Tying it all together: Laszlo's theory of everything
In my continuing effort to pull together the disparate worlds of science, and ancient mysteries and consciousness research, I came across a book that does a lot of the heavy lifting. It is “Science and the Akashic Field: An Integral Theory of Everything” by Ervin Laszlo.
He starts out focusing mainly on the world of physics and it’s pretty deep. But then he moves on to the life sciences and consciousness research which, while very weird, is a bit more understandable.
At any rate Laszlo’s aim is to help us come up with a “theory of everything” which is one of my primary objectives, so let’s see what he has to say.
Here is a summary of his main points.
There is coherence/entanglement at micro level, bio level, and cosmic level
This can happen due to the quantum vacuum (the A-field): which is filled with energy and consciousness and serves as a communicating medium
This A-field records all that happens, in terms of the formation of matter, the evolution of life, and the evolution of consciousness
Universes are born and die in a cycle
Each universe builds upon what has come before via the process of “in-formation”, and thus evolves further and further; matter and consciousness therefore become increasingly complex
Human consciousness has evolved to the point where we can “tap into” the A-field
We could thus possibly learn much from those who have come before and addressed the problems we are now facing
With the above as a roadmap. Let’s delve in.
The challenge of coming up with a Theory of Everything
Laszlo’s book starts with a short review of the history of efforts to come up with a theory of everything… …a theory that pulls together everything in the physical universe, the living world, the spheres of society and mind and culture.
Until recently, Laszlo says, scientists trying to do this have only provided fragmented pictures. They have most often focused on the physical world and have not tried to tie together elements from the other “worlds.” He says that a true theory of everything has to go further; not just be a theory of every physical thing.
At the core of Laszlo’s own attempt to come up with such a theory he states the following: Rather than trying to come up with a single formula that ties all things together, instead, it is “simpler, and more sensible, to look for the basic laws and processes that give rise to these entities [atoms, stars, galaxies], and to their interrelations” p 11. He says this is true not only for a physical TOE, but for a more inclusive I-TOE (integral theory of everything). I’m not sure where this is coming from. I don’t know why this is simpler and more sensible. Perhaps this will become clear as he makes his argument. Let’s wait and see. Meanwhile, it’s a pretty interesting idea in and of itself.
“When we try to create a genuine I-TOE, we can proceed in an analogous way. We can start with the basic kind of things, the things that generate other things without being generated by them. Then we must state the simplest possible set of rules that can generate the more complex things. In principle we should then be able to explain how every “thing” in the world has come to be” p 12.
This sounds like the world’s biggest riddle: What generates things without being generated by them? In any given discipline, if we can answer this riddle we’re surely getting back to basics. I can imagine what this might look like in physics and even biology, but have a hard time with anything like mind, spirit or consciousness.
The quantum vacuum and in-formation
Laszlo starts with the physical world. He points outs that the “new physics” is going beyond string and superstring theories and utilizing the above concept. He says that work in the area of cutting-edge particle and field theory is positing that they can identify the foundation from which everything else came about, without being generated by those other things. Namely, “a virtual-energy sea known as the quantum vacuum” p 12.
Yet he says the current ways of viewing the quantum vacuum is too narrow. The current view is that things are generated by the quantum vacuum by laws of interaction based on the “transfer and transformation of energy.” This explains, Laszlo says, how a lot of things have come to be, but doesn’t explain some very important things such as:
Why there is an excess of particles over antiparticles and
How, over the eons, the surviving particles became structured into more and more complex things, e.g. galaxies, stars, cells, organisms, societies, ecologies, and entire biospheres.
To explain these things inquirers laboring across the varied disciplines of the physical sciences, life sciences, and the human and social sciences are recognizing that there must be something more involved…something that is neither matter nor energy. Laszlo says that thing is “information.” It’s clear, however, that he uses this concept in a non-traditional way.
He says information set the parameters of the universe at its birth, and thereafter “governs the evolution of its basic elements into complex systems” p 13. That’s a big idea. Laszlo appears to be putting this conception of information right up there where many people put God.
According to Laszlo, information isn’t just data or what a person knows. It’s deeper. “Physical and life scientists are discovering that information extends far beyond the mind of an individual person, or even all persons taken together. It is an inherent aspect of both physical and biological nature. The great physicist David Bohm called it “in-formation,” meaning a process that actually “forms” the recipient. This is the concept we shall adopt here” p 13.
