Tag Archives: stars

Coincidence in chaos in the conscious cosmos… The science of synchronicity

“And still, after all this time, the Sun has never said to the Earth,
‘You owe me.’
Look what happens with love like that.
It lights up the sky.”

Believed to be written by Rumi – mystic poet and philosopher (30 September 1207 – 17 December 1273)

CosmoscopyrightNBrooks2013

ONE of my earliest memories is looking at the stars through a telescope, shimmering blue, oscillating red. Without being unable to comprehend quite how far away – in distance and years – they were, or indeed exactly what they were, I somehow understood how impressive they were.

I became fascinated by the cosmos and, along with learning the alphabet, one of the first things I knew was all the planets and some of the major constellations.

To this day my idea of perfect romance is heading into the countryside at 3am to watch a meteor shower overhead. Or waking in the early hours to watch the sun rise over the sea. There’s nothing like viewing the  sky.

The cover story of the latest edition of New Scientist magazine concerns the nature of space and time. In the piece, the author Anil Ananthaswamy states: “A light ray always moves at one unit of space per unit of time – in a sense it is n the edge between space and time.”

This is perhaps why many are spellbound by the night sky so much. Maybe the light-emitting stars which dwell at the point between space and time echo the pause between the in and the out breath – which is where eternity and infinity exist.

It’s often said that we are made of stars… and we actually are. All the elements we’re comprised of originated in the stars. The carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and other atoms in our bodies were created in stars over 4.5 billion years ago.

In the 1980s, astronomer Carl Sagan said in his popular American TV series Cosmos: “We are a way for the universe to know itself. Some part of our being knows this is where we came from, we long to return. And we can, because the cosmos is also within us. We’re made of star stuff.”

Ann Druyan, who co-wrote Cosmos with her late husband Sagan, describes the series’ central revelation as being “our oneness with the universe.”

In this sense, we are part of a holographic universe where each component reflects the whole.

StarscopyrightNBrooks2013There’s no doubt we live in a chaotic cosmos marked by constant change and turbulent force. But in all chaos there are patterns to be found – because of the holographic nature of things. If you were to write out a series of seemingly random numbers for the rest of your life there would be various patterns to be found in there. In fact there are mathematically-ordained sequences running through everything. Take the twirling Fibonacci sequence – which is to be found everywhere from sunflowers to our own DNA. It seems that by design, it’s in (our) nature.

In terms of this coincidences can be seen as being connected as two similarities in an ocean of chance, even though they are not two events linked by causes and effects that the world at face value appears to operate on.

The meaning which emerges from two acausal events is known as synchronicity and was coined by psychologist Carl Jung. It’s what he believed proved there was an underlying order to the chaos in the cosmos.

In his book Synchonicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle he details the case of one of his patients who, during a critical moment of therapy, had a dream in which she was given a golden scarab beetle. When she was later relating this to Jung, he heard a gentle tapping at his window and turned round to see a flying insect knocking against the glass.

He said: “I opened the window and caught the creature in the air as it flew in. It was the nearest analogy to a golden scarab one finds in our latitudes, a scarabaeid beetle, the common rose-chafer (Cetonia aurata), which, contrary to its usual habits had evidently felt the urge to get into a dark room at this particular moment.”

I thought of this the other day when I was walking past a hedgerow and spotted a stag beetle on the ground on its back with its legs flailing and unable to right himself. I found two twigs and gently flipped him over onto his feet.

Synchronicity happens to us all. How many times has a song come on the radio that you had been thinking about hours earlier? How often have you been drawn to a book and opened it on a passage that has particular wisdom you were looking for? Or maybe a friend mentioned a classic film in passing that you had only just watched the other day?

The more you notice and even to a certain extent expect these unexpected occurrences – perhaps ‘glitches in the matrix’ – the more they seem to happen. It’s as if your subconscious has turned from red or amber to green.

