Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Spiritual Symbolism of Plants


We know from scripture and revelation, that all plants are symbolic of spiritual things. Take for example some of the parables of Jesus:

Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: "Behold, a sower went out to sow.And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them.Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth.But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away.And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them.But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.He who has ears to hear, let him hear!" (Matt. 13:3-9)
When asked by His disciples to reveal the meaning of the parable, He then reveals the internal hidden meaning: the seed is the Word of God:

Therefore hear the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. (Matt. 13:18-19)

A "seed" is symbolic of truth that is implanted in one's heart.  If one accepts the truth, that there is a God, that one must live by His commandments, that little seed will begin to grow.  And if it grows properly, it will bear fruit:
But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. (Matt. 13:23)
The "fruit" one bears is when one applies the truth to one's life. One begins to do good out of the love that grows within: not for the sake of self-honor or appearance.  In everything that is done, the deed is judged by one's intention. Good deeds done for the sake of merit or self-reward are not good, those are done for the sake of selfishness. One must learn to kill the "ego" within that seeks to rule over everything. Those who don't...well that is what psychiatrists call "narcissism."

This spiritual symbolism is not only applicable to this parable, it is a generic symbolism that can be applied to all of scripture.  And not only that, the symbolism can be applied to the entire world of plants. The entire vegetable kingdom has a spiritual correspondence, and this is what Emanuel Swedenborg saw in his heavenly visions:
When angels are discoursing about things of intelligence and wisdom, and about perceptions and knowledges, then the influx from them into corresponding societies of spirits, falls into representations of such things as are in the vegetable kingdom; as into representations of paradises, of vineyards, of forests, of meadows with flowers, and into other beauties, which exceed all human imagination. Hence it is, that those things which are of wisdom and intelligence are described in the Word by paradises, vineyards, forests, meadows; and that where these things are named, such things are signified. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 3220)

When researching the modern botanical taxonomy for the plant kingdom, I discovered a lot of it was in flux. This is due to the fact that major strides are being made in genetic research.  But the downside of this is that science tends to ignore the form and function of living organisms.  On different planets, life can evolve in different ways according to the environment. But I believe that common patterns will appear, according to discrete degrees of order.  This is because a life organism will evolve according to use.  That is, if the form is useful, allowing for better survival, the life organism will probably evolve that way.  For example, our wisdom teeth are no longer useful, our jaws have decreased in size.  In some humans, the wisdom teeth have disappeared entirely. We still have left over remnants from our older evolution: e.g., we have an appendix, a tailbone, etc. They are no longer useful, or serve their original use, but were necessary steps in order to reach the human form.

As stated in the previous blog, we can divide the plant kingdom into seven stages, which closely follows its historical evolutionary past over the past millions of years:

STAGE 1. Mostly unicellular, or undistinguished multicellular, with no nucleus (Bacteria and Archaea)

STAGE 2. Mostly unicellular, or undistinguished multicellular, with no nucleus, ability of photosynthesis (Cyanobacteria)

Note: Cyanobacteria is a transitional category. Thus originally it was categorized among the algae, and now its listed among the bacteria. It is an important transitional step in evolution, and the only bacteria that can photsynthesize light. Thus I am listing it in the second stage.
STAGE 3. Unicellular or multicellular, with nucleus (Eukarotic cells), not highly organized (Algae, Fungi, Lichens). Lichens are a combination of a fungi with a photosynthetic partner, either Algae or Cyanobacteria.

STAGE 4. Distinguished multicellular, (Bryophytes).  Specialized tissues for different organs.
Note: in the previous blog I stated stage 4 was Embryophyta (following Arthur M. Young's example). That is incorrect, as it includes vascular plants. It should be Bryophyta.

STAGE 5. Vascular plants, spores only (Pteridophytes, etc.)

STAGE 6. Vascular plants, unenclosed seeds (Gymnosperm)
Coincidentally, I just noticed in the above diagram there are 7 stages in the lifecycle of the Gymnosperm seed.  I will have to take a look at that! Note it is a circular cycle.  I am suspecting there are other patterns in the other stages...I am just touching on the surface here...the smallest part of existence explains the whole.
STAGE 7. Vascular plants, enclosed seeds in flowers (Angiosperm)

In the seventh and final stage, we finally get fruit-bearing plants.

One thing to note, is that the discrete orders are cumulative: we see photosynthesis from stage 2 onwards, Eukarotic (nucleus) cells from stage 3 onwards, distinguished multicellular plants from stage 4 onwards, vascular plants from stage 5 onwards, then specialized seeds in stage 6, ending in flowers in stage 7. The symbolism of the seed is important in scripture, thus the form of the seed is important in classifying the plants.


I have been blogging about the seven planes of existence, as originally proposed by Arthur M. Young in his book The Reflexive Universe, but with corrections. There are seven discrete orders by which the universe has been created.  They are:
1. Space-time
2. Subatomic particles, including light
3. Atoms
4. Molecules
5. Plants
6. Animals & Man
7. (An unknown state of existence: the spiritual world of heaven and hell)
In the first plane, we have the dimensions of space-time.  Some physicists and mathematicians state there are seven dimensions -- or more (String Theory says 11).  Mathematically, the universe as we know it cannot be explained using just 3 dimensions - higher level math in physics is showing that there are more than 3. But I will get back to that later. The important thing to note is that unicellular organisms, beginning with bacteria, are a microcosm of the universe.  We see this little circular blobs expanding and growing. Likewise we live in a universe that is accelerating, similar to a little circular blob. We should not think of space-time as nothing, but a bubble. The discovery of the Higgs-Boson shows that there is a universal field throughout space, from which mass is created.

In the second plane, we have subatomic particles, including light. Thus in the second stage of existence, plants acquire the ability to photosynthesize light.  Light is symbolic of the truth, thus the plant kingdom corresponds to spiritual truths.

In the third plane, we have atoms which have formed a nucleus. In the third stage of plants, plants are formed from Eukarotic cells, which have a nucleus. Just as the DNA determines the kind of life organism that gets created, so the atomic number - the number of protons in the atomic nucleus - determines the properties of the atom.

In the fourth plane, we have molecules, with many different properties. In the fourth stage of plants, plants begin to have differentiated cell tissues.

In the fifth plane and higher, we have life forms. It is in the fifth stage that plants become vascular: that is, they start to form stems, stalks and trunks by which they can grow upward.  We see a progression towards the sky, thus the overall progression is spiritual, one that leans towards heaven.

It took millions of years to reach these higher stages...and it is only recently that science has discovered the facts concerning these stages of existence.  And it is from these facts that we can derive spiritual truths from correspondences, once we know of the seven discrete degrees of order.


