This paper deals with the way in which quantum physics is moving ever closer in its world view to the ideas taught by the ancients. It was given at the year 2000 Annual Provincial Meeting of the Province of East Anglia of the SRIA (Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia)

 

 

QUANTUM MYSTICS

or

The Adept, the Mystic and Quantum Physicist

A look at the search of Quantum Physics for a new world view - and how it takes science ever nearer to the reality perceived by the ancients

I want to put forward two hypotheses today. First, that quantum physics is moving ever closer to the view of reality posited 'down the remotest avenues of time' by the Western Mystery Tradition and, secondly, that we are part way through a major mind-shift, as great as that which surrounded the Capurnicus-Galileo-Newton mind-shift which produced the mechanistic view of reality which science assumes today.

The problem blocking progress towards a new world view is the paradigm underlying that mechanistic view of the universe. The first and possibly the major difficulty (at least in the short term) lies in the fact that the world view everyone is taught is exactly that out of date paradigm: everybody in the 'West' - the developed western world - 'knows' that what is solid and measurable is the true, objective reality - everything else is subjective and doesn't count.

The second difficulty is the breaking down of science into ever smaller sections of specialised knowledge. When a discovery in one field - say biology or biochemistry or archeology even, seems to challenge the paradigm, experts say (or, at least, think) "the paradigm can't be wrong, so either the observations or the theory based on them must be wrong." There are so many challenges to the science of the last 400 years that there is almost nothing left of the old certainties - but in each field the only common factor is the old paradigm.

The most serious challenge to the mechanistic world view comes from quantum physics. We are told by quantum physics that anything apparently solid is mostly space: that atoms are composed of various sub-atomic particles vibrating in empty space. Only the speed of their vibration gives rise to the illusion of solidity. Stop for a moment and consider the enormity of the scale of thing: if an atom were the size of this building, the nucleus, which is the largest part of it, would be the size of a very small fly or a spec of dust floating a shaft of sunlight ... Now, imagine that fly moving so quickly that this room appeared solid! We now Œknow¹ from quantum physics as a fact that reality is mostly just this illusion - and yet when we read of 'Maya' - the kind of waking dream described by the mystics of ancient India - we are so steeped in the western mechanistic scientific world view that it is hard to believe the ancient mystics and we think of them as being somehow primitive.

The CIA and US military are very sheepish about their studies of Remote Viewing and other psychic skills. They even deny that the twenty three year long trials were successful. Yet several former Viewers have described their own part in it: Joseph McMoneagle left the US military to do Remote Viewing commercially, and mentions finding Scud missiles by psychic means during the Gulf War; David Moorhouse makes a living teaching it. The Meobus Group makes a living by successfully finding lost archeological sites and treasure ships, and Ingo Swann has let slip several useful bits of information about it, including a reference to finding in this way of the elusive General Noriaga (former dictator of Panama who went into hiding from the US Drugs Agency.) The US Army Remote Viewing Project was known latterly as "Project Stargate", and the director was for over twenty Years Dale Graff M.Sc. (Physics) - you have only to read his book ŒTracks in the Psychic Wilderness¹ to know that the CIA is entirely wrong in its doubts. Now, why is the CIA so embarrassed about its spending on this sort of research, and why do you and I find the concept so hard to believe? The answer is that it doesn¹t fit into what we Œknow¹ - or rather, what we have traditionally been taught - about 'reality'.

A 'coincidence' consists of two (or more) apparently unconnected events which occur at the same time. Most of us have been aware at some time or other in our lives - perhaps many times - of a run of coincidences which appear to have meaning for us. Carl Jung coined the expression 'synchronicity' for meaningful coincidences. Jung thought that there were times when events were 'acausally related'.

In traditional scientific terms, things are connected by cause and effect or they are unconnected.However, there are some events which do not seem to have a cause - they just happen at the same time by chance or by sychronicity. Some of these coincidences are undoubtably just chance. However, when coincidences have meaning for us, we become uneasy about it, and Jung's 'synchronicity' seems more believable, more rational even, than the so-called rational alternatives.

