Egology IV

This article is the fourth and the last post of the 4 part series Egology.

In Egology I and Egology II we expressed in detail the nature of ego as such and introduced the two types of ego operative, in a hierarchical order, in the constitution of the world and experience: The Transcendental Ego who constitutes/creates the world and its experience, and the Empirical Ego who lives these world experiences and identifies with various roles in it through the narratives it tells itself. While the empirical ego is human, manifold, and exposed to consciousness, the transcendental ego is non-human, the one in the many, and concealed from consciousness. In Egology III we introduced in detail the principal modalities of the empirical ego, the human subject: Empirical ego has two principal modes of vibration or behavior, the Proactive mode and the Reactive mode, which are associated with the types of narratives the empirical ego tells itself and with which it identifies. We also added that the empirical ego can vibrate in the proactive and the reactive modes simultaneously which is really a superposition of the two principal modes. This superposition state of the empirical ego has an important spiritual function to which we have devoted our present post.

In the previous post, Egology III, we stated that the empirical ego can also vibrate in the proactive and the reactive modes simultaneously which makes it somewhat neutral or indifferent to circumstances, for when the reactive mode and the proactive mode superimpose they tend to cancel one another into a relatively flat line which constitutes a kind of passivity or detachment from the ups and downs of a narrative. We call this mode of the empirical ego the superposition state, its detached mode, or the passive mode which is far from a passive personality truly belonging to the reactive mode.

The passive mode, thus, is not really another principal mode of vibration of the empirical ego but rather the result of the two principal modes, proactive and reactive, superimposing on one another. The empirical ego in its passive mode tends to be more objective in the sense that it identifies itself with circumstances with much less intensity than the ego in either of the two principal modes separately; its narrative is more like the life of a monk. Note that the passive mode of the ego does not necessarily imply a passive personality which is a modality of the reactive mode; ego in passive mode may even be a very active person but it doesn’t identify too much with these activities; it is more detached from and less identified with its narrative compared to the other two modes of the ego. A natural consequence of this detachment is that the ego in passive mode is not too much affected by favorable or unfavorable circumstances, by loss or gain. While the ego in proactive mode uses obstacles to its own advantage and in reactive mode laments over them, nonetheless they are both always entangled in the world and its ups and downs, and hence they are naturally always affected by world events and phenomena. The proactive mode tends toward worldly success while the reactive mode tends toward worldly failure, but the passive mode which is neutral and detached from the worldliness tends more toward liberation from the world as such.

Here is a summary of what we said: The empirical ego which is the constitution/creation of the transcendental ego and also the object of knowledge of the Witness has two principal modes of vibration/behavior which are associated with the nature of the narratives the empirical ego tells itself about itself and its surrounding world. The empirical ego can vibrate in the proactive mode in which it situates (narrates) itself in an epic story and welcoming environment. The empirical ego can also vibrate in the reactive mode in which it situates (narrates) itself in a tragic story and a hostile environment. The empirical ego throughout its world-life usually switches back and forth between the two principal modes; however, in each empirical ego one or another mode of vibration is more dominant.

The empirical ego can also vibrate in a mix of the two principal modes. This vibration of the empirical ego, the human person, is called the passive or detached mode, or the superposition state, of the ego whose narrative is more neutral than either of the two principal modes separately. While the detached ego may be a very active ego in the world, it does not identify itself with those actions and the fruits of those actions. The proactive mode tends toward worldly success; the reactive mode tends toward worldly failure; and the detached ego tends toward liberation from the world as such.

It is important to note that in all these cases, the success, the failure, and the liberation are only narratives and not concrete realities: They are only narratives created by the transcendental ego and told by the empirical ego which is itself a narrative constituted by the transcendental ego and experienced in light of the Witness Consciousness, or what in Hindu metaphysics is called Saksin and in Phenomenology The Disinterested Onlooker.

