innumerable atoms

Innumerable Atoms Whirling and Dancing

“’The red brick,’ says Science, ‘is a mere convention. In reality, that bit, like all other bits of the universe, consists, so far as I know at present, of innumerable atoms whirling and dancing one about the other. It is no more solid than a snowstorm. Were you to eat of Alice-in-Wonderland’s mushroom, and shrink to the dimensions of the infra-world, each atom with its electrons might seem to you a solar system and the red brick itself a universe. Moreover, these atoms themselves elude me as I try to grasp them. They are only manifestations of something else. Could I track matter to its lair, I might conceivable discover that it has no extension, and become an idealist in spite of myself. As for redness, as you call it, that is a question of the relstionship between your optic nerve and the light waves which it is unable to absorb. This evening, when the sun slopes, your brick will probably be purple, a very little deviation from normal vision on your part would make it green. Even the sense that the object of perception is outside yourself may be fancy; since you can as easily attribute this external quality to images seen in dreams, and to waking hallucinations, as you do to those objects which, as you absurdly say, are really there.’

“Further, there is no trustworthy standard by which we can separate the ‘real’ from the ‘unreal’ aspects of phenomena. Such standards as exist are conventional and correspond to convenience, not to truth.” ~Evelyn Underhill

Red Brick

It is surprising that Evelyn Underhill wrote this about 100 years ago. She shows an understanding of the realm of matter that rivals the best Quantum Physicists of today. But that is true of many great spiritual teachers and prophets. They often saw a reality that was hidden to material science, and still do in some cases.

So first off, she is telling us that the apparently hard-as-rock and totally solid brick is nothing of the sort. It is revealed to be mostly empty space when sufficiently magnified. And this wad when the smallest particles known were atoms. But now we can even look into the atom and see the subatomic particles from which it is constructed. And when it is magnified sufficiently to do that, it is revealed that the greatest part of the atom is empty space. The electrons and the nucleus of the atom make us far less than one percent of the total size of the complete atom. But it probably isn’t completely true to say that what is between those particles is “empty space”. It is more accurate to say they are areas devoid of matter. They are, however, holding great amounts of energy, as we know from atomic bombs which are created by freeing that energy in the atoms.

Innumerable Atoms Dancing

This is something that most people don’t think about, but should. Underhill is correct in saying that the atoms are whirling, dancing, moving. They are always moving. They never stop moving. If they stopped moving, it would probably be as much of a disaster to us as when they are broken open in atomic bombs.

There is a lesson to be learned here. Look at this on another level. Everything in the universe is constantly moving as well. Planets spin around stars. Stars dance around the center of a galaxy, and so on. Movement is life. Yet too many humans seem to have the goal in life of reducing their movement as much as possible. Some would probably be perfectly happy to sit still forever if it were possible. But that is not how things function in a living universe. In fact, it is probably true that those who constantly move are those who grow or at least have the potential to grow if they move in the right direction. Those who try to avoid moving, or changing, cannot grow. The strength of that red brick is in the innumerable atoms moving within it. When we move, within and without, we make ourselves stronger.

Matter Has No Extension

I think what Underhill means by this is that matter has no reality behind it. Matter is an illusion. That teaching is shared by most spiritual and mystery schools of the past and present. But that doesn’t mean that matter doesn’t exist. It does exist, but it isn’t what it appears to be. The physical universe is, according to the findings of quantum physics, just a great hologram. Since a hologram is just an image made of light, that solid red brick is but an image made entirely of light. Quantum physics also tells us that those atoms, or at least the electrons in them, are only particles when observes. When not observed, they are just waves of potential. That is why light is both waves and particles.

So those innumerable atoms whirling and dancing are really beams of light in a hologram whirling and dancing. And to some degree, the dance they do seems to be determined by us. We might say it is a giant sandbox or Lego set. But before you run outside and try to manifest a Rolls Royce, remember it is WE who generate the universe; a collective we, not each individual. It is the sum of all our thoughts that create the world we see. The thoughts of just one have only a very limited effect on the universe and those innumerable atoms.


