Friday, 17 October 2008


"Our ordinary view holds that the field of the finite is all that there is. But if the finite has no independent existence, it cannot be all that is. We are in this way led to propose that the true ground of all being is infinite, the unlimited; and that the infinite includes and contains the finite. In this view, the finite, with its transient nature, can only be understood as held suspended, as it were, beyond time and space, within the infinite." - David Bohm

So what were the ideas that Quantum Science had come up with that had changed everything? Well, thanks to the pioneering studies of Einstein, Niels Bohr, Werner Heisenberg and others Science had discovered that, once the building blocks of existence were broken down into atoms, electrons, quantas and quarks, the normally accepted model of the Universe didn't work at all. Rather than a regular, Newtonian, 'Universe as Machine' made up of discrete, independent objects operating according to fixed laws, it was an unpredictable mass of apparently conflicting energies and events. Suddenly 2 + 2 did not equal 4, or at least not always. Sometimes it did, sometimes it didn't. Indeed nobody was quite sure what 2 +2 did equal any more. More disturbingly, there seemed to be a paradox between what we saw, felt and experienced as the world (the 'common sense' view so beloved of Richard Dawkins and his team) and how that world actually operated on a quantum level. Everything we associate with Quantum Science since the initial discoveries- Multiple Universes, String Theory, Bubble Universes etc - has been about trying to work out what it all meant and how these two models of the Universe fitted together.

Bohm identified a number of major breakthroughs in our understanding of Science which presented serious challenges to the old Mechanistic view of the Universe begun by Newton. Now, I'm going to be super-careful here as I have tangled with several students of QM and they HATE it when people get woolly and imprecise about their subject. So, after a deep breath, here goes...

First off, it was discovered that Light could operate both as a wave AND a particle, sometimes at the same time. Einstein had posited that particles emerged from waves, but subsequent explorations demonstrated that this was not the half of it. In fact they were one. What does this mean? Well, we imagine light as pure energy flowing like a wave through the Universe. Through the so-called 'Double Slit' experiment, it was discovered that this was not the case, at least not always. In fact Light could also operate as a particle (ie not as a wave but as something more akin to Matter). Now, given that we established in the first post that everything was a form of Light, that means that everything can, potentially, operate as a wave and a particle - and sometimes as something in between. Confused yet? You will be, as it is also thought that Light only becomes a wave or a particle (ie it choses its state, as it were) when it is observed. Thus, theoretically, unless light was measured in some way, it exists in an intermediary state between a wave and a particle. Bohr was the first to discover this. Heisenberg's 'uncertainty principle' only reinforced this view. Thus everything 'observable' was thrown up into the air. Whereas once we had thought things operated along fixed, predictable Newtonian lines, now we realised that they didn't. From now on, we could not say anything for certain, but only make predictions based upon probabilities. To put it more simply, where previously we had thought that 2 + 2 = 4, since Einstein, Bohr and Hiesenberg, we could only hope it did. We could say that, more than likely, it would always come out 4, but we could no longer rule out the possibility that it could come out 5, or 3, or 4589. More than that, we couldn't rule out the possibility that the thing which decided whether it would come out as 4 or 4589 was the person looking at it, ie the Observer. Until something was measured in some way it could only be said to be potentially one thing or another. Suddenly the Observer and the Observed had become inextricably interlinked. 'Reality', as we call it, depended entirely on being measured. Until something came into the Consciousness of something else it didn't 'exist' in the sense we mean it ie in a fixed state. As the UPANISHADS put it: 'How may the Knower be Known?'

Bohm thought this was hugely exciting, particularly in its suggestion of 'the unbroken wholeness of the Universe' with Consciousness (ie Observation) as the mediating principle. But he was dissatisfied with the 'unknowability' inherent within it - ie that there was no objective Reality independent of the Observer. He thus came up with his own interpretation of Bohr's findings known as the Causal or Ontological Theory which posited the idea of 'Hidden Variables. He suggested that in some sense the wave/particle 'decision' was made by energy through an exchange of information between differing states. Thus energy 'knew' whether it should be a wave or a particle by interacting with its environment. In a flash the fragmented, alienating view of the Cosmos as Machine outside us that Newton and Descartes had given birth to was gone and replaced by a new order of things in which the everything was indivisible from its surroundings, everything interacting with everything else through a constant flow of quantum 'information' of which the Observer was part. I say replaced, perhaps I should have said 'restored', as everyone reading this will probably recognise this idea from all the Mystical systems in the world. Its classic Zen Buddhism and exactly the same idea as that espoused by Bishop Berkeley in the 18th Century. Subsequent Quantum Scientists have not liked the idea so much and now speak of 'entanglement', a state in which everything keeps everything else in place by simultaneously interacting. But this points, once again, to 'the unbroken wholeness of the Universe', even though it appears to take Consciousness out of the equation. Bohm's Ontological Theory with its exchange of information, although largely rejected by the Scientific Community, still seems to pop up in other guises and may still prove to be more commensurate with the facts...

