What is a quantum shift in the global brain?
The global brain is the quasi-neural energy- and information- processing network created by the billions of humans on the planet, interacting in many ways, private as well as public, and on many levels, local as well as global.
A quantum shift in the global brain is a sudden and fundamental transformation in the relations of a significant segment of the billions of humans to each other and to nature—a macroshift in society—and a likewise sudden and fundamental transformation in cutting-edge perceptions regarding the nature of reality—a paradigm shift in science. The two shifts together make for a veritable “reality revolution” in society as well as in science.
The Reality Revolution
In the first decade of the twenty-first century we face a new reality, individually as well as collectively. Our reality is shifting because the human world has become unstable and is no longer sustainable. But the reality revolution harbours a unique opportunity. This last decade is the first in history that offers the choice between being the last decade of a fading, obsolete world or the first of a new and viable one.
The emerging reality is radically new. We are experiencing ever more frequent and ever greater shocks and surprises, and these are not due, simply to blindness and ignorance. It is our reality that is shifting. As the economist Kenneth Boulding remarked, the only thing we should not be surprised at is being surprised.
The new reality is an intrinsically surprising reality. Nothing continues in the same way as it did before; everything “bifurcates.” This expression, coming originally from mathematics and chaos theory, indicates that the path of development of a system encounters a rapid, previously unforeseen change. We live in an age of bifurcation in the midst of a fundamental transformation of our world: in a Macroshift.
The reality shifts we experience regards the way we relate to each other, to nature, and to the cosmos. Previously some of us half suspected that this reality might soon shift, but the great bulk of humanity proceeded on the assumption that things would remain pretty much the same as they were: business as usual. But in the year 2007, it is daily becoming more evident that business is definitely not as usual. The Earth is literally transforming under our feet. On New Year’s Eve the Russians celebrated in the former Red Square without a trace of ice and snow; in January New Yorkers walked in Central Park in shirtsleeves; the center of Greenland is taken up by an unfrozen lake the size of Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, and Lake Erie combined; and there is hardly any of the legendary snow left on top of Kilimanjaro. Anyone who still doubts that the world we live in is changing must be blind, obstinate, or just plain stupid.
Of course, the climate is just one of many changes under way, though it is the most visible. Connected with climate change are a host of other factors that are just as prone to change as the ecology, in the economic, social, political, and cultural arenas. The bottom line is that, in more respects than one, proceeding further as we have up till now takes us to a catastrophic bifurcation: to a fateful tipping point.
Change is no longer mere theory, and it is no, longer merely an option: it is a reality, an imperative of our survival. Proceeding on the assumption of business as usual (BAU) is suicidal.
Interestingly and importantly, our map of the world is also changing: science itself is in the midst of a paradigm shift. The new paradigm gives us a deeper understanding of the nature of quantum shifts in complex systems in nature as well as society. Complex systems do not evolve smoothly, step by step: they are highly nonlinear. They evolve step by step only up to a point, then they reach a threshold of stability and either break down or bifurcate. This is true of the evolution of stars (at a given point they either explode as a supernova and spew forth the matter that will become the stuff of the next generation of stars or they collapse into a black hole); it is true of living species (sooner or later in their lifespan most species are threatened with extinction—and then they either mutate into a more viable species or become extinct); and it is also true of entire civilizations (they too evolve or go under, as the experience of the communist world demonstrated in the winter of 1989/90).
Does this mean that human society may be doomed, and we may become extinct even as a species? The currently dominant form of civilization does seem to have reached its limits and is bound to change. But our demise as a species, while it cannot be excluded, is by no means decided. We have enormous and as yet unexploited resources for coping with the challenges that face us. We have a whole range of new and sophisticated technologies at our disposal, and radically new insights are emerging at the cutting edge of the species.
However, the key insight coming from the new paradigm in the sciences is not technological. It is the confirmation of something people have always felt but could not give a rational explanation for: our close connection to each other and to the cosmos. Traditional people have known of it and have lived it, but modern civilization has first neglected and then denied it. Yet genuine spiritual experience offers direct evidence of our links to each other and to all of creation, and now science confirms the validity of such intuitions.
Until the last decade or two, scientists and science minded people considered the feeling of human and human-nature interconnection a mere delusion. Then the evidence started to come in. A fresh look at our connections in the framework of the new sciences—Quantum physics above all—began to indicate that the “oneness” people sometimes experience is not delusory and that the explanation of it is not beyond the ken of the sciences. As quanta, and entire atoms and molecules, can be instantly connected across space and time, so living organisms, especially the complex and supersensitive brain and nervous system of evolved organisms, can be instantly connected with other organisms, with nature, and with the cosmos as a whole. This is vitally important, for admitting the intuition of connections to our everyday consciousness can inspire the solidarity we so urgently need to live on this planet—to live in harmony with each other and with nature.
The oracle at Delphi advised, “Know thyself.” We should complete this by saying, “Know thyself as part of an interconnected rapidly changing world.” As this book will show, this knowledge and the practical wisdom that follows from it have become the precondition of the persistence of human civilization and even the survival of the human species.
THE BIRTH AND BODY OF THIS BOOK
This book embraces, for the first time, both sides of my lifelong interests and research: the practical side, focused on the problems, opportunities, and challenges we now face individually as well as collectively, and the theoretical side, seeking the contours of the reality suggested by the latest developments in the sciences. Together, the two sides provide essential orientation for an epoch of quantum shifts: a time when the terrain is changing under our feet and so is our map of the terrain.
The body of the book consists of three parts. Part 1 is the practical part: it focuses on the shift of the world we live in. The reality we experience is a substantially new reality. The challenges this “Macroshift” poses is that of constructive change, in us and around us, born of foresight empowered by awareness and understanding. We either change with our changing world—which we can do if we acquire the understanding and master the WILL—or we risk growing crises and ultimately breakdown.
Part 2 is the theoretical part, and it focuses on an eminently practical concern: how to understand the world we live in and the universe, its wider context. Not only our world, but science is also changing; the change there is in the form of a paradigm shift. The concept of reality emerging at the frontiers of scientific research has little if any resemblance to the classic concept we were taught in school. The new concept is broader—it extends to multiple universes arising in a possibly infinite meta-universe—and it is deeper, extending into dimensions below the the domain of the quantum. It is also more inclusive, shedding light on phenomena that were ignored or considered “anomalous” and relegated to metaphysics, theology, or parapsychology but a few years ago. The thirteen chapters that together make up part 1 (dealing with our changing world) and part 2 (outlining the changes in science’s map of the world) make a coherent whole, but each chapter can also be read separately, as prompted by the concerns and interests of the reader. They are intended to help us understand our changing world as well as our changing map of the world and help us empower and guide our evolution as we move into the critical phase of today’s Macroshift.
Part 3 moves from theory to hands-on practice. It describes the origins, the projects, and the principal objectives of the Club of Budapest, a global think tank founded by the author and dedicated to facilitating the changes that need to come about in our world by applying the insights of sciences new map of reality to the cause of peace, sustainability, wellbeing, and human survival.
A closing section—the annex—breaks fresh ground in our scientific mapping of the deeper regions of human experience. It reviews a mind-boggling experience of the author and attempts to interpret it in light of the new map of reality. The experience (“trans communication” with persons who have died recently) is of such staggering importance that it merits venturing beyond the bounds of established science—which, we should note, are by no means the bounds of human insight and understanding.
From the book,
Quantum Shift in the Global Brain
How the New Scientific Reality Can Change Us and Our World
by Ervin Laszlo