What did I get myself into? by Chuck Post

I offered to facilitate a non-credit course at Yavapai College (Prescott, AZ) on “Science Meets Mysticism”.  Easy, right?  Well, I thought so.

What a century we just wrapped up.  Relativity and Quantum Theory opened up some discussion a hundred years ago.  What is real?  What is “solid”? Are things just probabilities?   Do we affect, in a sense create, what we experience?  These and other discussions have been enjoined.

I have learned that the largely German community of physicists that launched the era of quantum physics were more open to the mystical implications of these new discoveries than the Anglo world that later got into it.   A reflection, perhaps, of the differing views of German Idealism versus British Empiricism.   Heisenberg, Bohr, and Pauli, early quantum theorists, seemed quite open to the possible links between quantum discoveries and Eastern philosophies.

What has happened in the meantime?   Perhaps Analytic Philosophy, influenced by a no-nonsense Bertrand Russell, among others, put the brakes on the mystical inferences of the Germans.  Along with the sidelining or diaspora of the German physicists during and between the wars.  Anyway, it seems like a more vigorous debate might have taken place in the early years than we have now.

The Existentialist fashion that broke forth after World War II seems a cousin of the mystical leanings, or at least openness, of the early quantum pioneers.   The Existentialists seem to have had in common with the mystically-inclined Germans, a reaction against the limits of the rationalist rigors of European thought, going back to Aristotle.   Allowing for irrational notions seems to link Paris’s Latin Quarter fifty years ago, with Schopenhauer, Heisenberg, and Herman Hesse.  But this is a stretch.   Ancient Eastern wisdom is a long way from Marxism, even if they share a disdain for chains.

I am trying to get a handle on where the world is right now, as regards the linkage, if any, between the mystical traditions of the East with quantum physics.   There are a few science-based writers going all out for the East-meets-West implications of modern physics.  Such names as Peter Russell, Deepak Chopra, Bruce Lipton, and Amit Goswami, are science-trained writers who have taken public positions linking science and the ancient wisdom of the East.

I’ve got a course bearing down on me in late August, and I need to have some…. well, I was going to say I need to have some answers by then.   Maybe I just need some questions.

Any ideas out there?   Any lectures, websites, video materials that gets into this intersection of science and mysticism?   I’m all eyes and ears.


Noetic Thesis

The noetic thesis of Franklin Merrell-Wolff holds that there is a third mode, faculty, or function of cognition that transcends sense perception (empiricism) and conceptual cognition (reason) which gives one a way of knowing that leads to metaphysical certainty. Franklin Merrell-Wolff called this cognitive faculty “introception.” He sometimes referred to this function as a third “organ” of cognition perhaps in way similar to the way citta, meaning heart/mind, is thought of in Tibetan Buddhism.

Metaphysical Certainty

Finding metaphysical proof of The Lotka Hypothesis, or The Psychogenic Theory, is like finding truth in pure mathematics. Pure mathematics is possible in the same way pure metaphysics is possible. There is no doubt as to the factuality of pure mathematics. It is abundantly proven. In the same way there is no doubt as to the factuality of pure metaphysical certainty to the practitioner who has completed the necessary investigative protocols.

After graduating from Cambridge, the Great Plague of 1665 forced Isaac Newton into a period of relative isolation, private study, and contemplation. This was one of the most productive periods of his life which saw the development of his theories of calculus, optics, and the law of gravity. The Bible tells us after his baptism Jesus retreated into the isolation of the desert for 40 days before beginning his ministry. Native American traditions contain a rite of passage, an inward vision quest, which is to prepare young people for their future. Franklin Merrell-Wolff after completing his formal education at Stanford and Harvard embarked upon a spiritual quest. Part of the quest included the isolation of his remote ranch located near Lone Pine,California. After 24 years of study and “profound introversion” he reported a nondual experience he called “High Indifference.” Isolation is a key element in creating an environment conducive to such illuminating experiences.

Certainly, we know the proof of pure mathematics. Meditation practice and contemplative inquiry integrated with conventional scientific training leads to an analogous degree of certainty in the Lotka Hypothesis and the Psychogenic Theory.

See “Contemplative Observatory” in the menu above for more details.

Mysticism and the Scientific Method

Mysticism is a belief in the existence of essential reality beyond perceptual or intellectual apprehension that is accessible by subjective experience.

Our hypothesis is that consciousness is the essential reality that pervades all levels and all lines of development, including the paper the model is written upon. Consciousness, or Spirit, is all there is ultimately. Everything emerges from this invisible, non-material potential field. This is the theme of The Lotka Hypothesis and Larry Horstman’s psychogenic theory of evolution. Franklin Merrell-Wolff called this potential field “Great Space.”

Undulations in the Fabric of Space

The idea is found in the Wave Structure of Matter model presented in the book Schrodinger’s Universe: Einstein, Waves & the Origin of the Natural Laws by Milo Wolff. The great physicist William Clifford said, “All matter is undulations in the fabric of space.” Erwin Schrödinger expressed the same idea in saying, “All matter and laws are the appearance of quantum waves in space.” Introception is the mode of cognition used to contact directly this infinite potential field, as mystics have been reporting for centuries, with high levels of “noetic certainty.” Continue reading

Connections and Resources

Franklin Merrell-Wolff

Franklin Merrell-Wolff was a Stanford and Harvard trained philosopher and mathematician who claimed a mystical experience of root consciousness in 1936. He spent the rest of his long ninety-eight year life writing about what he called consciousness-without-an-object and his philosophy of introceptualism. One of Franklin Merrell-Wolff’s fundamental realizations that was in alignment with the psychogenic theory of Larry Horstman was “Consciousness is original, self-existent, and constitutive of all things.” As a mystic with formal training in western science, he was featured in the book Mind in the Balance: Meditation in Science, Buddhism, and Christianity by B. Alan Wallace.

B. Alan Wallace

B. Alan Wallace spent fourteen years as a Buddhist monk, ordained by H. H. the Dalai Lama. He then earned his undergraduate degree, summa cum laude, in physics and the philosophy of science at Amherst College, and his doctorate in religious studies from Stanford University. A prolific writer who has translated numerous Tibetan Buddhist texts, he is the founder and president of the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies, www.sbinstitute.com Continue reading