Chapter 19 of Genesis Unveiled
© Ian Lawton 2003
For the last century advances in theoretical science, and in particular physics and cosmology, have increasingly led to the development of theories that are stunningly consistent with an ancient esoteric worldview. Indeed, I would argue that modern scientists are reconfirming, although from a far more technological perspective, universal truths that have persisted for tens of millennia. I am no formally trained scientist, but I will do what I can to explain the basic principles underlying these consistencies as I understand them, under a variety of headings.
Everything Is Energy
The first confirmation of an esoteric worldview comes from Albert Einstein’s work. His initial formulation of the special theory of relativity produced the now infamous equation e = mc2, which shows that energy is equal to mass times the square of the speed of light. In the very broadest of senses this tends to suggest that all mass, or matter, is nothing more than energy. This is exactly what an esoteric worldview suggests when it describes physical matter as being only a manifestation of energy at a particularly dense level of vibration, and that in more ethereal dimensions the energy vibrates at a higher level that does not produce matter-based physical forms.
Matter Is An Illusion
We can now take this observation a step further, because modern particle physics has shown us that not only is all matter energy, but in fact it has no fundamental physical building blocks at all. To appreciate this, we need to recap on a little history.
Isaac Newton’s formulation of the theories of mechanics at the end of the seventeenth century laid the foundation for the study of the physical sciences for the next two hundred years. He reinforced the classical Greek view of Democritus and others that all matter is made up of fundamental particles or atoms, but he also attempted to explain the force that held them together as that of gravity.
By the beginning of the twentieth century, however, it was becoming clear that gravity, while operating on a macroscopic level as the attractive force exerted by any objects of considerable size such as planets and stars, did not explain what was going on at the microscopic level inside atoms. At this time Ernest Rutherford identified that an atom is actually made up of a central nucleus and electrons that occupy various orbits around it and that, rather than being solid, the bulk of the atom is just space. In time it was established that the nucleus itself is made up of protons and neutrons, themselves surrounded by considerable space. Various other elementary particles have now been discovered, although most of these can only be observed in high-speed accelerators that cause them to collide and transform into energy and other particles.
Nevertheless, the fundamental flaw in the Newtonian view was only fully revealed when it became apparent that all subatomic particles sometimes behave like particles, and sometimes like waves. This paradox was solved by the combined work of Einstein, Max Planck, Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg and Paul Dirac, among others, in the postulation that the particles are energy waves emitted in packets, or quanta. Moreover, they also discovered that these quanta only show ‘tendencies to exist’ at a particular place, and that their interactions only show ‘tendencies to occur’ at a particular time, both of which are measured in terms of probabilities – so that in fact we should envision them as ‘probability waves’ or, more recently, ‘quantum fields’.
All of this, of course, supports the view that matter does not actually exist in any physical sense at all. Atoms and their nuclei do not contain any fundamental building blocks of matter, as had previously been thought, and solid physical form is merely a sensory perception of humans and presumably other sentient animals. This perception is underpinned partly by the various quanta showing a marked stability under normal unchanged conditions, not only in the atomic but also in the molecular sense, and partly by the incredible speed with which they revolve in their orbital confinement, thus giving all matter its apparent solidity. Again, such findings are entirely consistent with an esoteric worldview, which suggests that not only is the physical world of relative unimportance, but also that it is actually an illusion.[i]
Everything Is Interconnected
Another fundamental principle of quantum theory is the fact that the observer in any experiment is not an objective bystander but a fundamental participant. This is revealed by Heisenberg’s ‘uncertainty principle’ which states, for example, that the more accurately observers attempt to measure the momentum of a ‘wave packet’, the less certain they become of its position, and vice versa. Similarly, the more accurately they attempt to measure the energy of a quantum interaction, the less certain they become about the time at which it occurs, and vice versa. Consequently, we can see that observers choose in an entirely subjective and involved way how they want to observe the process, and what aspect of it they want to measure – which is tantamount to saying that they are an integral part of the process.[ii]
Again, we have seen that an esoteric worldview particularly stresses the unity and interconnectedness of all things; under this schema the enlightened realise that their own physical and spiritual being is not separate from, or independent of, anything and everything else in the physical or ethereal worlds, but rather that ‘all are one’.
