Authors Robert Lanza and Matej Pavsic (with Bob Berman) have written a book, The Grand Biocentric Design (How life creates reality). It is a sequel to other books. It is both horrifying and enlightening. Particularly, it is horrifying when one considers the implications of what he is saying. Otherwise, it might just be enlightening.
To give Robert Lanza credit, (since his name comes first, I assume his input is responsible for a large part of the book), he sounds like a very pleasant fellow. He makes every effort to explain things clearly, in a light and cheerful manner. He is kind enough to put all the mathematical equations in a separate section at the end (for the sake of simpletons like me) – and, best of all, he seems to love animals. He devotes a chapter to them and writes about animals with affection. He even includes them as “observers” – which, as sentient beings, they clearly are. He even mentions plants too.
However, generally speaking, the concepts of quantum physics – just like the theories of Einstein — have left many of us scratching our heads.
Most of us, I imagine, are familiar with the concept in quantum physics that the “observer” is a necessary part of reality. When studying tiny sub-atomic particles, one cannot pinpoint exactly where they are or what form they are in without the presence of the observer. When the observer is present, a beam of light exists as a particle, in a particular place, at a particular time.
Absent the observer, there is no way to pinpoint the location or the time of the light. It exists only as a probability that might or might not be anywhere. It is a wave, or a photon, not a particle, and it has no precise, defined existence.
Robert Lanza expands on this concept by concluding that probably there is no definite past at all. I’m leaving out the explanations, but the end result is that yesterday may have existed or maybe it didn’t. Time, as Einstein told us, is relative. As it turns out, it’s really, really relative. There may not be any clear, definite past at all – just a present – and a present only when there is an observer.
Robert Lanza does graciously acknowledge that animals can also be observers. When the chipmunk hears the fall of the famous tree in the forest, then, surely, the tree actually fell and made a sound – just as if a human had heard it. That’s all well and good.
Is there a yesterday?
To get back to the existence of yesterday – it could be perceived by most of us as just a tiny bit alarming if there were no well-defined yesterday.
Consider this: Let’s say you celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday – along with all your relatives, including the uncle that you always argue with. Now looking back on this, it might be awkward to have to ask yourself if those people who sat around the table really were all your real relatives. Maybe in years past, you had completely different relatives?
Or you tuck your child into bed at night and in the morning you wake her up. You would like to be confident that this is indeed your child – the same one who was your child yesterday.
You grew up in a small town in the Midwest – but wait, maybe not, maybe instead, you grew up in New York City, in a bustling urban neighborhood. Who knows?
There is no definite past.
If you took any of this seriously, it might be genuinely disturbing.
A walk in the woods
This afternoon I took a short walk and sat down on the low branch of a juniper tree. Across the way, on the next tree was a very communicative raven – making a whole repertory of sounds – calls, warbles, and clicks.
I looked at the tree branch I was sitting on and thought about the concept of yesterday not being fixed in time at all.
Trees exist on nutrients that come to them though chemical actions caused by the passing of sunlight through their leaves – or in the case of the juniper, their needles. Through their roots buried in the earth they drink in water.
Now this becomes a problem if there was no yesterday – because how was this nourishment and drinking accomplished if the tree did not exist yesterday – or in the years and months prior to yesterday? How exactly did the tree come to be, in its current form with a thick, sturdy trunk and lots of branches – without having received any nourishment, which would have required time in the past?
This is a problem because there was no observer of the tree eating and drinking. Even the perceptive raven in the other tree would not have noticed any eating or drinking done by the tree.
Perhaps the tree observed itself eating and drinking? This would make the most sense, and there have been scientific experiments, and books published, that document the apparent awareness – or consciousness — of trees. I certainly have no problem at all with the idea of trees being aware, sentient beings.
This still, however, doesn’t get rid of the problem of yesterday – and any other aspect of the past not having a fixed, definite form or existence.
For the tree to be eating and drinking – time is required – yesterday – or in the summertime – or whenever — there must be a precise, actually existing time when the tree received nourishment and water. Otherwise, it would not be alive. Without a certain past, there is no present.
Then there’s another problem – if plants and animals can be observers – and I would totally agree that that can happen, then what about the observer status of beings that are not biologically alive? What about rocks, mountains, the stars, the moon?
What about the mountains and the moon?
If you are an astronomer, and you find the moon at a certain location along its trajectory around the earth – then the moon must have traveled to get there. If the moon is to be found at location x, then it must have traveled in the past in order to arrive at the location where it is today.
