Can You Change the Past?

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

by Robert Lanza and Deepak Chopra

Can decisions we make now change the past? Modern physics tells us that particles possess a range of possible states, and that it's not until the actual act of observation that they take on real physical properties. Until this occurs there cannot be a past. Even eminent physicists Stephen Hawking and John Wheeler (one of Einstein's last collaborators) agree it can be no other way.

According to a new scientific theory, the past is simply the framework of events that defines our existence (Biocentrism, BenBella, 2009). Much of it is still fluid and unwritten, and has yet to be determined. In fact, two years ago, a team of French scientists published a landmark experiment in the prestigious journal Science showing that what they did -- now, in the present -- could retroactively change an event that had already happened in the past.

When you walk through the woods and observe things, the 'probability waves collapse' and the past is locked in. For instance, when you look down at the ground, there is a certain degree of physical uncertainty as to what is underneath. If you dig a hole for a tree, there is a range of probability that there will be a pebble either here or there. Of course, the probability of finding a diamond is much less than finding sand. But all those probabilities exist, and at any given time you either experience hitting a boulder or loose soil. Say you hit a boulder, the precise glacial movements of the past that account for the rock being in exactly that spot in your yard will change as described in the Science experiment.

Some will ask "But what about dinosaurs -- how can there be fossils?" Of course, once fossils are observed, part of the past has been determined. But dinosaur fossils are really no different than anything else you observe in nature. For instance, the carbon atoms in your body are 'fossils' created in the heart of exploding supernova stars.

The sum of the matter is this: physical reality begins and ends with the observer. We cannot go beyond the observer with our concepts of space and time. Without such an animal observer, space and time, and the evolutionary events thought to fill them, are altogether impossible.

As humans, we take the mind for granted. We are pleased with such books as Newton's Principia, or Darwin's Origin of Species. But they instill in us a complacency. Darwin spoke of the possibility that life emerged from inorganic matter in some "warm little pond." Trying to trace life down through simpler stages is one thing, but assuming it arose spontaneously from nonliving matter wants for the rigor of the quantum theorist.

In 1953, Stanley Miller mixed together some gases in an effort to mimic the geophysical environment of the primitive earth. He then subjected them to electrical sparks, corresponding to the lightning present on the primitive earth. After about a week the fluid turned brown and was found to contain amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Subsequent experiments by Miller and others have also succeeded in producing more complex organic molecules, including nucleic acids, which act to store and translate genetic information in living organisms.

While it is true, a rich variety of organic molecules can be synthesized in any one of many different ways, and it can probably be done in your bathtub, the experiments do not fail to have an animal subject. Our intercourse with the molecules is such as is necessary for them to exist as real objects. Half of the experiment is the scientist, who does not recognize that their consciousness renders possible the space, indeed, the very reality of the reaction vessel itself. It cannot be otherwise than important to remember that the Universe does not run mechanistically like a clock, and that physical reality extends no further than the animal observer.

"We are participators," Wheeler once said "in bringing about something of the universe in the distant past." Before his death last year, he stated that when observing light from a distant quasar that's bent around a foreground galaxy, we set up a quantum observation on an enormously large scale. It means, he said, the measurements made on the light now, determines the path it took billions of years ago.

Choices we make now really do change the past.

Robert Lanza, MD is a leading scientist and author of Biocentrism a book that lays out his theory of everything.

Deepak Chopra on