The true essence of everyone and everything is the Witness, and hence the empirical ego, itself illusory in its existence since it is nothing but a narrative, is a fundamentally free agent that can choose to vibrate in the proactive, reactive, or the mixed passive mode. Liberation or Deliverance consists in liberation from the empirical ego as such and hence from all narratives associated with it. Thus, one who is liberated no more perceives itself as an empirical ego in a world of phenomena, and hence it doesn’t vibrate in any of the modes of the empirical ego: As long as we are empirical egos, perceiving ourselves as human beings in a world, we can’t but vibrate in either of its modes or the mix state. Narrative is essential to the life of the empirical ego which is itself only a vibration; there is always a narrative attached to the empirical ego even in its passive and detached mode who tends toward liberation but not yet truly liberated; its narrative in this mode is the narrative of detachment and liberation from the world.

However, the truly liberated one is in fact liberated from the bonds of all narratives, and hence of worldliness and humanity; it is no more identified with an empirical ego and hence is free from all its vibrations each of which is really a narrative mode. The phenomenal world too, which is itself a mega-narrative against which all other narratives of the empirical ego play, vanishes for the liberated one. This is a very logical meaning of liberation or Deliverance: Since liberation is in fact liberation from all narratives, and since the phenomenal world itself is nothing but a narrative constituted by the transcendental ego, naturally the liberated one becomes free of the world-narrative also, and hence the world ceases to exist for the liberated one.

Change, decay, and, mortality which are the essential features of the world narrative and all its constituents do not apply to the liberated one who has already transcended the world. The liberated one achieves immortality, for it is now identified with nothing but the Witness which is its true nature and essence. We said earlier in Egology II that the Witness which lies entirely outside the world-narrative, space and time, and hence unaffected by it is not subject to any change or decay; It is immortal and immutable. Therefore, the liberated one who directly perceives and realizes its essential identity with the Witness, known as The Supreme Identity, becomes truly immortal and immutable.

We always start things from the human state, from the empirical ego. To ascend the hierarchy of states and stations, that is, egos and vibrations, moving up toward the Witness and Supreme Identity we must first move from the proactive or reactive mode to the passive mode of the empirical ego. This horizontal movement from the two extremes to the middle point takes place in the plane of human existence. Once in the passive or detached mode of the empirical ego we begin our vertical ascent toward the Principle, an ascent which requires leaving behind the human state and moving up through all conditioned states and finally merging in the The Unconditioned, The Witness, The Absolute and The Infinite Principle.

Your World is Your Face

What Do We Really Look Like?

Well, we may think we look like this:

Portrait of a man in a tee shirt smiling to camera
What I think I look like

But really, we always look like this:

Close-up Of A Person Chatting On Social Website In Office. Photographer owns copyright for images on screen
What I really look like

Don’t be too concerned with what you look like. Your face is not what you look like; it is what others look like when they’re looking at you. You on the other hand, you look like whatever you’re looking at. You wanna look beautiful, then look at beautiful things.

Your world is your face

The Many Faces of The I

Truth and our fundamental relation to it creeps into our everyday language whether we want it or not. This is so because in a manner of speaking we are the truth, though we may be oblivious to this truth. Let us take a look at the way we express our actions in the present tense, exactly where we always are:

I say “I am thinking,” “I am imagining,” “I am remembering,” “I am going,” etc. If we pay attention to the structure of these expressions we see that they can be viewed and meant from a different perspective:

I am the thinking; I am the imagining; I am the remembering; I am the going. etc.

I am the thinking because I have become that thinking, being the thinker and the thought at once.

I am the imagining because the “I” has transformed itself into the form of imagination.

I am the remembering because I am transformed to the memory.

That is why at each moment I am at liberty to withdraw myself from these regions, and upon my withdrawal, the withdrawing of my attention, those regions too disappear: The imagining and the remembering cease once I stop being the imagining and the remembering. It is never the case that the imagination is still there whether or not I am imagining anything.

In all these cases the formless “I” which is never grasped in itself has become the perceptible form; I perceive the “I” now as thought and then as imagination, etc. because I can at will flow into the space of perception or imagination, hence making, i.e. projecting, forms that appear to have become the objects of knowledge. In all these instances, it is the “I” that projects itself into this or that form. This ability to project oneself into forms has been known as the creative power of Gods, i.e. their Maya. The “I” at the center of human experience has this power due to its being constituted in the image of God, hence inheriting the power of projection from the Lord, and the human form itself is nothing but a projection of the “I.” With projection comes concealment, the two being the sides of the same coin. It is the projections of the “I” into this or that form that conceals the essential identity of the “I,” i.e. Atman, with its principle, i.e. Brahman. This Supreme Identity is realized immediately and with absolute self-evidence the moment the “I” ceases to project itself, the end of projection being coincident with the end of the “I” as empirical ego.

