What is human life but a journey from relative anonymity to absolute anonymity?!
This journey, however, takes place according to the nature of things. It is the path of the initiate, the way toward the Principle. It is perhaps also similar, in idea, to the 2nd law of thermodynamics stating that nature tends toward equal distribution of its resources among all its possibilities which makes nature a perfect communist. From the purely physical point of view this movement is toward chaos, but from a metaphysical point of view this movement is toward the Supreme Principle, the end being the complete reintegration of the manifestation in the principle. The physical order being the reflection of the metaphysical order, and since all reflections obey the principle of inversion, it is no surprise that what we perceive as chaos in the physical order corresponds to the return to the principal state in the metaphysical order.
The irony is that the life of the middle class, those occupiers of ordinary life and entertainers of mediocre ideals, is a struggle precisely in the opposite direction and contrary to the natural order: It is a struggle, and not a journey, from relative anonymity to maximum distinction, a struggle that remains forever futile for reasons of principle. Hence, the individual of this class, who is eventually meant to break the bonds of individuality, remains always in relative anonymity, i.e. in the relative order of things which pertains to the plane of existence. In other words, a struggle to become distinct, to become something as opposed to something else, is a struggle against a natural current that takes all beings toward Deliverance. We must add that salvation still belongs to states of being prior to Deliverance since a desire for salvation is the individual’s desire to be saved and yet remain that individual; in the absence of a desire for keeping one’s individuality being saved has no place and meaning anymore. Hence, salvation is a possible state of the ego while Deliverance is precisely deliverance from the ego as such and altogether. While salvation is a possibility within the individual order, Deliverance is a passage to the supra-individual order.
Body being the most limited and conditioned aspect of the individual is the inverse reflection of the spirit which is the unconditioned source, of course not of the individual, for the spirit already belongs to the supra-individual order if not identical with it. What lies in between, the psyche, is the dwelling place of the middle class and its aspirations which under its substantial inertia lends itself freely to rationalism which we consider to be the “opium of the people.”
In the ternary Spirit-Soul-Body, the soul or psychological aspect of the individual order corresponds to the middle element of the social order, its middle class, since in both cases we are dealing with the seat of opinion and dogma. Middle class plays the same role in the constitution of social order as the psyche does in individual order: It is the opinionated portion of society, for it is on the one hand obsessed with the prestige of being “cultured,” and on the other hand its attachment to ordinary life and mediocre ideals makes it incapable of direct pursuit of truths due to the degree of sacrifice and objectivity required for such a task. Thus, the reality and worldview of the middle class is always dogmatic, for it is an acquisition merely through passive education and media, books and papers, etc. There is no intuition involved in any of its acquisitions, much less an intellectual intuition. This class is also the control valve of the whole society, for it is their opinion that is used as “public opinion” and fashion, whether as its pseudo-intellectual circles such as academia or still lower manifestations such as malls, etc. a public opinion that is deliberately and easily manipulated through media for the simple reason that the opinions of the middle class are, and have always been, those of the media and the governing class, though they are constantly fed from above with the illusion that they actively and consciously acquired their ideas and ideals.
We may quote Rene Guenon here where he says, “The concept of profane culture is indeed very characteristic of the mentality of this middle class, to which, by its wholly superficial and illusory brilliance, it gives the means of concealing its true intellectual nullity, and this same class is also that which enjoys invoking ‘custom’ in every circumstance.” Which is a reference to the primary function of this class as the seat of opinion and fashionability within the social order.
I have been wanting to write something in my blog but I really have nothing to say at the moment, at least the usual stuff that I say. I thought it is a good opportunity to push myself to write when there is nothing to write, that perhaps a new field may open itself up to me which is concealed by what I usually think and say. So I decide to devote this post to free-writing.
