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August 4, 2010

God, Science & The Secret Doctrine  IV-chapter 2a, b and c

also Microcosm/Macrocosm II - 1a, b and c

2.  The Mysteries of Cosmic Origins

In the standard big bang theory, the universe begins with a point of zero volume and infinite density and temperature - a mathematical impossibility known as a singularity. Origins, 1985

            The creation scenario of modern science offers a bizarre, seemingly incomprehensible model of cosmic origins.  If modern theories are correct, then the whole of the currently vast universe emerged within/without from an infinitesimally small point source out of the nothingness/plenum of the quantum vacuum. The mythic dimensions of modern science bear profound relationships to the mystical dimensions of the ancient wisdom teachings.

            Modern scientists date the so-called big bang, the original cosmic explosion that initiated the creation of the universe, to approximately 12 to 20 billion years ago.  A recent estimate of the origin of the universe is 13.7 billion years (Laszlo, 2006).  Evidence of the big bang comes from two primary sources:  i) the current expanding state of the universe suggested by the red shift in the light spectrums of distant galaxies caused by their movement away from us—the Doppler effect; and ii) the residual background cosmic radiation detected by radio-astronomers—as an after-glow of the initial cosmic fireball.  Scientists in the 1950s extrapolated backwards in time from the current expanding state of the universe to trace its origin to a ‘big bang’ creation event, where all the matters and energies were concentrated into one massive exploding super-sun like body. 

In 1965, Steven Weinberg published a popular book The First Three Minutes depicting the astrophysical processes occurring during the first three minutes of the big bang.  Weinberg stated that “one-hundredth of a second (is) the earliest time about which we can speak with any confidence....” (p. 2) At that time, the universe was about a hundred million degrees centigrade and the primary ingredients were electrons, positrons, neutrinos and photons. In addition, there were smaller numbers of heavier particles—protons and neutrons—all being created and destroyed within a sort of primordial cosmic soup. 

            However, during the last decades of the twentieth century, scientists penetrated even further back into the origins of spacetime and traced the big bang explosion back into a first instant of creation from a point source–a singularity condition. This first point is where the universe emerged at the level of the ‘Planckian units’ –at which measurement becomes possible according to the uncertainty principle.           At a singularity, the laws of physics and the distinctions of space and time, energy and matter, break down and everything appears to pass into infinity (and/or into nothingness). Physicists have arrived at complex enigmas while trying to understand singularities and their origins within the quantum vacuum.  Space is not empty but mysteriously full.  One scientist explains that: “All of physics is in the vacuum” –an opinion shared with the Kabbalists and occultist Blavatsky. 


2a. Everything Adds up to Nothing

            How could a universe of such immensity as our own emerge from a singular point or from nothing?  As much as the idea may initially seem unreasonable, we can imagine the matter and energy of the universe returning again to a point source and a pre-big bang state with different energies and forces cancelling each other out, so that it all adds up to zero.  As bizarre as this scenario may seem, this is exactly what modern astrophysics and cosmology have concluded in recent years.

            According to the Laws of the Conservation, mass and energy can be converted into each other but the overall quantities must be conserved–in addition to other quantities, such as spin.  However, if we imagine all of the matter/energy of the universe returning at the beginning of time into a primordial state, then different forces and elements might cancel each other out without violating the laws of conservation.  Positive electrical charges would be cancelled by negative electrical charges; quantum spin properties of right and left spinning charges might cancel each other; and anti-matter could cancel out additional matters.

            The idea of creation out of nothing in modern science is sometimes attributed to the physicist, Edward Tryon, who in 1973 had a vision:

“I had a vision of a flash of universe appearing from nothing, appearing as a result of the laws of physics.  I felt a chill of awe and exhilaration like I have not felt before or since.”

 Of course, Dr. Tryon would probably not describe his vision as a mystical experience–although one might well wonder whether he indeed should.

