The spiritual is the driving force

How consciousness creates matter

Author: Prof. Dr. Dr. Hans-Peter Dürr

Issue No: TV 96

After decades of research, the quantum physicist Hans-Peter Dürr came to the conclusion that first the spirit was given and then matter came into being. Specifically, he speaks of a form without material substance, in the sense of a potentiality that gives rise to reality. Matter is ossified, precipitated spirit and thus that which is no longer involved in evolution. The future is not predetermined, but an open process that is determined by our spirit, i.e. our consciousness.

Hans-Peter Dürr: I am a quantum physicist dyed in the wool, i.e., I have participated in full consciousness in the development that took place at the beginning of this century. It started with Max Planck and Albert Einstein, but the important thing is that Planck and Einstein initiated this development but did not believe in it.
They were bothered by the uncertainty principle and this whole complex of quantum physics. They believed that this could only be a transitional stage. It was the young people like Werner Heisenberg who saw the breakthrough in it when he was twenty! We have to see reality totally differently, no longer materially, but much more openly. For these researchers, the following difficulty then arose: How can one ever derive something like a natural law from something that is so open – something that could also include man?

We humans do not want to submit to determinism, as we naturally see ourselves as creative

Then it was discovered that this was possible. In this potentiality, through these coagulation processes, laws arise that correspond exactly to the laws of classical physics, and that was the breakthrough. Not that these strictly apply, but that it looks as if they do apply. For us, who want to survive here and have to grasp something – have to grasp in order to feed ourselves – this approximation is quite sufficient.
But the classical understanding is not enough to understand our origin and the world. I don’t call modern physics ‘quantum physics’, but ‘holistic physics’.

The essential thing in quantum physics was that, strictly speaking, we can no longer speak of parts. There is no such thing as parts. There is always only the whole.

This whole is already differentiated. It has fences and boundaries in a way, but it behaves more like the waves on the surface of the ocean, and one should not think that the ocean is composed of waves. It is not like that, but when I look at it superficially, this is true. The surface of the ocean is composed of waves, that is a good description, and for the superficial thinker this is sufficient. Someone who does shipping is not interested in what is two kilometres under the ocean. For him, the surface structure of the ocean is far more important than the interrelationships of the ocean beneath the water.

The Big Bang as the beginning of the world?

There is not only the big bang theory, but this is the one that is most accepted at the moment.

I would suggest that the big bang theory, as it exists now, is not correct either.

For me, it is still formulated too much in the language of the old physics, that is, oriented towards matter. I believe that when we have come so far as to write cosmology in the language of modern physics, i.e. on the basis of quantum theory, then we will have a different formulation.

How do the laws of nature work?

The old idea is that we start with a material basis. In the past, people talked about atoms that kept rearranging themselves, and then they asked themselves: Why do they arrange themselves in such a way that we end up with a system as complex as human beings?
The modern idea postulates that matter itself is already the result of an evolution. In the beginning there was possibility, potentiality, something that is always holistic, and which of course already had all future possibilities somehow built into it, but not yet in the realised form that is now beginning to take shape. The laws of nature also do not apply in the way we think they do because of the old mechanistic form, that something runs like clockwork, but the laws of nature are also only a result of evolution. Their formation is also only one possibility. Probably other ways of arranging the law would have been possible, but it then clicked into place in a certain way, almost like a kind of habit. I always watch the water running down the outside of the window when I’m riding the train and it starts to rain. It flows down in the most crooked ways, but once it has found a path, all the water flows along it. This led me to ask myself: Why did the water follow exactly this path? It could have taken a different path, but once it has found the path, then it becomes, so to speak, a natural law for the flow of water.
This is also how the regularities came into being, and I believe that biology and physics, which are seen as something opposite – physics rigid and subject to its legalities, biology somehow more open, especially if we want to include ourselves ¬-, are built on the same foundation, and that is potentiality. For me, it is the spiritual, a unity, and there is no left half and right half of the spirit.
The spirit always acts uniformly like a hunch. In the beginning it is a hunch, from which concrete thoughts later develop, like in our head. But the question of why exactly this thought has formed and no other is not predetermined. That is why there is not the human being as a predetermined goal, but something similar, just as I know exactly that a thought will arise in my head, but it is not predetermined which one it will be.

When we ask how life came into being, we start with the amino acids, because that is how we can describe what is necessary to make these structures come into being, and it is similar when we ask how a car is put together. Everything that makes up a car afterwards came into being that way because of the laws of nature, because I brought certain materials into contact with each other and they did exactly what corresponds to their laws. But how did you manage to create conditions so that exactly these materials came together in the form they did? So where did the logistics in the background come from? That is the real difficulty. The logistics in the case of building a car is, of course, our plan to build a car. There were engineers who planned it.
We can’t think of the logistics as a car builder saying: I want to build a car. There is not this one finished goal, but yet this creative intelligence knew that a certain affinity can be established that leads to creating entities that have greater flexibility, with which I can then in turn create other entities that I can assemble to have even greater flexibility. I would like to compare it to writing a poem: Nature intends to write a poem, but she does not know which poem will be written. She realises that if she had letters now fighting over which letter is the better one, there would never be a poem. Instead, there is the possibility of A and B arranging themselves, perhaps adding an L, to form all at once a combination that corresponds to a blah-blah ¬- which is already a form of expression that is higher than any letter and which now proves itself. This blah blah continues to differentiate and produce sensible words that are even more flexible and can now form sentences that make sense. That is evolution – but what poem emerges at the end is not predetermined. But it is a differentiated poem because it expresses facts that have several dimensions, and this is important for the survival of the organism. Survival is important, but in a much more sophisticated way of interplay.

About the author:

Hans-Peter Dürr (1929-2014), studied physics, 1958-74 collaborator of Werner Heisenberg at the Max Planck Institute for Physics. Later director of the institute and of the Werner Heisenberg Institute in Munich until 1997. Professor at the University of Munich, visiting professorships in Berkeley, China and India. Since the 1980s, active in the environmental, peace and anti-nuclear movements. 1987 Alternative Nobel Prize, 1995 Nobel Peace Prize (as a member of Pugwash), 2004 Grand Federal Cross of Merit. 2008 Honorary Citizen of the City of Munich. Member of the Club of Rome. Council member of the World Future Council. Founder of the Global Challenges Network and WorkNet:future.

This article was originally published on the German website: Die Ogdoadische Tradition

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