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The Nature of IS

  1. Nov 12, 2003 #1
    The hidden wisdoms of nature and science are being slowly uncovered in the world of cosmology and physics. At the turn of the century, a physics professor would have lost tenure on the spot if caught teaching the concept that matter in all its forms of solids, liquids and gases was actually condensed energy. What hokum it would have seemed! Then came Einstein, relativity and E = mc^2, the theory that matter, m, intrinsically represents a specific amount of energy, E. And the type of matter was immaterial. As bizarre as it seems, a gram of rose petals and a gram of uranium contain identical amounts of energy. The constant in the equation, c^2 is the speed of light squared or multiplied by itself. It is a massive value, telling us that even a tiny amount of matter contains a huge quantity of latent energy. Having personally witnessed the detonation of six nuclear weapons. I suggest that we pray for peace. The fractions of a gram of matter converted into energy during those tests turned the mountain on which I stood into a quivering Jello-like substance.
    In 1923, almost a decade after Einstein published his general relativity theory (no longer a theory, of course: now it is a law), the French physicist Louis de Broglie introduced an idea that was even more bizarre in its assertions than Einstein's claim that matter really was a form of energy.

    De Broglie claimed that all matter has related to it a wave length and a frequency of that wave, a certain number of wave cycles per second. Not only had humanity learned that matter was not matter, we now had to believe that everything is a wave. Everything—you and I included. Seventy years of experiments have sustained both Einstein's and de Broglie's preposterous, counter intuitive claims.
    The floor upon which you stand and the bedrock that supports a skyscraper are 99.999% empty space. What we perceive as solid matter is actually de Broglie's waves separated by open space, made impermeable by invisible, immaterial fields of force that somehow pervade the space. The world simply is not as it seems. A superficial reading of nature finds differentiation and disparate entities—stars and stones and bottled water and even life and death. Reading that same nature at a deeper level reveals that it's all a manifestation of a single underlying unity. I'm on our balcony. De Broglie tells me the leaves and the light are one. Not poetically—though that also—but physically, they are one.

    It took humanity millennia before an Einstein discovered that, as bizarre as it may seem, matter is actually condensed energy. It may take a while longer for us to discover that there is some non-thing even more fundamental than energy that forms the basis of energy. In the words of John Archibald Wheeler, the renowned former president of the American Physical Society, recipient of the Einstein Award and Princeton professor of physics, underlying all existence is an idea, the "bit" of information that gives rise to the "it" of matter.
    The substructure of all existence, we suddenly realize, is totally ethereal, an idea, wisdom. Or in Hebrew emet (truth) — an all encompassing reality. That truth is the ultimate building block from which all we see and feel is constructed. Just as the secondary substructure of all matter is something as ethereal as energy, as per Einstein's fantastic insight, so, the primary substructure of energy is still more elusive. Existence is the expression of an idea, an eternal consciousness made tangible. We are the idea of a Prime Force.
    If we can discover that idea, we will have ascertained not only the basis for the unity that underlies all existence, but most important, the source of that unity.
     
  2. jcsd
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