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The physics of the soul

In Insight and Experience, People, Biographies and Interviews by LivingNow1 Comment

The physics of the soul – interview with Dr Fred Alan Wolf.


Dr Fred Alan Wolf was plunged into a love of science when, as a young child, he watched in awe as the first ever atomic explosion unfolded before him on a newsreel film. This lead him on a transformational journey, which eventually plunged him head first into the strange world of quantum physics, which as it turns out is the same thing as plunging head first into the mind. Now, Dr Wolf is in the unusual position of sharing his upside-down view of the world, with an audience of millions, via his role in the ground-breaking film What the Bleep Do We Know? He also shares the astounding message of quantum physics in his books, of which he has written 12 to date, and in his many seminars around the world. Dr Fred Alan Wolf, or ‘Dr Quantum’, as he is known, will be sharing the mind-shattering scientific insights that reveal the ‘Physics of the Soul’ during his forthcoming seminars. I’m sure his lectures here will rattle a few minds. I thought I would chance an encounter with him to see if I could find out what the bleep does he know?

Dave Rivers: ‘What the Bleep Do We Know’ is being released here on DVD soon, coinciding with your tour, what are you going to be up to here in Australia?

Dr Wolf: I’m going to be talking about the soul and quantum physics. Basically, it’s to look at how we can understand soul with the understanding we now have of modern physics. Whereas, if this question was raised two hundred years ago, the understanding of the soul would be something far more difficult to talk about, because there’s nothing in the old physics which accounts for the presence of mind, and that’s sort of what I’m going to be talking about.

Dave Rivers: How has your immersion in the world of quantum physics impacted you, within yourself, in your own life?

Dr Wolf: Well, that’s a good question. There are really two answers. In one way, it has a major impact because my whole life has been dedicated to presenting these ideas, based upon a challenge that I made to myself many, many years ago. I was so fascinated with the ideas of quantum physics and what they meant, that I thought it would be useful and fun to explain to others what this was all about. Because of my unique background in both physics and, you might call it ‘performance art’, because I learnt how to do magic as a child, I used to do magic theatre, close-up card magic, and I’m a member of the Magic Castle of Los Angeles. That particular impact, the understanding of drama and the realisation of how magic is story-telling, when you put these particular things together, what better story to tell than a story of, ‘what is the universe, what’s going on here and why are we here’? It just naturally melded together. So in a way, it is my life! That’s why I say, “it kind of depends on how you want to answer it”. It really is my life. It’s my life’s work.

Dave Rivers: I’m sure you’re going to rattle some minds here in Australia.

Dr Wolf: Well, that’s my job. That’s what I do. My background has been in theoretical physics, so that’s my major interest. It also includes Eastern mysticism, the study of yoga and Hindu metaphysics and also the study of Kaballah, which is a Jewish form of mysticism which actually pre-dates even being a Jew. It goes back to the time of Abraham. He’s the Father of the Jews and the Arabs, and so it goes back to that period of time. It really is very ancient. So, both the merger of the ancient and the modern are really the sort of things I teach about.

Dave Rivers: It sounds like you’ve got a foot in the distant past and a foot in the far future.

Dr Wolf: Exactly. I spent three months in Australia on my last visit, and at the time I had just finished a book called ‘The Eagles Quest’, which was my work with shamans in various parts of the world. I spent two or three months researching Aboriginal culture because I was doing a book about dreaming and I wanted to find out about the Aboriginal concept of ‘Dreamtime’.

So, I wanted to find out more about that because my interest was – what is dreaming, and is dreaming more of a universal process? Why is it that nearly every animal dreams, well at least nearly every mammal dreams, with the exception of the whales and dolphins, and also the echidna, and why they don’t dream, we don’t know. Almost all the other mammals do, so the question is, what is dreaming, and is there some connection with spirituality? That’s really what my book ‘The Dreaming Universe’, is all about.

Dave Rivers: So, is there a connection?

Dr Wolf: Oh, definitely. There is definitely a connection. In fact, in the way that I’ve created what appears to be a connection, maybe I’ve created this connection, I don’t know, I don’t think so, I think I’m seeing something that’s there, that dreaming is necessary for an animal to develop a sense of its own presence.

Dave Rivers: So you feel that the sense of self is intimately linked with the dream world, so that our waking sense of self, day-to-day sense of self is somehow born in our dream life?

Dr Wolf: Yes. There are many clues, which tell me that this is the case. First of all, there is the Aboriginal spiritual legend that the Great Spirit dreamed all this into existence. The land of Australia is a sacred land in which the Great Spirit currently abides and lives and sleeps, and is awakened from time to time – particularly when an Aboriginal woman has found out she’s pregnant, and feels life emerging in her as she goes out on walkabout. And she feels this presence of a life within her, and she says “ah, that’s the spirit of the land at this particular spot, that’s now inside of me”. So, the whole idea of the dreaming spirit awakens in birth.

