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Interview with Dr. Amit Goswami

by Edie Weinstein Moser

Imagine sitting in a college classroom and in strides a ‘seasoned’ man with years of education and experience in the field of physics. His comfortable and approachable manner automatically sets you at ease, as you know you are about to enter a world of matter and energy, quarks and non-locality, where anything can happen.... and frequently does. This is not your typical scientist and not your ordinary physics class. You have entered the world of Amit Goswami, Ph.D Here you will likely question all you had believed about the nature of that which we call ‘reality’. He is a revolutionary and his message shakes up the status quo of what was always accepted in physics.
I became familiar with Dr. Goswami’s work when watching the classic What The Bleep Do We Know?, followed by Down The Rabbit Hole and was impressed by the way in which he was able to take a mind twisting subject and make it simpler to comprehend, even for someone like myself who is more right brain creative than left brain, linear-logical.

Amit is professor emeritus in the theoretical physics department of the University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon where he has served since 1968. He is a pioneer of the new paradigm of science called "science within consciousness".

He is also the author of the highly successful textbook Quantum Mechanics that is used in Universities throughout the world. His two volume textbook for non-scientists, The Physicist’s View of Nature traces the decline and rediscovery of the concept of God within science. Goswami has also written many popular books based on his research on quantum physics and consciousness. In his seminal book, The Self-Aware Universe, he solved the quantum measurement problem elucidating the famous observer effect while paving the path to a new paradigm of science based on the primacy of consciousness.

Subsequently, in The Visionary Window, Goswami demonstrated how science and spirituality could be integrated. In Physics of the Soul he developed a theory of survival after death and reincarnation. His book Quantum Creativity is a tour de force instruction about how to engage in both outer and inner creativity. The Quantum Doctor integrates conventional and alternative medicine.

In his latest book, God is Not Dead we explore what quantum physics tells us about our origins and how we should live.

He refers to himself as " a practitioner of spirituality and transformation and a quantum activist." He appears in the filmWhat the Bleep Do We Know, The Dalai Lama Renaissance, and the upcoming documentary The Quantum Activist, which was nominated for numerous prestigious film awards worldwide and which speaks to the universality of its message, that matter and energy are not separate and neither are we as human beings, separate from each other and our Source.

In his latest release, Amit merges the seemingly diverse and distinct worlds of science and spirituality. He explores the scientific evidence of the existence of God, knowing that there are as many theories as there are people who accept them. This is not a film that is simply filled with conjecture and mental musings, but rather, one of enticement to action. He poses the question: "God is already here. What are you going to do about it?" The imagery in the DVD is colorful and beckons the viewer into a dance with the concepts presented. A spiritual devotee bathing in the Ganges, merges with icons of various faith traditions, blends with pulsing and flowing waves, laps over into black and white footage of circa 1950’s-60’s classrooms with neatly dressed students animatedly raising their hands in response to what their instructor is writing on the board. For most of us, the concept that there was anything beyond the material/physical world, was unimaginable. What quantum physics is offering is the idea that energy is part of the equation. The journey Amit has taken, began when as the son of a "Brahman guru" with many students who would study with him, he was introduced to the Upanishads by his father. The Upanishads are Hindu teachings that focus on the Vedanta; core traditions on self realization that are based on two ideas:

Human nature is divine.

The aim of human life is to realize that human nature is divine.

In the course of his life, as he explains in the DVD, Amit has come full circle from spiritual realms to scientific ‘facts’ and back again to weave those concepts, adding a thread of humor into the tapestry to create something indeed beautiful.

Amit sees quantum physics as "a new science based on primacy of consciousness."

Wisdom: What is a Quantum Activist in addition to being the title of your newly released DVD? What is the premise of the DVD?

Amit: A quantum activist uses the transformational principles of quantum physics, such as quantum non-locality and quantum leaps, to transform not only himself or herself but also the society. The premise of the DVD is to clarify the transformational world view of quantum physics, the evolutionary movement of consciousness that is going on right now, and the role of the quantum activist.

Wisdom: Is there a simple way to explain quantum physics?
Amit: Quantum physics says that all objects are possibilities for consciousness to choose from. Simple enough
Wisdom: How has our understanding of the field changed since 1968 when you became a professor of physics at the University of Oregon?

Amit: I joined the University of Oregon in 1968 as associate professor and was promoted to full professor in 1974. Since the classical period of quantum physics (1900-1935), the efforts to establish and understand the world view of quantum physics took a long hiatus until John Bell published his paper in which he enunciated the famous Bell’s theorem, which provided the experimental basis for demonstrating quantum non-locality. Since then, Alain Aspect verified quantum nonlocality as signal-less communication. Although consciousness was already introduced into quantum physics by the mathematician John von Neumann, the idea got bogged down with paradoxes. After the aspect experiment in 1982, I established in a paper published in 1989 that the monistic idealist metaphysics - that consciousness, not matter is the ground of all being - resolves all quantum paradoxes. About the same time, Henry Stapp and Casey Blood reached the same conclusions.

