[aether] and what is it that moves all things, and what moves that, and what is the force that moves that?” -Jaroslav Pelikan’s Christianity and Classical Culture,
By: Jay – http://jaysanalysis.com/2013/11/18/energetic-aether-metaphysics/
Modern science is very much interested in the question of quantum mechanics and yet still dominated by the reductionist, physico-biological model of reality. The spirit of dissection and quantification has resulted in numerous, amazing discoveries surrounding the sub-atomic level of reality, which no one can deny. We learn that at that infinitesimal level, the interaction between mind and matter is much more nuanced and mysterious. The action of the observer appears to affect the result of the experimentation, especially in regard to examinations concerning light itself, which gives evidence of being both a particle and a wave. This dialectical, sneaky manifestation light produces suggests several things in my estimation that call into question the current reductionist models of reality, suggesting ideas much closer to older, ancient models, where fundamental metaphysics was based around principles like Eidos, entelechy and tropoi, energeia, telos and aether.
One of the central areas of research for quantum issues is CERN, the European Institute for Nuclear Research, and a central figure in nuclear research is of course Wolfgang Pauli. Readers will recall that I have cited Pauli in past articles, but in this article I want to focus on other elements that relate to philosophy, Platonism, Theism and metaphysics. In light of recent responses from atheists, it will be especially pertinent to consider the fact that the endeavor of quantum studies from the mind of Pauli and his inspirations were, in fact, based on Pauli’s hermetic and Platonic presuppositions and speculations. I think that the electromagnetic forces in “nature” are unified by the very things that Pauli was looking into that pointed to older models of reality, especially aether. And when we consider that perception is an active, energetic presence that subtly interacts with its intentional objects, we are back at metaphysics, like Pauli.
Indeed, a survey of eastern patristic metaphysics, sharing much with Hellenic and Egyptian metaphysics that preceded it, demonstrates numerous insights into how we might construct different models that integrate and harmonize these disparate and seemingly unrelated sciences and topics. In the case of light, we have what appears to be a contradictory amount of evidence: is it a wave or a particle? In similar fashion, all reductionist models of reality end up placing particularity in the subject mind of man as something foisted upon the objective world, with no way to bridge that gap. Since reality is monistic (all one type of thing), in the atheist/materialist view, we have with these sophists a return of the ancient atomists (I am aware that atomists had a more sophisticated view than mere materialism). Similarly, with both Plato and Aristotle, all reality is reduced at some level to the One or Monad, making temporal reality an emanationist iconographic manifestation of copies of that fundamental reality. For Plato it was the One, for Aristotle, Prima Materia, etc. Modern scientific endeavor owes much of its heritage to Aristotle, of course, and in that respect, we should consider a fundamental error in Aristotle that remains today in all his monistic successors.
Aristotelian metaphysics is characterized by hylomorphism: the coming together of matter (hyle) and form (morphe) to constitute singular objects. For Aristotle, singular objects preclude the possibility of singular objects participating in the form of another. Dr. Philip Sherrard outlines the problem of hylomorphism in regard to its attempted usage for Christian metaphysics. What will become evident is that the problem that arises in the Thomistic attempt at using it is the same problem modern, reductionistic physics has. Dr. Sherrard writes in Christian Theology and the Eclipse of Man:
In the position Sherrard lays out from the Platonic metaphysic, it is possible for a substance to constitute a unity, with more than one substance present in it. The possibility of a real unity with really different multiplicities of substances involved in participation is not possible in the Aristotelian scheme, and the usage of the eastern fathers of the first seven centuries involved the Platonic version of this issue, not the Aristotelian. This is how God is operant in the world in an immanent, energetic way, yet not diffused into it pantheistically. This is how they formulated a Christology of real theosis that did not dissolve humanity into the divine ousia.