I would like to concentrate a little bit on the spiritual correspondence between the nucleus of the atom, and the nucleus of Eukaryotic cells. It is from these Eukaryotic cells that all plants and animals have formed, so it is an important stage of existence. Is there a correspondence between the atomic nucleus, and the nucleus of DNA of living cells?  We have seen this before. The atomic nucleus is composed of protons and neutrons:

And here is the nucleus of Eukaryotic cells:

A nucleus is surrounded by a nuclear envelope, and within the nucleus, there is the nucleolus. Within the nucleolus the complicated process of transcribing ribosomal RNA takes place. Whereas the atomic nucleus is composed of a collection of protons and neutrons, the cellular nucleus is composed of a small nucleolus inside the bigger ball of the nucleus. It is a higher level of complexity: as the DNA in the nucleolus determines the form and functions of the life organism, so the atomic number of the atom - the number of protons - determines the nature of the atom. Thus in simple life forms, we see similar cells joining together to become multicellular, after which in the next stage multicellular organisms develop distinguished tissues.

The nucleus of living organisms - is the simplest seed of all.  Cell division can be symbolically represented by two intersecting circles:

The intersection of the two circles forms the vesica piscis, which of course is the symbol of Christianity:

In the incarnation - something mysterious happened - where Jehovah became incarnate in human form from the virgin Mary. Somehow, human parthenogenesis occurred, but instead of a female (as one would expect with XX chromosomes) there was a male (XY chromosomes).  In the parables of scripture, the seed that is planted is the Word of God:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. ...And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-2, 14)
And coincidentally, the fish sign - the vesica piscis - became the symbol of Christianity. But back then, no one knew about cell division, that would only become known centuries later.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Universal Order of Plants - by Form and Function

For an introduction, I have labelled this series of blogs with the label "Universal Order", where I am reexamining the theory of the Reflexive Universe, by Arthur M. Young, inventor of the Bell Helicopter. All of existence keeps repeating a pattern of seven, divided into discrete degrees of order.  Beyond space-time, subatomic particles, atoms and molecules, we now enter the plant kingdom. And as the order increases, so does the complexity. Botanists will disagree on certain categories, and as our genetic knowledge has increased the classifications have changed - some of them quite recently. But the key here is to pay attention to form, to discrete degrees of order. Here I want to take a look at how Arthur M. Young divided the plant kingdom into seven categories:
1. Phytoplankton (Single Cell - not sure on this one)
2. Algae (Colonies)
3. Embryophytes (Embryos)
4. Psylophytes (Vascular stem)
5. Pteridophytes (Segments)
6. Gymnosperm (Seeds)
7. Angiosperm (Flowers)

So is this correct? There are many ways to classify and subclassify the plant kingdom, so I decided to look around and grab some plant charts:

Here is another:

And another, which does not include the algae:

And another one:

The first difference I see is that botanists will just refer to the "Algae Kingdom", and not distinguish between wandering single cells, and cells that group together to form colonies. Phytoplankton are classified under the Algae Kingdom.

So what is the definition of algae? From biology online:
A group of aquatic, photosynthetic, eukaryotic organisms ranging from unicellular to multicellular forms, and generally possess chlorophyll but lack true roots, stems and leaves characteristic of terrestrial plants.
In five kingdom scheme of classification, the algae, together with the protozoa, belong to Kingdom Protista. They are distinct from the protozoa by being photosynthetic. The algae are further grouped into various phyla: Euglenophyta (euglenids), Chrysophyta (diatoms), Pyrrophyta (dinoflaggelates), Chlorophyta (green algae), Phaeophyta (brown algae), and Rhodophyta (red algae). The Cyanophyta or blue-green algae, which are prokaryotic organisms, are traditionally included in this group but in modern classification, they are now grouped together with bacteria under Kingdom Monera.
Note the shifting of the classification of Cyanophyta.  Young divided the Algae kingdom into those that were unicellular, and those that were multicellular or which dwelt in colonies.


I was trying to find the taxonomy of unicellar plants, and this is where things got unbelievably complicated. Here is a diagram of the "tree of life":

In the above diagram, Eukaryota is misspelled, but I picked it since it shows viruses - science does not yet have an exact definition of "life", and it is debatable whether or not viruses are living or non-living. But this took me by surprise - I do not remember this diagram from my class in biology.  But I soon figured out why when I read up on bacteria. Here is what wikipedia says about "bacteria":
Once regarded as plants constituting the class Schizomycetes, bacteria are now classified as prokaryotes. Unlike cells of animals and other eukaryotes, bacterial cells do not contain a nucleus and rarely harbour membrane-bound organelles. Although the term bacteria traditionally included all prokaryotes, the scientific classification changed after the discovery in the 1990s that prokaryotes consist of two very different groups of organisms that evolved independently from an ancient common ancestor. These evolutionary domains are called Bacteria and Archaea.
So bacteria used to be plants. And now they are not. Arthur M. Young died in 1995, which explains the discrepancy with his theory. So what are Schizomycetes?  Here is one definition:
A class of unicellular or noncellular organisms that lack chlorophyll, comprise all the bacteria, and are prokaryotes, although formerly classified as fungi. Also called fission fungi.
The key point here is that bacteria lack chlorophyll, which is a key ingredient to the process of photosynthesis: the ability to convert light energy into food (there is one exception to that rule: cyanobacteria do make use of photosynthesis). But what is the difference between Bacteria and Archaea?  I had never heard of this.  From wikipedia:
In the past Archaea had been classed with bacteria as prokaryotes (or Kingdom Monera) and named archaebacteria, but this classification is regarded as outdated. In fact, the Archaea have an independent evolutionary history and show many differences in their biochemistry from other forms of life, and so they are now classified as a separate domain in the three-domain system. In this system, the phylogenetically distinct branches of evolutionary descent are the Archaea, Bacteria and Eukaryota.
So why the change? Its a different method of classification. Again from wikipedia:
For much of the 20th century, prokaryotes were regarded as a single group of organisms and classified based on their biochemistry, morphology and metabolism. For example, microbiologists tried to classify microorganisms based on the structures of their cell walls, their shapes, and the substances they consume. However, a new approach was proposed in 1965, using the sequences of the genes in these organisms to work out how different prokaryotes are related to each other. This approach, known as phylogenetics, is the main method used today.
In other words, instead of just depending on form and function, the classification is based on evolutionary history. The distinctions are however important when studying evolution:
The relationship between the three domains is of central importance for understanding the origin of life. Most of the metabolic pathways, which comprise the majority of an organism’s genes, are common between Archaea and Bacteria, while most genes involved in genome expression are common between Archaea and Eukaryota.
But we are concerned with order by form and function, not in how life evolved in particular on our planet earth. Life can evolve in different ways in different environments, especially on other planets. But there will always be a similar order, by form and function.  Here is another diagram showing the three domains:

Note: above diagram is out of date - Archaea are no longer considered part of Prokaryotes.

