A SCIENTISTS’ SEARCH FOR THE SOUL

Time is not what it used to be! From absolute and universal, it is now elastic and relative! Thus relativistic physics teaches us that the same event will be perceived by Alice one day and by Bob another day!

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The objects we discover around us no longer have intrinsic and defined characteristics, but their properties depend on the interactions they have with us or other objects! Thus quantum physics teaches us that an interaction has more reality than the object that interacts!

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A dice that travels near light-speed would appear deformed (up) if you’re immobile, but normal (down) if you travel along it!

Quantum physics discovers a strange dualism. The particles that build the universe belong to another place… beyond the concepts of space and time; beyond the fundamental characteristics we attribute to reality! The world described by the most ardent defenders of Cartesianism – the physicists – finally seems closer to the one in which some alchemists lived than to the empty universe to which some seem to cling obstinately. The wall Descartes erected between matter and spirit is no longer as justified as it was until the beginning of the 20th century. Matter and consciousness are getting closer! Realism has been obsolete for 4 decades now and we have not yet adapted our image of the world to these results! Why?

Probably because this new Copernican revolution will be more shocking than the first! But above all because the discoveries that announce it are so strange and absurd for common sense that they are difficult to spread, even in the scientific community! These surprising discoveries did not have the response we would have expected. Why?

Perhaps because of the extreme discomfort of some physicists who are still waiting for a savior of Realism; a genius of Einstein’s caliber who never agreed to give up before the absurdity of the image of the world revealed by modern physics.

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Einstein never accepted that God plays dice… but He does!

But Einstein failed to save Realism… and since his disappearance the results have not ceased to prove him wrong! Realism is well outdated; the paradigm that science, born in the 17th century, has given itself and which has allowed it to transform the world in a way that no civilization has ever done before; the discovery of the nature of the universe through the analysis of the objects we perceive; the method that carefully separates the subject who perceives and the object studied… is unable to explain experimental facts.

A new universe is gradually being revealed, probably more confusing for us than Copernicus’ universe was for his contemporaries! The emerging science then began, without suspecting it, a long process of divorce between man and the world. For centuries her approach has gradually suffocated any search for meaning in man’s participation in the universe, to the point of assigning him an insignificant place in a foreign, immense and cold space… And now she seems to reach the end of a cycle when at the beginning of the 20th century she begins to discover links as deep and significant as unexpected between the subject who studies – us – and the object observed – the universe! These discoveries have deeply disturbed physicists who still do not agree today on their interpretation, although it has been proven for 4 decades that our image of the world should be radically rethought!

Physicists struggle to make the results they cannot explain sufficiently clear to the public. Yet a Copernican revolution should include everyone. Everyone should be able to participate in the search for a new paradigm since an image of the world is the foundation of our relationship with it and the image we have of ourselves.

Fortunately, it is possible to appropriate the complex results of modern physics and biology with curiosity and the resulting motivation as the only tools.

A SCIENTISTS’ SEARCH FOR THE SOUL

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Chronicles of a Scientific, Philosophical and Spiritual Adventure, Looking for Keys to Understand the Nature of Matter and Life.

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This book provides keys that the reader is invited to appropriate to build his own image of the world by using the results acquired by Western science as well as the perspectives opened by Eastern philosophies. These keys make it possible to understand the immense strangeness of the world depicted by physicists interested in the macrocosm (relativist and astrophysical physics) and the microcosm (quantum physics); they provide avenues for reflection that would shed light on the reasons why Western civilization and the scientific method in particular have moved away from the original sources of intuition that other civilizations seem to have preserved; they finally expose the reasons why contemporary physicists discover the interest of tools that seem to associate psyche with the material world.

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I imagined presenting contemporary science with its method and discoveries so that any reader could benefit from it with his interest in the subject as his only baggage. The tools chosen to achieve this objective are as follows:

– the presentation of observations and experiments that everyone can easily carry out to appropriate the subject in a concrete way;
– the assimilation of the reader into the conduct of physics and biology experiments described in clear language and in sufficient detail to give the impression that he himself is doing them in the company of his physicist or biologist guide;
– the presentation and analysis of controversies and interpretations as varied as they are surprising, discussed among physicists;

The reader is invited to experiment by himself with the tools provided. The approach adopted is that of the fundamental scientific method, i.e. the search for a personal and rational conviction through observation, experimentation and critical analysis. Reflections on this knowledge should help the reader to build or adapt his or her image of the world to the often disturbing results of today’s science.

The last part of the book begins a reflection on the proposals of C.G. Jung and W. Pauli on synchronicity and its application to Yi-Jing and presents its potential utility as a tool for personal development.

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Psychiatrist C. G. JUNG and physicist W. Pauli worked together for 28 years and created the concept of synchronicity that links matter to mind and meaning.

Jung and Pauli tried to understand the common sources of matter and thought. They hoped to find a new way of acquiring knowledge, a new way that would benefit both rational and intuitive qualities. They did not really succeed in their endeavours, but their research made a very interesting comparison between the models of the world and ourselves that Western scientific culture offers us on the one hand and Chinese culture on the other. The latter is probably the one that for more than 6000 years has been best rooted in one of the aspects of our nature that we have forgotten: the source of intuition. Their results deserve to be recalled at a time when physics and biology are discovering completely unexpected facets of the world within the conceptual framework of the last century and which seem to support their research.
This book describes the power of the scientific method when it seeks to explain the world, but also the interest in associating it with intuition when seeking its meaning. The approach seeks to re-associate reason and intuition by taking seriously the strange models offered by science and history.

Perhaps the happiest effect of this book is the reasoned conviction that the matter that makes us is not as raw and inert as the paradigm inherited from 4 centuries of science postulates. It is dual; its properties suggest certain characteristics that we attribute to consciousness! And objective experimentation reveals to us a human personality much larger than that which the flesh alone gives us! Modern physics opens the doors to a dialogue with our soul!

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Modern science seems to re-enchant the world!

 

 

THE NEW DUALISM. 3: WOULD DESCARTES BE A DUALIST TODAY?

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All along this time, explanations become complex, overcomplicated… but resist until the environment becomes favourable to the great jump.”

 

1: THE CARTESIAN DUALISM.

Today Descartes’ ingenuous idea that is at the origin of our scientific culture seems obvious. But it is the result of its great success; four centuries of discoveries and innumerable applications opening new perspectives overshadow the revolutionary concept that led Descartes to distinguish matter from what is immaterial: the realm of objects that occupy space from the other that is invisible because it belongs to pure thought. Before Descartes the universe was alive; animals could be prosecuted because of inadequate behaviour; a natural disaster could be assigned to a malevolent intention that could bring its author to be burned at the stake: the paradigm of these days allowed magic to act on the material world by the thought only. It was obviously impossible to acquire objective and reliable knowledge about a material world that was subject to somebody’s intentions.

But Descartes built an impervious wall between matter and thought, while admitting as an aside a mysterious link that should remain secret! He created the scientific methodology in order to apply mathematical logic to the search for reliable answers to questions we could ask about the material world only; which doesn’t remove for him the importance of the immaterial realm which constitutes a specific attribute of our species. Animals became machines unable to think and our body also. But he postulates an immaterial soul that is a gift from the creator and which is our true nature. It is our soul that gives us free-choice, reason, emotions… and manages our material organism.

Due to the success of the scientific methodology, the philosophers who became scientists, changed progressively their world’s image. At the end of the 19th century the cartesian Dualism turned into a Materialistic Monism: only matter is real and thoughts emerge from the material brain; the soul fades out! Because of concentrating on quantifiable objects and procedures, scientists materialise the realm of thoughts, in a way. They become convinced that an adequate analysis of the quantifiable workings of a brain could open one day the immaterial realm to science. We could enter in one’s thoughts in a way, and, why not, build thinking robots.

But this view confuses correlations with causality! It isn’t because a measurable electrical activity in a specific area of a brain is correlated with an emotion or a thought that it necessarily is its cause! Nothing forbids it to be only a consequence of the emotion or the thought! We would find the same correlation if Henry Bergson was right and the brain would only be a sort of antenna able to pick up thoughts out of an immaterial realm, but able to trigger physical reactions in our material world.

« A cloth is joint to the nail to which it is hooked; it falls if the nail is pulled up; it moves if the nail moves (…) it doesn’t follow that every feature of the nail corresponds to a feature of the cloth, neither that the nail is the same as the cloth; and even less so that the nail and the cloth are one only thing. » Matter and Memory: 1896

What would Descartes think if he could come back today? Would he accept a Materialistic Monism?

The loss of Dualism would not be the only source of amazement for Descartes. He would surely be very amazed by the modification of our civilisation’s values.

2: A COLLATERAL DAMAGE DUE TO SCIENCE’S OBJECTIVITY.

For a result to be considered as scientific, it shouldn’t be dependent on the subject who found it; the experimenter has to become insignificant since, in an ideal world, even an appropriately programmed robot should be able to achieve exactly the same results in the absence of any human. And after four centuries of letting the experimenter become insignificant, the scientists in their great majority, finished by loosing all significance to the world, life and humanity! The scientists forget that this insignificance was only part of the methodology and not a reality.

« The scientific world-picture vouchsafes a very complete understanding of all that happens — it makes it just a little too understandable. It allows you to imagine the total display as that of a mechanical clockwork which, for all that science knows, could go on just the same as it does, without there being consciousness, will, endeavor, pain and delight and responsibility connected with it — though they actually are. And the reason for this disconcerting situation is just this: that for the purpose of constructing the picture of the external world, we have used the greatly simplifying device of cutting our own personality out, removing it; hence it is gone, it has evaporated, it is ostensibly not needed.

In particular, and most importantly, this is the reason why the scientific worldview contains of itself no ethical values, no esthetic values, not a word about our own ultimate scope or destination, and no God, if you please. Whence came I and whither go I? » Nature and the Greeks (1954) Erwin Schrödinger.

What would Descartes think of this evolution if he could come back today?!

3: THE OVERWHELMING SUCCESS OF THE METHOD OF SCIENCE.

Even if he his in good part at the origin of the scientific methodology, Descartes would perhaps be amazed to discover how much it shapes today our Western Culture. He would acknowledge the soundness of his choice and would enthusiastically discover our world. To concentrate on the material realm only and to consider it as real, independently of the observer, led to astounding discoveries that shape today a completely different world than the one he lived in.

Astrophysics would show him a series of copernican revolutions that followed the first one he experienced: the Earth just abandoned its privileged position in the center of the universe in favour of the Sun. Which conserved the place until the beginning of the 20th century when, abruptly, it was found lost on the fringe of a branch of a gigantic galaxy, itself relativized between billions of other ones in an immensely large universe.

Descartes would be glad to understand how much his postulate was potentially rich. The exploration of the physical reality showed how far it is from the picture our common sense gives us. Einstein’s space-time is not what common sense tells it is. Common sense fools us! The world we perceive and understand instinctively is not the real world discovered by scientists! The latter remains completely incomprehensible, even to the physicists who describe it! They can only understand the abstract mathematics that describe its nature, but can’t understand their discoveries through their common sense that isn’t a faithful counselor for this question.

Since the beginning of the 20th century there is an accumulation of very disturbing results that profoundly defy the world’s image we live in!

« Is it possible that Nature is as absurd as it seems in these atomic experimentations? » Werner Heisenberg: Physics and Philosophy: 1958.

Space and Time are the absolute fundamental foundations of the world we perceive and in which we live. This world’s image is so rich, precise and real that we forget it is subjective only! It is totally created in our brain out of myriads of perceptions that are dissected, analyzed then coded by our sense organs, in a totally automatic and unconscious way. Nearly always this subjective image is exquisitely well adapted to our needs in order to live in the best possible conditions in the real world. Rarely do we observe a discrepancy between our image and reality; for this to happen we have to induce our senses in error through optical or hearing illusions…

The foundations on which our common sense relies to understand the world lost their solidity: space and time became relative! They are elastic; and therefore they are not perceived similarly by everyone! An event can take place before another one for an observer and after the same one for another observer! What a profound abnormality! Descartes’ method let us build a logic world but how weird… very far from what our common sense teaches us unconsciously, beginning with our birth and even beyond since our world’s image is shaped by the culture and the discoveries of our ancestors.

« The hope that new experiments will lead us back to objective events in time and space is about as well founded as the hope of discovering the end of the world in the unexplored regions of the Antarctic. Some physicists would prefer to come back to the idea of an objective real world whose smallest parts exist objectively in the same sense as stones or trees exist independently of whether we observe them. This however is impossible. » Werner Heisenberg Physics and Philosophy: 1958

4: THE IMPORTANCE OF THE WORLD IMAGE.

We feel we live in the world, but actually we live in an image of the world. And this image is a model only; a map, not a territory! A legacy from birth continuously enriched by experience through the working behind the scene of an instinctive engine that nourishes the common sense.

Natural selection favours the individuals best adapted to perform a fast and adequate analysis out of the informations perceived from the environment. It doesn’t favour the most « real », the most true perception of the world, but the most useful one! Our perception organs display an infinitesimal and flawed part of a hypothetical reality that only science and philosophy can help us to imagine… partly.

Let’s identify with our brain for a while. It is enclosed in a dark box, well protected from the world in which it has the responsibility to adapt us in the best possible way. But only myriads of short electrical impulses enter the brain, coming from specialized cells reacting to light, pressure, specific molecules… The environment has to be reconstructed out of electrical impulses that will be decoded then associated through huge neural networks in charge of giving a meaning to them. The brain is a superb engine working in order to give meaning through a spate of prioritised associations that we begin to imitate through Artificial Intelligence. The brain’s vital goal is to understand our environment in the fastest and best possible way; it must be able to react rapidly and fittingly. To do that, it works out perceptions to build a map of the world and compare it with what instincts and experience can offer in order to give it a meaning. The result is the common sense that is neither objective, nor universal, even if we feel instinctively that it is. Common sense is responsible for our survival, not for giving us an exhaustive and truthful image of an hypothetical reality outside us.

An event that isn’t compatible with our world’s image is felt as very disturbing, even frightful! The first reaction would be a rejection of it in the world already well known, a tentative to bring back everything in an understandable and predictable world in favor of survival.

Scientists are maybe the most prone to reject disturbing events because they are trained to be critical in their work. A critical mind is one of the fundamentals of the scientific methodology but it can be sterilizing if one doesn’t take in account an instinctive rejection of what isn’t compatible with common sense. Sometimes this reaction is so powerful that it becomes contrary to the scientific methodology that puts experience before theory!

«Doubting is fruitful, at the condition of doubting about ones doubt. » Didier Norton.

5: A COLLECTION OF ABNORMALITIES.

After trying very hard to find a solution without success, Max Planck publishes an equation adapted to what physicists find in their experiments but completely absurd! The equation suggests that energy quantities can only change according to whole natural numbers: 1, 2, 3…

The date is december 1900. Planck doesn’t really believe he found a real solution to the problem, just a tentative way to describe mathematically what remains incomprehensible for the common sense. He is convinced physicists will find a way to bring understanding to their discoveries. But physicist continue to find results defying the common sense… until today; and nothing seems to give hope in finding a sensible explanation in the future!

We perceive a continuous world when physicists discover a quantized world, pixellized in a way! In the world of atoms and molecules there is no slopes, only stairs! A particle that looses or gains energy does so abruptly, disappearing from a stair step at once and appearing on another stair step immediately, never finding itself in between! Profound abnormality!

Matter which builds reality and us with it, is 99,999999999999% emptiness! It seems solid but isn’t really. Electrons repel violently each other and a mysterious law forbids two of them to have the same attributes; that’s why matter seems hard, but it is essentially void! Profound abnormality!

Common sense allows to measure at once the position and the velocity of a vehicle. It’s impossible to know at once and precisely these two properties for particles or atoms. Whatever means implemented, each progress towards more precision in one property will automatically diminish the precision on the other one. Profound abnormality!

Common sense lets us understand the movement of a stone thrown towards a pond then the waves on the surface of the water after the splash. A stone occupies a defined space when a wave can potentially cover a very large space. Nothing is more different from a particle than a wave! But particles, atoms, molecules… every matter is at once particulate and wavy, depending on the way the observer measures it! Profound abnormality!

Common sense convinces us that the Moon is in the sky even if nobody looks at it. But in the world of atoms and molecules nothing is real unless it is observed! Only an interaction with a tool able to measure them can give them the characteristic we find indispensable in order to describe a real object: movement, direction, spin… Profound abnormality!

Common sense convinces us that an empty box contains nothing, not even air if it has been pumped out. Nevertheless physicists discover that the void is full of energy and virtual particles that appear then disappear continuously. Profound abnormality!

