Christianity gave us compartmentalized lives. It was the Catholic Church’s war against science that lead to the divorce of spirituality and science during the enlightenment, because the two inherently stood apart in the Catholic conception of the world. Enlightenment taught us how to use rationality and logic to tear down ideas grounded in tradition and faith (reading Christian faith here). Enlightenment was necessary for Europe, which was killing off women and men for being witches and heretics. But see in the quest for enlightenment things went in the other direction, where religion and spirituality were regulated as backwater human experiences. Out of enlightenment we also saw the justification of exploitation and colonization of the large part of the worlds people.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Enlightenment, it is rather a necessary step in the cultural and historical development of humankind. What I find ironic is that science, not completely having answered all of human kinds questions, has pursued answers which have lead to us coming back to concepts found in spirituality and faith.
I have absolutely no idea what I am talking about here, except that I began reflecting on this while reading “King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine” by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette. The book, with all of its faults, has been a worthwhile read. Its gotten me to think about the concept of masculinity. But I found of interest to share at this moment was this piece about the material and psychological being found conjoined with the spiritual conception of nature. The following excerpt will help get to what I am failing to describe:
Modern subatomic physics, it has been said, looks very much like Eastern mysticism as it approaches the intuited insights of Hinduism and Taoism. This new physics is discovering a micro-world beneath our seemingly solid macro-world of sense perceptions. That unseen world of subatomic particles is very different from the macro-world we normally experience. in this hidden world beneath the surface of things, reality becomes very strange indeed. Particles and waves, so radically different in their properties in the macro-world, in the micro-world are the same thing. A ‘particle’ can appear to be in two separate places at the same time, without ever having divided. Matter loses its ‘solidly’ and seems to be like gather nodes of energy, concentrated in localized spots for more or less brief periods of time. Energy itself seems to arise out of an even more deeply concealed grid-like patterning of the void of space, which can no longer be viewed as ‘nothing.’ Particles arise from this underlying energy field like waves on the ocean, only to subside- or ‘decay’- again into the nothingness from which they came. Questions arise about time: what it is, what direction is it going? Does it ever reverse? Do certain kinds of subatomic particles travel backward in time, and then reverse their direction to move in our time again? What is the origin of the universe, and its final fate? In the light of these new discoveries and questions, old questions resurface. What is the nature of being and of nonbeing? Are there, in fact, the other dimensions that mathematics predicts? IN what ways might they be equivalent to what the ancient religions called other “planes”. Physicists have entered a realm of truly hidden and secret knowledge. And they are moving in a world of thought that looks very much like the world of the ancient magician.
Yesterday’s magicians are really todays Subatomic Physicists. (God it must feel good be a physicist!) And if you pick up a subatomic physics book today, not that I have one on my book shelf, it sure looks like they are dealing in magic. For instance, subatomic physics deals with subatomic particles, which are smaller then an atom. These particles are made up of elementary particles called Higgins boson, gauge boson, leptons and- I kid you not- “flavors”. There are six flavors, and if you guess one of them is a lucky charm, your correct, the other five are amusingly named- up, down, bottom, top, strange- as in the last one is named strange, not that these names, or the lack of creativity in their names, is strange. The leptons, well there are different types- the electron, electron neutrino, muon, muon neutrino, tau and the tau neutrino. Of coarse the boson’s didn’t want to be left out of the party, there’s the photon, and if you like Star Wars, the W and Z weak force, as well as eight gluons of the strong force.
It truly seems like all your science fiction has been gobbley gooped together by a bad ass nerd to create the area of study known today as subatomic particle physics. But the basic reality is that everything we had known as being solid, is in fact just a bunch of waves. Remember that E=mc^2 business of Einstein, well, it posits that energy and mass are one and the same (am I correct in understanding this?) so that all particles we know about also have a wave nature. In essence the “force is with us” so that if we wished to “bend a spoon” we totally could, just need to learn to manipulate those bosons, up down side to side muon neutrino toward the tau side of things.