Plato defended the idea that Mind exists as the fundamental substance of the universe, and the mystical system of Plotinus best describes its function in a physical universe. Science now reveals the discovery of an unknown substance that may actually be a co-discovery of the missing mental stuff of reality on a huge scale.
Perspective must be maintained in this system based on solar creation. The vast universe contains an assortment of objects both well known, and extraordinarily strange. Our solar system is but a small speck among a hundred billion stars in our own Milky Way galaxy. The Milky Way is just one of a local group of galaxies making up a cluster of galaxies. The mapping of the heavens is revealing even greater and more massive structures covering immense regions of space surrounded by voids of complete emptiness. Observations suggest that these structures form great walls in the shape of ovals much like the bubbles in soapsuds.
Early Western philosophers liked to postulate that reality consisted of five elements instead of four. Besides earth, air, fire, and water, there was a fifth essence they called the aether. Etheric matter was the substance of the soul; ghostly apparitions made themselves known through a hazy vapor. Mind had to be made of something if it was to be explained at all. If there is life after death, then there must be a spiritual world for soul to experience its existence. What is this elusive essence?
Physicists and cosmologists have now made a very interesting discovery-- a substance that cannot be seen, or explained. Calculations show that it makes up ninety to ninety-nine percent of the mass of the universe. It must exist to explain galactic rotation and formation in a universe that began with a Big Bang. The traditional view of our Milky Way galaxy is of a central bulge of many old stars within a thin disc of young stars stretching out about 100,000 light-years. Now evidence suggests that the galaxy is enveloped by a huge sphere of dark matter greater than 300,000 light-years. This means that about eighty percent of our galaxy cannot be seen. Other galaxies spin so fast that were it not for the weight of some unseen mass they would fly apart. Clusters of galaxies can only be explained if the weight of the cluster is more than that of the bright galaxies it contains.
The dark matter theory holds that gravity amplified tiny fluctuations in the distribution of matter in the early universe to eventually produce vast fields of galaxies. Dark matter consists as an unidentified substance that interacts only slightly with ordinary matter. Such particles need to be heavy to provide enough gravitational attraction, and they need to be very aloof. If dark matter took part in chemical or nuclear reactions, their presence would be all too obvious.
One candidate for dark matter is thought to be normal atomic matter tied up in objects smaller than stars but larger than most planets. There could be thousands of dark objects for every star in the galaxy. Called baryonic matter, it consists of large planets, low-mass stars, white dwarfs, neutron stars, or even black holes. Since their supposed mass cannot be calculated, they remain only theoretical.
A new possibility is gaining greater attention with research producing a new theoretical particle named the axion. Calculations show that axions could be swarming all around us. They would be incredibly light and almost never interact with other particles. This theory is very attractive because it resolves the missing mass problem while canceling the violation of symmetry. Although there is no way of describing what this substance might be, it could just as well be called the 'aether'. Researchers are building axion detectors that may confirm their findings.
Another explanation for dark matter and the formation of large aggregations of galaxies is the revival of equations Einstein worked out in his theory of general relativity more than seventy years ago. The popular view of his time held that the universe was neither expanding nor contracting, and Einstein felt the need to introduce an unknown repulsive force to counter the gravitational attraction of mass. This came to be called the "cosmological constant." Recent super-computer simulations tend to confirm the dark matter theory. What it is waits for an explanation.
Could the missing MIND in the universe be dark matter? Since it only interacts very weakly with ordinary matter, and seems to have an independent existence, the connection is plausible. The conceptual leap from mind to dark matter is appealing on the ground that scientists are totally mystified by this strange "stuff," just as they are mystified by the strange stuff called Mind.
As I labor within the bounds of logic, and the realm of possibility to understand creation, I cannot accept the idea that mind is merely a complex of sensory input enabling an organism to grope through its brief existence. Neither can I conceive a God that creates the entire universe out of nothing in seven days. Nor can I accept that the world sits on a plate atop the back of a giant tortoise as believed by some people. If Mind existed in or even as the timeless proto-universe, unbounded, and undifferentiated at the moment of the Big Bang, then Mind as dark matter was present to and after the great explosion. As the universe cooled and matter formed, the stellar energy of gravity gathered Mind to it and coalesced into logos through its radiation. Mind, thought, intellection gives rise to its self-hood or individuality through the power of stellar structures. Although it may exist as pure thought in contemplation, I tend to believe that it requires matter in opposition for self-expression. The greatest force in the universe is the most noble in human spirit; Love is the power, and Life the ultimate goal.
