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  Columnist: Stephen Treehorn

Image credit: Novosibirsk University

Beam me up God

Posted on Tuesday, 28 September, 2010 | 3 comments
Columnist: Stephen Treehorn

Tractor beams have come to life in the Australian National University 1. First it was those little flip open communication devices from Star Trek which grew up to become our mobiles and now we have the embryonic potential to travel long distance at the speed of laser beam. Admittedly at present the technology is limited to glass particles over a distance of a metre but the Wright brothers managed only 120 feet at first and now we fly into outer space. So what gives with the bold headline of a title? Well a bunch of ‘eggheads’ in Harvard have been able to entangle photons and solid-state materials. A photon according to renowned physicist Arthur Young:

“Doesn’t have mass, it doesn’t have charge, it doesn’t have position, it doesn’t have time.”2

So what we are dealing with here is the merger of physical and non-physical, tangible and intangible, worldly and ethereal. The stuff of sci-fi legend becoming scientific fact.

Einstein was aware of the concept of entanglement and it became an integral part of the 'Einstein Podolsky Rosen Paradox', or 'Spooky action at a distance'. The paradox expounds that mind goes to its object unobstructedly and instantaneously even if, in theory, on the other side of the Universe at speeds exceeding that of light. Subsequent experiments have shown that observing the state of one member of a pair of entangled photons determines the state of the other. And if we move along in ‘time’ to contemporary quantum theory we come across the 'Observer Effect'. If embraced this really could start to shift the parameters and our notion of reality. In the words of Alex Patterson:

“The implications of the 'Observer Effect' are profound because, if true, it means that before anything can manifest in the physical universe it must first be observed. Presumably observation cannot occur without the pre-existence of some sort of consciousness to do the observing. The Observer Effect clearly implies that the physical Universe is the direct result of 'consciousness'. This notion has a striking resemblance to perennial esoteric theory which asserts that all phenomena are the result of the consciousness of a single over lighting Creative Principle or the Mind of God.”3

Could it be that advancements in science are leading us to the conclusion that fundamental particles are dependent on an observer and in themselves lack inherent existence? If so then this would confirm Buddhist Mahayana teachings and open the door to quite literally limitless possibilities.

The Mahayana practice of Guru Yoga involves students imagining Buddha abiding within their heart chakra where minds merge and become one. Could then the consciousness of a meditator be entangled for transportation to a Buddhist pure land (or heaven for Christians, Jannah for Muslims, etc)? The plausibility of such a giant leap boils down to what exactly we are trying to transport. When a person of religious persuasion makes requests for a brighter future to their Divinity what exactly are they asking to be ‘saved’? If mind, consciousness, soul, essence etc, can be located in a quantum/physical sense then with co-ordinates set by the initiated the potentiality is clearly there.

A Buddhist pure land is a very progressive step towards a Buddhist’s ultimate goal of Nirvana or enlightenment. This is the oneness, there is no separation or subjectivity, and emptiness prevails. Could His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama have been talking about the fusion of hitherto polarised conceptualisation when he stated;

“Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of quantum mechanics is "entanglement" which can occur in multi-particle systems. Entangled states are those in which the notion of individual properties of objects loses meaning.”4

But a word of warning before we all try to mind travel to paradise. According to the Hartle-Hawking hypothesis, the universe began as a quantum fluctuation in the limitless void and was observed by the first primordial mind causing it to collapse into one actuality. It is therefore not beyond the realms of possibilities that CERN scientists will, in dabbling with matters they don’t truly understand, observe the interaction of previously unperceived photons imploding the Universe we live in.

So is it safe to embark upon this metaphysical exploration? That I don’t know. Is it possible to be teleported to a pure land? Well I can imagine it so to coin a phrase ‘Make it so’.

1. Mike Lucibella, September 8, 2010,
2. Arthur Young, January 9, 2009, YouTube
3. Alex Patterson, 1999, ‘The Observer Effect’.
4. Sean Robsville, Buddhism and quantum physics.
(c) Copyright 2010 Stephen Treehorn

Article Copyright© Stephen Treehorn - reproduced with permission.

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