Time and space seem to have nothing in common. We live in a space described by a length, a width, a depth in which objects exist through time that flows from past to future. Yet time and space can’t be separated and are part of a forth dimension that we can’t perceive as such. Profound abnormality!

6: ABNORMALITIES AND PARADIGMS

In his fundamental work in 1962, the historian of sciences: Thomas Kühn, described how scientists agree implicitly on a blueprint that will circumscribe their imagination and in which they will be able to understand their results. This agreement is implicit because it is the world’s image built instinctively. Einstein already, before Kühn, understood that in reality theory came before experiments, and not the other way out as scientific rationality would suggest!

Heisenberg told how astonished he has been when Einstein notified exactly the reverse of what he expected! They were walking after a lecture given by Heisenberg about his experiments on quantum physics; Einstein didn’t agree with their interpretation. It’s much later that Heisenberg understood with Einstein how much the inspiration, the choice of an experimental protocol… are linked implicitly but powerfully, to the conceptual blueprint in which the theoretician or the experimentalist finds himself. This frame became the paradigm described by Kühn and it directs the way we understand the world in which we evolve. With other world’s images, other ideas would have inspired the theoreticians and the experimentalists. Other attributes would have been tested to give, eventually, very different conclusions than the ones that are dominant today!

To change a paradigm takes much time, notably because it is difficult to act on the fundamental instincts that make us able to understand our environment: the world’s image we inherited at birth and then through our experience and our culture. Abnormalities accumulate… They are prone to complicated explanations. Ptolemaïc ancient Greece understood the planets orbits through very complicated epicycles… and the copernican revolution greatly simplified this understanding.

Much time and an accumulation of disturbing abnormalities are needed to prepare a leap in the dark: a new world’s image: a new paradigm has to be ready. It is like if a fish had to jump out of its jar: it could survive only if a new aquarium were ready near the old one. Time is needed to prepare, enrich and consolidate a new paradigm before becoming able to accept the drastic changes of the world’s image that our instinct leads us to build. All along this time, explanations become complex, overcomplicated… but resist until the environment becomes favourable to the great jump.

The copernican solution to the weirdness of the planets’ orbits took time because a paradigm had to be changed. The Earth wasn’t anymore in the center of the universe: the Sun took its place. And Copernic then Kepler tried this solution to simplify their calculations of the orbits.

Today, physicists are still puzzled, more than a century after the creation of Quantum Mechanics in 1900 and Bohr’s atom in the 1920s. They try to understand the shoking abnormalities that accumulated continuously since a century. They try to understand their experimental results in a way that is compatible with the understanding of the nature of reality given by our common sense: a material world made of discrete particles with specific properties. Specific properties that shouldn’t be modified by non-local events; objective properties that shouldn’t be prone to modifications resulting from observation only; particles that shouldn’t change their state without being touched, heated, illuminated… The problems began especially from the moment the results of experiments weren’t anymore compatible with the cartesian separation between object and subject!

7: WHAT THE QUANTUM DISRUPTION CHANGES.

Even if the Quantum Disruption began more than a century now, there are still some physicists who hope that a savior will one day dissolve the abnormalities displayed in the microcosm in the classicism of the macrocosm! Yet these abnormalities accumulate, especially since the second half of the 20th century. Since some physicists decided to explore the weird microcosm with critical eye but open mind to a change of paradigm.

While waiting for a savior who will bring back the microcosm in the reassuring materiality of the macrocosm, some physicists call upon a Multiverse in which an infinity of universes would explain that, by chance only, we live in the only one in which all physical constants are particularly adapted to the apparition of life and intelligence. They seem to forget that, in order to eliminate the disturbing dualism between the quantum and the classical worlds, to dilute the weirdness of an universe born from nothing… they postulate an infinity of universes! All born from nothing too, of course!

But if we remain objective and open-minded, we are brought to accept the abnormalities and reconsider our paradigm because it can’t take them into account. What are the principal abnormalities that we discussed in the first part of this work?

– The world isn’t continuous but made out of quanta of matter-energy, and probably of quanta of time and space as well.

– There is no absolute simultaneity: two events that are simultaneous for an observer can appear differently for another observer. Space and time are differently elastic for different observers.

– The properties of an object measured by an observer depend of his experimental choices: they have no independent reality; absolute objectivity is impossible.

– We can describe the evolution of the properties of an object through space and time after having measured them. But the equation we use has to do with wave functions which can interfere in a way we cannot understand in our world composed of material particles. These equations bring in weird unreal mathematical objects like the square root of -1. And finally, these equations give us only probabilities, never certainties: only a physical measure will give the values looked for.

«But if the ultimate physical reality corresponds to the wave function, then what sort of beast is a wave function? What’s made of? What’s Hilbert space made of? As far as we know, nothing: they seem to be purely mathematical objects! » Max Tegmark “Our Mathematical Universe”: 2014

– We can’t find all the properties of an object with great precision. When the precision on one property grows, the precision on a conjugate one diminishes.

– Objects can behave as if they were entangled in a-local and a-temporal relationship. As if there were a parallel reality conjugated to ours and through which objects could be linked without being separated by space and time.

– Matter and energy are two different and exchangeable forms of the same reality. With its form as energy field, matter seems to be defined but not manifested. It’s only when there are interactions that matter-energy manifests itself with measurable properties.

«This idea that there’s a bunch of numbers at each point in space-time is quite deep, and I think it’s telling us something not merely about our description of reality, but about reality itself (…) a field is just this: something represented by numbers at each point in space-time. » Max Tegmark “Our Mathematical Universe”: 2014

Galileo was the first to describe the universe through its language: mathematics. Four centuries of discoveries lead to the description of the nature of the universe: mathematic! It’s not only a convenient way to describe it: mathematics has become the fundamental reality of the universe, as Plato or Pythagorus thought it was!

And yet we perceive a real physical world with plenty of different sensations, very far from abstract mathematical formulas; how come? It’s probably due to the new dualism: the association between a fundamental purely mathematical reality which calculates the reality that is ours: the physical one.

8. A NEW DUALISM: SIMULISM.

Descartes’s dualism helped create Science but has been deeply shaken up by it afterwards. First, dualism melt in a materialistic monism, then reappeared in the inescapable duality that separates the quantum world from the classical one. But this new duality is unsharp; it isn’t really defined by an objective boundary between the microcosm (the realm of particles, atoms, molecules…) and the macrocosm (the world we perceive in our everyday life). Interactions are continuous through the two realms; the conditions in which the measurements are made are more important than the size of the object that is measured. The order with which the measurements are made determine the evolution of the wave function that describes the quantum object. The dualism that distinguish microcosm from macrocosm doesn’t make a difference between the objects that take a place in space and time from the ones that exist only in the realm of thoughts. The observer and his consciousness seem to intervene in the determination of quantum properties. This new duality that separates the quantum world from the classical one has to be placed in a very different context than the one Descartes chose four centuries ago.

The microcosm doesn’t show definite properties unless it is observed. It evolves in a completely different reality than we do. Space and time aren’t the obstacles they are in our realm. What we perceive as well defined objects in our reality (Physical Reality) seem to manifest themselves out of another reality we can describe with mathematics (Mathematical Reality) involving imaginary numbers and wave functions. In this weird realm objects evolve and interfere in a way only waves could interfere in our realm.

(Quantum phenomena) « support the view that non-material principles can steer the material world. » Antoine Suarez; http://www.quantumphil.org

Thus the realm of objects that occupy space and time isn’t the fundamental realm, but depends on a realm in which space and time haven’t the reality we find for them in ours. In the fundamental reality space and time have only a mathematical existence. Reciprocally, the mathematical properties that describe physical objects can be influenced by the events that happen to them in the physical world. It is no more possible to separate the world of objects from the world of thoughts as Descartes did. Today Physics describes two worlds that aren’t separated from one another as Descartes postulated, because the one we perceive is a reflection from the other, itself under the influence of the first. The world that seems concrete to us – and which is, in a sense – seems to arise out of another, purely mathematical one. Physicist David Bohm named the world we perceive « the Explicite Reality » that is an emanation from another one: « the Implicite Reality ». Plato defined our world as the one of shadows that depends on another world which is the true reality.

Some philosophies (Hinduism, Yoga…) describe this duality between a reality that is manifested, thus perceived, but secondary to a fundamental reality that isn’t manifested, although it has enough properties to be considered as real. An image of this duality could be found in Physics’ concept of matter-energy fields. Empty space can potentially act on a specific object that moves through it, as if space is structured in a way that can express itself only in specific conditions: A non-manifested (Implicite) versus manifested (Explicite) dualism. The world we perceive would be an illusion built out of a deeper but not-manifested reality.

Simulism could explain such a quantum dualism. Perceived reality would be the result of calculations that are displayed only when there is an interaction with a physical (material) or organic (living) object. It’s the collapse of the wave function introduced by the « School of Copenhagen ». Perceived reality is relational and isn’t based on objects with physical properties independent from the act of perception. What we perceive as independent objects defined by specific properties are only limited expressions in our space-time, of purely mathematical attributes that follow the wave function discovered by Physics.

 « we live in a RELATIONAL REALITY, in the sense that the properties of the world around us stem not from properties of its ultimate building blocks, but from the relations between these building blocks. » Max Tegmark “Our Mathematical Universe”: 2014

Plato’s realm of Ideas, Bohm’s Implicite Reality… would be a simulation mathematical software and the display of the results of calculations would be the reality we perceive: Plato’s shadows or Bohm’s Explicite Reality. Physicist Wolfgang Pauli would maybe be satisfied with a paradigm that would integrate this fundamental concept of simulation. He tried with psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung to understand the origin of synchronicity. He wrote:

« The most satisfying would be that (…) Physics and Psychics could be considered as complementary aspects of one reality. »  Synchronicity: an a-causal connecting Principle.  1952.

Simulism doesn’t make a difference between matter and thought: both are reflections of a more fundamental reality that is virtual and purely mathematical; the one Pauli used to think about.

« psyche and matter are governed by common, neutral, not in themselves ascertainable ordering principles. » Atom and Archetype: The Pauli/Jung Letters, 1932-1958.

Finally, would Descartes be a dualist today? Yes, but…

He would maybe define a world that is perceived and another one, more fundamental, which would create our perceived reality. The first realm would put together objects and thoughts coming from the working of the material brain. Thoughts could be separated in two types, according to whether they are directly generated by the material brain, or by the more fundamental, a-local and a-temporal quantum realm. The first could belong to the « mind » and the second, to the intuition or the « soul » since they come from outside the limits of the material body. The organic brain would be able to create thoughts and to perceive intuitions. Its first job would be attributed to the mind, the second one to the Subconscious, still so mysterious.

Cartesian dualism which defines the realm of objects and the realm of thoughts would have evolved in two new realities. The first one would be a hybrid since it associates an aspect which has an extension in space-time: the objects, to another, immaterial but that comes from the first through the analysis of perceptions: the mental working of the organic brain. The other realm would be a-local and a-temporal: a purely mathematical realm.

Physical Reality associates matter-energy and its emergent abilities that are emotions and thoughts. The underlying a-local and a-temporal Mathematical Reality could be understood as a software running continuously in the background to define properties that are essentially relational and describing a reality that is indivisible because it obeys only to wave functions. The illusion of an objective world composed of independent objects would be the result of the collapse of the wave functions calculated for a discrete place of space-time… Maybe when there is an interaction with the Subconscious, a soul, which belongs to the Mathematical Reality but could also have an influence on the mind, the result of the working of the material brain?

THE NEW DUALISM: 2: WHAT IS THE NATURE OF ENERGY?

1: WHAT IS ENERGY?

The answer comes at once: Energy is life, movement, emotion… french-cancan! But all that is only expressions of energy that doesn’t really inform us about its nature.

Energy is fundamental to an understanding of the universe and life, but even today, it remains a mystery! Is it quantifiable like the dimensions of an object? Or is it a quality like the colour of an object, an emotion…?

Until Galileo, energy was considered as a quality linked to life and that couldn’t be quantified. In greek, “energeia” meant “activity”, “movement”. And all activity had its origin in life; even sea waves or leaves rustling in a breeze were due to Eolus: a god. And life can’t be quantified… even today! But Galileo discovered how to quantify movement and created Physics when he applied Mathematics to understand the properties of the material universe.

Even today physicists don’t know how to define the nature of energy and, therefore, can’t measure it directly. Galileo didn’t quantify energy but the work done when energy changes from one form to another. Richard Feynman – one of the brightest 20th century’s physicist – wrote:

«It is important to realise that today Physics has no idea about what the nature of energy could be.» Or: «The conservation of energy is an abstract idea, a mathematical principle that isn’t concrete, not even the description of a mechanism. It only says that something is invariable when an event takes place. It’s a strange fact to be able to calculate a quantity, to watch nature doing its tricks, that to recalculate this number and to discover that it didn’t change!»

In other words, energy is what remains constant in an ever-changing universe; but this doesn’t teach us what is its nature!

As physicists – the champions of rational analysis – can’t teach us what the nature of energy is, let’s see if the specialists of intuition could have any idea about it! Have creative people, artists, been inspired by this question?

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A masterpiece comes at once to mind: The “Creation of Adam” by Michelangelo in the Chapel Sixtine expresses an impressive energy! On the right half of the fresco everything is on the move; even God’s beard participate to our feeling of a fast flight from right to left. The left part is completely static; but we perceive a birth: life, through a mysterious energy, invisible but so powerful between the two index fingers looking for each other!

God has already created forms in the mineral and in the living realms, but he didn’t yet pass life to Adam: the capacity to put these forms in movement, then to wake up consciousness in humanity. Even if the abstract concept of information was unknown in Michelangelo’s time, he presumably intuited a transfer of informations as the source of life… and maybe of consciousness too! Matter has been created then organised in complex structures, but it isn’t yet animated, nor conscious of itself: it remains to show her how to express all the properties of life and consciousness! It needs a sort of “How to Manual”, an operating system… informations!

The artist perceives energy as the source of movement, life and consciousness. But is the force that puts an object on the move, the same as the one that brings life to an organism? Physicists discovered one energy only that can express itself through many forms. Michelangelo seems to describe two types of energies: one that could be named: “Physical Energy” because physicists learned to quantify the work done with it like, for instance, the movement pictured on the right part of the fresco, and a second type: “vital energy”, subtler and impossible to measure: an energy that gives life. It’s the one that crosses invisibly between the two index. Could it be the “Subtle Energy” (Chi or Prana) conceived by oriental philosophies? An energy unknown to our organs of perception but perceptible only to human intuition, as the “chinese pulse” only detected by the chinese therapist and that can’t be measured with our mechanical or electronic devices? Could the “Physical Energy” be the same as the oriental concept of “Coarse” or “Manifested” energy that our organs can perceive and our devices react to?

2 – EAST AND WEST.

It could be interesting to compare conceptions of eastern and western philosophers about energy. These world views diverged for thousands of years but began to converge when they discovered each other, especially since the 18th century .

In the West the world was described as it appears through our organs of perception; the universe harbours objects localised in space and time; they seem to remain where we perceived them, even if we divert our attention: the Moon is in the sky even if nobody looks at her! We favoured quantification to describe these objects because it is easy to measure lengths, widths, positions in space… and to communicate objectively the results. The scientific methodology is the very successful outcome of this way to perceive our surroundings since 4 centuries. Measures are independent of the subject who does them and therefore easily communicated and reproduced. But very weird results began to accumulate since the dawn of the 20th century; the world’s image we built till the end of the 19th century was too naive; we thought we could consider the universe as a collection of objects we could quantify objectively and independently; physicists were convinced they were nearly at the end of their discoveries and able to find the final formulas: the complete description of the properties of matter and its behaviour. But they were wrong…!

Instead of quantifying the universe, eastern philosophers asked themselves how the universe is perceived; what is the nature of consciousness that perceives it; how does it build a world’s image from our perceptions? Their approach became an introvert research; they favoured subjective and qualitative analysis: the exact opposite of Western views. For a westerner the world is clearly what s/he perceives. For an easterner it is only a mental image made after interactions between organs of perception and the consciousness who analyses them; the interaction is more important than the perception in itself and the object perceived. Instead of reducing the world to a collection of separately quantifiable objects, easterners perceived it as an interacting whole impossible to reduce to independent parts without denaturing its fundamental nature. In the West, one or many gods created the world and everything contained in it, sequentially, after successive additions: for example first Heaven and Earth, then light, then days and nights, water, land… In the East, no gods we could compare with Western ones! But Forces: energies, sometimes sources of anthropocentric metaphors as in India or in Tibet. Unique in the beginning, the founding energy gives rise to 2 types of energy (China) or 3 (India), then 5 or more… Each energy form specialises itself, but its fundamental nature is preserved.

