Integral Musings | Towards a Holistic Vision

An Integral Approach to management and human development based on the spiritual vision of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother with an emphasis on its application to various domains of knowledge and life.

The Nature of Matter in New Physics – III – M.S. Srinivasan

flower_yellow_gardenThe Basic Stuff of the Physical Reality:  Is It Information?

     Our  investigations into the nature of the physical reality in the  light  of  discoveries  and  perceptions  of New physics  has  led  us  to  following fundamental perception

i) The essence of the physical reality is an interconnected unity and wholeness of the space-time-energy matrix.

ii) The energy which constitutes the physical reality has a material and a non-material    The  material  dimension  manifest   as   the  “particle”  and  the  non-material as the “wave”, which seems to be  more  of  a mental  phenomena  in  a non-material space than  a  physical  phenomenon  in  material  space.  And the deepest essence of the physical universe tends more towards the non-material.  As James Jeans wrote : “Today there is  a  wide measure of agreement which on the physical  side  of  science approaches  almost to unanimity, that the stream of knowledge is  heading toward  a  non-mechanical reality : the universe begins to  look  like  a  Great thought than like a Great Machine”.

iii)  Human Consciousness or the consciousness of the observer seems to be an inseparable part of or linked with the observed physical reality.

 But  still  there  is one fundamental question which  has  not  yet  been entirely  resolved.   What is the deepest source and subtraction of the material world?  Some of the more intuitive among the scientific thinkers of New Physics are moving beyond the perception of interconnectedness and coming closer to the Indian insight into the indivisible unity of existence.   They are asking whether this particle – web or the energy – web is itself the expression of a deeper substratum.  For instance Gari Zukov, writing on the property of “spin” of the subatomic particle, says:

     “The rate of spin is such a fundamental characteristics of a subatomic particle, that if it is altered, the particle itself is destroyed.  That is if the spin of a particle is altered that it can be no longer considered an electron or photon or whatever it was before we altered the spin.  This makes us wonder whether all the different particles might be just different states of some underlying substance.   This is the basic question in particle physics”.

     This  underlying  “substance” seems to be an unbroken unity  obeying  the laws  of  spiritual unity of existence discovered by  eastern  mystics,  which embraces  “all  in  each and each in all”.  According to one of the latest theories of physics, the boot-strap theory, each fundamental particle contains all the other particles involved in it.  As Fritjof Capra explains:

     “The picture of subatomic particles that emerges from the bootstrap theory can be summed up in the provocative phrase ‘every particle consists of all other particles’.  It must not be thought that it contains all the other in a classical, static sense.  Subatomic particles are not separate entities but interrelated energy patterns in organic dynamic process.  These particles do not contain one another but rather involve one another in a way that can be given a precise mathematical meaning but cannot be expressed in words”.

     Some of the philosophically – oriented scientists wondered whether the basic   “stuff” of the physical universe is mental.   Arthur   Eclington hesitatingly asked whether the essence of matter is “Mind-stuff”.  James Jeans wrote that the physical universe appears more “like a Great Thought than like a Great Machine”.   But interestingly some of  the  latest  discoveries  and experiments  in  New  physics coming closer  towards  giving  an  experimental validity  to perceptions of the these scientific thinkers, which are  also  in  harmony with eastern insights.

     The origin of these discoveries goes back to what is called Einsten – Rosenthal “thought – experiment”.  This thought experiment conceives a possibility in which a particle pair or a pair of particles coupled together with opposite spin are separated and sent in different direction.  Now the question is if the spin of one particle is changed what happens to the other particle?   If there is no change in the other particle, then the causes which affect the particle-behaviour are purely local.  On the other hand if the change of spin in one particle, changes the spin in other particles also, then the causes are non-local.   An actual experiment is conducted by a physicist to verify this thought – experiment.  This experiment, has found that the spin of the one particle changes instantaneously with the change in the other particle.  As  the  Indian – born physicist Amit Goswamy explains “What  happens  in this experiment is that an atom emits  two  quanta  of light called photons, going opposite ways and somehow these photons affect one another’s  behaviour  at  a distance without exchanging  any  signals  through space.  Notice that without exchanging any signals through space but instantly affecting each instantaneously”.  And again as Gary Zukov puts it  “Some how the  particle  in  area B ‘Knows’ that its twin in area A  is  spinning  right instead  of up and so it spins left instead of down.  In other words what we did in area A… affected what happened in area B”.  But how such a phenomenon is possible?  There seems to be some sort of an “information” transfer between particles and that too instantaneously.  In the physical space and time no signal can travel greater than the speed of light.  But even the speed of light is limited and takes some time to travel within space.  This time may be very small, of the order of nano-seconds but still it cannot be instantaneous.