I think I have put my mind in an awkward situation: At the same time I have used the analytic part of the mind most of my life, doing only physics, mathematics, and western philosophy. On the other hand, I am inherently drawn to the synthetic language of religion and spirituality. The analytic aspect of me tends to dissolve the whole into pieces, disintegrating whatever comes in its way. The synthetic aspect longs for the shattered whole. No wonder I linger mostly in metaphysics which is the intersection of scientific thought and religious aspirations.
By science of course I mean not modern science which I see as the perversion of the intellect. We should remember that the idea of science as systematic knowledge of totality was handed down to the fathers of modern science, such as Bacon and Galileo, from Aristotle. But in the vision of Aristotle science as systematic knowledge must always contain the two complementary parts, Physics and Metaphysics. Modern science took physics and dispensed with metaphysics, the result being a collection of scattered and mentally challenged disciplines that outwardly behave as science but lack the proper metaphysical foundations. For Aristotle metaphysics is the ground of all science; he called it the First Philosophy, supreme science.
Of modern sciences I like them insofar as they explain phenomena quantitatively but disliked them for their lack of metaphysical foundations. And by modern science I really consider exact sciences; the rest such as psychology, humanities, AI, and even biology and neuroscience don’t even qualify as science; they are awfully misguided in their characters and conclusions because they adopted the methods of physics which deals with inert matter and tried to apply them to totally different kind of phenomenon, life. Their procedures is based on an unfounded assumption that life is nothing but inert matter put together in a complex structure. I cannot see how one can make this unscientific assumption and claim to produce a science out of it!
There is very sharp line between organic and inorganic systems, between life and inert matter. The whole of these pseudo-sciences is based on ignoring this impossible gap between the two kinds of phenomena. We can consider a stone, a piece of wood, water, etc. to be natural phenomena, but we cannot possible consider consciousness too in the same class, for nature and all its phenomena are given to us, and known, in and through consciousness. To say that pure material phenomena and natural processes cause the emergence of consciousness is exactly like saying that the objects in our dream cause the dream experience!
The very basic division that we so take for granted, the objective-subjective divide, is itself a moment of conscious experience. The objectivity that we so much value in science is a possibility within subjectivity. The fact of the matter is that there is nothing but subjectivity; no one can say something that lies outside experience; and even the idea of “outside experience” or “independent of experience” is itself something experienced and cognized by consciousness. Only a subject can think of a world existing independently of him/her; only consciousness can imagine its own absence.
What modern scientific thinking has done was to push everything non-material into the human mind, telling us that imaginations, inspirations, religious experiences, etc. are all in your head, that they are subjective and not in the world. And we have simply accepted this crooked judgment and as a result take our own spirits less seriously compared to the men and women of the golden age. They have created a police state and sent everyone home, into the privacy of your mind. But when science speaks of a God-less, objective world isn’t it speaking of the subjective experiences of a few who consider themselves privileged in their knowledge of what is real and what is unreal?! Isn’t a God-less, objective world itself an idea in the consciousness of those totalitarian institutions known as academia?! What they consider objective reality is really someone else’s subjective experience, the scientists.
We have been raised and educated with this hidden propaganda that the knowledge of reality is only accessible to a few with whose unquestionable verdicts we must agree or else we are superstitious and unintelligent! Their subjectivity is better than ours! Well, if we don’t get caught up in their superficial names and forms we recognize this mentality as almost always present in history: It is nothing but fascism. It has emerged in the realm of religion, race, and now in the realm of intelligence. The dogmatic scientism exercised by many such modern scientists is nothing but intellectual fascism. When you consider your own methods of inquiry and modes of knowledge as superior to others and systematically ridicule and suppress everything that smells of the slightest disagreement, then you are that recurrent fascist who always shows up in history demanding the reign of its own truth and the exclusion and execution of the truths of others.