The I which is the abode of infinity can project itself into various regions of beings: It can project itself into the space of perception and become the perceivable object; I then say “I am seeing the desk” which is really “I am the seeing of the desk,” for I have become the seeing of the desk. Projecting itself into the space of perception the “I” produces the appearance of a perceived world; it produces the perceivable objects from its own depths. We must only add that this becoming is only apparent from the empirical point of view, while from the metaphysical, i.e. transcendental, point of view there is no becoming, for all things exist in their potential form in the simultaneity of the eternal present.

The objects of sight are embedded within the seeing; it is not as if seeing just bumps into objects in the world. The objects are always already constituted within the ceaseless flow of seeing before we make the abstraction that they exists outside our seeing. The objects of sight are made of seeing and not of atoms. The objects of touch are made of touching, those of thought are made of thinking, etc.

The “I” can also project itself into the space of thought and appear to us as the thinking. The space of thought is a region of Being whose beings, objects, have the form “thought.” When we are thinking we never have to inspect a thought to make sure if it is a thought and not a perception or a smell, etc. The thoughtfulness of a thought is self-evident, and its self-evidence comes from the self-evidence of my “I” to myself.

We may suspect the reality of the objects of consciousness but can never suspect the reality of the acts of consciousness. When we are seeing we cannot doubt that we are seeing, though we may doubt the reality of what is seen. You may think that the seen object before you is a fantasy, an imagination, a dream, etc., but when you are seeing you cannot doubt that you are involved in the act of seeing. The reason that acts of consciousness are indubitable is that they are transformations, i.e. projections, of the indubitable “I.” We cannot doubt an act of consciousness because it enjoys the same absolute certainty and self-evidence as the “I.” It is my own “I” that in each and every case appears as perception, imagination, etc.

The world is constituted in and through the acts of consciousness. it is always in consciousness that we know the world, whether as laymen or as scientists. Even the idea that “the world exists independently of consciousness” is itself an idea produced and held in place by an act of consciousness, in this case by the act of thinking and abstracting and theorizing. Everywhere we look, whether with the eye of everyday commonsense or with the eye of modern science, we are in fact looking at perceptions, thoughts, abstractions, experimentation, etc. all of them being acts of consciousness performed within the manifold of conscious experience out of which we can never step, and this because there is no out of experience, this idea being itself a production of consciousness and hence already inside experience. And these are nothing but the transformed “I.”

When you fear you are fearing only yourself, for nothing exists but the contents of your consciousness.

When you are looking at the world know that you are looking at your own infinitude appearing to you as this boundless world. Everywhere you look you are seeing yourself, for you are the seeing itself, the seer itself, and the seen itself. And know that when you seek you are indeed seeking yourself. To be found is to stop seeking.

The Fountain of Now

The experience of the moment is the same in all of us; it is our own psychological colorings that make it appear as something personal, attached to a definite past and a possible future. When we disentangle the moment from the ideas of past and future, when we see it afresh, as if we had just appeared in a safe magic land, then we find infinite joy stored for us. The moment is never part of our life, an external condition, because our life as an external condition is itself something conceived of and known in the moment. In fact, external condition is what we bring into the moment through thoughts and recollections, thoughts and recollections that consume the infinite energy of pure presence.

It is our ideas of past and future that suck in the infinite energy so to fuel their presence in our lives. The moment is infinitely greater than the sum of the past and the future, for past and future are both conceived and referred to only in the moment. This moment has never been here and will never be here again. Yet passively we sell it for the thought of moments we can’t have right now.

Imagine the mental and spiritual energy that goes in to holding together a character and its life story through a bundle of personal narratives; this infinite energy is shooting up from the now but almost always dissipated by the narratives that attach us to a definite past and a possible future. Memories and anticipations which create regrets and desires are constantly feeding on the fountain of now. Imagine this whole energy stayed in the moment and channeled into your spirit; then we know infinite joy, for we are in the God-Vortex. God is that moment.