He says that in-formation is not a human artifact. Ancient sages knew and now scientists are re-discovering that it is “present in the world independent of human volition and action and is a decisive factor in the evolution of the things that furnish the real world. The basis for creating a genuine I-TOE is the recognition that “in-formation” is a fundamental factor in nature.Let’s stop a moment and summarize. I think he’s saying that in-formation is not matter or energy, and is not something man-made. It is something this is very powerful in shaping both the nature and the evolution of the universe and everything in it.
His approach to investigating this “in-formation” and eventually coming up with an I-TOE, is to investigate puzzles that need explaining.
Coherence and entanglement in the world of physics
One big puzzle Laszlo says, that shows up across many fields, is the idea of “coherence.”
Coherence is: Situations where parts of a system” are so finely adjusted to each other that a change in any one of them introduces change in all the others. Moreover the changes propagate through the system quasi-instantly, and are enduring. It is as if the parts of the system are “nonlocal”—not limited to just where they are, but are in some way everywhere throughout the system.” He says this situation is found not just in the world of physics but also in the living world and the world of consciousness” p 24.
Example from physics: Physicists say that coherence is based on “entanglement.”
This example goes all the way back to 1935 when Einstein and has buddies Boris Podolski and Nathan Rosen (EPR for short) came up with a “thought experiment” that was realized in a lab years later.
“Suppose that we measure the spin state of one particle—particle A—along some direction, let us say the z-axis(the permissible spin states are “up” or “down” along axes x, y and z). Let us say we find that this measurement shows the spin to be in the direction of “up.” Because the spins of the particles have to cancel each other, the spin of particle B must definitely be “down.” But the particles are removed from each other; so this requirement should not hold. Yet it does.
Every measurement of one particle yields a complementary outcome in the measurement on the other. It appears that the measurement of particle A has an instantaneous effect on B, causing its spin-wave functions to collapse into the complementary state. The measurement on A does not merely reveal an already established state of B: it actually produces the state.
An instantaneous effect propagates from A to B, conveying precise information on what is being measured. B “knows” when A is measured, for what parameter, and with what result, for it assumes its own state accordingly. A nonlocal connection links A and B, notwithstanding the distance that separates them” pps 30-31.
Experiments similar to this in the ‘80s and ‘90s kept finding this same thing. They also found that the effect propagates 20,000 times faster than the speed of light!
“The experiments also show that the connection between the particles is not transmitted by conventional means through the measuring apparatus; it is intrinsic to the particles themselves. The particles are “entangled”: their correlation is not sensitive either to distance or to difference in time” p 31.
That’s a lot of absorb. Let’s take it a bit at a time.
A key to this seems to be that the particles are somehow in the same system. This appears to mean that they can originate at different places and times, but “if they once come together within the same system of coordinates, that is enough for them to continue to act as part of the same quantum system even when they are separated” p 32.
I was trying to avoid bringing in the weird world of quantum physics, but to understand the above statement, it seems a little discussion is necessary.
As I understand it, one of the main ideas in quantum physics is that things such as particles exist in virtual states and they can manifest or “collapse into” one universe or another—one coordinate system or another—for a variety of reasons. It’s not clear to anyone how the determination is made as to which coordinate system they will manifest in. And it’s even possible that they manifest in more than one simultaneously…but we only see them if they manifest in “our” system.
So now let’s go back to entanglement. I think what Laszlo is saying is that if two particles come out of their virtual state and manifest in the same coordinate system (such as our universe), they become entangled, even if their respective manifestations happened in far different places and in far different temporal epochs!
Doesn’t that mean that ALL particles that we can see (because they’re within our particular universe/coordinate system) are entangled? Seems like it. And that means everything’s connected to everything else. That sounds familiar.
Laszlo lays out his position on the possibility of biological coherence in a single sentence, “Cutting-edge research in quantum biology finds that atoms and molecules within organisms, and entire organisms and their environments, are nearly as “entangled” with each other as micro-particles that originate in the same quantum state” p 43. I take this to mean that it has been found that similar kinds of mysterious connections appear to exist between parts of living organisms as have been found to exist between micro-particles.
He says that in biological systems, the various components must be “precisely yet flexibly correlated with one another” if the entity is to survive in a dangerous and changing environment. It is the degree and form of this correlation which presents the mystery.
