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INTEGRAL WORLD: EXPLORING THEORIES OF EVERYTHING
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Publication dates of essays (month/year) can be found under "Essays".
Giorgio Piacenza is a sociologist student in the Certificate program leading to a Master's degree in Integral Theory at JFK University.
Integral Physics and Metaphysics of Other Realms
Quest for a Model that Includes the Three Main Realms of Existence for its Scientific, Predictive and Life-Changing Value
Integral theorists could form part of impending, worldview-changing discoveries of cultural, scientific and technological consequence. These far-reaching discoveries could even motivate a more inclusive and distinct, long-term influence in spiritual and ethical worldviews, in association with broader scientific models and methods applicable to most areas human life. I'm referring to how our physical reality may be partly defined by the physics and metaphysics of inter-realm dynamics. In fact, other Gross physical, Subtle and Causal worlds, and, basically, not just the recognition of other “dimensions” and of “parallel universes,” but of ontologically distinct realms, should become increasingly necessary to understand 'our' realm and its physical rules. Moreover the meaning of our experiences as humans and potential roles in the Cosmos are linked to these possibilities we may naturally have access to. From this -serious and important, but traditionally avoided- area of research a new kind of integral understanding should come to light as its physics (and/or the relational rules of exteriors) seems to merge and emerge from unifying metaphysical principles.
In an era of greater possibilities for self-education and for widespread communication (particularly when electronic instruments are widely available to laymen and to certified scientists alike), significant research gradually leading to the accumulation of undeniable data on the inter-realm/interdimensional nature of Man's energy bodies, on his apparent post-mortem survival and on the objective workings of “inter-realm” dynamics is (in complementary ways) being privately and institutionally advanced. In other words, laymen and accredited scientists are converging in this area. There are some similarities with other areas of research normally and simplistically dubbed 'paranormal' for lack of better terms. For instance, we can say that something alike is also going on in relation to the objective, physically-interactive reality of some few and unique UFO cases, apparently displaying intelligently designed devices “arriving” from other worlds and dimensions of existence. Unfortunately, in relation to such areas of potentially life-transforming discoveries, we can also say that (due to emotion-eliciting biases against anything 'metaphysical' or against anything that challenges classic realism and causality, to financial dependency, and to the fear of losing social standing in a highly competitive and compartmentalized environment) the normal, institution-focused scientist symptomatically prefers to dismiss or to turn blind eyes to anomalies that should ramble their scientific instincts in pursue of fundamental discoveries.
Unlike the many partially true but incomplete, exclusivist and competing worldviews ranging from literal biblical and mythological to close-minded scientifist, to postmodern ecological, egalitarian but at times too relativistic and deconstructive, in my view, Ken Wilber's “Integral Theory” does stand out as broadly comprehensive, theoretical progress that (attempts to or actually) partially reconciles many intelligent approaches that –albeit disclosing, leading to experiences and interpretations of important aspects of “reality”-were typically found non-compatible with each other. For instance, during the stage of tribal experiences, not distinguishing between the material and spiritual worlds was adequate for holistically accepting all perceivable aspects of reality and for somewhat harmonizing human society with the natural world, but inadequate to hierarchically categorize, transcending dependency on the whim of lower deities and to technologically escape from sources of experience dependent on immediate survival needs. This tribal way of life accompanied recognition of spiritual realities (blending the psychic, nature and mysticism) and this was very important…a unique integral embrace. It was probably also more compatible with the subsequent “mythic” stage in which Man heeded to a plurality of real or imaginary but usually whimsical gods (demanding attentions and sacrifices from mortals). Nevertheless, it was not compatible with the next stage of societies in which a Supreme Other, a supreme, personal, “theist” God was felt as completely superior and other than both nature and physical life. The good thing was that -while at this stage- knowledge of hierarchy and more detailed ideological distinctions were accompanied by some technological progress.
Unfortunately, a disconnection with nature, and a jealous defense of the transcendentalist vision of one overwhelmingly powerful deity overruled the tribal, more harmonious 'feminine' or 'receptive-nourishing' embrace of multiple forms of life. Thereafter, when, later on, rationalists and scientists eventually rebelled against the rigid social hierarchies that ensued under the mythic stage (almost controlling all aspects of human life), they proposed a materially-practical alternative based on instrumental reasoning, either-or logic, and a physicalist, inductive method that exploited the permanence of the objective world. Then again, while gaining in material control and leading to a questioning and replacement of handed-down, rigid political structures, the (modern-rational) approach rose essentially as inimical both to the most previous “animistic” and “mythological” findings. Thus, “spirits” and -for the more intellectually materialistic- “God” were out of the question or, preferably, just ignored. However (along with subsequent political disasters and disillusionment with the promises of rationalism, scientifism and modernity), egalitarian social movements and a “holistic” way of thinking (which basically the ancient Greeks had already experienced), reappeared. Thus, along with the rise of “Postmodernity” (or late-stage modernity which took an exclusive 'either-or' modern-rational style of thinking to its limits, disclosing its contradictions, if you prefer), the idea that Man and soul are inextricably connected with biology and matter, resurfaced. Then, systems theorists, biologists, cognitive scientists (and other matter-based academicians recognizing qualitative life) developed “emergentism.” As in classical Greek times, human life, spirit, soul and life were now thought (especially among cultural creatives, egalitarians, the ecologically-minded and academics) as inextricably linked to matter and, predominantly, as emergent properties of matter.
What does all of this tell us? It tells us that there is a persistent, uneasy relation with things otherworldly which are either incorporated in an all-absorbing, restrictive way to construct social expectation, norms and values in a highly mythologized manner or (foremost in the modern and postmodern periods) are simply dismissed. In either case, the crudeness of physical reality seems to influence the human psyche in such a way that exclusivist, practical relations are developed: Both appeasing (under particular interpretations) God, the gods, various deities and, perhaps, the ancestors or blindly denying their existence and their non physical worlds would be atavist responses hampering a more mature knowledge of our own spiritual selves and purpose in order for our instinctive sides to feel safer and in control in an uncertain material world. Much of this uneasy relation is geared to allay fears and to palliate needs probably because, upon being born in the physical world, we lose a great deal of our conscious and felt connection with the Cosmos' nourishing, immortal Source.
When the uneasiness manifests through mythologizing there's an recurrent emphasis in trying to manipulate or to submit to the otherworldly. All of this tells us that, in this long 'pilgrimage' across popular metaphysical perspectives guiding their existence, humans have at least tended to: 1. Think of spirit and nature as both real but restrictively indistinct; 2. Think of their own spirit as separate and above from nature and matter; 3. Think of their own spirit as inexistent and/or reduced to matter; 4. Think of their own 'spirit' or inner life as real but inextricably linked to matter and emerging from it. In one way or another, the general attitude across history has consistently been slanted, fanatically in favor or fanatically against, even if also accompanied by valid disclosures/enactions and partial clarity. Can eventually being able to scientifically work with and disclose both the physical and the subtle Cosmos allow us to gradually grow in collective awareness worldwide, retaining universally valid disclosures from previous cultural stages as we integrate them into an undeniably more powerful, pragmatic and inclusive spiritual-scientific view? Is Integral Theory closer to this uniquely inclusive and balanced view?
What follows is a broadly speculative exploration or 'inquiry' on a subject that seems to be crucial for self-knowledge, for future scientific discoveries and for the eventual creation of politically influential, 'Integral' models. It is a subject that I've not seen as receiving due attention and consideration. Understanding that -while spirit and matter may ultimately depend upon a non dual, ultimate Being; understanding that absolute transcendence can coexist with the world panentheistically; that both spirit and matter can be understood as having various degrees of interdependency, expressing within various degrees of independent but also interdependent realms (with various degrees of exteriority and apparent ontological proximity to the ultimately Real Source of Being), has been almost inexistent, even if some mystical and emanationist philosophies (interiorized by very few) came close to synthesizing many of these and other valid disclosures.
In recognizing this repetitive pattern of progress and exclusion, of discovery and suppression, we MUST become aware of our profoundly, simplifying, dichotomizing and non-integrating tendencies, if we are to craft an improved, Integral Model truly capable to elicit long term respect within science and within the moderate ideological representatives of major religions, the academia and politics who often feel that their main important insights are in danger of obsolescence and -in a polarized way- tend to exclusivistically vie for collective adherence in a fragile and inescapably interdependent world. As 'integralists', we must come to terms with the respectability and importance of the many valid ways in which otherworldly realities have been genuinely disclosed, without either rejecting them outright or blending ourselves unquestioningly with rigidly excluding interpretations about them (once again) under a grand new scheme.
We must become a species that -metaphysically-speaking- expresses a cultural maturity in sufficient numbers and in time to avoid impending, human-induced disasters. For this we need a truly inclusive Integral Cosmology and Metaphysics. We need to try to seriously understand (once again as select philosophers did in the past) the “nature of reality” even beyond the challenges to rational certainty posed by postmodern critics. In addition, as humans and theorists, we must naturally feel at ease with the manifold importance of all realms of existence. Neither indistinct, tribal-animist spiritualism, whimsical multi-god pluralism, monotheist transcendentalism (dualistically demeaning nature), plain reductionist materialism or, perhaps, a holistic kind of materialism will suffice in spite of their valid and unique discoveries. Besides, ignoring the “middle realms,” those realms for which there's (again) growing evidence, those realms related to so called “psychic” phenomena (analogous to some quantum, non-local and non-classically real phenomena); realms that apparently impinge in the possibilities, constitution and events of our physical world and, moreover; moreover, realms where we as souls are apparently bound to go to after death, need to be recognized with the open attitude of an inclusive, integral maturity.
As a final point in this section, I think that the main discoveries of each “stage” or mode of being need to be equally validated, rather than either ignored or hierarchically categorized without sufficient care: That spirits are everywhere, of many different kinds and associated to things, that there is a transcendent absolute, that our minds can and should be used to understand and to grow beyond (and perhaps even to judge and validate or reject transmental insights). We must validate that –in being physical, subtle and causal humans- our respective bodies are inseparable from us. All of this needs to be recognized without (once again) falling into the exclusivist illusion that some of these discoveries are either not valid or 'unworthy' and 'lesser', simply because they are associated with previous (and not very profoundly understood) “developmental” cultural stages. In fact, these discoveries may refer to forms of existence independent of our particular interpretive stages, be trans-stage and universally present (perhaps only partially and/or potentially for us in relation to our relative degrees of disclosure and interpretation) in the cosmic structure. In fact, I think that we cannot genuinely be “Second Tier” or “Integral” without being lovingly comfortable around spirits, the transcendent personal other, divine intervention and miracles, the full use of rationality, a deist-universal-impersonal-rational intelligence and the full embrace body-spirit unity.
I want to add that the sequential, developmental stress given to cultural stages within most of orthodox Integral Theory may also be leaving aside an important way of understanding the deeper meaning of the world's religions. Case in point, the outstandingly bright philosophical metaphysician and deep Sophia Perennis thinker Fritjoff Schuon would probably say that, in order to integrally understand the world's main religions, we must first recognize the beauty of their “principial” emphases. In fact, Schuon exerted a kind of Integral analysis of these religions and found that -in their core principles and doctrines- universal, esoteric meanings were present. Moreover, these meanings –unequally emphasized- were the mutually complementary metaphysical “principial” kernels of truth that transcended their cultural origins and either outright, but superficial exoteric differences or the apparent differences normally detected under a non Perennialist and metaphysical eye.
Nevertheless, Integral Theory is still under development and its developers must overcome their own “pre-integral” biases or predispositions in order to perfect it in significant ways that might render it applicable to current scientific endeavors that may soon surprise us by increasing our understanding on the nature of reality beyond the limited physical world normally experienced in our physical bodies. At any rate, in spite of this theory's observed deficiencies (as, for instance, revealed in many interesting critiques posted in Frank Visser's internet forum “Integral World”), it remains as a post postmodern guide and as a theory coalescing less inclusive theories that in their partiality describe the important appearance of reified aspects of reality. Nevertheless, I must say that Integral Theory specializes in bringing these other theories together by showing that the aspects which they reveal arise simultaneously.
What is lacking to be more scientifically predictive is to be able to describe HOW aspects of reality interact and, perhaps, a good way to start seeing into this matter could be in relation to how the physical world exists in relation to interactions with other realms of existence. The subject of “realms of existence” needs to come “out of the closet” and stop being simply associated with the spooky, the fanatical, the supernatural, the religiously condemned, the intellectually dismissed. The other realms not only must exist but be here and now, interacting with our world, unavoidable, even as part of us. Moreover, there must be an objective, interactive or dynamic system that (in spite of our immature attitudes) impinges on who we are in the physical world and knowledge about it must be of vast importance to promote an integral awareness both scientifically and spiritually.
I think that, in Ken Wilber's “Integral Theory,” the most important structural elements are the “Quadrants” which represent four fundamental ways in which reality consistently and simultaneously manifests. These can also be understood as four ways to interpret reality or as “four lenses” through which reality can be observed. These “Quadrants” not only define the theory's basic framework onto which all observed things can be subdivided for greater understanding; they also provide (abstract, developmental and existential) “spaces” that harbor four other “elements” also useful and seemingly at a minimum necessary to describe or interpret all things that appear to consciousness in dual reality. Overall, these five elements would be sufficient to describe any phenomenon arising in the manifesting Cosmos, things represented by the structural-metaphysical form of a “Holon” within an understanding of “reality” ruled by fundamental, complementary dualities themselves coordinated by a transcendental unity representative of an Absolute Non Dual “Spirit” which embraces all potential and actual possibilities.
Those who claim to be developing a more inclusive “Theory of Everything” either from a materialist or from a conceptual point of view, often seem to add to their models the possibility, either of other “dimensions” or of other “realms.” Among these (seldom conversing) “grand” theorists we have, on the one hand, scientists such as string theorists and, on the other, unorthodox private researchers, esotericists and metaphysicians (like integral theorists) in a process of gradual coincidence. The former primarily use a coarser, material, objective approach and the latter a primarily subtle, psychic, spiritual and more speculative or subjective approach. In various ways both are finding that the physical world we normally experience through our physical senses as mostly stable cannot be explained in isolation from other possible worlds possessing very different characteristics.
It would behoove cultural visionaries like Ken Wilber to appreciate this pattern. However, I believe that Wilber and subsequent integral theorists aligned with the orthodox version of their model lack sufficient boldness to deal with more profound society-defining archetypal human mysteries, (mysteries related to the process of life and death, to our spiritual origins, and to cosmic structure and possibilities) that nowadays seem to increasingly relate with scientific mysteries and anomalies. These mysteries (as always) pertain to the possibility of non-physical realms interacting with the physical world of ordinary sensorial human experience.
Various physical anomalies (as when tunneling particles seem to move faster than light or when neutrinos also give the impression of traveling faster than light by entering a higher dimensional frame) seem to challenge classical views of the world psychologically preferred by the realist common physicist. For more information navigate to: http://www.aei.mpg.de and http://www.eurekalert.org Phenomena like these (not to speak of the statistically verified precognition, remote viewing, PK and telepathy) challenge views of the world which I think are psychologically preferred by most “realist,” biosensorially-biased physicists. Recapitulating, recently neutrinos were sent from a CERN lab in Switzerland into a detector in Italy more than 700 miles away and it apparently “travelled” faster than light. Online, there are several sources of information such as http://physicsworld.com. Another unique series of “anomalies” seem to be related with devices that may display “over unity” (more output of electric current than its energy input). One such device was granted U.S. Patent No. 5,436,518 to Teruo Kawai and, if genuine, would contradict the classical understanding of the Law of Conservation of Energy. A possible source of information is http://www.emref.net. Several such devices have been claimed and information was compiled by the Institute for New Energy led by Dr. Patrick Bailey. Nevertheless, both the case of particles moving faster than the speed of light and the case of “over unity” devices, could be better explained by considering that these objects may be exchanging energy and information with a different level of reality, with a different spacetime frame of motion that has interactive physical consequences with the ordinary physical reality that -to a large extent- operates under classical laws.
In fact it seems that the predisposition not to want to deal with the psychic and spiritual aspects of our human makeup is widespread. Otherworldly things are often depicted not only as “nonsense” but in any case (and in various ways across cultures) as “scary” or “weird,” thus, preferably to be avoided. Even today a large percentage of the population (besides orthodox scientists and other institutional academicians) that may have experienced genuine otherworldly phenomena prefer to remain quiet about it as much as they did in the XIX Century when very few mavericks like noted scientist Sir William Crookes founded the Society for Psychical Research. Even these days, in spite of the increasing number of TV documentaries and unorthodox research dealing with “the paranormal,” ghosts, mediumship, and the UFO phenomenon (often with adequate objectivity), many would-be important opinion leaders stubbornly hold to rote, overly skeptical attitudes that curtail intelligent understanding. Among other reasons, since the “rational revolution” of modernity was implicitly equated with a simplified materialism under a rigidly applied method mostly applicable to stable, exterior patterns of physical substance, in turn, coinciding with the classical sensorial and classical intuitive experience of our human wherewithal, most modern (and oftentimes, postmodern academics) themselves inheritors of an insurgence against the centuries old excesses of mythic religious Christendom, remain staunch defenders of a replacement sense-making scientifistic faith. Nevertheless, we must collectively grow up and integrally rescue the highlights of every cultural age, including those permanently available phenomena that have defied our senses during all cultural stages. Further denial of such mysteries (now even of crucial scientific relevance) is no longer an option as elucidating them may be necessary to launch a verifiable and, frankly, more integral cosmic perspective that might shed light on our multidimensional nature inform a more inclusive, political, economic, and spiritual collective future. Perhaps a different kind of physicist, a different kind of academic, one comfortable with the now scientifically unavoidable reality of the existence of other worlds, realms, universes and dimensions of existence will -by necessity- become more relevant in the not too distant future.
No alleged “theory of everything” should turn a blind eye on the increasingly likely existence of “other realms” and their influence on how our own reality is structured and on how we experience, think and act. Rejecting the so called “intermediate” or “subtle realms” (intermediate between physical limitation and mystical transcendence) and the role they play in material and cosmic manifestation, in our souls (as multi-embodied spirits) and doing this in order to embrace Non Duality right away and, supposedly with this, the whole cosmos is like wanting to hold a needy baby right in front of us without acknowledging that we have arms. Non Duality is also about recognizing all the worlds as sustained by the one Universal Spirit that sustains our lives and souls. If eventually scientists and private “paranormal” researchers build up enough data to make an understanding of subtle and other realms more imperative (in the not too distant future), perhaps the warning of many non dual mystics (in regards to staying clear from subtle and psychic phenomena) will have to be revised or, rather, understood under a more mature light. How can we sanely live in this physical world while denying the subtle aspects of being (even if almost unbeknownst to us while incarnated) that we possess, aspects that will be outwardly and objective obvious right after our passing? How can we support a culture that educates and commercializes the after-death state as mostly scary, and discarnates as always potentially evil and unfriendly while most 'serious' academicians and religious leaders avoid or condemn less dogmatic research and discovery of God-given realities?
I suspect that Integral Theory's current lack of predicting power (in general and mostly in relation to non social phenomena) has much to do with its disconnection from these foundational mysteries whose elucidation would require a clearer understanding of how ordinary physical matter interacts with subtler realms. This understanding would probably impinge not only on how psychic phenomena occur but on how space and time can be manipulated in creative new ways. Moreover, (after reading CE VI: Close Encounters of the Possession Kind by William Baldwin, Ph.D.) I would add (aware of the rejection this statement will elicit in those stubbornly unwilling to come to terms with the full implications of the world 'spirit' in relation to their lives) that such elucidation might allow us to stop being fearful, unconscious puppets, perhaps often manipulated, buffeted or partially influenced by a variety of parasitic, needy, confused and sometimes downright evil intelligences that do not respect our conscious free will or have our best interest in mind. Now, what follows is a brief exploration that might lead to an adequate enrichment of the still promising (albeit incomplete) “Integral Theory,” an exploration with the aim of eventually allowing this theory, not only to represent physical, subtle and causal exteriors as simultaneously arising in their own terms but, especially, in ways that lead to causal and mutually dependent, exchanges with each other.
Part One: General Remarks
I will say yet again that Integral Theorists in general would benefit from learning about the increasingly robust evidence for inter-realm phenomena, an evidence that has been steadily accumulating in the Modern Era at least since the Society for Psychical Research investigated materializing, ectoplasmic mediumnistic phenomena more than one hundred years ago in London. Now, the evidence is mounting from different research angles ranging from government-supported atomic physics labs to some well established universities (like Stanford University and the University of Arizona), private institutes (like the Institute of Noetic Sciences and the Windbridge Institute) delving into parapsychological research and the many “ghost hunting,” semi-formal research teams either privately run or sponsored by educational mass media companies like The Biography Channel, The Discovery Channel, A&E, and Nat Geo. Quite simply, the sheer amount of interesting, classical reality-challenging events offered, (often with reliable objective procedures), cannot be discounted if one is motivated by a genuine scientific approach. And what about the accumulated evidence from (now discarnate) mediums like Chico Xavier, Eileen Garrett and Daniel Dunglas Home or contemporary mental mediums like James Van Praagh, Lisa Williams, Tony Stockwell and those (like Allison DuBois and John Edward) who appear to have been carefully researched by Dr. Gary E. Schwartz (University of Arizona, author of The Afterlife Experiments: Breakthrough Scientific Evidence of Life After Death) as they gave uncannily accurate detailed 'cold readings'? What about the surplus of evidential information about the survival of consciousness, self identity and memory after bodily death and after separation from the physical body, for instance, found at excellent Instrumental Transcommunication (ITC) web sites like http://atransc.org/ and www.itcbridge.com or perhaps at Victor E. Zammit's “Afterlife Evidence” site http://www.victorzammit.com/ (with magnificent weekly reports) and at the International Association for Near-Death Studies site http://iands.org whose president, Sam Parnia MD, PhD published What Happens When we Die: A Groundbreaking Study into the Nature of Life and Death. Furthermore, there's a good accumulation of physical evidence consistently produced over many years by groups like the Ghost Research Society led by Dale Kaczmarek (in which survival-ghost research investigations conducted with a variety of electronic detectors and recording devices show simultaneous, non-prosaically explained 'anomalies'). Can all of these and similar findings increasingly produced around the world be simply looked over, dismissed (to continue to indulge in truth-excluding fanaticism) without doing a serious disservice to humanity's possibilities of creating a more complete and meaningful culture? Survival of bodily death and the existence of -at least- mildly interacting other- dimensional worlds of existence is surmounting the realm of personal subjective validation and becoming a scientific matter.
But what is the cause of so much denial about other-worldly phenomena which, after all, should be second nature to us? Is it in our genes? Is it a deep spiritual malaise? Is it raw fear of the unknown, fear of dying, fear of God, fear of going mad, fear of being possessed by evil entities? Is it more due to in group/out group identity formation associated with religious, political and academic fanaticism? Does it have something to do with selfish economic interests? Or also, perhaps, with some negative, other worldly entities exerting influences that sustain our lingering fears, fanaticisms and selfish interests? Are we –perhaps- just more inclined to exclude truths that would enlighten our physical existence because the particular sub-level of the Gross, Physical Realm we inhabit depends so much on its space-generating “Bhutakasha” (more will be explain further on) that our perceptions, brain processes; our mental and spiritual intuitions (via connections with higher Subtle and Causal bodies) are occluded? Is it really “all of the above” but, are all these reasons coupled with an even more basic fear and hatred of that which we experience as “the other” or, perchance, as a need to exclude parts of ourselves falsely identifying them as an “other?” Now, (not just in relation to the other-worldly, but to all aspects of human life) why do we historically tend so much to exclude a true, good, beautiful thing to emotionally hold on to another true, good, beautiful thing? I sense that that kind of unwarranted exclusion practiced to hold on to a particular perceived truth is one of the main deceitful ways in which evil (as a denial of the LOVE manifested in the harmony of the Good, the Truth and the Beautiful) gains a foothold and greater degrees of knowledge about God, Man and Cosmos is forestalled.