Since man, for Aristotle and Latin theologians, is a composite creature of body and soul, this duality in reference to hylomorphism creates a problem not just between God and world, Christ and His assumed humanity, but also between any particular object and universals. If the intellect and soul are a substance separate from the body, constituting its form, then it is difficult to see how it is possible for the soul to function separately. But for Aristotle, the form of man does not exist separately from the body, or matter. The reason for this ultimately is that Aristotle’s version of absolute simplicity is transferred from the Ideal realm of Plato into the here and now. For Plato, the One was Ideal and perfect, in another, ideational realm. For Aristotle, universals are temporal. Both thinkers have obvious dialectics at work that are insurmountable given their respective systems. For Aristotle, the simplicity of substances is placed in the temporal realm resulting in the inability of a unity to retain its identity while participating in other forms. For Plato, the dualism is evident in the inability to bridge the gap from the realm of forms to our realm of flux.
In the modern world the same problems are present in physics and the reductionist models of the universe. Monism and dualism are two sides of the same coin and ultimately converge upon one another. As has been posited many times, dialectics have determined the whole course of western thought for millennia, from the Greeks on. In certain ways, the Egyptian metaphysic was better than its Hellenic progeny, yet even it and ancient Indian thought ultimately end up in the same monism and/or dualism. Indeed, as Sherrard observes, the defining common denominator of perennial philosophies seems to be that ultimate reality is a wholly other, singular monadic/monistic super-essence of some kind. For that super-essence, its existence and its being are coterminous: Potentiality and actuality are synonymous in that “Super-Being,” being absolutely simple.
Western dialectics has thus resulted in a host of insoluble dilemmas in philosophy, politics and science, given the present models of metaphysics. It is here that I want to return to Pauli and his insights from archetypes and Platonism that exercised such a profound influence on his discoveries. We will see in these various articles and correspondences a connection between the inner and outer worlds, (psyche and physis), energies and consciousness (energeia and psyche), power and modality (entelechy and tropoi). In Dennis Slattery’s paper on Atom and Archetype, he explains:
“Pauli suggests that the radioactive nucleus is an excellent symbol for the source of energy of the collective unconscious. It indicates that consciousness does not grow out of any activity that is inherent to it; rather, it is constantly being produced by an energy that comes from the depths of the unconscious and thus has been depicted in the forms of rays from time immemorial.” (Atom and Archetype, p. 14)
Pauli viewed the archetype of the atom as an image of the individual. The point in the monad, the atom, is therefore directly believed to have a correspondence to the singularity of the human consciousness, the self. The mode and functionality of the atom in terms of its energetic resonance shows a remarkably similar energetic movement that sends forth rays in the same fashion as the mind of the individual. In Alva Noe’s famous book Action in Perception, Noe picked up from the phenomenological tradition the idea of intentionality demonstrating the ever-active, or enactive thesis regarding perception. The subject is therefore always producing a symbiotic relationship of energetic interaction in interacting with the outer world. The data transmission, in other words, is two ways. That the psyche sends forth rays of light itself also brings to mind ancient and medieval views of optics and perception from figures like Dr. John Dee that have been discussed in my articles. Since we know that light conveys information this begins to make sense, as the “data flow” between the psyche of the subject is a two-way road to the outer object. It is from this singular personal or hypostatic subject, the self, that we begin to see the model for all reality being Personal, in reference to God. The embodied human subject is the microcosm of the Incarnate divine Subject, the Logos.
I wrote in an earlier article on light:
“Fundamental to this spirit [aether] or substructure of all things is light. Light itself encodes information like DNA, and it is not by accident that modern theoretical physics is so entranced by zeroing in on the infinitesimally tiny particles that make up energy. The actual nature or makeup of light remains a mystery precisely because the totality of reality and all events is itself encoded in light. It is also not by accident that all information we take into our eyes and process in our psyches is all done by the information encoded in light. This is also how light is now technologically able to transmit and encode data: it is simply mimicking the actual operation of light in nature. Indeed, much of what Darpa does is modeled on the natural world itself. …[N]umbers do have a feel, because the universe is light, and is encoded information that are also archetypal geometrical forms, which include the intuitive, emotional “feel” a thing has.”