We Are That

Everyone is afraid of the waterfall except water itself. What is there to be afraid of when it is into water that water falls. If we fear it is because we are that very fear itself. Fear is made of us. How can something that is not made of consciousness become an object of consciousness!? The hand can touch and know that it is touching only because it is in contact with its own kind, with matter. A hand cannot touch a sound or a smell because neither the sound nor the smell are material; neither is accessible to tactile apprehension. The known must be made of the knower. If we are conscious of the world, conscious of the various modes of cognition, it is because this whole world is of the nature of consciousness.

If a rose is an object of seeing, then seeing is itself an object of pure consciousness. We know objects through seeing, hearing, touching, imagining and remembering. But we know seeing, hearing, touching, imagining and remembering directly and not through anything else. The world is not really made of objects; it is made of knowing. Knowing is that blanket in and through which we see the world. But in reality there is no world; there is only the invisible blanket, and we are that.

How To Meditate

The Art of Effortless Meditation

We often approach meditation with a purely utilitarian mindset; we like the way it feels. But meditation, in both eastern and western traditions, wasn’t originally designed as a means of intoxication but rather as a window toward self-transcendence and unity with the Godhead. Meditation as medication, as is often used, will always fall short of its intended function unless the practitioner is equipped with a spiritual understanding of what meditation really is. My goal is to present the essentials of meditation without going into their psychological origins so that we can start meditating without worrying about the symbolic aspects of meditation; these aspects will depend on the individual temperament.

Understanding the essence of meditation is so important that its acquisition can save the practitioner years of futile time and effort: Meditation is possible only with the right posture; but often we only take care of the physical posture while ignoring the intellectual posture. Unless these two complement one another we cannot enjoy the full fruits of meditation. Our aim here is to introduce the intellectual posture, or mental attitude, necessary for the practice of meditation.

Human beings are essentially goal-oriented, some actively and some passively. We are goal-oriented because to be human means to be engaged in the world in one way or another, and engagement is the interplay of means and ends. Almost everything we do on a daily basis, our jobs and routines, is for our minds a movement from point A to point B: We wash the dishes to have clean dishes; we eat because we are hungry; we work to pay the bills, etc. We can hardly say that any of these activities are ends in themselves. In other words, we are always oriented toward an end, often mindless, and if the end didn’t have anything for us we would not engage in the task.

The problem with most failed attempts at meditation is that we look at it as just another task, another human activity to be added to the timeline of our routines. We sit to meditate and our goal is to find ourselves in a point B that is better than point A, always looking out for an end point that lies further in time. This mindset must change or else we won’t get far in meditation. Why? Because meditation is NOT a human activity but lack thereof. Meditation is by definition a no-task: It is the practice of temporary abstinence from goal-oriented consciousness.

The best analogy that comes to my mind is this: Think of consciousness as an ocean. When the surface is calm it is in meditative mode; when the surface is wavy it is in active mode which is our everyday, goal-oriented, human mode. If we want to go somewhere on this ocean we have to paddle or swim, which is the only way of moving in it. But if we want to experience the calm, meditative mode of the ocean, no amount of swimming or paddling can help us. Trying to relax the mind by effort is like trying to calm the disturbed surface of a pond by pressing down on its waves.

Correct meditation must be effortless; our only effort should be before meditation, that is to sit for it.

We should not understand meditation as something that we do. Meditation is something that happens when we don’t do anything. Meditation is never made happen; it happens when we stop trying to make things happen or don’t happen.  

A fundamental mistake in the practice of meditation is expecting a thoughtless state. Look at a very clam ocean; look closer and you will see there are tiny waves still present. There is no ocean without wavy surface, and in much the same way there is no state of consciousness without something of which it is conscious. As waves belong to the nature of ocean, thoughts belong to the nature of consciousness.

What distinguishes the meditative consciousness from the active consciousness is our detachment from  the content rather than reaction to it. If we start the meditation thinking we are at point A moving toward point B we have already introduced a preference, a sinkhole, within consciousness; we have made a task out of it. To meditate is to refuse to have a goal; it is a state of goallessness. There are no points A and B; there is only consciousness; It has no before and after, no here and there.