In other cases a cause can be identified, but a cause which operates at a distance (like gravity) without any apparent connection between cause and effect. This is best exemplified by what is referred to as the "Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Paradox", from which it appears that if two particles have been intimately connected and are then separated in space, they are 'connected' nonetheless. If one of them is perturbed in certain ways, the other one is affected instantaneously (The connectedness, in other words, does not depend on a signal travelling at the speed of light or slower.)

The Ladbroke Grove train disaster in October 1999 was horrific. 31 people were killed when a short commuter train crossed in front of an inter-city 125 outside Paddington Station (London, U.K.), colliding at a combined speed of over 100 miles an hour. Fire followed in the leading coach of the inter-city train. According to one man who regularly travelled by that train, but was 'by coincidence' on a course at Milton Keynes for a week, the train was usually packed, with 10 or 12 people standing in the space by the doors of each carriage and many standard class commuters packed into the first class accommodation. There were fears that there would be many dead in and under the first carriage ... and yet the death toll was 31 for both trains and only one body was found in that first carriage. The man at Milton Keynes on a course was there by 'coincidence' - though it was one with meaning for him. If there were few who escaped from the first carriage but only one body inside, the inference is that there were fewer passengers than normal. Perhaps many meaningful coincidences occurred.

If you cast your mind back to the Moorgate Underground Train disaster in the late 70s (also London, U.K.), you will recall that a morning rush hour tube train to Moorgate (the city end of its journey) inexplicably accelerated and ran into a blank wall at the end of a dead end tunnel. There were no survivors from the first two coaches. The death toll in the disaster was 48. There were, therefore, 24 people (on average) in each of the first two carriages - when did you last travel on a rush hour London Underground train with two thirds of the seats empty?

One man interviewed afterwards said that he and two colleagues from the same office normally travelled in the first coach, getting on at different stations but travelling together. By 'coincidence' all three of them, quite independently and for no conscious reason, got into the last coach. That sounds like a meaningful coincidence, and the relative emptiness of the first two coaches suggests many other meaningful coincidences.

An even more impressive example of meaningful coincidence comes from a man called Edgar E. Dewy, who was appointed by the New York Stock Exchange to look into events leading up to the stock market crash of 1929, to study events and try to provide an early warning system for the future. What emerged from his study was a bewildering array of cycles. Apart from cycles like those of seasons, sunspots and tides, the menstrual and all the human biorhythm cycles, there other clear and measurable cycles, varying in length from taxpayer conscience payments, UK (3.5 years), through Aluminium Production, US (6.4 years) and Sunspots (11 years) to Immigration USA (18.2 years) and longer., and each cycle having dozens of events sharing it [2]

Now the fact weird bedfellows like Butter Prices in the US and Sales of Goodyear Rubber Products worldwide share the same cycle (8.6 years) is an odd phenomenon certainly, and it cannot be called a 'coincidence', since Dewey produced a whole book of such examples, far too numerous to be explained away or dismissed. So what are they? Can we really hope to set out a cause which gives rise to these effects? I suggest these cycles are the measurable synchronicities which support the basic contentions of both Astrology and Numerology.

In all probability there are indeed some identifiable causes - of sunspots, tides, possibly weather and perhaps crop yields etc. but there remain some which show the same features as synchronicty - a meaningful coincidence. The same synchronicity by which there just happen to be the same number of hexagrams in the I-Ching as there are loops on a strand of DNA

If there really is such a thing as a synchronicitous connection between events, as well as a cause and effect relationship, it ought to tell us a great deal about 'reality'. When we look at what Quantum Physics says about reality, we can see room for synchronicity deep within. It is here that we can make the first distinction between the mystic, the adept and the quantum physicist. At its most simple, the physicist attempts to understand and explain these mysterious processes and relationships, the adept to use them, for they are certainly usable, and the mystic to experience them, for they can seemingly be experienced.