Do we also need to fear that research and disclosure of the other worldly may result in escapism from physical life? I don't think that that has to be the case if we prioritize ALL REALMS (including the physical) as EQUALLY VALUABLE. Can these pervading tendencies, (if I may even say, this 'nonsense') be gradually overcome in the allegedly emerging “Integral Age?”
How come “integral theorists” that purport to embrace an “all-encompassing” model are not more resolute about what is happening? How come so few are deeply involved in “enacting” a more inclusive model that will match these objective discoveries about the multidimensional nature of physical reality in relation to a Cosmos possessing other realms? Most give the impression of being attracted to the psychology, spirituality and the general theoretical inclusivity supported by an academic setting but they don't seem to be so attracted to the science and philosophy needed to substantially improve the model surfing on the “cutting edge.” Nevertheless, in spite of its foibles, I think that, potentially-speaking, this theory-in-formation truly transcends limited interests and self-regenerating intellectual myopia. For instance, elements in the theory like the concept of “holarchy,” developmental stages, the “tenets” (or organizing rules) relating parts and wholes, the concept of “enacting,” and the simultaneous appearance of four kinds of expressions or “quadrants” apparently representing ANY recognizable holon, thing or event, appear to be universal enough to represent both quantitative-objective and qualitative-subjective phenomena. Moreover, the elements called “states” “lines” (of development) and “types” may also be fundamental to describe any phenomena and –in my view- there may at least be a few more like “potentia” and “actuality” which I'll describe later on.
Even if the theoretical emphasis on the partially misunderstood or often misapplied concept of “evolution” is a weak link in the current state of the theory (as has been interestingly pointed out by Frank Visser and others such as Jeff Meyerhoff in the “Integral World” web site), in my assessment, the theory stands as a unique advance including (objective-based and subjective-based models previously understood as mutually exclusive, each vying to become the most influential meaning-making collective influence. Yes, I think that the theory (or, rather, “Meta theory”) remains as a positive contribution even if it still subtly exemplifies an unrecognized non- integral emphasis on the transcendental non dual in detriment of progressively recognizing “our” intermediate, formative, constitutional, and “trans inclusive” cosmic realms of being.
I think that integral theorists should resist accommodating their worldviews to the often sentimentally-satisfying call for a complexity-evasive, non dual, mystical perspective, or to the need to be socially effective and recognized under the rigorous (but often veiled reductionist-materialist) demands of modernity. The time calls for going beyond modernity and postmodernity in a much more creative way that finally tackles the otherworldly with normality. Inspired inclusivity seekers shouldn't be marching so closely behind the footsteps traced by postmodern intellectual biases and sentiments of the elites controlling academic establishments. Integral Theory could be more than one step ahead of academia and its theorists could set an example of complete sincerity with what all of the available data concerning reality and its plausible interpretations call for. Even if Integral Theory -as it stands now- is more applicable to the social sciences, the future calls for practical applicability in the physical sciences. Certainly integral theorists should find ways to relate and apply the main discoveries and methods offered under all previous cultural paradigms. However, to be other than associated with another forgettable (whether the most inclusive so far or not) model amidst a complex barrage of stimuli competing for fleeting attention moments, they should not shy away from the possibility of being influential by standing out much more exceptionally in the world through the full use of reason, passion, authenticity, new research methods, inspiration, intuition and a candid sense to coalesce a genuinely transformative model that makes sense of increasingly significant discoveries transcending the idea that a single material realm is all there is or that it is all that really matters in respectable forms of inquiry. While I'm proposing great care for detail and objectivity I'm also proposing an independent avant-garde boldness.
By understanding inter-realm phenomena, science would advance, but also humankind would know with greater pragmatic certainty that its role in the Cosmos involves a responsibility that transcends and includes materiality. In a way, science and philosophy would become synonymous again. This would be life-transforming and, if Integral Theory grew along with these understanding, it would become a more globally cohesive force than what it is today. I believe that making sense of inter-realm phenomena is a pending integral compromise with humanity and that it shouldn't be just left in the hands of practitioners of more exclusivist theories. By way of recognizing the reality of inter-realm phenomena integral theorists would also probably seek to generate a freshly applicable, inspiring and renewed metaphysical perspective; a sound model capable of providing predictive guidelines to the emerging scientific “interdimensional discoveries.” These discoveries would gradually require the recognition that other realms of existence (commonly simplified a “dimensions”) significantly affect our everyday world, all the way from how gravity, time and space operate to the nature of information in cosmological development or to how consciousness might retroactively affect matter and even interact with all kinds of factual “spiritual influences.” Moreover, along with the possible existence of other universes and of higher (sometimes extended) “dimensions” in the hypothetical existence of a “Multiverse” (allowed as a plausible interpretation by quantum theory), science is gradually making room to the importance of the necessary existence of “other realms” that, after all, are (at least nominally) mentioned in Integral Theory, in spite of its fairly recent “post metaphysical” (some would say “anti metaphysical”), “post-Kantian” leanings.
We need a more balanced knowledge of what can be enacted and what is possible in the grand scheme of existence, a vaster but still factual knowledge free from the rule of a conflict-ridden life led by biological, psychic and spiritual necessity. We ought to dig out of the 'screens of forgetfulness' breakthroughs that could lead the emerging global society into a wiser participatory understanding of the Cosmos, breakthroughs that could have been culturally suppressed by the exclusivist attitudes of influential leaders across human history. In fact, I think that one of the promises in the emergence of a genuine integral culture is the rekindling of discoveries connecting human nature and destiny to inter-realm phenomena. One way that evil is constantly renewed is by affirming itself in an exclusive manner for a partially good cause. Evil manifests as a denial and (perhaps assisted by a sense of lack and by fear) disguises itself as defending Truth when individuals defend truths while simultaneously finding a need to exclude the truths found by others. I think that truths from all aspects and levels of being should be compatible and be capable of forming a single corporate body under more or less inclusive rational and transrational integral models.
Bold Independent Researchers
Rationally unavoidable evidence that discarnate entities exist and that they indeed interact with “our” known or regularly experienced, “standard” physical substance is accumulating. This is taking place as independent researchers (at least in this respect more integrally “embracing” some crucial aspects of reality than many Integral Theory-informed practitioners care to) take upon themselves the task of using electronic instruments to detect the existence of entities apparently inhabiting an alternate (but sufficiently close and interactive) realm. It would behoove serious integral theorists and other advanced thinkers to update themselves on what is really going on in order, not only to advance this theory, but to augment their own caring, non dual embrace on all aspect of the Cosmos.
Now, supposing that “ghosts” (defined as individual, discarnate, intelligent human consciousnesses trapped, attached or unwilling to leave the immediacy of an astral region closely related to a particular ordinary, material environment) do exist as it has been historically acknowledged for millennia; supposing that some temporary (and seemingly rather fragile) forms of physical interactions are often detected by today's “ghost hunters” and/or by “survival researchers” (for instance those exploring the Electronic Voice Phenomena through magnetic tape, digital recorders or other electronic means, or those obtaining indirect evidence through electric and magnetic field sensors, infrared and near ultraviolet photo and video cameras and, also, laser thermometers), what would the physical mechanism for such objective interaction be? Why would air temperature drop alongside with the increase of an electric or a magnetic field detection and along with a recorded (sometimes intelligently-responding) voice originating from no prosaic, ordinary, physically recognizable source? Wouldn't learning about the peculiar mechanism behind these phenomena give us greater understanding on the physics and natural laws that concern us all? Wouldn't this be important for sincere scientists, humanists, religious and spiritual individuals and, of course, “integral thinkers”? Only fears, biases, vested interests in rigid models, institutional social pressures and such retrograde forces that can definitely be overcome impede advancement in these fundamental discoveries that would give us a more complete understanding of human nature and possibilities in a greater reality.
Learning about the mechanism of interaction between matter, subtler realms, mind and consciousness would definitely bring a revolution in thinking perhaps as grand as the discovery of intelligent life in the Universe! What might the mechanism of interaction with other realms of existence be? Should we simply wait to find out upon becoming discarnates ourselves or should we take the “bull by the horns” and start researching seriously now about these fundamental issues? I think that if knowledge about self and cosmos can set us free it is high time for humanity in general to count with a higher form of knowledge (demonstrating obvious metaphysical-physical interconnections) before the knowledge and practical applications that this inter-realm future might bring arrives forcefully regulated by a new series of vested interests and institutional controls.
New Directions for Integral Theory
I think that, for the most part, Integral Theory has been about simultaneously appearing aspects of reality. While this is good for building a shared, respectful convivience based on the understanding that our favorite reality-disclosing methods are all adequate but partially and equally valuable in an overall (deductively and inductively disclosed) framework in which they are complemented by other adequate methods which we might not have personally explored (or been exposed to), the theory has done a poor job of showing how these different aspects relate from a perspective of interactive dissimilitude capable of generating predictions. Due to its non dual emphasis on understanding, the theory emphasizes that non duality's representative simultaneity in the relative manifest world over unequal, interactive arising.
Again, recognizing that aspects of reality (like the quadrants) occur simultaneously while emphasizing non dual unity in a non conceptual manner does accentuate the transcendental character of Non Duality while leaving aside its inclusivity of dissimilitude. The emphasis on simultaneity and non duality is a subtle expression of a non integral, dualist accent upon the transcendental and it doesn't include the apparent aspects which also arise dissimilarly in manifest duality.
The beauty of Integral Theory is that it shows common patterns existing in all relative, contingent objects. In its present stage, Integral Theory promotes simultaneity over interactivity (which I temptatively think as relations that are either chronologically or ontologically discontinuous). The theory's integrative factor depends on the shared commonalities detected in 'reality' through 'experience'. I also think that the commonalities can be detected mainly through inductive and observing processes and/or aprioristically deduced. Evolving (not necessarily progressively so) 'lines' or dynamically evolving elements express within fixed modes of being or structural similitudes concurrently cognized when we integrally disclose a contingent and relative entity. These structural similitudes could be called “isomorphisms” and simultaneously relate different aspects of knowledge and disclosed objects of experience. 'Quadrants' are isomorphic in that they provide a fixed structure for every object of experience. It can be alleged that, before an integral level of awareness and before Integral Theory, the simultaneously appearing isomorphisms were –for the most part- not equally validated. Nevertheless, in its current stage, Integral Theory is more like a 'metaperspective' than (as Professor Steven Wallis, PhD might say) a 'robust' theory in the sense of being a theory with many concatenated and causally related parts apt for making useful predictions. In fact, Professor Wallis assigns a weak degree of robustness to Integral Theory by dividing its number of concatenated elements by its total number of elements. As a metatheory, Integral Theory currently is also an important 'detection' and cognition of the isomorphisms (or structural commonalities) that exist among the main theories, methods and perceptions of 'reality'. Its benefit is that it is theoretically unifying and appearing in an era of hyper complexity in which societies accosted by an ever-increasing number of competing 'truths', values, information elements, communication codes, and other meaning-laced, behavior-inducing variables (in accordance to Ahsby's Law and to prevent systemic disintegration) require the generalized acceptance of broad integrating patterns through which individuals can exert greater systemic maintenance, order and control.
Objects of duality and manifestation also seem to possess 'lines' of expression within the fixed quadratic patterns and they dynamically 'evolve', quite often in progressively complex and more inclusive 'levels' or 'stages'. They may be cognized/understood as occupying temporary 'states' and be cognized/understood as manifesting certain 'types'. These five 'elements of Integral Theory' (quadrants, lines, levels, states and types) are considered as common to all objects and/or cognized objects. I think that, while all the elements are supposed to always be present in relation to every contingent object, Quadrants are supposed to be fixed, structural or 'static'; 'lines' are supposed to be 'dynamic' (not necessarily progressively evolving), states (especially states of consciousness) are supposed to be fixed and 'always available'; 'stages' are supposed to be applicable to 'lines' in a semi static/semi fluid interpretive manner and; 'types' are mostly interpretive recognitions.
What is missing from this picture? Well, within an even more inclusive, non dual, 'Integral' perspective there's also theoretical room for dualist interactionism. The dissimilarity of arising aspects must include hierarchical differences manifesting not just within a realm but across realms for the theory's internal coherence (as of the causal efficacy of its elements) to be more defined. This is especially so when apparent contradictories (such as mind and matter) coexist in actual experience. As per “Holons” (understood as metaphysical-structural, universal units, transcendentally common to all recognizable-experiential things and also understood as incomplete and complete parts and wholes) all forms of reconciliation of complementary contradictories must be expressed, including the relative, interactive arising of potential and actual states of manifested Being. Different intensities of the simultaneous quadratic arising in a particular phenomenon may be explained by unequal degrees of interaction with quadratic aspects in more inclusive realms. This would be the necessary inter-realm function of holons.
The following chart shows a basic idea: The relative experiential intensities of the Interior-Exterior dimensions across the Causal, Subtle and Gross realms. These experiential intensities correspond to the relative 'quadratic' intensities so that the experiential-epistemological and ontological aspects can be represented by the same general pattern.
Explanation 1: The higher or more inclusive a realm is, the more interiority and less exteriority it displays. For instance, the Causal shows 3 degrees of intensity in its interiority and only 1 degree of exteriority. The Subtle is equally distributed and the Gross shows 3 degrees of intensity in corresponding to Exteriority and only 1 to Interiority. My idea is that Interiority is ultimately associated with Non Duality and that this aspect invests itself in appearance and experiential power to that appearance as Exterior to itself. While in a Integral way of thinking about duality both interior and exteriors are equally necessary, in another complementary Integral way of thinking the Interior is more fundamental and an expression of Non Dual Consciousness in which the distinction between Interiors and in which the distinction between Interiors and Exteriors becomes unnecessary.
Explanation 2: From an absolutist perspective the pinnacle or the 'Source' is the origin of all manifestation and also the most Real pole. This is the idea held by most emanationists and esoteric mystics. It is the general idea behind Vedanta and the Perennial Philosophy. In this perspective, the Causal (or 'seed') Realm is more Real, in fact, more ACTUAL and less potential, less contingent, closest to the Source, closest to Consciousness without objects and less limited inside Exterior projections and vehicles (which I think as experiential 'investments'). Then again, from a relativist perspective, from a perspective of experience through concrete objects, the Gross Realm is more real, more ACTUAL and less potential. Here spiritual and mental objects are considered as 'potential' and material objects as 'actual'. Spiritual and mental objects have less degrees of intensity and the actualizing power of Consciousness has projected itself into the illusion of possibility allowing, limiting and conditioning 'Exterior' objects. These are to be considered as Integrally 'real' inasmuch as Consciousness allows it.
Explanation 3: The rather simple and basic intensity patterns broadly represented in the chart may assist us in having a general metaphysical understanding of inter-realm relations and interactions.
Lacking a more comprehensive understanding of dissimilarity in the arising of Holonic aspects may be why the theory is still not adequate at making useful predictions in relation to science. Moreover, it may well be that an emphasis on developmental concerns in addition to a (nonetheless valid) non dual vision (that states that all aspects are included and arise as appearances under a transcendental unity) has been inimical to any interest on how realms of existence may also mutually influence each other. Thus, in many ways, the concept of INTERACTION as an important aspect of how things arise and as how (ultimately non dual) Being itself manifests in a multi-leveled, interpenetrating Cosmos, is missing. A non dual cosmological embrace emphasizing felt experience is valid but may have also hindered the rise of a non dual cosmological embrace emphasizing understanding. What lacks in Integral Theory to be more actually inclusive is emphasizing the equally valid felt and understood embrace of the “middle ground,” the realms of subtle matter and of more active, psychic-conscious interactions. Truly recognizing that both kinds of “embrace” complement each other may be a clearer path towards an Integral, non dual theory. Recognizing how realms might interact could give Integral Theory a predictive power and reinstate it as a serious and current (post non integral) metaphysical theory.
Part Two: Toward an Inter-Realm Science
Possible Elements of an Inter-Realm Mechanism
Considering the broad spectrum of research that has accumulated over the years on the “paranormal,” evidence that discarnate entities are indeed able to (albeit perhaps mostly weakly and irregularly) influence ordinary physical matter becomes quite obvious. In fact a second embodied, semi physical state capable of interacting with ordinary matter seems to lie underneath these effects and the term “paranormal” (implying super natural or scientifically unexplainable events) may be gradually becoming inadequate as physical interactions are being recurrently demonstrated. Unavoidably, due to these discoveries, sincere scientists, psychic researchers, integralists, the esoteric minded as well as regular, thoughtful and open minded individuals seeking to understand their own nature, their possibilities of after death survival and the overall structure of reality need to know what could conceivably be included the general mechanism behind this interaction. Well, I think that we might first consider a plausible physics behind it by starting with a fundamental reality-defining physical concept like “entropy.” Since entropy is related with temperature and available energy, what suggests me to start with this concept is the recurrent ambient temperature drop reported during alleged detection of discarnate entities. Moreover, I think that, as a physical principle, “entropy” is so fundamental that it can be connected with reality-defining metaphysical principles and I think that in these connections lie future developments both for science and philosophy. Moreover, perhaps we can appreciate entropy not only as present in systems but (in terms of Integral Theory) also in a multi-quadratic way relating exchanges within an entire physical universe or reality system (seen as a holon) but also exchanges with other universes or reality systems.
What are the entropy relations between a plausible discarnate “astral” entity (most likely existing as an actual entity in his or her own natural state of reality) and the “regular” physical world? In the “usual” physical world with which most of our biological senses connect, the increase of entropy (the tendency to an increase in useless energy states along with less usable information and order) prevails at the macro level in closed systems. We must also mention that esoteric-inclined metaphysicians have for a long time spoken of an “energy blueprint” and, more recently, Emeritus material scientist-physicist William A. Tiller has basically suggested that there might be an intermediate, negentropic substance situated between the entropy-increasing space of the normal, physical realm and the so-called “astral” realm long considered to be the one that provides the substance available to a discarnate spirit body. In other words, we aren't just speaking about a conceptual difficulty in scientifically relating spirit and matter (as in a logically incompatible Cartesian “Res Extensa vs. Res Cogitans dualism or in a “spirit vs. matter” impossibly interacting dualism). Instead, we are referring to spirits possessing standard physical matter and spirits possessing other forms of substance interacting through their own physical characteristics and through an intermediate substance. In this view, the need to take into consideration the degrees of substance or of objective exteriority displayed by entities in diverse realms seems to be indispensable to understand their causal interactions and to provide scientific explanations on what had previously been relegated to more or less credible kinds of speculative metaphysics or to a philosophical conundrum leading to (partially valid) alternative responses such as “psychophysical parallelism,” “neutral monism,” “extreme idealism” and “emergentism.” A hierarchy of various degrees of Being with various degrees of exteriority and interiority (or various degrees of dualist appearance vs. various degrees of ultimate spiritual actuality devoid of exteriority) is needed to make apparent contradictories (Res Extensa vs. Res Cogitans) interactive under their complementarity.
Gilbert Ryle (Ryle 1949) raised a logical criticism that says that placing mind (Descartes' Res Cogitans) and Body (Descartes' Res Extensa) in the same relation was a “categorical mistake.” He called this relation the “ghost in the machine” and provided an argument that prevented scientists already focused upon external-physical substances from delving into the mind-matter problem. Nevertheless, if the mind were always to be associated with an exterior, objective vehicle made of a subtler substance causally following its own rules but, nonetheless, capable of interacting with physical matter (and, particularly, with the brain), it would be categorically compatible with the biological body. There would be two kinds of objective exteriorities interacting with each other, perhaps in a causal manner. We would just need to understand the principles and mechanisms.
So, what happens when a “ghost” as a “discarnate” entity and locus of consciousness is physically felt in a “haunted” (a “frequented” or “visited”) physical environment and, perhaps, all of a sudden, there's an actual chill? Frequently, when the air temperature suddenly drops without a colder air draft rushing in (or without any other prosaically explainable cause) some “ghost hunters” and/or “survival researchers” suspect that a discarnate entity may be “drawing energy out” of the regular physical environment in order to manifest by creating detectable physical effects. If this were so, what might it mean in terms of entropy relations across realms? How would such an “anomalous” decrease in entropy (as temperature drops) be accompanied by a corresponding energy transfer “somewhere” else? Also, during “ghost hunting/detecting” attempts anomalous temperature rises have been detected. Could they be related with the release of previously accumulated energy? Could something akin to the “Peltier Effect” and the “Seebeck Effect” be taking place? In the Peltier Effect current is converted into increasing or decreasing temperature and in the Seebeck Effect temperature is converted into current. The former is used for thermoelectric cooling (with temperatures dropping, for instance, in the junction where current flows from a copper wire into a bismuth wire). Perhaps a similar process (with thermodynamic implications) takes place between realms (and through the 'Ether' or complementary physical substance acting as a converter).
In general, thermoelectric effects show that electric potentials can create temperature differences and that temperature differences can create electric potentials. When –with the Peltier Effect- cooling occurs in the juncture between two kinds of conducting wires, electrons flow from one kind of conductor under a more intense state of kinetic activity (and lower potential energy) into a conductor that lowers that kinetic activity (and heightens their potential energy). The effect is thermodynamically reversible and was originally called “electric entropy” by William Thomson (a.k.a. lord Kelvin). If the direction of current flow is reversed, heating occurs at the juncture that used to cool down.
There may be a process comparable to the Peltier Effect going on when ghosts allegedly cool down or heat up spaces in a room. This is how. When a ghost 'charges up' or absorbs and incorporates physical energies to attempt to manifest later on in a physical manner we could say that the kinetic activity or agitation of the air molecules diminishes and their thermodynamic potential energy increases. The energy is transferred to the ghost's Subtle Body substance which (by virtue of belonging to a higher ontological realm) may transcend and include the ordinary physical substance and its 'etheric' counterpart.
When the ghost doesn't use the absorbed energy (for instance to specifically move a physical object, or to create a specific sound), he or she may simply discharge it by naturally radiating it back into the physical environment, producing localized heat as the air molecules kinetic energy shift from a lower state of activity into a higher one and their thermodynamic potential energy state diminishes. As a capacitor, the ghost may have the ability to retain and discharge energy or energies related with electric charge. Thermodynamically speaking, this also is a reversible process but, perhaps in it something which could be called “etheric transduction” also intervenes (generally speaking, a 'transductor' converts non electrical signals into electrical signals and vice versa). This possibly related 'etheric transduction' may occur if -accompanying regular physical substance and space- there is a complementary 'etheric' substance and space which also possesses negentropic qualities and acts as a subset to the Subtle Realm. This 'etheric transduction' may convert actual, physical kinetic energy into Subtle Realm potential energy that can subsequently be released in the Physical Realm. It may also convert thermodynamic potential energy into actual kinetic energy. All which the ghost has to do is to desire a behavior with focused intensity and his mind- responding, subtle substance body attached to inhabiting a (low astral) Subtle Realm duplicate of the physical world will initiate a thermodynamically reversible, energy exchange process through its association with the physical 'etheric' counterpart.
I know that I'm extrapolating very adventurously as both the Peltier and the Seebeck effects may or may not serve to illustrate a thermodynamically similar process in relation to ghosts cooling down and heating up volumes of space and as both of these effects are physical processes which require electric potentials, flowing charges, electrons and conductors. Nonetheless, current 'ghost research' through electronic instruments also consistently shows that, along with marked temperature fluctuations there are marked fluctuations in electric and magnetic fields. Could it be that free electrons are also being modulated in and out of phase from their ordinary physical state reproducing thermodynamic effects similar to the Peltier and Seebeck effects? What would correspond to the electron's increasing and decreasing of kinetic and potential energies when in and out of phase?