The important point out of this is that among the three domains of Bacteria, Archaea (formerly Archaebacteria as in the above diagram), and Eukaryota, is that plants and animals evolved from Eukaryota cells.  And what distinguishes Eukaryota from the other 2 domans?  Eukaryota have a nucleus which contains the genetic material. Bacteria and Archaea do not. For reasons I will explain later, lets consider Bacteria and Archaea as the first subclass of the plant kingdom, as in the former classification.


And now for the unicellular Eukaryota.  Included in this is the Protist kingdom:
They are unicellular, or they are multicellular without specialized tissues, and this simple cellular organization distinguishes the protists from other eukaryotes, such as fungi, animals and plants.
The term protista was first used by Ernst Haeckel in 1866. Protists were traditionally subdivided into several groups based on similarities to the "higher" kingdoms: the unicellular "animal-like" protozoa, the "plant-like" protophyta (mostly unicellular algae), and the "fungus-like" slime molds and water molds. These traditional subdivisions, largely based on superficial commonalities, have been replaced by classifications based on phylogenetics (evolutionary relatedness among organisms). However, the older terms are still used as informal names to describe the morphology and ecology of various protists.
We see here a general trend where biologists are moving away from form and function, and classifying organisms based on genetics. While genetics should be used, classification should still be by form and function. Based on genetics, many classifications are currently in flux, and its a bit frustrating as I cannot find one definite answer. We are looking for discrete degrees of order, which will tend to follow the evolutionary chronology anyway.  The key here is that unicellular organisms in the Eukaryota domain can be divided into two classes: "animal-like" protozoa, which have independent movement, and protophyta, unicellular algae which have the ability of photosynthesis.


And now we hit another problem with Arthur M. Young's classification of plants: the "Psylophytes".  What is this?  Here is the Wikipedia entry for Psilophytopsida:
Psilophytopsida is a now obsolete class containing one order, Psilophytales, which was previously used to classify a number of extinct plants which are now placed elsewhere. The class was established in 1917, under the name Psilophyta, with only three genera (Rhynia, Horneophyton and Psilophyton) for a group of fossil plants from the Upper Silurian and Devonian periods which lack true roots and leaves, but have a vascular system within a branching cylindrical stem. The living Psilotaceae, the whisk-ferns, were sometimes added to the class, which was then usually called Psilopsida. This classification is no longer in use.
Ok, its obsolete. And primarily it was used for extinct plants. But the intention of Young was a category for vascular plants. So Young's theory really does need to be updated with our current knowledge, but still pay attention to the form and function.


This area, the plant kingdom, requires a bit more research on my part. But it is quite apparent that Young's classification is a bit out of date, and slightly incorrect. As particle colliders has begun to find more and more subatomic particled, Wolfgang Pauli said "Had I foreseen that, I would have gone into botany." Enrico Fermi told once told a student: "Young man, if I could remember the names of these particles, I would have been a botanist." I disagree: particle physicists have a much easier job classifying the particles, and its all based on math. This classification of plants is beginning to look like sociology and psychology: based on someone's opinion. The problem here is complicated: there is such an explosion of diversity in the plant realm. But, if we pay attention to form and function, we end up with the following generic (and tentative) subclasses of the plant kingdom:
1. Unicellular or colonial, with no nucleus (Bacteria and Archaea)
2. Unicellular or colonial, with no nucleus, ability of photosynthesis (Cyanobacteria)
3. Unicellular or multicellular, with nucleus, not highly organized (Algae, Fungi, Lichens)
4. Embryo Sporophyte (Embryophyta)
5. Vascular plants (Pteridophytes, etc.)
6. Seeds (Gymnosperm)
7. Flowers (Angiosperm)
So this is looking a bit better. First, lets classify by form and function.  I am avoiding the taxonomy terms because these classifications are constantly in flux, as genetic research is increasing our knowledge in the evolution of plants. Not only is the taxonomy in flux, but older definitions shift to something different as they acquire a new meaning. It also removes Young's artificial division of the vascular plants. The Embryophytes have now shifted from the 3rd to the fourth subclass.  He had identified the 3rd subclass with "identity".  But let me point out the following correspondence.  Take a look at the seven planes of existence:
1. Space-time.
2. Subatomic particles.
3. Atoms.
4. Molecules.
5. Plants.
6. Animals & Man.
7. (an unknown plane of existence)
In the third stage of plants, the cell gets a nucleus. That corresponds to the third plane of existence: atoms. Atoms also have a nucleus! Same word, different level of order. A nucleus corresponds to Young's idea of "identity".

I would like to talk a bit about Cyanobacteria. I have put it, rightly or wrongly, in a classification of its own. In the old classification, it belonged to the Algae. In the newer taxonomy, its placed among the Bacteria. I have put it in between according to the probably evolutionary history. It is an important subclass, as it is thought that the the ability of all plants to photosynthesize light came from Cyanobacteria. It is also thought that Cyanobacteria helped earth obtain its oxygen atmosphere. And, by correspondence, it corresponds to the second plane of existence, which is light.  This is not something Young would have noticed. Since he placed light in the first plane of existence, he incorrectly put photosynthesizing plankton in the first order of plants, if I recall correctly.


Swedenborg stated that the process where life becomes more and more complex originates from the spiritual world, where the "template" or "class" of these animals and plants exist.  And there are many more in the spiritual world than the ones we have seen in the natural world.  They all have a correspondence to spiritual ideas, thus its important to recognize the discrete degrees of order according to form and function. There are many things that can be said here, so I will just include one account of Swedenborg concerning a botanist:

