Ideas Come From God


“Ideas come from God” – Einstein

The second of three articles by Paul Ellson, author of The Beautiful Union of science, philosophy and religion.


It is widely recognised that the best scientists are intuitive and that the ‘feel’ for the subject is important. This would not be apparent from reading formal scientific papers where the role that any intuition might play is omitted. Intuition is a subjective quality and yet an oft-stated goal of science is objectivity. I find this interesting, especially as, at the 2005 Hay Festival, I was present to hear Lord Rees, President of the Royal Society, and Sir John Maddox, former editor of Nature, agree that scientists cannot be truly objective. It is ironic that the detached and dispassionate tone required by scientific institutions and journals are part of the structure that supports the illusion of objectivity. True scientists are driven and passionate and they are as experimental and intuitive as any artist. Says Carlo Rubbia, Nobel laureate and former head of the prestigious CERN laboratory, “Scientific discovery is an irrational act. It’s an intuition which turns out to be reality at the end of it.” 1


The successful scientist has a passionate and persistent character often fuelled by a childlike exhilaration in the quest for knowledge. The scientist becomes completely involved in his or her subject and, over time, gets a feel for the patterns behind the facts. The full absorption of information and the individual’s aspirations within the particular discipline primes the mind for revelation. But these revelations tend to come when the mind is at rest and when there is room for something new, a space for some new influence to enter into. Sometimes it is after, perhaps in despair, the mind has stopped trying. Also, periods of relaxation and recreation, or periods of sleep, when the mind is more fully rested are common times of entry for the new. The solution, however contrary to the line of thought held before, seems to suddenly appear in the mind. Max Planck, the German physicist who framed the Quantum Theory in 1900 seems to have acquire the idea in this way. He said that he could never fathom why he thought such a thing. His discovery marked the beginning of quantum physics – a major turning point for science. However, ask any scientist what was the greatest scientific breakthrough of the 20th century and the reply would likely be Einstein’s work on relativity. Significantly, this major leap forward involved sleep related revelations.

“Ideas come from God”

In writing Einstein – a life,2 Denis Brian brought in recollections of Einstein and his close associates, delving deep into the process that brought about the groundbreaking Theory of Special Relativity – perhaps the greatest leap in the history of science. It was early spring 1905 and Einstein was aged 26. He had spent an evening going over his ideas with a friend; they were looking for the missing pieces of the puzzle:“….. he returned home in despair, feeling he would never discover “the true laws, based on known facts’. There is no record of how late he went to bed that night. . . . . . He woke next morning in great agitation, as if, he said, “a storm had broke loose in my mind”. With it came the answers. He had finally tapped “God’s thoughts” and tuned into the master plan for the universe.”
Einstein told his assistant and biographer Banesh Hoffman that “‘Ideas come from God.’” Hoffman was aware that Einstein didn’t believe in a personal God and explained that, “This was his metaphorical way of speaking. You cannot command the idea to come, it will come when it’s good and ready. He put it those terms: ‘Ideas come from God.’” 

Einstein’s sudden revelation as he woke that morning was transcendent. His ideas, or shall I say, the ideas received by him, reshaped the world and continue to have a huge impact on the whole of society. 

In the weeks following his revelation, using every spare moment, ‘as if possessed’ he put the ideas on paper, filling thirty-one pages. Denis Brian tells us that the final paper“..was strangely free of footnotes or references, as if the inspiration had indeed come, if not from God, from some otherworldly source.”6

Groundbreaking mathematician and author Gregory Chaitin of theIBM Watson Research Center explains it this way: “I don’t know where ideas come from. I can only look at my own experience creating a new mathematical theory and say I don’t know where it comes from. I don’t do it mechanically . . . my mind seems sharper and I seem more perceptive about everything. I seem to be in some kind of energized or more perceptive state and it’s a wonderful state to be in. It doesn’t last long. It feels wonderful.”7

In The Varieties of Religious Experience, William James wrote of the four qualities ecstasy: ineffability, passivity, transience, and noesis.

Noesis comes from the Greek nous, relating to reason, intellect and understanding, particularly regarding to the understanding of basic principles or absolutes.Nous, along with gnosis can be traced back to the Sanskrit jna:to perceive, apprehend and understand.8From jna through gnosis and nous we have come to our word “knowledge,” originally referring to knowledge experienced directly; an enlightenment accompanied by a feeling of certitude. James wrote of the “noetic sense of truth” and the sense of authority implicit in these states, which he classified as mystical. “Although so similar to states of feeling, mystical states seem to those who experience them to be also states of knowledge. They are states of insight into depths of truth unplumbed by the discursive intellect. They are illuminations, revelations, full of significance and importance, all inarticulate though they remain; and as a rule they carry with them a curious sense of authority for after-time.”9

Such an authority without a material basis may seem unreasonable, for nowadays, when we speak of reason we tend to think only in terms of forming an opinion. However, for the ancient Greeks, and for those before, there were two levels of reason. The higher reason is the reason that knows – gnosis, a state where the reason is given; experienced. The lower reason is the one that theorises and forms opinions, – doxa. Further back in time we find the Sanskrit jnana, which Monier-Williams defines as“the higher knowledge (derived from meditation on the one universal spirit)” and dakshaexpert, clever; strengthening the intellectual faculty.

Regarding the word reason itself; I find it interesting that, in the Sanskrit, ‘ri’ is the word for heaven. When we look for ‘the reason’, we look for the ‘cause that explains something’. In the light of the ancient natural philosophy dictum ‘as above, so below’, this makes sense. Also we have the Sanskrit ‘rita’; true; enlightened; divine law, ‘rishu’: knowingand ‘rishi’: saint; knower; seer– the one who directly experiences. Here again, at root, we see reason related to direct cognition. This broader understanding of reason and gnosis persisted for millennia, the Gnostics championing direct cognition well into Christian times. Perhaps they found inspirationfrom St John 14:17 where Jesus tells his Disciples: Even the spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not; neither knoweth him: But ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. However, since the Church domination of the West and its hostility toward Gnosticism and its attendant nomenclature, the deeper meanings of gnosis and reason have become lost. Reason now only refers to the opinion forming, lower, reason.

Beyond the veil

Of late there has been recognition by scientists that ancient natural philosophers, up to and including Aristotle, acknowledged abilities to know the laws of nature through direct cognition. In A Brief History of Time, Hawking puts it this way: “The Aristotelian tradition also held that one could work out all the laws that govern the universe by pure thought: it was not necessary to check by observation”.10To the western mind, such ideas now seem a world away, but from ancient times to the present day, eastern philosophers have continued to address this subject frequently: The following is an example from China, found in stanza 62 of the Tao Te Ching [c.500BCE], where the Tao is ‘the unproduced producer of all that is’.11

Why did the ancient masters esteem the Tao?

Because, being one with the Tao,

When you seek, you find. 12 

A clue to the process involved is given in Stanza 10

Can you step back from your own mind 

and thus understand all things?13 

Stepping back from your own mind is crucial to gnosis. Of course, this stepping back takes place naturally during sleep and those, like Einstein,whose minds have been primed can, on occasion, take advantage of that process innocently. This may seem bewildering, after all, even for the gifted student, understanding Einstein’s work can be difficult enough, let alone understanding how it could have been cognised in the first place. Understanding requires humility. The word means ‘to stand under’. One cannot rise to greater knowledge when one already assumes superiority. The ‘beginner’s mind’ advocated in eastern philosophy speaks of the innocence required for success.

A similar stance is recommended by leading scientific thinkers. In their book, The Matter Myth, taking Einstein’s theories as an example, Paul Davies and John Gribbin give advice on how such knowledge, which defies everyday notions about reality, can come to be understood by students. They recommend ” . . merely inquiring about what is observed and not trying to formulate a mental model of what is, in some absolute sense.”14 Regarding the envisaging of Einstein’s ‘closed but unbounded’ universe, the writer says: “I remembered my resolution not to try to envisage an absolute reality, not to struggle for some sort of God’s-eye-view of the whole universe from the outside. Instead I would take the humbler perspective …..”15 

Natural philosophers tell us that real humility releases us from attachment to all prior concepts; attachment to our own ideas or those of others. With this level of humility we discard all of our thoughts and imaginings. It allows us into the realm of impersonality where the non-relative, Absolute, can be contacted. Here, in essence, all things are found to rest.The Gnostics knew that any attempt at an intellectual construct of a big picture would be flawed because the intellect, which deals with the parts, would obstruct appreciation of the whole. Instead Gnostics used the mind as a receptacle. By this stage of mental development the use of the imagination has expanded the capacity of the mind, priming it for further use. Now the mind must be emptied and an innocence must be present, a state which allows the bigger picture to enter. As J B S Haldane said: “The universe may not just be queer to imagine, but queerer than we can imagine.”16And so, to sure-footedly approach the truth behind phenomena, use of the imagination is suspended. Rudolf Steiner explained: For the point is not that I arbitrarily create visions for myself, but that reality creates them in me.17 In order to help take this statement seriously we must acknowledge that successful natural philosophers such as Steiner were most sincere, thorough and scientific in their approach.

Another good example of this level of excellence would be Alice A Bailey. She was a well-known 20th century natural philosopher who claimed extra-sensory skills. She advocated White Magic: the use of hidden (occult) knowledge for the benefit of humanity. In A Treatise on White Magic she lists five things that those who choose to tread that path need to cultivate.

1. Consecration of motive. 2. Utter fearlessness. 3. The cultivation of the imagination, balanced wisely by the reasoning faculty. 4. A capacity to weigh the evidence wisely, and to accept only that which is compatible with the highest instinct and intuition. 5. A willingness to experiment.” She continues: “These five tendencies coupled with purity of life, and regulation of thought will lead to the sphere of achievement. Remember too that it is not purposed that you should find out all the knowable, but only just as much of as it may be employed wisely for the illumination of the race and of those whom you can each, in your own place, influence.”18

Anyone who has studied the life of Einstein will recognise that he applied all of the above. The appellation, ‘philosopher-scientist’ was well deserved. The evidence points to the fact that leading scientists, albeit unconsciously, use the attributes of the most mystical of natural philosophers as their aspiration for knowledge enlivens deeper cognitive talents. I believe that in the future, as science develops an understanding of consciousness, seekers after truth will use these attributes consciously.

Some 20th century philosopher-sages have been particularly helpful in relating their knowledge to that of modern science. Sri Aurobindo (1872 – 1950) explains the forces at work ‘beyond the veil’: “The wall between consciousness and force, impersonality and a personality, becomes much thinner when one goes beyond the veil of matter. If one looks at a working from the side of impersonal force one sees a force or energy at work acting for a purpose or with a result. If one looks from the side of being one sees a being possessing, guiding and using or else representative of and used by a conscious force as its instrument of specialised action and expression…. . In modern science it has been found that if you look at the movement and energy, it appears on one side to be a wave and act as a wave, on the other as a mass of particles and to act as a mass of particles each acting its own way. It is somewhat the same principle here.”19

Aurobindo’s biographer, Satprem, explains further: “A Christian saint, who has the vision of the Virgin, say, and an Indian who has the vision of Durga20may be seeing the same thing, they may have contacted the same plane of consciousness and the same forces; but quite obviously Durga would mean nothing to the Christian, and moreover, were this force to manifest in its pure state, that is, as a luminous impersonal vibration, it would not be accessible to the consciousness of either the worshiper of the Virgin or the devotee of Durga, or at any rate would not speak to their hearts.”21

These two quotations touch upon fundamentals of perception, the possibilities of viewing frequencies in either wave or particle form and, furthermore, the interpretation of frequency in order to create a narrow but meaningful ‘reality’. In the previous article ‘Non-locality and Omnipresence’, I mentioned research that showed that the mind may affect outcomes in scientific research, and therefore we must ask: How then can direct cognition be trusted? This is where Alice Bailey’s prescription, …. purity of life, and regulation of thought will lead to the sphere of achievement”, enters in. As with any experiment, the quality of the apparatus and the quality of control are of the highest importance. In this case, body and mind are the apparatus and the means of control. Neurophysiologically speaking, the apparatus requires pure foods and drink because it must not be distracted by discomfort or illness, and the mind requires the Great Peace, a mental equilibrium where, due to innocence and humility there is no agenda. To the deeply religious and the natural philosopher alike, access to the soul is the link to the Great Peace of pure consciousness. Here religion begins to reveal its original motivation. Satprem wrote on the phenomena of religious visions and their subjective nature but there are links here to the scientific world, starting with Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. It was established by German physicist Werner Heisenberg, and gave a theoretical limit to the precision with which a particle’s momentum and position can be measured simultaneously the more accurately the one is determined, the more uncertainty there is in the other.

Writing in the New York Times Magazine, Daniel Menaker homed-in on the subjective implications. He put it this way: “When Heisenberg threw this stone of hard mathematical physics into the pool of philosophy, its ripples required us to see ourselves, each of our own selves, as interferers with whatever we run across. Such ideas of the conscious human self as an automatic interferer, a changer, a polluter of reality, may have always been a part of philosophy or even art, but it was Heisenburg who for the first time scientifically demonstrated that our very own efforts fully to understand what surrounds us must defeat their own purpose.”22 

The Beautiful Union of science, philosophy and religion23 gives further, ample, evidence of the mind’s ability to interfere in all it perceives. What then can be the true significance of religion in all this – are religious practices a distraction or do they have a purpose? At its root, buried deeply beneath a historical veil of politics, sophistry and intellectualisation, religion is a science, a science of consciousness. And, after shaking off the dust of obfuscation, it may be recognised as complementary to modern science with both disciplines finding their home within the embrace of natural philosophy. Natural philosophy seeks ‘knowledge of the causes of the laws of all things’24 and religion, from re-ligio – ‘to bind back’ – has the potential to take the practitioner in consciousness ‘back’ to the cause which natural philosophers cite as the home of all knowledge. It is a route to gaining knowledge through direct experience of the creator, the creative force.

