The individual mind is immanent but not only in the body. It is immanent also in pathways and messages outside the body; and there is a larger Mind of which the individual mind is only a sub-system. This larger Mind is comparable to God and is perhaps what some people mean by "God," but it is still immanent in the total interconnected social system and planetary ecology.1
That what we perceive through the senses as empty space is actually the existence of everything, including ourselves. The things that appear to our senses are derivative forms and their true meaning can be seen only when we consider the plenum, in which they are generated and sustained, and into which they must ultimately vanish.
Ultimately, all moments are really one, therefore now is an eternity.
We must learn to view everything as part of "Undivided Wholeness in Flowing Movement." 2
In considering the relationship between the finite and the infinite, we are led to observe that the whole field of the finite is inherently limited, in that it has no independent existence. It has the appearance of independent existence, but that appearance is merely the result of an abstraction of our thought. We can see this dependent nature of the finite from the fact that every finite thing is transient.3
Our ordinary view holds that the field of the finite is all that there is. But if the finite has no independent existence, it cannot be all that is. We are in this way led to propose that the true ground of all being is the infinite, the unlimited; and that the infinite includes and contains the finite. In this view, the finite, with its transient nature, can only be understood as held suspended, as it were, beyond time and space, within the infinite.
The field of the finite is all that we can see, hear, touch, remember, and describe. This field is basically that which is manifest, or tangible. The essential quality of the infinite, by contrast, is its subtlety, its intangibility. This quality is conveyed in the word spirit, whose root meaning is "wind, or breath." This suggests an invisible but pervasive energy, to which the manifest world of the finite responds. This energy, or spirit, infuses all living beings, and without it any organism must fall apart into its constituent elements. That which is truly alive in the living being is this energy of spirit, and this is never born and never dies.4
Causality may be considered as a mode of perception by which we reduce our sense impressions to order.
We can admittedly find nothing in physics or chemistry that has even a remote bearing on consciousness. Yet all of us know that there is such a thing as consciousness, simply because we have it ourselves. Hence consciousness must be part of nature, or, more generally, of reality, which means that, quite apart from the laws of physics and chemistry, as laid down in quantum theory, we must also consider laws of quite a different kind.
In the emerging picture of mankind in the universe, the future (if it exists) will surely entail discoveries about space and time which will open up whole new perspectives in the relationship between mankind, mind, and the uni-verse.… But what is now? There is no such thing in physics;it is not even clear that ‘now’ could ever be described, let alone explained, in terms of physics.… Notions such as ‘the past,’ ‘the present’ and ‘the future’ seem to be more linguistic than physical.… There is no universal now, but only a personal one—a ‘here and now.’ This strongly suggests that we look to the mind, rather than to the physical world, as the origin of the division of time into past, present, and future.…There is none of this in physics.… No physical experiment has ever been performed to detect the passage of time. As soon as the objective world of reality is considered, the passage of time disappears like a ghost into the night.5
The universe shows evidence of the operations of mind on three levels. The first level is elementary physical processes, as we see them when we study atoms in the laboratory. The second level is our direct human experience of our own consciousness. The third level is the universe as a whole. Atoms in the laboratory are weird stuff, behaving like active agents rather than inert substances. They make unpredictable choices between alternative possibilities according to the laws of quantum mechanics. It appears that mind, as manifested by the capacity to make choices, is to some extent inherent in every atom. The universe as a whole is also weird, with laws of nature that make it hospitable to the growth of mind. I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension. God may be either a world-soul or a collection of world-souls. So I am thinking that atoms and humans and God may have minds that differ in degree but not in kind. We stand, in a manner of speaking, midway between the unpredictability of atoms and the unpredictability of God. Atoms are small pieces of our mental apparatus, and we are small pieces of God's mental apparatus. Our minds may receive inputs equally from atoms and from God.
Mind, as manifested by the capacity to make choices, is to some extent inherent in every electron."of God's mental apparatus. Our minds may receive inputs equally from atoms and from God. This view of our place in the cosmos may not be true, but it is compatible with the active nature of atoms as revealed in the experiments of modern physics. I don't say that this personal theology is supported or proved by scientific evidence. I only say that it is consistent with scientific evidence.
All through the physical world runs that unknown content, which must surely be the stuff of our consciousness.... And, moreover, we have found that where science has progressed the farthest, the mind has but regained from nature that which the mind has put into nature. We have found a strange foot-print on the shores Of the unknown. We have devised profound theories, one after the other, to account for its origin. At last succeeded in reconstructing the creature that made the foot-print. And Lo! it is our own.
