Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Joe CorbettJoe Corbett has been living in Shanghai and Beijing since 2001. He has taught at American and Chinese universities using the AQAL model as an analytical tool in Western Literature, Sociology and Anthropology, Environmental Science, and Communications. He has a BA in Philosophy and Religion as well as an MA in Interdisciplinary Social Science, and did his PhD work on modern and postmodern discourses of self-development, all at public universities in San Francisco and Los Angeles, California. He can be reached at


Eternal Inflation, Involution, and the Origin of the Universe from First Principles

An excursion into geometric ontology

Joe Corbett

My hypothesis is that the origin of the universe from eternal inflation describes the initiation of involution into the 4 quadrants.

Eternal Inflation is now the reigning theory in physics and cosmology for how our universe began. It says that our universe and many others come from an eternally inflating field of infinite potential. It is essentially a field of exponentially expanding space and energy without beginning or end. Occasionally a pocket within this field of spatial-energy will form an enclosure and decay into a universe of particles and matter similar to our own.

My hypothesis is that the origin of the universe from eternal inflation describes the initiation of involution into the 4 quadrants, beginning with the infinite potentials of the ULQ, which are to become the quantum fields of the wave functions of the matter in our universe, and eventually our own consciousness and its physical correlates.

What initiates this process is the enclosure of the potentialities within definite boundaries of probability in the LLQ, or the formation of a pocket of decay in the infinite inflationary field. Once an enclosure of probabilities has been formed the potentialities of the quantum fields can be demarcated and distinguished, taking on definite form in various particles of matter within the URQ. These demarcated potentialities of matter consequently become a collection of interacting particles in the LRQ, from which all matter will subsequently evolve from the resonant habits and structured syntax that they will self-organize.

Moreover, it is noteworthy that this self-organization of matter-particles in an evolving universe will be mediated by the empty vacuum of spatial-energy from which they came, or by the virtual particle-antiparticle pairs of QED and QCD, which I sometimes call “the eyes of spirit”, which is essentially the inflationary field reduced or limited by decay. Indeed, the eternal inflationary field never entirely goes away when it decays. As stated above, while inflation stops through enclosure, the infinite potentials in the eternal inflationary field become demarcated into definite quantum fields, they decay from infinitude into finitude, so to speak, which can then form matter. Hence the source from which our universe emerged, the eternal inflationary field of infinite potential, goes on in our pocket of the universe as the vacuum energy to influence how the particles of matter interact and evolve, with their infinite potentialities reduced to definite and limited probabilities.

This is how I tell the story of the involution of our Source, the Eternal Inflationary Field, according to the most advanced scientific understanding of the origin of the universe, and mapped onto the AQAL. The subsequent story involves more of the evolutionary rather than the involutionary vector of our universe. And it begins with the first principles, or the conditions for the possibility of the formation of the complexity we see in our pocket of the great Mystery, the Eternal Inflationary Field of Infinite Spatial-Energy, whatever that is.

First Principles by Geometric Formation

The first thing we can say about the universe, at least from a pragmatic-realist perspective, is that it exists, and in order to exist it must be an extended manifestation in 3D space, and hence possess the quality of thingness, objectivity, or particle-mass. It is to these things that we can attribute an empirical existence via Dimensionality, which is the first principle of our universe, in the URQ.

Second, whatever form or thingness this dimensionality takes, it will extend in different directions of 3D space, and hence the coordinates that define its form will vary, perspectively. Therefore Variation, and hence potentiality, is the second principle of the universe, in the UL.

With the third principle of the universe (Preservation or Enclosure), the thing, object, or form that began as an extension over varied coordinates of space starts to take shape by enclosing on itself, preserving the extended variation in some definite shape with a surface area on which the information about the form can be recorded as a memory in the form of a definite shape that can be communicated to other forms and shapes through resonance, in the LL.

But in order to actually enclose on itself and preserve its form, a fourth principle is needed, and it's a crucially defining one. To complete an enclosure, the various extensions of dimensionality into space must have an angular alignment oriented toward each other in a reflexive direction. Hence the fourth and final principle of existence is Recursive Angularity, or Self-Reflexive Organization, in the LR.