Transcendent experience is facilitated by great peace of mind. But rare is the individual who, without training, achieves great peace of mind. Therefore, a major goal of religious techniques such as meditation, repetition (such as rosary use), and certain prayers, is to cultivate a stillness of mind wherein, unlike deep sleep, the mind remains conscious and attentive. Here, one may note that, to the Pythagorians, who were a deeply religious group, mathematical knowledge itself derived from contemplation.25 But only when meditation has done its work can true contemplation take place. Meditation stills the mind, contemplation uses the stilled mind to wonder in an innocent, subtle and yet focused fashion, thereby inducing the knowledge of the part in relation to the whole.

Binding back

Based upon a profound grasp of psycho-physiological processes, various systems were developed in order to ‘re-ligio’ – bind back – the practitioner to the Great Peace. For the body, a pure diet and exercises were advocated to encourage abundant health and energy – if the body is ill or fighting illness then it is likely to be distracted in contemplation. For the mind, imagery was advocated for particular stages of development as were meditations of various kinds. Many such practices are still extant but not widely understood. This needs to change.

I believe that, through identification with the best of leading scientific thought and with the integrative work of natural philosophers both ancient and modern, an opportunity is now arising for religion to return to its rightful place. Study of the ultimate cause by whatever name: big bang, pre-big bang (cosmologists), unified field etc., (physicists), The Lord, Jehova etc., (religious) or consciousness, the creative force etc., (natural philosophers) brings all of these groups together and a realisation of their mutually supportive nature is long overdue. How many western scientists have taken the reports of Christian mystics seriously? Despite Church doctrine, the most dedicated devotee can experience gnosis and throughout history this has occurred numerous times.

From a multitude of available accounts, let us first look at the words of the German, Jacob Boehme [1575-1624]: “In this my earnest and Christian Seeking and Desire”, he wrote, “the Gate was opened to me, that in one Quarter of an Hour I saw and knew more than if I had been many years together at an University, at which I exceedingly admired, and thereupon turned my Praise to God for it.” The reader should be aware that the date of this revelation is 1610 and that the terminology is that of a devout Christian. Nevertheless, the summary that follows embraces the realms of chemistry, biology, physics and cosmology: “ For I saw and knew the Being of all Beings, the Byss and the Abyss, and the Eternal Generation of the Holy Trinity, the Descent and Original of the World, and of all creatures through the divine wisdom. . . And I saw and knew the whole working Essence in the Evil and the Good, and the Original and Existence of each of them; and likewise how the fruitful bearing Womb of Eternity brought forth . . .Yet however I must begin to labour in those great mysteries, as a Child that goes to School. I saw it as in a great Deep in the Internal. For I had a thorough view of the Universe . . “26

The Englishman George Fox [1624-91] became the founder of the Society of Friends (Quakers) but a remarkable experience at the age of twenty-four almost led him into a scientific path: ‘The creation was opened to me; and it was showed me how all things had their [divine] names given them, according to their nature and virtue. And I was at a stand in my mind whether I should practice physic for the good of mankind, seeing the nature and virtue of the creatures were so opened to me by the Lord . .”27(Author’s parenthesis)

The above quotes are broad in scope. They indicate the magnitude of gnostic experience but offer nothing that can be easily crosschecked. Let us now look at something a little more specific

The History of the Moon

For some time scientists have been looking into the history of the Moon and its relation to our planet. Furthering work on a widely accepted theory first proposed in 1975,28 J. Richard Gott III and Edward Belbruno, both of Princeton University,29 posted a paper on in May 2004.30It refers to a time billions of years ago when a small planet shared Earth’s orbit. Their research and computer simulations show a scenario where this planet eventually became engaged with the Earth in a horseshoe-like orbit. Furthermore, around 4.5 billion years ago, being drawn in, this planet glanced off the Earth not once but twice. Gott and Belbruno have named this planet Theia. It is postulated that its collisions with the Earth created the moon. Theia’s iron core sank into the Earth whilst its lighter elements, rocks from its mantle, spiraled off into space. They estimate that 80 percent of Theia is now the body of the moon. Their paper is one in a growing body of work which points to this kind of Earth-Moon relationship and it has gained much credibility amongst fellow astrophysicists.


Many years prior to this work, a British seer, the Reverend John Todd-Ferrier [1855 – 1943], cognised strikingly similar activity; Todd-Ferrier authored a number of books and additionally, many of his Services, Sermons, Letters and Talks were gathered up in a series of volumes called The Herald of The Cross. References to the history of the Moon (or Luna) are scattered amongst these works. Amongst them he says, “The Moon was not a satellite, she was a companion and planet. She moved with the Earth round a given centre.”31 “And the Moon was a companion planet giving balance and aid to the Earth in her ministry . . . . But in order to help the Earth at a very critical period, the Moon gave up her own glory . . . She gave up her atmosphere, she also gave up her magnetic plane.32 Clearly, because an estimated 80% of the companion planet is now known as the moon, Todd Ferrier sees no reason to call that original planet by a different name. He also said that this giving up occurred at a second interaction and that, “Her atmosphere as well her inner seas were drawn down, and her higher magnetic elements are mingled with the atmosphere and seas of the Earth. In addition to that her magnetic plane was also drawn down, and is mixed in with its elements with the magnetic plane at of the Earth. This is the reason for the moon’s tremendous leverage power of the seas, . . .”33 

Like many natural philosophers, the Reverend Todd Ferrier related all Celestial activity to an omnipotent divine power. “Luna, lent to the Earth, at Divine command her magnetic plane.”34 Perhaps it is this perception and terminology which scientists find alienating. I can only recommend open-mindedness, it is a fundamental of good science as is the ability to comprehend the big picture.

Scientists are learning that it is not enough to ‘prove’ the value of something in relative isolation. All of nature is related. Such isolated ‘proofs’ are temporary indicators that will shift as the knowledge horizon expands. This expansion can be safely hastened by practices that lead to gnosis. Packets of knowledge can only be fully understood by their relationships to the whole. If you look at the whole you can also see the parts that make it up. If you look at the part alone, you cannot see the whole. As with a jigsaw puzzle, the best practice is to pick up a piece and, prior to positioning, review the whole picture. We place the piece and, if it requires further consideration, we step back and review the whole picture along with the pieces in place and those yet to be used. If we can consider it all in one scan, we can know more easily if our choices of pieces and positions have been correct. The early natural philosophers knew how to do this with nature itself and today aspects of that knowledge are, albeit unconsciously, used by many of us, including scientists. The key moment of inspiration will often come outside of the lab, without focus on the problem. Something in nature will prime the mind to receive the answer. One may be dreamily contemplating the movements of a river or of clouds in the sky, or looking at a leaf. A period of sleep may do the trick or, when the rules are known and adhered to, one could even ask out loud to be enlightened regarding a certain matter. Knowledge through direct experience will result.

We have already seen how personal mental activity is strong on interference. True direct cognition is gained beyond the realm of the personal; that is the value of being able to empty oneself. Operating within discernable laws, these experiences are natural occurrences available to all of humankind through knowledge of the mechanics of consciousness.

This is indicated in ancient language. In Sanskrit, Manah is mind. Here we have a clue to the meaning behind “So God created man in his own image. In the image of God created he him.”35 When man is made in God’s own image, scripture is telling us that, in essence, humankind is made of mind, the body being mortal and simply a temporary vehicle for universal consciousness. The Kena Upanishad [c.500 BCE]36puts it this way, “Therefore He (God) is the Mind of the (human) mind too”.37 [Author’s parenthesis]

Recall the words of the scientists: Carlo Rubbia: “Scientific discovery is an irrational act. It’s an intuition . . .” Gregory Chaitin: “I seem to be in some kind of energized or more perceptive state and it’s a wonderful state to be in.” And, Einstein: ‘Ideas come from God.’ To the seasoned seer, God is the font of all knowledge. Hence the words of John Todd Ferrier: “It would fill me with unutterable sorrow if in trying to help you by revealing something of my own experiences, you thought of them only in a personal way, and lost that which lies behind them, and consequently failed to attribute them to their right Source, even as my Lord from Whom everything comes to me. As I have nothing of my own, everything in my experience is related to Him. I could not live and work for you, apart from Him.3738


The above text features extracts from The Beautiful Union of science, philosophy and religion. In the next article I shall use further extracts from the book to look at how re-ligio researchers into consciousness can add an extra dimension to the art of theorising.

Paul Ellson.

Paul Ellson is a natural philosopher. The Beautiful Union of science, philosophy and religion is available via his website and other outlets.

Notes and References:

  1. Quoted in Leaping Over the Gates of Logic: The best science is always inspired. Published in New Scientist 8thAugust 1985.

  2. Einstein – a life, Denis Brian, John Wiley and Sons Inc. 1996. p60-61
  3. Ibid.
  1. Ibid.
  1. In a special ‘Beyond Einstein’ issue (September 2004), Scientific American celebrated 100 years of his ideas and influence. In an article entitled Everyday Einstein, Philip Yan noted Einstein’s influence regarding digital cameras, DVD players, GPS units and solar powered devices.

  2. Ibid.

  3. Soul Searching: The Undiscovered Country, C4 Television 2003. Produced and directed by David Malone.

  4. This and all Sanskrit terms sourced from A Sanskrit – English Dictionary, Sir Monier Monier-Williams, 1st edition, OUP 1899.

  5. James, W. (1901/1990) The Varieties of Religious Experience, p 343. New York: Vintage books.

  6. A Brief History of Time, Stephen W. Hawking, Bantam Press 1988. p15.

  7. The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, ed. John Bowker 1997.

  8. Tao Te Ching: The Book of The Way by Lao-Tzo. Translated by Stephen Mitchell Pub. Kyle Cathie 1990.

  9. Ibid.

  10. The Matter Myth, Paul Davies and John Gribbin. Pub., Penguin Viking, London 1991.

  11. Ibid.

  12. John Burdon Sanderson Haldane 1892-1964 British Geneticist who was a founder of population genetics.

  13. Rudolf Steiner, Knowledge of the Higher Worlds: How is it achieved? Rudolf Steiner Press, Bristol 1993. Page 69.

  14. A Treatise on White Magic, 5th edition 1951, Alice A Bailey. Pub. Lucis Publishing Company, New York p343-4.

  15. Sri Aurobindo, On Yoga, Tome Two.

  16. A Hindu Goddess.

  17. Satprem, Sri Aurobindo or the Adventure of Consciousness. My thanks to the Institut de Recherches Evolutives, BP9, 14380 Hermouiville, France.

  18. Daniel Menaker writing in The New York Times Magazine, 17th Oct. 1999, p96.

  19. P H Ellson, The Beautiful Union of science, philosophy and religion. Pub. AASB Media, Ireland.

  20. A definition of philosophy from The Chambers Dictionary.

  21. P H Ellson, Ibid., p32.

  22. The Life of Jacob Boehme, p xv, in volume I of his Collected Works, English Translation, London, 1764-81, as sourced in Mysticism: The Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness by Evelyn Underhill. p 257. Pub. Oneworld, Oxford. 1993 Edition.

  23. The Journal of George Fox, volume i. Cap. ii., Edited from the MSS. By N Penney. Cambridge, 1911. This material sourced in Mysticism: The Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness by Evelyn Underhill. p257-8. Pub. Oneworld, Oxford. 1993 Edition.

  24. William Hartmann at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Ariz. USA, and independently by Al Cameron at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge Mass. USA.

  25. Gott is at the Dept. of Astrophysical Sciences and Belbruno is Visiting Research Collaborator, Dept. of Applied and Computational Mathematics.

  26. “Where did the moon come from?” by J Richard Gott III and Edward Belbruno, published online at

  27. The Herald of The Cross XIX. p146. published by The Order of The Cross, London 1945

  28. Ibid.

  29. From an address given in London on March 12th 1933, printed in The Herald of The Cross IX. p.17. published by The Order of The Cross, London 1957]

  30. From an address given in Hertfordshire, England on August 2nd 1933, printed in The Herald of The Cross XXXIV. p.102. published by The Order of The Cross, London 2004.

  31. Genesis 1:27.

  32. Kena Upanishad forms part of the Upanishad Brahmana of the Talavakara branch of the Sama Veda.

  33. From Shankara’s commentary on the Kena Upanishad: Page 45, Eight Upanishads, volume one, with the commentary of Shankaracharya. Translated by Swami Gambhirananda. Second edition January 1989. Published by Advaita Ashrama, Calcutta, India.

  34. Dreams, Visions and Recoveries in The Herald of The Cross Volume XIII 1940 p31. Note: In keeping with the times (early 20th century), John Todd Ferrier tended to couch his terms in the masculine but explained that Deity was both masculine and feminine.

Decentralisation & Cooperation


Decentralisation and Cooperation

– A Blueprint for Social Evolution

Contents/list of headings:
Introduction: fundamentals; the challenge.
Human Scale Organisation: individual v group; real community; politics; elections.
Livelihood and Finance: feudalism and enclosure; an inspiration; basic income grants; trial results; dignity; community capitalism; setting up a B.I.G.
Investment and Innovation: investment objectives; sharing and stewardship; cognition and stewardship.
Legal and Financial Administration: mesh technology; decentralised currencies; blockchain potential; clarity.
Educating for Evolution: transcendental meditation; mindfulness.
Other Governance Topics: defence; law and order; food security, population and health; demographic transition; more efficiency required; health benefits.
Appendix: constituency software; toward a human scale community; the software; beginning to act in community.


For thousands of years, human beings have fought each other in all-out war, often led by those who either wished to become, or remain as, the controlling elite. Thankfully, nowadays, people who are willing to wreck havoc for their own selfish gain are recognised as sociopaths. They have an antisocial personality, a disorder characterised by selfishness and disregard for other people’s rights. Unfortunately, we have inherited a social infrastructure that is based upon their acquisitive and suppressive behaviour. This social structure was designed and developed for their benefit and, in order to guarantee income and control for the elite, over the centuries, layer upon layer of legislation has led to a system of unmanageable complexity.

Although we now live in the 21st century, 19th century elitist concepts, such as “the survival of the fittest” and man as conqueror of nature, still drive the complex systems that sustain society. These systems are dependent on non-sustainable resources, vulnerable supply chains and levels of competition that lead to the withholding of knowledge and result in international aggression when resources become scarce. Withholding knowledge is a key component in this social order, where a high percentage of the population is educated solely to fulfill basic work roles. As a result, attributes such as creativity, organising skills and the entrepreneurial spirit are quashed or merely put into service for the continuity of systems that are too complex to succeed.

