DarkHorse Ministries


The Unity of Existence

Through intuitive and mystical experience in addition to much personal study in physics, psychology, philosophy, and religion, I have long been convinced that everything in existence is rooted in an ultimate Unity. This is in agreement not only with much of the world's sacred literature, but also to a gradually increasing degree with modernist adherents of the scientific worldview. In particular, the quantum physicist David Bohm in Wholeness and The Implicate Order advocated an all-encompassing unity beneath the flux of humanly perceived, physical phenomena. Bohm spoke of the explicate order, consisting of all things perceived in the external world, as consisting of merely temporary 'waving' manifestations of an underlying seamless, whole or implicate order.

This perspective seems very different from that of science, which inherently looks at the world in terms of a number of constitutive parts, existing in a fixed space-time matrix, rather than as having the possibility of any deeper order of wholeness. However, it is not science itself that is problematic, rather, it is a science that does not understand the limits of it's rational and empirical knowledge. That these limits exist, has been amazingly demonstrated by science itself. They are best seen in the great 20th century paradoxes, at both the extremely small and large-scale ends of the humanly perceived world, namely the baffling enigmas contained within both quantum and relativity theory.

The quantum double-slit experiment displays a limit to scientific knowledge that is somehow connected to 'the participation or nonparticipation of an observer.' With no observer present, when single electrons are shot one at a time through a double slit, they cumulatively form a wave interference pattern on the background screen, meaning that each electron has gone through both slits simultaneously, thus behaving like a wave. However, when an observer is present, a geometrical two-slit pattern is recorded on the background screen. This means that each electron has gone through only one of the slits, thus behaving as a particle. We therefore speak of the dual particle-wave nature, or wave-particle duality of electrons and other subatomic entities. (FOOTNOTE : The entire story here is that, with no observer present, the electron wave is represented mathematically as a probability wave function --- a linear superposition of four possible cases --- that gives the odds of four different outcomes: (1) through both slits simultaneously, (2) through one slit only, (3) through the other slit only, and (4) through neither slit).

Even greater quantum evidence of inherent limitation to scientific knowledge is found in the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle of quantum mechanics, which states that certain specific pairs of the physical attributes of a subatomic object cannot be known simultaneously. For example, the position and momentum of an electron naturally follow a sort of 'see-saw' effect, whereby the more accurately the position is known, the more uncertainty there is as to it's momentum, and vice versa. Moreover, because momentum is directly proportional to energy, this is a sort of tug-of-war between the attainable knowledge of the more localized 'position of a particle,' and the more spread out 'energy of a wave'. This principle is therefore another statement of the wave-particle duality of quantum physics --- the electron appears to have both wave and particle natures, but the manifestation at a certain timeof either one precludes that of the other. This is also the matter-energy dualism mathematically expressed in Einstein's famous equivalence of mass and energy, E=mc2.

The proposed interpretation of these results based on an underlying Unity begins with the recognition that, if true, then even the smallest subset of this Unity --- a single electron --- must in some way contain the whole. We may therefore speak of any apparently separate part in existence, as a subsystem, or even a 'whole subsystem of the Whole.' This is analagous to the observed fact that when a holographic image is fractured, even the smallest piece contains the image of the original scene. (In fact, this truth of the nature of the hologram may simply be a especially lucid, miniature reflection of an underlying Unity of reality).

When the human observer part-icipates, the electron is no longer the whole subsystem of reality, but is rather only a part of the observer-and-electron subsystem. This is the reality that appears within the consciousness of the observer, that the electron appears as a particle, or as only a part of, the total reality within the whole field of the observer's consciousness. So, from the viewpoint of the observer that sees themselves as separate from the electron, the electron displays itself as a part-icle, rather than the potentiality of the whole wave. The ramifications of this are that we can no longer view nature as deterministic and we can no longer assign an absolute objectivity on the part of scientific investigation. Rather, the human observer is an integral part of that which he/she observes, and cannot simply be subtracted out of the equation, without changing the system. All knowledge we have of anything outside ourselves, is therefore to some degree, irreversibly subjective, since a human subject is involved and their presence has by nature changed the system they are observing.

The theory of relativity displays another major scientific limit situation. The fact that the speed of light is absolute and invariant, requires that both space and time be completely relative. However, space and time are the conditions necessary to observe apparently separate objects or 'parts' in nature. Therefore, the conditions for apparent separateness, are themselves relative, due to the invariance of the speed of light. Space and time also depend upon one another, they are codependent --- it takes a certain amount of time to travel a particular distance, and vice versa. However, both space and time are constrained to the condition of relativity by something more absolute or of a higher dimension of reality (the invariant speed of light). This combination of facts powerfully suggest the possibility that wholeness takes priority over part-ness, or that, an underlying Unity is of a higher reality than the space and time reality of seemingly separate parts.