I will come back to question of coincidences, but I want to draw attention to the other strand of this paper - the mind-shift now under way. Willis Harman, in his book ³Global Mind Change² sums it up better than I could. He says that there are a series of philosophical assumptions underlying science. Scientists are not usually conscious of the assumptions, but they control thinking. He refers to Metaphysic 1 (M-1) as the established ideas behind science:

"... the basic stuff of the universe is matter-energy. We learn about reality from studying the measurable ... Whatever consciousness is, it emerges out of matter (that is, the brain) when the the evolutionary process has progressed sufficiently far. Whatever we can learn about consciousness must ultimately be reconciled with the kind of knowledge we get from studying the physical brain, for consciousness apart from a living physical organism is not only unknown, it is inconceivable." (3)

The second Metaphysic (M-2), originally proposed by Descartes, Harman describes as:

"... dualistic. There are two fundamentally different kinds of stuff in the universe: matter- energy stuff and mind-spirit stuff. Matter energy stuff is studied with the present tools of science; mind-spirit stuff must be explored in other ways more appropriate to it ..." (4)

And yet a third Metaphysic (M-3) suggests that:

"... the ultimate stuff of the universe is consciousness. Mind (or consciousness or spirit) is primary and matter-energy arises in some sense out of mind. The physical world is to the greater mind as a dream image is to the individual mind. Ultimately, the reality behind the phenomenal world is contacted, not through the physical senses, but through deep intuition. Consciousness is not the end product of evolution; rather, consciousness was here first." (5)

Harman¹s thesis, and it is one I propose to you, is that science - and, consequently, society as whole, adopted M--1 as a basic metaphysical assumption over the period around Copernicus-Gallileo-Newton and, after holding to that world view for four hundred years, society and science are now undergoing a mind change from M--1 to M--3. He says:

"... The fundamental change that we are suggesting is happening in Western society can be put in terms of these metaphysics. Essentially, it is a shift of the dominant metaphysic from M--1 to M--3. At first this may seem as outrageous a proposition as the heliocentric universe did to many in early seventeenth century Europe. M--3 seems quite foreign to the Western mind, or certainly would have a generation or two ago." (6)

To adopt this 'new' metaphysic is not to deny the 'reality' of the material world. Just as a dream seems "real" to the dreamer, until you look at it from another perspective, so the world studied by physicists is real enough. However, there seems, from another perspective, to be a different reality behind it. Moreover, it is a reality which modern science is unable, from its present perspective, to either confirm or deny.

I should also point out (as Harman does) that one does not seek to "prove" a metaphysic - the question is not 'is this or that metaphysic correct?' but 'which metaphysic seems to best fit the totally of human experience?' M--1 underlies early modern science. and scientists almost universally assume (or used to do) that this provides what might reasonably be called a 'world view'.

To suggest that science and society are undergoing a change as great as that which surrounded Copernicus and Copernican ideas, sounds a sweeping claim and no such change has occurred in Western society in four centuries. However, whereas the original Copernican revolution was with regard to our view of outer space, this second revolution concerns instead inner space.

We should note, as students of esoteric tradition, that the M--3 metaphysic and world view is by no means new: for thousands of years this basic world view has been at the centre of esoteric wisdom and gnosis ... science and society are moving gradually back to what we have always studied and the ancient wisdom tradition has always taught. And we must take on board the implications of this - many are now reading, studying, researching, meditating on subjects we might prefer to keep to ourselves.Subjects which might, indeed, be better kept confidential from the military, the unscrupulous and the naive, but Pandora¹s box is already wide open.

In fact, as students of the esoteric gnosis, you will know that "reality" is widely said to be a dream from which we rarely awaken before death, and that 'enlightenment' is really an awaking from that dream. As Ouspensky said:

"In the ordinary waking state ... man does not see the real world ... He lives in a hypnotic sleep ... to "awaken" for a man means to be "dehypnotised." - P. D. Ouspensky, In Search of the Miraculous

To return to the Adept, the Mystic and the Quantum Physicist of the title, I would argue that an ŒAdept¹ is one who seeks through Œenlightenment¹ - the study of ancient wisdom, personal training and the higher spiritual Alchemy - to deliberately waken from that dream, to be aware of that other, greater reality and to apply it.

A Mystic, on the other hand experiences ... experiences what? And how? Jung speaks of Wolfgang Pauli¹s dream vision of the 'world clock. [7] In spite of this being described psychologically and archetypically by Jung, the Qabbalist will recognise in this vision the Spiritual Experience of Yesod - that of the "Experience of the Mechanism of the Universe". [8] Such a vision can be achieved by meditation on Yesod or the images connected with it. Doubtless it can be achieved by followers of other paths by meditation upon other suitable images.

