Bridging Science 
and Spirit

Common Elements In David Bohm's Physics, The Perennial Philosophy, and Seth


AUTHOR: Norman Friedman
PRICE: $14.95
SIZE: 6"x9"
326 Pages
CATEGORIES: New Science/ Philosophy
ISBN: 0-9636470-0-8
PUBLISHER: Living Lake Books
PHONE: 800-488-1805


"I think Bridging Science and Spirit is one of the most 
insightful, comprehensive, and brilliant expressions of 
knowledge.  I shall certainly use it as a reference guide.  
Many abstract ideas that I was not comfortable with are now 
more meaningful."
     Deepak Chopra, M.D. - Author of Ageless Body, Timeless 
     Mind; Creating Affluence

"Bridging Science and Spirit accomplishes a formidable 
task.  This book will be a valuable research document for 
many years to come for those concerned with a perspective 
that honors both science and spirituality."
     Fred Alan Wolf, Ph.D. - Author of Taking the Quantum 
     Leap; Parallel Universes; The Eagle's Quest

"A courageous and visionary work. . .consistent not only 
with good science but with humankind's perennial spiritual 
visions.  This is a very important book."
     Larry Dossey, M.D. - Author of Space, Time and Medicine;
     Recovering the Soul; Meaning and Medicine; Healing Words

"An insightful synthesis of the outer frontiers of 
theoretical physics with the deep revelations of mystical 
insight, throwing important light on the reality we live 
     Peter Russell - Author of The Global Brain; 
     The White Hole in Time

". . .I think Friedman's approach is more intriguing and 
more subtle than the many already worked out new paradigms 
that so many writers have in recent years been demanding. . 
.a brave attempt to open a door in an extended definition of 
'normal science' and more significantly, for me, a possible 
world view in which the likes of Seth, Bohm and Wilber can 
live together happily ever after."
     Donald Factor for Network: The Scientific and Medical 
     Network Review

". . .This book sets a standard of excellence for 
further discourse on the relationship of physics and 
     Noel McInnis for The Noetic Sciences ReSource Magazine

"Some future historian will, I feel confident, identify 
the "Great Debate" of the twentieth century around 
the question: 'What is science going to do about 
consciousness?'  I would surmise that Norman Friedman's book 
Bridging Science and Spirit will turn out to be a benchmark 
in that inquiry. . . . No one can read it without gaining 
some clarity on their own nature."
     Willis Harmon, Ph.D. - President, Institute of Noetic 
     Sciences. Author of Higher Creativity: An Incomplete 
     Guide to the Future

"Bridging Science and Spirit correctly asks, 'How does 
originate from consciousness?'  This is the fundamental 
question of a growing body of literature regarding the new 
paradigm of an idealist, consciousness-based science.  Norman 
Friedman has made an important and thoughtful contribution to 
this new science."
     Amit Goswami, Ph.D. - Professor of Physics, University 
     of Oregon. Author of The Self-Aware Universe

". . .a masterful job of bringing innate physic 
understanding and scientific knowledge together, brilliantly 
showing us how all is one and one is all."
     Robert F. Butts - Husband of the late Jane Roberts, 
     channel for Seth

". . .Very thorough, masterful, synthesizing a vast 
amount of 
knowledge and research. . . . Bound to be the bible of 
spiritual-based science.  We need new paradigms desperately 
and Friedman provides a powerful synthesis that brings 
together all the worlds."
     Jay Bails - Publisher/Editor, The Book Reader

"Few have understood both science and metaphysics well 
enough to remove our blinders to their underlying 
similarities -- and universal truths.  Kudos to Norman 
Friedman for proving to be a master bridge-builder."
     Lynda Dahl - President, Seth Network International.
     Author of Beyond the Winning Streak: Using Conscious 
     Creation to Consistently Win at Life

". . .a brilliant synthesis of the ageless wisdom and 
modern science.  Friedman's writing provides pictures for our 
minds so we can 'see' reality, and he causes us to think. . . 
     Jacquelyn Small, MSSW - President, Eupsychia, Inc.
     Author of Becoming Naturally Therapeutic; Awakening
     in Time; Transformers: The Artists of Self-Creation