It is crucial that we do not impose anything on consciousness, especially the idea of goallessness and making a goal out of it. It will be difficult at first because we are by default task managers, making a task out of everything. Do not try to suppress this default mode; instead step back and stay aware of the impulse without aiming at its assassination 🙂 (I have added a practice at the end to deal with this impulse.)

During meditation: Have no aim, no goal, no expectation and anticipation. Pretend there is nowhere to be and nothing to do because there is nothing left undone in the world.  

The beginning challenge, if at all, of not engaging in the impulse will last only for a week if we practice everyday. The fist glimpse of what lies beyond will by itself keep us hooked forever, but do not anticipate anything; think of meditation as a safe free fall in which gravity does all the work. Whatever comes, including thoughts and emotions, refrain from looking at them as good or bad, as something that should or should not to be there.

Practice: When you meditate there are usually some natural sounds around, like the wind, rain, chirping of birds, etc. We never mind these sounds and some people even find them helpful for meditation. Now, when you are meditating and thoughts arise view them as natural sounds in the environment, as something there in nature (this is actually true; it only appears that we own them because of a slight misunderstanding.)

Treat your thoughts and the natural sounds of the environment on equal footing. Thoughts become problematic because we are possessive about them, we identify with them, and hence impose expectations on them. Imagine the thoughts to be sounds coming from the surrounding nature; they are just hanging there having nothing to do with you. Even if they are accompanied by emotions just be aware of the emotion as another species of natural sounds out there in the world; don’t become possessive. After all, no emotion or thought has ever hurt us on its own and without our permission.

Our possessiveness towards thoughts and emotions are acquired and not inborn. Thoughts and emotions disturb us as long as we see them as our possessions. By the practice of goalless meditation you will see that these seemingly internal disturbances will recede into the background where other natural sounds belong.

Once we learn to remain in that zone of consciousness where we are no more possessive of anything, and hence no more judgmental and existentially lacking, then our daily lives and relationships will turn into the lost paradise. We always try to change our loved ones, including our thoughts and emotions, when we become possessive towards them. What we hope to learn from this goalless meditation is not that we shouldn’t be possessive; the only goal is to realize that we can never possess even if we wanted to.

During meditation: The only goal is to realize that there is no goal. The only point is to see that we are the point.  

The deepest level of this meditation which may take months or years to attain is the point in which the “I” realizes that it is the pure transcendental witness standing at the edge of a totality that contains the mind, body, ego and personality, and everything it thought it were: You are that transcendental witness.

What is Quantum Physics

There is no field in modern science that is misunderstood or misinterpreted more than any other. Two reasons should be mentioned: First, quantum physics deals with the microscopic world, atoms and subatomic particles; it is a world inaccessible to our direct perceptions, to human experience as such. And as much as we like to but our logic and commonsense which are derived from shared human experiences cannot be extended to the realm of atomic phenomena. Even the physicist cannot imagine what an atom looks like. The second reason that has led to much misinterpretation is the desperation of modern man to find meaning, excitement, mystery and surreal phenomena to compensate for the lack of essence in his/her life. Thus, the field is open to people like Deepak Chopra who are the kind to take advantage of the mystery and stick exotic words such as quantum next to whatever it is they sell so to make it sound both cool and healing. But if we are really after knowing the mystery, then wouldn’t we be fooling ourselves if we sufficed to superficial interpretations or one night stands with what may be a glimpse of an ultimate reality!

Of quantum mechanics (or quantum physics) it is said “Quantum physics is not something to understand; it is something to do.” Physicists do quantum mechanics all the time; in fact, almost all electronic equipment owe their lives to the quantum physics done by physicists; doing it involves solving equations and calculating probabilities; but this doesn’t entail a deep understanding of the meaning of these equations. Rarely can physicists say that they have truly understood quantum physics. We may even define quantum physics as the subject that when we think we have understood it we suddenly realize we haven’t. This is not because we are stupid or quantum physics is too hard; both are true to some extent, but the problem has to do with what it is that we call understanding.

