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.

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.2

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.