However, the 21st century mentality is opening up to fresh concepts that are being fed by technologies which distribute information freely to all and encourage simpler systems that are decentralised, equitable and cooperative. These systems have proved successful and are thriving. It seems that the tide is turning; we are in phase transition. Society is evolving away from suppressive centralisation and into a more cooperative and enlightened era. A phase transition is an exciting time, full of potential but vulnerable to error. That is why attending to fundamentals is essential.


We must identify the fundamental basis of social order. As is so often the case, the answer is in the word itself: fundamental. This word means ‘the founding principle’ but its constituent parts tell the real story. ‘Fund’ comes from the Latin fundus and through to us from the middle English meaning foundation or basis. And, mental comes from the Latin mentalis meaning mind. This word is telling us that mind is the basis. That should not be a surprise, but we can go further and refer to pure consciousness. This reference will not be news to any natural philosopher or long-term meditator; the fact that pure consciousness is the basis of all creation becomes self-evident to those who practice subjective science. That claim opens up a vast subject that is handled elsewhere within my work but for the purpose of this piece, the social ramifications are relatively easy to show.

 From the sports field to the boardroom; from the operating theatre to the dance floor, whether the demands of life are mental or physical, in every field, the fundamental is clarity of mind. Not only do you have to be conscious of what you are doing but you also need to be able to respond swiftly and correctly to anything that comes up. Mental ability is universally recognized as the key to success and mental ability depends upon clarity of mind. This clarity can support self-regulation for every individual in a spontaneous and flexible manner. The ultimate in clarity of mind is pure consciousness, the experience of which has been shown to increase empathy, the key to cooperation.i

This document offers a plan for social evolution in a range of interlinked, progressive changes which recognises that all evolutionary steps are developed and supported by clarity of mind.

The Challenge

In 2002, over 1,000 scientists signed The Amsterdam Convention. It stated that, “The Earth system behaves as a single, self-regulating system comprised of physical, chemical, biological and human components.” The challenge for humanity is to get its component working harmoniously with the Earth system. This requires a careful dismantling of the vast systems that humankind has erroneously developed that are based upon the survival of the fittest as a guiding philosophy and the conquering of nature as a goal. As noted, those who think and act in this way are dysfunctional, they lack the clarity of mind and the resultant empathy to be of service to the world. It is therefore no surprise that our systems are in disorder and need replacing. But what should come in their place?

1. Human Scale Organisation

A society is a collection of individuals and so there are two major aspects to a coherent social organisation: the coherence of the individual (internal) and the coherence of the group structure (external). The state of mind of each member of society is the most important element. The clarity of mind of every individual is the basis of coherence for society. If society is to evolve, its structures must support the clarity of mind that leads to right action.

Individual v Group

Regardless of what form of organization a society might take, to work well, it must be a human-scale organisation. That is, in the name of mental clarity, its structure should reflect human cognitive limits as regards successful relationships within groups, otherwise coherence breaks down. The structure must work to the advantage of both the individual and the group in a balanced manner. Therefore the organisation must facilitate the capacity of the group and any one member in a way that empowers both.

In that regard, there are two sayings that spring to mind: “Strength in numbers” and “Knowledge is power”. Regarding human scale society, these two sayings come together in the question, “How many people can the average individual know well?” There has been some research into this interesting question.

In 1992, British anthropologist Robin Dunbar studied stable social populations and their relationships in primate societies and then, theorising on cognitive limits and brain size, scaled up the figures in relation to the human brain. This work led researchers to estimate that humans can comfortably maintain between 100 and 230 stable social relationships. ‘Dunbar’s number’ was set at 150 and it soon became a popularized reference.ii  However, in the 1980s, anthropologists including H. Russell Bernard and Peter Killworth had already done fieldwork within human communities in the USA.iii They estimated 290 as the mean number of sustained social ties. As this research was done directly with humans rather than primates, the figures seem more credible than the lower, Dunbar number. Regarding the high end, I find it significant that the population of medieval villages rarely exceeded 300. Self sufficient settlements would be unlikely to breach the recognized workable numbers.

Bearing this in mind, I suggest that self-organising communities of between 200 and 300 individuals, including children, should be encouraged and that these should be the basis of local organisation and democracy. Small, self-organising communities will be able to empower individuals far more than big government and well-run communities will save national government huge sums of money. This savings potential is also reflected in the suggested basic income grant level suggested in chapter two.

Real Community

Being part of a real community can be both a challenge and a therapy; getting along requires friendliness, kindness, humility and flexibility. But the rewards are huge. A great deal of non-sense would be removed. This happens quickly when communities are open, honest and adaptable. Through harmonious living each of us can regain our inherent dignity and joy of life. Knowing all of your neighbours to the extent that any misunderstandings can be peacefully resolved is a powerful aid to social cohesion. Trust ensues. It reduces anxieties about the motives of others, security, and basic law and order issues. Also, knowledge of others’ needs and skills helps ensure that appropriate and timely assistance is available for all, as and when needed.

 Crime rates will drop and health and education will improve as individuals act more responsibly in community. The development of empathy within human-scale community would also act as security against sociopathic schemes. Every community would see the benefit in training members the right skills to be of service. Training for high levels of service would also help inspire entrepreneurs, for every start-up thrives because of the quality of service it provides.
The essentials for life are food, water, homes, heat etc., and each community would equip itself with the required knowledge for those physical needs and beyond. Food growers, hydrologists, soil specialists, nutritionalists, ‘green’ builders, doctors, complementary practitioners, yoga/fitness coaches, counselors, midwifes, musicians, poets, artists, visionaries, legal advisors and more. All would be valuable to each community and knowledge sharing would quickly ease the pressure on these people.

Knowledge distribution would become equitable. For example, a community would not only ensure that it included members of the healing profession but also that these people trained the other members in health matters, particularly prevention. An emphasis on prevention of illness through education is long overdue.


Trust is essential in politics, otherwise the system breaks down. For reasons already explained, the basic political constituency should be based upon human scale community. Each local community would form the voting basis. The voters would be the adults amongst the 200 to 300 people. That is because the real nature of any prospective political candidate would already be known to the voters. There, politics would not be done through speeches, think-tanks and proclamations, it would be done simply by knowing, working with, and being a part of one’s own community. As a result, politicians would be people who are there to serve the public rather than have an allegiance to a political party and submit to the army of lobbyists whose aim is to seduce party members.

One thing is for sure about political parties, they do not serve democracy, they serve themselves. The vast majority of party politicians prioritise service to the party over service to the public. For without the party, they would have no platform and no ready made, mass-marketed, ideology. The future of society is far too important to have only two or three slightly different options available to the voter. But that is how party-based democracy has turned out.
Through the party system, corrupt politicians can easily be foisted upon an unknowing constituency. However, within a small community constituency, from the very earliest stage, politicians would be vetted by those who know them best. From then on, as the political infrastructure develops, it will be populated by trustworthy people. The funding, cronyism and ideological institutionalism of political parties would quickly be found to be unnecessary. Of course, power can corrupt and so the community would be wise to educate every member in the aims and processes of politics. They should also ensure that no single representative has a long tenure.

Of course, this scheme would add an additional level to national politics with grassroots politicians being further elected to join in regional and national administration. However, with clarity of mind guiding communities, fewer and fewer national laws would be required.


Voting at the community level would best be done as openly as possible, in person, by whatever non-digital means that the constituency decides. That is because a coherent society requires a level of openness and integrity that seeds debate and leads to understanding and trust.

In a human scale community it should be quite easy to gather all of the voters together for a series of meetings. They would listen to presentations and debates, and also have question and answer sessions with candidates. The final meeting of the series would close with the vote itself. The outcome could be known almost immediately, without the possibility of any external interference. Whatever the result, together, everyone in the community could celebrate a diligent and successful process.

Elections to the regional and national levels can be done through digital means. To check against cyber-fraud, the digital voting ‘click’ would be recorded on the government site and on the blockchain simultaneously (see chapter four).

 Every adult should vote but beyond the official candidates’ names, every election form should also include fields for, 1) a written-in name. (This is for those who favour someone who is not an official candidate); 2) ‘None of the above’ (for where the voter has no faith in the candidates nor in any one else); and 3) ‘I am dissatisfied with the electoral process’, (for where the voter wants the system to be reviewed).
In modern democracies, political parties often to come to power when less than 50% of the electorate has voted for them. Indeed, there has been less than a 66% turnout in each of the three general elections that the UK has experienced in the 21st century.iv Fortunately, the development of community constituencies with savvy voters will bring an end to this travesty. For notes on the creation of community constituencies, see the Appendix.

Let us now turn to changes that clear-headed governance could bring in and, if not, that local, self-organising communities could bring in for themselves.

2. Livelihood and Finance

I was born and raised in a town called Nantwich in Cheshire, England. People who are born there and continue to live there benefit from annual payments known as ‘the Beam Heath’. Beam Heath had been a large plot of land close to the town centre. It was a common amenity for the townsfolk, facilitating grazing, hunting, firewood, house-building materials and other resources. This plot was part of the millions of acres of land in Great Britain that had been a common resource for thousands of years, originally held under the stewardship of local tribes.

Feudalism and Enclosure

 Over a long period, stewardship became formal ownership but not for the benefit of the majority. The process of ownership moved forward as a result of conflict. It was through conflict that the power of kings really arose. In order to be protected by a ruling and, largely, military elite, the population gave up many of their rights.

During the English feudal system (8th to 17thc.) kings appointed lords to oversee local resources and the general population was bonded to that lord. This was a modified form of slavery called serfdom where serfs pledged their labour to the lord in return for protection and for the administration of justice so that they could continue to live off the land. Later, these lands became known as ‘the commons’ and those who depended upon them were called ‘commoners’. Despite being controlled by members of the elite, these lands continued to be available as a resource for all.

As the feudal system declined, land was fenced and privatised in what was known as the enclosure movement. This privatization did not necessarily make the land more productive but it did make it more profitable for the owners. Commoners were pushed off the land and those who had depended upon that land to keep their families fed, lost their self-sufficiency. Those who, through hunger, became poachers on the land that had formerly been a legally available resource, risked the death penalty or ‘transportation’ to distant penal colonies,.

In the last wave of enclosure (1750-1870), around seven million acres of common land became enclosed when in the region of four thousand acts of parliament were passed to set out the terms. The acts recognized that livelihood was being taken from the commoners.

The creation of the Beam Heath Trust was due to one of these acts. It allowed the land to be sold for development subject to an equivalent piece of rural land being purchased from out of the proceeds. As Nantwich has expanded, this process has repeated itself and income from the land continues to be paid to the townspeople.

An Inspiration

The story of ‘the Beam Heath’ is a pointer to the theft of livelihood from the commoners but it also gave inspiration to my father, Walter Gill Ellson (1918 – 1987). He was a recipient of the annual payout and although the small sum hardly put food on his table, it did provide him with food for thought.

One day, in the early 1960s, my father told me that, inspired by ‘the Beam Heath’, he had calculated that it would be economically feasible for everyone in the UK to be paid a guaranteed basic income whatever their circumstances. He felt that this living wage would create employment because it would allow time for people to be innovative. I remember saying that a lot of people would simply not bother to work (I was a young teenager at the time and happy to laze about). He explained that the vast majority of people want to be busy and purposeful, adding that, for the few that don’t, laws or other persuasive methods make little difference. My father ran a successful business that employed around 100 people and so I accepted his assessment.

He said that as a result of this universal payment the benefits system could be greatly simplified and that stigmas against so called ‘scroungers’, would fade away. My father felt that the new system would truly acknowledge the large number of people doing essential work each day, for example, parents and carers who are not recognized financially for their efforts. He added that, in his scheme, people would pay taxes on earnings above the basic income grant (B.I.G.).

Basic Income Grants

Clearly, my father was not the only person capable of figuring this out because there have been a number of basic income initiatives over recent decades. For instance, a proposal for a B.I.G. was considered by the Irish government in 1998.

Here are the core principles of a basic income grant system.

    1. Universality: This follows natural law, in that nature and its resources are for the benefit of all and are given freely to all.
    2. Adequacy: Self-sufficiency and the associated dignity of life was removed by enclosure. In lieu, a basic income grant should be adequate to enable all to live a life with dignity. Therefore it should be set above the poverty line as a living wage.
    3. Guarantee: This income should be guaranteed on a statutory basis.
    4. Penalty-free: The sum should not be taxed nor encumber any penalty.
    5. Equity: Every individual would be treated equally regardless of gender or financial circumstances.
    6. Simplicity: The system should be simple to understand and to administer.
    7. Efficiency: Besides the improved efficiency of the benefits and tax system, basic income will have a positive impact on the worst-off in society as well as the overall socio-economic situation.
    8. Freedom: A basic income grant will promote autonomy and reduce dependency. It will avoid situations where a benefit claimant is forced to do nothing in order to receive benefit. The concept of freedom with responsibility will promote the involvement of everyone in the social, economic, political and cultural life of society. [*this list is based upon that given in the CORI organisation’s proposal to the Irish government.]

Trial Results

In 2007, a group of charities trialed a B.I.G. scheme in Namibia, Africa. Namibia was chosen because of the low sums required for a living wage. The scheme was trialed in the town of Omitara and the nearby settlement of Otjivero. All inhabitants were provided with 100 Namibian dollars per month, with money for those aged under 21 given to their prime carer. Prior to the scheme’s commencement in November 2007, the organisers undertook a benchmark survey that enabled them to conduct meaningful comparative surveys at regular intervals.v

The July 2008 survey showed that, rather than encouraging indolence, the income grant enabled people to avoid spending time scrabbling for necessities. Instead, the grant had allowed them to invest time and money in setting up their own businesses. These, and business start-ups that had failed previously, were now flourishing. As a result, income increased significantly beyond that of the basic grant. This is good evidence that basic income grants can foster economic growth and development. The survey also reported that the percentage of malnourished children dropped form 42% to 17% and that school attendance had risen considerably. There was also reduced child mortality, improved maternal health and a general empowerment of women.