Maintaining this correlation is particularly challenging in the human body which, he points out, consists of a million billion cells. Moreover, nothing is standing still. Millions of cells are dying every second and millions more are regenerated. And still, correlation occurs. For example, some biological processes in the body require that rare molecules, located very far from each other in the body, somehow “find” each other and act in unison. The mystery is how this happens: “There would not be enough time for this to occur by a random process of jiggling and mixing; the molecules need to locate and respond to each other specifically, even if they are distant. It is difficult to see how this could be achieved by mechanical or chemical connections among the organism’s parts….” p45. The communication between these molecules occurs much faster than is possible via electro-chemical messages being sent via the nervous system.
Some other examples:
It turns out that many organisms respond to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields. So weak, in fact, that only the most highly sophisticated instruments can detect them. The only way this can happen, Laszlo says, is if a large number of molecules were super-coherently linked among themselves. So that even though the molecules are distant from one another, they act as one—as if they are all one big molecule and this is large enough to be detected by our biology.
Another set of examples are provided that relate to how organisms evolve. Classical Darwinism says that mutations occur by chance and then natural selection determines which will survive. However, Laszlo points out that this process actually involves two levels of chance: “the chance variation of the genome, and the chance fit of the resulting mutants to their environment.” There are so many possible outcomes to this process, that there is no way, he says, that the actual development that has happened--from single cells to complex organisms such as Man--could have occurred in the geologic blink of an eye during the 600 million years since the late Cambrian era until the first homo sapiens sapiens strutted their stuff across Africa.
The fact that evolution has happened so quickly is evidence, Laszlo suggests, of some other process, some kind of organizing principle that is at work over and above random mutation and survival of the fittest. He goes on to describe at least part of the mysterious process: the environment impinges on the organism and triggers hyper-mutations. That is, many different parts of the organism mutate simultaneously, creating a response to the environmental change that allows the organism to flourish. Exactly how these different parts correlate themselves he doesn’t describe, yet this is exactly the point—that there exists some kind of invisible correlating/organizing mechanism at work that we don’t yet understand.
Consciousness and coherence
What about consciousness? How might the ideas of “coherence” and “entanglement” manifest in this area?
Laszlo points out that many so-called “primitive” cultures firmly believe that there are ties between peoples’ consciousness; that thought and image transference are just a natural part of being human. Today, such abilities are generally scoffed at. Anyone interested in studying such things are often marginalized and referred to, on a good day, as “para-psychologists.”
And yet the study of transpersonal connections continues and has actually increased of late. Studies of twins show that a large percentage exhibit telepathic interconnection, even under rigorous experimental conditions. This communication appears to happen most often among twins, but “other people who share a deep bond, such as mothers and children, lovers, long-term coupes, even close friends” (p 52) exhibit these abilities much more frequently than mere chance would predict.
Laszlo presents a raft of experiments from the last 40 years which illustrate the above point. We won’t go into them here, but they are very interesting reading. He points out for example, that such interconnections are not always between mind and mind. In many cases minds can communicate with other peoples’ bodies. He cites many examples of healers who apparently cause cures by their thoughts and prayers, “by sending a healing force or healing information.”
What does all this have to do with coherence? I guess the underlying idea is that in an analogous way (or maybe even in a literal way), what we think of as our own mind—our own individual consciousness—is like those entangled particles we discussed earlier. They are separate, but at the same time there are some kinds of connections between them. In the realm of consciousness, these connections allow for communication (e.g. thought and image transference) and even influence (e.g. changing the course of biological processes).
So to summarize: Laszlo is claiming that at the micro-particle level in the world of physics, at the molecular and organism level in the world of biology, and at the idea and image level in the world of consciousness, there is much evidence for coherence. The extent and form of this coherence strongly suggests that there are connections we don’t understand between elements in the respective systems. Further I think he’s saying that in many cases not only is communication occurring, but directive communication is occurring. That is, communication with a purpose, such as evolving an environment that can support life, or causing the swift evolution from simple to complex forms, for adaptation, survival and evolution.
How is coherence possible?
In a nutshell, here’s Laszlo’s explanation: Given all the evidence for coherence, at the micro and macroscopic levels, it appears that “…there is not only matter and energy in the universe, but also a more subtle yet real element: an element that connects, and which produces the observed quasi-instant forms of coherence” p60.
He says that many grand unified theories (GUTs) have come to this conclusion, and that this medium is often referred to as the “unified vacuum.” However, Laszlo doesn’t seem to approve of this label since he says, “…the vacuum is neither empty space nor a purely geometrical structure: it is a physically real medium that interacts with matter and produces physically real effects” p62. Often, throughout the rest of his book, Laszlo uses the term “plenum” instead, meaning a space completely filled with matter (or something).
