Universe as a Hologram - Consciousness. Dr. Synthia/Colin Andrews

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By Michael Talbot

In 1982 a remarkable event took place. At the University of Paris a research team
led by physicist Alain Aspect performed what may turn out to be one of the most
important experiments of the 20th century. You did not hear about it on the
evening news. In fact, unless you are in the habit of reading scientific journals you
probably have never even heard Aspect's name, though there are some who
believe his discovery may change the face of science. Aspect and his team
discovered that under certain circumstances subatomic particles such as
electrons are able to instantaneously communicate with each other regardless of
the distance separating them. It doesn't matter whether they are 10 feet or 10
billion miles apart.

Somehow each particle always seems to know what the other is doing. The
problem with this feat is that it violates Einstein's long-held tenet that no
communication can travel faster than the speed of light. Since traveling faster
than the speed of light is tantamount to breaking the time barrier, this daunting
prospect has caused some physicists to try to come up with elaborate ways to
explain away Aspect's findings. But it has inspired others to offer even more
radical explanations.

University of London physicist David Bohm, for example, believes Aspect's
findings imply that objective reality does not exist, that despite its apparent solidity
the universe is at heart a phantasm, a gigantic and splendidly detailed hologram.

To understand why Bohm makes this startling assertion, one must first
understand a little about holograms. A hologram is a three- dimensional
photograph made with the aid of a laser.

To make a hologram, the object to be photographed is first bathed in the light of a
laser beam. Then a second laser beam is bounced off the reflected light of the
first and the resulting interference pattern (the area where the two laser beams
commingle) is captured on film.

When the film is developed, it looks like a meaningless swirl of light and dark lines.
But as soon as the developed film is illuminated by another laser beam, a
three-dimensional image of the original object appears. The three-dimensionality
of such images is not the only remarkable characteristic of holograms. If a
hologram of a rose is cut in half and then illuminated by a laser, each half will still
be found to contain the entire image of the rose.

Indeed, even if the halves are divided again, each snippet of film will always be
found to contain a smaller but intact version of the original image. Unlike normal
photographs, every part of a hologram contains all the information possessed by
the whole.

The "whole in every part" nature of a hologram provides us with an entirely new
way of understanding organization and order. For most of its history, Western
science has labored under the bias that the best way to understand a physical
phenomenon, whether a frog or an atom, is to dissect it and study its respective

A hologram teaches us that some things in the universe may not lend themselves
to this approach. If we try to take apart something constructed holographically, we
will not get the pieces of which it is made, we will only get smaller wholes.

This insight suggested to Bohm another way of understanding Aspect's discovery.
Bohm believes the reason subatomic particles are able to remain in contact with
one another regardless of the distance separating them is not because they are
sending some sort of mysterious signal back and forth, but because their
separateness is an illusion. He argues that at some deeper level of reality such
particles are not individual entities, but are actually extensions of the same
fundamental something. To enable people to better visualize what he means,
Bohm offers the following illustration.

Imagine an aquarium containing a fish. Imagine also that you are unable to see
the aquarium directly and your knowledge about it and what it contains comes
from two television cameras, one directed at the aquarium's front and the other
directed at its side.

As you stare at the two television monitors, you might assume that the fish on
each of the screens are separate entities. After all, because the cameras are set
at different angles, each of the images will be slightly different. But as you
continue to watch the two fish, you will eventually become aware that there is a
certain relationship between them.

When one turns, the other also makes a slightly different but corresponding turn;
when one faces the front, the other always faces toward the side. If you remain
unaware of the full scope of the situation, you might even conclude that the fish
must be instantaneously communicating with one another, but this is clearly not
the case.

This, says Bohm, is precisely what is going on between the subatomic particles in
Aspect's experiment.

According to Bohm, the apparent faster-than-light connection between subatomic
particles is really telling us that there is a deeper level of reality we are not privy
to, a more complex dimension beyond our own that is analogous to the aquarium.
And, he adds, we view objects such as subatomic particles as separate from one
another because we are seeing only a portion of their reality.