“At this point Jung brings in explicitly the world of spirit, which has to this point in the conversation hovered along the margins. Now the duality of psyche-physics engages a third: the relation between matter—psyche—spirit. I want to quote Jung’s own realization of psyche and matter as a response to Pauli’s profound understanding of physics and psyche:
The psyche…as a medium participates in both Spirit and Matter. I am convinced that it (the psyche) is partly of a material nature. The archetypes, for example, are Ideas (in the Platonic sense) on the one hand, and yet are directly connected with physiological processes on the other; and in cases of synchronicity they are arrangers of physical circumstances, so that they can also be regarded as a characteristic of Matter (as the feature which imbues it with meaning). (pp. 100-01)”
You begin to see why I bring these seemingly disparate ideas together. Reality is very different from what is presented in mainstream academia and when our models of reality drop the reductionist nonsense: Amazing patterns and discoveries begin to emerge. Plato was wrong to disconnect the realm of forms from our world. Archetypal forms direct interact with the temporal realm through the aether, and the aether is itself a psychic, rational, energetic manifestation that itself includes actualities and potentialities that are not dialectically in tension. Concerning Werner Heisenberg, Wikipedia notes of Hylomorphism:
“The idea of hylomorphism can be said to have been reintroduced to the world when Werner Heisenberg invented his duplex world of quantum mechanics:
“In the experiments about atomic events we have to do with things and facts, with phenomena that are just as real as any phenomena in daily life. But atoms and the elementary particles themselves are not as real; they form a world of potentialities or possibilities rather than one of things or facts … The probability wave … mean[s] tendency for something. It’s a quantitative version of the old concept of potentia from Aristotle’s philosophy. It introduces something standing in the middle between the idea of an event and the actual event, a strange kind of physical reality just in the middle between possibility and reality. (Quantum Reality: Beyond the New Physics, pp. 26–27.)”
Aether is this spirit, this energetic mediating realm of potentiality and actuality. It bridges the gap between psyche and world. Readers will see the similarity in Heisenberg’s quote and Jung and Pauli above. Quantum studies and the investigation of light is therefore intimately bound up in obvious metaphysical concepts! So much for Hume’s jettisoning of metaphysics to the dustbin. Readers will also recognize the connection to the mirrored aspect of reality – the correspondences (between atom and archetype) – written about on my site as well. When the monists and adherents of absolute divine simplicity collapse potentiality and actuality in God, they inevitably do the same for created reality as well, as illustrated above in Aristotle. If potentiality and actuality are synonymous in God, then by extension they become treated that way in nature, and thus there is no place for either. There is only ultimate potentiality (chaos) or ultimate (actuality, Actus Purus) static being. Being and becoming are therefore treated as another dialectical dilemma. Only is both are retained, as well as the middle term of aether, so to speak, is reality coherent. And that is precisely the kind of world we see demonstrated in the kind of energetic aether model I’m presenting.
“In the process of narrating a long dream sequence, Pauli concludes his description of a recurring image, whom he calls “The Dark Woman,” by speculating that “there seems to be no essential difference between mirror symmetries in radioactive beta decay and multiple manifestations of an archetype” (p. 165)” The mirror symmetry of the correspondence between radioactive decay and the individual psyche’s energetic interaction with the outer world is amazing. It is a mirror model of the same idea Noe was interested in, in Action in Perception. It is a dualistic relationship that is only made coherent or rational by the third term, the energetic spirit that is manifested in the diagrams. The matter-mind, subject-object dualities are overcome because they are not in tension. They are harmonized by a third principle, the energetic aether, within which are actualities and potentialies. It is completely sensible if the universe is a microcosm of the macrocosm, with all the logoi summed up in the Logos. This means that atomic activity is also a microcosm of man himself as a macrocosm, as well as both being microcosms of the universe as macrocosm. In this way, the ground of reality is psyche and its energeia. Like Sherrard stated above, aether allows for interaction between these principles without either losing their identities. Matter and psyche are directly connected without losing what they are or being absorbed into the other.
