Introduction to the Postulates
The Science of Unitary Human Beings is comprised of four major postulates and three major principles. Rogers repeatedly stated that she did not create a “theory” but rather an abstract system, a science, from which many theories may be derived. Because science is open-ended and continuously evolving, new knowledge emerges continuously, thus she preferred using the term “postulate” rather than concept. All science, she said, undergoes corrections, alterations, revisions, and change for greater clarity and accuracy. Science is updating through basic theoretical research and testing. Therefore, Rogers’ “postulates,” like any science, offers a tentative view of nursing that requires continuous validation through rigorous scientific research and logical analysis.
4.1 Energy Fields: Definition
Rogers’ defined energy fields “as the fundamental unit of the living and the non-living. Field is a unifying concept. Energy signifies the dynamic nature of the field. A field is in continuous motion and is infinite” (Rogers, 1992). Persons and the environment are energy fields. Human beings do not have an energy field, they are an energy field. More importantly, energy fields do not have parts. For example, a magnet field or a gravitational field, which are physical fields, can not be divided into parts. Nor do they have boundaries. Because energy fields have no parts, they are considered irreducible. Irreducible means that it is indivisible. Furthermore, parts do not explain anything about the nature of a whole. The meaning of the term unitary is irreducible and without parts. Human beings are irreducible wholes who are more and different from the sum of parts. Rogers would use the analogy of a radio which she says has many screws, but a screw (a part) says little about the the nature of a radio. Water, H2O, is made of two hydrogen molecules and one oxygen molecule. If you study the parts (hydrogen and oxygen), which are both gases, you will learn little about the nature of water. If you what to learn and understand the nature of water, then you need to study H2O, as a unitary whole, not its parts. Or, today we could use the example of a laptop computer. Just some of the major parts of a computer include a hard drive, processor, a battery, a fan, a mother board with many microchips, a videoboard, speakers, a keyboard with over 60 keys . . . and each of these parts are made of dozens of other smaller parts. But a key on a keyboard or a microchip on the motherboard says little about the nature of all that a laptop computer is. One does not learn about all that a laptop computer is by studying the parts of a computer. So it is with human beings (from nursing’s perspective). Rogers used the term unitary to move beyond the current and common understanding of holism. Holism commonly is understood as having bio-psycho-social-cultural-spiritual parts that are inseparable and closely related. However, each dimension is still a part, and often they are viewed separately, even within a so called “holistic perspective.” Reducing the person to biological parts says nothing about the nature of unitary human beings any more than a screw can provide an understanding of the nature of a radio. The environment is also understood as a irreducible unitary whole.
A characteristic of energy is that it is dynamic. All energy is in constant motion. Nothing is still. Since energy fields are the “fundamental unit” of the animate and inanimate, everything is a form of energy. Everything is a manifestation of energy. And since energy has no boundaries, everything is essentially one. The oneness of everything also signifies the unitary or irreducible, indivisible nature of human beings and their environment.
The importance of understanding human beings and their environment as irreducible unitary wholes is that they (human beings and their environment) are the focus of nursing’s concern. Disciplines are identified by the phenomena of their concern. No other discipline focuses on human beings and the environment as irreducible unitary wholes. Medicine traditionally focuses on pathology and disease. Diseases are understood and defined in reductionist terms by focusing on the pathological biological, bio-chemical, or genetic processes of the disease. Psychology focuses on understanding the mind and its features including such psychological processes as cognition, consciousness, personality, intelligence, and emotion. Sociology focuses on social processes, physics focuses on the natural world. However, all these disciplines focus on parts, not on viewing persons and the environment as unitary wholes. Such an understanding is not to say one’s discipline’s perspective is “better” or more “right” than another. Rather, all are of equal value and each perspective makes a vital contribution to understanding aspects of the nature of humans and their universe. However, according to Rogers, nursing’s focus on unitary human beings and their environment is what distinguishes nursing from other disciplines.
The origin of Rogers’ ideas about energy fields continues to lead to some misunderstandings. In her 1970 book, Rogers introduces the idea of energy when addressing the discovery of electrical nature of living systems. Besides using the examples of encephalagraphy and cardiography as indicators of the electrical nature human beings, she referred to Yale University researchers Burr and Northrop’s (1935) research on the measurement of electrical potentials or fields surrounding living systems which formed the basis of their “electro-dynamic theory of life. She goes on to refer to Wassermann’s notions of how electrical field theory offers explanations about organismic form and behavior. Even in Rogers (1964) earlier work Reveille in Nursing she stated “Man (sic)* is an expression of the life process. He (sic) is a complex electro-dynamic field in constant interaction with other parts of the universe.” These early references to electrical fields led many to believe Rogers idea of energy is that of a physical field. Viewing human beings are electrical energy fields, is considered scientifically valid assertion, however after 1970 Rogers no longer referred to energy fields as only a physical field (electro-dynamic). Rogers later recognized the error in describing energy in terms of electrical fields.
