quantum healing – reconsidering Newton – a review by Tim McKamey
of Lynne McTaggart’s book The Field
In physics, coherence is an ideal property of waves that enables stationary (that is, temporally and spatially constant) interference. Our title is not an oxymoron. It was difficult for me to understand at first that there are two kinds of interference, constructive and destructive. We tend to think of interference as generally being destructive, such as the interference of a nagging in-law. But in the objective language of science, interference is simply a term describing the interaction of waves as pictured above. When interfering, two waves can add together to create a wave of greater amplitude than either one alone, (constructive interference), or subtract from each other to create a wave of lesser amplitude than either one (destructive interference), depending on their relative phase. Two waves are said to be coherent if they have a constant relative phase. Spatial coherence describes the correlation between waves at different points in space. Temporal coherence describes the correlation or predictable relationship between waves observed at different points in time.
Now this gets even more esoteric when we learn that there are special cases of coherence that never occur in “reality” but allow for an understanding of the physics of waves and have special importance in quantum physics. Our “reality” here is in quotation marks to differentiate the physical reality and laws of motion associated with Newtonian mechanics from another reality as described by quantum mechanics. Will the real reality please stand up?
What Lynne McTaggart has done in her book The Field (HarperCollins, 2001/2008) is bring us a giant step closer to reconciling these separate realities into one. Remember that book by Carlos Casteneda in the early 1970s, “A Separate Reality”? Like much of what we read about quantum physics, this begs the question, what good is a reality that we are separate from? McTaggart is an investigative journalist who experienced her own miraculous healing some time ago involving homeopathy and set about the task of finding out how something so completely outside of the understanding of conventional western medicine could turn out to be so effective.
Her book, The Field; The Quest For the Secret Force of the Universe, is divided into three sections; The Resonating Universe, The Extended Mind, and Tapping Into the Field. Here we are introduced to a growing number of scientific pioneers and how the work of each over time begins to inform the work of the others. By the end we see the beginnings of a unified theory of consciousness emerging that will not only fundamentally alter our understanding of the body/mind/spirit connection but could very well resolve the energy crisis as well. McTaggart invites us to consider the following:
- Astronaut Edgar Mitchell’s epiphany in outer space and his subsequent research into inner space with the Institute of Noetic Sciences.
- Hal Puthoff, his work at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI), the Zero-Point Field of quantum physics and the field’s potential as both an immense source of energy and a kind of space-time continuum where information appears to be exchanged between particles of matter.
- How most modern physicists have tended to discount the Zero-Point Field by re-normalizing its effects in their calculations and even today know very little about the fundamental workings of things like electromagnetic radiation and gravity. But with the recent discovery of dark-matter and dark-energy (about which we know next to nothing) making up over 70% of the universe, many scientists are beginning to re-evaluate the possibilities.
- Fritz Albert-Popp in Germany and his discovery of the role biophotons play in his theories of electromagnetic molecular signaling and how these may help us understand how such diverse practices as homeopathy and acupuncture operate.
- The morphic-resonance fields of Rupert Sheldrake and new insights into how vibration and frequency may explain some of the mysteries of epigenetics, DNA and cell-organization beyond the conventional realms of chemistry and molecular biology.
- Physicist David Bohm’s theories of an Implicate Order in the universe that exist ‘above’ and ‘beyond’ purely physical explanations of the relationship between matter and energy.
- French biologist Jacque Benvenista who found evidence not only for electromagnetic signaling between cells in our bodies, but how this phenomenon extends beyond our bodies to others as well.
- Karl Pribram and his theories concerning engrams and the Holonomic Brain, building on Walter Schempp’s work on Body Hologram Integrity.