“The physical vacuum, effectively a cosmic plenum, subtends the observed universe” p67. Subtend means to underlie so as to enclose or surround. He is saying that this plenum is everywhere throughout the universe.
There is mounting evidence for the reality of the plenum, he says, and we’re beginning to understand its properties. For instance it can serve as a medium for light, gravity, energy of various kinds, and for density-pressure waves. Jumping far ahead in his book, he also claims that this medium is capable of recording information related to all that has happened in the universe, and I mean ALL as we’ll soon see.
Earlier in this discussion we mentioned Laszlo’s unique use of the term information, or rather “in-formation.” Let’s now look at this idea in more detail:
“In-formation is a subtle, quasi-instant, non-evanescent and non-energetic connection between things at different locations in space and events at different points in time. Such connections are termed “nonlocal” in the natural sciences and “transpersonal” in consciousness research. In-formation links things (particles, atoms, molecules, organisms, ecologies, solar systems, entire galaxies, as well as the mind and consciousness associated with some of these things) regardless of how far they are from each other and how much time has passed since connections were created between them” Pps 68-69.
Let’s stop here to summarize. I believe Laszlo is saying three things about the “quantum vacuum” or as he seems to prefer, the “plenum”:
It is an all-pervasive medium which allows for the transmission of light, energies, etc.
This medium can also record events (more on this soon)
This medium the ability connect disparate elements of the universe regardless of how far apart they may be in space and time.
How does the plenum record events?
I confess I remain a bit confused about this, even after struggling through Laszlo’s many pages on the topic. The approach he takes to try and explain is to use the analogy of boats creating waves in water. Their waves contain information about the boat itself. The wave propagates through the water, so a knowledgeable person could look at the wake at any point and de-code information about the boat that generated the wake in the first place. This information would be the same wherever you happen to look at the propagating wake.
Then he points out that when there’s more than one boat in the water, their waves run into each other. At the points of intersection they interact in distinct ways which are called “interference patterns.” I believe Laszlo is saying that these interference patterns also contain a lot of information about the boats that created the respective waves and that this information appears wherever the waves intersect. He points out that the waves theoretically keep propagating, so that interference patterns go on and on and thus the same information is available in many places. This is important because Laszlo eventually says that once information goes into the plenum it is available anywhere in the universe.
After using the boats-and-water analogy Laszlo moves on to using a hologram analogy. He says the interfering “wavefields” we’ve been discussing are effectively a “natural hologram.” He describes at length how holograms work—how 2D data can encode a 3D image—but I’m not sure we need to go into all of that. His point is that events are encoded in the plenum and that a record of these events is accessible from anywhere in the plenum.
He goes on to say that because of being encoded in this way, all information in the plenum is connected to all other information. I don’t understand this point. Nevertheless, it is clear that Laszlo is saying these linkages lie at the bottom of all the coherence puzzles he’s identified and we’ve discussed previously. I can understand, sort of, Laszlo’s explanation of information is recorded in the plenum. I can understand how the same information is distributed throughout the plenum. But I don’t understand how the coherence linkages are created. If anyone could help me (and I dare say others) on this point, I’d be grateful.
What other important characteristics does the plenum have?
In our earlier discussions, we mentioned that the information the plenum contains has another rather amazing property. This property is the reason Laszlo keeps using the term “in-formation” instead of just “information.” What is this property? It is that the information contained in the plenum about what has happened in some sense guides what is going to happen in the future. It serves as a kind of blueprint which directs evolution.
This is beginning to sound pretty mystical. In fact, at this point in his book Laszlo digresses into a discussion of cosmology—how the universe came to be and where it’s going. He quotes Yogi Swami Vivekananda,
“According to the philosophers of India, the whole universe is composed of two materials, one of which they call Akasha. It is the omnipresent, all-penetrating existence. Everything that has form, everything that is the result of combination, is evolved out of this Akasha….At the beginning of creation there is only this Akasha. At the end of the cycle the solid, the liquids, and the gases all melt into the Akasha again, and the next creation similarly proceeds out of this Akasha…” p76.
Laszlo clearly buys into this concept. So much so that he decides to once again re-name the thing first referred to as the “quantum vacuum” and then the “plenum.” Now he proposes that it be called the Akashic Field, or “A-Field”.
Before going on, let’s clarify something. Above the Swami said that Indian philosophers have long said that the universe is made of two materials, one of which is Akasha. What’s the other one? Laszlo says, “The sum total of all forces in the universe, mental or physical, when resolved back to their original state, is called Prana” p 76.
