The Love that Reassembles the Fragments

“All manner of thing shall be well/When the tongues of flame are in-folded/Into the crowned knot of fire/And the fire and the rose are one” TS Elliot

I think that Elliot was pointing to a fundamental symmetry between the material (fire) and spiritual (rose) world. We have to think outside physics to find the answer to the apparent material asymmetry introduced by the dimension of time.

Time is the only thing that we know that is not symmetrical. We can travel backward and forward through space, but only forward in time. This flows from the second law of thermodynamics, where disorder (entropy, chaos), always increases. That in turn flows from the initial conditions of the Universe, which was highly organised.

There must, I believe, actually be a symmetrical partner to time. If you like – something that is running backward, creating order from disorder, which matches and balances the movement toward chaos that we observe in the material Universe.

Everything in the world is dual. Without boundary we could not know existence. Boundary defines by breaking one into two. Forces balance, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. When singular differentiates into dual (when one becomes two) it creates symmetry. Everything is symmetrical, and in a state either of differentiation or integration, separation or unification. This appears to me to be a fundamental truth – equally so in psychology (see all the writings of Carl Jung) and physics. Except for time. Time is different. It’s asymmetrical. It flows only forward. There is an arrow of time.

Why is that? After all – ever since Einstein’s special and general relativity was proved, we know that time is only the fourth dimension of space-time. We should in theory be able to travel forward and back in time, just as we can in space. But we can’t and don’t. We are all travelling forward at the speed of light through space-time. (Which is why there is time-dilation. If we travel rapidly through space, we use up some of the time component of that speed and therefore we travel more slowly through time). Since we’re in motion in space-time and with a direction – forward– we have momentum. Our momentum in time is simply mass multiplied by the speed of light. mc (massxspeed of light). We also know that E=mc2 (energy is mass multiplied by the square of the speed of light). That means that “we can consider energy to be momentum in the time direction” (Andrew Thomas). In turn that implies that it is the existence of time (and a time direction) that creates energy – and therefore mass and the material world.

Haven’t we heard this all before, but in a different language – long before the discoveries of physics. “Let there be light” – spoken by God, the word existing beyond time . Doesn’t this translate into – let there be a universal speed of light (168,000 miles/second) and time. From this energy and mass flows, and therefore the material Universe.

I believe that the flow of time in the material world – creating disorder from order, is matched by a flow in the spiritual world, where order is being created from disorder. I also believe that this creation of order can be observed in the evolution of consciousness. Ideas are not material. I believe, with Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, that at some point (his Omega point) we will evolve to a Universal consciousness of God. I believe that God, existing beyond time, is made manifest in this material Universe by Christ; and that manifestation is perfect Love.

That, I believe, is the answer to the apparent time asymmetry. Spirit is the symmetrical partner of Energy (=matter). This makes sense for me of that great Christian poet – TS Elliot’s final lines from The Four Quartets. The fire is the material world (energy) and the rose the spiritual (love) and it is in their integration through the loving unifying sacrifice of Christ through (the crowned knot of fire), that all manner of things shall be well.

Or perhaps more simply – as Derek Walcott puts it:

“Break a vase, and the love that reassembles the fragments is stronger than the love that took its symmetry for granted when it was whole”.

Time as a field?

It appears that the physical world is governed by fields. Mass and energy depend upon them.

Electricity and magnetism, and therefore the cinema, facebook, light, our e-mail traffic and our clean clothes, are underpinned by the electro-magnetic field (James Clerk Maxwell).

Gravity, and therefore mass itself – structure, form, atoms, molecules and things, result from the gravitational field (Newton, Einstein).

Time results in our sense of experience. Without it nothing is. We sense and experience anything and everything NOW (Alfred North Whitehead). It isn’t the past or future – the “late and soon” of Wordsworth’s poem – where we build existence, it is here and now – the present. The experience of NOW is though only possible because of time. I am not a mathematician, but it seems logical to me to think of time as a field which makes possible NOW. In the same way that the gravitational field makes possible MASS, matter.

I am deeply convinced of our joyful and interconnected existence beyond space and time. We are part of “the Word existing beyond time”. I have a sense that we are droplets here, in this material world. We are boundaried as water is within a droplet as opposed to infinitely inter-connected as within an ocean. Boundary brings loneliness (if we let it), but is essential for experience.

Perhaps time is the field within which this transmutation occurs. Gravity has been described as a “field like treacle that sticks down energy as mass”. Is time the equivalent – a field like treacle that allows spirit to be stuck down as experience? As being.

The Problem of Evil

What constitutes evil? In fact does it exist, or is it an absence. The result of separation from common connection? In any case if you believe as I do that unconditional love underlies the world of material and spirit, then evil is a problem. A riddle, wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma (Churchill on Russia).

I have a statement of the problem, but I don’t have an answer. Perhaps one doesn’t exist and this is simply a paradox, something unknowable by definition like the liar paradox (All Cretans are liars, Parmenides), Gödel’s mathematica proof that all things cannot be known or Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, again all things cannot be known.

So stated, then;

All things are potential until observed. Observation (I would restate this as – witness) crystallises out actual from potential. This is the most tested scientific fact in history, though the implications have not been commonly absorbed. In addition all material is at the same time quantum -bits of matter (when thus crystallised) and wave – continuous. Light can be characterised for instance as photons – discrete particles, and wave with particular amplitude and wavelength. Consider the implication of the famous equation e=mc2. Simply energy and mass are the same thing (except mass is hugely dense form of energy because of the multiplier of the speed of light squared). All matter is energy in wave form.

Einstein linked space and time as spacetime. Whitehead linked matter and time, characterising existence as a process rather than an event. (He arrived at theory of relativity independently of Einstein). In his explanation the past is concrete, the future is potential and it is at the boundary of both – the present – the we experience existence. We, as observers, actively work in experience/existence to form the strand of reality in time from the potential, but working with the memory of the past. In other words – material is always in the past, the present – existence – is immaterial.

This, for me anyway provides the link between spirit and material. We exist as observation engines with the purpose of creating reality in time. The sum of our choices together forms the path that existence takes as it builds.

But to what end? There is a direction of travel and there is travel itself – evolution. We are together creating the future by crystallising it out via our choices. To what end evolution? The start of what we can know appears to be the Big Bang – 14 billion years ago or so. Material has evolved since that point – first through a set of physical states ( from nothing to plasma to atoms) then chemical states (atoms to molecules of increasing complexity) then through biological states (sets of molecules with cell boundaries through plants and animals of increasing complexity) then through social states (organisms living in community of increasing complexity) and now through idea or thought states (ideas of increasing complexity interacting). Pierre Teilhard de Chardin characterised this as a continuous growth of consciousness, and the driving force being love. I buy that, especially since…

the discovery of quantum entanglement ( matter is entangled at it’s deepest structure) shows that there is a deep connection underlying all things. All things are one and we are all connected in a evolutionary journey toward increasing awareness or consciousness. In fact there is intense comfort in the knowledge that the self or ego is in fact a construct of the material world, the past. Somehow we have to be separate to weave existence from potential, but this is only a story – a mirage. We take form via our boundaries, like droplets of water – but our nature is that of water and the boundaries disappear when we fall back to the ocean.

So – for me anyway – all is well, good. Love powers the universe. Everything is connected. The ego in this life is simply a chimera, a construct or story. God is the Word existing beyond time, and we are one with that Word. With death will come reconnection and the loss of loneliness as boundary falls away.

BUT,

what then about Evil. Why evil, why separation if unconditional love underlies all?

That’s my problem….