Journey Into Infinity
William C. Gough
Robert Bourdeaux, Illustrator
Updated May 8, 2006.
Over the last 15 years, I have presented many papers to the International Conference on the Study of Shamanism and Alternative Modes of Healing. The goal of this paper is to summarize much of that material and present the ideas and research in a visual way. The illustrator is Robert Bourdeaux who has transformed the ideas into a visual format and contributed to the development of the overall presentation. This paper is in honor of and dedicated to the memory of two important co-authors of my previous work: Dr. Robert Shacklett and Dr. Dean Brown.
"Journey into infinity is a chronicle of my adventures along the bridge that modern science is building to address the inter-relationship between the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of Nature (Fig.1). This is a story: a story of many tales about "how things are." This paper is my version of that story. Why should this story be told? Because people inevitably wonder, at least a little bit, about how things got to be the way they seem to be. We yearn, maybe not always consciously, to feel that we're able to know the answers. As the storyteller, I have set out the ideas that I have found to satisfy my own yearnings. These "How-Things-Are" tales are intended to be received as more or less accurate descriptions of reality. But remember, what is ... is.
The stories that we think of as "science" tend to take that last statement as their starting point and claim at least in large measure to be honest descriptions of "what is." Science tries to discover and tell what is actually true or real, without regard to what the storyteller would like to be true, or how the storyteller would like to be thought of by his or her audience. The science storyteller counts on being perceived as a teller-of-truth, an honest and unbiased witness to the workings of Nature. Thus, our goal is to explore what can and can't science do to help us address questions like: Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going? and What is the meaning of life and death?
This story grows out of my own personal experiences and observations, but I will refer throughout to the observations of others that I feel should be considered as trustworthy guides. Modern society generally concurs in affording science and the "classical scientific method" am eminent role in providing reliable descriptions of reality. Practicing scientists are human of course, and can be affected by the biases and blind spots of the society at large and/or even professional colleagues. However, established research procedures and protocols tend, over time, to correct for a lot of the biases or at least we hope so. By personal temperament and training (and as a member of that society) I too place my confidence in the scientific approach to developing useful working definitions of "what is." I tell this story as a person trained in the "classical scientific method" at a good university (Princeton) with over thirty years of broad work experience in the world of traditional science.
I think it's helpful to remember that the theories and laws generated by the scientific endeavor, while tested and retested are able to afford predictability in their specific areas, are but models, and not the "things in themselves," much as a picture of a tree, or the word "tree" represent a model and not a real tree. For that matter, the tree that we think we know is not that thing in its totality. Our language prompts us to use a noun to identify it, but we could just as easily discuss it as continuing processes and interactions. The tree is always "treeing." A model (or a noun), while useful and instructive, can sometimes seduce us into thinking the game is over and discourage us from digging deeper. There are cultures on this planet such as Native American whose language is "process" based rather than "noun" based and this alters the way they think and consequently, their models of reality (Peat, 1994).
The story I am about to tell grows from many roots outside of traditional science where wisdom and data have accumulated. It is a personal story and reflects the evolution of my belief system as rooted in mainstream science. When a consensus paradigm shifts course, it always starts at the individual level. The clues or guides to my personal belief changes came from four sources. 1) My knowledge of modern science, 2) Recognition of the mysteries and underlying assumptions of modern science, 3) Appreciation of the wisdom of ancient science and religions, and 4) Experiences that have expanded the boundaries of my perception --"white crows." William James said: "If you wish to upset the law that all crows are black .. it is enough if you prove one single crow to be white."
The format I will use to tell the story involves myself and two young persons that start on this "Journey Into Infinity" by asking questions. One, Mary, is an inquisitive searcher, the other, Joe, a show-me type doubter.
What is Science
Joe: I hear so much about what science can do, but what is science?
Bill: Science is really the interplay between data and models (Fig. 2). The models are always simulating reality and they are always tentative. For example, they change over time (Fig. 3). The airplane evolved from the Wright brothers flying machines, to the bi-planes, to modern jets, the space shuttle. Just as in engineering, our models in physics have evolved. We used to think of the atom as being a ball, then as being like a planetary system, and currently as being essentially waves and non-definable in conventional physical terms.
Mary: So old models get discarded because they are no longer useful?
Bill: No, not necessarily. Sometimes they are very useful in specific applications. For example, in 1913 Bohr set forth a theory to account for the position of the planetary electrons in the atom. This simple picture showing electrons revolving around the nucleus of the atom in definite orbital levels remains a useful concept in chemistry, even though quantum mechanics has cleared up many of the difficulties not explainable by the Bohr theory.
Joe: But what we need is "proof." There would be no science if you didn't have "proof." Isn't that correct?
Bill: Let's consider the question of what we mean by "proof." Science is based upon data and data comes from measurements. No measurement can ever be "perfect," therefore there always exists a statistical distribution of the measured data (Fig. 4). That statistical distribution becomes wider as you get into the more complex sciences, particularly in the life sciences. Thus, there is never "absolute proof." However, in science we can try to hit the "target" (Fig. 5). When we do achieve sufficient repeatability, i.e., all the darts are in the inner circle, we can say that we have essentially "proven" something. But we've never really proved anything, we've just gained more confidence under a given set of conditions.
What Came Before the "Big Bang?"
Mary: So what do we look at first? There must have been something before the universe was created by the Big Bang. Does science answer this question?
Bill: Of course, we can never know for sure, but using the data we have we can create models. Indeed, models and theories of modern science are now beginning to address this question. However, ancient science and religions always considered the question. Let me focus on a model that I developed with Dr. Robert Shacklett and Dr. Dean Brown, two quantum physicists (Shacklett & Gough, 1991; Gough & Shacklett, 1993; Gough & Shacklett, 1997; Gough & Brown, 2001; Gough & Brown, 2002). There are a number of other models that address the same or similar questions.
Joe: Ancient science and religion? Sounds like you are on pretty shaky ground!
Bill: Maybe, but we think there is data from many fields of research that provide support. Our key hypothesis is that there exists an underlying unity, a substructure or foundation that underpins the entire universe (Fig. 6). This is the domain of "unbounded potential" that we and the ancients have called the Absolute (Gough & Dean, 2001). It is and always will be; there is no time, no space, only complete interconnectiveness. As we continue our journey, I will present scientific support for the properties of the Absolute. However, the concepts that we are providing scientific support for are not new. For example, a papyrus, dating from 312 B.C., contains the Egyptian creation story, in which the world arises out of a limitless primeval sea, described in another text as "the infinite, the nothingness, the nowhere, and the dark" (Krauss, 1986, p.5).
