do we mean by the soul? This word that so often enters
our lives, and with such deeply implied meaning, however,
remains a mystery when we attempt to define it. Solving this
mystery is the goal of this book! However, while few of us doubt
we live in a physical universe, we rarely stop to think we also
live in spiritual universe. How does spirit exist in this
universe? Does it fill a volume of space? Does it persist
through time? What is this spirit? Is it the same as the soul?
Can science help to define spirit and soul? To answer these
questions, and there are many more we shall be asking, one needs
to go back in time and set a foundation for inquiry. In part I
we do just this. Herein we look at many soulful questions as we
ponder our spiritual existence. It helps to know that ancient
minds, possibly wiser minds, and deep-thinking minds from the
dawn of early Greek civilization attempted to define the soul,
the self, the spirit, and their relationship with the physical
universe. However, as we shall see, a problem arises as we
attempt to follow our Greek forebears in their defining
efforts--namely we may be answering the wrong questions! So let
us see how we came to consider the biggest mystery facing all of
us--the mortality of individual life and the survival of
something so mysterious and yet so much felt by each of us.
I'm not the first nor the only physicist/philosopher to
speculate about the issue of the soul's existence and its
seemingly precarious, mysterious, and subtle relationship with
the energy and matter of our bodies. As we shall see, Aristotle
and Plato also worried about its existence. Aristotle saw the
soul as a subtle substance; one that presumably would vanish
when the body vanished in much the same way that the sharpness
of a knife would vanish when it was melted down in a furnace.
Plato, on the other hand, while sharing a somewhat similar
view--not surprisingly since after all Plato was Aristotle's
mentor--in that he also saw the soul as a substance, albeit, a
non-physical one, which was eternal, idea-like, and capable of
existing beyond the body.
Where does modern science and technology stand in this debate?
Can today's physics and computer technology provide us with the
hope of eternal life? Set aside this question for the moment and
consider how an answer to it might change our lifestyles.
Have we lost our
souls to modern technological life?
live the good life. Yes, indeed. We are better fed, more
protected, and bathed in the light and luxury of countless new
technical achievements springing up everyday, at least in the
Western world. In the so-called third world countries, the good
life of material wealth may be absent, but if all goes as
planned by ideal altruistic ruling and governing forces, soon
the whole world will enjoy the Western-like material wealth.
Many feel we are approaching utopia, living longer and perhaps
with the aid of science and technology able to enjoy longer and
more fruitful lives. The subject of life-extension through
cryogenically storage (literally freezing) of deceased beings
until science reaches the understanding and technology to
resurrect the dead is becoming more popular. Although modern
medicine promises us longer life and the prospect even of living
forever as perhaps programs in a computer or as cryogenically
frozen heads, I think few of us take heart from this. Consider
this: upon resurrection, just what or who would be resurrected?
we invest our machines with greater apparent intelligence, a
gnawing question arises. Are we indeed in danger of losing our
souls only to be replaced by modern artificial intelligent
conveniences? Some scientists believe our souls are nothing but
artificial intelligence devices--sophisticated wetware
computer programs--nothing more and nothing less. Other
scientists believe we will find our souls in the minuscule
interactions of atoms and molecules that ultimately fuel the
activity of human biological functioning. And to other
scientists, possibly like myself, the soul remains a very big
mystery not to be confined to the folds of flesh we call our
human bodies; yet at the same time is it necessary that it
should be found there? Where else should we look?
Indeed how should I, as a scientist, look for scientific proof
of the soul? My physics knowledge is both a gift and a curse in
so far as it is needed to define the spiritual universe and its
agent, the soul. The gift is that I see, objectively,
how much of the physical universe works. That perspective gives
me a certain peace of mind that the universe is not an accident
and that human life is meaningful and purposeful. The curse is
that when it comes to seeing essential matters of the heart,
subjectively, I often see nothing. My scientific mind
habitually takes over and I become sceptical and unfeeling. But
my path in this life is through the mind and my intuition. So I
have to work to gain subjective spiritual insight that is
heartfelt as much as most non-scientists may have to work to
gain objective scientific knowledge.