"Even readers who 'skip or skim the hard parts,' as the 
author cheerfully advises, will enjoy this rocket ride 
through the rarefied air of a new world. . . . We are left 
with a path into the unknown and profound admiration for all 
those, whether scientist, sage or mystic, who love Truth 
enough and have courage enough to go beyond themselves."
     Sita Stuhlmiller - Editor, The Light of Consciousness


Foreword     11

Preface     15

Introduction     19

     Consciousness: A Paradox
     The Mind in Physics and Biology
     The Observer in Physics
     Casting a Finer Net


1    David Bohm: A Physics Perspective     31

     The Physics Metaphor: A Second Level
     Bohm's Ideas: An Overview
     The Causal Interpretation: An Early View
     The Holographic Metaphor
     Order: An Infinite Spectrum
     The Holomovement: Carrier of the Implicate Orders
     Time, A Derivative of the Timeless
     Soma-Significance: Mind-Body
     Three-Dimensional World as a Multidimensional Derivative
     Form, A Process of Projection and Injection
     Wholeness as an Aspect of Quantum and Relativity 

2    The Perennial Philosophy: A Mystical Perspective     95

     The Perennial Philosophy: The Mystic's Metaphor
     Consciousness as a Spectrum of Interpenetrating Levels
     Human Development: The Atman-Project and Involution
     Microgeny: Involution Moment by Moment
     Time as a Product of the Mental Level

3    Seth: A Paranormal Perspective     15

     The Ego, A Multidimensional Projection
     Basic Building Blocks: Elements of Consciousness
     Coordinate Points as Consciousness Transformers
     Matter Formation: Seth's Metaphor
     Matter Formation: A Physics Metaphor
     Electromagnetic Radiation as an Aspect of EE Units
     Probable Realities: A Quantum Physics Concept
     Pulsations, or Enfolding and Unfolding
     The Origin of the Universe as Continuous Creation
     Frameworks of Existence
     Dreams: An Educational Process
     Time, A Feature of Framework 1

4    Common Elements     167

     Reality as Levels of Consciousness
     The Paradox of Levels Within Wholeness
     The Relationship Between Levels
     Meaning as Formative Cause
     The Origin of Forms
     Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem and Infinity
     Time as a Construct
     The Creation of Matter
     The Levels Correlated with Seth's Frameworks
     Particles as Consciousness Units
     Motion as Sequantial Projections


5    Space-Time Creation and the Black/White Hole Metaphor    
     Seth's Concepts: A Review
     Physics Concepts
     Seth's Space and Invisible (Virtual) Particles
     Electromagnetic Spectrum: A Common Velocity
     Strings, An Alternative Metaphor
     The Pulsating Black Hole, A Common Metaphor
     Spin and Time: Projection and Injection
     Matter, Antimatter, and Intervals: A Cycling Black Hole
     Creating Reality

6    The Mind-Body Problem from a New Perspective     233

7    The Measurement Problem: Schrödinger's Cat Revisited  

8    A Closer Look at Bell's Theorem     255

9    Dissipative Systems: Nature's Creative Expressions     

10   Eastern and Western Thought as Aspects of a Common 
     Reality     271

     Mind as a Tool
     Physical Science and Inner Science
     An Underlying Unity

11   Toward a New Paradigm     281

     The Evolution of Paradigms
     Elements of a New Vision
     Levels of Consciousness
     Matter Formation
     Multidimensional Space
     Purpose in the Universe