These energies manifest themselves progressively; from subtle they become more coarse and in the end give rise to everything in the universe, after interacting in multiple ways. It is amazing to discover that Eastern philosophies discovered thousands of years ago what Western Science understood only since 1905: even matter is a form of energy!

The interaction of primordial elements as the source of the multiple objects our senses perceive seems universal and is found in the East as well as in the West. The 5 elements the greek imagined as the fundamental units of creation aren’t really material but rather properties. The combination in variable amounts of these qualities were thought to create the particular properties of every object. For example if the element “earth” was in high proportion, an object would be very dense and would have a sort of impulse to join the soil. The nature of the 5 elements is better understood as energy than matter. The objects we perceive result from the combination of idealised primordial elements that aren’t actually perceptible in a pure material form. This is maybe easiest to understand through the 5 processes in China. (see below)

Instead of imagining a concrete, solid, material and long-lasting universe, Eastern philosophers were sensible to the subjective nature of the world’s image our senses initiate. An holistic vision of the universe made them aware of the illusion of a permanent reality: everything is transforming; only the Law of Change is permanent!

But physicists discover a new world since the 20th century; a world completely incomprehensible within physicalism: the paradigm inherited from their predecessors who were convinced they would understand the universe by explaining the properties of matter that makes the objects we find in it. Relativity describes a universe where space and time loose objectivity and permanence; they are no more independent from the observer but become relative to the observation! Since then, the observer has a direct influence on the physical properties of the object s/he measures and the results are no longer certainties but probabilities only!

Many upset physicists tried to find new ways of understanding their results; new paradigms. And Eastern ways of thinking were found to be helpful.

«We must turn to epistemological problems which Buddha and Lao-Tseu has already been confronted to, and try to harmonise our situation as actors and spectators in the great drama of existence.» Niels Bohr.

«Japan’s important contributions to Theoretical Physics since the last war, shows maybe a kinship between Eastern traditional philosophies and Quantum Theory’s philosophical substance.» Werner Heisenberg.

To compare Eastern and Western views about energy could shed some light on its nature and maybe help us find some elements of answers to interesting questions as:

– Did East and West perceive and describe the same energy?

– Can we explore an Eastern concept with Western scientific methods?

– Can our scientific methodology study “Subtle Energies” like Chi or Prana…?

– Are scientific devices built to measure the work done by energy forms described by physicists, able to measure the Subtle Energy forms described by Eastern philosophers?

3 -ACUPUNCTURE AND SCIENCE.

James Reston could not imagine his misfortune could have a positive return on his reputation as a journalist when, in summer 1971, he covered Henri Kissinger’s trip to Pekin as a political columnist for the New York Times. Nixon had decided to change his politics with China and asked Kissinger to prepare an official visit for his president. However, suddenly Reston has to undergo an operation for an appendicitis in Pekin. Everything is OK but he suffers from great post-operation pain that doesn’t react to medicine.

Some of his neighbours receive acupuncture treatments: Reston asks to try. It works well and he’s surprised by this ancestral therapeutic! As an interrogative journalist, he gathers informations on the method and its mode of action: manipulation of a subtle energy unknown in Western science: Chi. He witnesses surgeries made with acupuncture only as a pain-killer and, back home, he publishes an article in the NYT on july 26th in which he describes his investigations and declares that, even if he can’t understand how acupuncture works, he has no doubt about its efficiency.

Acupuncture was already known but not very popular. Reston’s article made it much more tried as an alternative therapy. Scientists like the biochemist Richard Hammerschlag, influential surgeons like Sherwin Nuland or physicians like J. M. Helms contributed to its good reputation and its admission in U.S. academics (1997) then internationally (WMO in 1998). The U.S. Health Department opened a National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine that studies how scientific methods could help to assess alternative therapeutics. The centre classifies them in three groups:

– Therapeutics involving physical energies: Cymatics (sounds), light-therapy…;

– Therapeutics involving subtle energies: acupuncture, reiki…;

– Therapeutics involving the relation between mind and body: yoga, meditation…

Acupuncture is assessed, although its mode of action is not compatible with western’s medical paradigm. Investigations done with scientific rigour show conclusively that the placebo effect is not a sufficient explanation (link with ACUPUNCTURE) for its success. Acupuncture triggers organic reactions but its mode of action remains mysterious and the concept of “Subtle Energy flow” remains the best one to describe them.

4 – SUBTLE ENERGY AND WESTERN SCIENCE.

The western closest energy concept to a Subtle Energy is the “Vital Force“. a mysterious form of energy that would pass on life to organised matter. It was postulated in order to understand how life could build impressive structures and form living organisms from inert matter. Hans Driesch’s experiments near the end of the 19th century convinced him that there should be a sort of “life field” that brings to every living form the instructions needed to follow a developmental plan from the embryonic stage to the adult. The naturalists of this time were all convinced that physical laws, as they were understood, could not, alone, explain life. Pasteur showed that life comes through life only, not from inert matter. The french philosopher Henri Bergson described a

«life force: an energy that creates continuously more and more complex forms.»

He can’t subdue life to deterministic Physics and gives spirit its own place:

«spirit exists by its own; it is not the child of brain’s activity.»

He is cartesian: the universe is dualistic and is made out of matter and spirit.

Teilhard de Chardin was both an anthropologist and a jesuit. He synthesised Science and Philosophy in a grandiose cosmography. He was monistic: the universe is only spiritual and matter is a transient form adopted by spirit while evolving. In the beginning there was only energy and a point – Omega – an expression of God. This point drives energy through a long history of changes, transformations, sublimation.

«God makes so that things are made, but does not make them himself.»

Primordial energy becomes matter then organises itself in living organisms, acquires consciousness and continue its evolution towards its true spiritual nature: only one Universal Consciousness. Teilhard was clearly influenced by Eastern philosophies!

5 – “COARSE” ENERGY AND WESTERN SCIENCE.

Since Galileo began to describe the world through the language of mathematics, physicists tried to precise energy’s properties. Newton shows how gravitation is expressed through a force that becomes a way to apply energy to get a work done. But he can’t understand its nature. He couldn’t see how a force could attract two objects with nothing material in between them; it wasn’t compatible with a world’s image made of independent material objects only. Descartes had explained magnetic attraction with tiny and invisible particles of matter that would travel out of the magnet and back, pulling objects with them to the magnet.

Descartes_magnetic_field

This illustrates how Descartes thought a magnet could pull iron dust without a visible link between them. He postulated very tiny invisible particles of matter were coming out of the magnet, link to the iron dust particles and pull them back to the magnet.

Eastern philosophers didn’t see any problem with magnetism. Their holistic world’s view explained easily interactions because any object is a localised and condensed form of an energy field that fills the universe. Invisible particles were not necessary to understand why the needle in a compass aligns itself in an energy field. China discovered magnetism since the 4th century B.C and utilised it to align harmoniously temples, houses… with the universal energy, long before it became useful to guide sailors.

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Han dynasty: compass on a Feng Shui dial. Source:

In the 19th century Faraday then Maxwell created a new concept: the field of energy. Like Descartes, Faraday was convinced there was a material sub-structure – the ether – that communicated the energy through the universe. No experiment never discovered this elusive sub-structure until Einstein’s papers in 1905 definitely buried it. We must admit energy doesn’t need a material support to travel through space! So how does it do it?

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Without iron dust the modification of space’s properties through the magnet would be invisible, un-manifested.

We don’t know for sure. We do know since 1905 that matter and energy are two forms of one only entity: mass-energy. Quantum Physics describes mass-energy as able to be at once in the form of particles and in a state impossible to imagine but that obeys to the mathematical laws for waves. It’s as particles that mass-energy crosses empty space or a photon extracts an electron from a photovoltaic cell. And its wave-state explains how a single quantum of energy can go through 2 slits at once and build an interference pattern of interacting waves.

6 – ENERGY AND EASTERN PHILOSOPHY.

The East, like the West, conceived only one sort of energy: Chi in China or Prana in India… but it can take many different aspects after being created in another realm than ours, for ever inexpressible: Tao in China, Brahman in India… It is Energy that, in a subtle state, is the fabric of the universe and brings it into Manifested state progressively. Continuously transforming, it creates life, mind and even spiritual consciousness. These changes create forces and matter when in becomes “coarse” energy we can perceive under its state of matter-energy. There is no difference in nature between matter and spirit, only differences in states, subtlety, density. Yin and Yang change continuously one in the other; this is possible because they share the same nature.

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Symbol of a constantly changing primordial energy: Chi, its Yin and Yang sides are themselves in perpetual and complementary transformation, each of them containing the seed of the other.

In turn, the fundamental changes of Yin and Yang create new secondary energy forms: the 5 Processes in China; the 5 Vayus in India, comparable to the 5 Elements in antic Greece. Primordial energy begins to condensate in a Manifested universe. There isn’t yet matter as we perceive it with our organs, more so attributes that communicate their properties as impulses. This view of the origin of matter is common to primitive East and West philosophies. It has been applied in the West until the end of the Middle-Ages.

5Processes

The chinese 5 processes: Wuxing, illustrate the properties ancient Greece gave to their 5 elements. Their nature is not matter, but impulses, properties. They are in continuous interaction and give rise to the perceived universe, the Manifested world. Some interactions create new properties: they are illustrated with grey arrows. Other are destructive: the red arrows.

Indian cosmogony is much easier to discover than Chinese cosmogony because it is very anthropomorphic, full of imagery and can illustrate abstract concepts by relating them to our life experiences. The taoist concept of continuous transformation is illustrated in India by the cosmic dance. Everything moves, beginning by Shiva Nataraja – the lord of dance, the first creation by the other realm: Brahman – until Purusha and Prakriti: the hindu equivalents of Yin and Yang. The highly multiple states of the forces – or gods – are only a way to illustrate different aspects of the one and indivisible reality that exists. Brahman, the creator who belongs to another realm, is found through all his creations that can be considered as his avatars.

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One should imagine the creator: Brahman, in another realm, outside the central dial on which his avatar Shiva Nataraja: the lord of the dance is pictured. The dance initiates space and time. Then Purusha, the hindu equivalent of Yang and Prakriti – Yin, can begin, the former to imagine our realm, the latter, to give birth to it. Purusha creates but do not Manifest his creations, when Prakriti transforms the information-energy in Manifested reality that our organs can perceive.

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Brahman gives rise to Shiva Nataraja who initiates the universe; his dance develops space and triggers time, both necessary features for existence. Matter needs space and time to become real; even immaterial ideas need time to exist. Brahman’s avatar Purusha imagines the universe then informs Prakriti, another avatar, who organises the manifestation: the materialisation of the universe. She gives birth to the world after being fertilised by Purusha. Prakriti begins by manifesting her energy as properties: the Tattvas, and impulses: the Gunas. Now every object can be manifested as matter, thoughts, feelings, emotions…

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In the circle “NATURE” one should imagine Purusha and Prakriti at work to create then Manifest the universe with all its objects: material, mental and even spiritual. With the properties of Tattvas energies and the impulses from Gunas, Prakriti gives rise to the world we perceive. Nothing is permanent in it; everything is recycled and returns in the Unmanifested reality to be re-created in the circle “NATURE”.

Thus, for Eastern philosophies and modern Physics the universe is nothing but energy! This discovery has been made thousands of years ago in Eastern cultures but in the West we had to wait for Einstein to become aware of it! This is a remarkable convergence between the two worlds; the introvert Eastern philosophies who ask how consciousness perceives, and the extravert Western science who quantifies the results of perception before asking itself how consciousness builds an image of the world. Science which finds that our perceptions give us a wrong picture of reality; what we feel is concrete, localised, material…. is actually only forms of energy!

A quantum particle is a very localised vibration in a field of the form of energy to which it belongs. A photon is a tiny vibration in the photonics energy field that fills all space; a neutron, a small disturbance in the neutronic energy field… And all these energy fields that give rise to photons, neutrons… are only different expressions of one only primordial energy that condensed under different aspects through the history of the universe.

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«The existence and the disappearance of particles are only movements of the field.» Walter Thirring.

Source:

The world seems to us made out of objects localised in space-time, concrete and made out of matter. But Physics discovers that everything is included in a soup of vibrations, energies with multiple interacting forms. An image much closer to what mystic consciousness perceives than what our organs do.

The Western world’s vision becomes compatible with Eastern mystics: the universe we perceive as containing separate objects is, fundamentally, only a very rich mix of vibrations that ends as an illusion of materiality, of separation and independence! But how could it be?!

7 – WHAT IS THE NATURE OF AN ENERGY FIELD?

This question becomes fundamental when the universe is an extraordinary pattern of ever transforming forms of energy; some of which our perceptions interpret as matter: an illusion!

An energy field is a region of space that expresses peculiar properties. Field lines link space areas with equivalent values of its peculiar properties. And these attributes express themselves only on specific objects sensitive to this particular energy field.

One can illustrate a magnetic field with a ferrofluid: a sort of liquid magnet made with nanoparticles of magnetite suspended in oil.

Please have a look on this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmKMIBvdm9M

A ferrofluid which is a liquid magnet, can show how space is transformed when a magnet sits somewhere in it. The transformation of the properties of space stay invisible, Unmanifested, until when it is crossed by an object sensitive to magnetic field.

A ferrofluid is a liquid magnet useful to visualise how en energy field shapes space. The video shows clearly that a magnet, somewhere in space, gives it the power to attract objects sensitive to magnetism. If a dog crosses the magnetic field of a powerful MRI it will feel noting at all; space would be perceived as usual. But if the dog wears an iron collar it could be hanged to death, stuck on the super-magnet of the instrument! The space around the MRI is peculiar, it seems informed on the properties it can show if, and only if, an object sensitive to magnetism comes in its vicinity. The dog without a collar doesn’t trigger a work from the field; the magnetic field won’t be manifested. But if the dog wears an iron collar the field would manifest itself and trigger a work.

How do the magnet and the iron interact through space without any material link? Physicists imagine virtual particles, one type for any particular form of field energy, able to materialise and dematerialise continuously everywhere in space. It is the paradoxical concept of “Quantum Vacuum” which is actually full of virtual reality! Near the MRI virtual photons will be exchanged between the magnet and the iron collar and borrow movement energy that will transform in magnetic force. It reminds what Descartes postulated four centuries ago: very tiny invisible particles interacting between the magnet and the iron because he couldn’t accept that a force could be transmitted through empty space!

Extremely tiny bubbles and irregularities in space-time predicted by certain theories.

Source: (Chandra.Harvard.edu)

The Quantic Vacuum full of potential energy that can materialise in our reality is represented here as a blue bubbling soup. Bubbles formed from Unmanifested reality can be stabilised in ours, represented over the blue one. For a virtual energy bubble to be stabilised in our reality it has to absorb real energy from it in a quantity exactly equal to the one it borrowed to sneak in. When it does, the absorbed energy gives rise to a particle: energy has been changed to matter.

Today we must imagine another realm, more fundamental than ours, a realm from which a rich zoo of particles appear surreptitiously everywhere in our realm and manifest (materialise) as real particle, able to transmit forces, only when they can absorb energy from our realm.

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A picture made at the CERN. Two particles were accelerated near light speed then collided and their mass-energy has been transformed in a zoo of new particles.

Let’s imagine what happens in an accelerator of quantum particles. Two clouds of particles are accelerated in opposite direction until they reach near light speed. Suddenly the two flows are directed in front of each other and frontal collisions release huge amounts of energy. When virtual particles from the Quantum Vacuum find in our realm a quantity of energy exactly equal to the energy they borrowed to manifest themselves, they can absorb it and materialise, therefore continue to exist through time in our realm. The final energy balance would show the creation of a new particle whose mass-energy is equal to the one that has been liberated by the frontal collision of the accelerated particles. Energy would have changed in matter! The opposite is seen when a radio-active element changes part of its mass-energy in energy like heat, electro-magnetic rays… Matter and energy are truly two interchangeable facets of a same reality.

Isn’t this dance of the elements richly illustrated by Shiva Nataraja, Purusha and Prakriti from hindu cosmology?! Brahman, in a more fundamental realm, creates a space and a time that makes our realm perceptible. Shiva Nataraja – the Lord of Dance – initiates the continuous movement, time’s flow. Purusha creates the properties of the particles that remain virtual: Unmanifested but in-formed, without a form; but Purusha created the informations necessary so they can Manifest when the conditions are there. He creates the Natural Laws in a sense. And Prakriti manages the materialisation of the virtual particles. By manipulating her energy she materialises mass-energy in our realm when she applies to it the properties Purusha imagined for them. A strange convergence! Purusha enriches space with INFORMATION, subtle, virtual, until Prakriti and her organised energy can manifest them so as we can perceive them as mass-energy or work.

