The Empowering Grace of Consciousness
Gaston Saint Pierre (d. 2011) is a little known French Philosopher, who spent much of his adult life in London pioneering the Metaphoric Technique, a form of foot reflexology. Among his oft quoted sayings, we find these words: “When I change the level of my awareness I start attracting a different reality.”
It is a more poetic version of an old scholastic dictum: action follows thought. Our contemporary Western culture is addicted to practical outcomes requiring continuous action. And many of those outcomes arise from rational discourse frequently neglecting other foundational dimensions, such as intuition, imagination, consciousness, and spirituality.
What Saint Pierre calls awareness, today we describe as consciousness, a major scientific exploration of our time, an evolutionary imperative requiring urgent attention. Mainline science, following people like Daniel Dennett claim that consciousness is merely a human quality consisting of qualia (little physical units) bouncing off each other in our brains. At the other end of the spectrum we encounter a growing body of physicists for whom consciousness belongs primarily to the cosmic/planetary creation, from which our human consciousness is derived. In other words, consciousness is the primary stuff (foundational energy) from which all life – including our humanity is derived.
As suggested by Saint Pierre, consciousness, rather than action, should be our primary concern. How we perceive, think, and feel is what dictates the quality of our action. Moreover, when we prioritize consciousness, not merely will the quality of our activity be different, we are likely to evoke practical outcomes that will be more congruent with the evolutionary flow of life (we start attracting a different reality).
The logic of this argument takes on additional coherence when we embrace the spiritual dimension. The foundational energy of creation is itself energized by the Holy Spirit of God. Consciousness itself – as the great Carl Jung intimated – is an endowment of God’s Spirit. It seems to be the primary stuff with which God co-creates throughout the vast spectrum of creation.
This religious conviction is frequently misunderstood, and often negatively dismissed, by religionists. Why? Because spiritual understanding at stake is stretched to new horizons that few if any of the major religions can embrace. Here we are dealing with spirituality rather than religion, and the former outdates the latter by many thousands of years.
Today, we are the beneficiaries of this newly expanded awakening, an empowering grace of our time, sadly ignored or undermined by our Churches, but espoused and embraced by a growing body of contemporary spiritual seekers.
For further reading I recommend: Jude Currivan, The Cosmic Hologram (2017); Paul Levy The Quantum Revelation (2018), and Diarmuid O’Murchu, In the Beginning was the Spirit ((2012).
When Particles Become Sparticles
A new particle accelerator, known as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), opened at CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland on Sept. 10th, 2008. A massive underground tunnel, 27 km (17m) long, and estimated to have cost more than eight billion US dollars. In conditions as hot as the sun, and with beams of protons travelling at near the speed of light, scientists hope to discover new subatomic particles, many with sparkling new names. For more extensive information on the new collider, see Scientific American, 298, 2 (February 2008).
With the development of the new particle accelerator, we note that a new scientific vocabulary is also coming to birth. The name sparticle is a merging of two words supersymmetric and particle. In these new experimental conditions, scientists hope to detect supercharged sub-atomic particles that are believed to have existed at less than a billionth of second after the Big Bang. (Don’t try to make rational sense of that or you’ll drive yourself crazy). At this infinitesimal moment, electrons were selectrons, quarks were squarks. These ‘sister particles’ are hugely unstable, and since they decay almost instantly, it will be a case of detecting their existence through indirect effect, rather than through direct observation.
What comes after the discovery of the Higgs Particle?
On 14 March 2013, the scientific community was in exuberant mood, as news media all over the world carried headlines of the nailing of the Higgs Boson at CERN. It was also deemed to be huge justification for the investment that had been made in the Large Hadron Collidor (LHC) itself. Originally postulated by Scottish scientist, Peter Higgs, the particle helps to explain why some fundamental particles have mass when the symmetries controlling their interactions should require them to be massless, and—linked to this—why the weak force has a much shorter range than the electromagnetic force. Thus physicists can now validate the last untested area of the Standard Model's approach to fundamental particles and forces, and feel more confident in their attempts to resolve other tantalizing questions such as the existence of dark matter.
What can be achieved through the new collider is precisely the fruit of the interface of classical and quantum science. We have very accurate measurements and finely-tuned monitors to exert maximum control, but the possible outcomes defy all rationality and point us to several incomprehensible marvels of the universe to which we belong and the planet that we inhabit. Sparticles, selectrons and squarks are not just precise objects, but more complex, wave-like dimensions of the energy-flow that constitutes the basic stuff from which everything is created. We can detect their existence and I suspect, as happened with the quarks and leptons, we will never nail them into an objective isolated identity. In other words, they don’t make sense in their individual separation. Relationship, and not separation, defines the true essence of all reality.
And this is where the euphoria around the Higgs particle may be misleading. Firstly, the so-called discovery relates to new traces detected in the debris of the collisions set up in the CERN collider, which physicists argue must be the Higgs. It is an assumption rather than a discovery. That it is actually the Higgs' boson has yet to be proved.
Secondly, establishing what gives particles mass feeds into the mechanistic understanding of life (and the universe) but contributes little to the more quantum understanding of reality which is much more about the wave and flow of the creative vacuum. Over 90% of the atom - and of subatomic particles - is empty space. Surely the critical questions of understanding belong to making sense of the 90% emptiness rather than the less-than 10% mass! Might it be that the "discovery" of the Higgs is an actual distraction from the search for deeper scientific truth? And of course it begs other questions, particularly: what is driving the search today?
Power and Money
Science is heavily wedded to objective control of the data, and there is a daily demand for scientists to develop outcomes that will help us to control the waywardness of the world we inhabit: disease, violence, poverty, ignorance, etc. But we are not controlling them; we are failing dismally in doing so, yet the scientists apparently cannot acknowledge the dismal failure rates of the scientific dream.
Which brings me to the second major factor, money! Science is driven by money, and will tend to favor research and outcomes that attract the highest bidders. Sources of funding will support a project like LHC because in the long-term it hopes it will empower the world of science to gain greater control over the destiny of mankind and the planet. In other words, those who provide the money have little time for the spiritual and even the cultural implications of what is transpiring in the larger arena of contemporary scientific research.
At one level, the psychic battle between control and trust is as old as humanity itself. One hopes that as access to information becomes more widespread and diffuse, and as more rank-and-file humans trust their intuition and alternative ways of understanding, we might see the imperial wisdom become more humble and spiritually embracing. The rigor of science won’t suffer because of this; paradoxically, I suspect, science will acquire a new power – a richer and more empowering synthesis arising from the integration of the rational and the spiritual, the measurable and the mystical. In that new landscape, trust and not control will have the final word.
Wallace, Alan B. (2007), Hidden Dimensions: The Unification of Physics and Consciousness,
Scientific American, February 2008.