Reversing the Copernican Principle

October 20, 2013 | None Yet - Post a Comment

Categories: Failure of Scientific Materialism, New Spirituality, Scientific Revolution

In his book, Farewell to Reality: How Modern Physics has Betrayed the Search of Scientific Truth, Jim Baggott sets out six principles that he believes should serve as criteria to judge a credible scientific theory.  One of these is the Copernican Principle, which he describes as follows: ” The universe is not organized for our benefit and we are not uniquely privileged observers.  Science strives to remove “us” from the centre of the picture  making our  existence a natural consequence of reality rather than the reason for it. ”

In my interview with Jim Baggott on October 21, 2013 (Conversations Beyond Science and Religion) we talked a little bit about the validity of this principle and I want here to expand on a few points I did not have time to make during the show.

As an initial matter, Copernicus did not invent the Copernican Principle.  Rather, he is credited for finding that the Earth revolved around the Sun, rather than the Sun around the Earth.  Metaphorically, Copernicus’s finding has led a long line of thinkers to conclude that what he really showed was that man is not the “crown of creation;” that we are not special in any way, but simply collections of organic molecules roaming around on a random planet circling the sun, which in turn is part of a galaxy that itself circles other star formations out among the vast, impersonal universe.   Where once we were the center of the universe, now we are leftover stardust.

Modern physics has taken this finding and turned it into a working principle of science.  Since Copernicus showed that humans are not the center of the cosmos, the thinking is that science must also be practiced with this principle firmly established. We are to treat the problem of existence as a puzzle that can only be solved if we assume that what we call “reality” is separate from “us,” and only answers using this framework will be considered scientific.

But this approach imposes a handicap upon our thinking that we don’t need and cannot justify.

It may be considered humble to take the position that we are a natural consequence of a reality “out there,” but it also leads to a lack of responsibility if this very same reality instead comes from “in here.”  It also leads to the foolhardy belief where we  imagine the world  – and our bodies — are machines operating beyond our control, when exactly the opposite is true.

The progress of science is steadily showing that the Eastern mystics were right: the world is a product of our internal states, or as Sir James Jeans said 100 years ago, the universe is looking more like a great thought than a great machine.  Quantum theory shows a connection between consciousness and the physical world.  Atoms are not things and have no existence outside of the mind.  To be is to be perceived.  Parapsychology studies show the power of the mind over the body and the external world,  The obvious fine-tuning of the universe and the “unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics” strongly suggest that a mind sits behind creation.  In dreams and hallucinations we witness the mind conjuring up an outside physical world mistaken for the world at large.

As we take a broader view of the evidence, the reality we thought was out-there draws closer to us — and then we realize it is us.

The Copernican principle is not science, but part of the holding pattern we sit in until we have time to study the reality we thought was out there.  We then realize, as shown by the evolving “new thought” movement, that the world is a product of the “in-here.”  The world is a reflection, a dream, of internal states.  It is time we recognize this unavoidable truth and finally accept responsibility for the world.  Copernicus was right about the Earth and the Sun, but wrong about the role of humans in the cosmos.  It will turn that we are the spiritual center — and hence the crown of creation — after all.

 

 

Looks Like Heaven will Need to be on Earth After All

February 27, 2012 | 4 Comments

Categories: New Consciousness, New Spirituality, Spirituality

Many religions speak of a better place far off in another spiritual dimension where humankind will find peace and tranquility; where the mind rises to enlightenment, and the soul reaches Nirvana.  Others look to the Second Coming when a messiah will appear on Earth and establish the Kingdom of God.   In this kingdom, presumably, humankind will finally be united as one, brotherhood will reign, and there will be peace throughout the land.

            In each one of these utopian worlds, people will necessarily be the actors in the story.  And the only way for this story to be worthy of a place called heaven is if the actors treat each other with the respect due as if the moral law is as true as the laws of science.

Transporting ourselves to another world, in and of itself, will not make us better people, for we wind up being the same people wherever we go.  Nor will a messiah – even if one appears — wave a magic wand and instantly make everyone a better person, and heal the chasms between the faiths.  No, we will have to earn our place in this better world.

If heaven is to be real, it must involve real people.  So when we pray for a better world, a place “up in the clouds,” aren’t we really praying for a higher state of being, of awareness in this world?  Aren’t we really praying for someone – other than ourselves – to make us better people?

There is one way we know of where people undertake a greater appreciation for the world and other people – this is when we reach higher states of awareness, a global or universal attitude, rather than one fixed on ourselves, our family or religious symbols.

So the goal is the same as it always has been: we must rise to a greater sense of our true identity; perhaps this is the Hindu union of the self with God; the Christian blending with the body of Christ; or the Buddhist release from the wheel of rebirth. But whatever religious doctrine inspires us, we know that the path is up the same mountain: this is the climb toward a higher state of consciousness, of oneness with the root of being that is the source of the world.

Heaven is the climb inside of ourselves, the shining star that draws us upward to be a better person than we were the day before.  There is no way up other than by a life of virtue, open-mindedness, and courage.  When we finally get there it may seem like another place, but it will be a world that was there all along, hidden deep but waiting to shine.

Tags: consciousness, God, heaven

Beyond Eckhart Tolle’s New Earth

December 15, 2010 | None Yet - Post a Comment

Categories: Consequences of a Dream World, New Spirituality

            In his popular book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose¸ Eckhart Tolle lays out a vision of a new earth that connects the inner world of spirit with the outer world of physical form.  “A ‘new heaven,’” he writes, “is the emergence of a transformed state of human consciousness, and a ‘new earth’ is its reflection in the physical world.” (p. 23, emphasis removed from original.)

             Following the tradition of Eastern religion,  Mr. Tolle identifies the inner world of spirit (or consciousness) as ultimate reality and the external world of “form” as merely a temporal parade of images.  The key to awakening, in his mind, is to tear the individual ego away from its fixation on not only these forms but from thought itself, and focus instead on the pure state of Being.   Click here to read more »