In "Collective Unconscious Part 5" and "Part 5 Version 2.0" we looked at the law of conservation of energy as the foundation of our material world. We then took a trip to ancient Egypt to see how the they used symbolism and mythology to humanize certain aspects of nature (primitive energetics). We considered their grasp of mathematics, alchemy and laws of motion. We witnessed a nation that had excelled in political science and the art of political persuasion.
In "Version 2.0" we took a brief look at a modern myth presented by George Lucas while being reminded of the mono myth theory in which Lucas studied and was inspired by. We also compared the path of someone seeking political, secular and social power vs the path of someone seeking love.
...and now part 6: "An Enslaved Mind Ponders Freedom"
"We ought to regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its antecedent state and as the cause of the state that is to follow. An intelligence knowing all the forces acting in nature at a given instant, as well as the momentary positions of all things in the universe, would be able to comprehend in one single formula the motions of the largest bodies as well as the lightest atoms in the world, provided that its intellect were sufficiently powerful to subject all data to analysis; to it nothing would be uncertain, the future as well as the past would be present to its eyes." (Laplace, Philosophical Essay on Probabilities)
-- A Deterministic Universe (According to Newton)
First Law: Objects in motion tend to stay in motion and objects at rest tend to stay at rest unless an unbalanced force acts upon it.
Second Law: (F = MA) this equation represents the cause and effect that force has on mass. More force always results in more acceleration.
Third Law: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Because of classical Newtonian physics we as human beings have engineered many technological inventions such as houses, the automobile, the transistor, the steam engine, the microchip, airplanes and even the space shuttle. But what does Newton's laws have to do with Laplace and his idea of "an all knowing intelligence"?
"If Laplace were right, then, given the state of the universe at the present, these laws would tell us the state of the universe in both the future and the past. For example, given the positions and speeds of the sun and the planets, we can use Newton's laws to calculate the state of the solar system at any later or earlier time. Determinism seems fairly obvious in the case of the planets -- after all, astronomers are very accurate in their predictions of events such as eclipses. But Laplace went further to assume that there were similar laws governing everything else, including human behavior.
Is it really possible for scientists to calculate what all our actions will be in the future? A glass of water contains more than 10 (to the 24th power) molecules (a "1" followed by twenty four zeros). In practice we can never hope to know the state of the universe or even of our bodies. Yet to say that the universe is deterministic means that even if we don't have the brainpower to do the calculation, our futures are nevertheless predetermined." (-Stephen Hawking, Physicist)
According to the standard model of cosmology (que the musical band "Bare Naked Ladies)...
"Our whole universe was in a hot dense state, Then nearly fourteen billion years ago expansion started...Wait!..."
But if our universe is expanding and unfolding with clock like precision many philosophical thinkers ask whether free will and the freedom of choice actually exists or if they are both just an illusion being had by human beings who are slaves to space and time? We can not choose our genetic make up. The laws of our universe influence the chemicals which create the feelings of emotion. The forces of nature and the stimuli which acts on our individual senses (taste, touch, smell, hearing and sight) are all forced upon us according to the blueprint of the cosmos according to classical physics.
-- Does The Universe Have Two Faces?
Let's look at the theory of the deterministic universe from another perspective. As we have already read Hawking's views on our predetermined lives another physicists named Brian Greene also has some thoughts regarding the words of Laplace...
"In other words, if at some instant you know the positions and velocities of every particle in the universe, you can use Newton's laws of motion to determine -- at least in principle -- their positions and velocities at any other prior or future time. From this perspective, any and all occurrences, from the formation of the sun to the crucifixion of Christ, to the motion of your eyes across this word, strictly follow from the precise positions and velocities of the particulate ingredients of the universe a moment after the big bang. This rigid lock-step view of the unfolding of the universe raises all sorts of perplexing philosophical dilemmas surrounding the question of free will, but it's import was substantially diminished by the discovery of quantum mechanics." (- Brian Greene, String Theorist)
According to quantum mechanics particles behave much differently within space smaller than an atom. These particles appear then disappear, one particle can can exist in multiple places simultaneously and then collapse into one point in space-time once they are observed.
"We have seen that Heisenberg's uncertainty principle undercuts Laplacian determinism because we fundamentally cannot know the precise positions and velocities of the constituents of the universe. Instead, these classical properties are replaced by quantum wave functions, which tell us only the probability that any given particle is here or there, or that it has this or that velocity." ( - Greene)
So perhaps our universe is not so rigidly predetermined as classical physics would suggest?