Mary: Is the Absolute without any patterns?
Bill: Not quite. Of course, we can't observe the Absolute as a separate object. Yet we try to do just that by using the word to label it. The reason we can't observe the Absolute is because we are of it, in it, and it is in us. We only contemplate it, for example, as our eyes can only see themselves in a mirror. Cosmic laws (Brown & Wiegand, 2002), poetry, music, scripture, and even the use of the label, can each act as the mirroring process -- the means by which we can seek to experience or "awaken to" the Absolute. We can recognize that the Absolute is the home of the unknowable, the origin of spirit, the source of intuition, unmanifest forms, sacred symbols and sounds, and archetypes (Fig. 7). It is truly a domain of unbounded potential. Although we can gain understanding of aspects of the Absolute there will always remain an unknowable aspect.
Can Science Ever Explain Everything?
Joe: I thought science was supposed to be able to answer all questions -- develop a theory of everything. Are you telling me that science can never do that?
Bill: Yes! We are moving from a belief in "certainty" to a belief in "uncertainty" in modern science (Fig. 8). Newtonian classical science implied that we could achieve "certainty." However, Heisenberg's "Uncertainty Principle" in quantum theory dictates that no matter how refined are the measurements, the level of uncertainty can never be reduced (Peat, 2002, pp.1-51). Thus, no matter how hard scientists try, they can never get data that does not involve uncertainty. In addition, for our mental process of developing models and theories, Godel's Theorem has showed that mathematics is both incomplete and inconsistent (Peat, 2002 pp.40-51 & 217-221; Negel & Newman, 1958).
Mary: But at least science understands the basic makeup of our universe -- the planets, the stars, and the galaxies, doesn't it?
Bill: No, as astronomers observe the total mass and energy of the universe they freely admit that they don't understand the cosmos. As shown in Fig 9 what is now called Dark Energy, a form of negative gravity that is pulling the universe apart represents 73% of the total, and Dark Matter which consists of individual particles of unknown properties represents another 23%, ordinary matter represents the remaining 4%. Of that 4% of ordinary matter black holes, subatomic particles, and invisible gases represent 3.6%, and the visible stars and planets that astronomers can detect represent only 0.4% (Ostriker & Steinhardt, 2003; Rees & Natarajan, 2003). The universe is truly a mystery!
Joe: But these numbers will change as science obtains new and better instrumentation. The uncertainty is only that we haven't learned enough yet.
Bill: That's correct, the models and numbers will change as science evolves and we develop a better understanding of the universe. However, our journey into infinity requires that we recognize that there are two types of uncertainty. As you have pointed out Joe, the first represents a measure of our ignorance. However, the second type of uncertainty represents an inherent property of Nature. Uncertainty in quantum theory is absolute and irreducible. It lies at the heart of the quantum universe. We could say that uncertainty is the price we pay for becoming participators in the world (Peat, 2002).
Joe: I don't believe in that second type of uncertainty. In fact I don't believe that this so called "quantum reality" really exists. I just don't experience the "uncertainty" that you say quantum theory predicts. Everything I experience, like a table for instance, is made up of particle of matter, or functions because there are waves like radio waves. There is no uncertainty -- an atom is an atom.
Bill: In one sense you are right, quantum theory, like other scientific theories of the past, will eventually be replaced by more inclusive models of reality. As we discussed earlier, the data that supports a successful theory like quantum mechanics provides us with an increased understanding of Nature. Also, physicists usually model Nature in terms of either particles or waves. However, the uncertainty predicted by quantum theory has been encountered in physics experiments. A defining experiment in quantum physics was the Double-Slit Experiment which gave insight into the underlying nature of the physical universe. One of the most famous American physicists, Richard Feynman, believed that the results of the double-slit experiment represent the fundamental mystery of quantum mechanics. The experiment (Fig. 10) addressed the question of whether a photon of light is a wave or particle. The experimental results were surprising but have been repeated many times. When both slits were open the beam of photons produced an interference pattern characteristic of waves, when one slit was blocked, the beam of photons produced the characteristic effect of a beam of particles hitting a detector. What if instead of a continuous beam of particles we send only one electron or proton at a time through the double-slit? Again, the pattern of single point-like flashes gradually became a wave-like interference pattern, as if each electron had somehow split in half and passed through both slits. It doesn't even appear to matter how much time is taken between sending the single particles, the wave interference pattern still appears. Thus, we have the famous wave/particle duality of quantum physics.
Mary: But isn't an atom still a particle?
Bill: That's an interesting question, because the mystery didn't go away as scientists repeated the double-slit experiment first with electrons, then with neutrons, and then with atoms. All of these "particles" also behaved as waves. Scientists have even done similar experiments with molecules. They used a so called "bucky ball" which is a molecule of about sixty atoms of carbon arranged in a structure resembling a geodesic dome. The same mysterious wave interference pattern again appeared (Aczel, 2002, pp.17-26).
Mary: Are you telling me that whether something is a particle or wave depends upon the scientist's experimental set-up?
Bill: Yes, and a very important point! But there is more to the story. Other double-slit experiments of a different kind were performed that effectively removed the intervention of a detecting device in the path of the photon. Amazingly the results were influenced by the mere possibility that the experimentalist could take actions, even if he doesn't take these actions. Thus, these data indicate that the mental act of how the scientists set up the experiment can influence future events (Mandel, 1991). For centuries science has viewed the universe as if we were outside and looking in at it -- as if we were separated from it by a window pane of glass. Quantum theory smashed that glass. We are no longer objective observers of the universe, we have become participants in its evolution. (Peat, 2002, p.14) A renowned physicist, Dr. John Archibald Wheeler, asked a significant question about the double-slit experiment. What if a scientist changes the experimental set-up AFTER the photon has traveled most of the way to its destination?
Joe: Well the photon knows before it starts out what it is going to be. When the beam starts out towards a single slit, we know it will behave as particles. When the beam starts out towards a double slit we know it will behave as waves. So what is the mystery?
