Understanding the Ruling Elite

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By ANDY THOMAS

Intense speculation on the ‘ruling elite’ many believe is running the world from behind the scenes can lead to the presumption that it is all-powerful and infallible. But is it? Identifying the human foibles and underlying desires of those who may be planning centralised domination could lead to a greater chance to offset their agendas.

In my book The Truth Agenda, I explore a widely-held hypothesis in certain quarters: that the world might be controlled by a powerful ruling elite, which puts its own narrow interests and convictions above ours through manipulation and engineered global crises to help bring about an Orwellian-style ‘One World Government’.

The book also considers the possibility that our planet is about to undergo a huge change, social, spiritual or cosmological, something seemingly anticipated by several ancient cultures around the world in the now renowned 2012 prophecies. The exploration of these ideas throws up disturbing possibilities and more pieces of evidence to support them than is entirely comfortable.

However, if all that the most extreme speculation achieves is to help prevent such a grim picture from reaching full fruition, then it will have served a useful purpose. It is also crucial that a note of optimism is struck.

An often valid criticism of conspiracy theorists, or ‘truthseekers’, is that their fevered investigations into humankind’s worst nightmares can leave some listeners feeling more fearful, and risks driving them into a state of disempowered paralysis, putting up the shutters when what is needed is engagement. Yet the unavoidable truth is that looking a potentially tough situation in the eye does mean facing up to disturbing realities that may have been swept under the carpet, for they might require urgent action.

Lifting the blindfold even just a little means that we might not run into the approaching wall at such a great velocity. If the idea of a secretive but all-pervading cabal running the world leaves some feeling shocked, the act of simply contemplating such an idea may in itself spark a new awakening of consciousness.

What psychologically motivates this elite, however? What kind of minds are we really dealing with? How can we attempt to understand them, so that solutions and strategies for dealing with their actions may become clearer?

The Elite and its Motivations

Something too often missed in all the conspiracy speculation is the realisation that if we are being governed by a powerful cabal trying to twist the world to its own ends, then we are still essentially dealing with fellow human beings (putting ET/reptilian bloodline theories aside for a moment).

Like every other person on the planet, they must have physical, social and emotional needs, even if the latter faculty may be too easily set aside in the kind of mind that would plan 9/11-type scenarios (an event widely suspected to have been deliberately staged by Western sources as part of a march towards the ‘New World Order’). The personalities involved must have loved ones of their own, and experience thoughts, feelings and cares in at least some directions. They also, like most of us in our lives, probably think they are doing the right thing, however much we may see their schemes as misguided.

This is an important point. We all have reasons for doing what we do, and can often justify actions to ourselves in the face of serious challenges from the outside. Hard though it may be to comprehend, the motivation of those who might think that wiping out their own people would be a positive move, or who believe that planning wars and economic breakdowns to effect the creation of a unifying world government is an acceptable strategy, the fact is that many seemingly well-intentioned visionaries throughout history have voiced the need for such approaches. This does not make them right, of course, but there is plainly a significant, if small, seam of humanity that believes a bigger picture should be put before the needs of the masses. Those who have expressed support for eugenics and depopulation strategies, for instance, often have deep-seated environmental concerns or feel strongly that we have lost our balance with nature and must put the planet’s future ahead of the requirements of the common people.

One of the most prominent promoters of the term ‘New World Order’ was the famous and much revered writer H G Wells, who believed passionately that the only answer to global strife would be the creation of the eponymous hierarchy, actively proposing it in his 1940 book The New World Order. This is clearly not a modern concept, and has roots going back even further than Wells’ idealistic vision of it. Some believe both World Wars were deliberately coordinated, or at least used, to help bring about a mandate for world government. As early as 1913, writing in his book The New Freedom, President Woodrow Wilson made clear that some formidable force already underpinned the commercial, and probably political, infrastructure of the USA:

Some of the biggest men in the US, in the field of commerce and manufacturing, are afraid of somebody, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organised, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it.

What is striking in H G Wells’ writings, however, is his sense of excitement and enthusiasm for the idea of a dominating collective that would put all to rights and avert “the disastrous extinction of Mankind.” There is no sense of negative intention nor a Malthusian dislike for humanity. Yet at the same time Wells was an advocate of eugenics. Many find this concept entirely repugnant, but here is the paradox – the very kinds of people truth-seekers tend to single out as the enemies of humanity very likely see themselves as its saviours. It is all a matter of perspective and of where one chooses to draw the moral line.

The philosopher Bertrand Russell openly accepted the inevitability of a controlling One World Government, founded on the basis of hard scientific values, and was disturbingly frank about the culture that would result. Writing in his 1953 book The Impact of Science on Society, he states:

Diet, injections, and injunctions will combine, from a very early age, to produce the sort of character and the sort of beliefs that the authorities consider desirable, and any serious criticism of the powers that be will become psychologically impossible…

…Gradually, by selective breeding, the congenital differences between rulers and ruled will increase until they become almost different species. A revolt of the plebs would become as unthinkable as an organised insurrection of sheep against the practice of eating mutton.

On the surface, Russell’s thoughts appear to encourage such a world, rather than condemn it, and such thinking seems outrageous, even if it does come close to identifying the very philosophy that may now be actively shaping our society. However, although it seems difficult, almost distasteful, for some to contemplate, there is a thought to be considered here: What if such thinking were definitively shown to be right? What if humankind’s very survival did rest on the notion of more control, not less? What if the choice were demonstrated to be between total destruction through over-population, pollution and over-stretched resources, or a selectively-bred, closely-monitored world that regulated itself and continued on? What if an anarchy-ridden post-2012 apocalypse society could be shown to stand no real chance of survival, whereas a tightly-controlled disciplinarian civilisation would?

