As we enter the world we are infinite. We have no boundary. We are also zero. At three months, or so, we begin to distinguish that there is an “other” – the breast as part object. By 6 months old the boundary between us and the other (usually mother) is clear; and often frightening. Warmth, food, security and affection can be withdrawn as well as present. Our world is strait, though we do not know it. As we age and explore we push the boundary back; and back. If we are fortunate, and conquer our fear, we realise once more that there is no boundary. We are existence and all of existence is us. Death is an illusion. When we leave the world we can then fade to white and lose the loneliness and fear that haunts life, to experience all that is directly once more.
“We have two contradictory pictures of reality; separately neither of them fully explains the phenomena of light, but together they do” Einstein (in relation to wave-particle duality)
Quantum mechanics has repeatedly proved that energy and matter is contradictory – it is both a wave and a particle at the same time. In addition, it is observation that crystallises out our particular reality from the infinity of possibilities.
“When bodies to their graves, souls from their graves remove” John Donne
There is almost incontrivertible evidence that there is meaning within the universe. The physical constants are incredibly finely tuned to allow even atoms to form, never mind reflective consciousness. There are those who fervently wish to deny this meaning. (Why?). Their only defence is what is called the multiple universe proposition – that there are infinity universes and we happen to live in the one that has these constants aligned. Their problems are these. Firstly, there is not a shred of evidence for the proposition. Secondly it fails the test of simplicity (this is certainly not the simplest solution). Thirdly, even were it true – what then is the origin of the multiverses? Indeed, by definition Universe is all that is, and so multiverses are subsets of that. I personally dismiss this concept for what it is, materialist desperation. The Universe is significant and not simply material.
Material is but one aspect of reality, there is another a dual aspect. John Donne would call that “soul” as distinct from “body”…
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
“The attitude of the “I” towards an “It”, towards an object that is separate in itself, which we either use or experience. The attitude of the “I” towards “Thou”, in a relationship in which the other is not separated by discrete bounds…human life finds its meaningfulness in relationships” Ich und Du, Martin Buber
Martin Buber expresses this duality in his wonderful verse-philosophy “Ich und Du”. Not only is there duality in all-that-is, but it is in the dance – the relationships between the Within-Without, the wave-particle, the Ich-Du – that meaning exists.
People have called that meaning by all sorts of names. Who cares about semantics – a rose is still a rose by any name. If you’ve felt the connectedness of the Universe, then you’ve known joy in all its emphemerality, within the life of this body at least.
Dual, we certainly are, and inexplicably so. Although maybe…
“And all shall be well and All manner of thing shall be well When the tongues of flames are in-folded Into the crowned knot of fire And the fire and the rose are one” TS Elliot
* There is a tradition of theft within evolutionary science. Dawkins stole the concept of evolution in the noosphere and clothed in the language of the “meme”. He did not credit Teilhard de Chardin. Charles Darwin stole the concept of evolution by natural selection from James Hutton, who in 1794 wrote “in conceiving an indefinite variety among the individuals of that species, we must be assured, that, on the one hand, those which depart most from the best adapted constitution, will be most liable to perish, while on the other hand, those organized bodies, which most approach to the best consitution for the present circumstances, will be best adapted to continue, in preserving themselves and multiplying the individuals of their race”.
Pauli was – with Bohr, Planck, Heinsenberg, Dirac et al – a pioneer of quantum mechanics and Nobel Prize winner for Physics for discovery of the exclusion principle. He could equally have won the prize for his discovery of the Neutrino or of PCT Symmetry.
He is less known for his work on the philosophy of knowledge and for his work with Carl Jung on the links between physics and the psyche. They wrote papers together (in some of which Einstein participated) , which were only discovered and published in the 1970’s and also co-authored the book “The Interpretation of Nature and the Psyche”.
In 1955 he gave a lecture at the University of Hamburg, “Science and Western Thought”, which he later described in analysis to Jung and to Niels Bohr. His interest throughout his life was to reconcile the “rational-critical” (Western Science) with the “mystical-irrational” (Eastern thought), to try to create a single framework of the physical and psychical.
“it is precisely by these means, that the scientist can more or less consciously tread a path of inner salvation. Slowly then develop inner images, fantasies or ideas, compensatory to the external situation”.
His belief in complementarity was fundamental; not just in physics but in general. For him and Jung the conscious and unconscious are mirrors of each other, and an understanding built solely out of one or the other is necessarily incomplete. (What Pauli sometimes referred to – witheringly – as “not even wrong”). This extended to his views on wider existence. He had an abiding interest in the views of Kepler and Newton – scientists working out of the alchemy tradition – “as above, so below” whose physical discoveries were incidental (to them) in their pursuit of the truth of God.