Some Research Questions
Do electric and magnetic fields increase or decrease when (during the hypothetical 'energy absorption' event) there is an anomalous decrease in temperature and a decrease in the molecular entropy of a physical environment? Do electric and magnetic fields increase or decrease when there is an anomalous (and hypothetical, unspecified 'energy release' event) increase in temperature? Are batteries anomalously discharged when temperatures anomalously drop? Are anomalous temperature increases related to infrared photons 'lost' or naturally radiated by ghosts when not using absorbed energy to create more specific physical effects? Do electronic instruments detect more intense electric and magnetic fields when a ghost is also producing specific physical effects? Does the passage of time speed up or slow down during anomalous temperature and/or electric-magnetic anomalies? Do objects lose inertial properties, weight and density?
Another associated possibility is that a greater level of order is being imparted into a usable part of the physical environment. Perhaps expressed physical energy present in the air's molecular agitation is diminished as the amount its molecular disorder in the cooling air decreases; that cold air molecules become less chaotic and more organized while acquiring less potential degrees of freedom. Perhaps, thermodynamic free energy or, rather, a more potentially useful energy condition previously concealed amidst a greater state of chaos and entropy (or a lack of order and useful information) is transferred for practical use into the conjectured, adjacent, but partially interactive “Subtle-astral” realm. How can this be? I think that part of the mechanism for this transfer rests in a complementary negentropic physical substance sometimes referred by some esotericists (and physicists) as the “etheric” substance. Its retrocausal component may be the missing link as it may cancel with the time-forward causal component generating greater states of connection with the Subtle Realm and converting entropy into useful states.
The “Ether” was originally conceived as the luminous atmosphere which the Greek gods breathed. Then, in the XIX century, it acquired other meanings such as that of an ondulatory medium required for the propagation of light. Nevertheless, the “Ether” concept suffered a general setback in the early XX century. For instance, even when Poincare and Lorentz (forerunners and contributors to Einstein's Special Relativity as much as of their own interesting alternatives theories) retained their own versions of an “Ether” not coinciding with Einstein's (who saw the speed of light and the laws of physics as invariants to which space and time or, rather, “spacetime” had to accommodate), the whole issue of an “Ether” was generally dismissed by most scientists. Nevertheless, it is little known that Einstein did (although perhaps not very stridently) upheld the notion that another kind of “Ether” (a gravitational Ether) had to exist for us to be able to conceive of space as possessing physical qualities.
While mentioning that the “Ether” must give structure to Space, Einstein almost equated this “Ether” with Space itself and considered it quite compatible with “Mach's Ether” and with a mechanically simplified “Lorenz Ether”: Neither as a static frame of reference nor one dynamically composed of small particles or even one as a constant fluid medium. Einstein's “Ether” had to structure a local space similar to William A. Tiller's “D-Space,” so, might it be that “Einstein's Ether” would have to wrongly conform only to one of the two complementary spaces that a physical Akasha can possibly generate? Might it be that the relativistically invariant Klein-Gordon solution to Schrödinger's Wave Equation call for a complementary kind of space? Would a holistic, R-Space “Ether” (posited by Professor Tiller) also be required to have a complete picture? Is this complementary space necessary to explain the phenomenon of 'entanglement'? Can a forward-in-time, D-space-structuring “Ether” meeting with a back-in-time, R-space-structuring “Ether” explain the non-local entanglement of particles when these particles are observed from a (our primary) D-space point of view? Could the complete “Physical Ether” that may structure both kinds of spaces be akin to the Indian concept of “Akasha” (which, interestingly, is also normally translated as “space” but which –in turn- refers to a universal element that -at least- acquires three general realm-structuring versions? Anyhow, for a nice explanation of “Einstein's Ether” read Galina Granek's “Einstein's Ether: F. Why did Einstein Come Back to the Ether?” (Granek, 2001).
Nowadays, in Western Science, the “Ether” is -at least- more associated with the following concepts: 1) An infinite or almost infinite source of energy detected through fluctuations in the vacuum of space and through which real and virtual particles and even entire universes, dimensions, and physical constants seem to come into existence; 2) A source of mass harboring the Higgs boson and the Higgs field; 3) A real field and/or substance complementing electromagnetic phenomena and represented by scalar quantities found in Maxwell's original equations; An anti-entropic substance existing in a complementary or reciprocal physical space which perhaps (according to Torsion Field Theory) operates at a 'subquantum' level.
As already suggested, perhaps the esoteric and visionary “etheric plane” (perhaps coinciding with one of the possible “ethers” we could be talking about) would be a negentropic (anti-entropic) substance. According to Professor William A. Tiller who proposes that this substance exists in a frequency-based domain which he calls “Reciprocal Space” (or simply, “R-Space”), it may complement normally perceived “Direct Space” and substance. Vacuum energy expert engineer and former Lt.Col. Thomas Bearden also refers to scalar waves as physically real but existing in the fourth dimension or Time component of spacetime (which would coincide with the idea that it is a frequency-based domain. Moreover, Bearden posits that electromagnetic scalar waves are not transversal like normal EM waves of 3D space but compressed along the time axis longitudinally. Furthermore, he claims that Time itself –like matter- would be “compressed energy” (Energy would be equivalent to delta T x the square of the velocity of Light).
I think that both Tiller's and Bearden's theories are compatible with Kozyrev's Torsion Field Theory that develops on previous concepts held within the “Einstein-Cartan Theory.” More recently, physicist Myron Evans developed another version (called the Einstein-Cartan-Evans Theory) in which specific curvatures of the metric of spacetime generate all particles and forces. These are geometric theories that seem to be compatible with modern ideas of an 'Ether' sometimes understood as a tensor which structures spacetime. It is clear to me that even Einstein didn't abandon all ideas about what the Ether might be as otherwise, the physical characteristics of space would have been unexplainable. In general, theories like the aforementioned posit higher symmetries and Evans' in particular proposes the O (3) symmetry applied to electrodynamics. Whether these symmetries represent physical existents is debated but string theories and the cosmological possibility of higher spatial dimensions and, furthermore, of extended 'd-branes' constituting our universe as well as other universes in a higher dimensional 'bulk' is opening up many 'scientific minds' which –for the sake of being 'objective'- tend to favor realism and locality. Can Klein-Gordon equations be combined with string theories to allow for d-branes which can represent a negentropic, 'etheric', complementary, physical universe?
If higher, more inclusive realms can be described by higher 'spatial' dimensions or by other parameters that provide for other possibilities of expression in the experiential use of, for instance, Subtle Realm substance, needs to be theorized, explored and, hopefully, experimented upon. However, since Theodor Kaluza and Oscar Klein in the 1920's successfully explored the idea of using five spatial dimensions to unify gravity and electromagnetism modifying the tensor metric of Einstein's General Relativity, a higher number of spaces and symmetries have been used to unify the known forces of physical nature. Nevertheless, as far as I can tell, these higher topological spaces are normally considered as highly 'compact' and would not directly seem to represent higher worlds or other realms. Nonetheless, in a version of the “Randall-Sumdrum model” an infinitely large higher extra dimension can coexist with and separate two three dimensional 'branes' one of which could be our universe. Randall and Sundrum showed that alternatives to compactified extra dimensions are possible and useful to explain the relative weakness of the force of gravity.
Could it be that -to unify the known physical forces- we do need to consider higher spatial dimensions (including 1 dimension for time, Supergravity uses 10 and M-Theory 11) which might in turn correspond or correlate to other non spatial kinds of parameters defining higher realms? Could these higher spatial dimensions also be adequately understood as part of the higher Subtle Realm but corresponding to other kinds of that realm's extended parameters which -from the perspective of the Physical Realm- appear as compact?
T.A. Bearden communicates in his website http://www.cheniere.org that the O (3) higher symmetry applied to electrodynamics allows certain permanent magnets (fabricated under unique heat and extrusion procedures and containing rare earths, plus a nano crystalline core producing asymmetrical fields) to sustainably collect (through an asymmetric, open system relation with the vacuum) electric energy after stimulating this vacuum using normal dipoles and localized, short gradient pulses. He also claims that some (usually suppressed) inventions like the “Motionless Electromagnetic Generator” (MEG) given U.S. patent No 6,362,718 have demonstrated overunity and a self-sustaining COP (coefficient of performance) greater than 4.
If the “MEG” (or similar inventions) is replicated and publicly proven to obtain useful amounts of electric energy from the 'vacuum', then theories indicating that there indeed is some kind of less readily obvious but, nonetheless, effectively real 'Ether' (or a substrate of structuring energy underlying ordinary spacetime) will be more respected. Our concepts of what 'reality amounts to' will have to expand as new human life-defining technologies would emerge. Then, also hierarchical, multi-realm models going beyond space energy, multiverse-generating 'false vacua fluctuations' and the 'Ether' may have to be incorporated. The existence of ontologically distinct realms typically relegated to seers, esotericists and mystical traditions will have to be re-evaluated by scientists, academicians and people in general as their evidence will become undeniable and scientifically necessary. I'm certain that progressively refined 'Ether' models will not suffice. Today, while theories directly referring to or relating to an 'Ether' don't coincide in important details, they generally refer to a physically complementary energetic substance and negentropic source capable of replenishing organized states of ordinary entropy-favoring matter. It is possible that human organisms are designed to intuitively and/or subconsciously perceive the energy qualities of the 'Ether' and higher associated substances.
Perhaps the intermediate substance between the ordinary gross, Physical Realm and the Subtle Realm acquires many characteristics or combines in different ways with those realms. For some, it is a vital source to transmit 'Prana'. For others, it is a potentially immense source of electrons, virtual particles, energies and quantum fluctuations oftent generating entire universes as allowed by Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, even a substance either used or inhabited by intelligent entities like nature spirits and some technologically advanced, semi-physical extraterrestrials named “ethereans.” Then, there's the 'Ether' as a pre-spacetime potential, like Einstein's 'Gravitational Ether'. Could it be 'all of the above'? Could it be that there are different levels or, even, a hierarchical (perhaps also a three-tiered) structuring?
The 'Ether' thought of as a mysterious effluvium but, nonetheless, real substance might coincide with what some Western occultists call the “etheric body” and also with Indian Vedanta traditions referring to a “Pranamaya Kosha.” In some esoteric interpretations, this “body” can be considered as part of the “Physical Realm” and in some Vedanta interpretations coincides with the “Sthula Sharira” or Gross, Physical Body (and its corresponding “Loka” or inhabited world of experience). Nevertheless, in other esoteric and Vedanta interpretations the same “Pranayama Kosha” is considered to be part of the Subtle Realm and to participate in the Sukshma Sharira (or Subtle Body) and its corresponding “Loka” or world of experience. This may mean that the entity strides in a limiting condition between two realms.
On the Precision of Discovering Other Realities
What can we really objectively say about 'other worlds'? Would much of what would objectively be said depend on the stability of their exterior aspects. The “lokas” or inhabited worlds (which are normally understood as subdivisions of three main realms of manifestation) are also understood with different details and specifics within various mystical-esoteric traditions. Possible genuine disclosures (perhaps in some cases privately experienced and retransmitted by an authoritative or accredited seer, or, in some others, by following a shared method, having actual (and actualizing) shared experiences and, then, communally validating or invalidating the findings) seem to have been heavily influenced by their particular doctrines and cultures. While modern and postmodern mindsets would prefer the Shared Injunction-Private Experience-Communal Verification/Interpretation kind of practice, disclosures in general (besides those of otherworldly realities) may also genuinely occur even if privately conducted. In fact, what I would call the “Shared Injunction-Private Experience-Communal Corroboration/Interpretation” formula posited by Ken Wilber to bring spiritual and mystical discoveries up to the expectations of modernity and postmodernity is quite valid but also a RECOMMENDATION, not a universally binding necessity required to disclose and discover. Otherwise, private discoveries and insights in human history made following privately practiced injunctions and interpretations would have not disclosed anything real or of practical worth. Thus, definitely, the aforementioned formula (summarized as “An Injunction-An Experience-A Communal confirmation/rejection” by Wilber in the book Integral Spirituality) ought to be understood as a recommendation, (not as a universally applicable epistemological rule) as much as “OCCAM's RAZOR” is. Moreover, we must not limit ourselves to the Integral-Wilberian recommendation, dismissing any other forms used to discover aspects of “reality.” For instance, not even conscious awareness during the discovery or enaction might always be required as unconscious mediumnity is sometimes associated with what is also deemed as clearer disclosures of information without the interference of conscious interpretation. Integral Theory should integrate what works and not influence its 'practitioners' (and occasional 'devotees') so much that also they blindly reject other methods and models which –at first- seem not to coincide.
We must understand that “Integral” discoveries made today (after the advent of modernity and postmodernity) need not be new ones in an essential way. Therefore, perhaps the Wilberian concept of “altitude” (basically, the level of development under which an enaction was made) needs to be revised or refined. Pre-modern seers and sages may have arrived to similar discoveries whether embedded in a “mythical” cultural stage or not. Thus, our “integral” embrace of the wisdom of other ages needs not to be subtly biased and so exclusivist anymore. For instance, in Samkhya philosophy (which starts from a dualist standpoint stating that only Purusha-Consciousness and Prakritti-Nature exists) there are correspondences with the main “perspectives” defining the “quadrants” of manifest things (or “holons”) since reality is said to be composed of the “Individual” (vyashti) aspect, the “Social” (samasthi) aspect, the “Creation” (srushti) aspect (perhaps coinciding with objective, Exterior “creation”) and the “God” (parameshti) aspect (perhaps coinciding with the subjective). This shows that discoveries foretelling that the relative world can be understood quadratically have been made in the past. In fact, what we understand as the “Quadrants” in Integral Theory were also briefly referred to by Sophia Perennis metaphysician Fritjoff Schuon as “the quaternity of the fundamental qualities” and as coming in a series of numerical conceptualizations after the Trinity (Schuon, 2000, p.21). In sets of two, they are called “Purity” or “Rigor” (which, I think, correspond with the Exterior-Individual quadrant); “Life” or “Gentleness” (which, I think, correspond with the Inter-objective-Systems quadrant); then, “Strength” or “Act” (which, I think, correspond with the Interior-Subjective quadrant). Finally, we have “Beauty” or “Goodness” (which, I think, correspond with the Interior-Collective quadrant). Moreover, in “Integral Quadrants in History,” I showed that the “quadrants” recognized within Integral Theory are at least implicitly present in the pre-modern, Andean model of the “Chakana” as well as in more recent metaphysical systems (like “Archie J. Bahm's 'Organicism') both (either implicitly or explicitly) implementing the dialectical logic that arises by considering opposite poles as complementary.
Integration through Three Logics
I think that -throughout history- there have been three basic reasonable ways of thinking that are broadly associated with a practical physicalist approach, a relational approach and a transcendentalist approach. I also think that, broadly-speaking, each approach is associated with a particular realm of being of the main three-tiered system repeatedly intuited in various esoteric and mystical traditions. While Aristotle and subsequent “physicalists” in general tend to prefer the use of an “either-or” logic (the logic of classic science), some tribal cultures or cultures more embedded in a greater recognition of a sacred relationship with all of nature (for instance, the Inca and, probably, the early Taoist-Chinese cultures) tend to prefer the (mostly “natural,” instinctive or non-systematized) use of “both-and” 'logics' that enthrone the polar complementarities which they perceive. Archie J. Bahm's “Organicism” and Wilber's “Integral Theory,” philosophical “Second Tier” (or non-exclusivist, multi-approach and shared-pattern-connecting) models (created as academic alternatives to linear and mutually excluding competing approaches) also heavily use “both-and” logic (whether if, as part of their emphasis on relationships, they include psychic, spirit-world interests or not). Moreover, even Dialectical Materialism, an earlier Modern Era, Western philosophical attempt to include all of reality as a dialectical process (albeit still reducing it to matter), used this logic. A third kind of logic (sometimes preferred by early non-dual transcendentalists and perhaps not amply in use by most individuals in their respective cultures) is what could be called a “neti-neti” or “neither-nor” logic which finds that all relative mental objects are inherently “empty” in that (from a contingent perspective) they cannot stand by themselves and can always be contradicted.
Thinking through a metalogical perspective about how these three logics may relate, I'd say that, from an 'either-or' perspective they interact; from a 'both-and' perspective, they interpenetrate and from a 'neither-nor' perspective they are mutually immanesce. These three ways to relate coincide with how life would unfold in the Gross, Subtle and Causal realms, respectively. These three logics and how they may relate also represent basic ways of how two opposites may relate, even if the opposition and duality itself were a pretense. These three general logics can also be seen as three ways to understand the Chinese Yin/Yang relation: Crudely as the simple opposition of two independent poles; complementary/dialectically as interpenetrating, (independent but mutually defined and mutually needed) poles and, finally, through mutual immanence, as in a relation in which distinctions and identity almost coincide.
The first logic may primarily relate to exterior ('physical') causal interactions, the second to an interpenetrative ('mental') causality that distinguishes and relates and thus binds both interior and exterior interactions. Finally, the third may relate to the preeminence of an interior causal ('spiritual') unity, cohering all distinctions as one. For these and other reasons, in this inquiry I see three logics correlated with the three main realms, correlated with the three main ways in which the quadratic expressions of existents manifest clearly show an Integral connecting pattern obeying a shared Trinitarian principle of practical consequences.
Generally speaking, I think that the “either-or” logic is more associated with cultural and practical approaches emphasizing experiences related with exterior stability especially (but in principle not limited to) of the Gross Physical Realm; the “both-and” logic is more fluid and compatible with life and a recognition of the Subtle Realm in which an almost indistinct interplay of psychism, mind, matter and spirit is understood as the natural way to live in balance. Finally, “neither-nor” logic is more associated with emphasizing the immanent, quiet source of the (almost formless), Causal Realm where “principial” objects cohere as one and, if sought as independently distinct, are understood as “empty” since they can only exist in a relational dependence upon their common, supracausal, transcendental unity. This is the logic of the realm in which universal, seed ideas cohere in such degree of unity (with such mutual immanence) that there don´t seem to be distinctions. In fact, the last logic may be the reason why a Non Dual understanding which transcends and includes all 'logics' but which simultaneously remains centered in the simple, intuitive recognition of the “isness” or “suchness” of being, is elicited).
Thinking about the tradition of the “three eyes of knowledge” (or sensorial, mental, and spiritual ways of relating and understanding the world and its objects) transmitted by St. Bonaventure (and referred to in some writings by Ken Wilber ( ), I think that “either-or” logic is compatible with the “eye of the flesh,” “both-and” logic is compatible with the “eye of the mind” and “neither-nor” logic is compatible with the “eye of the spirit.” Along with the three main logics, the “eyes” are epistemological ways in which a trinitarian principle (in existence before the split between ontology and etymology) manifests. Moreover, we can state that (like the three logics) these “eyes” or primary ways of understanding the world (s) can have different degrees of relating with each other and that, although each primarily corresponds with the Gross/Physical, the Subtle/Mental and the Causal/Spiritual realms, they interact, interpenetrate and are mutually immanent. This means that each “eye” is not limited to its primary corresponding world; that each “eye” is interchangeably useful in each different realm. In other words, the sensorial 'eye of the flesh' is also useful in every realm where there's a degree of exteriority; the mental 'eye of the mind' may best operate in the Subtle Realm but be useful in the other two realms. Finally, the 'eye of spirit' may best operate in the Causal Realm where exteriorities primarily follow spiritual causes but be useful in the Physical and Subtle realms.
'Nature spirituality' may be in the domain of the 'eye of the spirit' when we are primarily experiencing the Physical Realm and physical science may be in the domain of the 'eye of the mind' also when primarily experiencing the Physical Realm. Similar epistemological relations using all three 'eyes' (interactively/discreetly, interpenetratingly and mutual immanently) should exist in relation to the Subtle and Causal realms, for instance, allowing a Subtle-sensorial exploration of the Subtle Realm as well as a Mental and a Spiritual one. The same pattern (albeit most likely requiring greater inclusive awareness) should be allowed in relation to the Causal Realm. Personally experiencing in our private consciousness the enactions of each realm through each of these 'eyes' should suffice to convert their objects from being potentially real to us to actually real. Moreover, these explorations and enactions could be done in private or (in order to gain more social standing) following a scientific and hermeneutic paradigm-method as the one Wilber intelligently suggests in his book Eye to Eye and in his “Excerpt C” in search for an “Integral Post Metaphysics.” To account for the integral requirement to uphold (albeit more sophisticatedly) Metaphysics in Integral Theory I would use many of Wilber's suggestions but keep in mind an “All Eyes-All Realms” theoretical ingredient.
I feel that I'm unveiling a cosmic structure, something surpassing but including the definitions of metaphysics, physics or epistemology. To me, the existence of a primary “logical trinity” (whose results can be experienced but in itself remains out of the reach of containing nit as an object) indicates that each subset relates both with a way to understand life as with the way different causal influences operate in each particular realm. Moreover, each of these 'three logics' might also be connected to three fundamental holonic, manifestation modes (which cohere in a more unifying and fundamental “Maha Trinity”) generating crucial Interior-Exterior-Unity-Diversity patterns across three main resultant realms in Creation-Manifestation.
Since (whether or not heavily influenced by mythic, doctrinal and authority-based elements) some of the basic ideas related to alleged disclosures of otherworldly realities seem generally to coincide, this might be an indication that the three basic realms (not just referring to a three-tiered created world and also to a world beyond this) are broadly correct and worth studying. How can 'metaphysics' give us an idea of how the physical and supraphysical Cosmos is structured?
Why does the “I-Ching” (the Book of Mutations), that ancient (and surprisingly effective) oracular, philosophical and ethical Taoist and Confucian classic, structure two principles: “Yin” (the feminine, moist, receptive, and cooling) and “Yang” (the masculine, radiant, and stimulating) under three modes of being? In one mode there is the “Heavenly;” then there is “Man in relation to the Heavenly and the Earthly” and, finally, there is the “Earthly,” thus generating “hexagrams” (or symbols made of six lines). First, eight “trigrams” (three lines combining parted and whole Yin and Yang lines) are formed. The upper line represents the “Heavenly,” the lower line represents the “Earthly” and the middle line represents “Man in relation to the other two.” When trigrams are combined forming hexagrams, the role of Man in relation to the Heavenly and Earthly principles is diffused throughout. There are 64 possible permutations or combinations of six lines made of whole (Yang) and divided (Yin) lines.
In this I-Ching structure I see polarity (the Yin/Yang polar principles) (as interactive, as interpenetrating and as mutually immanent) giving origin to and displaying themselves as the same fundamental Trinity (or 'Maha Trinity') which is expressed as the three main ontologies or 'realms' and the three main epistemologies or 'logics' (albeit under a different emphasis and nomenclature). My wife Ana Maria, (an expert on the I-Ching and on Feng Shui) told me that the I-Ching is “the combination of the real world with the world of possibilities.” This also makes me think of an integral interface between actual and potential aspects of manifestation and between broad possibilities (corresponding both to Exteriorized and to Interiorized varieties of experience) and concrete happenings. In a certain sense (as Wilber's 'AQAL' model -also arising from universally applicable polar relations- has been purported to operate), when using the I-Ching, distinctions between our interiority and the cosmos may blur and we may become conscious or unconscious participants with an all-inclusive intelligence and process behind the model. Moreover, the whole and parted lines representing polarity may also correspond to holons as “wholes” and as “parts.” Further analysis needs to be done to see if this has any application to Integral Theory.
Surrendering to the 'Sacred Other'
Broadly speaking, many religious traditions coincide in that an integral understanding is accompanied by personal transformation and in that this 'understanding' (without the evil of a blind, exclusivist attitude for defending a truth while rejecting another), the way to align ourselves with a spiritual path is normally comes as an expression of sentiment or 'heart', ideology-concepts-mind, and social praxis. I think that the basic 'keys', the basic 'paths' were given or found a long time ago. I also think that they are still valid as they stem from how Creation/Manifestation itself proceeds. This integration comes from three sacred, God-given universal principles. My understanding is of a 'God' that continually transcends our definitions, cultures, stages and knowledge but that can be known in a personal and impersonal form. My understanding tends to look for the ecumenical, esoteric heart behind religious doctrines and it accepts a symbiosis of First Person, experiential communion, coherent, rational metaphysical intuition and a practical way to serve others.