"new physics" of the soul
Until very recently, science concerned itself with defining the
universe's attributes as objective processes. Little
attempt was made to consider subjective processes as they
are. As we near the end of the 20th century science again is
attempting to define consciousness as a phenomenon emerging from
simpler physical processes. The greatest effort seems to be
aimed at answering what I consider to be the foundation of all
the wrong questions, namely: How does the self-aware entity
emerge from deeper and more elementary physical processes? The
answer is: it doesn't, and that is very difficult to deal with
in today's reductionistic science.
aim is to set up a "new physics of the soul." In it I will show
how the soul, the self, matter, and consciousness are, although
related, not equivalent. Present science, based on models
generated from Aristotle's vision and later developed with the
aid of Newtonian mechanics, led us on the wrong reductionistic
and materialistic path. It would incorrectly reduce the soul and
consciousness to purely physical and mechanical energy. At best
the soul would appear as an epiphenomenon generated by material
processes. When we bring quantum physics into the mix, the error
Instead we will see the soul as a process involving
consciousness of knowledge. This process
occurs in the vacuum of space in the presence and
absence of both matter and energy. From this new vision we shall
see why the soul is immortal. This means the soul begins when
the universe of space, time, and matter first appear and ends
when the universe returns to the nothing from whence it came.
The major activity of the soul is manifestation of matter and
energy and the shaping of the material world by knowledge. Both
manifestation of the world and the soul's knowledge of it are
tied to quantum physics principles, specifically the observer
effect and the uncertainty principle.
The vacuum is fundamentally unstable. Anything that comes into
existence arose from it through the soul's desire to manifest.
This desire governs both the appearance of all matter and
through the effect of observation spelled out by quantum
physics, the relationship of a unified consciousness to matter.
Thus the soul cannot be seen either materialistically or
reductionistically. In fact the soul cannot be seen as a
mechanical physical thing, at all. The soul's fundamental
purpose is the shaping of knowledge into material form.
What Is Interesting & Original About This Book?
answering the above question I leave contemporary science's
search for the material basis of consciousness and
self-awareness and offer a new and original concept. I wish to
show that the self is fundamentally an illusion arising
as a reflection of the soul in matter much as a clear lake at
midnight reflects the moon. At the same time, the soul is not
an illusion although it is a reflection of spirit. One
goal of the book is to show how the concept of self differs
vitally from the soul. To do this will require us to venture
on a journey of soul-deconstruction and reconstruction, moving
backward and forward through time and history.
This tour provides a new vision of the "empty vacuum,"
and a new realization of how the apparent picture of
multitudes of mortal souls is also an illusion while the "one
eternal soul" with "one eternal consciousness" is a fundamental
reality. The pre-quantum or Newtonian picture of the vacuum
is simply the non-presence of matter. Well before modern
physics, however, the vacuum was seen by ancient philosophers as
the potentiality to become anything. It turns out that this
ancient view has more in common with the quantum physics view
than does the Newtonian mechanical picture. In a similar way,
our present Western spiritual traditional vision of soul shows
that each individual has one with a single isolated
consciousness. I will show that all of these nearly countless
separately conscious souls are illusions, reflections of one
soul with singular consciousness lasting throughout the span of
time our universe persists.
But this is not easy to do. The relationship between the self
and the soul is a mystery and will remain a mystery even if I
succeed in explaining it. To understand what I mean, consider
the fact that the speed of light is constant for all observers,
regardless of how fast they are moving. It is also a mystery and
it has been explained quite well. We know why the speed of light
does not change, but when we observe the experimental
consequences of this, we are still in awe that nature plays the
game it does and of the strange way that it allows space and
time to bend to accommodate the light fact.
soul is a virtual process and not an entity
propose a new vision of the soul here, one that explores many of
our earlier concepts in light of the tenets of modern science,
particularly based as this vision is on the existence of an
"intangible, irreducible field of probability"--the quantum
physical wave function, from which all physical matter and
Many, ranging from modern scientists to perhaps the Buddha,
introduce great confusion into the search by not differentiating
between spirit, soul, and self. Based on my research, the spirit
appears to be virtual vibrations of vacuum energy,
the soul turns out to be reflections of those virtual
vibrations in time, and the self is an illusion
arising from reflections of the soul in matter,
appearing as the bodily senses as suggested by the Buddha. Hence
the three are related but essentially different.