- Robert Jahn’s decades of research into remote-viewing, the late Elizabeth Targ’s work with spiritual forms of remote healing and Roger Nelson’s Global Consciousness Project, how all these are contributing to a new understanding of the effects of intent and increased levels of ‘coherence’. This work is being studied in individuals, in small groups and in massive collective experiments that span the globe. The results indicate conclusively that we can and do tap into fields of interpenetrating patterns of energy and that this energy can be utilized for an amazing array of applications.
By the end of Part One McTaggart has presented sufficient evidence to suggest that by ignoring the significance of the Zero-Point Field, modern physicists might have set mankind back for many decades. There appears now to be a sound possibility that the Zero-Point Field might have within it a system of exchanged and patterned energy that would explain a wide range of hitherto unexplained and often miraculous phenomena. In re-normalizing their equations and not considering the significance and potential of the Zero-Point Field, it is as she remarks “a little like subtracting out God.”
How could modern science have become so blind-sided? With all the wonders science has brought us, what state of affairs could have caused such a narrowing of vision that something so significant as the Zero-Point Field would be overlooked? Generally speaking, what we have come to accept as orthodox western science and medicine is only a few hundred years old. It is amazing in that regard that in such a short time it has come to nearly dominate our worldview to the extent that it has. Especially when you realize how narrow a range of phenomena it encompasses. Focusing only on the quantifiable physical and material aspects of the universe, science has been quite successful at creating a lot of ‘stuff’. From the discovery of germs to atomic bombs, we have been so impressed with all this ‘stuff’, so seduced by its power and effectiveness, that we have nearly come to conclude that this is all that matters, that matter is all there is, and we can’t wait to make more of it and make huge amounts of money doing it, so that, of course, we can get or build even more ‘stuff’.
For thousands of years leading up to the so-called Age of Enlightenment in the 17th and 18th centuries, people knew very well there was more to life than ‘stuff’. There was meaning and wonder, questions about where we came from and where we might be going. Ancient traditions from every culture contain startlingly similar ideas about the interconnectedness of all of life and our relationship to the natural world and the universe. Philosophy, theology and the arts were all valid ways to explore these questions and ponder the multiple levels of reality that everyone knew quite well were essential to our being.
But by the 17th century a handful of ideas that had been bouncing around for several centuries started to gain considerable political clout, even feeding into major revolutions in places like France and America. Many of these same ideals and principles that played a key role in the emerging scientific revolution led to the encouragement of something being called humanism. Yet ironically as the spirit of Individualism swept the world like wildfire in the 19th century, the definition of what makes us human became reduced to the narrow confines of the physical world alone, dis-integrating our being and our relationship to nature into a reductionist and fragmented world-view. William Blake warned us in the 18th century to “beware of Science and Newton’s Sleep” from which only now in the 21st century are we actually beginning to awake.
In her book The Field, Lynne McTaggart is helping us to awaken from “Newton’s Sleep”. To do this she also, interestingly enough, is using science. This will come as no surprise to some scientists, for as the 17th century mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal predicted,
“…the endpoint of rationality is to point out the limits to rationality.”
Pascal also said that
“…the heart has its own reasons about which reason knows nothing.”
With the introduction into the scientific world of quantum mechanics through the work of Max Planck, Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Niels Bohr, Erwin Schrodinger and Wolfgang Pauli, by the middle of the 20th century it was clear to many that some of the sacred cows of science were about to be tipped off their feet. But after all the time that has passed since, many of the sciences, biology and medicine primarily, lag far behind the breakthrough insights introduced by quantum physics. This book brings us up to date on an array of startling discoveries being made over the past 20 years throughout the scientific world. McTaggart, an investigative journalist, attempts to answer questions like, “what is quantum coherence?”, “why does the Zero-Point Field exist?”, “how do these relate to consciousness?”, and perhaps most importantly, why does all this matter to us?
Considering the number of sacred cows being toppled in the scientific kingdom, it is no surprise to find there are detractors and controversy will continue to rage. But the evidence is overwhelming that we are on the verge of a new paradigm and the effects on the healing arts (along with other areas) will be profound.
