By Michael Talbot | rense.com
In 1982 a remarkable event took place. At the
University of Paris a research team led by physicist
Alain Aspect performed what may turn out to be one of
the most important experiments of the 20th century. You
did not hear about it on the evening news. In fact,
unless you are in the habit of reading scientific
journals you probably have never even heard Aspect's
name, though there are some who believe his discovery
may change the face of science.
Aspect and his team discovered that under certain
circumstances subatomic particles such as electrons are
able to instantaneously communicate with each other
regardless of the distance separating them. It doesn't
matter whether they are 10 feet or 10 billion miles
Somehow each particle always seems to know what the
other is doing. The problem with this feat is that it
violates Einstein's long-held tenet that no
communication can travel faster than the speed of light.
Since traveling faster than the speed of light is
tantamount to breaking the time barrier, this daunting
prospect has caused some physicists to try to come up
with elaborate ways to explain away Aspect's findings.
But it has inspired others to offer even more radical
University of London physicist David Bohm, for
example, believes Aspect's findings imply that objective
reality does not exist, that despite its apparent
solidity the universe is at heart a phantasm, a gigantic
and splendidly detailed hologram.
To understand why Bohm makes this startling
assertion, one must first understand a little about
holograms. A hologram is a three- dimensional photograph
made with the aid of a laser.
To make a hologram, the object to be photographed is
first bathed in the light of a laser beam. Then a second
laser beam is bounced off the reflected light of the
first and the resulting interference pattern (the area
where the two laser beams commingle) is captured on
When the film is developed, it looks like a
meaningless swirl of light and dark lines. But as soon
as the developed film is illuminated by another laser
beam, a three-dimensional image of the original object
The three-dimensionality of such images is not the
only remarkable characteristic of holograms. If a
hologram of a rose is cut in half and then illuminated
by a laser, each half will still be found to contain the
entire image of the rose.
Indeed, even if the halves are divided again, each
snippet of film will always be found to contain a
smaller but intact version of the original image. Unlike
normal photographs, every part of a hologram contains
all the information possessed by the whole.
The "whole in every part" nature of a hologram
provides us with an entirely new way of understanding
organization and order. For most of its history, Western
science has labored under the bias that the best way to
understand a physical phenomenon, whether a frog or an
atom, is to dissect it and study its respective parts.
A hologram teaches us that some things in the
universe may not lend themselves to this approach. If we
try to take apart something constructed holographically,
we will not get the pieces of which it is made, we will
only get smaller wholes.
This insight suggested to Bohm another way of
understanding Aspect's discovery. Bohm believes the
reason subatomic particles are able to remain in contact
with one another regardless of the distance separating
them is not because they are sending some sort of
mysterious signal back and forth, but because their
separateness is an illusion. He argues that at some
deeper level of reality such particles are not
individual entities, but are actually extensions of the
same fundamental something.
To enable people to better visualize what he means,
Bohm offers the following illustration.
Imagine an aquarium containing a fish. Imagine also
that you are unable to see the aquarium directly and
your knowledge about it and what it contains comes from
two television cameras, one directed at the aquarium's
front and the other directed at its side.
As you stare at the two television monitors, you
might assume that the fish on each of the screens are
separate entities. After all, because the cameras are
set at different angles, each of the images will be
slightly different. But as you continue to watch the two
fish, you will eventually become aware that there is a
certain relationship between them.
When one turns, the other also makes a slightly
different but corresponding turn; when one faces the
front, the other always faces toward the side. If you
remain unaware of the full scope of the situation, you
might even conclude that the fish must be
instantaneously communicating with one another, but this
is clearly not the case.
This, says Bohm, is precisely what is going on
between the subatomic particles in Aspect's experiment.
According to Bohm, the apparent faster-than-light
connection between subatomic particles is really telling
us that there is a deeper level of reality we are not
privy to, a more complex dimension beyond our own that
is analogous to the aquarium. And, he adds, we view
objects such as subatomic particles as separate from one
another because we are seeing only a portion of their
Such particles are not separate "parts", but facets
of a deeper and more underlying unity that is ultimately
as holographic and indivisible as the previously
mentioned rose. And since everything in physical reality
is comprised of these "eidolons", the universe is itself
a projection, a hologram.
In addition to its phantomlike nature, such a
universe would possess other rather startling features.