Uncomfortably, in the light of the world’s current challenging issues, it can be seen, at least to a small extent, how arguments could be made in these directions when looked at from a certain viewpoint. The problem comes, as ever, with the massive issue of who gets to decide. Those in comfortable circumstances looking down from on high must inevitably see things rather differently to those scraping an existence lower down the rungs, at their mercy.

We already hold the power of genetic manipulation in our hands, and it will not be too long before required characteristics of children will be able to be routinely selected and engineered. Also, with life spans ever increasing, and our understanding of tissue and brain cell regeneration growing by the year, how long will it be before life can be sustained indefinitely? When that occurs, the population problem will clearly explode if unlimited access to such power is allowed (that is, if the majority of humankind is permitted to survive in the first place – depopulation conspiracy theories are rife). A world of immortals would risk stagnation, but also domination from those who attained the status of immortality first. They would effectively decide who would be offered the gift from thereon. In the end, the gene pool would almost certainly be controlled by such authorities, the new eugenics having arrived through the back door.

These issues are already reality, not dystopian fiction. The power of genetic engineering, which is currently changing our food, both animal and vegetable – and thus our entire ecosystem, as spliced and altered genes make their way into nature through pollination and cross-breeding – means that humankind has already taken the entire planet’s evolutionary destiny into its own hands, and there is no going back. Do those calling the shots have the moral compass to carry such a huge responsibility? Can they serve as the gods they are setting themselves up to be?

In a society of angels, perhaps a charter of rigid regulation, surveillance and genetic population control could be applied with compassion and the wide agreement of a common consensus – but we are nowhere near such a state of being. With the motivation of those governing our world today clearly in question, it seems impossible that the kinds of agendas many feel the ruling elite is implementing could work in any way other than being a simple attack on the larger percentage of humankind. Without common consensus, whatever the supposedly good intentions that might exist somewhere behind the plans, any attempt to regulate the world by coercion and draconian measures remains an immoral one.

Inherent Deception

The problem with global cover-ups is that they arrive and build up – as deception does so often for all of us – through a lack of honesty largely sparked by the fear of what people might think or do if they were to perceive the true vulnerability within. The elite appears to fear us and our reactions as much as we may fear it – otherwise it would not need to manipulate and control. Many disingenuous actions are borne of inner psychosis; a lack of trust that other people will understand. Our leaders appear to have got so used to playing deceptive games that they cannot now operate any other strategy. Everything from the banking system to Parliamentary administration appears to be based on subterfuge. Right now we are clearly not trusted by those affecting our lives so strongly and as a result we do not trust them.

Not that some of the elite would be remotely bothered about what any of us thinks of their actions. For those who may feel that caveats to explain such motivation is too generous to people who maim, kill and deceive to get their way, for whatever reason, it should be noted that there do also appear to be those pulling the strings who simply seek power for power’s sake. The lessons of history tell us that selfishness, greed and excited bloodlust cannot be ruled out as prime movers in some cases, at least. And, to acknowledge the not-insubstantial suspicion of a ‘reptilian agenda’, if it were to turn out that this highly exclusive club was indeed the result of a dominating extra-terrestrial gene seeded aeons ago (as some believe, based on ancient myths) and being exploited and/or activated by celestial visitors today, then it admittedly might explain why concern for the needs of humanity appears to be as low down the list of its priorities as our general concern for the welfare of livestock is today.

As for what kind of people may comprise the global elite, the well-intentioned and the not-so well-intentioned, most likely we are largely dealing with high-ranking politicians, academics, intellectuals (as with Wells and Russell), monarchies, and very rich and influential families – with a mixture of political, religious and occult undercurrents. In other words, all the obvious candidates. Numerous books and websites go into the detail, so there is little need to explore it here. How much of the grand plan all of them know, however, and whether there are pyramids-within-pyramids amongst even the power structures near the top, is another matter.

Factions Within Factions

The presumption is often made that the very existence of a ruling elite means that those involved must be all-powerful and of one mind, accurately manipulating domino events that hit the required spot every time, all to a predetermined agenda. But this may apportion them an unwarranted infallibility.

There is evidence to show that there are factions and disputes within the echelons of those with great influence over our lives. After all, the world is a big and complex place. Even with a general agreement on how it should move forward, the pressures of regional needs and personal biases are almost certain to blur the clarity of purpose from time to time. Going on the word that does sneak out from Bilderberg meetings and the suchlike, it seems that as many disagreements, compromises and negotiations arise there as within any supposedly democratic Parliament. If this weren’t the case, the meetings would not presumably need to take place, so pre-orchestrated would the scheming be.

As with Masonic and other secret society structures, there is also a pecking order to consider. It is doubtful that all those ‘in’ on a global conspiracy seeking centralised control would be party to every machination, and certain players may themselves be manipulated from within without realising it. From the outside, for example, it appears that British ex-prime minister Gordon Brown, for all his many references to creating a ‘New World Order,’ seemed destined to be a fall-guy from the start, set up to come to power just as the world economy took a tumble. The question is, did Brown know the full plan? Was he someone faithfully playing a game with a known outcome of outward failure, while secretly ensuring success in an agenda of weakening the UK on the world stage to quicken a move towards One World Government? Or did he cling on in the genuine belief that all would come right and that he would one day be hailed as a political hero?

