The Nobel Prize winner in Neurophysiology in 2007, Sir John Eccles of Great Britain, believed that the brain, rather than initiating thought, is more like a “radio receiver” that tunes into energetic patterns that exist outside of us. The brain responds to thoughts but does not initiate them. We are really energetic “receivers” floating through a kaleidoscopic sea of frequencies, and what we extract from this sea and transform into reality is but one channel extracted out of many simultaneously available – like tuning in to a TV or Radio station.
The question that intrigued the great American quantum physicist John Archibald Wheeler was: “Are life and mind irrelevant to the structure of the universe, or are they central to it?” Wheeler originated the notion of a “participatory,” conscious universe, a cosmos in which all of us are embedded as co-creators, replacing the accepted universe “out there,” which is separate from us.
He suggested that the bizarre laws of quantum mechanics revealed the nature of reality. According to the quantum theory, before the observation is made, a subatomic particle exists in several states, called a superposition. Once the particle is observed, it instantaneously collapses into a single position; it transforms from a wave into a particle.
Eccles declared, “I want you to realize that there exists no color in the natural world, and no sound – nothing of this kind; no textures, no patterns, no beauty, no scent.” Eccles was not the first to note the nature or reality. 300+ years BC the philosopher Plato first noted it in it in his famous saying “Beauty is in the Eye of the perceiver”.
Wheeler suggested that reality is created by observers, and that: “no phenomenon is a real phenomenon until it is an observed phenomenon.” He went further to suggest that “we are participants in bringing into being not only the near and here, but the far away and long ago.”
This claim was considered outlandish until his thought experiment, known as the “delayed-choice experiment,” was tested in a laboratory in 1984. This experiment was a variation on the famous “double-slit experiment” in which the dual nature of light was exposed. Depending on how the experiment was measured and observed, the light behaved like a particle (a photon) or like a wave.
The results of this experiment, as well as another, proved that an observers’ consciousness is required to bring the universe into existence. In other words, for the “big bang” to have happened there must have been an observer. Now that is something exciting to contemplate, isn’t it!”.
In their recent book, You Are the Universe (2017), Chopra and Kafatos echo Wheeler and Eccles, suggesting that each of us is a co-creator of reality extending to the vastest reaches of time and space. “The shift into a new paradigm is happening,” the duo writes. “All of us live in a participatory universe. Once you decide that you want to participate fully with mind, body, and soul, the paradigm shift becomes personal. The reality you inhabit will be yours either to embrace or to change.”
For those interested, here is a list of YouTube videos that provide a broad overview of quantum physics and consciousness.
Note: You will be watching free YouTube videos, so you may have to also click on the “skip advertisement” tab when it shows up.