From Physics to Metaphysics

The Thinker by Rodin

I read Brian Greene’s book The Fabric of the Cosmos for a number of reasons. First I had at best a hazy idea of Einstein’s special and general theories of relativity. For once really wanted to fully understand them. Second, I had heard about string theory (well, really superstring theory) and the uncertainty principle. I was curious to learn a whole lot more. But perhaps the real reason I read the book was that I was hoping that just maybe (in my own mind at least) I could merge the worlds of physics and metaphysics.

Why not? Physicists are hot to validate the grand unification of relativity (the universe at the macro level) with superstring theory (the universe at the subatomic level). It’s their Holy Grail. I can have mine too. Clearly I am not easily intimidated by daunting philosophical and scientific problems, even though I am neither a scientist nor more than an amateur philosopher. I am likely tilting at windmills but someone has to start.

Through Greene’s book I learned that there likely exist 11 (or possibly just 10) dimensions to the universe. Four dimensions we seem to understand as part of the nature of our reality: space (i.e. length, width and height) and time. It is hard for us to conceive of a reality of more than four dimensions because we cannot directly perceive them. But Greene points out that in order for superstring theory to work mathematically and integrate with Einstein’s theories there must be seven more. He generally refers to these dimensions as “curled up” dimensions that are embedded in the energized superstrings. These superstrings vibrate at certain frequencies and in the process take on properties. Some of these properties we can perceive as matter and some of which we can perceive as energy (light, for instance).

But we also know that there is a lot of energy that surrounds us that we cannot directly perceive. We know that the ether of the electromagnetic spectrum surrounds and permeates us. We cannot perceive any but its visible spectrum. We can infer its presence well enough every time we use our cell phones or listen to the radio. Clearly the universe is far more complex than what we can directly observe.

Now let’s get back to metaphysics. Metaphysics is “The branch of philosophy that examines the nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter, substance and attribute, fact and value.” Metaphysics is largely pure speculation and tries to give order and sense to that which lies just beyond science. Arguably a lot of it is nonsense. Most Westerners would probably say that most religions (except their own), horoscopes, palm reading and the like are nonsense. But if you read enough (and I’ve read quite a bit) there are certain areas of common agreement in the metaphysical world that seem almost scientific in nature. I’ve alluded to some of these in other blog entries. For example near death experiences and the high degree of commonality among these experiences have been well researched by academics like Raymond A. Moody, PhD and MD as well as Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, MD. Many of us, including myself, have experienced deja vu. These experience suggests to me that time itself may be an illusion. There are even scientific studies into the psychics that are damned convincing.

Eastern religions have promoted various planes of existence for the soul for millennium. Perhaps the best established of these is the seven planes of existence from the Hinduism and Buddhism traditions. According to these mystics, each plane of existence has its unique attributes and purpose. For example after death we arise to the astral plane where we hang out again until the Masters can figure out which new body we need to inhabit to learn new important spiritual lessons we haven’t mastered. Eventually we are reincarnated and go back to the earthly plane. Assuming we get our karmic lessons right at some point after death we arise from the astral plane to the mental plane, the home of “masters” and “spirit guides”. Maybe at that level we exist to help others trying to complete their karmic experiences. This level maps quite well to many religions versions of heaven, including Christianity to some extent. Both these levels and the experiences anticipated map well with Moody and Kubler-Ross’s research into near death experiences. They also map well as past life regression research by well established clinical hypnotherapists like Michael Newton. Beyond the mental level are the Buddhic, Nirvana, Para Nirvana and finally the God Head levels.

I find a couple interesting things in this aspect of metaphysics.

First, most describe ascending from one plane to the next as moving to a higher “vibrational level”. This is true regardless of how many levels of consciousness a particular spiritual practitioner or guru seems to be promoting.

Second, at least classically there are seven planes of consciousness described. Superstring theory talks about eleven dimensions. Subtract four that amount to our earthly experience and that leaves seven that should exist. Curiously there are seven levels of consciousness promoted by the Hindu-Buddhist philosophies. Subtract one for the existence we can perceive (or for the 11th dimension which according to Greene may not exist) and we get close to or hit the number of dimensions required to validate superstring theory.

