The Basic Code of the Universe: The Science of the Invisible in Physics, Medicine and Spirituality, is not an ‘easy’ read…such should be expected when a book challenges not just our understanding of the world, but even the accuracy of our perceptions of itI This is leading edge thought in the sciences today coming at a time when the basic precepts of science are being called into question by the political and religious right. The last several decades have seen an accelerating rate of scientific advancement at the same time that the general public’s understanding of it is dropping ever further behind. Today while advocates press to re-emphasize STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) in public education, another segment has been working in opposition demanding a return of public education to the ‘3 R’s’, in keeping with the ‘fundamentals’ of Christian conservatism. This vocal minority rails against our acceptance of a science that questions their ‘world view’ arguing that science’s ‘valueless’ methods poison our ways of thinking raising doubt, putting people in conflict with their basic beliefs and the dogma they espouse. These people question science’s relevance and wish to look no further than the fundamentalist thought of their religion. Such doubt and rejection should be raising red flags around the world as people, drawn to their own ‘righteous’ paths, find themselves increasingly in conflict with others on their own separate path.
I, myself, have always been drawn in many directions, fascinated by one topic then another, but over time forming a rather comprehensive overall interest in the world…more wholistic. I will never become ‘expert’ in one thing, finding life and our place in the universe endlessly a wonder! So, I find myself drawn into such topics as evolution, quantum biology and the physics of life, fleshing it out with studies into the particularity of place, places like South Africa, Chile, the Canary Islands and our own Pacific Coast region of North America, with their particular geologies and living communities. I find the ‘big questions’ the most interesting and will sometimes put considerable energy into trying to understand their possible ‘answers’. I ‘intuit’ and combine, finding that our world has been so committed to the narrow and fractured views of our countless experts that our understanding of the world and our place in it has become ever more ‘confused’…so again, I am drawn to this and books like this.
Written by Italian doctor and researcher, Massimo Citro, M.D., this book describes a world consistent with the theories of today’s Quantum Physics…a world in which all things, humans, organisms, medicines, the planets and stars themselves, exist in a space, that is not an empty vacuum, not a meaningless void, nor one created and fixed in time by an anthropocentric god, but a dynamic, energetic, evolving and ‘informed’ field that directly influences each and every ‘thing’. This is a world moving toward greater complexity and life, consistent with natural laws, played out in repeating, never exactly the same, patterns, a world of probability and possibilities, of patterns and fractals. This energetic field is in fact, the source of all matter, all things, within the universe and is in turn, influenced by them, building on itself. This is the ‘new’ world of quantum physics, a universe of a complex network of links and feedback loops, or to borrow a physics term, an ‘entangled’ universe, joined into a whole, coherent, ‘non-local’ and simultaneous, consistent and endlessly creative. He discusses this thoroughly, in the most understandable manner I’ve come across yet, fully footnoted for those who want to dig deeper.
Citro begins with an examination of the ideas of Plato, Aristotle and other early thinkers, of alchemy, the mystics and shamanic traditions, not in the dismissive way they are often presented, if they are mentioned at all, but rather in an inquisitive way…looking at what was going on in those ‘worlds’ that we have left behind or dismissed as outdated, as the ‘magical thinking’, or ignorance, of those frightened by a complex universe. He is looking for links, to ‘explain’ where we veered off of the path….The ideas he presents here are not new, nor are they put forward here as some kind of quest for the return of an earlier, simpler, time. They are couched in the rapidly evolving science of today.
