Interview took place at @SAND 2017 (Science and Non Duality).
Jude Currivan, Ph.D., is a cosmologist and futurist. She was previously one of the most senior business women in the UK as CFO and on the Executive Boards of two major international companies. She has a master’s degree in physics from Oxford University specializing in quantum physics and cosmology and a doctorate in archaeology from the University of Reading in the UK researching ancient cosmologies.
This interview covers consciousness, the nature of reality, holographic universe theory, the mind, ego and simulation theory.
Joshua Bloom: So, we’re here at SAND conference in Italy 2017, and I’m here with Jude Currivan, who did a Masters in Physics at Oxford University and had the same thesis professor as Stephen Hawking, correct?
Jude Currivan: Effectively, yes – Ben Sharman was Stephen’s mentor and he was mine at Oxford
JB: Ok. And then you went onto work in business for 25 years and then had a.. felt you had a greater calling so you went back to academia and did a Ph.D. in Archaeology
JC: I sort of didn’t have a calling to go back to academia, I had a calling to be in service to the raising of consciousness around the world, but part of that calling involved a Ph.D. in Archaeology, but researching ancient cosmologies, how people saw themselves and the word around them, because it felt that from the scientific perspective, our current cosmology was very fragmented and materialistic and I wanted to not just take that forward, but also to research ancient cosmologies which were much more integral in terms of the perspective of people and place, and the cosmos as a whole
JB: Ok. So my first question to you is on the nature of non-duality. Now in my interpretation, it is a state that one can achieve, known as the Buddha state of Nirvana, where mind and matter seem to meld into one. And there’s been various other interpretations I’ve heard whilst at this conference. Can you possibly shed some light on this?
JC: Well first of all, I’d go back to when I was four years old and I had my first, what I call, multi-dimensional experiences, which have lasted all my life, where I’ve literally walked between worlds in experiential sense and experienced reality as ultimately unified, although played out on many different levels. So for me, the idea of this duality-based perspective, where mind somehow arises from the material brain and, you know, consciousness, is something we have and, you know, the world is essentially materialistic and dualistic, was never melded with any of my experiences, but also that leading-edge science progressively is coming more and more to that perspective, so for me it’s, the appearance of the world is dualistic but the fundamental nature of reality is unified.. mind literally is matter, matter is mind and consciousness isn’t something we have, it’s what we and the whole world are
JB: Now with that answer you’ve almost answered my second question
JB: There’s an old cartoon that I remember seeing of a bunch of scientists climbing a mountain and upon reaching the top, so at the end of all their scientific research, they find a yogi at the top, meditating, who has beaten them to it. Do you think this is a reasonable metaphor for how science seems to be catching up to and uncovering what was already known in many ancient cultures, in yogic and even shamanic cultures
JC: To some degree yes. I mean when we look back, for example, at the Vedic tradition of ancient India, we have some amazing insights of the deeper fundamental nature of reality, you know, the Bhagavad Gita’s, the Upanishads, and that perspective of unified reality from which they perceived.. you know the appearance of a physical world emerges. I think one side of that, and we also perhaps look at the analogy of Plato’s Cave, where he says oh.. you know, we think of reality as just a shadow and the reality is behind us as it were. What I would not say and what I don’t.. I think that the extent of that though suggests that physical reality is just somehow an illusion, and there’s a word Maya, that’s often translated as ‘illusion’. For me, the physical world is real. One aspect, one realm as it were.. one level of multi-dimensional awareness. So I would translate Maya as more partial than illusory, so in other words the physical realm which we know emerges out of non-physical substrates at the very least, is part of the wholeness of reality. But I do, you know, I want to give science its due. When science sort of really emerged as a methodology, as an approach with the likes of Isaac Newton, what had been spirituality had become pretty much dogmatised in religion, religious formalism at that point, and so religious formalism was almost forbidding any deeper exploration of the nature of physical reality let alone any other levels of reality. So science sort of came forward as a response to that, and in many ways, science has deepened our understanding of the nature of physical reality and seen outwards farther than we could ever have thought perhaps possible. But alongside that, in trying to keep separate from religion and religious perceived dogmatism, there’s been a schism where science has progressively seen physical world as just the only reality and it’s appearance of duality being the true authentic nature of reality, and I think well that’s driven us far wider than science, it’s driven the way we behave with each other, because it says you are separate, you know, consciousness is just an accident of evolution, everything is meaningless essentially, and that has lost the deeper perspective of the ancients, so for me now it’s, it’s more that there is an opportunity through the evidence of science coming alongside ancient and universal spiritual experiences, to come together to reveal and verify, if you want verification, of ultimate unified reality
JB: So, I mentioned.. I asked you a question at the end of your talk this morning about the standard model of particle physics and four fundamental forces which in consensus science, they they believe to be, now complete, so everything in the Universe can be, in a way, sort of, some sort of algorithm or equation based on only those two models. Do you think that consciousness can be derived from those alone?