Such particles are not separate "parts", but facets of a deeper and more
underlying unity that is ultimately as holographic and indivisible as the previously
mentioned rose. And since everything in physical reality is comprised of these
"eidolons", the universe is itself a projection, a hologram. In addition to its
phantomlike nature, such a universe would possess other rather startling
features. If the apparent separateness of subatomic particles is illusory, it means
that at a deeper level of reality all things in the universe are infinitely

The electrons in a carbon atom in the human brain are connected to the
subatomic particles that comprise every salmon that swims, every heart that
beats, and every star that shimmers in the sky.

Everything interpenetrates everything, and although human nature may seek to
categorize and pigeonhole and subdivide, the various phenomena of the
universe, all apportionments are of necessity artificial and all of nature is
ultimately a seamless web.

In a holographic universe, even time and space could no longer be viewed as
fundamentals. Because concepts such as location break down in a universe in
which nothing is truly separate from anything else, time and three-dimensional
space, like the images of the fish on the TV monitors, would also have to be
viewed as projections of this deeper order.

At its deeper level reality is a sort of superhologram in which the past, present,
and future all exist simultaneously. This suggests that given the proper tools it
might even be possible to someday reach into the superholographic level of
reality and pluck out scenes from the long-forgotten past.

What else the superhologram contains is an open-ended question. Allowing, for
the sake of argument, that the superhologram is the matrix that has given birth to
everything in our universe, at the very least it contains every subatomic particle
that has been or will be-- every configuration of matter and energy that is
possible, from snowflakes to quasars, from blue whales to gamma rays. It must be
seen as a sort of cosmic storehouse of "All That Is."

Although Bohm concedes that we have no way of knowing what else might lie
hidden in the superhologram, he does venture to say that we have no reason to
assume it does not contain more. Or as he puts it, perhaps the superholographic
level of reality is a "mere stage" beyond which lies "an infinity of further

Bohm is not the only researcher who has found evidence that the universe is a
hologram. Working independently in the field of brain research, Stanford
neurophysiologist Karl Pribram has also become persuaded of the holographic
nature of reality.

Pribram was drawn to the holographic model by the puzzle of how and where
memories are stored in the brain. For decades numerous studies have shown that
rather than being confined to a specific location, memories are dispersed
throughout the brain.

In a series of landmark experiments in the 1920s, brain scientist Karl Lashley
found that no matter what portion of a rat's brain he removed he was unable to
eradicate its memory of how to perform complex tasks it had learned prior to
surgery. The only problem was that no one was able to come up with a
mechanism that might explain this curious "whole in every part" nature of memory

Then in the 1960s Pribram encountered the concept of holography and realized
he had found the explanation brain scientists had been looking for. Pribram
believes memories are encoded not in neurons, or small groupings of neurons,
but in patterns of nerve impulses that crisscross the entire brain in the same way
that patterns of laser light interference crisscross the entire area of a piece of film
containing a holographic image. In other words, Pribram believes the brain is itself
a hologram.

Pribram's theory also explains how the human brain can store so many memories
in so little space. It has been estimated that the human brain has the capacity to
memorize something on the order of 10 billion bits of information during the
average human lifetime (or roughly the same amount of information contained in
five sets of the Encyclopedia Britannica). Similarly, it has been discovered that in
addition to their other capabilities, holograms possess an astounding capacity for
information storage=97simply by changing the angle at which the two lasers strike
a piece of photographic film, it is possible to record many different images on the
same surface. It has been demonstrated that one cubic centimeter of film can hold
as many as 10 billion bits of information.

Our uncanny ability to quickly retrieve whatever information we need from the
enormous store of our memories becomes more understandable if the brain
functions according to holographic principles. If a friend asks you to tell him what
comes to mind when he says the word "zebra", you do not have to clumsily sort
back through some gigantic and cerebral alphabetic file to arrive at an answer.
Instead, associations like "striped", "horselike", and "animal native to Africa" all
pop into your head instantly.

Indeed, one of the most amazing things about the human thinking process is that
every piece of information seems instantly cross- correlated with every other
piece of information; another feature intrinsic to the hologram. Because every
portion of a hologram is infinitely interconnected with ever other portion, it is
perhaps nature's supreme example of a cross-correlated system.

The storage of memory is not the only neurophysiological puzzle that becomes
more tractable in light of Pribram's holographic model of the brain. Another is how
the brain is able to translate the avalanche of frequencies it receives via the
senses (light frequencies, sound frequencies, and so on) into the concrete world
of our perceptions.

