Sir Isaac Newton, the founder of modern physics, touched on many topics in the Principia that go beyond experimental or theoretical scientific theory. The questions he raised are, perhaps, only matched by the seminal work of Darwin and Einstein; much of which is more readily accessed in the field of philosophy. One only has to follow the debate over the essential nature of time, space and motion to become aware of the human obsession with our own origin and transcendental powers. As we observe our civilization having to weather ever deepening crises, there is a perceptible shift towards acceptance of phenomena beyond observable nature. Perhaps Immanuel Kant was correct when he said, that, although we can never hope to answer our metaphysical questions, we can't help asking them anyway.
In her bestseller, 'The Field', award winning journalist Lynne McTaggart provides numerous scientific case studies of observed effects that could not be proved, nor disproved, by current theory. 'The Field' tells a radically new scientific story. Namely, that frontier science suggests our essence is that we exist as a unity; a relationship, utterly interdependent, the parts affecting the whole at every moment. The Field further suggests a far more expansive view of the world and living organisms like us. That the essential communication mechanism of the universe is quantum frequencies connected by a giant matrix - a field of fields called the Zero Point Field. This pulsating energy field is the central engine of our being and consciousness. There is no “me” and “not me”, no “in here” and “out there”. In other words, we are our world.
The classic example being the 'ghost electron'; a study in which scientists established that the parts of a split electron exhibit the same behaviour as if the electron were still a single entity. Furthermore, these parts will adopt different behaviour patterns when observed; confirming that the very act of observation has an influence. Then there's the work of Jacques Bienveniste, a leading biologist, that proved solutions diluted by a factor of 1 million still provide the same effect as the original dose. Going some way to explaining the 'placebo' effect, its a finding that can only be explained by the presence of an unobservable force. This 'secret force of the universe' currently occupies the best minds in quantum physics; which suggests that our lives can be a daily unfolding of the miraculous, influencing events and the environment around us.
As usual the big question revolves around bringing these theories into our everyday lives, so that we not only understand the theory of our potential, but can begin living it. In this vein McTaggart decided to walk the talk by establishing world wide, verifiable experiments. The 'Intention Experiment' is a series of scientifically controlled, web-based experiments testing the power of intention to change the physical world; in conjunction with leading physicists and psychologists from the University of Arizona, Princeton, the International Institute of Biophysics, Cambridge and the Institute of Noetic Sciences. These experiments are being run at McTaggart’s seminars, conferences and on the web; producing extraordinary results. In the pilot experiment, a group of 16 meditators based in London were asked to direct their thoughts to four remote targets in Dr. Popp’s laboratory in Germany: two types of algae, a plant and a human volunteer. The meditators were asked to attempt to lower certain measurable biodynamic processes. Popp and his team discovered significant changes in all four targets while the intentions were being sent, compared to times the meditators were ‘resting’.
Since then, thousands of volunteers from 30 countries around the world have participated in 'Intention Experiments'. The targets are only philanthropic: healing wounds, helping children with attention deficit or patients with Alzheimer’s, counteracting pollution and global warming. Besides the big 'Intention Experiments', the website runs informal 'Intention of the Week' actions for people or situations with illnesses or problems. Future 'Intention Experiments' will include: the Mini-Gaia Project (an ecosphere with an artificially raised temperature, a little like global warming; with the aim to lower the temperature through co-ordinated thought), the Germination Intention Experiment (group intention to help barley seeds germinate early and grow more healthily), the Water Experiment (aimed at changing the pH of polluted water), the Crime Rate Experiment (using intent to lower the crime rate of a major city), the Hospital Study (lowering mortality at a hospital) and the Attention Deficit Study (helping children to concentrate more).
As we see the low mileage methods, of apathy and lament, give way to new acceptance of age old philosophies; we are becoming increasingly more comfortable with concepts that are not necessarily in step with fundamental theory. As the gap closes between spirituality and science, the nature of the human spirit keeps posing ever more intriguing question. Questions that don't always have answers, but do lead to practical applications which produce positive results. In such cases it may not be necessary to explain how something works, but just to accept that it does; or as Fox Mulder of X-Files fame proclaims: "Let's just say that I want to believe".