Psi, Grof, Jung, and the Quantum Vacuum
by Ervin Laszlo
The International Society for the Systems Sciences
and The Club of Budapest
Copyright Ervin Laszlo 1996
Are human beings entirely discrete individuals, their
organism enclosed by the skin and their minds enclosed
by the cranium housing the brain? Or are there effective,
if subtle, interconnections between humans — and
between humans and the world at large? This study argues
that the latter assumption is likely to be true. Though
the evidence for "subtle connections" is not
in the form of incontrovertible "hard data"
it is nevertheless cogent and significant. The directly
pertinent findings are generated by research on psi-
phenomena and the practice of psychotherapists. Possible
explanations for the findings can be traced to the ideas
of Carl Jung, and are now pursued at the leading edge
of the physical sciences.
The Findings: (i) Psi experiments
Controlled experiments concerning subtle connections
between subjects removed in space, and occasionally
also in time, date back to back to the 1930s, to J.B.
Rhine's pioneering card-and dice-guessing work at Duke
University. Since then experimental designs have become
sophisticated and experimental controls rigorous; physicists
have often joined psychologists in carrying out the
tests. Explanations in terms of hidden sensory cues,
machine bias, cheating by subjects, and experimenter
error or incompetence have all been considered, but
they were found unable to account for a number of statistically
Relevant work began in the 1970s, when Russell Targ
and Harold Puthoff carried out some of the best-known
experiments on subtle connections among distant subjects
in regard to the transference of thoughts and images.
They examined the possibility of telepathic transmission
between individuals, one of whom would act as "sender"
and the other as "receiver." The receiver
was placed in a sealed, opaque and electrically shielded
chamber, while the sender was in another room where
he or she was subjected to bright flashes of light at
regular intervals. Electroencephalograph (EEG) machines
registered the brain- wave patterns of both. As expected,
the sender exhibited the rhythmic brain waves that normally
accompany exposure to bright flashes of light.
But, after a brief interval the receiver also began
to produce the same patterns, although he or she was
not exposed to the flashes and was not receiving sense-perceivable
signals from the sender.
Targ and Puthoff also conducted experiments on remote
viewing. In these tests sender and receiver were separated
by distances that precluded any form of sensory communication
between them. At a site chosen at random, the sender
acted as a "beacon"; the receiver then tried
to pick up what the beacon saw. To document his or her
impressions, the receiver gave verbal descriptions,
at times accompanied by sketches. Independent judges
found that the descriptions of the sketches matched
on the average 66 percent of the time the characteristics
of the site that was actually seen by the beacon.
Remote viewing experiments reported from other laboratories
involved distances from half a mile to several thousand
miles. Regardless of where they were carried out, and
by whom, the success rate was generally around fifty
percent — considerably above random probability.
The most successful viewers appeared to be those who
were relaxed, attentive, and meditative. They reported
that they received a preliminary impression as a gentle
and fleeting form which gradually evolved into an integrated
image. They experienced the image as a surprise, both
because it was clear and because it was clearly elsewhere.
Images could also be transmitted while the receiver
is asleep. Over several decades, Stanley Krippner and
his associates carried out "dream ESP experiments"
at the Dream Laboratory of Maimondes Hospital in New
A particularly striking example of transpersonal contact
and communication has been the work of Jacobo Grinberg-Zylverbaum
at the National University of Mexico. In more than
fifty experiments performed over five years, Grinberg-Zylberbaum
paired his subjects inside sound-and electro-magnetic
radiation-proof "Faraday cages." He asked
them to meditate together for twenty minutes. Then he
placed the subjects in separate Faraday cages where
one of them was stimulated and the other not. The stimulated
subject received stimuli at random intervals in such
a way that neither he or she, nor the experimenter,
knew when they were applied. The non-stimulated subject
remained relaxed, with eyes closed, instructed to feel
the presence of the partner without knowing anything
about his or her stimulation.
In general, a series of one hundred stimuli were applied
— flashes of light, sounds, or short, intense
but not painful electric shocks to the index and ring
fingers of the right hand. The EEG of both subjects
was then synchronized and examined for "normal"
potentials evoked in the stimulated subject and "transferred"
potentials in the non-stimulated subject. In experimental
situations with stimulated subjects and with interaction,
the transferred potentials appeared consistently in
some 25 percent of the cases. A particularly poignant
example was furnished by a young couple, deeply in love.
