IT IS DANGEROUS to say or write that anything in the world of consciousness studies is categorically proven or disproven these days. Hardly are the words out of your mouth or the ink dry on the page, than some clever-clogs will appear on U-Tube to prove that you have no idea what you’re talking about.
It’s the same throughout the world of advanced science. Even such brilliant mathematicians as Stephen Hawking have had to retract/revise their words of wisdom in recent years and months, particularly on the subject of the Theory of Everything and its foundation stones, String Theory/Superstring Theory and M(Meta)-Theory.
‘Hardcore’ mathematicians and scientists pin their faith firmly on the continuing research into particle science and the maths underlying it, happy in the certainty that nobody outside their tiny eclectic circle can possibly begin to understand what the hell they’re talking about. They are perfectly safe (in their view) in verbally putting down anyone who dares to challenge their beliefs that (some day) a method of proving their claim that superstrings that can only be defined by acceptance of 10 dimensions (7 of which cannot be seen) + time really do exist and will ultimately bring together Einstein’s Theories of Relativity and the mysteries of Quantum Mechanics. It is a matter of huge relief that these people do not have the power of a latter-day pope with the inquisition at his beck and call. We simple folk who dare to cry ‘Rubbish’ would all be burnt at their stake.
There is, however, another school of thought out there that is beginning to gain a toe-hold in the ‘race’ to explain the universe and how man perceives it. This school agrees with all the explanations of particle theories. Some of its members can even claim to understand the quantum mathematics involved. They depart from their hardcore colleagues insofar as they are not prepared to accept that superstrings as such will ever be observable (even if they do exist) and therefore there must be another explanation for the origin of our universe in The Big Bang that even they seem to accept as the only possible Truth behind our very existence.
This school accepts that beneath the chaotic mass of sub-sub-sub particles made up of superstrings there has to be an infinite well of calm all-knowing Consciousness that transcends everything. If this is beginning to sound like recognition of some kind of metaphysical entity, then there is plenty of proof of that. Most of the explanations I have seen tend to compare ideas with eastern religion (primarily Buddhism). Those who profess to have academic qualifications from established Asian universities in the validity and practice of the Buddhist belief system are as convinced that this Consciousness is knowable through deep meditation as practised by the highest degrees of Yoga masters (or whatever they call themselves) as are the particle theorists that only continued research into quantum mechanical explanations will ever reveal how the universe works.
Both schools call on the services of distinguished philosophers to help bring substance to their claims to have all the answers. For the layman it is difficult to choose which side to believe or even to decide if there is any substance to either case. Will the world suddenly cease to follow its daily path around the sun, if we refuse to believe in the tenets of the superstring theory (or should I say faith)? Should we all be turning to Buddhism and learning how to meditate? (I suspect learning to meditate might be more beneficial to one’s health than trying to learn how to manipulate the 7 fudge factors of quantum mechanical mathematics).
For all practical purposes mankind will be better served by developing inter-religious understanding and following the known laws of physics defined thus far in our human evolution. As science has developed more and more complex theories about the origins of our universe (or universes), the more religion of all kinds tends to be sidelined as people the world over embrace the selfish, materialistic and hedonistic attractions of of the modern Western mindset.
Thankfully, most scientists and engineers with their feet firmly anchored in reality recognise their duty to direct their skills towards perfecting cures for the ills that have afflicted animal life in all its diversity since it emerged from the perpetual slime of creation. Flights of fancy there are a-plenty. The ultimate goal of an anti-gravity force that will allow us to defy Newton’s laws and fly around in weightless machines or rebuild the pyramids without ramps and cranes (or millions of slaves) is unlikely to be gained any time soon. Talk of quantum supercomputers appears to be wildly optimistic even amongs people who ought to know better, while the search for sources of electrical power to run such machines that must, of course, be both renewable and sustainable as well as limitless (fusion?) is as controversial as it is disorganised.
The science of electromagnetics and the development of materials that opitimise the ever more practical devices that emerge from the innovations of brilliant engineers is still expanding and enabling them to satisfy the thirst for better and better definition of the microworld of biology and genetics, allowing the medical world to advance its understanding of disease and its techniques to deal with it on all fronts from cancer research to alzheimer’s disease, from neurosurgery to prosthetic orthopaedic surgery, not to mention the elimination of blindness and deafness – and the rest.
The brilliance of our more grounded electrical, electronics, mechanical and civil engineers is propelling research into materials of ever-increasing strength and adaptability that can only be of ultimate benefit to the world at large. Geophycicists are surging ahead with technology that will allow them at least to predict if not counter the more terrifying disaster scenarios (earthquakes, floods, tsunamis and so on) that cause so much damage to the world.
There are areas of scientific research that are disturbing as well as being fiendishly expensive. These range from particle research focussed on the Hadron Collider and other such worldwide projects, to the search for extraterrestrial contacts, the funding for which is not quite so astronomic (pun intended). The ultimate scam is that perpetrated by the International Panel for Climate Change, a phenomenon which has been proven to be mere cyclical change in weather patterns caused by the earth’s journey around the sun and the sun’s journey around the galaxy. The fortunes being exacted from taxpayers around the western world to combat this so-called threat are being channeled into the pockets of both politicians and ‘weather scientists’, both doing very nicely thank you on the proceeds and who have no intention of owning up to their colossal deceit.
A worrying development comes in talk of transhumans. This should be ringing alarm bells. It has all the appearance of a modern version of eugenics that led to the birth and ultimate acceptance of Hitler’s Nazism. It is, of course, an off-shoot of fascinating research into advanced robotics and its sister science, artificial intelligence. Why spend fortunes on developing androids (which will assuredly arrive on the scene in our lifetime), when it will be perfectly possible to ‘develop’ human capacities, both mental and physical?
The World Transhumanist Association wishes to produce a super race of human beings that has access to genius-level intelligence across the board with physical attributes that will place them on a par with the gods of old. The ethical barriers to such development are, to be fair, recognised, but so were they in early talk of eugenics at the turn of the nineteenth/twentieth century. Be careful what you wish for is a good maxim!