Self-Existent Reality and Illusion

“In Meno, Plato, speaking through Socrates, describes color as ‘an affluence of form, commensurate with sight, and sensible.’ In Theretetus he discourses more at length on the subject thus: ‘Let us carry out the principle which has just been affirmed, that nothing is self-existent, and then we shall see that every color, white, black, and every other color, arises out of the eyes meeting the appropriate motion , and that what we term the substance of each color is neither the active nor the passive element, but something which passes between them, and is peculiar to each participant; are you certain that the several colors appear to every animal—say a dog—as they appear to you?’

“In the Pythagorean tetractys—the supreme symbol of universal forces and processes—are set forth the theories of the Greeks concerning color and music. The first three dots represent the threefold White Light, which is the Godhead containing potentially all sound and color. The remaining seven dots are the colors of the spectrum and the notes of the musical scale. The colors and tones are the active creative powers which, emanating from the First Cause, establish the universe. The seven are divided into two groups, one containing three powers and the other four a relationship also shown in the tetractis. The higher group—that of three—becomes the spiritual nature of the created universe, the lower group—that of four—manifests as the traditional sphere, or inferior world.” ~Manly P. Hall

Nothing is Self-Existent

This simple statement may be one of the most important things Plato ever said, and our modern science has finally caught up with him. What Plato is saying here is that when we think we see a tree, what we are really seeing is a relationship between some unknown thing with our eyes and our brain. The eyes see something, the brain interprets it as a tree. But this is just our interpretation of what is there. The modern science of Quantum Physics now tells us that the form of the thing is affected (changed) by the observer. What’s more, they say that at least with some things on the subatomic level, the thing doesn’t even have a form until it is observed, it is just a wave of potential. The scientists are not willing to go this far, but I think that logically, if all things are made up of atoms, and all atoms are made up of subatomic particles, then the rules of those subatomic particles must apply to everything unless someone finds a law that says these particles behave differently when clumped together into atoms. So far, I know of no such finding.

It isn’t that nothing exists without being observed, it is that what does exist is waves of energy with no specific form. The forms we see are those we have agreed upon as representing certain nodes and frequencies of energy. Those forms are part of the Great Illusion we call the physical world. Continue reading “Self-Existent Reality and Illusion”

apparently real

Apparently Real Matter Hides Actually Real Spirit

“We have seen that the most elementary criticism, applied to any ordinary object of perception, tends to invalidate the simple and comfortable creed of ‘common sense’; that not merely faith but gross credulity, is needed by the mind which would accept the apparent as real. I say, for instance, that I see a house. I can only mean by this that the part of my receiving instrument which undertakes the duty called vision is affected in a certain way, and arouses in me the idea of ‘house’. The idea ‘house’ is now treated by men as a real house, and my further observations will be an unfolding, enriching, and defining of this image. But what the external reality is which evoked the image that I call ‘house,’ I do not know and never can know. … I may, of course, call on one sense to ‘corroborate,’ as we trustfully say, the evidence of the other; may approach the house and touch it. Then the nerves of my hand will be affected by a sensation which I translate as hardness and solidity; the eye by a peculiar and wholly incomprehensible sensation called redness; and from these purely physical changes my mind constructs and externalizes an idea which it calls red bricks. Science herself, however, if she be asked to verify the reality of these perceptions, at once declares that tough the material world be real, the idea of solidity and color are but hallucination. They belong to the human animal, not to the physical universe.

“’The red brick,’ says science, ‘is a mere convention. In reality that bit, like all other bits of the universe, consists of innumerable atoms whirling and dancing one about the other. It is no more solid than a snowstorm.” ~Evelyn Underhill

Apparently Real

Ms. Underhill says that it requires gross credibility to accept that which is apparent as real. Sadly, it seems we have a great number of people who will do just that today. Not only do they accept the apparently real as actually real, but they take the word of certain people they trust that it is real with little or no verification. But that is more of a political and social issue, while we are more interested in the spiritual aspects of it.

