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Cosy Cosmologies

Dedicated to Heinz Pagels

Carlos Casteneda on God:

"Warriors know that man's idea of God is one of the most sturdy aspects of the human inventory which binds the assemblage point to its original position"

"Warriors know there is no God to hear our prayers or promises, there are only the Eagle's emanations."

In an evocative passage on the tonal and nagual, Don Juan explained that God was an item on the tablecloth of the tonal , say the salt-shaker, while the naugal was right off the table. "Warriors know that God is an item of the warrior's personal tonal and iof the tonal of the times; God is not the Nagual; what man calls God is the mold of man; the mold is our God because of what it stamps us with and not because it creates us from nothing and in its own image; the mold of man is the static prototype of humanness without any power, a mold of our human pattern that groups together a bunch of luminous elements which we call man; the mold of man cannot under any circumstances help us by intervening on our behalf, or punish us for our wrongdoings, or reward us in any way; we are simply the product of its stamp, we are its impression; seers know that the belief in the existence of God is based on hearsay and not on actual 'seeing'."

A Review of "God of the Quantum Vacuum"

The drive to turn the father God into a transcendent creator God of all has obsessed the patriarchs since they first tried to assert their male deity as supreme over the original ecosystemic 'Elohim of male and female deities. This agenda has seen some high points of pristine theology, all of which is hocus-pocus - an attempt to deny the foundations of gender and the feminine manifestation of deity in both the imminent and the physical. Dominion over nature has become ecocrisis while the theologists have been having deep thoughts about divine creation. There are of course many variants of this 'discovery process' running all the way from the Greek philosophers through St. Augustine to the theologists of the middle ages. It is indeed true that science and as Carolyn Merchant has pointed out, the whole industrial utopia of western society, is built on the shadows of the patriarchal religious theme.

In examining this article, you will note that, apart from a welcome concession to the duality principle in Binah, God, even in the continuously-created Sufi vision is referred to throughout as He. This tragic flaw echoes all the way through the pursuit of the cosmological God supreme. It is echoed in further deep star-fissures in the discussion. Although the complexity of the universe is mentioned, consciousness and free-will are omitted. The search for God in the quantum vacuum has not only lost the feminine 'wave' aspect but also the subjective aspect which the patriarch's strove to make supreme in dominion over nature and the female alike.

It is easy to understand how the biological view of gender might seem to fall away when we descend to the level of fundamental physics, but this is far from true. Wave-particle duality is fundamental to the inflationary scenario, which emerges itself from a quantum fluctuation. Wave-particle duality is likewise central to the 'continuous creation' proposed in the Islamic or Sufi cosmology and the gnostic re-awakening in Parousia.

"When the two become One" - Gospel of Thomas.

Creation and evolution are not different in nature as suggested by the Christian cosmologist Robert Russel , who sees time being invented by God against Hawking's advice.

Surely we are all aware that Buddha would have laughed at such nonsense, having already discarded the Self as illusion in his journey into and out of the karmic cycle of Kali-Maya. His recipe was a comprehensive moral causality with no creator God in officiation. Indeed how can God create time if 'He' cannot exist beforehand because time has not yet been created? Is this the second time-like dimension of the twelve-dimensional father f-theory emerging to haunt us all? At the very least this Christian transcendentalist could have conceded a duality between God and Binah. We cannot have it both ways, unless we actually solve the koan as the Zen teachers would show us immediately.

However one has to ask a few questions of Buddha and the Dharma too. If causality is inevitable, spanning recurrent lifetimes of rebirth, how is it that evolution does not select only for the 'moral' sentient beings? How come the carnivores have not all descended to grains of dust and nature steered towards the divine paradox of the 'lion lying down with the calf?" There is something freer, wilder and more creative going on here. Kali-Maya is the Binah suppressed by Buddha. Men strive for the eternal and in the process lose the immortal flesh, fall into dominion and wreck genetic holocaust.

LaoTsu knew better - The way that can be told is not the countless way - take the feminine way of the valley.