Pauli, with many great creative scientists, was a polymath. His scientific credentials are impeccable. His god-father was Ernst Mach and he was mentored by Arnold Sommerfeld. Albert Einstein proposed him for his Nobel Prize. He was a lifelong friend and collaborator of Bohr, Heisenberg and Dirac. All of his inquiring brought him to a concrete sense of the motive force and nature that lies beyond the physical or material world. He had a strong sense of humanity and humour, dealing gently with those of other or non-belief. For instance in response to Paul Dirac (who famously could not tolerate the religions and their politics) he quipped – “Well, I’d say that also our friend Dirac has got a religion and the first commandment of this religion is ‘God does not exist and Paul Dirac is his prophet'”.
Here he is on the nature of knowledge itself:
“the natural laws are of such a kind that every bit of knowledge gained from a measurement must be paid for by the loss of other, complementary items of knowledge.. the process of knowing is connected with the religious experience of transmutation undergone by him who acquires knowledge. This connection can only be comprehended through symbols which both imaginatively express the emotional aspect of the experience and stand in vital relationship to the sum total of contemporary knowledge and the actual process of cognition. Just because in our times the possibility of such symbolism has become an alien idea, it may be considered especially interesting to examine another age to which the concepts of what is now called classical scientific mechanics were foreign but which permits us to prove the existence of a symbol that had, simultaneously, a religious and a scientific function.”
Walter Heisenberg wrote of Pauli’s beliefs (in his book – “Across the Frontiers”)
“Pauli.. points out that even Kepler’s conversion to the Copernican theory, which marks the beginning of modern natural science, was decisively affected by certain primeval images or archetypes. He cites this passage from Kepler’s Mysterium Cosmographicum: “The image of the triune God is in the sphere, namely of the Father in the centre, of the Son in the outer surface and of the Holy Ghost in the uniformity of connection between point and intervening space or surroundings”.
“Pauli considers, moreover, that Kepler’s symbol illustrates quite generally the attitude from which contemporary science has arisen. “From an inner centre, the mind seems to move outward in a sort of extraversion into the physical world, in which all happenings are assumed to be automatic, so that the spirit serenely encompasses this physical world , as it were, with its Ideas.” Thus the natural science of the modern era involves a Christian elaboration of the “lucid mysticism” of Plato, in which the unitary ground of spirit and matter is sought in the primeval images, and in which understanding has found its place in its various degrees and kinds, even to knowledge of the word of God.”
“As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”
Max Planck was the originator of Quantum Mechanics, and gives his name to the Planck Constant, relating energy to frequency and to the Planck Length – the smallest measure of length, below which nothing is knowable. He was a committed Lutheran; like many great scientists, one who questioned the nature of God’s knowability – but not God’s existence. “I am a deeply religious man, but that does not necessarily mean that I believe in a Christian God or even a personal God”.
He took issue with Pauli, Heisenberg and Bohr on their “Copenhagen Interpretation” of the results of quantum mechanical experiments – holding that eventually all matter would be found simply to be wave form. Odd, of course – given that it was his work that showed that photons behave as packets or quanta (it had much earlier been shown that light behaves as a wave). He eventually was proved wrong and the duality of existence at the fundamental level – both material and immaterial has now been proved.
He held that science was capable of answering only so much:
“Religion belongs to that realm that is inviolable before the law of causation and, therefore closed to science”.
“We might naturally assume that one of the achievements of science would have been to restrict belief in miracle. But it does not seem to do so.”
He most certainly would not have tolerated the current lazy assumption that in some way science and religion are incompatible or opposed to each other:
“There can never be any real opposition between religion and science; for one is the complement of the other. Every serious and reflective person realizes, I think, that the religious element in his nature must be recognized and cultivated if all the powers of the human soul are to act together in perfect balance and harmony. And indeed it was not by accident that the greatest thinkers of all ages were deeply religious souls”.
“the movement of atheists, which declares religion to be just a deliberate illusion, … eagerly makes use of progressive scientific knowledge. It is the steady, ongoing, never-slackening fight against scepticism and dogmatism, which religion and science wage together . The directing watchword in this struggle runs from the remotest past to the distant future: ‘On to God’”.
It is all, let’s admit, unprovable. All – reality, God, no-God, meaning, purpose etc. That’s because there is no independent starting point, no external (to the Universe) objective truth. That is, there may well be – but it isn’t available to us as humans and to our thinking minds. That being so – all is conjecture and belief. I have been irritated by the messaging from materialists and atheists that tries to claim that “science” dis-proves God. They are trying to manipulate, and they do – or should – know better. However, as atheists can’t prove Un-God, neither can other religions prove God.
However there is the small matter of probability, and it seems to me highly unlikely that there is no God. This does not speak to what God might be. Declaring my hand, I do believe in God as personal and loving – but that is belief. However, if God were defined as “that which came before” or ” the ultimate cause outside existence”, then it seems to me overwhelmingly likely that God exists.
