Mystical Eastern philosophies
Current understanding of physics
leads down a path which is mystical.
Physics returns to the Beginning.
Beginning with mystical
philosophy knowledge unfolds in a development of
that increasingly turned away from its mystical origins.
Western science is finally
accepting the value of Eastern philosophies.
Proof is based on
intuition along with experiments
of great precision and sophistication using
a rigorous and consistent mathematical
The roots of physics is found in the first period of
Greek philosophy in the sixth century BC, in a
culture where philosophy and religion
The sages of the Milesian school in Ionia were concerned
with the essential
nature, or real
construction of things which they called "physis."
"physics" is derived from this Greek word and originally refers to the endeavor
of peering deeply into the
nature of all things.
The Milesians hylozoists, "those who think
matter is alive,"
distinction between animate and inanimate,
spirit and matter.
As all forms of
existence are manifestations of the "physis," endowed with life and
spirituality, there was no word for matter.
Thales declared all things to be full
Anaximander saw reality as
a category of organism
which was supported by "pneuma" in the same way the
human body is supported by air.
Milesian philosophy paralleled ancient
Indian and Chinese philosophy crystallizing in the philosophy of
Heraclitus believed in a
reality of perpetual
change, of Eternal Creation.
To Heraclitus all static existence was
a deception as his first principle was
fire; a symbol for the continuous
flow and change of all things.
Heraclitus taught reality arises
from dynamic cyclic
interplay of opposites.
Heraclitus saw any
pair of opposites as a unity.
Unity, containing and
transcending all opposing forces, is the
The split of this
unity began with the Eleatic school of thought, which assumed
a divine principle
standing above all gods and men.
unity, first El, then
Yahweh and finally
Yahweh led, ultimately, to
the separation of
spirit and matter and to a dualism which became
characteristic of Western philosophy.
In opposition to Heraclitus,
Parmenides of Elea was a monotheist.
conceptualized existence as unique and invariable.
changes perceived as mere illusions of the
This is the foundational concept of an indestructible
In the fifth century BC, Greek philosophers attempted to
overcome the sharp contrast between the views of Parmenides and Heraclitus.
To reconcile the Static
Ideal of Parmenides with the
Eternal Creation of
Heraclitus, they assumed existence is manifest in invariable substances, the
mixture and separation of which gives rise to the
This led to the concept of the
Atom, the smallest indivisible unit of matter.
Atoms are found in
the philosophy of Ieucippus and Democritus.
The Greek atomists drew a
line between spirit, that which
animated matter and matter,
picturing matter as being made of "basic building
passive and intrinsically dead particles moving in the ether.
The cause of their motion was associated with
external forces which were
assumed to be of spiritual
origin and fundamentally different from
In subsequent centuries, this image became an essential
element of Western thought, of the dualism between
mind and matter, between
body and soul.
The scientific knowledge of the
systematized and organized by
Aristotle, became the foundation
of the Western worldview of
Aristotle pursued questions concerning the
The Aristotelian model, supported by the
Roman Catholic church as
orthodox doctrine, remained unchallenged throughout the
Galileo Galilei first used
mathematics to decribe empirical observations.
Rene Descartes the formulates
split - separate independent realms:
that of mind (res
cogitans), and that of matter
The Cartesian division deludes
us into seeing the
material world as a multitude of different objects assembled in a huge
Isaac Newton constructed his
mechanistic worldview it immediately
infiltrated the intellectual fields of politics and economics.
rational dissociative state of
consciousness used by the Cartesian division and
is both beneficial and
rational dissociative state of
consciousness advanced the development of
classical physics and
technology, but has
mechanics turns the Cartesian division and
mechanistic worldview inside
out overcoming fragmentation
as it leads back to unity.
Our tendency to
reality into individual and separate things and to experience ourselves as
isolated egos is an illusion
which comes from our measuring and categorizing mentality.
called avidya, or
ignorance, in Buddhist
philosophy, and is seen as the
state of a disturbed
mind which has to be overcome:
When the mind is
the multiplicity of things is produced,
but when the
mind is quieted,
the multiplicity of things
Eastern mysticism emphasizes
the basic unity of the universe.
Eastern mysticism informs -
Hindus - Buddhists -
Taoists - to become
the unity and mutual interrelation
of all things - to transcend the notion of
an isolated individual
self and to identify self with
Awareness - also known as 'enlightenment' - is
an experience which involves the whole individual and is
religious in its ultimate
Eastern philosophies are
of nature into separate objects is not fundamental in the Eastern worldview
as objects have a fluid
Essential features of the Eastern worldview
are time and
The cosmos is seen as one
inseparable reality forever in motion.
