuss it, and science could contribute nothing to an understanding of its nature. Whatever was observed could be reduced to various mathematical expressions.
These mathematical formulae, however, meant nothing unless they could subsequently be confirmed by objective experiment. For Newton, it was not enough to arrive at various conclusions by means of mathematical analysis alone. These conclusions had to be tested by means of physical experiments, to ensure that they were valid representations of reality.
It was only through this winnowing process of trial and error that the kernel of truth could be found and separated from its surrounding husk of ignorance. Only in this way could science become a truly independent and self-enclosed system, which no longer rested upon superstition and blind belief.
Only those things in life were true which could be validated by the scientific method. It was because of the success whereby the inner secrets of nature were revealed by this scientific method that science increasingly came to don the mantle of authority in determining what was ultimately true and real.
While religion and the Church had previously dominated the outlook of mankind, they came in time to play an increasingly minor role, until ultimately, the Church was considered to have no authority at all in matters of physical reality. The final authority for all matters relating to the nature of the universe came to rest with physical scientists.
In their quest for an understanding of the physical universe, the first task which scientists undertook was to identify the observables. In this evaluation it was clear that the experiences of life fell into two broad categories.
The first of these groups was that of objective experience, characterised by physical objects and events involving these physical objects. The second category of experience was subjective, and was characterised by inward states of mind.
As every person knows, life unfolds as a series of encounters with physical objects located in space, that take the form of sequential events in time. However, these encounters also involve a category of experience that is clearly subjective and independent of outward form.
These experiences include various thoughts, values, ideas and judgements, as well as differing states of emotion. This inner world was seen to be personal, subjective and separate from the objects and circumstances that made up the physical universe.
The Cartesian Split
It was only natural, therefore, that scientists should have decided at the outset of their investigation to divide all observables into two separate categories. One of these categories was called “matter”, and the other was called “mind”.
The realm of matter was seen to be the proper preserve of science, while the realm of mind was considered to be something that should best be left to philosophy.
It was this fundamental division of the experience of life into two opposing categories that was formalised by the French mathematician and philosopher René Descartes, in a split that has come to be known as Cartesian dualism.
By the early eighteenth century, physical science had come to concern itself solely with those aspects of the world which could be identified and measured in a quantitative way.
It was the art of measurement that was used to decide into which realm any particular observable should be allocated. If something could be measured, it fell within the theatre of physical science. If not, then it lay within the realm of philosophy and religion.
The evaluation of the observations within these different realms was, however, subject to entirely separate methods of analysis. Science operated under the searching light of reason, while religion was considered to be a function of faith, operating within a specific climate of belief.
It was this resolute resort to reason which prompted scientists to exclude all subjective factors from the pursuit of science. All emotions, hopes, desires and fears were seen to be subjective states of mind which had no place in the scientific protocol.
This attitude of scientific dispassion, or reducing science to an exercise devoid of all emotion, has become a cardinal feature of the scientific method. In retrospect, however, it was a natural and predictable result of the Cartesian split between matter and mind.
It was only in the latter half of the 20th century that this primary fracture of the universe into two opposing camps of “matter” and of “mind” came to be re-evaluated, and cause a growing body of scientists to realise that this initial division was both arbitrary and artificial, and a barrier to deeper understanding.
While this separation had been useful at first in enabling scientists to gain an insight into the nature and interrelationships of physical objects, it did nothing to assist them in the ultimate purpose of the entire enterprise, which was to understand the true nature of “all cognitive human experience.”
The Growth of Specialisation
It was not long after the initial separation between physical objects and subjective states that science began to be further subdivided for reasons of convenience, and to allow scientists to specialise in areas of their choice.
Physical science was divided into different categories such as physics, chemistry, medicine, biology and others. Physics, in turn, was later compartmentalised into such specialised categories as electromagnetism, mechanics, thermodynamics, geology, geography, astronomy and astrophysics.
It was also inevitable that as these specialised pursuits developed, scientists would find the need to develop certain words to identify those specific islands which dotted their various streams of investigation. These descriptive terms became in time the technical jargon which today characterises all categories of modern science.
While the use of clearly defined terms to describe specific objects or conditions has proved to be useful in the communication of ideas within each specific avenue of science, it has served equally effectively in creating barriers between one subdivision and another.
In order to participate in any field of science today, it is necessary to understand the specific language which characterises that field. Membership of a specific scientific group is conferred by education and training and tends to be exclusive.