Next, it was discovered that the movement of energy from one state to another was not continuous. In other words, nothing on a Quantum level goes from A to B to C but from A to F to H to Z to C, doing so in a process of release of discrete packages of energy. I know. I don't quite understand it either, but basically it means that, once again, the Universe does not operate along fixed, predictable lines, but jumps around all over the place. In the process, all sorts of mysterious things happen. An electron in a tree, for example, can simultaneously be somewhere else. The tree remains the same, but somehow the electron is both within it, giving it its existence, and somewhere else. Not only that, but if two electrons are separated and placed at any distance apart, they will continue to interact as if they were together. This, known as 'Action At A Distance' (or 'Spooky Action At A Distance' as some Scientists like to call it!), is one of the most startling elements of Quantum Science. No-one quite knows how this can happen. One theory is that the Speed of Light might be being violated, which would explain why we can't perceive what the process in action might be. But Einstein had said that the Speed of Light couldn't be violated, so that wasn't a very satisfactory explanation (although some Scientists now believe this is no longer an impossibility and have named these particles moving faster than the Speed of Light Tachyons). Another is that, quite simply, everything genuinely is 'entangled', so utterly linked to everything else that the old adage 'all is One' is inescapably true. Both shatter the classical model of Physics of the Universe as Machine, made up of independently operating parts. And yet it seems that the latter is how things are. Indeed we have based the last 200 years of Science (and everything else) upon it. So what is going on?

I am sure you are confused by now. Don't worry, everyone is. A famous adage among Scientists is that if you think you understand Quantum Physics then you don't understand Quantum Physics. And so far I haven't even mentioned things like Dark Matter, the invisible material which makes up more than 80% of the Universe, the theory of Multiple Universes or the existence of extra dimensions suggested by String Theory. These latter, by the way, are the reason we have built the Hadron Collider at CERN. We are trying to find them...

As you can tell, Quantum Science is even more mindboggling than Kabbalah or the Vedas! Or possibly not, as many of the early Quantum Scientists studied these ancient texts for metaphors with which to understand what they were finding out about the Universe. Be warned! It is a foolhardy Mystic who tries to convince the average student of Quantum Science that there is any parallel between Mysticism and their studies. New Agers and movies like WHAT THE BLEEP DO WE KNOW haven't helped, with Scientists reacting violently against any such suggestion for fear of long-haired crystal-hangers taking over their discoveries. Nevertheless the fact remains that Heisenberg, Bohr, Schroedinger, Einstein and Bohm all thought that there were correspondences between the Upanishads, Zen Buddhism and the Kabbalah and the picture of Reality they were building up.

What made Bohm a pioneer was that, before anyone else, he leapt head-first into the implications of Quantum Science and sought to find a new way of looking at the Universe. While everyone else was trying to cling hold of the Classical Model of Newton and Descartes, he realised this was impossible and sought a new interpretation. The problem was how one squared the seemingly solid, three dimensional world full of discrete, independent objects we experienced with the seething, interacting, sea of Quantum Phenomena Scientists were increasingly discovering were out there. What made the establishment nervous was that if the implications of Quantum Science were to be properly understood, then everything was 'non-local'. In other words, even though it seemed like the Universe was made up with finite, predictable laws along the lines of Newton's ideas, in actual fact it wasn't. Everything was infinite - gravity, matter, energy. Nothing was fixed. The possibilities were terrifying. Basically, everything we had based our Scientific enquiry on for the last three hundred years, including our whole idea of Reality, was wrong. What to do?

Bohm posited something called the Holomovement which he broke up into Implicate and Explicate Orders. I say 'broke up', but in fact the whole meaning of the Holomovement was one of complete unity - 'the unbroken wholeness of the Universe'. All the mysteries of Quantum Science, he argued, pointed towards an infinite number of levels of existence, or Orders out of which other Orders emerged. Thus there was an Implicate Order, a Superimplicate Order and so on. A simple analogy would be taking off in an aeroplane. On the tarmac, we are only aware of our immediate surroundings and have a limited understanding of what is around us. As the plane takes off, we realise that those limited surroundings are part of a wider environment which includes the landing strip, the surrounding planes and the airport. As the plane rises higher, we see the airport is part of an even wider context, that of the city it is part of. As it rises higher and higher, this gives way to the environment of the city and the surrounding area, then the country and so on and so on. Each of these new perspectives is like another Implicate Order out of which the previous Order 'unfolds'.

