By Patrick Quanten MD
Everybody has a point of view about almost everything. Yet, few of us have the same point of view, and even when we do, we find ourselves differing in emphasis. This leads to a lot of confusion as we have difficulties in accepting that others see things differently, but more importantly it is the basis for an important power struggle in our society. In a so called democracy the majority rules. Consequently, in order to have a voice that will be heard one must ensure the support and consent from as many other people as possible. Only through strength in numbers will one's opinion count for anything in the community; only then can the opinions expressed contain any truth. This means that "what is right" is in fact "what most people believe to be right". And thus the struggle for recognition by fellow men has begun.
We are told that science is the most important thing in man's development and that all questions eventually will be answered by our scientific community. We are told to bow down to the great scientists of all time and to study their work. Yet, our own leading scientific community itself struggles deeply to ensure that appropriate changes are made to the way we see and explain our world and everything in it when the necessary changes affect the foundation of that society, the pillars of wisdom on which we have build our own scientific or social empire. One of these examples is the point of observation.
Albert Einstein is generally seen as one of the greatest scientists ever, and he is most famous for his theory of relativity. Most people don't bother asking what it means because this is Science with a capital s, and little me knows nothing about that. However, when you do pluck up the courage to ask, the bottom line answer is remarkably simple. It reads as follows: every observation is relative to the point of observation and to the observer. It means that whatever you observe, look at, study, changes simply by the fact that you - no one else - are observing, and by the point from which you observe. In other words, from where you are standing the world will look a certain way. This will be different for someone standing on the opposite side of the road.
Let's elaborate on those two points.
The Observation Point
In the physical world, wherever we are standing and looking at something we will see it in a certain way. We rarely bother to change our position to have another look because we are so used to judging what is in front of us just from a glance. Our brain fills in the blanks, the bits that we cannot observe from where we are and it all appears to us as a complete picture without any holes or blanks. It is only in extra-ordinary circumstances that we will allow ourselves another look. For instance, when on a blustery moonlit night we are walking through a wooded lane and the wind is whispering through the trees messing with our heads, and we look up into the trees from where the voices speak to us only to catch glimpses from witches and demons chasing us down the lane, their howling laughter reverberating in our ears. It is then that we loudly tell us that what we observe needs another look. What we hear is only the wind blowing through trees and hedges, rustling leaves and bending branches, and what we see is the changing theatre of a strange light-darkness show and the shadows between them. It is this second look that changes what we initially hear and see, which effectively changes our observation; it takes away the fear by supplying us with a rational complete picture.
Confronted with something that we do not have a fixed concept about, say for instance a three dimensional work of art, we are unable to complete the picture we are seeing without walking all the way around it and observing it from all angles. Viewed from the side an open circle will look like a straight line. But even everyday events are affected by the observation point. An object further away appears smaller; an object moving from a long distance away directly towards us will appear stationary; the stars in the night sky all appear to be hung on the same dome shaped ceiling. And yes, we all know these truths and readily teach our children them. However, we find it unacceptable that witnesses to a crime or an event give different accounts. Our interpretation is that some our lying, that others weren't looking properly, or didn't want to know what was going on. Reality tells us that there is more than one truth; indeed there are as many truths as there are observers.
Scientific evidence bears this out. Observation studies detailing how and what people see when watching the same event shows quite clearly the differences in view points. It also highlights another important variant: the human.
The Human Factor
The way each human views the world around himself varies.
Interpretation of what we see, hear and sense is determined by our own personal experiences, the way we grew up. Whatever it is we "observe" the brain immediately puts an interpretation on it. Recently we saw a good example of this in the comments of the British people after they woke up during an earthquake. Some thought it was a bomb going off, others believed it to be a major accident of some sort, others still felt they were being attacked, whilst some decided straight off it was an earthquake. The differences are due to the fact that different people measure experiences against different templates set in their brains. When we are asleep our system still "hears" everything, yet we don't wake up all the time, nor are we constantly kept awake. This happens because the system distinguishes between normal and unusual sounds. It is only the latter ones that wake us, the rest is processed without us even knowing it has happened. Babies sleep through loud noises (above pubs, next to railway lines, etc.) because those sounds are identified as normal.
The most impressive bit of research that I know off which confirms this, has been done with new born kittens. If the kittens are born and kept for several weeks in an environment where everything only exists of horizontal lines, and others in the same way with vertical lines, then they are unable to recognise the other when put in a normal environment. In other words they can only see the horizontal bits when they come from a horizontal world, and equally only the vertical when coming from a vertical world. The brain only processes the system's experiences on the basis of what it has learned so far. The cats only see what they know!
Similarly, we can only process what we know. If you have never seen a chair and nobody has ever explained to you what a chair is and looks like, you will not recognise it as such. Looking at it from one particular angle, your brain will be unable to fill in the bits you can't see because its memory bank hasn't got "chair" in it.
So, whatever we observe is seen through the eyes of the observer. Eyes do not see anything; they just relay pictures. We see, hear, feel, smell with the brain, not the sense organ, which only picks up the stimuli. The brain can see by comparing what the observer observes with the memory bank. The answer it comes up with is what you actually see. This will be whatever comes closest to the picture in front of the observer. In other words, you see what you believe you see. Some people may see images in cloud formation or in ink blobs that others are totally incapable of seeing. The same goes for these 3D-images which you can only see by "holding your eyes in a certain position".