God has imprinted on man’s psyche a similar modality or tropoi as the outer world of “matter.” Writers Atmanspacher and Primas comment on the Jung-Pauli letters with a particular insight:
“The totality of the personality that entails both the conscious and the unconscious psyche is called the “self ‘: an archetype representing the wholeness of man and, moreover, the goal of the process of his psychic development. This process is called individuation in Jung’s parlance, and in his treatise Psychology and Alchemy, he unfolded the thesis “that there is in the psyche a
process that seeks its own goal independently of external factors” (Jung, 1968, Ziff. 4).”
Unless the self is an actually existing reality, science and its objectives are meaningless nonsense. Once topics like self and aether are discussed, metaphysics is back. The authors continue:
“Another example of an archetype which Jung considered to be particularly important was the principle of quaternity, reflected by structures like mandalas, squares, and crosses. According to Jung (1969b), “quaternity is an archetype of almost universal occurrence. It forms the logical basis for any whole judgment.” Quaternarian structures – one could also say: structures based on the number four – can be interpreted as symbols of all concepts of unbroken wholeness, whatever they may be, in both psychology and in physics, in the internal and in the external world. The historical significance of quaternity in European culture can be traced back to the Pythagoreans where the tetraktys was the holiest of the numbers. It is implicitly used in various principles of systematic philosophy (cf. Kant’s or Schopenhauer’s fourfold classification schemes), and it is clearly seen in many distinctions of every day life: four points of the compass, four seasons, four basic colors, four dimensions of space-time, and so on. Jung’s work on psychological functions suggests the four classes of thinking, feeling, sensation, and intuition. Individuation, i.e., the realization of the wholeness of one’s self, is thus also meant as an integration of these functions. Quaternity often has a 3+1 structure, in which one of the four elements is of particular significance and creates “a totality” together with the other three. (An example: the dimension of time together with the three dimensions of space provides the four-dimensional space-time structure of general relativity.) Jung’s discussions with Pauli have often been about the principle of quaternity as compared to that of trinity, related to the number three.”
Amazingly, we are back at Pythagorean conceptions of the geometrical structure of reality that Pauli found appealing. As a theoretical physicist, Pauli was acutely aware of the importance of numbers and reality. Triadic and quaternian structures and archetypes are fascinating, mysterious manifestations. Pauli saw this, and incorporated it into his postulation of the neutrino. For our purposes here it is an example of the obvious patterns that bridge the gap between inner and outer worlds. As I wrote in my article Numbers Prove God:
“The question of numerical entities was of peculiar interest to the ancient Greeks who, according to Plato’s Timaeus, inherited their mystical and Pythagorean notions from Egyptian esoterism. It is also in the Timaeus that we are presented with an almost miraculous knowledge of the structure of miniscule reality (Platonic solids), seemingly impossible, given the technology of that time! Back to the argument – it occurred to me that in considering the transcendental argument for God, an overlooked, yet crucial component of this approach is the issue of numbers themselves. For those that are well-read in Maximos the Confessor and Philip Sherrard, an even deeper insight comes to the fore.”
Numeric patterns are immediately present everywhere and are involved in every act of predication, as I argued:
“Any time we predicate something of an object, we utilize principles and categories. This is unavoidable and one of the things we assume is mathematical entities. All created reality can be categorized according to unity and difference. Thus, one and many are assumed in anything and everything. When I say, “That table,” I am assuming a special unity of a specific object in my experience that is distinguished in that act by all other objects of perception. One is therefore assumed in any act of predication or communication. But “1″ itself is not just a token symbol or sociological development, it is an actual objective principle, which is made evident by the fact that predication, communication and mathematics can be done across cultures and over time. If it were not invariant and objective, it would be subject to change like all material things.