Modern science is but an abstraction from the immediate conscious experience. To consider these abstractions as the causes of that conscious experience is a self-refutation of science because the results cannot precede the methods by which the results are obtained. Knowledge, scientific or otherwise, is essentially the content of consciousness and cannot account for the existence and form of that consciousness no more that a water in a glass can be the cause of the glass itself. I must add that here by consciousness I mean something broader that the particular human consciousness because our humanity, our mind and consciousness, our existence, etc. are things of which we are aware, and hence they too belong in the content of a more general, universal consciousness who has no personal subject; it is rather subject-less consciousness, or if you like its pure subject is The Absolute, or God. Anything of which we are aware of is always already inside consciousness: We are constantly aware of ourselves surrounded by an external world; thus, we and world with its quality of being give as something outside me are all contents of consciousness. In other words, there is nothing outside consciousness, even the idea of outside-consciousness itself being something inside consciousness.
The problem of course is not with science as such. It is the wrongful role and status that we have assigned to it. We must understand that modern science with its picture of the universe is nothing but an abstraction, however a very practical and beneficial abstraction that can in many ways improve our lives. But this science and its objects have nothing to do with the Reality in itself, reality as it first shows up in our immediate conscious experience, the reality that contains science only as one of its possibilities, a human tradition at best. Science itself is something experienced; it may explain other objects of experience but it cannot explain itself and its own origin and possibility. Modern science as one among the many other human achievements can never understand its own master, the human person, for it is itself produced and conditioned by that person. Therefore, psychology is bullshit.
In a previous post titled What is Quantum Physics I introduced the subject and its principles: Quantum Physics, or Quantum Mechanics, is the theory that explains the motion of microscopic objects such as molecules, atoms, nuclei, and all the elementary particles of nature. This is the story of its creation: Before the beginning of the twentieth century physicists were able to discover almost all the laws that governed the observable phenomena at the macroscopic level. These laws, expressed in mathematical form, explained the two main realms of nature: 1) The motion of masses and the gravitational force that is exchanged between them. 2) The behavior of charged particles and the electromagnetic forces exchanged between these charges.
The first set of laws governing gravity and dynamics of masses is known as Classical Mechanics explained by Newton’s Laws of Motion. The second set of laws governing electricity and magnetism is known as Electromagnetism obeying Maxwell’s Equations. All natural phenomena such as heat, waves, etc. could be understood within these two theoretical frameworks. These two frameworks along with Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, which deals with objects moving with high velocities, are together known as Classical Physics. The important point is that in classical physics we are dealing with two distinct types of objects whose collective behaviors determines natural phenomena: Waves and particles. Sound and light are examples of wave phenomena; masses and point-charges are examples of particle phenomena.
As a result of technological advancements of late 19th and early 20th centuries experimental chemists and physicists were able to probe into the microscopic world of molecules and atoms. Scientists expected to find particles obeying Newton’s laws of motion; however, it turned out they were wrong, and in fact they saw that the concepts of classical physics were hopelessly inadequate in capturing the reality of the microscopic world. Let me give you just one example: Experimental findings gave a model of an atom, which is neutral, consisting of a very heavy, positively charged, nucleus concentrated in a very small region of space, within a length of about 10-14 meters. The negatively charged electrons rotate around this nucleus, hence keeping the whole atom neutral (This model is similar to our solar system though we will see that the underlying reality is totally different.) However, this kind of motion for electrons violates the most important tenet of electromagnetism: According to electromagnetism an accelerating charged particle, such as electron, radiates energy in the form of light, hence it keeps losing its energy as long as it is in accelerating motion. We also know from classical mechanics that rotation is an accelerating motion. This means that electrons rotating around the nucleus should radiate light and hence lose their energy until they fall onto the nucleus. But experiments have shown that nothing of the sort happens. Atoms, at least most of them, are stable structures; their electrons revolve the nucleus without radiating light; these electrons emit, or absorb, light only when they jump from one orbit to another orbit, and these orbits are not arbitrary; electrons can only occupy certain allowed orbits with discrete energies. Also, their jumps between orbits are not jumps through space; when an electron jumps from, say, orbit 2 with energy 20 to orbit 1 with energy 10 it does not fly through the space in between orbits; neither does it incrementally decrease its energy from 20 to 10 passing through 19, 18, …. This energy loss is radiated away in the form of electromagnetic radiation, photon. Electron’s jump is instantaneous and doesn’t take any time whatsoever: The electron is in one orbit and then suddenly shows up in another orbit. This inexplicable kind of jump is known as electronic transition or Quantum Jump. This example was one among the many experimental findings that needed a new physics in order to make sense.