A divine principle,
an intrinsic property of matter, controls
He who, dwelling
in all things,
yet is other than all things,
things do not know,
all things are,
who controls all things from within
your controller, your Eternal Soul.
reality, the Noumenon, is
a system of inseparable,
interacting, and ever moving components, with
the observer an integral
part of this system.
The underlying reason for
the widespread dissatisfaction within Western culture is the
domination of the mechanistic, fragmented
view of reality.
Two modes of consciousness,
rational and intuitive -
associated with science and
religion - have been recognized universally throughout
These two types of knowledge may be termed
Logos and Mythos.
West intuitive knowledge is devalued in favor of relational knowledge, whereas
the traditional Eastern attitude is traditionally the
speak of a higher and a lower knowledge and associate the
lower knowledge with
various sciences, the higher with
Buddhists mention two forms of knowledge - 'relative' and 'absolute'.
Chinese philosophy emphasizes the complementary nature of
the intuitive and
the rational by
representing them in the archetypical pair
Yin and Yang.
Accordingly, two complementary philosophical traditions -
Confucianism developed in
China to deal with the two lower forms of knowledge.
is derived from physical
Relational knowledge belongs to
the realm of the intellect,
whose function it is to discriminate, divide, compare, measure and categorize.
Relative knowledge exists in a duality, a world of intellectual
opposites which can exist only in relation to each other.
Abstraction is a crucial
feature of relational
In order to
compare and classify the immense variety of shapes, structures, and phenomena
we select a few significant ones.
We construct a 'map of reality'
by reducing things to their general outlines.
Relational knowledge is
a system of abstract
concepts, characterized by
linear, sequential thinking
and speaking just like this line of
world, of infinite variety, contains no straight lines or completely regular
shapes, where things happen in interlocked sequences.
Abstract systems of conceptual
thought cannot adequately describe reality.
model will be
faulty as we can only expect an approximate representation of reality as
all rational knowledge is
The realm of science requires ever
"Every word or concept, clear as it may
appear to be, has only a limited range of applicability." - Werner
The limitations of rational
knowledge always recede from
our representation of
reality is so much easier to grasp than reality itself, we tend to confuse
the two and to take our concepts and
symbols for reality.
The main aim of mysticism
is to rid us of this confusion.
Buddhists say that a
finger is needed to point at the moon, but that
we should not trouble ourselves with
the finger once the moon is recognized.
"The purpose of
a fish basket is to catch
fish, and when the fish
are caught the basket is forgotten. The purpose of
a rabbit snare is to catch
rabbits. When the rabbits are
caught, the snare is forgotten. The purpose of the word is to convey ideas.
When the ideas are
grasped, the words are forgotten.
Where can I find a man who
has forgotten words? He is
the one I would like to talk to." - Zhuangzi
Equivalency in the
West is shown by the statement made by the semanticist Alfred Korzybski, "The map is not the
What mystics are concerned
with is a direct experience of reality which transcends not only intellectual
thinking but also sensory perception.
In the words of the
"What is soundless, touchless,
likewise tasteless, constant, odorless, immaterialwithout beginning, without
end, higher than the highest,by
discerning that, one is
liberated from the
mouth of death."
Knowledge gleaned from mystical experience is
called absolute knowledge
by Buddhists because it does not rely on the
abstractions, and classifications of the
relative and approximate.
In the West this absolute knowledge or
knowledge has been suppressed since
Constantine started a civil
war to overturn Jupiter Optimus Maximus Soter.
Apperception is the central
characteristic of all mystical
noumenon can never be an object of reasoning or of demonstrable
As the noumenon lies beyond the realm of human senses
words and concepts so derived remain inadequate.
The Upanishads note:
There the eye goes not,
goes not, nor the mind.
we know not, we understand not
would teach it.
"If it could be talked about,
would have told their brother."
Lao Tze, who calls reality the
Tao, states the same thing in the opening line of the
Tao Te Ching: " The Tao that
can be expressed is not the eternal Tao."
Communicating true knowledge
through the use of symbols or words is nearly impossible and this is why the
ancients settled on the Oral Tradition.
knowledge inhabits an
entirely nonintellectual experience of reality,
an experience arising in a
state of consciousness out of the ordinary which may be called a
meditative, mystical or
disassociated state of
In the words of William James:
normal waking consciousness,
consciousness as we call it, is but
one special type of consciousness,
whilst all about it, parted from it by the
filmiest of screens, there lie other potential forms of
physicists are mainly
concerned with relational knowledge and mystics with intuitive knowledge or
consciousness, both types of knowledge occur in both fields.
becomes apparent when we examine how knowledge is obtained and how it is
expressed, both in physics and Eastern mysticism.
