Mind Before Matter: How Consciousness is Making a Comeback Through Scientific Exploration
Phillip J. Watt, Contributor
A person’s worldview has always been shaped by their culture and period in history. If we grew up in a tribal setting, we would have a remarkably different perspective then in modern society. Well, that’s what we might assume anyway, but as it turns out there are more similarities then we might think.
Back in the tribal days, most indigenous cultures were embedded in spirituality. They had their own unique myths, stories and symbols which captured their spiritual conception of reality, however much of it rested on some very similar ideas that permeate across many of these ancient human societies, as well as some current cultures and disciplines too.
The most notable example is that they understood the material world to be a manifestation of a deeper order, one that is non-physical in nature. They had many words for this, including God, Mind and Spirit, to name but a few. Humanity then transitioned through different stages of ecology, so this idea might first appear to be disproven by our recent journey utilising the scientific method. However, as some of you would know, this conception of reality is making a comeback through our rational investigation of the universe.
The field? Why, quantum physics of course.
In our secular societies, science has reigned supreme in terms of logically describing the way the world works. Yet anybody who looks beyond the lens of the mainstream consensus will know that ‘scientific materialism’ has been the philosophy that has dominated how emerging evidence is interpreted. In fact, this belief has turned out to be unscientific and unproven, which has increasingly brought the credibility of the scientific establishment into question. Simply, their philosophical bias has been exposed.
Materialism has therefore hardened into dogma, particularly for its epic failure in explaining what consciousness is, where the line between a living and non-living entity is, and the peculiar world of quantum physics. In fact, as I explained in a previous article, there are now many scientists who are calling for an end to this hypocrisy so that we can evolve our scientific models of reality into a post-materialist era which embraces consciousness studies at the core of how we investigate the world we live in:
Not all scientists have fallen victim to the materialist rhetoric. For example, in 2014 “A call for an open, informed study of all aspects of consciousness” was made by around 100 scientists. Another example in the same year was the creation of a “Manifesto for a Post-Materialist Science … to visualize what an emerging scientific view may look like”, which was developed by eight respected scientists, including Rupert Sheldrake. Simply, both groups have called upon the scientific community to face their hypocrisy and transcend their philosophical bias.
What this means is that for the last couple of centuries consciousness was believed to be a manifestation of matter, but that theory is most likely wrong. The new era of science is working with the idea that consciousness is deeply embedded in the fabric of existence. The most infamous example is the double-split experiment, in which a conscious observation collapses wave-like, probabilistic states of a particle into an actual particle of experience. This was originally thought to be reserved for sub-atomic particles, like electrons, which seemed to act like waves or particles depending on whether we’re observing them or not, but more recently molecules have illustrated that they’re a part of this phenomena too.
Another brain-bending possibility that quantum physics explores is that the present moment is actually an amalgamation of the past, present and future. In essence, both the past and the future influence the present. Instead of there being an ever-present now, there is an ever-past-present- future- now, as evidenced by ‘weak measurements’. To quote the theoretical physicist, Dr. Fred Alan Wolf:
“In my view all possible futures are in continual contact with each and every present moment, kind of like the way a piece of a hologram (made from the waves reflecting off all points on an object) contains a whole picture”
Yep, it’s a mind-fuck.
The New Path for Science? Embrace the Comeback of Consciousness
An interview with Dr. Fred Alan Wolf (aka Dr. Quantum)
Dr. Fred Alan Wolf is a physicist, writer, and lecturer who earned his Ph.D. in theoretical physics at UCLA in 1963. He continues to write, lecture throughout the world, and conduct research on the relationship of quantum physics to consciousness.
The philosophy that replaces materialism by honouring the inherent mentality of the universe can be called either idealism or panpsychism. As stated in Wikipedia: “Panpsychism agrees with idealism that in a sense everything is mental, but whereas idealism treats most things as mental content or ideas, panpsychism treats them as mind-like, in some sense, and as having their own reality.”
Whatever specific metaphysics speaks to you most, it is undeniable that collectively we need to let consciousness make its destined comeback into humanity’s worldview. This irony shouldn’t be lost on any of us.
The reality is that quantum physics, as well as the (pseudo)science of parapsychology, clearly show in experimental terms why mind or consciousness needs to be reincorporated into our model of the universe, yet the scientific establishment is still stubborn to do so. Why particular scientists, however, continue to disrespect their responsibility to be objective and unbiased is simple to understand; they’re human, and like every human, we’re highly conditioned into ‘believing’ the societal and professional paradigms that we’re emerged in.
But not all scientists have fallen victim to this hypocrisy. As Rupert Sheldrake has explained in an interview for the Redesigning Society series, many of his colleagues understand the picture that dances beyond the farce of a solely material world, it’s just they don’t admit it publicly in fear of it adversely impacting their careers. Simply, that’s the philosophical and political impacts of a human institution at work.
So there are scientists who don’t just ‘say’ they’re engaged in a genuine search for truth, they ‘are’ doing it. Dr. Wolf is one of them. Let’s finish off with one of his provocative quotes:
“We must conclude that an observer lurks somewhere. I like to think of it as the mind of God or the vacuum state of the universe – as capable of making all the observations needed to keep the universe looking more or less as it does. The fact that we can also observe things and see quantum physics consequences, just means that we are sharing God’s mind.”
Please note: This article is part of the Redesigning Society series. Over the past weeks, this series has presented a range of expert perspectives on the current state of societal affairs, as well as the collective changes we desperately need both philosophically and practically. Details of upcoming and past guests and topics can be viewed here. You can subscribe to The Conscious Society Youtube Channel to get early access to each interview in the series.
About the Author
Phillip J. Watt lives in Australia. He best identifies as a ‘self-help guide’. His written work deals with topics from ideology to society, as well as self-development. Follow him on Facebook or visit his website.
**This article was originally featured at The Mind Unleashed.**
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