            Whereas the idea of the cancelling out of positive and negative charges, spin components, matter and anti-matter, and so on, were established, Dr. Tryon extended this idea to consider the effects of gravity and gravitational collapse.  Tryon reasoned that gravity or spacetime curvature can be taken as a negative force capable of cancelling out the positive energies contained in the residual matter and energy which remained after other components had been cancelled out.  Ultimately then, the universe might all add up to zero.  In a popular science article, Strauss (1985) explained:

Prof. Tryon reasoned that if something could be found which negates the amount of energy in the universe in the same way that a negative electric charge cancels a positive one, then the total energy balance might be described as a kind of nothingness.  To rephrase it, the universe adds up to zero. ... the cancelling source might be the potential energy locked up in the pull of gravity.  For various reasons, the energy connected with gravity is typified by physicists as a negative energy.  While the ability of potential gravity to create a zero-sum effect in the universe was not proven then (or now), the idea of a universe which essentially cancelled itself out is pregnant with suggestions of how it came into being.  ... a number of physicists ... have been attempting to describe the mathematics of the probability of the universe springing out of nothingness. ... “I believe it won't be very long now–perhaps measured in decades–until people have a relatively complete theory of how the universe grew out of nothing,” says Columbia University physicist Heinz Pagels.  “And then they can spend the next 300 years arguing over interpretations of that.”  (1985)

 Adding up all the matter and energy, as a +1, to the negative potential of gravity (-1), magically produces a zero-sum. 1  Imagine the universe running backwards in time, returning to a singularity point from which it had originally emerged and disappearing into the (apparent) nothingness of the quantum vacuum! 

            In modern science, a current issue concerns whether or not there is enough matter and energy in the universe to slow down its current expansion and to set into motion a phase of universal contraction.  In the mainstream of science, it is considered that it would be the presence of matter and the principle of ‘gravity’ which could potentially close the universe.  Historically, scientists have tended to assume that the universe would be closed as this most satisfies the search for ultimate unity and symmetry.  Hence scientists search for the missing matter which could eventually set gravitational collapse into motion.  In 1998, the experimental confirmation of the idea that neutrinos can indeed have mass was hailed as one such discovery which could tip the scales towards the eventual closure of the universe.  Neutrinos are the most abundant know particles in the universe.  There are however other possibilities and theories. 

            One possible scenario for the fate of the universe is that it will eventually begin an era of universal contraction.  This would entail the accumulation of denser and denser black holes eventually collapsing into a final dreaded singularity—the Omega Point of infinite spacetime curvature at the end of time.  This scenario is sometimes called the “big crunch” to contrast it with the “big bang” creation event.  This is the omega point–as omega is the final letter of the Greek alphabet. If the universe is closed, then it began with a white hole singularity and will end in a black hole singularity—all between the Alpha and the Omega points.  Expanding within/without from a singularity at the beginning of time, the universe could eventually contract without/within to a singularity at the end of time.  It all might add up to nothing at the beginning of time and once again at the end of time.  Such concepts are perfectly in accord with Blavatsky, who describes the first point of cosmic differentiation and follows evolution through to the final dissolution into the zero-point laya centres at the end of time.

            The root principles of creation and dissolution are within the strange quantum vacuum: the apparent nothingness and plenum, which underlies and sustains the universe.  The universe, the One, or 1, emerged from the nothingness/plenum, the zero, 0, the infinite root principle of creation.

1  In this case, everything adds us to nothing—as suggested by Aleister Crowley’s simple magical formula of the universe:  +1 + (-1) = 0, or +n + (-n) = 0.   (Holmes, The Heart Doctrine, 2010)



2b. The Singularity which Can and Cannot Happen

            There are two major cornerstones of modern cosmology and physics: the general theory of relativity describing the law of gravity in terms of the curvature of four-dimensional spacetime; and quantum theory describing the four known laws of nature in terms of ‘quantum field theories’ (particle/wave, matter/energy theories).  The universe is composed of matter and energy within time and space.  These are the four basic elements of modern science.  All four—matter, energy, time and space—originate at the big bang singularity and would dissolve again at the Omega point. 

            Modern big bang cosmology is based on Einstein’s general theory of relativity, in which mathematically, there is nothing preventing a singularity condition where the measure of spacetime curvature passes to infinity.  As spacetime curvature passes to infinity, the dimension of the universe diminishes to an infinitely minute point.  The general theory of relativity allows for and predicts such unusual singularities. 

            However, the prediction of a singularity is inconsistent with the basic principle of quantum physics–the uncertainty principle.  Einstein’s general theory is ‘classical’ in that it does not incorporate the uncertainty principle. In classical physics, particles were thought to have a definite position and momentum at any point in time. Heisenberg developed the “uncertainty principle” in the late 1920s and it states that one cannot determine both the position and momentum of a particle to an arbitrary degree of accuracy.  Instead, the more closely one measures the position, the greater the uncertainty about the momentum and vice versa.  Heisenberg compared the uncertainty principle to the man and women in a weather-house, where “if one comes out, the other goes in.  [1]

The uncertainty principle specifies that the product in the measurement of the position and momentum of a quantum must always be equal to or greater than Planck’s constant, called h.  h’ has a small but positive value (6.63 x 10-27 erg seconds) and this factor is a measure of discreteness in quantum processes.  If h = 0, then the position and momentum of a quantum could both be known simultaneously to any degree of accuracy. The uncertainty relationship is depicted by the formula ∆p x ∆m > h.  If the value of either ∆p or ∆m approaches 0, meaning that either the position or momentum is completely determined, then the other property mathematically passes to infinity.  And so, the general theory of relativity which describes the law of gravity predicts singularities, whereas quantum theory forbids them.