If the apparent separateness of subatomic particles is
illusory, it means that at a deeper level of reality all
things in the universe are infinitely interconnected.
The electrons in a carbon atom in the human brain are
connected to the subatomic particles that comprise every
salmon that swims, every heart that beats, and every
star that shimmers in the sky.
Everything interpenetrates everything, and although
human nature may seek to categorize and pigeonhole and
subdivide, the various phenomena of the universe, all
apportionments are of necessity artificial and all of
nature is ultimately a seamless web.
In a holographic universe, even time and space could
no longer be viewed as fundamentals. Because concepts
such as location break down in a universe in which
nothing is truly separate from anything else, time and
three-dimensional space, like the images of the fish on
the TV monitors, would also have to be viewed as
projections of this deeper order.
At its deeper level reality is a sort of
superhologram in which the past, present, and future all
exist simultaneously. This suggests that given the
proper tools it might even be possible to someday reach
into the superholographic level of reality and pluck out
scenes from the long-forgotten past.
What else the superhologram contains is an open-ended
question. Allowing, for the sake of argument, that the
superhologram is the matrix that has given birth to
everything in our universe, at the very least it
contains every subatomic particle that has been or will
be -- every configuration of matter and energy that is
possible, from snowflakes to quasars, from bluŁ whales
to gamma rays. It must be seen as a sort of cosmic
storehouse of "All That Is."
Although Bohm concedes that we have no way of knowing
what else might lie hidden in the superhologram, he does
venture to say that we have no reason to assume it does
not contain more. Or as he puts it, perhaps the
superholographic level of reality is a "mere stage"
beyond which lies "an infinity of further development".
Bohm is not the only researcher who has found
evidence that the universe is a hologram. Working
independently in the field of brain research, Standford
neurophysiologist Karl Pribram has also become persuaded
of the holographic nature of reality.
Pribram was drawn to the holographic model by the
puzzle of how and where memories are stored in the
brain. For decades numerous studies have shown that
rather than being confined to a specific location,
memories are dispersed throughout the brain.
In a series of landmark experiments in the 1920s,
brain scientist Karl Lashley found that no matter what
portion of a rat's brain he removed he was unable to
eradicate its memory of how to perform complex tasks it
had learned prior to surgery. The only problem was that
no one was able to come up with a mechanism that might
explain this curious "whole in every part" nature of
Then in the 1960s Pribram encountered the concept of
holography and realized he had found the explanation
brain scientists had been looking for. Pribram believes
memories are encoded not in neurons, or small groupings
of neurons, but in patterns of nerve impulses that
crisscross the entire brain in the same way that
patterns of laser light interference crisscross the
entire area of a piece of film containing a holographic
image. In other words, Pribram believes the brain is
itself a hologram.
Pribram's theory also explains how the human brain
can store so many memories in so little space. It has
been estimated that the human brain has the capacity to
memorize something on the order of 10 billion bits of
information during the average human lifetime (or
roughly the same amount of information contained in five
sets of the Encyclopaedia Britannica).
Similarly, it has been discovered that in addition to
their other capabilities, holograms possess an
astounding capacity for information storage--simply by
changing the angle at which the two lasers strike a
piece of photographic film, it is possible to record
many different images on the same surface. It has been
demonstrated that one cubic centimeter of film can hold
as many as 10 billion bits of information.
Our uncanny ability to quickly retrieve whatever
information we need from the enormous store of our
memories becomes more understandable if the brain
functions according to holographic principles. If a
friend asks you to tell him what comes to mind when he
says the word "zebra", you do not have to clumsily sort
back through ome gigantic and cerebral alphabetic file
to arrive at an answer. Instead, associations like
"striped", "horselike", and "animal native to Africa"
all pop into your head instantly.
Indeed, one of the most amazing things about the
human thinking process is that every piece of
information seems instantly cross- correlated with every
other piece of information--another feature intrinsic to
the hologram. Because every portion of a hologram is
infinitely interconnected with evey other portion, it is
perhaps nature's supreme example of a cross-correlated
The storage of memory is not the only
neurophysiological puzzle that becomes more tractable in
light of Pribram's holographic model of the brain.
