Syntagma Digital
Editor, John Evans

New Year Mysticism: Synthetic biology anyone?


There is a very ancient idea in mysticism that our thoughts today create future events in our lives, as if by thinking about a thing, we actually bring it into existence. As always, it’s the strength of attention that determines the power of the outcome.

I’ve long played around with this notion and found it to be eerily true as a general principle. You have to be very observant though, as incidents can occur in different ways than you imagined. Life is a messy process, context is everything and appearances can arise in a variety of guises to fit the moment.

For example, we are frequently told that the elusive Higgs boson — the God Particle that supposedly gives mass to matter has now apparently been discovered at CERN. Well, we shall see.

The huge mental effort being poured into this project at CERN has a good chance of passing that creation barrier and producing the Higgs out of nothing. However, if it can only be detected after years of effort by a Large Hadron Collider what practical use will it be to the rest of us who have footed the bill?

We have “mass” anyway. What possible use will be the “creation” of a blob that we imagine is responsible for it? Scant to negligible, I would think.

We have been here before. It was not that long ago that the atom was the building block of everything, the smallest particle in the universe, a little cricket ball reassuringly solid.

Then some bright spark in Manchester “split the atom”, in the process bequeathing us the glories of quantum “physics” and the mutually- assured destruction of nuclear weapons. Thanks a lot, Rutherford!

The other consequence of that act was that clouds of other particles smaller than the atom were found to exist. Currently, we are down to the quark as the smallest particle in the universe — for now. Split the quark, anyone?

I wouldn’t mind having a hefty wager that even the privacy of the quark world will be breached at some time in the near future, revealing even smaller mites and requiring a larger Large Hadron smasheroo to be built. Start saving up now.

One of the problems that the quantum lads have — and this was known by their great guru Albert Einstein — is that these particles are unstable, sometimes morphing into waves and behaving inexplicably, almost as if they know we are here watching them. Spooky.

The scientists are clearly crossing a line now between the apparent solidity of the world and the great ocean of consciousness that lies at the heart of the universe. Hello, God.

Any mystic worth his salt would have a quiet word in their ear saying, “You’re on our patch now. It’s time we took over. We don’t need your money”.

So back to the earlier idea that our thoughts create future events. How could this work in practice? James Jeans, the British astronomer, famously wrote that “the universe is more like a giant thought than a giant machine,” — although perhaps “composed of a multitude of thoughts in a sea of consciousness” would be a better description. He was clearly on the side of the mystics even so.

From there, it’s not difficult to see how thoughts can produce the future out of thin air, so to speak.

If quantum science is reaching its apogee — or would that be perigee — what’s next in Davy Jones’s locker?

Synthetic Biology.

I sense you retracting in fear like a comely maid in a Dracula movie. You are right to do so.

More than one scientist is busy working on nano-technology, the production of minute living organisms programmed to particular tasks: eating cancer cells in the body, for instance, or consuming our rubbish and waste products. The idea is to unleash these aliens into the world to achieve all the tiresome tasks we humans have become too arrogant to take on.

“Let our servants live for us,” as one fictional aristocrat concisely put it.

“We have to take some risks,” said a scientist on the Today programme a while back. But if lots of people are taking small risks to achieve valuable ends, it follows, as night succeeds day, that the chances of a catastrophic break-out of these creatures is rather too high for comfort. Grey goo, anyone?

There is also a massive amount of work ongoing on building larger animals, gene-tweaked into something they were never meant to be. If people seriously continue shuffling genetic codes between species, the result will inevitably invite disaster given the human propensity to get things wrong.

Science seems unaware that the world does not consist of discrete objects in empty space, but is a continuum of existence: a sea of Consciousness — or Spirit, as it used to be called by those who know.

Physical individuality is a temporary boundary, fashioned to give a multitude of perspectives on what is, when viewed from a spiritual viewpoint, a miraculous Creation.

As the great mystics say, only when God looks through our eyes without impediment do we truly see the Living Universe.

First published here on April 4, 2012

John Evans

… who is the author of The Eternal Quest for Immortality: Is it staring you in the face? Available from Amazon and all good booksellers.

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