Last modified on 19 June 2014, at 09:10

Amit Goswami

Consciousness is the ground of all being.

Amit Goswami is a theoretical nuclear physicist and mystic who has worked at The University of Oregon Institute for Theoretical Physics.

QuotesEdit

Elementary particles make atoms, atoms make molecules, molecules make cells, and cells make brain.
There is also downward causation.
I had a dream that felt like an admonition to me. I heard it so clearly: "The Tibetan Book of the Dead is correct. It's your job to prove it!"
Mystics, contrary to religionists, are always saying that reality is not two things — God and the world — but one thing, consciousness.
  • The current worldview has it that everything is made of matter, and everything can be reduced to the elementary particles of matter, the basic constituents — building blocks — of matter. And cause arises from the interactions of these basic building blocks or elementary particles; elementary particles make atoms, atoms make molecules, molecules make cells, and cells make brain. But all the way, the ultimate cause is always the interactions between the elementary particles. This is the belief — all cause moves from the elementary particles. This is what we call "upward causation." So in this view, what human beings — you and I think of as our free will does not really exist. It is only an epiphenomenon or secondary phenomenon, secondary to the causal power of matter. And any causal power that we seem to be able to exert on matter is just an illusion. This is the current paradigm.

    Now, the opposite view is that everything starts with consciousness. That is, consciousness is the ground of all being. In this view, consciousness imposes "downward causation." In other words, our free will is real. When we act in the world we really are acting with causal power. This view does not deny that matter also has causal potency — it does not deny that there is causal power from elementary particles upward, so there is upward causation — but in addition it insists that there is also downward causation. It shows up in our creativity and acts of free will, or when we make moral decisions. In those occasions we are actually witnessing downward causation by consciousness.

  • I had a dream that felt like an admonition to me. I heard it so clearly: "The Tibetan Book of the Dead is correct. It's your job to prove it!" ... There are residue dreams which are an extension of our waking life. Then there are what Carl Jung calls "big dreams" and my dream about the Tibetan Book of the Dead was one of those big dreams. One of those can change your life. It can change it for awhile or forever. Those dreams are in the same local time domain as when we have an experience of Holy Spirit.
  • I find that a paradigm shift takes place in two ways. First, for all scientists to start working on the new paradigm like happened with Newtonian physics, it takes a long time. But there is another way where a group of people hang onto a model that they are all happy with and they are all finding new problems to work on within that model. For me that model has been that consciousness is the ground of being and now, lots of people are accepting that model. This is a great achievement. This change has happened in less than three generations. That's a tremendous achievement. Old paradigmers, like some of my colleagues from the U of O physics department, will take a long time to change.
    • Interview at NewConnexion (September 2002)
  • In Self Awareness Universe the breakthrough is that consciousness is the ground of being. We have to introduce consciousness into science, but to do this consciousness must have some structure to manifest itself. That structure requires mind, vital energies, supra-mentality, soul in other words. All of that was lacking in the "self aware universe model." If I had stayed with that model I would have felt as dissatisfied as I was before the "self aware universe model."
    • Interview at NewConnexion (September 2002)
  • Mystics, contrary to religionists, are always saying that reality is not two things — God and the world — but one thing, consciousness. It is a monistic view of reality based on consciousness that mystics claim to directly intuit. The problem with science has always been that most scientists believe that science must be done within a different monistic framework, one based on the primacy of matter. And then, quantum physics showed us that we must change that myopic prejudice of scientists, otherwise we cannot comprehend quantum physics. So now we have science within consciousness, a new paradigm of science based on the primacy of consciousness that is gradually replacing the old materialist science. Why? Not only because you can't understand quantum physics without this new metaphysics but also because the new paradigm resolves many other paradoxes of the old paradigm and explains much anomalous data.
    • Interview with Suzie Daggett at Insight: Healthy Living (July 2006)

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