Bill: But does the photon really know how it is going to behave? What if the scientists inject their intention after the beam has started its journey. The experiment to test this has become known as Wheeler's Delayed Choice Experiment (Fig. 11). The results of the experiments demonstrated that after the particles were on their way, our change of the experimental set-up determined the outcome. In effect, we have reached back into the past when the photon started its journey and determined, after the fact, how it will behave (Aczel, 2002). Or maybe we haven't gone back in time. Maybe there isn't a particle out there, and maybe there isn't a wave out there. What is there may depend upon how we choose to describe, measure, or think about it. The perceived "certainty" of science has slowly dissolved into uncertainty.
Our Physical World -- Bigger Than You Think
Joe: You have talked about the uncertainty within science and how we model reality. I think you are getting too philosophical. What does this spaceless-timeless Absolute have to do with how I experience my life?
Bill: We view the Absolute as the foundation from which the space and time that we all agree upon emerged. The Absolute is both the origin of the Big Bang and the creation process as represented in Fig 12. The creation process is dynamic. In modern science space and time are treated as one, and space-time is continually evolving. Because everything in space-time remains linked to the Absolute, remote viewing, precognition, and retroactive intention ("backward-in-time" direct mental influences) are possible. There exists a great deal of research data that support the existence of such phenomena (Jahn & Dunne, 1987; Targ & Katra, 1998; Braud, 2003). As many people have these experiences but don't understand why they are possible, I will discuss some of this research later.
Joe: I haven't had any of these experiences, and I don't even believe they can happen. How relevant is this "journey?"
Mary: Joe, I have had some of these experiences and even some that haven't been mentioned, so I want to continue on the journey.
Bill: Mary, you told me once that you had a near-death experience. To appreciate what happened you must look at the data indicating that space-time is much more encompassing than we normally realize. In the model that Drs. Shacklett, Dean, and I have used, we view space-time as consisting of multiple interpenetrating levels that are always present. These levels arise out of the Absolute (Fig. 13).
Joe: I have no idea what you mean by "interpenetrating levels." Can you explain what you are talking about?
Bill: Let me give you an analogy for what I mean by "interpenetrating levels" (Fig. 14.), since they are something you are experiencing this very moment. Yet you are not aware of the experience because it is not consciously apparent other than by its detectable effects. For example, imagine a man sitting in his living room in a lounge chair watching his football game on TV and also listening to it on his radio (Fig. 15). He has his remote to change channels and is talking to a friend on his cell phone. The sun is shining through the window and the lamp next to him is ready to be turned on as the sun sets. Our happy couch potato is not aware of the existence of an entire electromagnetic spectrum of waves passing through the room (Fig. 16). All that he perceives with his eyes is the visible spectrum of light. The other interpenetrating waves -- the cosmic waves of the sun, the infrared from his remote, the microwave transmission to his cell phone, the TV signal, and low frequency radio waves -- he is only aware of because he has electronic instruments that produce effects like sound and images that he can experience (Fig. 17).
Mary: Can scientists measure phenomena at these other "interpenetrating levels." Are there instruments that can do that?
Bill: I view these "interpenetrating levels" as different three-dimensional space-times with different physical properties like different speeds of light (Gough & Shacklett, 1999). Therefore, they can't be directly measured with physical instruments. Since we are constrained at this level to a single speed of light, only secondary effects can be detected by our physical instruments. Yet, humans have the capability of sensing these levels of space-time; of perceiving beyond the ordinary input to our five senses. It is these other "interpenetrating levels" of space-time that are often considered to be the homes of our ancestors, spirits, and other organized intelligences.
Joe: Do you have any evidence that "organized intelligences" exist at all and especially outside of the physical world that I experience?
Bill: The question that you are really asking is what lies beyond the veil -- is there such a thing as life after life. This question has been pondered for eons. The current evidence supporting the existence for levels of "spirit worlds" comes from many research areas. When taken as a whole, it provides a rather convincing story. In addition to the more than a century of investigations into channeling and mediumship, there are recent data from the field of thanatology (the scientific study of death and dying), research on out-of-body and especially near-death experiences, the study of comatose patients, reincarnation research with children, and finally the use of electronic devices to receive information from the spirit level (Gough & Shacklett, 1999). You can dismiss this "data" because our instruments can only detect secondary effects, like brain or heart wave patterns. But I don't consider this to be either a rational or scientific way to address this type of data.
Mary: Do you think that there are differences between the levels?
Bill: We are now moving into a much more speculative area. It is purported that "individuals" on the next level have a "body" composed of finer matter and vibrations than our physical body and that their thoughts create their reality. I suspect that we are dealing with a hierarchical order of levels of space-time that results in the conscious connection to the Absolute increasing. This would suggest that intelligences at the higher levels have a greater appreciation of the interconnected wholeness. In effect they become more "Godlike." Some have been called "angels" because they serve as messengers of wisdom.
Joe: This sounds pretty metaphysical. How is modern science addressing this "multi-level universe?"
Bill: It sounds metaphysical because we are using data that the physical sciences cannot measure directly to guide us in the model building. Modern scientific models are in effect using higher dimensions as a way of addressing a hierarchical order of levels of space-time. Imagine a three dimensional hand going through a two dimensional sheet (Fig. 18). In the two dimensional world each of the circles created by the fingers appears separate from the others. But by moving to the three dimensional world of the hand, you discover that the circles are only cross-sections of fingers, and all the fingers are connected. Scientists continue to develop new models to extend or replace the current models and theories of physics (Fig. 19). In physics higher dimensionality is often used to achieve this increasing interconnectiveness for example in "Superstring" and "Twistor" theories and their extensions (Greene, 1999; Peat, 1988). These extra dimensions help unify the forces of nature and could even contain parallel universes (Arkani-Hamed, et. al., 2000). Indeed, today "(string) theory seems to be able to give rise to many different worlds, of which ours seems to be potentially one, but not even necessarily a very special one" (Green, 2003, p.73). An alternative approach that extends quantum theory is Dr. David Bohm's theory. Bohm introduces the "implicate or enfolded order," "active information" and a series of "explicate orders or unfolded orders." Bohm gives a physical analogy using two concentric glass cylinders with a highly viscous fluid between. As the outer cylinder is turned very slowly a drop of insoluble ink is placed in the fluid. As the cylinder turns the drop eventually becomes invisible -- it is enfolded. When the cylinder is turned in the opposite direction, the drop slowly returns to its original form -- it is unfolded (Bohm, 1980). One can relate the enfolded "implicate order" to the Absolute, the feedback from the Absolute to "active information", and the levels of physicality that we have been talking about to the "explicate orders" that are "unfolded" from the Absolute.