Here’s my understanding of how all this fits together: The A-field is essentially a medium of some kind. When forces act upon it, it leads to the evolution of material forms. Furthermore, this happens in cycles. The forces ebb and flow. When the forces flow, they strike upon the Akasha and this leads to the evolution of forms. When they ebb everything stops and reverts back to the quiet all-pervading Akasha. Said another way, these interactions cause the creation of universes. These exist for a period of time and then disintegrate, only to be re-born at a later time.
In-formation and evolving universes
What does this have to do with the idea that somehow the information contained in the A-field can direct how things develop? As I understand Laszlo’s argument, he says this can happen because all the successive universes aren’t isolated from one another. Everything that they contain (planets, biological forms and even thoughts) is recorded in the A-field and when the next universe is created, information about these things is passed along and directs or “in-forms” the evolution that takes place within the next universe.
For me, this is a fascinating idea, but it is also a huge leap. I can sort of understand the idea that all things that happen somehow are encoded in the A-field. I can also sort of understand the idea of their being just a vast undifferentiated field that is energized and evolves into matter and biology and eventually disintegrates back into an undifferentiated field. But what I don’t understand is this: if everything disintegrates, how is information passed along. All these waves and interference patterns he’s talked about…what’s become of them? Haven’t they disintegrated?
OK, so for me at least, that’s a problem. But let’s move on because if you DO buy the idea that each universe informs the next, a lot of things start making sense. As Laszlo says, “…each universe ‘inherits’ the physical properties of its precursor….It evolves more and more efficiently, and hence further and further into the otherwise improbably realms of coherence where complex systems such as organisms, societies, and ecologies can emerge” pps 85-86.
That’s a huge idea. It adds a whole new twist to the idea of evolution, as we previously discussed in Laszlo’s rejoinder to Darwinian theories of evolution. Evolution is not strictly powered by random mutations and survival of the fittest, all this operates within a much more potent context: that patterns of what came before are somehow guiding and directing the entire process. The result is ever-greater coherence and complexity. “The cycle itself evolves from a random initial universe, to universes where the physical parameters are more and more tuned to the evolution of complexity. Thus cosmic evolution is toward universes where complex and coherent structures emerge, including structures that harbor evolved forms of life—and the evolved forms of mind that are presumably always associated with evolved forms of life” P 93. Laszlo thus provides the first hint of his views on the origin of human consciousness.
The origin of human consciousness
Laszlo discusses how many people over the ages have wrestled with the idea of the origin of human consciousness, and specifically how can something qualitatively different from matter arise from matter. This inquiry continues today. How can awareness arise from cells, molecules and electricity? He says he doesn’t believe this is how it came about. Laszlo thinks it is very unlikely that some Deity created consciousness. More likely, he says, is the answer many have offered which is termed “Panpsychism.” This is the idea that both matter and mind are and have always been omnipresent in the universe. They were both present even when the universe was born.
Laszlo’s concept of “In-formation” adds an evolutionary dimension to this idea: He says that while mind was omnipresent, it wasn’t present everywhere and every time in the same way. It has evolved just as matter has evolved. Moreover, he claims that matter and consciousness aren’t separate things: “they are different aspects of the same reality” P 111. He quickly notes that this idea is hardly novel. In fact, it has been around for thousands of years:
“The Indian Vedic tradition, for example, regards consciousness not as an emergent property that comes into existence through material structures such as the brain and the nervous system, but as a vast field that constitutes the primary reality of the universe…..It can be experienced by individuals in meditation when the gross layers of the mind are stripped away. Underlying the diversified and localized gross layers of ordinary consciousness there is a unified, non-localized, and subtle layer: ‘pure consciousness’” P 120.
“…the proto-consciousness that infuses the cosmos becomes localized and articulated as particles emerge from the vacuum and evolve into atoms and molecules. On life-bearing planets the atoms and molecules evolve into cells, organisms, and ecologies. Through them the consciousness that infuses the cosmos becomes more and more articulated. The human mind, associated with the remarkably evolved human brain, is the highest-level articulation on this planet of the consciousness that, arising from the vacuum, pervades the cosmos” P 121.
Unless I’m missing something, this is all Laszlo has to say about the genesis of human consciousness. Consciousness is an integral part of reality, just like matter and energy, and the directive patterns he calls “in-formation.” It has always existed, the same way that everything that makes up the A-field has always existed. Moreover, consciousness persists from universe to universe, evolving along with everything else.