Members who have passed the necessary initiation are not only bound together by virtue of their common interests and language, but have tended, perhaps understandably, to be insular and to resist interference by specialists trained in other fields.
So while science as a whole has grown into a vast building comprising numerous different levels and a host of different rooms, the unity of the entire structure is almost never grasped. Instead, specialists tend to operate largely independently of others and to resent intrusion by practitioners of other disciplines.
Again it is only in recent years that the artificiality of these divisions has come to be recognised, and scientists have begun to share their insights via multi-disciplinary conferences and projects.
The Search for Scientific Laws
Each category of scientific investigation has proceeded according to an etiquette which has now become the crux of the scientific method.
The first requirement of any science is, as we have seen, to determine the observables. In any category of science there needs to be agreement as to what it is that needs to be explained. While there has been an inevitable blurring between categories at times, on the whole each division of science has been successful in staking out for itself a region of observables.
Linked with this question of observables is the intrinsic question of measurement. For any observable to be valid it has to be capable of being measured. If something cannot be measured in a certain way, it is not regarded as a legitimate scientific observable.
Once measurements have been successfully undertaken, scientists then investigate how these various measurements can be linked together. On the basis of their initial investigations, a theoretical hypothesis is formed. This hypothesis suggests a way in which the various observables may be bound together.
A hypothesis is seldom based upon any single measurement, but rests upon a number of observations. A scientific hypothesis, therefore, is at first mere speculation, based upon a sequence of observations. It is initially a thought construct, and is unverified.
For a hypothesis to become a legitimate scientific theory, it is necessary to verify it in practice. It is for this reason that various tests are made to see whether the hypothesis is supported by factual or empirical evidence.
This evidence is gained by undertaking specific physical experiments, which are conducted according to strict protocols of control. Whenever the results of such experimentation confirm the original hypothesis, this hypothesis is upgraded to the level of a scientific theory.
When a scientific theory has been proven to be in accord with physical reality, it then becomes possible to make certain predictions about the future behaviour of known observables. These predictions are then tested by means of further controlled experiments.
If the results of these predictions successfully uphold the scientific theory, and there are no results which effectively undermine its validity, then the theory is elevated to the status of scientific “law”.
(Continued in Part Two)
1 Henry Margenau and Lawrence LeShan, “Einstein’s Space and Van Goch’s Sky“, Macmillan, New York, 1982, p. 51.
In tracing the process of vision to its source, we have seen how energy is converted from one form into another until it finally reaches the visual centre of the cerebral cortex. At this point, however, our scientific knowledge ends and we are left with pure surmise.
Science has so far been unable to explain exactly how a mental image occurs in our brains. It is obvious that no image can occur unless there exists something in which, or on which, this image can appear. This base, or substratum, is consciousness itself.
When we say that we see something, what we are saying is that the image of that something registers upon our consciousness. If it didn’t, we could never become aware of it. But the central mystery of vision is preceded by an even greater mystery.
Not only has science been unable to explain how a mental image comes to appear in consciousness, but it has also been unable to say how consciousness itself arises.
If consciousness is regarded as the product of a physical process within the brain, as psychologists still maintain, then some part of the brain must obviously be responsible for its creation.
So far, however, no evidence of any source of consciousness has yet been found to exist within the brain, nor is there any accepted explanation to account for its appearance.
So great has been the conviction of science that a real, objective universe exists “out there” in space, that physicists, psychologists and biologists have simply accepted that sensory feedback of this outer world, somehow does come to be registered in consciousness.
The fact that scientists have thus far been unable to explain how this occurs, has not deterred them from believing that it does take place, although in some as yet unexplained manner. Until it is explained, however, this traditional scientific belief is simply an article of faith.
But there is a way out of the dilemma that has confounded scientists for so long. It is a way that mystics have been pointing out for untold ages. As the Sages have consistently revealed, the objects which appear to exist “out there”, do not in fact exist “out there” at all.
The truth is that there is nothing outside of us, and everything that we see and sense is contained within consciousness itself.
The only thing that can be said to exist is consciousness itself. Images appear in consciousness, and it is these images that are then projected outwardly, in a way that makes it seem as if there is an outer universe.
This conclusion is also supported by the vast body of evidence contained in dreams, hallucinations, and other “alternate” states. Charles Muses speaks for this conclusion when he says:
“A salient fact of modern brain research should be stated here: The brain is not the source of its own primary motivational impulses.” (Original italics) 1
Put in a nutshell, consciousness does not arise as a result of any physical process within the brain. It is the brain that exists in consciousness. In fact the entire physical body is itself a projection of consciousness.