Implementing basic income grants in developed countries would be more complex than in Namibia. Not because the system need be more complicated but because an overhaul of the existing tax and benefit practices would be necessary. One may wonder if an economic downturn would be a good time to begin this process. As ever, there is no time like the present. Looking at the results from the Namibia experiment and at the research of groups such as CORI in Ireland, the resulting creativity and innovation that would emerge from the public would make any nation a powerhouse of positive activity. The government of Switzerland seems to recognize this and may hold a referendum on a basic income scheme in the future.


Everyone wishes to live a happy, dignified and purposeful life. The enclosure movement removed the ability to be self-sufficient and, at the same time, removed the dignity, sense of purpose and accomplishment that goes with it. Accordingly, enclosure brought sorrow, impoverishment, lack of confidence and also decimated the arts of environmental stewardship and community living.

In the 21st century we are faced with the bitter harvest: we have failed in our stewardship of the environment with the result that the natural cycle of global warming is perilously exacerbated. Furthermore, the stressful breakdown of community cohesion gives us huge challenges in education, crime, health and general welfare. Basic income grants are a way of removing unnecessary stresses, boosting financial security, reinstating dignity and allowing time for creativity and the entrepreneurial spirit. When a B.I.G. is applied, although financial disparities may remain between rich and poor, there will be equity in respect to the self-sufficiency of every individual, so long as people do not live wastefully.

Furthermore, every citizen should understand that, currently, from an economic point of view, they are bonded – literally. When their birth is registered, they become part of the nation’s assets. They will join the workforce and will have a value that is traded in global exchanges through government bonds. So, we are all bonded and an automatic financial value is attached to every person. In effect, other people are deciding what you are worth so that they may profit. Currently, the majority of the population do not benefit in any way close to their own valuation, whether directly, as wages, or indirectly through the spending of public finances. That is because the vast bulk of the nation’s capital is in the hands of a controlling few.

Community Capitalism

One cannot have capitalism without a fair distribution of capital, otherwise, as we have noted, when the capital is in the hands of a few, the system gives way to centralized control and the suppression of individual creativity and expression. Such levels of control were the hallmark of the 20th century’s failed communism.

Although at first glance, the universality of a national basic income grant system may seem to be a form of communism, this notion springs from a misunderstanding of both communism and capitalism. The communism that came to the fore in the 20th century was an experiment that favoured the few rather than the many. The community that really benefited from communism were the elite; those at the top of the governing pyramid. Similarly, the capitalism that came to the fore in the 20th century was an experiment that came to favour the few rather than the many. The only individuals that really benefited from capitalism were, again, the elite; those at the top of the governing pyramid. By ‘governing’, I mean those who control the capital.

The 1980s saw the collapse of communism in the USSR and 2008 ushered in a breakdown of Western capitalism, which is now on life-support. Both systems had been ill for some time and were bound to fail because they were over-complex, unbalanced and unrepresentative of the masses who are the essential stakeholders.

Whilst the mass media presents communism and capitalism as opposites, they are very similar. However, the ‘cold war’ between the two served the elite of both sides well; just as with the kings of old, it benefits rulers to have conflict from time to time in order to strengthen their hold on the populace.

Basic income grants will serve capitalism well. The whole population will have the opportunity to be capitalists. That universality will make the system more equitable. Think of the level of support for entrepreneurship when the whole community has the power to invest. We can call this community capitalism.

Setting Up A B.I.G.

An excellent time to have set up a basic income scheme would have been in the wake of the 2008 crash. Instead of bailing out the banks, funds could have been given to every citizen. There are a number of ways that funds can be provided for a B.I.G., they could be conjured out of nothing like the majority of the funds in circulation in the UK and other Western But, for the purposes of this exercise, in an effort to get people to understand that a B.I.G. is feasible even within an existing, accountable, system, I have chosen to derive funds from within the UK’s existing system.

This model funds a permanent benefit and, at the same time, ‘bails out’ banks because the weekly payments are based upon the interest on guaranteed funds deposited in the banks. The deposits are allocated to each citizen based upon the fact that their labour, time and energy, backs up the national debt. Therefore, as is their birthright, the public get a guaranteed benefit from their value to the nation. The public is the ultimate guarantee of a nation’s value and this scheme honours that. Moreover, the weekly funds are set at a level and in a social context that will also encourage a healthier, happier and more creative and efficient society. Therefore the valuation of the nation is likely to rise significantly.

Here is my suggestion in more detail: The current UK outlay on the bank bail-outs is around £1.162 trillionvii and that is likely to rise considerably. If we divide that figure by 63.2 million (the approximate number of people in the UK), this amounts to £18,386 per person. Not much. However, the B.I.G. will replace all of the benefits available to citizens. Currently, the total benefit spending is £370 billion per year.viii Now, we can get an average lifetime benefit figure per person. The average life span of each citizen is around 80 years. £370 billion multiplied by 80 amounts to £29.6 trillion. If we divide that figure by 63.2 million, the total comes to £46,835 per person. Add the two ‘per person’ figures together and we have 18,386 + 46,835 = £65,221 and that amount can be placed in a bank account for every citizen. Then an interest rate can be set to supply each citizen with funds every week. I suggest that the rate be set at 8% to give £100.32p. That sum is not far from the current (2014), standard UK state pension of around £110 per week.

This is a low guaranteed income, however, due to the introduction of human scale organization, community members will be more able and willing to support one another and to cooperate and innovate for the good of all. When communities are organised in the most natural and efficient manner, new ways of doing will emerge quickly. Community capitalism should figure strongly in the school curriculum for, if you look at the figures, you will realise that a 16 year old may have in excess of £80,000 to invest. A basic income grant is for life and it is particularly important that the funds received by young people should be managed to ensure that the B.I.G. goes a long way.

By the way, the interest rate need not be attached to other, commercial interest rates. It is an acknowledgement, and a priming, of the potential of every member of society. As a primer, the rate should to be set to benefit citizens in a way that stimulates innovation and creativity. By analogy, the interest represents a harvest while the deposit represents the land. You cannot discard the land. However, the deposit could be moved to another bank if the individual so wished. This possibility would help to keep the banks user friendly. If the big banks do not gain and maintain trust, then communities could found their own credit unions to manage their wealth. However, it should be remembered that the deposit that generates the basic income cannot be spent and when a recipient dies, that deposit will no longer exist.

3. Investment and Innovation

In 2002, the WWF (World Wide Fund) looked at the Earth’s productive area (about 25% of the surface) and estimated that humans were overusing resources by approximately 20%.ix At that stage, the average eco-footprint, per person, was about 5.7 acres whereas the area available was around 4.7 acres per person. Since then, with an increase in population and rising eco-footprints in the emerging economies, ‘eco-indebtedness’ has continued to grow. Currently, the WWF estimates that, by 2050, humanity will need the equivalent of three planet Earths to supply it’s needs.x Obviously, the continued insistence on economic growth by national governments is untenable. With our current approach to resources, the planet cannot supply enough. Innovations that bring efficiency are where humanity’s attentions need to be focused. (Also see ‘Food security and population’ within chapter six.)

Investment Objectives

Innovation and efficiency must be the response aimed at safeguarding life’s necessities. It is important to realize that if we do not become efficient and flexible about our needs voluntarily and quickly, that efficiency will be forced upon us in the coming years as a result of climate change. If we wait until then, there will be insecurity and chaos; if we act now, our security can be facilitated.

A community’s prime investment objectives should match the prime objectives of every community: provision of necessities. Necessities offer a guaranteed market and therefore the deposited funds that generate B.I.G. would be invested in markets such as food, drink, homes, heat, clothing etc. Again, any companies formed should fit the human scale model with a maximum of around 250 employees. This scale means that such companies would resemble a family business where everyone has the opportunity to know everyone else. This scale will reduce anonymity within the workforce and assist the smooth running of the business because anonymity is an enabler of crime. However, where businesses are concerned, there is a further key to help ensure that sociopaths are not supported and therefore do not dominate. Because company employees will also receive B.I.G., they can more easily choose not to work for a sociopath.

Sharing and Stewardship

Innovation will be assisted through changes in intellectual property (IP) law. Where do ideas come from? Good ideas come from clarity of mind. They are the result of a state of consciousness. But this leads us to ‘the hard problem’ as Dr David Chalmers famously put it.xi Science cannot explain what consciousness is. It cannot be identified or measured. Science cannot tell us why we experience anything at all. This undermines the legal basis of IP. Note that it is often the case that the same idea emerges in the minds of many people at around the same time. The best ideas come from the clarity of mind called pure consciousness. That state is full of potential; it is boundless and from that state the thought arises; the idea is born.

An idea can appear anywhere that is primed to receive it. Inventors are aware of this possibility. This means that there is often a race to register a patent first so that the ‘winner’ of that race can control all developments from then on. An analogy would be that of a tree spreading its seeds around but the first seed to sprout demands that all the other seeds are banned. But if ideas are like seeds, where is the tree? Is it you? Is it me? It is pure consciousness, the non-relative field of all possibilities. That field of full potential is where ideas come from. Although Einstein did not believe in a personal god, by way of metaphor, he said that “Ideas come from god”.xii I cannot argue with Einstein but I will challenge anyone to find a distinction between pure consciousness and god.

Of course, an idea cannot realise value until it is put into practice. But IP law should not be repressive; permissions should not be withheld when a technique or product relating to a prior I.P. is required as part of a new innovation. We all know that life is transitory and ever changing, so the idea that a corporation or individual can block anyone from using and further developing an idea is ludicrous because, in effect, it is a demand that time stands still. This is where cognitive stewardship comes in.

Cognitive Stewardship

Given that climate change threatens our very existence, humanity must move away from its addiction to ownership of numerous unnecessary items that use up unsustainable resources and end up as landfill. We must wake up to the wisdom of stewardship. Remember “The Earth system behaves as a single, self-regulating system comprised of physical, chemical, biological and human components.” and so, it is obvious that we do not own the world and that, as an advanced species, stewardship is our natural role. So too with ideas: we do not own ideas either and, given that ideas drive the human world, it is important that we acknowledge that we are stewards of ideas too.

Ideas arise because an individual is primed to receive them. But an individual can only be primed because of his or her environment and, unless society is ready for the idea, it is hardly relevant. In short, the idea does not belong to the individual; its existence and its whole potential depends upon the environment and society.

The idea of cognitive stewardship recognises that the individual receives the idea as a steward and, cognising its potential, is inspired to move the idea forward for the good of all. When society follows this blueprint for social evolution or something similar, it should be quite easy for a good idea to gain community investment. Having said that, large scale ideas can be expensive to set up and can take some time to prove useful, therefore, in addition to the B.I.G., a steward may require funds to cover those costs for quite some time. This is where the banking sector comes into its own. However, the fact that, when they invest, banks or wealthy individuals want a controlling, majority share, could lead to elitist interference, that is why the development of local credit unions is to be encouraged. Credit unions set in local communities are more likely to understand that, along with other social endeavors, cognitive stewardship is more about service than profit.

Initially, I felt that cognitive stewardship would be associated with a more open IP system that would give inventors a business income and recognition without restricting further development by others. However, it soon became clear that similar ideas were already available in cyberspace. More importantly, due to the fact that ideas can now spread in ways that defy centralised control, it is evident that, in the not too distant future, the idea of intellectual property will become obsolete and other forms of recompense will be required. I believe that ideas in this document can supply both recompense and increased support for development.

4. Legal and Financial Administration

This document has already championed human scale organisation through communities of up to 300 individuals. But this is not a call for tribalism or introspection. Whilst regional and national government can work to facilitate transport and general communication systems, it is important that the internet remains free from the control and manipulation of elite groups. Over the past twenty years, the freedom of the internet has led to the population being better informed than previous generations. Knowledge is power but recent years have seen government attempts to pass laws that would give corporations legal powers to undermine internet freedom. Not only that, revelations from Edward Snowden show that large internet service providers are under intense pressure from spy agencies to hand over the public’s personal data. However, the worst threat to internet integrity would be a large coronal discharge.

In 1859, a coronal discharge known as the Carrington Event hit the Earth. At that time, high technology was restricted to telegraph systems and when the coronal power surge hit, systems throughout Europe and North America failed. In 1989, a smaller discharge knocked out power systems in Great Britain, the USA and Canada. Since that time our use of electronics and technology in general have increased exponentially. If another large coronal discharge were to hit the Earth, the chaos would be widespread and long lasting.

Mesh Technology

Once again, decentralisation and cooperation would be the best policy against these threats. Decentralised networks that are based upon harnessing numerous wifi nodes as mini-servers in a mesh, could see the end of our dependence upon centralised servers. There is safety in numbers and the innumerable nodes of a mesh will be much less vulnerable to attempts at gathering masses of personal data, elite control and the effects of coronal discharges. As mesh technology develops and spreads, its success will depend upon the cooperation of millions of computer and mobile phone users across the planet. We can all play a part in conserving internet freedom and undoubtedly, continued internet freedom will deliver higher levels of knowledge and social cohesion.

Decentralised Currencies

Earlier I mentioned that crypto-currencies are springing up at a fast rate. These are internet-based, decentralised currencies and, so far, the most successful is bitcoin, a peer-to-peer payment system launched in 2009. At its core, the bitcoin system has a ledger called the blockchain where all of the transactions are recorded. The blockchain is a transparent ledger so that all transfers and holdings of the crypto-currency can be verified by any member of the public. If someone offers to make a purchase in bitcoin, the seller can check that the buyer has the funds before the deal is done. Also, as peer-to-peer currency transfers take less than ten minutes, so, if need be, the seller can check that the funds have arrived in their digital wallet before delivery takes place.

Blockchain Potential

With the invention of the digital blockchain, humankind now has the means of presenting every transaction in a transparent and yet secure manner. The blockchain already operates as a means of tracking encrypted digital currencies on the internet and because it is so well encrypted, it has proved itself to be immune from attack by hackers. This decentralised, peer to peer ledger, does away with third parties, particularly commercial banks and specialist money transferees. But the blockchain ledger has far greater potential. It could also be used to record numerous transfers and holdings including the B.I.G. (And whilst we are on the subject, there is no reason why a B.I.G. cannot be paid in crypto-currency form.)