In physics, knowledge
is acquired through the process of scientific research which can be seen to
proceed in three stages.
Initially consists in
evidence about phenomena.
The experimental facts are correlated
with symbols and a scheme is worked out which interconnects these symbols in a
precise and consistent way.
Such a scheme develops a
hypothesis into a model or a theory.
This theory is then used to
predict the results of further experiments.
Physicists become satisfied
when they have found a scheme and
have learned know how to use it to predict outcome of further
To share this knowledge physicists express results
in common language.
Basing all theories firmly on experiment is known as
the scientific method.
philosophers had extremely ingenious ideas about nature which often come very
close to modern
scientific models, the enormous
difference between the two is the empirical attitude of modern science..
obtained models deductively from
The Greek art of
deductive logical reasoning
is an essential ingredient in the second stage of scientific research, the
formulation of a consistent model.
constitutes a major part of scientific research.
But intuition is
what gives scientists new insights and makes them creative.
come suddenly when analysis has been dropped and the subconscious has had the
chance to process the presented information.
The intuitive mind takes over
and produces suddenly clarifying insights.
Intuitive insights do
not impress engineers and are of no use to anyone unless they can be formulated
into a consistent interpretation
in plain language.
Abstraction is a crucial
feature of this framework.
This framework is a
system of concepts which constitute a map of reality.
This map represents only some features of
We do not know
exactly where the gaps in knowledge lie since we started compiling our map
gradually and without critical analysis in our childhood.
The words of our language are
thus not clearly defined.
They have several meanings, many of which
pass only vaguely
through our mind and remain largely in our subconscious when we
hear a word.
and ambiguity of our language is
essential for poets who work largely with its
Science by aiming for clear definitions and unambiguous
connections abstracts language further by limiting the meaning of its words and
by standardizing its structure in accordance with the
Laws of Logic.
The ultimate abstraction takes place in mathematics
where words are replaced by symbols and operations of
connecting the symbols are rigorously defined.
Mathematics is an
extremely abstracted and compressed language.
believe that mathematics is not just a language to describe nature, but is
inherent in nature
mysteries introduced the belief "All things are numbers," which was
incorporated into Chaladean
numerology and Kabbalah.
Followers of Pythagoras set
up Serapheum throughout the newly Hellenized world in the wake of Alexander the
intimate blending of religion and reasoning that Pythagoras engaged in spawned
a technological revolution of shared technique.
mysteries began a sort of blockchain of intimately linked concepts with each
new concept overlaying the former.
A defining factor the
Pythagorean mysteries is
a logical admiration of that which
conceptual worldview forged a chain of individuals
subscribing to the
concept of creating perfection in humanity including
Thomas Aquinas, Descartes,
Spinoza crystallizing in
The scientific method of
the use of rational
Common symbol systems,
or languages, must contain flexibility within their very structure in order to
be broadly understood.
This flexibility disappears with terminology
within schools of thought.
The language of mathematics
reaches a point where links with reality are so tenuous that the relation of
symbols to sensory experience is no longer evident.
Rational thought symbol
systems, or models, must be supplemented with
symbol systems in order to be understood.
symbol systems are rigorous and consistent as far as their internal structure is
concerned but their symbols are not directly related to
symbol systems come from
direct sensory experience and, being exceedingly complex, are
hard to chronicle in
rational thought symbol systems
like the one you are now reading in.
Direct mystical experience is at
the core of all mysticism.
"Personal experience is the
foundation of Buddhist philosophy.
Described as direct insight
outside the realm of the intellect obtained by watching rather than thinking;
by looking inside oneself; by observation.
Taoism, this notion of
observation is embodied in the names for Taoist temples, kuan, which originally
meant "to look."
Taoist thus regarded their temples as places of
In Ch'an Buddhism, the Chinese version of Zen,
enlightenment is often referred to as 'the vision of the
Tao' - true vision is regarded as the basis of knowing in all Buddhist
The first item of the
Eightfold Path, the
Gautama gave us for
is true vision,
followed by true knowledge.
"The 'seeing' plays the most important role
in Buddhist epistemology, for seeing is at the basis of knowing.
is impossible without seeing;
all 'knowledge' has its
origin in seeing." - DT
Knowing and seeing are united in the
Zen of Siddhartha
experience is experiencing true reality - Gnosis.
adapted from Franz
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