Another is how the brain is able to translate the
avalanche of frequencies it receives via the senses
(light frequencies, sound frequencies, and so on) into
the concrete world of our perceptions. Encoding and
decoding frequencies is precisely what a hologram does
best. Just as a hologram functions as a sort of lens, a
translating device able to convert an apparently
meaningless blur of frequencies into a coherent image,
Pribram believes the brain also comprises a lens and
uses holographic principles to mathematically convert
the frequencies it receives through the senses into the
inner world of our perceptions.
An impressive body of evidence suggests that the
brain uses holographic principles to perform its
operations. Pribram's theory, in fact, has gained
increasing support among neurophysiologists.
Argentinian-Italian researcher Hugo Zucarelli
recently extended the holographic model into the world
of acoustic phenomena. Puzzled by the fact that humans
can locate the source of sounds without moving their
heads, even if they only possess hearing in one ear,
Zucarelli discovered that holographic principles can
explain this ability.
Zucarelli has also developed the technology of
holophonic sound, a recording technique able to
reproduce acoustic situations with an almost uncanny
Pribram's belief that our brains mathematically
construct "hard" reality by relying on input from a
frequency domain has also received a good deal of
It has been found that each of our senses is
sensitive to a much broader range of frequencies than
was previously suspected.
Researchers have discovered, for instance, that our
visual systems are sensitive to sound frequencies, that
our sense of smell is in part dependent on what are now
called "osmic frequencies", and that even the cells in
our bodies are sensitive to a broad range of
frequencies. Such findings suggest that it is only in
the holographic domain of consciousness that such
frequencies are sorted out and divided up into
But the most mind-boggling aspect of Pribram's
holographic model of the brain is what happens when it
is put together with Bohm's theory. For if the
concreteness of the world is but a secondary reality and
what is "there" is actually a holographic blur of
frequencies, and if the brain is also a hologram and
only selects some of the frequencies out of this blur
and mathematically transforms them into sensory
perceptions, what becomes of objective reality?
Put quite simply, it ceases to exist. As the
religions of the East have long upheld, the material
world is Maya, an illusion, and although we may think we
are physical beings moving through a physical world,
this too is an illusion.
We are really "receivers" floating through a
kaleidoscopic sea of frequency, and what we extract from
this sea and transmogrify into physical reality is but
one channel from many extracted out of the
This striking new picture of reality, the synthesis
of Bohm and Pribram's views, has come to be called the
holographic paradigm, and although many scientists have
greeted it with skepticism, it has galvanized others. A
small but growing group of researchers believe it may be
the most accurate model of reality science has arrived
at thus far. More than that, some believe it may solve
some mysteries that have never before been explainable
by science and even establish the paranormal as a part
Numerous researchers, including Bohm and Pribram,
have noted that many para-psychological phenomena become
much more understandable in terms of the holographic
In a universe in which individual brains are actually
indivisible portions of the greater hologram and
everything is infinitely interconnected, telepathy may
merely be the accessing of the holographic level.
It is obviously much easier to understand how
information can travel from the mind of individual 'A'
to that of individual 'B' at a far distance point and
helps to understand a number of unsolved puzzles in
psychology. In particular, Grof feels the holographic
paradigm offers a model for understanding many of the
baffling phenomena experienced by individuals during
altered states of consciousness.
Creation - Holographic Universe
1950s, while conducting research into the beliefs of LSD
as a psychotherapeutic tool, Grof had one female patient
who suddenly became convinced she had assumed the
identity of a female of a species of prehistoric
reptile. During the course of her hallucination, she not
only gave a richly detailed description of what it felt
like to be encapsuled in such a form, but noted that the
portion of the male of the species's anatomy was a patch
of colored scales on the side of its head.
What was startling to Grof was that although the
woman had no prior knowledge about such things, a
conversation with a zoologist later confirmed that in
certain species of reptiles colored areas on the head do
indeed play an important role as triggers of sexual
The woman's experience was not unique. During the
course of his research, Grof encountered examples of
patients regressing and identifying with virtually every
species on the evolutionary tree (research findings
which helped influence the man-into-ape scene in the
movie Altered States). Moreover, he found that such
experiences frequently contained obscure zoological
details which turned out to be accurate.