It is not the neural activity of the brain which leads to thoughts in consciousness. It is the thoughts in consciousness which are revealed in the form of neural activity. The brain does not produce consciousness. It is consciousness which produces the image of the body, along with its apparent centre of intelligence, the brain. As Ramana Maharshi explains:
“Where is the brain? It is in the body. I say that the body itself is a projection of the mind. You speak of the brain when you think of the body. It is the mind which creates the body, the brain in it, and also ascertains that the brain is its seat.” 2
Science has not only been unable to explain the central mystery of thought and consciousness, but the latest insights into Quantum Mechanics have brought science to the brink of incoherence. Physicist Richard Feynman, himself a Nobel prize winner, has written;
“I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.” 3
His reason for saying this is because the entire science of Quantum Mechanics ultimately consists of nothing more than a series of mathematical equations. When physicists get together to discuss what these equations really mean, they encounter almost insuperable difficulties, due to the limitations of human language.
What this means is that these equations cannot accurately be explained in words (of any language). They are beyond intellectual analysis. But if what is “out there” cannot adequately be explained, and the process of perception itself cannot adequately be understood, then the wonderful world of science has been reduced to a droll impasse.
As was pointed out earlier, it was the University of California professor George Stratton who, in 1896, performed an experiment that has proved to be of central importance to this question of perception. He made a pair of goggles, fitted with inverting lenses, which had the effect of turning everything that was looking at upside down.
He personally carried out an experiment over a period of eight days, during which he wore these goggles for periods of up to thirteen hours a day. When he was not wearing these goggles, he was securely blindfolded, so that he did not revert to his former habit of seeing.
At first Stratton felt profound disorientation accompanied by considerable physical distress, as he tried to manoeuvre himself around his inverted world, in which his feet now appeared where the sky used to be. As he persisted, he began to feel a gradual affinity for his strange new world, and to move about it with increasing confidence.
It was on the fourth day of his experiment that an extraordinary thing happened. Instead of appearing upside down as it had done thus far throughout the experiment, the world suddenly appeared to Stratton to turn itself the “right way up” again.
As he continued with his experiment, these sudden reversions to the “normal” way of viewing the world occurred with increasing frequency. As he pointed out:
“It is certainly difficult to understand how the scene as a whole could even temporarily have appeared upright when the retinal image was not inverted.” (Original italics) 4
Yet Stratton claimed, this was precisely what happened.
In 1964, another experiment was performed by a man named Kohler, in which selected volunteers were fitted with special goggles incorporating right-angle prisms. These goggles maintained the world the right way up, but they reversed the retinal images from side to side, so that objects that used to be seen on the left now appeared on the right, and vice versa.
Kohler found, just as Stratton had discovered, that his subjects began to have sudden glimpses in which the images reverted to their “normal” setting. Variations also occurred within the scenes that subjects were viewing, so that some parts of the scene were “normal”, while other parts of the identical scene remained reversed. 5
The traditional viewpoint of science has been that images of actual objects in space are reflected upon the retina of the eye. Each one of the one hundred and thirty million photoreceptor cells located in the retina, then send tiny electrical impulses via the optic nerve to the thalamus, and from there to the visual portion of the cerebral cortex, where the complicated process of vision is believed to take place.
But if each photoreceptor cell continues to send a signal to the brain of just that part of the retinal image for which it is responsible, we must ask ourselves how the brain can possibly scramble an image from left to right, or from upside down to right side up again.
The brain is frequently thought of as a sort of super-computer, serviced by a network of different nerve cells, with each neuron responsible for sending its own unique signal.
But if the physical network of signals from the eye to the brain remains unchanged, then how is it that the resulting image is able to change?
This cannot be due to a change in the network of communication to the brain, for no change has taken place.
Instead, we are faced with the inevitable conclusion that the visual images are actually projections of the mind. So when the mind finds itself thwarted in its customary relationship with its environment, it merely rearranges the visual images to suit its needs.
The experiments of Stratton and Kohler have provided evidential proof of the projecting power of the mind, as the mystics have long taught.
It is the category of mental imagery known as hallucination, that remains the key to the understanding of the functioning of the mind. Hallucinations are not merely temporary aberrations of an unsound mind, in which unexpected images happen to overshadow “normal reality”. They are in fact beacons illustrating the true nature of “normal reality”.