The quantum wave function demonstrates what I mean by a
virtual process--one that has an effect even though it is
not a result in fact. Thus this wave function, although never
measured, has extremely important physical consequences. The
soul arises along side this intangible field of probability--as
virtual processes in the vacuum of space. These processes
appear much like reflections of so-called "real" processes
occurring in everyday life. However, these virtual processes
have a life of their own, and even though they are never
observable themselves they account for even the simplest things
that we do observe.
other words, the soul is a virtual process and not an entity.
Without it, there is no awareness of entity. Here is an analogy.
I believe the soul involves us in a manner similar to the way
virtual processes involve the ordinary processes of material
existence. We know that in quantum physics, virtual processes
are extremely important. An example of this is whenever light
scatters from atoms or molecules, such as in the everyday
occurrence of sunlight scattering from air molecules and
producing the blue sky of the heavens, virtual electronic
processes are involved.
From The Wrong
Question To A New Understanding Of The Soul
began our inquiry into the existence of the soul by pointing
out, as many of our forebears have done, that the soul is not an
easy topic to discuss intelligently. Is the soul material or an
illusion? This natural question introduces a gap separating
modern science and current spiritual thinking and leads to the
split situation we presently find ourselves in. We are led to
see material things as real and spiritual things as beyond
matter. To find the right trail, we need to retreat to where we
lost the scent.
we move both backward and forward through history these two
visions of the soul continually present themselves. At times the
soul appears as if it were something quite physical, like an
attribute of an object such as its color or its organization. At
other times it takes on a deeper, emotional sense, even a
feminine form. One is tempted to regard these two visions as
scientific (the soul is material) and spiritual (the soul is
imaginal), but this turns out to be an error resulting from our
asking the wrong question.
The split in visions of the soul started with early Greek
civilization. Plato sees the soul as ideal while Aristotle sees
it as material. In Plato's Phaedo, Socrates clearly
characterizes the soul as invisible and yet able to sense the
perfection of equality, beauty, goodness and other "perfect"
attributes. The material body was seen as imperfect, with fuzzy
or imperfect memories, while the immaterial soul was seen as
perfect and capable of faultless memory. For Plato the soul is
closest to a virtual or imaginal process, while for Aristotle
the soul is completely physical and even composed of a fine
material, like some form of gossamer.
After considering Aristotle and Plato, we retreat in time to the
Ancient Egyptians and Chaldeans. This is the place in time when
the split doesn't yet exist: the absolute void contains the
undivided spiritual and physical universe and provides the
origin of all things ethereal and material. Starting there, we
will deconstruct the old soul and begin to reconstruct a new
soul model incorporating quantum physics.
The next step in resolving the conflict between the materialist
and spiritualist view of the soul is consideration of the soul's
relation with the whole universe. Here we look at the
possibility of the soul existing as a computer program at the
end of time. This non-physical model of the soul leads us back
to the vacuum where we investigate how the soul could be
non-physical and yet real at the same time. This takes us to the
original step in defining the new soul: finding the difference
between the self and the soul.
Next we go to the Buddha's mind concerning the non-existence of
the self and soul. We find the soul not only able to depart the
body, but to depart even the world of possibility as it
disappears altogether, like a magician's illusion. This denial
of the soul by the Buddha actually helps us to explain how the
soul can be fooled by itself and it leads to some original
insights into how the soul can become addicted to matter, even
polluted by the body!
Then we march forward to modern science's view of the universe.
Balancing new with old, we find a scientific view of heaven,
hell, immortality, reincarnation and Karma. This leads us to see
the soul as an essential unified entity despite the large number
living upon the earth today. Finally we learn how the soul
speaks to the body and, in the last chapter, how the soul,
spirit, self, and matter are all related.
is my desire that through my attempt to bring the soul concept
into the modern scientific age, the old problem of human
existence may actually find a solution. From this research and
my new model, I believe that I can convince you that although
the self disappears at death, the soul continues forever. The
real question is: How can we bring that awareness into the light
so the essential goodness of humanity is continually reflected
for all time?