Joshua Lederberg, a Nobel prize-winning biochemist, describes how he went about making his laboratory discoveries, which were as much a function of the imagination as of rationality:
"One needs the ability to strip to the essential attributes of some actor in a process, the ability to imagine oneself inside a biological situation; I literally had to be able to think, for example, 'What would it be like if I were one of the chemical pieces in a bacterial chromosome?' - and to try to understand what my environment was, try to know where I was ..."
Now that is hardly looking at stars as wallpaper. Such diving inside among the twining ropes of chromosomes through the agency of consciousness is an act of phenomenal participation in reality.
And lest we leave consciousness to the waking hours only, consider the testimony of Friedrch Kekule. He discovered the molecular structure of organic compounds while dreaming. How did they appear to him in this dream? He saw the atoms "dancing."
It seems the question of whether one clump of matter can observe another clump of matter is moot after all. That's not an adequate description of what's going on here. We're not observing, Heisenberg, we're dancing. Locked in an embrace with the world, our retinal cells quivering at the approach of the pulsating photons like any giddy girl at the prom, we are ourselves phenomena dancing with phenomena. No more looking at things in perspective, artfully abstracting ourselves from the situation as though we feared rejection, feared finding no partner. We are a little clumsy, it's true, and have forgotten most of the steps. We're inhibited and more than a little embarrassed at throwing ourselves into the arms of the universe with such abandon. Other peoples, seem to have mastered the necessary interpenetrations of the movements more successfully than we of the West, who are understandable rusty after so many centuries of trying to act like machines. Many of us rush off to find foreign dance masters at the expense of losing our own long-neglected lore."
Physics, frequencies, perception, East and West, and finally, theology. Owens wraps up this chapter with the following:
"Saint Paul, in that uncanny way saints as well as scientists have of staging possibilities before us, promised an interpenetration of consciousness, a participation in divine life. We live in Christ; he lives in us. The consciousness that uphold us in being, that attends us into being, that conceptualizes all the "levels, domains, and aspects" of the universe simultaneously, will expand, open its arms, and ask us to dance."