JC: I don’t think consciousness can be derived from those alone, I think they could be derived from consciousness and what I’ve done is, in my new book The Cosmic Hologram: In-formation at the Center of Creation, I’ve actually shown how beginning with the laws of thermodynamics can be restated, it doesn’t need a new mathematical formalism, just restated in terms of ‘in-formation’ and of course consciousness if, you know, I use a metaphor of consciousness as the music then information of the notes of that music, we can express through our technologies anything in terms of information, and our digitised information of our technology is exactly the same as the universal ‘in-formation’ that leading-edge science, not just physics, but across many many fields of research is showing is more fundamental, than energy, matter and space-time. And so when we restate the laws of thermodynamics as laws of information, we also find a way along the way of showing a very simple description of quantum theory and a very simple description of relativity theory. So we’re showing that information expresses energy matter, which is quantum theory and information expressed entropically, a space time which is relativity theory unnaturally complementary to each other, you know, I think it’s a nonsense to say that the mainstream physics thinks it’s got a unified theory because it still doesn’t really know what dark matter is, it still doesn’t really know what dark energy is, visible energy matters 4%, the rest is 96%, standard model is in the empirical build-up, it’s not a framework that then, you know, families of entities fall out, its a build-up of it and there’s also gaps in it, so I think all.. and of course the elephant in the room is it doesn’t as yet, but it is beginning to, perceive the importance of information as being more fundamental and of course thereby, ignores completely the elephant in the room of consciousness. So I think we come from consciousness to the algorithms of physics as being informational instruction nor algorithms enabling our universe to exist and evolve rather than trying to go the other way
JB: Now, you mentioned you went to a few lectures by Roger Penrose. I was fortunate to meet him and Stuart Hameroff last year and I asked the most far-out outrageous question, which was based on Kabbalah. Now in the Kabbalah it states that consciousness emanates.. it dances at the edge between two realms. Now in my interpretation, I saw that as a mirror image of the Holographic Universe Theory, where a greater level of reality exists being encoded in a two dimensional plane on the boundary of the physical universe where bits of information are stored at the Quantum, the Planck scale, now..
JC: ..Which is pretty much what I’m saying. I’m very much where the evidence is leading, so that is why I call the book The Cosmic Hologram: In-formation at the Center of Creation, because it begins from, first of all it takes all the evidence, all the available evidence, not just through physics and across physics, but across many other fields of research, and at all scales of our Universe, and it begins by showing just how ephemeral what we call ‘physicality’ is and showing the evidence both as a theoretical framework but as an experimentally proven that information is as physically real as anything we call, you know, subatomic entities, so there is a major convergence that’s really gathering pace now to show that information is more fundamental, and then you play that with cosmological discoveries over the last few years and you play that with the holographic principle and the coding at Bekenstein level and Planck scale of information and you get a very comprehensive perspective of how consciousness co-creates, you know, a finite universe, of which we are microcosmic co-creators
JB: Now it makes perfect sense to me that consciousness emanates from that holographic, two-dimensional store of information on the boundary of the universe, Roger Penrose was not so much a fan of that but he said that there are people, scientists, that are very serious about it. Stuart Hameroff was all over it and he said that it could be that consciousness emanates from that level of reality but there’s several interfaces absolutely there in this one
JC: Absolutely, and you know thats very clear that it’s a woolly blanket, as it were, you know the holographic boundary is very much a woolly blanket in terms of dimensional aspects and I would say it’s not just storage, it’s dynamic, one of the things that you come to when you restate the second law of thermodynamics as a second law of information with entropy, information entropy as the informational content of a system is that you come to a point where space must expand to enable our universe to evolve and time to flow so that’s the whole entropic process and so what you get is a dynamic evolving universe where what we call physical reality is an emergent phenomena, energy, matter, space-time is an emergent phenomena of a dynamic consciousness, essentially of a universe, or in a universe soul, existing and exploring itself, its innate intelligence, exploring and observing itself, ‘cause of course the other piece of this, is the Bell’s Theorem requirement for Quantum Theory and quantum mechanics to actually operate is that the whole universe is.. the whole universe is non-locally connected so it exists and evolved as a unified entity but within space-time, there is this individuation and the evolution of processes enabling the universe to observe itself, but holographically can manifest at all these different scales of experience