Whether we follow a religious path or not, without recognizing –in feeling and with a humble opening of self- that at the root of our beings is a 'Sacred Other', a Supreme and stable 'Being' behind all manifestation and form, a 'Being' who (without the need to advocate Catholicism) manifests as 'three persons', or, rather, as three 'universal principles' (from which and through which the whole of creation/manifestation proceeds) I think that we'll not come close to intellectually integrate a clearer understanding of self in the Cosmos. Most likely without feeling that –in His infinitude and unlimitedness- God can become to some extent understandable in a personal way (as a Supreme, Loving God), as a Universal –perhaps impersonal- Intelligence, and as an all- embracing, spiritual Mother Presence (the Maha Shakti lending Her energies for all of creation to vibrate with the Word and proceed), we'll fall short even of a long term scientific and philosophical integration. If we don't also know 'God' as the absolutely transcendental, Absolute God of 'apophatic', negative Christian theology (the God beyond all comparison, perhaps akin to the “Godhead” of some Western Christian mystics, the “Parabrahman” of Vedic tradition, the “Ain” of Jewish mysticism, the “Wujûd,” “Dhat” or 'Holy Essence' of Sufi metaphysics, the “Tathagatagarbha” of forms of Mahayana Buddhism which are compatible with the idea of an “Essence”), we'll not come to a clear-cut, meaningful, sense of how the contingent worlds of His holy creation (under His Holy reasons and loving kindness) come to be.
Without God all scientific disclosures won't suffice and the deepest esoteric secrets born in Wisdom from Love will remain closed, chiefly, closed from sentiment or 'the heart'. Thus, I think that there must be room for a Second Person relation with a personal, 'Sacred Other' and (whether we are created in His image, our essence is Buddha Nature or the Atman) only open-hearted humility will release our contracted or, rather, distorted sense of self into the hands of that infinitely productive, Conscious, universal vastness. Neither useful comparative logic, nor transrational cosmic intuition or sincere piety can be out of the question for an integral person. First, Second and Third person ways of understanding coincide. Distinction, universalism and participation require each other. This is the level of mysticism which –in relation to the world or contingent existence- seems to coincide (across world religions) with variations on the metaphysical concept of “Panentheism” (not pantheism) in which the world/creation/manifestation (perhaps, ultimately, as an ontologically apparent 'reality') is in “God” (in the sense of being in God's “Mind”) while “God”/ God's essence transcends the world. Perhaps in the apparent retreat of His fullness in order to create 'out of nothing' (in fact needing nothing out of Himself to create) He allows us and all universes and lokas to exist under the appearance of semi-independence, remaining immanent as Spirit (the Holy Spirit), organizing this creation, intelligently through His Logos. His body is the 'Dharmakaya' and along with our Muslim brother/sisters I'll say that the unity and absolute transcendence of God is never questioned, even if we intimately know ourselves as 'an image' of Him. This is the level in which religious differences give way to a transcendentally revealed unity, a unity that sheds 'Light' as the “lokas” themselves are meant to. In fact, one of the root meanings of “loka” is the word “roc” meaning “radiant” which suggests to me the intuition that the realms of existence are essentially made of (albeit in a range of degrees) God's radiance (the 'energeia' or 'energies' of God in orthodox Christianity, the 'Shekhina' or 'Splendor' in Jewish tradition).
An Abridged Outline of the “Lokas”
Ken Wilber incorporates the idea that there are three broad, general ways of understanding and/or of referring to reality which is also reflected in three main ways of thinking as the three main grammatical persons of regular speech. These are: 1. The subjective “I” 2. The intersubjective “We” (implied in the first person's relationship with the second person 'you') and 3. The objective “It.” Wilber also developed a five-element model (called “AQAL”) unifying “lines,” “levels,” “states” and “types” arising within a conceptual-spatial structure labeled “quadrants.” The AQAL model is useful to understand many key aspects of reality which can be visualized as simultaneously arising within the unifying fifth element of the quadratic spaces. I think that “quadrants” (which accommodate all other elements within) are metaphysically fundamental structural entities that they can be discovered either by observing recurring patterns or by a priori deduction of what complementary opposites entail.
Wilber accepts that the model can evolve (perhaps by adding more elements to it) and, interestingly, in his discussions he occasionally includes the concept that there should exist various “realms of existence.” Nonetheless (perhaps vying for acceptance by modern and postmodern scholars) he doesn't dwell on this too much. Also interestingly, as elements of reality (or at least of how humans tend to interpret experience), both Wilber's “quadrants” and the “realms” (as apparently disclosed by seers and mystics in various esoteric-mystical traditions) seem to occur in three-tiered divisions and this is why I'm trying to classify the plausible variety of “other realms” into a three-tiered structure that would fit well with Integral Theory.
Who would know more about other worlds? Christianity often speaks about the Earth, Heaven and Hell but contacts with spirits and a deeper, objective exploration of other realms is discouraged. Some modern traditions like Kardecian Spiritism and Spiritualism (both of which incorporate Christian elements) promote contact with other realms but the usefulness of their acquired information may be limited by doctrine or by excessive enthusiasm. Generally speaking, Kardecian Spiritism (an organized religion) refers to two levels of reality (the material and the spiritual word) while the ideologically more flexible (and gradually evolving) “spiritualism” delves into the idea of many “planes of existence” but the 'findings' often don't seem to be consistent and have not been systematized. Nevertheless, there are some other traditions that present claims of more detailed revelations and “disclosures” regarding worlds apparently existing in a three-tiered model. Traditional and Lurianic Kabalah seem to be part of these disclosures but, for now, (due to its more embracing openness to diversity and as our main, general example) let's try to explore some of the more detailed (broadly mythologized and often baroque) ideas which originated in India.
First, let's get an idea of what the “lokas” are: Here I'll use the following words provided by Swami Chinmayananda and excerpted from: http://www.kirtimukha.com/surfings/OM.htm
“Vedantic students generally practise the repetition of and the mediation upon the symbol provided by the Pranava - this is called the Pranava upasana. OM represents, in its silent significance, both the manifest and the unmanifest, which together constitute the entire subtle and gross world. The word loka in Sanskrit is generally translated as 'world', but, in its etymological meaning, it signifies 'a field of experience'.
The entire possibility of experience in life has been terraced by the rsis into fourteen worlds; seven higher lokas and seven lower worlds. There are three worlds in which a limited ego-centre comes to play its game of reincarnation and repeated deaths: these are (1) Bhur-loka, the physical earth; (2) Bhuvar-loka, the world next to the physical and closely connected with it, but constituted of finer matter; and (3) Suvar-loka, the heavenly world. Beyond these are the four other 'worlds' wherein the ego comes to move about and enjoy in its higher evolutionary life, and they are called the Mahar-loka, Jana- loka, Tapa-loka, and Satya-loka.
In the Hindu literature we also find conceptions of other 'worlds' such as Indra-loka, Candra-loka, Surya-loka, Pitra-loka, etc., which are special 'realms of experiences' located within the above regions.
Below these seven 'worlds' there is yet another set of seven 'worlds' called the talas. They are named as Pa-talam, Maha-talam, Rasa-talam, Tala- talam, Su-talam, Vi-talam, and A-talam.
Of these fourteen 'worlds', Bhur-Bhuvar-Suvar, denoting the 'three worlds', are called the vyahrtis. In the Gayatri Mantra, when these vyahrtis are chanted, the meditator can visualise the 'three worlds' as arising from, existing in, and disappearing into AUM. He can subjectively identify them with the waking, dream, and deep-sleep conditions of consciousness, transcending which extends the realms of the Infinite. All of them are represented in the symbol OM. In this sense, the vyahrtis in the Gayatri represent in one sweep the entire 'world' of the subjective and the objective experiences of man.”
Now, in http://www.himalayanacademy.com at the “Hinduism Online Lexicon” web page of the Himalayan Academy (of the Tamil Saiva tradition of southern India) I found the following definition:
“loka” : "World, habitat, realm, or plane of existence." From loc, "to shine, be bright, visible." A place of a particular level of vibration and associated beings, Gods, devas or men. A dimension of manifest existence; cosmic region. Each loka reflects or involves a particular range of consciousness. Three primary lokas and fourteen sub-classifications of the cosmos are designated in Hindu scripture. The three primary lokas are 1) -- Bhuloka: "Earth world." The world perceived through the five senses, also called the gross plane, as it is the most dense of the worlds. Sometimes referred to as the First World. 2) -- Antarloka: "Inner" or "in-between world." Known in English as the subtle or astral plane, the intermediate dimension between the physical and causal worlds, where souls in their astral bodies sojourn between incarnations and when they sleep. Also referred to as the Second World. 3) --Sivaloka: "World of Siva," and of the Gods and highly evolved souls. The causal plane, also called Karanaloka, existing deep within the Antarloka at a higher level of vibration. It is a world of superconsciousness and extremely refined energy, the plane of creativity and intuition, the quantum level of the universe where souls exist in self-effulgent bodies made of actinic particles of light. It is here that God and Gods move and lovingly guide the evolution of all the worlds and shed their ever-flowing grace. Its vibratory rate is that of the vishuddha, ajna and sahasrara chakras and those above. Also referred to as the Third World.”
Vedanta, Vishnuism and Saivism are Indian religions comfortable with the concept of a plurality of other worlds. They may teach us something useful, nevertheless, there also are similarities among other Indian as well as non Indian mystical traditions in relation to the concept of the “Three Worlds” and this may represent an Integral pattern that needs to be explored. In my view, perhaps the “three worlds” are also reflections of a universal Trinity or trinitarian principle which clearly exists in the Christian context but surfaces with complementary understandings in other traditions. I think that we must try to carefully discern commonalities among many sources as, by being connected to their particular religious doctrines (in pre-modern eras of more exclusivist myth-defined cultures), genuine other-worldly disclosures tend to be restricted to them. For instance, the “Puranas” of India refer to lokas but seem to have also been written with the needs to illustrate sectarian religious preferences.
The four early “Vedas” (also called “Samhitas”) are archetypal written sources from India's formative cultural period in which hymns and ritualistic priestly formulas were emphasized. The influence of India's Aryan invaders is strongly heard. Some were probably written around 1500 BCE and parts of them seem to have simplified 'seed' versions of what (with the development of abstract interpretations) later came to be known as “Vedanta” (meaning “the end of the Vedas”). The “Upanishads” are more than 200 philosophical texts that came next. The eleven or so main or “mukhya” Upanishads are dated from 900 to 300 BCE approximately. Generally speaking, the Upanishads were originally written during a period of spiritual renaissance which partly coincided with early Buddhism and Jainism. They were inspired by “rishis” (seers) and by spiritual masters that interpreted the earlier Vedas under a more monistic and abstract perspective, developing the idea that all the gods mentioned in them derive from “Brahman,” the uncreated Universal Self which also is Man's true Self (Atman). The “Puranas” (dating from the 3rd century to the 16th century CE) are narrations regarding creation, the gods, cosmic structure, worship and teachings. They also supplement or try to expound on the Vedas (for instance by referring to creation stories and to the genealogy and interventions of the gods), being considered as originally-revealed, and sacred texts but are more closely associated with particular religious interpretations. Some of the Puranas are more associated with Vishnuism (like the Bhagavatha Purana or Srimad Bhagavatham); others with Brahmanism and still others with Saivism; respectively considering Brahma (the Creator), Vishnu (the Preserver) and Shiva (the destroyer/transformer) as the most important aspect of an ultimately indescribable divinity. It seems that competing religious groups (including the Jain and Buddhists) produced their own authoritative Puranas to legitimate their doctrines.
Then, there are major epic stories like the “Ramayana” and the “Mahabharata” (originally written perhaps around 400-500 BCE and deriving from traditions perhaps as old as the original Vedas) which transmit many teachings and cosmogologic perspectives using mythologized histories describing Man's relationship with the gods. The latter epic is particularly popular and influential because it includes a sentiment-inspiring section called the “Bhagavad Gita” (the “Song of the Lord”), an Upanishadic-like theological and devotional text extolling the love for avatar Krishna.
Taking Vedanta and Vishnuism (also called 'Vaisnavism') as guiding examples, I'd say that their core idea about “Bhu Loka” (“Bhu” basically means “earth”) is that it is the general kind of manifestation that includes all physical worlds whose exterior quadrants primarily obey exterior causes. In some Vedanta-related classic texts this “loka” is said to be divided into seven “dvipas” or “islands” separated by seven different kinds of “liquids” and I take this to mean that some sages intuited or experienced various kinds of physical universes, each more refined and perhaps –in spite of primarily being physical, gradually resembling or acquiring the characteristics of Subtle and Causal worlds. Bhur Loka's exteriors would be formed by a kind of Akasha (or space-defining expression of Shakti) called “Bhutakasha,” which primarily responds to forces that appear in a causally visible manner. Here, experiences to the Atma (Universal Soul) manifesting as a “Jiva” (or ego-focused Atma provided with “Antahkarana” or mind, intellect, memory and ego) are given directly.
I think that some allegedly more refined 'physical' extraterrestrials (sometimes called 'ethereans' in contactee literature), beings temporarily coinciding and interacting with our known physical universe may originate in other particular (as dense or less dense) physical universes in the “Bhuloka.” Interestingly, sometimes (especially in the International Society for Krishna Consciousness) the word “lokas” is often translated as “planet.” Also, interestingly, Vedanta generally defines the entire Bhuloka as the “Middle World” or Middle Region,” that is, as a region above the seven lower worlds and below the higher, Subtle and Causal Worlds. Moreover, these threefold subdivisions broadly coincide with the Inka and (most likely) pre-Inka subdivision of worlds as three-tiered: The “Hanan Pacha” (the celestial world of cosmic forces and great mountain spirits or “Apus”), the “Kay Pacha” (the visible world of what is “here,” which is the 'ordinary' earth plane), and the “Uku Pacha” (the underworld of dark forces, some ancestors, lower spirit beings and unique wisdom keepers living in a specially conditioned underground environment). Apparently, the Incas also considered a world beyond the three-tiered division and it was called “Hakaq Pacha (the world beyond).” Regardless, the three-tiered division also broadly coincides with the “Heaven(s), Earth, and Hell(s)” given as the major subdivisions of reality within the Roman Catholic Church and which also –apparently- has sub-levels or particular regions as not all angels (and presumably, not all demons) are of the same hierarchy. The location of Purgatory and Limbo is debated and, while the former is considered to be in an intermediate state between Heaven and Hell (akin to the Indian concept of a lower “Pitriloka” or realm of ghosts which sometimes is thought to be in one of the seven lower worlds or “patalas” and sometimes in the Subtle Realm (Bhuvarloka) but close to the Physical Realm (Bhuloka)), the latter was considered to be a special containing region attached to Heaven. Moreover, even life in Heaven is thought to have degrees of closeness to God. Closeness to God's “presence” (or to God's creative “energies” in the Orthodox tradition) is thought to vary amongst people already in Heaven, as during their physical lifetimes they earned different merits through acting with faith, purity and love. Here also the idea that there was a realm beyond Heaven is implicit since it is claimed that not even the Cherubim who are closest to God's Presence can see His face directly and thus experience a hint of His absolute, transcendental Essence.
The next major division of lokas would be the “Bhuvar Loka” which, along with the “Svar Loka” would correspond (in Integral Theory) to what is generally known as the “Subtle Realm”. Both the exteriors of the Bhuvar Loka and the Svar Loka would primarily respond to mental and invisible (thus “subtle”) causes through its Akasha (called “Chittakasha”). Regarding the first subdivision of this Subtle Realm (Bhuvar Loka), the word “Bhuvar” basically means “sky” or “atmosphere” and would refer to what in the esoteric West is often called the “Astral World.” Although in this world there are different degrees of purity, as a rule, it would be experientially defined by a more emotional and earthier kind of attachment and becoming. This subtle world in the Subtle Realm would be much more extended than physical worlds and –perhaps- even be capable of incorporating all physical worlds. In fact, the whole Subtle Realm would be so vast that –comparatively speaking- the Gross Realm would be like what a star would be in relation to our whole physical universe. Some of Bhuvar Loka's most exalted inhabitants could be called “lower demi-gods” and, according to the Vedas, some of these “lower demi-gods” would assist the “demi-gods” of the Svar Loka (the next higher Subtle Realm level).
Vedanta also speaks of a region (sometimes called “Antariksa” and, sometimes, “Pitr Loka”) located between the gross Bhu Loka and Bhuvar Loka, referring to it as the abode of 'ghosts' and other limited discarnate entities.
“Svar Loka” (“Svar” basically means “Heaven”) would correspond to what in the theosophical esoteric West is sometimes called the “Mental World” or “Devachan.” Its most exalted inhabitants could be called “demigods” but its inhabitants would not be fully realized beings and instead still be excessively attached to exterior pleasures, comforts and illusion. According to texts accepted by Vedanta, the chief demigod here would be ancient Vedic god “Indra” and individuals that have gained some spiritual merit may be able to spend some time in this loka. Since “Svar” means “Heaven,” perhaps (if spatial, geographical divisions somehow apply) would be more spatially located beyond the Earth's atmosphere.
According to some sources ( ), beyond the “Svar Loka” would be a realm dominated by “Mahar” (meaning “luminous”) with at least three subdivisions (Tapo Loka, Jano Loka, Mahar Loka). Beyond this realm would be “Brahma Loka,” said to be the first material manifestation whose inhabitants are not limited by attachment to appearances. Perhaps this Loka is part of the “Causal Realm” of India's “Triloka” (three- realm) system even if the idea of a basically formless “Causal” realm seems to be emphasized by Ken Wilber. The aspect of 'formlessness' about the “Causal Realm” seems to be more emphasized in some Buddhist descriptions while the aspect of the same realm more emphasized in Vedanta seems to be that of a “seed container” for all other manifestations. Interestingly, in relation to Buddhist tradition, the “Causal Realm” is called “Arupa Loka” (meaning formless world) but, even if formlessness is emphasized, it is nonetheless described as having “four heavens.” How could four distinguishable heavens exist if they are all formless?
Akasha Connections and a Little More
I think that any (however refined) exterior substance related to possible Causal worlds, would most likely be manifestations of “Chidakasha,” a variety of Akasha that purportedly responds to sacred experiential causes (rather than to exterior, causal forces or to subtle, mental, causal forces). Regardless of these details that may be subsumed under a broader general understanding (and considering Samkhya philosophy which is often used to complement Vedanta), I think that, if there is any degree of exteriority even in the Causal Realm, it would still be part of Nature or of “Prakritti.”
I think that ontological emanationism in which the more real precedes and originates the less real (while simultaneously retaining and degrading its oneness) can be compatible with dualist interactionism and interpenetration because of the existence of exteriors, even if exteriors -ultimately speaking- are “appearance brought forth by duality. It is the exteriors that may causally interact. Nevertheless, to appreciate the inter-ream relations more holistically, taking care of some of the main factors, we'll have (at a minimum) to consider the relations between the interiors across realms; the relation between exteriors across realms; the relation between interiors and exteriors across realms; the relations between exteriors and interiors across realms…and these four variables from the perspective of the more ontologically real (less exteriorized realm) to the less ontologically realm and vice versa.
Since the realms interpenetrate (even if the follow an ontological hierarchical progression) I think that some of each kind of Akasha is in each of the three main realms. The essentially dominant principle of unity among differences may make holograms (the part in the whole and the whole in the part, although, the smaller the part, the blurrier or less precise the whole) good for modeling these inter-realm connections but keeping in mind the complementary ideas of “Interpenetration” and “Dualistic Interactions” may also mean that a causal model can be developed.
Although the Physical Realm (and its possible sub-realms) would be primarily formed by and respond to “Bhutakasha,” (the intelligent substance that generates physical spaces primarily responding to exterior, objective causes) there would be Subtle Realm causes in it which maintain a connection with this other realm and its (mental causes- responding) “Chittakasha.” This other connection would respond to mental causes. Furthermore, there would be Causal Realm causes in it which maintain a connection with this third and subtlest other realm and its (spiritual causes-responding) “Chidakasha.” Thus, minds over matter phenomena and a variety of (poorly called) physical 'anomalies' do take place. Do to this interpenetration; also Causal Realm (more spiritual) interventions can also take place in both the Subtle and Physical realms. Moreover, the interaction of Consciousness and Mind with the Causal, Subtle and Gross bodies, shariras, or vehicles would also be maintained. I'm aware that I'm now providing general ideas and not exact mechanisms that can serve for scientific predictions, mathematizations and modeling, but, nonetheless, these ideas, these principles, may be required to start a more scientific, practical, predictive modeling. One thing to remember is that the three space-defining akashas may also derive from the three main principles, or from what I'm calling the “Maha Trinity” also discovered as the four quadrants of Integral Theory. In other words, the element of “Quadrants” (through which all eventities, holons or particular phenomena can be assessed) and the element of “Realms” (giving hierarchical ontological meaning and origination to holons) may derive from this universal Trinity. Moreover, the ancient esoteric formula for Man's constitution (that is, “Body-Mind-Spirit”) -as well as other fundamental subdivisions- may also derive from expressions of this Trinity. In India at least the three main 'margas' or spiritual paths leading toward union with the ineffable correspond to the Body aspect as practical, physical actions of service in the world (Karma Marga); to the Mind aspect as a focus on contemplation and understanding (Gnana Marga) and; to the Spirit aspect as a focus on devotion (Bhaki Marga).
In relation to reality as 'holons', “Quadrants” are understood as expression 'spaces' that arise simultaneously and non-hierarchically but which enclose other expression elements or details deemed necessary to model aspects of manifestation (of which 'stages' and 'lines' may be found as progressing, or 'evolving'). Nonetheless, how would simultaneous, non-hierarchical quadrants relate with realms?
Because, in my view, 'the One' (manifesting in Three Modes) becomes 'the Four' under the appearance of the 'other', I'm trying to find expressions of how the Cosmos manifests under other broadly relevant 'quaternities' which might correspond to the “Quadrants” used in Integral Theory. I'm also trying to find how these 'quaternities' might apply to hierarchically distributed ontological realms. In the 90th hymn of the tenth book of the Rig Veda, there's a creation story involving a universal entity called “Purusha” which would be s like a 'giant cosmic Man' portrayed as the origin of the cosmos, of all other gods and of all living beings. One fourth of His cosmic body would be constituted by all living creatures and the remaining three-fourths would be constituted by that which is immortal and in Heaven. This theme was later elaborated in the Mandukya Upanishad along with the idea of the four dimensions of reality (Catuspat). Here, a 'quaternity' is linked to what could be considered four progressively inclusive levels of reality since in the “Catuspat” we have the Physical World (Vaisvanara), the Ideal World (Taijasa), the Spiritual World (Prajña) and what could be called the 'Transcendental' World of the ineffable (Turiya). After further analysis we can see that the first three correspond to the Gross, Subtle and Causal main ontological realms as well as to the ordinary 'awake', 'dreaming' and 'deep sleep' states of consciousness. The fourth 'dimension' or 'level' in the 'Catuspat' quaternity would transcend and include all categories, realms and states but, how would it correspond with any of the quadrants? I think that it would simultaneously correspond to all and to none but that, upon the collapse of duality (and, therefore, of quadratic differentiations) only the undivided, subjective 'I' (in Integral Theory the 'Upper Left' quadrant made of individuality and subjectivity) remains. The one 'quadrant' that remains would be that of the Undivided 'I' or the ineffable 'Atman'. Thus, after the appearance of duality is gone, all four quadrants correspond to the four dimensions of reality or 'Catuspat' and can be seen as expressions of a single, unified 'quadrant'.