Likewise, when Bill Clinton found himself under threat of impeachment following the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal, was this all part of a contrived drama, or a sign of factions within factions very genuinely trying to remove him after an unplanned gaffe? And did Richard Nixon go rogue or was he just playing a pre-auditioned role? On a smaller level, when a man in the crowd died after being pushed to the ground by a policeman during the 2009 G20 protests in London, it took all the seemingly contrived focus away from images of a few people smashing a bank window, and suddenly all the headlines became howls about police brutality. Was this an ongoing twist to deliberately stir civil unrest or was it (as many suspect) something going unexpectedly wrong and changing the script? Does every war and false-flag terror attack really go to plan, or is there as much ‘cock-up’ involved as conspiracy?

How organised, then, is this global elite, and is it really as united as some truth seekers give credit for? The evidence suggests that there are chinks in the armour and disagreements within, and weaknesses and unpredictable elements always arise in any grand plan. This offers hope. The foibles of human nature and the sheer universality of chaos theory may ensure that unexpected events and peculiar side tracks undermine the apparent solidity of the control agenda just when they are least expected. We could therefore be dealing with something far less coordinated than feared – indeed, the wide truth seeker presumption of the elite’s potency may make it seem more of a problem than it really is. But can we take the chance of becoming complacent?

It is clear that certain events and trends do seem to be part of an unfolding pattern that suggests an attempt to engineer a mandate for centralised power. Whilst we must not become petrified into inaction by this, nor, however, should we take the opposite risk of assuming there is no real threat, even if the conspirators are found to be less competent than some believe. Either way, it is important at the very least to call attention to the appalling deeds committed by those at least trying to be an all-powerful force.

Consent by Apathy

If plans for world domination are being laid on any level, a simple fact needs to be recognised – that it only goes on because we collectively allow it. Even with obvious governmental deceptions such as the weapons of mass destruction debacle in Iraq, such things only continue to occur as widely as they do because too few people stand solidly against them or fully call their leaders to account. We have allowed apathy and the distractions of (apparent) comfort, trivia and entertainment to hold us in our armchairs in the hope that anything dark ‘out there’ will remedy itself in due course, without our input, energetically or even electorally (voter turnouts for Western elections, whatever they are worth, are generally perilously low).

By having become so disconnected with what goes on around us in our names, we have not stood up in our collective power – and are therefore as responsible as any global elite for having created the world we live in today. With the consent granted by our passivity, we have watched obvious lies and manipulations take away our strength, resolve and liberty, and have done little or nothing about it. As such, we have given away our personal responsibility. The energy spent complaining loudly but emptily in the pub or bus queue about the shortcomings of today’s society, if applied in more proactive and positive directions, could be used to offset the very things being complained about. The problem is that we have been trained to think that we cannot make a difference – when, in truth, we can, especially when we match the tangible power of the collective mind with the practical rewards of direct action, as I explore more in The Truth Agenda.

Speaking out

Much of the awakening process that HAS begun has come from the kind of people drawn to be part of the truth seeking community. Unfortunately, their often unseen efforts are generally rewarded by undeserved ridicule and sidelining by a culture that has shut its eyes and ears to anything but the skewed vision it is fed by those who prefer to keep us dumb. People who question the status quo are easily neutered in the mainstream by being branded with false ‘wacko’ stereotypes created by a media that is all too often either itself controlled, fearful or just lazily stupid. Truth seeker enthusiasm does allow things to spill over into fanaticism and lack of discernment sometimes, no doubt, but the fact is that there are also absolutely vital questions and observations being raised by very reasonable, normal people, which could make a real and positive difference to people’s lives – if ever given a chance.

It doesn’t take long for the average person to see through manipulation once obvious anomalies are pointed out. Assuming the masses will always be dumb may be an arrogant and huge mistake on the part of our masters. When discussed in an accessible and objective way, the concept of a ruling global elite, which believes that some kind of catastrophic cosmological or climatic change may be imminent and has thus been implementing a regime of draconian restrictions by nefarious means to ensure it retains control during and after the chaos, is nowhere near as far-fetched as it may at first seem. It can all be made to sound credible when expressed in balanced tones, and when sensible evidence is presented.

Tones are important. Extreme conspiracy dogma, passionately but indiscriminately shouted, can repel potential support and plays into the hands of the mainstream’s characterisation of all alternative thinkers as uneducated fanatics. Those with the power of insight who can rise above this have a responsibility to convey a user-friendly overview of the control agenda. Successful outreach requires initial moderation – and compassion. Newcomers can be confused by all the many complex sources of information out there, and may shrink from the at-first disturbing idea of a manipulative ruling elite if not properly approached. The uncertain era we live in now, with glimpses of the truth shining in through the cracks, provides a unique opportunity for those with the insights to offer another view of the world – while they can.

There may be more than one reason why a world of centralised control would be desired by a ruling elite, and we cannot fully presume to understand from the outside. But no strategy that imposes an undeclared agenda without transparency or choice can be right, and any regime of underhand manipulation must be resisted. To resist successfully, however, those with awareness must hold on to optimism and strike an appropriate tone if they are to be listened to and people awakened so that a self-elected and questionable minority’s vision for the world is not allowed to ride roughshod over the needs of everyday people.

No elite, of any kind, can be infallible, and this offers true hope for the future – if enough people can rise above their fears and speak out, loudly and clearly.

Adapted from The Truth Agenda by Andy Thomas(Vital Signs Publishing 2009, revised 2011)

If you appreciated this article, please consider a digital subscription to New Dawn.

