Ian J Thompson1
Introduction: We need a unified theory of reality that covers the existence and function of physical, mental and spiritual processes in such a way as to extend our sciences beyond their current limitations. Many of us want this within some non-dual scheme since that seems necessary for unification, but we still recognize that there appear to be multiple planes of activity, each with distinctive kinds of motivations, information and actions. Often these planes are taken in order, starting from a first source and ending with final effects in nature. Each plane seems to have its own dimensions (usually three of space and one of time) and has distinctive features of the beings there.
Question: My question now is whether a being can move from one plane to another. This depends on whether (1) the planes are smaller parts of one larger continuous whole, or whether (2) they are each discrete spaces. In the first continuous option (1) we could move our bodies to visit any plane, whereas in the second discrete option (2) we could not, so that visiting would require more an awakening or building of some new part of us. Recently Bernard Carr (2021) and others have been suggesting the first option, whereby the multiple planes are higher dimensions of physical spacetime just as time can be fourth dimension in addition to our three spatial dimensions. I want here, however, to explore the second discrete option.
Proposal: If the multiple non-physical and physical planes are discrete, there must still be some kinds of connections between them in order to function together. Descartes proposed that mental and physical are two planes, which gives his basic dualism. A major shortcoming of his theory is, however, that he did not propose any regular method to link them together. That has led many thinkers to deny multiple planes altogether, but I would rather we have a theory of multiple ‘small’ dualities with some familiar connections between planes.
We need to connect multiple planes existing between the first source and the final effects in the last plane. I propose that the entities in each plane have (or are) the propensities to generate new entities in a next plane. This second plane receives and may then retain those new object propensities for later action. The second plane is thus a kind of container: selective retention in the second plane also constrains what is retained in the first plane. The overall template for connections between planes is therefore the combination of ‘generation and selection’.
So far, this is a general framework of levels, and it is not yet determining what is distinctive in each plane. Information about features can be found from observation, science, or from useful kinds of spiritual revelation, but in all cases they have to be supported by multiple confirmations.
Applications: We will explore examples in quantum physics, psychology, and near-death experiences, as well as new proposals recently advocated for linking non-physical with the physical planes. A recent theory (Thompson, 2021) has shown how non-physical causes can be linked to variations in certain basic ‘constants’ of quantum field theory, and how they can be linked to specific biological effects by targeted variations of the electric ‘fine structure constant’. Thompson (2022) has presented another theory to link discrete planes by a generalization of the projection operators used to describe quantum measurements. This can used to give fast object recognition in the visual system and show also how to implement rapid recall in an associative memory. All these processes could perhaps have been accomplished by material or mechanical processes, but only much more slowly. That implies that these theories should be testable even on the physical plane, and confirmation would open the way to seeing information and control passing between multiple planes.
Carr, B. (2021). Making space and time for matter and mind [Presentation]. Essentia Foundation 2020 Conference.
Thompson, I. J. (2021). How the non-physical influences physics and physiology: A proposal. Dualism Review, 3, 1-13.
Thompson, I. J. (2022, April 19). Getting quantum measurements to do something useful in cognitive psychology: Design of a quantum-like epistemic engine for fast object observations [Presentation]. The Science of Consciousness Conference.
Dr. Thompson is a nuclear physicist and Swedenborg Scholar. He is Fellow of the Institute of Physics (London) and Fellow of the American Physical Society. He was previously Professor of Physics at the University of Surrey, U.K, and is currently employed at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He has written Starting Science from God (Eagle Pearl Press, 2011) and maintains many websites on Swedenborgian subjects.
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