I was thumbing through one of my books the other day and stopped at Chapter 12 in Ramtha's White Book. Ramtha is supposed to be a 35,000-year-old Lemurian warrior, a disembodied being channelled by a woman named JZ Knight. I have a healthy scepticism about all spiritual proclamations like these (I suppose it's the scientist in me that likes to keep track of sanity) and am concerned about many aspects of the Ramtha show. I deliberately call it a show because of its staging. Former rodeo queen and cable TV sales woman transforms into a badly-directed, Cossack-styled, foul-mouthed, anti-Semitic, homophobic and drinking entity. It doesn't sit nicely in my gut but I sometimes force myself to get over my prejudice before I am able to approach a subject without inherent bias. The title of Chapter 12 is "Nothing but Truth" and the lead into the chapter is one of Ramtha's own quotes, "There is truth in everything, […] but there is also refinement in all things, for each moment refines truth. That is why God is not in a state of perfection but rather [in] a state of becoming. Each entity continually progresses in his understanding to encompass more unlimited truth. And whatever his understanding is, moment to moment to moment, it will be the truth as he sees it, as he knows it."
There is an element of relativity in this statement. Truth is relative to the observer and the observer is in turn defined by his or her past experiences, thoughts and beliefs. These concepts form part of the ancient law of karma: everything you thought, said or did in the past shaped who you are today; whatever you choose to think, say or do from now onwards will sculpt who you shall become tomorrow. It's a liberating concept because it encourages you to take ownership and responsibility. Your choice, profiles you both positively and negatively. Hence it follows in Ramtha's proposition that one's personal truth is never absolute — well, not until you become enlightened — but that you are always in a constant state of evolvement and that your truth must evolve with you.
As I read this, I remembered an experiment that changed the way scientists understood the world. Thomas Young devised his double-slit experiment in 1801. I'll tell you more about Young's experiment as we go along but first, some background to physics.
There are two major subfields of mechanics, one is classical mechanics and the other is quantum mechanics. Classical mechanics is also known as Newtonian mechanics, named after Sir Isaac Newton, the physicist whose three laws described the motion of bodies under the influence of a system forces.
His first law is "the law of inertia." This law states that an object tends to keep doing what it is doing until an unbalancing force changes what it is doing. If, for example, you fire a bullet from a gun far, far away from any other object, out in the emptiness of space, that bullet will travel in a straight line and at the same velocity forever, until another force begins to act upon it. The other force could be frictional, gravitational or any other kind of force. Only then would the bullet deviate off its course and change its speed. Here's another example: It is because of this law that it is a good idea to wear your seatbelt while driving because if your car, travelling along at 60 km an hour, suddenly crashes into the back of a stationary vehicle, according to this law, you will continue doing what you were doing, namely travelling forward and 60 km/h with obviously disastrous consequences.
Newton's second law is "the law of acceleration" that describes what happens to an object when a force acts upon it. It defines the relationship between an object's mass and the forces acting upon it. The greater the mass of the accelerating object, the greater the amount of force needed to accelerate it. Kick a heavy rock and you will go to hospital but kick a soccer ball and you'll have some fun on the field.
Newton's last law of motion is "the law of action and reaction" which says that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This means that for every force there is a reactionary force that is equal in size but opposite in direction. Go back to our example of firing a bullet from a gun. The bullet doesn't leave the muzzle of the gun without the gun kicking back in the opposite direction.
While these laws accurately describe how forces interact with bodies at a macro level — with objects in our daily lives, like the planets in our solar system and galaxies in the universe. But these laws fall apart when trying to describe what is happening at an atomic level — with subatomic elements like electrons and light.
Max Planck and Albert Einstein proposed a quantum-based theory to explain what was happening the micro level. Unlike Newtonian physics which is hundreds of years old, quantum physics matured in the mid-1920s. Modern applications of quantum theory bring us many things we sometimes take for granted, like light-emitting diodes [LED] (bright, modern-day bulbs found in most torches), magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] (giving us amazing views into the functioning of the human body) and electron microscopy (allowing us exceptionally detailed views of microscopic things).
Thomas Young's 1801 experiment tried to resolve scientific disputes about light. In the 17th and 18th centuries, scientists proposed various theories about the propagation of light. One theory believed that light was corpuscular in nature, meaning that light emitted from a luminous body streamed away in the form of tiny particles. Other scientists disagreed and said that light was wavelike in nature, like ripples in a pond that radiate outwards. Similar to all other scientific theories, these ones needed testing and scientists drew inferences from the physical and mathematical wavelike properties of sound to test out their ideas about light.
Here are two simple experiments you can try out at home: the one is an experiment showing the properties of particles; and the other is a demonstration of the behaviour of waves.
You'll need a nice, flat, sturdy piece of plastic, like a large discarded polystyrene meat tray and a few other bits and pieces which I shall tell you about in a moment. Cut a long, thin rectangular window into your plastic sheet, about a centimetre wide and 20 or 30 cm long.