Physicists and cosmologists have come close to explaining all the processes in the universe. Called the Grand Unified Theory, or GUT, it unites the forces of gravity, electromagnetism, and two others called the strong force and the weak force. Yet try as they do, they still cannot tidy up their equations to explain the ultimate nature of all reality. The very thing they are using to solve this question is the one single thing they are leaving out. Mind is a fact of reality; it cannot be left out of any Grand explanation. I feel certain that the methods of science will ultimately discover Mind on a vast scale within the stars and galaxies of our universe. Not until then will we come to know what we are really doing here.
Carl Jung takes notice when he says:
"All the same, every science is a function of the psyche, and all knowledge is rooted in it. The psyche is the greatest of all cosmic wonders and the sine qua non of the world as an object. It is in the highest degree odd that Western Man, with but very few--and ever fewer exceptions, apparently pays so little regard to this fact. Swamped by the knowledge of external objects, the subject of all knowledge has been temporarily eclipsed to the point of seeming non-existence." 39
For science it is easier to think of mind as a product of axons, neurons, and such stuff that makes up the brain--all neatly housed within the skull. If this is the case, then death of the organism confirms death of the psyche; there is no path back from eternal blackness and nothingness.
ORIGIN AND PHYSICS OF THE SENTIENT
Mysticism is very subjective, seldom taking the physical world into account, only going so far as to affirm that we exist, although quite often in a profound way. One important qualification can be added: as Descartes stated; "I think, therefore I am." Within the whole of reality, within the vast domains of philosophy and science, can there be anything more vital and important? When it comes to each of us as unique individuals, I think not. Yet human experience begs the question: is there any intrinsic relationship between the existence of mind and the universe itself? Scientists have come up with very convincing theories, backed by calculations, that describe the origin and possible fate of the universe. Unfortunately, you and I, and mankind as a whole, seem to come out of these theories as some sort of accident, rather than with any kind of intent. 'We have no cosmic purpose, we should find meaning within our lives, and be content with that,' they tell us. I beg to differ. My own mystic intuition leads me to believe that mind was present at the formation of the universe, and more importantly, the reason for the existence of the universe itself--nothing less.
It is easy to say that, but much more difficult to explain. The explanation rests within philosophy and scientific theory; philosophy describes the metaphysical reality, and science describes its physical structure. Since mind plays the primary role in this essay, and because mind manifests in several ways, it is necessary to find definitions specific to its nature. Mind simply defined means: psyche, anima, Nous, intellect, thought, conscience, soul, spirit, quintessence, sentience, and aether. Mind, or henceforth M-theory, is divided into three categories, or states, or functions; they are: mind-flux or M-flux, mind-field or M-field, and mind-factor or M-factor. M-flux refers to primordial mind, to mind without content; mind as an ontological foundation or function. M-field refers to stellar entities, often referred to as solar logos, the sun, the life source of any planet. M-factor pertains to living organisms, most likely from the level of fungi to human beings, and is not unique to the planet Earth. Mind is a form of mass/energy; we'll call this the M-force.
The latest and most convincing theory about the formation of the universe comes from inflation theory. Alan Guth at MIT worked out the basic idea. Physicists predicted as early as 1922 and confirmed in the 1960s that the universe came from a tiny point that exploded into a fireball of extreme heat and density. This tiny point became known as a singularity, it is believed that at the time of the singularity all the known forces of the universe were unified. The four forces are gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces. Fairly recently all of these forces, except gravity, have been unified in what is now called a grand unified theory or GUT. Understanding gravity at the atomic level has been elusive; gravity at the cosmic plane is well known having been described by Newton several centuries ago. At the level of stars and galaxies, gravity is a powerful force pervading the universe, but is almost undetectable at sub-atomic levels. A theory of quantum gravity will have to be understood before all four forces of nature can be unified. Nonetheless, gravity was essential to the beginning of the universe.