Notes     293

Glossary     313

Index     323


When I received a doctorate in theoretical physics, I joined 
a club of like-minded seekers who dreamed of capturing the 
Holy Grail of the ultimate knowledge of Life, the Universe, 
and Everything.  We physicists were thoroughly trained in the 
workings of the universe, from the soupy fluids of 
thermodynamics in classical physics to subatomic nuts called 
particles in the farthest corners of space and the tiniest 
fleeting moments of time. 
   Yet as we sought truth at every point and at every 
instant, we found something lacking.  Perhaps I should speak 
only for myself in describing the sudden feeling of emptiness 
when I first saw that Einsteinian relativity theory was 
completely incomprehensible as an objective experience.  Who 
would ever go speeding off at the velocity of light?  The 
mere idea was mysterious, to say the least, that as one 
approached light speed, time would slow down compared to an 
earth-bound observer, and yet be experienced not as a slow- 
down but simply as taking less time to get wherever one was 
speeding off to. 
   The mathematical theory of relativity is actually 
amazingly elementary, and after wrestling with it for awhile, 
I eventually grasped the idea.  But understanding it in terms 
that my classical education would allow?  That was a 
"horse-question" of a different color, involving 
concepts I had never encountered or imagined.  Then, with 
quantum mechanics, suddenly the world was no longer made of 
tiny particles, fleetingly existing or not, but of mysterious 
flowing probabilities, which enabled physicists to predict 
with certainty only the probability of nearly everything, but 
not the actual occurrence of anything. 
   Yet the mathematical structure of this "new 
physics" was compelling.  After much soul-searching and 
many years of writing, teaching, and problem-solving, I can 
say that I have come to accept the mystery of the new-physics 
picture of the universe and the remarkable power it seems to 
have, based on something quite intangible and seemingly 
outside our everyday experience: the invisible flow of 
possibilities that exist in the abstract world of mathematics 
and intersect with our real world in terms of the prediction 
of probabilities of real events.  It is understandable that I 
— and perhaps other physicists who write about the new 
physics — assumed that anyone outside the field would find it 
entirely baffling. 
   I held that assumption until I read Norman Friedman's 
book, the one you are holding in your hands.  This book 
impressed me, to say the least.  Here is someone outside the 
field, looking in, and spotting both the logic and the magic 
of the discoveries of the last nearly one hundred years of 
soul-searching on the part of certain physicists, and 
bringing it together in a clearly written summation. 
   This soul-searching has led many of us to a new 
realization, that the gap of understanding separating the two 
seemingly irreconcilable viewpoints of spirituality and 
science can be bridged.  This idea is admirably presented by 
Mr. Friedman.  Indeed, it is more than a bridge that this 
author has built; he has shown us that these two approaches 
aim toward the very same truths.  It is as if one were to 
cross a bridge from one country to another and find that one 
had arrived right back where one had started. 
   Reading this book, I was struck with a feeling of 
satisfaction.  I had felt, after writing about such concerns 
as addressed by Mr. Friedman, that hardly anyone really 
understands just what the problem is: namely, the outrageous 
logic that shows that the physical cannot exist independently 
from the mental, that ontology and epistemology are the same.  
Certainly the connections between the deep philosophical 
issues raised by the fact of human consciousness and the 
seemingly very different viewpoint taken by the new physics 
seemed much too difficult to be grasped by someone outside 
the field.  I was wrong.  Mr. Friedman really understands the 
problem and has put together a remarkable book that explores 
the "bridge" with skill and insight. 
   Bridging Science and Spirit accomplishes a formidable 
task.  Every important facet of the problem has been 
addressed both with intelligence and with heart.  The key 
areas of overlap that form the basis for Mr. Friedman's 
insights are in the work of physicist David Bohm, the 
mystical perspective as elucidated by the writings of Ken 
Wilber, and the visionary teachings of Seth, the discarnate 
entity channeled by Jane Roberts. 
   Remarkably, I first became acquainted with Seth's 
teachings shortly after a period of study and research at the 
University of London's Birkbeck College where, as fortune 
would have it, I occupied an office next to Professor Bohm.  
Bohm would often tell me about his latest insights into the 
implicate order, an invisible, pervasive "isness" 
from which all matter, energy, and meaning ultimately emerge.  
At the end of these discourses I felt as bewildered as the 
woman who met Einstein on a ship sailing from Europe to the 
U.S. and remarked after Einstein had explained his theory of 
relativity to her, "I am convinced that he understands 
it very well."  Bohm went well above my intellectual 
head, but left me with an intriguing new sense of underlying 
   Seth came to my attention later.  After Jack Sarfatti, Bob 
Toben, and I published our popular book Space-Time and 
Beyond, a reader told us that we had explained, in the 
terminology of modern physics, the very same things that Seth 
talked about.  We had not intended to go into the subject in 
any real depth; we simply wanted to sketch the relationship 
between science and spirit in a very light way.  Mr. Friedman 
has developed those sketches, has looked deeply into these 
comparisons, and has written with skill and insight.  
Although we had certainly placed our feet on the bridge in 
our attempt to "explain the unexplainable," it was 
left to Norman Friedman to cross over. 
   The essential element in all of this, I would say, is that 
all viewpoints of understanding our experience of the 
Universe rest on the simultaneous existence of a deeper level 
of reality out of which the duality of the physical and 
mental aspects emerge. 
   The book is divided into two parts.  The first part 
clearly explains the unity that underlies the three separate 
perspectives of deeper reality: David Bohm's concepts of how 
physics leads to this underlying element, Ken Wilber's 
description of how mystics experience it, and Seth's 
discussion of the hidden reality from the unique perspective 
of one who lives there.  After this introduction to the 
strange landscape of the new physics world, Part Two presents 
a range of topics expressed in metaphors taken from modern 
science, including not only physics but mind science and 
dream research. 
   A particularly apt image for the view we will gain from 
Mr. Friedman's book comes from Edwin A. Abbott's Flatland.  
In the words of Mr. A. Square, when he was taken by a strange 
sphere from his flat world of two dimensions into the 
bewildering reality of three-dimensional space:  An 
unspeakable horror seized me.  There was a darkness; then a 
dizzying sensation of sight that was not like seeing; I saw. 
. . .Space that was not Space: I was myself, and not myself. 
. . .I shrieked. . .,"Either this is madness or it is 
Hell."  "It is neither," replied the voice of 
the sphere, "it is Knowledge; it is Three Dimensions: 
open your eye once again and try to look steadily."  I 
looked, and, behold, a new world!  
   For many of us, the new landscape we see from the bridge 
built by Norman Friedman may seem as strange as the third 
dimension did to Mr. A. Square.  We have lived our lives 
assuming that the dimensions marking the spirit lie well 
beyond those marking the physical landscape.  The proposition 
that the two are identical is bewildering to say the least.  
But this book encourages us to look boldly, and with Mr. 
Friedman as our able guide, we need only to open our eyes to 
"behold a new world."  Fred Alan Wolf, Ph.D. Author 
of Taking the Quantum Leap, Parallel Universes, The Eagle's 
Quest, The Dreaming Universe, and other books. LaConner, 

