…The legitimacy of an idea is often a matter of culture. Thus, in the West, we greet the notion of cyclic time with deep unease- partly because it is unfamiliar and partly because the concept of linear time running away and getting lost somewhere permeates our feelings about death, luck, and economics. But it presents no difficulty whatever to an Indian. So with psi phenomena: ours in one of the very few cultures that does not take some form of ESP for granted. We tend to fear the damage that new propositions may do to a neat system they appear to contradict.
And yet, while relativity and quantum physics destroyed the clockwork universe, they carried on the synthesizing and reductive spirit of nineteenth-century science by producing lower and lower common denominaros. The family of one hundred or so elements, once thought to be the fundamental units of matter, turned out to be made of smaller parts, specific arrangments of protons, electrons, neutrons, and their relatives. Heat, light, gravity, electromagnetism, and every organic transaction, from a leaf’s photosynthesis to the firing of a nerve end, were shown to involve manifestations of pure energy.
The atoms and their attendant particles turned out to be packets of energy as well. E= mc2 tells us what the nature odf the universe is: energy and matter have the same identity. Thus did an astounding world of interchangeability, both lucid and indeterminate, present itself. No absolutely verifiable events, however improbable to a more segregated physics, could rupture the integrity of this field. It was, and remains, ecumenical rather than exclusive, and quite able to absorb psi research as part of itself.
A universe as mind stuff. Why not? Science as mysticism. Why not that too? The difference of language grows smaller. “Today,” Sir James Jeans wrote in 1937, “there is a wide measure of agreement, which on the physical side of science approaches almost to unanimity, that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine.”