August 8, 2012 § Leave a comment
Living in a western, science oriented society I’ve been conditioned by culture to accept reasoned argument as a basis for any communication. This is perhaps why some mystical literature seems to leave me cold. For instance, enlightenment is described as the highest Value yet some mystics will tell you it doesn’t exist. Others will come right out and tell you not to look for it. I suppose they’re trying to make a point but if so, they’re not doing a very good job of it.
On the other hand when Lao Tsu wrote,
“Look, it cannot be seen—it is beyond form.
Listen, it cannot be heard—it is beyond sound.
Grasp, it cannot be held—it is intangible.”
There is meaning in those words that point to Value, even if I can’t offer any reasonable articulation of that Value.
Likewise, there are aspects of science, physics in particular, that suggest Value and if properly understood would create a new mysticism better adapted for the western mind than anything Lao Tsu wrote for the oriental mind.
Of particular interest to me at the moment is an experiment that, for the life of me, I cannot track down, even though it was broadcast on TV some months ago. In it an experimenter gave a photon two paths to follow but limited it to only one at a time. The interesting thing about the experiment was that at near absolute zero temperatures the photon took both paths even though it should have been able to only take one.
That got me to thinking, and here I will admit that my reasoning is more akin to Swiss cheese because of all the holes in it. Absolute zero is one of the constants that give our universe form. If that form begins to break down when you approach it, as shown by the photon being both here and there when it should only be here, would some kind of breakdown occur as you approach the limits set by other constants?
What about the speed of light? As a constant it is an upper limit on how fast anything can go in the universe. When an atom is accelerated towards the speed of light its mass grows so large that to accelerate it all the way would require infinite energy. But is it not possible that when an atom is accelerated to within the smallest difference in speed to the speed of light that it might not suddenly become both with and without mass, just as the photon was both here and there?
Even more interesting, and here I’m jumping over a lot of holes in the Swiss cheese, we’re told that the universe began as something smaller than the size of a pinhead then expanded almost instantly to pretty much it’s present size today. But is it not possible that just before that the universe was both large and small at the same time: then just flipped into one state, the large one? And would that not mean that any grand theory of both the very large and the very small, the cosmos and the quantum, would contain in it a statement something to the effect that every thing we know today is both the size of the universe and the size of a quark?
If discovered to be true, then Lao Tsu was right when he wrote,
“… having and not having arise together.
Difficult and easy complement each other.
Long and short contrast each other;
High and low rest upon each other;”
To which we might add, “Large and small rest within each other.”