 

ANDY THOMAS is a leading researcher into unexplained mysteries and is the author of the acclaimed The Truth Agenda (Vital Signs Publishing, 2009, revised 2011). His many other books include Vital Signs, described widely as the definitive guide to crop circles. Andy also edited Geoff Stray’s seminal Beyond 2012. Andy extensively writes and lectures, and has made numerous radio and TV appearances around the world. For further information, visit www.truthagenda.org.

The above article appeared in New Dawn No. 127 (July-August 2011).

© Copyright New Dawn Magazine, http://www.newdawnmagazine.com. Permission granted to freely distribute this article for non-commercial purposes if unedited and copied in full, including this notice.

© Copyright New Dawn Magazine, http://www.newdawnmagazine.com. Permission to re-send, post and place on web sites for non-commercial purposes, and if shown only in its entirety with no changes or additions. This notice must accompany all re-posting.

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Deathbed Visions, DMT & Consciousness – Reflections on Life and the Beyond

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In recent years in the West there have been a number of studies in which people on their deathbeds are asked what it is they most regret about their lives. An Australian palliative nurse, Bronnie Ware, conducted one such study of patients in her care – she spent several years looking after a range of people in the final 12 weeks of their lives and kept a record of their dying epiphanies, publishing them in her book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. Ware spoke of their astounding lucidity and identified five common themes which recurred over and over. These were:

  • That they had lived their lives true to themselves.
  • That they hadn’t worked so hard.
  • That they had the courage to express their own feelings.
  • That they had stayed in touch with their friends.
  • That they had allowed themselves to be happier.

What emerged is a pattern of conformity – both to those around them and wider society – which ultimately prohibited them from leading a truly satisfactory life in which their own dreams and ambitions were fully realised. From the treadmill of everyday work to the way in which we adopt our persona to suit the demands and expectations of others, these regrets are as predictable as they are a sad reflection of the skewed priorities which tend to dominate Western culture. At the same time they reflect something of a pessimistic approach to viewing life and death, focusing on the absence of something positive instead of an appreciation for the goodness that actually existed.

By contrast, Japanese documentarian and film-maker Hirokazu Kore-eda approached the idea of reflecting on life from a different perspective, asking hundreds of subjects from all walks of life – many of whom were not facing imminent death – to choose one cherished moment from their past which defined their lives. The result is a whimsical celebration of life in all its beauty and diversity, which also demonstrates how much people tend to fictionalize their past, with rose-tinted nostalgia heavily influencing their reminiscences. Choosing a single most cherished moment also proves to be considerably more difficult to do than listing one’s regrets, suggesting that negativity has become engrained in mankind’s mindset, as if anxiety and lamentation has become a driving force behind the species.

Kore-eda compiled the interviews and conducted many more for his film After Life, which straddles both documentary and work of fiction, and the result is a film which suggests the immanence of the human experience, with many themes and concepts emerging that a variety of different cultures would doubtless share. So too with deathbed phenomena – the paranormal experiences and visions of those on the brink of death – there is a unity across cultures, and indeed throughout history. Frequently these visions of heavenly creatures and deceased relatives have been considered evidence for the presence of a spirit realm and even as proof of the after life, comforting visions of a place beyond the familiar temporal realm.

The following account from Chaz Ebert, the wife of the popular American film critic Roger Ebert, highlights the nature of deathbed visions in a contemporary context:

“The one thing people might be surprised about—Roger said that he didn’t know if he could believe in God. He had his doubts. But toward the end, something really interesting happened. That week before Roger passed away, I would see him and he would talk about having visited this other place. I thought he was hallucinating. I thought they were giving him too much medication. But the day before he passed away, he wrote me a note: “This is all an elaborate hoax.” I asked him, “What’s a hoax?” And he was talking about this world, this place. He said it was all an illusion. I thought he was just confused. But he was not confused. He wasn’t visiting heaven, not the way we think of heaven. He described it as a vastness that you can’t even imagine. It was a place where the past, present, and future were happening all at once.”

Not surprisingly, when mainstream science first came to examine such phenomena in the early 20th century, they were rationalised by the materialistic mindset as being nothing more than hallucinations – a rationalisation which continues to the present day. There is some merit to this interpretation, as anyone who has taken psychedelic drugs can attest to.

Hallucinogenic drugs such as psilocybin and DMT are capable of manifesting alien realms and entities which for the user feel every bit as real as experiences they might have in sobriety; with DMT, visions of otherworldly beings are incredibly common. Given that the neuronal function of the brain at the point of death is impaired, experiencing a stage of cerebral hypoxia, it is entirely plausible that these visions correspond to these changes in brain activity. This would certainly parallel the work of Rick Strassman and his studies into DMT and the near-death experience, in which he posits that the pineal gland releases huge doses of the chemical at the moment of death.

But new theories have emerged in recent years which may finally take us towards a true reconciliation of science and spirit, in which the deathbed visions of people and places are neither the imaginative products of an ingrained cultural and historical perception of an afterlife nor chemically-induced hallucinations, but real phenomena which actually exist.

Harvard neurosurgeon Dr. Eben Alexander, recently interviewed on Waking Times, conducted extensive research which challenged the orthodoxy of reductive materialism and offered a radical new interpretation of the way in which consciousness functions. Rather than being a product of the brain, Alexander posits that “consciousness is at the core of an unfolding reality” and that beyond this there is a conscious force which exists external to the physical body. Additional research in the field of consciousness by Stanford University Professor Emeritus William A. Tiller has indicated a powerful realm between particles which is heavily influenced by human consciousness. This latent energy, which interacts between the conventionally-measured molecular/atomic substance is apparently spurred into interaction by intentions projected from the mind.

