We are poised on the brink of a
revolution - a revolution as daring and profound as Einstein’s
discovery of relativity.
At the very frontier of science new
ideas are emerging that challenge everything we believe about
how our world works and how we define ourselves. Discoveries are
being made that prove what religion has always espoused: that
human beings are far more extraordinary than an assemblage of
flesh and bones.
At its most fundamental, this new
science answers questions that have perplexed scientists for
hundreds of years. At its most profound, this is a science of
For a number of decades respected scientists in a variety of
disciplines all over the world have been carrying out
well-designed experiments whose results fly in the face of
current biology and physics. Together, these studies offer us
copious information about the central organizing force governing
our bodies and the rest of the cosmos.
What they have discovered is nothing less than astonishing. At
our most elemental, we are not a chemical reaction, but an
energetic charge. Human beings and all living things are a
coalescence of energy in a field of energy connected to every
other thing in the world.
This pulsating energy field is the
central engine of our being and our consciousness, the alpha and
the omega of our existence.
There is no ‘me’ and ‘not-me’ duality to our bodies in relation
to the universe, but one underlying energy field. This field is
responsible for our mind’s highest functions, the information
source guiding the growth of our bodies. It is our brain, our
heart, our memory - indeed, a blueprint of the world for all
The field is the force, rather than
germs or genes, that finally determines whether we are healthy
or ill, the force which must be tapped in order to heal.
attached and engaged, indivisible from our world, and our only
fundamental truth is our relationship with it.
‘The field,’ as
Einstein once succinctly put it, ‘is the only reality.’ 1
Up until the present, biology and physics have been handmaidens
of views espoused by Isaac Newton, the father of modern physics.
Everything we believe about our world and our place within it
takes its lead from ideas that were formulated in the
seventeenth century, but still form the backbone of modern
science - theories that present all the elements of the universe
as isolated from each other, divisible and wholly
These, at their essence, created a world view of separateness.
Newton described a material world in
which individual particles of matter followed certain laws of
motion through space and time - the universe as machine. Before
Newton formulated his laws of motion, French philosopher René
Descartes had come up with what was then a revolutionary notion,
that we - represented by our minds - were separate from this
lifeless inert matter of our bodies, which were just another
type of well-oiled machine.
The world was composed of a load of
little discrete objects, which behaved predictably. The most
separate of these was the human being. We sat outside this
universe, looking in. Even our bodies were somehow separate and
other from the real us, the conscious minds doing the observing.
The Newtonian world might have been law-abiding, but ultimately
it was a lonely, desolate place. The world carried on, one vast
gearbox, whether we were present or not. With a few deft moves,
Newton and Descartes had plucked God and life from the world of
matter, and us and our consciousness from the center of our
They ripped the heart and soul out
of the universe, leaving in its wake a lifeless collection of
interlocking parts. Most important of all, as Danah Zohar
observed in The Quantum Self,
‘Newton’s vision tore us out from
the fabric of the universe.’ 2
Our self-image grew even bleaker with
the work of Charles
His theory of evolution - tweaked slightly now by the
neo-Darwinists - is of a life that is random, predatory,
purposeless and solitary. Be the best or don’t survive. You are
no more than an evolutionary accident. The vast checkerboard
biological heritage of your ancestors is stripped down to one
central facet: survival. Eat or be eaten.
The essence of your humanity is a
genetic terrorist, efficiently disposing of any weaker links.
Life is not about sharing and interdependence. Life is about
winning, getting there first. And if you do manage to survive,
you are on your own at the top of the evolutionary tree.
These paradigms - the world as machine, man as survival machine
- have led to a technological mastery of the universe, but
little real knowledge of any central importance to us.
On a spiritual and metaphysical
level, they have led to the most desperate and brutal sense of
isolation. They also have got us no closer to understanding the
most fundamental mysteries of our own being: how we think, how
life begins, why we get ill, how a single cell turns into a
fully formed person, and even what happens to human
consciousness when we die.
We remain reluctant apostles of these views of the world as
mechanized and separate, even if this isn’t part of our ordinary
experience. Many of us seek refuge from what we see as the harsh
and nihilistic fact of our existence in religion, which may
offer some succor in its ideals of unity, community and purpose,
but through a view of the world that contradicts the view
espoused by science.
Anyone seeking a spiritual life has
had to wrestle with these opposing world views and fruitlessly
try to reconcile the two.
This world of the separate should have been laid waste once and
for all by the discovery of quantum physics in the early part of
the twentieth century. As the pioneers of quantum physics peered
into the very heart of matter, they were astounded by what they
saw. The tiniest bits of matter weren’t even matter, as we know
it, not even a set something, but sometimes one thing, sometimes
something quite different. And even stranger, they were often
many possible things all at the same time.
But most significantly, these
subatomic particles had no meaning in isolation, but only in
relationship with everything else.
