The Physics of Oz

This is a blog about integrations and unravellings.  I am going to romp freely through the territories of the psychological, the biological, the metaphysical, the cinematographic, the political, the spiritual, the social, the entheological, the taoist, the tibetan buddhist, the mythological, etc.  Perspective is everything in discerning reality from truth.  Like a crystal, we need to make ourselves aware of which part of the prism we want to view the world at any given time.  Today we take a drunken-master style stumble through the world of science and, in particular, physics, that bastion of certainties obfuscated by reams of symbolic, mathematical language with which scientists attempt to maintain the power to translate reality to the masses.

Perhaps you may want to think of this as a living example of “string theory,” an idea invented and currently avidly investigated and propagated by physicists. We are going to be “vibrating and resonating,” as it were,  through different spatial and temporal zones of what we call existence, exploring relationship and relativity, field integration and deconstruction, power, compassion, quantum mechanics and the fascinating foibles of that teeming mass  of chaos we know as humanity.

Physicists, indeed, have long known that no experiment and no existence is conducted in a vacuum.  In the early part of the 20th century, these very esteemed scientists discovered, by experiment, that molecules actually respond to the presence of the observer and therefore, every observation we make about our world and universe is entirely subjective in nature.  We influence natural phenomena and it influences us.  You cannot sneak up on a quark. We see it and, no matter how hard we try to hide, it does, indeed, see us.  And, it behaves differently in our presence than it would if it were dancing alone at night behind closed doors.  We’re going to leave the astonishing idea that particles are aware of their environment for the moment.

What scientists “know” of everything, from gluons and bosons to quasars and black holes, is actually only a reflection of the perceptive capacities of the human brain of science at any given time.  The brains of psychology, metaphysics, art, music, theater, architecture, farming etc., are just as valid as those of science. All lenses of perception, just like the particles of energy, are equal on the playing field of the universe.  This is an issue scientists themselves need to take to heart.  From whatever discipline it originates, our brain capacities are constantly evolving and, in that evolution, we may find our commonality with those very molecular and astronomical phenomena which, according to physicists, are in a constant state of movement and change, bouncing up against and altering each other in a miasmic interaction known as “quantum foam.”

The root of all existence is foam.  All those heady equations ultimately = foam? That’s a bit thicker than ether, but a far cry from terra firma.  If we add the next permutation of quantum physics theory, that of string theory, to the equation, the movement of that foam allegedly comes from the fact that everything is oscillating on strings that resonate throughout the cosmos.  Let us pause here for the moment and note that no such “strings” have ever been observed and scientists claim that they are so small that they appear as points.  Hhhmm, so if it looks like a point and acts like a point and smells like a point, isn’t it just a point? No, it’s a string!  And they posit this with amazing confidence and authority.

Perhaps we might wish to question the more psychological need for the invention of string theory. Let us ponder the fact that physicists have phobias about imperfections, asymmetries and uncertainties in their work.  They do not like unknowns.  They wring their hands and pull their hair over it.  The theory of relativity and the theory  of quantum mechanics did not fit neatly together, thus causing large-scale dissonances in the attempt to marry the two and, might we suggest, similar large-scale scientific neuroses.  So, voila, our gods of rational, objective, empirical science invent an idea that stitches these two theories together, dissipates their institutional anxiety and restores the illusion of perfection to their field of experience.  Phew! That idea saved a whole group of experts from having to stand around with their pants down for too long.  They can relax, again, into their chairs believing they have re-established a good fix on the truth.  But is that truth actually real?

What about that lovely understanding that Heisenberg already established:  that  the observer effects the observed?  It seems to me we would have to live in denial of that fact in order to presume that their subjective version of reality is the truth (Yes, I am using truth and reality interchangeably).  That’s quite a disconnect from the very field that proposed it.  And that disconnection has led to billions of dollars being spent on nuclear accelerators, super microscopes, a Large Hadron Collider, etc., so that the men of science can smash things up to balance their equations.

And, while the boys are pounding up ever-smaller things with ever-larger machines, there’s someone on the stage whom they have been trying to ignore.  That’s because she’s just always so wild and uncontrollable and they find her way of being quite disagreeable and so they try to pretend she’s not over there, watching from the rose hips bush.   And that is because they just can’t quite get themselves to accept her serendipitous, quixotic being.  You know – her – the one that always comes in to wreck the game:  Nature in all her amusing disguises.

Just when they’ve got it all figured out, she shows up.  So annoying. Oh, just go home and play with dolls.  Unfortunately, she grew tired of those over-packaged figurines with the inflexible joints long ago.  So, she’s not going home today. Nor any other day.  And, ooohhh, shoot, even worse, don’t look, she looks like she’s coming closer.  What happens if we have to admit that she’s really here, amongst us?

The truth is, she is quite, quite here.  And, she adores uncertainties, asymmetries and imperfections.  All we have to do for proof of that is to look in the mirror.  There is, actually, no human face that is symmetrical.  We often see it as so, however, because our eyes do play tricks on us and few people ever take the time to truly examine the nuances of those lines and lips and ears.  But a perfectly symmetrical face would, in fact, appear to us as strangely odd, plasticine, alien.  It would likely inspire feelings of mistrust, perhaps even paranoia, as every perfectly appearing thing should.  Would you trust your child (or porsche) to a smiling mannequin?

