The conflict between Science and Religion, raging for centuries, has taken a surprising turn over the past few decades. In this new age of spiritually and in the labs of enlightened scientists, the spark of attraction between the two, the esoteric and the practical, is stimulating exciting new ideas. In some circles, they’re practically dating.
So in taking a glimpse into some of these scientific theories, let’s define “THE Mystery” as not being just any old mystery but rather THE Mystery of the universe, of life and death and afterlife, of the nature of our consciousness, of creation, and the existence of some greater life force. Some might call this universal life force God, others might say it is an interconnected field of energy to which we are all part of the greater sum. Regardless, I think we can all agree that this is the mother of all mysteries.
It’s also noteworthy that the title says the science ‘behind’ The Mystery, not that science has “solved” it. In fact, it might be more relevant to this discussion to say that science today is “enhancing” or “expanding” The Mystery, giving it more colour and depth than ever.
It wasn’t very long ago that many thought they knew the answers. The laws of Classical, or Newtonian, Physics explained how our physical world worked in deterministic, predictable ways. Our religious institutions turned a blind eye to science as they already had the meaning of life, death, and creation explained. Darwin’s theories exploded onto this scene to mess with their creation stories but from a scientific perspective, the evolution of species did appear to connect the dots.
But in the dawn of the twentieth century, brilliant scientists revealed new depths to our understanding of science. They discovered Quantum Physics, which explained how the very smallest bits of matter behaved (of which everything, even our bodies, are comprised) and then General Relativity which explained how very large objects and spacetime behaved. And yet, neither of these new areas of science jived with the laws of Classical Physics, nor with one another.
So now the brilliant scientists are searching for a unified theory which will explain how these branches of physics inter-relate.
And meanwhile, the subatomic world of quantum mechanics has demonstrated some astounding properties. One established behaviour (Heisenberg uncertainty principle) identified that particles are constantly in motion, in a state of superposition (many places at once) which is seemingly affected by observation. If one attempts to measure the position of a particle, then it collapses down into one place but it becomes impossible to measure its speed, and vice versa.
As Dr. Stephen Hawking stated in his book “A Brief History of Time”, “The uncertainty principle had profound implications for the way in which we view the world.” … and it is “not fully appreciated by philosophers and still the subject of much controversy.”
Even more bizarre are the properties of entanglement and nonlocality which state two particles can have interconnected states even if spatially separated by extreme distances. Once in contact, they remain in contact throughout spacetime.
The implications of this are summarized In “The Field” by Lynn McTaggart: “Nonlocality shattered the very foundations of physics. Matter could no longer be considered separate. Actions did not have to have an observable cause over an observable space. Einstein’s most fundamental axiom wasn’t correct: at a certain level of matter, things could travel faster than the speed of light. Subatomic particles had no meaning in isolation but could only be understood in their relationships….”
In the search for the “theory of everything”, quantum field theory is a framework which relates laws of relativity and quantum mechanics. The zero point field, postulated as a future unlimited source of energy in science fiction and now by real scientists, is a field of energy that underlies and interconnects everything in the universe. When you try to wrap your brain around this, that our brains, our bodies, our thoughts, the room we’re in, the trees, our planet, the sun and everything in the universe are all part of a quantum web of interconnected energy, you must be struck by the enormity of the possibilities.
In the words of Dr. Hal Puthoff , this means that “so called empty space is not really empty at all, it’s actually full of energy.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pbn5vPhLjk0 . What we do know is that this sea of energy is electromagnetic in nature and vast beyond our imagination. If we could find a way to tap into this source, our energy troubles might be over.
While some ‘nay-sayer’ scientists or strict religious leaders, committed to their dogma, may scoff at how far imagination and speculation might be going with quantum theories of consciousness, these possibilities take concepts of human spirituality and our place in the universe to a new level.
An interesting anecodote to end with is Arthur C Clarke’s Law of Revolutionary Ideas: “Every revolutionary idea — in science, politics, art, or whatever — seems to evoke three stages of reaction. They may be summed up by the phrases:
(1) “It’s completely impossible — don’t waste my time”;
(2) “It’s possible, but it’s not worth doing”;
(3) “I said it was a good idea all along.”