Joe: Are physicists the only physical scientists addressing these questions?
Bill: No, for example, Dr. William Tiller, a leading scientist on the structure of matter and former chairman of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford University has developed a model based upon his expertise and experiments (Tiller, 1997). In his latest book Tiller discusses experimental research where a specific intention is imprinted into a simple electrical device. In addition, they observe that such devices cause some type of "conditioning" to occur in the surrounding space which changes the baseline upon which physical measurements are made (Tiller, Dibble, & Kohane, 2001).
Mary: You are losing me with this discussion of physics and scientific models.
Bill: Sorry! I just wanted you to realize how incomplete modern science really is and give you a sample of the new models and theories being developed to better understand Nature. These conceptual theories often employ new jargon that make them especially confusing to the lay person. The reason that there is so much interest in these new theories is that the current sets of "laws" at the foundation of modern science are incompatible. Relativity theory that explains gravity and the cosmos conflicts with quantum mechanics that explains the forces of the very small. It's like living in a city with two sets of rules governing the traffic lights -- does green mean go or does red mean go? Another new theory specifically designed to address that conflict is "loop quantum gravity" which assumes that space and time are not continuous but actually come in discrete pieces (Smolin, 2004). These new theories are providing alternative ways to understand our universe. They are creating serious consideration in mainstream physics of ideas like the possibility of multiple universes and the relationship between information, energy, and matter, and hence life.
The Multidimensional Human
Mary: How does this all relate to me?
Bill: Recall our discussion about interpenetrating levels. What we envision is that everything in the material world is a multi-level, multi-dimensional object whether it be cells, plants, the Earth or us. Thus, we are multi-dimensional bodies in continuous contact with the Absolute (Fig. 20). We can consider our multi-level body to be a series of surrounding energy bodies. The degree to which a living system is consciously aware of the different multi-levels of the universe creates the difference between the mineral, plant, animal, and human "kingdoms" (Fig. 21).
Joe: What is the difference between an animal and a human?
Bill: A characteristic of the brain represents the major difference that distinguishes humans from animals. It is the very large frontal lobes of humans. They enable humans to engage in "rational" thought-processing -- to reason, imagine, remember, etc. How we use this capability is a double edged sword. We can create fictions that become realities such as "enemies," "foreigners," etc. that hijack our deeper instincts. Or we can focus our thoughts and thereby "tune" our frontal lobes to help us become aware of the multi-level universe and our interconnectiveness. Such a person is often called a sensitive because they can perceive the energy fields at these other levels. An example of a sensitive who is also an exceptional artist is Alex Grey. In his beautiful book, Sacred Mirrors, Alex Grey illustrates his perception of these energy fields at various levels (Grey, 1990) (Fig. 22). His illustration of the "energy body" that exists in the material world is the normally unobserved "etheric body" in our model.
Mary: Can this "energy body" be observed by instrumentation?
Bill: Yes. Since it is a field structure in the physical world, scientific instruments can actually detect this electromagnetic field, which is sometimes called an "aura," that extends beyond our material body. This energy field is believed to serve as the overall coordinating control system for our physical body and its self-organizational properties. It's interpenetrating aspects in your physical body have been mapped by the ancients as the meridian and acupuncture system (Hyland, 2003; Ellis, Wiesman, & Boss, 1989; Mann, 1973).
The Significance of a Multi-Level Universe
Joe: Even if I assume that such "energy bodies" exist, what do they have to do with my life and how I live?
Bill: The world that we are so sure is out there depends upon an interior construction that we develop in our brains. Human facility of perception, the act of knowing what our senses have discovered, is based upon the filters we have developed and our experiences (Bolles, 1991). This determines how you perceive and approach life. How you live. However, your ability to perceive the other levels of space-time and their source, the Absolute, can be developed through increasing awareness. As this occurs your approach to life and its meaning will change (Fig. 23). When our inner journey takes us to the "roof" for a better view we experience the vastness of the Absolute -- of infinity. We merge with the Absolute -- there is no "you," no "I," only a sense of oneness.
Joe: What does science have to say about this "inner journey?"
Bill: Remember that current scientific instruments can only measure secondary effects resulting from these other levels, however, brain research is giving us important clues. Not so long ago science knew little about how the normal brain functioned. Today, a scientific understanding of the functioning of the brain no longer requires dangerous intrusions, rather the brain's functioning can now be monitored using sophisticated computer-driven imaging techniques such as positron emission tomography (PET scan), single proton emission computed tomography (SPECT scan), and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Using these new technologies neuroscientists have studied what happens in the brain when a person "merges with the Absolute." The imaging studies have shown that what we call "reality" happens in the brain, and while the imaging studies do not prove the existence of higher spiritual levels, they do strongly indicate that to the brain, these states are as real as any other (Newberg, D'Aquili, & Rause, 2002).
Mary: Has anyone described how we change as we take this "inner journey?"
Bill: Recently, the Futurist, Dr.Oliver Markley, developed a model that describes this evolutionary process of progression as we "tune our brains" towards the Absolute (Markley, 2003). He describes the process as follows. At first we are motivated primarily upon a "win-lose" competition between "I and it." Polar opposites are the norm. There is a defined good and an evil. Relationships follow a pattern of domination and/or submission. At the next level a proactive "win/win" collaboration between "I and Thou" prevails. The path to success is through the practice of compassionate acceptance, cooperation and sharing. All polar opposites integrate holistically. This strategy of conflict resolution has been researched under the mathematics of game theory. Eventually, there exists in us a knowingness that we are a part of a Unity Consciousness originating within an eternal now-ness -- beyond space and time. We experience a total awareness that no separation of self exists and encounter a peace and love that passes understanding. At this level there is a transcendence of all polar opposites including good and evil -- the ultimate motivation resides in the One -- the Unity Consciousness that I have called the Absolute.
Mary: Do we have any scientific evidence that there are organized intelligences at other levels?