Many scientists are now coming to believe that synchronicity is further proof of the interconnectedness of everything. In his absorbing book The Holographic Universe Michael Talbot details how many scientists including Nobel Prize winner Niels Bohr, along with Karl Pribram and David Bohm, theorised the universe is a hologram brought into existence in part by the mind (consciousness). The theory goes some way as to unifying disparate occurrences and effects in the world. It would explain things such as synchronicity in that acausal events are linked because everything is – holographically.

For me synchronicity represents hope. Hope is the one thing that mankind cannot live without.

And it is perhaps in the ever-present shining stars that hope resonates out across the universe too.

What would someone think when looking from another vantage point in space back at the “Pale Blue Dot” or “pixel” we call home – Earth?

Use your eyes, heart and soul to study the stars above… to the nth degree from this Pale Blue Dot.

In observing the coincidences, the chaos and the cosmos we truly see our consciousness.

“The universe and the light of the stars come through me.” (Rumi)

* I often use this site to link to good causes. If you’ve been inspired by this post I would ask you to give a book on astronomy to a child – or someone with a childlike spirit – who you know.

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To infinity and beyond

“All our knowledge has its origins in our perceptions.”

Leonardo da Vinci – true Renaissance man (April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519)

IT’S a momentous time for the exploration of our universe.

This week it’s half a century since a human was launched into the final frontier. On April 12, 1961 Yuri Gagarin became the first man to orbit the Earth. Tuesday is also the 30th anniversary of the Space Shuttle’s first mission. The Space Shuttle retires soon.

Next month it’s the 50th anniversary of the first American in space – Alan Shepard – and 20 years since the first Briton, Helen Sharman, went into the great beyond.

Last week Virgin Galactic used the beautiful backdrop of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge to showcase SpaceShipTwo – the craft that will take space tourists about 60 miles up and allow them to experience weightlessness next year.

Waxing gibbous moon

Buzz Aldrin told me space exploration was how we as humans understand ourselves.

Speaking about NASA’s planned mission to colonise Mars, he said: “It’s a way off yet – about 20 or 30 years.

“It will go down in history. It’s too expensive to bring people back so they will have to commit themselves to going there for good. Eventually humans will be born on Mars.”

He added: “We’ve always looked beyond the next mountain as the human race. It’s how we learn about ourselves.”

But while we’ve made many great leaps and bounds for mankind over the past 50-odd years, let us be clear that there is still much about our world and the universe that we don’t know.

There is about 95% of the stuff in the universe we have no idea what it is; so-called dark energy and dark matter. This ‘fifth element’ has been dubbed ‘quintessence’ – a term first coined by Aristotle to describe this pure and pervasive force.

Thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope – which the Space Shuttle launched – we discovered that over time, the expansion of the universe has quickened. This is a huge anomaly because the effect of gravity should mean that either the expansion slows or it would stop and then start imploding resulting in the ‘big crunch’. Why isn’t gravity stopping the universe from flying apart?

Could this quintessence be consciousness? And is this why our universe is inexplicably expanding when, according to traditional physics laws it really shouldn’t? Is our increasing collective consciousness driving it?

In the quantum world, the observer is the key component.

The famous double-split experiment, to try and find out whether light travels as waves or particles, found that the same process produces different results depending on whether it’s being watched or not.

In very simplistic terms, when a photon of light is shot through a vertical slit, the pattern that emerges the other side is of a vertical line. If there are two parallel slits, a wave pattern with interference between the photons emerges. That in itself is bizarre. However what’s even “spookier”, to paraphrase Albert Einstein, is that if detectors are placed at the point of exit on each slit, two vertical lines are the result. Thus the act of observation changes the results – it’s as if the photon realises it’s being observed and produces the expected effect.

The Schrödinger’s cat thought experiment also shows how two very different states can exist at once.

A cat is locked in a steel box along with a radioactive atom. If the atom decays a hammer is released, smashing a tube of hydrocyanic acid and killing the cat. What happens to the cat is bound up with the wave function of the atom. While the box is closed we have no way of knowing whether the cat is alive or not; it exists in both states at once. As this is theoretical, thankfully no real cats were harmed!