Their EEG patterns remained closely synchronized throughout
the experiment, testifying to their report of feeling
a deep oneness.
A related experiment investigated the degree of harmonization
of the left and right hemispheres of the subject's neocortex.
In ordinary waking consciousness the two hemispheres
— the language-oriented, linearly thinking rational
"left brain" and the gestalt-perceiving intuitive
"right brain" — exhibit uncoordinated,
randomly diverging wave patterns in the electroencelograph.
When the subject enters a meditative state of conscious-ness,
these patterns become synchronized, and in deep meditation
the two hemispheres fall into a nearly identical pattern.
In deep meditation not only the left and right brains
of one and the same subject, also the left and right
brains of different subjects manifest identical patterns.
Experiments with up to twelve subjects
simultaneously showed an astonishing synchronization
of the brain-waves of the entire group.
In the past few years experiments such as these have
been matched by hundreds of others. They provide significant
evidence that identifiable and consistent electrical
signals occur in the brain of one person when a second
person, especially if he or she is closely related or
emotionally linked, is either meditating, or provided
with sensory stimulation, or attempts to communicate
with the subject intentionally.
Interpersonal connection beyond the sensory range can
also occur outside the laboratory; it is particularly
frequent among identical twins. In many cases one twin
feels the pain suffered by the other, and is aware of
traumas and crises even if he or she is halfway around
the world. Besides "twin pain," the sensitivity
of mothers and lovers is equally noteworthy: countless
stories are recounted of mothers having known when their
son or daughter was in grave danger, or was actually
involved in an accident.
Interpersonal connection is not limited to twins, mothers
and lovers: the kind of closeness that a therapeutic
relationship creates between therapist and patient seems
also to suffice. A number of psychotherapists have noted
that, during a session, they experience memories, feelings,
attitudes, and associations that are outside the normal
scope of their experience and personality. At the time
these strange items are experienced they are indistinguishable
from the memories, feelings and related sentiments of
the therapists themselves; it is only later, on reflection,
that they come to realize that the anomalous items stem
not from their own life and experience, but from their
It appears that in the course of the therapeutic relationship
some aspect of the patient's psyche is projected into
the mind of the therapist. In that location, at least
for a limited time, it integrates with the therapist's
own psyche and produces an awareness of some of the
patient's memories, feeling, and associations. Known
as "projective identification," the transference
can be useful in the context of therapy: it can permit
the patient to view what was previously a painful element
in his or her personal consciousness more objectively,
as if it belonged to somebody else.
Actual bodily effects seem also capable of being transmitted
from one individual to another. Transmissions of this
kind came to be known as "telesomatic": they
consist of physiological changes that are triggered
in the targeted person by the mental processes of another.
 The distance between the individuals involved seems
to make little or no difference. William Braud and Marilyn
Schlitz carried out hundreds of trials regarding the
impact of the mental imagery of senders on the physiology
of receivers — the latter were distant, and unaware
that such imagery was being directed to them.
They claim that the mental images of the sender can
"reach out" over space and cause changes in
the physiology of the distant receiver — effects
comparable to those one's own mental processes produce
in one's own body. People who attempt to influence their
own bodily functions are only slightly more effective
than those who attempt to influence the physiology of
others from a distance. Over several cases involving
a large number of individuals, the difference between
remote influence and self-influence was almost insignificant:
"telesomatic" influence by a distant person
proved to be nearly as effective as "psychosomatic"
influence by the same person.
The Findings: (ii) Grof's experience with
altered states of consciousness Complementing psi-experiments in regard
to the ability of the human mind to penetrate beyond
the limits of personal sensory experience are the findings
of modern psychotherapists. The pertinent evidence comes
clearly to the fore in the work of Stanislav Grof. In
reviewing findings gathered in the course of over three
decades, Grof suggests that the standard cartography
of the human mind needs to be completed with additional
elements. To the standard "biographic-recollective"
domain of the psyche we should add a "perinatal"
and a "transpersonal" domain. The
transpersonal domain, it appears, can mediate connection
between our mind and practically any part or aspect
of the phenomenal world.