Bill: If the universe consists of organized intelligences at other levels as we have proposed, then communication with them would be via the Absolute (Gough & Shacklett, 1999). However, the question of the existence of spirits, i.e., organized intelligences at other levels, is one that mainline science has painstakingly avoided. Yet, the accumulated evidence from a series of research areas, when taken as a whole, provides a rather convincing story that supports the belief of ancient civilizations and religious traditions in the existence of a spirit world. Let's briefly explore some recent evidence of life after death. A series of scientific experiments was recently carried out at the University of Arizona under the direction of Dr. Gary E. Schwartz (Schwartz, 2002). They used mediums and "sitters" to make contacts with spirit entities residing at the other levels of space-time (Fig 24).
Joe: But did they do a double blind experiment?
Bill: Yes! One of the series of experiments that they did was double blind (Fig 25). In that experiment they had six sitters and one medium. The medium was "blind" to who the sitters would be. A half hour before the sitter arrived, the medium did a precognitive reading. The medium and sitter were at different locations. A telephone connection was made but the line was made mute so that the medium would not hear the sitter's voice and the sitter would not hear the medium's voice. The medium talked into a tape recorder. In addition the experimenters were "blind" to the order in which the six sitters were to be run. After this phase of the experiment was completed, the medium and sitter talked on the phone regarding the precognitive reading. The phone calls, muting, taping, and transcripts were not done by the experimenters but by other staff members. After the medium's statements were transcribed, each sitter was mailed two unmarked transcripts for evaluation to identify if either reading reflected elements of themselves. One transcription was of their reading, and a second one was of another sitter to serve as a control or "placebo" transcript.
Mary: What were the results?
Bill: Based upon the scoring by the sitters, the overall average for the six sitters was 60% accuracy for the precognitive readings and a 65% accuracy for the "silent sitter" period readings. However, one sitter was also a medium who assisted in the establishment of the contacts with the "spirit world." In this case because of this individual's pre-existing sensitivity and training there was an 87% accuracy for the precognitive reading and an 83% accuracy for the silent sitter period reading. The controls exhibited zero accuracy.
Joe: Aren't there alternative options for these results?
Bill: Yes. For example, it could be mind reading between the medium and the sitter, suggesting information already known to the sitter. However, the experimental data shows that information was sometimes received by the medium that the sitter disagreed with or didn't yet know about but later turned out to be correct. Or, maybe there exists in the universe a "universal" memory bank, sometimes called the "Akashic Records," that is being tapped by the medium. Yet, the information being received did not appear to be static or dead like the information stored on a hard drive, a tape, or a compact disk. These are already "far out" explanations, can you suggest any other options?
Mary: No, but I don't need to, since I have experienced such contacts and see the likelihood of this explanation and model.
Joe: How can science show the existence of the various levels that you claim are arising from the Absolute since you said that we can't measure them directly, but only perceive them?
Bill: Waves serve as the common language that science uses to connect the aspects of reality that we ordinarily are not consciously aware. In effect we have arising from the Absolute multiple spectrums of waves that overlap to define and create what we perceive as Nature. The patterns resulting from these wave interactions in the universe is what science models and measures (Fig. 26). In space-time the patterns are continuously changing due to the results of "time," these include the conscious interventions of humans. Dr. David Bohm called the process a holomovement (Bohm, 1980).
Mary: Why do you choose to look at everything in the cosmos from the viewpoint of waves and not as particles?
Bill: Because whether it be physical matter, mental thoughts, or the potentials of the Absolute, each can be modeled by the use of waves. In effect, waves create fields that bring patterns and forms to the areas they influence. An analogy would be the patterns created on a sheet of paper on which you sprinkle iron filings and then pass a magnet under. Another example would be a steel plate on which you place sand and then strike the plate -- the ringing sound creates a mandala like pattern in the sand on the plate. This process can be interpreted as a transference of information since waves can carry information. For example, as explained by electromagnetic theory, the "information" waves used by radio, TV, and cell phones create a "field of influence" which, as you probably have noticed when using your cell phones, falls off with distance from the source. There are other probably non-electromagnetic fields such as the one's that cause perceivable effects upon us when in the presence of a truly spiritual individual, or a sacred place. Beyond this, science now has studies of the effects of collective prayer or intent that I will tell you about later.
Mary: I don't understand what is the relationship between the waves that you are talking about and the physical forms of everything I see in this room? Can you explain this?
Bill: Raising the topic of "form" introduces the issue of how information transmission contributes to making two and three dimensional forms. Modern science has done a great job of relating matter to energy but has largely neglected information in its theories of fundamental physics. Yet, where would we be without the informational content of the DNA molecule? However, there is a current trend in physics, initiated by Dr. John A. Wheeler of Princeton University, "to regard the physical world as made of information, with energy and matter as incidentals" (Bekenstein, 2003). In fact, mathematicians have developed a theory called "drum theory" (Peterson, 1998; Gordon & Webb, 1996). According to drum theory any form or pattern can be converted into a spectrum of waves -- and vice versa, any spectrum of waves can be converted into the patterns of matter (Fig. 27). In this theory, waves have been shown to be a more encompassing modeling mechanism since it has been demonstrated that a given spectrum of waves can make more than one form (Cipra, B., 1992). Science has always used spectrums of waves to determine the composition of distant stars, no one physically visits a star to check out its material content.
Joe: So let's agree that everything at all the levels of space-time that you suggest can be represented by waves. What is the mechanism for energy and information to be transferred between them?
Bill: Science agrees that everything in the universe is vibrating, and new waves are continually being created. The interaction mechanism between levels is the phenomenon known as resonance. Wave resonance provides the connection between levels of space-time and the Absolute (Gough & Dean, 2001). It is the process by which energy and information is transferred. Resonance is a common phenomenon in everyday life (Fig. 28). When you hit a C tone on a piano, there is a resonant transfer of energy and all other C's start to vibrate. Other examples are pendulum clocks on a wall that all begin to synchronize their swings, or women in a dormitory whose menstrual cycles all begin to occur on the same day. Resonance can just happen without our being aware of the phenomenon, and it can be created by conscious choice. The most familiar symbol of resonance is Cupid shooting an arrow into a heart. It represents his facilitating the resonance of love, that deep attraction that can occur between two people. With intention and sincere feeling we can consciously choose to impart love and healing to another. The resonant process operates via the Absolute, therefore distance and time are no barriers. This is why our thoughts, what and how we think, are important, because they initiate a resonant feedback process with the Absolute.
Mary: You said there was no "time" in the Absolute, yet I'm now experiencing the passing of time. What can science tell me about time?