For me, this is not very satisfying. It seems Laszlo is defining away the problem. He may be right, but somehow it seems too easy. Particularly so in light of the fact that when he’s talking about how the cycle of universe birth-death-birth was started, he concludes only that some thing or someone must have set it all in motion.
So I think he’s come up a little short here. Still, let’s set that aside and move on to what he says about how consciousness evolved.
In-formation and evolving consciousness
Laszlo believes that consciousness evolves within the cycle of universe birth-death-rebirth. This cycle, in other words, does not just refer to the physical aspects of the universes, but about consciousness within these universes. So universes go from being just physical universes, to physical-biological, to physical-biological-psychological.
Laszlo makes the following points about consciousness:
Consciousness is not just a human characteristic…it exists in all living things to some degree
There is no evidence that the physical brain is the source of consciousness
MRIs don’t show “that the cells of the brain that produce proteins and electrical signals also produce sensations, thoughts, emotions, images, and other elements of the conscious mind.” P 107
It is true, though, that brain function is usually (but not always!) correlated with consciousness
How the brain produces qualitative sensations is not known.
Many scientists and philosophers, including Alfred North Whitehead, have asserted that all matter has some degree of consciousness
Laszlo gives some examples of this last point: “Less evolved forms of matter, such as molecules, exhibit more rudimentary forms of knowing—they “know” to combine into cells. Cells “know” to reproduce and fight off harmful intruders; plants “know” to turn toward the Sun, birds to fly south in winter. The higher forms of knowing, such as human awareness and intention, have their roots in the cosmos; they were there in potential at the birth of the universe” P 112.
Laszlo notes that although it doesn’t appear the human body has changed much in the past 30 to 50 thousand years, human consciousness has changed a lot. Many people have come up with schemes to define the different stages. They have in common, he says, that our consciousness has evolved from the ego-bound to the transpersonal form. He says if this is really so, it’s good news because transpersonal consciousness is “open to more of the information that reaches our brain than the consciousness still dominant today. This could have momentous consequences. It could produce greater empathy among people, and greater sensitivity to animals, plants and the entire biosphere. It could create subtle contact with the rest of the cosmos” P 118.
He says that if and when a lot of people evolve to this stage, “a higher civilization is likely to emerge, with deeper solidarity and a higher sense of justice and responsibility” P 118. Will it happen? Who knows, he says. We may blow ourselves up. But if we don’t, this is likely where we’re headed.
Laszlo also talks about another aspect of the evolution. He says that at some ancient period in human history, our brains evolved the capability to perceive things beyond our 5 senses. He points out that many “primitive” societies take this for granted, but we have largely lost this ability, although the capability is still within us. Laszlo says this extra-sensory perception is possible because our brain/mind can access the information in the A-field. He claims that all matter, including humans, continually interact with the A-field. As we discussed earlier, a key characteristic of the A-field is that it encodes information about everything that has happened—and everything that has been thought. Humans, he says, can tap into all this information.
In fact, Laszlo says that while short term memories may arise from electrical impulses stored in our brain cells, this is definitely not what is happening with long term memory. Long term memories are actually us tapping into the information still present in the A-field.
He says that not only can we tap into our own thoughts and experiences, but we can tap into those of other people’s, which are also encoded in the A-field. This is how, he says, so-called telepathy works. It is also how purported examples of reincarnation works. He believes in these latter cases people are tapping into the thoughts and feelings of people who have come before, and it is probably not the case that the same person is being re-born and recalling previous lives.
Bolding stepping out even further on a limb, Laszlo says that the human brain can pick up extraterrestrial information—the thoughts and actions and accomplishments of “people who evolved elsewhere and even at different times. He again notes that several “primitive” cultures were apparently able to do this and we’ve mostly forgotten how to tap into this resource. Laszlo says it is important to try to regain this capability because it might help us learn from those who’ve come before and who faced many of the perils that we’re facing today. Maybe they came up with solutions that we can import.
Laszlo has connected a lot of dots. He has shown how many of the mysteries of coherence and entanglement can be explained by the pervasive presence of the A-field. He has come up with a single rather simple idea that universes evolve over the eons, being born, dying, and being reborn in a repeating cycle. And most importantly he posits that somehow the A-field retains a record over everything that has come before, so each subsequent universe builds on this foundation and evolves toward ever greater complexity in all spheres: physical, biological, and psychological. Finally he states his belief that our consciousness has evolved to the point where we can tap into the vast resources of the A-field and learn from what, and even who, have come before.
 “Science and the Akashic Field: An Integral Theory of Everything,” Ervin Laszlo, Second Edition, Inner Traditions, 2007.