-- A Deterministic World (According to a Religious Prophet)
"In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Ever Merciful. We cite this city, Mecca, as a witness, and affirm that thou wilt surely alight in this city; we cite the father, Abraham, and the son, Ishmael. We have created man committed to toil. Does he think no one has power over him?" (-The Quran, 90:1)
The oldest world religions which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam do not differ much from Laplace and Newton in terms of mans place in the universe. One example is the story of Exodus where the Hebrews are slaves to the Egyptians...
21 The Lord said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go. (Exodus 4)
The question that comes to mind after reading this Bible verse (Exodus 4:21) is this:
If the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart "so that he will not let the people go" then how can Pharaoh make a choice? This view of the Hebrew and Islamic God as "an intelligence knowing...the future as well as the past" is a reflection of the idea of a deterministic universe.
From a psychological point of view this makes sense. While primitive minded human beings would have no clue as to Newton's laws of nature they would still nonetheless experience nature in it's beautiful and sometimes terrifying forms. On some subconscious level deep thinkers during the time of Moses and Ramses II recognized the idea of fate and destiny. While they did not record an explanation of it using mathematics or the scientific method they were able to use archetypal imagery to work out complex concepts in the form of mythology. ( according to Jung an archetype is defined as "Forms or images of a collective nature which occur practically all over the earth as constituents of myths and at the same time as autochthonous, individual products of unconscious origin."
-- Does The World Religion Have Two Faces?
In my opinion a parallel can be drawn between the dual perspective of matter (macrocosm vs microcosm) and a dual perspective of religion (nature vs mind).
Traditional religion can be viewed from a literal perspective where man is required to serve his master. Another less traditional view may be that with a closer look, with some mental experimentation religion can be seen as a doorway to the universal psyche and beyond. From this view religious scriptures are not taken literally but symbolically.
"Mythology, in other words, is psychology misread as biography, history, and cosmology. The modern psychologist can translate it back to its proper denotations and thus rescue for the contemporary world a rich and eloquent document of the profoundest depths of human character. Exhibited here, as in a fluoroscope, stand revealed the hidden processes of the enigma Homo sapiens -- Occidental and Oriental, primitive and civilized, contemporary and archaic. The entire spectacle is before us. We have only to read it, study its constant patterns, analyze its variations, and therewith come to an understanding of the deep forces that have shaped man's destiny and must continue to determine both our private and our public lives." ( -Joseph Campbell, Comparative Mythology)
Even from a more intellectual and philosophical view of religion the question of a human being's ability to choose his or her own path in the universe is still not answered with an abundance of certainty. Both religion and classical physics share in this conundrum.
-- Quantum Weirdness
As we have already touched upon briefly at the subatomic level many of the classical laws of physics seem to break down. After many repeated experiments and an astonishing amount of successfully predicted results many quantum physicists agree that this quantum realm is the underlying reality of our universe. According to high level mathematics presented by men of science such as Max Born, Niels Bohr, Louis de Broglie and Erwin Schrodinger the position of any given particle is not predetermined. In the reality of the quantum realm the position of a particle is actually a question of probability...
"Gone were the days of a clockwork universe whose individual constituents were set in motion at some moment in the past and obediently fulfilled their inescapable, uniquely determined destiny. According to quantum mechanics, the universe evolves according to a rigorous and precise mathematical formalism, but this framework determines only the probability that any particular future will happen -- not which future actually ensues." (-Greene)
Albert Einstein found this conclusion unacceptable.
"In one of physics' most time-honored utterances, Einstein admonished the quantum stalwarts that "God does not play dice with the universe." He felt that probability was turning up in fundamental physics because of...some basic incompleteness in our understanding. The universe, in Einstein's view, had no room for a future whose precise form involves an element of chance. Physics should predict how the universe evolves, not merely the likelihood that any particular evolution might occur. But experiment after experiment --some of the most convincing ones being carried out after his death -- convincingly confirm that Einstein was wrong. As the British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has said, on this point "Einstein was confused, not the quantum theory." (-Greene)
-- The Possibility Of Freedom
We often hear stories of men, women and children struggling for freedom. Be it in myths, fairy tales, television shows, books, movies or even in real life. Some of us may have actually experienced slavery or addiction and the sense of powerlessness that comes with it. One thing that we can all agree with is that "freedom" real or imagined is a concept that links us all.
