The Absolute discovered by Physics
Members of Blavatsky Net,
In this newsletter I will be starting with the most important fundamental
concept of Theosophy, called the Absolute. Then I will
trace some developments in modern physics that seem to be reaching
highly parallel conception. This in itself is a bit daunting. Then
will conclude with the relevance of these grand conceptions to how
see ourselves in this universe and our destiny. All of this is rather
of an ambitious task but lets begin. (If you cannot read it all
perhaps you will skip to the end where this newsletter returns to
Blavatsky says early in her Secret Doctrine:
Before the reader proceeds to the consideration of the Stanzas
the Book of Dzyan which form the basis of the present work, it is
absolutely necessary that he should be made acquainted with the
fundamental conceptions which underlie and pervade the entire system
of thought to which his attention is invited. ...
The Secret Doctrine establishes three fundamental propositions:—
An Omnipresent, Eternal, Boundless, and Immutable PRINCIPLE on which
all speculation is impossible, since it transcends the power of
conception and could only be dwarfed by any human expression or
similitude. It is beyond the range and reach of thought —
words of Mandukya, “unthinkable and unspeakable.” SDi13-4
That principle, beyond the range and reach of thought, is the "Absolute"
Is it possible that science could specifically prove the reality
something similar to the Absolute? After all, the absolute is beyond
the reach of thought. It would seem a stretch but then science is
constantly moving toward the esoteric truths. To this end, I'll
a story for you, a story legendary from the past century of physics
now culminating in experiments with mind-boggling results in very
This scientific issue began with the famous disputes between Albert
Einstein and Niels Bohr that lasted for 23 years. As some will know,
Einstein thought the quantum mechanics advocated by Bohr was wrong
or more politely - at least incomplete. His most well known statement
expressing this view was "God does not play dice", referring
uncertainty principle of quantum mechanics. The brilliant Bohr,
emphasized measuring the results of experiments, made a reply that
less often stated. He told Einstein, "Quit telling God what
The argument - rather the very earnest discussion - between Einstein
and Bohr culminated in what is now known as the EPR thought
experiment, published in 1935. (From the initials of the collaborators
Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen who jointly wrote the paper presenting
the thought experiment.)
I will try to sum this up in some very brief words from physics.
Quantum physics asserts that there are various pairs of quantities
cannot both be known simultaneously with total accuracy. The problem
is not in the measuring instruments but rather is a fundamental
property of nature. For example, we cannot, according to quantum
mechanics, measure simultaneously both the location of a particle
and also its direction of motion (strictly speaking, its momentum).
But Einstein noticed a theoretical peculiarity in the theories
In some cases, two particles are said to be "entangled".
they had a connection ( perhaps a particle had divided into two
particles) and they always thereafter maintained a certain physical
relation, no matter how far apart they became. Einstein's little
observation: If one measured the exact momentum of the first particle,
that would dictate the momentum of the second particle. One could
then directly measure the location of the second particle. Presto
one then knew both the momentum and location of the second particle,
thereby violating the theories of Bohr. Therefore quantum mechanics
must be at least incomplete, if not outright wrong.
This paper created a stir and Bohr gave his answer. Bohr was
considered by physicists to have "won" the argument.
But the EPR thought experiment was a time bomb waiting for further
developments. In 1964 John Bell developed "Bell's Theorem"
related to the Bell curve of statistics). It presented a way that
empirical test could be conducted that would tell who was right,
Einstein or Bohr, in the EPR thought experiment.
Again, this may not seem significant but there are major, major
consequences for physical theory, and the conclusions from the
empirical experiments come close to the highest abstractions of
occult metaphysics. As Henry Stapp would put it, the resulting
experiments and conclusions could be the "most profound
discovery in all of science". He did not even say "in
rather "all of science". (Henry P. Stapp, Quantum Physics
the Physicist's View of Nature: Philosophical Implications of Bell's
Theorem", in the World View of Contempary Physics ed. Richard
Kitchener p40, 1988)
Back to the physics: in 1972 Alain Aspect published results of
experiment that tested Bell's Theorem. Bohr won.
Others followed. They found better ways to make the test. They
tested for exotic matters to make their tests as conclusive as
"The most interesting experiment was carried out by a physicist
at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, Nicolas Gisin in 1997.
