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