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Nick Herbert

this hypothesis.” And, amazingly enough, with all physics–from the elementary particles all the way up to the cosmos–it doesn’t seem to matter. There seems to be a lot you can do without bringing the mind into it. Seemingly.

Now, my fantasy is that we’ve missed most of the world. That all the stuff that physicists can explain is just a tiny amount of the real world, because there is a real world that physics is a minute part of. But, because of a certain illusion that we have, it looks as though there’s an awful lot of matter around here, and not much mind. Mind is confined to little tiny elements in certain mammalian heads. But there’s a lot of matter, there’s galaxies and quarks, and everything all around, but not much mind. One of my guesses is that’s totally wrong. There’s a lot of mind, at least as much as there is matter, and we just aren’t aware of it. I suspect that physics is just a very tiny part of that world.

DJB: This really ties in with the next question. Do you see the physical universe as being alive, evolving, and conscious, and if so, does this perspective, in your opinion, have any influence on how physicists approach the natural world?

NICK: It does fit right in. Up to now physics has, I think as a kind of exercise, asked how much can we explain about the world without ever bringing consciousness into it? Surprisingly, the answer is a lot! Suppose there were chemical reactions that needed to be prayed over before they worked, then physics would have to say we can’t explain these reactions, because that involves the mind. Anything that involves intention, where intention is important for its outcome, is outside of physics, by definition. So, we have to call that something else. Either that, or expand the notion of what physics is once the mind begins becoming involved with the world. What I’d like to see are hybrid types of experiments.

Experiments where the mind is necessary, and where matter is also necessary, kind of a mixing of physics and psychology. But 1 don’t know of any such experiments, except maybe psychokinesis experiments, and those are very unreliable. It’s hard to get data.

RMN: The mind is a very unreliable thing. That’s probably why physicists have nothing to do with the mind.

NICK: Yeah, unreliable, that’s one way of looking at it.

DJB: What possibilities for faster-than-light and time travel do you feel offer the greatest potential for actualization, and how do you feel this will effect human consciousness in the future?

NICK: Well, I think that there are about half a dozen options for faster-than-light travel, but the two I would bet on are the space-warp, and the quantum connection. The former is based upon the ability to warp Einsteinian space-time. You can make short cuts in space-time, and essentially travel faster than light. We don’t know how to do this yet, but the equations of general relativity allow it. So. it’s not forbidden by physics. We may have to use black holes or something like tongs made out of black holes. It would take that kind of thing. Interestingly, when my book Faster Than Light came out in November of 1988, the same week it came out, there was a paper by three guys from CalTech in the journal Physical Review Letters. The article was about a way to make a time machine, using warped space-time.

It was actual instructions on how to do it. We can’t do it yet–but here’s, in principle, how to do it. There are these quantum worm holes coming out of the quantum vacuum. They’re little connections between distant places in space-time. They’re not so distant actually, as the distances involved are smaller than atomic dimensions. So you have to find out how to expand these worm holes, to make them connect larger more distant parts of space and time. But that’s a detail. These worm holes are continually coming out of the quantum vacuum, popping back in again, and they’re unstable. Even if you could go into one of these, it would close up before you could transverse it, unless you could go faster than light.

So, the argument was about how to stabilize quantum worm holes. The way you do that is you have to have some energy that’s less than nothing, some negative energy, which is less than the vacuum. In classical physics that would be impossible–energy that’s less than nothing. Every time you do something you always have positive energy. But there’s something called the Casimer force in quantum physics, which is an example of negative energy. So you thread these worm holes with this negative energy, and it props them open. So then you can use these things as time tunnels.

This article was prompted by Carl Sagan’s book Contact. Sagan got in touch with these physicists, who were experts on gravity, and asked if there was anything that he needed to know, because in his book Contact there were tunnels that go to the star Vega, I believe. You sit in this chair, you go through this time tunnel, and a few seconds later you’re

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