[* In Rogers early writings she used the term “man” when referring to human beings. To reflect societal changes in language, starting in 1983 she no longer used the term “man” and began to use the term “human beings.” “The Science of Unitary Man” was thereafter referred to as “The Science of Unitary Human Beings”]
The current view is to think of the term “energy field” more as a metaphor signifying the dynamic and unifying nature of human and environmental fields. The fallacy of thinking of energy fields as some form electrical field, or the types of energy field that physics refer to, is that these are types of physical fields. Physical field are in themselves reductionist. Rogers identified physical fields, social fields, and psychological fields as not being the kind of fields she was referring to because they are parts of some larger irreducible energy field. Rather, physical fields, psychological fields, social fields, are all manifestations of one energy field, just as the human body (a physical field) is just one of many possible manifestation of the human energy field.
The emphasis on energy as a “fundamental unit” also misleads one to think Rogers is referring to quantum field theory. While the presence of vibrating strings, subatomic particles that appear simultaneously as both waves and particles, have properties that support Rogers’ postulate of energy field, quantum fields are physical fields and are not the same as the unitary energy fields Rogers is referring to. Nor are representations of energy fields in the form of auras or chakras because these conceptualizations of the human energy field are divided into levels, layers, or parts.
Unitary energy fields are not hierarchical nor do they have any parts. While Rogers never referenced Asian cultures and their various conceptualizations of energy, conceptualizations of energy as ch’i, qi, and pana actually provide an understanding of energy more consistent with Rogers later views on energy fields.
Vidette Todaro-Franceschi’s dissertation work on the concept of energy was published as a book “The Enigma of Energy: Where Science and Religion Converge (1999) and presents an excellent overview of the many conceptualization of energy, both scientific and those based in various spiritual and philosophical systems.
The idea of a human energy field is universal across virtually all cultures, from ancient time to present day. Butcher (1997) noted that ancient Indian Hindu traditions have referred to prana as a universal energy as the basic source of all life, calling it the “basic breath of life.” In their book Future Science, White and Kripper list 97 different cultures that refer to a human energy field with 97 different names. For example, the Chinese in 3000 BC posited the existence of vital energy called ch’i, or qi. Hawaiians call this energy, mana,and the Japanese, call it ki. In Greek pneuma; in Tibetan the energy field is called lung. Native American have used the terms oki, orenda,and ton. Kabbalah, the Jewish mystical philosophy that arose in the sixth century BC, refers to the vital principle nefesh, and teaches that an iridescence or “astral light” surrounds the human body. Western thought is often refers to the human energy field as a biofield and the notion of a human energy field, or ch’i, guides the practice of acupuncture. The human energy field is the basis of such practices conceptualizations of energy as ch’i, qi, and prana actually provide an understanding of energy more consistent with Rogers later views on energy fields as yoga, acupressure, shiatsu, Tai Ch’i, Therapeutic Touch, Reiki, and Healing Touch. Dozens of energy-based therapies include the use of sound, light, color, and aroma as a means to promote comfort, healing, and a sense of well-being.
Modern physics provides irrefutable evidence to what many ancient civilizations have long known. Modern science, including quantum theory, relativity theory, superstring theory, and quantum cosmology all are based on the notion that all matter, in fact all that exists including all living organisms, are a form of energy vibrating at different frequencies (Butcher, 1997). There are emerging disciplines such as “biofield physiology” that are grounded in an energy field perspective that provides further basis for human energy based diagnoses and treatment.31-32 New technologies are emerging that can measure the smallest changes in human energy field, such as superconducting quantum interference devise (SQUID). SQUID has great potential to be used to measure changes in the human energy field for diagnostic and measurement of treatment changes. Evidence was found of shifts in the magnetic field emitted by practitioners performing therapeutic touch, as measured by a SQUID magnetometer. 33 In another study, the biomagnetic component of a therapeutic touch practitioner showed a field with a variable frequency around 8 to 10 Hz. 34 These studies suggest that the 8- to 10-Hz frequency band may be associated with emission from the human biofield during this therapeutic intervention. Richard Feynman (1964) towering figure in contemporary science, identified a list of forms of energy in the universe including: kinetic, magnetic, chemical, nuclear, gravitational, thermal, sound wave, and potential energy. The conceptualization here asserts that human beings do not have an energy field, rather human beings are energy fields. There are a whole host of technologies based on human energy fields including electrocardiograms (ECG), electroencephalograms (EEG), magneto encephalograms (MEG), magnetocardiograms (MCG), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), Galvanic skin responses (GSR), electrodermal screening (EDS), electrodermal testing (EDT), and electroacupuncture (EAV). In addition, there are a host of texts and research 36-39 on the human energy field and those wanting to learn more should seek out those works.
In 1998, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), formerly the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), was established by the United States Congress at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The mission of NCCIH is to define, through rigorous scientific investigation, the usefulness and safety of complementary and integrative interventions and to provide the public with research-based information to guide health-care decision making. NCCIH focuses on funding research testing five major forms of complementary and alternative therapies:
- Whole medical systems such as homeopathy, naturopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, and Ayurveda.
- Mind-body medicine such as meditation, prayer, mental healing, art therapy, music therapy, and dance therapy.
- Biologically based practices such as dietary supplements, herbal supplements, and scientifically unproven therapies such as shark cartilage.
- Manipulative and body-based practices such as spinal manipulation (both chiropractic and osteopathic) and massage.
- Energy therapies such as qigong, reiki, therapeutic touch, and electromagnetic therapy.