Lastly, Greene talks about how superstrings have various properties including very definite differences in vibrational rates. Maybe it means nothing, but both physicists and metaphysicians seem enamored with vibrations and energy levels. Perhaps some of those “curled up” dimensions that Greene and fellow physicists allude to can be mapped to planes of existence?

No doubt most physicists would be surprised by or laugh at my attempt at a comparison here. And I am sure that magazines like The Skeptical Inquirer have published numerous articles on why such theories are bunk. On the other side of the equation there are many in the metaphysical world, particularly those vested in a particular religious faith who will deny any reality outside of their faith’s.

These are thin threads I am suggesting. But there are some commonalities here that should raise eyebrows on both sides of this divide. Both sides are really rushing toward the same goal. The grand unification theory sought by physicists is but a way station toward understanding the mind of God (if God exists). Similarly, the religious and philosophers among us must at some level require the assurance that all those things they are saying are true can be proven objectively true.

All I’m suggesting is I see some threads that perhaps can stitch these two seemingly dissimilar worlds together. I invite those more learned than me to continue this effort. I think we need to wrap our minds around the true nature of existence. If there are curled up dimensions in subatomic particles that can be inferred this strikes me as a wholly fantastic idea. I find it no more fantastic those eastern religions thousands of years old were talking even then about planes of existence that also cannot be seen. Perhaps both sides are speaking a sort of common lingo. My job may be to put them in touch.

Update 9/9/2004. I found this very interesting Salon article on a documentary called “What the Bleep Do We Know?!”. I’ll be looking to see it if it arrives in the Washington DC area.

6 thoughts on “From Physics to Metaphysics

  1. Hi,

    Such a theory does exist in metaphysics. It’s quite elegant and I’ll try and run through it quickly here. I must point out that my understanding of it is as yet incomplete and I may introduce some errors, but hopefully you’ll get this gist:

    The occult Western Mystery Tradition (which dovetails neatly with the Eastern Traditions) divides a 10 or 11 dimensional universe into 2 parts, the 5 dimensional microcosm which is represented by the pentagram, and the 6 dimensional macrocosm which is represented by the hexagram. This jives with string theory which also predicts a perfect 10 or 11 dimensional universe divded into a physical universe of 5 dimensions with the remaining 6 dimensions ‘curled up very small’. The significance of the pentagram and the hexagram are well documented and although occluded preceed string theory by a long long time.

    Now we get to the interesting part, the part that’s still heavily occuluded. According to this theory the dimensions are thus:

    0 (note the first dimension is numbered zero) – this is the unmanifest or God, Spirit, or Soul sometimes referred to as Akasha. Consider this to be an infinitesimmally small point of nothingness. Religion says that God exists. Science tends to say that God have not yet been detected (does not exist). The Quabbalah tells us that God is nothingness. So yes God does not exist, or, if you prefer, God exists as pure nothingness, that which is unmanifest. Everything material and immaterial was born out of this singular point of nothingness. Sound familiar?

    1 – Eternal Time. Imagine that this point of nothingness grows round on itself to form an infinitessimally small mobius ring. This ring is eternal time. It should be noted that this is a VERY different concept to the relative time that we are familiar with. The best example I can give is that *COUGH* dreams occur in eternal time. We can only correctly perceive eternal time whilst in the dream or (more correctly) projected state. Or whilst we are dead.

    2 – Understanding, thought, and the capacity thereof. To visualise the dimension of thought, imagine that the ring of eternal time rotates through 180 degrees to form an infinitesimally small sphere. That’s not what it really ‘looks like’ but it fits our purpose of trying to visualise everything in 3D! So know we see that the universe is housed inside a thought. And that at each point withing the universe there is a capacity for thought.

    3 – Frequency or Vibration. It is necessary to perceive dimensions are absolute attributes of existence. Consider graphical plotting where each point has x, y, and z co-ordinates, and also a colour attribute. This is very similar. So each ‘point’ has a soul content, an eternal time reference, a capacity for thinking, and a freqency of vibration. It’s really quite simple.

    4 – Pure Force. The 5th dimension (or attribute) if the capacity for pure force. All the forces unify in this dimension (sort of – more later). So if you can visualise this small sphere with the capacity for pure force, and each point within it now having a force attribute / capacity.

    5 – Energy. Now we have the “There WILL be light” moment and energy is created for the first time (all of it!!!) and constrained in this very small vibrating sphere under pure force.


