Stubbornly persistent illusion

Albert Einstein, perhaps the most celebrated and recognized scientist/philosopher, said once, “People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”


Space and time are so elementary to the average human’s everyday experience that the concept of space and time not being ‘fixed’ and ‘mutually separate’ is simply beyond our perception of things. Indeed, why else we have clocks that measure fixed time units, people may ask, and again, we can clearly see space is space, and time is time — even kids know that. For this reason most of us continue to relate to the old, in science often called ‘Newtonian model’ of the universe based on a fixed, experienceable 3D universe. Such a universe is made up of solid particles existing under a linear space-time continuum of events. Linear continuum says event A is followed by an event B, then B followed by C, etc. and through their occurrence in space we experience the concept of time. All this happens before our eyes despite the fact this theory was found to be substantially inadequate even in the early 20th century.

Albert Einstein, perhaps the most celebrated and recognized scientist/philosopher, said once, “People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” Physicist Stephen Hawking used this quote in his books to further observe and underline this obdurate tendency in humans. It seems our mind is used to operate within this illusion (perhaps it even creates it) and it’s hard to break free. But what happens if we re-examine it? Let’s try.

Energy and matter are interchangeable

Firstly, our perception of matter change. Einstein’s theory of relativity postulated that energy and matter are interchangeable in accordance with his famous formula of E=mc2. Matter could be considered as ‘slowed down’ or crystallised ‘energy’ and as such the human body, and the outside world as well, are nothing more than a complex ‘energy field’. To express this idea we rewrite the Einstein’s formula as m=E/c2, suggesting that matter originates from energy and is ‘slowed down’ by the square of speed of light. According to science it’s the highest possible speed in the observable universe.

This insight provides a mindframe enabling us to begin to understand the older esoteric concepts which say that the observable universe (including the human body) is made up of multi-dimensional energy fields. It also provides a scientific setting to the notion of human energy field as well, in popular literature often called halos, or auras. It draws a better background to the widespread rediscovery and favourable acceptance of many new age concepts of a holistic worldview in which seemingly separate elements are interconnected, including our being, environment, minds and bodies of others and everything else.


Quantum physics

Quantum physics is at the cutting edge of Western science and in many regards goes far beyond Einstein’s theory of relativity. What’s gripping about quantum physics is that the original idea that ignited it — the pursuit of the elementary particles at a subatomic level — has become almost meaningless with the discovery that the universe appears to be an undivided whole in a constant state of dynamic flux.

Like Einstein’s theory of relativity, quantum physics discovers the universe to be a single, enormous field of energy in which what we call matter is just a ‘slowed down’ form of energy. Quantum physics has also discovered that matter/energy does not exist with any certainty in definite places (even a notion of ‘place’ loses its meaning in quantum physics), but rather shows ‘tendencies’ to exist. That’s a concept known as ‘uncertainty principle’, which is often stated this way: the measurement of position necessarily disturbs (a particle’s) momentum, and vice versa.

The most fascinating truth that comes out of these conclusions, from a multitude of experiments and especially from the uncertainty principle is the notion that the existence of an observer is fundamental to the existence of the universe. It’s a groundbreaking concept known as ‘the observer effect‘. The observer effect says that there is no reality until that reality is perceived. In the uncertainty principle it’s the observer who measures the (particle’s) position and thus influences, disturbs its momentum. Unquestionably, all this would mean the universe is a consequence of consciousness, for it seems only through consciousness we’re able to experience the very concept of ourselves, measure the observable universe and our interaction with(in) it.

Physicist Barbara Brennan writes in her book ‘The Hands of Light‘, “Through experiments over the past few decades physicists have discovered matter to be completely mutable into other particles or energy and vice-versa and on a subatomic level, matter does not exist with certainty in definite places, but rather shows ‘tendencies’ to exist. Quantum physics is beginning to realise that the universe appears to be a dynamic web of interconnected and inseparable energy patterns. If the universe is indeed composed of such a web, there is logically no such thing as a part. This implies we are not separated parts of a whole but rather we are the whole.”

Exchanging arguments with scientist who still believe in mechanistic order and dividing of the matter endlessly, (thus separating themselves from the results of their observation despite observer effect), quantum physicist Dr David Bohm states in his book ‘Wholeness and the Implicate Order‘ that “primary physical laws cannot be discovered by a science that attempts to break the world into its parts. … Whatever part, element, or aspect we may abstract in thought, it still enfolds the whole and is therefore intrinsically related to the totality from which it has been abstracted.” These insightful conclusions bring forth overwhelming consequences.


Considering the wholeness of experience at all levels of our perception of reality, in like manner we can postulate that when it comes to spirituality, primary spiritual laws cannot be discovered by religions and worldviews that attempt to break the existence in parts, namely: heavens and hells, below and above, God and man, spiritual and material, sin and virtue, reason and love, etc. We need a more comprehensive look on reality, enriched by all recent discoveries in science, or a complete re-interpretation from a novel standpoint.

Let’s explore what would all these marvelous ideas and insights mean if superimposed onto teachings and reality of our predecessors, who were not acquainted into knowledge we now posses. One thing is almost certain: we’ll enter into an exciting, strange at first sight, but immensely beautiful world of new possibilities … and an all new meaning.

— Zvonimir Tosic

One Response to “Stubbornly persistent illusion”

  1. […] the outcome of the situation. In following paragraphs I’ll continue my previous article (Stubbornly persistent illusion) and scatter some remarkable insights of modern physicists and philosophers of science. I’ll […]