'The Quantum Activist' is a truly incredible documentary presenting the work and theories of Dr. Amit Goswami PhD, Professor Emeritus of Quantum Physics at the University of Oregon. The film focuses on a series of fascinating direct interviews and recorded lectures given by Dr. Goswami, exclusively, with little time wasted on voice overs or filler. As the focus of the film, he is in all instances charming, innovative, entertaining and quite understandable given the material.
Goswami is at this point in his career quite well known, a sought after speaker world-wide, as well as the author of numerous books including the quantum mechanics textbook of choice for many universities: Quantum Mechanics, The Self-Aware Universe, God is not Not Dead, How Quantum Activism Can Save Civilisation, The Visionary Window: A Quantum Physicist's Guide to Enlightenment and Physics of the Soul (which is winging its way to me as I write:). His message may be as important as any other scientific advancement realized to date.
How can I make such an outrageous claim?
Dr. Goswami expresses ideas about non-local consciousness that have widespread, perhaps even worldwide, transformative potential and what he says makes sense. Or as much sense as anything said about quantum physics can make at this point in our development.
He speaks against scientific materialism. The idea, as he defines it, that cause rises, that matter is the force behind all subtle experience. He maintains that it is impossible to explain all internal phenomena in terms of the movement of molecules. He calls the attempt to do so upward causation, the method of building upon our understanding from the bottom up, from particle, to atom, to molecule, to the ultimate creation and existence of all that is.
Religions, Goswami maintains,while apparently diverse share a common view of what can be conceived of as God. That is, a force outside of the material, a downward causation, a subtle body or world aside from the observable. Goswami considers this principal the essence of spirituality.
So what does any of this have to do with quantum physics?
Quantum physics describes the nature of tiny particles. Its application is responsible for many of the great advances of our modern age: satellites, computers, nuclear power, advanced medicine. Additionally and most notably however, it appears to follow a very different set of rules than those observable in the macro world - as defined by scientists such as Newton. Quantum physics poses certain problems such as quantum non-locality, in which two particles share information across vast distances, and suggests (as in the well-known double slit experience) that observation at the quantum realm effects matter, literally changing the manifestation of light from a wave to a particle.
It should be noted that like most groundbreaking scientific data, these results have been interpreted in a number of ways and that it is likely that the most comprehensive explanation is still evolving. Regardless of the interpretation however, no one can say that this phenomena is not remarkable and most will agree that it has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of the very nature of reality.
Amit Goswami interprets this phenomena, as do many, in terms of consciousness. He explains that when consciousness looks - waves collapse and become objects of conscious experience. In that respect, he considers physics a science of possibilities meaning, as I understand it, that all waves have the possibility of being transformed into objects of conscious experience. He goes on to address the Quantum Measurement Paradox in terms of philosophical logic and this is where he begins to depart from the majority of physicists.
He asks: If consciousness, as quantum physics suggests, chooses actuality from material possibilities how can we conceptualize this without paradox? If we have a possible elementary particle, creating a possible atom, creating a possible neuron, creating a possible brain, creating a possible consciousness, how can we couple possibility to actuality - or consciousness to matter?
Pointing out the circularity and paradox of that line of reasoning, Goswami then introduces what he terms a radical thought. This is quite simply put, an idea consistent with the experience of the mystic, the idea that consciousness is the ground of all being.
As breathtaking as this is, however, there is more. Goswami goes on to speak quite clearly on the topic of manifestation, maintaining that the level of consciousness which possesses the ability to choose actuality is an altered (as opposed to egoic) state which can only operate in the realm of the subtle. This state and this realm may be thought of as cosmic or interconnected consciousness. Separateness in this context is ultimately illusionary and this is what is truly radical about Goswami's science.
Goswami goes on to speak of non-local communication, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the discontinuous leap of creativity and the morphogenetic field with such beauty and precision that it would be a mistake I think for me to attempt to paraphrase here. Suffice it to say that he believes that non-local or cosmic consciousness is at once God, and ourselves, the object, and subject. For Goswami, as for me, consciousness does indeed precede all.
On a global scale, the ramifications of such a realization are staggering. Operating from the subtle body, and the heart chakra specifically, Goswami suggests that we have the ability to recognize this interconnectness and proposes an approach to the resolution of conflict which acknowledges that we are all part of the whole. He speaks of taking a step beyond even the Bodhisattva. In the old days Goswami explains, we were concerned only for ourselves. 'If I achieve heaven,' we may have said, 'I don't care about you.' As we evolve however in we recognize that this is incorrect. And ideally we realize it to the degree that we now say, 'If you don't go, I don't go either.'
Toward the end of the film, we realize that Dr. Goswami is not naive. He is an experienced and educated man, well aware of the dangers posed by our treatment of the environment (a product of separatism and material thinking) and each other. He sees progress however in an evolutionary sense that is both individual and collective. He considers this progress demonstrated by the success of leaders such Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King. He points out that these movements toppled the great institutions of British colonization, apartheid and racism by completely nonviolent means and that this could not have happened 100 or 200 years ago. And in spite of my continued concern and anxiety about the state of the world, I have to agree. It is possible. We may indeed be progressing and while nothing is guaranteed, I see great hope.
The absolute perfection of this documentary, of course, is that it is soundly based in in scientific theory, lending validity to the subjective and credibility to the unseen. In this regard it is therefore accessible to very wide audience.
*Please note that The Quantum Activist is not only available through amazon but as a 'watch it instantly' documentary on Netflix. Consider watching it, as I did, with friends and / or family so that you can discuss each person's experience of the content presented. Visit Dr. Goswami's website @ http://www.amitgoswami.org/. And if you didn't check out the link above, please take a moment to listen to Dr. King's incredible speech!