So there we have them, the first four principles of existence—Dimensionality or Extension, Variation or Potentiality, Memory and Preservation or Enclosure, and Self-Reflexive Angularity. All the complexity in our universe has evolved from these four principles, which are geometric conditions for existing as a thing, object, or form in our universe, and they also serve as the basis for the relations between things, objects, and forms from which all complexity arises. In previous essays I have claimed that the tetrahedron, which is also formed according to these principles, is the primordial form of existence. However these principles apply to any form, from any of the Platonic solids to an atom, to a virus, or to an elephant. To exist, and to evolve complexity, any form and forms in relation must embody these four principles as the conditional foundation of their existence to be manifested and to evolve complexity.

Now here is where things get a little difficult and abstract, and some of it relies on some of my previous essays, so bear with me for the next two rather lengthy paragraphs, or skip them if you are adverse to difficult abstractions.

In physics, the mystery of existence is commonly understood as It (matter-UR) from Bit (information-UL and LL), or particle-point from wave-field, or surface manifestation from underlying field potentialities (variations-UL) and resonances (memories-LL). Geometrically, and in keeping with our conceptualization of the first principles as presented here, It from Bit when combined with the holographic principle arises or emerges when the information (field potentialities and resonances) on a 2D surface is extended into 3D space, where a 3D form is created by the recursive angularity and enclosure of an informationally-rich 2D surface of bits. In other words, when 2D surfaces turn back upon themselves to enclose a 3D spatial form from the informationally-rich 2D surface, it encodes the potentials and resonances of the 3D object into its form, giving rise to its form in 3D. Thus, dimensional extension into a manifest form, the manifestation of existence in our universe, comes from the recursive enfolding (LR) of the potentials (UL) and resonances (LL) of the form (UR) with other forms. This is the universe as it emerges It from Bit, matter from information, as mapped onto the AQAL.

One question that emerges from this line of enquiry, which is based on the holographic principle, is where does the information on the 2D surface come from, that is, the potentialities of variation and the resonances of preservation that are projected into 3D to create the shape of a form? Just as a 3D form comes from a 2D informationally-rich surface, the 2D surface comes from the next dimension down, or from 1 dimensional lines that have pure vibration as their informational content rather than the field potentialities and resonances of 2D surfaces. In order to have field potentialities and resonances on 2D surfaces in the first place, one must first have the more fundamental wave-vibration itself, or pure energy, which contains along its single dimensionality the potential for different frequencies, different points along the wave, and similar or dis-similar vibrations between different waves (lines) to create both the resonances and interferences of wave-forms that will be shaped into matter. Below the one-dimensional lines of a wave-form (strings) there is no information, and therefore like a singularity there is little or nothing we can say about it.

What emerges from the picture of the emergence of the universe I have outlined here is that all the complexity we see in the universe today comes from just a few simple principles or geometric rules applied and repeated over and over again among innumerable Its and Bits from moment to moment everywhere throughout all time and space.

The potentialities of form are limited by their resonant probabilities in interaction with one another, which are the informational fields of their physical forms. The decay of the Eternal Inflationary Field into the pocket-enclosure of our universe ensured that the infinite potential and spatial-energy of our Source, the Mystery, would be delimited and demarcated into the manifest forms we see in our universe today.

As the vacuum fluctuations manifest and mediate all particle-matter interactions as they realize their potentialities within the resonant probabilities of their interactions, it is this remnant of our Source, as a delimited enclosure of the eternal inflationary field, that ultimately serves as the force or drive (Eros) of universal manifestation, that process whereby bits become its, information becomes matter, and our inner existence is revealed in form.

In the end, we all and all this universe arises as form from emptiness, as the emptiness is realized as form through a few simple geometric principles reiterated again and again. Truly, the universe “languages” or speaks itself into existence through the embodiment of immanent first principles, without which we wouldn't be able to speak to one another, nor I communicate this message about the universe (and from the universe) to you, who are the universe.

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