In Aristotelian philosophy, Brahman would be the final cause: the one that gives meaning; Purusha, the formal cause: the one that informs the objects properties; Prakriti, the efficient cause: the one that makes the object. In our scientific cosmogony Brahman is ignored; Purusha is the Laws of Nature and Prakriti the universe that obeys the Laws. In Simulism’s metaphor, Brahman would be the programmer, Purusha the software and Prakriti the hardware that runs the program; the results of the equations build the universe we perceive and its behaviour. These comparisons lead to a disturbing fact: the scientific cosmogony seems a bit basic since it isn’t interested in origins: just in transformations! It doesn’t look for the nature of the primordial energy; it excels in the rationalisation of an evolving history of the universe… after its creation… God knows how!

The comparative analysis of Eastern and Western cosmologies show another very important difference between the two. The Eastern universe is in a process of continuous creation; objects are manifested for a time then completely denatured and Unmanifested. Brahman’s three avatars work continuously to regenerate the universe from the Unmanifested realm; to create a Manifested universe from an Unmanifested realm. The Western universe is only recycled; it isn’t Unmanifested, just denatured in fundamental parts that are re-used to build new complex constructions that acquire a new nature. Mass-energy was created only once, 13.8 billion years ago, and undergoes transformations since. We are interested in the history of “coarse” energy only and don’t work with “subtle” energy, Unmanifested, therefore un-quantifiable. We aren’t aware of what happens in the Unmanifested realm and instructs the manifestation of the universe we perceive.

But Physics discovered the Quantum world. Physicists found mathematical tools that unable them to extract informations from the other realm, more fundamental than the one we perceive and measure. The wave function of particles let us calculate their properties as they change with time. But we can only access to probabilities, no certainties. Reality remains veiled in a way: we can discern but we can’t see in plain light what happens behind the veil!

«There must exist, beyond mere appearances … a ‘veiled reality’ that science does not describe but only glimpses uncertainly.» Bernard D’Espagnat.

Physics succeeded to describe partly the Unmanifested universe that is already informed and gives rise to our realm.  An Unmanifested universe with energy only, vibrations that interfere in unconceivable forms, with properties we can’t understand from our life-experience but can predict from equations. The equations of quantum entanglement link two objects as if they were only one, but we perceive two, separated in space-time. It is a remarkable achievement of the scientific method that isn’t appreciated as it should be!

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«Quantum entanglement supports the idea that the world is deeper than the visible, and reveals a domain of existence, which cannot be described with the notions of space and time.» «The nonlocal correlations cannot be explained by any history in space-time, they come from outside space-time.» Antoine Suarez.

Science has found how to look through the veil and gather informations that, even if they can’t be totally objective since there is no circumscribed object in the Unmanifested realm, are nevertheless objective in a mathematical sense. Indeed, physicists are able to circumscribe the properties an Unmanifested object could express after its creation, inside boundaries of probabilities they can calculate. They can’t predict with certainty what the precise properties will be when an object will manifest itself in our realm; nevertheless they master the mathematical tools with which they calculate the potentials of creation! The universe is mathematical (please refer to a further post) and we succeeded to find some of the equations that control the very process of creation of the Manifested realm from the Unmanifested one! Isn’t this a superb feat?!

Science took off since Descartes defined precisely the framework inside of which it could thrive: the universe of objects extended in space-time and that we can measure.

Dualist Descartes let philosophers take care of the universe of thoughts, spirit… objects we can’t observe objectively in a material world. But now Science reveals a non-material and more fundamental realm outside our space-time; a world Eastern philosophers have been aware off long ago and described as Unmanifested but that become Manifested when conditions are met. A realm that INFORMS ours when it manifests itself.

8 – PHYSICAL ENERGY AND SUBTLE ENERGY.

Physicists De Broglie and Bohm created a coherent Quantum Mechanics out of this duality: a fundamental but ineffiable Quantum Field guides the material particles we perceive in our realm, and does it from the Unmanifested realm that reflect informations about its state as a whole (as a hologram). The form-wave doesn’t any work: it informs (Unmanifested Subtle Energy) the particles that will express a work (Manifested Physical Energy) and transform energy for that. The form-wave belongs to another realm in which information is everywhere at once; it isn’t limited by space-time. In this “veiled reality” no work is needed; sharing information is free! It is the possible future use of the shared information that needs to do a work and thus, will be perceived in our realm.

De Broglie and Bohm’s Quantum Field can’t be perceived; in the same way a magnetic or any other energy field can’t be perceived as long as they aren’t submitted to a mass-energy crossing them. Sheldrake’s Morphogenetic Field (MF) has the same feature in a neo-vitalist perspective. Sheldrake’s MF won’t do any work to guide the living organisms along their acquisition of forms and behaviours. There will be a work done of course, a work we can perceive in our reality when a fertilised cell will reproduce, become an embryo then a foetus… We know how living cells acquire energy out of sun or food, store it in molecules and transform it to synthesise new molecules, move… and do a work we can measure. But all the work will be done on the basis of informations the cell had free access to, through the MF, or non-living matter through the Quantum Field.

So, looking what the nature of energy could be leads us to an important link with information. As a matter of fact, Physicists formalised long ago this link when they quantify a work. The energy is always conserved but it is transformed and this modification implies a loss of quality, a sort of degradation of the information inside the system that physicists quantify when they measure the system’s entropy. But Eastern philosophies, Quantum Field or MF theories, the implications of quantum entanglement, the wave-particle duality… suggest another form of energy; a subtle one, able to communicate information freely, without doing a work. It is this Subtle Energy that informs space when it harbours an energy field.

Eastern philosophies describe this Subtle Energy when they imagine an Unmanifested realm, just about to manifest itself in our realm. It is the Subtle Energy informing the chinese therapist when he assesses the chinese pulse. Could it be this Subtle Energy that, through the water diviner’s unconsciousness animate the muscles that will let the diviner’s rod to dive? No physical device can directly react to Chi or Prana, neither to MF… unless informed through a human used as a tool! Only a nervous system seems to be able to react to Subtle Energy.

Could this Subtle Energy be the one that inspires an artist? Could we find in it the source of intuition?

9 – MICHELANGELO’S INTUITION.

An impressive movement energy is subtlety communicated from the right part of the fresco to humanity. Adam awakes to consciousness through an imperceptible energy transfer. We see nothing between the two index fingers, no light, not even a spark! Did Michelangelo feel intuitively that a Subtle Energy influences human beings somewhat like physical energy influences measuring devices? This one would trigger a physical work, that one would be at the source of consciousness… and intuition. If you look at Michelangelo’s fresco with this interrogation in mind, something amazing happens: you realise God and his angels are enclosed in a structure that reminds strangely the anatomy of a human brain: our specialised organ for information managing!

ADAM_en

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No clouds to symbolise heaven: God’s kingdom. But a strange volume outlined by a fabric folded back on itself to form a double enclosure. Its form and structure remind the brain’s double envelop. We clearly see the frontal lobe, the fissure of the temporal lobe on the left and the occipital fissure on the right.

Eve stays in between a strange interlacing of angels that seem uncomfortable but design cerebral circumvolutions remarkably well! Some angels push the fabric in the same way circumvolutions outline visible forms in the cerebral envelops.

The three angels under God are particularly uncomfortable. The one in the centre folds his right leg and looks like the optic chiasma (knee) followed by the optic nerve (leg) directed towards the occiput. The laying angel seen from his back, represents the Pons (back), just on the medulla oblongata (buttocks) then the beginning of the spinal cord (leg). A green drapery finds meaning in the fresco if it is the symbol of the arterial artery that enters the skull from beneath, after a double tight fold when it exit the cervical vertebras!

Why Michelangelo’s intuition could have put God in front of a human brain?

Maybe did he try to go beyond the mere creation of the world, matter then life, with the invisible spark that gives consciousness to Adam and extract him from the animal realm. Adam is formed, alive, but doesn’t seem conscious of himself; it’s this gift that he’ll receive from God.

Maybe the artist felt he should show God’s presence in the depths of our consciousness. We could join God when meditating on an inwardly directed vision through the third eye – wisdom’s eye – God’s arm seems to cross on its way to Adam’s index finger. God isn’t part of the cerebral cortex that makes us aware of our surroundings and of ourselves: he is in front of the deep brain, the place where emotions are managed: the limbic system; maybe where intuitions come from. Maybe the artist wanted to show God giving us the gift of intuition that made him able to create his masterworks. The same intuition, the Subtle Energy which transmits informations to the water diviner from beyond his perceptive organs and direct unconsciously his muscles to give life to a pendulum or a diviner rod…

There is a more radical revelation… The artist could have understood God created us in his image, not physically of course, but through our intellect and our consciousness. He is pictured as an old sage but seems out of place in a human brain! Therefore one can think it isn’t his body that is meaningful, but the location where it is represented and which is the source of human intellect and consciousness. We could be God’s avatars! If true, he would share our experiences through our consciousness… somehow as a video game player but much more implicated since it won’t be in an indirect way, through a console, but directly with consciousness, so immersed in the characters that he would forget the beginning… until the end of the game. Only when the game is over would he remember who he is really: a player, in a virtual universe programmed by himself… !

Citation_Grof - copie

Stanislav Grof seems to have found a sort of Consciousness field beyond space-time he defines as “transpersonal”. It could be the source of intuition, a communication bridge between the 2 realities: the Unmanifested one, spiritual for Descartes, and the Manifested reality, the material world we perceive.

NOTE: Whether Michelangelo had access to detailed dissections of human brains – or not – is more important to historians of Arts then to the viewer of his work. His biographer thought the young artist could have observed some dissections in secret. Even so, it remains difficult to see how he would remind himself so well a human brain when he painted the fresco in his forties. If he consciously represented a brain, then he did it much better than Leonardo who seems to have seen only decomposed ones! It is only three decades after the completion of the frescos in the Chapel Sixtine that Vesalius and Le Titien published the first useful anatomical charts!

A student in medicine (Frank Meshberger) who was working for an examination on human anatomy saw the relation between the fresco and a human brain and published his ideas in The American Journal of Medicine in 1990.

THE NEW DUALISM: 1: WHAT QUANTUM PHYSICS SHOWS?

1 – WHY A NEW DUALISM?

Descartes’ world was, at best, dualistic (Matter and Spirit); at worse, Monistic Idealistic (Spirit is fundamental)! It has never been Monistic Materialistic (Matter is fundamental) as it became, after 4 centuries of overwhelming implementation of the scientific method that Descartes largely contributed to create!

Descartes never denigrated spiritual matters as some scientists do today. He struggled with other philosophers to develop the phenomenally successful method that was meant to help them accumulate reliable knowings about our universe, in a time when this knowledge burst out mainly from philosophers and theologians intellectual ratiocinations, instead from objective and reproducible observations and experiments.

On the night of November 10, 1619, Descartes discovers his future life’s objective through 3 founding dreams: to apply mathematical philosophy to the study of the material universe.

It is strange to discover that the most subjective experience – dreams – is at the origin of the most objective methodology – Science! As expected, Descartes’ dreams are clear only to himself; somebody else won’t understand the message: there is a fundamental relation between Nature’s laws and the laws of Mathematics; logical reasoning and critical analysis of every knowing in order to understand our world the best we can, with the help of predictive models. To gather objective observations then apply mathematical tools to build a model satisfying all the observations; a model that speaks to our imagination and, therefore, helps us understand the world we discover around us. A predictive model which suggests new observations or experiments whose results would confirm our new understanding of Reality. Or invalidate it and bring us to look elsewhere an indispensable confirmation in order to reach the goal of the scientific method: a personal and reasoned conviction that we understood something essential about the world in which we live!

Not only Descartes hasn’t denied a spiritual reality, he didn’t consider it less important – less real – that the material world. He didn’t look for a method able to give us new knowings about the spiritual, only the material realm. He left the spiritual questionings to philosophers and theologians. And Descartes wasn’t really cartesian (see next post please) in the sense we give today to this word! Only very careful in order to help his young philosophy to thrive. One can discover this intriguing facet of Descartes through his correspondence with Elisabeth!

How is it that we turned from a Cartesian Dualism to nowadays’ Materialistic Monism?

After 4 centuries accumulating huge successes, after daily evidences of the extraordinary predictive power we achieved out of our understanding of the material world that let us use the energy concentrated in matter, create new species, recover from some genetic disorders, conquer the Moon or Mars… due to unending questionings on the material world brightened by the scientific method, we forget the context in which it was created. The present paradigm: Materialistic Monism, is understood today as a fatality coming from the non existence of the spiritual realm; 4 centuries of materialistic successes make us forget the fundamental postulate: the artificial boundary Descartes built between the two realms.

But this barrier crushed down with the beginning of the 20th century. Lord Kelvin’s “little clouds” he saw in the blue sky of our material world’s understanding, at the end of the 19th century, became devastating tornadoes after which we must build a new look on material reality. A new paradigm in which we’ll have to add in the material reality well described by Physics, properties we considered until today as entirely immaterial!

We discovered in our equations, mysterious links between objects studied here and now and their a-local and a-temporal counter-parties.

Particles at the bottom of our material reality seem to acquire the properties we attribute to matter, from a realm where only mathematical equations describe waves that propagate, superpose and interfere. Objects we see as independent aren’t really independent; an action on one of them affects the other through a reality that transcends space and time, a mysterious reality which seems fundamentally unified: a realm of information more so than energy or mass. A realm from which our material reality seems to burst; a somewhat Ideal realm as Platon intuitively discovered long ago!

The simplest model which includes these discoveries, albeit the more radical one maybe, seems to be Simulism. Everett’s Multiverse or Brandon Carter’s Anthropic Principle which are the most popular alternatives are more complex to accept and both don’t answer the question of the origin. How to build a Universe from nothing?! With Simulism the only thing to do is to run the Program!

2 – IS THE MICROCOSM REAL?

«Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.» Niels Bohr.

As soon as Physics began exploring the world of fundamental particles – the MICROCOSM – it had to change its ideas about reality’s nature, on what we can know about it. Niels Bohr was one of the first to accept this conceptual revolution:

« Isolated material particles are abstractions, their properties being definable and observable only through their interaction with other systems. » Niels Bohr.

His intuition led him to the mathematical formalism that will initiate the most precise and the most creative scientific model ever. Yet it remains the most incomprehensible one because of its conflicts with common sense and the Materialistic and Realistic paradigm common sense progressively imposed to our culture.

« Anyone who is not shocked by the quantum theory has not understood it! » Niels Bohr.

Physicists try to understand the many chocking anomalies accumulated since more than a century. They try to fit the experimental results to our consensual way to understand the material universe made out of particles with specific properties. A universe made out of particles whose properties can’t be changed without local interactions with them, particles with objective properties independent of the fact we’re observing them or not and that can’t change without being touched, heated, illuminated…

Serious problems appeared mainly when experimental results didn’t fit with one of the fundamental pillar of Cartesianism: the separation between observer and observed.

In order to be reliable, results have to be reproducible by anybody who acquire the material and intellectual means to do so. They should not depend on the experimentalist, only on the observed object’s properties. It is necessary therefore to avoid any dependency of the results on the experimentalist’s subjectives faculties as intuition, personality… Yet the mathematical formalism created by the fathers of Quantum Theory includes intimately the experimentalist’s choices as can be seen with the experiment described below.

3 – THE EXPERIMENTALIST IS AN INTIMATE FEATURE OF THE EXPERIMENT!

The famous experiment made by Stern and Gerlach is described in my book (chapter B.4) and here. It clearly showed we had to change our understanding of the nature of the fundamental reality: the one of the microcosm.

The main quantum postulate forces the fundamental reality’s properties to take well defined values, to be quantified. In our world a gyroscope can turn on itself with its axis pointing in whatever direction; in the undefined microcosm (when it is not observed) an electron can do the same with its spin that can be compared to a rotational axis; it can point in any direction: no one is forbidden. But when it is observed, when it interacts with an apparatus, the theory says it could take only one out of two values from an infinity of possible ones.

SternGerlach1 - copie

The magnet deviates magnetic particles. On the right: the expected result if the microcosm behaved like the macrocosm. At the left the actual experimental results.

A special magnet is disposed on the path of electrons whose spins could point a priori in any direction. If this was true then we should see a figure full of impacts like the one at right in which the electrons are deviated in relation to the direction where their spin points to. But it is not what we find when we do the experiment. The electrons are deviated on two lines only, as on the figure at left. We’re led to conclude the electrons are only of two types: half have their spin directed UP and the other half have their spin directed DOWN. No electron are found with other spin directions!

Stranger yet. If we turn the magnet 90° left or right we expect that no electron will be deviated because their spin were directed either UP or DOWN: no spin was seen as LEFT or RIGHT as we just discovered.

