Excerpts from an Essay by Paula Marvelly
[Paula Marvelly is a young trained Web-designer, playwright and author in search of the Ultimate Truth for over two decades. As a seeker, she carved out a unique path for herself interviewing over fifteen living Advaita teachers from India, Europe and USA and studying the lives of over twenty enlightened women. Her two books published in 2003 and 2005 received rave reviews, describing her conversations with Advaita masters as “intense and energy-filled” and “touching and deeply personal in a way” and her work on the women of wisdom as “meticulously researched and erudite.”
Paula is now helping a charitable trust, The Advaita Academy in the U.K. My thanks to her for the ready consent to present here excerpts from her essay published here. -- ramesam]
QUANTUM PHYSICS AND JAZZ MUSIC SPEAK ADVAITA
By Paula Marvelly
It was Einstein’s protégé, David Bohm, who put together a fascinating model of reality in a theory, which he called Wholeness and the Implicate Order.
Bohm postulates that the phenomenal world as we know it, consisting of time and space and causality, is the ‘unfolded’ or explicate order of the universe; supporting this unfoldment is the ‘enfolded’ or implicate order, a substratum of information, if you will, within which the archetypal templates of reality are contained.
So, tying this up with the observations made in quantum mechanics and wave/particle complementarity – the implicate order consists of waves; the explicate order represents collapse or unfoldment into particles.
Bohm then goes on to say that underlying both orders is what he calls the holomovement, an undivided wholeness in flowing movement, where all parts of the universe, whether they be at the microscopic or macroscopic levels, are united in one indefinable and immeasurable totality.
Two eminent living scientists, Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff, have proposed their own theory suggesting that ‘moments’ of conscious experience are orchestrated by gamma wave synchrony, which are mediated by microtubules present in brain tissue and which are used as instruments of information processing.
Indeed, EEG experiments performed on Tibetan monks chosen by the Dalai Lama found that levels of gamma synchrony were the highest ever recorded in terms of amplitude, frequency and degree of coherence (as compared to a control group of college students).
So what, ultimately, has science to do with advaita? On one level, ultimately nothing. And yet, what contemporary scientific theory is pointing to is that at the fundamental level of existence, the universe is essentially one, from which all manifest phenomena are born. Indeed, when consciousness is taken as a priori, the mind/matter problem, the classical/quantum dilemma, no longer appear to exist. The universe is now perceived as a hierarchical structure, with every level of the physical word – macroscopic, molecular, atomic, nuclear, sub nuclear – having has own inner logic, its own inherent truths, and yet all the while sustained by an omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent source.
Indeed, rather than being an epiphenomenonal process, consciousness is fundamental to the universe, pervading all levels of nature and giving rise to conscious experience. Everything in the universe – planets, trees, human beings, thoughts – are a manifestation of consciousness, are a celebration of That.
And out of this dynamic subjectivity, the universal all-pervading Self, we as human beings individualise our consciousness through the filter of our nervous systems, our body-minds, giving rise to the experience of ‘I’, and the apparent divisions between knower and known, observer and observed. Knowing this fundamental paradoxical premise – that diversity is inherent in unity and unity is inherent in diversity – is called self-knowledge and is the inherent message of advaita Vedanta philosophy.
The literary critic, Terry Eagleton, in his book, The Meaning of Life, also uses the analogy of music to conclude his philosophical analysis of the value of human existence in terms of individuality manifesting in the collective whole:
Take as an image of the good life, a jazz group. A jazz group, which is improvising obviously differs from a symphony orchestra, since to a large extent each member is free to express herself as she likes. But she does so with a receptive sensitivity to the self-expressive performances of the other musicians. The complex harmony they fashion comes not from playing from a collective score, but from the free musical expression of each member acting as the basis for the free expression of the others. As each player grows more musically eloquent, the others draw inspiration from this and are spurred to greater heights… There is self-realisation, but only through a loss of self in the music as a whole… There is pleasure to be reaped from this artistry, and – since there is a free fulfilment or realisation of powers – there is also happiness in the sense of flourishing. Because this flourishing is reciprocal, we can even speak, remotely and analogically, of a kind of love… that when we act in this way, we realise our natures at their finest.
[Note: Jerry Katz in his NDhighlights # 3844 reported the 23 March 2010 Article "Quantum Science Proving Mysticism" by Philip. F. Harris. Philip's essay is based on two recent findings in the field of Quantum Physics. His artilce is available here.