In theory, the blockchain could be used to host every proof of transaction and ownership. Certainly, an open register of land and property deals could be facilitated, with all of the property deeds on view. If the blockchain hosts legal transactions, many of the services offered by solicitors, including searches and transfer of deeds, would be redundant. One can imagine that a change such as this might be resisted, but the results of the freedom of the internet would be hard to resist. Fortunately, legal professionals would not mind losing some business to the blockchain if they received a basic income grant. Indeed, the ensuing loss of income for many solicitors could provide enough pressure for lawmakers to legislate for a B.I.G. We live in tumultuous, rapidly changing, times where the reassurance of a basic income grant would be welcomed by the vast majority of the population.


We know that those of dubious intent seek to hide their dealings and in our complex world they can come up with many excuses for their failure to divulge. However, I feel that there is no limit to the amount of information that could remain secure and yet be accessible for the public to view on the blockchain. This means that the openness and clarity of mind that is the basis of social coherence could be fully reflected in the clarity of presentation offered by the blockchain.

5. Educating for Evolution

To get this section started, here’s a great quote from Bucky Fuller: “We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. . . . The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.”xiii

With the establishment of human scale organisation and the basic income grant, positive, lasting, changes can occur in education. In chapter one I covered knowledge sharing in the community. Further to that, those who do not want to merely be educated for the workplace, and instead, wish to be educated for the sake of knowledge, may now afford it. This will open up a well-spring of potential and ensuing benefit for the whole of humanity. The key to good education is the cultivation of clarity of mind. A clear mind is a peaceful mind. This peace is the ultimate antidote to chaos in the self and in society. Meditation is the proven fast-track way to cultivate it.

In the 1980s I was the founding chairperson of a schoolxiv that, whilst adhering to the UK’s national curriculum, also enabled the students to meditate and study the common threads that link every subject.xv Although set in an underprivileged area, the school became one of the top scoring schools in the UK. It continues to thrive today, delivering the clarity of consciousness required for deep understanding of the world we inhabit.

Transcendental Meditation

The benefits of meditation have been highlighted in numerous research papers. There are over 350 peer reviewed studies on the TM (Transcendental Meditation) technique alone. Studies also abound for the technique known as mindfulness.

Firstly, here are a few of the outcomes highlighted by research into the use of TM in the classroom:

  1. 21% increase in high school graduation rate. xvi

  2. 10% improvement in test scores and grade point average.xvii

  3. Increased attendance and decreased suspensions.xviii

  4. Reduced AHDH symptoms and symptoms of other learning disorders.xix

  5. Increased Intelligence and Creativity.xx

  6. 40% reduction in psychological distress, including stress, anxiety and depression.xxi

  7. Reduction in teacher burnout and perceived stress.xxii

Other TM related studies include research into brain functioning, creativity, intelligence, learning ability, educational performance and behaviour, special and remedial education, cardiovascular and other medical issues, anxiety and stress, aging and longevity, criminal rehabilitation, preventing conflict and crime.


In 2005, the American Society for Neuroscience invited the Delai Lama to open proceedings. Findings presented at the conference backed up his claims that meditation can not only effect brain activity but also its structure.xxiii

Dr Sara Lazar of Harvard Medical School revealed that a study of twenty western meditators found that the brain region associated with emotions, thought and the senses (the insula) and the region associated with higher thought and planning (the pre-frontal layer) were notably more developed in the meditators than in the control group and that longer term meditators showd more development than novices. Such research indicates that the practice of meditation actually modifies the brain structure. Through its influence on the pre-frontal layer, meditation can enable the appreciation of the ‘bigger picture’ and through its influence on the insula, the increased harmonisation of emotions, thoughts and the senses, can bring great peace of mind.xxiv

Given the proven advantages of meditation in education, it is good to know that its use is on the increase in the classroom. Meditation increases clarity of mind. As noted in the introduction, clarity of mind can support self-regulation for every individual in a spontaneous and flexible manner. The ultimate in clarity of mind is pure consciousness, the experience of which has been shown to increase empathy, the key to cooperation. This document recognises that all evolutionary steps are developed and supported by clarity of mind.

6. Other Governance Topics

a) Defence

Defence is required when one suffers attack. Unfortunately, so called defence forces are often used for attack with a false premise being told to the public. The Iraq war was a good example of this. How would a true Ministry of Defence differ from what we have now? The emphasis would be on gaining and maintaining peace.

The chaos of war results from sociopathic thinking. These can be eradicated quite simply. The opposite of chaos is calm and the antidote to sociopathic thinking is empathy. Calm and empathy have both been shown to thrive through the practice of meditation. Here we are back to clarity of mind. I have been part of a number of experiments that demonstrate the power of meditation in lessening conflict. These are World Peace Assemblies devised around the practice of Transcendental Meditation (TM) and associated techniques know as ‘sidhis’ where practitioners numbering the square root of 1% of the region served, come together with the aim of increasing world peace and coherence. The effect has been shown a number of timesxxv and it works because, basically, calm and empathy are contagious. Whilst the effects have been measured, the mechanics of the process have yet to be figured out by mainstream science because the technique is consciousness based. I feel sure that further research into quantum entanglement will show the way. Meanwhile, there is no reason to delay implementation; world peace is too important!

Of course, it would be unwise to disband defence forces whilst conflict abounds, so the idea would be to teach existing military personnel to meditate. They would undertake a programme specifically designed to eradicate conflict. Each member of the forces would attend regular peace studies and the main goal would be to generate and sustain peace through peaceful means, the most peaceful and effective of which is meditation. Note that an increasing number of serving military and veterans are taking up TM in order to deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to good effect and that this is encouraging the military to take the power of meditation seriously.xxvi

As far as physical activity is concerned, noting the strong relationship between mindfulness and the martial arts, their combat skills would be improved. However, rather than being sent overseas to fight wars that turn out to benefit a handful of elite corporate predators,xxvii military forces would help deal with disasters both at home and abroad and also be used to assist the nation in precautionary activities regarding such threats as flooding due to climate change.

b) Law and Order

A caring, community-based democracy, backed by B.I.G. would eradicate the vast majority of crime because neediness and the accompanying stress are strong motivators to a life of crime. However, in an enlightened democracy, every citizen would be taught how the law works; why it is necessary, its history and its terms and conditions.

Currently, when entering a court in the UK people are told what to do and how to react to the judge etc., but no one is informed of their full rights and the terms and conditions that apply. It is ironic that whilst lawmakers ensure that any citizen signing a contract with a corporation must agree to the terms and conditions, no such requirement is made of the courts. As mentioned in chapter two, every individual in the nation is bonded as a part of the nation’s financial system. This is done without the individuals’ permission and many people are waking up to that fact.

In legal terms there is a fuzzy line between a citizen being bonded and a citizen being sovereign. The problem needs to be addressed but lawmakers are not responding. One wonders, are they loath to act because they believe that people do not have the sense of responsibility required of sovereign individuals, where the desires of the individual must be balanced with the needs of the community. Our standards of education have led to this because, unfortunately, the majority of the populace are simply educated to fill the jobs within our unbalanced and failing system. Suggestions already made in this document will help to right this.

c) Food Security, Population and Health

The mainstream media often catastrophise about food security and population growth. They ask, “How will we feed the world’s population?” I have noticed that his question appears when the public opposes genetically modified foods. The fear is unfounded. The population will not reach unmanageable levels and we already have the knowledge and the land to fulfil our needs. Again, efficiency is the key.

Demographic Transition

The tendency is that as a society moves away from survival mode towards abundance, the birth rate drops. Fertility rates are high in poor countries (where there is a history of inadequate health infrastructure), but when a nation becomes wealthy, there is a demographic transition and that rate drops.xxviii In fact, virtually every nation classed as wealthy by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has a fertility rate below replacement levels. It is expected that as the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) become wealthier, the world population will stabalise. That population is expected to be around 10 billion in 2060 and then it will level off.xxix

More Efficiency Required

From production to the table, the wastefulness of western food practices and sytems are alarming. In a paper entitled ‘Climate benefits of changing diet’ by Elke Stehfest et al.,xxx there is a table entitled ‘Number of people whose food energy needs can be met by the food produced on 2.5 acres of land.’ This table highlights the waste of resources in feeding crops to creatures so that, in turn, humans can eat those creatures; in effect, obtaining second-hand nutrition. For example, if we were to seek our human food energy needs through eating beef, it takes 2.5 acres to produce just one person’s needs; for eggs, again, 2.5 acres serves one person’s needs; but, for wheat, 2.5 acres serves 15 people; and for potatoes 22 people. Meat production is a very inefficient way to feed a human being and also, as noted below, a plant-based diet is much healthier.

If the crops that are fed to livestock are included, Europeans have over three times the amount of food that they need and the USA has approximately four times more. A change to a vegetarian diet would erase hunger from the world.xxxi The strain on global water resources would also be greatly eased. Up to 12,009 gallons of water is required to produce just one pound of beefxxxii and research has shown that, globally, the irrigation water used for the production of wasted food is enough for the needs of 9 billion people. (Domestic needs assessed at 200 litres per person per day.)xxxiii

Meat production also has a negative effect regarding CO2 emissions. In the tropical regions of South America, ranchers deforest the land to provide pasture for their herds. When these trees are cut down, much of the carbon they store enters the atmosphere. In fact, tropical deforestation accounts for around 15% of the planet’s CO2 emissions.xxxiv On the other hand, a vegetarian diet enables such efficient land use, that arable land could be returned to forest. In his book,xxxv Tristram Stuart suggests that “If we planted trees on land currently used to grow unnecessary surplus and wasted food, this would offset a theoretical maximum of 100% of greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion.”

Health Benefits

During the 1980s, Oxford University took dietary information from me as part of their Oxford Vegetarian Study. This study concluded that ischemic heart disease is likely to be 24% lower in lifelong vegetarians and 57% lower in lifelong vegans than in meat eaters.xxxvi

Running alongside that research was the China, Cornell, Oxford Project which examined the diets, lifestyle, and disease characteristics of thousands of individuals in 65 rural Chinese districts. The project revealed that people who had the most animal-based diet also developed the most chronic disease and that even small intakes of animal-based foods could generate adverse effects.xxxvii The project leader, Professor T Colin Campbell, set out on his research career with the idea of demonstrating the value of a high protien, meat-based diet but, due to the research results, he became a vegan.xxxviii

Given the strength of the research, it is no surprise that meat eating has huge costs in terms of health care, animal welfare and environmental impacts. Western governments spend huge amounts on these challenges with the USA alone, spending around $414 billion a year.xxxix

Research to date strongly suggests that a change in eating habits and agricultural strategies can solve humanity’s current and future food security challenges. Good education within a community atmosphere would no doubt aid in these changes and a focus upon health education aimed at prevention of illness would be essential.

In Conclusion

I would remind you of the reasons why a new approach to social evolution is necessary. From the introduction:

“For thousands of years, human beings have fought each other in all-out war, often led by those who either wished to become, or remain as, the controlling elite. Thankfully, nowadays, people who are willing to wreck havoc for their own selfish gain are recognised as sociopaths. They have an antisocial personality, a disorder characterised by selfishness and disregard for other people’s rights. Unfortunately, we have inherited a social infrastructure that is based upon their acquisitive and suppressive behaviour. This social structure was designed and developed for their benefit and, in order to guarantee income and control for the elite, over the centuries, layer upon layer of legislation has led to a system of unmanageable complexity.

Although we now live in the 21st century, 19th century elitist concepts, such as “the survival of the fittest” and man as conqueror of nature, still drive the complex systems that sustain society. These systems are dependent on non-sustainable resources, vulnerable supply chains and levels of competition that lead to the withholding of knowledge and result in international aggression when resources become scarce. Withholding knowledge is a key component in this social order, where a high percentage of the population is educated solely to fulfill basic work roles. As a result, attributes such as creativity, organising skills and the entrepreneurial spirit are quashed or merely put into service for the continuity of systems that are too complex to succeed.”

In response to this dillema, the ideas that I have outlined in this document are offered as a recipe for individual and social evolution. The basis is a clarity of mind that is reflected in the social organisation. Everything moves forward from that. Clarity brings coherence, empathy and increased mutual aid, efficiency in action, joy in fulfillment and numerous other benefits. What’s not to like?

It is time for things to change, not for the sake of change but for the sake of humanity and planet.

Paul Howard Ellson, August 2014.


Constituency Software – an outline.

Toward Human Scale Community

A move toward human scale community would be relatively easy for national government to arrange. In the UK, local electoral registers, known as ‘wards’, could be subdivided into smaller geographical areas comprising of up to 300 individuals.* Their details could be entered into software developed to adapt constituencies as the demographic changes (see below). Ideally, any move toward human scale community should be government led, but often, government takes on ideas that have been proven elsewhere. With or without government assistance, constituency software could be developed and proven at a grassroots level.

The Software

Constituency software would be hosted on a secure website and made available to all who lived in a nation. Upon accessing the site, the prospective community member would see a map of the nation. They would ‘zoom in’ on their area and click on their home or very close vicinity. They would not necessarily give their home address but would give an email address. Application would be on a family unit basis and a form would be filled in to establish the number of people in the dwelling, their relationship, gender and age. At the initial stage, the boundaries of the constituency would be the national borders and it would remain that way until over 300 people signed up. Then, the software would automatically shrink the original boundaries as more constituencies developed.

As participation accelerated, the software would continue to shrink boundaries of constituencies and create new ones so that those who were on the periphery of one constituency may find themselves in an adjoining one. All changes would be notified by email. Any ties that had been developed within a constituency need not be lost when, for human scale purposes, shrinking boundaries ‘move’ people from one constituency to another. Links with other local constituencies are to be encouraged, for whilst a change in boundary is there to give more coherence to local electoral and social processes, personal connections in other constituencies will help bring coherence in the wider context.