JB: So, something that I haven’t quite got to grips with with the Holographic Universe Theory: when you have, say, two particles or objects interacting in the physical domain, say the spatial, space and time orientation, is that in any way related to the space orientation along the 2D boundary or is all that information encoded, so it doesn’t matter where on the surface of the membrane they are in order to interact, that information in itself is also encoded
JC: Well, it’s not an either or, I mean they’re enabling oneness essentially, it’s just the appearance is.. we can simplify and we can over-simplify it. Space expands so that the number of planck scale areas on its holographic boundary or brain expands, which enables more informational content, more informational entropy to be expressed within space-time. So, you know, essentially, there’s put a pixel or many pixels because obviously the planck scale is minute compared to quantum entities, the excitation influential aspects of quantum entities, the planck scale is so much tinier. So what we’ve got is a position perhaps, space-time, not a spatial, but space-time point on the expanding holographic band of the physical universe where those two particles are combining and coming together, but the whole of our universe is experiencing so its almost as though a balloon has been blown up, yeah? So all the information appears within the 3D-ness of that balloon is encoded on the boundary, it just appears to be within it, yeah?
JB: My other question is going back to Roger Penrose, now, I’ve been a big fan of their theory of Orch-OR, Orchestrated Objective Reduction, which is a Quantum Theory of consciousness. There’s one thing I struggled to understand now, Roger is very exated (15:39) on gravity being played at the quantum level, so when you have qubits fall from the tubulin in the micro-tubules that are present in every neuron in your brain, they can exist in two possible forms and a superposition of both forms, and each form curves space time in the opposite direction, and the collapse of this is what consciousness emanates from. Now, in my opinion, gravity is such a weak force, how can it possibly be at play in the neurons in the brain
JC: Well I’m not sure it is and I’m not very familiar with that postulate, but what I would say is that, I think, more theorists have come into the perspective that gravity is an informationally entropic emergence, because if you think about it, going back very simply to Newton: Force equals MA, mass times acceleration, and gravity is in that sense Force of Gravity equals G m1 m2 over R squared, okay. Einstein understood that acceleration and gravity are the same, and if you look at what correlates them, it’s the second derivative of time, in other words, if you apply force to something, it will accelerate, until you stop applying that force, when it will just continue as a velocity, okay. A velocity of a sense, doesn’t have any time-effect.. velocity doesn’t matter whether it doesn’t have a case of steady state – it has no notion of a past and a present and a future – but force does, acceleration does, because if you’re applying an acceleration, then that acceleration will be less a moment before than it is now and it is going forward, so for our entire universe, we have a situation where our universe is going forward all the time, okay. So, my postulate is one of the things coming out of restating the laws of thermodynamics, the laws of information and resolving Quantum Theory and Relativity Theory along the way as complementary expressions, is that you can start to consider gravity as an informationally entropic force, which of course is what people like Eric … (17:00) are doing, but the other thing that comes out of this is that for our universe to be informationally entropic, space, the expansion of space, cannot be at a constant velocity, the expansion of space is predicted by what I’m saying, to either be accelerating or decelerating, so we know from what I’m calling the big breath role (18:20) in the Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago, that our universe began by space accelerating and then decelerating, and then 5 billion years ago to accelerate again, so there’s been no time as far as we have evidence of cosmologically, at the moment, where our Universe’s expansion of space was going at a velocity – it’s always accelerating, decelerating, accelerating, and that is a prediction of what I’m saying, because otherwise what I’m saying about the information of entropic nature, not just of gravity, but of any force is the past has less informational entropy than the present has less informational entropy than the future