But that isn’t what we find. The result is once more a figure composed of 2 lines, but this time the electrons have their spin pointing either to the RIGHT for half of them or to the LEFT for the other half! How this could be possible since we found lately that all the spins were directed either UP or DOWN?!

Still worse! What happens if we place 3 magnets one after the other?

The first magnet separates the electrons on UP or DOWN paths. We place the second magnet on the path of the UP electrons but with a 90° angle with the first magnet. Like just seen, we find half of the electrons qualified as UP after the first magnet now deviated to RIGHT, the other half being directed to LEFT. Everything happens as if the UP electrons at the first magnet’s outlet change their property in order to acquire a RIGHT or LEFT spin instead of the UP one they expressed just before!

What happens now if we place a third magnet ofter the RIGHT outlet of the second and pointing in the same direction as the first magnet? We expect it should not deviated electrons to DOWN since we selected the UP electrons at the outlet of the first magnet before leading them to the second one. But this is not what is discovered! We observe once more half UP and half DOWN electrons. It seems that we create the electron’s property at the time of the measure since we discover DOWN ones after we eliminated them after the first magnet! It is exactly what Niels Bohr predicted beforehand:

« Isolated material particles are abstractions, their properties being definable and observable only through their interaction with other systems. »

We can’t anymore declare that an objective reality exists out there, whose properties are well defined in the microcosm after which our macrocosm is built! Only mathematical wave functions can give us some informations about what happens in the microworld when it doesn’t interfere with our apparatus. In this mysterious world particles exist only under their wavelike identity, they superpose, add or cancel… It is only when observed, when measured or when they interact with each other that the “wave function” collapses and they acquire a quantified, well defined property, compatible with the experimentalist’s choices! As an example, the intrinsic spin property of an electron will acquire its value which will be dependent on the angle the experimentalist chose for the magnet! Objectivity: this fundamental quality of the scientific method, is no more what it was! The experimentalist and his/her apparatus can’t be independent of the process and its results! The observer is an intimate feature of the experiment and its results!

It seems like if we’re confronted to a new dualism. A realm with wave functions only, another in which these waves are perceived as well defined particles!

4 – A SIMPLE EXPERIMENT: STAGGERING RESULT!

The most difficult thing to do seems to accept the overwhelming strangeness of the microcosm!

«Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine» (attributed to Sir Arthur Eddington or to J. S. Haldane).

«Of all the theories proposed in this century, the silliest is quantum theory… the only thing quantum theory has going for it is that it is unquestionably correct.» Michio Kaku.

«We have to give up the idea of realism to a far greater extent that most physicists believe today» Anton Zeilinger

Some very simple experiments we could realise in any lab fitted to do optics, lead to a very strange world!

Let’s gather a laser, some mirrors and two photon detectors.

Interferometres1 - copie

The laser is set to deliver one photon at a time; M1 and M2 are classical mirrors while MS1 is semi-transparent: it reflects one photon out of two and transmits the other, at random. We expect the detectors D1 and D2 to click alternatively depending on whether the photon will be transmitted (D2 will click) or will be reflected by MS1 (D1 will click). For each photon emitted one or the other detector will click, never the two at once. It is what we find. The photon behaves like a particle and takes one path OR the other.

Let’s now modify our settings.

Interferometres2. - copie

We added a second semi-transparent mirror MS2. In theory we could continue to expect half of the photons on D1 and the other half on D2. A photon that crossed MS1 could in theory, cross also MS2 and let D2 click, or it could be reflected on MS2 and let D1 click.

But it is not the results we find! This time only D1 clicks to 100% of the photons emitted by the laser and D2 doesn’t click at all! The only way to understand this result is to accept that the photon crosses the apparatus with its wave nature and not as a particle! It is the only way to build a constructive interference on D1 and a destructive one on D2. The wave arriving on D1 would have had the same number of reflexions/transmissions whether it has been transmitted or reflected by the mirrors (1 transmission and 2 reflexions: they will be in phase on D1 and will add)

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When the wave arriving on D2 undergoes 2 transmissions and one reflexion if it takes the upper path, or 3 reflexions if it takes the lower one. This time the waves aren’t anymore in phase and will cancel each other.

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These experiments are clear illustrations of the wave/particle duality: the photon travels with its wave nature and expresses its particle nature only when detected on the counter. But where is this wave? In which realm does it travel? Not ours: the one where matter expresses the properties as we perceive them, with its mass, its limited speed rate…

5 – AN A-LOCAL, A-TEMPORAL, IMMATERIAL REALM UNDERLIES THE LOCAL, MATERIAL REALM.

Even if this conclusion was implicit since the origin of Quantum Theory, only recently did it arouse interrogations followed by experiments. Quantum Theory is so strange to our consensual paradigm that it remained ignored and often is ignored today.

Einstein struggled in order to demonstrate that the Theory was incomplete because it predicted results he considered as impossible: like a “spooky influence” of a particle upon another one, even if their remoteness banned any communication between them! But Einstein was wrong. Alain Aspect’s experiments showed it since 1982!

We just understood why only D1 clicks and never D2. This shows that they are correlated. And we would see exactly the same features if D1 and D2 were separated by huge distances, even if they were separated by whole the Galaxy! The following experiment stresses even more the strangeness of these conclusions.

Interferometres3. - copie

We added the mirrors M3 to M6 such that the UP path could be extended in relation to the DOWN one. As we extend the UP path we’ll see less and less clicks on D1 correlated with more clicks on D2! At some time only D2 will click and no photon will be detected on D1. While extending progressively the UP path we see COORDINATED reactions on D1 and D2: when one clicks less, the other clicks more until it reaches 100% then diminishes until 0% and so on.

This is a logical result if we accept that the photon travels at once on the 2 paths according to its wave nature, then adds or subtracts the 2 waves’ amplitudes when reaching the detectors, according to the phase differences. The results aren’t anymore 100% or 0% as before, but vary gradually between these two limits since we can change progressively the difference in the UP and DOWN paths. We could for example find 30% on D1 and 70% on D2 (see below a measure taken with a phase difference illustrated by the vertical line “B”); there is a correlation between the 2 detectors.

Interferometres4. - copie

When we change the distance followed by the UP ray thanks to the mirrors M3 to M6, we change the phase of the UP wave related to the DOWN one; one goes, for instance, from the situation where the 2 waves are in phase (line “A”), to the one showed with the line “B” where D1 will react about 30% and D2 for 70% of the time. The 2 detectors always remain coordinated, whatever the distance between them!

Again, this result will remain the same even if the distance between the detectors is so great that no communication could travel between them. A mysterious link joins D1 to D2 outside the world we perceive as real because the objects in it have mass, a place in space and react only to events mediated by energy transfer. But the photons with which we imagined our experiments seem to travel instantly across the space between D1 and D2 in order to secure a coordinated result and obey one of the most fundamental laws of Physics: Energy Conservation. If a photon has been emitted by the laser, then a photon must be detected! It looks as if matter’s properties that are, for us, at the origin of all objective reality, are intimately linked to mysterious properties that we can’t access outside mathematical formalism: wave functions notably. The wave functions expand across an immaterial realm since objects behave as if they weren’t submitted to imposed restrictions coming from physical parameters as we perceive them in the material realm.

6: CONCLUSION: A NEW DUALISM!

Our material world is made of particles, most of which have mass, that are local (detected in a precise place in space) and linked to time (they eventually change their location in relation with time’s flow). But this world seems to be mysteriously linked to another one, a realm in which the particles’ properties seem to follow the waves function’s mathematical formalism out of which they “collapse”! In this mysterious world space and time aren’t the same as in ours. There is a dualism: a material world that we perceive, linked to another one, immaterial since matter isn’t in its particle nature and has no mass-energy.

Now we can analyze and compare these two Dualisms; Descartes’ one and the other, brought by Quantum Physics. It will be the subjects of a later post.

A video from the physicist Antoine Suarez explains the experiments that underly this new Dualism. But he doesn’t name it like that! Another video from Antoine Suarez describes the experiment that showed that the realm of waves is a-temporal.

Bibliography: Andrew Truscott et Roman Khakimov published: A. G. Manning, R. I. Khakimov, R. G. Dall, A. G. Truscott. “Wheeler’s delayed-choice gedanken experiment with a single atom.” Nature Physics, 2015; DOI:

An explanation of this experiment can be found here.

SCIENCE AND SPIRITUALITY

1: SOME VERY STRANGE SIMILARITIES!

The mystic knows… but doesn’t understand! The physicist reasons… but doesn’t understand! Both deal with an aspect of reality that is absolutely ineffable! Only intuition for the mystic, or mathematics for the physicist, unable a philosophical enquiry on the fundamental nature of the world! Under no circumstances the world’s image inherited through our perceptions alone could let them understand the nature of the reality they discover. Both struggle to see beyond physical appearance, but it isn’t the same appearances.

The mystic tries to figure out (not to understand) the reality that is beyond appearances and, for him, this reality is the divine that is everywhere. The physicist tries to understand (but not to know intuitively) the reality that, for him, is the material world around him. This reality is actual; it has its own reality that doesn’t depend on his own existence in any way. But he knows that this reality is much more rich and complex that what our perceptions only can show. To the physicist, the appearances he tries to overcome is the world our perceptions reveals; he tries to build a world as he perceives it through his technical and intellectual tools that vastly enrich the image our biology can give.

The curious layman must acknowledge that the fundamental nature of reality is incomprehensible, even for the people who discover it. They must satisfy pre-requisites; the physicist must be at ease with mathematics: the “language of the universe”; the mystic must cope with his psychology and overcome his ego:

« Reality is such that it cannot be directly and immediately apprehended except by those who have chosen to fulfil certain conditions, making themselves loving, pure in heart, and poor in spirit. Why should this be so? We do not know. It is just one of those facts which we have to accept, whether we like them or not and however implausible and unlikely they may seem! » Aldous Huxley; Perennial Philosophy.

It’s as if an intuitive understanding of the fundamental nature of reality needs some sort of an anaesthesia of the mind that continuously interprets our perceptions in order to integrate us in the best possible way in the perceived world and not in the underlying reality. Billion of years of selective evolution of perceptions and their analysis in order to ensure immediate survival, left their mark on our mind. Understandably, it gives priority to our adaptation to the external world and, occasionally only, does it become interested in intuitions emerging from our interior world. Self-consciousness appeared late and seems to be on the edge of the exploration of our interior world.

Quantum Physics and Relativity changed fundamentally the world’s image that science built arduously until the end of the 19th century. Physicists discover a world that makes no sense!

«Quantum Theory (…) describes nature as absurd for our common sense. But it perfectly sticks to the results from experiments. Therefore I hope you accept nature as it is – absurd! » Richard Feynman.

Nearly all quantum physics theoreticians ( N. Bohr, W. Heisenberg, E. Schrödinger. D. Bohm, M. Born…) were interested in eastern philosophies because they suggest a world’s image that is compatible with their discoveries!

«For a parallel to the lesson of atomic theory… (we must turn) to that kind of epistemological problems with which already thinkers like Buddha and Lao-Tseu have been confronted, when trying to harmonise our position as spectators and actors in the great drama of existence.» Niels Bohr.

«The plurality that we perceive is only an appearance; it is not real. Vedantic philosophy… has sought to clarify it by a number of analogies, one of the most attractive being the many-faceted crystal which, while showing hundreds of little pictures of what is in reality a single existent object, does not really multiply that object…» Erwin Schrödinger.

«The important contribution of Japan in Theoretical Physics since the last war, indicates maybe a kind of kinship between traditional eastern philosophies and the philosophical substance of Quantum Theory.» Werner Heisenberg.

In the 1970s a physicist – Fritjof Capra – decides to make use of metaphors from Vedanta and Taoism as illustrations of a textbook on quantum physics, with the hope to make it easier for students to memorise (not to understand: they are not understandable with our common sense) these discoveries so strange to classical visualisation.

«Eastern spirituality offers a coherent and harmonious frame that can be helpful for our most advanced theories about the physical world.»

The textbook is so successful that he publishes an essay intended for a larger audience: The Tao Of Physics” that popularises an amazing similarity of concepts between ancient eastern philosophies and modern physics!

At first glance there can’t be any correspondence between the paradigm we inherited from 19th century’s physics and eastern concepts about the true nature of reality.

To the physicist that lived before 1900:

1: Space and time exist as the great scene on which objects exist and transform. Different observers see the same objects in the same place, at the same time.

2: The universe is made out of matter. The spiritual realm, if it exists, is not part of the material one.

3: The universe is made out of real objects: they exist by their own and do not need consciousness to become real. The Moon is in the sky, even if nobody is looking at it!

4: Objects are defined by their objective properties, notably by their position in space and time. They can’t be in two places at once. Their objective properties (lenght, mass…) are independent from the observer.

To the eastern mystic:

1: Multiplicity is an illusion. It’s the perception of Maya (the perceived material world which is manifested) that hides the underlying unity, which is not-manifested.

2: The world is organic: it can’t be made of independent parts What we think are parts are only fragments that have no proper reality if they are separated from the whole. Objects are interdependent and therefore have no existence by themselves.

3: The world is dynamic and composed of ceaseless movements of energy. What we perceive as real objects are only whirls (hindu vrittis) of 3 types of energy (hindu gunas) displayed on the screen of consciousness that gives an illusion of an external reality.

4: The void is full of creative energy that gives life to the manifested world.

Now modern physics shows that:

1: Space and time are not absolute but relative! They aren’t perceived in the same way by every observer but depend notably on speed, gravity… They are manifested in relation to circumstances.

2: Matter is dual: it has an undefined nature that is only partly describable by the mathematics of waves, and a nature that we perceive as particles. These two natures are incompatible of course, and never perceived at the same time. The wavy nature underlies the particle one. This is reminiscent of the duality of some eastern philosophies: the not-manifested, which is only specified, and the manifested which is perceived.

3: Matter is a form of very condensed energy; it doesn’t exist outside energy fields that take different aspects (electric, magnetic…). It is locally manifested as wave packets.

4: When we study the wave nature of the world we find it is organic; no object is really separated from the other objects in the universe. Separation is an illusion.

5: The world is dynamic; it is impossible to measure at once the exact position and the speed of an object.

6: The void is full of energy and creates continuously virtual particles (not-manifested) that can become real (manifested) when they borrow energy.

As many physicists suggest nowadays, it is relevant to look for parallels between the new physics and eastern concepts, while waiting that physics discovers a new world’s image compatible with its results since the paradigm we inherited from the 19th century is no more pertinent today. Moreover, it’s sometimes difficult to decide whether a quote comes from a physicist or a mystic! (Take the quizz at the end of this post.)

2: REASON OR INTUITION?

Science appreciates intuition but relies on reason only. Eastern philosophies appreciate reason but highlights intuition only! The Upanishads claim that the rational mind and analysis gives “inferior knowing” only; “superior knowing” comes from deep intuition. For Buddhism “relative knowing” comes from the mind and reason when “absolute knowing” comes from intuition. In western cultures the opposite is true: reason is the master and intuition is its servant!

Vedanta claims that it is ignorance that makes us perceive the objects in the universe as separate and each with its specific reality. Spirituality emphasises on this illusion that comes from ignorance and an inadequate perception of reality. “To see correctly”… teaches the Buddha. To see correctly is not possible with the eyes, neither with the rational mind, but maybe with intuition. One can only partly “see correctly” with the mind. Quantum physics can’t be understood with our world’s image; only mathematics can help to understand its logical structure but not its materiality. Only its spirit can be approached but not in a specific aspect that is essential to reach a real understanding that includes our common sense.

3: IS INTERDEPENDANCE THE ROOT OF REALITY?

Quantum physics shows that the objects we perceive have no objective existence of their own. Their properties are the result of continuous and universal interactions. And these interactions are themselves connected in such a way that it is not possible to separate completely objects from one another (see the quote from Erwin Schrödinger previously).

«One cannot separate what happens somewhere from what happens elsewhere. In a way, events must be described jointly.» John Bell.

Physics discovers that there is no separate objects: objects’ properties result from global interactions that take place in a space and time that transcend the one we live in. The world is no more a huge mechanical clock made of parts but an indivisible whole made from interactions that include the observer. When one breaks a complex object to study its parts, actually one makes only fragments that loose an important part of their significance in the whole! The reductionism we inherited from Descartes is no more the powerful tool it has been until today, when science was convinced that understanding parts would lead to a direct understanding of the whole. The emergence of a specific reality from indefinite interactions and probabilities is a proof of this.

Each particle that interacted with another one remains correlated until the next interaction. But the whole universe is composed of particles that are related through a seminal event: the Big Bang. In theory the universe could be described mathematically with one only wave function!

Modern physics suggests that reality doesn’t exist concretely outside a consciousness that observes it. Eastern philosophies postulate that reality is a projection of a Collective Consciousness. Some physicists take the leap and think that consciousness is fundamental and matter is not!