At its most elemental, matter
couldn’t be chopped up into self-contained little units, but was
completely indivisible. You could only understand the universe
as a dynamic web of interconnection. Things once in contact
remained always in contact through all space and all time.
Indeed, time and space themselves appeared to be arbitrary
constructs, no longer applicable at this level of the world.
Time and space as we know them did not, in fact, exist.
All that appeared, as far as the eye
could see, was one long landscape of the here and now.
The pioneers of quantum physics - Erwin Schrödinger, Werner
Heisenberg, Niels Bohr and Wolfgang Pauli - had some inkling of
the metaphysical territory they had trespassed into. If
electrons were connected everywhere at once, this implied
something profound about the
nature of the world at large.
They turned to classic
philosophical texts in their attempt to grasp the deeper truth
about the strange subatomic world they were observing.
examined psychoanalysis and archetypes and the Qabbalah
the Tao and Chinese philosophy
Schrödinger, Hindu philosophy
Heisenberg, the Platonic theory of ancient Greece
Nevertheless, a coherent theory of
the spiritual implications of quantum physics remained beyond
their grasp. Niels Bohr hung a sign on his door saying
‘Philosophers keep out. Work in progress.’
There was other, quite practical, unfinished business with
quantum theory. Bohr and his colleagues only got so far in their
experiments and understanding. The experiments they’d conducted
demonstrating these quantum effects had occurred in the
laboratory, with non-living subatomic particles.
From there, scientists in their wake
naturally assumed that this strange quantum world only existed
in the world of dead matter. Anything alive still operated
according to the laws of Newton and Descartes, a view that has
informed all of modern medicine and biology. Even biochemistry
depends upon Newtonian force and collision to work.
And what of us? Suddenly, we had grown central to every physical
process, but no one had fully acknowledged this. The quantum
pioneers had discovered that our involvement with matter was
crucial. Subatomic particles existed in all possible states
until disturbed by us - by observing or measuring - at which
point, they’d settle down, at long last, into something real.
Our observation - our human
consciousness - was utterly central to this process of subatomic
flux actually becoming some set thing, but we weren’t in any of
the mathematics of Heisenberg or Schrödinger. They realized that
we were somehow key, but they didn’t know how to include us.
As far as science was concerned, we
were still on the outside looking in.
All the loose strands of quantum physics were never tied up into
a coherent theory, and quantum physics got reduced to an
extremely successful tool of technology, vital for making bombs
and modern electronics. The philosophical implications were
forgotten, and all that remained were its practical advantages.
The rank and file of today’s
physicists were willing to accept the bizarre nature of the
quantum world at face value because the mathematics, such as the
Schrödinger equation, works so well, but shook their heads at
the counter-intuitiveness of it all.4
How could electrons be in touch with
everything at once? How could an electron not be a set single
thing until it is examined or measured? How, in fact, could
anything be concrete in the world, if it was a will o’ the wisp
once you started looking closer at it?
Their answer was to say that there was a single truth for
anything small and another truth for something much bigger, one
truth for things that were alive, another for things that
weren’t, and to accept these apparent contradictions just as one
might accept a basic axiom of Newton’s.
These were the rules of
the world and they should just be taken at face value. The math
works, and that’s all that counts.
A small band of scientists dotted around the globe was not
satisfied to simply carry on with quantum physics by rote. They
required a better answer to many of the large questions that had
been left unanswered. In their investigations and
experimentation, they picked up where the pioneers of quantum
physics had left off, and they began probing deeper.
Several thought again about a few equations that had always been
subtracted out in quantum physics. These equations stood for the
Zero Point Field - an ocean of microscopic vibrations in the
space between things.
If the Zero Point Field were
included in our conception of the most fundamental nature of
matter, they realized, the very underpinning of our universe was
a heaving sea of energy - one vast quantum field. If this were
true, everything would be connected to everything else like some
They also discovered that we were made of the same basic
On our most fundamental level,
living beings, including human beings, were packets of quantum
energy constantly exchanging information with this inexhaustible
energy sea. Living things emitted a weak radiation, and this was
the most crucial aspect of biological processes.
about all aspects of life, from
cellular communication to the
vast array of controls of DNA, was relayed through an
information exchange on the quantum level.
Even our minds, that other
supposedly so outside of the laws of matter, operated according
to quantum processes. Thinking, feeling - every higher cognitive
function - had to do with quantum information pulsing
simultaneously through our brains and body. Human perception
occurred because of interactions between the subatomic particles
of our brains and the quantum energy sea. We literally resonated
with our world.
Their discoveries were extraordinary and heretical. In a stroke,
they had challenged many of the most basic laws of biology and
physics. What they may have uncovered was no less than the key
to all information processing and exchange in our world, from
the communication between cells to perception of the world at
They’d come up with answers to some
of the most profound questions in biology about human morphology
and living consciousness.