Encoding and decoding frequencies is precisely what a hologram does best. Just
as a hologram functions as a sort of lens, a translating device able t= o convert
an apparently meaningless blur of frequencies into a coherent image, Pribram
believes the brain also comprises a lens and uses holographic principles to
mathematically convert the frequencies it receives through he senses into the
inner world of our perceptions.

An impressive body of evidence suggests that the brain uses holographic
principles to perform its operations. Pribram's theory, in fact, has gained
increasing support among neurophysiologists.

Argentinian-Italian researcher Hugo Zucarelli recently extended the holographic
model into the world of acoustic phenomena. Puzzled by the fact that humans can
locate the source of sounds without moving their heads, even if they only possess
hearing in one ear, Zucarelli discovered that holographic principles can explain
this ability.

Zucarelli has also developed the technology of holophonic sound, a recording
technique able to reproduce acoustic situations with an almost uncanny realism.

Pribram's belief that our brains mathematically construct "hard" reality by relying
on input from a frequency domain has also received a good deal of experimental

It has been found that each of our senses is sensitive to a much broader range of
frequencies than was previously suspected.

Researchers have discovered, for instance, that our visual systems are sensitive
to sound frequencies, that our sense of smell is in part dependent on what are
now called "osmic frequencies", and that even the cells in our bodies are sensitive
to a broad range of frequencies. Such findings suggest that it is only in the
holographic domain of consciousness that such frequencies are sorted out and
divided up into conventional perceptions. But the most mind-boggling aspect of
Pribram's holographic model of the brain is what happens when it is put together
with Bohm's theory. For if the concreteness of the world is but a secondary reality
and what is "there" is actually a holographic blur of frequencies, and if the brain is
also a hologram and only selects some of the frequencies out of this blur and
mathematically transforms them into sensory perceptions, what becomes of
objective reality?

Put quite simply, it ceases to exist. As the religions of the East have long upheld,
the material world is Maya, an illusion, and although we may think we are physical
beings moving through a physical world, this too is an illusion.

We are really "receivers" floating through a kaleidoscopic sea of frequency, and
what we extract from this sea and transmogrify into physical reality is but one
channel from many extracted out of the superhologram. This striking new picture
of reality, the synthesis of Bohm and Pribram's views, has come to be called the
holographic paradigm, and although many scientists have greeted it with
skepticism, it has galvanized others. A small but growing group of researchers
believe it may be the most accurate model of reality science has arrived at thus
far. More than that, some believe it may solve some mysteries that have never
before been explainable by science and even establish the paranormal as a part
of nature. Numerous researchers, including Bohm and Pribram, have noted that
many para-psychological phenomena become much more understandable in
terms of the holographic paradigm.

In a universe in which individual brains are actually indivisible portions of the
greater hologram and everything is infinitely interconnected, telepathy may merely
be the accessing of the holographic level.

It is obviously much easier to understand how information can travel from the mind
of individual-- to that of individual-- at a far distance point and helps to
understand a number of unsolved puzzles in psychology. In particular, Grof feels
the holographic paradigm offers a model for understanding many of the baffling
phenomena experienced by individuals during altered states of consciousness.

In the 1950s, while conducting research into the beliefs of LSD as a
psychotherapeutic tool, Grof had one female patient who suddenly became
convinced she had assumed the identity of a female of a species of prehistoric
reptile. During the course of her hallucination, she not only gave a richly detailed
description of what it felt like to be encapsuled in such a form, but noted that the
portion of the male of the species's anatomy was a patch of colored scales on the
side of its head.

What was startling to Grof was that although the woman had no prior knowledge
about such things, a conversation with a zoologist later confirmed that in certain
species of reptiles colored areas on the head do indeed play an important role as
triggers of sexual arousal.

The woman's experience was not unique. During the course of his research, Grof
encountered examples of patients regressing and identifying with virtually every
species on the evolutionary tree (research findings which helped influence the
man-into-ape scene in the movie Altered States). Moreover, he found that such
experiences frequently contained obscure zoological details which turned out to
be accurate.

