The following is a view of “Ultimate Reality” from the frontiers of science. It is from the preface and prologue to The Field — the quest for the secret force of the universe — by Lynne McTaggart.
“Our current scientific story is more than three hundred years old, a construction largely based on the discoveries of Isaac Newton – a universe in which all matter moves within three-dimensional space and time according to certain fixed laws. The Newtonian vision describes a reliable place inhabited by well-behaved and easily identifiable matter. The world view arising from these discoveries is also bolstered by the philosophical implications of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, with its suggestion that survival is available only to the genetically rugged individual. These, in their essence, are stories that idealize separateness. From the moment we are born, we are told that for every winner there must be a loser. From that constricted vision we have fashioned our world.
The Field tells a radically new scientific story. The latest chapter of that story written by a group of largely unknown frontier scientific explorers, suggests that at our essence we exist as a unity, a relationship – utterly interdependent, the parts affecting the whole at every moment…
Dozens of scientists in prestigious areas around the world have demonstrated that all matter exists in a vast quantum web of connection and that an information transfer is constantly going on between living things and their environment. Still others have produced evidence suggesting that consciousness is a substance outside the confines of our body. The brain and DNA, always assumed to be the body’s central conductors, should more properly be considered transducers—which transmit, receive from, and ultimately interpret quantum information picked up from the Field. Even our current understanding of time as flowing in a single direction has been exposed in orthodox circles as an incomplete human construct that may have to be drastically revised.
Prologue – The Coming Revolution
We are poised on the brink of a revolution – a revolution as daring and profound as Einstein’s discovery of relativity. At the very frontier of science new ideas are emerging that challenge everything we believe about how our world works and how we define ourselves. Discoveries are being made that prove what religion has always espoused: that human beings are far more extraordinary than an assemblage of flesh and bones. At its most fundamental, this new science answers questions that have perplexed scientists for hundreds of years. At its most profound, this is a science of the miraculous.
This world of the separate should have been laid waste once and for all by the discovery of quantum physics in the early part of the twentieth century. As the pioneers of quantum physics peered into the very heart of matter, they were astounded by what they saw. The tiniest bits of matter weren’t even matter, as we know it, not even a set something, but sometimes one thing, sometimes something quite different. And even stranger, they were often many possible things all at the same time. But most significantly, these subatomic particles had no meaning in isolation, but only in relationship with everything else. At its most elemental, matter couldn’t be chopped up into self-contained little units, but was completely indivisible. You could only understand the universe as a dynamic web of interconnection. Things once in contact remained always in contact through all space and all time. Indeed, time and space themselves appeared to be arbitrary constructs, no longer applicable at this level of the world. Time and space as we know them did not, in fact, exist. All that appeared, as far as the eye could see, was one long landscape of the here and now.
The pioneers of quantum physics – Erwin Schrodinger, Werner Heisenberg, Niels Bohr and Wolfgang Pauli – had some inkling of the metaphysical territory they had trespassed into. If electrons were connected everywhere at once, this implied something profound about the nature of the world at large. They turned to classic philosophical texts in their attempt to grasp the deeper truth about the strange subatomic world they were observing. Pauli examined psychoanalysis and archetypes and the Qabbalah; Bohr, the Tao and Chinese philosophy; Schrodinger, Hindu philosophy; and Heisenberg, the Platonic theory of ancient Greece.3 Nevertheless, a coherent theory of the spiritual implications of quantum physics remained beyond their grasp. Niels Bohr hung a sign on his door saying ‘Philosophers keep out. Work in progress.’
And what of us? Suddenly, we had grown central to every physical process, but no one had fully acknowledged this. The quantum pioneers had discovered that our involvement with matter was crucial. Subatomic particles existed in all possible states until disturbed by us – by observing or measuring – at which point, they’d settle down, at long last, into something real. Our observation – our human consciousness – was utterly central to this process of subatomic flux actually becoming some set thing, but we weren’t in any of the mathematics of Heisenberg or Schrodinger. They realized that we were somehow key, but they didn’t know how to include us. As far as science was concerned, we were still on the outside looking in.
They also discovered that we were made of the same basic material. On our most fundamental level, living beings, including human beings, were packets of quantum energy constantly exchanging information with this inexhaustible energy sea. Living things emitted a weak radiation, and this was the most crucial aspect of biological processes. Information about all aspects of life, from cellular communication to the vast array of controls of DNA, was relayed through an information exchange on the quantum level. Even our minds, that other supposedly so outside of the laws of matter, operated according to quantum processes. Thinking, feeling – every higher cognitive function – had to do with quantum information pulsing simultaneously through our brains and body. Human perception occurred because of interactions between the subatomic particles of our brains and the quantum energy sea. We literally resonated with our world.
Their discoveries were extraordinary and heretical. In a stroke, they had challenged many of the most basic laws of biology and physics. What they may have uncovered was no less than the key to all information processing and exchange in our world, from the communication between cells to perception of the world at large. They’d come up with answers to some of the most profound questions in biology about human morphology and living consciousness. Here, in so-called ‘dead’ space, possibly lay the very key to life itself.
Most fundamentally, they had provided evidence that all of us connect with each other and the world at the very undercoat of our being. Through scientific experiment they’d demonstrated that there may be such a thing as a life force flowing through the universe – what has variously been called collective consciousness or, as theologians have termed it, the Holy Spirit. They provided a plausible explanation of all those areas that over the centuries mankind has had faith in but no solid evidence of or adequate accounting for, from the effectiveness of alternative medicine and even prayer to life after death. They offered us, in a sense, a science of religion…
These ideas were the stuff of treason. In many cases, these scientists have had to fight a rearguard action against an entrenched and hostile establishment. Their investigations have gone on for thirty years, largely unacknowledged or suppressed, but not because of the quality of the work. The scientists, all from credible top-ranking institutions —Princeton University, Stanford University, top institutions in Germany and France – have produced impeccable experimentation. Nevertheless, their experiments have attacked a number of tenets held to be sacred and at the very heart of modern science. They did not fit the prevailing scientific view of the world – the world as machine. Acknowledging these new ideas would require scrapping much of what modern science believes in and, in a sense, starting over from scratch. The old guard was having none of it. It did not fit the world view and so it must be wrong.
Nevertheless, it is too late. The revolution is unstoppable. The scientists who have been highlighted in The Field are merely a few of the pioneers, a small representation of a larger movement. Many others are right behind them, challenging, experimenting, modifying their views, engaged in the work that all true explorers engage in. Rather than dismissing this information as not fitting in with the scientific view of the world, orthodox science will have to begin adapting its world view to suit. It is time to relegate Newton and Descartes to their proper places, as prophets of a historical view that has now been surpassed. Science can only be a process of understanding our world and ourselves, rather than a fixed set of rules for all time, and with the ushering in of the new, the old must often be discarded.”
For more information on how the Quantum Field underlies Ultlimate Reality and echoes the teachings of many other wisdom traditions see the Understanding Reality Course.