Nevertheless we have to address with increasing vigour the ultimate questions of "Life, the Universe and Everything" because, as sure as science reaches to the cosmological limits, so it reaches to the essential nature of reality and confronts us again with the ultimate questions. Is the Self emerging fromthe transcendent timeless totality to become the dance of maya of wave and particle, female and male, body and mind as the Tantric creation myth suggests? Is all karma woven on the garment of synchronous quantum non-locality? Is life after all a fundamental aspect of cosmology? Does evolution, in spinning the genetic algorithms of the holographic mind reach towards some ultimate cosmological correspondence between the subjective and objective worlds, the totality of Brahman? Does the universe spawn itself very much as Vishnu dreaming the epochs into being just so that we conscious beings can witness this awesome totality? A gesture transient in its essence hurled in sweet delight from an unendurable big-bang to a final anihilating heat death, but yet despite Bertand Russel's lament with a divine 'prevision of the end they were achieving'.

Since Fritjof Capra's "Tao of Physics" and Heisenberg and Eddington's noting of the correspondence between uncertainty and free-will, there has been a great interest in Eastern Religion as a substrate for scientific theology. The prominence of Buddhist thinking in the Deep Ecology movement likewise attests to a similar interpenetration there. The anthropic cosmological principle - the idea that we may need to look for those aspects of cosmology which permit humans, and hence conscious observers to exist in the cosmological picture to realize a full cosmology, is one turning point for the Copernican idea that we have no special place in the universe - this is the "cosy cosmology".

Humanity does in fact lie at the structural pinnacle of the interactive process of cosmic symmetry-breaking, which forms the foundation of inflationary cosmology. We are the manifestation in consciousness of the complete wave-particle re-interaction - the human brain is in a deep sense the crucible of cosmology. Understanding the transactional interpretation of quantum mechanics may thus provide a key to the subjective as well.

Here briefly is my "cosy cosmology". The universe is a manifestation of verdant evolving gender in multiplicate emergent forms: mind-body, chaos-order, wave-particle, female-male. This is the Tantric unfolding, and the Tao. It is Chockmah as the feminine wisdom "from everlasting or ever earth was" and in its negative aspect the Fall from Eden - the feminine realized and then accursed in nature. We are immortal in fertility, and in the verdant unfolding of evolution. We shall become a living flower of the cosmos or a technological hell whose proportions we cannot even yet glimpse - if not anihilated - an evolutionary cul-de-sac by our own folly in dominion.

The universe is a manifestation of the sacred marriage of Self as subject-object portraying the eternal in the immortal dance of life in space-time. Quantum non-locality is the key to the living universe, for through it and manifest in chaos are all the principles of cohesion and complexity which make the subjective the glorious and full experience it is.

We, as conscious beings, carry with us a part of this eternal creative expression. As mortals we fear death and hunger to know what is on the other side of life. But the truth is that we are all avatars lost in our own confusion. When we stop for a moment and become realized, we discover we come from forever, the creative principle itself manifest. We are visitors to our bodies come to celebrate the dance of Tantra for all time beyond heat-death to make whole, to unveil, to unfold through free-will, the divine creative process. How can heat death touch the untouchable? That is the 'hard problem' in consciousness research!

The most perplexing and confounding aspect of this is the way the singluar aspect of history can come into a unique idiosyncratic focus. History doesn't converge to the correspondence principle, even in the macroscopic world. Evolution abounds with quirks of nature, Napoleon lost the battle of Waterloo and Boris Yeltzin won the coup ending the Cold War, relieving the onrush to Armageddon. We are living in a cosmically-inflated quantum universe. Only some things happen and they happen in a way which is synchronistically linked to the collective consciousness of humanity.

The messianic hope, the prophecies of Isaiah and Revelation, the Parousia, the Tree of Life and the Requital, are all stream-of-consciousness archetypes - parts of the collective dream humanity has actually had in history. They are foresahadowing an ecocrisis which coincides with the coming of age of humanity - a holocaust of nature caused by the very dominion over nature and woman of the patriarchal epoch - one which we must cure or we will lose a heritage of 3000 million years which will see us in poverty biologically for perhaps another 10-100 million. This 3000 million years is the cosmological order of magnitude. We can't kill nature twice so this IS the apocalypse now!

