Perhaps my wanting to study reality seems to you both naïve and quixotic. I have never taken a course in advanced math or physics. Instead, over half a century I have read broadly and with an obsessive purpose. Afterlife communications, quantum mechanics, cosmology, biology, consciousness research, and even the Bible’s Gospels: whatever has seemed pertinent to the study of reality, I have read it and tried to understand how it fit with everything else that I was learning. All of this could have led to nowhere. But instead, before long I was delighted to see that all these disparate sources of information were beginning to construct one gigantic, complex, and highly comprehensible reality! Eventually it became obvious to me that quantum mechanics had to be the junction between matter and consciousness; and, well, what do you know? I found that the father of quantum physics, the immortal Max Planck, had taken the strictly physics route and come to the same conclusion. Almost ninety years ago he said, “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.” Even Albert Einstein recognized that, “Concerning matter, we have been all wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter.”
Rather than giving any thought to the wisdom of the greatest modern physicists, mainstream science as a united discipline has stuck with the Luddite notion inherited from the ancient Greeks that matter is basic, and it generates consciousness. As a result, it is clear from a recent perusal of my beloved Scientific American that the core scientific discipline of physics has gone so far off the rails by now that at this point it is just going through the motions. From a Scientific American article entitled “The Search For Truth in Physics“ and published in September of this year comes this embarrassing admission: “(i)f physics strikes most people as truth seeking at its purest, it doesn’t always seem that way to physicists themselves. They sometimes seem to be struck by a collective imposter syndrome. Although they may presume that the truth is out there and they are capable of finding it—they have to, or what would be the point?—they have their doubts, which surface in informal discussions, at conferences devoted to the broad direction of their subject, in renewed efforts to reach out to philosophers for help, and in books and blogs for the general public. These worries are most acute in fundamental physics, which is not the entire subject but does play an outsized role in it. Many fret that the Large Hadron Collider has yet to turn up any new phenomena, giving them nothing to work with to derive the next level of laws. They worry whether proposed unified theories, such as string theory, can ever be tested. Some deem their subject overly mathematical; others think it mathematically sloppy. Truth can be elusive even in the best-established theories. Quantum mechanics is as well tested a theory as can be, yet its interpretation remains inscrutable.” My own thought after having talked with disillusioned physicists is that sadly this passage is too optimistic. One physicist actually said to me, “Don’t let them kid you. We can make the math say whatever we want it to say, so in fact it tells us nothing.”
Yet despite all their private uncertainties, as the year 2020 approaches, science writers still can cheerily deliver such highly dubious nonsense as, “Reality is constructed by the brain, and no two brains are exactly alike.” At the same time they also can admit to “The delusion of scientific omniscience,” while noting that as recently as the nineteen-eighties physicists were sure they were right on the cusp of figuring everything out.
It seems from what I have read that many physicists now suspect that consciousness has to be primary. They suspect, but those with reputations to protect are speculating only privately. Physics is a system of hypotheses that are tested using mathematical calculations and replicable experiments, and if you have a theory that cannot be investigated in the traditional way, there is no point to mentioning it and thereby putting your career at risk. But as physicists start to run out of materially testable ideas, the disconnect that already exists between experimental and theoretical physics will grow wider, until at some point some open-minded young scientist will step forward and present a workable consciousness theory of everything. Then not just physics, but all the sciences will enter a more productive post-material world.
Meanwhile, it will be important for people who can see the primacy of consciousness and are not hampered by scientific limitations to pioneer some new methods for studying reality. Here is why:
All of this being said, some recent evidence for the primacy of consciousness is very good indeed. It cannot be studied by the scientific method that has worked so well in studying matter, so until physicists can liberate themselves and begin an open-minded search for the truth, the leaders in this field will be lay researchers. And there is a lot of work for us to do!
It is going to be up to you and me to help humanity assemble a fresh paradigm that will let us study all of reality, including its non-material aspects. And wonderfully, some individual scientists and other researchers are pointing the way by doing ever more sophisticated work in the field of what is called “intelligent design.” This research began as an effort to refute Darwin, but the evidence for design in nature is abundant and the intelligent design movement is happily free of dogma-based constraints. We disciplined amateurs with nothing to lose can comfortably join these researchers, patiently seeking and sifting through the evidence as we build an ever more complete picture for all of humankind’s edification. The day will come when the mainstream science materialist house of cards will fall. And when it does, the work we do now can become a solid beginning for a genuine scientific search for the truth.