A certain one who was renowned and celebrated in the learned world for his skill in the science of botany, heard in the other life after his decease, that flowers and trees are there also presented to view, at which he was astonished; and as that had been the enjoyment of his life, he was kindled with the desire of seeing whether it was so. Being taken up therefore into the paradisal regions, he saw most beautiful plantations of trees and most charming flower gardens of immense extent. And as he then came into the ardor of his enjoyment from affection, it was permitted him to wander over the field, and not only see them in detail, but also to gather them and bring them to close inspection, and to see thoroughly whether they were really so.
Speaking with me from thence, he said that he had never believed this, and that if such things had been heard of in the world, they would have been classed as paradoxes. And he related further that flowers were seen growing there in immense abundance which were never seen in the world, and which would be scarce comprehensible there by any perception; and that they all glowed from an incomprehensible brightness, because they were from the light of heaven. That the glow was from a spiritual origin, he was not yet able to perceive, that is, that they glowed because there was in each one of them something of intelligence and wisdom, which were of truth and good. He said further that men on earth would by no means believe this, for the reason that few believe there is any heaven and hell, and they who believe only know that in heaven there is joy, and few among them believe that there are such things there as eye has never seen, and ear has never heard, and mind has never conceived; and this though they know from the Word that stupendous things were seen by the prophets, and more by John, as recorded in the Apocalypse. Yet these were nothing else than the representatives which are continually being presented in heaven, and which were seen by John when his internal sight was opened.
But these things are comparatively of little moment. They who are in intelligence and wisdom itself, from which these things are, are in such a state of happiness that the things which have been related are to them among those of little importance. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 4529).
If I recall correctly, this is not the only account.  I believe I read a book by Mary Baxter describing her Near Death Experience, and was surprised to see a flower in such detail in the other life. What is more important here is to recognize that in the structure and order of plants, certain spiritual truths can be discerned. So it is good to have a strong foundation first, but starting with what we know from science.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Universal Order of Design - the symmetry of matter


In the doctrine of Correspondences explained in the works of Emanuel Swedenborg, everything is a symbolic representative of the creator who made it: each and everything subsists, that is, continually exists, from the Divine, and all and each of the things which are therefrom must needs be representative of those things whereby they had existence, it follows that the visible universe is nothing else than a theatre representative of the kingdom of the Lord, and that this kingdom is a theatre representative of the Lord Himself. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 3483)
Swedenborg concentrates on the correspondences of the spiritual heavenly world, and found that the human form was the smallest representative of all of heaven:
I have been instructed by much experience, and indeed that not only the things pertaining to the human mind, namely, to its thought and affection, correspond to things spiritual and celestial, which are of heaven from the Lord, but also the whole man in general, and in particular whatever is in man, insomuch that there is not the smallest part, nor even the smallest constituent of a part, which does not correspond; also that man exists and continually subsists therefrom; and further, that unless there were such a correspondence of man with heaven, and through heaven with the Lord, thus with what is prior to himself, and by what is prior with the First, he would not subsist even a moment, but would dissolve into nothing. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 3628).
...the order of truths under the good of celestial love is such as is the order in the heavens; and from this the man who has such order in him, that is, who is regenerated, is called a little heaven, and indeed is heaven in the smallest form, for his interiors correspond to the heavens. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 5704).
This correspondence or symbolism extend further to the smallest thing that exists:

That the Divine is the same in the greatest things and the least, may be illustrated by heaven and by an angel there. The Divine in the whole heaven and the Divine in an angel is the same; wherefore also the whole heaven can appear as one angel. It is the same with the church, and with a man of the church. The greatest form in which the Divine is, is the whole heaven together with the whole church; the least is an angel of heaven and a man of the church. Sometimes an entire society of heaven has appeared to me as one man-angel; and I was told that it could appear like a man big as a giant, or small as an infant; and this, because the Divine is the same in the greatest things and the least.
The Divine is also the same in the greatest and in the least of all the things which are created, and do not live; for it is in all the good of their use. The reason, however, why they do not live is, that they are not forms of life, but forms of uses; and the form is various according to the excellence of the use. (Angelic Wisdom concerning Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 79-80, in Angelic Wisdom concerning the One God).

Nothing can subsist, or exist, unless it corresponded with the self-existent one, God.  And this pertains even to the smallest constituents of atoms and subatomic particles. And long before quantum physics, or String theory, Swedenborg stated that the smaller we go, the more things we will find, until it will approach the infinite.


The inventor of the helicopter, Arthur M. Young, had some rather interesting ideas concerning correspondence between different planes of existence. However as he kept discovering more and more symbolism, he knew he was onto something, but he did not know what - but he would have figured it out if he knew about Swedenborg, for it seems he arrived at his idea completely independently of him. I have been evaluating and at times correcting the theory, in light of current scientific knowledge, and in light of what was revealed to Swedenborg in his visions. There are seven planes of existence, as follows:
1. Space-time (not light, as Young had it). Young symbolize the first plane as a geometric dot.
2. Subatomic particles. Young symbolized the second plane as a geometric line.
3. Atoms. Young symbolized the third plane as a geometric triangle.
4. Molecules. Young symbolized the fourth plane as a geometic tetrahedron.
5. Plants.
6. Animals and Man.
7. (an unknown plane of existence)
Here are the geometric shapes of point, line, triangle, tetrahedron:

And, little did Young know that his symbolism was spot on. For in chemistry, the classification of molecules is based on the type of bonds it makes. There are four molecular bonds: metallic, ionic, weak molecular, and covalent. For classification of molecules, chemists make use of the following tetrahedron, first specified by Grimm's tetrahedron in the 1930s:

So the symbolism of the tetrahedron for the molecular plane is not just to be metaphysical: it is useful.  And this applies to the triangle for the atomic world as well: much of baryonic matter is composed of a triangle of three quarks. Here is an image of a proton with 3 quarks in it:

Between each quark, there is a gluon force. The quarks with the gluons would form a triangle. In order to describe the interactions between quarks and gluons, physicists assigned a "color charge" to a quark, where the quark can have one of three colors, or one of three anti-colors. They called them red, green and blue. They used color by way of analogy, as when all three are present the "color charge" does not appear: thus red, green and blue together make white. But in reality, it has absolutely nothing to do with color. The strong nuclear force, mediated by the gluon, only acts on particles with color charge. A gluon itself is composed of a color and an anti-color, thus gluon particles attract other gluons. When a gluon acts upon a quark, it may or may not change color, as shown below:

Gluon interactions, by way of color charge, is shown in the diagrams below:

The leftmost diagram shows that color charge has a ternary neutral state, in addition to a binary neutral state. The other diagrams show how gluons interact with quarks.