People in "primitive" and classical cultures
knew how to apply the requisite stimulus — some
tribes, such as the Kung Bushmen of the Kalahari desert,
could enter altered states all at the same time. In
many parts of the world ancient peoples combined chanting,
breathing, drumming, rhythmic dancing, fasting, social
and sensory isolation, even specific forms of physical
pain to induce altered states. The native cultures of
Africa and pre-Colombian America used them in shamanic
procedures, healing ceremonies and rites of passage;
the high-cultures of Asia used them in various systems
of yoga, Vipassana or Zen Buddhism, Tibetan Vajrayana,
Taoism, and Sufism. The semitic cultures used them in
Cabalah, the ancient Egyptians in the temple initiations
of Isis and Osiris; the classical Greeks in Bacchanalia
and the rites of Attis and Adonis as well as in the
Eleusinian mysteries. Until the advent of Western industrial
civilization, almost all cultures held such states in
high esteem for the remarkable experiences they convey
and the powers of personal healing and interpersonal
contact and communication they render accessible.
Today, at the leading edge of the contemporary sciences,
research on altered states of consciousness is becoming
accepted as a legitimate part of the new discipline
known as "consciousness research." The
insight that surfaces is, as Charles Tart noted, that
altered states tend to make our connections to each
other and to our environment more evident. Grof's records
of the verbal reports of his patients makes this very
In the "experience of dual unity"
a patient in an ASC (altered state of consciousness)
experiences a loosening and melting of the boundaries
of the body ego and a sense of merging with another
person in a state of unity and oneness. In
this experience, despite the feeling of being fused
with another, the patient retains an awareness of his
or her own identity. Then, in the experience of "identification
with other persons," the patient, while merging
experientially with another person, has a sense of complete
identification to the point of losing the awareness
of his or her own identity.
In "group identification and group consciousness"
there is a further extension of consciousness and melting
of ego boundaries. Rather than identifying with individual
persons, the patient has a sense of becoming an entire
group of people who share some racial, cultural, national,
ideological, political, or professional characteristics.
The depth, scope, and intensity of this experience can
reach extraordinary proportions: people may experience
the totality of suffering of all the soldiers who have
ever died on the battlefield since the beginning of
history, the desire of revolutionaries of all ages to
overthrow a tyrant, or the love, tenderness and dedication
of all mothers in regard to their babies. Identification
can focus on a social or political group, the people
of an entire country or continent, all members of a
race, or all believers of a religion.
"Identification with animals" goes beyond
the human transpersonal dimension: it involves a complete
and realistic identification with members of various
animal species. The experience can be authentic and
convincing, including body image, specific physiological
sensations, instinctual drives, unique perceptions of
the environment, and the corresponding emotional reactions.
The nature and scope of these experiences distinguish
them from ordinary human experiences; they often transcend
the scope of fantasy and imagination.
Experience in ASCs can also penetrate beyond the sphere
of life: it can include the macroscopic and microscopic
phenomena of the inorganic world. In the "experience
of inanimate matter and inorganic processes" patients
report experiential identification with the waters of
rivers and oceans, with various forms of fire, with
the earth and with mountains, and with the forces unleashed
in natural catastrophes such as electric storms, earthquakes,
tornadoes, and volcanic eruptions. They can identify
with specific materials, such as diamonds and other
precious stones, quartz crystals, amber, granite, iron,
steel, quicksilver, silver, and gold. The experiences
extend into the microworld and may involve the dynamic
structure of molecules and atoms. Grof concludes
that every process in the universe that in an ordinary
state of consciousness can be objectively observed,
can also be subjectively experienced in an altered state.
The cosmic dimensions of altered-state experiences
can encompass all of the planet Earth. In "planetary
consciousness" the subject's consciousness expands
to the Earth's geological substance with its mineral
kingdom, and its biosphere with all its life forms.
The Earth as a whole appears to be one
complex organism, oriented toward its own evolution,
integration, and self-actualization. In
"extraterrestrial experiences" — a further
expanded form of consciousness — other celestial
bodies and astronomical processes are included. The
subject can experience travelling to the moon, sun,
other planets, stars, and galaxies; he or she can experience
explosions of supernovas, contraction of stars, quasars
and pulsars, even passage through black holes. The experience
can occur in the form of simply witnessing such events,
or of actually becoming them, experiencing them intimately,
as if being a part of the experienced thing or event.
At the widest (and comparatively rare) form of this
experience — "identification with the entire
physical universe" — the subject
has the feeling that his or her consciousness encompasses
the entire cosmos.