            The time and dimensions of the big bang singularity are arrived at through quantum theory because the measurements of science become meaningless and undefined at the level of the singularity, or at what Blavatsky would call a ‘Ring-pass-not.’  In quantum physics, the basic Planck unit of measurement of distance, or extension, beyond which we cannot measure according to the uncertainty principle, is 10-33 centimetres.  This is the boundary of the singularity beyond which the scientist cannot penetrate through measurement.  This 10-33 centimetres is inconceivably minute, billions of times smaller than the diameter of a proton.  The point of creation of the Kosmos arises at this level where material differentiation begins from out of the void, with these limits as imposed by the uncertainty principle.

Scientists also ascribe to this point emergence a Planck measurement of time, 10-43 seconds, which is the time required for light to travel the Planck distance.  This is the fundamental unit of the measurement of time. The big bang singularity is thus a hypothetical point of emergence of universal creation at the level of the Planck units.  This singularity is 10-33 cm in diameter at 10-43 seconds into creation.  This is an inconceivably minute point emerging at an inconceivable brief first instant of time.  This is where the unfolding of the infinite begins from within/without at essentially a zero point level.  This is a bizarre and beautiful conception of the emergence of the universe from within the depths of the Deep—the point to which scientific theorizing and study has brought modern inquiries into universal origins!

[1]  A weather-house refers to small toy like weather device of European origin, perhaps novelties today.  These usually stand under a foot in height and are constructed of wood, with male and female figures on a rotating axle with a small house behind them.  If the measurement of the air’s humidity is high, the female figure emerges from the small house and the male figure moves into the house; if the humidity is low, then the man emerges and the female retreats.  The female is supposed to forecast rain and the male sunshine.  As one figure emerges, the other moves into the framework of the house. 

2c.  Stephen Hawking & the Badly Behaved Points

Hawking hopes that there may not be a Big Bang, no “edge” to the universe that can be singled out and pointed to as the initial starting point (the singularity). His resistance derives from the fact that he believes an edge entails a God—at least a causal principle that functions like a definite starting point.  (Weber, 1986, p. 205)

             In his best seller, A Brief History of Time (1988), the prominent physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking attempted to explain creation in such a way as to avoid the God hypothesis.  Professor Hawking suggested that if scientists were successful in developing a unified theory of ‘quantum gravity,’ then it would do away with the necessity of a big bang singularity.  The singularity is interpreted as a last remaining “gap” in science’s explanatory framework, where religious and superstitious folk still invoke the idea of God or a Creator.

            The problem for scientists, as Hawking explains, is that:

... all our theories of science are formulated on the assumption that space-time is smooth and nearly flat, so they break down at the big bang singularity, where the curvature of space-time is infinite. ... predictability would break down at the big bang. … Many people do not like the idea that time has a beginning, probably because it smacks of divine intervention. ...  There were therefore a number of attempts to avoid the conclusion that there had been a big bang.   (1988, pp. 46-7)

 In Hawking’s unified theory of quantum gravity, the mysterious singularity would be “smeared out” according to the uncertainty principle of quantum theory.   In this case, he argues, science will have arrived at a completely natural explanation of the origin of the universe and there will be no need to invoke any metaphysical causes, or God to account for the beginning.  Heaven forbid that a singularity “smack of Divine intervention.” 

