Seeing Past the Edge

by David G. Yurth Ph.D.

© 2003 Rassouli

The following is the Prologue to an important and forthcoming book :

Seeing Past The Edge An Original Work of Non-fiction by : 

David G. Yurth Ph.D.

Technology by itself cannot be expected to improve the quality of our lives. Indeed, until we are willing to fundamentally alter the way we treat the planet and each other, our technologies may extinguish all life as we know it within the next 50 years. This is a bitter and sobering thought. We are running out of time.


When practiced without conscience, science is the most dangerous pursuit ever devised by mankind. The consequences we face after the scientific discoveries of the 20th century are almost too staggering to contemplate. The list is long and daunting. Most serious is the irremediable contamination of the oceans with long-lived radioactive waste. Today, ocean currents are carrying high concentrations of radioactive heavy ions from the Russian dumping grounds in Riga and Novaya Zemlya to the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It is estimated that within in less than 25 years, radioactive contamination will reach the islands in the Pacific Ocean in sufficient concentrations to seriously disrupt the marine ecology beyond repair. 

Closely associated with this problem is the contamination of the oceans with long-term carcinogenic industrial chemicals which are not biodegradable. We are being advised to discontinue the consumption of deep sea species, shell fish and mollusks because of the increasingly high concentrations of lead, mercury and PCB’s found in their tissues. The primary link in the food chain supplied by the oceans of the world is being polluted at a rate which may already be beyond intervention and remediation. If the oceans no longer support adequate life in an uncontaminated form, human kind and many other species will also cease to exist. 

Of even greater short-term concern is the issue of polluted drinking water. It is estimated by the United Nations and the World Health Organization that within the next ten years, potable water supplies will sink to a level which seriously threatens the survival of many key, densely populated areas. This is particularly true of water supplies originating in the Russian tundra and Siberia, the Balkans, much of North America, India, most of Central and South America, most of China and the island nation of Japan. We cannot live without uncontaminated water. Nevertheless, industries, multi-national corporations, military organizations and the industrialized nations continue to condone the relentless pollution of ground water and aquifers at an increasing rate. This is a formula for extinction if allowed to continue unabated. 

Atmospheric pollution has become the subject of intensely debated global politics. Of all the nations of the planet who can do something meaningful to curb atmospheric pollution, the United States is the single nation which refuses to be bound by the restrictions of the Kyoto Accords. For three centuries, the industrial machine which controls economics and politics has managed to indiscriminately despoil the planet with impunity. Today, the destruction of the ozone layer and the aggravation of the greenhouse effect have combined to fundamentally alter life on the planet. In Australia and New Zealand it has become customary to forswear direct exposure to the sun during certain seasons because of the absence of the ozone layer in the southern latitudes.  

Since the 60’s, an increasingly vocal social awareness of acid rain in the industrial nations has failed to meaningfully alter atmospheric pollution. Instead of implementing the guidelines developed by the Environmental Protection Agency, to which compliance would cost tens of billions of dollars, the leaders of the United States have instead implemented a policy by which the worst polluters can buy the rights to continue to pollute from other companies whose “pollution credits” are up for sale. The profit motive and short-sighted business practices continue to drive the engines of industry and government, in spite of the fact that we have long known how to fix the problem. 

Since the dust storms of the 30’s, which were largely the result of terminal contamination of the soil from the unrestricted use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides, the industrial nations of the world have continued to sell chemical substances which, when placed in the soil, destroy essential microbes, leach out the essential rare earth minerals and render critical farming belts unusable in seven to ten year cycles. Many species of plants and animals have ceased to exist because of the indiscriminate use of herbicides and pesticides all over the planet. This practice continues relatively unabated - in spite of the fact that the use of such chemicals as malathione and DDT have been prohibited in this country, they continue to be exported in record volumes to developing countries of the Third World. In this respect, it appears that many companies and governments still value life lower than short-term profits.

