On June 9 Discovery Channel will air the back-to-back special derived from Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow’s book titled ’The Grand Design’. The book asks all the perennial metaphysical questions: ‘When and how did the universe begin? Why are we here? Why is there something rather than nothing? What is the nature of reality? Why are the laws of nature so finely tuned as to allow for the existence of beings like ourselves? And, finally, is the apparent “grand design” of our universe evidence of a benevolent creator who set things in motion—or does science offer another explanation?’ It then points to ideas that metaphysicians from the east have understood for untold millennia.
Hawking and Mlodinow, despite their western mindset, are actually getting warmer and warmer and have almost discovered the hidden secrets of our reality. As the write up on Amazon says about the book, ‘In The Grand Design they explain that according to quantum theory, the cosmos does not have just a single existence or history, but rather that every possible history of the universe exists simultaneously. When applied to the universe as a whole, this idea calls into question the very notion of cause and effect.’
Indeed, western scientists are being forced to re-think many of their assumptions. It seems we in the west, with Newtonian thinking and expectations for physical cause-effect relationships have missed the pertinent points of our reality all together. A prime example of our assumptions and an inkling that we might be all wrong is the Austalopithecus Sediba find. Read ‘First of our kind’ in the April 2012 issue of Scientific American. Apparently, there are ‘sensational fossils from South Africa spark[ing] debate over how we came to be human. Why? Because they found a hominin that has bone structures from ‘primitive’ and ‘evolved’ types and the species is 2 million years old. This has left scientists with the impression that nature was playing with Mr. Potato Head when she put A. Sediba together. The A. Sediba find calls into question all the notions we have about the characteristics of an evolved hominin and it raises questions about phylogenetic positioning, since these 2 million-year-old bones where found at surface level in a cave. The article reports that if there weren’t so many nearly complete specimens, no one in the science community would have believed the existence of A. Sediba.
But, imagine, for just one second that there is no such thing as biological evolution. Rather, nature creatively iterates through all potentialities with some adaptations only incidentally being better suited for the environment they arise in. Survival isn’t an objective of biological adaptation. Everything changes, but not necessarily for the better. That is our reality and it is apparent right down to our daily lives.
There is no biological evolution as we imagine it. There is no steady, gradual ascent of superior traits through selective breeding. There is no attempt by nature to configure species for survival. Humankind is one of the best examples of a natural aberration if there ever was one. The dainty apes that we are have monopolised the planet, but not because we are a superior species with higher intelligence. Our ‘ascent’ is due to a naivety that the rest of the animal kingdom has grown up and out of.
Homo sapiens is a very young species and the only other primates that have not become extinct did not succumb to ‘civilisation’ and the obsessive compulsion to innovate. If our kind possesses a trait distinct among the animal kingdom, it is the compulsion to transform our world through innovation. Whether the changes we make are ultimately useful or not seems an irrelevant matter. We create, innovate and transform with abandon. That is the one distinction of humankind. Yet our innovation has brought us to the tipping point. We’ve changed the world so much that we have put our own existence in jeopardy. How intelligent is a species that annihilates itself?
Yet, neither nature nor existence cares if we live or die, take over the planet like a plague or learn to live in harmony with life. And this is not nihilist sentiment. The one and only thing that does matter to the intelligence of existence is change – movement through time and space, and nature sees to it that this matter has maximum exposure to opportunities that encourage it. If there is one function that is common to absolutely every life form in our reality it is eating. Every living being eats.
Consuming organic and mineral matter as food, knowledge as information and sentiment as the various emotions, every life form plays an active part in the perpetual transformation of our reality. We are all agents of the change that characterises this reality. Every last one of us is inextricably committed to and designed for the function of changing our environment. Whether the changes we produce are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is irrelevant.
But what are we changing? The forms and substances we transform all remain within the system. Nothing is lost or gained from our eating venture. Pardon the pun, but movement is the objective outcome. And do consider that our bodies are performing a transmutation that science still can’t replicate. The digestive system is the finest example of Einstein’s Equation as mass is converted to energy and if one is able, to light.
Material substance, now known to be nothing more than orbiting energy fields, is limited and would be wholly inanimate without the energy that is simply frequencies of light and sound. Everything is a frequency of vibration. The seeming separateness of objects is simply due to electromagnetic resistance. This entire illusory construct of forms exists for the sake of iterating through all the potentialities of a single, highly imaginative and intelligent consciousness and we – every single electron and neutron – are ‘IT’. So, what are we changing? Nothing . . . and everything simultaneously. On the whole and absolutely we change nothing, but locally and relatively we change everything. Our purpose is change for the sake of moving energy, because energy must always move to be. It cannot and does not exist without flowing through time and space.
As with the game of Hide-and-Seek the fun is in the challenge of discovering and also remaining hidden. When you’re IT there’s an obligation to seek. Hawking and Mlodinow are two who have been diligent in performing their obligations and they are getting warmer and warmer, but if we hope to play a little longer, they will not take this game of life too seriously. What they and other seekers ultimately find is that we are IT and this game is a pastime of the one and only consciousness we are sharing and the purpose of the game is change. When there’s nothing left to change, when we have iterated through all potential variations of form and circumstance, when existence has exhausted its creative repertoire, then its Game Over. So, play – seek or hide – but don’t worry too much about finding the truth of our reality. The seeker and the hidden are one and the same. Oh, but don’t take my word for it. As a seeker in the game, you do have your personal obligation to eventually find the one that is IT.
Symphony of Science – the Quantum World!