A religion contradicting science and a science contradicting 
religion are equally false. 
     P.  D.  Ouspensky  We all want to know that the universe 
is a harmonious place in which we can live in comfort and 
peace.  Some of us may sense that intuitively.  But for those 
of us who want scientific evidence, answering the question, 
"What's it all about?" would seem to require 
comprehension of vast spheres of knowledge beyond our grasp.  
Metaphors reduce that requirement to something more 
attainable.  That is, an image we can empathize with 
condenses the vastness of the universe into a meaningful 
symbol and satisfies much of our need to know. 
   My purpose in this book is to present images of reality 
that are both illuminated by spirit and grounded in science.  
In this pursuit, I have been inspired by the following words 
of physicist Mendel Sachs:  It behooves those who seek truth 
to study the abstract features of the truths of as many 
disciplines as possible, in order to determine which of the 
ideas of each of them correspond and which do not, with the 
notion that those ideas that do recur in a varied range of 
domains of knowledge are more likely to be true than those 
that do not.  Thus the seemingly invariant truths are the 
ones that should be pursued further, as significant 
investigations toward our future understanding of the real 
   Following this advice to truth-seekers, I have examined 
three radically different frames of reference: aspects of 
theoretical physics, mysticism, and the paranormal.  I have 
found in these three sources enough similarities to construct 
what I believe to be a coherent image of reality that could 
open the door to a profound new understanding of the 
   The first of these is the work of David Bohm, a 
theoretical physicist.  His concept of reality is indirect, 
arising from the logical consequences of the algorithms of 
quantum theory and relativity theory. 
   The second is Ken Wilber, a modern authority on the 
Perennial Philosophy.  His overview is based on the accounts 
of mystics who, through altered states of mind, have directly 
experienced a mysterious domain beyond our ordinary 
perceptions.  Wilber has distilled from this material (much 
as I have attempted here, albeit with more disparate sources) 
a common conceptual framework that underlies all experience 
and gives a spiritual dimension to that fragment of it that 
we call everyday reality. 
   Our third source is "channeled" through a 
medium.  He is Seth, a discarnate personality whose prolific 
views on the nature of reality were communicated through Jane 
Roberts.  Although this notion is guaranteed to elicit strong 
emotional reactions along the range from skepticism to scorn, 
the ideas presented by this "entity" are not only 
intriguing but intellectually challenging.  As we shall see — 
and in considerable detail, for it constitutes the main 
thrust of this book — Seth's descriptions are remarkably 
consistent with the physical theories of David Bohm. 
   The ideas of Bohm, Wilber, and Seth, presented through the 
vastly different means of reason, revelation, and channeled 
communication, are the subject of Part One.  Considered 
together, they at once broaden our perspective and act as a 
lens that refocuses our examination of reality.  In Part Two, 
with this lens before our eyes, we examine six of the most 
thought-provoking issues of our time, which leads us into 
perplexing but fascinating territory of the fundamental 
nature of the universe.  