Beginning to Act in Community

During the early, developmental, stage of what would likely be a grassroots experiment, participants would be encouraged to meet, face to face, in neutral, public, venues with a minimum of five individuals meeting. This arrangement would be for the security of the vulnerable, first time, attendees. Members would be encouraged to bring a CV showing what they have to offer and, also, to be open to question and answer sessions to help establish their true strengths. The process of development would be greatly aided by honesty and openness of mind and a humble, grounded, manner from all participants. Such attributes are fundamental to the success of any community and to society as a whole. When members feel comfortable with their fellows, the setting up of community-based benefits such as knowledge sharing, person-to-person assistance and trade, bulk buying, etc., will progress more smoothly.

Local community volunteers can deliver many services that would otherwise cost local and national government money. Community activities help develop responsible, self-governed individuals, can make many government services unnecessary and diminish the need for heavy taxation and ‘big’ government. By that time, the proven grassroots initiative may well have been taken up by government – hopefully, with the intent of promoting it rather than undermining it. One has to remember that the wealthy few who make money from big government may not be supportive of human scale communities.

* The current national average of a UK ward is about 5.500 voters, and so, for human scale community, subject to the number of non-voting dependants, each ward would be subdivided many times.


Endnotes and References

i Compassion meditation enhances empathic accuracy and related neural activity, Jennifer S Mascaro et al. The Oxford Journal of Social, cognitive and affective Neuroscience, online pub. 5th Sept 2012. And also, Engendering Empathy in Baccalaureate Nursing Students, Caryn A Sheehan, DNP. International Journal of Caring Sciences, vol. 6, issue 3, 2013.

ii Dunbar, R. I. M. (1992). Neocortex size as a constraint on group size in primates. Journal of Human Evolution 22 (6): 469–493. doi:10.1016/0047-2484(92)90081-J

iii Bernard, H. R.; Shelley, G. A.; Killworth, P. (1987). “How much of a network does the GSS and RSW dredge up?” Social Networks 9: 49. doi:10.1016/03788733(87)900177 (Department of Anthropology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32601, U.S.A., and the Hooke Institute for Atmospheric Research, Clarendon Laboratory, Oxford, U.K.) 

iv Source:


vi This is called fiat money. It has no intrinsic value in that it is not backed by a commodity such as gold. It is accepted as a means of payment simply because government deems it. Fiat is Latin for ‘It shall be’.

vii £1.029 trillion in guarantees and £133 billion in cash. Source: UK National Audit Office website 19th March 2014


ix WWF Living Planet Report 2002

x WWF Living Planet Report 2012.

xi Dr David J Chalmers, Department of Philosophy, University of California, Santa Cruz, Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness,  Journal of Consciousness Studies 2 (3): 200–219. (1995).

xii Einstein – a life, Denis Brian, pub. John Wiley & Sons Inc., 1996. p60-61.

xiii Buckminster Fuller quoted in The New York Magazine Environmental Teach-In by Elizabeth Barlow, p30, New York Magazine 30th March 1970.

xiv New Beacon School, Skelmersdale, Lancashire – now known as Maharishi School.

xv The meditation technique is TM and the extra studies are called the Science of Creative Intelligence.

xvi pub. Education 133 (4): 495-500, 2013.

xvii pub. Education 131: 556-565, 2011.

xviii pub. Health and Quality of Life Outcomes 1:10, 2003.

xix pub. Mind and Brain: The Journal of Psychiatry 2 (1): 73-81, 2011.

xx pub. Intelligence 29: 419-440, 2001.

xxi pub. American Jourmal of Hypertension 22 (12): 1326-1331, 2009.

xxii pub. Permanente Journal 18 (1): 19-23, 2014.

xxiii Health and Science, morning edition 11th November 2005: The Links Between the Dalai Lama and Neuroscience by Jan Hamilton.

xxiv The Society for Neuroscience, press release 13th November 2005 and New Scientist Magazine, Conference Report: Neuroscience by Helen Phillips, 26th November 2005. Also see p146 of The Beautiful Union of science, philosophy and religion, by Paul Ellson.

xxv International peace project in the Middle East: The effect of the Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field, D W Orme-Johnson et al. Journal of Conflict Resolution 32: 776-812, 1988 (This and a large number of researches are found on


xxvii For example, the highly lucrative contracts handed out to large corporations in the 2nd Gulf War.

xxviii CIA – The World Factbook. Population (June 2009 est.); Total fertility rate (2009 est.); GDP per capita (2009).

xxix Population projection variants and contribution of demographic components to future population growth, the world, 2010-2100. From Demographic Components of Future Population Growth, Kirill Andreev, Vladimíra Kantorová and John Bongaarts. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, Technical Paper 2013/3.

xxx PBL. Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency 2009.

xxxi The statistics involved in here are detailed in Tristram Stuart, Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal by Tristram Stuart pub.Penguin, 2009.

xxxii This is the figure issued by David Pimental, Ph.D., Professor of Ecology and Agricultural Science, Cornell University, New York, USA.

xxxiii Tristram Stuart ibid.

xxxiv “Grade A Choice? Solutions for Deforestation-Free Meat. A report by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), June 30 2012.

xxxv Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal, Tristram Stuart ibid.

xxxvi The Oxford Vegetarian Study. P N Appleby, M Thorogood, J I Mann, T J Key, 1999.

xxxvii> T Colin Campbell; Junshi, Chen; Junyao, Li et al., eds. (1990). Diet, lifestyle and mortality in China: a study of the characteristics of 65 Chinese counties. Oxford University Press.

xxxviii The China Study, T Colin Campbell Ph.D., Thomas M Campbell II, M.D., BenBella Books 2005.

xxxix Source: Meatonomics: The bizarre economics of meat and dairy by David Robinson Simon. Conan Press, 2003.

* My apologies to readers for the unwieldy roman numerals on the references. When this document transferred from Word, the numerals appeared and refused to go away!

In Theory


In Theory

The final article of a series of three by Paul Ellson, author of The Beautiful Union of science, philosophy and religion.


Although we are merely one tiny element in one star system amongst millions of stars that reside in just one galaxy amongst millions of galaxies, whether looking for signs of life out there in the cosmos or for the secrets of life around us, we quite naturally look from a human perspective. But why believe that our expectations, our methods of investigation, the ‘objective’ techniques, our limited senses and limited intelligence, are able to define what life is? The signs of life that we recognise may be too narrow in definition; we may be missing the real thing, right here. Conversely, it may even be that life on this planet, right down to the building blocks, is a local mutation so different from the real thing, the universal norm, that we can neither seek that norm nor know it. Nevertheless, driven by our innate curiosity, we advance our anthropocentric enquiries across the board.

Worldwide, many scientists are working towards a common goal: a ‘theory of everything’, in scientific parlance: a unified field theory. Einstein created that term. To date, he is the most successful scientific theorist. However, theory is theory and nothing more. Published in 1915, Einstein’s General Theory focussed upon gravity. In this theory, the geometrical properties of space-time are conceived as modified locally by the presence of a body with mass such as a star or a planet. It has been a mainstay of scientific thought and has given far-reaching predictions that are close to a wide range of experimental results and discoveries made since that time. However, it is important to note that in a number of cases the predictions are far from perfect.

Questioning theories

One would expect a successful theory of gravity to explain the laws that govern the movement of pendulums, but Einstein’s theory entirely fails to explain certain anomalies, particularly their behaviour during an eclipse of the sun. In 1954 French economist and engineer, Maurice Allais of the School of Mining in Paris, undertook a number of pendulum experiments. It has long been accepted that a free-swinging pendulum will always trace the same path. Under lab conditions it can be shown that the plane of this path will rotate slowly, this is due to the rotation of the planet. These results correlate with Einstein’s theory which gives an explanation of the geometry governing the situation. But Allais’ thorough research showed that the pendulum’s rotation rate varied during the course of the day and that during a partial eclipse of the sun on 30th June 1954, the pendulum behaved very differently. The plane of its swing began to rotate backwards. The timing of its behaviour showed that it had been affected by the eclipse. Something was going on in the relationship between the Sun, Moon and the Earth that was not explained by Einstein’s theory. Over the years, further experiments by Allais and a number of others have confirmed the anomaly.1

Allais, the 1998 Nobel prizewinner for economics, believes that the pendulum evidence points to the existence of the ether, cited as the prime element by natural philosophers through the ages. It certainly shows that General Theory, whilst giving a great boost to the advance of science, is flawed and that there is more to the workings of gravity than most scientists currently accept. There are further questions regarding General Theory, including frequent debates as to the constancy of the speed of light; a pivotal element. In fact, Dr Lijun Wang of the NEC research institute at Princeton University has shown that, under special conditions, pulses of light can be accelerated up to 300 times their norm of 186,000 miles per second.2 Beyond the lab, serious questions as to the consistency of the speed of light have been raised through observations of very distant objects, particularly a quasar – a distant star-like object – that seems to be some 10 billion light years away. I say, ‘seems to be’ because there is evidence that, in this case, either the electron charge3or the speed of light has changed. This is problematical because both are supposed to be constant. Professor Paul Davies of Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia believes that, of the two, the speed of light is more likely to have changed. “Its entirely possible that the speed of light would have got greater and greater as you go back (through time) towards the Big Bang and if so it could explain some of the great mysteries of cosmology.”4 Such questions over the constancy of the speed of light undermine the basis of much that science espouses.

As is better known, General Theory does not to fit with the behaviour of particles in the micro world of quantum physics. This fact, above all, brought home the realisation that if there is one guiding law for the universe, General Theory does not describe it. Consequent work by quantum physicists has led to the emergence of a number of unified field theories.

Currently the consensus amongst scientists is that the most likely candidate in the race for a successful unified field theory would be a ‘superstring theory’ or string theory for short. Actually there are a number of string theories, in common, they suggest that incredibly tiny, one-dimensional, vibrating strings, a billion, billion times smaller than a proton,5 are active at the basis of creation. A universe based upon vibrating strings lends itself well to musical analogy and has something in common with early theological teachings where ‘the music of the spheres’ was a frequent topic. The leading superstring theory, known as M theory has managed to unify a number of earlier string theories. It resolves problems that they encountered by theorising multi-dimensions in terms of membranes. Each dimension is likened to a universe in parallel to our own. There are eleven of these membrane-like dimensions. It is imagined that these eleven dimensions curl up into one vibrating string. In his book Parallel Worlds, physicist Michio Kaku posits that eleven membranes might curl up into one sphere-like dimension that collapses in on itself, leaving its equator as a vibrating closed string.6

Despite the persuasive fame of string theory, it should be noted that even on the purely mathematical level, twenty years of work by many brilliant minds has failed to give convincing mathematical proof of any string hypothesis. Einstein, who questioned much of early quantum theory, would smile; it was he who said, “As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.”As regards the experimental level, no physical scientific equipment has been developed that could handle the ultra-minute elements theorised. Nor could it be developed, Nobel prize-winning physicist Sheldon Lee Glashow has pointed out that: “No experiment can ever be done at the distances that are being studied. The theory is permanently safe.”7 By the same token, the theory would forever rest on very questionable ground.

When to theorise

Theory is an ancient word, one that F M Cornford interpreted as ‘passionate, sympathetic contemplation’.8 Coming from the Greek, theos: God. The word relates directly to the study of the divine. In my previous article, note was made regarding the use of contemplation in the quest for knowledge. Today, contemplation is viewed as a religious pursuit: subjective, and therefore seen as imprecise in its result. But past records tell us otherwise. Luminaries such as Pythagoras used contemplative techniques to extend the boundaries of knowledge. Using contemplation, the scientists of old would gain experience through both physical and mental experiment and, having done so, would then theorise upon what was beyond. In Sanskrit we have a clue to the root of theos in the word tiras meaning ‘beyond’. Certainly, string theorists are needing help from beyond: “We don’t know what we are talking about“, said Nobel laureate, David Gross, when summing up at the December 2005, Solvay Conference, ‘The Quantum Structure of Space and Time’, in Brussels. Gross, a former leading advocate of string theory, now believes that physicists are missing something absolutely fundamental in their search for a successful unified field theory.

There is nothing wrong with theorising, there has to be theory, but it needs to happen at the appropriate time: when all of the available information, both objective and subjective, have been pulled together and a final answer is still found wanting. String theorists talk in terms of parallel worlds and multi-dimensions but as yet they still approach these possibilities in three-dimensional, materialistic point of view. The one thing that we all have ready access to that is truly multi-dimensional is consciousness; mind-stuff. It sleeps, it dreams, it imagines, it conceives well beyond the three-dimensional. Do the theorists ask themselves, what is this that spurs us on our path of inquiry in the first place? What is it that enables us to conceive of these multi-dimensions? Nowhere in their theories is consciousness featured and yet it is fundamental – a word that through the Latin, fundare – to found, and mentis – the mind, indicates that the ancients taught that the basis of all is founded in the mind.

Scientists are seeking a theory of everything but how can their search come to fruition until every parameter has been investigated and taken into account? It is evident that none of the prevalent scientific works take consciousness and the role of the subjective seriously enough. Whilst a small number of scientists are tentatively venturing into the ‘consciousness problem’, they still attempt to explore it through objective measurement and continue to avoid the subjective element; the person taking the measurements, the observer; the human self – us! Their narrow, pseudo-objective, approach will prove impossible. Why jump to theory when not all of the experimental avenues have been taken? Where there is another source of information, a related but as yet un-investigated field, then surely, it should be investigated with great rigour prior to theorising. A greater understanding of the relation between science and religion will help enable this investigation to truly begin. Clues to the past closeness of that relationship are coming to light.

In the spring of 1985, NASA researcher Rick Briggs wrote an article in A.I., Artificial Intelligence magazine.9 He wrote about NASA’s twenty-year attempt to develop a truly scientific language as precise as mathematics, natural languages being too cumbersome and ambiguous to work with the clarity and efficiency required in the computer oriented world of artificial intelligence. Briggs explained that almost all languages deviated from the precision required – all except for one: NASA researchers had realised that “there was a language spoken among an ancient scientific community that has a deviation of zero.” Still in use, that language is Sanskrit, the world’s most ancient spiritual language is now recognised as a scientific language too.