Prior to Guth's inflation theory scientists knew little about how the Big Bang, as it is called, came into being. Inflation solved many riddles about the beginning of creation that have come to be accepted by most physicists and cosmologists today. Within a second of this explosive period the universe expanded by 25 orders of magnitude. This means that the universe expanded from a point a billionth the size of a proton, which is one of the building blocks of matter, to the size of a marble. It then slowed and cooled over time to the size it is today, which is still expanding. This is equivalent to a pearl exploding to the size of the Milky Way. The power of this fireball is unimaginable, evolving into a boiling stew or quark soup; within that fraction of a second the forces of raw energy began splitting apart. (That fraction of a second has been calculated to be between ten to the minus 37th second, and ten to the minus 34th second. This is a decimal point followed by 33 zeros and a one).
Guth surmises that the whole universe may be a "free lunch." 40 This is not an easy concept to explain. One reason is that it comes out of the weird world of quantum mechanics. Quantum theory holds that in any physical system probability rules over absolutes. It is impossible to predict the properties of an atom, although one can predict the properties of atoms in general. Now think of a pure vacuum; it seems counter-intuitive, and even contradictory to say that something can come out of nothing. If something can come out of a vacuum, then it's not a vacuum by definition. Right? Wrong! Due to quantum uncertainties something can come out of nothing. It is scientifically possible that a particle can materialize out of a vacuum and disappear back into it. Physicists call it a vacuum fluctuation. Even empty space contains a slight energy field. It tends to answer the age-old philosophical question of why there isn't just nothing. Out of this primordial vacuum came a hot plasmic stew from which bubbled subatomic particles that existed for the briefest of moments. Inflation theorists call this eruption a false vacuum. Since the universe is still expanding from the initial Big Bang, the false vacuum is considered to have a repulsive gravitational field. As the expansion doubled exponentially, so too did the energy of gravity, and hence the doubling of matter, such as particles of electrons, positrons, and neutrinos. To explain the emergence of matter, cosmologists say that some state of the false vacuum decayed; this is an important aspect of creation. Einstein recognized this possibility when he perceived that energy and matter are essentially equivalent--as in E=mc2. After about 300,000 years, the universe cooled sufficiently to allow simple atoms to form like hydrogen, helium, and lithium. The dense fog that existed before dissipated, and the universe became very dark; there were as yet no stars.
Before I get too far ahead of myself, I want to go back and incorporate M-theory into the scenario being created in this essay. My purpose is to present the latest ideas and theories in physics and cosmology that are consistent with M-theory. It is my firm belief that any theory that purportedly attempts to explain everything can't be complete unless it includes the very consciousness that formulates it. The only thing known about gravity has been its attractive force; now inflation theory requires it to have a repulsive force too. I think it has one more property that will unify all the known forces, as we shall see. It should be emphasized that this is a theory without much evidence to back it up; other than it makes sense, and brings metaphysics and physics together for a common purpose.
As I stated at the beginning of my discussion, M-flux was present at the beginning of creation, and may have been a random, spontaneous, free lunch, but I think there was meaning and purpose behind it. While maybe not planned in any conscious sense, there is possibly an autonomic reaction that occurs in places where there is no space or time. M-flux is not a thing with properties that can be easily detected, because it is all around us. I believe it is a force associated with gravity, and not separate from the energy that holds it, although it may well be the source of the energy itself. From within, its power manifests both as a repulsive force driving the expansion, and the attractive force of matter. The brief period before inflation has been referred to as the era of quantum gravity. As I mentioned earlier, quantum gravity is unknown, but has to be assumed for the sake of theory, once its nature is discerned it should fit in with the other three known forces; this will be a rare moment for science. The repulsive gravitational field, or M-force, or false vacuum, had the power to explode from an incredibly dense point into a universe. With the doubling of energy and its subsequent decay into particles of simple matter, we might think of this as the first act of creation. Matter and energy separated out of the M-force to become opposing entities. After the inflationary period ended the M-force returned to a less energetic state, or M-flux, now governed by the classic laws of big bang theory, or Newtonian physics.