Revolutionary changes in our understanding of the nature of reality originated with the beginning of the “new physics” more than 100 years ago. Einstein’s two papers in 1905 initiated two revolutionary trends in scientific thought. The first was the special theory of relativity and the second paper proposed a new way of understanding electromagnetic radiation that later became the foundation of quantum theory. The new physics led to profound changes in our understanding of the nature of the universe , shattering the foundations of Newtonian physics much in the same way that Copernicus and Darwin revolutionized our understanding planetary motion and evolution. Literally, dozens of books over the last 20 years alone have explained and discussed the basic concepts in the “new physics” and their implications in much detail. 1-14 Theoretical physicist Fritjof Capra and biochemist Pier Luigi Luisi 15 describe in great detail the implications of the science underlying the “new physics” , the foundation for what they refer to as “the systems view of life.”
The “the systems view of life” originated in several disciplines including biologists who emphasized looking at organisms as integrated wholes; psychologists influenced by Gestalt psychology; ecologists promoting the interrelatedness of living and nonliving networks; and the “new physics” that first originated with Einstein’s revolutionary scientific papers published in 1905. This scientific and theoretical revolution created a shift from focusing on parts to thinking in term of integrated wholes, networks, or systems.
Foundational to the “systems view of life” is the notion that everything in the universe is a form of energy because the basic “stuff” of the universe is nothing more than bundles of energy. 5, 6, 13-15. Particles are not isolated entities but wave-like probabilities patterns. Energy is inherently dynamic because all constituents: molecular, atomic, nuclear, atoms, and particles are in constant continual motion. Reality is more a “dancing and vibrating motion whose rhythmic patterns are determined by the molecular, atomic, and nuclear configurations” (Capra & Luisi, 2016, p. 75). Theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli 13 in his recent book “Reality is not What it Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity” states “everything was constantly vibrating. “The more we look at the detail of the world” we see “it is a world of vibrations, a continuous fluctuation” (Capra & Luisi, 2016, p. 132).
We do not see these omnipresent fluctuations only because of their scale; they cannot be observed at a large scale, as when we observe macroscopic bodies.”(Capra & Luisi, 2016, p. 132). The closer we look at the living and nonliving, all are “full of activity vibrating according to their temperature and in harmony with the thermal vibrations of their environment.” (Capra & Luisi, 2016, p. 75). Even a stone is in ceaseless vibration.
Many people have a hard time understanding how the energy field at the quantum level has any relevance to events in the macro world of everyday life. McFadden and Al-Khalili, 16 a molecular biologist and theoretical physicist, present a model illustrating three strata of reality: quantum mechanics, which describes the deepest bedrock of reality; thermodynamics which describes the mechanics of liquids and gasses, and Newtonian physics which to a degree describes the macroworld of everyday objects. Their model describes how life navigates on the edge of both the Newtonian and quantum worlds and how events in the macro world are associated with events in the quantum world. “Life’s deep roots allow it to harness those weird phenomena that prowl the quantum edge” (Rovelli, 2017, p. 309).
Rovelli (2017) makes the additional insight that relativity shows us that “events in nature are always interactions” and “quantum mechanics teaches us not to think about the world in term of ‘things’ that are in this or that state but in terms of ‘processes’ instead.” (p. 137). “All variable aspects of an object exist only in relation to other objects. It is only in interaction that nature draws the world” (Rovelli, 2017, p. 135). In other words “physical space is the fabric resulting from the ceaseless swarming of this web of relations (Rovelli, 2017, p. 135). Furthermore, mass must be conceived only in relativistic terms, meaning space and time are fused into a four-dimensional nonlinear continuum. Matter and its activity are inseparable, and are merely different aspects of the same space-time reality.
The new physics also calls for a new understanding of causality. Changes do not occur by local causes. Rather than behavior of any part influencing those of the whole, in the quantum reality, it is the whole that influences the behavior of parts. The universe is not broken down into parts, parts cannot be understood as isolated entities, but rather parts (if they exist at all) can only be defined through their relations. 1 In other words, there are no isolated parts in the universe.
Another implication of the systems view of reality based on the new physics is the inseparability between the consciousness of the human observer and the observed. “The observer is not only necessary to observe … but is also necessary to even bring about these properties” (Capra & Luisi, 2016, p. 74). This idea implies we are participants in the creation of reality.
Profound changes in thoughts, perceptions, and values that form a particular vision of reality are gradual paradigm shifts. The Cartesian-Newtonian mechanistic paradigm that has dominated our culture for the past several hundred years has been radically revised by the emerging systems view of life. Capra 1 pointed out in his seminal work “The Turning Point” that the experience of questioning the very bases of one’s conceptual framework and being challenged to accept profound modifications of their most cherished ideas is often dramatic and painful. Just as all sciences have been molded, influenced, and founded on ideas from the mechanistic Cartesian-Newtonian worldview of causality, predictability, and reductionism that divides mind and matter, space and time, and emphasis is on parts; all sciences are being reshaped by the ideas embedded in the systems view of life.
4.2 Pattern: Definition
Most people do not apprehend or see energy fields. Like energy fields, Rogers states that pattern is an abstraction and is “not directly observable.” What people do perceive are “manifestations of field patterning.” Pattern was defined by Rogers (1992) as the distinguishing characteristic of an energy field perceived as a single wave. In other words, everything we experience and perceive is a manifestation of patterning. Since energy is continuously dynamic, and pattern is a manifestation of the energy field, then pattern is dynamic and continuously changing. The term “patterning” reflects the dynamic changing nature of pattern. Pattern is a “distinguishing characteristic” because we perceive differences in pattern. For example, the only difference between me and someone else is how our energy is organized. Everything, color, light. sound, all objects, emotions, even thoughts are forms of energy. What distinguishes one from the other is how its energy is organized. Differences in the organization of energy lead to differences in its pattern.
