Regis Nicoll Regis Nicoll's weblog
- 2006 Jul 13
Take one part quantum physics, one part neuroscience and blend well with the teachings of a 35,000 year old warrior-god, and what do you have? The 2004 sleeper film, What the Bleep Do We Know?
Bleep is a docudrama about a photographer named Amanda (Marlee Matlin), whose lackluster life is becoming unhinged. At every turn, Amanda is immersed deeper into existential crisis as she struggles with questions of, “What is real?”, “Who am I?”, and “Am I living my life or is life being lived for me?”
Through a parade of interviews with physicists, psychologists, and New Age luminaries we discover that quantum physics—of all things—holds the key to Amanda's dilemma. How so?
In a barrage of twenty-second sound bites announcing that the wrecking ball of quantum physics has flattened the paradigm of objective reality, Bleep reveals the deep secret, now unraveled by science: “What makes up things are not more things, but thoughts and information.” And the “good news” this represents for Amanda—and the rest of us—is that we, each, can create our own reality through the boundless capacity of thought!
Once Amanda wraps her mind around this newfound revelation, she is able to re-enter the world with poise, confidence, and purpose as she commences to create her life through the power of (I can barely mention it!) positive thinking.
Important to note is that the film’s director, as well as several of the interviewed authorities, is connected with Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment. Ramtha is an ancient male warrior-deity who channels through an attractive middle-aged woman named J.Z. Knight. The core of Ramtha’s teaching is, as stated on the RSE website, that “you are God.” In lockstep with her spirit-Counselor, J.Z. Knight states near the end of Bleep, “I do not call you good or bad; I call you God.” Are you beginning to get the picture?
Observer-created reality, parallel universes, cosmic interconnectedness, time tunneling—such are the theories and speculations of modern physics that have become familiar threads in other recent yarns like Johnny Darko, Run Lola Run, and The Matrix. But “transcendental science” is not limited to the silver screen.
WEST MEETS EAST
Physician and author T. Lee Baumann uses the mantle of science in his recent book, God at the Speed of Light. Dr. Baumann contention is that light is more than just a source of illumination, it’s conscious. Making reference to the quantum phenomenon of wave-particle duality, Baumann argues that the only explanation fitting the facts is that light consciously alters its behavior in response to its environment.
But Baumann does not end there. He goes on to suggest that since light—in the form of electromagnetic radiation—does not age because of special relativity (which happens to be true), God and light must be one (really, now!).
It is not surprising that the publisher of Baumann’s book is the Association for Research and Enlightenment—the publishing house of Edgar Cayce. If you recall, Cayce gained notoriety in the early twentieth century as a “seer” and spiritual healer through his ability to tap into what he called “Universal Consciousness.”
But perhaps nothing has done more to popularize transcendental science than the groundbreaking works of Fritjof Capra and Gary Zukav.
In his 1974 book The Tao of Physics, Capra writes, “The changes brought about by modern physics… all seem to lead… to the views held in Eastern Mysticism.” Likewise, Zukav notes in Dancing Wu Li Masters that the new science has awakened our understanding of the “powers of the mind to mold ‘reality,’ rather than the other way around. In this sense the philosophy of physics is becoming indistinguishable from the philosophy of Buddhism.”
But what, you ask, is the origin of this reality-creating power? It all goes back to the beginning—as explained by the wonders of modern physics, of course!
In the beginning there was a tiny quantum vacuum—something curiously similar to the Buddhist Void. Although empty in the classical sense, this vacuous seed was supercharged with potential for giving birth to the building blocks of the cosmos—quarks, neutrinos, and electrons. The only constraint was that these tiny Lego pieces must disappear, like Cinderella’s carriage, before they were “noticed” by the conservation accountants keeping tabs on the cosmic balances of matter and energy.
But then something truly remarkable happened: inflation. When the entire universe was confined within a space much smaller than that of an atom, the micro-vacuum expanded faster than the speed of light, blowing past the cosmic barrier of special relativity, and by the scrutiny of those meticulous conservation accountants. In essence, from out of the Void of nothingness the universe happened, and the rest is history.
Before the age of political correctness, such an excursion from the known laws of the universe would have rightly been called a miracle. But all that modern cosmologists can admit to is, a “singularity.” Thus, as modern scientists avoid the conclusion of “creation from nothing,” they are left with the incredulous proposition of “creation by nothing.”
Taking a page out of the new cosmology, J.Z. Knight relates the creation account according to Ramtha: “[In the beginning] thought … contemplated itself into expansion… And when the thought peered at the light… the light looked upon the thought and saw perfection as creator.” Again, we learn that the creative force of the universe is thought. It’s enough to make one feel omnipotent!
What’s more, say modern sages; the quantum phenomena of observer-produced effects, uncertainty, and interconnectedness extend to the macro-world of common experience as well.
In short, the new science “confirms” what the ancient mystics have been saying all along: that “all is one” and all distinctions of that “one” are merely constructs of the mind. Consequently, categories of pleasure and suffering, beauty and ugliness, and good and evil are illusionary and pliant. Even material things like trees, trains, and tsetse flies have no objective existence; they are impermanent distinctions malleable by human thought.
“THERE IS NO SPOON”
This notion is vividly captured in the 1999 movie The Matrix. In one scene the story’s hero, Neo, finds himself in a room waiting to speak to an Oracle. While there, Neo watches a small boy, dressed like a juvenile Dalai Lama, bend a spoon by telekinesis. Noticing Neo’s obvious confusion, the boy tells Neo, “There is no spoon!”
Similarly, in What the Bleep Do We Know?, Amanda’s quest takes her into an exhibition of Masaru Emoto’s water-photos. Emoto’s photographs are claimed to record the response of water molecules to human thought. Thoughts like “peace” and “angel” result in intricate, symmetrical water crystals; while thoughts like “fool” and “Satan” cause water crystals to form crude and irregular patterns. And since the human body consists of over 70 percent water, thought—yet again—as the engine of reality must be the causative agent of health and well-being, right?
Psychologist John Olmsted challenged Bleep director, William Arntz, on this point in a meeting which also included a neuroscience “expert” featured in the film. Pulling out a picture of a Down’s syndrome child, Olmsted asked whether the child had the freedom to create a different reality for himself. Arntz responded that the child was paying for transgressions in an earlier life. Talk about a re-direction!
Arntz’s response rents open the wizard’s curtain of transcendental science, revealing the crumbling structure of its neo-pantheistic foundation. In his inability to question the creative power of thought, Arntz blames the transgression of individuals for the maladies of the human condition. But if “all is one” and all differences are illusion, what is an individual, and what is a transgression? For that matter, if “all is one” what, or who, is being transgressed?
What is clear is that from shaman or scientist, the intention is always the same: to deny the existence of any Authority to which we owe duty or any transcendent code to which we are held accountable. But despite all of our efforts to rid ourselves of those unnerving notions, we are ever haunted by One who has filled our hearts with eternity, and who will not rest until he has filled his house with his own.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” – The Teacher