If without duality one quadrant is discovered as more fundamental, perhaps with duality the remaining three can be understood as progressively less fundamental in a hierarchical way. The Catholic Trinity can be seen as a trinity of three equally valued, uncreated members 'sharing the same divinity' but we can also think of it in neo- Platonic fashion as a series of hypostasis in which first comes the 'Father'(representing Plotinus' ineffable 'One'), then comes the 'Son' (representing Plotinus' 'Logos') and, finally, the 'Holy Spirit' (representing Plotinus' 'World Soul'). If the 'Father' corresponds to ultimately transcendental, ineffable, subjective experience, the 'Son' to rational, distinguishing, naming and relating and the 'Holy Spirit' to the immanence of Spirit providing exterior expression to the Cosmos through its (hierarchically graded) 'energies', may I suggest that the (grammatically related) First Person, personal, subjective 'quadrant' corresponds to the 'Father'; that the Second Person, mental or relational, intersubjective 'quadrant' corresponds to the 'Son' and, finally, that the two remaining, Third Person, immanent, but exteriorly acting, energetic, 'it' and 'its' quadrants correspond to the 'Holy Spirit' which may act as the vehicle through which all created/manifested subjects possessing exterior forms relate with the divinity of the other two persons.
Koshas, Shariras and Worlds
In spiritist materializing sessions, the so-called “Ether” is sometimes known as an intermediate substance necessary for producing the “ectoplasm” (the word means 'outer form') which is exuded by authentic physical mediums and with which an entity already in possession of an “astral body” can “clothe” himself or herself in order to manifest for a relatively longer and –somewhat- stable period of time in the physical world. “Ectoplasm” seems to be a modified form of the medium's 'vital sheath' or “Pranayama Kosha.” Moreover, Western esoteric and Eastern Vedanta traditions suggest that this “Kosha” or “mask” of the Atma (mentioned in Shankara's “Atmabodha” or “Science of the Self”) acts as a link between the Gross and the Subtle Realms and –in that sense- also be part of the Subtle Realm which displays two other “koshas,” one for the Lower Mind (the Manamaya Kosha, processing emotions and either-or conceptual contrasts invested with emotion and corresponding in theosophical Western occultism to the “Astral Body”) and one for a deeper, more abstract intellect (the Vijnanamaya Kosha, corresponding in Western Occultism to the “Mental Body”).
However, we must not confuse “Shariras” or “bodies” with “koshas.” “Koshas” seem to be like the specific “filters” or specialized “interpretation veneers” covering the main bodies or vehicles suited for each of the three major realms. These koshas seem to filter experience to the inner soul or “Atma” which, in essence, is considered to be the Universal Soul (or Brahman). In Sanskrit, the proper term for “body” or, rather, “perishable body” is “Sharira” (and the three main bodies corresponding to the Gross, Subtle and Causal realms would be the “Sthula Sharira,” the “Sukshma Sharira” and the “Karana Sharira,” respectively. “Sthula” means “gross,” “sukshma” means “subtle” and “karana” means “causal”. These shariras, in turn, would manifest different “masks” or “koshas,” giving the Atma (or, rather the “Jivatma” or Atma with a sense of individual self) specifically related experiences in the three realms of appearance or Maya. Again, the (sometimes considered physical and sometimes considered subtle) intermediate “Pranayama Kosha” would be a medium or intermediate link between the gross, outwardly-focused, physical body (the Sthula Sharira) and the, mind-focused, subtle body (the Sukshma Sharira). The “Pranamaya Kosha” or vital sheath would also transmit physical sensations to the Subtle Body for the individual to feel them as subjective, first-person experiencers. I think that this may occur because the individual's interior, creative, conscious force is partially diverted into the Maya of exteriority through his (also non-ultimately Real) bodies and koshas. This would also mean that the five kinds of “prana” used by this sheath (prana, apana, samana, vyana, udana) would also transmit or, rather, be invested with experiential qualities of consciousness, themselves derived from deeper patterns and principles. Now, regarding the first or most subtle body (the Karana Sharira or “Causal Body”), I think that it would be primarily modified, not by physical or by mental causes, but by spiritual ones. Finally, I would add that, as an ontological principle, the essential source of each Sharira's apparent being originates in a direction flowing from “higher” (or less exterior-displaying and more spiritually real) realms into “lower” (or more exterior-displaying and less spiritually real) realms, from the dualist experiential perspective, all realms interpenetrate and dynamically interact.
Just for completion's sake I'll try to round up the Vedic picture with what may be a rather baroque discussion about the lokas. This is something which may not be as important for us outside of the fundamental ontological principles and main patterns that would relate them. Please keep in mind that, in India, other important cosmological models (like the ones in Kashmir Saivism, Jainism and Radhasoami) that do not coincide well with the Vedic (and, especially, Vaisnava models) also arose. Nonetheless, in the important and widespread Gayatri Mantra (found in the Rig Veda) which simultaneously is mantra, praise and prayer (and is accepted by a variety of Vedic Indian religions and sects) the words “Bhu,” “Bhuvar” and “Svar” call for the seed powers (for earth, sky and heaven) presiding over the three main realms which, in turn, are generally taken to correspond with what is also known as the Gross, the Subtle and the Causal realms. Gayatri Devi is known as a manifestation of Saraswati, consort of Brahma (God's creator aspect), giver of the Vedas, and a manifestation of Shakti with the qualities of knowledge, purity and virtue. She is also considered protector of the five pranas and the five elements. The last part of Gayatri Mantra also invokes the assistance of “Surya” or the “Solar Principle” to lead in the three realms where Maya acts.
I think that the three worlds referred to by “Bhu,” Bhuvar” and “Svar” cannot represent all the worlds of form listed as ontologically previous to pure, non-dual Being because, beyond “Svar Loka,” (and pointing towards greater exterior refinement and interior divinity) four other lokas are normally listed. Thus, perhaps “Bhu” “Bhuvar” and “Svar” also represent three principles but actually correspond to the Gross and Subtle realms. So, I think that “Bhu” also represents Exterior Existence, something related to the material “Bhukasha” and to Saguna Brahman's (God with qualities) “Sat.” Then, perhaps “Bhuvar” represents modifiable Interior Consciousness “Chit,” an intelligence which subtly permeating all form just as its exterior correlate “Chittakasha” does in a way similar to the invisible but, nonetheless, perceivable air of the sky. Finally, perhaps “Svar” represents the Heavenly Joy or “Ananda,” intrinsic to all of Creation but which nonetheless, remains free, something akin to the condition by which the “Chidakasha” giving rise to the Causal Realm is supposed to be modified only by spiritual causes. In other words, it may represent an “Ananda” joyful condition in the Subtle Realm.
Besides the previous metaphysical considerations, “Svar Loka” itself is known as the abode, not of completely self-realized deities, but of the “semi-deities” or “demi-gods” who by adequately serving even more highly evolved deities situated in higher lokas (along with the world of humans and lower creation in general), may evolve into those higher lokas or continue to temporarily enjoy the great heavenly freedoms and comforts of their own loka. Nevertheless, since they are not totally liberated from Maya, if they refuse to serve, or if they conduct themselves inimically to human beings for example, they may devolve into lower levels. To me, this means that “Svar Loka” would not be part of the Causal Realm which, according to Wilber (who is probably more influenced by Mahayana Buddhism and by a deconstructive postmodern ethos in this respect) is mostly empty and formless (Wilber, ). This world would probably be 'located' in what theosophy calls the “Devachan,” higher 'Mental' world of the Subtle Realm.
If there also were a “low” and a “high” Causal Realm, I would be inclined to think that the “lower” one might -at least partially- coincide with some of the most sublime lokas of the fourteen basic ones described in some Vedic sources. Maybe I shouldn't add debatable complexity here but, according to the Srimad Bhagavatam (a Vaisnava text), the Earth with its physical humans is said to correspond only to the “Bhuloka.” It is mind-blowing to think that all the physical universes considered by modern cosmology as possible in the so-called “Multiverse” would simply exist within the “Bhuloka.” According to the Bhagavatham, there are six more lokas or kinds of worlds ontologically located above Bhuloka but this list doesn't necessarily coincide with non- Vishnuist traditions. These other worlds are: Bhuvarloka (generally known as “Astral”), the Svarloka (of demi-gods), Maharloka, Janaloka, Tapoloka and Satyaloka or Brahmaloka. Each subsequent loka is considered to be more rewarding and more refined while also related to a slower passage of Time. Since a total of 14 created worlds are listed, there are seven others (sometimes called “lokas” but more usually called “patalas”) thought to exist under Bhuloka, including hellish places. I don't know if the exteriors of these seven lower worlds would be denser or not in a Subtle Realm sense.
If these 14 lokas do exist, some of the higher ones would correspond to the higher Subtle Realm regions and even perhaps some to the Causal. I don't know. On the other hand, according to some seers, the Higher Causal would be a realm of pure formless awareness and of the faintest exteriorized 'seed' elements, qualities and principles from which the rest of Creation proceeds. If there's any degree of duality, a minimal degree of quadratic expression should exist. According to Vaisnava Indian traditions (still taking them for reference without being certain of their precision), at some point there would be the rule of a first created being which would also be creatively and hierarchically in charge of everything under him. Some traditions call this being 'Brahma', but 'Brahma' and the entire Causal Realm (containing the three “Gunas” or primary qualities that function as “seeds” which generate the Subtle and Gross worlds) would –in turn- be emanations of lord Maha Vishnu who, resting in the company of his consort Maha Shakti within the world of “Vaikhunta” His own Absolute Realm (supposedly located beyond the dualist “Triloka” system) is said to dream and to breath in and out countless universes with its lokas, beings and all. Moreover, if I interpret the Gaudiya Dvaita branch of Vishnuism of the popular 'Hare Krishna' (ISKCON) religious movement well, Lord Krishna (as the Supreme Personality of God) is said to rule everything from His own realm in “Goloka” or “Vrindavana,” the highest level of Vaikhunta.
Integrating the Great Chain through the “Gunas”
After reading “Science of Soul” and “Subtle Anatomy” by Shri Yogacharya Ajita (Philippe Barbier), I've incorporated the concept that each main body or Sharira may have two koshas, expressions or levels derived from opposing modes of being. Then, in addition to this, I posit that the balance mode of being (Sattva Guna) between the opposing modes of being acts as a barrier and membrane within and between the three main realms. Let me explain: Considering the three main “GUNAS” posited in Samkhya philosophy, the Mahabharata, and the Srimad Bhagavatham (the inertial 'Tamas Guna', the expansive 'Rajas Guna' and the 'pure' or balanced 'Sattva Guna'); also, considering that these three essential modes are supposedly embedded in all of creation-manifestation which, nonetheless, first manifest in the Causal (or 'seed') Realm, which coalesces as or into the Subtle Realm and, then, as or into the Gross Realm, there may be a consistent, overall pattern of 'lower' and 'higher' complementary aspects for each realms, and for each SHARIRA (or perishable vehicle of the Atma-universal Soul).
Because of possessing exteriority, the shariras or body/vehicles of the Atma should be expressions of the third person, 'it' aspect of the Maha Trinity. Nevertheless, this third person which forms exteriorities may itself respond to the three modes of being or 'Gunas' and, thus, there may naturally be two KOSHAS (or experiential-interpretive 'masks' of the Atma) for each SHARIRA. One 'Kosha' would be related to the more inert, 'Tamasic' mode of being and, the other to the more expansive, 'Rajasic' mode of being. Furthermore, the remaining, balanced or 'Sattvic' mode of being may so perfectly combine the other two that –for all intense and purposes- may be experienced as neutral and, in a sense, (from the perspective of the parts-holonic aspect of each realm) only allow for a highly chaotic, random, highly entropic, 'zero-point', interactive barrier between the Tamasic and Rajasic expressions and their corresponding aspects in each realm. Again, this 'Sattvic Barrier' -so to speak- would form natural subdivisions between the part-like (Tamasic) and the whole-like (Rajasic) holonic aspects in each realm. Like cellular membranes, these divisions would be sufficiently permeable but also naturally separate the continuity of the Great Chain of Being while manifesting as highly entropic, creativity-allowing, indeterminate chaotic regions. In the 'barrier' (or membrane) within the Gross Realm, both forward-in-time and backward-in-time influences would converge and, interestingly, –according to (now deceased) French theoretical physicist Costa de Beauregard, this time convergence (allowed by the relativistically-invariant and realistic Klein-Gordon solution to Schrödinger's Wave Equation) would be the origin of non-local 'entanglement'.
It is difficult for me to determine how what I suggest may be the 'wholistic' aspect of the Physical Realm would relate with the time-backward aspect of the Klein-Gordon Equation. Perhaps (in relation to Costa de Beauregard's suggestion) non-locality occurs at the intersection of a time-backwards, supportive 'Ether' with a time-forwards supportive 'Ether'? In fact, perhaps the 'Ether' is a universal 'space-forming' substance that (in relation to each of the three main realms) not only responds to external, mental and spiritual causes but that -in relation to the Physical Realm- forms a time-forward space, a time-backward space and an intersecting, non-local, timeless 'space'. Thus, would the 'Ether' correspond to the expansive, Rajasic mode of being or to the balanced, Sattvic mode of being? Is there a specific 'Ether' operating under each mode? At this point in the inquiry I'm struggling seeking to be consistent with the overall ideas.
When in esoteric, theosophical literature we read of the 'Ether' as separating and/or connecting the Physical Realm with the Subtle Realm, are we reading about the 'higher' (rajasic), the 'lower' (tamasic) or the neutral (sattvic) 'Ether'? I think that the separating and/or connecting 'Ether' would not be the lower (tamasic) one nor its corresponding space which would contain classic particles, fields, objects and forces. Since anything other of the physical pace as we know it may seem to us to be the one and only 'Ether' that distinction is sometimes given to what I think is a balanced or 'Sattvic' state of the physical 'Akasha' or 'Ether', to the so-called 'quantum vacuum' normally understood as manifesting a chaotic 'sea' o virtual particles coming in and out of existence. Moreover, occasionally the distinction is also given to an even 'higher', physical precursor kind of 'Ether' which would be the matrix from which the geometry of classic spacetime and its main physical characteristics emerge. I think that this latter 'Ether' and its non-physical 'space' is the direct link itself and that it is intelligently programmed under the Subtle Realm's influence. I think that, while the quantum vacuum connects our classic, particulate space with the higher 'Ether' and 'precursor space' this higher 'Ether' and 'precursor space' is the link between the much larger and inclusive Subtle Realm and the physical universes it may generate.
There might be three kinds of Physical Realm 'ethers' forming three kinds of interactive spaces in response to a higher realm programming and to the three particular 'Gunas' or modes of being. The 'higher' physical 'Ether' (understood as a non-material, space-determining or precursor, sub-quantum, wholistic substance) would be an expression of the expansive 'Rajas Guna'. It would be a pre-geometric 'Ether', similar to Einstein's 'Gravitational Ether' and would be outside of space and time. It would have physical characteristics in the sense of providing the potentials that determine the structure of classic spacetime and of the magnitudes and ratios of the physical constants that will manifest in the classic spacetime manifested through the 'lower' Physical Realm 'Ether'. This 'higher', 'global' or more inclusive kind of 'non-physical Ether and space' may be intelligently regulated by rational or Interior-quadrant concepts and proportions established in the Subtle Realm. Its Akasha may be programmed as 'physical' but intimately connect and respond to the Subtle Realm.
Ontologically after the intelligently programming of the 'higher, non-physical Ether', particulate matter and a particular (and particulate), classical, physical space (or, rather, 'spacetime') would come into existence also under the influence of the expression-reducing or constricting mode of being called 'Tamas Guna'. Inertia would increase as the power of Interiority and Subjectivity is transferred to Exteriority. Then, a classic space (with mechanical qualities such as those we normally experience and in which classic physical forces manifest through the interaction of potentials (as fields) with particles possessing mass and charge) would come into existence. This particulate space and its objects would experience a Time-forward and entropic predominance when potentials are actualized in sequences of pansychically-apprehending present moments within a coherently organized particular timeline. On the other hand, 'Sattva Guna' (the balanced mode of being) would affect the Akasha (or universal substance behind all particular ethers) turning it into a necessary, but (in-itself invisible and perhaps undetectable), energy-neutral, infinitely-potent, chaos-displaying, 'barrier-membrane' between the contractive 'Tamasic' and the expansive 'Rajasic' aspects of the Physical Realm. This barrier-membrane might be understood as the quantum chaos/quantum vacuum/zero-point 'Ether' in which the Schrodinger wave aspects accompanying undetected (or 'non-collapsed') particles (and all of matter) combine with Time-forward and Time-backward quantum relativistic solutions.
The zero-point energies would also represent how we perceive the Sattvic Barrier-Membrane by instantly and non-locally connecting the Rajasic, wholistic, 'space' of pre-physical potentiality and simultaneity with the Tamasic, particulate, space of actual physical sequences. Through this Sattvic connection, the states of particulate, physical objects continuously maintain a non-local time and space connection with each other under the wave function probabilities which are allowed to maintain a coherent timeline of actually related physical objects. Moreover, being outside of linear space and time, their global, wholistic, Rajasic complement; the 'non-physical', 'higher Ether' and corresponding 'space', includes the possibility of Time-forward and Time-backward states as seen in the relativistic Schrödinger wave information aspect complementing physical particles and objects. These may represent other actual and real physical realities which, nonetheless, for all practical purposes remain in a state of potentiality unless filtered in or connected with through the neutral, Sattvic Barrier-Membrane.
Are there equivalents of the three gunas in electronics? Even if committing the 'sin' of excessive speculation, may I say that perhaps something equivalent may be occurring as, for instance, electric insulators and semiconductors exhibit a “band gap” located between the “conduction band” and the “valence band.” This “gap” represents how much energy is required by electrons to be able to break free from their atomic bonds and then circulate as a current. This “band gap” is also thought of as a “forbidden” energy level that electrons cannot occupy. In metals the “band gap” may not exist or the overlap of the conduction and valence bands may be too complete to notice it.
Another way to understand the “band gap” is as related to the “Fermi Level” or the potential energy of an electron inside a crystalline solid. The “Fermi Level” is found within the conduction band and the valence band, permitting charges to move on its surface without energy loss. It has recently been discovered that some materials (like bismuth telluride) have “3 dimensional topological insulators” (Science Daily, June 15, 2009) with which the electrons' spin align with the material through the “Quantum Spin Hall Effect” and (in combination with the 'magnetic moment') can flow without resistance or without heating the material.
Would it be valid to suggest that the conduction band is a material expression of the expanding, expressive 'Rajas Guna'; that the “valence band” is an expression of the restraining 'Tamas Guna' and that the “band gap” is an expression of 'Sattva Guna'?
More on the Ether, the Gunas and the Maha Trinity
Generally speaking, I think that the 'Akasha' (and all its kinds of 'ethers') is primarily an expression of the exteriors-generating aspect of the Source's Maha Trinity. This is the image of Self as non-self, the 'other', the 'Shakti', the Mother and matrix of matter. These are the 'energies of the 'Source', of 'God'. These 'energies' operate as Rajas, Tamas and Sattva 'gunas' and the latter 'guna' relates in perfect balance the opposing Tamasic and Rajasic modes turning the energies into the physically neutral connectors of the expansive and contractive space-definitions.
In the neutral, 'Sattvic Barrier-Membrane', great potential and actual energies in a random (and perhaps sometimes cohering) state may be observed (from the observational perspective of particulate detections). Furthermore, perhaps a greater degree of coherent interactions between the 'Rajasic' and 'Tamasic', Ether-Space complementary aspects of each realm may be induced when the 'higher' (or more inclusive realm) is ontologically and hierarchically able to inform and organize these interactions, creating greater degrees of symmetry between these two aspects and between their associated entropic and negentropic particulate (and also complementary) sub-spaces which I'm also positing.
Once again, I distinguish two particulate, lower Ether physical spacetimes. One of them is negentropic and possesses particles such as magnetic monopoles and, in this sense, is not the 'classic' spacetime normally experienced but, nonetheless, it neither is the 'higher' Ether, wholistic, space-formative, precursor aspect of the Physical Realm. The Sattvic barrier-membrane probably transmits the intention from the Subtle Realm by increasing the connection and symmetry between the particles in (Tiller's) “Reciprocal Space” and the particles in what he calls (regular) “Direct Space.” This is probably why 'intention-carrying subtle energies' (referring to Subtle Realm energies) are said (also by William A. Tiller, and, perhaps -in a different, but related manner- by physicist Claude Swanson) to be able to coherently imprint and organize interactions in ordinary physical reality.
I think that by increasing the symmetry between the entropic and negentropic sub-spaces, we would experience a more responsive and less inertial environment. As Professor Tiller suggests, the higher symmetry or fusion of spaces would be brought about by mind-responding Subtle Realm substance/particles that probably operate at sub-luminal and super-luminal velocities and be capable of relating R-space magnetic monopoles with D-space electric monopoles. Nevertheless, I think that this increase of symmetry would have to go first through reprogramming the wholistic, pre-geometric, 'higher' Ether aspect that should –in turn- coordinate the symmetrical relation between R-space and D-space. Then the quantum vacuum, 'Sattvic' barrier-membrane would allow the connection.
Again, the 'Sattva Guna' probably generates a barrier-membrane that separates a physically real, particulate, negentropic space from the physically real, particulate, entropic space we normally experience. Then, it also separates and connects these two complementary, particulate spaces from the higher pre-geometric, physical but non-mechanical and wholistic 'Ether'.
While the Third Person, 'it' energies of God (the energies also known as 'Shakti' and as the universally structuring 'Akasha') can be said to derive from the Feminine receptacle aspect of the primordial Masculine-Feminine (or Consciousness and Nature-as- Consciousness'-vehicle) split metaphysically generated during the Source's original Self-no Self distinction, these feminine energies (and the realm-specific ethers they correspond to) can also be said to acquire characteristics given by the three modes of being or 'gunas', (the Rajas Guna, Tamas Guna and Sattva Guna), respectively representing expansive freedom or Interiority, constrictive limitation or Exteriority and a pre-dual, relational unity.
Again, perhaps all forms of the feminine, all forms of 'Akasha', all forms of 'Ether', all of the energies in duality-generated Creation/Manifestation express under the influence of the three gunas. Also, perhaps the 'Sattva Guna' is a unique and universal metaphysical principle (the Non-Dual unity paired to the apparent distinction needed to create and differentiate)…the feminine side of the 'Son' or Second Person of the Maha Trinity. In terms of Plotinian hypostasis it would be ontologically previous to the 'Nous' of 'World Soul” which translated to the Christian Trinity would correspond to the 'Holy Spirit'. If so, the hidden, feminine, Non-Dual Unity accompanying the Logos would be previous to the 'Nous' which –in turn- may be understood as origin of the Source's objectifying energies, which I have also represented under the quadratic Third Person 'it'. In other words, the Feminine is the Non-Dual, relational unity even if it seems to become an expression of apparent separation.
Returning to how realms may relate, differentiate and be constructed, perhaps 'Sattva Guna' is the Source's principial factor behind the generation of 'barrier-membranes' which constructively express in creation/manifestation separating and associating parts and wholes. In other words, 'Sattva Guna' may be Non-Dual the factor that makes it possible for us to distinguish between parts and wholes or between holons as parts and holons as wholes in 'holarchies' or holon-structured, hierarchical organizations. Thus, by extension (when thinking of realms as vertically and holarchically differentiated holons), they may also function between realms and thinking in this way may assist us to develop more refined inter-realm understandings. I think that the concept of a perfectly balanced (and therefore, non containable)Tao is compatible with the idea of the 'Sattva Guna' which may also have a parallel in the idea of a 'frothy', chaotic, vacuum of spacetime containing potentialities and 'where' forward and backward running Time comes together in an instantaneous and non-local way. Again, this Guna would express by actively differentiating uniting parts and wholes between and within every holarchical level of being.
Perhaps this 'Sattva Guna' is an original expression of a state previous to duality. It is implied non duality and seems to be a third relational/differentiating element working along with the 'Tamas' and 'Rajas' gunas, functioning as an ingredient that brings unity to duality. We may say “the implied 3rd (Sattva) connects the 2 (Rajas and Tamas) as the 1 (Non-Duality).”