However, such a vision can also be achieved involuntarily: Wolfgang Pauli dreamed his vision. Mark Hedsel describes in The Zelator: A Modern Initiate looks at the Ancient Mysteries how his vision occurred while driving along a country road between Ephrya and Corinth, in Greece. Hedsel recalls that he been visiting a newly discovered Necromanteion - an oracle in which the spirits of the dead were consulted. As he says, "One might hardly imagine such a site to be conducive to the higher world ... yet, it was while driving from this place that the heavens opened themselves up to us."

He explores what other reasons there might be for this experience: "We suspect that this experience was not something we had earned or deserved, and that it was nothing other than a gift bestowed by heavens. Our daily Spritual execises had been conducted with the usual attention and lack of attention - with what our Master had once called "quite normal, and quite unforgivable, human inertia." ... We were neither in love nor out of love, nether hungry nor surfeited. Everything was very ordinary - which is to say we were pressed between the quite normal miracles which surround all humans, and which generally pass by unseen. No doubt, the angels who guide us must have seen something was necessary. Perhaps we needed a shock, or an insight." [9]

Mark Hedsel describes the heavens opening. 'Suddenly, as though from within, a hitherto unrecognised joy cascaded on to the outside, and became part of the outer joy of the world.' There follow two paragraphs of dazzling images as he tries to explain in words what the ancients tried to descibe in symbols.

The point I am trying to make here, and it probably isn't necessary, is that the Mystic seeks the visionary experience, while the Adept (and probably the open-minded Quantum Physicist too) is liable to these involuntary glimpses of the reality behind the "real" world. I said earlier that synchronicity ought to be able to tell us something about reality.

David Peat (who is himself a Quantum Physicist) says: "Synchronicity has gradually been enfolded into an entirely new dimension; in place of a causal, deterministic world, in which mind and matter are two separate substances, appears a universe of infinite subtlety that is much closer to a creative, living organism than to a machine. From deep within this order there unfold harmonies that spread out across the mental and material realms in the form of meaningful patterns and conjunc- tions that act as intimations of the essential unity of all nature." [10]

In other words, synchronicity is itself evidence of an invisible connectedness underlying phenomenal nature. Clearly, David Peat has already made the move from M--1 to an M--3 metaphysic. You and I, however, belong to a body linked by vertical lineage stretching far back into history and further back beyond recorded history, in which an ancient wisdom has been handed down. It tells us that there is a reality which is beyond words and can only be described in symbols. It also tells us that the Adept can use this true reality, with enlightenment and training and that Mystic can experience that same reality by meditation and study. Now the Quantum Physicist can try to explain it too, but it is science which is gradually coming home to us.

Notes

[1] Dewey, E. R. and Mandino O; Cycles (Quoted in The Cycles of Time; Tatler, John pp 18- 20

[2] Ibid from Chapter 1

[3] Harman, Willis;Global Mind Change; page 30

[4] Ibid, p 30

[5] Ibid, p 30

[6] Ibid, p 31

[7] Very well described in F. David Peat: Synchronicity, the Bridge Between Matter and Mind; pages 17 - 18

[8] See, Fortune, Dion; The Mystical Qabbalah; Chapter XXIV

[9] Hedsel, Mark; The Zelator; pages 248 -251

[10] Op. cit. Peat; page 185

Bibliography

Dewey E. R. and Mandino O. ; Cycles; Manor Books, New York; 1973

Fortune, Dion; The Mystical Qabbalah; Aquarian Press, London; 1935

Graff, Dale; Tracks in the Psychic Wilderness; Element Books Inc., Boston USA; 1998

Harman, Willis; Global Mind Change; Berrett-Koehler Publishers, San Francisco USA; 1998

Hedsel, Mark; The Zelator: A Modern Initiate Explores the Ancient Mysteries; Century, London; 1998

Peat, F. David; Synchronicity: The Bridge Between Matter and Mind; Bantam Books, New York; 1987

Tatler, John; The Cycles of Time; Prism Press, Dorset UK; 1990.

 

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