Underhill also says that science is backing her on claiming that the solid reality of matter is illusion. That is even truer today than when she was alive. Now we have the scientist of quantum physics saying that the apparently real, solid universe of matter is but a hologram of light. They also say that sub-atomic particles exist only as waves or potential objects until observed. So not only is the universe mostly empty space between the particles of the atom, but even those particles are not quite real! Yet something holds it all together, something that is actually real.

Making Sense of Senses

We have learned since we were born to know the world through our physical senses. Few of us ever consider that the physical senses are only aware of part of the physical world, so their awareness is limited. Further, what is picked up by the sense has to be interpreted by the brain before we get the final idea of what is there. But the brain can be easily tricked. We do have to use these senses, but we must always be aware that they give us a partial view of things, and are therefore not completely reliable. What is apparently real to the senses is only part of the physical world and none of the spiritual.

Solid as a Snowstorm

Underhill says that physical reality is no more solid than a snowstorm. I think that is an excellent analogy to use. A snowstorm isn’t a single thing, but a conglomerate of wind and billions of individual snowflakes. Yet in many ways it acts as a single thing. We are much the same, and so is everything else in the physical universe. We are molecules, atoms, and sub-atomic particles held in place by forces we don’t really understand. We think we are solid as a rock, but the rock is mo more solid than the snowstorm. What is apparently real is quite different from what is real.

Spiritual Reality

Simple logic will tell us that if what we always thought was real and what is apparently real is actually illusion, then something else must exist beyond the illusion which is real. That something is spirit. The world of spirit is the only one that is real in the sense that it is permanent and unchanging. Nothing in it rots or dies. Nothing in it is illusion. However, when we try to understand the spiritual with our physical brain and senses, we form ideas that usually are illusion. We need to awaken our spiritual faculties to move beyond the apparently real to what is actually real.

human pride

Human Pride Supports the Great Illusion

Fable Is Love’s World, Poem By Schiller

“Tis not merely
The human being’s pride that peoples space
With life and mystical predominance,
Since likewise for the stricken heart of Love
This visible nature, and this common world
Is all too narrow; yea, a deeper import
Lurks in the legend told my infant years
That lies upon that truth, we live to learn,
For fable is Love’s world, his home, his birthplace;
Delightedly he dwells ’mong fays and talismans,
And spirits, and delightedly believes
Divinities, being himself divine.
The intelligible forms of ancient poets,
The fair humanities of Old Religion,
The Power, the Beauty, and the Majesty,
That had their haunts in dale or piney mountain,
Or forests by slow stream, or pebbly spring,
Or chasms or wat’ry depths;—all these have vanished.
They live no longer in the faith of Reason,
But still the heart doth need a language; still
Doth the old instinct bring back the old names.”

~ Friederich Schiller: The Piccolomini, Act. ii.”

Human Pride

Pride can be a good thing, but often isn’t. This poem is talking about one of the adverse effects of human pride: it hides the truth from us.

While we love to be individuals, to be unique, we love even more to be part of the group, to be accepted. We don’t like to admit that, but it is true for nearly all of us nonetheless. And fitting in with the group, with our neighbors, our family and friends, means accepting what they believe.

This Common World

The world of matter is what this poet is calling “the common world”. It is common in the sense that it is ordinary. It is also common in the sense that it is a shared experience. But as a shared experience, it must be shared similarly to avoid confusion.

Suppose you are sitting in a movie theater with one hundred other people. You are all watching a movie. You think you are seeing trees and flowers, houses and people, cars and trucks, etc. Actually, however, there is noting on the screen but abstract blobs of color constantly moving and changing. Yet if everyone agrees that at a particular moment what is on the screen is a red and black truck, nobody is the wiser. But if everyone is forming their own idea of what is on the screen, those images will differ greatly. And when people start talking to each other and realize that they are seeing different things, they will begin to figure out the truth. And the “real” world of matter functions much like that movie theater.

The powers that control the realm of matter, both physical and spiritual beings, don’t want us to see beyond the illusions anymore than a stage magician does. So they train us beginning when we are infants to listen to what others see and say and form beliefs. This creates a common view and allows everything to keep moving along smoothly in this realm of illusion. But a common illusion isn’t reality. A shared fantasy is still a fantasy. Continue reading “Human Pride Supports the Great Illusion”