An ancient Hermetic saying is, "As above, so below."  That is, the smallest thing is a microcosm or reflection of the whole. Young did not know what went into the subatomic plane, as physicists at the time were still sorting things out.  Or, quantum physicists speak in mathematical terms that few outside their field understands.  Knowing what we know now, I proposed the following substates or sublevels for the subatomic plane, and by way of pure correspondence or symbolism, there are seven:
1. Graviton. Mediates the gravitational force.
2. Photon (light). Mediates the electromagnetic force.
3. W/Z Bosons. Mediates the weak nuclear force.
4. Gluons. Mediates the strong nuclear force.
5. Quarks.
6. Baryons (protons, neutrons...)
7. Leptons (electrons...)
See the previous blog entries where I discuss how I arrived at this. There is an interesting correspondence between the subatomic world, and the molecular world: just as the first four substates of the subatomic world are the four known forces of the universe, the first four substates of the molecular world are defined by the four molecular bonds. Another point: light as level 2 has two states of polarization, at level 3 we have 3 W/Z bosons, and at level 4 we have 8 (2 x 4) gluons. So, if a tetrahedron is a useful geometric symbol for the molecular world (plane 4), then my thoughts on this was, what geometric shape would be useful for representing gluons (the fourth substate of the subatomic plane).  I was betting that it would be something similar to the tetrahedron...but that idea came up empty.  But I decided to persist.  The following video is a short summary of what we know of gluons:

The video states the following facts of what we know about gluons:
* There are 8 gluons.
* Each gluon carries a combination of "color charge" (1 positive color, 1 anti-color)
* There are no free gluons: they only exist when 2 quarks interact.
* Gluons have their own color charge, and can create secondary virtual infinitum.
* When 2 quarks interact, the 2 quarks swap color.
* Since color is conserved, the gluon must have 2 colors of its own.
* As distance between the quarks increase, the force of the gluon increases. This means the force is a "flux-tube", which means the gluon is shaped like a string.

Some of the facts stated above simplify the underlying reality.  First, if there are 3 colors, and 3 anti-colors, we should have a total of 9 gluons, as follows:

red   anti-red,   red   anti-blue,   red   anti-green,
blue  anti-red,   blue  anti-blue,   blue  anti-green,
green anti-red,   green anti-blue,   green anti-green.

But that is not the case. There are 8.  Why is that?  The 8 gluon types are the result of SU(3) symmetry, described in Gell-Mann 3 x 3 matrices. See the article Why are there 8 gluons and not 9? for a better explanation. In physics, symmetry is a description of a stable state.  When the symmetry is said to be "broken", the physical system changes to another state.  When we look for order, we are looking for states, and the transitions between them. Symmetry plays a useful role in Gauge Theory, used to describe the order of the gauge bosons. Here is a Wikipedia entry on gauge theory:
Gauge theories are important as the successful field theories explaining the dynamics of elementary particles. Quantum electrodynamics is an abelian gauge theory with the symmetry group U(1) and has one gauge field, the electromagnetic four-potential, with the photon being the gauge boson. The Standard Model is a non-abelian gauge theory with the symmetry group U(1)×SU(2)×SU(3) and has a total of twelve gauge bosons: the photon, three weak bosons and eight gluons.
Here is another statement from Wikipedia describing symmetry in physics:
An important type of physical theory based on local symmetries is called a gauge theory and the symmetries natural to such a theory are called gauge symmetries. Gauge symmetries in the Standard model, used to describe three of the fundamental interactions, are based on the SU(3) × SU(2) × U(1) group. (Roughly speaking, the symmetries of the SU(3) group describe the strong force, the SU(2) group describes the weak interaction and the U(1) group describes the electromagnetic force.)
So without knowing it, by simple symbolic correspondence, I had arranged the gauge bosons in the proper order to fill in the gap of the subatomic plane in Young's theory of the Reflexive Universe:
1.  Graviton (gravitational field).
2.  Photon (electromagnetic field) = U(1) symmetry group. See a visual understanding of u(1) symmetry.
3.  Three W/Z bosons (weak nuclear force) = SU(2) symmetry group. See the group su(2), weak force symmetry
4.  Eight gluons (strong nuclear force) = SU(3) symmetry group. See the group su(3), symmetry of the strong force
Which is a nice, and surprising, confirmation. There is another theory known as "supersymmetry" to describe the symmetry between bosons and fermions (fermions are substates 5, 6 and 7). Gravity is problematic, with differing theories in Einstein's theory of relativity and the Standard Model.


As particle colliders kept finding more and more particles, things started to get messy, until the physicist Murray Gell-Man organized the subatomic baryons and mesons into octets, a theory which he called "The Eightfold Way" after the Eightfold Path of Bhuddism.  Here is a meson octet:

The letter s is something called "strangeness" and q is charge.  Here is a baryon octet:

Note how physicists can organize these particles not using a geometric shape, but rather points and lines.  The subatomic plane corresponds to a line, which is needed before one can build a triangle (the atoms) which is needed before one can build a tetrahedron (molecules). Rather than a simple line with 2 points, both are arranged to form a hexagon.  Here is another one, called the baryon decuplet:

From the baryon decuplet, Gell-Mann was able to predict the existence of a particle before it was discovered. Again, the diagram is one of points and lines, forming a connected series of triangles. Here is the baryon decuplet again, this time showing the up, down and strange quarks used to compose each baryon:

And here is the Pythagorean Tetractys:

What! Wait a minute - what is the Pythagorean Tetractys?  It was a very ancient sacred symbol among the Pythagoreans. What does it have to do with particle physics?  Well, nothing.  Except that the best theory to explain the behaviours of many of the subatomic particles forms a Tetractys.


The Pythagoreans was esoteric philosophical sect in Greece, which focused on the symbolism of numbers in mathematics. Here is a description of the Tetractys, borrowed somewhat from Wikipedia:

1.  The first four numbers symbolize the harmony of the spheres and the Cosmos as: (1) Unity, (2) Dyad - Power - Limit/Unlimit (peras/apeiron), (3) Harmony (4) Kosmos.[2]
2.  The four rows add up to ten, which was unity of a higher order (The Dekad).
3.  The Tetractys symbolizes the four elements — fire, air, water, and earth.
Well that is interesting! In ancient times all of matter was assigned to the four elements. We now know most matter is baryonic matter.  And we now know that the numbers of the particles of baryonic matter form a Tetractys!  This took me by complete surprise.  A search on the internet shows some others have noted in, but just in passing.  However, there is more: The Tetractys represented the organization of space:
1. the first row represented zero-dimensions (a point)
2. the second row represented one-dimension (a line of two points)
3. the third row represented two-dimensions (a plane defined by a triangle of three points)
4. the fourth row represented three-dimensions (a tetrahedron defined by four points)
Recall that the first four planes of existence: space-time, subatomic particles, atoms and molecules can each be symbolized by a point, line, triangle and tetrahedron. Again, this is an example of how the smallest part contains the whole.