He split a single photon into two "smaller" photons (which
they were entangled) and sent them down fiber optic cable in
opposite directions. When the photons where about 10 kilometers
apart they ran into a detector. Gisin found that even though a
large distance separate the photons, something done to one photon
at one end very much affected the photon at the other end. . .
The key problem in the above experiment is "instantaneously".
cannot happen according to relativity theory.
The experiments were proving that our natural conception of the
universe was somehow fundamentally in error. Something about reality
was not the way we think it is.
THE ISSUE OF LOCALITY
It appears that the problem is with our conception of "locality".
We have a fundamental idea that there are different places in the
world around us. There is "here", at my desk for example,
there, down the street for example, and "way over there",
planet for example or half way across the universe. However this
idea of "locality" is now false as shown by the experiments
tested Bell's Theorem.
"There is little doubt among physicists that non-locality
be recognize as a fact of nature." (The Non-Local Universe
Bohr, "won" big time on this issue. But there are implications
this. As the head of the mathematics department at Princeton said
his colleagues "If you aren't worried about this, you have
For one thing, and sticking for the moment to physics, not only
two photons connected forever, but the entire universe is permanently
interconnected in some profound sense. One puts it this way:
"It is also important to realize here that the Aspect and
experiment reveal, as Bernard d'Espagnat has pointed out, a general
property Of nature. All particles in the history of the cosmos have
interacted with other particles in the manner revealed by the
Aspect experiments. Virtually everything in our immediate physical
environment is made up of quanta that have been interacting with
other quanta in this manner from the big bang to the present. Even
the atoms in our bodies are made up of particles that were once
close proximity to the cosmic fireball, and other particles that
interacted at that time in a single quantum state can be found in
the most distant star. Also consider, as the physicist N. David
Mermin has shown, that quantum entanglement grows exponentially
with the number of particles involved in the original quantum
state and that there is no theoretical limit on the number of
these entangled particles. If this is the case, the universe on
very basic level could be a vast web of particles, which remain
in constant with one another over any distance in "no time"
absence of the transfer of energy or information.
(The Non local Universe p81)
If I attempt to put these results simply - and very modestly -
own words, science is now saying that the concept of separate places
(locality) is no longer valid. Non-locality is the nature of nature.
All places are in some fundamental sense - the same place. And by
the structure of the way nature is, science will never be able to
clarify the nature of that unified unknown whole. Very esoteric
sounding. Reminiscent of the first fundamental of Theosophy presented
above. Dramatic in fact.
Here is the quote from science, based on tests of Bell's Theorem,
strikes me as quite similar to Theosophy.
If non-locality is a property of the entire universe, then we
also conclude that an undivided wholeness exists on the most primary
and basic level in all aspects of physical reality. What we are
actually dealing with in science per se, however, are manifestations
of this reality, which are invoked or "actualized" in
of observation or measurement. Since the reality that exists between
the space-like separated regions is a whole whose existence can
only be inferred in experiments, as opposed to proven, the
correlations between the particles, or the sum of these parts do
not constitute the "invisible" whole. Physical theory
to understand why the correlations occur. But it cannot in
principle disclose or describe the actual character of the
indivisible whole. (Non Local Universe pp4-5)
Tests of Bell's Theorem have proven that "an undivided wholeness
on the most primary and basic level in all aspects of physical reality."
This sounds like the Absolute of Theosophy. This "undivided
of modern quantum mechanics appears to correspond to the "Omnipresent,
Eternal, Boundless, and Immutable PRINCIPLE" of Theosophy.
Also the physics says "But it cannot in principle disclose
the actual character of the indivisible whole." Notice here
that it is
not a matter of inaccuracies in the physical instruments that may
expected to improve with time. Rather, "in principle"
unity cannot be measured. Over and over again in Theosophy we note
the Absolute cannot be known or described. In the above, Blavatsky
said "all speculation is impossible, since it transcends the
human conception and could only be dwarfed by any human expression".
So in at least these two ways, modern quantum physics finds a parallel
conception to that of Theosophy's absolute. (!)