Everything Has Consciousness
As an extension to the idea that everything is interconnected, more recent developments in theoretical physics have led to the postulation that consciousness has to be included in any all-inclusive theory about the workings of the universe. For example, this idea is fundamental to the ‘bootstrap’ theory expounded by Geoffrey Chew, which suggests that there are no fundamental ‘laws of nature’, and that any such laws developed by scientists are mere reflections of their perception of the world. Instead, we must postulate that the universe operates as a dynamic web of countless interconnected events, and that none of the properties of any part of this web is more fundamental than any other. Moreover, what keeps the whole set of processes dynamically balanced is their self-consistency; and a part of that consistency is by definition – given, for example, the participative interactions involved in quantum experiments – human consciousness.[iii
So much for human consciousness being an integral part of the whole. But what about a broader consciousness? One of the major areas of study in recent decades has been that of ‘nonlocal connections’ – those events at the subatomic level that appear to occur instantaneously and cannot be categorised as a response to a localised cause. Such phenomena were first discussed in the context of the ‘EPR experiment’ devised theoretically by Einstein in his attempts to counteract Bohr’s postulation of such connections, and to show that all events must have a deterministic local cause. However, in the hands of John Bell this experiment went on to provide a vehicle for a theorem that totally rebutted Einstein’s view.
In order to understand a highly simplified version of Bell’s theorem, we require a little background. Any electron has a spin, which for the sake of this discussion may be regarded as a spin about its own axis. This spin is always of a fixed value, but it can be in either a clockwise or anticlockwise direction. Moreover, although the axis of spin is another of those variables that cannot be predicted in advance with any certainty, as soon as the experimenter chooses an axis in order to take a measurement of the spin, it will be found to be in one direction or the other around that axis. In other words, it is the very act of measurement that gives the electron a definitive axis of rotation, even though this could not have been predicted beforehand.
Armed with this knowledge, Bell’s theorem says that two electrons can be given opposite spins so that their combined spin cancels out to zero, even though the individual directions of spin are unknown. If these two electrons are caused to move apart from each other, even to the extent of one ending up on the moon while the other remains on earth, all external influences aside their combined spins will still be zero. Now, if a measurement of the spin of the electron that remains on earth is taken about a given axis, immediately the other electron on the moon is given the exact opposite spin about that same axis, even though it had no means of knowing in advance what axis would be chosen. This kind of nonlocal and instantaneous reaction cannot even be regarded as the result of a signal of some kind being sent, because it occurs faster than the speed of light. In other words, the interconnections between all parts of the universe not only appear to be instantaneous, but also can only be viewed in the light of a degree of interconnected consciousness residing in all quanta. These findings are, surely, advancing towards the esoteric view that not only can we speak of a ‘universal energy’, but that in fact this must also be viewed as a ‘universal consciousness’.[iv]
The Part Is The Whole
The implications of Bell’s theorem – which was finally proved by experiment in 1982 – are still being considered, but one theoretical physicist in particular who took them to their next logical step was David Bohm. He postulated that the fundamental interconnectedness of everything in the universe means that we make a mistake when we look at anything within it as a separate part, and that its ‘wholeness’ has an ‘implicate order’ in which all aspects of the whole are ‘enfolded’ in all the parts, and vice versa. Therefore, for example, the only parts of an electron that we detect are those that ‘unfold’ into our ‘explicate order’, and they appear to move as a result of an interactive series of enfoldings and unfoldings between the two orders. This also explains why particles sometimes change into others, and sometimes into pure energy, and vice versa.
As a result Bohm likened the universe to a hologram, which contains the whole of a three-dimensional image even if we perceive only one part at a time. This view allows us to better conceive how the nonlocal reactions of Bell’s theorem work, because in a hologram all ideas of location are redundant. However, in order to express the fundamental dynamism of the universe Bohm coined the term holomovement, in which consciousness and matter are interdependent and mutually enfolding projections of a higher reality.
Bohm’s work surely suggests that to some extent all ‘forms’ are not so much a tiny part of the ‘original whole’ or ‘source’, but rather a complete reflection of it. Moreover, he himself drew the implication from his work that all matter and energy is conscious and, to some extent, alive.[v]
All Time Is Relative
The fundamental aspect of Einstein’s special theory of relativity that I have not yet mentioned is his demonstration that the Newtonian concept of absolute and independent space and time dimensions – which were assumed to act as a stable and dependable backdrop for all events – was fatally flawed. Einstein proved that while one observer might witness two events simultaneously, another might see them as temporally separated as a result of his having a different velocity relative to the two events. These differences are due to the time taken for visual signals to arrive, which is dependent on the speed of light, and they only really come into play when massive velocities or distances are involved. Nevertheless, Einstein proved that space and time measurements are relative both to the observer and to each other, and that we must consider space-time as a four-dimensional continuum. Moreover, he made it clear that space-time references or co-ordinates are merely artificial constructs used by an observer to describe their environment.