About eighty-five years ago Albert Einstein observed the universe as it appeared, unmoving and static with stars and galaxies fixed in their positions. But he also realized that the gravitational attraction between these bodies would slowly pull them together, although that did not seem to be happening. So he introduced a few calculations into his General Theory of Relativity that created an opposing force to counter gravity. He called it Lambda, and it later became known as the Cosmological Constant. In 1929 Edwin Hubble using the new 100-inch telescope on Mt. Wilson discovered that the stars and galaxies were actually moving away from each other, and that the universe was expanding. Einstein quickly dropped Lambda. Soon new ideas arose concerning the shape of the universe and the geometries that determine it. Einstein's theory of relativity entailed a non Euclidean geometry that resulted in a closed universe because space bends in on itself; it has a finite volume and the shape of a sphere. A spaceship traveling in a straight line will eventually return to where it started. In a closed universe gravity will overcome the expansion and begin to contract; all the stars and galaxies will be pulled back into what's called a Big Crunch. In another cosmological model, a universe with very little mass will lack enough gravitational force to stop the expansion, so space is open, or infinite in volume, and the universe will expand forever. There is a third model that is precisely the borderline between a closed and an open universe. It is the exact point between eternal expansion and eventual collapse; cosmologists say that it has reached critical mass density. Amazingly enough the universe is at that point today; amazing because theorists are at a loss to explain why those values are so precise, and because there is no compelling necessity that they should be. When in perfect balance scientists say that Omega equals one; if less than one, an open universe results; if more, a closed universe. A universe in which Omega equals one is said to be flat. (Referring to its Euclidean geometry). The conservation of energy in a flat universe is maintained due to the perfect equilibrium of all the negative energy of gravity and all the positive energy of matter. Precise measurements of the energy left over from the Big Bang, called the cosmic background radiation, confirm that Omega equals one.
While you may think this is all very interesting, it is crucial to understanding how the M-flux, or in more popular terms, dark matter, came to be identified, and why its role is so important today. When astronomers attempt to tally up all the matter in the universe they come up 90 to 99 percent short of what should be there. It's interesting to wonder what astronomers are thinking when they look through their telescopes knowing that maybe they're only seeing one percent of what's out there. The M-flux, or dark matter, exists throughout the universe, but remains elusive until it reveals itself through its gravity. This is most apparent where gravity is the strongest, and that's around galaxies and clusters of galaxies. As galaxies bunch within huge clumps of dark matter, the light coming from behind these galaxies bends to reveal the outline of this invisible stuff. Super computer simulations predict that bright galaxies will group tightly together under powerful gravitational forces within huge concentrations of dark matter. It is almost as if a parent were gathering its children unto itself.
One more thing needs to be said before we move on. Recent studies have surprised the scientific community with the realization that the expansion of the universe is not slowing down as expected, in fact, it's accelerating. Some unknown and unseen force, now being called dark energy, is behind this discovery. I've already discussed the repulsive force behind inflation, and believe it works just as well to explain the acceleration. If energy and mass are equivalent, then enough gravity will preserve the balance required to keep Omega at one. Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University theorizes that the delicate balance between energy and matter would be suspicious if there were no communication between the two. He proposes that repulsive energy senses the presence of matter and changes its strength and distribution to maintain a balance of densities.41 I believe this is consistent with M-theory, and may even hint at something mystical going on.