The author takes space to discuss our senses themselves, their limits and how well they have served us, in terms of our survival, enabling us to perceive direct and immediate threats, as well as enabling us to be effective actors and shapers, builders of the world in which we live. More importantly he discusses how, simultaneously, they limit our understanding of the world, at a time when it is becoming ever more necessary that we clearly ‘see’ the world around us and our ‘mistakes’. Our perceptions, are key to the images and ideas we form…and are ours alone, not necessarily of those around us. We are not capable of ‘seeing’ directly the entire world around us….The images and ideas we have formed are ‘interpretations’ of that ‘portion‘ we perceive, mental constructs based on the information our senses have gathered…and the assumptions we have ‘inherited’ from our predecessors. From these we’ve formed a narrative, a ‘story’ of the world, that allows us to function in it…a helpful, but limiting fiction that we continuously re-create. Juxtaposed to this is the actual world that exists without our ideas imposed on it. A world without us does not suffer from our limited ideas and the actions that follow from them. This actual world exists within the all encompassing ‘field’ Citro describes, one much of which is literally beyond our senses. We are, he writes, effectively reacting to the ‘shadows’ cast by the world as we move through it. Other philosophies describe a similar world in which adherents are taught to suspect the world they perceive, to ‘look’ for what underlies it.
‘Modern’ thinking has shaped the way we view the world and has ‘taught’ us to mistrust anything that we cannot directly perceive, to ‘protect’ ourselves from our own dubious perceptions and thoughts, or those of others who bring their own assumptions and baggage with them. In a personal everyday survival sense, this has by and large served us well. Our perceptions of the world, are our own, shaped by our own experience, upon a foundation of personal memory. Modern science took this limiting and ‘conservative’ response to the maximum, eliminating what it could not readily explain. It came to distrust that which could not be verified experimentally through its own controlled and limited methods with good reason…For several centuries individuals were persecuted because their ideas conflicted with those of the Church. The Church often viewed these ‘alchemists’ and early scientists as blasphemers and punished them for the threat that they posed to their tradition and doctrine, that was accepted on faith, but science saw the bias and error in this and sought to produce irrefutable ‘laws’ based on an observable and reproducible tests, experiments, which would demonstrate a ‘truth’. Today this seems to have swung in the opposite direction as the religious right now questions these ‘new’, so called ‘truths’, that lay beyond our simple direct perception, as being heretical. As the gap widens between the general public and the new science, much of the public finds comfort in the safety and limitation of fundamentalist religion, mistrusting and rejecting the scientific view out of hand, taking the position that what lies beyond our perception, beyond our knowing, is in the hands of God, that such experiments are ‘speculative’ and not to be trusted. The church now seems to argue that if we cannot see it, touch it, measure it…it is not ‘real’ and belongs in the realm of ‘god’. It has taken this idea from science and stood it on its head. This leaves science misunderstood and foundering. Truth, whatever it is, lies broken between the two world views of modern science and fundamentalist religion. Citro argues that we must move past our old limits of perception, because the world out there is literally beyond our senses…but is ‘knowable’. It is becoming increasingly important that we see, that we understand, the nature of our relationship with, and our effects upon, the world. If we fail in this no one will be held ‘harmless’, all will pay a price.
What is this field? I will leave the physics of this to Citro to explain. How can we trust in something that we cannot directly sense? We already ‘believe’ in other ‘fields’, those things beyond our perception. Gravity. Electricity. Magnetism and light itself. We are able to orient ourselves determining up from down, devise technologies that can improve our abilities to move ourselves and large masses that are ‘given’ this property by ‘gravity’ and the molecular power within matter that determines how it ‘relates’ to other masses. We do not sense gravity, we can only be aware of its effect. We do not see the ‘flow’ of electricity that powers so much of our daily world, that is active and essential within living organism, though many of us have some vague idea of it moving mysteriously through wires to do our bidding, like moving water through a pipe to ‘harness’ its force, but this is not what it actually does…electrons don’t flow in that kind of way at all. And what of magnetism, its physical effect on ferrous materials? and the birds who seem to navigate by some kind of inherent ability to sense it…or are they following some other, invisible to us, pattern? We don’t actually ‘see’ an object itself, we see the range of light available to us that is reflected off of its surface. Other animals have the capacity to see frequencies of light we cannot and it shapes their world differently from ours. No infrared, UV, x-rays, gamma rays or other ‘frequencies’. Scientists and engineers have devised the MRI, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, to ‘see’ the soft tissues within our bodies…and with it we can ’see’ the body as its organs and tissues block, reflect and absorb magnetic waves. Other instruments ‘see’ patterns and detect energies that extend beyond the physical boundaries that we ourselves can actually ‘see’, altering our understanding of the ‘boundaries’ of a given object, unveiling a world in which edges soften and extend overlapping with those of other objects….