This is not happening because we have no alternatives. Organic farming has become almost a cult in recent years, a bastion of resistance against the relentless imposition of harmful chemicals on the food chain by a few die-hard producers who refuse to give in to market pressures and increasingly proscriptive regulation. As a result, the USDA expends more than 75% of its annual budget developing genetically engineered foods in order to sustain crop yields which are frustrated by decreasingly viable soils. Instead of remediating the damage to the soils and evolving our agricultural practices to accommodate what we have learned, we continue to contaminate them and allow chemical companies to profit by our short sightedness.  

A heavy price is being paid for our failure to come to grips with the problem. The foods we eat, most of which are products of extensive hybridization and genetic engineering, are successively lower in nutritional value than the original strains. None of the naturally occurring foodstuffs grown in the US contain the rare earth minerals which are known to be essential to good health and longevity. Those substances have long since been leached out of the soils as a result of our continued, indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers and herbicides. 

As a result, we find ourselves eating more foods which are less nourishing. We are an overweight, seriously under-nourished culture whose fast food habits and suicidal life style has produced increasing rates of heart disease, cancers of all kinds, genetic mutations and a horrifying litany of related medical challenges. It is argued that these concerns are not properly considered since average life spans seem to be increasing. But it is clear from long-term studies published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, Lancet and other similar publications that much of the increase in longevity can be directly attributed to medical intervention and not as the result of any fundamental improvement in wellbeing. 

Why do we allow this madness to continue? Because we value profit and political control more than we value our lives. It is as simple as that. In the West, we have demonstrated a singular arrogance. Our collective belief that we are the owners of the land rather than its custodians has long been bolstered by the scientific conceit which suggests that we are also its masters. In the same way we have allowed ourselves to believe we can exclude spirit stuff from our scientific paradigms, we have deluded ourselves into believing we are exempt from the consequences of our misbehaviors. 

Why is our belief in the correctness of the Standard Model of physics important, and what useful purpose is served by challenging its most fundamental tenets? Because our notions about it frame our attitudes about who we are and proscribe our beliefs about what we are doing here. As long as we persist in the unwarranted, irrational and suicidal belief that the standard model is correct and sufficient, we will have no reason beyond the prospect of our own eminent extinction to change our values and do something remedial. 

In the final analysis, the wellbeing of humanity and all the rest of the life forms which live on this planet is not a matter of science or technology. Neither is it a matter which can be dealt with through politics, the enactment of laws or social engineering. Rather, it is a matter of the heart. Science without a heart has shown itself to be capable of the most egregious malignancies. That is why we persist in releasing genetically engineered plants and microbes into the ecosystem before we have any cogent idea at all what effects they will exert on the biosphere.  

That is why we persist in the ruthless campaign to eradicate Native American and other aboriginal, indigenous peoples by burying toxic nuclear waste on their sacred ground and disenfranchising their cultures. That is why we allow the governments of the world to create microbes and chemicals which have the potential, all by themselves, to utterly eradicate life on this planet.

That is why we insist on drilling for oil in the last remaining primitive wilderness areas instead of converting the accumulations of municipal waste and biomass into usable fuels. That is why we allow the research establishment to prevent viable treatments for cancer, AIDS and a whole host of life threatening diseases from being developed, commercialized and made available to the general population at reasonable prices. 

Serious questions have been raised about the likelihood that the human species will survive beyond the middle of the 21st century. Nanotechnologies, genetically engineered viruses, computers capable of real intelligence, and the relentless accumulation of radioactive pollutants are all cited as proximate causes for the demise of our species. This is a case of technology run amok. It is not a pretty picture. 

Perhaps more important is the relentless trend of converting the best and most advanced technologies, developed by the best and brightest scientists, to weapons of war and mass destruction in the name of “national security.” More than 70% of all the money expended for scientific research during the past 100 years has been dedicated or converted to this least noble of all purposes.

In fact, private research is so fundamentally threatened by the rights extended under Article 35 of the National Secrecy Act, which empowers the agencies of government to arbitrarily confiscate any technology deemed to be significant to national security issues, during the past 10 years more than 3,000 technologies described in patent applications submitted to the US Patent and Trademark Office have been summarily confiscated and classified top secret by agencies of the US government. 