She also loves people and created the human personality  with all sorts of quirky idiosyncrasies, imbalances and contradictions that render us smelly, complex universes that simply will not conform to our best ideas of good conduct and decorum.  We would, in fact, pass out with boredom in the presence of a perfect personality.  Those people usually hide out in caves in lofty locations secreted  in the mountains anyway and I doubt most of us have ever met one, though there are plenty of candidates who will assure us that they are – uh – descended from on high.

In summary, physicists have so far concluded that existence is really nothing more than a frothy haze of probable approximations of individual units vibrating on unseen strings, all interacting with and affecting each other in a precisely, unpredictable fashion.  That description could, in fact, be used as a verbatim advertisement for a comedy improv class.  It also serves as the theoretical framework for some forms of systemic psychotherapy, or as a way of thinking about a flock of birds trying to feed on seed in gale-force winds.

Could it be that our great gods of knowledge are nothing more than men behind particular collective curtains? Let’s ask Dorothy, that virginal, glowing representative of the Feminine, who realizes, after all her trials and tribulations on the road to awakening, that all she really needs is a balloon.   That balloon represents the power of intelligence  and ascendant awareness (air) that is her birthright.  It belongs to all of us.

Hers was a journey  from the immature innocent to the fully-possessed adult, a right of passage through both the land of the mystical, full of little faeries, flying monkeys, witches and entheogenic “sleep,” and the oleaginous, slick world of the snake oil salesman cum wizard, packed with lies and secrets and abuses of power.

Dorothy’s story is that of the Wandering Yin that leaves home in search of enlightenment.  Getting knocked on the head in a pig pen is one way of stepping out onto the road of  jupiterian transformation from polarized naiveté to polychromatic awareness. The terrain the seeker traverses is not for the faint of heart, as it requires one to withstand the specters of trance and illusion, confusion, violence, sleep and terror.  Science has followed the same path, winding its way through inexplicable apparitions, dead ends and sobering realizations of the potentials of the universe.  The rub lies in how we orient ourselves to these events and revelations.

In the film, it is ultimately Divine Nature herself that throws the ace of spades at Dorothy’s feet.  Nature always cuts through the gymnastics of the human brain that way.  And she always prevails.  That Intelligent Nature manifests herself in the movie in the form of  Toto, Dorothy’s daemon, who takes her little canine teeth (the mouth – the oracle) and pulls back the veil of ignorance so that Dorothy and her comrades can see that the reality upon which they had been placing their faith was based solely on the grandiose, desperate machinations of a very simple and human man.  The wizard of mental cunning, domination and deception is revealed as a pauper of embodied power.  His booming voice is reduced to the weak mumblings of an excuser of questionable ethics, ideology and behavior.

Here, Dorothy steps through the threshold of childhood into the shoes of adulthood.  Summoning mature compassion and wisdom, she forgives the salesman for his egoistic follies, accepts his embarrassed apologies, receives his gift of transport, clicks her heels and delivers herself back through her own dreamtime to consciousness.  And when she does awake, she is able to fully recognize and give to her mates the gift she was both meant to have and to give away – love and gratitude.

Let’s do as Dorothy does and step over the bellicose doo doo, jump into the basket and say, “Thanks guys, I can take it from here.”  If they possess the largesse to admit their humanity, they’ll hand over the ropes with grace and humility.  Just remember that if you do do this – decide to fly aloft  – all the rules those scientists made up about how to understand and navigate the darn thing may, in fact, be completely wrong and you may just need to ask for the help of a witch to get you where you want to go.

And we may ask that all those rational, objective brains out there pulverizing the stuffing out of the alleged micromicromicrobits of the material world to stop and  think for a just even a tiny fraction of a moment about the fact that you may well be smashing your own grandmother, father, mother, sister, brother, or daughter into teeny, tiny pieces of unidentifiable fragments.

And if all that is just a bit too much woo woo feminine-honoring for you, let’s try something closer to home.  Imagine standing in your perfect laboratory and slamming your own gonads in the astrophysical doorjam of life.  Did that get the message across?

Before we have to call in the cosmological forensic pathologists, please just ease up a bit here on the aggression thing.  It really is okay to say maybe you just don’t know -anything – at all.

In your current haste for dissection and proof of your proofs, you may well be pithing the Cosmic Womb.  Imagine for just a second that all your pokings and hammerings might actually be giving the Universe a total hysterectomy.  Or a castration, however your personal gods appear to you. In case the full effects of potential gaiacide have escaped you, just remember that without that fertile, fecund ground, your own precious packet of family jewels doesn’t have a future.

There is a thing integratively formed

And born earlier than Heaven and Earth.

Silent and empty

It relies on nothing,

Moving around forever.

We may regard it as the mother of all things.

I do not know its name.

So I name it Dao.

The Wisdom of Lao Tse, Chapter 25

© 2010 Amelia A. Free

  1. #1 by Louise on July 26, 2010 - 5:28 PM

    Enjoyed all your articles very much. Look forward to the next! Your website looks great, too.

  2. #2 by sistertongue on July 26, 2010 - 11:03 PM

    Thank you Louise for reading and commenting.

  3. #3 by Aglo on July 30, 2010 - 3:56 PM

    Thank you so much for sharing The Wisdom of Lao Tse,love all of your articles
    and look forward to more.


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