Until the feminine aspect fully returns in the bridal unveiling, the balance is skewed to the particle, to collision, to dominion, the spermatogenetic strategy of venture-capital exploitation and to fragmentation. In the apocalypse, Earth shall become whole. It is no case of determinism in the Newtonian manner of the fundamentalist vision, but a quantum-chaotic revelation which, even as I speak, still lies in the domain of quantum-non-locality. Indeed it may never happen, but then again, if I have anything to do with it as I stand on this Earth in 1997 AD - we shall celebrate our collective vision in reality. That is the Sacred Marriage, incarnate in the verdant, evolving inflationary cosmos.

Chris King - for the Climacteric

God of the Quantum Vacuum New Scientist 4 Oct 97

Alongside the big bang, the birth of time and inflation of the early Universe, many cosmologists still see the hand of the Almighty at work, says Margaret Wertheim

IT IS NO accident that the word "heaven" refers to the domain of stars and of God. To medieval Christians, the Universe reflected a divine order. At the centre of the physical cosmos sat the Earth, and around it revolved great concentric "crystal spheres" that carried the Sun, Moon, planets and stars. The spiritual parallel of this structure placed humanity at the centre. Proceeding outwards, the spheres were ruled by successively higher ranks of angels, forming a great cosmic hierarchy. Beyond the final sphere was the empyrean heaven of God the creator. Looking up at the stars, medieval Christians really believed they were looking towards God. The notion of a cosmos that reflects the divine still had currency at the dawn of the modern scientific era. For the founders of modern cosmology Nicholas Copernicus, Johannes Kepler, and Isaac Newton-studying the stars was a quintessentially religious activity. As Kepler wrote in 1595, "for a long time I wanted to become a theologian ... now, however, behold how through my efforts God is being celebrated in astronomy". Yet in our own century we have come to see the Universe not as a reflection of God, but as a by-product of natural laws, such as Newton's law of gravity and Einstein's general relativity. The Cambridge University physicist Stephen Hawking has even claimed that natural laws alone will soon tell us how the Universe grew out of nothingness. "What place then, for a creator?" he asks in his best-selling book, A Brief History of Time.

But is it necessarily true that the more scientists leam about the workings of the cosmos, the less they can see of the divine? Hawking may think so, but a surprising number of cosmologists and astronomers do not. They continue to see aspects of the divine within the Universe that science describes. For those who think there is something odd about a bunch of scientists thinking about God, consider the fact that in April this year, a survey published in Nature (vol 386, p 435) revealed that 39.3 per cent of American scientists believe in a personal God they can pray to. The authors, Larry Witham and Edward Larson, a historian at the University of Georgia in Athens, point out that they used a very narrow definition of deity. With a wider definition, they say, the proportion of believers would have been even higher. More surprisingly, the survey-which was a rerun of one conducted in 1916-revealed that religious belief among American scientists has hardly changed since the start of the century, when 41.8 per cent expressed belief in a personal God.

Jewish mysticism

So how might God be reflected in the Universe of contemporary cosmology? In May, this question brought together a group of leading cosmologists to the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, in Berkeley, California, which is devoted to bridging the gap between the two fields. Chief among the issues discussed was how to interpret the scientific account of the birth of the Universe in a theistic sense. One intriguing interpretation comes from Joel Primack, a cosmologist at the University of Califomia, Santa Cruz. Primack, who is Jewish, draws an analogy between cosmological inflation theory and the description of creation told by followers 6f cabbala, a form of Jewish mysticism dating from the late Middle Ages. The early cabbalists believed they could learn about God through his relationship with nature. "The cabbalists developed a theoretical system portraying God as having ten aspects, known in Hebrew as the sephirot," says Primack. Beyond the sephirot is Ein Sof, the unknowable aspect of God, from which emanated a light that created the sephirot and the physical universe. "Of the ten sephirot," he says, "the first three deal with creation, and they correspond fairly closely to the concepts from the theories of inflation and eternal inflation." The inflationary theory, proposed in 1979 by Alan Guth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, argues that for a fraction of a second after the Universe emerged from the quantum vacuum, 'it expanded exponentially, growing much faster than the speed of light. Etemal inflation is a development of this idea, proposed by the Russian physicist Andrei Linde, now at Stanford University. Linde's idea is that there was not just one inflationary speck, but many-and not just one Universe, but many. Inflation is still going on today, he argues, constantly producing new universes all the time. It is a sort of infinite bubbling potential.