Many of the technologies which have been confiscated constitute all the technologies, integrations, systems and devices which are needed to clean up the planet, eliminate our addiction to petroleum-based fuels and cure the most vexing diseases. At many of the scientific conferences and symposia I have recently attended, we find ourselves asking each other why we persist, in the face of such unrelenting madness. At the end of the day, we all know the answer.

After less than 300 years pursuing the current brand of science, which has almost exclusively been devoted to investigating the “physical stuff” described by Descartes and Newton, how have we come to be in such a horrifying state of affairs? I submit to you that we are in this mess, all of us together, precisely because the science we practice is devoid of a soul. So long as we persist in the preposterous notion that Descartes' spirit stuff can be excluded from the pursuit of knowledge, that Newton's Cosmos is a clockwork mechanism which only needs reductionist means to give up its secrets, we condemn ourselves and each other to the increasing likelihood of mutually assured destruction. 

It is time to leave the Flatland of conscienceless and unconscious scientific pursuits. It is time to move on to something greater and more noble. How do we do this? Do we have to suffer the ravages of near-extinction before we wake up and move in another direction? In this book, I have made it quite clear that a number of specific things can and must be changed in order for the practice of scientific pursuits to enable us to live more fully. The Standard Model of physics and the practices, publications and instructional materials which are used to teach the sciences must be modified to reflect the following improvements in our understanding: 

The Standard Model of physics must be modified to accommodate a whole litany of phenomena which cannot be currently explained, which includes

·        A recognition of the fundamental role of complementarity at all scales,

·        A recognition that everything is comprised fundamentally of information,

·        A recognition that the Second Postulate of the Special Theory Relativity is no longer valid. E does not equal MC squared.

·        A recognition that the speed of light is not constant and that it is not the upper limit to rates of information transfer or mass velocities.

·        A recognition that the four primary fields are not primary at all, but rather are derivatives of the underlying scalar potentials which operate at the fundament of reality-as-it-is, along with the non-local, non-linear information transport field we have chosen to call the torsion field.

·        A recognition that non-locality is an intrinsic attribute of the Cosmos and, further, that the torsion field is the mechanism which supports its functions.

·        A recognition that while the Universe is quantum by nature, it is also fractal at all scales and therefore holographic at all scales, in all respects.

·        A recognition that the Cosmos is a single, open, complex, self-organizing system, operating in real time at all scales, according to a set of simple, elegant, universal rules.

·        A recognition that the Universe is conscious, that it is, by definition self-referential and self-aware at all scales.

·        A recognition that all matter and therefore all energy arise from a causal plane of consciousness, which operates in the physical domain in both linear/local and non-linear/non-local manifestations at all scales.

·        A recognition that Mind arises from the causal plane of consciousness as a fractal manifestation of the One, operating in the time domain as a non-local/non-linear expression of reality-as-it-is.

·        A recognition that Mind couples with physicality according to a set of consistent, universal rules which are simple and elegant, and which can be measured, verified and replicated.

·        A recognition that all human consciousness is a fractal expression of the causal plane of consciousness, operating holographically as a species in all-where all-when, and as individuals which are both fundamentally similar and fundamentally distinct.

·        A recognition that species consciousness and individuated consciousness are eternal manifestations of Consciousness, pre-dating and surviving physical mortality, from lifetime to lifetime, evolving singly and together as a continuously evolving manifestation of the Great Chain of Being.

·        A recognition that human consciousness and individuation are but one expression of the Master Fractal, that by definition the Universe must contain an infinite variety of evolving species and individuated minds, evolving in an infinite number of dimensions, because that is how Nature works.        

The facts are inescapable. They have been cited and discussed. The sources are open for your inspection. We can only come to this conclusion - we are all manifestations of the same causal plane of consciousness and cannot in any meaningful sense be considered separate from each other. This is not an expression of any limp-wristed New Age nuttiness. Rather, it is the simple, elegant truth. Descartes was dead wrong when he decided physical stuff could be distinguished from spirit stuff. And until our pursuit of science recognizes how utterly irrational his conclusions were; until scientists alter their practices to include spirit stuff, we will not find the answers we are searching for. Without this fundamental revision in our thinking, we cannot hope to solve the problems which threaten our continued existence. 