So Bohm envisaged a Universe of infinite Implicate Orders, each getting more and more complex and unified as they ascended (or descended depending upon your point of view). Our physical Universe he described as the Explicate Order, or the manifest order, which was the most concrete Order we could experience but which was contained 'enfolded' in the higher Implicate and Superimplicate Orders. Anyone who knows their Kabbalah will recognise the complex ideas of the Sephiroth and Four Worlds here. If Malkuth is the Explicate Order 'unfolding' from the Tree of Life, the other nine Sephiroth are higher Implicate and Superimplicate Orders (amusingly ten, the number of Sephiroth in the Tree, is the same number of dimensions Quantum Scientists believe actually exist). Equally, people familiar with Platonic/neo-Platonic ideas of the Tetractys and the World of Ideas will see a similar theory emerging. On a more simple level, if one imagines the Implicate Orders of Bohm as a great sea of Quantum Phenomena, our physical Universe is like land masses emerging from it.... an image which, once again, not that unfamiliar to us...!

Bohm knew that he had no 'proof' that this was how things were, but he felt it squared with more of the equations people were coming up with to do with the mysteries of Quantum Physics and suggested that this was a model of the Universe which we might find productive to work with. At the moment we have no apparatus to test almost any of the conclusions of Quantum Science but through the idea of the Implicate Orders Bohm mooted a way of beginning to know where to look. What excited him was the non-material possibilities of the idea. Suddenly the Cosmos was not at all finite but relied on the infinite for its existence. Fundamental to this vision was the idea of the Holomovement in which everything was interconnected, fundamentally One, including ourselves and our Consciousness. He became very interested in the idea of the Hologram as a paradigm for the Universe and our place in it. Each of us, he posited, was a microcosm of the macrocosm which, once again, was a classic fundamental idea of all Mystical endeavour from Plato and the Upanishads to Kabbalah and Rosicrucianism. Its only for the last 200 or so years that we have believed it was otherwise. Equally important to him was the implication of this theory that, ultimately, scientific enquiry and thought would never come to a rest. Given an infinite number of Implicate Orders, we would go on penetrating further into Reality, making dogma and fixed ideas a thing of the past. And it didn't stop there, for it was Bohm's fervent desire that with the transformation of our view of the Cosmos would come a similar transformation in our view of ourselves as human beings within it. As Newton and Descartes had changed the way people thought and behaved, the implications of Quantum Science might bring about a similar revolution in human behaviour, one of wholeness and connection rather than one of division, conflict and alienation...


mathieu said...

I didn't read this the second part yet but it seems that I have motivated to continue to discuss about that. I found it very interesting because it shapes a view of reality that is making sense to me in the same time that it doesn't forget neither the reality described by science nor by mystical school. Very Interesting so.
I would want, however to add a view about the nature of Light. As we discuss in the part 1, the extract you showed me about the conception of matter as 'made by light' chokked me a bit because, as I was student in physics I heard that matter was made of fermions and light made of photons which are bosons.
Besides, another point is interesting to notice between the view developped by mystical school about Light, magical school distinguishes the 'subtle light' or 'astral light' from the physical light. even if we can find some confusions between the two types of light, we could differenciate them by telling, and I don't know if it's always true that physical light is named "White light",whereas astral light can be named "Blue Light".
The blue is the colour of knowledge and wisdom so this kind of light is not made of matter but of consciousness.
It is a bit the same analogy that we made about the principle of motion in physics that gave relativity principles and his analogus in the realms of mind that can explain the fly of meditation and nirvana.
The blue light is made of a combination of the sphere of Hod ( the mental form of thoughts) and the sphere of Netzach (astral force or more simply instinct and emotions).
Scientists re-discovered recently a phenomenon known as "thought forms" and named it phosphène (source: This phenomenon associated with an "astral force" is what is called by mystics "Blue light" or thought forms.
As you probably know, thoses though forms are the basis of the astral realms as they associate a psychic 'complex' ( association between an emotion or instinct and a psychological symbol) and a phosphene. What Bohm describe as Holomovement is perhaps a caracterisation of this ability that have the human brain to associate, by a reflex coming from the primal brain (hypothalamus, thalamus, hypophysis and pituitary gland (known as Third eye)) to a visual accurate perception of reality that differs from the classical view.
Qaballah is describing this aspect in the sphere of Yesod that is as Dion Fortune name it "the machinery of the Universe". Interestingly, this was the same word you used into your post.
Furthermore, ancients egyptians known about all those properties of the mind, since they name "chamber of Isis" the cavity into the brain that is making resonating the wave into the primal brain ( This cavity contains also the pituary gland). Hermetic knowledge also knew about it and named it, in the Table of Emeraud "the Hall of Amenti", pretending that it is where the great gods have their powers.
I don't know that much about thoses subject, but as you spoke about some esoteric knowledge and but them in the lines of your post with scientific knowledge and as we discussed about the very interesting but unfortunately highly complex possibility to unify Science and mysticism, I thought I would be a good idea to put theses points here, So that we could continue to discuss about them.
Another point came to my mind about the relation between magic and matter. Dr Israel regardie points out into his famous article
"The art of True Healing", a system of energy that described in the same way that chakkra does, the different centres of the body.
Interestingly, whereas hindus used as centers some that are located from the belly to the head, Regardie is speaking about a centering classification that include the "chinese doors" of the feet where the Qi Yang of the ground is entering the body and where the Qi Yin of the sky is going out.
He is using elements in his classification ( Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Spirit) that are corresponding to differents qualities of the beings,
Water for fluidity and unconscious energy flowing, Earth for stability, Fire for spontaneity and feelings, Air for changing and softness and Spirit to qualify what qabalist name the "Crown" or "Nothingness of the Wu ji" ( in chinese terminology). Obviously, to each of this center is associated a sphere of the "middle pillar" of the qabalistic tree of life: Earth center is associated to Malkuth, The water center is associated to Yesod, the Fire center to Tiphareth, the Air center to Daath (the invisible sephirah) and the last one the Spirit center to Kether.
The others spheres ( Hod and Netzach are associated to collateral areas around the hips, Geburah and Chesed to collateral ares around the shoulders and Binah and Chokmah collaterals areas around the head).
If we are to take the idea of 10 dimension Universe imposed by supergravity theory and we are applying it in an analogic model to the spehiroth as you did in the post and if we consider my own analgy about the gravities principles ( both Galileo & Einstein relativity principles) should we not conclude, that, in the same sense that the macrocosmic universe is governed in the realm of perception (Malkuth sphere) by Physical property says by the "White light principles", the realm of the mind obeys to the same principles of supergravity but not in the same laws, fixed by the "Blue light principles"?
So the theory of the holomouvement made by Bohm has his own analogus in the realm of the mind and this is called the astral World or as Dr Israel regardie named it " the collective unconscious"?