“1″ is not just 1. 1 is also infinitely divisible. Even Xeno was aware of the possibility that space could potentially be divided infinitely, and the result of this is that infinity is actually present at every point. When I say “point” here, I am referring to the Pythagorean and Platonic idea of the monad or point in geometric space and/or time. The 1 is therefore not merely 1, since it can be divided infinitely, it also encompasses an infinite potentiality within itself, as well as infinite potential relations to all other unities or objects. This is a peculiar problem for materialists especially, because for a materialist with the standard empiricist assumptions, the only “rational” thing to acknowledge is whatever can be (supposedly) retained from immediate sense experience. But even back to Berkeley’s time, it was posited that infinity is surely a mathematical reality, yet no one has a direct sensuous experience of anything infinite.”
The one and many are reconciled here without any dialectical tension, but in symphonia. In order for this to make sense, the principle of telos must return to science and physics. Pauli was correct to critique Darwinism on this point:
“In his article “Scientific and Epistemological Aspects of Concepts of the Unconscious,” Pauli wrote (Pauli, 1954a, p. 297): “This model of evolution is an attempt to theoretically cling, according to the ideas of the second half of the 19th century, to the total elimination of any finality [telos]. As a consequence, this has in some way to be replaced by the introduction of chance.” Pauli suggested that the concept of synchronicity might force science to revive the historically repressed concept of finality [telos] as a complement to causality. In “Die Vorlesung an die fremden Leute” (part of the very personal essay Die Klavierstunde, Pauli, 1953c, Ziff. 41), Pauli speculated about a “third kind of natural law which consists in cor- recting the fluctuations of chance by meaningful or functional coincidences of causally not connected events.” But he hesitated to publish such thoughts. (Pauli, 1953c, Ziff. 45) “If one really would like to make such ideas public, it would be imperative to show something which is verifiable.”
Pauli was no fundamentalist dummy, but a genius presenting the very thing we Theists have argued for a long time: that physics and metaphysics demonstrates a world like we present, not a meaningless, nonsense, chaos world where subjective minds impose random, relativist meanings on the external world, but a vastly different kosmos, where the psyche and the outer world are joined by aether, and this aether is not some ridiculous idea, but an energetic luminous level of reality that undergirds and penentrates all else, and is the source of infinites, actualities and potentialies and brings about telos. Interestingly, Aether physics has returned to Oxford, too. In a 2006 New Scientist article, a recent paper was published that points in the direction of aether. It states:
“Nineteenth-century physicists believed that just as sound waves move through air, light waves must move through an all-pervading physical substance, which they called luminiferous (“light-bearing”) ether. However, the Michelson-Morley experiment failed to find any signs of ether, and 18 years after that, Einstein’s special relativity argued that light propagates through a vacuum. The idea of ether was abandoned – but not discarded altogether, it seems.
Starkman and colleagues Tom Zlosnik and Pedro Ferreira of the University of Oxford are now reincarnating the ether in a new form to solve the puzzle of dark matter, the mysterious substance that was proposed to explain why galaxies seem to contain much more mass than can be accounted for by visible matter. They posit an ether that is a field, rather than a substance, and which pervades space-time. “If you removed everything else in the universe, the ether would still be there,” says Zlosnik. This ether field isn’t to do with light, but rather is something that boosts the gravitational pull of stars and galaxies, making them seem heavier, says Starkman. It does this by increasing the flexibility of space-time itself . “We usually imagine space-time as a rubber sheet that’s warped by a massive object,” says Starkman. “The ether makes that rubber sheet more bendable in parts, so matter can seem to have a much bigger gravitational effect than you would expect from its weight.” The team’s calculations show that this ether-induced gravity boost would explain the observed high velocities of stars in galaxies, currently attributed to the presence of dark matter.”
Indeed, this would make much more sense than the reductionist models. This would also point directly back to a Unified Field Theory, as well. As for my argumentation here, however, I think my speculative analysis should provide a good platform for thinkers to springboard other ideas that link ancient and eastern metaphysics to recent discoveries. Of particular relevance is the needed reemergence of the following concepts: Eidos, entelechy and tropoi, energeia, telos and aether. We see these concepts emerge in thinkers like Leibniz, Dee, Newton, Pauli, unified field theory proponents and modern-day Platonist mathematicians and theoretical physicists. These theories and discoveries are amazingly in line with ideas found in eastern theology and ancient philosophy.