What we call “normal reality” is actually a projection of the mind, and our day-to-day waking world is just as much a hallucination as the unexpected images which are passed off as ephemeral visions.
There is another clue which should help us to understand this fact. Whenever any form of hallucination supervenes upon the waking state, there is never any awareness of the onset of this new vision, nor when it ends. Awareness remains unbroken.
For this reason, people who experience hallucinatory visions in the course of their waking state remain firmly convinced that what they experienced at the time, was still “normal reality”.
When told that what they had experienced was illusory, they simply refuse to believe that what they saw “with their own eyes”, was not actually real. Their confusion remains perfectly understandable.
For if it is the function of our eyes to reflect what is actually “out there”, as we have been conditioned to believe, then what is seen by our eyes in the course of waking consciousness, is inevitably taken to be a true reflection of what actually is out there.
However, the value of hallucinatory experience, for those who have the wit to perceive it, lies in the recognition that our experience of the world is just another variation of images projected by our minds. As Aldous Huxley has affirmed:
“And the experience can be very liberating and widening in other ways. It shows that the world one habitually lives in is merely a creation of this conventional, closely conditioned being which one is, and that there are quite other kinds of worlds outside. It is a very salutary thing to realize that the rather dull universe in which most of us spend most of our time is not the only universe there is.” 6
The truth defies the age-old reliance that we have come to place upon our senses. For the majority of us, we simply cannot bring ourselves to believe that what we have for so long thought of as “reality”, may not in fact be real.
This is a hard road to travel, and it is a path that is invariably rejected by those who first encounter it. But the idea that what we see “out there” in space is actually a projection of our own minds, is a discovery that has the power to transform our lives.
For in this revolutionary insight, there lies hidden the key to true creative freedom. Those who find it gain the power to mould their own reality. They learn to write their will upon the world, and to emblazon their thoughts across the stars.
1 Charles Muses, “Paraphysics: A New View of Ourselves and the Cosmos“, in “Future Science”, edited by John White and Stanley Krippner, Anchor, New York, 1977, p. 283.
2 “Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi“, recorded by Swami Saraswathi, Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai, 1968, p. 296.
3 Richard Feynman, “The Character of Physical Law“, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 1967, p. 129.
4 George Stratton, “Vision without Inversion of the Retinal Image“, Psychological Review, Vol IV, No.4, 1897, pp. 341-360.
5 Charles Harris, “Perceptual Adaptation to Inverted, Reversed, and Displaced Vision“, Psychological Review, Vol.72, No.6, 1965, pp. 419-444.
6 Aldous Huxley, “Moksha – Writings on Psychedelics and the Visionary Experience”, edited by M. Horowitz and C.Palmer, Tarcher, Los Angeles, 1977, p. 178.
The mystics claim that the world we think of as real, is actually a subjective phenomenon appearing in the mind that we have learned to project outside of ourselves.
But this conflicting view of the world leaves us with a mystifying conundrum. For if the world we see and interact with has a subjective nature that is projected by our minds, then how is it that our senses are able to respond to the world as if it had an objective reality?
If the mystics are correct, then there must be some fundamental flaw in the scientific interpretation of the way in which our senses operate. In order to find this flaw, we need to investigate the scientific explanation of the process whereby the outer world comes to reveal itself to our minds.
For example, let us examine how our sense of sight conveys information about the outside world to our brains according to accepted scientific theory. When we look at a tree, we see it by means of our eyes, and the image of the tree is conveyed from our eyes to the brain. The brain then furnishes the image of the tree in our minds.
So we may illustrate this process in the following rudimentary fashion.
In order to see the tree, however, there must be sufficient light. If there was complete darkness, we would be unable to see anything at all. If we assume that the sun is shining, and that the tree is illuminated by the light of the sun in the form of various rays of light, then these light waves are reflected by the tree, and these reflected light waves penetrate the eye.
Once the light enters the eye, the lens of the eye causes an inverted image of the tree to be displayed on the retina, at the back of the eyeball. This inverted image is then conveyed to the brain by means of the optic nerve, and is then converted by the brain into the mental image of the tree, as shown below.
In order to see the tree, it is necessary for photons (electromagnetic particles of light) to strike the tree. These photons are then reflected by the tree, and when they enter the eye they are focused on the retina.