As we have witnessed modern science struggling to break free from the chains of a completely deterministic view of our universe we may very well be witnesses to an evolution of religion and it's view of reality...
16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read,17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4)
The traditional interpretation of this passage from the Bible suggests that Jesus is offering the Jews freedom from sin. But what if once again there is an alternative view and a different (deeper) perspective. Perhaps Christ is talking about freedom from the slavery of mechanistic thinking? A freedom that has to do with the individuals mind and soul via inward inspection? After all he did also say...
20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17)
Would this mean that "free will" can be a reality for those who seek it not in the physical universe but for those who search for freedom (or freedom of the will) within themselves?
AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE QUESTION (Written by Rumi)
Why doesn't a soul fly when it hears the call? Fish on the beach always move toward wave-sound.
A falcon hears the drum and brings the quarry home. Why isn't every dervish dancing in the sun?
You have escaped the cage. Your wings are stretched out. Now, fly.
You have slept in sheds and out-buildings so long you think you live there.
How many years, like children, do we have to collect sticks and pieces of broken pottery and pretend they're valuable?
Leave childhood. Go to the banquet of true human beings. Split open the cultural mould. Put your head up out of the sack.
Hold this book in the air with your right hand. Are you old enough to know right from left?
God said to clarity, Walk. To death, Help them with discipline.
To the soul, Move into the invisible and take what's there.
Don't sing the sadness anymore. Call out that you have been given both the answer and an understanding of the question.
Perhaps the archetype of the Buddha or Christ or as Jung calls it "the self" is a doorway to realizing the source of all and the freedom that comes from knowing?
"The apprehension of the source of this undifferentiated yet every-where particularized substratum of being is rendered frustrate by the very organs through which the apprehension must be accomplished. The forms of sensibility and the categories of human thought, which are themselves manifestations of this power, so confine the mind that it is normally impossible not only to see, but even to conceive, beyond the colorful, fluid, infinitely various and bewildering phenomenal spectacle.
The function of ritual and myth is to make possible, and then to facilitate, the jump -- by analogy. Forms and conceptions that the mind and its senses can comprehend are presented and arranged in such a way as to suggest a truth or openness beyond. And then, the conditions for meditation having been provided, the individual is left alone. Myth is but the penultimate; the ultimate is openness -- that void, or being, beyond the categories --- into which the mind must plunge alone and be dissolved. Therefore, God and the gods are only convenient means -- themselves of the nature of the world of names and forms, though eloquent of, and ultimately conducive to, the ineffable. They are mere symbols to move and awaken the mind, and to call it past themselves." (-Campbell)
-- The Many Worlds Interpretation Of Quantum Mechanics
According to some physicists when a single particle is measured in the quantum realm it exists in many probable locations simultaneously. Once it is observed it collapses into a single location. However there is another approach proposed by physicists such as Hugh Everett III that shows that the particle being measured does not collapse. According to this interpretation any probable location in which your particle may exist it does actually exists in reality...
"If you measured the position of a particle whose probability wave has any number of spikes, say, five, the result, according to Everett, would be five parallel realities differing only by the location registered on each reality's device, and within the mind of each reality's you. If one of these yous then measured the position of another particle whose wave had seven spikes, that you and that world would split again, into seven more, one for each possible outcome...
...In Everett's approach, everything that is possible, quantum mechanically speaking (that is, all those outcomes to which quantum mechanics assigns a nonzero probability), is realized in its own separate world." (-Greene)
Here we are in the age of information. The question of true freedom of the will is still being debated in some circles. Some of us think that the question has already been answered...
Michio Kaku, Professor of Theoretical Physics:
"Newtonian Determinism says that the universe is a clock, a gigantic clock that's wound up in the beginning of time and has been ticking ever since according to Newton's laws of motion. So what you're going to eat 10 years from now on January 1st has already been fixed. It's already known using Newton's laws of motion..."
The question may have already been answered in religion as well. The freedom of man to make a choice can be seen if one looks carefully enough...
19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16)
In my opinion Peter is a symbol for all human beings. The keys to freedom have been given to us. Some where down the line the keys have been lost or taken from us and hidden. It's up to each individual to find them for his or herself.
Dance, when you're broken open.
Dance, if you've torn the bandage off.
Dance in the middle of the fighting.
Dance in your blood.
Dance, when you're perfectly free. ( -Rumi)