The non-containable unity of distinction between Interiors and Exteriors should also be defined by the workings of the 'Sattva Guna'. As the pre-differentiated unity between holonic Interiors and Exteriors and, perhaps, responds to consciousness and mind capable of it strides between the qualitative and the quantitative allowing the combinatorial properties and degrees of interaction among all Gross, Subtle and Causal components and among Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Akasha-determining causes. In other words, by responding to pre-differentiated, Pure Interiority the 'Sattva Guna' mode serves to program, regulate and define the characteristics of particular sub-realms within each main realm.
'Sattva' is a relational mode, relational, as the 'we' implied in the logoic, Second Person distinction 'you'. If 'I' am and 'you' are, then 'we' are. Nevertheless, this implied relation accompanies the Second Person, the 'Logos' (Second Person of the Maha Trinity) which distinguishes, differentiates and, therefore, can name. Perhaps, by saying that 'Sattva Guna' is 'implied' (or folded) within the Second Person, we may as well say that it pre-exists distinction, that it is a unity metaphysically prior to distinction, that it is the perfect unity prior to distinction in the Maha Trinity. On the other hand, 'Tamas' is a restrictive mode like a Third Person, objectifying 'it'. 'Tamas' is limiting of an otherwise absolute Interior freedom. Opposite to 'Tamas', 'Rajas' is an expansive, globalizing and liberating mode as the freedom which can only be found in the First Person within and outside of the (ultimately) apparent grasp of Exteriority. All expansive development, aims at this freedom: Even the growth of Exterior complexity in biological forms (Wilber, Excerpt C) can serve to incorporate the freedom of expressing more interior life. Again, “the implied 3rd (Sattva) connects the 2 (Rajas and Tamas) as the 1 (Non-Duality).”
Hierarchical Realm Patterns in Buddhism, the Jewish Kabbalah and Sufi Cosmologies
Different mystical religious traditions (do they include collective, shared method experimental disclosures?) basically coincide with the idea of a three-aspect, supra cosmic divinity giving existence to a three realm Cosmos which in my view actually reflects a basic perennial and INTEGRAL level finding about reality across cultures whether most people in that culture interpreted in a mythic mode or not.
According to Abhidamma texts in Buddhist cosmology (3rd century BC +) basically we have three main realms or Triloka: the Formless Realm (Arupyadhatu), the Form Realm (Rûpadhâtu) whose inhabitants have bodies but of a different nature invisible to the lower Desire Realm (Kâmadhâtu) inhabitants. Each realm has several subdivisions.
Under a good interpretation of Abhidamma, the first main realm can be called the “immaterial realm” the second “fine material” and the third the “sense plane.” See the following chart at: http://www.abhidhamma.com
Cabalist Judaism describes four “worlds” starting with “Atzilut” (the world of emanation) but conceivably because Atzilut is considered to be in perfect un union with God only the three others could be considered to truly be within the dualities of a multi-tiered, created cosmos corresponding to the Causal (or “seed”), Subtle, Gross realm divisions. The first of these three is “Beriah” (the world of creation); the second is “Yetsirah” (the world of formation);the third is “Asiyah” (the world of action). More information can be reached by reading The Zohar at The Kabbalah Center http://www.zohar.com
Jain cosmology mentions three realms: Urdhva Loka (including abodes of gods and heavens), Madhya Loka (abodes of humans, animals and plants) and Adho Loka (infernal abodes) (Paniker, 2000).
Sufi cosmology normally teaches that the created cosmos is three-tiered or of three realms. Each would be a reflection of the three supra cosmic modes of being: The unfathomable God essence or “Mystery of Mysteries” (Ghayb ul-Ghaib), the manifest Absolute or “First Intellect” (Aql-i-Awwal) and God's creative energies or the “Universal Soul” (Nafs-i-Kulliya).
Interestingly, we there's an equivalence with the Christian Trinity: The “Father” may be considered as an unfathomable Mystery of mysteries; the “Son” as the manifest absolute (as the Word) and as “First Intellect” or Logos; the “Holy Spirit” also both as the “Universal Soul” and as “God's creative energies” especially in Christian Orthodox theology and mysticism under the term “energeia.”
The three cosmic realms in Sufi cosmology (coinciding with previous schemes) are:
1) Alam-i-Jabarut (the world of power) also known as Alam-i-Arwah (the world of spirits). It would correspond with the Causal (“seed”) Realm of Vedanta and Western occultism.
2) Alam-i-Malakut (the world of angels) also known as Alam-i-Mithal (the world of similitudes). It would coincide with the Subtle Realm of Vedanta and Western occultism.
3) Alam-i-Nasut (the world of humanity) also known as Alam-i-Ajsam (the world of bodies). It would coincide with the Gross Physical Realm of Vedanta and Western occultism.
A good source for this information is Titus Burckhardt's Introduction to Sufi Doctrine and an interesting compendium can be found at: http://www.bahaistudies.net
Transducing, Storage and Releasing Etheric Connections in the Great Chain
As it was done in past, premodern worldviews, we can envision both continuity and discontinuity in the “Great Chain of Being” as each link is distinguishable and still seamlessly connected with the previous and subsequent in order not to allow for any absolute “gap” in existence. It seems that thermodynamically classic, potential energy states coincide and interact with non-classic, (R-Space?) complementary, potential energy states such as quantum electrodynamics' 'vector potentials'. There seem to be 'gap-related' processes that both separate potential states from actual states and convert one into the other. When there's a fundamental 'gap' between realms what is experienced as 'potential' in one realm may be experienced as 'actual' in another associated realm and vice-versa. In other words, the 'gap' separates and relates potentialities from actualities. Another intra-realm 'gap' (derived from similar metaphysical organizing principles) may also separate-relate the two main subdivisions in each realm: the part-like aspect and the whole-like aspect. This other 'gap' would also separate and relate potentialities from actualities.
In my (still embryonic) proposal, the substance forming the intermediate physical-Subtle “etheric” and the “Pranamaya Kosha” would be key to the interaction between the “lower” Subtle-Astral environment (which would correspond to Robert Monroe's region forming a near- duplicate of the physical environment) of discarnate entities remaining as ghosts (mostly confused humans attached to certain memories, emotions and physical environments) and the ordinarily perceived physical realm. This would be done by temporarily transducing/converting, storing and releasing a functional physical energy, the thermodynamic potential energy within the “enthalpy” or total thermodynamic energy of a system (including the internal energy and the energy required to displace molecules in a volume of space).
As per our example, this original energy state is related to the pre-interaction, more chaotic, (outwardly) entropic, and warmer air temperature often (subjectively perceived and objectively recorded) before physical interactions with discarnate, Subtle-Astral entities. The loss of disorder accompanying the lowering of temperature would signal the temporary borrowing of potentially useful energy that might be converted into actually useful energy by the negentropic, etheric, intermediate substance. This etheric substance's actual negentropic physical energy structure (actual in its own level and state but potentially related to our ordinarily perceived level and state) might operate as a transducer and temporary, useful energy storage device, borrowing the potentially useful thermodynamic entropic energy from the ordinary physical world and conveying it for causally effective, actual use to the discarnate entity's astral vehicle through the organizing, will-responding power of his or her astral substance.
Regarding this interactive process we must differentiate between the energy exchanges primordially based on entropy principles from how these exchanges might distinctively proceed in relation to the manifestation of accompanying particles. Unique particles (like magnetic monopoles predicted by quantum gravity, superstring and grand unified theories) manifesting in the 'etheric', R-space substance while also obeying these fundamental interacting principles might also be involved and, according to William A. Tiller (when a higher SU(2) gauge symmetry is obtained) also be able to couple more effectively with the more normal electric monopoles detectable in ordinary space (D-space). Magnetic monopoles are predicted to interact with quantized electric charges like those of free electrons because Dirac's relativistic equation suggests that these monopoles are quantized inversely proportional to electric charge.
If the discarnate entity has at its disposal an Subtle-Astral vehicle made with a substance which (also according to Professor Tiller) might be organized by intention-responding “deltrons.” These would be mind-responding particles capable of acting both in “D-Space” (at sub-luminal speeds) and in “R-Space” (at super luminal speeds), and there might be a way for the Astral-bound entity to combine both complementary spaces (the regular physical and the physical-etheric) and to increase what he calls its “Gauge Symmetry.” With this symmetry increase physical matter may become more permeable to Astral or astral body influences.
In relation to the Gross, Physical Realm, I think that a clear distinction must be made between the wholistic aspect of “space” and the kinds of interactions it allows (such as the activity of forces) with its corresponding partial aspect of bodies and particles possessing “mass.” The physical, 'wholistic space' aspect of the Gross Realm as a physical holon is probably related to concepts such as D. Bohm's “Quantum Potential” and to (classically non-physical but non-classically-speaking, probably physical) “scalar” and 'vector potential' influences. Perhaps these concepts also represent ways to describe properties of what has been called the “Ether,” a real physical substance that may actually exist (even if outside the sub-luminal, relativist “world line”). Maybe these concepts more accurately describe what could be called a space-forming, physical variety of “Akasha” having the property of primarily responding to physical causes after being programmed to do so by qualitative influences that only consciousness can recognize. But what separates these two complementary aspects? What separates (and relates) the wholistic-spatial and the partial-mass containing aspects of physical reality? According to Dirac's relativistic analysis on the relation between electrons and the vacuum, a gap of non-useful energies exists between particles and anti particles.
But what are the “gaps” between realms? I think that the principle that separates that which can potentially be from its actual existence (the appearance of being in motion) was intuitively recognized in ancient Greece under the idea of 'Chora' 'Chorismos' and 'Kaos'. After reading Salvador Paniker's Filosofia y Mistica: Una Interpretacion de los Griegos, I think that 'Chora' is something like the eternal receptacle that provides a 'space' to anything that gets to exist. 'Chorismos' is something like 'the fisure between that which is intelligible and that which is perceptible'. Finally, 'Kaos' (or 'Chaos' in English) is something like 'the great gap' and derives from the agricultural word for a 'groove' in the ground. 'Chaos' is also like a physical factor in the sense that what was indistinct becomes fragmented. Chaos, being the 'gap' that constitutes is also that through which, finiteness comes to exist. Perhaps Rabbi Yitzhak Luria's intuited Kabalistic revelation and concept called the “Tzimtzum” (or God-formed 'space' or 'emptiness' generated by purposefully retracting some of His radiant splendor so as to allow for relative, contingent beings to 'exist' as if they were independent of Him) is his version of 'Chora', 'Chorismos' and 'Kaos'. Siding up with Parmenides I would say that being in motion is an appearance and that being-as-itself remains the unaffected basis of that appearance; that what we call 'actuality' (from a relative and contingent experience and perspective) is an appearance generated within the 'Mind of God', the One, undivided Source of all apparently dynamic being, the Source expressing as if there were exteriorities and multiplicity; the Source which projects all three main realms and their sub-realms and universes after physically-effective, patterning metaphysical principles which derive from an apparent duality and from a pre-created Trinity sustained by His Will. Moreover, I think that only in God, Essence and Existence coincide and, thereof, Absolute Being and actuality also coincide. Thus, I think that, beyond duality, all is and is actual from God's perspective, although, as contingent beings, we may reverse-think of that which is in God as only being potentially existing.
After segments of humanity purposefully rebelled in the name of reason, freedom and convenience against blindly dogmatic political impositions of interpreted religious faiths and then after (even smaller) segments purposefully rebelled against the inadequate certainties on dualist, Aristotelian, Descartian, Baconian, instrumental reason and developed hierarchy-leveling postmodern ideas such as “the end of Man,” “the end of Reality,” “the end of History” “reality as a symbolic, consensual creation” and the “deconstruction of 'logoic' certainties,” something important remains. What remains is Non-Dual and both transcendentally closes the 'gap' and immanently represents it. What remains is the certainty of mystical, transmental intuitions unifying 'sensical' ways of thinking. These fundamental ways of thinking that are reasonable, 'make sense' and can be integrally unified are the “either-or/non-contradiction/excluded middle” logic; the “both-and/dialectical/participatory/polar-complementary” logic (of which “fuzzy logic” may be a subset) and the “neti-neti”/contingent-objects-are-empty” logic. All these ''logics'' thoroughly “make sense;” all are coherently reasonable ways of thinking and without an integral attitudinal openness, combining them may typically (perhaps not inevitably) seem incompatible. Nonetheless, by themselves -in exclusion of each other- they fall short and become 'nonsensical' or unreasonable. For instance, as Gödel demonstrated, the limits of the exclusive use of 'either-or' logic applied to arithmetic make proof through this discipline either incomplete or inconsistent. I would also say that dialectical, 'both-and' complementarity (and probably also the excessive prioritizing of Derrida's 'differance') requires an infinite set of (also complementary) contingent concepts to sustain the cognition of still more contingent concepts, as if existence were a self-sustaining, closed but –nevertheless- infinite contingent loop and/or system. Finally, the “neti-neti” logic makes 'sense' but ends the possibility of discursive knowing by showing that contingent objects cannot exist, explain or sustain themselves. In other words, it denies existence…the only existence that seemingly gave rise to the comparative questioning in the first place, unless… we posit a Non-Dual 'Ground' that can only be referred to metaphorically and –unfortunately- cannot be straightforwardly described with concepts, words or 'logics'...without being in a personal state of being which consciously communes with it. Interestingly, each kind of 'logic' seems to lead to practical applications in human life (for instance and, respectively, the manipulation of stable matter, harmony with nature and, the clearness, wisdom and humility that comes from unlearning attachment to partial truths); each seems to correlate with one of the three alleged main realms; each seems to correspond to a particular aspect of a universal Trinitarian Principle expressing itself through major aspects and INTEGRATIVE PATTERNS of creation/manifestation. Aren't there indeed integral connecting patterns?
What brings these three ''logics'' together? I think that these three main logic's shared sense-making is allowed by a unique factor that strides between the contingent and the absolute ways of intuiting meaning. It is a basic (often unidentified) recognition in all of these 'logics' which remains as a 'faceless' common substrate. I think that this is the reason why these 'logics' should also interpenetrate being differently explicated and recognized by different individuals and cultures. This common, unifying factor is the straightforward, uncomplicated recognition that that which is is and in this simple, obvious, seemingly redundant 'event' rests both the recognition of pure Being as it is and as a relative, semi-complete, questionable and comparable holon. This 'event', this recognition, is not a fruitless circular knowing. In essence, it doesn't require qualifications that establish it. It is the cognitive anchor of sense-making whether used to promote an ideology or to question it, whether to use mystically-intuited concepts expressed in relative words to question contingently-inspired object-concepts or to use contingently-inspired object-concepts to question mystically-intuited concepts expressed in relative words. This simple (perhaps even 'childish') recognition of Being remains (whether explicitly recognized and accompanied by words or not) and I think that (as a practical result in the worlds of existence as appearance) it is expressed as the physical-metaphysical 'gap' separating realms. Thus, the 'gap' has to appear as both contingent and as non-contingent, just as how the 'mysterious' (perhaps infinitely potent and potential), chaotic-but-structured, 'vacuum of space', the wholistic aspect of the Physical Realm and/or “Ether” seems to be from our ordinary, partial/discreet, Physical Realm perspective.
Now, we are probing upon a level of physics that interphases with metaphysics and with some of the finest findings of Integral Theory. After reading P. Barbier's Science of Soul and taking into consideration the so-called “Gunas” (or essential modes of being) of Indian philosophy, I think that this “gap” with physical consequences can also be thought of as a “Satvic Gap,” as a permeable “Satvic Barrier” or 'space' in which the partial (tamasic-restrictive) and the wholistic (rajasic-expansive) aspects of each realm come into such a balance that neutrality ensues. From either side, the gap would be experienced as a chaotic producer of virtual particles but greater symmetry between the partial and the wholistic aspects (what William A. Tiller would probably call “D-space” and “R-space”) could be induced by forces from the next, more inclusive Subtle Realm. There might also be “gaps” between the main realms related by the connection between the “highest” and the “lowest” aspects of each. Thus, between the wholistic, R-space, rajasic-expansive, “Etheric,” aspect of the Gross Physical Realm and the partial, (D-space-corresponding), tamasic-constrictive aspect of the Subtle Realm (besides of how many in-phase vibratory realities it-s substance may manifest responding to conscious and subconscious thought) there may be another kind of “gap.” In fact, by considering Near Death Experience reports, I suggest that another kind of “Satvic Gap” may be experienced as the beautifully accepting and non-blinding, balanced, nourishing, wise and loving “Light” experienced when “crossing over” (usually through a tunnel) to the “other side” (which would be the Subtle Realm properly isolated from regular physical experience).
While (reflecting the tamasic-holonic mode of being) in the more ordinarily perceived space of our local and subluminal experiences (Tiller's “D-space” which I think applies to holons as separate objects), magnetic poles only come in inseparable and perfectly symmetrical pairs because their vector potentials create “A” fields that only converge as they circulate and curl into close loops. On the other hand, their rajasic-holonic, R-space, wholistic, magnetic monopole counterparts are allowed to exist both as diverging and as converging in relation to the scalar representation of their vector potentials. This means that they not only exist in a reciprocal, complementary space but that they have a higher degree of freedom and are thus representatives of a higher but physically-interactive realm. Moreover, I think that, from this more inclusive state of being, magnetic monopoles and other plausible particles (acting at the level of quantum potentials) may be able to non-locally inter-phase with free electrons and perhaps with some quasi-particles, suggesting an incipient astral-etheric particle physics understanding of how discarnate (but Subtle-substance-embodied) entities may interact with Gross, physical matter and create physical effects.
The Dirac monopole and its infinitely extending “string” may have an effect on the wave function similar to the solenoid used in the Aharonov-Bohm Effect because its potential couples (outside of regular spacetime) with the complex phase of the particle's wave function. Thus, the phase shift is affected. Thus, magnetic monopoles may, for instance, be able to use a free electron's entropy and provide one of the plausible mechanisms through which an astral-bound entity may manifest in the physical realm.
After studying Dirac's quantum relativistic equation, Shrödinger predicted that free electrons would oscillate extremely fast and change velocities through the non-classical influences of interacting positive and negative energies. He called this movement “Zitterbewegung” (trembling motion) and it has been essentially verified in the laboratory. The existence of negative states of energy would correspond to the complementary 'etheric', wholistic R-space already referred to. The existence of this level of reality accompanying ordinary physical space and classical interactions has also been suggested by Faddeev and Popov who propose that “ghost fields” always accompany the “gauge fields” of quantum field theories. They posit that scalar ghost fields are mathematically useful to preserve unitarity. There's interesting information about these so-called 'non-physical' fields (which violate the spin-statistics relation) at: http://en.wikipedia.org
By having a clearer picture of the metaphysically-based, Subtle-Physical laws regulating the production and permeability of these “gaps” we may devise technologies that create states of physical matter which acquire more Subtle Realm-like properties.
Related to the idea that intention in the mind-responsive exterior substance of the Subtle Realm can influence physical matter is another dualist-interactionist proposal given by the late Nobel laureate, neurophysiologist Sir John Eccles, for whom an incarnate entity might use mental particles which he termed “psychons” and do so modifying quantum probabilities in the brain. “Psychons” would exist in a Mental World and I think that they would also serve discarnate entities when interacting with ordinary physical matter. In both cases some use of the “R-space,” “etheric” intermediary should be necessary.
The “Satvic Gap” would reflect both a perfect symmetry in which no activity can occur and an ontological asymmetry through which activity can occur. The gap may take the form of a quantum potential that can be modified and generate different spatial conditions acting on physical matter. When we recognize that the vacuum is teeming with fleeting, “virtual” activity I think we are witnessing the symmetry and asymmetry from our partial perspective. Furthermore, I think that Lee's engineering of the vacuum ( ) is possible when a coherence from a higher ontological aspect is imposed on the appearance of the quantum potentials, making a higher degree of ontology or reality prevail over the neutrality of the gap. Aharonov and Bohm showed that a magnetic field can affect the quantum properties of electrons even in regions where the field vanishes. Along with physicist Thomas Bearden I would say that this effect shows that potentials are physically real and primary over fields. Furthermore, I would add that potentials exist in the interphase between the Satvic Gap and contiguous wholistic, “rajasic” aspect of physicality which, like the mind, is non-local and like the Subtle Realm.
I think that (since its exteriors would be less probabilistically defined) the Astral Realm may also exist as future probabilities in relation to the classic, physical realm. By an effort of will or by an emotionally charged intention these Astral particles would be capable of modifying the discharge probabilities of particles existing as undefined quantum states in the brain. The astral particles would correspond to a physical location in the future and operate retrocausally.
The astral-bound entity might be capable of connecting the energies from normal physical space and substance with the energies of its complementary etheric, R-space and substance (the negentropic substance) and, by modifying the latter, causally affect the former. In that case, the entity (even without knowing how the process works) might also be able to “coat” its astral vehicle or substance with a mixture of entropic and negentropic physical energies, thus becoming temporarily capable of interacting with regular physical matter under his direction. It would be like adding a “pseudo kosha” or “pseudo mask” to his Subtle Body (or Sukshma Sharira). Chaotic or less determined, regular physical objects or energies might be affected or moved and through a “scalar” or 'etheric' substance-related, complementary aspect of electromagnetism (considered in Maxwell's original equations and revealed by physicist Lt. Col. Thomas E. Bearden), spirit voices and anomalous field detections might be allowed.
Professor Tiller suggests that magnetic monopoles might occupy at least part of “R-Space” and be superluminally connected. About this issue I wonder how this kind of wholistic superluminal connection might affect the specific quanta of energy allowed in our particular and regular “D-space” and -in relation to these quanta- behave as wholes would to parts. Perhaps, from the perspective of our specific, actual and entropy-connected, causally linked physical reality, the quantum states of unobserved particles could be simply understood as mathematical probabilities allowed in relation to these specific quanta. Nevertheless, in relation to all possibilities, (and taking Schrodinger's evolving wave function as describing physically real things), the actual rather than the potential (or probabilistic) existence of other universes would have to be considered. Thus, in some ways, both the Copenhagen-probabilistic and the Many Worlds-realistic interpretations of Quantum Theory could be valid if understood from perspective-complementary ways. Moreover, the relation seen in the etheric R-space and the substance representing the higher physical-wholistic connection mediating between specific ordinary physical D-space substance and its associated higher (in this case “astral”) realm might be a pattern that repeats itself across the Great Chain of Being of interconnected realms. Something similar to the etheric R-space would exist between the Subtle astral and a significantly distinct higher realm.
If we think in terms of Holons (as subjacent, organizing structures simultaneously made of parts and wholes), the ordinary Gross Physical World normally detected by our senses (associated with overall entropy progressing with forward moving time progression) would correspond to the parts-Holon aspect of the Gross Physical World. The etheric, complementary aspect that displays instant, coherent or global, negentropic organization would correspond to the whole-Holon aspect of the Gross Physical World. Simultaneously, this whole-Holon aspect might correspond to the parts-Holon aspect of the next more inclusive realm (the realm I've been referring to as the “Astral” Realm). This “Astral Realm” would be lower degree of a Subtle Realm consisting of a lower and a higher degree (represented by the lower and higher koshas of this realm: The Manomaya Kosha and the Vijnanamaya Kosha); in other words, a more emotionally-based level and a more intellectually or discriminatory-based level.
Since “frequency” has been highly associated with the Subtle Astral Realm, and, since the so-called, “Etheric” might be a part of this realm, this idea might support the fact that Professor Tiller conceives of the latter as a “frequency domain.” As the Gross Physical Realm might have a parts aspect and a whole aspect, the Subtle Astral Realm and all other subsequent realms also might. The same pattern might continue for every realm that arises within duality, with quadrants and holon functioning.
As loci of individual, (ultimately indivisible) consciousness, not only in possession of free will but also of Causal, Subtle, Gross-Wholistic and Gross-Particulate vehicles of Consciousness, a greater awareness and a more refined, integral embrace with deeper aspects of ourselves and of their corresponding realms in the Cosmos, might first depend on how we learn to combine (cognitively, emotionally and physiologically) the Etheric-wholistic aspect and the physical-particulate aspect. If the former aspect operates superluminally and negentropically, time-wise it may “run” backwards, linking us with (as can be metaphysically expected) the possibilities offered by the Astral and higher realms. In fact (while 'in phase' with the Physical World), the Etheric, wholistic aspect of our Physical Vehicle may be our natural link with all other higher realms and I think that whole brain coherence (displaying greater degrees of coordination or order among inhomogeneous parts of the brain) is correlated with a greater degree of connectivity with this natural, also negentropic link.