A number of prestigious scientists have long held to the theory of the multiverse, building upon the lack of predictability in quantum mechanics as the starting point for an ever-expanding array of parallel universes. Dr. Robert Lanza, in his book Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness Are the Key to Understanding the Nature of the Universe, put forward the notion – long held in religious and spiritual beliefs – that consciousness continues on after the death of the physical form. With consciousness the driving force behind the existence of the universe, Lanza believes that consciousness never actually dies, and that we only perceive it as doing so because of the identity people have with their bodies. Beyond this, Lanza suggests that consciousness can travel between universes at will – just as our bodies are thought of as the product of stardust (and there is solid mainstream science supporting that idea) so too are our “souls” intrinsically linked to the proto-consciousness which forms the fabric of space and time.

A recent study from Boston University revealed that belief in immortality may be hard-wired into the human brain, and while this study focused primarily on highlighting the cognitive roots of religious belief, an interesting aspect of the findings points to these beliefs originating not in culture and upbringing, as was initially assumed, but as intuitive concepts – natural drives rather than nurtured opinions. But perhaps this implicit awareness is more than mere fantasy – if the theories of Alexander, Tiller, Lanza and an increasing number of experts in a variety of fields prove to be correct, it would mean that humanity would have to radically revise its views on death itself, and deathbed reflections on hopes and regrets could become almost redundant.

Rather than validating the claims of religious institutions throughout history, confirmation of consciousness as a phenomena which both shapes the universe around us and transcends the physical realm would forge a new era of metaphysical enquiry. Albert Einstein famously predicted that “the religion of the future will be a cosmic religion” – that future may already be with us.

About the Author

Andrew Dilks writes on culture and politics at orwellwasright.co.uk. He is the author of Goliath and Flow. His newest book Prehistoric Highs: Mind-Altering Plants and the Birth of Civilization will be available in 2014.

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact. 

Search for the Mind of God

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Stephen Hawking famously ended his 1988 bestseller A Brief History of Time with the statement that, if and when physics finds its long-sought grand unified field theory “we would know the mind of God.”1 Although since then he has reportedly regretted the phrase, and famously announced in 2010 that “God did not create the universe,” his original statement was – knowingly or not – in fact simply a repetition of the underlying quest of the historical scientific revolution.

All its great pioneers, from Copernicus to Newton, were motivated by the passionate belief that by discovering the way the universe works they were not only uncovering God’s design, but also taking humankind closer to the divine. Science was for them primarily a spiritual quest. And, given the evidence, that’s precisely what it should be now.

Despite rather desperately cowering behind the wall of strident rationalism most of them are famous for, the startling truth is that cosmologists and quantum physicists themselves have revealed that the mind of God may be much nearer than we think. Science itself has effectively proven that ours is not a random universe. Science itself has demonstrated it was literally designed for life, which implies a designer… But as science itself – in general – is rather backward in coming forward about this, permit us to explain.

The sensational conclusion that the universe appears to be meant began to be formulated with the famous ‘anthropic principle’ brought to the attention of the scientific community at the end of the 1970s by the seminal Nature paper by British cosmologists Bernard Carr and Martin Rees. The latter, now Lord Rees – Astronomer Royal and President of the Royal Society until 2010 – recently attracted the disdain of many colleagues by accepting the annual million-pound Templeton Foundation prize awarded for an “outstanding contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension.” Quite something for a mainstream scientist – and of course hugely controversial.

The Designer Universe

At its most basic, the anthropic principle states that all the cosmological data shows the laws of physics are, to an uncanny degree, exactly the ones needed for a bio-friendly universe. According to Paul Davies’ book The Goldilocks Enigma (2006) conditions are, like her porridge, “just right” for organic life. It needs precisely our kind of universe: relatively stable, with galaxies and stars – and this was by no means inevitable: if things were even slightly different matter could never have coalesced, or the universe would be riddled with black holes, preventing the formation of heavenly bodies. Life requires certain chemical elements, primarily carbon, which need stars to manufacture them and disperse them in their supernovae explosions. It also needs planets where the building blocks can be assembled for living beings to develop.

All this requires not only fundamental particles and energies to possess particular values, but the relationships between them must be very precise. Carr and Rees noted that for almost every variation of the physical laws, a bio-friendly universe would be impossible. Yet as Hawking writes, “a series of startling coincidences” make the laws of physics “a system that is extremely fine-tuned” to produce conditions propitious for life.2 Freeman Dyson, the British-born American physicist, writes that there are “numerical accidents that seem to conspire to make the universe habitable,”3 while Paul Davies notes the “ingenious and seemingly contrived ways”4 the laws of physics allow the creation and dispersal of the elements necessary for life – and that we appear to live in a “designer universe.”

More astoundingly, as all the values were ‘set’ by the big bang – if the conditions at the start of the universe had been say, bigger and bangier or smaller and less bangy (sorry for the technical terms), the physical laws would also be different – then life seems to have been an integral part of the design from the very beginning.

One of the first examples of the fine-tuning to be recognised, back in the 1950s, is the formation of carbon – quintessential to organic life – which like all except the simplest three elements is forged in the centre of stars. However, scientists had long realised that according to conventional wisdom, carbon shouldn’t exist at all (or if it did it should be extremely rare). Even the vast temperatures and pressure in stars shouldn’t produce enough energy for stable atoms to form. But we now know there is a lucky fluke – a quantum effect known as resonance – which produces a ‘spike’ that enormously amplifies the energy to exactly the right value. This only happens for carbon.