Bill: The potentials for form always exist in the "timeless" Absolute, but within space-time the forms come into existence over a period of "time." There is an "arrow of time" that emerges from the Absolute (Fig. 29). It is a characteristic of the physical world that time has a direction -- time passes. Each individual has two ways of experiencing reality: with an arrow of time in the physical, or without time in the Absolute where one can move forward or backward in "time." Our perception of time changes, slows down, as we experientially move through the levels of space-time and into the Absolute. People often experience the slowing of time during a car accident or an earthquake.
Joe: Can you explain to me what time really is?
Bill: Our scientific theories used to describe Nature address time both with and without a directional arrow (Fig. 30). The question of "time" has been a major mystery and topic of discussion in science over the years (Barbour, 2000; Hawking & Penrose, 1996; Morris, 1984). In the three pillars of modern physics -- relativity theory, electromagnetic theory, and quantum theory -- there is no arrow of time; time does not have a direction and the equations yield both a plus and a minus time. Each theory is represented via waves, and to get meaningful results, "boundary conditions" must be imposed that fix the limits over which the equations of the theory operate. Quantum theory, which is sometimes called quantum mechanics, or wave mechanics, incorporates a "timeless connection," or an "inherent connectiveness" known as "non-locality" and we can discuss this in greater detail later.
Mary: Well then, don't some scientific theories have an arrow of time?
Bill: Yes, in the more engineering oriented theories there is an arrow or direction for time either towards the creation of increasing complexity or towards the decay of existing forms. Complexity, chaos, and fractal theories, which are related, do not use waves and address the creation of complex patterns from simple forms (Coveney & Highfield, 1995; Lewin, 1992; Waldrop, 1992; Nicolis & Prigogine, 1998; Gleick, 1987). With fractal algorithms, simple rules are repeated over and over. The resulting patterns can simulate many aspects of the physical world and are often used to produce realistic looking movie scenes of Nature (Mandelbrot, 1983). However, we know that fractals are limited and cannot produce everything that exists in the physical world.
Joe: Do you have any examples of physical objects that can not be produced by simple repetition?
Bill: Yes, the mathematician, Roger Penrose, has pointed out that a special system of tiling exists in which the tiles can only be laid by looking at the overall global plan; they cannot be laid by growing ever larger patterns through simple acts of repetition. Certain crystals have been discovered that do not grow simply by fitting one atom next to its neighbor. Just as with Penrose's tiles, their growth requires a higher level global input, for example greater than our three dimensional world (Peat, 2002, pp.44-45). What is being observed in mathematics and crystals is a representation of the creation process of the Absolute. In contrast, the second law of thermodynamics represents the return of the complex physical world to randomness. Thus, we could say that the chaos/fractal theory is an attempt to represent the creative flow from the timeless Absolute into the physical forms of space-time, while thermodynamics represents the eventual return of everything in the physical back to the timeless Absolute.
Joe: Is there any experimental physics evidence that a "timeless" Absolute really exists where everything is connected?
Bill: It has taken a long time for physicists to obtain experimental evidence of the prediction in quantum theory made at the beginning of the 1900s that "non-local" linkages or connections can exist in which changes are transmitted instantaneously. It wasn't until 1964 that a scientific way to test this prediction was proposed by John Bell. We then had to wait until 1981 until it was convincingly confirmed by Alain Aspect that non-local linkages did indeed exist (Aspect, 1981, 1982).
Joe: But these were just experiments in a laboratory, what makes you so sure that the results are valid over long distances?
Bill: Quantum theory predicted that such instantaneous linkages would exist over any distance. Indeed, initially, the experiments were carried out within a room of a laboratory. However, by the 1990s experiments were done using a fiber optical cable over a distance of seven miles. The signal actually would need to travel over ten miles of cable because of the twists and turns. Fig. 31 shows the two photons in initial contact both with horizontal polarization, travel apart. The horizontal polarization setting of one photon is changed by the researchers to vertical. The other photon changes its setting, apparently instantaneously, to vertical to correspond. If the signal had gone from one end of the cable to the other, telling one photon what setting the other photon had found, we know it would have had to travel at least ten million times the speed of light. This was an overwhelming affirmation of the predicted linkage between the photons! (Aczel, 2001, pp.235-239) In 1935 this linkage was named "entanglement" by Erwin Schrodinger. He was the developer of the wave approach to quantum mechanics, and he considered entanglement "the characteristic trait of quantum mechanics" (Aczel, 2001, p.70).
Mary: Are there examples of "entanglement" in our daily lives?
Bill: The closest parallel for humans would be identical twins separated at birth (Lykken, Bouchard, et.al, 1990; Shacklett & Gough, 1990). The value of these studies lies in the fact that they are the only studies on human subjects where the genetic component is constant while environmental components are variable. (Farber, 1981, p. 31) A fascinating fact is that data from studies of identical twins, separated at birth, are consistent with and supportive of the existence of non-local connections between human brains. Additionally, there were surprises that the investigators could not adequately explain by genetics.
Joe: What did the research show?
Bill: Imagine identical twins separated at birth who meet each other years later (Fig.32). Since they have identical DNA one would expect that their physical characteristics like height and weight would be quite similar. However, although they were never in contact over the years and experienced different environmental conditions, the researchers found that frequently habits like smoking, drinking, nail biting, the way they laugh, their gestures and mannerisms were also identical. Even their religious attitudes, their choice of jobs, and creative activities were often identical. Even more bizarre were two men who reunited after 39 years of separation to find that both had dogs named Toy, both had married and divorced a wife named Linda, and both had remarried a woman named Betty! They had even named their sons James Allan and James Alan. But stranger yet, their adopted parents had each independently named them Jim. There are a number of cases like this. Another example were identical twins who were raised by their adopted parents on different continents and spoke different languages. Both parents nicknamed their adopted child "Pussy" (Holden, 1980; Lykken, et. al., 1990; Farber, 1981). It appears we live in a world of interconnected patterns that includes not only the patterns of physical matter but the patterns that we use for language and thought. This is why what we think and say has power to evoke change.
Mary: Isn't it true that most scientists don't believe that this kind of "entanglement" exists for large objects like people?