JB: Thank you. I want to touch base on consciousness. Now, there’s been so many documented cases of terminal lucidity where 5 to 8% of Alzheimer’s sufferers, in the week or few days before they pass away, they’re in a vegetative state, their brain has undergone up to 50% decay, like huge vacuous, where theres no grey matter and then they reach a stage where they regain full, almost or full, cognitive faculties and they call up their loved-ones or friends and they tell them they love them and goodbye, and there’s also been other cases where people have been missing huge parts of their brain, like lacking their whole cerebellum, which contains 79% of the neurons in the brain, and there was one case of a girl, that was a physicist, had an IQ of 120 and she had almost no brain, just a thin film of grey matter, touching her cranium. In a way surely this is somewhat pointing towards non-local consciousness
JC: Of course and not just that but all the evidence of near death experiences
JC: Well and all the supernormal phenomena. It’s interesting, I’m working with a lot of neurophysicists and neuroscientists at the moment, and neurosurgeons at the moment, who have got to the point where they’ve got that ‘mind is matter and matter is mind’, because a friend of mine, Eben Alexander, who was a neurosurgeon, folks would come to him with all their experiences of near-death and he’d … (20:39) them, because his whole belief system was ‘ah nonsense’, and then he had one himself, and he’s very open about this, and suddenly he realised that these folks had been telling them legitimate experiences, and theres a lot of, you know, there’s a lot of experimental evidence now done on all of this and I do write about it in my new book.. But within what I’m calling the cosmic hologram as everything is consciousness and our universe is a co-creative construct, a finite thought form if you like, in that, in cosmic mind, infinite and eternal cosmic mind, then as I say consciousness isn’t something we have it’s what we and the whole world are, so our consciousness is not, in any way, limited to our bodily perceptions, and in fact, you know, our entire body is intelligent in that respect, you know our heart system has a greater neuronal network than our brain does, you know our intelligence is disseminated in a way our bodies of course, you know, the whole of our realities is holographic, and in a way our bodies are too, they are templates of our awareness. So in this sense, you know, it makes eminent sense within this cosmology but it makes no sense at all in a reductionist, dualistic ‘consciousness is just an accident of evolution, it just arises somehow from the brain’. there’s this great neurosurgeon called Henry Marshall I think, in the U.K, and he was interviewed very recently by one of the Sunday papers, and he said, you know he said, folks talk about the problem of how mind arises from matter, it’s not a problem for me: mind is matter.. and matter is mind
JB: It seems like it could be quite easy to get carried away with ideas in Gnosticism of this physical reality being an illusion, a creation, a construct of the Demiurge, etc, and Holographic Universe Theory and also what we touched on before, Simulation Theory, and you pointed out the danger of Simulation Theory
JC: Absolutely, I find Simulation.. you see, for Simulation Theory, most folks who support it are technologists and they have realised that the same digitised information that we can describe any object in terms of, within our technologies, is exactly the same as universal information, which is more fundamental than energy, matter, space-time.. but then they go on to purport that therefore everything we call reality is a simulation of an advanced culture, so they dont bring in consciousness, they dont bring in that level of self-awareness and those experiential perspectives. They’re just taking a sort of very linear you know, if digitised information is the basis of our universe then everything here is just simulation. The reason that’s dangerous is, as I say, first of all, in my view, is first of all, that it completely excludes any discussion, understanding, experiential awareness of consciousness. Secondly, you know, for kids who look to these guys as their heros, who look to technology as the great ‘wow’.. you know, there have been suicides where people have said ‘oh, end of the game, end of the simulation, reset’
JB: Yeah, even Elon Musk said that it’s more than likely we live in a simulation
JC: Exactly and Elon is a great technologist but I would suggest that there’s a much much bigger, more empowering, deeper, bigger perspective than this, and I would love him to at least be able to consider that because I feel it’s much more empowering for him as an individual, but also for him as an influencer with many others and im not asking him, I would never ask anyone to say or do anything they dont feel authentic, but I would encourage him to consider this much bigger picture of the nature of reality
JB: Now for my final question, in my research on mental health psychology and neurology aspect, I touch upon Shamanism. Now they, in many Shamanic cultures, they tend to shun the material reality in Western materialistic medicine in favour of transcendental realms and healing spirits that they encounter in these non-physical realms. Now, I cant remember who quoted this, but it was in a recent scientific paper in nature and he said that consensus science has made serious attempts to preserve a material reality but they’ve produced no new physics and we need to let go of materialism to progress as a species