Ever since the rise of scientific materialism, western medicine with its focus on the physical body and disease, sometimes referred to as allopathic medicine, has been the accepted standard in the world of health care. The past 30 years or so has seen tremendous growth however in alternative and integrative approaches. These complementary healing modalities include practices such as naturopathy, homeopathy, Reiki, Huna, Qigong, and other forms of vibrational healing, Chinese medicine, acupuncture, ayurvedic medicine from India, shamanism, prayer and spiritual healing, and the use of sound and music. Some of these are ancient, some only a few hundred years old or less.
What all these alternative modalities have in common is that they look at the whole person, which includes processes other than only those physical systems western science understands. Processes and systems like energy fields, the chi in Chinese medicine for example, and alternate ideas relating to the nature of consciousness. This is what makes the work described in The Field so exciting. At last we are on the threshold of a new understanding of nature that allows us to build on the integrative practices offered by these complimentary healing modalities. The re-integration of ancient traditions into the mainstream of modern medicine is progressing slowly, but it continues to grow. We have always known that these traditions have value, we just could not explain how they worked in terms western science would accept. There are also huge fortunes and the self-interests of multi-national pharmaceutical and biochemical corporations to contend with and this has not made the job any easier.
Quantum physics has forever altered our understanding of the physical world. But that understanding is slow in gaining traction in areas outside of theoretical physics. Some of these ideas were popularized 30 years ago or more in books like The Tao of Physics by Fritjof Capra and The Dancing Wu-Li Masters by Gary Zukav. Research described in The Field goes further in this regard to expand our awareness of the non-dual nature of reality by explaining ongoing research in various fields including neuropsychology, brain neurodynamics, parapsychology, remote healing, noetics, and information processing.
Fundamental to an understanding of the emerging paradigm is the realization of three things:
1) There are no irreducible sub-atomic particles of physical matter, everything is energy.
2) There really is no such thing as a perfect vacuum, either in outer space or in the space between sub-atomic particles. What was previously considered empty space appears to be a vibrant plenum of potentiality full of waves and particles of energy blinking into and out of existence continuously in a cosmic dance.
3) The very act of attempting to observe or measure these phenomena alters their (and our) reality, so it is a much more complex matter to measure and quantify than previously assumed. We cannot separate ourselves from that which we are attempting to observe.
This interconnectedness of all things, how all things appear to pass into and out of existence in relation to an energized plenum of vibrant energy as opposed to empty space is actually an ancient idea dating back at least as far as Aristotle in the West and perhaps further in the East. But the philosophy of Descartes and other 17th century philosophers discarded this view in favor of the dualistic notion of physical substance and non-physical substance.
This has had unfortunate and unforeseen effects on both the scientific and religious worlds. Over time science has paid more and more attention to the physical world and relegated the so-called non-physical realms to mystics and spiritual philosophers. The religious world in turn focused more and more on the so-called ‘spiritual’ aspects of the world becoming ever more irrelevant to a society that increasingly sees only the material world as real and discounts everything else as illusion.
But with the exciting new research described in The Field, we are returning to the view that ALL really is ONE, that all is interconnected and there is only one thing in the universe and that is being understood as vibrational exchanges of patterned energy. What we think of as matter or ‘stuff’ is simply our perception of these constantly changing patterns, these manifestations of interactions of energy.
So while Newtonian physics appears to work fine for understanding things like the force and motion of balls on a billiard table, the same mechanics have limited value for understanding how cells in our body work, how our brain and consciousness operate, or how people relate to one another and to the universe in which we live. While some theoretical quantum physicists understand this difference, many scientists working in fields like chemistry and biology continue to treat the human body as if it were some kind of machine governed by mechanical processes alone.
