THE HOLOGRAPHIC UNIVERSE: A Book Review
This review is a bit overdue. I needed to clear some space on my digital voice recorder and discovered this 10-minute recording from my way in to work on July 6, 2004. Here is my review as I recorded it at that time.
The book has new age underpinnings – it doesn’t try to hide that – and it eliminates or avoids or ignores the notion of good and evil. The “love and light” stuff at the end suggests a new age theology that there is no good and evil, there is only good, or that “good” and “evil” are just arbitrary and subjective values that we assign to stuff, labels that have no objective weight.
Now I know that if I get in my car and get on the turnpike and head west, I’m going to get to Harrisburg. Now if my car is a construct, and the highway is a construct, and Harrisburg is a construct, then what’s the practical difference? I still need to get in the car and drive west to Harrisburg, and when I get there, I’ll transact with others who share my construct. Whether “real” or “construct” is philosophical banter.
That there is a spirit realm, and noncorporeal activity taking place all the time all around us, is not a revelatory notion to this Bible-believing Christian. In fact, that unseen spirit world of warring favorable and unfavorable spirit beings is at the core of a biblical belief system. The difference is that from a biblical perspective I understand that there is a necessary distinction between body, soul, mind, matter. I recommend Bruce Wilkinson’s BEYOND AND BACK for a good treatment of this subject.
The first 100 pages were a little dry. Now I understand, having read the rest of the book, that the author himself has paranormal abilities and has experienced paranormal experiences and didn’t want to lead with that, he wanted to lead with the theory, so as not to discredit himself as a crackpot in the early pages. I understand his approach and I don’t disagree with it.
OK, to the point: What is the practical import of this book? So it’s a holographic universe, it’s malleable, the future is not fixed – so what? How does that change my thinking, how does that change my outlook, how does that change my daily practice, and what does it tell me about the meaning of life? As a Bible-believing Christian, I will say that the conclusion that there is no judgment, that we all get to come around and do it again, and that maybe I need to be a promiscuous Asian woman in my next life to make up for imbalances in this life is to me a trivialization of this life. I further point out that ideology has consequences, that trivializing the value, purpose, meaning of my life would (and did) have real, and in my current view unfortunate and negative, implications. From a holographic perspective, one might argue that the Universe got me to where it wanted me as the perfect result of my perfect path. Fair enough, as far as it goes.
The holographic universe is a VERY sophisticated universe. It’s clever, creative, interactive, iterative, sophisticated, robust, diverse, forgiving, malleable, pliant, intensely personal yet all-inclusive. Where does all that creativity come from, if not from a Creator? Where does such a level of sophistication come from? Where does the Grand Consciousness of the Universe reside? Who is the author? What is its origin? Where is it going? What’s the point?
The notion that we retain our unique personhood when we enter into the expansiveness of the God-consciousness is consistent with Christian belief. What’s not consistent is that everyone ends up in the same place. Christians believe some go to heaven and some go to hell, two discrete places with their own unique characteristics, and if some people see the light, go through the tunnel and then get sent back, then they did not approach the judgment seat of God, they did not enter heaven. They would know if they had, and it would change everything.
You say, “This is interesting! Fascinating! Mind-bending!” and it is. It is interesting, fascinating, and mind-bending. But so what? What do I do with it? You know, if I can design my next life, and decide that I need to incorporate some poverty or some mass murder to balance me out as a person, then that argues for an absence of some absolute morality. It argues for Self on the throne, which is new age-ism in a nutshell. Now granted, new age thinking isn’t new, it’s very old, my point is that these Self-indulgent lies have been around for a long time, that we should just simply do our best (however We define that, and with plenty of wiggle room), meditate, expand our thinking, try to reach a Higher Plane of Consciousness, and everything is going to be all right. That’s a load of hooey from where I sit. Ultimately there is no joy and no lasting victory in that.
We are spirit, yes. Our sensitivity to the spirit realm is muted by the fact that we are also flesh. Agreed. We can have greater contact with the spirit realm than most of us presently do. No question. HOWEVER, the equation and implications become much different, and arguably more profound, if we allow for the existence of a spirit realm and good and evil, allow for the existence of a spirit realm warring for souls. Now that makes it personal without losing the rest, and it adds the important dimension of caring what happens to others, not just my Self. Call me a simpleton, but the biblical construct of a spirit realm warring for souls, God vs. Satan, good vs. evil, makes more sense of most of the phenomena described in the book than does a holographic universe. Indeed, the holographic universe is just one more attempt to tell God how he is allowed to behave, which as I say is nothing new or different, it just incorporates the latest gadgets.
I certainly agree that there is more potential power and energy in one cubic centimeter of “empty” space than we would know what to do with, but what is it? What is that energy, who is it, where does it come from? That causes me, just me, to fear the judgment, the wrath of God, for “the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.” The quest for “Higher Consciousness” can only hope at best to bring me to a point of higher consciousness (putting aside the pride and conceit inherent in the very quest). The quest for God, on the other hand, can bring eternal riches, pleasures untold, joy forevermore, which is a different and I think better thing.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not disputing any of the phenomena the author reported. All that stuff is well documented. I’m just saying that it matters which theory we lay on top of it to explain it and to bring it home. A life that is founded on the premise that there is no right and wrong, no good and evil, no contingent outcome or final destination, is going to be a very different life than a life that is founded on competing premises.
Yes, buddhas have a point. Yes, yogis have a point. Yes, Muslims and shamans have a point, and Christians have a point. But at the end of the day, at most only one of them is going to be right, correct in full, and if the Christian turns out to be right, then everyone else is writing their own miserable script for the sake of autonomy.