Regressions into the animal kingdom were not the only puzzling psychological
phenomena Grof encountered. He also had patients who appeared to tap into
some sort of collective or racial unconscious. Individuals with little or no education
suddenly gave detailed descriptions of Zoroastrian funerary practices and scenes
from Hindu mythology. In other categories of experience, individuals gave
persuasive accounts of out-of-body journeys, o= f precognitive glimpses of the
future, of regressions into apparent past-life incarnations.

In later research, Grof found the same range of phenomena manifested in
therapy sessions which did not involve the use of drugs. Because the common
element in such experiences appeared to be the transcending of an individual's
consciousness beyond the usual boundaries of ego and/or limitations of space
and time, Grof called such manifestations "transpersonal experiences", and in the
late '60s he helped found a branch of psychology called "transpersonal
psychology" devoted entirely to their study.

Although Grof's newly founded Association of Transpersonal Psychology
garnered a rapidly growing group of like-minded professionals and has become a
respected branch of psychology, for years neither Grof or any of his colleagues
were able to offer a mechanism for explaining the bizarre psychological
phenomena they were witnessing. But that has changed with the advent of the
holographic paradigm.

As Grof recently noted, if the mind is actually part of a continuum, a labyrinth that
is connected not only to every other mind that exists or has existed, but to every
atom, organism, and region in the vastness of space and time itself, the fact that it
is able to occasionally make forays into the labyrinth and have transpersonal
experiences no longer seems so strange.

The holographic paradigm also has implications for so-called hard sciences like
biology. Keith Floyd, a psychologist at Virginia Intermont College, has pointed out
that if the concreteness of reality is but a holographic illusion, it would no longer
be true to say the brain produces consciousness. Rather, it is consciousness that
creates the appearance of the brain as well as the body and everything else
around us we interpret as physical.

Such a turnabout in the way we view biological structures has caused researchers
to point out that medicine and our understanding of the healing process could
also be transformed by the holographic paradigm. If the apparent physical
structure of the body is but a holographic projection of consciousness, it becomes
clear that each of us is much more responsible for our health than current medical
wisdom allows. What we now view as miraculous remissions of disease may
actually be due to changes in consciousness which in turn effect changes in the
hologram of the body. Similarly, controversial new healing techniques such as
visualization may work so well because in the holographic domain of thought
images are ultimately as real as "reality".

Even visions and experiences involving "non-ordinary" reality become explainable
under the holographic paradigm. In his book "Gifts of Unknown Things," biologist
Lyall Watson describes his encounter with an Indonesian shaman woman who, by
performing a ritual dance, was able to make an entire grove of trees instantly
vanish into thin air. Watson relates that as he an= d another astonished onlooker
continued to watch the woman, she caused the trees to reappear, then "click" off
again and on again several times in succession.

Although current scientific understanding is incapable of explaining such events,
experiences like this become more tenable if "hard" reality is only a holographic

Perhaps we agree on what is "there" or "not there" because what we call
consensus reality is formulated and ratified at the level of the human unconscious
at which all minds are infinitely interconnected. If this is true, it is the most
profound implication of the holographic paradigm of all, for it means that
experiences such as Watson's are not commonplace only because we have not
programmed our minds with the beliefs that would make them so. In a holographic
universe there are no limits to the extent to which we can alter the fabric of reality.

What we perceive as reality is only a canvas waiting for us to draw upon it any
picture we want. Anything is possible, from bending spoons with the power of the
mind to the phantasmagoric events experienced by Castaneda during his
encounters with the Yaqui brujo don Juan, for magic is our birthright, no more or
less miraculous than our ability to compute the reality we want when we are in our

Indeed, even our most fundamental notions about reality become suspect, for in a
holographic universe, as Pribram has pointed out, even random events would
have to be seen as based on holographic principles and therefore determined.
Synchronicities or meaningful coincidences suddenly makes sense, and
everything in reality would have to be seen as a metaphor, for even the most
haphazard events would express some underlying symmetry. Whether Bohm and
Pribram's holographic paradigm becomes accepted in science or dies an ignoble
death remains to be seen, but it is safe to say that it has already had an influence
on the thinking of many scientists. And even if it is found that the holographic
model does not provide the best explanation for the instantaneous
communications that seem to be passing back and forth between subatomic
particles, at the very least, as noted by Basil Hiley, a physicist at Birbeck College
in London, Aspect's findings "indicate that we must be prepared to consider
radically new views of reality".


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