Again if we want proof from our every day life, we only need to ask the police. Whenever they have a number of eyewitnesses to an event it is impossible to match their statements, especially the more unexpected or bizarre the event is. This is not because they are all devious people, lying or wanting to distort the truth, but it is simple due to the fact that they all have a different brain to observe with; consequently they see things differently.
Have another example.
Observations of UFO's have now been so well documented that we know for sure that there have been a number of real sightings of "alien crafts" or "bright fast moving lights". In some instances these crafts have been described in detail because they flew overhead at a low height. The one part of evidence that is lacking to completely settle the UFO debate once and for all is the fact that sightings have seldom been confirmed. Yes, sometimes several people together in the same place have confirmed the sighting, and yes some observations have been made by extreme sceptics, but here is the crucial question. "If those lights were so bright in the sky, if the craft flying over your head was so large, how come nobody else in your neighbourhood or the region or the country or the world has spotted it? Were you the only one in the whole world looking at the sky for that length of time at that time?"
The answer is that if anybody else did look up, which is very very likely given that the sky is constantly observed by interested individuals, they would not see the same thing, if anything at all. Why? because they were not there. They were not in the same place. The place of observation alters the observed.
It is exactly for this reason that no outer space (Hubble telescope, manned space stations, monitoring equipment) observations of alien crafts have been reported, not even when the earth was definitely visited by one or more as seen from one particular point on the earth's surface.
And why is it that some people will never ever see anything "special" in the sky? Because they are not looking. They will not see it because they don't notice an abnormal bright light in the night sky, or a shadow of a moving alien craft. If you never look at the night sky your brain will have no picture at all of it; if you have never heard anything about UFO's and have never seen any pictures of them you would not see it even if it was there.
What we observe is what our brain presents to us as the observed.
All science is based on observation. Without observation there is no science. Researching the observation in order to enlarge on it, to deepen our knowledge is a highly respected past-time in our culture. And what we are particularly interested in is objective facts. We only accept things if we can prove that they are independent of the subject, the person, making the observation. A good way of achieving this is to ensure that the subject, the observer, does not know whether he is looking at the real thing or a fake (double blind studies). Another way is to duplicate the test over and over again and providing you find the same answer all the time (or most of the time) you can safely say that it is a "true" observation.
From what we have learned so far about the influence of the observed by the observer we already know that it is the brain of the observer that determines what the observer is going to see. In the case of the double blind study this means that the observer is very likely to see the outcome of the study the way he has it in mind. For those who say that they don't mind about the outcome one way or the other, we can say that deep down, on a feeling level, every one has a belief. Similarly to the fact that you cannot not believe in religion or a god or something. If you don't and you believe that it all finishes at death, then that is your belief. And it is this belief that colours your world. Now, this researcher emanates his/her belief, putting that into his/her environment and thereby influencing that environment and everything in it including the result of his/her study.
In the case of repeating the experiment, of course you will keep on finding the same result over and over again. But if someone else does the experiment, he/she is likely to find whatever the belief is that drives him/her not the original experimenter's. This explains why controversial experiment results so often have failed to be duplicated by "independent" laboratories who were not at all convinced that the experiment was "done properly" in the first place.
In our search for the objective observation we assume that we can control all the variables. The truth is that we can't, or even worse that we haven't got the slightest inkling as to what all the possible variables are. As long as we continue to see the world we live in merely as a hotch-pot of chemicals interacting ad random we completely fail to comprehend life and it's driving force. Research over the last thirty years has thrown up interesting questions about how we influence the world around us by thought processes. It is here that the first scientific observations about observation have been made.
We now know that a subject can influence a machine in it's actions. A simple experiment in which subjects were asked to identify the sequence of dots and squares thrown out by a machine showed quite clearly that after a while the random sequence for which the machine was actually set up began to change and showed sequences which were definitely not random anymore. The observer changes the observed.
What if we are not actually looking but a machine is doing that for us? - From the moment you add a machine to a situation the whole scenery changes. You don't believe that? What happens to you and your behaviour when someone sticks a camera in your face just to record what you are doing? You instantly change! What you then observe through the lens of the camera is not your normal behaviour; something has changed, even if you are doing the same things. Equally the camera only allows you to see whatever is within the frame and only from that angle, you lose the wider picture, the complete environment in which all of the action takes place. You may have a better view of some details but you lose the overall picture. A common mistake made in medicine these days. Concentrating on details obscures the total picture.
Any kind of observation interferes with the observed. There is no getting away from it. And this leaves the whole of the Western research community out in the cold because all they rely on is that what they see is "the truth, and nothing but the truth". In reality, what they see is part of the truth, but definitely not the whole truth. No man can observe the whole truth as he is limited by the physical point of observation as well as by the observation mode his/her brain has developed and finally by the brain setting that has been chosen for that particular time and observation. In other words the physical point of reference as well as the mental point of reference determines what exactly it is you observe. This allows for our individual experiences and reactions to the observation of the same event.
in this life, you can only observe things from that particular perspective. You can only learn things in that particular way.
Therefore, in order to learn more about life, unrestricted by this particular brain-setting, you need to experience it in different modes. This can only be done in different lives as each one comes with a template which determines the development your observation point for that life.
It is the knowledge gained from all those lives that enriches your understanding of life.
All your observations are true. So are all observations of every other person. So are all observations from everybody living in different times and/or places.
You can save yourself an awful lot of trouble by accepting that everybody is right all the time. Once you know this, you will no longer have to find out for yourself by repeating similar experiences in this and other lives. Once you know it is all down to the point of observation, you will never need to argue with anybody anymore.
Therefore there can be peace. - You can have peace.