Each person, or human field is unique, and pattern is what gives identity to the energy field. “Pattern reveals itself through its manifestations.” The has been some lack of clarity about the meaning of “perceived as a single wave.” Rogers using the phrase to emphasize the unitary nature of pattern, meaning, like energy fields, pattern is irreducible and indivisible and cannot be broken down into parts. Rogers used the analogy of a radio when explaining the notion of “a single wave.” She would say, a radio has many channels, each on a single frequency, However, when you tune into a particular frequency (a single wave), a vast diversity of sound (e.g. music) spanning the sound spectrum and sound frequencies beyond the capabilities human hearing can be heard, all on a single frequency or radio wave. And, so it is with human beings. We are all a single wave manifesting a diversity of pattern.
The emergence of the postulate may be found in Rogers 1970 text. In the text, Rogers identified five basic assumptions of what became the Science of Unitary Human Beings. These assumptions transformed into the four postulates in later writings. Chapter 9 in the text explicates the assumption “Pattern and organization identify man and reflect his innovative wholeness.” Some of the original assumptions, including this assumption, are no longer valid. Malinski (1994) pointed out that Rogers replaced the term “organization” because it connoted stasis rather than the continuously changing and dynamic nature of human beings. Pattern and patterning are what is used. In addition, the term “repatterning” was deleted in later writings because “re” conveys the notion of going back, recalling, or repeating something again. While patterns are similar, they are never exactly the same. Pattern is always evolving, always creative and continuously innovative.
What is particularly interesting are Rogers’ early descriptions about the nature of pattern. Rogers (1970) asserts that “pattern evolves with kaleidoscopic uncertainty coordinate with the nature of the man-environment energy exchange taking place through space-time” (p. 91). The kaleidoscopic nature of pattern signifies the dynamic, rhythmical, continuously changing, and unpredictable flowing motion of pattern. Patterns are continuously changing and viewing them over time reveals their unfolding and transformational nature.
In addition to Russell’s challenge to notions of causality, Immanuel Kant similarly stated that causality is an a priori of thought. These are the prerequisites to be able to think : Time (memory), Depth, Height, Width, Cause and Effect, they are properties of the mind not of the perceived. As such all effects have no cause, any cause has no effect. Just the fact that the one precedes the other makes us think there exists a causal link.
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4.3 Openness: Definition
Openness is a characteristic of energy fields. Energy fields are open and extend into infinity. Energy fields have no boundaries, they are not open a little bit, not sometimes open, rather, they are open completely and continuously. Openness is a key postulate because the openness of human and environmental fields is what unifies them as one essential unity. Openness also means that human and environmental fields do not “interact” or “exchange energy, because to interact or exchange means they are separate. Rather, in a unitary universe, because of openness, energy fields are integral with each other. Everything is connected and inseparable with everything else. Boundaries that seem to reflect separateness are just an illusion. If we were able to see beyond the limits of the narrow range of the human light spectrum, we would see the boundary of our skin is not the boundary of human field. Rather, the human field extends beyond the body into infinity.
One of the most difficult aspects of openness is acausality. Acausality is also an aspect of pandimensionality due to the nonlinear and nonlocal features of reality. Rogers states “in a universe of open systems, causality in not an option” and is “invalid.” In terms of openness, if everything is connected to everything else, it is impossible to identify “what causes what.” Causality is in essence a human construction, that helps human beings make sense of their world so everything is causing everything else, just like the creation of time. She referenced Bertrand Russell when debunking false notions about causality. Russell stated “The law of causality . . . is a relic of a bygone age, surviving, like the monarchy, only because it is erroneously supposed to due no harm”(from Russell, B. (1953). “On notions of cause, with applications to the free will problem.” In H. Feigl and M. Brodbeck (Ed) Readings in Philosophy of Science).
Openness allows for integrality, a mutual process, whereby human and environmental field co-evolve together. Adaptation, equilibrium, homeostasis are not processes consistent in a universe characterized by openness. Change in open systems, move toward increasing diversity, innovativeness, creativity, and complexity in human-environmental field patterning. There is no “stasis” in continuous change. Equilibrium is not possible since there is no reversal or going back. Instead of adapting, open systems co-evolve simultaneously, are always in the process of becoming. Thus, living systems are open system and are characterized by negative entropy or negentropy. Negentropy means living systems, even some nonliving systems, are not moving in the direction of greater disorder, decline, or decay, but rather since open systems are in mutual process with each other, taking in energy, they evolve in the opposite direction toward diversity, innovativeness, creativity, and complexity.