Our scientists use mathematics extensively but do not have a spoken language to match. This leads to problems regarding the understanding and take up of science by the general public: the knowledge is restricted to the few who are well versed both in the mathematics and in the specially created terminology that goes with the subject. As a scientific language Sanskrit had the potential to transmit a deeper understanding of the workings of nature to a wider public,

It is a vertical language enabling a well-structured exposition of the ancient law of ‘as above – so below.10This law does not mean that the micro and the macro and every level in between are exactly the same. It is more a guide to patterning. From the visual perspective, modern scientific confirmation of this comes through the application of microscopic and telescopic technologies that have enabled the investigation of fractals. A fractal is an entity created through diminishing subdivisions of a given shape. Often associated with geometric form and computer graphics, fractals present themselves all around us in the natural world. An oft-quoted example is the image of a rugged coastline pictured from above. Zooming in on a subdivision of that image we find a similar image; zooming in again to a yet more detailed scale, we find another similar image, and so on, right down to the tiniest grain in close focus. A more universal exposition was published in the book The Powers of Ten11 where consecutive images are shown subdividing by powers of ten. The baseline is the everyday human scale where a man is seen sleeping on a picnic blanket in a park in the city of Chicago. The picture shows an area of one square metre. From this point, at the rate of the power of ten, the images zoom in to the human body through the skin to the cellular level, on to the atomic level and further to the sub-atomic level; similarly a set of images zoom out from the human level, through to the planetary level, the solar level, the galactic level and further out into deep space, always looking back toward the park in Chicago, the sleeping man and his subatomic structure. At I found these stills displayed, moving from the outermost to the innermost and accompanied by a commentary by Bruce Bryson. Whether galaxies, solar systems, suns, cells, electrons, or protons etc., the similarities in patterns of distribution are striking. We live in a fractal, as above – so below, universe. A moving image, zooming in from outer space to inner space, would show even more clearly, how nature moves in a patterned, rhythmic fashion from the spacious to the dense, back to the spacious and so on. Were the people of long ago who coined ‘as above – so below’, aware of this? It is recorded that Sanskrit was cognised by Seers and that Seers were also the writers of the Veda. We cannot dismiss the inference that they cognised these patterns through the art of contemplation for they were revered in scripture as experts in the art.

Throughout nature, the relationship between form and function is implicit. In the above paragraph we focussed on ‘as above – so below’, regarding visual form, but the Sanskrit language naturally used its vertical attributes to describe function too; the similarity of administrative patterning throughout the universe. In such a scientifically precise language, metaphor is a potent force. With this facility, one could gain an appreciation of the laws that guide life beyond the earthly senses. A striking example is the word bhurij. It has three levels of meaning, relating to the body of the universe, the human body and the objective world of humankind. The linking theme is ‘things that come together’. Reflecting the three levels, bhurij can be translated as, ‘heaven and earth’; ‘arms’, hands’; ‘scissors’ or ‘a carpenter’s vice’. 12

Throughout the language, the rules of metaphor are grounded in practical, worldly terms. The Vedic culture was largely agrarian where domesticated animals were put to work, therefore that spirited creature, the horse, is a symbol of power and spiritual strength. The Sanskrit word for ‘cow’. go´ or gau´s,is noteworthy, it also means ‘light’ or ‘ray of light’. Light, as the sustainer, the giver of life and energy, was reflected in their understanding of the role of the cow in their way of life. To this day, in the high Himalayas, human life is utterly dependent upon bovine herds. The vertical meaning rises through to the ultimate: in Hymns To The Mystic Fire,a translation of many Vedic texts, Sri Aurobindo explains that “The cows of the Veda were the herds of the sun . . . the rays of Truth and Light and Knowledge”.13

We know that, millennia ago, Sanskrit was in broad everyday use over a significant area of southern Asia. It is also the root language for all of our major western languages. These facts should prompt us to take a closer look at the work and methods of the scientists of old. Whilst taking in the subjective, their standards were comparable to scientific standards of today. New information was not simply accepted. Mentoring was a fundamental part of this tradition, and there was the ability to check one’s experiences against thousands of years of expertise leading to an accretion of knowledge in coherent fashion. This scientifically oriented tradition can be tracked from the early Vedas through to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali14 where numerous subjective experiments and their results were logged in detail. Patanjali’s reputation has stood the test of time. This is because when the experiments are properly prepared for, the results are consistent. As noted previously, this preparation is at the heart of re-ligio. Recall that Pythagoras utilised contemplation as a scientific tool. In this he followed the ancient tradition where, utilising a stilled mind, simple questioning with an open sense of wonder brought results. A stilled mind helped ensure that interference by one’s personal expectations and agenda did not take place, the best conditions being where the researcher was not repressing their expectations but did not actually have any; this is one reason why the power of innocence and humility is promoted in scripture.

Re-ligio Research

Rare is the individual who, without straining, has great peace of mind. Therefore, a major goal of religious techniques such as meditation, japa (repetition) and certain prayers is to cultivate a stillness of mind wherein, unlike the stillness of deep sleep, one remains conscious. Only when meditation has done its work can true contemplation take place. Meditation stills the mind, contemplation uses the mind to wonder broadly, yet in a focused fashion, thereby inducing the knowledge of the part in relation to the whole.

Based upon a profound grasp of psycho-physiological processes, various re-ligio systems were developed. Techniques used in the process of ‘binding back’ are still to be found in the religions of today. Usually, the initial focus is the body and its relation to the mind; the localised consciousness. Here pure diet and detailed exercises are often prescribed to help balance bodily energies thus avoiding illness. If the body is ill, it is likely to be an obstacle to contemplation.

Some religions use a great number of symbols and images in order to inculcate psychological growth and balance. There is more imagery in pantheistic systems. This is not to say that a pantheistic religion is not focused upon one God. The varied imagery is used to balance inner resources and the images usually relate to the worldly experience of the participant so that a meaning can be grasped through an understanding of natural relationships. In India, the half human, half elephant god, Ganesha represents patience, persistence, inner strength and wisdom. It is held to be the remover of all obstacles especially of obstacles in the way of spiritual progress. The idea is that, step by step through identifying with Ganesha, the devotee develops their latent qualities of patience, persistence etc. thus balancing a flighty or quick tempered nature. Pantheons may use humanlike forms and creature-like forms but they have high attributes. They enable the aspirant to move from the earthly toward the divine, progressively being taken from a knowledge of the material world to a knowledge of the subtle and cosmological worlds. This is possible on a consistent basis through a simultaneous regime of physiological and mental purification. Guidance from a more experienced practitioner is also part of the package.

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are still in use and continue to deliver consistent and verifiable results to the well-prepared and earnest enquirer. Patanjali’s works are seen as ‘mumbo-jumbo’ by the sceptical, and mystical by believers. But there is no need for continued scepticism or blind belief in mysteries that can actually be unravelled. As the word infers, experiment gives experience, not simply intellectual understanding. With real experience comes a more complete understanding. As a result, knowledge replaces belief and its bedfellow, theory. Here lies the potential to unite religion and science and also philosophy.

It is time that science understood why re-ligio is closely associated with ritual. Any experiment needs to be repeatable and, in the repeating, to gain consistent results. This is the usefulness of ritual; prescribed format; standardised approach, the fixed rules for experimentation. The English words right and ritual come from the Sanskrit rita meaning right, proper, worshipped, respected, enlightened and luminous. And, a main key is the quality of the equipment used. For re-ligio research, the main equipment is the human being. It must be cleared of impurities, hence the rigorous systems of care and cleansing of both mind and body, found in yogic practices. This is reflected in modern scientific research, where with the right equipment and the correct approach, consistent results can be obtained.

Science is a methodology that aims at precision. It aspires to clarity through thoroughness and with this approach it aims to discover even the ultimate truth. But precision should not mean narrowness of mindset and dismissal of other means of knowledge acquisition. The perceived limits of the human mind must be transcended. Subjective research will reveal the secret of science’s greatest challenge, consciousness. What will follow are the gifts that transcendent states can bring including the fullest union with the heart of religion and philosophy.

Paul Ellson.


The above text is based upon extracts from The Beautiful Union of science, philosophy and religion.

Paul Ellson is a natural philosopher. The Beautiful Union of science, philosophy and religion is available via his website and from other outlets.

Notes and References

Notes and References

  1. Shadow Over Gravity, by Govert Schilling, New Scientist magazine 27th Nov 2004.
  2. The Sunday Times, June 4th 2000.
  3. Electrons are negatively charged elementary particles occurring in all atoms. The electron charge at 1.6 x 10-19C is held to be a constant.
  4. BBC News Online, 8th August 2002.
  5. A proton is an elementary particle of positive charge and unit atomic mass, the atom of the lightest isotope of hydrogen without its electron.
  6. Michio Kaku, Parallel Worlds, p198. Pub. Penguin, Allen Lane, London 2005.
  7. The Theory of Everything: Einstein’s Dream, C4TV, 2nd November 2003.
  8. Frances McDonald Cornford From Religion to Philosophy: A Study in the Origins of Western Speculation pub., Princeton University Press 1991.
  9. Rick Briggs, Knowledge Representation in Sanskrit and Artificial Intelligence. AI Volume 6(1); Spring 1985, 32-39.
  10. Perhaps the best known reference to this law is found on The Emerald Tablet. This tablet, thought to be of Egyptian origin, is accepted as the source of Hermetic Philosophy and Alchemy and has been known to scholars and philosophers since the 10th century.
  11. The Powers of Ten by Philip Morrison and Phylis Morrison. Pub., W H Freeman & Co. (revised edition) September 1994.
  12. A Sanskrit – English Dictionary, Ed. Sir Monier Monier-Williams, 1st edition, OUP 1899. p 425. Note: All Sanskrit definitions are taken from this source.
  13. Hymns To The Mystic Fire, Trans. Sri Aurobindo, p11. Aurobindo Ashram Trust, 6th impression 1998.
  14. bce, dates unclear.

Non-Locality & Omnipresence


Non-Locality & Omnipresence

Non-locality and Omnipresence

The first of three articles by natural philosopher, Paul Ellson, author of The Beautiful Union of science, philosophy and religion.


I sometimes call myself a natural philosopher, an unusual title for the present day, but I have my reasons. Having spent 35 years in research both broad and deep, I felt prompted to share it with the world. However, I realised that this world requires labels; hooks to hang knowledge on: scientist; theologian etc. Nowadays, knowledge gathering tends to be specialised, the participants usually educated and certified to work in a particular channel and to approach the work in a specified manner. Objectivity is advocated. This presents great problems where the study of consciousness is concerned and, it is the study of consciousness that holds the key to so many scientific conundrums.
My work embraces and also transcends all of the modern labels and so I sought a more suitable title. Prior to the industrial age, those who had the time and money were educated in natural philosophy, usually by monks or clergy. In addition to religious instruction, this curriculum featured mathematics, geometry, astronomy and music. Its basic function was to give a firmer grasp of the underlying nature of life and to provide intellectual and intuitive tools with which to further one’s own work. It became apparent to me that, throughout the ages, natural philosophers were those involved in the broadest, deepest and least fettered research. I am therefore happy to use the title natural philosopher. The role of a modern day natural philosopher is to work outside ‘the box’. Therefore it is fortuitous that natural philosophy has not been institutionalised in some academic package.
As a result of findings from my own research of 35 years, I am sure that science, philosophy and religion can, and will, work together, harmoniously, in the not too distant future. To see how this can occur one needs to strip down each of the three approaches and rebuild as one integral edifice. This is what my book The Beautiful Union of science, philosophy and religion undertakes. In the process, it questions many assumptions; a key one being that consciousness somehow evolves. The theory of evolution is based around functionality – something evolves because it has practical value. This demands a relative quality for that which evolves, for something can only evolve due to its relation with something else – in the broad scheme, its environment. But, my own research indicates that consciousness does not have a relative quality. Lack of serious research into subjective states has resulted in misunderstandings regarding what consciousness is and here help is to be found within ancient scriptures that can be interpreted in the light of subjective consciousness research. As my book explains, scientific research, i.e., repeatable experiments with measurable data, can be undertaken in this more subjective field. Through this research, we find that consciousness itself is the absolute, silent, witness. Other attributes of mind, such as the intellect, have relative functions, but there is some confusion over this.
Our language is ill equipped for explaining experiences beyond the material. We have terms such as being and soul which are vague in definition, and in the more often used consciousness, ego, intelligence, intellect, and mind we have a number of closely related words that, even in worldly matters, tend to be used in imprecise fashion. This is due to imprecise knowledge. In an attempt to avoid confusion, I define these terms in the following way:

Consciousness: Pure, universal, intelligence; non-relative, pure awareness; beingness.
Soul: Consciousness as the non-relative witness of the relative through a vehicle of expression.
Ego: The sense of self or being; the appreciator of relative experience. How the expression recognises its identity as an expression of the universal: When it ceases to identify with the universal and identifies with the relative, it becomes small self. In natural philosophy, the individual’s ideal relationship to pure, universal, consciousness and the relative is to remain in the universal, witnessing, whilst engaged in the relative i.e. be in the universal whilst witnessing (Soul) and appreciating (Ego), the relative.
Intelligence: Directs the relative being through intellect, the discriminating faculty that directs the flow of thoughts in the mind.

