Thursday, March 4, 2010

Beyond Theology - The Science of Godmanship - Pt 3

Information in modern science has a very special mathematical meaning, more specific than in ordinary speech. Without going into the math of it, information is coherent order, as distinguished from noise, which is incoherent chaos. Biological evolution is the gradual emergence of information out of chaos. To the biologist, it is information in the genetic code of the cherrystone that tells it to grow into a cherry tree and not a teakettle. To the modern sociologist, information is the roads, customs, and traditions that mold random individuals into a society. If Sarfatti is right, information is also coded into the quantum foam, telling it to grow into the universe of space and time we know.

Imagine that your brain is a biological computer, as most neurologists now think. Imagine further that all subquantal events are also computers - micro-micro-microcomputers, as Sarfatti says. Imagine finally that the universe is also a computer - a mega-mega-megacomputer. What Bell's Theorem means, according to Sarfatti, is that the hardware of this interlocking system of intelligent Chinese boxes - or computers within computers within computers - is localized in space and time; but the programming - the subquantal hidden variable - is everywhere and everywhen.

This sounds suspiciously like a definition of God, because God is, according to all theologians, just such a nonlocal programmer - omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent.

But if this information system is a kind of God, or a scientific analog of God, it is also you and me... and the lamppost. The information, remember, is nonlocal in space and time; so the whole universe and every particle in it partakes of the information, and is thus a co-creator of the whole, but on different scales. Is this not what the pantheists have been claiming for millenniums?

Currently, Sarfatti is attempting to demonstrate this interpretation of Bell's Theorem practically by designing a faster-than-light communication system (US patent disclosure #071165, May 12, 1978). Although Dr. Carl Sagan has pontificated that this whole project seems to him "at most a playful notion," there is already a patent search afoot because of rumors that one or more other inventors are trying to patent the same device. Sarfatti also claims an unnamed intelligence agency is very interested in this, and a nuclear engineer, who has not given me permission to use his name, claims that the Russians already have such a device.

(Faster-than-light communication does not contradict Einstein, incidentally. The Theory of Relativity says only that energy cannot travel faster than light. Bell's non-local information system, as developed by Sarfatti, does not transfer energy but only information [order]. What is interesting to the layman about all this is that such a device, if built, would function precisely as the brain does in those altered states of consciousness studied by parapsychology. It would be a model of the extrasensory circuits of the brain, just as an ordinary computer is a model of the brain's logical circuits. And Sarfatti strongly suspects that, whether the Russians have this or not, advanced extraterrestrial civilizations certainly do. When Sagan says that Sarfatti's hope of contacting extraterrestrials this way is "playful," Sarfatti replies that Sagan's attempts to contact them by radio represents "electromagnetic chauvinism." So there.)

In fact, Dr. Sarfatti traces his ideas back to his early adolescence, when he received a series of mysterious phone calls from somebody (or some thing) claiming to be an extraterrestrial computer and encouraging his interest in quantum physics. The calls terminated when his modier got on the phone and told the entity (whatever it was) to stop playing jokes.

To this day, Jack Sarfatti isn't sure what to make of those phone calls. "Maybe it was an extraterrestrial," he says whimsically. "Maybe they want us to tune in to the sub-quantal, cosmic communication system. Or maybe it was just a practical joker, as my mother thought. Or maybe it was the CIA's Operation Mind Control trying to stimulate certain lines of thought among bright high-school students who were planning scientific careers...."

Sarfatti had his first jolting encounter with Jungian synchronicity when neurologist Dr. Andrija Puharich published his book, Uri, concerning his investigation of the controversial Israeli wonder-worker Uri Geller. Puharich claimed that all through his association with Geller, he had also received messages from an alleged extraterrestrial with a computer-like voice.

UFOlogist John Keel, in his books This Haunted Planet and The Mothman Prophecies, tells of hundreds of ordinary citizens who have received similar phone calls, during the past 30 years, from computerlike voices with weird extraterrestrial messages.

My favorite of Keel's cases is a housewife who got the Zen-like rebuke: Wake up, down there!

According to Sarfatti, it is premature to attribute such clusters of eerieness to actual extraterrestrials. We don't have to say that a real ghost haunted Freud's bookcase that day in 1909. And we don't have to say that the phone calls received by Sarfatti, Puharich, and Keel's subjects came from literal extraterrestrials. Rather, the subquantal consciousness, Sarfatti says, was agitated nonlocally (beyond space and time), producing these effects within space and time. But the source of the agitation was, he says, probably human emotions and beliefs.