« It is almost as though the modern conception of the physical world had deliberately left room for the reality of spirit and consciousness. » Sir Arthur Eddington.

«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.

Relativity shows that quantifiable properties that Galileo defined as “primary” like length, mass… can take different values for different observers and have lost their objective quality Galileo thought they had. A motionless observer measures a length and a mass that are different from the ones measured for the same object by an observer that moves rapidly. Which observer is right? Both! since there is no absolute reality. Reality becomes a projection in a consciousness. Only interactions remain; they create the objects’ properties in the universe!

«The universe does not exist ‘out there,’ independent of us. We are inescapably involved in bringing about that which appears to be happening. We are not only observers. We are participators. In some strange sense, this is a participatory universe. Physics is no longer satisfied with insights only into particles, fields of force, into geometry, or even into time and space. Today we demand of physics some understanding of existence itself.» John Wheeler.

In meditation «The material object becomes (…) different from what we actually see, not an object separated from its background or from its environment, but an indivisible part – and even in a subtle way, an expression of the unity – of whole what we see.» Sri Aurobindo.

There are no real objective objects that different observers would perceive in the same way and which would exist if there were no observer! The properties of objects aren’t intrinsic but relational!

«One is led to a new notion of a continuous reality invalidating the classical idea on the composition of the world with parts that have separate and independent existence.»

«The analysis of the world as made of objects has been replaced by its analysis as events and processes.» David Bohm.

«Quantum theory showed that nature hasn’t intrinsic reality.» Michel Bitbol.

4: IMPERMANENCE: THE DYNAMICS OF THE WORLD.

Matter is a condensed form of energy, Einstein discovered. Matter has a wavy nature, reveals Schrödinger. A wave is dynamic by nature; constantly changing.

Physicists write:

«In modern physics the world is now divided, not in different groups of objects but in different groups of connections (…). The world thus appears as a complex fabric of events in which different sorts of connections alternate, partially overlap or combine, and define the framework of the whole.» Werner Heisenberg

«The quantum interconnection of the universe in its whole is the fundamental reality and parts that seem relatively independent are only particular and fortuitous forms inside this whole.» David Bohm.

Mystics discover:

«Buddhists see the object as an event and not as a thing or a substance.» Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki.

5: THE VOID IS FULL!

The “quantum void” is full of energy! Werner Heisenberg’s “Uncertainty Principle” shows that the more one bounds a restricted area, the more its energy increases. And this energy doesn’t remain inactive: it creates continuously particles and anti-particles for very short times but sufficient to mediate interactions.

Physicists write:

« For the field theory, a material particle as an electron, is simply a little part of the electric field in which the energy takes very high values, indicating that much energy is concentrated in a very small space. Such a node of energy, that isn’t clearly delimitated from the rest of the field, moves through void space as a wave crossing the surface of a lake; there is no unique substance out of which the electron would be made at every moment.» Hermann Weyl.

«The existence and the disappearance of particles are only dynamic forms of the field.» Walter Thirring.

Mystics discover:

«When one knows that the great void is full of CH’I, one knows that nothingness doesn’t exist

«The void is the field of possibilities. Reality comes from the void from which every thing emerges then fades, out of an infinite and non-dual source.» Zhang Zai.

«The Tao is empty, but inextinguishable. (…) It appears as the ancestor of the ten thousand beings. (…) It seems to exist since eternity.» Tao Te Jing 4.

6: WHAT TOOLS TO READ SCIENCE AND SPIRITUALITY?

For more than two millenaries we think with an aristotelian logic which is dualistic: true or false. Quantum physics introduce a new logic: quaternary! True, false, true and false, neither true nor false.

«If we ask for instance: does the electron remain in the same place, we must answer “no”; if we ask does the electron moves when time flows, we must answer “no”; if we ask is the electron still, we must say “no”. Buddha gave similar answers when he was asked questions about the human condition after death; but they aren’t familiar to the tradition of 17th and 18th centuries’ science.» Robert Oppenheimer.

«Within discussions on hindu philosophy some of quantum physics ideas that seemed to us completely absurd, began to become meaningful.»

«I think modern philosophy definitely gives reason to Plato. Indeed, the smallest material objects are not physical objects as we may imagine them; they are forms, ideas that can’t be expressed without ambiguity outside mathematics.» Werner Heisenberg.

7: THE NEW SCIENTIFIC DUALISM AND THE OLD MYSTICAL DUALISM.

When we analyse deeply the ultimate reality of matter, we find it evaporates in a mathematical realm instead of a material one; the intuition of greek philosophers like Plato or Pythagorus become justified in a way; reality is dualistic. The perception we have of it is only superficial.

«There must exist, beyond mere appearances … a ‘veiled reality’ that science does not describe but only glimpses uncertainly. In turn, contrary to those who claim that matter is the only reality, the possibility that other means, including spirituality, may also provide a window on ultimate reality cannot be ruled out, even by cogent scientific arguments. Bernard D’Espagnat.

«Quantum entanglement supports the idea that the world is deeper than the visible, and reveals a domain of existence, which cannot be described with the notions of space and time. In the nonlocal quantum realm there is dependance without time, things are going on but the time doesn’t seem to pass here.» Antoine Suarez.

The first physicists knew they worked only on a relative reality. But their successes led them to forget it; today they know again that they work on shadows only!

« The very advance (of quantum and relativistic physics) does not lie in the world of physics itself having acquired this shadowy character; it had ever since Democritus of Abdera and even before, but we were not aware of it; we thought we were dealing with the world itself Erwin Schrödinger.

« We have learnt that the exploration of the external world by the methods of physical science leads not to a concrete reality but to a shadow world of symbols, beneath which those methods are unadapted for penetrating. Feeling that there must be more behind, we return to our starting point in human consciousness – the one centre where more might become known. There we find other stirrings, other revelations than those conditioned by the world of symbols.»

« The world we study with physics became a world of shadows.» Sir Arthur Eddington.

« Everybody knows today that Science isn’t a statement of reality but a language in order to express a sort of experience of objects, their structure, their mathematics, (…) nothing more. Matter itself is something (…) of which we superficially know the structure as it appears to our mind, our perception and some tools (…) but nobody knows more than that .» Sri Aurobindo Ghose.

8: THE END OF CERTAINTIES!

Physicists are aware that the paradigm we inherited from the 19th century has to be deeply rethought.

«I realise experiments today essentially to show the strangeness of quantum physics. Most physicists are very naive: they still believe in real waves or real particles.» Anton Zeilinger.

« Philosophers have said that if the same circumstances don’t always produce the same results, predictions are impossible and science will collapse. (…) We cannot predict whether a given photon will arrive at A or B. All we can predict is that out of 100 photons that come down, an average of 4 will be reflected by the front surface. Does this mean that physics, a science of great exactitude, has been reduced to calculating only the probability of an event, and not predicting exactly what will happen? Yes. That’s a retreat, but that’s the way it is: Nature permits us to calculate only probabilities. Yet science has not collapsed! » Richard Feynman.

9: SHALL POETRY RESCUE SCIENCE?

« The laws which nature obeys are less suggestive of those which a machine obeys in its motion than of those which a musician obeys in writing a fugue, or a poet in composing a sonnet.» Sir James Jeans.

« The language of images and likenesses is probably the only way of approaching the “one” from more general domains. If the harmony in a society rests on a common interpretation of the “one”, the unitary principle behind the phenomena, then the language of poetry may be more important here than the language of science Werner Heisenberg.

« Science…means unresting endeavour and continually progressing development toward an aim which the poetic intuition may apprehend, but the intellect can never fully grasp.» Max Planck.

10: LOOKING FOR A NEW PARADIGM.

The world’s image we have to build should let us understand notably:

– the new dualism: the fundamental duality of matter and energy that is, at once, wave and particle;

– the fundamental nature of phenomena that direct what we interpret nowadays as objects whose properties stay undefined as long as they aren’t observed (quantic superpositions) or the “collapse of the wave function” that attributes one only of a multitude of probable quantities when an object interacts with another, as when it is measured;

– the links between matter and consciousness;

– phenomena that are considered today as abnormal, like Near Death Experiences that suggest that consciousness exists even when the brain is completely inactive, transpersonal communications that take place without any implication of our biological organs of perception and that transcend space and time…

A group of scientists gathered in 2014 in order to explore the difficulties we find today when applying our classical paradigm to modern science. They summarised the observations that our world’s image can’t explain and that should be understood with a new one. Their reflexions are published here.

QUOTES FROM PHYSICISTS AND MYSTICS

Tick the right answer if you think that a Physicist or a Mystic is the author of the quote

P/M

1) “The world is given to me only once, not one existing and one perceived. Subject and object are only one.”

2) “This life of yours which you are living is not merely a piece of the entire existence, but is, in a certain sense, the WHOLE; only this whole is not so constituted that it can be surveyed in one single glance. This, as we know, is what the Brahmins express in that sacred, mystic formula which is yet really so simple and so clear: TAT TVAM ASI, this is you. Or, again, in such words as “I am in the east and in the west, I am below and above, I AM THIS WHOLE WORLD”.

3) Thus you can throw yourself flat on the ground, stretched out upon Mother Earth, with the certain conviction that you are one with her and she with you. You are as firmly established, as invulnerable, as she – indeed, a thousand times firmer and more invulnerable. As surely as she will engulf you tomorrow, so surely will she bring you forth anew to new striving and suffering. And not merely, “some day”: now, today, everyday she is bringing you forth, not ONCE, but thousands upon thousands of times, just as every day she engulfs you a thousand times over. For eternally and always there is only NOW, one and the same now; the present is the only thing that has no end.”

4) “There is obviously only one alternative, namely the unification of minds or consciousnesses. Their multiplicity is only apparent, in truth there is only one mind.”

5) “The plurality that we perceive is only an appearance; it is not real. Vedantic philosophy… has sought to clarify it by a number of analogies, one of the most attractive being the many-faceted crystal which, while showing hundreds of little pictures of what is in reality a single existent object, does not really multiply that object…”

6) “Nirvana is a state of pure blissful knowledge… It has nothing to do with the individual. The ego or its separation is an illusion. Indeed in a certain sense two “I”‘s are identical namely when one disregards all special contents — their Karma. The goal of man is to preserve his Karma and to develop it further… when man dies his Karma lives and creates for itself another carrier.”

7) “I assert that the nature of all reality is spiritual, not material nor a dualism of matter and spirit. The hypothesis that its nature can be, to any degree, material, does not enter into my reckoning, because as we now understand matter, the putting together of the adjective “material” and the noun “nature” does not make sense.”

8) “The stuff of the world is mind-stuff.”

9) “If I were to try to put into words the essential truth revealed in the mystic experience, it would be that our minds are not apart from the world, and the feelings that we have of gladness and melancholy and our yet deeper feelings are not of ourselves alone, but are glimpses of a reality transcending the narrow limits of our particular consciousness – that the harmony and beauty of the face of nature is, at root, one with the gladness that transfigures the face of man.”

10) “That faculty which perceives and recognizes the noble proportions in what is given to the senses, and in other things situated outside itself, must be ascribed to the soul.(..) which does not think discursively,(..) and is thus not peculiar only to man, but also dwells in wild animals and the dear beasts of the field.”

11) “The past has no existence except as it is recorded in the present… The universe does not exist out there, independent of all acts of observation. Instead, it is in some strange sense a participatory universe”

12) “The universe can be best pictured, although still very imperfectly and inadequately, as consisting of pure thought, the thought of what, for want of a wider word, we must describe as a mathematical thinker.”

13) « Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real. »

14) “One is led to a new notion of a continuous reality dismissing the classical idea of a world made of parts that exist separately and independently.”

15) “The material object becomes (…) different from what we actually see, not an object separated from its background or from its environment, but an indivisible part – and even in a subtle way, an expression of the unity – of whole what we see.”

16) “Objects derive their existence and their nature from mutual dependence and are nothing by themselves.”

17) “The universe does not exist “out there,” independent of us. We are inescapably involved in bringing about that which appears to be happening. We are not only observers. We are participators. In some strange sense, this is a participatory universe.”

QUOTES FROM PHYSICISTS AND MYSTICS

Tick the right answer if you think that a Physicist or a Mystic is the author of the quote

P/M

1) “The world is given to me only once, not one existing and one perceived. Subject and object are only one.”

SCHRODINGER

P

2) “This life of yours which you are living is not merely a piece of the entire existence, but is, in a certain sense, the WHOLE; only this whole is not so constituted that it can be surveyed in one single glance. This, as we know, is what the Brahmins express in that sacred, mystic formula which is yet really so simple and so clear: TAT TVAM ASI, this is you. Or, again, in such words as “I am in the east and in the west, I am below and above, I AM THIS WHOLE WORLD”.

SCHRODINGER

P

3) Thus you can throw yourself flat on the ground, stretched out upon Mother Earth, with the certain conviction that you are one with her and she with you. You are as firmly established, as invulnerable, as she – indeed, a thousand times firmer and more invulnerable. As surely as she will engulf you tomorrow, so surely will she bring you forth anew to new striving and suffering. And not merely, “some day”: now, today, everyday she is bringing you forth, not ONCE, but thousands upon thousands of times, just as every day she engulfs you a thousand times over. For eternally and always there is only NOW, one and the same now; the present is the only thing that has no end.”

SCHRODINGER

P

4) “There is obviously only one alternative, namely the unification of minds or consciousnesses. Their multiplicity is only apparent, in truth there is only one mind.”

SCHRODINGER

P

5) “The plurality that we perceive is only an appearance; it is not real. Vedantic philosophy… has sought to clarify it by a number of analogies, one of the most attractive being the many-faceted crystal which, while showing hundreds of little pictures of what is in reality a single existent object, does not really multiply that object…”

SCHRODINGER

P

6) “Nirvana is a state of pure blissful knowledge… It has nothing to do with the individual. The ego or its separation is an illusion. Indeed in a certain sense two “I”‘s are identical namely when one disregards all special contents — their Karma. The goal of man is to preserve his Karma and to develop it further… when man dies his Karma lives and creates for itself another carrier.”

SCHRODINGER

P

7) “I assert that the nature of all reality is spiritual, not material nor a dualism of matter and spirit. The hypothesis that its nature can be, to any degree, material, does not enter into my reckoning, because as we now understand matter, the putting together of the adjective “material” and the noun “nature” does not make sense.”

Sir EDDINGTON

P

8) “The stuff of the world is mind-stuff.”

Sir EDDINGTON

P

9) “If I were to try to put into words the essential truth revealed in the mystic experience, it would be that our minds are not apart from the world, and the feelings that we have of gladness and melancholy and our yet deeper feelings are not of ourselves alone, but are glimpses of a reality transcending the narrow limits of our particular consciousness – that the harmony and beauty of the face of nature is, at root, one with the gladness that transfigures the face of man.”

Sir EDDINGTON

P

10)”That faculty which perceives and recognizes the noble proportions in what is given to the senses, and in other things situated outside itself, must be ascribed to the soul.(..) which does not think discursively,(..) and is thus not peculiar only to man, but also dwells in wild animals and the dear beasts of the field.”

Werner HEISENBERG

P

11) “The past has no existence except as it is recorded in the present… The universe does not exist out there, independent of all acts of observation. Instead, it is in some strange sense a participatory universe”

John Wheeler

P

12) “The universe can be best pictured, although still very imperfectly and inadequately, as consisting of pure thought, the thought of what, for want of a wider word, we must describe as a mathematical thinker.”

Sir James JEANS

P

13) « Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real. »

Niels BOHR

P

14) “One is led to a new notion of a continuous reality dismissing the classical idea of a world made of parts that exist separately and independently.”

David BOHM

P

15) “The material object becomes (…) different from what we actually see, not an object separated from its background or from its environment, but an indivisible part – and even in a subtle way, an expression of the unity – of whole what we see.”

Sri AUROBINDO

M

16)”Objects derive their existence and their nature from mutual dependence and are nothing by themselves.”

NAGARJUNA

M

17) “The universe does not exist “out there,” independent of us. We are inescapably involved in bringing about that which appears to be happening. We are not only observers. We are participators. In some strange sense, this is a participatory universe.”

John WHEELER

P

TOTAL: 15 quotes from physicists and 2 quotes from mystics! Modern physics is getting close to mysticism!

THE THIRD ONTOLOGY.

 

Is the universe deterministic? Einstein thought it was, and if true, then free will would only be an illusion of course. Except if we had a soul of another realm than the universe one.

Is the universe fundamentally random like Bohr and Quantum Physicists think? If true, then free will would be at the core of reality.