Einstein then went on to extend his work into the general theory of relativity by bringing in the Newtonian concept of gravity. He showed that the gravitational force exerted by massive bodies such as planets and stars has the effect of bending or curving the three-dimensional space around them. This may best be conceived by considering how the rules of Euclidian geometry – which allow us, for example, to accurately draw a square on a two-dimensional plane by marking off right angles – no longer apply on the surface of a three-dimensional sphere. In the same way, gravity warps the space around a massive object so that normal three-dimensional geometric laws no longer apply. Moreover, because time and space form a related continuum, time is also warped in the locality of massive objects, and can therefore be seen to flow at different rates in different parts of the universe.
Astrophysicists were not able to study black holes during Einstein’s lifetime, but they provide one of the finest examples of warped space–time. A black hole is formed when extremely large stars collapse in on themselves, and matter is sucked into an increasingly small space in which it becomes ever more compacted. As a result, they exert a massive gravitational attraction, which is what causes them to suck in any matter that strays into their vicinity. The effect of this huge gravitational field is to slow time from the perspective of the external observer, so that, for example, if we could observe an atomic clock flashing a signal back to earth as it approached a black hole, the time it displayed would slow down relative to our own time to such an extent that once it crossed the ‘event horizon’ – beyond which the force of gravity is so strong that not even light can escape – time in the black hole would be seen to come to a complete halt from our external perspective. But of course from the perspective of the clock and the black hole themselves, time is still flowing at the same rate it always has.[vi]
In an esoteric worldview, one of the primary objectives of neophytes searching for enlightenment is to transcend not only their physical limitations but also those of time, and especially in the East time has always been regarded as an artificial construct whose limitations can be overcome. However, this view is reinforced in certain of the Western esoteric texts. For example, in the Hermetica we find the suggestion that ‘it is for the sake of body that place and time and physical movement exist’.[vii] Plato also strongly infers that time does not really exist in any absolute sense, but rather as a concept that provides us with a reference point with which to make sense of the physical world:[viii]
... we use such expressions as what is past is past, what is present is present, what is future is future, and what is not is not, none of which is strictly accurate, though this is perhaps not a suitable occasion to go into the question in detail.
Moreover, we have seen Michael Newton’s subjects report that perceptions of time in the ethereal realms are totally different from those on the physical plane.
There Are Other Dimensions
The search for a ‘theory of everything’ that will unite quantum and relativity theory has been the holy grail of theoretical physicists ever since the two components were put in place, because although they respectively explain the microcosmic and macrocosmic worlds almost perfectly, they have not yet been successfully integrated. Moreover, several examples show that such a quantum–relativistic bridge needs to be built. In the nuclear world, the speeds of rotation of the protons, nucleons and other quanta are so high that they approach the speed of light, so relativity theory comes into play. Meanwhile, although the force that binds the elements of a nucleus together – known as strong attraction – is so strong that gravity is normally negligible in quantum theory, in the world of the black hole the compression of so many quanta into an increasingly small space creates, as we have seen, a huge mass and huge gravitational forces.
A number of quantum–relativistic theories have been developed in recent decades, one of the most developed and publicised being ‘string theory’. A number of versions of this theory exist, but they all work on the principle that the various quanta that we observe are in fact vibrating strings that have some inherent tension, and whose varying states of excitation produce the quanta that we are able to measure. Above all, almost all versions propose that there are at least ten space–time ‘dimensions’ in total. String theory has many opponents, not least because it has yet to be experimentally verified, but widespread efforts are being made to rectify this deficiency.[ix]
We can see that this theory has certain similarities with Bohm’s notion of enfoldment, in that its fundamental approach is that there is much going on in other ‘nonphysical’ dimensions or planes that we are not directly aware of, and about which we can only postulate. This is, of course, entirely consistent with an esoteric worldview.