   Like all scientific and philosophical constructs, what I 
propose in this book is tentative, incomplete, and subject to 
change.  This is especially true of a treatment as broad as 
the one presented here, encompassing as it does such diverse 
aspects of our knowledge territory.  Let us begin boldly, 
then, by stating that at the center of this whole discussion 
is consciousness, which is not easily definable, for reasons 
that will become clear in Chapter 1. 
   Consciousness heretofore had no place in the equations of 
physics.  In the classical model of the universe, irreducible 
balls of matter bounced about in three-dimensional space, 
obeying fixed laws of motion.  This universe was both 
objective (independent of an observer) and determined 
(predictable).  Modern physics offers a much less comforting 
picture.  Quantum theory rests on a bed of indeterminacy at 
the particle level, and, while the predictive power of 
quantum theory is awesome, its philosophical underpinnings 
are vague.  Reality cannot be said to exist in any fixed, 
solid way, and even the physical nature of matter is 
questionable.  How, then, do we account for our perception of 
such things as buildings and trees?  With this Zen koan-like 
proposition: that the building is real, but does not have 
existence until it is observed.  In the words of physicist 
John Wheeler,  
   No elementary phenomenon is a phenomenon until it is a 
registered (observed) phenomenon. . . . Useful as it is under 
everyday circumstances to say that the world exists "out 
there" independent of us, that view can no longer be 
   The paradox is this: we need particles of matter to make 
up the objects of our everyday world (including us), and we 
need an object in that very everyday world (us) to define and 
observe those particles.  Observation implies consciousness.  
Most physicists resist this implication, but at least some 
would agree that any construct that purports to describe 
reality in terms of contemporary physics clearly must include 
a role for consciousness. 
   In the late nineteenth century, the theoretical structure 
of physics appeared to be virtually complete raising the 
distinct possibility of eventually explaining everything.  
Newton's laws and Maxwell's equations provided a mathematical 
foundation for the universe, a universe considered to be 
thoroughly predictable.  Since every cause had an effect, and 
every effect had a cause, if one knew the initial conditions 
of a state, its past and future could be ascertained.  
Physicist Banesh Hoffman, a former member of the Institute 
for Advanced Study at Princeton, described in this way the 
air of complacency that permeated nineteenth-century physics:  
   Had it not now reduced the workings of the universe to 
precise mathematical law?  Had it not shown that the universe 
must pursue its appointed course through all eternity, the 
motions of its parts strictly determined according to 
immutable patterns of exquisite mathematical elegance?  Had 
it not shown that each individual particle of matter, every 
tiny ripple of radiation, and every tremor of ethereal 
tension must fulfill to the last jot and tittle the sublime 
laws which man and his mathematics had at last made plain?  
Here indeed was reason to be proud.  The mighty universe was 
controlled by known equations, its every motion theoretically 
predictable, its every action proceeding majestically by 
known laws from cause to effect.3  
   Physicists of the time felt confident that they had 
deciphered God's plan. 
   This view applied to the entire universe, organic life and 
sentient beings included.  An attribute of life such as 
consciousness, which arises from a preferred arrangement of 
elementary particles, was considered an epiphenomenon of the 
underlying structure, and, in principle, could be explained 
fully by the basic constituents and the forces between them.  
As Voltaire said,  
   It would be very singular that all nature, all the 
planets, should obey eternal laws, and that there should be a 
little animal, five feet high, who, in contempt of these 
laws, could act as he pleased, solely according to his 
   An ongoing debate arose among some scientists and 
philosophers over how consciousness originates from matter.  
(That the question might be reversed — that is, how does 
consciousness produce matter? — has been and still is largely 
   In expressing the view of his time that physics was 
essentially complete, a leading theoretical physicist, 
William Thompson (Lord Kelvin) noted only two exceptions: the 
failure to detect the ether and the failure to understand 
black-body radiation (a body that absorbs all radiation 
falling on it).  Lord Kelvin's confidence not withstanding, 
these minor matters not only refused to disappear, but by the 
turn of the century took on major importance.  The black-body 
radiation problem led to quantum mechanics (dealing with 
subatomic particles), and the negative results of the 
Michaelson-Morley experiment (failure to detect the ether) 
led to Einstein's theory of relativity — the foundations of 
modern physics.  Classical physics was thereby reduced to a 
special case of these new, more encompassing principles. 
   In relativity theory, the particle described in classical 
physics is no longer a "thing" but a vortexlike 
disturbance in a continual field.  Consciousness was 
introduced into physics in a sense because relativity theory 
requires that the frame of reference of the observer be taken 
into account.  In quantum theory the introduction of 
consciousness is even more basic.  Physicist Fred Alan Wolf 
puts it this way:  Classical physics holds that there is a 
real world out there, acting independently of human 
consciousness.  Consciousness, in this view, is to be 
constructed from real objects, such as neurons and molecules.  
It is a byproduct of the material causes which produce the 
many physical effects observed.  Quantum physics indicates 
that this theory cannot be true — the effects of observation 
"couple" or enter into the real world whether we 
want them to or not.  The choices made by an observer alter, 
in an unpredictable manner, the real physical events.  
Consciousness is deeply and inextricably involved in this 
picture, not a byproduct of materiality.5  Exactly how the 
relationship between consciousness and matter occurs is still 
an open question.  In fact, it will be central to our 
discussion in the chapters to follow.  