“So long as the universe had a beginning, we could suppose it had a creator.  But if the universe is really completely self-contained, having no boundary or edge, it would have neither beginning nor end: it would simply be.  What place, then, for a creator?” (Hawking, 1988, pp. 140-1)

             Professor Hawking strives to discover a wave equation for the universe consistent with quantum theory which could avoid any big-bang singularities by eliminating “such badly behaved points.” (1988, p. 133)  Hawking thus describes quanta in terms of the “sum over history” approach of physicist R. Feynman, where all possible paths of a quantum in “imaginary time” are added together to represent the quantum–instead of describing it as a point particle. (Essentially, the sum over history represents the plenum condition of all possibilities.)  Hawking notes that, in this case:

 In real time, the universe has a beginning and an end at singularities that form a boundary to space-time and at which the laws of science break down.  But in imaginary time, there are no singularities or boundaries.  So maybe what we call imaginary time is really more basic.... (p. 139)

 According to Hawking’s philosophical musings, dissolving the singularities into imaginary time and dimensions would somehow mean that the universe would not require “an undefined boundary condition,” represented by the singularity.  Dr. Hawking (1984) considers the philosophical implications of how quantum gravity theory could resolve the singularity enigmas:

 There would be no singularities at which the laws of science broke down and no edge of space-time at which one would have to appeal to God or some new law to set the boundary conditions for space-time.  One could say: “The boundary condition of the universe is that it has no boundary.”  The universe would be completely self-contained and not affected by anything outside itself.  It would neither be created nor destroyed.  It would just BE.  (p. 136)

 Dr. Hawking’s arguments for why we no longer need a Creator if we can smear out the singularity are really quite peculiar.  Even if one smears out the naughty singularity, it still represents a boundary condition–what Blavatsky calls a ‘ring-pass-not’ or a portal between different levels of reality.   Dr. Hawking’s logic in dismissing God is his leap of faith–faith in his own intellect and the powers of rational science.  In an interview, Hawking comments: “We still believe that the universe should be logical and beautiful.  We just dropped the word ‘God.’”  (Weber, 1986, p. 212)  

            Of course, Hawking is not familiar with the fact that The Secret Doctrine deals with exactly such ideas and dynamics–concerning the point source origin and ends of the cosmos.  Further, the notion of the quantum as being composed of “all possible paths” in imaginary time is related to what Blavatsky describes as the plenum of Space–the metaphysical realm underlying and sustaining all things and containing all possibilities in the Aether.  Dr. Hawking’s solution to the singularity problem is really no solution to the question of God’s existence, although he imagines it to be and dresses up his views to represent so-called ‘real science.’ 

            Most scientists expect the singularity mysteries to be resolved with future developments in the unification of the laws of physics.  Pagels (1985b) illustrated the common scientific attitude towards such enigmas:

 ... on the basis of past experience, such singularities in the mathematical descriptions of physical entities simply reflect an incomplete physical understanding.  The appearance of mathematical singularities in the description of nature is really a challenge to physicists to devise a better mathematical description based on deeper physical laws that avoid the singularity.  The singularity at the origin of the universe implied by some models should be seen as a challenge, not a veil of ignorance behind which we may not look.  (p. 244)

 Materialist scientists resent what is labelled “singularity mysticism”–the idea that there is anything ‘mystical’ about zero point singularities rooted into the plenum.  Of course, the claim that there is nothing mystical about such points is purely a philosophical leap of faith on the part of the materialist scientist.  Generally, scientists are ignorant of those esoteric occult and mystical teachings which do provide doctrines relevant to such issues. 

            Before all time:  a primordial nothingness and then a point, a naught point, a zero-point source of unfoldment emerging out of the infinity of the void/plenum and imaginary time!  Of course, to so-called “real scientists,” none of this implies anything mystical or supernatural although it surely still does indeed “smack of Divine micro-intervention.”  It is most noteworthy that Blavatsky depicted the zero point origins and ends of the Kosmos over a century before modern scientists.  

TABLE OF CONTENTS for God, Science & the Secret Doctrine

or TABLE OF CONTENTS for Microcosm/Macrocosm

From Jonathan Cott’s Visions & Voices, 1987

Jonathan Cott: Cosmologists have speculated that at the first explosive moment of the birth of the universe, everything that exists–or ever will exist–was contained within a single spark of energy, smaller than an atom’s nucleus and ruled by a single primordial law.

Rabbi Lawrence Kushner: One dot–a point of light.  Perhaps the fact that contemporary cosmologists talk about a dimensionless point of light from which all being sprang and that the Kabbalists long ago came up with precisely the same image (in the fourteenth century, Moses de Leon spoke of “a hidden supernal point” whose “primal center is the innermost light, of a translucence, subtlety, and purity beyond comprehension”) means that this awareness comes from something we all carry within us.  We’re walking Torahs ... if we could just shut up and listen to it.  As Rabbi Dov Baer of Mezritch said: “I shall teach you the best way to say Torah.  You must cease to be aware of yourselves.  You must be nothing but an ear which hears what the universe of the word is constantly saying within you.” (page 209)

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