A prayer of the Pythagoreans shows the importance of the Tetractys (sometimes called the "Mystic Tetrad"), as the prayer was addressed to it:
"Bless us, divine number, thou who generated gods and men! O holy, holy Tetractys, thou that containest the root and source of the eternally flowing creation! For the divine number begins with the profound, pure unity until it comes to the holy four; then it begets the mother of all, the all-comprising, all-bounding, the first-born, the never-swerving, the never-tiring holy ten, the keyholder of all".
The Pythagorean oath also mentioned the Tetractys:
"By that pure, holy, four lettered name on high,
nature's eternal fountain and supply,
the parent of all souls that living be,
by him, with faith find oath, I swear to thee."

The Kabbalists, a mystic form of Judaism, took note of this Pythagorean symbol and connected it to the Tetragammaton, or the four letter name of Jehovah in Hebrew: YHWH. The name was so sacred that in Hebrew they pronounced it as "Lord" (Adonai). The other thing that they took note is that the numbers 1 through 4 add up to 10, and of course there are 10 commandments.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Universal Order of Design - the Tetrahedron


In Arthur M. Young's theory of process in his book, The Reflexive Universe, he subdivides all of existence into seven planes of existence:

In previous blogs I have corrected the above diagram (I should probably make my own), where the first plane concerns space-time, and light belongs with the subatomic particles in the Standard Model. The fourth plane is the molecular world, and as with each plane, it can be further divided into seven substates. In some of these substates, we can go further and discover seven more "sub-substates." I say state, substate or plane, but these are all the same words for a discrete level of order. Between two discrete levels of order, there is nothing. It is similar to how Planck discovered how energy is not continuous, but comes in discrete packets known as "quantum". Thus we have quantum physics. Young's book was written in the mid-70s, and as far as I can tell, the theory has been sitting there collecting dust.  So let's review the seven substates of the molecular world, which Young took from Charles Price, a well known chemist at the time:
1. Metals
2. Simple Compounds (Salts, Ionic Bond)
3. Nonfunctional Compounds (Covalent Bond)
4. Functional Compounds
5. Nonfunctional Polymers
6. Functional Polymers (Proteins)
7. DNA, viruses.
And since I no longer have that book, The Reflexive Universe, its hard for me to check up on the definitions of these levels. I was able to reconstruct the list from some youtube videos of Arthur M. Young which I put in a previous blog entry in this series. So my first reaction is, what is a nonfunctional and functional compound, and what is a nonfunctional and functional polymer? I am not seeing these definitions anywhere in scientific literature. I am guessing that a nonfunctional polymer is a non-biological polymer, and thus there is a similar meaning for nonfunctional compounds. But I am not seeing this distinction in molecular classifications. Young talks about this in his recorded lecture, and it puzzles me. So, lets take a look at each substate of the molecular world, this is what I can find:
1. Metallic bond - delocalized electrons not associated with a particular atom or molecule, common in metals. Its what allows metals to conduct heat and electricity.
2. Ionic bond - an electrostatic bond between ions. An ion is an atom where the number of electrons does not equal the number of protons.
3. (?? - some other stuff goes here)
4. Covalent Bond - a bond between atoms where electrons are shared to complete the outer electron shell
5. Polymers - a chain of repeating molecular units, not including the biopolymers.
6. Non-genetic Biopolymers - polypeptides (proteins), polysaccharides
7. Genetic Biopolymers - polynucleotides (DNA & RNA), and viruses. 
When Young says "Metals" he is in reality talking about the Metallic bond. We are missing a category of molecules, and I am marking that with "other stuff" - just as I did when I reviewed the subatomic world, and filled in a gap with quarks. The last time I made use of ionic and covalent bonding was to answer a question on a chemistry test in high school, so those two categories check out. The reason why I remember is our chemistry professor forced us to write a poem that contained elements of the periodic table. I believe mine was a love story of two elements that bonded together, but she gets bored of him and decides to bond with another element. Seeking revenge, her original bonded element then kills her new found partner. The detectives arrive, and they have to figure out which element of the periodic table killed her lover. Similar to The Tell-Tale Heart of Edgar Allen Poe, going through the elements of the periodic table begins to drive the suspect insane (as chemistry did to many of my classmates). He finally gets up and screams, "Iodide it, you Acetate!".  He gets thrown into prison, and tries to bribe the guard to escape. "How much to pass the gate? / Why of course, one mole of silver permanganate." So it ends. I can't believe I remembered that.

If we look at the fifth substate of molecules, simple molecules start to repeat their pattern, growing into a long chain: these are the polymers. The sixth and seventh categories are known as biopolymers - those that appear in biological organisms. The seventh is the most interesting, as that includes the double-helix of the DNA, which was only discovered after the scientist first had a dream about it. It also includes viruses - and there are millions of them. Very few have been mapped out. It is debatable whether or not viruses are living organisms - they are at the cusp between the molecular world and where living organisms begin. Although they require a host cell to replicate, there are some theories which state that life began from viruses.

So the first observation I made is that the classification of molecules is dependant on the types of bonds they make - metallic, ionic or covalent. I poked around, and discovered there is another type of molecular bonding, called "Van der Waals" forces - which are also called "weak" bonds, as these are intermolecular bonds - weak bonds between molecules, not atoms. So for the first four types of molecules, let's correct Young's diagram (again) to obtain the following molecular classifications:
1. Metallic bond - delocalized electrons not associated with a particular atom or molecule, common in metals.

2. Ionic bond - an electrostatic bond between ions. An ion is an atom where the number of electrons does not equal the number of protons.

3. Intermolecular ("weak") bond (e.g., Van der Waals force, Hydrogen bond, Halogen bond, Aurophilicity...)

4. Covalent bond - a bond between atoms where electrons are shared to complete the outer electron shell.

And now, for something very weird. Recall that different planes of existence correspond to each other. That is, the sequence of order between different planes of existence will show similar patterns. Recall that, Young wrote his books in the mid-70s, and thus he did not know what to put within the subatomic plane. And so I decided to fill in the subatomic plane with the current scientific knowledge that we have now. Here are the first four substates of the subatomic world (see previous blog entries):
1. Graviton. Gravitational force.
2. Photon. Electromagnetic force.
3. W/Z Bosons. Weak nuclear force.
4. Gluons. Strong nuclear force.
By correspondence, just as the first four substates of the subatomic plane are the force carrier particles (gauge bosons), the first four substates of the molecular plane are governed by its type of bond. Force carrier particles, and molecular bonding, correspond to each other. Just as in the atomic world, molecules get more and more constrained by each bond. Moreover, even the order of the forces, and the order of the bonding, correspond with each other:
1. Gravitational force and Metallic bonding. In Metallic bonding, electrons are delocalized, travelling in a lattice structure. Gravity operates in the "grid" of the space-time medium, and has infinite range. You can say gravity is "delocalized".