Like the postulate energy field, openness has been central to the Science of Unitary Human Beings since the very first expressions of the emerging abstract system in Reveille in Nursing. While the conceptualization of energy field has evolved, as has conceptualizations of pattern and pandimensionality, the way openness has been conceptualized has not required change. Rather the implications of openness have become clearer within the Science of Unitary Human Beings. For example, the nature of openness was more fully realized when Rogers replaced “probabilistic” with “uncertainty” when defining the principle of helicy. Rogers originally used terms like “interaction,” “reciprocy,” “stages,” “exchanging,” in 1970, but these terms were later removed from the languaging of the Science of Unitary Human Beings because they were not consistent with the complete and continuous openness of human and environmental fields
4.4 Pandimensionality: Definition
Rogers (1980, 1986, 1992) postulated that that reality is pandimensional. Pandimensionality is a “nonlinear domain without spatial or temporal attributes.” The idea of a nonlinear domain provides a framework for understanding paranormal phenomena. A nonlinear domain unconstrained by space and time provides an explanation of seemingly inexplicable events and processes. Rogers (1992) even asserted that within the Science of Unitary Human Beings, psychic phenomena become “normal” rather than “paranormal.” Dean Radin, director of the Conscious Research Laboratory at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, suggests that an understanding of nonlocal connections along with the relationship between awareness and quantum effects provides a framework for understanding paranormal phenomena (Radin, 1997). “Deep interconnectedness” demonstrated by Bell’s Theorem embraces the interconnectedness of everything unbounded by space and time. In addition, the work of Dossey (2001), Nadeau and Kafatos (1999), Sheldrake (1988), and Talbot (1991) explicate the role of nonlocality in evolution, physics, cosmology, consciousness, paranormal phenomena, healing, and prayer.
Similarly, Rogers’ principle of integrality postulates a “deep interconnectedness” of infinite pandimensional human and environmental fields. Within a nonlinear-nonlocal context, paranormal events are our experience of the deep nonlocal interconnections that bind the universe together. Existence and knowing are locally and nonlocally linked through deep connections of awareness, intentionality, and interpretation. Pandimensionality embraces the infinite nature of the universe in all its dimensions and includes processes of being more aware of naturally occurring changing energy patterns. Pandimensionality also includes intentionally participating in mutual process with a nonlinear-nonlocal potential of creating new energy patterns. Distance healing, the healing power of prayer, therapeutic touch, out of body experiences, phantom pain, precognition, dejá vu, intuition, tacit knowing, mystical experiences, clairvoyance, and telepathic experiences are a few of the energy field manifestations patients and nurses experience that can be better understood as natural events in a pandimensional universe characterized by nonlinear-nonlocal human-environmental field integrality propagated by increased awareness and intentionality.
Rogers (1980) originally used the term “four-dimensional” when referring to the nature of human and environmental fields. When she first started using the term, it was clear Einstein had influenced her thinking. She stated that there are three coordinates of space and time that Einstein synthesized to arrive at a new dimension, the fourth dimension. This new synthesis, space-time, is postulated in the theory of relativity where the whole universe postulated to be four-dimensional. Previous to the 1980 publication, she used the term “space-time.” In 1990, Rogers replaced the term four-dimensionality with “multidimensionality” to reflect advances in modern physics. Physicists were writing a five dimensions and beyond. For example, superstring theory postulates an 11 dimension universe. The term multidimensional was short lived because only 2 years later Rogers replaced multidimensionality with pandimensionality. Throughout the changes in the term used, it is important that the definition remained the same, a nonlinear domain without spatial or temporal attributes. The reason for the change was that multidimensionality conveyed parts or dimensions that were somehow separate which conflicted with Rogers notions of irreducibility, indivisible, and unitary reality. Pan, on the other hand, reflects a union of an infinite number of dimensions. The root meaning of preface “pan” refers to “all;” “involving all of or the union of;” and “whole” (American Heritage Dictionary, 1992, p. 1306).
The change in terminology was first announced in the Rogerian Nursing Science News, a newsletter that was published to members in print from June 1988 until the Fall of 2000. Thereafter, there were a couple of issues published online. In the Winter-Spring 1991 issue (Vol. 3, 3), a small note on page 8 was titled “Eureka: Four-dimensionality evolved into multidimensionality evolved into pandimensionality.” The small announcement stated “Dr. Rogers says she finally got it. She is not sure what sparked the idea, but it suddenly hit her one night that “pan”dimensionality is the word that best describes what she has been trying to convey over the years in the Science of Unitary Human Beings. “Multi convey pieces whereas “pan” represents a coming together.” Pandimensionality suggests infinite domain that spans and is a union of all dimensions which characterizes the human and environmental field. All reality is postulated to be pandimensional.
Pandimensionality may be the most elusive postulate in Rogerian science. Perhaps our full understanding of pandimensionality is limited because it may be difficult to imagine or visualize a nonlinear domain without spatial or temporal attributes. Rogers admitted that there is difficulty communicating the scope and depth of such a new view of the universe. Humans often find it difficult to imagine “domains” beyond their own three-dimensional experience. Furthermore, our language may also limit one in fully comprehending and expressing pandimensional experiences or describing a pandimensional universe. Some students of Rogerian Science have found it useful to read Abbott’s (1984)Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensionsand Dionys Berger’s (1983) Sphereland as way of better understanding the experiencing of a pandimensional universe.
Check out this YouTube video on Flatland as well as other Dr. Quantum videos!! These are ways to understand what Rogers means by pandimensionality . . . Just imgine what would a four dimensional or pandimensional creature would look like if it visited you in what what appears to be our three dimensional world??