The scientist who worked out the process, the maverick British astronomer and mathematician Fred Hoyle, was so astonished by the coincidence that he famously described it as a “put-up job.” In a 1957 lecture he observed:

If this was a purely scientific problem and not one that touched on the religious problem, I do not believe that any scientist who examined the evidence would fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce inside the stars. If this is so, then my apparently random quirks have become part of a deep-laid scheme. If not then we are back again at a monstrous sequence of accidents.5

The most recently-discovered example of fine tuning is perhaps the most compelling. This relates to ‘vacuum energy,’ a force arising from ‘virtual particles’ that fill even empty interstellar space, and which has a profound effect on the universe, since it determines its rate of expansion and this in turn determines how life-friendly it is. If the universe was expanding too quickly, then gravity would be unable to build galaxies, planets and stars; if too slowly, then all matter would be pulled back to the ‘big crunch’ before life had time to evolve. Obviously, our universe is expanding within that critically narrow range that allows it to be bio-friendly. But only recently has it been discovered how narrow – indeed, wafer-thin – that range is.

It all hangs on the rate of expansion, determined by the balance between the negative and positive energy of the virtual particles. In the mid-1990s, based on new improved data from the Hubble Space Telescope and other sources, cosmologists were finally able to calculate the balance. It turns out that the negative energy cancels out all but an infinitesimal amount of the positive – all but 10120 (that’s 119 zeroes after the decimal point and before the 1).

But the scary thing is that if this number was just one decimal place shorter – 10119 – then the universe would be expanding too quickly: there would be no stars and no planets. That tiny decimal place is the difference between life and no-life. The leading American theoretical physicist Leonard Susskind wrote: “This seems like an absurd accident and we have no idea why it should happen. There is no fine-tuning quite like this in the rest of physics.”6 Nobel prize-winning theoretical physicist Steven Weinberg commented in 1993 that if the extraordinary balancing act of the vacuum energy was confirmed then, “it will be reasonable to infer that our own existence plays an important part in explaining why the universe is the way it is,” but went on, “For what it is worth, I hope that this is not the case.”7 Unfortunately for Weinberg, it has since been confirmed. It is the case.

It’s rather like winning the lottery (we assume). If our numbers come up we might think we’re clever or destined to win but of course it would be just chance. Not so long ago astrophysicists assumed that’s how it was with life: the right conditions just happened by accident. But the anthropic principle has shown that the game appears to have been fixed – as if only our numbers went into the machine. We couldn’t lose. In fact, the ‘coincidences’ involved in the universal fine tuning are so vast it’s more like winning the lottery week after week for several years.

Of course this was unthinkable for most scientists – after all, design implies a designer – so they desperately searched for a get-out clause. Susskind duly came up with the now-ubiquitous multiverse as a way out of the anthropic conundrum: the theory that there are really billions – perhaps an infinity – of universes, each with its own physical laws (since conditions at the big bang were different for each one). The vast majority don’t possess life, but because we live in one of the few that does, we are mistakenly over-impressed by the coincidence that it is spot on for us.

The multiverse hypothesis turns the virtually improbable into the inevitable. This time it’s like entering our lottery numbers into several billion games simultaneously. We’re bound to scoop the jackpot at least once. The multiverse allowed scientists uncomfortable with the implications of the anthropic principle to breathe a sigh of relief.

There is, however, a major problem with the multiverse – and its exotic brother theories, string and M. There’s not a shred of evidence for any of it. Ironically it’s a fundamental aspect of the multiverse that there can never be any, since interaction between universes is by definition impossible. Which also conveniently makes the theory impossible to disprove. As Carr wrote in 2007, the multiverse “is highly speculative and… currently untestable. Indeed, it may always remain so…”8

It gets worse. Being untestable means it violates one of science’s cardinal rules – that any hypotheses should be capable of being tested by experiment or observation. At best the multiverse is an interesting speculation, a possible but unprovable answer to the conundrum of the anthropic principle. But the majority of physicists take it as the answer to their prayers. If indeed they ever admit to praying.

It’s easy to understand why. Hawking, for example, has acknowledged it’s a straight choice between intelligent design (begging the awkward question of the designer) and the multiverse.9 Naturally he champions the latter, as do most of his colleagues, keen to look cool and cutting-edge, and beguiled by the seduction of endless equations – even if by definition they can never lead anywhere or prove anything.

The Anti-Science of the Multiverse

One of the key principles of every other area of science is that it is contingent, the consensus at any time being based on the best data, but with the underlying acknowledgement that future discoveries may lead to major revisions. But here we have hard data pointing directly to a designer universe – and yet the overwhelming majority of scientists prefer to accept the entirely speculative and untestable multiverse, just because one day they might find a way of proving it. In other words, they accept it on faith, their belief in a non-designed universe blinding them to the overwhelming evidence for one that is obviously designed, and that science itself now points to.

The anthropic principle has been conceptually divided between the ‘weak’ version (the universe appears to be designed for intelligent life, but this is an illusion) and the ‘strong’ version (the universe appears to be designed for us because it is). Enter the American John Archibald Wheeler (1926-2008), one of the most eminent modern theoretical physicists, discoverer of black holes and originator of the concept of space-time wormholes, who came up with a new spin: the “participatory anthropic principle.”

Wheeler developed the concept as the logical extrapolation of another weird aspect of quantum physics, the implications of which few other physicists have dared explore. It is accepted that by observing events at the quantum level they will inevitably be changed by the act of observation. The outcome of a particular experiment often depends on how the experimenter chooses to make the observation – in effect theyassign particular values to a subatomic particle.