There are some specific things we can do to change all this. The changes have to begin at the top of the food chain, where economic and political control are wielded. Dr. Gell-Mann and his contemporaries at the great universities, together with Stuart Kaufman at the Santa Fe Institute and other organizations like it, have to lead the way. If they do, the sources of capital they control can be directed towards research which holds the promise of reversing the current trends.

Alternative sources of energy need to be developed rather than suppressed. We must find a methadone analog for energy if we are to break our addiction to petroleum-based fuels and energy sources. This is not a matter of technology. The technology has existed for more than 50 years to efficiently convert municipal waste and biomass into usable sources of gasoline, diesel fuel, high BTU synthetic gases and phenols. New patented technologies such as Tom Bearden's Motionless Electromagnetic Generator hold the promise of limitless, utterly benign energy production for the future. There is no technical justification whatsoever for burning another drop of petroleum or cubic centimeter of natural gas.

Instead, it is a matter of will. There is no shortage of energy now and there never has been. What is true about the current conundrum is that we are simply unwilling to efficiently use the renewable energy resources which are and always have been available. The fact of the matter is that we are within striking distance of developing energy production technologies which compare with the most spectacular scientific achievements of all time. What remains, then, is for us to decide, together, whether we will allow them to be confiscated or demand that they be ubiquitously employed to replace existing, suicidal technologies.

As a community of scientists, we must somehow be empowered to pursue a new kind of scientific path, one which is characterized by conscience and enlightened consciousness. The path to this goal can be paved by some intermediate steps which include, among other things, a fundamental amelioration of the current peer review practice. Peer review is only genuinely valuable when the reviewers are not anonymous. 

Further, the trail blazed by Stuart Kaufmann and his colleagues at the Santa Fe Institute, Leo Burke, Jeff Bernel and their colleagues at Notre Dame's Gigot Institute For Entrepreneurial Studies and other similar institutions, must be carved wide and paved with financial support sufficient to embrace the curricula of all mainstream colleges and universities. We have discovered that there is nothing more irresistible or compelling than free, unfettered participation in a genuinely collegial environment.

Today's students of the sciences are a very special breed. They are brighter than we were at their age. They are altogether unintimidated by the challenges associated with acting in concert with intuition to pursue the fulfillment of their dreams. The only thing that stifles their creative genius and drive is the utterly fractionated system of higher education they are compelled to submit to in order to obtain training and credentials. The current system relies on the direction of academic advisors, virtually all of whom are tenured professors, to guide graduate and post graduate students into promising areas of research. 

Instead of encouraging the new breed of students to pursue research tracks which could provide the meat to cover the bones of our new model, the current practice restricts students to areas of research which constitute the special domain, intellectual province or territorial imperative of their advisors. Students who take the risk of venturing outside the proscribed guidelines are denied credentials and blacklisted from the professions. This is not the practice of an enlightened science - this is a suicidal intellectual tyranny.

After pursuing science for more than 300 years, after living together as a community for nearly 11,000 years, we still have not figured out how to stop annihilating each other and destroying the planet we live on. Whether you subscribe to the animistic model developed by Daniel Quinn in the Ishmael series or the transpersonal, psychological, meme-based Great Chain of Being model created by Ken Wilber, as described in his wonderful book A Theory of Everything, one thing becomes unequivocally clear: without including spirit stuff in the science we practice, we are doomed by our own stupidity, greed and short sightedness to ever more serious challenges, not the least of which is the genuine prospect of our own extinction. There simply has to be a better way.

How do we put an end to this insanity? By helping each other to become well again, one person at a time. By recognizing our fears and choosing deliberately to step past them. By looking deeply within, identifying our prejudices, forgiving each other and learning to respect each other without condition. By trusting that each of us is an expression of the same dignity and majesty which is the well spring of the Cosmos. By living consciously with this in mind.

