Edgar Dean Mitchell
understand quantum phenomenon before we can get beyond it. So there may be more to it, but we’re not at that yet, and we’re going to have to wring out this area of quantum physics, which say for seventy-five years since the beginning of quantum physics, the particle physicists, the quantum guys, had said this does not pertain to macro-scale, to biology. It doesn’t pertain to our scale-size of objects. And that is dogma that is just dead wrong. We’re now showing that that’s wrong.
The quantum hologram is a quantum aspect of biology, and we’ve got more and more biologists and microbiologists starting to jump on this bandwagon. We’re creating a field of quantum biology, and I think we’ve got that one through to its limits before we can even get close to answering the answer, does consciousness survive death? There’s such a host of problems attendant to the survival issue, the way it is classically modeled and thought about. I would have to ask the question, what is the difference in that regard–survival regard of our life–and every insect, every worm, and every bit of other life species that are alive and around. I can’t say that there should be any difference there. With the quantum holographic model there is none, and all matter emits a quantum hologram. But if you’re going to say that consciousness, as we experience it as living beings, survives death, then it must be the same for all types of living species, and that hardly makes sense. But we’ll just have to see where it goes.
Let me be clear, I don’t close my mind to this at all. I merely say, it’s a work in progress, and we’re still a pretty ignorant species. We think we know a lot, but we don’t. There are so many unanswered questions in all of this, and science is the only way we will eventually answer them. And what do I mean by science? That means the protocol of investigation, creating hypothesis, doing experimental work, validating or invalidating hypotheses, and taking the next step. It’s the Hegelian Process of thesis, antithesis, synthesis, and starting all over again.
David: Have you ever had a psychedelic experience?
David: How does it compare with the mystical experience that you had while you were in space? Is there any similarity?
Edgar: Well, it can. What you’re really doing here is opening channels in the brain to more perception. If you’ve studied any of Charlie Tart’s work you know that there are many, many states of consciousness, and if you use psychedelics that is just a different state of consciousness. So what you’re perceiving is different bits of information, and giving different meanings or attachments to it. I think a fundamental contribution that I have made to this field is what I call the “Dyadic Model”, and that’s been published. It still hasn’t been picked up on by a lot of people, but it will be eventually, I believe, because it’s correct. Let me give you a thumbnail sketch.
If we start with the quantum physical principle of Special Relativity E=MC2, there is an energy equivalent to all matter. So matter is simply compressed, or condensed, frozen energy. It is energy in a state of existence. So we explain existence based upon an energy model–the structuring of energy–but we live in a universe in which we know it knows itself, in some sense. How does it know? Because we, nature, manages information, utilizes information. We know anything at all because we can utilize and process information.
What is information? Information is basically patterns of energy. So instead of the Cartesian dualism, of things being separate, we have both our existence and our knowing based in energy. And we’ve learned how to model energy in nature better and better. That’s what quantum physics is about. That’s what physics is about in general–how do you take the natural aspects of our universe and create models of them, so we can understand it? So here we’re modeling, instead of dualism, two different things–energy as a dyad. It has two faces of the same thing. It has the face we call “matter”, and the face we call “information”. They work together to help us exist, and to know we exist. What we’re doing is building upon that model, and quantum information is really fairly new on the scene.
We’ve talked about information in general. Electromagnetic information, the print media, the television media–those are all forms of information. But only recently, as we’ve broken away from the dogma that quantum physics only pertains to subatomic particles, we’ve learned that there is a basis in quantum information. That’s what the quantum hologram is, and it is now being used to create technologies, so we know we’re correct. It’s improved MRI machines. It’s been used in face recognition technologies. There’s a whole host areas now that we’re using quantum technology and quantum information systems.
My group and I are using this to try to develop more on how mind works. Thirty years ago Karl Pribram very clearly pointed out that the brain stores information holographically–that we perceive holographically, and that’s how information is stored in our brain. And recently, Stuart Hameroff at the University of Tucson and Roger Penrose at Oxford, have been working on microtubules of the brain, as the mechanism that allows information to be processed–and that is totally consistent with our quantum holographic modeling that we’re seeing.
David: Do you think that the human species will survive the next hundred years, or do you think that we’re in danger of extinction?
Edgar: I think we’re in danger of extinction. Whether we survive or not depends upon whether or not we get smart and start to take responsibility for what we’re doing to the planet. It doesn’t take a great deal of smarts to see this, and the evidence is all around us. Any measure of human activity you make–whether it’s the number of television sets or automobiles produced, the number of people–is on an exponential growth curve throughout history, with a very sharp upturn around the beginning of the Twentieth Century. With our new technologies, and our population growth at the beginning of the Twentieth Century, we see exponential growth.
Our technologies have produced more and more of everything–from information to whatever you name. And it is rather clear that you can not have exponential growth in a finite space. I mean, it doesn’t take a great mathematician to realize that. So we’re outgrowing ourselves, and we’re outrunning our feeding grounds. We’re demolishing our natural resources. We’re using up all the petroleum, and there’s global warming. We all know what the problems are. They’re around us, but the political system isn’t taking it seriously. So yes, we could indeed destroy ourselves sometime in the next century or so. We might just eat ourselves out of house and home. If we tear up the planet, ignore global warming, species extinction, and deforestation, it’ll bite us in the butt. Or we can get smart and do something about it. If we to follow Illya Prigogine’s concept of dissipative structures and chaotic systems, then we must consider our social system as a nonlinear chaotic system. That means that we’re now headed for a bifurcation point. Some of us have been saying this for thirty years, and watching it happen.
What’s a bifurcation point? When a dissipative system is chaotic and nonlinear, and far from equilibrium, it comes to a point where it bifurcates, or splits and branches into new states. And that’s exactly where our social system is right now–far from equilibrium. It’s like water rushing down a rapids and over a waterfall, trying to get to a more calm place below. What we’re rushing toward is the bifurcation point. Our civilization is in that rapid stage about to go over a waterfall, and what’s going to come out below, who knows? But it’s a bifurcation point, and we don’t really know which way it’s going to be pushed. We’d like to think it’s going to be pushed to a more benign, sustainable civilization. That’s what we’d all like to see happen. Whether it happens or not depends on how smart we get. Not only how smart, but how deep and sincere we get. We have to learn to take responsibility for ourselves.
David: Assuming that we do get smart enough in time, and we do survive, how do you envision the future evolution of the human species?
Edgar: It obviously has to involve sustainability. We have to bring this consumption and exploitation to an end so that we are living in harmony. Now, the main message here that comes out of what my work has been is what the mystic has forever been telling us. It’s at the heart of traditional systems. I don’t want to use religious notions, but I’ll use a spiritual notion. We are a brotherhood of humans. We’re all interconnected. In the mystical tradition that’s basic, that everything is interconnected. Well, that is