Bill: Yes. However, the data from the identical twin studies provides some insight into this question. Identical twins are like two identical particles, since the DNA in every cell in both their bodies is the same. Interestingly, the studies have shown that twins with the least contact over the years of separation appear most frequently to be the most alike. For example, there exists a consistent finding in prior studies of series of identical twins reared apart "that the more separated the twins, the more similar they appeared to be on personality tests. --- Twins with no contact were more frequently alike than twins with ample opportunity to 'identify' with each other." (Farber, 1981, p 271) In the physics experiments of twin photons, the particles remain "pure" in a vacuum, and any loss of information due to scattering, etc. is avoided. In the human identical twin experiments, such "scattering" could be produced by thoughts that change patterns. The research suggests that such mental "scattering" occurs because twins when they come into contact "in the interest of establishing their individuality, tend to exaggerate their differences." (Holden, 1980, p. 1325) The fact that twins in contact appear to create differences in their shared patterns could also be viewed as a demonstration of the power of "free will" to change pre-established patterns.
Mary: Is there any other evidence that humans are connected?
Bill: One area that you are possibly familiar with is the experience of synchronicity -- the incredible coincidences that sometimes occur in our lives. This is the term coined by the eminent Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung, in collaboration with physicist, Wolfgang Pauli, to describe meaningful coincidence without apparent cause. There has been considerable research on synchronicity that imply a connection with the Absolute, since the miracles which individuals experience also seem to be independent of time. (Vaughan, 1979; Peat, 1987). Here is an example of a famous synchronicity that relates how past actions can be linked to a future event.
Best-selling author and pilot, Richard Bach, was barnstorming in the Midwest in 1966 with a rare biplane, a 1929 Detroit-Parts P-2A Speedster, of which only eight had been built. In Palmyra, Wis., Bach loaned the plane to a friend, who upended the craft as he came in for a landing. Bach recounted in his book Nothing by Chance that they were able to fix everything except for one strut. That repair looked hopeless because of the rarity of the wanted part. Just then, a man came up and asked if he might help. Bach said sarcastically, "Sure. Do you happen to have an inter-wing strut for a 1929 Detroit-Parks Speedster, model P-2A?" The man walked over to his hanger and came back shortly with the part. Bach concludes: "The odds against our breaking the biplane in a little town that happened to be home to a man with the 40-year old part to repair it; the odds that he would be on the scene when the event happened; the odds that we'd push the plane right next to his hangar, within ten feet of the part we needed -- the odds were so high that coincidence was a foolish answer" (Ziegler, 1979).
Joe: Well, that raises the question about what you mean when you say that we all are connected to a "timeless" Absolute. Is there any research to support that belief?
Bill: There exists considerable research about our ability to move about in time. A review of the research data from 1935 to 1989 was carried out which studied 309 precognition experiments carried out by 62 investigators and involving more that fifty thousand participants and two million trials. Thirty percent of these studies were statistically significant in showing that people can describe future events. If it had been chance only five percent would be expected to be statistically significant. The overall significance for the existence of precognition was greater than 1020. This is like being able to throw 70 pennies in the air and have everyone land as a head (Honorton & Ferari, 1989; Dunne/Targ, 2001).
Mary: I have heard that in remote viewing experiments, the person doing the remote perception could do it successfully even before the target was selected. Is this true?
Bill: Yes. At Princeton University they did a comprehensive examination of precognition in 227 remote viewing experiments. "They discovered, much to their surprise, that the accuracy of the description was the same whether the viewer had to look hours, days, or weeks into the future." There was an insignificant difference in the effectiveness of doing remote viewing into the future versus doing it at the time of the event. "The overall statistical significance of the combined experiments departed from what you would expect from chance by a probability of one in a hundred billion!" (Dunne/Targ, 2001; Dunne, Jahn, & Nelson, 1983). In addition to precognition, no evidence was found to suggest deterioration of information obtained in the remote viewing experiments with retro-cognition, i.e., when the viewers perceptions were produced after the target visitation (Jahn & Dunne, 1987, p.190). We really shouldn't be surprised by these results; they are what one would expect upon tapping into the Absolute. Wisdom traditions have known of this possibility for centuries. The instructions being used in modern research laboratories that have done remote perceptions studies such as Princeton University and Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International) bear a strikingly similarity to those written in the Hindu Sutras in 400 B.C. (Dunne/Targ, 2001, p.vii)
Joe: Well, that research is all statistical information, and I don't have much faith in statistics. Have there been any actual measurements on the human body that support the idea that we can tap into the future?
Bill: Yes! There have been a series of experiments that explored whether the unconscious nervous system responds to future events. In these experiments a person sits in a chair in front of a color computer monitor (Fig. 33). When the mouse button is pressed, the computer randomly selects and presents target photographs that are either "calm" like landscapes and cheerful people or "emotionally arousing" like violent and erotic images (Radin, 1997a, 1997b). Various measurements of body functions are made including skin conductance, EEG for the brain, and ECG for the heart. The research demonstrates that the body can respond to an emotionally arousing stimulus seconds before it is actually experienced, (Fig. 34). Recent research both replicated and extended the earlier studies. This new research shows that both the heart and brain receive and respond to information about the future emotional stimulus prior to actually experiencing the stimulus. A fascinating aspect of this research is the body first detects the information about the future in the heart and then it goes to the brain (McCraty, et. al., 2003). These results suggest that aspects of our human perceptual apparatus are continuously scanning the future. We are developing the scientific know-how for harnessing our intuitive power for tapping into the spaceless/timeless Absolute.
Interacting With a Multi-Level Universe
Mary: Can you tell me more about how we tap into the information available in the Absolute?
Bill: This is an important point since we can gain both knowledge and wisdom in the process. Let me suggest an analogy for the process by which we can more consciously interact with the Absolute. Think of our bodies as transmitters and receivers of waves. Imagine the body as a radio transmitter/receiver (Fig. 35). The channel selector is where we place our attention. Our intention when coupled with emotion represents turning up the volume control. Our sincerity, i.e., our perseverance, is like our antenna, since without a good antenna we will be ineffective in both sending and receiving information. Our "heart" must be in our intentions and is why the antenna is connected to the heart in the illustration. Our belief system is a "system design constraint" in our transceiver, and it determines the range of frequency bands that we can receive. Our inner system design determines whether we are limited to AM radio, or can expand to AM and FM, or even AM/FM and short wave.
Mary: Could your belief system affect the events in our lives?