Recognizing that the physical world is entirely abstract and without 'actuality' apart from its linkage to consciousness, we restore consciousness to the fundamental position instead of representing it as an inessential complication occasionally found in the midst of inorganic nature at a late stage of evolutionary history.
Not once in the dim past, but continuously, by conscious mind, is the miracle of Creation wrought.
Certain it is that a conviction, akin to religious feeling, of the rationality or intelligibility of the world lies behind all scientific work of a higher order.... This firm belief, a belief bound up with deep feeling, in a superior mind that reveals itself in the world of experience, represents my conception of God.6
I'm not an atheist, and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws. Our limited minds grasp the mysterious force that moves the constellations. I am fascinated by Spinoza's pantheism, but admire even more his contribution to modern thought because he is the first philosopher to deal with the soul and body as one, and not two separate things.7
Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible concatenations, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion. To that extent I am, in point of fact, religious.8
He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. The striving to free oneself from this delusion is the one issue of true religion. Not to nourish it but to try to overcome it is the way to reach the attainable measure of peace of mind.9
Spinoza was the first to apply with strict consistency the idea of an all-pervasive determinism to human thought, feeling, and action. In my opinion, his point of view has not gained general acceptance by all those striving for clarity and logical rigor only because it requires not only consistency of thought but also unusual integrity, magnanimity and-modesty.10
The individual feels the futility of human desires and aims and the sublimity and marvelous order which reveal themselves both in nature and in the world of thought. Individual existence impresses him as a sort of prison and he wants to experience the universe as a single significant whole.
The fact that man produces a concept "I" besides the totality of his mental and emotional experiences or perceptions does not prove that there must be any specific existence behind such a concept. We are succumbing to illusions produced by our self-created language, without reaching a better understanding of anything. Most of so-called philosophy is due to this kind of fallacy.
Physical concepts are free creations of the human mind, and are not, however it may seem, uniquely determined by the external world.
The most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms – this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religion.
The cosmic religious experience is the strongest and noblest driving force behind scientific work.
Space and time are not conditions in which we live, they are modes in which we think.
Our separation of each other is an optical illusion of consciousness.
That which is impenetrable to us really exists. Behind the secrets of nature remains something subtle, intangible, and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion.
I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings.
Our situation on this earth seems strange. Every one of us appears here involuntary and uninvited for a short stay, without knowing the whys and the wherefore. In our daily lives we only feel that man is here for the sake of others, for those whom we love and for many other beings whose fate is connected with our own.
The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as all serious endeavor in art and science. He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is a something that our mind cannot grasp and whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly and as a feeble reflection, this is religiousness. In this sense I am religious. [Emphasis added] To me it suffices to wonder at these secrets and to attempt humbly to grasp with my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of all that there is.
Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.
Of course, we all know that our own reality depends on the structure of our consciousness; we can objectify no more than a small part of our world. But even when we try to probe into the subjective realm, we cannot ignore the central order…In the final analysis, the central order, or 'the one' as it used to be called and with which we commune in the language of religion, must win out.
[The probability wave] meant a tendency for something. It was a quantitative version of the old concept of "potentia" in Aristotelian philosophy. It introduced something standing in the middle between the idea of an event and the actual event, a strange kind of physical reality just in the middle between possibility and reality.
[An individual] may report that his consciousness seems to have been totally liberated from its center to roam freely in space and time....[R]ather than forming its experiences in the ‘here and now,’ consciousness may choose to sample the ‘there and then.’ [In quantum physics], there is little mathematical distinction between spatial and temporal behavior, so that any [explanation of the] acquisition of information remote in distance would equally well apply to information remote in time. Finally, of course, we might recall Einstein’s and Eddington’s reminders that the concepts of space and time are themselves constructions of consciousness.
When we view ourselves in space and time, our consciousnesses are obviously the separate individuals of a particle-picture, but when we pass beyond space and time, they may perhaps form ingredients of a single continuous stream of life. As it is with light and electricity, so it may be with life; the phenomena may be individuals carrying On separate existences in space and time, while in the deeper reality beyond space and time we may all be members of one body.
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 towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter; we are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail it as the creator and governor Of the realm Of matter—not Of course Our individual minds, but the mind in which the atoms out of which our individual minds have grown exist as thoughts....We discover that the universe shows existence of a designing or controlling power that has something in common with our own individual minds.
The stream of knowledge is heading toward a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter, we ought rather hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.11
The concepts which now prove to be fundamental to our understanding of nature—a space which is finite; a space which is empty, so that one point [of our 'material' world] differs from another solely in the properties of space itself; four-dimensional, seven- and more dimensional spaces; a space which forever expands; a sequence of events which follows the laws of probability instead of the law of causation—or alternatively, a sequence of events which can only be fully and consistently described by going outside of space and time—all these concepts seem to my mind to be structures of pure thought, incapable of realization in any sense which would properly be described as material.
