A Brief History of Reality
In trying to contemplate what is reality, one discovers that reality as we know it at any point in time, changes.
Even today, the most prevalent and most “solid” acceptable form of reality for most people is in the world of the solid and discernible. “Reality” for many is supposedly only what we can see and touch. Anything drastically out of this ‘solid’ realm is often pooh-poohed as woo-woo.
We persist in seeing ourselves only as solid objects in spite of the revolutionary scientific discoveries in latter years.
Reality in Late 1600s and Early 1700s Century: Atom
As a result of Sir Issac Newton’s work in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, we defined the universe as being made up of solid objects.
In the 19th century, Newtonian physics extended that to atoms. We then accepted the view that the universe was composed of building blocks called atoms.
Our Reality is made up of atoms?
This is where many people have stopped in their conception of “objective” reality. What is reality to them ends with the Newtonian physics of atoms being the be all and end all of true reality. It forms the basis of their confident “scientific” rebuttal of anything beyond what we can see and touch.
Reality in Early 1800s: Field Theory
In the early 19th century, Newtonian physics could not be used to adequately explain the phenomenon of electromagnetic phenomenon. This led to the scientific concept of “fields“.
A “field” was defined as a condition of space that had the potential of producing a force.
The concept of “field” was founded by Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell. Their field theory gave rise to the view that the universe was filled with fields of interacting forces.
Reality and Field Theory
This scientific framework enabled us to begin to explain how we could affect one another – even at a distance. And via means other than speech, sight, and touch.
1905: Theory of Relativity
Albert Einstein published his Special Theory of Relativity in 1905. It shattered the principal concepts of Newtonian mechanics.
According to the relativity theory, space and time are so interconnected that it formed the “space-time” continuum. And that, contrary to the Newtonian causal effects, time was neither absolute nor linear!
However we are so used to the concept that Time and Space are distinct and separate packets that we have not been able to integrate Einstein’s theory of relativity into our personal lives, other than in an abstract, intellectual concept.
Nonetheless we have all experienced a sense of this relativity theory as we have all experienced time speeding up or slowing down. Our personal time actually seems to slow down or speed up depending on our personal feelings, mood, and experience of a situation. Hence, our personal time is not measurable by a clock – a Newtonian based device to measure linear time as defined by Newtonain mechanics.
Matter and Energy are interchangeable
Another astounding major breakthrough from Einstein’s work was that matter and energy was interchangeable. Today this theory is becoming progressively an established fact of reality.
1920s: Quantum Physics
Just as Einstein postulated, the scientific world found themselves stepping into the “new” world of sub-atomic particles: Quantum Physics or Quantum Theory
Max Planck discovered that energy from heat radiation was not in continuous waves as expected. Rather this energy appeared as discrete “energy packets” called quanta.
Reality and Quantum Theory
As the scientific world probed deeper into the core question of what is reality, the more evidence they found that our world is not made up of isolated “basic building blocks” as per the Newtonian physics.
Physicists are verifying in experiment after experiment, that matter can be created from energy and can disappear as energy.
What is Reality Today?
The best scientific minds of our minds today believe that our whole universe is made up of interconnected dynamic web of energy patterns.
Even the ordinary man in the street is not a complete stranger to the concept that all of us, everything in the universe, is inter-connected energetically. Ironically this very message, espoused by mystic through the ages, had been, and continues to be commonly relegated to the realms of “fairy tale” and “hocus pocus” by the “logical” man. Which is a shame.
Though the mystics did not employ current scientific terms like “energy fields” and “quantum physics”, their 5000+ years of tradition, belief, and message are increasingly found to be consistent with our modern “discoveries” by the most eminent physicists of our times.
How “What is Reality” Means to our Survival
I believe that until we fully integrate into our everyday consciousness that we are all interconnected – to each other and to every aspect of the world that we inhabit, we will not fully honour our oneness and unity. And it is on this conscious integration that our very survival may depend.