The early universe was smooth and uniform, and very nearly without structure or features. The gravity of M-flux, or dark matter, evenly and smoothly distributed throughout space, remained quietly still for millions of years. Eventually slight perturbations of gravity began to grow from tiny primordial fluctuations. These became the seeds of later galaxy formation once stars began forming. The M-flux slowly clumped and formed halos around regions that had grown to slightly higher concentrations of gaseous matter. As the halos grew more massive, they pulled in and confined small amounts of hydrogen and helium gas; exactly what the first stars were made from.42 This happened rapidly enough that the material did not fragment, but instead grew into massive hot stars. Light flooded through the universe, ending the cosmic dark ages. Soon numerous other stars flashed into existence. These first stars differed from many stars that exist today because they lacked any heavy elements such as iron and gold, but within their hot cores, under intense pressure and heat, the simple atoms were crushed into more complex heavy elements. These first stars being as heavy and massive as they were tended to have short lives, and ended by exploding their outer shells into space. Such stars are called supernovas. Future generations of stars, such as our sun, could now form from this new material. Without heavy metals, life could not have evolved on Earth. We, quite literally, along with our cars and televisions, are the products of stellar forces, not only physically but as sentient beings as well. In my nomenclature this is the transition from negative M-flux to positive M-field. In terms of physics the negative false vacuum decayed into matter that accreted into stars with an attractive gravitational force. In terms of Plotinus' dialectic, the One went out of itself into its otherness; unity now became multiplicity.
The M-flux, as defined, may have had nothing more than a vague intent, such as maybe an egg having the intent of becoming a chicken. With the intent now further realized in the M-field, the means took shape with the power and the material to act. The star was born with an objective that contained a plan; from universal M-flux to particular M-field, M-factor, sentience, now became possible. In plain terms, life emerging from the cosmos is much more than an accident. A single mushroom produces millions of spores, but only a few, if even those, ever produce mushrooms. Stars spawn life, but only a few ever do so; conditions are rather exacting. When an astronomer observes the heavens she sees stars, galaxies, and clusters of galaxies. This arrangement enhances the possibility for life. It took billions of years for stars to form life-supporting planets, and those planets must be at the right distance from the star, in what's called the habitable zone. The star must also be in the right place within the galaxy; too close to the center and too far from the outer edge make life impossible. I would expect that life throughout the universe might not look or be anything like what the Earth holds, but I'll let science fiction writers work on that. Our star is more than a burning ball of gas. The M-field of the Sun turns to Earth and through heat and light the M-factor emerges into living organisms of matter, energy and sentience; giving back to the cosmos what it has taken in; never cut off from its source; returning to itself what it has always been in eternal perpetuation, in living legacy to be born again.
What I've said so far may sound reasonable, but if it's true, then it has profound implications. My theory puts mind at the beginning of creation.
Cosmologists put mind at the end of creation. My theory is based on Platonic philosophy, but the scientific view is consistent with Genesis, which tells how God made everything first, then added Adam and Eve; finally He gave them choice, or sentience. Oddly enough, science doesn't need God since everything can pretty well be explained without Him; my theory is mystical, but doesn't need Genesis, yet somehow requires a godlike something that gives rise to the Idea of creation. My theory presumes that the Big Bang could have just as easily erupted from something prior, rather than nothing, suggesting an infinite and eternal source. Big Bang theory postulates a beginning of time and space giving it a sense of temporality and finiteness. Let me ask this, as many others have: where do the laws of physics come from? Alan Guth says: "We are a long way from being able to answer that one." 43 In my theory the laws of physics have always been there. Scientists have discovered these laws, not invented them.
The Big Bang occurred about thirteen thousand million years ago. Life on Earth began between one and two thousand million years ago. Humans diverged from primates about seven or eight million years ago. The development of human intelligence has taken thousands of years, but it has only been since the early Greeks that mathematics became a tool for explanation. In the last few decades alone the leap in knowledge has been phenomenal. Scientists that pool their intellectual brilliance should be the first to recognize what power the mind has. I think it would be natural for them to feel that if there were something God-like about creation, the closest thing in the universe that even comes close to the ideal of God is the human species. (I know: humans don't often live up to that ideal, but nevertheless, the statement may be true.) In fact, scientists feel just the opposite; they seem to be ashamed that sentience should hold any place of value in the scheme of things. They confuse intellect with ego, and call it human chauvinism. You can't have science without mind, but it has no status other than as a simple tool, and worse yet, falls into the black pit of mysticism. OK, that's not a problem, since in my view mysticism can't be left out of any final theory.
