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The Purpose of Love
by Richard Gardner
PHYSICS AND CONSCIOUSNESS
by MR. T. M. FRY
In the course of the century a number of revolutionary concepts have emerged in physics, which have a bearing on the problem of setting up this framework, within which we can hope to understand more clearly and. precisely the nature and mechanisms of mind and spirit. A good starting point is Einstein's equation relating energy to mass:
The next concept is that of Planck's Quantum Theory. It is that energy does not flow in a continuous stream, but in little packets or quanta. When energy is trapped in any particular system, the amount trapped is quantized. This is something that we already knew about matter—the old atomic theory, that matter is made up of little particles. Now we see that this is a general characteristic of energy—for matter is only energy trapped in a particular mode. Wherever we encounter energy we may expect to find it manifesting in a series of discrete states—as a multiplicity of apparently separate individuals. But this brings us to the next concept, that of field theory. We are familiar with the experience that a magnet can influence a piece of iron that is not actually in contact with it. The whole of physics is built up on laws of interaction between separated particles. Now comes the revolutionary idea; in field theory we learn to see that the particles are not really entirely separated from each other, but are better seen as discontinuities in a continuum that we call the field. The particles in the field are rather like the knots in knitting—the field and all the particles within it are one— they cannot exist in isolation.
Can we apply some of these ideas to questions of life and consciousness? If everything in the physical universe is just energy in one form or another, is it possible that the phenomena of life and consciousness are also basically energy? Can energy be trapped in modes outside the space-time of the physical world? If so, we might expect to see such features as quantization and the unity of the particles with the field appearing here too. A physicist would find it easier to accept the phenomena of psychology and theology, if he could fit them into a scheme of things which included the physical world as one of a series of modes in which energy can exist. Mind and spirit could then be related to other modes in this series.
Let us turn to the history of the evolution of life and con- sciousness on this planet and see whether we can spot a pattern in it, with those characteristic properties of energy which we have just discussed. Look at Figure 1 please.
We start at stage 0, with the elementary particles of which matter is composed, combined together by the ordinary forces of physics and chemistry to form rocks, seas and atmosphere. This was the inanimate state of Earth. Then something happened. We don't quite know how, but a new kind of molecule came into being. It was made up of elementary particles—protons, neutrons and electrons—just like the inanimate molecules from which it was formed, but this new molecule was different. It was much more complex and it had the property of reproducing its own kind from the materials of its environment. We may call it a 'living molecule' and recognize that it was rather like the complex molecules that make up the genes of living cells nowadays. This was a discrete step forward in evolution to stage 1. We cannot yet say just what distinguishes these living molecules—in what way the energy associated with them differs from that associated with inanimate matter—but it can safely be said that they represent energy in a higher state of co-ordination.
At a later stage—and we have no idea of the time-scale of these early stages of evolution—life assumed a much more complex form. This next step was the emergence of the living cell. It contained many living molecules, which were co-ordinated together as component parts of the whole. We know more about this stage, because, even to this day, this form of life persists in such forms as the amoeba. It seems that a second order of co-ordination, superimposed on the first, has been introduced, to produce this much more complex individual.
The next step is from the cell to the organism. Here the individual is composed of a vast number of cells, specialized and dependent on each other. This co-ordination of cells to form an organism is a yet higher order of co-ordination—a third step in the evolution of the physical body. The first was from inanimate matter to the living molecule, the second from the living molecule to the cell, the third from the cell to the organism. And these are discrete steps. In each case, what had been an independent entity has become co-ordinated with others to form an individual of a much higher order of complexity and capable of a much richer and more varied life.
This latest stage, the organism, covers a very wide variety of forms of life. The bodies of ants, human beings and whales are all organism and are on a par with one another so far as levels of co-ordination are concerned. All three have many things in common that an amoeba lacks. An important feature to note is that the individuality which is associated with the whole organism survives the birth and death of individual cells within it. The organism cannot be identified with any one of its component cells. They may all be replaced in the course of its life, just as the members of a regiment come and go. Just like a regiment, the organism maintains its individuality and peculiar characteristics through these changes though they may affect it to some extent. Thus, so far as the individual cells are concerned, the organism is more or less immortal.
So far we have concentrated on the evolution of the physical body. The line that we have drawn in Figure 1 may be called the biological axis of evolution. Is it the only one? An essential feature of life on earth is consciousness—mind. In parallel with the evolution of the body has gone the evolution of consciousness. Is this a continuum, or has it too proceeded by a series of discrete steps? The psychologist has recognized that our conscious mind does not contain the whole of the mind-like activity that is associated with a living human being. He speaks of the sub- conscious, which seem to influence the conscious mind and also to influence the body directly. Intuitive philosophers have long taught that there are many levels of consciousness, though there is no uniformity of opinion about their number or agreement over nomenclature.
Going back to the physical body—we know that the organism is complex and may have more or less autonomous component organs. Nevertheless it is the whole organism which has independence and is the subject of the co-ordination. So it may be with consciousness. The conscious mind may be a component organ of a complex whole, within which consciousness may exist at various levels and in various states of co-ordination. We may be able to identify a number of discrete levels of consciousness, recognizing that, at any one level, a lot of structure and complication is possible, which, for our present purposes, can be disregarded.
Let us draw psychological axis at right angles to our biological axis, as in Figure 2 (below). We will suppose that neither inanimate matter nor the living molecules have consciousness apart from any that may be associated with level 0 along the psychological axis. When we come to the cell, let us suppose that here we have something capable of supporting a very low level of consciousness, represented as level 1 in the figure. We can indicate this by putting a mark at the point (2, 1) two steps along the biological axis and one along the psychological axis, to represent the consciousness associated with an individual cell.