Most recently there has been a proliferation of new theories describing multiple and parallel universes (Deutsch, 1997; Hawking, 1993; Linde, 1998; Rees, 1997; Smolin, 1997) and paranormal phenomena (Mitchell, 1996; Radin, 1997). Taken together, these major works begin to form a tapestry providing support for Rogers’ notion of pandimensionality. Stephen Hawking is one of the founders of a new scientific discipline referred to as quantum cosmology. Quantum cosmology is a synthesis of quantum mechanics (the study of the very small) with cosmology (the study of the universe as a whole). Quantum cosmologists believe that questions concerning cosmology can only be answered by quantum theory. Hawking’s (1993) insight is to view the universe as a quantum particle. Since a particle has a wave function, the universe starts off as a wave function. According to quantum cosmology, the wave function of the universe spreads over all possible universes. In other words, there is an infinite number of possible universes co-existing with our universe. Furthermore, Hawking’s quantum cosmology proposes that the infinite number of parallel or “baby universes” are connected to each other by an infinite series of wormholes. Particles that fall into blackholes fall off into “baby universes that branch off from our universe (Hawking, 1993).
Russian quantum cosmologist, Andrei Linde, has proposed a new model of what he refers to as the “multiverse.” Our universe is one of an infinite number of “inflationary bubbles” each of which are continuously sprouts other inflationary bubbles (Linde, 1998). The embryo of new universes can form within existing ones (Rees, 1997). The total volume of all these domains will grow without end. In essence, the multiverse is an eternally self-reproducing universe. Thus, the multiverse contains innumerable bubbles, like our own universe, and other regions even larger than our own universe. These universes or inflationary bubbles may remain connected by intercosmic umbilical or wormholes. Our universe may not be the most complex; others may have a richer structure beyond anything we can imagine and each universe may have its own unique structure, fundamental forces, particles, and physical laws (Rees, 1997).
Lee Smolin is a Professor of Physics at the Center of Gravitational Physics and Geometry at Pennsylvania State University and earned his PhD in at Harvard University and in his recent book, “The Life of the Cosmos” (1997), Smolin argues that the laws of black holes indicate that they spawn new universes. A collapsing star forms a black hole, within which it is compressed to a very dense state. The universe began in a similarly very dense state from which it expands. Is it possible that these are one in the same dense state? That is, is it possible that what is beyond the horizon of a black hole is the beginning of another universe? (Smolin, 1997, p. 87-88)
There are an enormous number of black holes in our universe, each creating new universes. A universe such as our may have as many as 10¹⁸ black holes. In this way, the universes can perpetually keep reproducing themselves. Thus, all of “reality” consists of a vast number of universes. David Deutsch (1997), an authority on the theory of parallel universes at Oxford University, also proposes that the whole of reality contains a vast number of parallel universes. Deutsch speculates the interpretation of the “double slit” experiment as evidence that photons are both particles and waves is incorrect. Rather, photons are prevented from landing on parts of the film because they are being interfered with by invisible “shadow” photons from a parallel universe. Furthermore, Deutsch, states that time does not flow because “nothing moves from one moment to another . . . to exist at all in a particular moment means to exist there for ever” (p. 263). Humans experience the differences between present perceptions and present memories of past perceptions and experience these differences as changes over time. But, we misinterpret the differences as a movement through time. Each present moment or snapshot is a parallel universe with its own spacetime. The “multiverse” or the whole of co-existing parallel spacetimes is a collection of interacting parallel universes. We exist in multiple versions, in universes called ‘moments,’ and each version of us is not directly aware of the others, but has evidence of their existence because physical laws of cause and effect link the contents of different universes (Deutsch, 1997). So which one of the infinite number of copies are you? Deutsch explains that you are all of them all at once. An important distinction to make is that Rogers’ notion of pandimensionality is comparable with the idea of infinite universes but rejects the notion of causality. However, Deutsch (1997, p. 286) states that there is nothing in his definition of causality or view of the multiverse that requires causes to necessarily precede their effects.
The notion that we are integral to an infinite and eternal multiverse within which new and infinite domains continuously and creatively sprout into new universes resonates with Rogers’ postulate of pandimensionality. Pandimensionality, like the infinite multiverse, refers to a union of infinite domains beyond temporal and spatial attributes. Each universe may have its own set of unique scientific laws and constants characterized different notions of time and dimensions.
Rogers (1980, 1986, 1992) postulated that a pandimensional reality, a nonlinear domain, provides a framework for understanding paranormal phenomena. In a nonlinear domain beyond the constraints of space and time, the integrality of infinite human and environmental energy fields provides an explanation of seemingly unexplainable events and processes. Emerging quantum theories of incorporating the idea of nonlocality provide a deeper understanding of Rogers’ postulate of pandimensionality.
In an attempt to demonstrate that Bohr’s interpretation of quantum theory was inconsistent, Einstein proposed a thought experiment that is known as the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (EPR) experiment. Thirty years later John Bell derived a theorem (Bell’s Theorem) proving that the existence of local hidden variables is inconsistent with statistical predictions of quantum mechanics (Capra, 1982), but the results of the theorem were not demonstrated by decisive experimental evidence until 1982 when physicist Alain Aspect lead a team that demonstrated that particles (polarized photons) in Princeton and Bangkok were interconnected nonlocally. By changing the spin of particle in one location will instantly change the spin direction of the paired particle even though its thousands of miles away. Thus the multiverse must be an interconnected web of nonlocal connections.