In addition to the spatially expanded forms of consciousness,
there are experiences that recall OBEs (out-of-body
experiences), clairvoyance, clairaudience, and telepathy.
More relevant for our purposes are experiences involving
a displacement in time. Time-displacement experiences
range from "embryonal and fetal experiences,"
where the subject recalls his or her intrauterine experiences
as a fetus, through "ancestral experiences"
involving identification with one's biological ancestors,
"racial and collective experiences" where
those involved are not one's direct ancestors but members
of the same race, or sometimes the entire human species
(suggestive of Jung's "collective unconscious"
of which more will be said later), all the way to "past
According to Grof the memories that surface in past
incarnation experiences share with other transpersonal
experiences the capacity to provide instant and direct
extrasensory access to information about some aspect
of the world.
If so, all divisions and boundaries in
the universe are illusory and arbitrary; in the last
analysis it is only a cosmic consciousness that actually
Toward an Explanation: (a) Jung's unus mundus
What explanation can we give for the varied yet remarkably
consistent phenomena unearthed in controlled psi- experiments
and in the work of Grof and other psychotherapists with
patients in altered states of consciousness? Just what
is the nature of the "cosmic consciousness"
— or similar factor — that would connect
our psyche with the world at large?
Carl Jung, fascinated with this seemingly esoteric aspect
of the human psyche, attempted an explanation in terms
of a higher or deeper reality that would connect human
minds with each other as well as with physical reality.
He was led to his explanatory concept by a comparison
of unconscious processes in individuals with the myths,
legends and folktales of a variety of cultures at various
periods of history. Jung found that the individual records
and the collective material contain common themes. This
prompted him to postulate the existence of a collective
aspect of the pysche: the "collective unconscious."
The single factor that underlies physics and psychology
may be the same. The common factor that would underlie
and connect these worlds Jung named "unus mundus."
The foundation for the unus mundus is "...that
the multiplicity of the empirical world rests on an
underlying unity, and that not two or more fundamentally
different worlds exist side- by- side or are mingled
with one another."
As Charles Card summarized, "The realms
of mind and of matter—psyche and physis—
are complementary aspects of the same transcendental
reality, the unus mundus. Archetypes act as
the fundamental dynamical patterns whose various representations
characterize all processes, whether mental or physical.
In the realm of the psyche, archetypes organize images
and ideas. In the realm of physis, they organize the
structure and transformations of matter and energy,
and they account for a causal orderedness as well. Archetypes
acting simultaneously in both the realms of psyche and
physis account for instances of synchronistic phenomena."
Jung's relates the subtle connections that appear in
synchronistic events involving the psyche of different
individuals, as well as the psyche of one person and
the physical world around that person, to an underlying
reality that emerges in the form of archetypes. The
fundamental reality — the unus mundus —
is itself neither psychic nor physical: it stands above,
or lies beyond, both psyche and physis.
Toward an Explanation: (b) The Quantum Vacuum
Jung's concept points the way toward a fruitful avenue
of research: a deeper reality that connects mind and
mind, and mind and matter. This approach should enter
the current stream of consciousness research. For the
present, most researchers seek an explanation of mental
events mainly in terms of physical processes in the
brain. But henceforth the mental events to explain should
include not only the workings of the individual brain
but, in light of the findings of psi- experimenters
and psychotherapists, the subtle connections that link
human brains with each other and with the world at large.
It seems likely that world and brain —
cosmos and consciousness — are interconnected
by a continuous information- conserving and transmitting
A field that constitutes the simplest,
the most economical and rational explanation of the
current findings may exist: David Bohm, the same as
this writer, suggested that it is the as yet imperfectly
understood "zero- point field" (ZPF) that
seems present throughout the quantum vacuum. In
the following we shall explore what is known about this
field of the vacuum, what is currently hypothesized
about it, and how it could account for the subtle interconnections
Received knowledge about the vacuum - - In
quantum physics the quantum vacuum is defined as the
lowest energy state of a system of which the equations
obey wave mechanics and special relativity. It is considerably
more than just the state of a system, however. It is
the locus of a vast energy field that is neither classically
electromagnetic nor gravitational, nor yet nuclear in
nature. Instead, it is the originating source of the
known electromagnetic, gravitational, and nuclear forces
and fields. It is the originating source of matter itself.