JC: Yes, absolutely. I completely agree and thats what my book’s all about and it’s taking the sort of physics, and physicists will hate this term, but turned into metaphysics, because unless we expand the understanding of physics, which is all about the physical world, quantum scientists and relativists, or everyone who studies Complexity Theory, really realises that to explain what we call physicality, requires a non-physical realm from which the physical reality emerges. So we have these sort of strange attractors, we have the complex plane of phase space, all physicality can only be mathematically understood, physically understod, in terms of emergence from that, so we know that. It’s not very often talked about, but we know that. The point is that, so the materialistic approach is really fellacious, it’s just mistaken, but it’s a story that most people buy into because it’s the story that most scientists hitherto have told, and part of that I think is that science is at an existential point, because the whole methodology of science is that we are separate, so I as a scientist can observe you and we know that that’s completely wrong at the scale of a quantum but we also know that it’s actually wrong at macrocosmic scales, microscopic scales. So science is really at dilemma, because its whole methodology of perceiving separation and materialism is being overtaken by the evidence, the evidence that’s been there for a long time, but the ever increasing and ever-more compelling evidence that’s showing up, so that’s one big point. The other big point is that science has tried very hard in the mainstream to exclude the ‘elephant in the room’, which is the nature consciousness, and so evident.. you know explorations into consciousness, explorations into supernormal phenomena, explorations into things like we were discussing about near-death experiences and the rest of it, have been pushed to the side as much as they coud be, but rather like at the end of the 19th century, where hot ovens were the precursor to the quantum revolution, then I would say that all of this compelling evidence and apparent anomalies, is just pointing the way to a bigger understanding of the nature of reality and I would never it’s an illusion, because that’s dishonoring our experience as human beings, that’s dishonoring the gorgeousness of our beloved planetary home, that’s ignoring and dishonoring the amazing, exquisite way in which our universe exists and evolves as a unified entity, as a thought form, within you know, the mind of the cosmos
JB: One tiny little addition, I’ve asked everyone before about their thoughts on the ego. Do you want to give your truth as well? (28:33)
JB: Is the ego the enemy, like Dr. Naram said last week (he’s an ayurvedic doctor), or as Tim Freek said: ‘the ego is our spiritual companion and critical to reaching higher states of consciousness, Enlightenment
JC: My sense is that everything is purposeful. Einstein once said: ‘you can treat either everything as a miracle or nothing as a miracle’. For me, everything is purposeful. You know, cosmic mind didn’t set up our universe, ourselves as microcosmic co-creators, all we call reality. Everything that I’ve experienced, everything that I’ve researched, everything that I’ve studied, shows me that, you know, there’s nothing wasted – so why would an ego somehow be an enemy or a waste or a mistake in that way. For me, when we incarnate as spiritual beings, as microcosms of consciousness into human form.. why is that, why is the appearance of duality, why isn’t there just the complete appearance of unity. If unity is the most fundamental nature of reality, why is there this appearance of duality. And the message I got many many many years ago was god can’t know itself, consciousness can’t know itself – if everything is undifferentiated, there can be no perceiving, there could be no experiencing, there can be no exploring, there can be no evolving. So the appearance of duality is the appearance of duality which is actually differentiation of unity is crucial to experiencing and exploring and evolving, so in that sense the appearance, the differentiation of us as individuated beings, to enable us to look at each other, to experience each other and not just as, of course.. but the whole, you know, appearance of physical reality is curcial, and so our egos job in my perspective is to do a pretty powerful convincing role of persuading us that we are separate because if it didn’t, we would almost waste that incarnation experience of learning from each other of playing together, of dancing together, of loving each other and doing all the things. The problem is its done so good a role – so great a role – that in many cases we’ve forgotten that that’s just its role and so when we begin to understand that instead of being sort of method actors, where the ego convinces us that this is all there is, is actually remember that we are actors, divine actors, having a human experience and therefore allowing the ego to play a role – so not to be ego-less, but to be free of its insistence – that this is the only reality. So in a way, instead of it being in the driving seat, trying to keep us safe in a dualistic world, as it would perceive it, is to actually say ‘It’s ok, really honour you, really appreciate it, but now, my heart’s helping me remember.. come along for the ride, enoy the ride, we’re not going to leave you behind, we’re not going to leave you by the roadside, but just get comfortabe in the passengers seat.
JB: Thank you so much
JC: You’re very welcome