Bursting through

According to Primack, the infinite potential of etemal inflation may be likened to the first sephirah of the cabbala, known as Keter, which is symbolic of God's infinite potential to create. The second, called Hokhmah, is the bursting through of our Universe from the realm of pure potential to physical existence. This Primack likens to the initial expansive moment of inflation. The third sephirah, Binah, is the womb in which creation expands out of Hokhmah, and for Primack, this can be seen as analogous to the more leisurely, post-'inflationary expansion of spacetime. Indeed, Primack concludes: "There could probably be no more accurate name for the big bang as we understand it scientifically today than to call it Hokhmah-Binah."

While Primack's attention is drawn to the Jewish cabbala, Robert Russell has focused on the Christian story of creation. Russell is a physicist, theologian, minister in the United Church of Christ and founder of the Berkeley Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences. Surprisingly, he draws on the work of Hawking, the unbeliever. Russell argues that, far from removing the need for a creator, Hawking's brand of cosmology can actually be seen to support the Christian view. Hawking proposes that time emerges along with the Universe out of the quantum background. And since in the fuzziness of quantum theory there is no precise moment when time begins, there is no precise moment of creation and hence no need for a creator. While Russell agrees that time was bom along with the Universe, he disagrees that this leaves no room for a creator. As far back as the 5th century, he says, the great Christian saint Augustine of Hippo declared that the Universe Was not created "in" time, but "with" time. For Augustine, it made no sense to ask what happened "before" God created the Universe because time did not exist. For the same reason, Hawking says it makes no sense to discuss events before the quantum fluctuation that gave rise to the Universe. But according to Augustinian theology, God did exist before creation because he exists outside of time. Thus, says Russell, kings cosmology does not automatially squeeze God out of existence. Rather can be seen to support the notion of a od who transcends time. "This is a good ample," says Russell, "of how theoloians can do theology better if they unrstand science." In the Judaic and Christian traditions, creation of our Universe is viewed as single, long-ago event, but in the Muslim mystical tradition known as Sufism process of creation is continuous.

Bruno Guiderdoni of the Institute of Astrophysics in Paris says that in Islam "creation is God's self-disclosure to himself". In other words, God reveals himself by the very act of creation. According to Sufism, there are five levels of reality or "Presences" through which God reveals himself. These, Guiderdoni says, may be likened to the 10 sephirot of the cabbala. But since Sufism holds that God's self-disclosure is perpetual, new things-be they events or life forms-are coming into being all the time. "They are continuously poured into disclosure," says Guiderdoni.

Sufi belief in continual creation fits well with the modern cosmological view of an increasingly complex Universe, Guiderdoni says. In the beginning, runs the accepted scientific view, the Universe was a simple place consisting of a single 11 superforce". After the big bang, this separated into the four forces we see today: gravity, electromagnetism, and the weak and strong nuclear forces. Then, matter as we know it began to form, starting with subatomic particles, then atoms, stars and galaxies, and later molecules and planets. Finally came the gradual emergence of life forms. For a Sufi, this process is a joyous reflection of God's continuing revelation.

According to John Barrow, professor of physics at the University of Sussex, it is hardly surprising that people see God in the scientific cosmos, because religious ideas so often permeate science. Hawking would not be working on the emer gence of the Universe from the quantum vacuum, for example, if there was not already a tradition in religion of "God creating something out of nothing", says Barrow. There are other examples of how science has subsumed religious ideas. Edward Harrison, an astro physicist recently retired from the University of Massachusetts, points to the "cosmological principle", the idea that the Universe has no centre and is essentially the same everywhere. This has its roots in the notion, shared by Christians and Muslims, that "God is everywhere and occupies no point", he says. Within the Christian religion, the principle in this form was first expressed by the 15th-century German scientist and theologian Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa, who reached his view on theological grounds. "Astronomers don't often appreciate how the definitions and properties ascribed to God were eventually translated into properties of the Universe," says Harrison. Linde goes further still. He believes that the whole of modern cosmology has been deeply influenced by the Western tradition of monotheism. "When scientists start their work," he says, "they are subconsciously influenced by their cultural traditions." In particular, the central idea of modern cosmology-that it must be possible to understand the entire Universe through one ultimate Theory of Everything-is an outgrowth of belief in one God. Thus cosmology has itself become a sort of religious quest: a search for "God" in the form of an equation.