Hal Puthoff, building on the work of Timothy Boyer, believes that actually many of the amazing properties of the Zero-Point Field can be understood in terms of Newtonian Physics. Quantum Physicists initially just didn’t go far enough to understand it. Einstein’s ‘spooky action at a distance’ and the so-called ‘strangeness’ of quarks were simply various ways quantum physicists came up with for getting around the Zero-Point Field and ‘re-normalizing’ their equations. Had Isaac Newton lived today he would no doubt have been delighted at the findings in The Field and not found them counter to his thought at all.
In researching the state of affairs that led to things like Cartesian Dualism and drove science and religion into such a dysfunctional relationship, I actually discovered that Newton, along with many other early scientists and philosophers (including Renee Descartes, the French philosopher who is most often credited with the concept of Cartesian Dualism), were also deeply interested in spirituality.
Newton was after all as much a mystic and an alchemist as he was a scientist, though much of his mystical writings remained unpublished till after his death. But even in his Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (1687) and other well-known scientific works we see what insights Newton had into the inner workings of Nature.
“Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things…..But as artificers do not work with perfect accuracy, it comes to pass that mechanics is so distinguished from geometry, that what is perfectly accurate is called geometrical; what is less so is called mechanical. But the errors are not in the art, but in the artificers..”
While we have come to equate Newtonian Mechanics with a mechanistic interpretation of the universe, Newton might argue that his science was no mere artifice of mechanics at all, but entailed a more elegant geometry that quantum physicists can gain much from. Newton regarded the universe as a cryptogram set by God and used his God-given powers of mind to unlock some of those mysteries.
Newton said, “He who thinks half-heartedly will not believe in God, but he who really thinks has to believe in God.” He also said, “God created everything by number, weight and measure.” These are sound enough principles, but science until recently has simply been extremely limited in its ability to perceive the numbers, weights and measures of something like that which takes place in the Zero-Point Field. Thankfully, that is changing now.
So rather than discard Newton, we would do well to rethink how it is we have turned his sacred geometry into the mere artifice of mechanics, the science referred to by Blake as “Newton’s sleep”. Newton’s wisdom went far beyond the laws of motion he is most remembered for. Do these sound like the words of a reductionist?:
“We build too many walls and not enough bridges.”
“I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people.”
“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
“To explain all of Nature is too difficult a task for any one man, or even any one age.”
In The Field, Lynne McTaggart explains how there is little motivation in today’s largely government-funded scientific establishment to challenge the conventional mechanistic assumptions because “the system of competitive grant-writing and peer review tends to encourage professionals to only carry out experiments that confirm the existing view of things.” The brave pioneers that she investigates in The Field realize fully well that they are risking professional suicide to go against the grain, but they simply cannot ignore the findings of their research. From a variety of approaches they are all coming to the overwhelming realization that “the self has a field of influence on the world and vice versa.”
All this of course has a profound impact on our work as healing music practitioners. Here we can begin to see a science emerging for why the ‘intent’ we bring with our music is so very important for its efficacy. As others have pointed out, music touches us in many ways, and not simply with the physical vibrations of sound, important as those are. The heart/brain coherence described in Part Three and the work of the late Elisabeth Targ on prayer and spiritual healing along with Roger Nelson’s EGG devices measuring Global Consciousness, and the many studies being conducted in the effects of small and massive groups of people meditating together (even if physically separated), all this underscores the power of the mind and heart working together. The application of intent and coherence are like bringing a kind of psychic amplifier to the physical energy of the music itself.
As I read The Field, I am encouraged by the dedication and persistence of the many brave scientific pioneers Lynne McTaggart describes. These ideas resonate within me as they intuitively have done for many years every time I come in contact with this kind of work. I am happy to see new in-roads of understanding and dialogue emerging between the complementary modalities of healing and the conventional western institutions of science and medicine. There is a great deal more research to do in this arena and I look forward to helping that happen in whatever way I can in my little corner of the universe. Especially now as I realize that thanks to The Field, my little corner of the universe reaches out infinitely in all directions.
– Tim McKamey, August 11, 2013