Ervin Laszlo:
"Science and the Akashic Field" (Inner Traditions, 2004)

Home | The whole bibliography | My book on Consciousness

(Copyright © 2000 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

In his search of yet another "theory of everything", the Hungarian philosopher Ervin Laszlo takes David Bohm's "in-formation" (an active form of information that shapes the informing agent) as the fundamental constituent of the universe expressed through a ubiquitous field that originates from the quantum vacuum.

His aim is to prove that everything is interconnected in the universe thanks to that "Akashic" field, and he claims that this would explain a number of puzzles of modern Physics as well as parapsychological phenomena (such as telepathy, that he takes for granted). He sees analogies in the ways that particle are connected by quantum effects and in the ways that living organisms are connected by ecological laws (Laszlo even believes that our individual "consciousnesses" are connected in a superconsciousness that evokes both Carl Jung's collective unconscious and Teilhard de Chardin's noosphere). All mediated by a fundamental in-formational field that spreads throughout the universe. This, of course, sounds a lot like Bohm's "implicate order".

The quantum vacuum is the real protagonist here. All universes originate in it and evolve thanks to it. It transports everything that propagates. It generates a holographic field that encodes everything in spacetime. The Big Bang did not create it, it simply amplified its fluctuations. The holographic field not only connects things but creates coherence. The intensity of the connection (and mutual influence) between two things is proportional to how similar the two things are. We are "in-formed" more by other humans than by, say, trees; but, ultimately, we are in-formed by everything in the universe, and the holographic field created by the quantum vacuum is the mediator of such interactions.

Consciousness too is created by the quantum vacuum, and it too permeates the entire universe. Since the holographic field is a memory of everything in spacetime, it is also a memory of our selves. This means that our experience is eternal (alas, we are not). Our experience becomes part of the universe, and in-forms others (which is a different way of saying that what i do today will have an influence on the people who are close to me).

The book's main weakness is that it keeps repeating "recent findings" and "recently": all those recent theories and experiments need time to be proven correct, and Laszlo would be more honest if he also listed all the studies that contradicted them. The vast majority of those "recent" facts will be quickly forgotten, replaced by other "recent" facts. There are also numerous "subjective" interpretations of the facts: Susskind did not prove that information is preserved on the holographic surface of the black hole but that it is "scrambled" there (i'm not sure you'd be much reassured if i told you that i will not destroy your body but i will scramble it on the roof of your house); Tesla could not possibly have proven Einstein's general relativity wrong in 1907 because Einstein's general relativity was not introduced until a few years later; there are simple explanations for the effect of "after-death communication"; and, of course, there isn't a single case of telepathy ever proved anywhere in the world, and i don't want to get into spiritual healing that Laszlo presents as a scientific fact...

What is puzzling is that Laszlo presents this theory as revealing an "intensely meaningful universe" that should somehow make us feel better. I fail to see how. His "informed" universe is as cold and impersonal as it gets. We are just toys in the hands of the Akashic field, which lends us (for a few years) the illusion of being someone. We are actually noone.

Laszlo's theory is closer to Sheldrake's theory that he would probably like it to be.

See also:
Laszlo, Ervin: INTRODUCTION TO SYSTEMS PHILOSOPHY (Gordon & Breach, 1972)
Laszlo, Ervin & Combs, Allan: CHANGING VISIONS (1996)