Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Wonders of the Universe

It seems that the BBC has now found their answer to Stephen Hawking through their own series “The Wonders of the Universe” hosted by Professor Brian Cox. Now Brian Cox, a former member of the 90’s pop band D-ream is something of a wonder himself as he looks far too young to be a professor. However there is no doubting his communication skills and his undoubted knowledge and love for his subject.

Indeed I found his programme demonstrating how elements here on Earth have emerged from the high temperature processes within stars compelling viewing as it clearly showed how we are all truly children of the Universe (and indeed of the original Big Bang which is believed to have started it all)!

The following programme "Falling" on gravity proved of equal interest as he showed how this mysterious force is responsible for the structure of all phenomenal forms in the Universe.
Initially he confined himself - which accepting that it was not fully satisfactory - to Newton’s conception of gravity. However towards the end of the programme he showed how it failed to precisely predict the orbit of Mercury around the Sun and how Einstein’s new theory of Gravity in “The General Theory” perfectly corrected this problem.

However though Einstein’s Theory has been brilliantly successful in its own right he admitted at the end of the programme that even this was not a complete theory.

I would agree with this statement. However the true implications are much more profound than what most physicists would be willing to accept.

To properly understand the role of gravity we need to look on physical in a manner complementary to psychological reality.

In psychological terms it would be readily accepted that our experience is based on the inevitable interaction of both conscious and unconscious aspects. In direct terms the conscious aspect enables us to differentiate phenomena analytically as parts. In corresponding fashion the unconscious enables the integration of such phenomena in a holistic unseen fashion.
Now from a scientific perspective, rational understanding corresponds to this conscious aspect of experience whereas – in direct terms – the holistic aspect is provided through intuition.

However the big problem with present scientific understanding is that is formally based on mere rational modes of enquiry. Therefore it inevitably reduces - in any context - the holistic intuitive aspect to rational interpretation.

As I have stated, properly understood the physical view of the universe corresponds in complementary fashion to its psychological means of interpretation. Therefore when we allow for both conscious and unconscious modes of experience this entails that in physical terms we allow for a physical aspect (that is phenomenally visible) and a holistic unseen aspect (that is empty of form).

So then correctly understood in dynamic interactive terms what we term the physical universe represents (visible) phenomena of form in ceaseless interaction with an invisible holistic ground.
This then directly corresponds with a rational (conscious) mode of interpretation with respect to visible phenomena and an intuitive (unconscious) mode with respect to the underlying invisible ground of reality.

Now of course when we adopt a reduced mode of understanding as with Conventional Science we attempt to view physical reality as merely visible phenomena corresponding to a rational mode of interpretation.

The key reason I would suggest as to why the gravitational force has proven so elusive and mysterious is precisely because of the inadequate mode of present scientific enquiry.
In fact correctly understood, gravity plays a complementary role in the physical universe to the unconscious in psychological understanding. Therefore we cannot properly appreciate its nature through the standard paradigm of scientific understanding that altogether ignores in formal terms the role of the unconscious.

In physical terms we have material phenomena which are in some sense visible always exist in a dimensional context of space and time (that serves as an invisible background). Now of course space and time indirectly (though this dynamic relationship with matter) can have phenomenal aspects (such as distance).

However correctly understood, phenomenal objects in space time represent the continual interaction of what are specifically visible in the context of a holistic environment (that is invisible). In other words pure space and time (if we could conceive of their nature) would be fully empty of phenomena. And without matter, such dimensions could not therefore exist. So such emptiness relates to an underlying present moment that continually exists.

Now gravity arises from this interaction of (specific) phenomena of form with its (holistic) dimensional background of space and time.

In normal circumstances gravity is an extremely weak force. For example the gravitational pull of the entire Earth would not be enough to stop one easily lifting an object such as a stone from the ground!

This weakness of gravity reflects the fact that in practice what we consider as dense matter is almost entirely made up of “empty” space.

This weakness of gravity led Newton for example to consider the phenomena of the Universe as existing in flat space and time (as non-interacting containers of all objects that exist). This in turn is consistent with linear notions of space and time.

Now there is a complementary parallel to this view as given by the standard scientific paradigm (based on mere rational interpretation). Here unconscious interference is so weak that the physical universe can seemingly be understood in a merely conscious manner (based on the linear use of logic).

So Newton’s worldview in physical terms is properly consistent with linear rational interpretation (which despite many recent paradoxical findings remains in effect the undisputed paradigm for science).

I have always found Einstein’s work fascinating as its true implications have only been partially recognised. The great paradox with Einstein is that his contributions overthrew the Newtonian world view of absolute space and time. However Einstein still remained a steadfast believer in the classical scientific paradigm (that is properly consistent with Newton’s views).

In his General Relativity Einstein showed that gravity can exert a considerable force where extremely large mass is concerned. Then it would act to “bend” in some measure space-time. In particular with black holes where “empty” space would get squeezed out entirely from matter, space-time would then become completely curved.

However what is not at all properly realised is that this inevitable curvature of space and time (in the context of strong gravity) equally applies to the qualitative manner in which we seek to interpret physical reality.

Indeed a fascinating correspondent exists on the psychological side to the notion of a “black hole” as exemplified most starkly in the writings of the great Spanish mystic St. John of the Cross.

One can view authentic contemplative life as starting from the standard linear conscious worldview. However, as the influence of a developing spiritual intuition (based on the unconscious) becomes ever stronger, a dramatic change takes place in one’s customary understanding. So St. John dramatically portrays the most intense dark night where understanding becomes completely curved (i.e. purely intuitive). This happens through a process of detachment from all conscious understanding of phenomena (which literally happens through a squeezing out of space and time). Not surprisingly one feels at such time as if in a dark and narrow dungeon where one is scarcely able to breath (due to the suffocating congestion). And the reason why this experience is a “dark night” is precisely because conscious light - based on linear notions of understanding - is not able to escape during such a transformation.

So with pure contemplative spiritual awareness, space and time become completely curved representing an extreme in terms of unconscious type intuitive development. Likewise as we have seen linear assumptions with respect to "flat" space and time represent a corresponding extreme with respect to conscious rational understanding.

The clear implication of all this is that a comprehensive paradigm for science necessarily must combine both conscious and unconscious through the explicit integration of both (rational) linear and (intuitive) circular modes of interpretation.

Though the nature of gravity necessarily remains mysterious, its true nature in physical terms relates to an inevitable dynamic interaction as between (visible) phenomena of form and a holistic (invisible) dimensional background of space and time.

A true understanding of gravity therefore equally requires from a psychological perspective a complementary dynamic interaction as between rational (conscious) and intuitive (unconscious) aspects of understanding.

So gravity is a force which has complementary physical and psychological interpretations.
This is even evident in conventional understanding. Gravity of personality for example reflects an experience of the world that is rooted in a deeper holistic structure of meaning. By contrast a superficial or “light” personality operates at a very low level of psychological gravity through relationship with mere conscious appearances.

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