So, is the moon conscious, and is it its own observer? The ancients – virtually all ancestors of modern humans – would have answered a resounding, “Yes, of course”!
But we feel we are so much wiser today – not superstitious or ignorant.
The simplest possible answer to all these perplexities is the very simple concept that everything and everyone is someone – from the tiniest microorganism to the biggest star – from the great mountain worshipped by native people to the old truck that you have fondly given a name to.
Furthermore, just to go one step further – one could suppose that all beings have a soul – and that that soul is one and the same Soul who is also the Creator and the Essence of the known Universe – and all that may lie beyond the universe – otherwise known as God.
(Oh dear, I guess we have just left behind virtually everyone who steadfastly identifies with the modern time in which we live.)
To go back to Robert Lanza for a moment, he, on several occasions, laughs at the concept of God by referring to “a belief in God, ghosts and spirits.” “Spirits,” I think, was what he mentioned along with God and ghosts.
We are expected these days to all belong to a club – the great club of modernity – which is educated – generally western – materialist – which values science above all and which, with greater conviction, with every passing day – is the Great Club of modern truth – with no longer any need to even condescend to consider – the values, beliefs, perceptions of those billions of souls who came before us – nevermind their art, their inspiration, their music, their mysticism, their vision and their profound awareness.
Our own meager modern glimmer of reality is supposed to be the final truth – and it diminishes in scope day by day. Our ticket to this Club of Modernity is our denial of anything spiritual, alive, or true – until such time as this yuga ends and the light of the next yuga shines over the horizon.
So, we shall see, as time goes along…
(If this was, in any way, hard to follow, I’m sorry. Not to worry – these are just my thoughts. You’re welcome to your own. And, if you are blessed – as many people are – even in these dim days – with a vision and a connection with All that lies beyond, then God bless you and be well. If not, may the Light be with you.)
© Copyright Sharon St Joan, 2022
4 thoughts on “Where is yesterday in quantum physics?”
Dr. Bulusu Prasad, a belated thank you for your wise words!
( celebration of thanksgiving ,
tucking the child into bed ,
growing up in rural midwest ? /newyork ? ,
the growing tree ,
the moving moon )
for explaining the difficulties of having
a NO yesterday
are very apt and entertaining !
yes , there IS a yesterday !
in the world of transactions ,
i can not think of / work with absolutes !
i can not afford to lose the past !
i sure have a yesterday……..
no , there ISN’T any yesterday !
when i look back over my shoulders ,
i can’t find a ‘clear’ yesterday ;
i see something hazy , unreachably distant ,
of doubtful existence
then i ask myself
“am ‘I’ in that yesterday ?”
and the answer is “no” ;
sure , there is no yesterday
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
the ‘very simple concept’
that everything is someone
— but in a slightly different tone —
we need not go as far as
allotting a ‘soul’ to an object ;
but we see every physical ‘thing’ is sentient
every ‘thing’ in the physical world –
be it an electron / a mountain
or an unbelievably big galaxy –
behaves responds & interacts according to
does it ‘know’ its rules ?
may i call it sentience ?
Upanishad calls this ‘sentience’ Antar-yaami
Dr Prasad, Thank you so very much for your very wise comment. Yes, I know that you are correct. There was much wisdom and truth in ancient India – also much spiritual and scientific understanding. As you said, “When He validates, the world happens…” That is a very profound truth. If we could get back to the truths known to the ancient Hindus, we would have a world of harmony, peace, and beauty.
i quote from the article :
“…….. the concepts of quantum physics – just like the theories of Einstein — have left many of us scratching our heads.
Most of us, I imagine, are familiar with the concept in quantum physics that the “observer” is a necessary part of reality……..”
this concept was there in India
from at least a few thousands of years ago ;
i’ll elaborate :
pramaata — pramaatr. — prameya
knower — known — knowledge
it is a triad ;
the three are inseparable ,
they appear simultaneously ,
and disappear simultaneously
though the quantum theory is pointing to parameters such as speed & location ,
these are of use
only when there is an observer ( knower ) ;
when there is no observer ,
even the very presence of anything is a nought
when you shut down all the senses ,
there is no outer world at all ;
when you shut down all thoughts ,
there is no inner world ;
even when all these are kept open ,
there should be a Knower to read them ;
when He validates , the world happens ;
be it quantum particles-waves ,
or the macro world of ours ,
or the megaworld of galaxies & black holes