But the instantaneousness of the change shows that there is a faster-than-light information transfer happening beyond the physical space and time.   So some  of the scientists have come to the conclusion that the world  of  Matter are  held  together by a transcendent  faster-than-light  or  “super-numinous” information  system  which  is beyond the physical space and  time.   As Amit Goswamy explains further the conclusion arrived from the Aspect-Experiment:

     “Now Einsten showed long ago that two objects can never affect each other instantly in space and time because everything must travel with a maximum speed of light.  So any influence must travel, if it travels through  space, taking  a  finite time.  This is called the idea of locality every signal is supposed to be local in the sense that it must take a finite time to travel through space.  And yet, Aspect’s photons, the photons emitted by the atom  in Aspect’s  experiment influence one another at a distance,  without  exchanging signals  because they are doing it instantaneously – they are doing it  faster than  the speed of light.  And therefore it follows that the influence could not have travelled through space.  Instead the influence must belong to a domain of reality that we must recognise as the transcendent dimension”.

     But this idea of a transcendent “Information” dimension to the physical reality is no longer in the realm philosophical speculation.   An eminent physicist of the University of California at Berkley, Henry Stapp proposes this idea as a serious scientific hypothesis in one of his papers written in 1977.  Wrote Stapp : “Quantum  phenomena  provide prima facie evidence that  information  gets around  in ways that do not conform to classical ideas.  Thus, the idea that information is transferable superluminally is a priori, not unreasonable… Everything  we  know  about  nature  is in  accord  with  the  idea  that  the fundamental  process of Nature lies outside space-time.  The theorem of this paper supports this view of Nature by showing that superluminal transfer of information is necessary, barring certain alternatives that seems less reasonable”.

The Nature of Information: Is It Consciousness

All these discoveries and perception have brought some scientists to the conclusion that “Information” is the source and essence of Matter and the material world.   One of them is the Noble Laurate Physicist Dr.Bohm.  “All Matter”   says Bohm “Including ourselves are, is determined by ‘information’.  ‘Information’ is what determines space and time”.  But what is the nature of this “Information”.  Could it be some form of consciousness or intelligence?  The  instantaneous  exchange  of information  between  particles  suggest  the possibility  of some form of a unified field of consciousness or  intelligence holding together the physical reality.  At least one physicist has come to somewhat similar conclusion.  E.H. Walker speculates:

     “Consciousness  may be associated with all quantum mechanical  process… since  everything that occurs is ultimately the result of one or more  quantum mechanical  events,  the universe is ‘inhabitated’ by an  almost  unlimited conscious,  usually unthinking entities that are responsible for the  detailed working of the universe”

     The significant and striking sentence in the above passage is “conscious, usually unthinking entities”.  We normally associate consciousness with mental consciousness with thought, feeling etc.  But just like in the physical energy spectrum that there are ranges of energy below and above the visible light, there may be in the consciousness spectrum ranges above and below the mental consciousness.  There may be submental consciousness without any   mental   thought or feeling; similarly there may   be   supramental consciousness beyond mental thought and feeling.  Could there be behind the subatomic phenomenon some such form of a submental unthinking consciousness?


  1. Gary Zukov, 1980, Dancing Wu Li Master, Bantom Books, New York, Pg.57
  2. Fritjof Capra, 1982, Turning Point, Fontana Paperbacks, London, Pg.86
  3. Sri Aurobindo,
  4. Fritjof Capra, Turning Point, Pg.114
  5. Ibid
  6. Gary Zukov,Dancing Wu Li Masters, Pg.81
  7. Fritjof Capra, Turning Point, Pg.325
  8. Ibid, Pg.245
  9. Ibid, Pg.301
  10. Gary Zukov, The Dancing Wu Li Master, Pg.250
  11. Frijgof Capra, Turning Point, Pg.380
  12. AmitGoswami,SelfAwareUniversity,
  13. Ibid
  14. Ibid
  15. Gary Zukov, The Dancing Wu Li Masters, Pg.213
  16. Ibid, Pg.360

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This entry was posted on July 26, 2016 by in Religion, Spirituality & Philosophy.