Science And The Akashic Field – A Review

Scientists of every stripe are always looking for “unitive theories.”  One grand idea neatly integrating all the diverse elements of their study into a nice tidy bundle.  In a world of caveats and exceptions such packages are hard to find.  Fortunately, there is no shortage of ambitious souls willing to try.  In two complementary books, Science and the Akashic Field and The Akashic Experience, (Rochester, Vermont-Inner Traditions,) the Hungarian Systems Theorist, Ervin Laszlo tries to integrate consciousness with the cosmos and through the process offer a startling perspective on the essence of human existence.

The Akashic Field, (or record or chronicle,) was a concept much in vogue in Theosophical circles in the early 20th century.  Akasha is a Sanskrit word meaning “ether.”  The gist of the theory asserts the existence of a cosmic memory field.  This field functions as an enduring, accessible record of all that happens or has ever happened within the universe.  At the time there was little scientific theory to substantiate the existence of such an entity.  In the first book, Science and the Akashic Field, Laszlo employs recent discoveries within the field of quantum theory, studies of the Zero Point Field, (ZPF) and holographic memory theories to assemble a rational explanation as to how the Akashic Field may actually exist and the ontological and behavioral implications attendant with such a phenomenon.

Rather than an empty, eternal void, Laszlo asserts space to be more like an energy plenum filled with the fields and forces of nature.  One of the key components of this field is information, which Laszlo considers to be an inherent element of both physical and biological existence.  From within this virtual energy field, (labeled the Akashic Field,) all things originate and eventually return.  The Akashic Field also functions like a “superconducting” medium simultaneously recording and spreading our thoughts and actions throughout the cosmos in much the same manner as the wake from a boat impacts the surface of the ocean and affects all other entities on and within the water.  The crucial assertion is the information laden nature of this field.  Not only is the information of the thoughts and actions of all within existence present but also information on the grand order that shapes and guides the particulars of existence.  Laszlo draws on such well exposed quantum phenomena as entanglement, (the linking of particles over time and space,) non locality and coherence, (the instant correlation among different parts of any system,) to support the contention that all existence is a deeply inter reactive, interlinked and perpetual whole.

If true, Laszlo’s assertions would provide a radical holistic explanation of existence heretofore only intuited, explain the workings of most transpersonal phenomena and redefine the nature of human life.  Many of Laszlo’s observations seem well grounded.  Recent inquiries into the ZPF seem to suggest space is indeed anything but empty and may in fact hold essential forces providing the potential for a kind of Akashic function.  And studies done by the likes of Karl Pribram certainly establish a decent argument for the holographic basis of memory.  However, the marshaling of quantum theory to his cause may be premature.  While Laszlo’s quantum statements are accurately expressed, and his extrapolations reasonable and consistent with the manner in which existing quantum principles operate, there is to date little established evidence to verify his conclusions.  Ultimately, Laszlo is making the great leap so many quantum theorists avoid; extending laws and phenomena found within the micro world into the macro.  While there is much to suggest such a connection should exist there is as yet nothing proving it does exist.

Speculation is most credible when carefully reined.  For the most part Laszlo keeps things tight.  However, things get a little shaky when discussing how the Akashic field is a type of “Metaverse,” or template for our own universe and others like it.  His claims that the random dynamics in a “primordial vacuum” could not have led to a universe where complex and coherent life could have developed smack a tad too much of the intelligent design arguments running through today’s evolutionary debate.  Though this may sound trivial it underscores an important distinction required when discussing the nature of an Akashic field.  At this stage of the investigation the Akashic field is seen as a natural phenomenon not a calculated creation from the mind of an Ultimate intelligence or God.  To suggest otherwise opens up an entirely different set of assertions.  Assertions not relative to or supported by the material contained within this book.

Too often quantum science is used, (or perverted,) in support of an ever growing cottage industry of new and outlandish ontological theories.  Many eagerly latch on to the simplest principles and without regard for the total picture immediately start spinning off all kinds of peculiar existential scenarios.  This is understandable given the complexity and general impenetrability of pure quantum research.  Perhaps the greatest service Laszlo provides is accurately wresting the important implications of quantum theory from the acres of equations and technical language in which they dwell and laying them out in a manner accessible to those devoted to ontological study.  His extrapolation of quantum phenomena into an integral theory is done clearly and cogently.  Though currently unverifiable, his case for the existence of an Akashic Field is a viable and credible effort to substantiate the existence of something many intuitively feel to be real.

In his companion volume, The Akashic Experience, Laszlo moves the discussion of the Akashic Field from the realm of the scientific and grounds it within everyday experience.  Towards this end he turns over the reins of discussion to a number of guest writers from a wide range of fields who claim to have been directly affected by the Akashic Field.  Unfortunately the results offer few new insights into the manner in which the Akashic Field operates or any persuasive verification of its existence.  What we get is more a compendium of stories featuring incidents of paranormal activity and synchronicity.  Elements of precognition, remote viewing, psychic healing, OBE, coincidence and near death experience abound and are uniformly ascribed, without any expatiation, to the existence of a great cosmic memory field.  There is little discussion as to how this field may operate or how it is accessed.

Many of these stories might be interesting were it not for the wealth of more dramatic paranormal activity already on the books.  The most disturbing element running rampant through these accounts is the seemingly reflexive assignation of all these incidents to the existence of an Akashic Field.  As such they lack credibility.  Paranormal and psychic investigators have advanced many different theories as to how these phenomena exist and operate.  While the existence of the Akashic Field may help explain the workings of the paranormal to settle on this one particular theoretical possibility without explanation or investigation of other possibilities does nothing to provide a convincing case.

In Science and the Akashic Field Laszlo recognized the skepticism and unknowns associated with the idea of an Akashic Field and went straight to the business of making a persuasive, evidence laden argument for its existence.  In The Akashic Experience a similar effort to more deeply investigate the possibilities underlying the experience and recognition of possible alternatives would have made these accounts more credible and less dreamy.

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