Hidden Dimensions: the unification of physics and consciousness
The theories of relativity and quantum mechanics were major achievements in the physical sciences, and the theory of evolution had an equally deep impact on the life sciences. But where is the revolution in the mind sciences? Rigorous scientific methods do not yet exist to observe mental phenomena, and naturalism has its limits for shedding light on the workings of the mind.
Bridging the gap between the world of science and the spiritual realm, B. Alan Wallace introduces a natural theory of human consciousness that has its roots in contemporary physics. Wallace’s theory of ontological relativity suggests that mental phenomena do not emerge from the brain. Rather, they arise from a hidden dimension of reality that is more fundamental than the bifurcation of mind and matter.
To test his hypothesis, Wallace employs the Buddhist meditative practice of shamatha, refining one’s attention and metacognition to create a kind of telescope to examine the mind. Drawing on the work of the physicist John Wheeler, he then proposes a more general theory in which the participatory nature of reality is envisioned as a self-excited circuit. In comparing these ideas to the Buddhist theory of ontological reality known as the Middle Way philosophy, Wallace explores further aspects of ontological relativity, which can be investigated by means of vipashyana, or insight, meditation. Wallace then focuses on the theme of symmetry in reference to quantum
cosmology and the “problem of frozen time,” relating these issues to the practices of the Great Perfection school of Tibetan Buddhism. In conclusion, he addresses the general theme of complementarity as it relates to science and religion.
“A concise, challenging, and likely controversial work that eloquently articulates both critical perspectives on and positive suggestions for the current study of consciousness.”
—William Waldron, Middlebury College
“A wonderful, strongly argued, and long-overdue book that challenges many of the ‘idols’ of our own time. B. Alan Wallace makes an important and provocative foray into an arena and an approach to research that has been explored far too little.”
—Arthur Zajonc, author of The New Physics and Cosmology: Dialogues with the Dalai Lama