There’s a glorious story about Orson Welles, who imported a real witch doctor from Haiti to play in a black version of Macbeth. A critic from the Herald Tribune, one Percy Hammond, gave the play a bad review. So the real witch doctor begged Welles for permission to put a ‘beri-beri’ curse on Hammond. Welles, thinking nothing of it, told him to go right ahead. Hammond was in hospital in 24 hours and dead in 48. That much is documented.
Mind or matter? No surprise that medical experts declared the cause to be a long-standing physical ailment. But when a modern audience came to the opening of a play about Welles which contained the story, it was asked for a show of hands with this question: ‘Do we have any critics in tonight?’ Not a single hand was raised.
Traditional science says that original cause is physical matter. The spiritual masters say that original cause is consciousness. At first sight it seems that one must be right and the other wrong; the two could not possibly have anything in common.
But they do.
I imagine the front cover of—say—Time magazine, in the near future. It has a picture of a bride and groom. The groom is spirituality, the bride is science and the bride is wiping away tears, but looks resigned. The headline is: Spirituality and Science: will it be a shotgun marriage?
Yes it will. Science is being dragged at ever-increasing speed towards the altar. And those doing the dragging are scores of courageous scientists whose discoveries are shaking the foundations of traditional science. The universe is not what we thought.
This is nothing short of a revolution that will force much of humanity to re-examine what it means to be human. The old science paradigm says there is an objective universe to be discovered; that it is made of dead, isolated physical matter, with thought as an inexplicable by-product. But the spiritual paradigm says the universe is entirely subjective; that it is made of an infinite ocean of consciousness, with physical matter as a means of creating and expressing itself.
No wonder science feels threatened. ‘Rogue’ scientists have had their careers ruined for daring to research consciousness. Students have been censured by their departments. Scientists with evidence opposing the science paradigm have been labelled as deluded or as frauds. If only to survive such attacks, so-called rogue scientists have carried out some of the most carefully constructed, rigorous experiments of the past 50 years. And their evidence is mounting.
I’ll mention just a few. Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, Erwin Schrödinger, Werner Heisenberg. And Cleve Baxter who showed that plants are aware of each other and react to human thought. And Masaru Emoto who showed that pure water is sensitive to human thought. And Jacques Benveniste who showed that water has a memory of molecules previously dissolved in it—a concept central to homeopathy.
Then there’s the placebo effect. Doctors have used it successfully for at least 200 years, but the science paradigm doesn’t even begin to explain it. One modern experimenter, Ted Kaptchuk told his ‘placebo’ group that they were getting a placebo which creates mind-body self-healing, and they still did better than the control group.
Perhaps the most spectacular discoveries of all are coming from quantum physicists. They have shown that the universe is a vast web, in which all particles are connected to all other particles; that physical matter constantly pops in and out of existence; that sub-atomic particles appear and behave according to what is going on in the scientist’s mind. Traditional science doesn’t dispute those results, but says they can’t possibly be true at the everyday macroscopic level.
The point is not whether traditional science has been right or wrong; the point is that consciousness creates physical reality, whatever the belief system. And science is a belief system. Science does not discover—it creates, and what it creates is real. It has been arguably the most powerful belief system in human history, giving birth to the technology which has populated and transformed the planet.
Which means that the paradigm of traditional science is, after all, perfectly valid. It’s just that it fits into one corner of a much bigger paradigm—the one the spiritual masters have been telling us for thousands of years. Aham Brahmasmi: we are both the Creator and the Created. We are powerful beyond measure and we have only to remember the fact.
So, here’s how the forthcoming liaison of science and spirituality affects us all. In the past, science has brought us many comforts. It has also brought us nuclear bombs and germ warfare and experiments on animals as if they were robots with no feeling or awareness. When science does accept that it and we are all part of Consciousness, that it is a creator, not a discoverer, how will that change its behaviour? How then will it affect the technology that shapes the future of the planet?
The answer to those questions will affect all of us and all of our descendants for as long as there is such a thing as human life.