This video explores a third possibility. If the universe is the result of a language (thus only information!), then it won’t be completely deterministic nor completely random but somewhere in-between! THis is because a language is built upon symbols and syntax. The association between a symbol and what it means is determined. But the syntax lets one play with the order in which the symbols are organized and this order can change the overall meaning of the sentence, letting some randomness in the organization of the future. This third possibility explores “The Code Theoretic Axiom” and is very clearly introduced by Klee Irwin, at the head of “Quantum Gravity Research” group which gathers physicists and mathematicians interested by a Theory of Everything.

The axiom (a principle that cannot be proven) is that the basic stuff of the universe which is energy (Einstein proved that matter is a form of condensed energy), is INFORMATION.

But what is information?! It is MEANING described by SYMBOLS. A square is a geometrical symbol that describes an object which has 4 units of space, linked together with 4 identical angles, and which defines a hypothenuse etc… If one uses symbols to play with, one SIMULATES different meanings generated by the ordering of symbols. So reality would be a SIMULATION!

The idea explored here is that the hardware, the software and the simulation output (which is reality) is one and the same. The hardware would be a geometrical object in 8 dimensions. The software would be its projection in a 3 dimensions space and the output would depend on the movements of the object in its 8 D space. Moreover, if there’s a language, there must be a CHOOSER of the symbols and the syntax!

There’s much more in this video (consciousness, emergence, efficiency of codes…), some too technical for non-specialists, but always expressed in a very clear language, without reading a prepared file, which is rare. Another video on the same subject is much more illustrated and presented in a professional way. It’l maybe be introduced here later. It’s address is:

FUNDAMENTAL DUALITY

LIGHT AND MATTER ARE DUAL

In 1801 the english physician, physicist and optician Thomas Young imagines a simple experiment the results of which raise questions even today! Newton was convinced light was a stream of microscopic particles when Young inclined in favour of waves. But how could he force nature to answer?!

Young_Slits

He builds a screen with two slits very close and puts it in front of a stream of light. If Newton was right Young should find two bright spots on a screen just behind the slits. But if his intuition is right then the two slits should behave as two new sources of secondary waves

If light is a wave then the secondary wavelike disturbances behind each slit should interfere; troughs and bumps should add or subtract to form a pattern of alternate bright and dark stripes on the screen behind them. And this pattern would be the proof that light is a wave and this is what Young discovers. So light is a wave, an energy that vibrates a mysterious ether, until 1905.

In 1921 Einstein becomes a Nobel laureate for one of his fundamental discoveries made in 1905; he explains light’s photoelectric properties and describes the photon: a particle of light. But how a particle could be also a wave at once?! The same year Einstein showed that light can convey energy in the void, without any mysterious medium! Is a photon a particle that behaves as a wave? No!…

Moreover one can’t say that a photon IS a wave or a particle! Science let us discover PROPERTIES, not the NATURE of the objects it studies! The latter is studied by the Philosophy of Science because it’s not about measurement of quantifiable properties but about reflecting on the interpretation of results, and therefore on subjective questions; yet only quantifiable objects can be studied objectively and can be described by Science.

In theory it could be that, mysteriously, photons interfere with each-other! That could explain at once, Young and Einstein’s results! Since it became technically possible one repeated Young’s experiment but with only one photon at once, to avoid any interference. The results are clear: the interference remains! As if the photon is able to cross through both slits at once, even if they are very far apart in relation to the photon’s size! Impossible, yet real!

Physicists try a new experiment, more sophisticated: they put detectors after each slit to confirm the crossing of a particle. The result defies any explanation that could be compatible with the materialistic and realistic paradigm, until today! By the way, it put into question one of the fundamentals of Science: objectivity, or the complete segregation between the object that is studied, and the subject that is studying it! Indeed, if the experimenter has a way to know through which slit the photon crossed the screen, then the photon behaves like a particle and crosses through one slit only, by chance: there are only two bright bands on the screen. But if one can’t tell which is the slit that was crossed by the photon, then it behaves like a wave and crosses through both slits, even if there is only one photon at once!

In a way absolutely incompatible with the current paradigm, the photon’s properties vary between those of a particle or those of a wave, according to what the experimenter can measure, and consequently know about its properties! Very sophisticated experiments showed just that: what’s decisive is the knowledge one can find on the photon! Nature loves to hide!

Niels Bohr foresaw this kind of findings, long before technology enabled the physicists to try these experiments! Again, it’s about perfectly logical concepts, deduced from sophisticated mathematics, but clearly incompatible with common sense and our world’s image.

Bohr tried to facilitate the physicists’ job with his concept of “complementarity”. It helps to avoid making a mental image of the fundamental object that builds matter and energy. It suggests to physicists to rely only on mathematics in order to evade a visual representation of the microcosm, as our senses let us do for the macrocosm. Particle’s physics is built upon complementarity: simultaneous belonging in two contradictory properties which the physicist can measure only one precisely. Quantum Mechanics defines a series of “conjugated properties” of which only one can be precisely measured; for instance speed and the position of a particle. The physicist has to choose which of these conjugated properties he’d like to measure precisely; the other one becomes all the more “diffuse” when the first is precisely measured.

Fortunately some objectivity remains in Science since any experimenter would find the same results about the photon’s properties. Nevertheless the photon will show wave or particle properties in relation to the interaction it’l have with the experimenter! S/he isn’t anymore a dispensable and insignificant character but s/he recovers a mysterious relation with the material universe that reminds of the one alchemists had with nature. They used to be in a symbiotic relationship between matter and psyche that could develop reciprocal qualities. They didn’t separate quantity from quality. Lead becomes gold when the alchemist finds the philosopher’s stone; a reciprocal transmutation was taking place between matter and psyche.

Wolfgang Pauli, one of the founding fathers of Quantum Physics, who was known for his intransigence about strict implementation of Science, understood that the Method came to a dead-end and tried to understand why. He studied Kepler’s biography who took his distance from the alchemists when he choose quantified mathematics only to understand the planets’ orbits.

In the “Kepler Essay” Pauli quotes the alchemist Fludd who blamed Kepler for his choice to study nature only quantitatively:

«It’s peculiar to ordinary mathematics to be stuck on quantitative shadows: alchemists and hermetists include the authenticity of nature’s objects.»

And Pauli hopes:

«The most satisfying would be that Physics and Psyche could be considered as two complementary aspects of one only Reality.»

The materialistic and realistic monism can no more be tenable since physicists discovered the wave/particle duality for all matter’s fundamental components and not only for photons or other types of energy. Indeed, how can an object be considered as real if it’s at once, localized in a very small space as a particle and in a huge space as a wave?! How can an object be considered as material if it’s also describable as purely energetic vibrations?! How could we support monism since nature is dual: wave and particle?!

Indeed, Quantum Physics describes two realities. Fundamental particles don’t belong to the same space and time as we do; they move about in an unclear a-local and a-temporal reality whose properties we can only partly calculate with waves’ mathematics and probabilities and not with common sense based upon our perceptions. In this fundamental reality out of which emerges ours, physicists describe a “quantum field” out of which emerge localized vibrations we perceive as material objects. Our biological senses describe another reality, one in which space-time is the stage on which objects seem to be separated, independent and real.

In the Middle-Ages the world was essentially spiritual; each object had a soul and matter was secondary, an expression of its soul created by God. Science elevated matter’s status when it defined matter/spirit duality; it gave a new importance to matter and worked only to find reliable knowings on its properties. Science was so successful for four centuries that the world became monistic, but materialistic this time! Nowadays matter only has all the properties necessary to explain the world: spirit became an emergence out of matter’s properties. But now it is Science that discovers its own limitations: the world becomes dualistic again, but it’s no more a separation between matter and spirit; it’s matter itself that looses its status when it becomes, at once, wave and particle and a very concentrated expression of energy!

«The great extension of our experience in recent years has brought light to the insufficiency of our simple mechanical conceptions and, as a consequence, has shaken the foundation on which the customary interpretation of observation was based.» Niels Bohr.

«The hope that new experiments will lead us back to objective events in time and space is about as well founded as the hope of discovering the end of the world in the unexplored regions of the Antarctic. Some physicists would prefer to come back to the idea of an objective real world whose smallest parts exist objectively in the same sense as stones or trees exist independently of whether we observe them. This however is impossible.» Werner Heisenberg

«Today, many scientists are victims of an unsuspicious realism and adopted unconsciously a materialistic and mechanistic metaphysics they consider as an expression of scientific truth. A good turn of Physics evolution for contemporary thinking is that it destroyed this simplistic metaphysics and highlights fundamental philosophic questions.» Louis de Broglie

WHAT IS THE NATURE OF MATTER?

A butterfly lands on your hand! Reality or hallucination? Your neighbours are as amazed as you are; therefore it’s a fact, even if it’s very rare! Your analytical mind reminds you that it isn’t an objective reality since perception is subjective and relies upon your nervous system. It’s the same for your neighbours. Only a consensus between many subjectivities can convince you that there is really a butterfly on your hand! Thus the importance of sharing results and of reproducibility in Science. It’s the only mean to be convinced of the reality of perceptions.

You decide you’ll put the Scientific Method in action to look for the nature of matter. You begin by reducing the complexity of the problem by questioning parts of it with the hope to find answers that could help you build a global image. It’s what Descartes proposed: reductionism. With the conviction that assembling partial answers will give you the global one.

You define three fundamental parts in the butterfly, each with secondary elements: eyes, legs, wings… You pursue the reduction of the insect and find physiological systems in charge of vital functions as digestion, mobility, reproduction… They are themselves made of different organs in which you distinguish specialised tissues to provide secretions, protection, mobility…

The analysis goes on and reveals an element with the attributes of a fundamental unit: the cell. Even if it is specialised according to the tissue it belongs to, it keeps a fundamental structure. Therefore you analyse the cell now, hoping that your discoveries will be generally applicable to all of the cells.

You find parts in charge of specific functions: a nucleus takes care of genetic information; mitochondrions reload molecules that distribute the energy needed by life… All these parts are made of giant molecules, extraordinarily varied but dispatched mainly in four families: proteins, lipids, carbohydrates and nucleic acids. Molecules are made of atoms that are perfectly identical with the atoms everywhere in the universe. Only their very specific order in every molecule seems to give its function to the blend, and you are able to reproduce the form and the function of a biological molecule with the atoms it is made with.

At this point you need to explore the nature of the atoms that make matter, and give its reality to the universe.

First surprise: an atom is essentially empty! Nearly all its mass is in its very tiny nucleus, 100 000 times smaller than its diameter! If an atom had the size of a football stadium, the peripheral electrons would circulate where the terraces are and its mass would be stuffed in a volume not bigger than a pinhead standing in the middle of the field!

Why does a hammer hurts when it falls on your foot instead of going through it, harmlessly?! For reasons our common sense find esoteric (repulsive electric fields without contact, exclusion principle that forbids two electrons having identical attributes…) but that only mathematics can help understand.

You pursue your analysis further.

New surprise: the electrons that equilibrate the nucleus’ electric charge are on precise orbitals; they can’t move at whatever distance from the nucleus. But they can move from one orbital to another in relation with the energy they carry, but they do that at once, without moving through space and time. They behave as if they dematerialise from an orbital to materialise suddenly on another one! This behaviour is incompatible with what we think about the nature matter should express! We’re convinced it is real and can’t disappear suddenly to reappear also suddenly elsewhere!

More surprising: a particle has at once properties we think are classical for a particle: a localised position in a very tiny space, and properties of a wave: a presence in a very vast volume of space! But it expresses one or the other of these contradictory natures, never the two at once!

Physics can’t calculate where to find the one electron of an hydrogen atom, but only the probability to find it at a certain place when the measure will take place. This probability depends on a mathematical function that follows wavelike properties.

More precisely, we can’t comprehend matter’s nature, we can only calculate some of its properties with the mathematics created to study waves. It is as if a particle exists in a specific volume with a probability that varies as the highs and downs of a wave and materialises instantly on one only of these possibilities when it interacts with a measurement or another particle… How is this possible? For reasons common sense can’t understand but only mathematics can calculate!

We can’t conclude that matter is really real when it doesn’t express the properties we’re convinced a particle should have, but evolve in a weird realm, very different from ours, a wavelike realm; when it hasn’t defined properties but a superposition of undefined properties that take precise values like 1 or 0, + or – … only after an interaction!

Moreover, the Method can’t show what is the nature of matter! It has been created for objective measurements only, to quantify objective events, and reflexions on the nature of an object is subjective, even when it follows objective measurements. It is the Philosophy of Science that has to take over in order to suggest qualities like the nature of an object!

SOME NOTEWORTHY ANOMALIES


The classical paradigm is the result of four centuries of discoveries in Science. They have changed, slowly but powerfully, the worldview that was prevalent at the birth of Science. Then, objects and subjects could be related magically: intentions were all what was needed from sorcerers to make miracles… Now intention isn’t sufficient: direct or indirect interactions are necessary! Spiritual matters don’t interfere with material ones!

The world in which we live is formed out of matter, itself built with particles interacting according to local laws: no information could go faster than the speed of light to interact with something. This classical worldview is MATERIALISTIC REALISM. “Materialistic” because it says that everything comes into existence out of matter only. I.e consciousness is secreted by the material brain, as bile is secreted by the material liver. “Realism” because the universe is perceived as made of objects that have their own nature, independently of ours.

But more and more “anomalies” accumulated with this worldview since 1900 and the birth of Quantum Mechanics, then 1905 and the Theory of Relativity. Some of these are briefly presented here and confronted with another worldview: SIMULISM

1: SO THE WORLD IS DISCONTINUOUS!

We feel ourselves as a whole, naturally… When we move we don’t do that by pieces stuck to each other but in an harmonious and continuous movement. Or is it?!

Actually if we look carefully at our body, we have to question our apparent continuity since we’re made of cells, separated from each other by a membrane. But they’re so little and so well bound together that we’re sure we’re continuous.

And what about the cells themselves?

Actually they’re also discontinuous since they’re formed of many organelles clearly distinctive from one another, like the nucleus, mitochondria, ribosomes and so on. And each organelle is composed itself of discontinuous molecules, which are assemblies of discontinuous atoms… and so forth until…?

Well! Until Planck’s length which is the lower length our science of the micro-world can work with, even if it’s by very far impossible, not only to approach it, but even to be able to imagine what it is, really. It is indeed on the order of 10 with an exponent of minus 35 meters, which is a 0, followed by 35 0, each new 0 adding a division of 10 of the length! Not amazing that everything seems to be continuous with such a unit of measurement. It’s like digital pictures, or TV signals… We know they’re all formed of pixels – dot like units of the image’s definition – but we perceive the picture as formed of continuous forms and colors: which they aren’t.

But is this very important to remember when we look at the nature of the universe?

It is! And here is why!

Space is discontinuous and there isn’t such a thing as a slope in the micro-world: every modification in height goes by stairs. Sometimes with very small stairs, so small we perceive them as a slope, but it isn’t! Why is this so?!

Even more. If we were small like atoms and if we were to move across this strange micro-world landscape, we’d see that there’s no time flow when jumping from one stair to the other: We’d disappear at once from one place, to reappear suddenly elsewhere…! How could that be?! Nobody knows, really… but it is, beyond any doubt! And this feature of matter make us wonder what really matter is, since it can disappear and reappear like ghosts! Why is this so?!

There are no slopes in the MicroWorld: only stairs! Energy changes take place suddenly, from one fixed value to another, at once, with no time shift. A particle does the same when changing its energy level (its position in space in relation to other particles). Sudden changes from one fixed value to another one.

2: SO MATTER IS ANONYMOUS!

If matter isn’t really anonymous since it’s composed of atoms, molecules that are combined in a way that can be specific, the core of it – subatomic particles – has by no mean any individuality. One can’t recognize which is which in this micro-world. If you observe a particle that can exist in only one of two states – up or down for example – you can make the difference between two particles if they are in a different state from one another. Let’s name Alice the one that is in an “up” state, and Bob the other. One seems to be able to associate a name – hence an individuality – to a particle, since you can make the difference if you observe its state. But imagine that the state is now inverted: Alice’s state becomes “down” and Bob’s changes to “up”. Could you say now that the particle that was named Alice changed its state? The answer is surprisingly “no”! The only thing you could do is to associate a state with a name, but you’ll never be able to tell for sure that it’s such and such particle that changed: one can’t see any individuality between similar particles.