Heart of the cosmos

One important feature of the grand synthesis between science and Christianity that prevailed in medieval Europe was humankind's position in the cosmic order. Humanity was seen as residing not just at the physical heart of the cosmos, but also at its spiritual centre - the focal point of God's attention. Today we appear to have been removed from that focus. Modern cosmology seems to place humanity nowhere in particular-and it is this denial of a "special" place for humans that makes some religious believers today view science with suspicion. But, again, many researchers insist that science does not demote humanity to cosmic insignificance. Primack, for example, points out an important respect in which humans are in the middle of the cosmos. At between 1 and 2 metres tall, we are almost exactly halfway between the largest cosmological scale of 10^21 meters, and the smallest quantum scale of 10^-15 metres. We also live in a small island of baryonicor normal"-matter, amid the vast sea of unseen dark matter, which appears to make up more than 90 per cent of the Universe. This, Primack says, shows that we are in a cosmologically special place. There are other ways too in which we have a special place in the Universe, says Guiderdoni. Astrophysics tells us that the atoms of our bodies were forged in stars, so we humans could not exist until the Universe had undergone several generations of stellar evolution. "The size of the Universe is a consequence of its age, and so we need this space around us and the i time behind us in order to be here on Earth," he says. "Cosmology is leading up to humanity. There is also a sense in which the Earth is literally at the centre Of the Universe, says Guiderdoni Whatever shape our cosmos may be in theory, in practice we live at the centre of a sphere which is determined by the light that has reached us since the big bang. The surface of this sphere is the time t=0, beyond which we have no scientific knowledge. This finding echoes the medievals' view of the cosmos, says Guiderdoni. For them, rational knowledge ended at the outermost celestial sphere, where the mystery of God and creation began. "We too have a kind of boundary between the cosmos, which is describable by natural laws, and the mystery of the origin," he says. In the 14th century epic, the Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri travels through the cosmos towards God. Coming to the outermost sphere, he strains to pierce the skin of the Universe to see the ultimate source of wisdom beyond. "We are trying to probe our origins," Guiderdoni says, 11 exactly as Dante allegorically crossed the celestial spheres to see God's face."

"The whole of modern cosmology has been deeply influenced by the Western tradition of monotheism. Scientists are subconsciously influenced by their cultural traditions. The idea that it is possible to understand the universe through one ultimate theory of everything is an outgrowth of a belief in one God".

Modern cosmology is unlike other sciences in that there is only limited scope for experiments, and nature has given us just one Universe to observe. On top of that, much of contemporary cosmology deals with things like inflation and the big bang that have not been directly observed, and robably never will be. Andrej Pacholzyk Of the University of Arizona in Tucon views cosmology as 'noncorresponence science'-one based on almost pure speculation. Today, the crystal heres may have gone, but what has relaced them-the best natural laws that scientists can produce-cannot pierce the kin of the big bang. Perhaps this is why many scientists still see the face of God reflected from the edge of the cosmos. El - (this appeared in the text from nowhere CK)

Margaret Wertheim is currently making "Faith and Reason", a television documentary about science and religion today. The meeting on which this feature is based Part of a series sponsored by the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences on the intersection of the scientific research and religion. The project will culminate next year in a major conference in Berkeley. More information can be found at ftp://www.ctns.org

Another interesting example of a religiously-inspired theory comes from Ernest Sternglass's "Before the Big Bang" in which he suggests the universe emerged from a primal electron-positron pair. This idea follows the 1920s ides of the primal atom of the Belgian Priest Abbé Georges Lemaitre. Of course why an electron-positron is necessary begs the creativity of quantum non-locality. Uncertainty speaks with every tongue.