    OK so you have the entire energy content of the universe packed into a infinitesimally small sphere and subject to vibration and force – hmm what da ya thunk happened next LOL…

    Vibrating energy under pure force produces SOMETHING literally SOMETHING, that being matter. Matter does not fit into a space the size of nothing so what happened next was…

    The existing mobius sphere twisted into a sort of 3D figure of 8, two spheres connected by a very small passage. All the matter, and almost all of the energy ended up in one half. Try twisting a partially inflated rubber balloon through the centre, then sequeeze most of the air into one side to catch my drift.

    6 – The Portal. This twist in the universe can sort of be perceived as a dimension in it’s own right. That is why we have 10 or 11 dimensions, this is the freaky 7th dimension where the 2 halves meet. It’s not a true dimension but rather a portal.

    So bascially all this matter exploded outwards from nothingness (what we refer to as the big bang). What was hurled out was essentially energy, vibration, and force bound up together to form the matter. Consider this carefully because it explains a LOT! As this stuff rushed outwards and started to condense into matter it simultaneously created the next 4 dimensions…

    You have all this stuff spewing outwards in all directions, so for that to be the case there must exist…

    7, 8, 9 length, width, height. The physcial dimensions of the MATERIAL (from matter) universe.

    And since we know the point they originate from, and we know the speed they are travelling, and we know the distance they have travelled, then we have…

    10 – Relative Time.

    If anyone would like to discuss this in more detail, then please email me. Doubtless some people will be unhappy at seeing this information outed but I’m not under any oath, and never have been.

  2. On the above… it’s hard to post stuff like that in an on-line comments box and forumulate it correctly.

    My email address is if anyone would like to correspond with me.

    A couple of things I am still hazy on are:

    The dimension numbered 1, eternal time – not sure whether this is indeed a mobius strip, or whether it simply started off life as a figure of 8. At present I favour the figure of 8 version, but the above example is as I first learned of it. The figure of 8 concept resolves the twisting issue, but makes it harder to visualise the formation the dimension numbered 2.

    The dimension numbered 2 could also be described as ‘Conciousness’. Which fits nicely with Jung’s theories.

    Metaphysists and occultists quite often confuse planes with dimensions; the two are competely different things! The material plane is bound to the entire 10 / 11 dimensions of the universe, but we mainly perceive it through the last 4. The etheric plane is the raw energy view of the material world – the view of the microcosm as seen from the portal. The portal has 2 sides divided by a very thin boundry, the other side looks onto the macrocosm, and this raw energy view of the macrocosm is what we perceive to be the astral planes.

    The etheric plane is bound to dimensions 0 through 6.

    The astral plane is bound to dimensions 0 through 5, with frequency as the distinguishing factor.

    The mental plane is bound to dimensions 0 through 3.

    The spirit plane is bound to dimensions 0 through 1.

    The macrocosm is consists of dimensions numbered 0 through 5. The microcosm consist dimensions numbered 6 through 10. The portal is considered to be a microcosmic dimension.

    I find the terms macrocosm and microcosm somewhat ironic LOL!

    A person etheric projecting perceives the material world through the etheric plane. The etheric plane is if you like the energy double or imprint of the material world. It should be noted that the etheric plane is thus INDIRECTLY subject to relative time. The cause of reality fluctuations when undergoing etheric projection is the close proximity of the astral planes. Etheric projection is a delicate balancing act!

    A person astral projecting or dreaming is perceiving the astral planes.

    Hope this provides a little more clarity.

  3. I have recently discovered your web site. I commend you on your writing skills and your intellectual insights.
    The fact is we will never really be able to “Know” what reality is because we are surrounded by it and very much a part of “It”.
    I tend to think that our minds are unable to even fathom the truth of what is going on. The Universe is some kind of force that works like magic. Quantum mechanics and spirituality are but small pieces in the puzzle that intertwine with the love of the creator (whatever that is).
    This Universe created itself and we are part of it, our souls are the part that gets to experience unlimited love and freedom in some kind of feedback loop.
    We should all be aware that “Reality is not what it seems; perception is everything” and in the end “REALITY” may not even exist at all. It may all be a thought experiment that runs within our souls and the massive soul of the creator. Talk about wireless T.V. Could we all just be digital information on another vibrational plane? The Soul Plane?

    Thanks again, I love your site.

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