Bill: Yes, our belief system has been shown to alter outcomes in life, even in scientific research, as has been demonstrated in the "experimenter effect," that is, the experimenter's prior expectations can influence the outcome of an experiment. A provocative demonstration occurred in "remote staring experiments," in which a person stares at the back of someone's head and that person suddenly turns around to see what is behind them. Dr. Marilyn Schlitz's experiments in the U.S. on remote staring always showed a positive effect -- the subjects turn around. Whereas, similar experiments in England by Dr. Richard Wiseman always showed a negative effect. The two experimenters decided to do a joint experiment where everything was identical: the same laboratory, the same equipment, the same randomization procedures and the same subject population. Dr. Schlitz, who believed that positive results would occur, got positive results. Dr. Wiseman, who believed that negative results would occur, got negative results (Wiseman & Schlitz, 1997). The only difference was in the belief systems and intentions of the experimenters!
Joe: This is all a mental process, but can you affect matter with your thoughts and intentions?
Bill: Extending this mental influence to affect changes to non-living physical matter is known as psychokinesis, or PK. Jack Houck, an aeronautical engineer and research manager at Boeing/McDonald Douglas, has conducted and researched over 360 psychokinesis metal bending parties during the past 22 years with over 17,000 people and a very high success rate (Houck, 2003, 1994). My own participation in PK training and events was largely responsible for changing my belief system (Gough & Shacklett, 1996). In addition, there has been considerable research into the effects of various types of "focused intention" upon healing the human body. Currently, a leading edge in medical science is a field of study based upon these effects and known as psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) (Pert, 1997). Its very name acknowledges the links: psycho, or mind; neuro, for the neuroendocrine system (nervous system and hormone system); and immunology, for the immune system. The 1974 discovery that the immune system, like the brain, could learn, led to the investigation of the multiple ways that the central nervous system and the immune system communicate. These "biological pathways make the mind, the emotions, and the body not separate, but intimately entwined" (Goleman, 1995).
Mary: Why do you believe it is important to develop a conscious connection with the Absolute?
Bill: If we feel such a connection, we are like a horse that has had its blinders removed. With blinders we experience only part of the whole, part of our condition. The effect is that we experience a separation not only from God but from Nature and others (Fig. 37). However, the potential for a conscious connection is always there. The question is the degree of conscious connection. This is like the coupling coefficient or coupling factor in engineering that represents the degree of interaction between systems, or properties of a system. In quantum physics this characteristic is called the degree of entanglement (Nielsen, 2002; Aczel, 2002). Imagine two men who are "unplugged" -- they are like the horses who still have their "blinders" on. They lack a "spiritual guidance" from the Absolute, the Source or God (Fig. 38). These men are experiencing the thunder bolts and hail stones that one can encounter with a lack of awareness of the interconnectiveness that is inherent in the Absolute. These "entanglements" reflect the properties that theoretical and experimental quantum physics have demonstrated exist. They imply an interdependence of events in space-time. One could say that a union with the primary field of the cosmos, the field of all fields, is a union with the Absolute, with God, and will be experienced as unconditional love.
Mary: How does one increase and benefit from this connection?
Bill: The messages often come during sleep, meditation, -- or prayer. Just becoming more consciously aware of when synchronistic events occur in our lives -- noting our feelings and where our attention is unconsciously drawn can avail us to information from the Absolute. The process is a feedback loop, and can be visualized as a spiraling in and out, by reason of the many other spiral processes that occur in Nature (Fig. 39) (Cook, 1979). It requires the ability to surrender, to listen. If you have ever worked the old ham radios, you know that you can't send and receive at the same time.
Making a Difference
Joe: What kind of evidence do you have that supports the benefits that you are suggesting?
Bill: When we become "plugged" into the Absolute, we can experience a field of unconditional love, and life will be perceived in a new way (Fig. 40). An effective conscious connection to the Absolute, through love and the heart, can be treated as vibrational. When we resonate with the potentials of the Absolute, the resonance that occurs, based upon our thoughts and emotions, can produce either harmonious or dissonant outcomes -- health or illness. Extensive scientific research on techniques that work with the "heart" and love to achieve health benefits has been carried out by the Institute of HeartMath (Childre & Martin, 1999; McCraty, 2003) Other research has shown that happy marriages extend life expectancy. The interconnectiveness of discussion groups has dramatically increased the life expectancy for women with breast cancer. Group therapy has proven to be as good as Prozac for treating depression in AIDS patients. A very famous study was conducted in a Pennsylvania town of immigrants from the same area of Italy. They developed a very cohesive community. Even through there was extensive smoking, economic stress, and high-fat diets, the community had less than half the heart-attack rate of neighboring towns. As time went on and the children grew up to become more typically American, the coherence of the community was lost, and the heart-attack rate quickly escalated (McTaggart, 2002).
Mary: What do you think would happen if everyone became consciously aware of their connection to the Absolute and tried to develop a deeper understanding of their contribution to the whole and their effect upon world events?
Bill: Good question! What does this all mean on a worldwide scale? We live in a world community. We are all connected through the Absolute. Every individual's actions, intentions and thoughts, each in its own small way, are affecting the whole. Scientists can measure when our thoughts and feelings become coherent using a physical instrument. They can do it on a small scale at individual events and they now can do it on a large global scale (Nelson, et.al, 1998; Nelson & Radin, 2001). The "thermometer" that they use is called a Random Number Generator (RNG) or Random Event Generator. Randomness is present during the decay of radioactive atoms or it can be simulated via a computer program. These devices are now located at over fifty sites around the world and act like cosmic seismographs that measure when coherent intentions, thoughts, and emotions occur throughout the world (Fig. 41). For example, the billion person meditation caused a cosmic "earthquake" on these "seismograph" machines. The Ramadan prayers during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar had the same effect. The human reaction to natural phenomenon like the Turkish earthquake and human acts like the September 11th terrorists' attack produce similar effects on the worldwide net of Random Event Generators (Nelson, 2003). Each individual can produce greater coherence or greater separateness in the world dependent upon his or her thoughts, intentions and emotions since we are co-creators in the manifestation process in space-time. Destructive thoughts, emotions and intentions, such as fear and hatred serve as solvents that dissolve that connectiveness and create separateness. If we have love with compassion it serves as the glue that creates the community and worldwide coherence (Fig. 42). We are collectively navigating through a sea of time. Small adjustments of the rudder by our own thoughts and actions can dramatically change the ultimate destination and outcome. As individuals, and collectively, we have the power to heal ourselves and the world!
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