   Harold J.  Morowitz, a molecular biophysicist, wrote a 
perceptive article in 1980 illustrating the changes in the 
worldview emerging from the new physics and its effect on the 
psychological and biological sciences.  He said:  Something 
peculiar has been going on in science for the past 100 years 
or so.  Many researchers are unaware of it, and others won't 
admit it even to their own colleagues.  But there is a 
strangeness in the air.6  Morowitz then described an 
interesting situation.  Biologists originally believed that 
the human mind occupies a special position in the scheme of 
things.  Influenced by the rampant successes of nineteenth-
century physics, however, they shifted toward a more 
mechanistic orientation.  But around 1900, physics changed 
direction in response to the quantum and relativity theories, 
and the mind began to assume an essential role in physical 
events.  (The participation of an observer — or consciousness 
— was codified by the Copenhagen interpretation in the 1920s; 
see pp. 31-32.)  News of this fundamental change apparently 
never reached the biologists, for they rushed headlong into 
materialism, while the physicists moved in the opposite 
direction.  Morowitz used the metaphor of two fast- moving 
trains going in different directions, each unaware of the 
activity on the other track. 
   For the past 85 years biological and psychological 
sciences have largely relied on reductionist methods, that 
is, explaining phenomena at a higher and more complex level 
by phenomena at a lower and more basic level.  This approach 
is affirmed by Carl Sagan in The Dragons of Eden: "My 
fundamental premise about the brain is that its workings — 
what we sometimes call 'mind' — are a consequence of its 
anatomy and physiology and nothing more."7  Morowitz 
comments on Sagan's book:  As a further demonstration of this 
trend of thought, we note that his glossary does not contain 
the words "mind," "consciousness," 
"perception," "awareness," or 
"thought," but rather deals with entries such as 
"synapse," "lobotomy," 
"proteins," and "electrodes."8  
   Thus, biology has busily pushed the mind out one door of 
the house of science, little realizing that it was reentering 
through the door of physics.  Morowitz sums it up cogently:  
We are now in a position to integrate the perspectives of 
three large fields: psychology, biology, and physics. . . . 
[resulting in] a picture of the whole that is quite 
unexpected.  First, the human mind, including consciousness 
and reflective thought, can be explained by activities of the 
central nervous system, which, in turn, can be reduced to the 
biological structure and function of that physiological 
system.  Second, biological phenomena at all levels can be 
totally understood in terms of atomic physics, that is, 
through the action and interaction of the component atoms of 
carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and so forth.  Third and last, 
atomic physics, which is now understood most fully by means 
of quantum mechanics, must be formulated with the mind as a 
primitive component of the system.  We have thus, in separate 
steps, gone around an epistemological circle — from the mind, 
back to the mind.  The results of this chain of reasoning 
will probably lend more aid and comfort to Eastern mystics 
than to neurophysiologists and molecular biologists: 
nevertheless, the closed loop follows from a straightforward 
combination of the explanatory processes of recognized 
experts in the three separate sciences.  Since individuals 
seldom work with more than one of these paradigms, the 
general problem has received little attention.9  
   This is confirmed by the following comments.  Werner 
Heisenberg, the father of quantum theory:  Some scientists 
[have been] inclined to think that the psychological 
phenomena could ultimately be explained on the basis of 
physics and chemistry of the brain.  From the quantum-
theoretical point of view there is no reason for such an 
assumption.10  Physicist Paul Davies, a leading popularizer 
of modern physics:  It is often said that physicists invented 
the mechanistic- reductionist philosophy, taught it to the 
biologists, and then abandoned it themselves.  It cannot be 
denied that modern physics has a strongly holistic, even 
teleological flavour, and that this is due in large part to 
the influence of the quantum theory.11  