The M-factor, sentient life, rests on three pillars: mind, matter, and energy. Like the universe, they are in perfect balance, proportion, and unity. One way to diagram the three M's: flux, field, and factor is to imagine a circle, or draw a circle on paper, then imagine another circle, or draw it, and superimpose that one on the other, but only partially, say about a fourth or third. You now have three spaces; one has been formed in the middle by over-lapping the two circles. Now think of a third circle or draw it, and superimpose it over the other two in the same proportion as the first two. The three circles now overlap, creating a single space in the center. All three circles share this same space. (It's called a Venn diagram). In one circle you could write M-factor, in the second circle M-flux, and in the third circle, M-field. The point here is to illustrate that while basically of the same "stuff," they are three distinct entities with overlapping dimensions. But the main point is that they are never cut off from each other, or spatially separate; there is always a place of unity. They share the same eternal moment in time and space. To make it a little more proportional draw the flux circle large; the field circle smaller, and the factor circle even smaller. This illustration might serve many explanatory purposes; remember when you were a kid, your parents told you: "Be good, cause God knows what you're thinkin'." It could also explain how prayers work. But probably the most important thing of all is that it opens the way to a spiritual heaven; yes, life after death. When scientists exclude mysticism from their thinking, no matter how brilliant a theorist he or she might be, they shut off a good portion of their psyche. For many of them, mind is a product of the brain that perishes with death.
The M-factor might be thought of as consisting of waves, maybe gravity waves. Since the M-factor includes all life of varying complexity, it seems natural that different life forms would emit different wavelengths. It allows each species to communicate, in terms of interaction, at its own specific frequency. Because human beings live at frequencies that are very close to the same so-called bandwidth, there is an innate potential for the frequency to become variable, and interface directly between individuals. Most of us are not aware of this; it only becomes apparent when psychic episodes occur, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, and other forms of ESP. From stars to life the M-factor, sentience, interfaces with them all, but at frequencies that don't usually connect, until some event alters conditions. A mother suddenly becomes intensely aware of an immediate danger to her child a thousand miles away. We know who's on the phone a second before it rings: life-wave frequencies connecting. The history of mysticism tells even more: Plotinus' ascent into the One; Saint Teresa, or Saint John of the Cross lifting to divine union with the Father; the Hindu merging with the Absolute; the mushroom tripper experiencing cosmic consciousness. The Godhead is open to all, because we're not cut off from it. One condition that all mystics seem to have understood from the beginning is that wavelengths interfacing with higher levels of consciousness require a high level of moral conscience to open a channel. Plotinus understands this when he advises us to "cut away all that is excessive, straighten all that is crooked, bring light to all that is overcast; never cease until you shall see the perfect goodness surely established in the stainless shrine." 44 As mankind becomes ever more intimately connected to technology and sense experience, psychic events from our deep inner life tend to be ignored.
There has to be a mechanism by which Mind perpetuates itself in a system designed for that purpose. How this works comes out of the esoteric realm and is mystical in origin but physical in structure. That structure is becoming known through the laws of physics. What determines the shape of the universe, which also determines its outcome, is dependent on the role Mind plays as it shapes reality. Mind takes the form I've defined as M-Force, M-Flux, M-Field, and M-Factor. In the beginning primordial or ontological Mind gave birth to the universe (M-Force), and was empty of everything but itself; over time it eventually stirred and gathered as M-Flux, or Dark Matter. Through the attractive force of gravity, and the formation of simple particles, stars of massive size, but brute M-Fields, began forming. It took a very long time for evolving stars to become sentient enough to acquire M-Fields capable of generating life. With life taking hold (M-Factor) the universe reached a point of sustainability, and as we've recently discovered, continues to grow and expand. Psychic energy (M-Factor) gives rise to stellar entities, and takes on the physical energy manifesting in the M-Field of newborn stars. In other words, life is the spiritual vehicle for evolving Soul in the universe that completes the cycle of star formation, and returns life in the process we call creation. It's a profound realization to think that souls are bound-up in cosmic processes; processes leading to the building of structures that perpetuate life, mind, and soul throughout the universe; seeds of an Idea sown in cosmic fields of stardust, to be born again.
I want to thank to Dr. Gary Bowman of the Physics and Astronomy Dept. at Northern Arizona University for his helpful suggestions and comments.
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