The next development in evolution was the formation of simple colonies of identical cells, not yet true organisms. For these we cannot yet put in a point corresponding to the third biological step (3, 0), but it may be that a certain amount of collective consciousness developed, corresponding to the point (3, 1) in the diagram. As the cell-colony was superseded by the organism, this higher level of co-ordination applied to the physical body as well as to the level 1 consciousness. As the organisms developed nervous systems, a further advance along the axis of consciousness became possible and level 2 reached. Thus an ant, having a physical body made up of elementary particles, co-ordinated at each of the biological levels, also has two parallel levels of consciousness, associated with its individuality. The component cells, of which it is made up, may also have their own individual consciousness, but at level 1 only. With the higher organisms, including man, we will suppose that the third level of consciousness has been reached. The point (3, 3) corresponds to the conscious mind of man together with certain associated levels of his consciousness.
Our diagram suggests a number of interesting ideas. We see that man exists on four main levels. The lowest is that concerned with the co-ordination of the physical body as a whole. The highest is that of the conscious mind. We may associate level 2 with the emotions and level 1 with some rather more primitive types of awareness. What do these points indicate? According to our first premise, it must be energy—energy in different modes or states of excitation. As the physical body develops, built up of the energy of the physical world, so the parallel vehicles of consciousness are assembled out of energy in the corresponding mode. Consciousness
If our man-complex should accidentally leave his physical body under a bus or, for that matter, should die of old age, it is reasonable to suppose that the higher vehicles would continue to exist and be active, though they too in due course might disintegrate. We have not fitted an immortal spirit into this scheme so far. To do this we shall need a third axis, at right angles to the other two, which we might call the theological or Nirvanic axis. Somewhere along that axis we would locate the timeless centres from which the transient manifestations of life in space and time ultimately spring.
But let us go back to the two-dimensional picture. The physical body is a co-ordinated assembly of separate cells. Is it not likely that the same is true of the other vehicles of consciousness associated with an organism? The psychologist will confirm that it is possible for the mind to divide into two or more components, all still linked with the body. If the mind-vehicle is a co-ordinated assembly, it seems quite reasonable to suppose that it could split up in this way, without ceasing to be able to function. So perhaps, at the mental level, we are not literally 'individuals' after all, but individualities associated with the co-ordination of many component parts, capable of independent life.
And now another point—in physical evolution, the differentiation between the sexes—the introduction of bi-sexual reproduction—took place when the organism had evolved. This is the stage at which, according to our scheme, consciousness had reached level 2—the emotional level. Is sex really primarily a matter of the physical body? Does one lose all sexual differentiation as soon as one has left the body behind? Our scheme suggests that the true seat of sexual differentiation is in the psyche, at the emotional level, where the forces between male and female operate as directly and intensely as the forces of electro-statics operate between oppositely polarized charges at the physical level. The sex of the physical body despite its important reproductory function, is only a secondary sexual characteristic.
But what about the future? Can we conceive of any further steps in evolution as great as those that have been taken in the past? Along the biological axis, we could envisage larger physical bodies, but this would be a retrograde step back to the Age of the dinosaurs. Each step has been an ordering of an earlier form to produce a co-ordinated whole. We do not know the nature of the co-ordinating force, but we might admit the possibility that it is outside the reach of present day scientific techniques. The present form is the organism, so what we must expect is that forces will develop which will co-ordinate large numbers of separate organisms so as to form individualities on a much larger scale—we'll call them 'clusters'.
We can see something a little like this happening in the case of the ant-colony. There it seems that the individual ant has lost much of its separateness and is mainly serving as part of a larger whole. We might guess that the co-ordinating force, in this case, operates at the highest level of ant-consciousness—level 2—and is some sort of telepathic phenomenon. Thus the ant-colony may have an individuality associated with a collective or cluster mind at the point (4, 2) on our diagram.
But the ant-colony is only a pale shadow of the step that must really lie ahead. Man is in the forefront of evolution. It is therefore from man that the next step will spring. What should develop will be transhuman clusters, with their points of individuality at (4, 3) on our diagram. A very large number of human beings, co-ordinated together by some sort of telepathic forces, would form an individual cluster, with intellectual, emotional and physical powers far beyond the reach of the most highly organized human society. When these clusters have undergone a period of further evolution, a step in the psychological direction, to (4, 4) might be taken. Indeed there is no reason to limit our prospects to a single step in each of these directions. It may be that there is no limit to the number of such steps that is possible.
If some such development were to come about, how would it be detected? As the cluster individuality began to form, he would presumably operate by inspiring his individual components with thoughts, ideas and emotions, which would cause them to carry out his intentions. The components might not at first be aware of the nature of identity of the source of their inspirations. We all too readily associate ourselves with the ideas and desires that enter our minds. We don't usually inquire into their origins. Thus the cluster individuality could cause his components to behave according to any pattern he chose, within reason. Normally neither the component human beings nor their neighbours would notice anything unusual, except perhaps a slight tendency for curious patterns of coincidences to occur among them. Later on, when the cluster had become sufficiently well established, he might make himself known to his component parts, who would accept their new mode of life gladly, for they would find that they had gained great advantages.
This concept of the trans-human cluster has features suggestive of many different prophecies of the future development of mankind. After such a transformation the human consciousness would be immortal—man would have become a 'god'. If this is the next step in the evolution of life on earth, it may even now be taking us unawares, like a thief in the night.
|PART ONE. ON CENTRE|
|Chapter 1. Fallen Consciousness||2|
|Chapter 2. Three Basic Constituents||3|
|Chapter 3. Points to Consider||4|
|Chapter 4. The Two Establishments||5|
|PART TWO. THE TWELVE CHANNELS||6|
|PART TWO (A)||8|
|PART TWO (B)||9|
|PART TWO (C)||10|
|PART TWO (D)||11|
Physics and Consciousness