Dr. Brian Josephson, 1973 Nobel prizewinner in physics, has taken the inevitable next step. Analyzing the puzzling differences found in certain key atomic experiments during the Sixties - in which European physicists were obtaining one set of results over and over, while American physicists were just as repeatedly obtaining opposite results - Josephson suggests that the conflicting belief systems of the experimenters were influencing the test data by unconscious PK. That is, in the most literal sense, Walker is right in claiming "our consciousness controls physical events through the laws of quantum mechanics."

"My goodness, Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas at all anymore."
- L. Frank Baum

Another part of the physics/consciousness or mind/matter synthesis is emerging in Palo Alto, from the research of physicists Russell Targ and Dr. Harold Puthoff, who have been investigating "distant viewing" for several years. "Distant viewing" is Targ and Puthoff's label for one particular kind of ESP, which they have found particularly susceptible to replicable laboratory testing. It consists of seeing what is happening at a great distance from where you are located - as in The Eyes of Laura Mars.

Targ and Puthoff believe not only that their work demonstrates the reality of distant viewing, but that everybody has the talent latently. They even claim they can teach it to anybody, however skeptical, and have a standing invitation to all skeptics to come to their laboratory and have a go at it.

As Richard Bach, author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull and one of Targ/Put-hoff's experimental subjects, writes in the introduction to their book, Mind Reach, "It is too late now to burn their files; what they've found is already being duplicated and expanded in laboratories around the world. As I am coming to know more of the powers that I have, so are thousands of others, so will the readers of this book."

Puthoff and Targ explain all their results by Bell's Theorem, which they paraphrase as "parts of the universe apparently separated from each other can nonetheless act together as parts of a larger whole," which is Dr. Nick Herbert's cosmic glue all over again.

Saul-Paul Sirag, Vice-President of Jack Sarfatti's Physics/Consciousness Research Group, has his own weird tales to tell. Once, while involved in the Uri Geller investigation, Sirag took LSD to see if in that altered consciousness he could perceive the alleged extraterrestrial behind Geller. What Sirag saw was the head of a hawk, which astonished him, since Geller had never described the entity as a hawk. Six months later, this image appeared on the January 1974 cover of Sirag's favorite sci-fi magazine, Analog, illustrating a story called "The Horus Errand" (Synchronicity #1). A year later, Dr. Andrija Puharich, not knowing of Sirag's experience, claimed that Geller's extraterrestrial ally had often appeared to him as a hawk, which he nicknamed "Horus" (Synchronicity #2). Later, Sirag discovered that the face on the Analog cover was that of Ray Stanford, a Texas psychic, who also claimed mysterious experiences with Geller and a hawk (Synchronicity #3). Oddest of all, Kelly Freas, the artist who had drawn the cover, had never met Stanford and was not using his face consciously.

Like Sarfatti, Sirag does not take this (yet) as evidence of real extraterrestrial intervention. "Such synchronicities," he says, "are merely indications that Bell's nonlocal subquantal effects are occurring."

Or as Dr. Timothy Leary expresses it in conversation, "Your brain is created by the nonlocal subquantal intelligence Sarfatti and other turned-on physicists are describing. That intelligence is both centralized - inside the atoms of your braincells - and decentralized, all over spacetime."

"Oh, sure," Sarfatti agrees when this is reported to him. "By Bell's nonlocality theorem, if intelligence is anywhere in the system, it is everywhere in the system."

Everywhere... not just in you and me (which is flattering), but in the louse, the flea, the rock, and (worst of all) in the people we despise. For, as the Zen tradition has it, a monk once asked a Zen Master, "What is the Buddha?"

"The one in the hall."
"But," the monk protested, "the one in the hall is a statue - a piece of wood!"
"That is so," the Master agreed.
"Then what is the Buddha?"
"The one in the hall."

Whereupon the monk achieved illumination, and I hope the reader does too.

"The Science of the Impossible," originally appeared in OUI Magazine; Copyright © 1979 by Playboy Publications, Inc

Although written over thirty years ago, Robert Anton Wilson’s article still has profound implications as to the nature of reality. We have reproduced this article both as a tribute to the late, great Robert Anton Wilson… and as a reminder that the importance and value of such considerations lay in the questions asked... and in the one asking the questions. In that regard… we are all “the one in the hall.”
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