Suppose that you decide to measure how many different combinations of two particles in any state you can see. You could find Alice and Bob in the same “up” state, or Alice and Bob in the same “down” state, or Alice in an “up” state associated with Bob in a “down” state, or, finally, Alice in a “down” state associated with Bob in an “up” state; that makes four different combinations… Observe that by answering that you expect four combinations, you implicitly decide that you can individualize the two particles as Alice or Bob. But if you can’t make a difference between these particles, you’ll have only three different combinations since you can’t say which is Alice and which is Bob… You’ll have two possibilities where the two are in the same state: up or down. But you won’t be able to make a difference if they are in a different state because you can’t give a specific name to one or the other! And that’s what quantum physicists find again and again! Particles of the micro-world are fungible like the money is. One won’t recover the same coins he left to his bank, but the same amount made of anonymous coins. But if one can engrave a recognizable pattern on a coin to give it some individuality, it’s impossible to do so in the microworld. What could that mean?!

You’d expect such results if particles aren’t really made of matter with defined properties but are just some blend of informations that can be completely mixed with other blends of informations for a while, then recover new blends of informations when they are individualized as lone particles, anymore in association with another one. In other terms, Alice is Alice when she’s alone, while Bob is Bob when he’s alone. But when they behave in couple, they form a new entity that is AliceBob. And if they separate from each other there’s no way at all to define which was Alice before the separation and which was Bob. What could that mean?!

Particles or waves can’t be differentiated from one another: they are FUNGIBLE like numbers! They have no identity.

3: SO UNOBSERVED REALITY IS UNREAL!

Is the moon in the sky if there’s nobody to look at it? Sure! But not for the reasons we think of!

Micro-world’s particles don’t have defined properties if they’re not observed! It’s as if they belong to an odd world where many different properties are possible at once with not any one precisely defined, until an interaction is performed between a particle and its environment. They are fuzzy, so to say, if they’re not looked at, and acquire defined properties only after an interaction. The measurement of a particle is such an interaction and it seems to really create the properties of the particle, not on stringent cause and effect logic, but out of probabilities that become defined realities only when the interaction happens. It’s not the revelation of unknown properties the particle had before the interaction: it’s the creation anew of characteristics that are in accordance with the nature of the particle, its history of precedent interactions and the features of its environment.

Moreover, before the interaction the particles are in a superposition of the different states in which they can be, until the interaction forces them to take one of the probable states the quantum mechanic’s laws allows.

These results seemed so strange that Schrödinger didn’t believe they were true: he thought that there should be another interpretation of the results that would be easiest to accept. And to make his argument clear he created his renowned cat in a box!

He imagined a device that would trigger the distribution of a deadly poison in the cat’s box only if a given atom of a radioactive element was in a defined state: not yet decayed, or already decayed. Even if a physicist is able to foretell with good accuracy how many atoms in a given mass of a radioactive element will decay in one second, he’s absolutely unable to foretell when a given atom shall decay: all he can do is to calculate with which probability it’ll decay with time. It could happen the next second or… in millions of years! Moreover quantum mechanics states that if the atom isn’t looked at, then it’s in a superposition state: i.e it’s at once decayed AND not decayed! Only when somebody opens the box to see in which state is the atom, it’ll take one only of the two possible states! If this is really the case, ironized Schrödinger, so our cat in the box should also be in a superposition state: alive AND dead at once! Clearly impossible! Or is it?!

Well, the experimental results all point to the correctness of the quantum mechanics’ interpretation: i.e that the atom is in a superposition state until it is observed! And an evidence of the reality of this superposition is found in the current research on quantum computers which take advantage of it. Instead of calculating only with bits that can take one of two states: 0 or 1, as in our computers today, they work in the quantum world where qubits (as they are named) could take an infinity of superimposed states between 0 and 1, and therefore could boost the computer power to unimaginable heights!

How could it be that unobserved particles in the microcosm haven’t defined properties until they’re interacting?! Why is this so?

So is the moon in the sky if there’s nobody to look at it? Yes it is… because it’s so big that its constituents interact continuously and instantly with their environment and acquire their properties by the way, not because it has a reality by its own, independent of the environment! Why is this so?!

The universe could be composed of discrete units: addresses in a huge computer’s memory where the properties of what we see as particles or even quanta of space and time would be memorized.

4: SO MATTER IS BOTH WAVES AND PARTICLES!

Wave or particle? This question divided physicists for three centuries. How odd this question is since waves and particles are so different from one another! It should have been simple to decide!

Waves are coordinated, interactive oscillations of an underlying substrate, while particles are independent objects. The very nature of waves is movement while the nature of the oscillating substance is not really important, except for the speed with which they spread. On the contrary, particles can stay quiet. Actually their very nature is to resist to movement with inertia. Waves convey information about a perturbation that happened somewhere; their direction, their amplitude and frequency can be analyzed to get an image of an event that could be far away and ended a long time ago. Waves cover a lot of space at once while particles are confined in a tiny location. Waves can easily interact and interfere with other waves on a large scale, both in space and time, producing new patterns of waves which can be very complicated, while particles usually preserve their nature after an interaction with other particles.

Why physicists didn’t agree albeit the difference between wave’s and particle’s nature? The answer is because light and matter express both natures… but not really at once! It seems that in the microworld, matter behaves as waves do, as long as it doesn’t interact with something else than itself. When it does, the wave nature of matter collapses and seems to give birth to a particle, somewhere in a discrete place, although its wave’s nature made it potentially everywhere at once! How does matter chooses the discrete place where it’ll collapse? By chance!

Physicists were stunned when they realized that matter’s waves weren’t real waves, but only probabilities which can be calculated with the mathematics typical for waves. Nobody can know for sure where a particle is before looking at it! And nobody knows really what is its nature; only that it reminds us of a hologram, since it can express its nature non-locally: potentially in all space-time at once. Physicists can only calculate (but with an extraordinary precision) where it could be if it was looked at. And when it is looked at, it looses its holographic properties and reveals itself like a defined particle restricted in space-time. How could that be? What could that mean?

What we perceive as matter can behave as waves OR particles: never both at a time!

5: SO QUANTUM INFORMATION IS CENSORED!

Physicists have been very smart trying to get around Heisenberg’s “Uncertainty Principle”. Einstein never renounced even after severe failures. Unfortunately, experiments today continue to make him wrong: it remains impossible to measure precisely at once what are the speed and the position of a quantum object!

Still stranger! An isolated particle that encounters on its path a screen with two slits will go through both at once, thanks to its wave nature; the experimenter will find on his screen the interference fringes that are the signpost of waves.

But if the experimenter tries to determine exactly through which slit the particle will cross, then it doesn’t anymore take its wave nature but behaves like a particle. And it’ll go through one or the other slit but never through both as it did with its wave nature! Interference fringes are replaced by localized points on the screen, exactly as expected for point like particles. How could it be so? How does the particle react to such an experimental device?!

The experiments are largely smart enough to forbid an easy explanation such as the destruction of the interference fringes because of a perturbation coming from the measurement instrument. Several teams showed that complete atoms – and not only isolated particles – behave as waves. And even these atoms loose their wave nature when observed at the slits, even if the experimenter marks only one electron from the atom’s outer layer!

Suppose that atoms could be big enough to be seen with naked eyes. The scientist would be near one slit to paint a mark on the atom that rushes through the slit to recognize where it’ll impact the screen. He would give a little brushstroke on one of the electrons in the outer shell of the atom. The movement’s energy of the atom is concentrated in its nucleus that would have the diameter of a golfball and would weight something like ten billion tons at this scale. It’s impossible to accept that a little stoke on a tiny electron, moving at a distance of one kilometer from the nucleus and weighting half a milligram could change the course of the entire atom and disturb the interference fringes!

We must accept the fact that it’s really the measurement itself that creates the event, not the disturbance! The interpretation today is that the very fact that one could know through which slit the particle moved, forbids its wavelike nature and replaces it by its localized point like nature.

The microworld relies on secrecy: a quantum object expresses its wavelike nature and its corresponding specificities like the possibility to be at many places at once, or to be entangled to another object roaming at the edge of the galaxy… only if these properties are maintained secret. If they could be transmitted to another object – conscious or not – then the quantum object instantly resume its particle’s nature! How could that be? What could that mean?

“There must exist, beyond mere appearances … a ‘veiled reality’ that science does not describe but only glimpses uncertainly. In turn, contrary to those who claim that matter is the only reality, the possibility that other means, including spirituality, may also provide a window on ultimate reality cannot be ruled out, even by cogent scientific arguments.” From “Traité de Physique et de Philosophie”; 2002.

Bernard d’Espagnat is a physicist specialized in Particle Physics. He did his research in France at the CNRS and at the CERN between France and Switzerland . He has been a professor at La Sorbonne in Paris and in several american universities.

6: SO NOTHING CAN EXCEED THE SPEED OF LIGHT… EVEN LIGHT!

Imagine you’re near a railway track and a train is running on it; on the roof of a carriage somebody is sitting and throws a pebble in your direction. Of course, if you could measure the pebble’s speed, you’ll conclude it to be the sum of the speed the man on the roof of the carriage gave to it when he threw it, summed with the train’s speed… Imagine – for instance – that the train moves at 100 km/h and the man on the roof threw the pebble with a speed of 10 km/h in your direction; then you should measure the pebble speed at 110 km/h when the train is coming in your direction and 90 km/h away from you if the train is going away from you.

Now, imagine the same experience, but, instead of the pebble, the man on the roof will light a torch and we’ll measure the speed of light when it reaches you, the observer along the track. From what we’ve just seen, we should measure different velocities if the train is coming towards you while you we’re standing near the track, or if the train is moving away from you.

But it isn’t so! The observer measures exactly the same speed of light, when the train comes towards him or when it moves away from him! How could it be so?!

But actually Einstein found also that it’s space-time that changes; and as the speed rises, the length gets smaller in the movement’s direction. At the speed of light, each traveller would seem to be thinner than a piece of paper to an observer at rest! Moreover, the traveller would need an infinite amount of energy to accelerate to light’s speed because the mass rises with the speed… Why is it so?!

Nothing can go faster than light. In a Cellular Automata, no change in a cell can appear faster than the computation made according to the rules and its neighbors’ states! A change in a cell’s state is done according to its direct neighbors’ states. This puts a up limit to the number of changes that can take place: only one per generation and per cell.

7: SO TIME AND SPACE ARE NOT ABSOLUTE BUT RELATIVE!

The main discovery Einstein did, is that simultaneity is relative, and by being relative, looses most of its meaning. And this loss could have profound outcomes on our nature.

Consider for example the moment a new life begins: Arthur takes his first breath, or the last minute of another life: Carol expires her last breath. These are the boundaries which seem to define clearly a lifespan. Nothing before birth, and no more life after. Let’s imagine that these two events are simultaneous for an observer: Bob. But if simultaneity is relative, these so-called well defined life spans become somewhat fuzzy. Another observer – Alice – will not see the birth of Arthur happen “at the same time” as Bob will see it. Alice could very well observe that Carol died before or after Arthur was born, depending on the relative speed with which she’s coming close or she’s moving away from Arthur and Carol.

The very fact that an event “A” can appear to happen before, or after, another event “B” to different observers is profoundly odd! And when one thinks about it, one is logically driven to the conclusion that, somewhere, these two events exist already, independent of one another, since they are clearly not linked by an absolute time flow. Again: the same event can happen before or after another one, depending on the observer! And that’s because time is not absolute but relative to each observer and its state.

Now, if events are not linked to one another in an absolute time, if they don’t happen always in the same order to different observers, if the past of an observer can be the future of another observer, one can imagine that all the events that happen in the universe exist already, independently of what we perceive each of us, as the flow of time. In other words, the flow of time doesn’t link the different events that happen in our universe in the same order to everybody. That suggests that they exist already in a four dimensions universe of which we perceive only three as space and the fourth as time only, although it’s more than that: it’s actually a space-time dimension.

Every observer is stuck on what he perceives as a fleeting “now” which moves with the speed of light across an unimaginable four dimensions universe: describable only through mathematics and forever stranger to our perceptions. The only way for us to understand this picture of the universe, would be to make it fit to our perception which is only a three dimensional one for space plus a sense of change that we take as time flow.

Let us delete by thought one dimension of our space, the height. The other two dimensions left become easily represented as a surface. This surface is a simplification of our 3D universe, so that you have to imagine yourself extending only on a surface and reduced in your height to the thickness of the sheet of paper, not more. Imagine a book, laying on a horizontal surface. Each page of this book will represent a “moment” , a “now” and the state of the universe (and you in it) at that moment. And each page has a length and a width: it extends in a two-dimensional space, the third dimension (height) is inexistent and replaced by the pile of pages, one for each “moment” of time. Each page has a 2D surface which represents our 3D space, liberating one dimension of space so that we can imagine it to be tied to the flow of time.

We know that if we are to perceive a movie as flowing swiftly, every frame of the film has to stay still on the screen for 1/24 second before being replaced by the following motionless frame for 1/24 second and so on. What we see then is a good image of what we perceive with our sense of vision in the universe.

Einstein seemed to view the universe as a 4D block that in our simplified model would be a 3D block like a huge book with each page representing space at a moment, like a frame of a movie represents space at a moment. Our consciousness would travel through the pages at the speed of light, perceiving time as the change between each frame. But what Einstein discovered also is that we can travel at an angle from the horizontal line and that’s the reason why time is relative and can flow at different rates for different observers.

This takes place when two observers travel at very high speeds on different directions. Every traveller has his own space-time through which he crosses the pages at right angles. But the higher the relative speed between the two travelers, the more their pages will be at an angle with one another; like if the two books that represent their specific space-time would cross each other at an angle! Therefore an event “A” that would happen after another event “B” on the pages of one traveller could happen before the same event “B”, for the other traveller! And if the two travelers were separating from each other with the speed of light, then each one would see the other as immobile in time: each of them would live a normal life but would see the other as if time stopped and didn’t flow for him anymore! Why is it so?!

Space and Time can be introverted one in the other!

8: SO THE UNIVERSE IS BIOFRIENDLY!

Not long ago we were convinced that the universe was eternal: that it had no beginning and no end… but we were wrong!

Astronomers discovered that our universe was born in a Big Bang 13,8 billions years ago. At that moment it gave birth to space and time and both are expanding since then. Cosmologists and physicists working on elementary particles have been able to retrace its history to an infinitesimal time after its birth and to reconstitute the history of energy and matter. They can play with the physical constants in the equations that govern its evolution: changing them to see what happens to the structure of the simulated universe. Nobody was prepared for the results: it’s nearly impossible to change these constants, even very slightly, without jeopardizing our presence in these virtual universes! Are only coincidences at the root of the stringent values the universe needs to evolve life and intelligence? Why is it so?

Surprisingly the total energy of the universe is zero: negative and positive energy balance exactly and the result is our existence. Had the expansion been slightly more energetic, no star could have formed, no planets, not even the chemical elements that we’re made from could have been created in the stellar furnaces. The universe would have remained simple, and lifeless. Had the expansion been slightly less energetic, stars would have formed but would have lived much less time than necessary to create the complex chain of nuclear reactions from which such heavy chemical elements like carbon, oxygen, iron… would have been formed. The universe would have been simpler than it is now, and lifeless. Cosmologists have discovered that the Big Bang has been amazingly fine tuned so that the universe could become complex and harbor life and intelligence. Why is it so?

What are these strange numbers: the 30 or so constant values that we can’t calculate with our equations because we don’t understand their origin? We can only measure these constants out of observation and experience; it’s therefore pertinent to see what would happen if they were different from what we find. What would look like an universe in which the gravitational constant would be slightly different from what we measure? How much carbon would be made in stars if the ratio between the gravitational and the electromagnetic forces would have been slightly different?…

The answers are invariably the same… The simulated universes won’t harbor life and intelligence! If the relative strengths of gravity and the weak force is slightly displaced in favor of the latter, then the universe would be only made out of hydrogen. If it was displaced in the other direction, then the universe would only be made out of helium. It’s the value found experimentally that gives exactly the ration of helium to hydrogen that is necessary to trigger the complex evolution of stars that can, in turn, lead to planets, life and intelligence! Why is it so?

These discoveries were so widespread that they were extended as the “Anthropic Principle” which states that the conditions in the early universe were the ones that could lead to the evolution of life and intelligence. And this principle has even been put to practice with predictions about the details of nuclear reactions at the origin of carbon that is important for life. In the fifties, the understanding of nuclear reactions involved in stars weren’t able to explain the formation of carbon. A cosmologist predicted specific behaviors for the nuclei of carbon, beryllium and oxygen, based on the Anthropic Principle and the predictions were confirmed by experiment! Why is it so?

We seem to be left with a choice between three possibilities:

Either all the constants are interdependent in a way we didn’t yet find but that couldn’t be different for a reason to be discovered;

Or our universe is part of an infinite number of different ones where the constants take all possible values. It’s only by chance that we happen to live in the only one that expresses the collection of constant values compatible with life and intelligence;

Or these values have been fine-tuned since the origin for the universe to evolve life and intelligence.

Which answer seems the simplest?

The Earth is BioFriendly from the beginning.