The localised consciousness of a being; the whole of its general mental space.
The majority view of natural philosophers is that consciousness constitutes the fundamental basis of existence, it being present even before creation began. One of the clearest explanations comes from the Yoga Vasistha.1
Jiva (the Soul) is the vehicle of consciousness, ego sense is the vehicle of Jiva, intelligence is the vehicle of egos and mind it is the vehicle of intelligence, prana is the vehicle of mind, the senses are the vehicle of prana, the body is the vehicle of the senses, and motion is the vehicle of the body.
In Vasistha, the order runs opposite to that of science where the material body comes first, with the senses, ego and consciousness evolving from the material. Indeed, most scientists will tell you that consciousness is distributed too unevenly and is too ’special’ to be a fundamental property, but they are looking at data from a fixed, human, standpoint, limiting the remit, limiting their vision to ‘life like us’. The tendency is to relate consciousness to intelligence, as we know it and use it. This is unsatisfactory; those who are considered to be the most intelligent are doing the choosing (Intellect: from L ‘inter’, between and ‘legere’, to choose), in that the more intellectual amongst us actually come up with the definitions, many of which are based upon the intellectually biased work of modern science. It is possible that, at least subconsciously, there are tendencies to choose definitions which place humankind in general, and the choosing scientists/academics in particular, at the top of the intelligence range. But what if it were the same, pure intelligence expressing itself in different ways throughout the entirety of creation – some ways recognisable and others, to date, unrecognisable? Could a head lice be aware that its provider of regular meals – the human head – facilitates an intelligence which can express itself to a vastly greater extent than any blood sucking pediculus capitus? Even if it were proven that head lice were intelligent we should say that the systems were too different in size and in complexity to allow such an awareness.
If consciousness is non-relative – and my book The Beautiful Union of science, philosophy and religion cites much research that, taken together, supports this – it would accord with the scriptural term omnipresent, and the scientific term non-local. In its rebuilding aspect The Beautiful Union looks at many links between science and religion. One of these is non-locality and this is what this, the first in a series of three articles, will focus upon using text from the book.
Non-locality and entanglement
There are many areas where scientists and natural philosophers are in almost complete agreement, where just a change in the terminology may suffice. But the dispute over consciousness is where the natural philosophers and modern scientists are at their most distant. If, at least as a possibility, the idea of an underlying, pure, non-local, consciousness is accepted, the reason for natural philosophy’s terminology becomes clearer. The terminology of the early natural philosophers is largely based upon hierarchical, vertical, systems rich in the potential for analogy and for linking the microcosm and the macrocosm through the same term (These systems hark back at least 5,000 years). However, new terminologies are arising in the world of science that natural philosophers can easily relate too. Non-locality is one such term.
Non-locality is an effect demonstrated in the realm of quantum mechanics. The concept of non-locality is based upon evidence that, in quantum physics, particles can be influenced instantly from a great distance. Many experiments have shown correlations in the behaviour of widely separated particles. The concept of non-locality does not, in itself, explain how these correlations might occur. However, scientists find some explanation in quantum entanglement, a phenomena which was discovered by Erwin Schrodinger.3 Examining the mathematical descriptions of two particles that had collided, he realised that from the collision onwards, the original properties of each did not remain discrete. All of the information now lay in their joint properties. He showed that if the quantum state of one were to be affected, the other would also be affected no matter how distant it was. Later, Thomas Durt of the Free University of Brussels, used equations that Schrodinger had considered, to show that almost all quantum interactions produce entanglement.4 Further to this, mathematician Benni Reznik of the University of Tel-Aviv, Israel, has demonstrated mathematically that all of ‘empty space’ is filled with entangled pairs of particles.5 Pairs of entangled quantum particles are now created routinely by scientists for use in such pursuits as cryptography. Incidentally, quantum entanglement is not confined to pairs, in 1999, John Rarity and Paul Tapster of the UK Defence Evaluation and Research Agency entangled three photons6 and in 2004 a Chinese-led team entangled five photons.7 This work continues apace.
For decades the entanglement effect remained confined to the microscopic realm of quantum particles but in 2001 a team of scientists at Imperial College, London, led by Vlatko Vedral, predicted that the effects of entanglement would be found on macroscopic levels. Sure enough, in 2003, Sayantani Ghosh of the University of Chicago reported quantum entanglement effects that could be measured on a macro scale.8The magnetic orientation of holmium atoms9 in salt was analysed. These atoms behave like magnets and naturally adjust their orientation in response to one-another’s magnetic field, however, their alignments can be modified by introducing an external magnetic field. The degree of adjustment to this new field is called ‘magnetic susceptibility’. The University of Chicago team analysed how much this susceptibility changed subject to temperature. At very low temperatures they reported more coherent alignment than would have been predicted at normal quantum energy levels. They cited quantum entanglement as the explanation.
Having predicted this event, Vlatko Vedral said, “What would really be interesting would be to find a material that exhibits the effects of entanglement at higher temperatures”.10 Look no further than the mirror: Humankind. Many people have read of Cleve Backster’s research involving humans and plants. His book The Secret Life of Plants was a bestseller in the 1970s.11 Subsequent to this, in the 1980s, Backster, by now heading his own research foundation in San Diego, California, demonstrated another related wonder: single cells can respond to thoughts and feelings. One of the processes that he had developed was to take white blood cells (oral leukocytes) from the mouth of a volunteer. Whereas the volunteer might return home – perhaps a distance of some miles – to watch the television, the cells were put into a test tube that stayed in the lab with EEG monitoring equipment attached. Whilst the volunteer watched TV, the lab also tuned into the TV programme. There were cameras focused on the TV screen, on the face of the volunteer at home, and on the chart which was driven by the monitoring equipment in the lab. Together with a date and time display all of these elements were recorded onto video using split screen technology. Details of the equipment and the procedure are given in the book The Secret Life of Your Cells12 Backster’s extensive research showed that when the volunteer’s thoughts and feelings were stimulated by what they saw and heard, these stimulations were also recorded on their cells – ‘entanglement’, even though the cells were ‘non-local’, often miles away.13
For decades, psychologists and parapsychologists had been observing similar occurrences between individuals during psi research. Amazingly, their researches are all but ignored by scientists working in very closely related areas. After over 100 years of psi research, in 1992 renown neuroscientists Francis Crick and Christof Koch wrote, “For many years after [William] James penned The Principles of Psychology (1890) …. most cognitive scientists ignored consciousness, as did almost all neuroscientists. The problem was felt to be either purely “philosophical” or too elusive to study experimentally. . . In our opinion, such timidity is ridiculous.”14 [Author’s parenthesis] Thankfully, timidity is on the wane. Professor Brian Josephson, a Nobel laureate of the University of Cambridge, links non-locality to telepathy – the ability of individuals to communicate without using the five senses.15

In May 2004, psychologist Dr. Stefan Schmidt and a team from the University of Freiburg, Germany, published the results of more than 1000 experiments where two people were put into two different rooms. In these experiments one of the volunteers could see the other over a close circuit TV system. The volunteer in view had electrodes attached to the skin and and when this person was being stared at by the other participant, a meter repeatedly registered a prickling in the skin. Other experiments demonstrated that the starer could make the other volunteer feel either relaxed or uncomfortable. Again this was confirmed by monitoring equipment. The study, ‘Distant Intentionality And The Feeling of Being Stared At’, was published in the May 2004 issue of the British Journal of Psychology.16
Not all of the convincing research has been undertaken by psychologists and parapsychologists, important work has been undertaken by Princeton University’s PEAR (Princeton Engineering Anomolies Research) Group and published in The Journal of Scientific Exploration (1997).17 Over two decades of research comprising thousands of experiments, millions of trials and hundreds of operators, the PEAR Group has identified anomalies in human/machine interactions “that can only be attributed to the influence of the consciousness of the human operator”.18
Led by Robert Jahn, the Princeton team have developed a number of different acoustical, electronic, fluid, mechanical and optical devices that, without human involvement, produce random outputs. In the experiments, operators attempt to influence the machines by pre-stated intention only. This is called micro-PK (Psycho-kinesis) research. No physical means are employed yet the results show increases in information content that are only attributable to the operator’s influence.
“The observed effects are usually quite small, of the order of a few parts in ten thousand on average, but they are statistically repeatable and compound to highly significant deviations from chance expectations.
“These anomalies can be demonstrated with the operators located up to thousands of miles from the laboratory, exerting their efforts hours before or after the actual operation of the devices.” 19
In a reflection of the concepts of non-locality and entanglement in the quantum world, these results clearly indicate the influence of consciousness over great distances in the world of human beings. In the quotation I have underlined a further remarkable result that promotes the concept of entanglement over time. This phenomena is also to be found on the quantum scale.
In February 2004, a team led by Caslav Brukner at Imperial College, London, published evidence that moments of time can be entangled.20 They demonstrated time-entanglement between successive actions. The report gave an example where there were successive measurements of a photon’s polarisation: Measure it once for a result and measure it again later, for a second result. It was found that “the very act of measuring a second time can affect how it was polarised earlier on.”21
Many parapsychology experiments have shown that phenomena such as telepathy and psycho-kinesis etc., are distance independent and can transcend both space and time. Much of this research has been published by either the British or American Societies for Psychical Research in their journals. However, the word ‘psychical’ still reveals timidity in many scientists. Also, because of its subjective element, some scientists do not accept parapsychology or even psychology as sciences at all. The Beautiful Union of science, philosophy and religion investigates the reasons for this state of affairs and asserts that pseudo-objectivity is responsible. Perhaps scientific evidence of quantum entanglement may help lead to parapsychology gaining the respect it deserves. When one reviews research from both the quantum and parapsychology fields, the mutual support is obvious, leading one to consider the concept of a universal consciousness.
In an experiment on precognitive clairvoyance, parapsychologist G R Schmeidler 22tested 75 subjects who each made 150 calls on targets which would later be selected by computer. The subjects were not told that later, only 50 of their targets and related calls would be shown to them (‘subject sees’ condition), another 50 would be seen by the experimenter and 50 would not be seen at all, remaining unprinted from the computer. Furthermore, during the session, the experimenter had no idea which calls would end up in which category. After categorisation, when the scores within the three categories were correlated there was a distinct pattern between the first two categories, “. . there was a marked tendency for subjects who scored high on one of [these] conditions to score low on the other condition”45 Schmeidler further observed that “this correlation implied that the subjects had been responding to the difference that did not yet exist but would be produced by the letters I was about to write [to subjects, enclosing lists of their targets and responses in the “subject sees” condition]”.23
The evidence showed that a decision taken after the calls were made actually affected the calls themselves. This was also true in experiments run by Feather and Brier (1968); I quote the complex scenario as explained by Rhea A White:
“The subjects were told that the experimenter would check half their runs (to be determined randomly) while someone else (known to the experimenter but not to the subjects) would check the other half. Subjects were also requested to specify those runs they felt the known experimenter would later check. In two pilots with Feather as the known checker and Brier as the unknown checker, the subjects obtained a differential effect, but only on those runs checked by Feather. When they thought she would check the runs and she actually did, they scored above chance, whereas when they thought the other person would check the scores but Feather actually did, they scored below chance. For the two pilots combined the difference was significant (P < .03, two-tailed). In a confirmatory experiment Brier was the known checker whereas Feather was the unknown checker. The differential effect again occurred on the runs checked by Brier, but not on those checked by Feather (P < .02. one-tailed). Since the checker or experimenter effect noted in these data was apparently not due simply to the subjects’ conscious expectations of who would check the runs but was based on who actually did check them, the effect had to be psi-mediated, in this case by precognition.”24 What is inferred here is a scientifically measurable, seeming pre-existing, relationship between, even, distant peoples and events. I am not suggesting that quantum entanglement and the results of these parapsychology experiments are exactly the same phenomena but I am suggesting that they are both reflections of the same phenomena: a non-local awareness due to the existence of non-local, i.e., omnipresent, consciousness. The above text features extracts from The Beautiful Union of science, philosophy and religion. In the next article I shall use further extracts from the book to look at cognitionin relation to non-local consciousness. Paul Ellson. _________________________________

The Beautiful Union of science, philosophy and religion is available via Paul Ellson’s website and other outlets.
Notes and references
1. Some sources date the Yoga Vasistha to the 10th century CE, others, much earlier.
2. From the Yoga Vasistha, trans. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, in Timeless Wisdom: the book of all religions. Pub. Vyakti Vikas Kendra, Bangalore, 2003.
3. Erwin Schrodinger 1887–1961; a Nobel prizewinner for his work on wave mechanics, he is also famed for the Schrodinger’s Cat hypothesis.
4. Physical Review (Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics), November 2002, Volume 66, Issue 5, Bohm’s interpretation and maximally entangled states by Thomas Durt and Yves Pierseaux.
5. The Weirdest Link, by Michael Brooks, New Scientist Vol. 181 issue 2440 27th March 2004 p36
6. Ibid.
7. On 24th August 2004, Technology Research News reported that scientists from the University of Science and Technology of China, the University of Innsbruck, Austria, and the University of Heidelburg, Germany, had worked together to succeed in this task.
8. Nature, Vol 425 p48 16th October 2003.
9. Holmium (Atomic No.67) occurs in rare earth materials such as gadonilite and is used for control rods in nuclear reactors because it readily absorbs neutrons.
10. The weirdest link, ibid.
11. The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird, pub. Harper and Row Publishers, New York 1973; and Avon Books, New York, 1974.
12.The Secret Life of Your Cells by Robert B Stone PhD. pp74-76. Published by Whitford Press, Altglen, PA, USA, 1989.
13. Ibid.
14. ‘The Problem of Consciousness’, Scientific American, September, 1992.
15. Physics on the brain / A report on a strange interdisciplinary discussion, by Susan Blackmore. New Scientist vol 129 issue 1750 – 05 January 1991.
16. Distant intentionality and the feeling of being stared at: Two meta-analyses. Stefan Schmidt; Rainer Schneider; Jessica Utts; Harald Walach. British Journal of Psychology, vol. 95 Part 2 May 2004.
17. “Correlations of Random Binary Sequences with Pre-Stated Operator Intention: A Review of a 12-Year Program.” R.G. Jahn, B.J. Dunne, R.D. Nelson, Y.H. Dobyns, and G.J. Bradish. Princeton Engineering Anomolies Research (PEAR). School of Engineering and Applied Science, Princeton University.The Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol11, No.3, pp 345-367, 1997.
18. Ibid.
19. Ibid.
20. Quantum Entanglement in Time, Caslav Brukner, Samuel Taylor, Sancho Cheung, and Vlatko Vedral of The Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College, London. February 18th 2004. [www.arXiv:quant-ph/0402127v1]
21. Ibid.
22. Schmeidler, G. R. An experiment on precognitive clairvoyance. Part 1. The main results. Journal of Parapsychology, 1964, 28, 1-14.
23. Schmeidler, G. R. An experiment on precognitive clairvoyance. Part 11. The reliability of the scores. Journal of Parapsychology, 1964, 28, 15-27. pp 19-20.
24. The Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research. Volume 70, number 2, April 1976: The Influence of Persons Other Than the Experimenter on the Subject’s scores in Psi Experiments by Rhea A White.