In this newsletter I have quoted repeatedly from "The Non-Local
Universe". I would like to comment on the book itself and some
more of its observations. It's authors state:
But if this book is ever erroneously placed in the New Age
section of a commercial bookstore and purchased by those
interested in New Age literature, they will be quite
I tend to agree. The authors are thoroughly based in a
materialistic world view. The above quote, for example shows
attitude. But then, begrudging confessions from such a source have
all the more value in confirming esoteric truths. So it is worth
noting this brief "confess" from its authors:
But there is another conclusion to be drawn here that is firmly
grounded in scientific theory and experiment - there is no basis
in the scientific description of nature for believing in the
radical Cartesian division between mind and world sanctioned by
classical physics. It now seems clear that this radical
separation between mind and world was a macro-level illusion
fostered by limited awareness of the actual character of physical
reality and by mathematical idealizations that were extended
beyond the realm of their applicability. p 198
And finally, seemingly against their wishes, they are obliged to
admit to a similarity between these new concepts of physics and
concept of underlying unity found in Eastern Religion. They note
in a section called "Parallels with Eastern metaphysics".
In this discussion of physics and metaphysics, we should probably
say something here about the alleged parallels between the
holistic vision of physical reality in modern physics and
religious traditions featuring holism, or ontological monism,
such as Hinduism, Taoism, and Buddhism [ and Theosophy ]. ...
Eastern philosophies can be viewed on the level of personal
belief or conviction as more parallel with the holistic vision
of nature featured in modern physical theory. ... Although this
discovery may imply that the universe is holistic, physics can
say nothing about the actual character of this whole. (p191)
That, as I pointed out, is the position of Theosophy.
THE ILLUSION OF SEPARATENESS
One might ask how it can be relevant to our daily lives to know
the most fundamental reality cannot be known. There is a relevance.
Phyics now speaks of an "undivided wholeness". This is
our ordinary sense of things. We think there is a "this"
and a "that"
and these are different. But in a fundamental sense they are one.
In the same spirit, in the ordinary sense of things in every day
we assume we are separate from our fellow human beings and from
life. Theosophy however teaches that this conception of separateness
is an illusion. It is an illusion we must overcome as we progress
along the path of spiritual progress.
I am grateful to the above book for finding this remarkable quote
Einstein. It is so Theosophical.
A human being is a part of the whole, called by us the "Universe,"
a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his
thoughts and feelings as SOMETHING SEPARATE FROM THE REST - A KIND
OF OPTICAL ILLUSION OF HIS CONSCIOUSNESS. [Capitals added.] This
delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal
desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task
must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle
compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature
in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the
striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation
and a foundation for inner security. (Albert Einstein, quoted in
the New York Post, November 28, 1972, p 12)
Blavatsky makes a number of references to the need to eliminate
concept of separateness. Here is one:
For that purpose, every veil of illusion which creates a sense
personal isolation, a feeling of separateness from THE ALL, must
be torn asunder, or, in other words, the aspirant must gradually
discard all sense of selfishness with which we are all more or
less affected. A study of the Law of Cosmic Evolution teaches us
that the higher the evolution, the more does it tend towards
Unity. In fact, Unity is the ultimate possibility of Nature, and
those who through vanity and selfishness go against her purposes,
cannot but incur the punishment of total annihilation. The
Occultist thus recognises that unselfishness and a feeling of
universal philanthropy are the inherent law of our being, and all
he does is to attempt to destroy the chains of selfishness forced
upon us by Maya.
Again, parting from all that science, here is Blavatsky explaining
the feeling of non-separateness must be embraced in our heart as
step upon the occult path:
7. None can feel the difference between himself and his fellow-
students, such as "I am the wisest," "I am more holy
to the teacher, or in my community, than my brother," etc.,
and remain an upasaka. His thoughts must be predominantly fixed
upon his heart, chasing therefrom every hostile thought to any
living being. It (the heart) must be full of the feeling of its
non-separateness from the rest of beings as from all in Nature;
otherwise no success can follow.
And finally, perhaps poetry serves us best. Blavatsky renders the
poetic version of these thoughts addressed to the aspirant in her
Voice of the Silence:
If through the Hall of Wisdom, thou would'st reach the Vale of
Bliss, Disciple, close fast thy senses against the great dire
heresy of separateness that weans thee from the rest.
The book I have quoted from is "The Non-Local Universe"
and Kafatos. It is available at
If anyone would like to learn more about Bells's Theorem and the
of Einstein's thought experiment then I recommend "Entanglement"
Amir Aczel. It humanizes the story in an appealing and readable
that makes it quite accessible. It is available at
"No Religion Higher Than Truth"
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