Scientists are finding that organisms and objects radiate energies through both their being and structure that beyond their discrete, limited, physical individual boundaries, as an inherent property. What? Energies we were previously unaware of? Because we could not sense them directly, we did not think to look for them, but now can because we’ve created new technologies that can detect and measure them. First had to come the thought that something unexplainable was going on. This is not an unusual occurrence. Scientists often observe behaviors or notice results from their experiments that are not explained by current theories, so they propose ‘new’ theories that can and then create experiments and the instruments to measure the results. Remember, because we cannot sense these directly, does not make them less real. We are beginning to look more closely into what has been before us all along. It is through asking larger questions of what is matter and what constitutes life that we are beginning to better understand the world around us. There is so much beyond the limits of our senses and our brains to interpret without the aid of new ideas and previously unimagined technologies. The world is so much more than what we can touch, see, hear or smell.
When we look at published photos of celestial bodies, these are often not what we would see were we looking through telescopes. These photos can be long exposures gathering limited light and wavelengths otherwise invisible to us. The pictures are then often ‘enhanced’, not by simple photoshop techniques to create idealized images, but utilizing colors we can see to ‘stand in’ for wavelengths well beyond the limits of our vision allowing us to ‘see’ the invisible. In similar ways heat can be rendered visible through infrared photography…we can’t actually ‘see’ heat. Physicists have realized that all objects include an energetic field around themselves that is not separable, but is in fact integral to it…stars, rocks, plants, birds…even us…and that these energies overlap those produced by other organisms and bodies. Science is looking into the questions of matter and organisms, what are they? Mass is a property of an object. Every mass, every object, every organism has its own characteristic properties, but when looked at at the level of subatomic particles…there is little ‘there’. Physicists recognize ‘objects’ as ‘informed’ energy, where the ‘wave form’ has ‘collapsed’, coalescing into an element, object or organism, but they are still ultimately, energy. The boundaries that separate one from the other are ours as we attempt to understand what we are ‘looking’ at. This is ‘survival’ behavior, a capacity we learn at birth. Babies initially stare unfocusedly out at the world. Over time they develop this ability and come to focus on, to recognize the faces of their parents and build out from their a world that makes ‘sense’ to them, linking all of it together.
We are beginning to understand, scientifically, that the universe is a great deal more complex, richer, deeper, than it appears on its surface to us. We have devised instruments that can measure much of this which has helped science ‘explain’ it in a more comprehensive way…but we have no idea what else might be out there, still beyond us…and, incidentally, this ‘new’ explanation will likely prove to be too ‘simple’ in years to come, but it is the best approximation that we have today. What remains unseen is no less important, a fact that becomes ever more important as we become more powerful actors in our world, through our numbers and technologies.
Citro argues that we have other abilities, abilities that many or most of us have learned to not trust and so have atrophied. An example is how in doing landscape work, seeking out buried irrigation lines, we would typically, and unerringly, ‘witch’ their locations and dig a single hole down to the pipe, without the use of ‘trace wires’ and gizmos that can measure the charge within those wires, then make the repairs or modifications that we needed to and move on. This is possible because all things, matter, produce a particular resonance that is perceivable less directly. Intention plays a role. We ‘sense’ it in part because we believe its there and we are ‘looking’ for it. Citro and others are looking into similarly ‘insubstantial’ links between organisms and people, that science and rationality, have insisted for decades, are unlinked, disconnected. They argue that we have capacities that we have dismissed, that may be retrievable. Our current and still dominant world view has allowed us to ‘build’ a basic framework, but is coming ever more into question, as theory falls ever shorter, failing to ‘explain’ what we are observing around us. Quantum physics has opened the door to an understanding that was previously beyond our grasp. Now we are asking previously unimaginable questions that have lead us to creating new technologies and instruments that can measure the ‘impossible’!