Vibration And Harmony Rule
One of the clear implications of string theory is that vibration lies at the heart of all energy forms, although to a large extent this view is implicit in most modern theoretical physics. However, string theory in particular suggests that different configurations of strings effectively produce different ‘harmonic chords’, and this leads us into familiar esoteric territory in which certain harmonies attune to the fundamental vibrations of the universe. For example, this is the principle behind the power of the Word that we have encountered in a previous chapter, and also behind the chanting and mantras that are often used to precipitate a higher state of consciousness.[x]
Big Bang Was A Dawn Of Brahma
When, in the 1920s, Edwin Hubble observed that all galaxies appear to be moving apart from each other, it became clear that the universe is expanding. Two theories were then developed to account for this – the ‘steady state’ view that has now been largely discredited, and the ‘big bang’ theory of the origins of the universe that most cosmologists now support. The latter postulates that all the matter in the universe was originally compressed into a ‘singularity’, a point of zero size but infinite mass, which then exploded – sending its contents spinning off into the universe to form stars, planets and galaxies. Of course, our comprehension of the singularity is perhaps assisted if we regard its contents as pure energy rather than compressed matter, and if we accept that we are not able to comprehend its extended dimensionality.
In attempting to devise a theory of quantum gravity that can successfully describe black holes, Stephen Hawking has made a huge contribution to our understanding of big bang in recent decades, because the increasing concentration of matter in the centre of a black hole has many obvious similarities to the singularity from which the universe exploded. Moreover, our understanding of this event is increasing with the development of ever-more-sophisticated orbiting space telescopes such as the Hubble, which allow cosmologists to see ever farther into the far reaches of the universe. Because of the time taken for such distant signals to arrive on earth at the speed of light, the farther out we observe, the younger the stars and galaxies become, bringing us ever closer to the condition of the universe just after big bang.
These observations, and the various cosmological models that are still under consideration, predict a variety of values for the age of the universe – although they normally vary between ten and twenty billion years. Considerable debate still exists as to whether the universe will continue to expand forever, or will at some point start to contract until it eventually becomes a singularity again. This latter view of an ‘oscillating universe’ tends to be preferred, and, yet again, we can see that it is highly consistent with the esoteric explanations offered in the ancient texts and traditions from all around the world that we considered in a previous chapter. A number of these suggest that any big bang is just one point in an infinite succession of days and nights of Brahma – in this case the point being the ‘dawn’ of the current day – although of course it might be more appropriate to talk of lives and deaths of Brahma in this universal context. Moreover, this worldview clearly answers the philosophical question of what happened before the big bang, to which the continued-expansion theorists have no real answer.
Within this analysis perhaps lies another clue to the nature of the subcycles within the universal cycles, inasmuch as the development of a solar system and its eventual collapse back into a black hole may be seen as part of a subcycle. However, I must reiterate that there is no reason to suppose that this would happen more than once for any given solar system on the physical plane in a given universal cycle.
The Paranormal Is Just Normal
One of the by-products of the increasingly holistic scientific view of the universe is that an increasing number of researchers are using the new theories of theoretical physics to attempt to explain phenomena that have hitherto been labelled paranormal. These include phantom replays of past events, extrasensory perception, telepathy, precognition, psychokinesis, telekinesis, remote viewing, out-of-body experiences, experiences of the ethereal realms, energy fields and auras and their interactions, and psychic healing.[xi]
Moreover, it seems increasingly likely that the predominantly sceptical attitude of scientists towards many of these phenomena will have to change, and that in the future they will receive the widespread professional attention that an esoteric worldview suggests they deserve.[xii] In time, it is to be hoped that their para prefix will be dropped, and – in a return to a worldview that I would suggest was initiated during the golden age of our forgotten race, and resurrected for a time after the catastrophe – they will be regarded once again as perfectly natural phenomena. And if we can achieve this, we might even in time be able to reverse the cultural repression of these natural skills in our species, and return to encouraging their development.
We can see that twentieth-century progress away from the mechanistic Newtonian view of the universe to a more process-oriented view has reconfirmed virtually all of the major tenets of an esoteric worldview that has survived in various Eastern and Western schools of thought for millennia. Indeed, the extent of confirmation is quite startling.
I am not of the opinion that we can belittle this as merely the rediscovery of a set of universal truths that have been known all along, because it is quite clear that, although the esoteric and scientific worldviews have both been built up from observation and experiment, the two approaches have nevertheless been fundamentally different. The former has relied on direct revelation and experience of these truths while in a higher state of consciousness, and to some extent on continued observation of the underlying nature of the universe after such insights have been gained, while the latter has relied on an empirical experimentation that is incomparably more technologically advanced than anything that has preceded it. Hence my preference for the term reconfirmation.