If my conclusions are correct, each individual is part of God or part of the Universal Mind. I use the phrase 'part of' with hesitation, recalling its looseness and in-applicability even in recent physics. Perhaps a better way to put the matter is to say that each of us is the Universal Mind but inflicted with limitations that obscure all but a tiny fraction of its aspects and properties.
The universe haunts me. This sense of the unfathomable beautiful ocean of existence drew me into science. I am awed by the universe, puzzled by it and sometimes angry at a natural order that brings such pain and suffering. . . .And where am I? I am in the present, this imperfect moment, trying to remain vulnerable to its intense specificity. There is no other time for me to be or place to go, no cosmic consciousness nor facile mysticism into which I can retreat. In order to see this moment as the fulcrum of all existence, no detail, no imperfection, no impediment of guilt or resentment can remain unacknowledged. I am the witness of this reality . . . In the love of the mundane, the openness to exploration, the play of imagination, the sublimation of aggression into creative activity, the need to communicate with and love other people lie the source of all great poetry, art and science and my private hope for the liberation of the species.
As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clearheaded science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about the atoms this much: There is no matter as such! All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particles of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together...We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter.
I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.
We do not belong to this material world that science constructs for us. We are not in it; we are outside. We are only spectators. The reason why we believe that we are in it, that we belong to the picture, is that our bodies are in the picture. Our bodies belong to it. Not only my own body, but those of my friends, also of my dog and cat and horse, and of all the other people and animals. And this is my only means of communicating with them.
Inconceivable as it seems to ordinary reason, you — and all other conscious beings as such — are all in all.
What is it that has called you so suddenly out of nothingness to enjoy for a brief while a spectacle which remains quite indifferent to you? The conditions for your existence are almost as old as the rocks. For thousands of years men have striven and suffered and begotten and women have brought forth in pain. A hundred years ago, perhaps, another man sat on this spot; like you he gazed with awe and yearning in his heart at the dying light of the glaciers. Like you he was begotten of man and born of woman. He felt pain and brief joy as you do. Was he someone else? Was it not you yourself? What is this Self of yours? What was the necessary condition for making the thing conceived this time into you, just you and not someone else? What clearly intelligible scientific meaning can this 'someone else' really have? If she who is now your mother had cohabited with someone else and had a son by him, and your father had done likewise, would you have come to be? Or were you living in them, and in your father's father... thousands of years ago? And even if this is so, why are you not your brother, why is your brother not you, why are you not one of your distant cousins? What justifies you in obstinately discovering this difference - the difference between you and someone else - when objectively what is there is the same?
My brain is only a receiver. In the universe there is a core from which we obtain knowledge, strength, inspiration. I have not penetrated into the secrets of this core, but I know that it exists.
The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.
Every living being is an engine geared to the wheelwork of the universe. Though seemingly affected only by its immediate surrounding, the sphere of external influence extends to infinite distance.
When we speak of man, we have a conception of humanity as a whole, and before applying scientific methods to the investigation of his movement we must accept this as a physical fact. But can anyone doubt to-day that all the millions of individuals and all the innumerable types and characters constitute an entity, a unit? Though free to think and act, we are held together, like the stars in the firmament, with ties inseparable. These ties cannot be seen, but we can feel them. I cut myself in the finger, and it pains me: this finger is a part of me. I see a friend hurt, and it hurts me, too: my friend and I are one. And now I see stricken down an enemy, a lump of matter which, of all the lumps of matter in the universe, I care least for, and it still grieves me. Does this not prove that each of us is only part of a whole?12
The marvelous collection of forces which appear to control matter, if not actually to constitute it, are and must be mind products.
Mind, rather than emerging as a late outgrowth in the evolution of life, has existed always…The source and condition of physical reality.
[In scientific discovery] ...we often find the often disturbing and happy experience: 'It is not I; I have not done this.' Still, in a certain way it is I—yet not the ego of will but of a more comprehensive self....In scientific discovery I encounter something in my achievement which I must acknowledge as non-ego and yet as myself. But the self is still hidden here from my consciousness and manifests itself only through the gift it has given me, through its achievement. In mysticism I must open myself to the self, I must Overcome the ego, Or what comes to the same thing, I must get to know my ego as a manifestation of the self. In the last analysis, I have to be the self which I have always known.
Today I think we are beginning to suspect that man is not a tiny cog that doesn’t really make much difference to the running of the huge machine, but rather that there is a much more intimate tie between man and the universe than we heretofore suspected…The physical world is in some deep sense tied to the human being.
It was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.