When the White Queen told Alice she was one hundred and one, five months and a day,
"I can't believe that!" said Alice
"Can't you?" the Queen said in a pitying tone. "Try again; draw a long breath and shut your eyes".
Alice laughed. "There's no use trying", she said: "one can't believe impossible things".
"I daresay you haven't had much practice", said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast".
Quantum physics, from a deterministic point of view definitely appears to be a looking glass world, where things both are and aren't at the same time. (Like the famous text book example Schrodinger's cat, both dead and alive). What we project is that the further we go into the eerie possibilities of quantum thought, the more our social structures, institutions, religions, will change, of necessity, founded as they are on Platonic beliefs and hierarchical behaviour. We can longer explain time, space and the universe as a linear development, nor can we continue to reject the "web of being"as merely a nature lover's fantasy. Furthermore it needs another mode of thinking, more like Edward de Bono's lateral thought or "mystical" thinking, to envisage a world composed entirely of waves and particle, which under certain conditions become each other (as in the slit experiment when light shone at one slit passes as particles, at two, as waves). Hard to believe that there is no "solid matter", it only appears so, that we create our world from our "vision" of it, and in this observer and the observed revolve in an endless dance. The "Uncertainty Theory" was too much for Einstein at the end of his life when he declared "God does not play dice". If we split the notion of God into billions of waves and particles "passing" energy between everything that exists, it can be seen that she does, in the most extraordinarily beautiful way.
Einstein struggled with the incompatibility of the idea of a transcendent, lawgiving God figure, and the illumination of quantum thought which demonstrates universal consciousness. There is also the Romantic Fallacy, for which the Dostoevskian hero suffers agonies of despair at the meaninglessness of a life in which "god" no longer exists. Sartre and the existentialists also believed that there is only man, responsible for everything. Life was "La Nausee", in an empty, cold and vast universe.
A traditional system of belief with an authoritarian God; priests believed to have secret knowledge that enables them to be mediators between Heaven and the world, political enemies kept in check, all very expedient in a world of marauding armies, plague and famine. But it got out of hand as in the burning times of the 16th and 17th centuries, those who opposed the primitive hierarchical system such as healers and midwives, "diggers and levellers", freethinkers (Galileo, Nostradamas), were persecuted. Christian duality, or the Platonic separation of the Absolute and the illusion, (the world), justified such systems. But authority figures must have a corresponding flock, a flock which depends on being told what to do. Mathew Arnold wrote of the "melancholy, long withdrawing roar" of the"Sea of Faith". And what is left?
… "for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
so various, so beautiful, so new
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight
Where ignorant armies clash by night".
Institutionalised religions, including Islam, Hinduism, Christianity have very little to do with individual mystical experiences, which were frequently an embarrassment as in the case of St. Francis of Assissi. Belief that we ourselves are "god" in that we are part of the web of being, that we create our own worlds and experiences, and are responsible for all the events of our lives, is too hard for a great many people, who cling to an ordered system. And the world is indeed violent and unpredictable, and definitely uncertain. And technology and quantum thought is inevitably eroding certainties even further. Who can imagine where developments in virtual reality will go, how far the Internet will expand, what is the destiny of genetic engineering. Even in discoveries such as electricity there is a huge unknown factor. Such as-All electro-magnetic waves (including Extremely Low Frequency or ELF) travel at the same speed. If an EM wave were continuously reflected it would travel round the earth 7.45 times a second. Thus if a radio transmitter could transmit a frequency of 7.45 herz (cycles per second) the power would travel round the earth and each time it arrived back at it's source another wave would be added to it. The vibrations would continue to increase as time passed until….who knows?
Although humanity seems to misuse every scientific discovery made (eg radiation, electricity, chemical warfare) nevertheless we have extraordinary powers over the natural processes of the planet, as with EM waves. We do not, however, have control of our "lizard brains" or hypothalamus, seat of instinct and instinctive reactions to planetary movements such as full moons. It has enormous lessons for us because it apparently contains the consciousness that is our link to the whole web of being, intuitive wisdom. This is the area that needs to be developed to bring us even close to the capacities that animals have for communication. It is this that responds to the natural resonance of the earth. (The human bio-electric field that this brain relates to contains the alpha wave, whose frequency varies slightly amongst individuals and also according to one's state of consciousness. The most common value is 7.5 cycles per second. Thus the earth's fundamental frequency of natural vibration, and humans most natural electric vibration, are the same).
