Current understanding of physics
leads down a path which is mystical.
Physics returns to the Beginning.
The evolution of
Western science spirals along its path,
beginning with the mystical
philosophies rising and unfolding in an
impressive development of intellectual thought that increasingly turned
away from its mystical
Western science is finally
accepting the value of Eastern
Proof is based on
along with experiments of great
precision and sophistication using a
rigorous and consistent mathematical formalism.
The roots of
physics is found in the first period of Greek philosophy in the sixth century
BC, in a culture where philosophy and
religion are unified.
The sages of the Milesian school in Ionia were concerned with the
essential nature, or
real construction of things which
they called "physis."
The term "physics" is derived from this Greek
word and originally meant the
endeavor of seeing the essential nature of all things.
Milesians hylozoists, "those who think matter is
no distinction between
animate and inanimate, spirit and matter.
As all forms of existence
are manifestations of the "physis,"
endowed with life and spirituality, there was no word for
Thales declared all things to be
full of gods.
Anaximander saw reality as a
category of organism which was supported by "pneuma" in the same way the human
body is supported by air.
philosophy paralleled ancient Indian and Chinese philosophy crystallizing in
the philosophy of Heraclitus of
Heraclitus believed in a
reality of perpetual
change, of Eternal
To Heraclitus all static existence was a deception as his
first principle was fire;
a symbol for the continuous flow and
change of all things.
reality arises from dynamic cyclic interplay of
Heraclitus saw any
pair of opposites as a unity.
Unity, containing and
transcending all opposing forces, is
The split of this
unity began with the Eleatic
school of thought, which assumed a
divine principle standing above all gods and men.
identified with unity, became
Æon, and then
Yahweh led, ultimately, to
the separation of spirit
and matter and to a dualism
which became characteristic of Western philosophy.
In opposition to
Parmenides of Elea was a monotheist.
Parmenides conceptualized existence
as unique and invariable.
changes perceived as mere illusions of
This is the
foundational concept of an indestructible substance.
In the fifth
century BC, Greek
philosophers attempted to overcome the sharp contrast between the views of
Parmenides and Heraclitus.
In order to reconcile the idea of unchangeable (of Parmenides) with
that of Eternal Creation
they assumed that existence is
manifest in certain invariable substances, the mixture and
separation of which gives rise to
the changes witnessed.
This led to the concept
of the atom,
the smallest indivisible unit of
matter, which found its clearest expression in the philosophy of Ieucippus
The Greek atomists drew a clear line between
spirit and matter, picturing matter as being made of several "basic building
Purely passive and
intrinsically dead particles moving in the ether.
The cause of their motion was associated with
external forces which were assumed to be of spiritual origin and fundamentally
different from matter.
In subsequent centuries, this image became
an essential element of Western thought, of the
body and soul.
The scientific knowledge of antiquity was
systematized and organized by
Aristotle, who devised the
scheme which was to be the basis of
the Western worldview of reality
for two thousand years.
Aristotle pursued questions
concerning the Eternal Soul.
The Aristotelian model of the
universe remained unchallenged due to the hold of the Roman Catholic church
which supported Aristotle's doctrines throughout the Middle Ages.
Galileo Galilei was the first to combine
empirical knowledge with mathematics and is therefore seen as the Father of
The birth of modern
science was preceded and accompanied by a development of philosophical thought
which led to an extreme formulation of the
This formulation appeared in the seventeenth century
in the philosophy of Rene Descartes
who based his view of nature on a fundamental division into two separate and
independent realms: that of mind
(res cogitans), and that of
matter (res extensa).
allowed scientists to think of matter as dead,
completely separate from
themselves, and to see the material world as a multitude of different
objects assembled in a huge clockwork machine.
worldview was held by Isaac Newton,
who constructed his mechanics on its basis and made it the
Foundation of Physics.
forged by the Cartesian
division and mechanistic worldview
have been beneficial and detrimental at the same time.
Rational dissociation advanced
the development of classical physics and
technology, but had many
Quantum mechanics turns the
worldview inside out overcoming fragmentation while
leading back to unity.
to divide perceived reality into
individual and separate things and
to experience ourselves as
isolated egos in this reality
is an illusion which comes from
our measuring and categorizing mentality.
It is called avidya, or
Buddhist philosophy, and is seen as
the state of a disturbed
mind which has to be overcome:
When the mind is disturbed,
the multiplicity of things is produced,
but when the mind is quieted,
the multiplicity of things disappears.
mysticism emphasizes the basic unity of the universe.
Eastern mysticism informs - Hindus
- Buddhists -
to become aware of the unity
and mutual interrelation of all things - to
transcend the notion of
an isolated individual
self and to identify
self with the noumenon.