To understand is to reduce something new to something that we already understand, and to do so until we arrive at simple, elementary facts that are self-evident from experience. But if the subject matter is one which is altogether alien to experience as such, then understanding, in the sense we know it, is not possible. In light of an understanding of understanding we can say that quantum physics is only understood in terms of abstract mathematics; the only elementary concepts to which the object of the quantum world can be reduced are abstract mathematical objects. But I have developed a new way of introducing quantum physics which involves reflections on why we cannot understand it. In short, we can indirectly understand the quantum world by understanding what it is not rather than what it is. Now let us try.

Physics is an attempt at understanding the natural order. It used to be part of what is known as natural philosophy. The natural order, the object of inquiry, is the world that know through experience. In this experience we encounter different kinds of phenomena: Some are mechanical; they have to do with motion of massive objects, like projectiles, motion of the stars and planets. Some are electromagnetic in nature, like light, electricity, magnets, etc. Some others are thermodynamic in nature, dealing with phenomena such as heat and cold and transfer of energy. Three main sub-fields of physics were developed to study these phenomena: Mechanics, Electromagnetism, and Thermodynamics.

As experimental technologies advanced scientists focused on the study of the origin of phenomena such as electricity, magnetism, and heat. The guiding idea here, and in all of modern science, was that the behavior of the whole is exclusively determined by the behavior of the parts. This is the assumption behind all modern sciences, the assumption that broke in quantum physics. Thus, physicists started studying the smaller constituents of the macroscopic phenomena. Eventually they arrived at elementary particles such as electrons and photons, but they noticed that in the new realm of microscopic phenomena things are very strange. Our everyday logic does not hold anymore. Below I mention a few of the new mysteries.

1. Particles of matter which were expected to be point-like stuff confined in space strangely appear to be in many places at once.

2. It turned out that material particles can sometime behave as point-like particles and sometimes as waves spread in space, depending on where we put them.

3. Wave phenomena, such as light, can sometimes behave as point-like material particles.

4. Particles seem to know a way of communication that transcends space and time.

5. It is possible to have two distinct particles each at opposite ends of our universe that are intrinsically correlated in their behavior. No matter how far apart we put them they still remain, and behave as, one whole system and not two separate things.

6. When we are not looking at a quantum object it behaves totally different from when we are looking at it (notice that to see something really means to bounce light off of it and see the reflected light.)

7. It appears that observation is not a passive position; it is an active and creative act. By observing a quantum phenomena we actually make it happen. Thus, it is in principle impossible to speak of nature in the absence of observation.

8) The quantum realm is a realm of interconnectedness. There is are only wholes and not parts. There is a deep unity that even the strongest technologies cannot break. Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, the cornerstone of quantum mechanics, is a mathematical expression of this indestructible unity.

Double Slit Experiment is one the most famous experiments that exposes the strangest features, and hence the deepest principles, of the quantum world.

Werner Heisenberg, the first founder of quantum mechanics, then known as Matrix Mechanics, says in his Physics and Philosophy “What we observe as nature is not nature herself but nature as exposed to our methods of inquiry.” This idea is the juice of quantum physics. Let me encrypt this saying into a more philosophical and concise proposition: The object and the knowledge of object are one and the same

I mentioned a few of the strange features of the quantum world but it becomes even stranger than that. In my book Nondual Perspective on Quantum Physics I have explained these features in detail but I will mention some metaphysical implications of it here. It has to do with understanding our commonsense:

Look at a glass of water in front of you. The glass has a distance from you; it has a certain speed (hopefully zero.) It has an apparent size and shape that changes as you move relative to the glass. Though we may view the glass from an infinite number of perspectives, we know that it is one and the same glass. According to our commonsense our perspective changes but the glass does not.

But we have more assumptions: We assume that the glass has an independent shape and size, specific position in space and place in time irrespective of our presence. On the other hand, we know that the color and the lighting by which we see the glass is not a property of the glass itself. Color is understood to be a moment of subjective experience; in reality there are only wavelengths and frequencies which represent different energies; it is our brain that translates these different energies into different colors. In other words, there are certain properties that we attribute to the glass itself and certain others that we attribute to our perceptions. This reflection is crucial in understanding quantum mechanics.