Dave Rivers: And then she knows who she is, when she feels that the dream has been awakened…

Dr Wolf: Then she knows who she is, and who the child is, right. But, what’s interesting is that the first state of consciousness of the foetus, is the dream.

Dave Rivers: How so?

Dr Wolf: Well, we checked to see what the foetus is doing when we first notice, and can first measure, what is called REM – Rapid Eye Movement. They’re doing rapid eye movement, when there’s nothing to see!

Dave Rivers: So, maybe when we go to sleep at night we’re returning to something more fundamental.

Dr Wolf: You’re getting very close to what seems to be fundamental. There seems to be a need to go back to that state between birth and death, or that state between awakening and sleep. That state of first origination, and the dream may be very well the seed, or the focal point, or the fulcrum, where those two areas are connected. So, I think it’s fascinating, and when I bring in quantum physics, it becomes even more fascinating, because I begin to think about how it is the observer – which is the key idea in quantum physics – how the observer even arises in a state of dreaming. And I think I see some insights there as well. I wrote about that in ‘The Dreaming Universe’, and I’ll be talking more about that when I come to Australia.

Dave Rivers: The world of mysticism, I understand that’s something you’ve explored, personally. You’ve been through some profound encounters, where you were suddenly transported to an entirely different realm. Well it sounds to me like that kind of completely nebulous experience is possibly manifesting outwardly physically in the world of tangibility.

Dr Wolf: I think we’re seeing more of that. It’s still, for some, remote, and there are still places where people are trying to just survive, but eventually, I don’t think survival is going to be the only question that we’re going to be raising. I think that we’ll eventually solve that problem. People won’t have to worry about finding breathable air and drinkable water and enough food and shelter. I think we’re eventually going to solve that problem. I don’t see it as being of any value to the world to have societies in which there are ‘have nots’. This is happening to such an extent that people are deprived of what I consider to be the five essentials that a human being, every human being born, has the right to have. And they are: proper shelter, proper food, proper air, proper water, proper clothing. When any human being is denied any of those, then the society in which that’s allowed, still has problems it has not worked out. And these have to be solved because, when those basic needs are satisfied, then I think that the problems that we see, such as terrorism, would not be taking place.

Religion has, up to now, been a kind of false cloud upon which the weary, and those without, have been able to place their faith, in order to get some hope. And it’s usually been a false hope, unfortunately. The poor may believe in God, but they die poor. They may think, “well, we’re going to go to heaven”, and that’s the blessing that’s going to come. The demented may think, “if I kill enough people, I will live with 75 virgins, I’ll be eating wonderful food, and having whatever I want in heaven”. Or some other insanity of that sort, which these are the kinds of false hopes that come from depraved thinking, based upon the lack of basic elements that we need. Once the world figures this out, the need for terrorism, the need for destructive behaviour, will diminish to a point where, the only place we’re going to see it, is maybe on football fields and boxing matches.

Dave Rivers: That sounds like a wonderful vision.

Dr. Wolf: Well, I can’t see any reason why it shouldn’t take place. It’s insane to me, that in a world like ours, that we should have to have this kind of situation. I don’t see that humankind is in a state where that is inevitable. I don’t see it as inevitable that we have to have this kind of suffering. There’s enough suffering, even when you have everything satisfied, there’s still suffering, so we don’t need to have unnecessary suffering.

Dave Rivers: Let me ask one last question. What is the most important understanding a person could have about this whole world of quantum physics?

Dr Wolf: It gives us faith in our own empowerment. When people realise that reality is not something that is out there, independent of the observer of reality, it opens up the door to a way in which we can realise that through our actions of observation, reality that is perceived by us, has actually been created by us.

One of the most common things that the criminal mind says is, “well, the reason I did it is because, you made me do it. You did it to me and that’s why I just had to protect myself. You were the cause of my misery”.

Eventually people realise that this cannot be possible, that another individual can’t be the cause of your misery, and that the only cause of your misery is your own. That’s maybe hard to accept when you first hear it, but when you get in touch with what it is that the mind is doing, then you can begin to see how it can be true. Then once you see it, it empowers you.

I think that kind of empowerment is necessary to lift people out of the doldrums of the inevitability of the failure of their life. Tragically, it’s how a lot of people feel –life is horrible when you live it, and then you die. So, horror show after horror show. It’s true that from the new way of thinking, it doesn’t mean that you’re not going to have pain. It doesn’t mean that everything is going to go exactly the way that you want it. But you can understand why and how it works, and that’s where I think quantum physics and some of the things that I’m teaching, can be of use to people if they want to learn that stuff.

David Rivers, is a freelance writer, and spiritual journalist, who specialises in the subject of consciousness and the relationship of spiritual awakening to our daily life.

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