Somewhere along the line of human evolution humanity cut itself off from, or lost the ability to connect to, the invisible, incalculable systems of the natural world. Humans have to invent somewhat inefficient machines to create radar communication that migrating birds or salmon can use so effortlessly. We do not know Whale language and how they communicate in the deep oceans. We imitate, with our "Internet", but we can't do it out of our own heads like they do. Was this the beginning of the Fall from the Garden of Eden? The fall being the plunge into the harsh and painful way of life of the "Jealous God", the loss of the human place in the kingdoms of animal, fishes, birds, plants, and trees. Human memory longs for "the Golden Age", but the God of Genesis made it impossible to return and decreed sorrow in its place. This was the sorrow of alienation from the natural world.
Quantum thought makes it clear that man can never be "alone" in the universe. The man "whose spring of hope is dried, whose spirit has fail'd" (M. Arnold-'Empedocles on Etna') is also unaware of all the electro-magnetic fields around. Speculations about the nature of consciousness, a racial subconscious such as Jung suggested but linked on to the natural world. Nicolas Tesla built massive coils that transmitted from power up to 40,000 watts of light in the mountains, simply from the energy around, without the use of wires. Mystics know the sensation of the hum of the universe, the "music of the spheres". In moments of awareness we feel this connectedness, feel that we can "hear" events from miles away, see with the inner eye in the way, for example, that migrating birds do.
Recognition of this "life-force", this hum, has motivated natural religions since the beginning of time. I believe that we all possess a natural "paganism" simply in our recognition of ourselves as part of the natural world, (remembering that in Latin pagus= countryside, and "paganus"= country dweller). Human beings cram into extremely unhealthy cities but rush at the first opportunity to nature, to the seaside, on holiday, to farms etc. Our "lizard" brain craves the interaction with growing things, with animals and birds. In the interaction our spiritual nature bathes in the flux and flow of the universal consciousness. The perception of quantum thought, that we exist in our relationships, as does everything, revalidates the idea of "earth" religions. Such religions, witchcraft, magic explore the natural flow of things through our instinctive knowledge of earth resonances, but they have been so demonised by the Christian Church that many people find it hard to accept them as a remedy for the urban angst of the 20th century.
The rituals celebrated in "goddess or "earth" movements mark and acknowledge summer gatherings, solstices, full moons, high tides, all the events that shape our lives whether we recognise them or not. They are a recognition of "immanence", the energy, resonance, life-force in the EM fields around us and not some abstract "transcendence" up in the sky dressed up in primitive manners and clothes of power and domination by force. In sympathetic magic the energy of the earth mingles with that of the magician. It also implies a big responsibility that we own everything that we say and do and are, no-one else makes the decisions and we shape ourselves as we will. The pleasure comes from the recognition that we are energy, that our energy is constantly interacting with all other energies. Atoms and molecules dance, we join the dance of the spheres and dance for joy. We reverence the natural world, and thus we reverence ourselves. Quantum thought tells us that we are our relationships, part of the endlessly interacting stuff of the world. Walt Whitman, that energetic mystic , observed,
"We are nature, long have we been absent, but now we return,
We become plants, trunks, foliage, roots, bark,
We are bedded in the ground, we are rocks…
We are two resplendent suns, we it is who balance ourselves orbic and steller, we are as two comets,
We prowl fang'd and four-footed in the woods, we spring on prey,
We are clouds forenoons and afternoons driving overhead,
We are seas mingling, we are two of those cheerful waves rolling over each other and interwetting each other,
We are what the atmosphere is, transparent, receptive pervious, impervious,
We are snow, rain, cold, darkness we are each product and influence of the globe,
We have circled and circles till we have arrived home again, we too
We have voided all but freedom and all but our own joy."
(From "We two, how long we were fooled" - Walt W. Whitman 1819-1892)
- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass". Lewis Caroll. Pub. J.M. Dent 1954. p.173
- The Poetical Works of Mathew Arnold-Oxford ed 1950 "Empedocles on Etna" p.406 Dover Beach p.211.
- We two, how long we were fooled". Leaves of Grass. Signet Edition1955 . Walt Whitman.
- Thanks to Harry Williamson for discussions and information on Nicolas Tesla and electricity.
Originally published in the 1995 GAS Magazine