Quantum Mechanics which was developed between 1900 to 1927 by the collaboration many physicists is the theory that explains the motion of microscopic objects. In other words, quantum theory was developed as a mathematical tool to make sense of and organize the strange experimental findings in the first decades of twentieth century. Double Slit Experiment is the cornerstone of quantum phenomena and it contains almost all the bizarre features of the quantum world. Quantum Mechanics is considered to be the most successful intellectual achievement of mankind since it has been able to explain all microscopic phenomena, and it is also the most experimentally verified theory in the history of science.
According to quantum theory the basic constituents of nature are neither wave nor particle. However, depending on the measuring instrument they can manifest either as wave or as a particle but not both at once, see The Complementarity Principle. Prior to the act of measurement the quantum system (particle is a misnomer but we have no better word) is neither a wave nor a particle, and it is also nothing else: It has no characteristics, no form and no properties, no position and no velocity in space. In fact, it is not a thing or entity anymore; it is a no-thing, a no-entity. Nothing can be said about it except saying that if we perform such and such a measurement on this no-thing there is such and such a probability to get such and such a numerical value for what is being measured. This bizarre feature of quantum phenomena is called stochastic behavior, that is the microscopic world is inherently indeterminate, see The Uncertainty Principle.
This indeterminacy is a matter of principle and not of the our ignorance nor of the inefficiency of our equipment. It is not that we don’t know the position of the “particle” in space; the particle has no position, or any dynamical property for that matter, prior to the act of measurement; the measurement process creates the very position that is to be measured. This means that the quantum world and the quantum objects cannot be thought or imagined in any possible way. Even the much used statement that “in quantum world a particle is in many places at once” is a false way of putting it because in the quantum world there is no such thing as particle; it is meaningless to speak of here and there, let alone of everywhere. Place has no place in the quantum realm.
The objection may rise, as it did for myself for quite a while, that this lack of knowledge about the nature of quantum objects is a lack on our part; perhaps the particle itself contains all this missing information but it is us who cannot access it, whether due to our state of knowledge at the present time or because nature somehow doesn’t like us to have that information!
But that is not true, for if it were our everyday world would not look like what it does. It is proven and experimentally verified that the quantum “particle” could not possibly have a position prior to measurement; if it did, whether we know that information or not, then we would not observe phenomena such as waves, colors of a soap bubble, etc. These phenomena can occur and be observed if and only if the underlying constituents do not have inherent properties such as a determinate positions or velocities. In other words, the missing information about the exact properties of quantum objects is not missing at all; it does not, and cannot, exist or else we would not be seeing what we are seeing right here right now. In other words, our observation of the form of appearances is possible only if that which appears is itself formless: Form is formlessness conditioned and partitioned. The set of experiments that have consistently proven this results are known as Bell Experiments and the theory that underlie them is known as Bell’s Theorem.
In the microscopic world what determines the place and status of quantum objects is the act of observation. To avoid mystical mis-interpretations I must add that observation here is not meant seeing with eyes or anything like that, anything depending on the consciousness of the experimenter. Observation in quantum mechanics refers to a complex process in which a macroscopic machine interacts with a microscopic object. Whether or not our consciousness is there in the room, whether or not we read the display of the machine that contains the result of measurement, it is always the internal mechanism of the instrument that by itself determines the state of quantum system and the possible outcome of the measurement. Human consciousness does not create reality, for it is itself already part of a created reality.