   The fact that an observer — which in itself implies 
consciousness — is an established and necessary ingredient in 
modern physics has profound implications.  When scientists 
describe the world as made up of particles, they must of 
necessity include themselves in the construction.  By 
definition, then, the scientist is a part of the universe, 
and this part of the universe is observing itself.  To 
accomplish  this, the universe must be divided into an 
observer and that which is observed.  What the observer sees 
is only that portion of the universe that is being observed, 
which does not include the observer.  A new level with a 
wider field of view must be postulated if we are to include 
both the observer and that which is observed.  Thus, we are 
forced to consider a hierarchy of consciousness.  A hierarchy 
is an essential metaphor for visualizing both the observer 
and that which is observed.  (Such a hierarchy is a 
simplified version of the Gödel incompleteness theorem, which 
can be construed as stating that if you have a finite theory 
of the world, there will always be certain truths that will 
not be provable by the theory; see discussion pp. 180.) 
   A hierarchy is also seen in quantum theory.  One of the 
basic postulates of quantum theory states that an initial 
system can potentially develop into a number of states, each 
with a given probability of occurrence.  We know, though, 
that only one probability can actually take place.  According 
to the accepted interpretation of quantum theory, the actual 
or "real" state of these probabilities is specified 
by an observation; that is, the "real" state is 
brought into reality by an observer.  The observer thus 
becomes a creator and gives the system its form.  Without the 
observer, the system is in a state of potential, waiting to 
come into existence. 
   This approach has proved fruitful for closed systems with 
the physicist observing from outside.  But when one 
contemplates the grouping of probabilities for the entire 
universe — including the body of the observer — then the 
universe can come into existence only by the action of an 
observer outside the universe.  Even if one were to accept an 
observer outside the universe, that observer would also have 
to be brought into reality by still another observer.  Again, 
we are faced with an infinite hierarchy of observers. 
   According to quantum theory, mind gives form to potentia 
(Heisenberg's term), which then exhibits the property of 
matter.  We have come full circle: matter appears to be an 
epiphenomenon of mind.  This does not mean, however, that the 
electron is dependent on the human mind.  Rather, if the 
electron is seen in some sense as being "alive," 
then it can have its own equivalent of observer and observed, 
its own form of consciousness. 
   If we no longer see matter as primary, but see mind  as 
primary, then the push-pull laws of the mechanistic worldview 
are not adequate.  Instead we might say that an 
"alive" particle responds to information, and force 
fields (e.g., electromagnetic and gravitational) might be 
viewed as information fields.  Seth comments on the primacy 
of consciousness:  Science has, unfortunately, bound up the 
minds of its own most original thinkers, for they dare not 
stray from certain scientific principles.  All energy 
contains consciousness.  That one sentence is basically  
scientific heresy, and in many circles, it is religious 
heresy as well.  A recognition of that simple sentence would 
indeed change your world. . . .12  A somewhat similar view is 
expressed by physicist Freeman Dyson:  It's one of the joys 
of physics that matter isn't just inert stuff.  In the 
Nineteenth Century one thought of matter as just chunks of 
stuff which you could push and pull around, but they didn't 
do anything.  Quantum mechanics makes matter even in the 
smallest pieces into an active agent, and I think that is 
something very fundamental.  Every particle in the universe 
is an active agent making choices between random processes.13  

