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Re: Superstrings Tantra and Blavatsky.

Apr 01, 2002 02:40 AM
by bri_mue

Leon: "Goswami, Amit. The Self-Aware Universe: how consciousness 
creates the material world. Tarcher/Putnam, New York. 1993 -- to find 
out the "hard time" modern physics is having answering the "hard 
problems" of consciousness."

In fact I did read Goswami, but what he writes has not much to do
with HPB as such. 

In fact what you mention, "so above so below", that is from the Tabula 
Smaragdina written in the 9th century and translated in Latin during the 
Renaissance in Italy. But if you contantly interpret these historical  
as "hatred" it is no surprise that under these circumstances you can 
also not get the real facts of the mathematics down, as you will 
interpret these also as "hatred." That you don't want to study history 
and see where the ideas you claim really came from is therefore your  
2e problem. 

Goswami has published several books presenting an idealist 
interpretation of quantum mechanics, the best known being "The
Self Aware Universe" . In 1996, Goswami and Henry Swift began
publishing an on line bulletin called Science Within Consciousness, 
carrying articles on idealist quantum metaphysics. In his publications, 
Goswami presents two principal claims.

Firstly, quantum physics is best explained within a framework that 
hovers between idealism and neutral monism. More precisely, the 
underlying "stuff" of the universe that, according to Goswami, is 
revealed by quantum physics should be understood as consciousness. In 
Goswami's terminology, however, consciousness is not the same as 
mind, but an unknowable something that transcends both mind and 
matter. Perhaps, in Berkeleyan fashion, one could interpret Goswami
as saying that it is a transcendent consciousness that causes the
properties of the macroscopic world to emerge.

Secondly, he claims that quantum mechanics provides support for
claims of a variety of paranormal phenomena. Psychic phenomena, such 
as distant viewing and out of body experiences, are examples of what 
he calls the non local operation of consciousness, which he attempts to 
support by means of an unorthodox interpretation of the EPR paradox.
It has been formally demonstrated that the seemingly coordinated 
behavior of two particles at a distance implied in the EPR paradox 
cannot be used to transmit information as this would be an attempt
to explain an imperfectly instantiated paranormal phenomenon by 
means of ad hoc hypotheis. Goswami's solution to this problem is to 
invoke a principle of his own, which he calls downward causation by 
consciousness. His idea is that consciousness collapses quantum waves 
of possibility into actual events, and that conscious intention can 
correlate two quantum objects. This would purportedly explain how,
for instance, telepathy could be possible.

Goswami's quantum metaphysics thus goes beyond the construction of 
an idealist philosophy. In his publications and on line bulletins, Goswami =

has invoked his interpretation of physics to endorse a variety of New Age 
claims ranging from psychokinesis and remote viewing to channeling 
and healing. We shall return to such uses of quantum metaphysics in the 
following section. Goswami's own professed purpose is to show that 
physics not only has suggestive parallels with Indian monistic idealism 
(as Capra did),but to demonstrate that a philosophy of monistic idealism 
is the only reasonable ontological framework within which it is possible 
to make sense of the world of quantum mechanics. The rhetorical 
strategies employed to do so are highly reminiscent of those found 
in "The Tao of Physics". The idealism that Goswami refers to is a kind of
"philosophia perennis" a popular idea during the Renaisance. As I 
mentioned before this universalizing view of religion is constructed 
by a liberal use of synonymization and pattern recognition. Thus, the 
twin elements of the Indian concept of nama rupa, generally
translated as "name and form", are assimilated to Western philosophical 
and psychological terminology by being interpreted as "transcendent 
archetypes" and "immanent form", respectively. See also my remarks 
about John Dee and others of that period, Renaisance.

The Hindu term brahman is explained as a synonym of the Christian
Holy Spirit, and so on. The range of idealist philosophies quoted in
support of Goswami's own thesis is far vaster than Capra's. In The Self 
Aware Universe, there are references to Vedanta, Daoism, Mahayana 
Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, Zen, Platonism, Yoga, and a host of other 
traditions. Goswami's physics is equally unorthodox. The traditional 
Copenhagen interpretation is explained in passing and the more upto 
date theories of decoherence do not enter the discussion, whereas 
theories that might support Goswami's own views are referred to 
throughout his text . 

It can be noted that recent statements of quantum 
metaphysics share their perspective with other New Age popularizations 
of the topic: the developments of the first forty years are 
overemphasized at the expense of the advances of the last few decades.