Our first experiment gives you an understanding of some of the properties of waves. You'll need a body of water and a wave generator for this. These are easy to find because you can conduct this experiment in your bath or swimming pool and you can use your finger to generate waves. Wait for all the disturbances to settle down in the water then gently dip your piece of plastic into it, keeping the slit vertical so that half of it is above the water level and the other half below it. Hold the piece of plastic very still so that you don't create spurious waves. Tap your finger quite hard on the water at a reasonable distance behind the slit to generate a wave and watch what happens as it approaches your piece of plastic. The part of the wave that touches the plastic will bounce back but a small part of the wave will sneak through the gap. Carefully notice what happens to the part that found its way through the gap. See how it spreads out, forming a semicircle centred on the slit. The intensity of the wave on the other side of the slit is far less than the intensity of the wave that left your finger. Suppose that the side of your bath or pool was a very sensitive instrument that could register the approach of the wave formed on the other side of the slit. The wave will show up far left and right of the centreline. The other half of this experiment doesn't require your plastic sheet at all. Simultaneously and repeatedly tap the water with your left and right index fingers and notice how the waves interact with each other. Parts of the colliding waves cancel each other out while other parts amplify each other. These experiemnts show how waves propagate.
Now let's conduct our second experiment to demonstrate the properties of particles. You will need a device that emits a stream of particles for this experiment. A tin of aerosol paint will do nicely. Tack a thick piece of paper to the wall. Take your piece of plastic that has the slit and hold it up at a reasonable distance in front of the paper. Keep the slit vertical. With your spray can held at a reasonable distance behind your piece of plastic, discharge a burst of paint through the slit and onto the paper. Bear in mind that the particles leaving the nozzle don't take parallel paths towards the paper but tend to disperse slightly out of the nozzle. This is a tiny technical error in our experiment which you could correct by making a small tube-like guard that you could secure in front of the nozzle. This technical error causes slight blurring of the paint stripe on the piece of paper but otherwise it would have been a solid band of colour with sharp left and right edges. This stripe is very different from the widely diffused pattern formed by waves we measured in our first experiment.
When we measure a wave travelling through a slit, we see it as a wide diffused pattern but when particles go through a slit, we see them as a narrow stripe directly opposite the slit.
Both of our experiments seem like classical mechanics, and they are. Drawn from the experiments that shaped our understanding of the macro world, like planets, solar systems and galaxies, scientists used similar experiments to understand the principles of the micro world — like electrons and light. Here's where things get interesting. Young's experiments weren't quite as simple as our home versions. Instead of one slit, he used two. He shone a laser beam through the slits to figure out whether light was a particle or a wave. If light was made up of particles, he expected it to show up as a stripe; if light was wavelike and through two slits, he expected to measure it as an interference pattern. That's what happened when you conducted the second half of your wave experiment. The waves generated by two fingers interfered with each other, cancelling and amplifying different parts of the colliding waves.
Amazingly, when Young conducted his experiments, trying to figure out the nature of light, he saw both results! Light behaved as a stream of particles and as a wave. I'm sure the scientists scratched their heads and furrowed their brows for a long time while trying to solve this puzzle. They might have echoed Alice's in Wonderland's words, "Curiouser and curiouser!"
The audio clip comes from the movie, "What the bleep do we know?" and we learnt that something extraordinarily weird is taking place with quantum particles, like light and electrons. They behave like a stream of particles when scientists try to measure them as particles and then they behave like waves when scientists try to measure them as waves. Quantum particles have simultaneous potential to be both particle and wave, a phenomenon known as Superposition. The moment an observer is present, the superposition collapses into only one reality — in the case of light, into a particle or as a wave. Outside the presence of the observer, quantum particles are a field of possibilities. Light has the potential of being both particle and wave but at the quantum level it is neither wave nor particle.
Let's take a deep breath and go back to the beginning of this episode.
Remember that I said it would be nice to know if there was a single absolute truth, only one intended interpretation of holy scriptures, like the Bible.
But what if everything is true? Let me explain my rationale:
It's highly likely that God isn't a being such as we are. It is an innate human tendency to anthropomorphise. Found in English writing as far back as the mid-15th century, and combining two words: the Greek word ánthrōpos meaning "human being or man" and morph meaning "to be transformed", an anthropomorphism is the attribution of human traits, emotions, and intentions to non-human entities. Therefore, describing God as the Father, male and old are all anthropomorphisms. Early writers elevated God to the highest position they knew, one of patriarch, and we've stuck with this idea ever since.
If God is not an Old Man in Heaven, then who or what is He? Can we refer to Him as Him or should we not drop gender and call Him, It? It is what It is — I know of a couple of friends who will be smiling at this one.
We have already discovered that light is the superposition or combination of two or more potential states (particles and waves) that needs the presence of an observer to collapse it into a new physical state, being one of particle or wave. Superposition, however, is not limited to light and electrons, it also occurs at a far grander scale too. There was only a possibility of a universe before the Big Bang, a potential known as Singularity. Quantum fluctuations then caused the gravitational singularity of infinite density to erupt and its subsequent expansion continues to create our Universe.
When an observer collapses light's superposition into the physical reality of waves, the result is no less truthful than the truth of an observer collapsing it into the reality of it being a particle. The physical reality of light is truthfully both wave and particle.
If God is the ultimate superposition of everything then He is almighty, omnipotent, omnipresent, timeless, spaceless, the alpha and the omega. He is the Field of Infinite Possibilities. Your presence as an Observer of free will, collapses God in whatever truth adds to your own individuality. Your desire, your unique progression into wisdom and your very presence as an observer collapses the superposition of God into any truth you perceive God to be. Then there can be nothing untrue because each individual Observer derives his or her personal reality of God from the superposition of God. God becomes anything you choose Him to be. Truth is only what an individual perceives to be true, a perception filtered by self-limiting thoughts and beliefs. God is this collapsed reality and that one, yet He is also the superposition of all the infinite, undifferentiated possibilities.
Therefore, every belief there is or ever has been, is true.