“I want to know God’s thoughts; the rest are details.” – Albert Einstein.
He also said that he came to his understanding of the universe by something other than his rational mind, that this understanding comes in a flash of intuition, and most interestingly for the purposes of our brief discussion today… “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” I agree. We need to take what each of these disciplines, (and they are both disciplines) has to offer. Science is Magic, understood.
We have to acknowledge the idea that whether the philosopher (or lover of wisdom) takes the scientific approach to life or the spiritual approach, in truth a blending of the two will be required. This is what is referred to as the spiritual or esoteric sciences. It is Theosophy in its pure form – Wisdom Religion. The Ageless Wisdom put forth in all of the Mystery Schools of the ages. This is the wisdom at the core of the religious teachings throughout the world. Esoteric in that it represents the inner teaching beneath the surface that must be rooted out and discovered by each and every spiritual aspirant. It reveals the underlying causes that result in the phenomenal world of experience. In both cases we are dealing with the search for truth. They are the same path.
I am an Esoteric Scientist in that I use my analytical mind to discern or discriminate what is real and important. The meaning of a situation rather than the circumstance. The cause rather than the effect. We use not just our feeling nature in our exploration but also the reasoning faculty of the mind. Faith is important but not a substitute for reason. Why feel your way through the world if you can see by the light of mind? In the words of Esme Wingfield Stratford, “Blind belief is no less sure to err than blind unbelief. The free heroic spirit commands its destinies in the full light of consciousness.” I see Consciousness as both the method of exploration and the field of enquiry.
We are dealing here in some abstract ideas and principles and much must be taken theoretically at first, if the intuition tells us this is a direction worth exploring. Henry Steele Olcott, one of the founders of the Theosophical Society said it this way. “We accept nothing without proof and reject nothing without cause.” Remaining open to going wherever the information leads us as investigators rather than seekers, we take an individual spiritual path which will converge with others, if we are in fact-finding truth.
The work of Einstein, Niels Bohr, Max Plank, Faraday, Eisenberg, and many other ground breaking physicists started out as theory and “way out there” theory at that. The woo woo stuff that sounds like spiritual mumbo jumbo to your 8th grade science teacher but is the work of the true cutting edge scientist who is actually an esoteric investigator. We on the other approach wrapped in the spiritual teachings of the ancients have been forging the same road although science seems to have taken the long way around.
This is true and it’s not true at the same time. Some of these theories are now over 100 years old and there is a reason that we don’t see them as that far out any more. Much of the theory has now been born out in experiment and quantum theory has become quantum mechanics. Having decided that matter was the font of being they have had to prove anything they are to build upon materially and 100 years ago their instrumentation was incapable of proving what the mathematics was telling them. Because of this assumption of matter as the root of being, theory has to be turned into a hypothesis and then proven or disproven through experimentation on what we call the physical plane. There is nothing inherently wrong with this idea, and in certain areas of exploration it is essential, but it completely takes you out of certain conversations.
You can’t prove or disprove God on the physical plane so, scientific materialism excludes not only the possibility of either case but refuses to even entertain the question. This was all well and good during the era of Newtonian Physics named for its founder. He is seen as the father of scientific materialism and the scientific method of investigation. His laws of inertia only hold true for large objects but in his time they had no way to look into the properties of atoms and subatomic particles, so in the beginning it didn’t matter.
As the technology moved forward they had to come up with theories or thought experiments to explain the mathematical, and then later, observational results of their increasingly complex experiments, based on the increasing sensitivities of their instrumentation.
Let’s take an example… Light is a form of electromagnetic radiation. Visible light is a small section of a wide range of frequencies which start well below those of sound up into the Radio frequencies and well beyond visible light into the x-ray and gamma ray bands. These waves vibrate at different frequencies or rates. The difference between Red and Blue light is frequency. The difference between the microwave radiation that heats your coffee in the morning and the sunlight coming in the window is frequency.
It had always been seen as a wave of radiation (a disturbance in what was called the ethers like sound waves are a disturbance in the air). This held up until experimentation revealed what is called “the photoelectric effect.” This is the release of electrons from materials exposed to light. It implied the impact of particles and the “photon” was born as well as the idea of wave particle duality. This is a central concept in Quantum Physics and states that all particles exhibit wave-like tendencies and this is where it gets really interesting.
The light behaves like a wave of potential energy until it hits something. At that instant it materializes as a photon and is capable of knocking an electron out of its orbit around an atom of the material it “hits.” We can’t really see light until it bounces off of some object unless we are looking at its source.
Along with the uncertainty principle which states that we are unable to simultaneously ascertain the speed and location of a particle, this wave/particle duality changed what we consider to be the nature of the material world. Einstein’s laws of the conservation of matter and energy are pretty familiar. Neither matter nor Energy can be created or destroyed but only converted one to the other.
If the fundamental building blocks of our world now had to be described in terms of “probability patterns” and matter and energy are considered two opposing states of the same universal essence, our little world gets a lot less hard, dense and certain.