This is seen most famously in the ‘double slit experiment’, where the experimenter can ‘choose’ whether a beam of light behaves as a particle or a wave even when only a single photon is involved. Bizarre though it might seem, a fundamental principle of quantum theory is that the photon does not take a single path, but takes every possible path simultaneously. They exist as a series of probabilities (‘wave functions’), and only when an observation is made does the wave function ‘collapse’ and the photon take a specific position. As Wheeler declared (his emphasis): “Each photon is governed by laws of probability and behaves like a cloud until it is detected… The act of measurement is the transforming act that collapses uncertainty into certainty.”10 On a much wider scale, every particle in the universe exists as a wave function, ‘waiting’ to be given specific values by being observed.

Wheeler showed that it wasn’t just a question of the experimenter determining through observation how a particle behaves now. In the double-slit experiment choosing how the photon is observed after it has passed through the slit produces the same effect. The observer effectively chooses how the particle behaved in the past – maybe only microseconds ago, but in the past nevertheless (‘backward causation’).

Initially Wheeler’s proposal could only be a thought experiment as the technology allowing a choice to be made in the infinitesimally small period while a photon is in ‘flight’ wasn’t available. But in 2006 a French team devised a method of experimenting for real. Wheeler was proved right.

He then realised the same effect could be obtained if light from a distant star was involved, but the observer on Earth would be ‘choosing’ how a photon behaved when it set out on its journey thousands, maybe millions, of light years ago. The observer effect must be truly cosmic in scale. He then developed the notion of the “participatory universe” – by observing the universe, we are actually creating it, not just now but in the past. In short, we are determining the initial conditions set by the big bang. Physicists aren’t discovering the laws of physics – they are creating them. As he noted: “The past history of the universe has no more validity then is assigned by the measurements we make – now!”11 And in a somewhat Star Trekky soundbite he declared: “We are participators in bringing into being not only the near and here but the far away and long ago.”12

In Wheeler’s vision, human consciousness (and that of any other sentient beings out there) is an integral part of cosmic evolution. The big bang creates the subatomic particles from which galaxies, stars and planets are built. Life forms on planets and evolves to produce intelligent, conscious beings, who through their active observation actually manifest the big bang itself, “the mechanism of genesis.”13 (Wheeler pointed out that this disposes of the multiverse: if consciousness is needed to make the universe, thenonly a universe such as ours, with its conscious living beings, can exist.)

In other words, there is a circular relationship between mind and the universe – human consciousness is in some way necessary for its completion: the universe is evolving from a starting point towards some end, and mind plays a key part in that process. As Bernard Carr commented: “Wheeler has suggested a more radical interpretation [of the anthropic principle] in which the universe does not even come into being in a well-defined way until an observer is produced who can perceive it. In this case, the veryexistence of the universe depends on life.”14

Although to the casual reader this might seem somewhat off the wall, Wheeler’s logic holds up – and, unlike the multiverse, its predictions have been tested experimentally – winning acceptance from other prominent physicists. Among them is Stephen Hawking, who writes in The Grand Design: “We create history by our observation, rather than history creating us.”15 If Wheeler is right, then we play a part in the grand design implied by the anthropic principle. And if for ‘designer’ we read ‘God’, then we are, at least in part, God, or have a share in God’s mind.

Back to the Future

Perhaps the oddest – and most satisfying – aspect of this is how Wheeler’s participatory universe dovetails with the beliefs of the ancients, as Austrian astrophysicist Erich Jantsch (1929-80) noted. Based on the mass of evidence for cosmic purpose, he developed the concept of the ‘self-organising universe’, very similar to Wheeler’s. To him, the universe, through its components – including conscious beings – determines its own evolution. He wrote, “God is not the creator, but the mind of the universe.”16 But although acknowledging that the self-organising universe was prefigured in many mystical religious systems, Jantsch singled out one in particular: “the oldest recorded world view, Hermetic philosophy.”17

Bingo! In fact we had pinpointed the very same tradition while researching our latest book, The Forbidden Universe, as the inspiration for all the great heroes of the scientific revolution: Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, William Harvey, William Gilbert, Isaac Newton – even the allegedly arch-rationalist Francis Bacon.

The Hermetic system is a metaphysical and magical philosophy and cosmology contained in a collection of texts known as the Hermetica, ascribed to a legendary Egyptian teacher, Hermes Trismegistus (‘Thrice-Great Hermes’). These writings, of which around twenty survive out of a much larger body, were set down in Egypt during the period of Greek domination, some time after the third century BCE.

They were largely lost to Europe after the crackdown on pagan scholarship when Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire in the fourth century CE. But they survived in the Middle East (where they actually laid the foundations of medieval Arab science), and were rediscovered by Europe in the mid-fifteenth century by an agent working for the great patron of learning, Cosimo de’ Medici – the event that actually triggered the Renaissance.

As we show in The Forbidden Universe, not only did the Hermetica go on to be the driving force behind the scientific revolution of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but it also – somewhat spookily – outlines a cosmology that fits very neatly with Wheeler’s and Jantsch’s. (This may not be entirely coincidental, as Wheeler’s great philosophical hero was Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz [1646-1716], the extraordinary intellect and contemporary of Newton, who, like him, was steeped in the Hermetic tradition – although it was expedient to downplay his interest in matters esoteric.)

The Hermetica, too, celebrated the universe as an emanation of the mind of God, declaring: “… you must think of god in this way, as having everything – the cosmos, himself, the universe – like thoughts within himself.”18 American historian of science Ernest Lee Tuveson sums up the fundamental Hermetic principle: “the world emanates from the divine intelligence, and, as a whole in which each part is an essential component member, expresses the great Mind.”19 And modern Hermetic specialist, American philosopher Glenn Alexander Magee, writes: “Hermeticists not only hold that God requires creation, they make a specific creature, man, play a crucial role in God’s self-actualisation. Hermeticism holds that man can know God, and that man’s knowledge of God is necessary for God’s own completion.”20 Back to Wheeler’s participatory universe…

In the Hermetic cosmology, the universe is God, everything in it is an emanation of God’s mind, and human beings play a necessary part in God’s self-actualisation. In Wheeler’s, consciousness plays a fundamental role in actualising the universe.