Whole brain coherence is associated with mystical experiences, a sense of meaning, reward and peace. It is associated with less violence and with a greater natural awareness of higher realms of being. In fact, long-time transcendental meditator and physicist John Hagelin has presented evidence in favor of these assertions (Hagelin, ).
The simultaneity of whole brain coherence reminds me of Bose-Einstein condensates in which particles behave as one entity, sharing a quantum state. It also reminds me of how Tiller's “R-space” (which I have been simply calling the “Etheric”) might behave. There must be a connection between physical coherence and connection with other realms. This would also imply that whole brain coherence would be a way to experience physical embodiment in a fuller, more conscious way, comfortably allowing both retrocausal and time-forward causal influences to converge in our experiential (fleetingly 'present') moments. If we experienced a greater sense of calm and safety by doing this it might also be due to the fact that we would also become more receptive and aware of life-organizing, life-assisting negentropic energy, its information and influences. With greater brain coherence, we wouldn't feel as much the sense of separation experienced in a world dominated by regular life-challenging entropy. I think that issues like these could be germane to expand the practical and theoretical scope of Integral Theory, even in relation with the inter-realm function of holons.
In 2011, Daryl J. Bem PhD, a psychology professor and physicist from Cornell University published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology “Feeling the Future: Experimental Evidence for Anomalous Retroactive Influences on Cognition and Affect.” The article can also be retrieved from professor Bem's web page at: http://dbem.ws/. This work adds another interesting chapter to the history of serious work on precognition and presentiment which has also been advanced by the meticulous research of physicist D.J. Bierman PhD, a professor from the University of Amsterdam and of electrical engineer and psychologist Dean Radin PhD, now working at IONS (the Institute of Noetic Sciences).
Further Scientific Considerations
Now, as stated by many alleged astral travelers (like William Buhlman, author of How to Have an Out Body Experience), a key characteristic of the astral substance is that it responds to intention much more readily than regular physical substance. Whatever the other characteristics of a higher astral “dimension” are (besides being often mathematically related to spatial concepts), they would also be associated with an increase in “initia” as opposed to “inertia.” Externally perceived things or objects would intrinsically respond more as in agreement with interiorities. Thus, greater degrees of freedom associated with an ontologically higher realm wouldn't only be related to the possibility of more geometrical rotations as when we use spatial examples. Simply speaking, the word “dimension” when referring to defining aspects of higher or more inclusive realms would have to be replaced or improved. Furthermore, using Integral Theory related concepts, I would say that the intensity of manifestation of Interior quadratic aspects would be greater than what is normally found in the “Gross” or physical realm. Furthermore, each subsequent higher realm beyond that of the ghostly discarnate's would theoretically exhibit progressively greater intensities of Interiority and lesser intensities of Exteriority. Getting closer to the Spiritual Pole of the Source of cosmic manifestation (as understood within duality) would show that only Interiority increases and that is ontologically more actual and closer to non dual Reality.
Anyhow (returning to our attempt to reveal part of the “mechanism”), an astral entity (ultimately, an individual locus of consciousness possessing will) would be able to use (via his astral substance) his superluminal and subluminal active “deltrons” which, responding to his intentions, could cause modifications in the hypothesized intermediate, negentropic, R-space, Etheric substance not only by acting as a whole from the next higher (realm) level would on a (lower realm) part but by increasing its connection (or as Professor Tiller might say, its “gauge symmetry”) with ordinary physical substance5.
In relation to this discussion, we must understand that the aforementioned understanding of the “Etheric” may not precisely correspond to the mostly discarded XIX Century search for a “luminiferous ether.” Nowadays we would probably need to include concepts referred to in previous paragraphs but also other scientifically related findings and concepts such as de Broglie's “Pilot Waves,” and physically determining and, perhaps, modifiable “vacuum energy.” Furthermore, we would need to ideas and findings such as super symmetric “sparticles,” “hidden (determinist) variables” connected with a physically effective “quantum potential,” holographically infolded “implicate orders,” muon neutrinos seemingly traveling faster than light by tunneling through a fourth spatial dimension, an 11-dimensional “bulk” or the 'space' between “branes” (membranes), a plausible anthropic or biological mechanism leading to the selection of “false vacua” capable of generating life-friendly universes. We would need to think about partly experimentally verified “subtle retrocausal effects” and “advanced wave influences” allowed by certain solutions to quantum theory already boldly explored by first rate physicists like John C. Cramer, Yakir Aharonov, David Bohm, Paul Dirac, Richard Feynman, John Wheeler and Seth Lloyd. A well presented and quite readable exposé of the last two concepts is found in the works of Dr. Antonella Vannini and in her study of the physics and biology interfacing concept of “Syntropy” (Vannini, 2009). To these gradually more orthodoxly acceptable ideas, I would also add Russian research on the spacetime- structuring, pre-quantum “torsion” radiation fields discovered by Russian astrophysicist Nicolai A. Kozyrev and mentioned in the “Synchronized Universe Model (SUM) of MIT physicist Claude Swanson PhD. The latter two, not only relate with retrocausal influences, but with subtle energies such as those demonstrated by “chi” masters in China..
What all of the previous ideas and findings would indicate is that the sensorially- supported “classical” concepts of “locality” and “reality” need serious re-visioning. Like quantum physics, “paranormal” inter-realm research also challenges classic concepts of “locality” and “reality” although following more accessible methods. Would it be necessary to generate extreme high energies as inside powerful particle accelerators in order to explore how the Subtle Realm might interact with Gross Physical Matter? It seems to me that, while both ways in this convergent discovery point to the existence and influence of “other realms.”
I suspect that institutional physics uses methods that connect particles with deeper levels of nature associated with highly coalesced, more stable, (or as Wilber would say, “Outside-Exterior”) quadratically situated energies and patterns. Conversely, “paranormal” research uses methods that connect more with less determined, but also deeper information-sensitive levels of nature that respond more to ontological principles. In my view, both of these approaches are complementary and both can relate with objective, scientific research, but the latter is more fundamental, even to generate the previously referred to coalesced, stable, “outside-exterior” aspects of nature.
The institutional (modestly inter-realm) “high energy” physics approach is a “hard” approach and requires intense exterior energies to find an association of particles situated in higher levels of symmetry. Even the (mathematically described) relations between these particles may also be well established or coalesced as representing stable, Outside-Exterior aspects. The need for high energies (in order to discover stable higher symmetrical and higher dimensional correlates) reinforces the sense of reality that Exterior quadrant-focused physicists seem to require. On the other hand, the “paranormal,” inter-realm (inter-realm welcoming) “soft” approach doesn't seem to depend so much on generating high energies because –while also dealing with some partially coalesced Exterior aspects- it relates more with the non-coalesced possibilities aspects of nature that respond more readily to inter-realm relational principles. The objective aspects of paranormal research perhaps relate more with Wilber's “Inside-Exterior” quadratic aspects.
*As a corollary I will say that the “soft” approach may be more sympathetic with the elucidation of metaphysical principles that could provide us with an even more complex or enhanced idea pertaining to the number of possible worlds or “lokas.” I mean that there also seems be many gradations of primarily Physical (or Gross-centered), primarily Subtle (or Subtle-centered) and primarily Causal (or Causal-centered) worlds generated from combinations of these three main ontological levels, themselves stemming from a trinity of essential principles. Moreover, I will say that downward causation as well as upward causation may be involved in the interaction between these realms as part of the process referred by Wilber when he wrote that “complexification of Gross form is the vehicle of manifestation for both subtler energies and greater consciousness” (Wilber, 2006, p.228).
Now, returning to the main discussion, the astral vehicle (under the influence of the discarnate's intention) may draw “Etheric,” R-space, physical negentropy onto itself, the useful excess potential energy of regular physical substance might be temporarily “borrowed” or extracted and a volume of standard physical space may become open to an astral influence capable of returning the energy debt by creating a detectable physical effect. The negentropic, Etheric, negentropic, R-space substance might temporarily convert and store the potentially useful energy extracted from a higher entropy state into a physical form the discarnate can use. The significant, “anomalous” temperature drop previously referred to may be associated with this exchange-generated “opening” and entropy decrease as -all of a sudden- there's a loss of potentially useful energy in a region of space. Interestingly, when “ghost hunters” and/or survival researchers feel that a discarnate being went through them, they often report a strange and usually debilitating “chill” even inside their own bodies. It is as if the ghostly entity had also extracted part of the researcher's active negentropic vital energy (more active even in a state of higher molecular temperature) while reducing his body's entropy (by a cooling effect) even if rendering it sluggish. It seems as if the person is depleted while in a state of lower, overall, molar entropy.
Once again, in order to provide to the discarnate's astral substance with a form of energy that can be informationally useful, physically organizing and objectively effective in the ordinary physical world, a corresponding loss of potentially useful energy previously stored in that world's ordinary physical substance (as evidenced in the higher temperature and chaotic entropy of the air before the interaction) seems to be necessary. The entity's higher degree of information organization in relation to his astral substance probably actualizes what from his perspective would be potentially useful physical energy for use by connecting it with its own realm level. The connection may operate via the physical person's Etheric body which would convert higher actual entropy containing potentially useful energy into higher realm lower astral entropy containing actually useful energy. Corresponding Etheric aspects of the physical environment may also serve the astral entity to incorporate physically useful energy.
Associated with a loss of actual entropy in regular physical substance, there's a loss of potentially useful physical energy (useful to produce physical work at the moment of being returned to the physical environment when the discarnate entity performs an objective manifestation). This potentially useful physical energy becomes actually useful or effective in relation to the astral entity's substance when the realm-intermediate negentropic, “Etheric” (but complementary physical) substance has actualized (in its negentropic, complementary energetic structure) the transferred and potentially useful energies of regular physical substance. If Professor Tiller is correct, the astral entity's intention-responding “deltrons” would be able to combine regular D-space physical substance-energies with their complementary R-space, 'etheric' substance-energies by propitiating a higher symmetry state.
A higher symmetry could be coordinated from the astral state or level of higher order or smaller entropy. Incarnate entities (like us in the regular physical world) would also be able to do the same with a focused intention and using our astral body related “deltrons” but, perhaps, discarnate astral entities start with the advantage that their main realm is already quite responsive to intention and somewhat more capable of connecting with the R-space, negentropic, Etheric substance they might relate with as if it were part of their more inclusive level. For the discarnate astral entity this might be an acquisition of information-useful, regular, D-space physical energies incorporated to an Etheric substance he can interact with, thus forming a combined substance now more connected with his astral body; something like an amalgam situated in-between the astral, the Etheric and the regular physical. We could say that this astrally-combined Etheric and regular physical substance would be akin to the “ectoplasm” produced by genuine materialization mediums.
Another way of explaining this is to suggest that regular, information-useful physical energies are transferred to the ghost's astral vehicle via this vehicle's capacity to combine intermediate, negentropic, “Etheric” energies with regular physical energies. Entropy decreases in the regular physical world but its potential negentropy is transferred because the potentially useful energy which the discarnate may use has been transferred. This creates an entropy-debt in a region of regular physical space, a region where the discarnate may manifest at will as it “discharges” “returns” or “repays” the borrowed energy at the detection and experience-based moment associated with a regular physical effect. Moreover, I think that this detection and experience-based moment is an actualizing moment akin to when a quantum mechanical observation turns (what from an actual physical perspective seem like) probabilities into actualities. The concept of repaying borrowed energy might relate with the quantum physical understanding that macro-scale quantum effects would be possible if energy were borrowed from and later re-paid to the vacuum. Moreover, the very existence of this vacuum of enormous potential energy that can be temporarily actualized in order to create physical effects is related to entropy in the form of an inherent indeterminacy of information always latent behind what we call “objective” phenomena.
The indeterminacy allows all other forms of information-coherent objects connected to the vacuum to manifest through any number of possible specifiable energy patterns potentially contained in the vacuum. This vacuum and its indeterminacy is the portal to other (related) objective phenomena that transcend the partial aspects of physical reality which are normally accessed or detected, experienced and collectively shared. In fact, I think that the “Eye of the Flesh,” “Eye of the Mind” and “Eye of the Spirit” are terms that apply to our ability to privately and collectively disclose, “enact” (or actualize from a state of potentiality in relation to our ordinary, quantum-phase-shared physical experiences) entities which can be legitimately said to be independent, objective realities manifesting in any Gross, Subtle and Causal sub-realms. More clearly stated, each of these “eyes” applies to the enaction of objects in any of these realms. Moreover, even when (through forms of interaction) during this enacting interactive process there's interpretation that may color the disclosed object (and even retroactively influence the disclosed object itself), the independent existence of the object remains.
I think that –according to mediumnistic experience- when objectively verifiable “astral” entities primarily situated in the Subtle Realm are physically experienced they may also obtain what for them is potentially useful physical energy by means of the living, negentropic Etheric structures of human biological bodies. These structures might serve as means to transfer and store potentially useful physical energy from our physical bodies in addition to the potential energy aspects of the physical environment. If so, individuals may experience temporary exhaustion, depletion or fatigue and an increase of physical entropy.
When the discarnate employs the “borrowed” useful energies by producing physical effects in regular physical reality, he or she immediately loses these energies, needing to replenish them in order to manifest once again. So called “open doorways” or “portals” into “other dimensions” may be more or less stable processes that continuously facilitate the replenishment of useful physical energies to astral and (perhaps in some other cases) to entities from other realms including other physical sub-realms with different degrees of combined and interacting physical-subtle substance characteristics.
What Can Other “Dimensions” be Like?
Using string theories physicists currently find that other possible dimensions of our physical universe are understood as “spatial” and mostly as tiny, “curled” or “warped” so as to be normally invisible or undetectable. Perhaps what we would conceive and eventually indirectly detect as “spatial” is perceived differently from another realm. From a multi-realm, interactive perspective, I suspect that there might be other kinds of physical universes also possessing what we (from our current mathematical modeling) would once again (erroneously) understand as higher “spatial” dimensions but which may be metaphysically and physically structured so as to be more interactive with the Subtle and Causal realms. These other universes would be considered as “physical” if their Exteriors-forming element, their “Akasha” primarily responded to physical causes, rather than to mental or spiritual ones. They could also be understood as “parallel” if little interaction occurred between them, except when shared Subtle and Causal connections allowed it.
According to former MIT physicist Claude Swanson, PhD and his SUM (Synchronized Universe Model), subtle energies would increase the phase synchronization between parallel physical universes. He calls this “phase” a new “dimension” and I think that it is a good idea when considering the relation among parallel physical universes as the particles of every universe as such would form a (forward in time, backward in time and instant) coherent system only when in phase with each other. Nevertheless, what kind of “dimension” would be a physical factor that distinguishes between less Subtle and Causal interactive and more Subtle and Causal interactive physical universes be like? Then again, in relation to the Subtle and Causal worlds which seem to be experienced as extended (and even more so than our physical universe), what can we use as equivalents to spatial dimensions?
If quantum states described by Schrodinger's Wave Function must be considered as physically real and not simply as statistically relevant (as the November, 2011 foundational article and theorem pre-published online at Cornell University Library under the title “The Quantum State Cannot be Interpreted Statistically” by Matthew F. Pusey, Jonathan Barrett and Terry Rudolph shows) then Einstein's basic idea that there may be an underlying physical reality (the origin of 'hidden variable' theories) behind the statistical nature of quantum measurements may be correct. The recent faster-than-light neutrino experiment in which neutrinos were sent from a CERN facility in Switzerland into a lab in Italy and apparently arrived before they departed has been explained by some as indicative that this particle may have gone into a higher spacetime dimensional frame and then resurfaced in regular spacetime.
To such concepts I add the idea that other non-physical realms (other non-physical reality-experiential holon systems) interact with physical consequences which can be experienced and this would perhaps complement and not be in contradiction with Pussey, Barrett and Rudolph's theorem since (under a metaphysical interpretation which includes the concept of 'entropy') information and probability seem to be physically correlated with possibilities offered by metaphysics beyond the understanding that only other physical universes may exist or serve to represent quantum states. If quantum state probabilities can be seen as realities and realities as quantum state probabilities, perhaps instead of only positing an infinite number of physical universes where unmeasured quantum states objectively manifest, we should also consider that quantum states also interact with what -from our physical perspective- would be corresponding Subtle and Causal Realm probabilities connected through shared metaphysical principles with physical consequences. Moreover, different kinds of (perhaps of more and less 'dense' more or less 'inertial', more or less 'entropic') physical universes exist by interacting more or less intensely with Exterior-quadrants-characteristics-defining Subtle and Causal Realm probabilities.
Matter Acquiring New Characteristics
Ordinary matter seems to acquire new characteristics when functioning in greater rapport with other realms. When R-space becomes more connected with D-space (when ordinary matter becomes more related with its “Etheric” counterpart), the whole physical system not only responds to a higher symmetry but (according to experiments conducted by Professor Tiller and others), can be programmed by a focused mental intention so that particular physical processes taking place within the modified, compounded physical space can be customized. Tiller uses a simple electronic device called “Intention Imprinting Device” through which he appears to have potentiated these changes in which it seems that physical environments become more responsive to mental intention transmitted through what could be called “astral-realm” intention-carrying particles. These are ongoing experiments that need to be replicated but one of their interesting characteristics is that they seem to require a low energy, soft approach, unlike typical high energy physics conducted in laboratories with particle 'smashers'.
The best verified UFO cases which may represent genuine extraterrestrial and/or interdimensional (inter-realm using) vehicles seem to consistently challenge Newton's laws of motion, not in the realm of microphysics as in quantum mechanical laboratories around the globe, but with macro-scale objects. For example, they appear to hover without an exhaust or propeller creating action and reaction. They also seem to be oblivious to high speed sharp turns that, according to our understanding of “inertia” would smash alleged occupants against the interior walls. Even while visible, the state of matter the UFO is in seems to be (at least partially) partially or completely free from classic laws. They seem to activate forces of levity, to annul inertia and to acquire characteristics that do not correspond to ordinary physical matter. How do they do it?
As far as I know, fields can only generate forces to objects which possess mass, but the 4 main forces we come to terms with in standard physics do not annul gravity and inertia. Nevertheless, there may be a structuring level of space that is prior to, for instance, regular E and H fields. This could be the 'quantum potential' which has not been universally accepted as physically real and which may be able to generate forces unlike (and perhaps in contradiction of) the ones we are normally used to. I think that this 'vector potential' said to remain in the vacuum when electric and magnetic fields go to zero (as demonstrated by the Aharonov-Bohm Effect) is capable of manifesting as the negentropic energies of the Ether. What is normally 'potential', 'scalar' and a 'mathematical figure' becomes physically actual following physical and metaphysical rules of actualization of potentiality.
Besides UFOs we could say that poltergeist, psychokinetic and some genuine ghost phenomena also demonstrate similar effects. In all of these cases it would seem that the stable, “Outside-Exterior” aspects of physical matter, the aspects associated with D-space (and the coarser discreet parts of the “Sthula Sharira”) acquire subtler, mentally-responding qualities through which that which is less physical and non physical can manifest. I think that through the so called “Ether,” this is, through “R-space,” the denser, “parts” aspect of the Physical Realm as we know it can acquire Subtle Realm qualities. These denser parts may be reprogrammed with Subtle-Realm, patterns through its inevitable association with the Ether/R-space so that there may come a moment when the realms come in phase with each other.
I think that a proportional increase of the Ether's negentropy in relation to Outside/Exterior, discreet, D-space, physical matter makes the latter acquire mind-like-responsive, Subtle Realm characteristics. Furthermore, referring to Ken Wilber's more recent Integral Theory ideas, we could consider this 'Ether' as the Inside/Exterior aspect of the Gross, Physical Realm. What we also need to think about is how the insides and outsides of Exteriors may interact besides what we consider in the model as the simultaneous integral arising and correlations as part of co-arising quadrants.
The degree of intra-realm separation or distinction between the Ether, R-space, wholistic aspect and the coarse, particulate, D-space aspect probably assures what has been termed “density” in some esoteric venues. There may be different physical densities. Moreover, I think that different degrees of association quantum mechanically/discretely allowed between these two “spaces” may define various kinds of physical universes which may be tangentially connected by their shared vacuum energy and by being subsets of a more inclusive Subtle Realm.
Some Scientific Mysteries Analogous to Paranormal Mysteries
Time, Spaces, Higher Symmetry and Integral Theory
What happens when the lowest physical space increases its symmetry with the ether and –by extension- becomes more available to higher realms? The possibilities for the timeline open up as the probable future causes become more available in connection with past causes. Determinism and macro scale entropy decreases. The influence of the future (also appearing as negentropy) becomes stronger as specific future and past events (formerly connected through a more entropic, rigid or structured timeline) become less rigidly connected and probable future and past events more connected. Subtle future influences mentioned in John Cramer's Transactional Interpretation of Quantum Theory and in Yakir Aharonov's Time Symmetric Quantum Mechanics) interpretations become more causal as the future and the past (along with the subtler and the coarser realms) interpenetrate more externally and effectively with the higher symmetry. Tiller's “D-space (associated with part-like, subluminal, retarded wave connections) and “R-space” (associated with whole-like superluminal, advanced wave connections)” become more exteriorly interpenetrated (that is more interpenetrated in their exterior quadratic aspects) and all matter related with the combined state can be causally modified by the new higher symmetry that exteriorizes (or actualizes) greater possibilities.
When the exteriors of higher realms (also considering the Etheric as complementary to the lower physical but also as a “higher” realm more connected with the Astral) interpenetrate more with the exteriors of lower realms, the causal role Interiority can play in the lower realms increases. In other words, space (where Exteriority and objects manifest) becomes more mind-responsive. Also time's future and past become less rigidly closed to specific events and the future becomes more available. Moreover, since higher realms with their overall inclusivity of lower realms may provide to lower realms a downward causation of future possibilities, we could say that (ontologically-speaking) they are in the future. That said, the capacity to enact or actualize (through conscious interaction) a future possibility may also be greater when the symmetry and degree of interpenetrating exteriors is greater among higher and lower realms.
I am of the idea that –besides the quantum vacuum and its probable sublevels - the so- called “ether” can also be understood as a nexus between the Gross Physical and Subtle realms. I think that the stronger this nexus, the more we can observe non-physical, Subtle Realm effects in the concrete physical world. This nexus could increase when normally hidden or non-consciously experienced (as the back-in time aspect of probability wave functions) retrocausal influences combine and cancel out with the forward-in-time aspect of probability wave functions that we normally observe when we coalesce real, concrete, structured particles and systems in “space-time.” While by measuring-observing we bring actuality both to time-forward and to time backward wave function probabilities (derived from an essentially timeless and space less state of higher symmetry in an information-mental Subtle Realm in which Exteriors are co-causal with Interiors) we are normally aware of the entropy-increasing, time-forward results.
The degree of mutual cancellation of the lower symmetry of quantum-coinciding-but- experientially-diverging probability waves giving rise to the observed physical universe returns a portion of our classically experienced physical universe to its origin in an information, mind-based, Subtle Realm of no fundamental inertia, distance, time-restrictions and entropy affecting its Exteriors.
In order to experience greater degrees of physical freedom in terms of our relationship with objective Exteriors in our particular physical universe (a sub realm of the Physical Realm) we would need to be able to increase the degree of connection between our physical universe and the Subtle Realm.
There would be a stable average combination of conscious-causal and subconscious retrocausal influences in our local physical universe. It would be a type of broken symmetry generating “space-time” but actually stemming from a higher, unified type of symmetry transcending and including space-time. Manipulating different degrees of reconnections between the classical, entropy increasing, time-forward, concrete, (Subtle Realm-originating) physical influence we consciously experience and the entropy-decreasing, time-backwards (Subtle Realm-originating) physical influence subconsciously experienced (for the most part) would be possible, increasing the influence of intention in our physical experience.