Emergence of Awareness - also
known as 'enlightenment' -
is an experience
which involves the whole
individual and is relgious
in its ultimate nature.
of nature into separate objects is not fundamental in the Eastern
objects have a fluid and ever-changing character.
therefore intrinsically dynamic and contains time and change as essential
The cosmos is seen
as one inseparable reality forever in motion.
an intrinsic property of
matter, controls everything:
He who, dwelling in all
Yet is other than all things,
Whom all things do not know,
Whose body all things are,
Who controls all things from within
your controller, your Eternal
further we penetrate into quantum reality, the more we realize how the modern
physicist, like the mystic, has come to see the world as a system of
inseparable, interacting, and ever moving components, with
the observer being an integral part
of this system.
The underlying reason for
the widespread dissatisfaction within Western culture is
the domination of the
mechanistic, fragmented view of reality.
Throughout history, it has
been recognized that the human
mind is capable of rationalizing
two forms of knowledge, or
two modes of
consciousness, which have often been termed the
rational and the
intuitive, and have
traditionally been associated
with science and
These two types of knowledge may be termed
the West intuitive mystical
knowledge is often devalued in favor of rational scientific knowledge,
whereas the traditional Eastern attitude is traditionally the
The Upanishads speak of a higher
and a lower knowledge and associate the lower knowledge with various sciences,
the higher with relgious awareness.
Buddhists talk about 'relative' and
'absolute' knowledge, or
about 'conditional truth'
and 'transcendental truth.'
Chinese philosophy has always
emphasized the complementary nature of
the intuitive and
the rational by representing them in the
archetypical pair Yin and Yang which
form the basis of Chinese thought.
Accordingly, two complementary
philosophical traditions - Taoism
and Confucianism developed in China
to deal with the two kinds of knowledge.
Rational knowledge is
derived from the
experience we have with objects and events in our everyday
knowledge belongs to the realm of the
intellect, whose function it is to discriminate, divide, compare, measure and
A world of intellectual
distinctions is forged of
opposites which can exist only in relation to each other,
Buddhists call this knowledge
Abstraction is a crucial feature of
to compare and classify the immense variety of shapes, structures, and
phenomena we select a few significant ones.
We construct a 'map of
reality' by reducing things to their general outlines.
Rational knowledge is
a system of abstract concepts and
symbols, characterized by
a linear, sequential structure typical of our thinking and speaking just like
this line of symbols.
The natural world is of infinite
varieties and complexities, a multidimensional world which contains no straight
lines or completely regular shapes, where things happen in interlocked
is clear that our abstract system of conceptual thinking can never describe or
understand the noumenon accurately, completely or
The model will be faulty for the same reason the
cartographer, trying to cover the curved face of the Earth with a sequence of
flat plane maps, is faulty.
We can only expect an approximate
representation of reality from such a procedure, and all
rational knowledge is therefore
The realm of rational knowledge
is, of course, the realm of science which measures and quantifies, classifies
"Every word or concept, clear as it may appear to be,
has only a limited range of applicability." -
For most of us it is very difficult
to be constantly aware of the limitations and of the relativity of rational
our representation of
reality is so much easier to grasp than reality itself, we tend to
confuse the two and to take our
The main aim of
mysticism is to rid us of this
Buddhists say that a finger
is needed to point at the moon, but that
we should not trouble ourselves with the
finger once the moon is recognized.
The purpose of
a fish basket is to catch fish, and when
the fish are caught the basket is forgotten. The purpose of
a rabbit snare is to catch
rabbits. When the rabbits are caught, the snare is forgotten.
The purpose of the word is to convey ideas.
When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten. Where can I find a man who
has forgotten words? He is the one I would like to talk to. - Zhuangzi
Equivalency in the West is shown by the statement
made by the semanticist Alfred
Korzybski , "The map is not the
What mystics are concerned with is a
direct experience of reality which
transcends not only intellectual
thinking but also sensory perception.
In the words of the
is soundless, touchless, formless, imperishable,
likewise tasteless, constant, odorless, immaterial
beginning, without end, higher than
that, one is liberated from the mouth
Knowledge gleaned from
is called absolute
knowledge by Buddhists because
it does not rely on the discriminations,
classifications of the
intellect, always relative and approximate.
In the West
this absolute knowledge or esoteric gnostic knowledge has been suppressed since
Constantine started a civil war to overturn Jupiter Optimus Maximus
the central characteristic of all
The noumenon can
never can never be an object of reasoning or of demonstrable
noumenon lies beyond the realm of human senses words and concepts so derived
The Upanishads say about
There the eye goes
speech goes not, nor the mind.
we know not, we understand not
one would teach it.
"If it could be talked
everybody would have told their brother."
