More Light on Science and Extended Awareness
June, 30th 2019, Excerpt from Book Translucid by Susanne Steines
Experiences of unboundedness, or epiphany, or even so-called out-of-body and near-death experiences, whether endogenous, drug-induced, or stimulated through religious rituals — neuropsychological discoveries have shown that these are all attributable to the same electrochemical mechanisms in the brain. This allows us to describe all religious and spiritual experiences as a reaction within the brain itself; that is, to reduce them to certain electrochemical processes in the body. But this raises the question: if the brain is capable of such experiences, and the human being is capable of being conscious of them, does this mean that there is an external reality which corresponds to these states of consciousness, inaccessible to our everyday consciousness, yet truly existing all the same? Anyone who comes to believe that an experience of ecstatic joy does indeed signify an expansion of consciousness into actually existing other realities, will begin to search out literature on the topic of other realities, parallel universes, and multidimensionality, from the point of view of cosmic and quantum physics, and, more recently, on the new string theory as described by Brian Greene in his popular books.
One must free oneself from traditional ways of thinking in order to see such links and understand their significance. This explains why neuropsychologists who have researched consciousness-expanding drugs and religious ecstasy have quickly become interested in the theories of quantum mechanics and their practical applicability (see books like The Quantum Brain by Jeffrey Satinover). Here, we are dealing not only with the expansion of our consciousness into unknown realities, but also new discoveries about how our material everyday world functions. The speed at which quantum computing is developing is mind-blowing. The German quantum physicist Hans-Peter Dürr has always tried to describe the latest scientific discoveries in a way that is understandable for the interested reader who can’t follow all the mathematic calculations. As he writes:
“Actuality (Wirklichkeit) is, at bottom, not reality; it is more than that which is expressed with the concept of “act” (wirken) or “action.” We speak of potentiality. This refers not only to possibility, but, even better, to a possibility-ability to realize oneself in various ways, to manifest oneself as reality. The particular possibilities open to one are not arbitrary, but rather restricted by one’s ability to act and realize oneself. Potentiality means the ability to express oneself in reality, but it is not reality in itself. The moment right now, the moment of the present (…) is the moment (not merely a point in time) in which, as it were, potentiality congeals into reality, as I put it. Reality allows for a material, or, more generally, an energetic description. Because in physics, matter is a kind of agglutinated energy. On the other hand, light, for example (or, more generally, the electromagnetic field) bears energy, but no matter. Light only acts in motion. If I shut off the light, nothing palpable remains.” (Dürr, Liebe – Urquelle des Kosmos. Love as the Source of the Universe, p. 72).
The main problem in dealing with spiritual phenomena and experiences is that our language offers us only a minimal selection among possible forms of expression, which are reduced to that which is perceptible with the human senses within a determined environment, and which are geared toward the kind of understanding of our everyday world that is necessary for survival. Hans-Peter Dürr has throughout his life pointed to the limitations of language, to the impossibility of fully depicting one’s experience of reality through speech: “We experience more than we understand,” he used to say.
“Openness. Modern physics suggests that there is, at bottom, nothing that I can comprehend. Profound reality cannot be comprehended. If I desire to really live the world, to experience it, I must spread open my hands and attempt to feel it, not to grab it. We must take in our world with open arms and hands, because what is essential is only contained in a kind of hovering connection, in an open in-between. At the same time, conceptuality, or “grabability,” is important for our survival. In this sense, the firm grip of a hand as it takes hold of an apple that I need for nourishment is supportive of life. The language we have developed in our society is therefore one that was predominantly learned and tested in the sphere of practical action (…) — one might say, a language good for gripping. The natural sciences also make use of this language of gripping and the concepts it “grabs” with. In this regard, the concept ‘material’ seems to be an abstraction of grabbed apples, a multiplicity of particles.” (Dürr, Liebe – Urquelle des Kosmos. Love as the Source of the Universe, p. 72).
In those spaces between the lines of what is verbally expressible, those spaces filled with experience, lie worlds, as yet unknown and unconscious for mankind. The sheer range of various languages in the world — each of them shaped by the geographical, geological, climatic, and biological features of its particular environment, in terms of its capacity for word creation, its phonetics, its limited number of verbally conveyable signs, and its grammar, structurally codified at a particular time in history, for whatever particular reason — this sheer range allows us to imagine how much more there is existing beyond what is possible to express with words and beyond our perception. It has always been one of the interestes of artists to widen our capacity of perception and to find expressions for the unthinkable and unconceivable. Entering a space of silence in order to perceive creation beyond existing concepts and words and making ourselves a tool for co-creation – is a common exercise of scientists, artists and meditators. Neuroscience is investigating the brain states of those highly creative working brains. Comparisons of observations made by brain researchers and quantum computing developers will show us in the future how far which kind of brain state accesses and allows the human brain to perceive actual realities – and where, on the other hand, halluzinations and fantasy start. The doors of perception for humanity are opening ever further.
Copyright Susanne Steines 2019