By a process of electrical and chemical transmission, the information registered upon the retina is conveyed to the brain along the optic nerve. These signals finally reach the visual control centre of the cerebral cortex, where they are converted into the final image of the tree.
It is important to recognise that between the sun, the tree and the eye, there exists only electromagnetic radiation, in the form of photons of light. There can be no question at this stage of any image of a tree. There are merely particles of light, or, as we have learned from their complementary nature, wave-particles of energy.
When this energy meets the receptor cells located in the retina, it is converted into electrical information by a process known as transduction, and is then routed via the optic nerve to the thalamus in the brain.
The thalamus is a type of relay station, which then passes the information received along the optic nerve, through another set of nerve fibres, to the primary visual cortex at the back of the brain. When these signals reach this portion of the brain, they still have to be deciphered.
It is the action of the visual cortex that finally creates the picture of the tree which then appears in consciousness. It is only when all the various signals are combined in consciousness, that a visual image of the tree becomes possible, and we actually get to “see” the tree.
This visual image is assumed to be a true reflection of the object that actually exists out there in space. We assume that the signals relayed to us by our senses have in fact been transmitted with true fidelity. But we have no way of knowing whether they have done so correctly or not.
The image which has formed itself in our consciousness is the only image we know, and it is this image in our consciousness which is then projected by our mind, as an actual object existing in three-dimensional space.
When we say that we “see” something, therefore, what we are really doing is identifying an image in our minds, and then projecting this image into space as a physical object.
We never therefore actually see anything “out there” at all. Everything that we see simply consists of various impressions registered upon our consciousness. Now let us examine a little more closely the process whereby the image of the tree is created in consciousness.
There are various stages in this process, which we can now identify as follows:
The signals from the tree to the eye are conveyed by electromagnetic radiation in the form of light waves, or photons. These signals form an inverted image upon the retina of the eye.
Embedded within the human retina are over one hundred and thirty million photoreceptors. The photoreceptors are tiny cells that convert light into neural activity, and this nervous energy then travels by way of various nerve fibres to the brain.
There are two basic types of photoreceptor cells, one known as rods and the other as cones. The rods are sensitive to dim light but provide very little detail, while the cones identify colours and sharp details.
When a photon of light strikes one of these photoreceptor cells, a process known as transduction takes place. The electromagnetic energy of light is converted into electrical information which is then relayed to the thalamus in the brain via the optic nerve.
When these signals reach the thalamus, they are then relayed again to that part of the cerebral cortex which is responsible for vision. It is only when these signals reach the visual centre of the cerebral cortex that they are finally converted into the mental image which then appears in consciousness.
We have now reached the heart of the process of perception, and it is at this stage that the nature of sight becomes extremely mysterious. The tree that we believe we see “out there” in space, is actually an image which exists in our own consciousness.
But how is this image created in our consciousness? How are the electrical signals, which are conveyed to the brain by means of the nervous system, converted into the mental image of a tree? The problem is simply this. How does an electrical impulse become an image in consciousness?
Since we believe that it is the action of the brain that creates the image of the tree, it is clear that there must exist some special cells within the brain that are responsible for this remarkable function. Furthermore, these cells must be the most wonderful and complex cells within the entire body.
But when we trace the network of nerve signals to their ultimate destination, we discover the extraordinary fact that the cells, which are apparently responsible for this amazing ability of creating thoughts from electrical energy, are no different from any other nerve cells in the body.
By some astonishing legerdemain, our exquisitely complex function of sight appears to be the product of the most common form of cellular life. As Charles Muses trenchantly observes:
“Even in the hypothalamus, often thought of as a prime ‘center’, what we have is not a source but only a concentrated bundle of fibres. When impulses have been traced further than even concentrated bundles, we end up with specific neurons. But these are specialised amoebas, and by accepted evolutionary theory, protozoan sensibility cannot be regarded as the executive suite of human intelligence!” 1
We are therefore faced with a mystifying riddle. How is it that these simple nerve cells, which have been found to comprise the visual centre of the cerebral cortex, are able to perform this stupefying trick of creating images in consciousness, as well as the thoughts that are associated with them? In spite of its accumulation of knowledge over four hundred years, science has still been unable to solve this riddle.
The fact is that we simply do not know how it is we really get to see, or hear, or smell, taste or touch!
(Continued in Part Three)
1 Charles Muses, “Paraphysics: A New View of Ourselves and the Cosmos“, in “Future Science”, edited by John White and Stanley Krippner, Anchor, New York, 1977, p. 283.