In 2006, Mitch Albom wrote a book entitled The Five People You Meet In Heaven. You may have heard of it as it was a best-seller at the time. The premise of the book is that you won’t know what impact you have had or will have had in your lifetime until you die and go to heaven.
It’s an interesting premise and a great book too, in case you haven’t read it. The premise is somewhat true, although incomplete. Here’s the reasons why:
Reason #1: You are not born, at least not as you understand it.
Reason #2: You do not die, at least not as you understand it.
Reason #3: There is no place called Heaven, at least not as you understand it.
That’s saying quite a lot so, if I haven’t lost you already, let’s try and break it down.
It was none other than Albert Einstein who said that reality is an illusion. Max Planck, the father of modern science, added another layer to the mystery by declaring that the physical world is organized by consciousness. Despite the mystery, scientists have had some insights, though, into the nature of reality. Here are some interesting ideas on the subject:
- The act of observing is an act of creation – physicist John Wheeler
- Man experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. – Albert Einstein
- Our reality is an expression of a deeper order of existence that exists beyond space and time. – Michael Talbot, The Holographic Universe
So according to a number of scientists, our reality is really an illusion of consciousness, which harkens back to indigenous people who have always believed that reality is nothing more than a dream and that when we “die” the dream ends and we return home. If that is the case, what do we make of the physical world and our physical bodies? One way of looking at our physical selves is that they are a container, a suit if you will. Our bodies, then, can be more aptly viewed as vehicles for Creation to observe itself.
As Michael Talbot says, the source of Creation (heaven, for some) is beyond space and time and that is where we truly exist, and have always existed. Not here, but there. Think of the Source as a flashlight in a dark room (the universe). When you are “born”, the flashlight projects your light onto a wall of the room and when the flashlight is turned off you “die”. Of course, when you are ready to be reborn, your light can be projected onto another wall and you would then don a new suit.
Going back to The Five People You Meet In Heaven, I believe what needs to be added to its premise is this – since you have always existed you can not be born, nor can you die. It’s an eternal circle of life. Further, when you “die” and go to “heaven” you will be surprised to find that all of your loved ones are there, be they “dead” or “alive” in this world! Such is the illusion of life. Of course no one, not even religion, is going to tell you that.
Unfortunately, man is too preoccupied with surface values to notice the magnificence of nature, his true reality or his purpose in life. We blindly accept other people’s definition of good and evil, right and wrong or our place in the universe. Hopefully, you’ll eventually meet your five people in heaven. However when you do, I highly doubt it will be what you expected.
“We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love…and then we return home.”
– Australian aboriginal proverb
In 1996, John Horgan, a writer for Scientific American, wrote the book The End of Science. Ever since, it seems that certain scientists have been fretting over whether the role of science is diminishing because there is a limit to knowledge.
Andrew Strominger, a physics professor at Harvard University, would certainly disagree with Horgan. In a 2013 interview, Strominger said that while science knows very little about understanding the fundamental laws of Nature the “fun is just beginning” with regards to new discoveries. However, while Strominger admitted that there are a lot of things that scientists are sure that they don’t understand, they can still describe them in a very precise way. Really! One can precisely describe something that they don’t understand. It’s probably better to just admit that you don’t understand it and leave it at that.
Actually, I agree and disagree with both Horgan and Strominger. Strominger is right, but for the wrong reason. While it’s true that we have not fully explored the cosmos, there are limits to our knowledge of Creation. Science has actually admitted as much. It was none other than Albert Einstein who declared that, “The human mind, no matter how highly trained, cannot grasp the universe.” In other words, the fundamental laws of Nature are beyond man’s ability to comprehend them.
Einstein’s thinking goes like this: ““As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.” Science’s own theory of quantum mechanics partially explains why. According to that theory, our physical world vanishes into vortexes of energy, into a quantum world beyond space and time, a world which is beyond our ability to experience. Since science is a process of observation and measurement, it can not prove what lies beyond our world, be it in a parallel universe or in another dimension within the Multiverse, or wherever else. Assuming that we even have the ability to understand the unexplainable (which is doubtful), there is still a limit to our knowledge because there is a limit to our ability to observe all of Creation (i.e. Creation, not just the Universe).
Max Planck, the father of modern physics, said that there is no such thing as matter, per se, and yet science continues to look for it (dark matter, for example). It’s sort of the trade secret of quantum physics – all there is, is consciousness. According to Planck, it’s consciousness that organizes quantum energy to produce “matter”. Of course, they don’t want you to know that you exist in a virtual reality matrix because that would imply the dreaded G word (i.e. “intelligent design”). After all, it was Jim Gates, a physicist at the University of Maryland, who said that there are computer codes embedded in the fundamental nature of the Universe!
“Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.” – Max Planck
Some say that the universe created life; further, that the universe has always existed and will always exist. Of course, that’s just a theory. No one has been able to explain exactly how that could be possible.
Einstein said that space/time (our universe) is a construct. So, the operative question is: Who constructed it? If our universe is simply a composition of naturally occurring elements (like, say, oxygen and hydrogen), then something had to have created it.
One of the hot topics in science today is what came before The Big Bang. Many scientists now believe that there is something beyond our universe, be it parallel universes, other dimensions or whatever. The implication is that there was a beginning to life, or a First Cause, that is outside of space and time (outside of our universe) and, therefore, beyond our ability to observe or understand. That means that science doesn’t know what caused our universe to come into existence in the first place. As Andrew Strominger, a physics professor at Harvard University, put it, “A singularity is when we don’t know what to do. What’s so embarrassing about singularities is that we can’t predict what’s going to come out of it.”
On the other hand, perhaps the universe created life through its own intelligence. In that case, it’s obviously an intelligent life form. We would then have to give a name to this intelligent life form. As I’ve suggested before, perhaps we could call it Bubba. However, for some, God might do just as well.
Yet, many people believe that they can use their own intelligence and logic to define the world that they live in. However, our perception of reality is severely limited, as it’s based largely on our physical senses. It was Albert Einstein that first told us that reality was an illusion and quantum mechanics has confirmed it. Therefore, what may seem logical to us is merely the brain’s interpretation of sensory data and not necessarily an indication of what is real. After all, what is truly real? In his book The Holographic Universe, Michael Talbot explained that reality is simply an expression/reflection of a deeper order of existence that exists beyond space and time. This “order of existence” then would have had to have been responsible, either directly or indirectly, for the Big Bang.
Yet, man has the arrogance to think that he somehow knows everything about the unknowable. As Stephen Hawking said, “One can’t prove that God doesn’t exist, but science makes God unnecessary.” I’m curious. Could God ever be unnecessary? Does Hawking feel that a Creator would not have provided the impetus which eventually would have resulted in all things, including science? I assume that what Hawking is really saying is that we should pray to him instead of to a higher power. However, he has yet to explain to us just who created God. Was it science?
“Beyond all finite experiences and secondary causes, all laws, ideas and principles, there is an Intelligence or Mind, the first principle of all principles, the Supreme Idea on which all other ideas are grounded.”