The technical definitions of the quantum vacuum point
to a continuous energy sea in which particles of matter
are specific substructures. According to Paul Dirac's
calculation, all particles in positive energy states
have negative- energy counterparts (by now such "antiparticles"
have been found experi- mentally for all presently known
particles). The zero- point field of the
quantum vacuum is a "Dirac- sea": a sea of
particles in the negative energy state. These particles
are not observable — physicists call them "virtual."
But they are not fictional for all that. By stimulating
the negative energy states of the ZPF with sufficient
energy (of the order of 10- 27 erg), a particular region
of it can be "kicked" into the real (that
is, observable) state of positive energy. This is the
process known as pair- creation: out of the vacuum emerges
a positive energy (real) particle, with a negative energy
(virtual) particle remaining in it. Thus the Dirac-
sea is everywhere; the observable universe floats, as
it were, on its surface.
The quantum vacuum contains a staggering
density of energy. John Wheeler estimated its matter-
equivalent at 1094 gram per cm3 — and that is
more than all the matter in the universe put together.
Compared with this energy density, the
energy of the nucleus of the atom — the most energetic
chunk of matter in the known universe — seems
almost minuscule: it is "merely" 1014 gram/cm3.
The vacuum itself is not material: its zero- point energies
— which, according to David Bohm, exceed all the
energies bound in matter 1040 times — are in the
negative state. This is fortunate, for if they were
not, the universe would instantly collapse to a size
smaller than the radius of an atom. (This follows from
E = mc2, Einstein's celebrated mass- energy equivalence
relation: energy corresponds to mass, and mass in turn
Because the "real" world of matter —
that is, of energy bound in mass — is so much
less energetic than the vacuum, the observable universe
is not a solid condensate floating on top of the vacuum,
but like a set of bubbles suspended in it. In terms
of energy, the material world is not a solidification
of the quantum vacuum, but a thinning of it.
Speculations on the vacuum - - A thin line
divides what is already known and accepted about the
quantum vacuum and what is still speculative and controversial.
Here we review the relevant explorations: those that
concern interactions between the observable world of
matter- energy and the vacuum's zero- point energies.
The world of matter and the quantum vacuum are known
to interact. For example, under certain conditions vacuum's
zero- point energies act on electrons orbiting atomic
nuclei. The effects occur when electrons "jump"
from one energy state to another: the photons they emit
exhibit the so- called Lamb- shift (a frequency slightly
shifted from its normal value). Vacuum energies also
create a radiation pressure on two closely spaced metal
plates. Between the plates some wavelengths of the vacuum
field are excluded, thereby reducing its energy density
with respect to the field outside. This creates a pressure
— known as the Casimir effect — that pushes
the plates inward and together.
Currently another Hungarian, maverick theoretician
László Gazdag, developed Jánossy's
concept into a full- fledged "post- relativity
In his theory the vacuum's energy field has the properties
of a superfluid. It is known that in super cooled helium
all resistance and friction ceases; it moves through
narrow cracks and capillaries without loss of momentum.
Conversely, objects move through the fluid without encountering
resistance. (Since also electrons move through it without
resistance, superfluids are also superconductors.) Thus,
in a sense, a superconducting superfluid is not "there"
for the objects or electrons that move through it —
they get no information about its presence. This could
explain why we, and even our most sensitive instruments,
fail to register its presence.
In Gazdag's reinterpretation of Einstein's relativity
theory the celebrated formulas describe the flow of
bosons in the superfluid ZPF. This flow is what determines
the geometrical structure of spacetime, and hence the
trajectory of real world photons and electrons. When
particles of light and matter move uniformly, spacetime
is Euclidean; when they are accelerated the ZPF interacts
with their motion. Then spacetime appears curved. If
an object is strongly accelerated, vortices are created
in the medium and these vortices produce resistance:
the classical interaction effects surface.)
Front- line research in physics confirms the basic notion
that underlies these assumptions.
In 1994 Bernhard Haisch, Alfonso Rueda and Harold Puthoff
gave a mathematical demonstration that inertia can be
considered a vacuum- based Lorentz- force. The force
originates at the subparticle level and produces opposition
to the acceleration of material objects. The accelerated
motion of objects through the vacuum produces a magnetic
field, and the particles that constitute the objects
are deflected by this field. The larger the object the
more particles it contains, hence the stronger the deflection
— and greater the inertia. Inertia is thus a form
of electromagnetic resistance arising in accelerated
frames from the distortion of the zero- point (and otherwise
superfluid) field of the vacuum.