But where did the writers of the Hermetic treatises get their ideas? Renaissance devotees of their philosophy believed it encapsulated the highest wisdom of the ancient Egyptian civilisation, that of the pyramid builders themselves. In later centuries there was a more critical view: the texts might have been written in Egypt, but owed more to Greek ideas. However, recent research shows that – while written for a Greek audience – the Hermetic books do indeed contain traditional Egyptian religious and cosmological ideas. In fact, there a compelling case that they came from the most ancient known Egyptian cult: the religion of Heliopolis, as set out in the Pyramid Texts, the oldest magical writings in the world. And as it was indeed the religion of the builders of the great pyramids of Giza, this would vindicate the beliefs of the Renaissance Hermeticists.

In their complex and highly symbolic system, the Pyramid Texts too reveal many parallels with Wheeler’s participatory universe. According to the Heliopolitan theology the cosmos is an emanation flowing out from the creator-god, Atum, expanding from a single point of origin outward to the material world. But it, too, involves a flow from ourselves back to the moment of creation. As specialist in the Heliopolitan religion, American anthropologist Karl Luckert puts it, the universe not only “exhales” from Atum but “inhales.” We might need Atum/God, but he needs us.

So perhaps instead of tying themselves in the knots of string theory and abandoning themselves to the siren seduction of the non-existent multiverse, scientists would be better advised to read the Hermetica. After all, they would only be following in the footsteps of intellectual giants. But they should be warned: there is a creative consciousness involved, as science itself shows. It is a fact: face it. But we must stress that while this ‘god’ bears no resemblance whatsoever to the petty tyrant of the Old Testament, he/she/it is not too hard to find. Simply start the quest with a mirror.

Lynn Picknett & Clive Prince are the authors of the book The Forbidden Universe: The Occult Origins Of Science And The Search For The Mind Of God (Constable, 2011), available from all good bookstores.

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Footnotes:
1. Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time, Bantam Press, London, 1988, 175.

2. Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand Design, Bantam Press, London, 161.

3. Freeman J. Dyson, A Many Colored Glass: Reflections on the Place of Life in the Universe, University of Virginia Press, Charlottesville, 2007, 44.

4. Paul Davies, The Mind of God: Science and the Search for Ultimate Meaning, Penguin, London, 1993, 197.

5. In Mervyn Stockwood (ed.), Religion and the Scientists, SCM Press, London, 1959, 64.

6. Leonard Susskind, ‘A Universe Like No Other’, New Scientist, no. 2419, 2003, 37.

7. Steven Weinberg, Dreams of a Final Theory, Hutchinson, London, 1993, 182.

8. Bernard Carr, Universe of Multiverse?, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2007, 14.

9. In the Sunday Times’ Eureka magazine, September 2010.

10. John Archibald Wheeler and Kenneth Ford, Geons, Black Holes, and Quantum Foam: A Life in Physics, W.W. Norton & Co., New York, 1998, 334.

11. Ibid., 337.

12. On ‘The Anthropic Universe’, The Science Show, ABC National Radio, 18 February 2006.

13. John Archibald Wheeler, ‘Genesis and Observership’, in Robert E. Butts and Jaakko Hintikka (eds.), Foundational Problems in the Special Sciences, D. Reidel, Dordrecht, 1977.

14. B.J. Carr, ‘On the Origin, Evolution and Purpose of the Physical Universe’, in John Leslie (ed.), Physical Cosmology and Philosophy, Macmillan, New York, 1990, 152.

15. Hawking and Mlodinow, op. cit., 140.

16. Erich Jantsch, The Self-Organizing Universe: Scientific and Human Implications of the Emerging Paradigm of Evolution, Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1980, 308.

17. Ibid., 308.

18. Brian P. Copenhaver, Hermetica: The Greek Corpus Hermeticum and the Latin Asclepius in a New English Translation, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1992, 41.

19. Ernest Lee Tuveson, The Avatars of Thrice Great Hermes, Bucknell University Press, London, 1982, xi.

20. Glenn Alexander Magee, Hegel and the Hermetic Tradition, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 2001, 9.

About the Author

LYNN PICKNETT & CLIVE PRINCE’s joint career began with Turin Shroud: How Leonardo Da Vinci Fooled History and – eight books later – they published The Forbidden Universe. They are best known for their 1997 The Templar Revelation, which Dan Brown acknowledged as the primary inspiration for The Da Vinci Code. As a reward for their contribution they were given cameos in the movie (on the London bus). They also give talks to an international audience. Lynn & Clive both live in South London. Their website is www.picknettprince.com.

The above article appeared in New Dawn No. 127 (July-August 2011).

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On The Track

railroad-tracks-35_4

 

I walk along old railroad tracks,
Looking ’round to gather facts,
For miles I admire sights,
I weather storms and put up fights.

The tracks will hide around a curve,
Like future things I can’t observe,
At times I feel I go astray,
But never really lose my way.

Sometimes the weeds will wrap around,
The tracks that stretch out on the ground,
And make it seem that I am lost,
And tossed about and double-crossed.

Eventually I know I’ll find,
My life was being redefined,
With no regrets as I look back,
As long as I stay on the track.