i know that those analogy are audacious but they should not remain unfunded, since many practicionners of High magic would attest that astral world is actually a coeherent understanding of the universe, even if it can be, in my sense applied directly to physics laws since it belong both to the principles of psychology and to the principles of functionning of the human brain.

mathieu said...

I always make this mistakes I wrote 'even if it can be' at the end this post but I was thinking 'even if it can't be'. Sorry about that.

Pegasus said...

A fascinating post and full of interesting possibilities...

Its late out here in Helsinki! I will respond tomorrow... When I am bright and breezy but, yes, I think you are right about all of it.

Before I go though... theories of Lights in Kabbalah go much further than White and Blue Light, as it happens. I don't have my copy of the Zohar with me out here but I will copy out its comments on Lights later. Needless to say they also identified a Violet Light which ruled everything...

Take care Mathieu! Can I ask how you found this Blog?

mathieu said...

Indeed I am very interesting to know about the theory of light you are talking about from the Zohar point of view.
I found this blog by a friend that gave me the adress and this friend told me that she was an admistrator of that blog.
I heard about the view of Dion Fortune of the 7 rays light. but When I talked about Blue light here, it was from my own point of view and from the theory of the rays of light from Dion fortune;

Pegasus said...

An administrator of this Blog? Interesting! As far as I know I am the administrator! Wait... was she referring to a Group on Facebook rather than this Blog?

mathieu said...

Yes something like this. You said 'she' so you probably know to whom I am refering to.

Pegasus said...

Actually I didn't. I thought it might be someone else... But 'she' has revealed herself to me so I do now! Lol!

Pegasus said...

Here is an interesting quote from the Hermetica which seems to correspond completely with Bohm's idea of Wholeness and the Explicate/Implicate Orders:

"God is whole and constant. In himself he is motionless, yet he is self-moving... He is hidden yet obvious everywhere. His being is known through thought alone, yet we see his form before our eyes. He is bodiless yet embodied in everything. There is nothing which he is not... He is the unity of all things... He is the Whole which contains everything. He is One, not two. He is all, not many. The All is not many separate things, but the Oneness that subsumes the parts. The All and the One are identical. You think that things are many when you view them as separate, but when you see they all hang on the One and flow from the One you will realise they are united - linked together and connected by a chain of Being from the highest to the lowest, all subject to the will of God"

THE HERMETICA (Trans Sir Walter Scott ISBN 1873616147)

Wierdly I discovered this on Wikipedia on the Discussion page of an article on Bohm. Who do you think posted it? ME!!! I had completey forgotten! It was about a year or so ago!!!!! My younger self helping my older self!