Goswami constructs the same straw man as Talbot in "Mysticism and 
the New Physics"pp. 45 f., by claiming that the view of
consciousness as an epiphenomenon of material (neurological) 
processes reduces consciousness to the status of an illusion; "Self Aware
Universe" p. 6
The argument may have had some validity during the time Of 
behaviorism, but is out of place in works written in the early

Adopting such an idealist interpretation would, according to Goswami, 
have much wider implications than just supplanting one view of the 
world with another. 

By embracing philo sophical materialism, the worldview underpinning 
classical physics is also said to foster materialism in the everyday
sense of the word, i.e. the wish to hoard possessions.Consequently, 
quantum metaphysics is not only a way of understanding physical reality, 
but ultimately a path to reconcile science and religion, make us accept
the spiritual experiences, heal our alienation and, ultimately, effect a
major social transformation:

"If ordinary people really knew that consciousness and not matter
is the link that connects us with each other and the world, then their 
view about war and peace, environmental pollution, social justice,
religious values, and all other endeavors would change 
radically."(Goswami "Self –Aware Universe" p. 8. This
utopian agenda is central to Goswami's project.)

In order to further his idealistic interpretation, Goswami, like
others in the the quantum metaphysical genre that I mentioned in an 
earlier posting to you (Leon), combines a view of physics shared
with very few scientists with a description of Indian
philosophy that is hardly defensible from a historical point of view.
Rather then being a presentation of modern physics in any
conventional sense, "The Se!f Aware Universe" appears to center on the
need for spiritual transformation and the possibility of seeing the birth o=
a new age. Significantly, paratextual markers in Goswami's The Self 
Aware Universe contribute to labeling his work as neither a work of
popularized physics nor a book on idealist philosophy, but specifically as =

an example of New Age literature. The endorsements and comments on 
the back flap are thus not principally those of fellow physicists, but of 
New Age spokespersons healer Larry Dossey, an anonymous reviewer 
from the Yoga journal. The preface is an endorsement by an even more 
controversial quantum metaphysicist, Fred Alan Wolf, who became 
known for his Capra like assertion that there are significant parallels 
between modern physics and traditional shamanism.  

--- In theos-talk@y..., leonmaurer@a... wrote:
> In a message dated 03/24/02 11:44:54 AM, bri_mue@y... writes:
> >Well first of all that is your imagination regarding vehemence, 
> >personally I take it rather lightly, and reg. the language you
> >like calling other members on this list "crazy" or nuts as you 
> >wrote, I think it is better if you stop projecting yourself onto 
> >others as you seem to do , or ar you in fact a "mad" scientist ?
> Well, as a matter of fact I am... (Although, not mad at anyone in 
> in this forum.:-) But, only in the sense that my scientific
> marrying metaphysics with physics seem "crazy" to those narrow 
minded people 
> who cannot think for themselves, and need "authoritative" sounding 
> and quotes from so called "experts," while relying on the limited
> reductive material science to tell them what to believe or not
> the true nature of reality -- which includes both consciousness and 
> and all the "coadunate but not consubstantial" fields in between. 
So, I 
> guess we are even. (They're "nuts" and I'm "mad" :-) 
> ...And, I'll "stop projecting (my)self onto others" (whatever that 
> when you stop projecting on us your hatred of theosophy, and 
drowning us in 
> endless repetitive and non sequitur, selective exoteric mystical 
> information that proves nothing about your denials of HPB's
> metaphysical teachings -- which are backed up by modern science's 
> Superstring/M-brane theory, and my ABC theory... Now considered 
as a valid 
> paradigm by many scientists currently working in the field of 
> studies -- who can't find reasonable answers (using their presently 
> "accepted" scientific theories) to the hard questions of how to
> conscious experience" and the "binding of mind to brain" -- (or,
> first, the chicken or the egg)? :-) 
> Apropos, perhaps you should research the archives of the Journal of 
> Consciousness Studies online forum over the past 7 years to see for 
> what I am talking about. Maybe, then, you will be a bit more
> voicing your unfounded negative opinions about the scientific
of my 
> ABC theory -- which is consstent with theosophical metaphysics and 
> theoretical conclusions about consciousness, mind and matter, as
> reincarnation and karma deduced from its fundamental principles.  
Also, you 
> might read Goswami, Amit. The Self-Aware Universe: how 
consciousness creates 
> the material world. Tarcher/Putnam, New York. 1993 -- to find out 
the "hard 
> time" modern physics is having answering the "hard problems" of 
> consciousness. (Goswami teaches quantum physics at the University 
of Oregon.)

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