2. Electromagnetic force and Ionic bonding. Ionic bonding is electrostatic, thus is based on the electromagnetic force.
3. Weak nuclear force and Intermolecular "weak" bond. Here, separate scientific disciplines call this "weak" - both are weak at long range, but become very strong at short ranges.
4. Strong nuclear force and Covalent bond. Both are the strongest force and bond respectively. One tightly binds the nucleus of atoms, the other tightly binds atoms together to form molecules.
This correspondence between two separate planes of existence - the atomic and the molecular, which can be verified by science, just blew me away. Of course scientists will say the four forces of the subatomic world have nothing to do with the four bonding types of the molecular world. But they correspond with each other, and missing puzzle pieces to Young's theory are beginning to fall in place.  I would not have seen this if I didn't start collecting my thoughts in this blog. This means if we know one thing about one plane of existence, it may be possible to extend our knowledge into other planes of existence - or at least make educated guesses. Why is this happening? This is not an area that science has attempted to explain: everyone is busy in their own box of discipline, and so no one to my knowledge has even noticed this. It is a different way of approaching scientific knowledge. It is based on a theory that everything in the universe corresponds to each other, how small parts are a microcosm of the whole.

Just to remove any doubt, I decided to checkup on how modern chemistry classifies molecules. I looked up "classification of molecules". I found this scientific article entitled,  A classification of molecules, phases, and transitions as recognized by thermal analysis . In it, is the following diagram:

It is called "Grimm's tetrahedron of bonding". And we see there the Metallic bond, the Ionic bond, Weak bonds, and Covalent bond. And from the gist of the article, I gather that although we know a lot about chemistry, the knowledge we have has become increasingly fragmented and unordered. So what is that tetrahedron? That's a geometric shape with 4 sides. Recall that Young represented the molecular world with the tetrahedron? But I don't think he mentions this tetrahedron of bonding, I think he used that just to represent a geometric shape for the fourth plane of existence, the molecular world.

So what is this "Grimm's tetrahedron of bonding"? Why are the four bonds put together in a geometric shape? For this I found an excellent educational website on chemistry, called, The Chemogenesis Web book. Here is some information on the Grimm Tetrahedron:
"William Jensen reports, below, that Grimm and Dehlinger developed an early form of tetrahedron in the nineteen thirties. However, this knowledge appears to have been forgotten."
Sadly, this insight into molecular structures was left alone, until revived in the mid-1990s (see video below on some of the history of this concept). The tetrahedron of bonding is very useful for mapping out the classification of molecules. There is an article entitled Tetrahedra of Structure, Bonding & Material Type, which covers this in detail. Here is the tetrahedron again:

This shows how most people know of the first three kinds of bonds, but forget about the weak intermolecular bond. Which explains why Young (or Charles Price) missed it.  What about the 6 edges of the tetrahedron? Those correspond to molecules that have intermediate types of bonds, here are examples, where molecules appear on edges between the bonds that define them:

There are even more colorful diagrams: there is a PDF printout where you can print out a colored tetrahedron, to map out all the classifications of molecules. Here is a summary of how this concept was developed throughout the 20th century, and how it is useful to understanding the molecular world:

Some high level chemistry concepts are summarized well on the Chemogenesis web site, I highly recommend it, as it would have been very hard for me to find this material. So what about the polymers and biopolymers?  Unable to escape their bonding, molecules start to repeat their structure, become mobile, and move out and escape to become life forms. On the web site an analysis is done to show what material belongs at each corner of the tetrahedron. I will quote from the web site:
"But what about the fourth corner, Network Covalent? The most electronegative element that forms a network covalent material is carbon, 2.55."
Carbon is tetravalent - meaning that it has four electrons in its outer shell to from covalent chemical bonds. Moreover, according to Wikipedia,
"Carbon is...the fourth most abundant element in the universe by mass after hydrogen, helium, and oxygen."
Thus, the tetrahedron, the four moleculuar bonds, the four electrons in the outer shell of the carbon, carbon the fourth most abundant element by mass in the universe: we keep seeing the number 4, 4, 4, 4. In Young's model of the Reflexive Universe, the molecular world is the fourth plane of existence. It is from carbon that higher life forms exist: thus we have carbon-based life forms.


Earlier I said that the tetrahedron was a representation of the molecular world, before I knew of Grimm's tetrahedron, or a classification of molecules by the tetrahedron. I am doubtful if Young was aware of this - even though in the youtube video, he uses a tetrahedron to represent molecules. There is a geometric corresponence for the first four planes of existence, as stated before. To recap:
1. Space-time = a geometric point. A point represents scalar particles (the Higgs-Boson is a scalar).
2. Subatomic particles = a line. Either a line represents a particle traveling in a wave, or something more fundamental: that particles are ultimately strings.
3. Atoms = a triangle. Three particle types make an atom: proton, neutron, electron. Moreover, the smallest atom, hydrogen, is composed of just three of these particles.
4. Molecules = a tetrahedron. Independent of this theory, chemists use a tetrahedron to classify molecules. There are four bond types between molecules.
So the implication of this pattern, is that it favors string theory. It is also an indication that if we see a pattern in one plane of existence, we can derive or guess patterns in lower or higher planes of existence. And this is what Swedenborg called the Doctrine of Correspondences. We say, "As above, so below." The smallest thing is a microcosm of the universe in more ways that we can imagine. Thus physicists, who seek to unify all the forces into one grand unified field theory, may be missing the point: its as if a chemist would like to see only one kind of bond between molecules. At a lower level, there is one kind of bond, but we should recognize that its different manifestations are a nature of a discrete degree of order. It would not be useful to a chemist to reduce things to one bond at a lower order.

As another example of how one part explains the whole, we see that the first plane of existence is that of space-time. From that, we can derive that the first substate of the subatomic world is the graviton. The pattern lends support to the existence of the graviton particle, which has not yet been directly observed, except perhaps gravity waves. Now lets take that to the atomic world. There are two atoms in the first substate: Hydrogen and Helium. These two elements are used to form stars. And when large stars begin to die, they become black holes, and create the largest known gravity wells in the universe. One small part explains the whole.


