By Deepak Chopra, MD and Anoop Kumar, MD
Because science is the primary way we view reality, it has shaped the minds of students from grade school through graduate studies and beyond. But behind the scenes, experts are telling a new story--and in fact have been doing so for at least a century. In the July 2005 issue of Nature magazine, Richard Conn Henry, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University, wrote:
“...The 1925 discovery of quantum mechanics solved the problem of the Universe’s nature. Bright physicists were again led to believe the unbelievable — this time, that the Universe is mental.” This startling realization has not yet impacted our education system, and yet decades before Prof. Henry’s comment, the eminent British physicist Sir James Jeans wrote that “the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the Universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter... we ought rather to hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter...”
These radical insights ran counter to the default worldview of science, which founds reality on objectivity (facts, data, experiments, mathematical formulations) and holds a deep suspicion of subjectivity. The irony of such a position is that consciousness, the “stuff” of all mental activity, is also the stuff of the mental activity we label as science.
The resistance to a mental universe remains strong, and once again dates back decades, as when another eminent physicist, Sir Arthur Eddington, noted, “It is difficult for the matter-of-fact physicist to accept the view that the substratum of everything is of mental character...” What scientists cannot accept eventually trickles down into what teachers don’t teach. Since we were children, our teachers have taught us that the world is made of little things called particles or atoms. They were only partially right. In fact, particles and atoms are mental concepts and images, a way of objectifying experiences of the mind.