As a medical doctor Citro is much interested in healing and with its relationship to the ‘field’ he and others have described. He speaks of pharmacology, homeopathy, and ‘resonances’ produced by our bodies themselves and the medicines we use and their interactions They have begun to develop and utilize treatment modalities that use the resonances of a particular medicine, not administering the medicine itself. What difference might this make? When doctors administer a medicine directly, a pharmaceutical drug, the patient’s body must deal with the entire range of the effects it will induce. When a doctor, however, using appropriate technologies to transmit the medicine’s resonance to the patient, the patient is able to ‘take’ what it needs and reject that which might be deleterious, largely eliminating negative side effects. That which does not ‘resonate’, that which isn’t supportive of the life of the ‘patient’, is not ‘used’. This isn’t hocus-pocus, the results have been demonstrated through experiments and medical studies.
Your body can take what it needs because the organism has a strong tendency, an inner ‘intelligence’ that biases it toward health, I’m not talking about what you may want or ‘think’ you need, rather of your body as a living organism. This is what doctors trained in the skill of muscle testing do when they ‘ask’ the body what it needs or if its had enough. When we ‘think’ too much and make decisions based on incorrect messages and ‘shoulds’ passed on to us by family and our social institutions, which reject these understandings, we tend to ignore this. This is another result of the field, of the quantum ‘entanglement’ that links all things…It is not magic, though to ‘modern’ thinking, it may certainly seem ‘magical’. Citro is writing of the energies that link all things because all things flow from one into the other…all things, from a crystal to a rock, from the simplest organism to our emotions, each with its own ‘signature’, a resonance in the ‘field’ that directly effects it, and through it, that which they are in relationship with….The idea of a discreet, separate, individual, is a social construct, that is learned and then shapes the world. We are ‘individuals’, but as such are not truly ‘separate’. Individuals are connected through the field. One does not end and another simply begin. The ‘field’, directly influences the organisms, because we are a part of it. The opposite is true as well, that the individual influences the field. The field can inform, influence, all of those with which it shares this resonance. Form and being exist in the field and are manifested in the perceivable world in a more limited way because of the limits to our perceptions.
We are all beings of energy that are ‘informed’ by the field. In quantum physics we, the ‘observer’, are said to determine what we ‘see’. When we observe, we bring our ‘understanding’, our expectations, our limited perceptions, and the possibilities ‘collapse’ into a particular form. This form then helps shape others and informs the field itself, giving the universe continuity. Citro and the many supporters of this are not arguing that we can will the world into whatever we may want, but that we can choose to understand it. We are in a very direct sense, responsible for the world around us. Whether we acknowledge it or not we are a part of it. We are directly linked. We are participants and definers of our experience.
The universe is unbelievably ‘dense’, filled with energies beyond our direct perception and we, all of life, not just humans, have a role in it. If we do not believe this, then our very beliefs stand in the way of health and a better world…if we do, well then….This is not something we can simply think and choose. We do have to, however, open our minds and allow this idea, this possibility in. This goes to intention, conviction and commitment. Our beliefs are part of our foundation and can either include or exclude the world outside ourselves.
Citro draws a picture in his book of a world that is malleable and evolving, not to whatever we choose to believe, but a world that is built around the ‘basic code’ in the title of his book, that informs the life and all within it, a code that shapes and moves the development, the evolution, of organisms along a path in which many patterns are shared and everything is linked, one science is coming to better understand, that when we are able to align ourselves with it, can begin to heal and support the world around us, with us, as active, resonant, supportive players rather than the more willful, dissonant individuals that it would seem the majority are today. Citro’s book is a call for all of us to become students of the world, to engage and commit to it as well as question the ideas of a world that has divided us from one another and all that it contains. It has been a fascinating and hopeful read that imbues the world with much of the meaning and value that our ‘modern’ world has set aside.