   It is often said that most phenomena can be described with 
mechanical models — that the Newtonian laws hold for large-
scale events, and that it is only at the far reaches of 
existence (the subatomic world, or particles moving at nearly 
the speed of light) that we see the peculiar effects of 
quantum and relativity theories.  But this is not necessarily 
so.  Events that deviate from Newtonian laws may occur in our 
everyday world without being observed simply because we are 
not looking.  The following parable, attributed to Sir Arthur 
Eddington, the distinguished astrophysicist, raises this 
possibility using a particularly apt image.  In a seaside 
village, a fisherman with a rather scientific bent proposed 
as a law of the sea that all fish are longer than one inch.  
But he failed to realize that the nets used in the village 
were all of a one-inch mesh.  Are we filtering physical 
reality?  Can we catch consciousness with the nets we are 
using?14  In a remarkably similar statement, Seth said:  
Science itself must change, as it discovers that its net of 
evidence is equipped only to catch certain kinds of fish, and 
that it is constructed of webs of assumptions that can only 
hold certain varieties of reality, while others escape its 
net entirely.15  
   Do anomalies exist on the macro level that we are simply 
not noticing or are allowing to slip through our scientific 
nets?  Certain events, casually assigned to the paranormal 
and thereby dismissed, may contain information that would 
clarify persistent problems in our evolving worldview.  
Philosopher Huston Smith imagines the Perennial Philosophy 
addressing science and noting, "You are right in what 
you affirm.  Only what you deny needs rethinking."16 
   Certainly many insupportable ideas have been rightfully 
ignored, but one can speculate that useful information may 
have been overlooked as well.  This is by no means confined 
to the science of our time.  In the 1600s, the great Galileo 
Galilei (himself persecuted for heretical ideas) wrote the 
following attack on Johannes Kepler's idea that the moon 
affects the tides:  Everything that has been said before and 
imagined by other people [concerning the origin of tides] is 
in my opinion complete nonsense.  Among authorities who have 
theorized about the remarkable set of phenomena, I am most 
shocked by Kepler.  He was a man of exceptional genius, he 
was sharp, he had a grasp of terrestrial movement, but he 
went on to take the bit between his teeth and get interested 
in a supposed action of the moon on water, and other 
"paranormal" phenomena — a lot of childish 
   Perhaps, without being aware of it, science has narrowed 
its field of vision and enlarged the holes of its net.  Of 
course, the quest to understand reality can never be 
completed.  Some information will always be lacking; some 
ambiguity will always remain.  Although there may be many 
brilliant insights, a total explanation is not and cannot be 
the goal.  Rather, we try to unfold a bit more, expand our 
vision, and extend our understanding.  Perhaps we can create 
nets with a finer mesh so that fewer fish escape our notice — 
including that slippery one Eddington mentions, 
consciousness.  The main aim of this book, we might say, is 
to cast a finer net.

Copyright 1990, 1994 - Norman Friedman


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