Interview withAmit Goswami
Lotus Guide: In your book The Visionary Window you say consciousness creates life and guides its evolution and in the process it resolves the intelligent design/neo-Darwinism controversy. This would be a controversy well worth resolving; could you explain this a little?
Amit Goswami: Yes. Darwinian evolution is slow and gradual, step by step. Such an evolution can explain micro-evolution but not macro-evolution, when a large number of components change, as in the development of a new organ. For example, how did the eye evolve? The idea behind Darwinism is that organisms adapt, and that nature selects only those genetic changes which are the mutations that serve a good purpose for adaptation. So taken this way, the eye cannot develop gradually because one-thousandth or one-millionth of an eye would be of no value for survival. So generally this question rules out Darwinism as an adequate theory for macro-evolution.
Intelligent design is a good idea in the sense that it makes sense of the idea of purposiveness in biology, which biologists have denied for a very long time. But that denial is based more on the inability of modern biology to explain purposiveness than to disprove it. Anybody who looks at a living organ sees that it’s built for the purpose of performing a function. If we see a kidney, it is impossible not to see the purposiveness of removing the garbage from the body to keep the body functioning properly. So in this light, intelligent design looks fairly attractive; however, it is not scientific in the sense that it does not fit into a scientifically verifiable part of a theory. It just concludes that God does it and God does it without evolution, but there’s an enormous body of scientific evidence in favor of evolution.
What I do, with the help of the new science within consciousness, and that quantum physics is allowing us to develop, is to show that the fossil record has a distinct record of very fast epochs where evolution is very quick. I found quantum leaps in evolution, literally. I show that consciousness is not only of the organism; consciousness is also of the species, and even larger elements than the species. And this is why such a creative leap is possible. There is much evidence in favor of this. The measure of it is that biological evolution moves from simplicity to complexity. When you look at evolution from a consciousness point of view you see this very clearly.
LG: This brings to mind conversations I’ve had with Bruce Lipton and Peter Russell on the topic of universal consciousness and the possibility that the universe itself is conscious. Indeed, if you research the underlying pattern of evolution you quickly see that it’s not only about survival; it’s about organisms evolving into higher states of complexity in order to perceive more and, in a sense, become more through forming relationships. What was once a loose collection of cells came together to form multicellular organisms and it seems that the directive of consciousness is to seek higher and higher forms of complexity. So correct me if I’m wrong, but when you say consciousness, are you trying to define it or put it in a box or call it God, or anything specific?
AG: This is an important question. I do, but it requires more explanation. I do, because consciousness is the ground of all being; everything is consciousness. Beyond that, definition is impossible because any way we may attempt to define it would limit consciousness. Also, in quantum physics, I find that consciousness has a causal power of choice. The problem with quantum measurement is finding how these quantum possibilities actually become actual events of experience when an observer is witnessing them. This has not been explained and quantum physics will always give you possibilities, never an actual event. So this was solved in my book, The Self-Aware Universe, by suggesting that it is consciousness that chooses, and this consciousness is not a dual consciousness because that would also have a paradox of how a nonmaterial consciousness interacts with material. But that’s where I made the breakthrough by suggesting that consciousness is the ground of being, or that being is consciousness, or that consciousness is choosing among all possibilities and it does not involve any dualistic interaction involving signals. Interaction is nonlocal, in other words. It’s just choosing from its own possibilities, without any signal or energy involvement.
LG: That’s a lot to process but it does explain, to some extent, why there seems to be a consciousness involved in the evolution theory. It seems to me that both sides of this argument are so rigid that they are failing to see that each side has a point that complements the other. I can see where this would be a good place to start finding a solution to this debate.
AG: Precisely, because with this solution, the idea of consciousness as a causal power comes in and we can call this quantum consciousness, or traditionally, this is what is called God. In other words, God is the causal power of consciousness as the ground of all being. So we can say that God is the causal power exerted in the creative experiences that we have. However, that causal power is usually very limited; we’ve become conditioned and that conditioning comes from what we call ego.
LG: Yes, and actually that definition works for me, as long as we don’t get into “whose God” is causing what. It’s the limited definitions of what we’re talking about that has needlessly divided us for millennia.
AG: There is no “who.” God is not a person; God is manifestation itself. We think that God is a superhuman person, but God is not a person. He is not a subject. We can never experience God in a subject/object experience. God is what makes a subject/object experience possible. We can never see God or experience God as separate from ourselves. God is a being but there is no division. In the being there is, however, a force, a choice, that brings in the pertinence of subject and object. The subject and object aspect that our consciousness divides into has to be illusory. It’s only an appearance. This idea was taught in Eastern thinking; they called it Maya. Maya is the force that causes the perception of separateness of subject and object.
Amit Goswami will be in Grass Valley on August 15 and 16. See ad on this page.
For more information visit www.dramitgoswami.com