Beyond Science Renowned Scientists Contemplate the Evidence for God Sci Am 10 Aug 98

Modern science, like every successful philosophy, has axioms that it takes on faith to be true. Allan R. Sandage, one of the fathers of modern astronomy, has just slid one of these precepts onto an overhead projector. In letters too large to ignore, it hangs before the eyes of several hundred scientists, theologians and others gathered here at the University of California at Berkeley to discuss the points of conflict and convergence between science and religion. The axiom is called Clifford's dictum: "it is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone to believe anything on insufficient evidence." is there sufficient evidence to support a belief in a judeo-Christian God? Although many scientists working in the U.S. would doubtless agree with Sandage that "you have to answer the question of what is 'sufficient' for yourself," recent polls suggest that most of them would nonetheless answer no. But the program for this conference includes some two dozen scientists, nearly all of them at the top of their fields, who have arrived at a different conclusion. "There is a huge amount of data supporting the existence of God," asserts George Ellis, a cosmologist at the University of Cape Town and an active Quaker. "The ques tion is how to evaluate it," he says, because the data only rarely yield to scientific analysis. item one on Ellis's list of evidence is the so called Anthropic Principle. In recent decades, explains John D. Barrow, an astronomer at the University of Sussex, physicists have noticed that many of the fundamental constants of nature-from the energy levels in the carbon atom to the rate at which the universe is expanding to the four perceptible dimensions of spacetime-are just right for life. Tweak any of them more than a tad, and life as we know it could not exist. John Polkinghorne, a particle physicist turned Anglican priest, points out other curiosities. "How is it that humans' cognitive abilities greatly exceed the demands imposed by evolutionary pressures, so that we can perceive the quantum nature of the universe and map its cosmic features?" he asks. And why is mathematics so surprisingly effective at describing the physical world? One possible explanation, Polkinghorne, Ellis and other well-respected physicists argue, is that the universe was designed. "Certainly more and more top-level scientists are considering the Anthropic Principle seriously in their work," concedes Andrei D. Linde, a Stanford University cosmologist. But he disputes that the coincidences point to God. Astronomical observations have so far supported a so-called inflationary theory of creation that Linde helped to develop. If the theory is correct, then our universe is just one bubble in a much larger, eternal foam of universes. The constants and laws of physics may well differ in each bubble. Our universe may be tuned for carbon-based life not because it was set up that way, Barrow adds, but because even such a delicate arrangement was bound to happen in one of the myriad bubbles. Science will probably never be able to determine which of the cases is true. "We are hitting the boundaries of what is ever going to be testable," Ellis says. And not just in cosmology. "The science of the 20th century is showing us, if anything, what is unknowable using the scientific method [and] what is reserved for religious beliefs," argues Mitchell P. Marcus, chairman of computer science at the University of Pennsylvania. "In mathematics and information theory, we can now guarantee that there are truths out there that we cannot find." "The inability of science to provide a basis for meaning, purpose, value and ethics is evidence of the necessity of religion," Sandage says-evidence strong enough to persuade him to give up his atheism late in life. Ellis, who similarly turned to religion only after he was well established in science, raises other mysteries that cannot be solved by logic alone: "the reasons for the existence of the universe, the existence of any physical laws at all and the nature of the physical laws that do hold-science takes all of these for granted, and so it cannot investigate them." "Religion is very important for answering these questions," Sandage concludes. But how exactly? Pressing the scientists on the details of their beliefs reveals that most have carved a few core principles out of one of the major religious traditions and discarded the rest. "When you start pushing on the dogma, most scientists tend to part company," observes Henry S. Thompson of the University of Edinburgh indeed, for Ellis, "religion is an experimental endeavor just like science: all doctrine is a model to be tested, and no proof is possible." Sandage confesses that, like many other theoretical physicists, "I am a Platonist," believing the equations of fundamental physics are all that is real and that "we see only shadows on the wall." And Pauline M. Rudd, a biochemist at the University of Oxford, observes: "I have experiences that cannot be expressed in any language other than that of religion. Whether the myths are historically true or false is not so important." There seem only two points on which all the religious scientists agree. That God exists. And that, as Albert Einstein once put it, "science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind." -W Wayt Gibbs in Berkeley, Calif