Wisdom: Have you met with resistance as new ideas have come to the forefront?
Amit: Yes, of course. Since the 1950’s the progress in high energy physics, molecular biology, and computer science and artificial intelligence research was so rapid that for quite a while (until about 1980) it looked as if scientific materialism (the idea that every phenomenon is a material phenomenon) is the final answer to our metaphysical quests. By the time quantum physicists introduced the first serious metaphysical alternative (monistic idealism) to materialism, it was almost too late. However, in the seventies and eighties, the fossil gaps exposed the inadequacy of neo-Darwinism as a complete theory of biological evolution, paranormal research along with Aspect’s experiment established quantum nonlocality, the importance of spirituality was introduced in modern psychology in the form of transpersonal psychology, the phenomenon of quantum healing was discovered as evidence for discontinuous quantum leaps that creativity researchers were already suggesting, and the concept of a paradigm shift in science gradually began to gain popularity.
Wisdom: If readers have seen What The Bleep or its sequel Down The Rabbit Hole, they will have heard the term ‘the observer effect.’ Can you please explain that concept?

Amit: Quantum mathematics says objects are waves of possibility. But when an observer looks at an object, somehow the possibility waves change (the physicists’ jargon is "collapse") into actuality. This is called the observer effect. Since no material interaction can ever change possibility into actuality, the observer effect is a paradox (called the quantum measurement paradox) in materialist thinking.

Wisdom: What caused you to expand your awareness beyond the mainstream scientific understanding, to one that puts you in the category of ‘renegade’ scientist? I love that term, by the way.

Amit: Desperation that led to what creativity researchers call an aha! insight into the nature of reality, the idea that consciousness is the ground of all being and that we can carry out science based on this primacy of consciousness.

Wisdom: We live in a world in which duality exists, at least in theory. Please talk about the concept of non-duality as you will be presenting at the Science and Non-Duality Conference in California in October 21-25.

Amit: Monistic idealism is a nondual philosophy—all is consciousness. A major challenge is to show how separateness, duality, enters. This I was able to show. As you know, Indian philosophical tradition of Vedanta which is based on the same nondual philosophy as quantum physics is enabling us to rediscover, has always struggled with this question —how the one becomes many. The Vedanta concept of Maya begs the question. Finally, with quantum physics, I have explicated a theory of maya in my book The Self-Aware Universe.

Wisdom: How do science and spirituality weave a tapestry?

Amit: Science traditionally has emphasized matter and spiritual traditions have emphasized consciousness. In quantum physics, the two emphases converge into one tapestry (nice metaphor by the way). The gross nature of matter allows consciousness to make representations of the subtle possibilities within it, possibilities that we refer to as vital, mental, and supramental. Vital is what we feel, mental gives us what we think, and supramental is about the archetypes that give us values to live by such as love.

Wisdom: Do we truly live in a world of infinite possibility?

Amit: Yes, potentially. Most people, of course, eke out a comfort zone of conditioned existence. Quantum activism is needed to get us out of the evolutionary doldrums.

Wisdom: Please share your experience of being part of "The Synthesis Group" and the journey that was portrayed in the film "Dalai Lama Renaissance."

Amit: The documentary correctly depicted my egotism (and the egotism of one of my close friends), but I wish it did it in a more sympathetic way. We were expressing our disappointment over not being able to present to the Dalai Lama first hand what we thought was the making of a genuine science of spirituality. The intermediate ten years between that conference and when the documentary was released has borne me out I think. Quantum physics interpreted within the primacy of consciousness has indeed given us the first serious scientific alternative to materialism.

Wisdom: This is not a theoretical question, but one that seems of utmost significance to the way in which you live your life: how do you personally discover joy?

Amit: As I openly admit I live quantum activism. I have a spiritual practice using quantum principles (I call it practicing the presence of love). I also work for social change. Both activities are integrative and produce wholeness which I experience as happiness interspersed with the joy of occasional insights.

Wisdom: You have written about the scientific proof of the existence of God...can you encapsulate the ideas?

Amit: The quantum principles of nonlocality, discontinuity, and tangled hierarchy cannot be simulated via material interactions. Therefore, any evidence of these things (of which there are plenty as shown in my book God is not Dead) is an evidence for a nonmaterial causal source. Traditionally we call this source God, but we don’t have to. We can equally well call it quantum consciousness.
Wisdom: Do quantum scientists sit around and talk about this for fun?
Amit: Yes, sometimes. Quantum physics certainly dominates our thinking, but remember that living these principles presents its own challenges and these challenges occupy our consciousness proportionately a little more, I think. Also currently, I myself think a lot about how to change our social systems,for example, develop a spiritual economics that will make everyone into a meaning processor.
Wisdom: How can people learn more about your work?
Amit: See the documentary, a creation of my friends Ri Stewart and Rene Slade. If you like the movie, you will want to read my books. Start with God is not Dead and let your interest guide you from there. Most importantly, check my website (www.amitgoswami.org) and the website www.QuantumActivist .com for the current list of events which I am presenting. Finally, I teach. I’d love for you to take one of my distant learning courses that I teach under the auspices of IQUIM (also known as Quantum University), Holmes Institute, Taksha Institute, and Philosophical Research University.
Edie Weinstein-Moser is a free-lance journalist, dynamic speaker, interfaith minister, Resource Queen, PR Goddess and Bliss Mistress who encourages people to live rich, full, juicy lives. www.liveinjoy.org

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