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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Consciousness and the Zero Point Field: Are Akashic Records Real?

A swirling vortex of subatomic particles, influenced by gravity, solar energy and subtle nuclear forces; this is our universe…this is our reality.  Some may find that description to be cogent while others may find cause to question.
I am real, my world is real, and it is made up of real things, with texture and depth and value. Or is it?  The science of physics, coupled with the sciences of evolutionary biology and neurobiology, have given us a grander, closer view of reality, closer than most are aware.  It has shown, with remarkable accuracy and overwhelming consistency, that we and our world are nothing more than a massive collection of particles, spinning and vibrating in different ways, depending on our spatial relationship to the various energies that surround us.
Physics or more specifically, quantum physics is the study of small things, the micro universe, the subatomic universe and beyond.  Its principal endeavour is to find, through scientific experimentation and theoretical mathematics, a way to describe the entire universe –or to find a theory of everything.  The likes of Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku, Brian Greene and many, many more brilliant theoretical and applied physicists have defined reality to an amazing depth.  They have, collectively, provided answers to some of life’s most vexing questions, and they, along side some of the most brilliant minds of natural science, such as Richard Dawkins, P.Z. Meyers and a host of others are on the brink of finding definitive answers to any question mankind might ever conceive.
Though one question still stands unanswered, a question that has been the focus of philosophy’s greatest orators for millennia…Consciousness.  What is it?  Where does it come from?  Is it intrinsic to all life, or is it unique to higher mammals?
Erwin Laszlo
Erwin Laszlo
Even a brief search for theories of consciousness will bring forth a dizzying amount of scientific information on the many different ideas that science and philosophy have generated on this topic.  There are more than two dozen completely different and valid philosophical theories of consciousness, and at least as many scientific theories expounding on the origins and mechanics of consciousness.  Suffice it to say, few theorists agree on this issue.
There are though, a few theories that stand out of the crowd, one of those theories is called is called Akashic Field Theory[1], which is a rather obscure but unendingly interesting blending of philosophy and physics in an attempt to provide a deeper understanding of consciousness.  Discussed in-depth by its most vocal, recent advocate in his 2004 book Science and the Akashic Field: An Integral Theory of Everything, Hungarian born philosopher of Science Erwin Laszlo[2]presents the idea that all knowledge in the universe (or more accurately, the metaverse) is carried as an energy wave in, or as a part of, the quantum vacuum.
That’s a complicated idea, one that isn’t easily explained, let alone understood, but bear with me and I’ll try.
Quantum Vacuum is a state of matter found in the universe, or rather it is a state of space-time that is free of known matter and energy; the state itself is called a Zero Point Field.  Essentially, it’s a condition wherein all matter, all particles of matter -any matter, and energy are removed from an area of space by whatever mechanism, leaving what should be a pure vacuum, an area of space that is truly empty.  Physicists are able to create such Zero Point Fields (ZPF), they do so to create experimental conditions suitable for testing various theories in quantum mechanics, but a funny thing happens in a ZPF, where there should be nothing…there is something.  Mysterious and unidentified energies permeate such Zero Point Fields, and they interact with a known but equally mysterious form of matter called virtual particles[3].
A working understanding of the mechanics of Zero Point Fields is not necessary for the current discussion.  Suffice it to say the science behind the above is highly complex.
Edgar Cayce
Edgar Cayce
So how does this relate to consciousness?  According to Laszlo, this field, or more accurately, the energies within it are the mythicalether or akashic field.  If this sounds familiar to you, it might be because the famed Sleeping Prophet, Edgar Cayce claimed that his ability to foretell the future was derived from his unique method of accessing theether or akashic records[4] with his mind.  He believed that he possessed no personal knowledge of the event that he predicted, but that he had simply looked it up in the ether.  This idea has largely been dismissed by sceptics and mainstream science as classic subterfuge by a successful con man, but some have found a small bit of credibility in the idea that there are those among us that have the ability to access the knowledge of the universe, in fact, there are those who believe, or want to believe that all of us have this ability.
Dr. Diane Hennacy Powell M.D. is one of those people, and through an apparently thorough and impartial investigation of the unbelievably huge body of information amassed on the phenomenon of ESP, she presents the possibility that these akashic records may actually be the substance of consciousness.[5] The idea, while not exactly new, finds some scientific credibility in the ZPF mystery, as famous scientists such as David Bohm and Rupert Sheldrake both, along with Laszlo, called the ZPF a storage medium which the brain (presumably all mammalian brains) are able to access.
Accessing the Akashic Records
This line of reasoning gives rise to the idea that memory and even conscious thought is actually non-local, that it originates outside of our brains, in the ether, and that our brains simply access and utilise the information for navigation through and identification of various elements in our environment.  More than this though, is the idea that every particle in the universe receives instruction from this field for the local rules that govern their spin and movement.  Laszlo claims that his Akashic Field Theory provides solutions to many of quantum physics larger theoretical problems, such as non-locality and quantum entanglement.
Now, the science behind this is highly complex and not easily understood by the layman, but its implications are profound and far reaching.  It engenders visions of invisible strings of energy reaching from our brains to a mysterious field of energy and matter, a field divided into personal portions that hold our individual memories and thoughts.  It might even inspire the idea that we are puppets on strings, controlled from the ether.  Whatever it means the idea deserves further study; it deserves the serious attention of the scientific mind.  Some questions arise even from a cursory review of the idea…
Does this mean that my thoughts aren’t my own?
Are “psychics” simply able to access the akashic records or “personal portions” of other people?
Is there an evolution to the process?  Will we eventually be able to access more of the field than we can now?
In truth, the questions are never-ending, and answers may be a long time coming, but at least the questions are being asked…there can be no progress where knowledge is complete.

[1] László Ervin (2004). Science and the Akashic Field: An Integral Theory of Everything. Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions.
[3] I lack both the expertise and literary skill to explain what these energies and particles are, why they’re there and what they mean in the context of quantum mechanics, though readers are free to conduct their own research on this topic. Wikipedia offers a decent rudimentary explanation as a starting point.
[4] Kevin J. Todeschi (1998). Edgar Cayce on the Akashic Records. A.R.E. Press ISBN – 10: 0876044011
[5] Diane Hennacy Powell M.D. (2009). The ESP Enigma: The Scientific Case for Psychic Phenomena.  New York. Pp 222.