Regressions into the animal kingdom were not the only
puzzling psychological phenomena Grof encountered. He
also had patients who appeared to tap into some sort of
collective or racial unconscious. Individuals with
little or no education suddenly gave detailed
descriptions of Zoroastrian funerary practices and
scenes from Hindu mythology. In other categories of
experience, individuals gave persuasive accounts of
out-of-body journeys, of precognitive glimpses of the
future, of regressions into apparent past-life
In later research, Grof found the same range of
phenomena manifested in therapy sessions which did not
involve the use of drugs. Because the common element in
such experiences appeared to be the transcending of an
individual's consciousness beyond the usual boundaries
of ego and/or limitations of space and time, Grof called
such manifestations "transpersonal experiences", and in
the late '60s he helped found a branch of psychology
called "transpersonal psychology" devoted entirely to
Although Grof's newly founded Association of
Transpersonal Psychology garnered a rapidly growing
group of like-minded professionals and has become a
respected branch of psychology, for years neither Grof
or any of his colleagues were able to offer a mechanism
for explaining the bizarre psychological phenomena they
were witnessing. But that has changed with the advent of
the holographic paradigm.
As Grof recently noted, if the mind is actually part
of a continuum, a labyrinth that is connected not only
to every other mind that exists or has existed, but to
every atom, organism, and region in the vastness of
space and time itself, the fact that it is able to
occasionally make forays into the labyrinth and have
transpersonal experiences no longer seems so strange.
The holographic prardigm also has implications for
so-called hard sciences like biology. Keith Floyd, a
psychologist at Virginia Intermont College, has pointed
out that if the concreteness of reality is but a
holographic illusion, it would no longer be true to say
the brain produces consciousness. Rather, it is
consciousness that creates the appearance of the brain
-- as well as the body and everything else around us we
interpret as physical.
Such a turnabout in the way we view biological
structures has caused researchers to point out that
medicine and our understanding of the healing process
could also be transformed by the holographic paradigm.
If the apparent physical structure of the body is but a
holographic projection of consciousness, it becomes
clear that each of us is much more responsible for our
health than current medical wisdom allows. What we now
view as miraculous remissions of disease may actually be
due to changes in consciousness which in turn effect
changes in the hologram of the body.
Similarly, controversial new healing techniques such
as visualization may work so well because in the
holographic domain of thought images are ultimately as
real as "reality".
Even visions and experiences involving "non-ordinary"
reality become explainable under the holographic
paradigm. In his book "Gifts of Unknown Things,"
biologist Lyall Watson discribes his encounter with an
Indonesian shaman woman who, by performing a ritual
dance, was able to make an entire grove of trees
instantly vanish into thin air. Watson relates that as
he and another astonished onlooker continued to watch
the woman, she caused the trees to reappear, then
"click" off again and on again several times in
Although current scientific understanding is
incapable of explaining such events, experiences like
this become more tenable if "hard" reality is only a
Perhaps we agree on what is "there" or "not there"
because what we call consensus reality is formulated and
ratified at the level of the human unconscious at which
all minds are infinitely interconnected.
If this is true, it is the most profound implication
of the holographic paradigm of all, for it means that
experiences such as Watson's are not commonplace only
because we have not programmed our minds with the
beliefs that would make them so. In a holographic
universe there are no limits to the extent to which we
can alter the fabric of reality.
What we perceive as reality is only a canvas waiting
for us to draw upon it any picture we want. Anything is
possible, from bending spoons with the power of the mind
to the phantasmagoric events experienced by Castaneda
during his encounters with the Yaqui brujo don Juan, for
magic is our birthright, no more or less miraculous than
our ability to compute the reality we want when we are
in our dreams.
Indeed, even our most fundamental notions about
reality become suspect, for in a holographic universe,
as Pribram has pointed out, even random events would
have to be seen as based on holographic principles and
therefore determined. Synchronicities or meaningful
coincidences suddenly makes sense, and everything in
reality would have to be seen as a metaphor, for even
the most haphazard events would express some underlying
Whether Bohm and Pribram's holographic paradigm
becomes accepted in science or dies an ignoble death
remains to be seen, but it is safe to say that it has
already had an influence on the thinking of many
scientists. And even if it is found that the holographic
model does not provide the best explanation for the
instantaneous communications that seem to be passing
back and forth between subatomic particles, at the very
least, as noted by Basil Hiley, a physicist at Birbeck
College in London, Aspect's findings "indicate that we
must be prepared to consider radically new views of
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Reality & Spritual Science
Theory' Holds That the Universe is a Virtual Reality