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Publications Book Reviews
The Rise of the Integral Vision of Reality
Reviewed by Ervin Laszlo, PhD on June 1, 2006
Although mystics and sages throughout the ages have proposed that the universe is a unified, interrelated whole, author and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Ervin Laszlo summarizes how science is now confirming this enduring insight. In fields as diverse as physiology, consciousness research, and cosmology, experimental evidence suggests that the human body, mind, and the cosmos itself are intimately intertwined in a subtle interplay of intelligent communication.
Consisting of an exposition by Laszlo and short essays by leading new-paradigm thinkers, Science and the Reenchantment of the Cosmos lucidly explores perennial spiritual wisdom and cutting-edge science in a succinct but rich volume. As guest author Christian de Quincey proposes, although treatises integrating science and spirituality are not new, what makes Laszlo’s theory stand apart is the emphasis on information. Evidence from the book supports de Quincey’s idea. Far beneath and beyond the threshold of the senses, subatomic particles are in some form of communication with one another, exchanging states back and forth in ways that seemingly defy the constraints of space and time. On a more human scale, our minds, when entering into deep states of sleep or meditation, synchronize with one another and exchange patterns of consciousness. Scientific data here have stimulated Laszlo to suggest that there is a deep field of information, which he calls the “Akashic Field” or “A-field,” that bonds the interrelated parts of the universe.
Laszlo’s grand unified theory presents a living, coherent universe, leaving behind, as Laszlo describes, “the depressive futility of a disenchanted universe.” Although big pictures like this often seem too remote in relation to our everyday lives, world visions produce the world in which we live. The vision of the mechanistic universe that grew out of Newtonian science fashioned social institutions that saw humans as efficient machines. In this fading worldview, a blind watchmaker created a clockwork universe without meaning or purpose. In the new worldview that is emerging, to borrow a metaphor from the book, the universe is more reminiscent of a jazz ensemble, creative and improvisatory, with all “musicians” responsive to one another. Commenting on the ramifications of the new worldview, included author Elisabet Sahtouris states, “Such a model is not only scientifically justified but can lead to the wisdom required to build a better human life on and for our planet Earth.”
Balancing expansive vision with empirical data, Laszlo’s disposition to his subject matter is equally evenhanded, tempering enthusiasm with carefulness. As an interdisciplinary scientist, Laszlo’s interests are far-ranging, and as such, Science and the Reenchantment of the Cosmos tackles issues as diverse as reincarnation, good and evil, and immortality. If one assumes that Laszlo leaps too quickly into speculations and musings on the meaning of it all in this volume, his preceding work, Science and the Akashic Field (Inner Traditions, 2004), elaborates in greater detail the science behind his theory. And in The Chaos Point (Hampton Roads, 2006), Laszlo tells us what healing and renewal mean at this critical juncture in our history. Either we evolve to a safer, more sustainable world, or the social, economic, and ecological systems that frame our life break down and we go the way of the dinosaurs. Taken together, these works present a potent and inspiring new vision of reality.