Nor should the modern scientific approach be underestimated, even by those who are largely sceptical of it, because there can be little doubt that in its modern guise it has the potential to take us beyond anything our predecessors achieved, if used in the right way. Indeed, I might even suggest that the natural dynamic flux of polar opposites, of the Yin and Yang, is nowhere better demonstrated than in the swing from the domination of intuitive appreciation to that of the rational intellect – which has now arguably ruled supreme, in the West at least, for several millennia. If the pendulum is now swinging back again to the former, but with a more advanced rational foundation underneath it, then so much the better.
Above all, rather than holding back or even reversing our spiritual progress, as scientists have indeed done in the past, theoretical physicists at least now would appear to be in the vanguard of ushering in a new, more spiritual era – one in which it is to be hoped that our finest brains will, rather than restricting themselves to the partial view of the single scientific discipline, once again pride themselves on considering the philosophical whole.
[i] A fuller discussion of the scientific concepts and history outlined in this section and the previous one can be found in Fritjof Capra’s groundbreaking 1976 work The Tao of Physics (Flamingo, 1992), Chapter 4, pp. 61–93, Chapter 13, pp. 222–6, and Chapter 14, pp. 229–47. He also reconfirms the extent to which the Eastern worldviews of Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism regard the physical world as a mere illusion; see ibid., Chapters 5–9.
[ii] See ibid., Chapter 10, pp. 152–4, and Chapter 11, pp. 168–73.
[iii] See ibid., Chapter 18, pp. 331–3.
[iv] See ibid., ‘Afterword to the Second Edition’, pp. 341–6.
[v] See ibid., ‘Afterword to the Second Edition’, pp. 352–3. For more details see Michael Talbot’s 1991 work The Holographic Universe (HarperCollins, 1996), Chapter 2; and for the full explanation see David Bohm’s 1980 work Wholeness and the Implicate Order (Routledge, 1995), in particular Chapter 7.
[vi] See Capra, The Tao of Physics, Chapter 4, pp. 71–4, and Chapter 12, pp. 177–207.
[vii] Stobaeus Excerpt 16; see Walter Scott's Hermetica (Solos Press, 1992), p. 173.
[viii] Timaeus 7; see Desmond Lee's Plato: Timaeus and Critias (Penguin Classics, 1977), p. 52. In the preceding passage he notes that time is not a relevant concept in the higher ethereal realms.
[ix] For more information on string theory see, for example, Brian Greene’s The Elegant Universe (Jonathan Cape, 1999).
[x] It is interesting to note that in his 1994 work The Infinite Harmony (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1994), Michael Hayes attempts to show that octave structures are inherent to the functioning of DNA, compares the latter with the Chinese I Ching, and suggests that Hermetic knowledge is encoded within it. This approach has certain basic similarities with that adopted by Jeremy Narby in The Cosmic Serpent (Phoenix, 1999). Meanwhile, although it has less direct relevance to our discussion of vibration and harmonics, Katya Walter’s 1996 work The Tao of Chaos (Element, 1996) again explores the similarities between the Chinese I Ching and the genetic code, and suggests this is evidence of a master plan in which the divine is the all-encompassing pattern present in all life.
[xi] For one of the finest analyses of these phenomena, undertaken predominantly in the context of Bohm’s theories of implicate order, see Talbot’s The Holographic Universe, Parts 2 and 3. Among the many additional sources for material on the paranormal, I would in particular recommend Lyall Watson’s Supernature (Hodder and Stoughton, 1973) and Dean Radin’s The Conscious Universe (Harper, 1998).
[xii] A prime example of the fact that this attitude is already changing is provided by Brian Josephson, a Nobel Laureate and professor of physics at Cambridge University who heads the Mind-Matter Unification Project. For some time he has been exploring how statistically-validated but supposedly paranormal phenomena such as telepathy might be explained by a different approach to quantum theory and nonlocal connections that, instead of relying on the form-oriented methods of traditional science, recognises the meaning-oriented context in which all biosystems operate. For example, see his paper ‘Biological Utilisation of Quantum NonLocality’, Foundations of Physics 21 (1991), pp. 197–207.