In essence, everything is in a state where infinite possibilities all exist at once and it’s only with the act of observation (which perhaps carries with it expectation) that the wave becomes a particle. It suggests that we create our world, our universe, our reality, by our observation, our awareness of it.

In new movie Source Code Jake Gyllenhaal plays a kind of human Schrödinger’s cat. The movie deals with the notion of a computer-generated reality as well as parallel universes and parallel realities; the branching off of a new reality depending on the choices you make.

The many-worlds theory views reality as continually branching off, like endless firework waterfalls, each subsequent spark branching off into new universes that correspond to each of the possible outcomes.

Could the mysterious 95% of our universe be forces from a parallel universe, or indeed a number of others, exerting a pull on our own?

In string theorist Brian Greene’s recent release The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos he posits a number of theories including the idea that there are an infinite number of universes, or multiverses.

He told Bloomberg.com: “The math we’re studying today, which emerges from Einstein’s work, suggests our universe may not be the only universe.

“Assuming that space goes on infinitely far, in any finite chunk matter can only arrange itself in a finite number of ways, like cards in a deck.

“You and I are just a configuration of particles, so sooner or later we’re going to repeat. Matter can almost repeat its configuration but not repeat it identically.

“Your physical body may repeat, but your mental configuration can be a little bit different, so there might be an evil version of you, and a version that loves skydiving.”

And in an interview with New York Times Magazine he said: “Some [parallel universes] might have museums and restaurants. Some might have copies of you and me having a conversation similar to this one. Yet other universes would be vastly different. They could involve a gigantic expansive space that might be filled with other forms of matter governed by other kinds of physical laws. In one such universe, when the apple is released by a tree, it might go up instead of down.”

A likeness or reality?

In a parallel universe is the you there still as conscious as the you in this universe and is the you in another parallel universe wondering about the you in this world? Or are they all just simulacra? A copy of a copy? A shadow on the cave wall? Which version is the real one? Are you a simulacrum many times removed from the original? Is there an ‘original’?

Does our energy disseminate to parallel worlds as we take a particular turn in the road? If we take a quantum perspective our energy isn’t weakened or diluted by the branch off because of the way an atom can exist in two places, two states, at the same time. So are there an infinite number of us and does each choice we make in parallel worlds result in a new parallel world ad infinitum? Are we linked to each parallel universe via our energy and thus can we transverse into another universe or is each parallel world completely shut off from each other?

The book also looks at theories that we could just be part of some advanced Matrix-like computer simulation or even be holograms in a holographic universe.

Nearly 20 years ago at the University of Paris physicist Alain Aspect and his team discovered that under certain conditions two subatomic particles separated by any amount of distance could ‘communicate’ with each other; one did the same thing the other did. They are ‘entangled’; they behave holographically, in that all the information that makes up a hologram is wholly contained in its smallest parts. At the quantum level, particles can exhibit this tendency which, along with other anomalies, has scientists wondering if this illustrates that this is a holographic universe.

Einstein said: “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”

We could be in a similar state to Rachael the replicant in Blade Runner who doesn’t even realise she’s anything but human.

To the father of modern philosophy René Descartes, to be human is to have consciousness: “I think, therefore I am.”

According to the Oxford English dictionary, consciousness is: 1 – the state of being aware of and responsive to one’s surroundings; 2 – a person’s awareness or perception of something.

It seems that whatever the reality is of our world and our universe, quantum physics indicates our awareness is a fundamental part of it.

If our awareness is what makes us human does it matter what matter really is made of? Is it not the meaning we take from our world that is what makes it so for us? Is it not the choices we make, the experiences we have and how we navigate within this world that makes us who we are?

We are still exploring our own universe – from deepest space to the quantum level to our own individual consciousness. Our universe is the only one that exists for us. And the beautiful notion that quantum physics gives rise to – that everything is a bundle of endless potential – is truly out of this world.

“The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.”

Eden Phillpotts – English writer (November 4, 1862 – December 29, 1960)

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