The exercise of focused, collective consciousness is the one truly powerful tool which cannot be resisted by the exercise of will. While individual consciousness may not by itself be irresistible, the combined exercise of disciplined consciousness has been shown to exert a profound, measurable effect on entire communities and regions of conflict.  Because the Cosmos is quantum in its mechanisms, all that is really required to convert our self-destructive, suicidal behaviors into something genuinely kind and loving, is for enough of us to become well enough, whole enough, disciplined enough and personally powerful enough to exert an irresistible, quantum effect on the rest of humanity.

I am not suggesting that we impose our religious or philosophical beliefs on others. Neither am I suggesting that we should work to convert others to our own political way of seeing things. There have to be intrinsic differences in these points of view because complementarity demands it. Rather, I am suggesting that we learn to help each other without thought for reward or investment in an outcome. I am suggesting that we treat each other with kindness and compassion, that we learn to trust the process of just being, that we become so secure in our own sense of self that we can allow others to be authentic without imposing controls on them. This is a matter of understanding who we are and what we came here to do together. It is about tolerance, at the very least, and a considerable, long overdue measure of mutual respect.

In order to move to this level of engagement, each of us will have to confront and transcend our own fears and prejudices. We will have to give up our investment in bigotry and the relentless need to be right. We are compelled to learn how to forego winning at the expense of others and living in a paradigm of scarcity and lack. Most importantly, we have to learn how to be compassionate and forgiving with ourselves and each other, to give up our investment in judging others who try and fail. Trying and failing is essential to the process of learning and growing. Without repeated trials and error, we do not learn, grow or discover anything of value.

As a culture, we are not comfortable with the notion of death and dying. We ignore it, fear it, postpone doing anything about it and yet live in ways which accelerate it. We fear death for a lot of reasons, none of which are valid and all of which are based to one extent or another on the fundamental notion that our physical stuff can and ought to be distinguished from our spiritual stuff. This erroneous, self-destructive notion drives the way we practice science, the way we live, the way we treat each other and the way we deal with our mortality.

We do not, as a society, possess a set of socially acceptable skills which enable us to deal effectively with deep seated emotions such as fear, anger and frustration. There are no socially acceptable means for the expression of such feelings. In fact, we are taught from the outset that feelings of anger, fear and other deep seated emotions are simply not socially acceptable. Instead, we sublimate our repressed feelings into aggressive behaviors in the home, workplace and on the road. The world we live in is characterized by a continual, relentless bombardment of the senses with an infinite variety of mixed messages, all of which assault our sense of self and combine to render us more and more numbed to the messages that really matter.

The addition of metaphysical disciplines to the way we practice science and, by extension, to the way we live our lives, serves two useful, essential purposes. First, by learning to sit quietly, alone and in the company of others, we can turn off the noise and really hear. By closing our eyes and looking within, we can learn to really see. By slowing our pulse rates, relaxing our breathing and developing the ability to focus without effort on the things which trouble and challenge us, we can allow our individual consciousness to tap into the eternal wellspring of infinite information to find solutions and answers.

Second, by looking deeply within, we can discover who we really are. This is genuinely frightening for those who are not accustomed to such practices. The fear arises from the specious, deeply enculturated notion that there is something intrinsically shameful about who and what we are. The very last thing any of us wants to know for sure is that we are, in fact, sinful, degraded, unlovable, undeserving and valueless lumps of worthless meat. While it does no good to argue about it, I can tell you without equivocation that nothing, absolutely nothing, could be further from the truth.

There is nothing to fear, as Franklin Roosevelt once said, but fear itself. By engaging in the disciplined practice of metaphysical pursuits, in the highest and best sense of the term, the only risk we run is that we will lack the courage to heed what our inner wisdom tells us. Even that is better than believing something that was never true about ourselves and each other. And if, in the process, we can harness the innate capacity of human consciousness to tap into the infinite reservoir of knowing, which operates at the fundament of the Cosmos, why would we hesitate?

Ken Wilber has explained this notion perhaps more eloquently than anyone before or since. At the core of it all, the only reliable means by which we can hope to uncover the mysteries of the Cosmos and survive our practice of science is to develop a new methodology, which puts the ghost back in the machine. This is the challenge of the 21st century. If we do not succeed at this, who will be left to blame? 

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David G. Yurth Ph.D.