Quantum Psychology: ‘The Other’ Fallacy
Quantum physics thus reveals a basic oneness of the universe.
– Erwin Schrodinger
Quantum Physicist, Nobel Laureate
Over the ages, mystics, yogis and seers share information, truth, which modern quantum physics begins to see. Science has arrived at what some human beings have known for a long, long, very long, time. Quantum psychology offers an application of quantum principles to how our mind and consciousness operates, at levels invisible to everyday operations. Many have found these ideas, sometimes referred to as quantum mysticism or spiritual psychology, as being very conducive to well-being.
One of our more general dis-comforts and dis-eases in life, as human beings, social creatures living and working together in various structures and routines with others, appears to be our relationship with others, and, often, with ‘the other.’ That ‘the other’ could be a lover, best friend, spouse, a child, a sibling, colleague – it can be a foe, an enemy, a nemesis; and, it can be spirit guides, angels, aliens and even ‘god.’ ‘The other’ can also represent groups, the more universal ‘they’ or ‘them.’ And, there also exists ‘the other’ that we are not yet aware of but should it/he/she/they/them come into our awareness, ‘the other’ would be its name. ‘The other’ is the world ‘out there.’
The other person, group, situation, or whatever appears to be going on ‘out there’ may, with all those others, actually, be going on in our own mind, and brain (which is the body). It’s not ‘out there.’ It’s ‘in here.’ It’s brain activity. Out there appears as a projection, and reflection, of the in here. The happenings going on in our mind-body system could certainly incorporate a shared reality as others may experience the same thing, or near enough for agreement, as in all watching the same movie, sharing the same language, existing in the same gene pool, seeing the same sky. We not only operate within a personal mind-body system; equally, and perhaps more dominantly, we contain an influential collective mind-body system. We are born into a culture. on the planet, at a time and place, loaded with ongoing situations, incidents, events, circumstances, which we confront and deal with as something separate and distinct from the operations of our own mind, and brain. The important point to note, and one of the key teachings of yogic lore: that ‘the other’ appears to be separated from us, and,…. Not really. ‘The other’ observed is inherently connected to the observer, each influencing the other. The observed has no substantial, independent existence of its own. It is dependent upon the observer for its existence. The observer has no substantial, independent existence of its own either, depending on the observed. The observer and the observed are two sides of the same coin, of Awareness. Awareness itself transcends observer and observed, subjective and objective. Awareness itself is devoid of an object, or subject; it is often described as ‘not this, not that.’ In this regard, Awareness comes across as unreal, like sub-atomic particles. You can’t see it, hear it, feel it, and yet everything you see, hear and feel, is rooted in that invisible, unreal realm, transcendent to everyday life in the same way atoms, and sub-atomic particles, are not visible, audible, tactile; you can’t smell or taste sub-atomic particles; and yet, it is those invisible and ‘unreal’ particles upon which rests all that we do see, hear and feel as real.
That which we perceive as ‘the other’ does not exist without ‘the self.’ And, ‘the self’ does not exist without an object to observe, which is perceived as ‘not self.’ And yet, that ‘not-self’ exists because of ‘the self’ just as ‘the self’ exists because of the ‘not-self,’ the observed, that which is perceived. The self and the not-self, the subject and the object, are, ultimately, one and the same Awareness, one and the same mind, just as heads and tails are of the same coin.
This understanding of subject-object dependence is more apparent in dream consciousness. In that state of consciousness, all that we experience appears more readily accepted as a fabrication of our own awareness, our own mind, our own brain. One of the measurable differences between dream consciousness and waking consciousness is the higher frequency of brain wave patterns in the latter, in which objects appear much more substantial, solid, real. What we call reality occurs in waking state of consciousness. In dream state of consciousness, reality is very different than it is in waking. The ‘laws of physics’ don’t quite apply. It’s a different world. Different ‘stuff’ makes up the material, and content often appears as odd and nonsensical, scenes and experiences that are as different from waking as an animated cartoon is from a family drama. And yet, at the time of dreaming those scenes and experiences can influence us as vividly, and emotionally, as ‘real,’ as being awake. These two very different operations of consciousness exist within the same Awareness. We say I am awake, I slept. I dreamed. I awoke. The ‘I’ is identified with those states of consciousness.
Waking consciousness is represented in brain wave frequency of plus or minus 20Hz, and referred to as Beta Waves. Dream consciousness is more in the frequency of about plus or minus 6Hz and referred to as Theta Waves. While dreaming, rapid eye movement happens and dream states are often called ‘REM’ sleep. The deepest part of sleep consciousness, called Delta Waves, runs at about plus or minus 2Hz. Alpha Waves are some of the more pleasant states of awareness within mind consciousness at about plus or minus 10Hz. Alpha is to Beta what daydreaming is to filing out tax forms. More recently, Gamma Waves have been detected upwards of 40Hz and indicative of moments of insight, discovery and that ‘ah-ha’ episode. A peak experience of revealing clarity, and solidity. Dreams are less solid, less logical, less rational, perhaps even not rational at all, though very creative; dreams are known to have some predictive value and have been understood as a link to that mysterious land of deep sleep, and beyond. Deep sleep consciousness is very amorphously nebulous. And yet, critically important. Without enough and proper sleep, dreaming and waking suffer. These 3 states of consciousness, waking, sleeping and dreaming, make up what we call our life.
Yogic lore speaks of a fourth state of consciousness, ‘turiya’ in their language. A consciousness transcendent to mental activity, and physical activity; transcendent to sleeping, dreaming and waking. It is awareness itself; unmoved, still and silent; a flame in a windless place. Transcendental consciousness is awareness, without an object, without a subject; pure awareness, nothing else. No frequency. No vibration. Anything else is the mutual arising of the subject-object relationship, at any level, and contains ‘the other.’ In having a nightmare, daydreaming, or waking as you walk down the street filled with sensory objects of awareness, subjective thoughts and emotions, memories and imaginations, ‘the other’ is present; and, yet, of the same awareness, the same consciousness, the same mind, happening in your brain, which resides in your body, which exists in this world of waking, dreaming and sleeping. And yet, without that fourth state of transcendent consciousness, pure awareness, there would be no waking, dreaming and sleeping awareness at all, just as without the unseen molecules and cells of your muscles and organs, there would be no muscles and organs.
This understanding that ‘the other’ can be seen as a fundamental fallacy forms the basis of religious and spiritual sentiments such as The Golden Rule, ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you,’ ‘let kindness be your religion’ and ‘love your enemy.’ These recommendations are based on Quantum Psychology, and ‘the other’ fallacy. Correct this fallacy that ‘the other’ is separated, unconnected, independent with the understanding that subject and object, self and not-self, are in fact conjoined, connected and dependent one upon the other. Quantum Psychology is a leap in awareness to wholeness.
Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.
– Niels Bohr
Theoretical Nuclear Physicist, Nobel Laureate