In his scholarly book “The Conscious Universe: The Scientific Truth of Psychic Phenomena,” Radin (1997) reviews the amassed irrefutable scientific evidence of psi phenomena such as telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, and precognition. Radin is the director of the Conscious Research Laboratory at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas and he suggests that an understanding of nonlocal connections along with the relationship between awareness and quantum effects provides a framework for understanding paranormal phenomena. “Deep interconnectedness” demonstrated by Bell’s Theorem embraces the interconnectedness of everything unbounded by space and time. Similarly, Rogers’ principle of integrality postulates a “deep interconnectedness” of infinite pandimensional human and environmental fields. Within a nonlinear-nonlocal context, paranormal events are our experience of the deep nonlocal interconnections that bind the universe together.
Mitchell (1996) provides a more complete framework for understanding paranormal phenomena consistent with Rogers’ Science of Unitary Human Beings. Mitchell’s “dyadic model” of reality unites existence (matter or physicality) with knowing (consciousness or mentality). Like Rogers, Mitchell recognizes that everything in the universe, including mind and matter, are inseparable aspects of a single evolving reality. Energy is the foundation of all matter and information is the foundation of all knowing. However, according to Mitchell (1996), existence and knowing (matter and information) are coupled or inextricably related because they both have their origins and owe their existence to the field of energy that underlies everything in the universe.
Moreover, existence and knowing are linked locally and nonlocally through the processes of awareness, intentionality, and interpretation. Nonlocal processes and perceptions are beyond the limitations of space and time. Mitchell (1966, p. 155) prefers the terms “awareness” and “intentionality,” because both are “irreducible” concepts. Typically, the terms mentality and consciousness are often reduced to brain function. Awareness is the perception of energy and intentionality is an active process of desiring or intending an action. Intention is the volitional propagation of energy (Mitchell, 1996). Action is a process of movement or transformation of energy. Patterns of energy provide information. Information is stored in the universe in various ways yet to be discovered and requires interpretation or evaluation to give it meaning. The universe exits as patterns of energy and is known by its patterns of energy. Interpreting the meaning of information is a function of the awareness and intentionality of the interpreter and the existing information base.
Within Mitchell’s (1996) dyadic model, paranormal events are naturally occurring processes that are perceived or intended by gifted and/or well trained persons who are more aware of energy patterns. ESP, telepathy, and clairvoyance are everyday functions of awareness and intentionality.
For example Mitchell (1996, p. 205) describes precognition as a function of intentionality in the following manner: Because time moves only forward and all life processes are nonlinear and include choice, the future is not fixed and therefore not knowable. But it can be influenced or even created to a certain extent. Accurate prophecy is more often self-fulfilled prophecy. What is knowable through nonlocal intuition and expanded awareness is an expanded sense of now, not a sense of the future.
Gifted persons have a greater range of actions and can intentionally become more aware or change nonlocal patterns of energy. Mitchell’s dyadic model departs from the Science of Unitary Human Beings by including notions of causality although Mitchell does state that nonlocality, relativity theory, and quantum theory calls causality into question. The context of intentionality within a Rogerian Science perspective is mutual process. While unitary human beings participate knowingly and intentionally in the process of change, the changes are mutual and unpredictable. Both the human and environmental field patterns are changed through intentionality. In addition, the dyadic model does not address multiple dimensions or universes, however, Mitchell does speculate about their existence and states they are not readily accessible through any experiential or physical knowing processes. On the other hand, Rogerian Science acknowledges the multiverse which may be knowable through pandimensional awareness and experiences.
A theoretical tapestry supporting pandimensionality can be constructed by weaving together models of the multiverse with the dyadic model of reality. In the dyadic model, existence and knowing are locally and nonlocally linked through deep connections of awareness, intentionality, and interpretation. Pandimensionality embraces the infinite nature of the multiverse in all its dimensions and includes processes of being more aware of naturally occurring changing energy patterns. Pandimensionality also includes intentionally participating in mutual process with a nonlinear-nonlocal potential of creating new energy patterns.
The strength of a conceptual system is its ability to provide scientific explanations. The postulate of pandimensionality provides a means for better understanding the processes associated with a wide range common phenomena in human-environment-health experiences. Distance healing, the healing power of prayer, therapeutic touch, out of body experiences, phantom pain, precognition, déjà vu, intuition, tacit knowing, mystical experiences, clairvoyance, and telepathic experiences are a few of the energy field manifestations that can be better understood as natural events in a pandimensional universe involving increased awareness and intentionality in an infinite multiverse with deep nonlinear-nonlocal human-environmental field integrality.
While pandimensionality is a condition of our existence, often we are not aware of pandimensionality’s nature in everyday aspects of our lives. What is it to live in pandimensionality? Certainly mystical experiences, flow experiences, peak experiences, and paranormal experiences such as déjà vu, clairvoyance, distance healing, prayer, precognition, distance viewing, and telepathy are glimpses of pandimensionality. Awareness is the perception of energy field patterns and intentionality is an active process of desiring or intending action. Intention manifests as the volitional propagation of energy. Action is a process of movement or transformation of energy. Pandimensional events, therefore, may be understood as natural events involving intentionality and increased awareness of a multiverse with deep nonlinear-nonlocal human-environmental field integrality (Butcher, 1998).