In future posts I will continue this subject and introduce you to Quantum Field Theory, QFT for short, in which the quantum world is no more seen as a collection of isolated particles and waves but as a field spread in space-time. In QFT particles are in fact the vibrations of the field. Quantum Field Theory was created by combining Quantum Theory and Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity.
There is this thing called the information paradox in black-holes. The idea is this: From conservation laws we know that information can never be lost, created or destroyed; it may only be transformed or moved around. This is of course an alternative way of presenting the energy conservation law. But when it comes to black-holes this laws seems to be violated: Black-holes are by definition structures that suck in information in such a way that we cannot retrieve it. Once information passes the event horizon of a black-hole it cannot be accessed at all, for nothing escapes the event horizon, even light, hence the name black-hole.
Scientists have been trying to figure out what happens to the information that falls into a black-hole. If we say that information is destroyed, then the conservation laws are violated. If we say that it is not destroyed, then what happens to that information?!
Here was my morning fantasy: The information which is falling into the black-hole is converted into consciousness. After all, information is really meaningless without a consciousness that can be informed. Thus, the information is not lost; instead, it produces conscious experience. In other words, black-holes are conscious; they perceive the universe since the light from all over the place is falling into them. But of course since our modern science doesn’t recognize consciousness as an independent reality as it cannot be measured with a stick, naturally scientists call it a paradox.
A little more of reflection on our own consciousness shows that we experience the world around us as if we were at the center absorbing the light reaching us from all over the universe, hence producing this world-experience that we have. We perceive the world as something extended beyond us into infinity, and this is precisely how a black-hole would experience the light falling into it. The idea is that we are a black-hole who happens to have a human experience. This cosmos is that experience. There is only one black-hole, a singularity, that has come to believe it exploded in a big bang, but that too is just an experience. The singularity that we are never exploded. We have not yet happened. In reality nothing is ever happening.
But now enough with the fantasy.
I must add, considering the internal dynamics of a black-hole, the gravitation tension and torsion, and the stretched space-time in it, for a person who is standing at the singularity it will appear to him/her that everything is accelerating away from him. He/she will experience a rapid expansion of the universe around him which is really nothing but the light that falls into the black-hole. This expansion is experienced from inside the black-hole whether or not the outside universe is actually expanding! Now, this is not fantasy, and yet we believe our universe is expanding.
I noticed I write more about metaphysics than physics. I have done so perhaps because metaphysical questions are more relevant to our lives today than abstract questions of modern physics; also because I am much more certain, in fact absolutely certain, of the metaphysical order and its eternal truths than the physical order and its facts. But during decades of working with both disciplines I have come to understand the physical order as an imperfect reflection of the metaphysical order, the mathematical laws of physics as temporal reflections of eternal truths of metaphysics. It cannot be otherwise, for there is only one truth and one fact. The truth is the One, and the fact is the fallen one, man. If man is the fallen spirit, then fact is the fallen truth, physics the fallen metaphysics, and reason the fallen intellect.
The irony of the situation is that after all these years in both fronts I have arrived at one and the same question: “How does the one become the many?”
In the context of metaphysics, I know from direct perception the unity and unicity of the Real, the nondual substance of totality which is beyond being and non-being. I also know the apparent diversity of the phenomena world, that we live in an apparently changing universe. Thus, there is a truth and a fact: The truth is that there is nothing but the One; the fact is that there is an experience of multiplicity. The question is how does that truth appear as this fact? How does the nondual, immutable One at once appear as the changing? I call this the enigma of all enigmas. No doubt the One never really becomes the many; the difference is only apparent, each belonging to different order of reality. But metaphysics is metaphysics and must ground metaphysical questions.
In the context of physics, we know that though there appears to be an infinite number of particles in the universe, their behavior is as if there were only one particle, a scenario called the One Electron Universe by John Wheeler. The question arises: How can one electron appear as the many at once being at many places? This question is the focus of my academic research as a physicist and I call it the quantum enigma.
Seeing that there is one question at the bottom of both quests I felt that insight into one may lead to insight into another. I am much more clear about the metaphysical aspect of the question but like to know its bearing on the physical plane.