Here, in so-called ‘dead’ space,
possibly lay the very key to life itself.
Most fundamentally, they had provided evidence that all of us
connect with each other and the world at the very undercoat of
our being. Through scientific experiment they’d demonstrated
that there may be such a thing as a life force flowing through
the universe - what has variously been called collective
consciousness or, as theologians have termed it, the Holy
They provided a plausible
explanation of all those areas that over the centuries mankind
has had faith in but no solid evidence of or adequate accounting
for, from the effectiveness of alternative medicine and even
prayer to life after death. They offered us, in a sense, a
science of religion.
Unlike the world view of Newton or Darwin, theirs was a vision
that was life-enhancing. These were ideas that could empower us,
with their implications of order and control. We were not simply
accidents of nature. There was purpose and unity to our world
and our place within it, and we had an important say in it.
What we did and thought mattered -
indeed, was critical in creating our world. Human beings were no
longer separate from each other. It was no longer us and them.
We were no longer at the periphery of our universe - on the
outside looking in. We could take our rightful place, back in
the center of our world.
These ideas were the stuff of treason. In many cases, these
scientists have had to fight a rearguard action against an
entrenched and hostile establishment. Their investigations have
gone on for thirty years, largely unacknowledged or suppressed,
but not because of the quality of the work.
The scientists, all
from credible top-ranking institutions - Princeton University,
Stanford University, top institutions in Germany and France -
have produced impeccable experimentation.
Nevertheless, their experiments have
attacked a number of tenets held to be sacred and at the very
heart of modern science.
They did not fit the prevailing
scientific view of the world - the world as machine.
Acknowledging these new ideas would require scrapping much of
what modern science believes in and, in a sense, starting over
from scratch. The old guard was having none of it. It did not
fit the world view and so it must be wrong.
Nevertheless, it is too late. The revolution is unstoppable. The
scientists who have been highlighted in The Field are merely a
few of the pioneers, a small representation of a larger
Many others are right behind them,
challenging, experimenting, modifying their views, engaged in
the work that all true explorers engage in. Rather than
dismissing this information as not fitting in with the
scientific view of the world, orthodox science will have to
begin adapting its world view to suit.
It is time to relegate Newton and
Descartes to their proper places, as prophets of a historical
view that has now been surpassed. Science can only be a process
of understanding our world and ourselves, rather than a fixed
set of rules for all time, and with the ushering in of the new,
the old must often be discarded.
The Field is the story of this revolution in the making.
many revolutions, it began with small pockets of rebellion,
which gathered individual strength and momentum - a breakthrough
in one area, a discovery somewhere else - rather than one large,
unified movement of reform. Although aware of each other’s work,
these are men and women in the laboratory, who often dislike
venturing beyond experimentation to examine the full
implications of their findings or don’t always have the time
necessary to place them in context with other scientific
evidence coming to light.
Each scientist has been on a voyage
of discovery, and each has discovered a bucket of earth, but no
one has been bold enough to declare it a continent.
The Field represents one of the first attempts to synthesize
this disparate research into a cohesive whole. In the process,
it also provides a scientific validation of areas which have
largely been the domain of religion, mysticism, alternative
medicine or New Age speculation.
Although all of the material in this book is grounded in the
hard fact of scientific experimentation, at times, with the help
of the scientists concerned, I’ve had to engage in speculation
as to how all this fits together.
Consequently, I must stress that
this theory is, as Princeton Dean Emeritus Robert Jahn is fond
of saying, a work in progress. In a few instances, some of the
scientific evidence presented in The Field has not yet been
reproduced by independent groups.
As with all new ideas, The Field has
to be seen as an early attempt to put individual findings into a
coherent model, portions of which are bound to be refined in
It is also wise to keep in mind the well-known dictum that a
right idea can never get definitively proven. The best that
science can ever hope to achieve is to disprove wrong ideas.
There have been many attempts to discredit the new ideas
elaborated in this book by scientists with good credentials and
testing methods, but thus far, no one has been successful.
Until they are disproven or refined,
the findings of these scientists stand as valid.
This book is intended for a lay audience, and in order to make
quite complicated notions comprehensible, I’ve often had to
reach for metaphors which represent only a crude approximation
of the truth. At times, the radical new ideas presented in this
book will require patience, and I cannot promise that this will
always be an easy read.
A number of notions are quite
difficult for the Newtonians and Cartesians among us, accustomed
as we are to thinking of everything in the world as separate and
It is also important to stress that none of this is my
discovery. I am not a scientist. I am only the reporter and
occasionally the interpreter. The plaudits go to the largely
unknown men and women in the laboratory who have unearthed and
grasped the extraordinary in the course of the everyday.
Often without their even fully
comprehending it, their work transformed into a quest for the
physics of the impossible.
London, July 2001