Experiences of pandimensionality can be accelerated. Murphy (1992) describes in detail evidence of research supporting his claims of how humans are evolving toward higher abilities for what he calls “extraordinary functioning” (p. 40). Murphy discusses over 100 of these abilities including opening books to the exact passage you are looking for; feeling people in a house even though you cannot see them; hearing melodies that seem to reflect your physical condition; feeling what someone else is thinking; experiencing immense energy; changing the environment by mental intention like feeling you have invisible hands that touch another person after which that person responds as if they have been touched; apprehending events and situations before they happen; shedding pain by willing it away; seeing new beauty and possibilities for growth in someone of long acquaintance; and sensing extraordinary lightness while moving or at rest, or a sense of elevation from the ground.
Interestingly, Murphy (1992) also describes the potential of extraordinary love or compassion as an emerging “metanormal” human attribute (pp. 54-59). Examples of extraordinary love include experiencing of love that: a) allows one to feel a friend’s suffering, deep intentions, or personal conflicts; b) removes all sense of personal boundaries as if you and the other are a single person; and c) elevates a person’s self-esteem and well-being even through the love comes from another person who is at a distance. Similar to Rogers’ (1988) manifestations of patterning, Murphy (1992) views extraordinary abilities as evolutionary emergent and further suggests extraordinary abilities can be developed. Extraordinary abilities are also all manifestations of a pandimensional reality . . . and are indicators of what it would mean to more fully live in pandimensionality.
Julian Barbour (1999) asserts that one of the implications of quantum cosmology is that time does not exist. There is only timelessness. Living in timelessness is not only a manifestation of increasing frequency patterning (Rogers, 1988) but also is an experience of a pandimensional reality. Barbour argues and explains how there is only timelessness, which consists of an infinite number of Nows, not linked in any way to one another. Each now is a separate world unto itself. All Nows that ever were or will be are simultaneously happening. The appearance of linear time only arises because one concentrates intensely on each now. Only motion and change give the appearance that time is linear. Given this model of the multiverse, what would it mean if one lived without experiencing time as linear . . . but lived in timelessness? Barbour (1999) states that this “many instances” interpretation places a new understanding on causality. “The ability of each Now to ‘resonate’ with other Nows is what counts . . . . Our existence is determined by the way we relate to (or resonate) with everything else that can be” (Barbour, 1999, p. 325). Thus, living in the heart of helicy means shifting our awareness from the illusion of linear time and space toward a deeper awareness of pandimensionality, living with a sense of timelessness, increasing our awareness of nonlocal-nonlinear events, and nurturing our emerging extraordinary abilities.
4.5 Basic Implications
New world views require new ways of thinking and practicing. Rogers’ abstract system leads to new ways to practice nursing. Outdated practice models, like the nursing process, hold little relevance to guiding practice from the perspective of Rogerian science. Practice models evolving from the postulates and principles are described in Chapter 6. Some practice implications based on the postulates include:
- Human beings (patients/nurse) are more than their physical bodies.
- There is no separation between human beings (patients) and their environment.
- Whatever we do to the environment, we do to ourselves.
- Nurses and patients are inseparable to one another.
- Everything is connected to everything else.
- Everything the nurse perceives and experiences (information about the patient) are manifestations of human-environmental field pattern.
- The experience of time is relative.
- Time and causality are human abstractions.
- Due to acausality, nursing does not focus on causes, rather nurses focus how the client wants to change.
- There are multiple realities, not just the nurse’s reality.
- Nonlocal and nonlinear reality provides an explanation of “paranormal” events that patients/nurses sometimes experience.
- The language and processes of diagnosis, interventions, and outcomes are not consistent with a unitary world view.
- Patients and nurses co-evolve together in mutual process toward patterns of increasing diversity, innovativeness, and creativity.
- Change is continuous!!
- Change is innovative!!
Note that all the postulates are integral with one other. Furthermore, by synthesizing all four postulates, Rogers provided definitions of two fields that are the focus of nursing: the human field and the environmental field. By identifying the two fields, there seems to be a contradiction violating Rogers notion of oneness or a “unitary” universe. However, Rogers specified that these two field are “infinite and “integral” with one another. According to Rogers, the focus of nursing is on unitary human beings and their environment.
The Human Field/Unitary Human Being is a “irreducible, indivisible, pandimensional energy field identified by pattern and manifesting characteristics that are specific to the whole and which cannot be predicted from knowledge of the parts.
The Environmental Field is a “”irreducible, indivisible, pandimensional energy field identified by pattern and integral to the human field.”
Note that Rogers’ postulates of energy field, pattern, and pandimensionality are explicit in both definitions. Openness, the fourth postulate is represented by the integral nature of the human and environmental fields. And, the unitary nature of energy fields are emphasized by the terms “irreducible, indivisible” and by the statement “manifesting characteristics that are specific to the whole and which cannot be predicted from knowledge of the parts.” Both definitions are essentially the same, since energy field and its characteristics are the “basic unit” of everything, the living and the non-living. The environment is everything . . . literally . . . everything in one’s environment (other human beings, all that is nature, living and non-living, the entire universe) that is integral with ones human field.