Tuesday, May 3, 2016


The disciplines of modern science, notably physics, chemistry and biology, have been very successful at finding answers to questions about the part of reality perceived through the physical senses, determining causes for effects observed in the external physical world.  Considerable progress has also been made in the study of the internal world, the world inside the skin of conscious beings, in medicine, psychology and consciousness studies. But the really important questions at the edges and limits of human perception and experience, go largely unanswered. In fact, the models of reality produced by modern science are fraught with paradox and contradiction when we attempt to apply them at the extremes of space-time, matter, energy and consciousness. This is a clear indication that the model is inadequate when applied to the universe as a whole, and suggests that the basic a priori assumptions upon which modern science is built, while effective for the small portion of reality that we perceive directly through the physical senses, are either wrong, incomplete or both.

Most of modern science is based on Cartesian dualism; the assumption that physical reality and consciousness are fundamentally different and separate. Descartes considered Consciousness, mind and/or spirit to be non-physical, meaning that they possessed no mass, took up no space, and had no direct connection with physical reality. In Cartesian mathematical models of reality, the consciousness of the observer is represented by a mathematical singularity, a point in space with no extent, and no substantial content. Consciousness, mind and soul consisted of ephemeral non-material images created by the impacts of physical particles and waves on the brain cells of the observer.

Arbitrarily splitting reality into two parts was a mistake. But one can’t really fault Descartes and other early scientists. They had good reasons to relegate consciousness to a dimensionless point and deal only with the material world. Western science had to leave consciousness with its mind/soul baggage to the institutions of Theology, and distance itself from metaphysics and more ancient practices like alchemy and astrology, which sought to find evidence of direct interaction of mind and matter, and steer clear of trouble with the church if possible. The Inquisition, which started in the mid thirteenth century, and continued robustly well into the 1700s was still all too real at the time of Descartes and the beginning of rational science in the West. The people in charge of the dominant religious institution in the West were all too happy to torture, maim and murder anyone who denied their doctrine, in the name of their misinterpretation of the teachings of Jesus Christ. In fact, the Inquisition continued as a formal legal institution within the Catholic Church until it was finally officially abolished in the early 1800’s.

And there’s another reason we cannot fault early scientists too much for inventing dualism. Not only were they strongly motivated to avoid investigating phenomena that the church considered to be its jurisdiction by Divine decree, some deep features of reality were completely unknown to the early scientists, These deep features would not be discovered until the early 1900’s. The three discoveries that would change the way we understand reality forever were Relativity, quantum physics and the incompleteness Theorem. Prior to these three discoveries, our understanding of the nature of reality was primarily dependent on our five physical senses and mechanical extensions of them. And, even though we knew that the physical senses and extensions were severely limited to only a very small fraction of the existing spectrums of electromagnetic and mechanical energies, they were all we had.

Einstein’s special and general theories of relativity, validated many times over by empirical evidence, have shown us that the known measures of extent: space and time, are not the changeless features of reality we led to believe they were by our limited physical senses. We now know that space-time is a four-dimensional domain of extent that changes in mathematically measurable ways in relation to the dynamics of mass, energy and the position and motion of the observer.

At about the same time Albert Einstein published his epic paper on the electrodynamics of moving objects (special relativity), Max Planck discovered that energy is quantized. This discovery, coupled with Einstein’s demonstration that mass and energy are interchangeable, has shown us that the substance of physical reality is not reality what we thought it was. Quantum physics has shown us that mass, energy and consciousness are intimately related. There is no longer any scientific basis for the belief in Cartesian dualism.

The third discovery, established by Gӧdel’s proof of the incompleteness of logical systems, reveals a serious flaw in the basic assumptions of modern science. It appears that mainstream scientists have not yet realized the impact of Gӧdel’s proof on their models of reality. I believe this is because of the intellectual compartmentalization of academic specialization and loss of connection with the metaphysical roots of their own theories. Their models are logical systems by definition, and therefore incomplete. This means that the idea of a theory of Everything (TOE), even for the model envisaged by mainstream theoretical physicists, limited to matter/energy and space-time, is misguided.

In addition to the three discoveries mentioned above, our discovery of the third form of the substance of reality suggests a new approach providing a new way to investigate reality beyond matter, energy and space-time.

To be continued

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