Tze, who calls reality
the Dao, states the same thing in the opening line of the
Tao De Ching: "The Dao that can be expressed is not the
true knowledge through
the use of symbols or words is nearly impossible and this is why the ancients
settled on the Oral Tradition.
knowledge inhabits an
entirely nonintellectual experience of reality,
an experience arising in
a state of consciousness out of the ordinary which may be called a
disassociated state of
In the words of William James:
"Our normal waking
consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of
consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens,
there lie other potential forms of consciousness."
physicists are mainly concerned with
rational knowledge and mystics
knowledge or mythical
consciousness, both types of knowledge occur in both fields.
This becomes apparent when we examine how
knowledge is obtained and how it
is expressed, both in physics and Eastern mysticism.
In physics, knowledge is acquired through the process of
scientific research which can be
seen to proceed in three stages.
Initially consists in gathering
experimental evidence about phenomena.
facts are correlated with symbols and a scheme is worked out which
interconnects these symbols in a precise and consistent way.
Such a scheme develops a hypothesis into a
model or a theory.
This theory is then used to
predict the results of further
Physicists become satisfied when they have found
a scheme and have learned know
how to use it to predict outcome of further experimentation.
share this knowledge physicists express results in
theories firmly on experiment is
known as the scientific method.
Greek philosophers had
extremely ingenious ideas about nature which often come very close to modern
scientific models, the enormous
difference between the two is the empirical attitude of modern science..
The Greeks obtained models
The Greek art of
deductive logical reasoning is an
essential ingredient in the second stage of scientific research, the
formulation of a consistent model.
Rational knowledge constitutes a
major part of scientific research.
intuition is what gives
scientists new insights
and makes them creative.
Insights come suddenly
when analyisis has been dropped and the subconscious has had the chance to
process the presented information.
The intuitive mind takes over
and produces suddenly clarifying insights.
Intuitive insights do not
impress engineers and are of no use to anyone unless they can be formulated
into a consistent interpretation
in plain language.
Abstraction is a crucial feature of
This framework is a system
of concepts which constitute a map of reality.
map represents only some features of reality.
We do not know exactly were the gaps in
knowledge lie since we started compiling our map gradually and without critical
analysis in our childhood.
The words of our language
are thus not clearly defined.
They have several
meanings, many of which pass only
vaguely through our mind
and remain largely in our subconscious when we
hear a word.
The inaccuracy and
ambiguity of our language is
essential for poets who work largely
with its subconscious
Science by aiming
for clear definitions and unambiguous connections abstracts language further by
limiting the meaning of its words and by standardizing its structure in
accordance with the rules of logic.
The ultimate abstraction takes place
in mathematics where words are replaced by symbols and operations of connecting
the symbols are rigorously defined.
Mathematics is an extremely
abstracted and compressed language.
Many mathematicians believe
that mathematics is not just a language to describe nature, but is inherent in
introduced the belief "All things are numbers," which was incorporated into
Chaladean numerology and
Followers of Pythagoras set up
Serapheum throughout the newly Hellenized world in the wake of Alexander the
The intimate blending of religion
and reasoning that Pythagoras engaged in spawned a technological revolution of
The Pythagorian myteries
began a sort of blockchain of intimately linked concepts with each new concept
overlaying the former.
A defining factor the
Pythagorean mysteries is
a logical admiration of that
which is timeless.
forged a chain of individuals
subscribing to the
concept of creating perfection in humanity including
Spinoza crystalizing in
scientific method of abstraction creates dissociation from
Common symbol systems, or languages, contain flexibility
within their very structure in order to be broadly understood.
flexibility disappears with terminology within schools of thought.
language of mathematics reaches a point where links with reality are so tenuous
that the relation of symbols to sensory experience is no longer evident.
Rational thought symbol systems, or models, must be supplemented with
mystical thought symbol systems in order to be understood.
thought symbol systems are rigorous and consistent as far as their internal
structure is concerned but their symbols are not directly related to
Mystical thought symbol systems come from direct sensory
experience and, being exceedingly complex, are hard to describe in rational
thought symbol systems like the one you are now reading in.
experience is at the core of all mysticism.
"Personal experience is the
foundation of Buddhist philosophy.
Described as direct insight
outside the realm of the
intellect obtained by watching rather than thinking; by looking inside
oneself; by observation.
In Daoism, this notion of observation is embodied in the
names for Daoist temples, kuan, which originally meant "to look."
Daoist thus regarded their temples as places of
Buddhism, the Chinese version of Zen,
often referred to as 'the
vision of the Dao' - true vision is regarded
as the basis of knowing in all Buddhist schools.
The first item of the
Eightfold Path, the
Gautama gave us for self-realization, is
true vision, followed
by true knowledge.
'seeing' plays the
most important role in Buddhist
epistemology, for seeing is
at the basis of knowing.
Knowing is impossible
without seeing; all
'knowledge' has its origin in
seeing." - DT
Knowing and seeing are united in the
Zen of Siddhartha
Zen of Siddhartha
Gautama points to the noumenon.
is experiencing true
reality - Gnosis.
adapted from Franz
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