No no I’m never no thing
I’m bumbling bee not its sting
Flight of the gull not its wing
Not noun or thing-y at all
‘Cos I’m the bounce of a ball
Hop of a bird and its call
The verb, I am is to be
Container containing set free
Strong brown god striving to sea
All is not as it seems. Physics and Philosophy are pointing us to integration rather than differentiation. To wholeness rather than fragmentation. This requires that we change the way we relate to each other. In the language of neural networking – to focus on edges and synapses rather than points and neutrons.
David Bohm proposes (“Wholeness and the Implicate Order”) that language is reshaped to focus on verbs, rather than nouns (subjects & objects). He calls this a “rheomode”, reflecting a reality of flow, of movement. Elsewhere, for instance in “On Dialogue” he picks up the insight of existential philosopher Martin Buber – that reality is in relation, not the thing (“Ich-Du”).
The world, as Buber says, is two-fold. Everything can be described simultaneously either as bits – quanta – or waves. We appear to have achieved mastery by conceiving reality in terms of the material. To be investigated by smashing into fragments. However consider, just for a moment, the REAL basis of a theory – the standard model – which purports to explain material reality; but depends on conjuring “dark matter” and “dark energy”. For “dark” read – “we don’t know, but we need it to make our equations work”. How much of this “dark” stuff is necessary for the equations to work? 95% of all that is… You have to say that physicists have chutzpah. Not only does this dark stuff account for 95% of everything – but these guys are really precise about what they don’t know – “Dark matter accounts for 23.3 percent of the cosmos, and dark energy fills in 72.1 percent [source: NASA]“
Meanwhile, fortunately, considering reality as a wave is much more productive. In recent work Milo Wolff has shown that when described as intersecting standing waves, then reality can be described by simple equations. It is no longer necessary to invent a veritable zoo of exotic particles – and “dark” matter and energy. Wolff’s work is not new, but based on work by Maxwell, Schrodinger and Einstein.
Our watchwords, or better – watching words – and focus is shifting..
From nouns – to verbs..From quanta – to waves..From individuals – to connections..From fragmentation – to wholeness
.. or as Teilhard de Chardin would say – to the Omega Point – where humanity awakens to the reality of the whole.
“Teilhard calls the contributing universal energy that generates the Omega Point “forces of compression”. Unlike the scientific definition, which incorporates gravity and mass, Teilhard’s forces of compression sources from communication and contact between human beings. This value is limitless and directly correlated with entropy. It suggests that as humans continue to interact, consciousness evolves and grows.‘
The problem of evil is often cited as an argument against a loving creator. But surely…
Boundary is necessary for our experience. We understand “loud” by contrast to “soft” and so on. Some of the greatest writers and thinkers express existence itself in this context. Jung sets up contrasts and enjoins us to struggle toward their integration. Buber’s existentialist view is expressed as a “two-fold entity” Ich-Du (or the alternative Ich-Es which allows evil). I read an article recently (teilharddechardin) which eloquently stated religious insight as “relational”. Experience is relative and depends on “the other”. Martin Buber as a catholic? (Indeed he writes that Jesus Christ is the epitome of the jewish ideal).
And surely experience is what creates existence. That is at the core of quantum mechanics – it is observation that crystallises out this particular reality from the infinity of potential. I think of our role here as “observation engine” creating reality. At the heart of observation, again there is separation – a boundary between the observer and that which is observed.
It seems to me that evil is something we create, tolerate and live with. It is the particular reality we choose. It is we who crystallised out the holocaust, not the loving creator. As a result we experience good, by contrast and in relation. We know something is good by reference to all of the evil in the world.
But what is this evil and good that we create? Jung would enjoin us to attempt their integration. What then? Perhaps – joy?
The world is right now saluting the passing of that great spirit – Nelson Mandela. He was, apparently angry and violent as a young man. Yet he transcended this and became something else entirely. His will almost alone seems to have delivered reconciliation and integration out of an almost certain bloodbath.
Perhaps, a thought only, the charity of the loving creator is of a wholly different order from what we think of as the good and evil which we create. In that case, is the path back to our spiritual home (the loving creator) – the integration to which Jung refers? The living in the duality Ich-Du rather than the chimera of Ich-Es?
In our English language how can we now mark the transition in relationships between the formality of “you are” and the caress of “thou art”? And when and why did we lose the rich language of intimacy?
The Jewish existentialist Martin Buber wrote – “To man the world is two-fold .. the attitude of man is two-fold .. the one primary word is the combination I-Thou, the other is the combination I-It”.
I-thou is a relationship of inner to inner, an authentic encounter that is the touchstone of existence. (I-thou creating “our”).
Of course, Buber wrote in German and Du has currency in contrast to Sie or Es, whereas in English we now reserve intimate addressing for our relationship with God. How ironic!
Surely thou-ness was clear in the minds of the scholars constructing the King James Bible in 1611. Perhaps the slow death of this way of celebrating friendship is linked to the four hundred year rise of materialism since the reformation?
Perhaps as the smoke clears and we see the I-It debris left by capitalism and atheism a new expression of thou-ness will appear.
Let us pray so.
Our brother whose heart is heaven
Hallowed be thy pain
Our kingdom won
Our will being one
On earth as it is in heaven
Live in us today, our daily bread
So we give up our trespasses
And giving, forgive and are forgiven
And lead us not to the isolation
Which delivers us to evil
For thine be our kingdom, our power and our glory
Now and for ever