For these reasons I feel I need to write something in the area of my expertise, quantum physics, in a simplified language which may interest others as it interests me; the goal is to see the astonishing similarities between the world of the mystic and the world of the modern physics. I will do so in the upcoming post(s).
There are a few scientific theories that have attempted to describe the universe using the laws of physics. In all these theories the event of Big Bang is taken to be the starting point (Scroll down and listen to the sound of the Big Bang.) How did they come to this conclusion? Here is how they did it:
In the first two decades of 20th century astronomers observed that all other galaxies are constantly moving away from our Milky-Way galaxy, and studying the light coming from these galaxies they realized that everything is moving away from everything else. The way scientists can determine this using light is made possible by the same laws that make an ambulance siren sound different when it is moving away or toward us. Light too changes in its frequency when it is coming from a moving source; this is called the red-shift in physics. In 1927 Georges Lemaitre, a Belgian physicist and Roman Catholic Priest, postulated that this motion of the universe can be traced back to a point called the singularity, hence the beginning of the story of Big Bang by a Catholic priest. In 1920s Edwin Hubble provided more experimental evidence of expansion and red-shift from his astronomical observations; he also found the mathematical law that gives the speed of this expansion.
It was later shown that this explosion and the subsequent acceleration can be derived from Albert Einstein’s theory of General Relativity. It turned out that Black-Holes and Big Bang are logical consequences of Einstein’s field equations.
In later decades scientists were able to collect more accurate data using more advances telescopes and experimental devices. They found out that the universe is expanding with an acceleration. The best experimental data, which is frequently tested and verified, comes from measurements that captures the residues from the Big Bang explosion. This data which is known as CMBR, Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, is a record of the thermal radiations caused by Big Bang and has filled the whole of space. The following image is a visual of this background radiation.
You want to hear the sound of Big Bang? The information in the above image is converted into an audible file and sounds like this:
(Source of Audio: http://faculty.washington.edu/jcramer/BBSound_2013.html)
The most recent theories of physics such as String Theory and Loop Quantum Gravity are attempts at unifying the laws of nature, especially Quantum Mechanics and Gravity, but they all agree on the event of Big Bang.
However, there are physicists whose research has taken them to more surprising conclusions. A group of physicists at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics have speculated that perhaps the Big Bang has never really happened! The idea is this: Though we appear to be in a universe that appears to have come from a big explosion, it is possible that the explosion has never really happened; instead our universe is projected out as a hologram. The idea of a holographic universe is also present in string theories but need more than 10 dimensions for their existence. But the new idea of these physicists at PI does not need higher dimensions. In their theory, our 3 dimensional universe is really the surface of a 4 dimensional sphere enclosing a 4 dimensional singularity at its center. The singularity never explodes; instead it projects outwardly its own infinite possibilities, and one of them is our universe.
A summary of their work is available here:
A very important advice would be to be aware of the ontological status of these various models of the observable universe. These models, though accurate and obtained by hard work, are nonetheless models. People get excited about new science stuff, such as quantum or big bang, and try to make paradigm shifts or base their ideologies and self-perceptions on these models. But this is wrong. Scientific theories describe a world that is not identical with the world of human experience, remembering that science is a small part of human experience. Science itself is one among the many human traditions; it is a human activity, and thus its results are derived and known by us and are not meant to govern or restrict us. If we are to base our spiritual or cosmic understanding on science, then we would have to change our ideas every decade or so. These models will change as better approximations and measurements become available. We see it in health science very often: One day peanuts are good and then they are not; egg is good and then it is bad, etc.
The universe of science is a mathematical model filled with endless approximations to interpret controlled experiments. The best example I can give you about the status of these models is this: What science produces is like a set of slides captured by a camera. When these slides are played they give the illusion of real experience but when we look at them they are just dead slides. Remember, film slides are a representation of reality; but reality is not the film slides.