declaration of independence

Chinese charater for psyche

Mystical Eastern philosophies

Western knowledge of physics

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 intellectual thought 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 formalism.

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 are unified.

The sages of the Milesian school in Ionia were concerned with the essential nature, or real construction of things which they called "physis."

The term "physics" is derived from this Greek word and originally refers to the endeavor of peering deeply into the essential nature of all things.

The Milesians hylozoists, "those who think matter is alive,"
saw no 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 of gods.

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 of Ephesus.

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 Logos.

The split of this unity began with the Eleatic school of thought, which assumed a divine principle standing above all gods and men.

This principle, identified with unity, first El, then Yahweh and finally Æon.

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.

Parmenides conceptualized existence as unique and invariable.

Parmenides regarded changes perceived as mere illusions of the senses.

This is the foundational concept of an indestructible substance.

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 changes witnessed.

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 blocks."

Purely passive and intrinsically dead particles moving in the æther.

The cause of their motion was associated with external forces which were assumed to be of spiritual origin and fundamentally different from matter.

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 Magians, systematized and organized by Aristotle, became the foundation of the Western worldview of reality.

Aristotle pursued questions concerning the Eternal Soul.

The Aristotelian model, supported by the Roman Catholic church as orthodox doctrine, remained unchallenged throughout the Middle Ages.

Galileo Galilei first used mathematics to decribe empirical observations.

Rene Descartes the formulates Cartesian split - separate independent realms: that of mind (res cogitans), and that of matter (res extensa).

Go Your Own Way

If you can't go to sleep

The Cartesian division deludes us into seeing the material world as a multitude of different objects assembled in a huge clockwork machine.

After Isaac Newton constructed his mechanistic worldview it immediately infiltrated the intellectual fields of politics and economics.

The rational dissociative state of consciousness used by the Cartesian division and mechanistic worldview is both beneficial and detrimental.

This rational dissociative state of consciousness advanced the development of classical physics and technology, but has many adverse consequences.

Quantum mechanics turns the Cartesian division and mechanistic worldview inside out overcoming fragmentation as it leads back to unity.

Our tendency to divide perceived reality into individual and separate things and to experience ourselves as isolated egos is an illusion which comes from our measuring and categorizing mentality.

It is 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 disturbed,

the multiplicity of things is produced,

but when the mind is quieted,

the multiplicity of things disappears

make ignorance history know yourself


"The mind is like a sword cutting reality into pieces.

We act as though each piece of reality is independent from the other pieces.

If we look deeply, we remover barriers between our mental categories and see the one in the many and the many in the one." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Eastern mysticism emphasizes the basic unity of the universe.

Eastern mysticism informs - Hindus - Buddhists - Taoists - to become aware of the unity and mutual interrelation of all things - to transcend the notion of an isolated individual self and to identify self with quantum reality.

Emergence of Awareness - also known as 'enlightenment' - is an experience which involves the whole individual and is religious in its ultimate nature.

Eastern philosophies are essentially religious philosophies.

The division of nature into separate objects is not fundamental in the Eastern worldview as objects have a fluid ever-changing character.

Essential features of the Eastern worldview are time and change.

The cosmos is seen as one inseparable reality forever in motion.

A divine principle, an intrinsic property of matter, controls everything:

He who, dwelling in all things,

yet is other than all things,

whom all things do not know,

whose body all things are,

who controls all things from within

he is your controller, your Eternal Soul.


Quantum 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 history.

These two types of knowledge may be termed Logos and Mythos.

In the West intuitive knowledge is devalued in favor of relational knowledge, whereas the traditional Eastern attitude is traditionally the opposite.

The Upanishads speak of a higher and a lower knowledge and associate the lower knowledge with various sciences, the higher with religious awareness.

Buddhists mention two forms of knowledge - 'relative' and 'absolute'.


Abstraction is a crucial feature of relational knowledge.

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 - Taoism and Confucianism developed to deal with the two lower forms of knowledge.

Rational knowledge is derived from physical experience.

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 distinctions, of opposites which can exist only in relation to each other.

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 symbols.

The natural 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.

The model will be faulty as we can only expect an approximate representation of reality as all rational knowledge is necessarily limited.

The realm of science requires ever collapsing paradigms.

"Every word or concept, clear as it may appear to be, has only a limited range of applicability." - Werner Heisenberg

The limitations of rational knowledge always recede from conscious thought.

As 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.

Zen 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 territory."


What mystics are concerned with is a direct experience of reality which transcends not only intellectual thinking but also sensory perception.

Cool Change

Clouds in The Sky

Become the Sky

In the words of the Upanishads:

"What is soundless, touchless, formless, imperishable, likewise tasteless, constant, odorless, immaterial without 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 discriminations, abstractions, and classifications of the intellect, always relative and approximate.

In the West this absolute knowledge or esoteric gnostic knowledge has been suppressed since Constantine started a civil war to overturn Jupiter Optimus Maximus Soter.

Apperception is the central characteristic of all mystical experience.

The noumenon can never be an object of reasoning or of demonstrable knowledge.

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,

speech goes not, nor the mind.

we know not, we understand not

how one would teach it.

"If it could be talked about,

everybody would have told their brother."

Chuang Tzu

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.

True 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 consciousness.

In the words of William James:

"Our normal waking consciousness, rational 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 consciousness."

Although physicists are mainly concerned with relational knowledge and mystics with intuitive knowledge or mythical consciousness, both types of knowledge occur in both fields.

This 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 gathering experimental 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 experimentation.

To share this knowledge physicists express results in common language.

Basing all theories firmly on experiment is known as the scientific method.

Greek 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..

The Greeks obtained models deductively from fundamental axioms.

The Greek art of deductive logical reasoning is an essential ingredient in the second stage of scientific research, the formulation of a consistent model.

Relational knowledge constitutes a major part of scientific research.

But intuition is what gives scientists new insights making them creative.

Insights 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 reality.

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.

The inaccuracy and ambiguity of language is essential for poets who work largely with its subconscious associations.

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 Chain

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.

Many mathematicians believe that mathematics is not just a language to describe nature, but is inherent in nature itself.

The Pythagorean mysteries introduced the belief "All things are numbers," which was incorporated into Chaladean numerology and Kabbalah.

Followers of Pythagoras set up Serapeum throughout the newly Hellenized world in the wake of Alexander the Macedonian.

The intimate blending of religion and reasoning that Pythagoras engaged in spawned a technological revolution of shared technique.

The Pythagorian 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 is timeless.

This conceptual worldview forged a chain of individuals subscribing to the concept of creating perfection in humanity including Plato, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Descartes, Spinoza crystallizing in Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.

The scientific method of abstraction, the use of rational consciousness, creates dissociation through variable elimination.

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 mystical thought symbol systems in order to be understood.

Rational thought symbol systems are rigorous and consistent as far as their internal structure is concerned but their symbols are not directly related to experience.

Silver Springs

"The 'seeing' plays the most important role in Buddhist epistemology, for seeing is at the basis of knowing.

Knowing is impossible without seeing; all 'knowledge' has its origin in seeing." - DT Suzuki

Mystical thought 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.

In 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 observation.

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 schools.

The first item of the Eightfold Path, the prescription Siddhartha Gautama gave us for self-realization, is true vision, followed by true knowledge.

Knowing and seeing are united in the Zen of Siddhartha Gautama.

The mystical experience is experiencing true reality - Gnosis.

adapted from Franz Capra

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