More than inertia, also mass appears to
be a product of vacuum inter- action. If
Haisch and collaborators are right, the concept of mass
is neither fundamental nor even necessary in physics.
When the massless electric charges of the vacuum (the
bosons that make up the superfluid zero- point field)
interact with the electromagnetic field, beyond the
already noted threshold of energy, mass is effectively
"created." Thus mass may be a
structure condensed from vacuum energy, rather than
a fundamental given in the universe.
If mass is a product of vacuum energy, so is gravitation.
Gravity, as we know, is always associated with mass,
obeying the inverse square law (it drops off proportionately
to the square of the distance between the gravitating
masses). Hence if mass is produced in interaction with
the ZPF, then also the force that is associated with
mass must be so produced. This, however,
means that all the fundamental characteristics we normally
associate with matter are vacuum field- interaction
products: inertia, mass, as well as gravity.
In regard to the full scale of interactions between
vacuum energies and the micro- as well as macro- world
of matter- energy, the work of a group of Russian physicists
is of particular significance. Anatoly Akimov, G.I.
Shipov, V.N. Binghi and co- workers developed a sophisticated
theory of what they call the "physical vacuum."
In their theory the vacuum is a real physical field
extending throughout the universe: it registers and
transmits the traces of both micro- particles and macro-
The theory, which at the time of writing has not been
published outside Russia, is important and fascinating
enough to merit some further details.
They take their cue from earlier work by Einstein. In
a seminal treatment, G.I. Shiphov showed that in accordance
with the Clifford- Einstein program of the geometrization
of spacetime, the vacuum can be described not only in
terms of Riemannian (four- dimensional) curvature, but
also in terms of Cartan torsion. In the 1920s studies
carried out by Albert Einstein and E. Cartan laid the
foundation of the theory that became subsequent known
as the ECT (Einstein- Cartan Theory). The
idea stemmed originally from Cartan, who at the beginning
of the century speculated about fields generated by
angular momentum density. This idea was
later elaborated independently by a number of Russian
physicists, including N. Myshkin and V. Belyaev. They
claim to have discovered the natural manifestations
of enduring torsion fields.
Presently Akimov and his team consider
the quantum vacuum as a universal torsion wave carrying
medium. The torsion field is said to
fill all of space isotropically, including its matter
component. It has a quantal structure that is unobservable
in non- disturbed states. However, violations of vacuum
symmetry and invariance create different, and in principle
The torsion field theory takes a modified form of the
original electron- positron model of the "Dirac-
sea": the vacuum's energy field is viewed as a
system of rotating wave packets of electrons
and positrons (rather than a sea of electron-
positron pairs). Where the wave- packets are mutually
embedded, the field is electrically neutral. If the
spins of the embedded packets have the opposite sign,
the system is compensated not only in charge, but also
in classical spin and magnetic moment. Such a system
is said to be a "phyton." Dense ensembles
of phytons are said to approximate a simplified model
of the physical vacuum field.
As a result Akimov et al. view the vacuum as a physical
medium that can assume various polarization states.
Given charge polarization, the vacuum is manifested
as the electromagnetic field. Given matter- polarization,
it is manifested as the gravitational field. And given
spin- polarization, the vacuum manifests as a spin-
field. All fundamental fields known to physics correspond
to specific vacuum polarization- states.
Thus the above "torsion- field theory
of the physical vacuum" can claim that all objects,
from quanta to galaxies, create vortices in the vacuum.
The vortices created by particles and other material
objects are information carriers, linking physical events
quasi- instantaneously. The group- speed
of these "torsion- waves" is of the order
of 10e9 C — one billion times the speed of light.