We may speak of primary and secondary qualities: Primary qualities are those that belong (according to our commonsense) to the object itself; they are always present in the object whether we are present or not, whether we experience them or not. Examples are actual shape and size, position and velocity, etc. Secondary qualities are those that arise only when the object is being experienced by a subject; they arise in the subject but only in the presence of the object and only insofar as the object is present. Examples are apparent shape and size, color and shade, etc. For instance, notice that color is not in the glass itself; color of the glass is something that happens during seeing of the glass.To be more precise, the secondary qualities belong to the overlap of object and experience: I won’t see the green glass if I do not look at the green glass and I see it only as long as I am looking at it. 

Having a clear sense of the distinction between the two qualities we can now define the whole of the quantum realm as a realm where some primary qualities are pushed over into the of secondary qualities. If our commonsense breaks in the face of quantum phenomena it is because what we had previously taken to be the primary qualities of natural objects turn out to be their secondary qualities!

Abstract science background electromagnetic radioactive core

To take this understanding to the quantum realm we first have to got back to the glass: One of the most important primary qualities of a glass that was always taken for granted is its state of motion. We know from commonsense that the glass has a fixed position and speed in space and at each moment of time. Even when we not present with the glass we never doubt that it is somewhere, that it has a position in space and a velocity; this is because we take the state of motion to be the primary quality of objects. Consciousness of place is most fundamental to our commonsense and understanding: Everything has a place whether we know of it or not, at least we think. We attribute our lack of knowledge about the place, or position, of an object to our ignorance rather than the object itself. Try to imagine an object that has no place! I do not mean an object that is constantly moving, but an object that has no place at all, whether in real space or imagined space. It is impossible. We cannot imagine or conceive of objects without imagining them in their primary qualities though we may do so dispensing with their secondary qualities.

The fundamental paradigm shift in the case of quantum physics is that the state of motion of a particle which was previously assumed to be a primary quality turns out to be a secondary quality, a property present in the observation rather than in the object itself. The place and the velocity of elementary particles are unknown prior to observation, not because we do not know them, but because they do not have properties such as position and velocity. To speak of the position or velocity of a particle in the absence of observation is like to speak of circular triangle.

When we measure the position of an electron and get a numerical value we do not see the electron hiding somewhere; instead, the very process of measurement forces the electron to take a position in space. In other words, measurement of position creates the measured position. Prior to measurement the electron is described as being present everywhere at once, but the act of measurements makes the electron to instantaneously collapse into a point in space. This instantaneous, atemporal, collapse is known as the collapse of the wave function.

See that we cannot imagine what happens during the measurement process because we cannot imagine the quantum objects under investigation. As I mentioned above, in order to imagine something there must be something that we imagine; but now that all the imaginable properties of quantum objects have turned out to be only secondary properties, properties that do not preexist the observation, then in the absence of observation there is nothing to imagine.

An analogy may help: If I compare the faculty of imagination with the our hands, then trying to imagine the quantum world is like using our hands to listen to music. Sound is not a tactile object; it is something heard and not touched. Thus, no amount of moving or stretching our hands will help us hear a sound. Instead, we must listen. In the same way the quantum realm lies forever beyond imagination because the objects and processes of this realm have more intrinsic properties through which they can be imagined or grasped.

Now I must add that quantum physics is the most experimentally verified scientific theory in the whole history of civilization. It is as solid as it can get, and its best proof is the myriad of tools and devices that we use today on a daily basis, all of which were born out of the findings of quantum physics: Transistors which exist in all electronics, GPS, microwave, your car, cellphone, TV, computer and internet, etc.

There are more details about the mysteries of quantum physics, its philosophical implications, and its astonishing similarities to the world described my mystics. In my book Nondual Perspectives on Quantum Physics I have first introduced the strange features of the quantum world in a non-technical language and then compared it to philosophical and mystical traditions of the East and the West such as Advaita Vedanta Metaphysics and Transcendental Phenomenology. The conclusion is that physics and metaphysics, physicists and mystics, one through discursive thought and the other through direct intuition, have both described a world that appears to be one and the same, and this similarity is more than ever present in our time.

Glowing blue synapses in space

The world of the mystic speaks of One, a nondual ground from which all diversities arise. The world of the physicist is a world fundamentally interconnected and whose fluctuations appears as the multitude of phenomena. The Nondual Perspectives on Quantum Physics finds and recounts the one conclusion at the heart of modern physics and traditional metaphysics:

The manifest arises from the vibrations of the unmanifest