Cosmologists agree that the chain of events that have led to this existence are not random. The likelihood that the Universe – with it’s 26 physical constants (eg the exact speed of light etc) – is a random event is vanishingly small. Think of it – from the “Big Bang” through rapid inflation of the Universe, pausing every now and then just long enough to create stars, the elements, the conditions for life and then an aware and self-conscious mankind. At every stage, if the “laws” of physics were just fractionally different – we wouldn’t be here. You only have to read the discoveries of science – and wipe away the slant that materialists would like to put on them..
In the face of this mountain of evidence that the Universe is not random, atheists and materialists hold up a model of Multiple Universes. This is their line of defence against God, or at least a God as I defined earlier. They do this because they can then say that in an infinity of Universes there would be one that had just the right conditions for awareness and life – and we think that’s special because we happen to be in it. Let me pause here simply to contrast probabilities. All agree that this Universe is infinetly unlikely. Which is more probable? Either that there is a creative impulse that set up the Universe (I define this as God), or that infinite Universes arises all the time and we happen to keep on track with the only one where awareness is possible? Leave aside the question of what was the creative impulse behind setting up the infinite Universes.
The Multiple Universes theory is the “alternative” explanation to the Copenhagen Interpretation of the observer effect which has been proven in Quantum Mechanics. (There is a third, a kind of fudge called Environmental Decoherence – but that anyway relies on the Universe being singular and everything in it relative).
Revisiting what these theories attempt to address. Experiments show that everything exists (at least at the quantum level) as possibility – until observed. It is the act of observation that collapses possibility into a single reality. This isn’t contentious, simply fact established by experiment time and time again. (For me this leads to the critical role of consciousness, us, as reality engines. We crystallise out reality by our observation.).
” Before observation, a particle is in a superposition state of all possible values. During measurement, what causes the reduction of this state to a single value?” (Hidden in Plain Sight: The fundamental link between relativity and quantum mechanics. Andrew Thomas). Einstein famously could not refute the conclusions of these quantum experiments, but couldn’t accept them because he couldn’t explain them – “What I am really interested in is whether God could have the world in a different way; that is, whether the necessity of logical simplicity leaves any freedom at all”.
The Many Worlds Interpretation states that all the time the world is splitting into infinite Universes. Therefore the collapse of superposition into one state of reality is not caused by the observer, it is that the observer is also splitting infinitely. There is a logical problem with this however. To work – the “observer” has to be in a state of superposition before the observation (so that it can continue to split infinitely as supposedly does the “observed”. Yet the observer is not, the observer is in a single well-defined state.
So, for what it’s worth. This is why I believe that Un-God is overwhelmingly Un-likely. There is one Universe (Uni-verse!). It is agreed by all scientists that it is almost inconceivably un-likely that the conditions within this Universe leading to conscious life is random. It it’s simplest if God is defined as the primal cause, then God exists.
God, then at least as “the Word existing beyond Time and Space”. An implication of this logic is that, here and now, the nature of God is un-knowable (since we exist IN Time and Space). The nature of God, then, and not the existence of God is a matter of belief.
For me anyway…
I quote below from a comment from Tim Staniland. Really interesting. The embedded article on Woff’s theory (all is standing wave..) worth reading in abstract anyway. So – according to this NOTHING is material?
In any case – nothing is as it seems, or is it that we are knowledge engines crystallising out this particular reality (see earlier posts). In which case rather – all is as we seem it?
“Tim Staniland on September 3, 2014 at 9:42 pm said:
The dot was alone. He could only look inward, there was nothing else. Doing so he contracted. In the end he was pointless.
He awoke in time, which made him a line. A path with a here-to-from and a hereafter. For ever after. But where was time before he woke. Because he knew only himself, he called that Big Bang. Important. And there was only the path and his memory and expectation.
But other lines crossed, intersected, joined and diverged. Other became. What was he? Was he a he, or a she, or an it? He was IT, the path. THE path. Those others. The intersections weren’t real like he was. They appeared only as dots, waypoints on HIS path.
But the others, those intrusive arrogant, wrong and other others. Kept coming, twisting around and enfolding him. Was he a string, a super string, a rope or a braid?
Then it was plain. They, she – was a plane. A surface with infinite lines. She was afraid to lose her dottiness. Would she dissolve in the plain plane and cease to exist? She was granular surely. She didn’t want to be a solution.
Her nature had curled with the help of the free “we” into consciousness. She had begun to see the plain as a green field, then saw the blue sky. We were afraid because..
There was depth in us. But we learned to swim in this sea of possibility, to revel in being. Not drowning, but waving.
And the freedom came when we realised that we were all dotty. Pointless alone. All in all together. Speaking volumes.
(and we’re looking forward to the mysteries of the 6 curled dimensions)