Since not just physical objects, also the neurons in
our brain create and receive torsion- waves, not only
particles are "informed" of each other's presence
(as in the famous EPR experiments), also humans can
be so informed: our brain, too, is a vacuum- based "torsion-
field transceiver." This suggests a physical explanation
not only of quantum non- locality, but also of telepathy,
remote viewing, and the other telesomatic effects discussed
Meta- stable "torsion- phantoms" generated
by spin- torsion interaction can persist even in the
absence of the objects that generated them. The existence
of these phantoms has been confirmed in the experiments
of Vladimir Poponin and his team at the Institute of
Biochemical Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Poponin, who has since repeated the experiment at the
Heartmath Institute in the US, placed a sample of a
DNA molecule into a temperature controlled chamber and
subjected it to a laser beam. He found that the electromagnetic
field around the chamber exhibits a specific structure,
more or less as expected. But he also found that this
structure persists long after the DNA itself has been
removed from the laser- irradiated chamber: the DNA's
imprint in the field continues to be present when the
DNA is no longer there. Poponin and his collaborators
conclude that the experiment shows that a new field
structure has been triggered from the physical vacuum.
This field is extremely sensitive; it can be excited
by a range of energies close to zero. The phantom effect
is a manifestation, they claim, of a hitherto overlooked
Theories such as those we have cited here
foreshadow a major leap in the scientific world picture:
the physical foundations of the universe acquire an
active role in all its functions and processes. Life,
and even mind, is a manifestation of the constant if
subtle interaction of the wave- packets classically
known as "matter" with the underlying physically
real zero- point vacuum field.
If the emerging world picture is to be completed, we
must evolve an explicit hypothesis to describe the basic
dynamics of the overall range of matter- vacuum interaction.
In this writer's "quantum- vacuum interaction (QVI)
hypothesis," the non- classical energy field of
the vacuum (consisting of scalar as well as electromagnetic
wave propagations) registers the spacetime behaviour
and evolution of matter- energy systems in the form
of interfering wavefronts. The conserved interference
patterns form a holographic information field accessible
to systems with a stereo-dynamic pattern isomorphic
to the systems that produced the patterns. The applicable
process can be described as forward and reverse Fourier
(more exactly, Gabor) transforms.
Hence matter- energy systems ranging from
quanta to complex atomic, molecular, cellular and multi-cellular
structures, including human brains, decode ("read
out") the information they and analogous systems
have encoded ("read into") the field.
Given that wavefronts superpose in multiple dimensions,
the ZPF of the vacuum acts as an information- conserving
and transmitting universal holofield, intercon- necting
systems with each other, as well as with their subsidiary
systems (internal parts) and suprasystems (external
The astonishing psi- phenomena that come to light in
controlled experiments, and the equally astonishing
findings of expert psychotherapists cannot be dismissed
as mere chimera, figments of a fertile but undisciplined
imagination. The findings are part and parcel of the
manifestation of human consciousness: an entity whose
subconscious domains extend far beyond the confines
of the subject's brain and organism.
The findings may be real, yet their acceptance hinges
critically on discovering ways to connect them with
the received frameworks of knowledge. As long as there
is no conceivable tie between an anomaly and the basic
paradigm that frames knowledge in the pertinent field,
the anomaly will remain just that: a paradoxical, uncomprehended
item, relegated to the back shelf of the science establishment.
Recognition of a conceivable tie could, however, make
for a significant difference — it could open up
feasible avenues of conceptual analysis, theory- formulation,
and experimental testing. For that reason likely hypotheses
of brain- brain and brain- universe (or, in an alternative
terminology, consciousness- consciousness, and consciousness-
world) interaction need to be seriously scrutinized,
for intrinsic meaningfulness, consistency with observations,
as well as mesh with the currently known frameworks
In the here discussed case the scientific validation
of the findings would have an additional bonus. Not
only would it introduce greater coherence into our world
picture — binding together the hitherto anomalous
findings of consciousness research with our knowledge
of the physical world — it would also introduce
greater coherence into human affairs. As
thoughtful observers have frequently remarked, many
of our current ills are due to the sense of separateness
and lack of empathy we experience vis- à- vis
our fellow humans and the nonhuman realms of nature
(in modern societies, as Woody Allen quipped,
"nature and I are two").
The scientist's recognition that we do
have deeper ties to each other and to the natural environment
could make a significant impact on the media, and therewith
on the dominant attitudes of the public.
T.S. Eliot asked, "What are the roots that clutch,
what branches grow out of this stony rubbish? Son of
man you cannot say, or guess, for you know only a heap
of broken images..." Perhaps, the exploration of
our subtle ties with each other and with nature could
enable us to know more than a heap of broken images.
It could help us to recognize Bateson's "pattern
that connects": the subtle connecting pattern present
in the cosmos and in the biosphere — and likewise
in our brain and consciousness.