Citro’s book leans hard on science, but it is not a heavy, academic tome whose language and style should discourage you….It is dense with ideas, ideas which are often unfamiliar or strange, but at the same time have a ‘rightness’ to them. He questions some of the structures that science leans on which have caused us to regularly dismiss many of these ideas. Yes, it deals in concepts that are difficult, but it is not unnecessarily so. It is not a quick read, one and done. I intend to go through it again as the concepts are different from what most of us have grown up with, myself included. It is a world in which quantum physics is being found to have remarkable consistency with much that was once accepted by traditional cultures. It doesn’t substitute for it, but begins to explain it in a way that can transform our understanding, our technologies and our relationships in the universe. He is, describing a world which modern society began to walk away from many years ago, one we can re-embrace, this time with perhaps more clarity. For me it fills in many of the blanks and presents understandable ways to look at the world anew, in a way that I think is very timely. The world can feel overwhelmingly bleak today. He provides us with the seeds of understanding here and a more positive outlook for the future.
Some of what I’ve discussed here are my own elaborations, related ideas from other books I’ve read, but they fit in neatly with Citro’s. He describes a world behind the world we know, shaped by the ‘field’ through the ‘code’, the structure that underlays it. It’s influences are not stymied by our refusal or ignorance…our response, however, our ability to effectively live in the world, even to survive into the future, will be dependent on this. It cannot be any other way. As we become more powerful actors in this world it becomes more essential that we understand the world and our effect on it…if we have any hope of surviving. Read Citro’s book!
A few other source books:
Stephen Hawking, A Short History of Time, everyone needs some kind of introduction to the world of Quantum Physics, its basic concepts. This may be too technical for some readers, less so for those with more of a science background. You might want to go to this site for a few options to books for laymen.
Mae Wan Ho, The Rainbow and the Worm: the Physics of Organisms, the first book on this topic I read. First published in 1998 with later updates and editions. Ho was a Geneticist who became fascinated by the physics of living organisms, a topic that was then little studied. For a scientist her writing is very accessible.
Living Rainbow H20. 2012. This book, written by Ho, served as an introduction for me to the unique physics and properties of water molecules and their all important role in living organisms
Ervin Laszlo, Science and the Akashic Field, Laszlo has been central to the larger discussion of the unified field theory, the theory of everything. He is cited by Citro above. His is a rare and remarkable mind, a man who began his career as a concert pianist and has gone on to become a Renaissance man of science, joining separate theories into a remarkable whole.
Lynn Margulis and Dorian Sagan, The Garden of Microbial Delights: A Practical Guide to the Subvisible World. Lynn Margulis was an evolutionary theorist and biologist most widely known for her work on Gaia Theory with James Lovelock, but who was a seminal thinker in the world of symbiosis and the evolution of the cell and, by extension, of higher organisms. She was a prolific writer and her most accessible titles are several and are co-authored with her son Dorian Sagan. Her evolutionary work is essential to understanding life today.
I first read Gerald Pollack’s, Cells, Gels and the Engines of Life: A New, Unifying Approach to Cell Function. It filled in gaps I had after reading Ho’s books above. Pollack is a bio-medical engineer who worked on various artificial organs, tissues and pieces of equipment and became fascinated by the surprisingly little studied molecule of water of which much was assumed, but little known. He is the founder and driving force behind the Pollack Lab, which focuses on H20 and its capacities as it moves in and out of the liquid state to the previously little known fourth state of water. The lab is part of the Bioengineering Department at the University of Washington. His later book, The Fourth Phase of Water: Beyond Solid, Liquid, and Vapor provides a more rigorous, but still understandable, explanation of their work.