According to Professor William Tiller, focused, meditative intention itself may bring a region of our physical environment into a more “coupled state” (Tiller, 2005) similar to what I'm mentioning. Some non-orthodox, alternative pertaining to contemporary advanced (even “UFO”) propulsion research (Solomon, 2013) also provides some ideas on the means to bring about similar effects through technology. Recently NASA made some progress on the possibility of creating a practical Alcubierre Drive without the need for an impossibly large amount of negative mass or energy by using the possibility of interacting with a higher dimensional space (Piacenza, 2014a) and (Piacenza, 2014b).
In my view an increased interaction with higher dimensional physical spaces with higher degrees of freedom would probably be accompanied by a greater degree of interaction between the Gross and Subtle realms and it would probably imply an increase in the levels of “initia” and “levity” over “inertia” and “gravity” in a modified region of space-time. It would also probably represent an increase in the degree of information which can be processed in that modified space-time accompanied by an expansion of that space-time which would become less dense. Moreover, perhaps the greater amount of information which could be processed would enhance the range of probability modifying perceptions during wave function collapse events. Also, future and the past information influences would become more pliable for conscious awareness to actualize potential states into concrete ones.
Intention and overall level of consciousness (i.e. “altitude” in AQAL terms) along with subconsciously held premises would rule how we experience (individually and collectively) the exteriors of the Subtle Realm without delay and distance. In the Physical Realm we need to interiorly struggle with Exterior, objective causes and theirs is a resistance or delay in manifesting exterior results through Interior intention alone. Exterior, objective causes prevail in much of our practical experience. However, in the Subtle Realm, Exteriors would be causally co-equal with Interiors and - to complete the idea – in the Causal Realm, Interiors would be causally dominant.
By coupling our Physical reality (in which past events form a system of stable “grooves,” “habits” or structures) a bit more with the Subtle Realm we would experience a greater degree of freedom based on time-backward, organizing, “Syntropic” probabilities becoming more noticeable.
In Inca or Quechua Andean terms the emerging “Uku Pacha” world would have more influence in our present world of experience (the “Kay Pacha”) to manifest more possibilities in a “Tinkuy” or relationship with us as co-creators and with the world of already given higher principles (“Hanan Pacha”). We would have more freedom to relate two elements of reality to generate a third in our present experience. The dynamical formation, association and preservation of holons in heterarchies and holarchies (under potential and actual states in both future and past influences) would be affected.
Three Sets of Metaphysical, Inter-Realm Elements
I have thought of three sets of metaphysical elements with consequences for the manifestation of quadratic exteriorities; elements that respond interactively and interconnect realms. Nonetheless, before going into more detail, I would like to state that I also think that all of the realms themselves may originate from three distinct and more fundamental manifestation modes of being (whether it's more appropriate to use the idea of 'manifestation' instead of 'creation' or both or neither is a theme that will be developed in another essay). Anyhow, what I'm calling 'three manifestation modes of being' refers to how Ultimate Being appears to himself under (the guise of) duality. These fundamental modes of being are broadly recognized in some traditional esoteric and popular wisdom mentioning that Man is constituted by the threefold aspects of a Physical Nature, a Mental Nature and a Spiritual Nature. This division also generally corresponds with a cosmological description in Vedanta philosophy. In a similar manner, all of Manifestation/Creation, all that is as duality/appearance, or for lack of a better word, the “Omniverse” (with all of its physical, psychic and spiritual “dimensions”) might be formed by all possible Physical Realms, all possible Subtle Realms and all possible Causal Realms. I think that the key to this complexity (which doesn't have to be complicated) is to assume that the exteriorities (or exterior quadrants) of the physical ones primarily obey physical causes; the exteriorities of the subtle ones primarily obey mental/psychic causes and; the exteriorities of the causal ones primarily obey spiritual causes. Also, the expected rational order of dependence of the relative upon the absolute (which in terms of realms refers to a more essential dependence of the less inclusive, more exterior-bound, less essentially 'actual' realms on more inclusive, less exterior-bound, more essentially 'actual' realms) would form another series of causes probably in a more intimate level of inter-realm connections. Definitely, the concept of 'cause' would need to expand.
Upon simplifying this scheme (and following some of Vedanta's basic cosmological ideas) we can say that there are three general “masks” of the Real Being, three kinds of manifestations/creations, three main “Shariras” (the Physical, the Subtle and the Causal). However, there's no reason why combinations of these three main “realms” (we could perhaps call them “meta realms”), each still primarily obeying physical, mental and spiritual causes, might not be possible. In fact, various spiritual and cosmological traditions (like Shabd Yoga, Kashmir Saivism, and Indian and Tibetan Tantra), some near-death experiencer accounts, some astral journey descriptions (Rick Stack, Robert Monroe), traditional mediumnistic and modern electronically-enhanced (ITC) spiritist research, some Sufi esoteric cosmologies, some modern Western esoteric 'schools' (Rosicrucian, Theosophical, Martinist, neo Cabbalist), some alleged extraterrestrial contactee descriptions, and even channeled material offering more coherence and complexity (like The Seth Material) refer to many more 'levels' of reality than the basic three. It's a matter of putting things in perspective: Three main realms may combine and generate multiple particular levels which are primarily 'tuned' with one of the three modes of Being when Being appears as if in dual form.
Now let's return to how would three sets of metaphysical inter-realm elements relate across realms.
The First set (taken from Integral Theory) is: The Quadratic “Corners of the Kosmos” or that which are the Interior, Exterior, Individual and Plural complementary poles can subdivide forming the basic ontological-epistemological framework, manifestation-expression spaces or “Dimensions” of all holons (as far as we can tell in our current state of understanding). The Second set: That which is relatively Actual (Energeia in Aristotle's terms) and that which is relatively Potential (Dunamis in Aristotle's terms). The Third set: That which is considered Ontologically Real and what is considered Ontologically Apparent.
I think that the metaphysical and physical dynamics of inter-realm exchanges are (at least partially) dependent on the three metaphysical sets listed above. Let me explain:
According to Integral Theory, the Interior-Exterior-Individual-Plural are the four characteristics by which holons and all describable things or phenomena manifest. I think that these characteristics can be experienced or observed and inductively recognized as recurrent patterns or deduced from the logic of possibilities relating complementary poles. Anyhow, these characteristics combine to produce a second degree of holonic expressions which are the Individual-Exterior, the Individual Interior, the Plural-Interior, and the Plural-Exterior. In my view, the “quadrants” thus formed are the backbone structures of Integral Theory. Ken Wilber also further distinguishes them by pointing to their “inside” and their “outside” aspects. For instance, the “inside” of Interior-Individual expression of a person is the intransferable subjective experience; its “outside” aspect is the patterns of responses that may reveal to an analyst some of what that intransferable subjective experience may be like. Then again, the “inside” of Exterior-Collective expression of a holon is the autopoiesis, self -constructing, reproducing form of intelligence within a system and its “outside” is how we can objectively see it combining and interacting with other objects and systems.
The simultaneous arising of these “dimensions” may be observed inductively (perhaps after a certain level of personal development or as Wilber would say, “altitude”) or they can be deduced out of the complementary polar elements that can be assigned to phenomena in order to describe them. 2) Actuality (what actually is and interacts and has objective manifestation) and Potentiality (what can be) were concepts with which Aristotle described real material things with substance and form. These concepts can be expanded to include what is and what can be in relation to ontological Reality and to ontological Appearance. 3) Ontological Reality is the Non Dual Essence, which is sometimes called “Spirit” in Integral Theory. Although it is ultimately non describable, there are approximations and the realms exhibit greater or lesser degrees or it according to how intense their Exteriorities (a measure of ontological appearance) are. For mystics and philosophers like Plato contingency is the sign of that which is not real or, rather, apparent and Reality is considered absolutely non-contingent.
While for Plato and mystics in general the indescribable essence, the potential of all Exterior forms is Reality, for practical materialists like Aristotle Reality is represented by Exteriority.
Something about God
To understand how relative existence “comes to be” I think that we should dwell into the commonalities that have been widely (perhaps universally) experienced regarding the interface between what is commonly called the “Absolute,” the “Relative and the “Contingent.” Thus we should probably consider a series of inter-culturally coinciding “trinitarian ideas” about “God,” that is, ideas about how “God's nature,” “God with form” or “God with qualities” initially appears or is disclosed to human experience. It seems that these ideas derive from a basic common intuition about how Nature is organized and/or corresponds to what could metaphysically and theologically be called “divine principles.” For instance, we have the platonic trinity of Beauty, Good and Truth and, as Wilber points out (Wilber, 1998) these coincide with the main pronouns we use to name and describe persons and objects and with how Integral Theory's quadrants can also be described.
We could day that God as Pure Beauty informs our 'hearts', our sentiment, a sentiment closest to our First Person experience, the most intimate aspect of our subjective, inscrutable life. Then, God as the Supreme Good informs both our heartfelt and our rationally understood (and gradually more inclusive) Second Person (the I-Thou generating the 'we'), ethical, relational, experiential extensions towards all living beings existing in communion or relation with each other and with their Divine Source. Additionally, God as Pure Being, most likely experienced as a Third Person, rational-objective “It,” informs our reason as the Source of the fundamental rational-intuitive appreciation that that which is is; an intuition which –in my view- originates the recognition of the, so called, “Principle of Identity” or “Law of Identity” which is basic for classic and modern logic.
I think that some of the “trinities” correspond like this:
But, does “God” exist? If 'God' cannot be defined using a sequence of contingent terms, I think that we must include and transcend the concept that only that which possesses exteriority is actual or actually exists. In relation to 'God', the phrase 'to exist' and 'actuality' refers to the ultimate Source of etymologic and ontologic meaning. Trying to expound on what I consider as St. Anselm of Canterbury's “rational and transrational revelation,” I'll restate that if “God” is necessarily conceived as the Ultimate Supreme Being; as being of which nothing greater can be conceived; as that which cannot be conceived as less than absolutely infinite and perfect, then, because of this very conception, by necessity and according to reason, “I Am” or “God-He-She-It-We-That” must exist. 'God' must exist whether considered actual or potential (because even potential existence 'is'). Whether 'God' is personal, impersonal, both or neither is besides the point. The Source of being, Being itself, cannot be limited to the consideration that only 'actual' (here meaning externally verifiable) things exist. God must exist because, without existing, He wouldn't be that of which nothing greater can be conceived.
For lack of greater terms, the words 'infinite' and 'perfect' come to mind but they do not refer to things or even to mathematical ideas (as Cantor showed that there can be greater and lesser infinities). The definition of 'God' wouldn't be conceived. In other words, “God” wouldn't even be conceivable as unsurpassable (and as necessarily infinite and perfect) if it didn't exist. Furthermore, 'God' would be the only referent for which its conception necessarily refers to a true, or rather, to an 'actual' existent beyond the limits of conceptual contingency. “God” is not defined into existence because He is beyond a 'thing' that can be contrasted or compared and whose definition might or might not stand for its actual reality. In fact, “God” would be the origin of the capacity to define a 'thing' as such and, quite unlike contingent 'things'; its self-reference would remain logically adequate. Only this Being would reconcile etymological and ontological understandings. “God” -thus understood- is what we could refer to as 'Absolute Being', the Source of self-reference, standing at once (or as “The One” as Plotinus might say) outside and inside of that self-reference, panentheistically escaping solipsism.
St. Anselm would say that “God is that against whom nothing greater can be conceived.” Because the mind understands that 'perfection' cannot be surpassed, this superlative and absolute greatness is understood as 'perfection'. As mentioned, it wouldn't even be possible to conceive of an inexistent 'perfection' because perfection is that which lacks nothing. Thus, as St. Anselm tried to showed, it's impossible to think of perfection without necessarily thinking that that perfection exists. I think he was trying to refer to absolute perfection. In other words, the very thought of (absolute) 'perfection' wouldn't even be possible and, since the thought is possible and experienced as such, therein lies the proof. Differently said, the actual existence of (absolute) 'perfection' is contained in the idea of (absolute) perfection. If we conceived of a 'perfect island' (as a monk called Gaunilo said against Anselm's argument) it would necessarily exist in actuality. It wouldn't entail absolute perfection as the concept of a perfect 'God' does because we already are referring to a thing that –however perfect- can be contrasted or compared to (perhaps another 'perfect' island). As we'll soon realize, only God can compare to itself, himself, herself,
This Absolute Being's existence becomes necessary not only to think but (as Descartes) also to realize -in the recognized fact of our thinking- that we are. Thus, the one ontology we can be sure beyond all doubt (our existence) is inextricable from the fact that we can think and recognize that we do so. Only Absolute Being (which transcends inappropriate solipsistic self reference used as the way to demonstrate that a thing is) the thinking, the Source of recognition and being. This transcends and includes thinking styles, logics, realisms, idealisms, and even Buddhist and postmodern arguments against definite existents and certainties. Pure Being, pure 'isness' transcends and includes in an Integral manner all plausible stages and degrees of sophistication in thought.
Every recognition of anything (including an idea) solipsistically (and simultaneously transcendentally of any further contingent contrasts and re-definitions) first recognizes being itself and this traces back to the one stable, perfect, absolute Being which remains behind all modifications. Without this Being, already implicit and necessary in the simple recognition that that which is is, no other recognition or thought would be possible. It wouldn't even be possible to say that, because something is defined as 'perfect', it doesn't mean that it must exist. The existence of this universal Being in all particulars, of this I AM THAT I AM, becomes necessary for thinking anything, even the denial of this Being. Furthermore, the existence of this Being becomes necessary whether expressed as an exterior, physical, subtle or causal actuality or potentiality.
God as Being, God as Polarity, God as Three
Although we cannot describe God beyond the limits of thought, I think that at those very limits (or origins), we can validly assert that, for us and for God (the self-referent origin of contingent beings), what is is. The “I AM, THAT I AM,” the Only True Being, the Source of all contingent being, simply…IS, either potentially or actually and this “isness” remains even when we think in relative, comparative terms because even all negations still assert Being with the phrase “is not.” Thus, the existence of God transcends contingent and relative thinking and, therefore, even the polar existential contrasts found in the idea of something as potentially existing or as actually existing. This may sound like outmoded and superseded philosophical or theological mysticism. It may feel unpalatable for modern and post modern sensibilities but, for all future attempts at integration of valid knowledge in the spirit of Truth, Good and Beauty (or Sentiment), the deepest thinking about God cannot be avoided as it is metaphysically required to sustain an Integral model. Still, harmony among these three factors is required for healthy wisdom and understanding: A pure, beautiful sentiment; a life-enhancing, particular and collective ethical synchrony; a no-nonsense, rational understanding…and is LOVE which shines through when these are in unison.
While knowing that we are thinking dualistically, we can split the pure sense of “isness,” this pure existence (as St. Thomas Aquinas did) into that which is Pure Spirit, Good as Absolutely Actual (also meaning absolutely free) in relation with that which is Absolutely Potential, Passive or Dependent (like Matter or that whose existence is sustained by the Actual). Nevertheless, this opens several possibilities beyond the idea of an only transcendent, distant God as (in relation to this Thomist creative polarity having in one extreme Absolute Actuality, Pure Agency and formless Spirit in contrast with the lowest dependency or potential to be of Matter), God can be conceived panentheistically, in the sense of God both participating as the appearance of the pole of dependency and as the Absolute and Actual, transcendent pole of this duality.
Just like the Being of God transcends the dualist/relative necessary poles of “Actual” and “Potential” being (in other words, the necessary constructs of polarity and contingent thinking), we could say that the Pure Being or “Pure Act” (as sometimes referred to in Medieval and scholastic thinking) represented by the contingent polarity of that which is 'Actual' is not limited by any form or matter but that contingent form and matter requires this 'Actual' to sustain its apparent and dependent existence because, even as the potential to be, it must, in an ultimate sense, be contained in the possibilities held within the “Mind” of God beyond all duality. In order to be Absolute God must contain all possibilities and even the possibility of negating God (the only Being) exists within God, the potential to be (the relative polarity of Matter) can acquire a dependent existence, a dependent apparent beingness. In this way, perhaps the school of Plotinian Emanationism (heavily related with esoteric versions of the idea of 'God's many mansions', with the idea of multiple 'planes of existence' of mystical-esoteric schools in the East and the West, and perhaps now with physical-cosmological ideas about a “Multiverse” and an “Omniverse”); perhaps these conceptions can combine in an Integral manner with the Christian Creationist emphasis that God as all-powerful Spirit creates by Power and Will “out of nothing” (or using nothing) and remains as perfectly Spirit unaffected by limiting forms and matter). Perhaps Emanationism and Christian Creationism can be rationally compatible, if not, at least companionable.
As an appearance, the world doesn't have to place limits on God. As the Source of all relative being, “He” is beyond that appearance and the originator of that appearance. The paradox is that the appearance of the world (or worlds) is real because in essence it is sustained by the One Being but it is real only relatively and dependently. All contingent being of that appearance is sustained within God's Being by His Will, rather than by necessity.
Moreover, unlike what is said in Plotinian Emanationist models, God's infinite abundance doesn't force Him to create. This Will may create/generate the world which emanates in (interactive) hierarchical stages of increasing apparent and exterior substance and form as it overflows from God's Infinite Light, This Infinite Light should not be confused with His inscrutable “Ousia” or Essence. This overflowing Light is a step below in the hypostasis. It is ultimately also contained in the inscrutable Essence but at this degree of manifestation, is the so-called “Splendor” or “Shekhina.” It is the “Or” (or “Aur”) in the “Ain Soph Aur” formula of mystical Judaism and is also known as the (Energeia), or the uncreated-but-creating “energies of God” more poignantly recognized within orthodox Christianity. These seem to be energies that -within creation/emanation- allow for many degrees of conscious participation with God. These would be energies commanded by the third person of the Christian Trinity, the Holy Spirit and they would coincide with the Indian concept of “Shakti.” Under my developing view of interactive emanationism we could develop models that might be useful to make scientific predictions as they would give as an overall idea of how the hierarchically distributed pseudo realities interact.
Regarding the “essence” behind the Light, we may find similarities beyond doctrinal differences. Perhaps the differences between important cosmological accounts (such as the Catholic, Kabbhala and Vedanta) can be better understood as stemming from One Underlying Knowledge, a potentially available Integral Knowledge that is variously interpreted around the world but which ought to be recognized in a deeper and more inclusive manner to eventually achieve more ideologically-supported tolerance and greater levels of social convergence in today's world in which extreme secularizing forces as well as extremely reacting polarized, religious forces don't provide sufficiently global and inclusive constructs to live by. For instance (in relation to the realms of feeling and of rational discourse), in principle I see no fundamental difference between the “Ousia” of Greek orthodox theology, the “Godhead” of some mystical European Christians, “inscrutable essence of God” in Catholicism, the “Great Mystery” of the Plains Indians, or similar Islamic, Buddhist and Vedantin, approximations based upon non-dual realizations. Moreover, the metaphysical focus of the various doctrinal emphases given by major world religions (not exactly the seemingly incompatible -and often misunderstood- more exoteric, doctrinal details) could be understood as varieties on universal themes and as mutually inclusive and complementary. For instance, that the transcendental God is understood in a more personal way as the “Father” and that God's “Logos” (“His” pre-manifestation, rational aspect) is understood as the highly personal “Son” needed to restore the lost order of the world may also find metaphysical correlates in non-Christian religious traditions but this idea will be developed in other essays.
I think that the intuition about “God,” either as describable and anthropomorphized, as rationally and metaphysically understood or, simply, as contemplatively experienced beyond any attempt at description, needs to be seriously considered for the creation of a new theoretical model. At least in a mystical, non-dual sense, the indescribable experience of “God” found in various mystical traditions seems to coincide. The details interpreted thereafter may not coincide for various cultural and cognitive interpretive reasons but their deeper, esoteric or, rather, 'principial' sense may be complementary.
Each religion also seems to exoterically emphasize an aspect of “God” or a way to relate with “God”; some even denying any personalized interpretation. Nevertheless, I think that “God” can actually take the form of any concept that relates with a conceivable, profoundly felt, ultimate sense and that “He” can appear as the Ultimate, Sovereign Spirit Person, the Ultimate Universal Mind, as Nature or as the Great Mystery/Great Spirit coordinating all other spirits in Nature, even as ultimately indescribable. God can participate and remain aloof. God can be the Only Self and Reality or the “non describable” 'Self' of early Buddhism (which wasn't nihilist as is often misunderstood). Every time people have thought of the ultimate as the Ground of all being in one way or another, they have thought of the same and only God under their particular openness, inclinations and interpretive understandings. God is a sacred entity that gives meaning to the spiritual sense of life. God can also be known (in Buddhist contrast with previous attempts to describe it) as the “original Buddha Nature” or as the “Tathagathagarbha” or Buddha potential-essence for an awakened, imperishable mind Furthermore, I think that God can be known with form and without, as the Vedic concepts of “Saguna” and “Nirguna” Brahman represent. I think that (in relative terms) God can be known as a “He,” an “It” or a “She” and that a personal relation with God is possible even if the essence of that Holy One still transcends all understanding. I also think that “God” can best be known, or, rather, connected with as “Universal Love” reflected in the concept of “Agape.” An integral approach should be based in the rational, ethical and felt understanding that these and all other necessary views about “God” are valid, complementary and following underlying trinitarian patterns. This is necessary for personal growth, for order and respect to all sentients and for to develop a more accurate and scientifically useful theoretical idea on how that which is contrasted to God (Nature, Creation, Manifestation, contingent reality, Maya) comes to be and maintains a hierarchical dependency on God which –simultaneously- transcends Nature, Creation, Manifestation, contingent reality, Maya)
I have presented some arguments attempting to enhance Ken Wilber's “Integral Theory” as a model that might be useful to explain advancing discoveries about otherworldly realities, discoveries that physical scientists unconventional researchers researching the “paranormal” are making. I presented a plausible direction that would connect this theory with forthcoming coalescing investigations in science and metaphysics and did this by exploring the foundational scientific concept of “entropy” which –due to its physical and metaphysical consequences- seemed particularly applicable to integral and scientific research on inter-realm dynamics.
Similarities between “interdimensional-paranormal” phenomena and “interdimensional-scientific” phenomena (so to speak) suggest that there might be common metaphysical principles. These may have physical consequences. Finding how these principles operate all the way into physicality may be key to understand both manifestation/creation and inter-realm interactions, leading to an enhancement of Integral Theory that is scientifically useful. I explored how the Quadrants of Integral Theory in combination with classic metaphysical ideas like “Actuality” and “Potentiality” would compare or contrast between realms also in relation with what is considered “Reality” and what is considered as “Appearance” from a mystical point of view.
Having the opportunity to think and to express freely in search of increased knowledge and awareness, I have used the subject of “ghosts” to explore ideas about inter-realm science and metaphysics. Hopefully, ghosts and related phenomena will cease being understood as only attractive to non serious researchers. Hopefully thinkers that pride themselves on being genuinely scientific, principled and -perhaps- “integral” will come to terms with an area of inquiry that not only already possesses many degrees of objective evidence but which seems to be increasingly linked to the future re-structuring of science, philosophy, religion and spirituality within a more inclusive cosmology.
Knowledge of inter-realm dynamics would also allow a greater understanding of the Outside-Exterior aspects of the Physical Realm we mostly experience. It might also accompany a greater appreciation of all cosmological levels and, eventually, a more fulfilling participation with all other realms of Being we may have access to without the limitations of a previous more restrictively conceived, but, nonetheless, real Great Chain of Being. This knowledge would gradually assist philosophers, spiritual leaders and scientists in creating a shared view capable of re-educating humanity beyond its parochially-limited cosmic perspectives. This would allow more incarnate human souls to actualize vaster experiential possibilities under the calls of their Consciousness within in harmony with the Universal Creative Spirit.
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© 2014 by Giorgio Piacenza