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Record Type: Review   ID: 907

The Living Energy Universe

Schwartz, Gary E. R., & Russek, Linda G. S.

If there ever was a book that explained revolutionary and sometimes intricate theories (but in this case, I prefer the word ideas because it seems more "living," and therefore in keeping with the title), in a way that any person of average intelligence can understand, this book is it. I think this is because the ideas conveyed are not simply a result of empirical research (though they are that), but they are aftereffects of highly meaningful experiences of the authors—experiences I would call exceptional human experiences. For Gary it was a momentous creative "aha" or "eureka" experience that gave him the core idea this book conveys. Without Linda and experiences associated with her parents before and after death, the seed of Gary’s anomaly of personal experience, it seems, would not have been potentiated. She was the midwife who brought it to life, and this was intermixed with the exceptional depth of their own living love for each other. Both are exceptionally qualified, therefore, not only as scientists but in their familial backgrounds.

In many ways what they write about living memory is analogous to what I write about what happens when an anomalous experience comes alive and through the experiencer is lived into the world, transformed from its origin as a hole in the fabric of the mechanistic worldview into a window looking on a new and vastly wondrous interconnected view of the universe, life, and human beings.

Schwartz and Russek’s thesis is that ideas themselves are alive and evolving. Similarly, I propose that the meaning inherent in an anomalous experience, once it is recognized, also springs to life and grows within and without in increasingly larger spirals. For this to happen, it seems to be imperative that the experiencer relate the living ideas that came into their lives to the experience that birthed them. Therefore I feel impelled to note that a core question of this book is, "Can something, once it comes into existence, continue to live and evolve forever?" (p. 11). The answer that echoes in my mind, which was the core message of my seminal EHE, a near-death experience I had in 1952, was this sentence, that "dropped" into my consciousness, as I felt I was out in space above Earth (or so it seemed), "Nothing that ever lived could possibly die," and I am always compelled to add, "as if by definition." Gary and Linda, as they refer to themselves in the book, are also conducting research aimed at answering the question: Is it just the ideas people had that live and evolve or is it the people themselves? My own question is: Or is it any and everything that ever lived? Except my mind feels compelled to extend that to everything that ever existed, being too fond of stones and rocks to leave them out of the equation. Besides, where and what would we be without the members of the mineral kingdom, small and large? Do the particles of potassium and iron just live on and evolve through us and plants and other animals or do they go on living and evolving in themselves? (This book is such that readers are bound to ask such questions.) Actually, the authors do ask this question in a general sense as, "Is everything—even thoughts themselves—eternal, alive, and evolving?" (p. 41). They also ask, "Can systems of ideas have a ‘life of their own?" And, as the title suggests, ultimately, they consider the entire universe to be alive and growing.

The Living Energy Universe is in four sections. Part 1 consists of two chapters on the conception and early development of the universal living memory (ULM) idea. The next chapter presents an overview of the book and its central ideas. Part 2, A Brief History of Time, God, and Memory, presents four similar stages in the development of both religion and science. Each stage in the two domains has parallels in the other, becoming incredibly more dynamic and global as they evolve. Each of the stages is the subject of the following three chapters in that section.

The sixth chapter, which the authors say "contains the heart of this story" (p. 18), describes the universal living memory process, which I see as analogous to the stages of the EHE process. In Part 3, Examples of Universal Living Memory, in four chapters Schwartz and Russek raise possible predictions based on the ULM hypothesis and look for corroboratory scientific data that confirms it. The four subject areas in which they found positive confirmation of the ULM were memory of heart transplants and the possibility of "cellular memory"; water memory, as suggested by homeopathy and other anomalies; soul memories, as indicated by out-of-body experiences and forms of after-death communication; and memory in the universe as a whole ("in the quantum vacuum of space," p. 18).

The last section deals with the implications of ULM, not only for science and society, but for individual humans, with a chapter devoted to each, with the emphasis on the living energy universe, and beyond that, the loving energy universe. The final chapter is brief but riveting. Gary Schwartz vicariously experienced the existential anxiety of a friend whose husband had been murdered, thus seemingly putting an end to the special love they had shared. If it was gone forever, this woman would have no respect for or faith in a loving creator. Schwartz’s strong empathy with this woman’s question, which echoed his wife Linda’s question about whether her own father lived beyond death, led him to put a new twist on the survival question. As he shared it with Linda the next day, "If the systemic memory hypothesis is true, science may resurrect and revise the reputation of God" (p. 183); and in doing so, I might add, unite science and religion.

As a taste of what this might mean to individuals, Schwartz and Russek describe this vision of the Living Energy Universe: "Just as the energy and information of distant star systems travel in space forever, if the universal living memory process is true, our personal info-energy systems—literally composed of photons of visible and invisible ‘light’—have the potential to travel, to journey and explore, and to evolve….If this vision is true, then the kind of loving intelligence that created such a process has given all of us both freedom and eternity" (p. 183).

There is an afterword which is much more important than most. It presents and responds to criticisms of the ULM hypothesis. But Schwartz and Russek are global, dynamic, and nonlocal thinkers, not tied simply to linear logic, so their afterword is an invitation "to play with the points and counterpoints and see if we come out full circle" (p. 184). There are two appendices presenting data on two topics. They are titled, "Do All Dynamical Systems Have Meaning?" and "Ability of an Electric Current to Carry Information for Crystal Growth Patterns."

This book is one of those very rare ones that can change your view of yourself and your life. Thus, reading it can be an EHE in itself. So be forewarned: Afterward you may never think the same way or even be the same again!

Publisher Information:Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads, 1999. Pp. xiv + 289. 32 figs; Ind: 279-287; 83 refs; Sel. Rdgs: 201-208; 8 tables
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