According to Swedenborg, the number 2 and its multiples signify love, as the marriage between two beings. Marriage love is the highest form of love. Now look at this pattern:
Plane 2 = Subatomic particles. Gauge bosons are force particles, which attract other particles to form the atomic nucleus.
Plane 4 = Molecules. Bonds between atoms. Four bonds define the classifications of molecules. Highest stage of molecules: DNA and viruses.
Plane 6 = Animals. Animals are distinguished from plants in that they have sexual intercourse. The DNA molecule is transmitted to unite the genetic material of the male and female in order to multiply the species.
Plane 8 = Love.
So, we progressively see increasing orders of bonding, until we reach the highest form of bond, Love. The reason why I make it higher than plane 6, is that despite what some may think, sex is not in itself love. It is a natural form of love. So in marriage love, one first progresses from "a love of sex" to "the love of one of the sex." Swedenborg explains this in his work, Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love. Unlike animals, only humans can reach this state. Or, humans can choose to remain in natural pleasures as animals do. Marriage love is hidden in the external natural form. But the eighth plane of order, Love, does not exist in our diagram. We only have seven planes of existence. Also recall, that in the atom there are a maximum of seven electron shells:

If the atom is the microcosm of the whole of existence, then what does the nucleus represent? I would say this: the atomic nucleus, and the 8th plane of existence, is one and the same, and represents God. God is the center of everything, and God is Love. Once we understand the discrete degrees of order in creation, we can better understand the Creator who made it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Universal Order of Design - String Theory

I keep trying to finish off this theory of everything based on a proposal by Arthur M. Young, but the problem with a theory of everything, there is everything to discuss.  Young published a book entitled The Reflexive Universe, where he stumbled upon a pattern of seven degrees of order in all of creation. Here is a diagram which sums it up:

As noted in previous blogs, he makes some errors, but at least he put the proposal out there so that it could be developed further. So, thus far I have corrected it, where there are seven planes of existence as follows:

1. Space-time. Scalar fields and 0 spin particles (Higgs-Boson field goes here)
2. Subatomic particles. Force mediating particles (single or double spin) and matter particles (half spin). Light belongs in this plane of reality.
3. Atoms
4. Molecules
5. Plants
6. Animals and Man
7. The Spiritual World - for the most part, an unknown state of existence.
Although Young left the subatomic plane blank, I was able to use his theory to sort out the plane of the subatomic particles.  Moreover, the pattern is predicting that the plane of space-time should have seven dimensions.  I looked up some modern theories, and separate theories in math and physics propose a world in which there are seven dimensions. String theory was one of them: it states that in addition to our 3 space dimensions and time, there are seven more spacial dimensions. This is what the math is saying - it has not been proven. However it has gone through some internal consistency checks and it has held up, and can unify the four forces.  It is just very, very hard to verify and validate.

What is string theory?  It is simple: instead of assuming that reality is composed of 0-dimension particles, these particles are in fact manifestations of vibrating strings:

1 - matter, 2 - molecules, 3 - atoms, 5 - subatomic particles, 6 - strings

To show that String Theory is a non-trivial solution to a problem, see the following excerpt from a NOVA documentary:

Now lets take a look at the first four planes of existence. They closely correspond to simple concepts in geometry:
1. Space-time. Scalar fields and particles. This is the closest we have to a "dimensionless" point.
2. Subatomic particles. If composed of strings, this order would correspond to a line.
3. Atoms. The third order, corresponding to a plane. Just as we need 3 points to create a flat plane, we need a minimum of 3 particles to make an atom. Of the seven categories of atoms, most atoms belong to the third category - transition metals (see previous blog).
4. Molecules. This corresponds to a 3 dimensional object.
Now of course, our simplistic concepts of a point, line, plane and solid do not accurately describe these four levels of reality.  We can say they correspond.  We can use simple geometric concepts to symbolically represent these realities. Throughout this theory of everything, planes of different orders correspond to each other, where one plane can describe higher or lower planes of existence.  So without doing the math, or understanding 7 or 11 dimensions, if we pay attention to the symbolism, we can guess what that plane of existence is like. Science cannot yet verify string theory. But through correspondence, its likely that the second plane is composed of strings.  And strings are not the final frontier: below that level, there are scalar fields. And this is where the ideas of Emanuel Swedenborg comes in, for he regarded the Doctrine of Correspondences as the science of sciences. It is the science that can explain everything, including higher level realities that are beyond the awareness of our senses.


Obviously, the String theory is wrong - there are only 3 dimensions and time, not 11 dimensions, right?  Well, let's think about it. In simple geometry, there are three dimensions, and every point has an x, y, and z coordinate:

But the problem with simple geometry, is what is a point?  A point is a dimensionless object. And logically,  a 0 dimension object does not exist.

Suppose we lived in a 2 dimensional world, we would experience a sphere as a circle.  But we live in a three dimensional world.  If there was a line in the fourth dimension, we would experience that line as a point.  If there was a plane in the fourth and fifth dimension, we would experience that as a line.  A solid object in the fourth, fifth and sixth dimensions, that would intersect as a plane. A moving solid object in the fourth, fifth, and sixth dimensions, that would become a solid object. Thus we can postulate 3 spacial dimensions, and 3 substance dimensions, plus time for movement: and the intersection of all these dimensions would fit in perfectly within our 3 dimensional world. Because we do not see those 3 substance dimensions, we can call those "compact" dimensions.

And that is what String theory is stating: apparently these vibrating strings originate from spacial dimensions beyond ours: except there are 7 more of them, not just 3. In those other dimensions, the strings exist as "branes" which manifest as vibrating strings in ours.


In the 20th century, the current thinking in science is that space-time is not nothing but rather one or more fields, and that there is no such thing as a particle.  The Higgs-Boson proves that there is a field that permeates the universe. But wait a minute - Swedenborg already said these things back in the 18th century.  Although many would probably discount his visions of heaven and hell, those who would ignore him are unaware he had clairvoyant abilities. On a number of occasions, he privately showed others that he could make contact with the dead in the spiritual world. On one occasion, he decided to pay a visit to Isaac Newton who had passed away in 1726.  And here is his description of the encounter (remember, Swedenborg wrote this in the 18th century):
Something shall be said here concerning vacuum. I once heard angels talking with Newton about vacuum, and saying that they could not bear the idea of vacuum as nothing; because in their world which is spiritual, and within or above the spaces and times of the natural world, they equally feel, think, are affected, love, will, breathe, yea speak and act; which things are utterly impossible in vacuum as nothing; because nothing is nothing, and of nothing nothing can be predicated. Newton said that he knew that the Divine which is, fills all things, and that he himself shuddered at the idea of nothing respecting vacuum, because that idea is destructive of all things; and he exhorted those who talked with him about vacuum, to beware of the idea of nothing, calling it a swoon, because in nothing no real existence of mind is possible. (Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 82, from Angelic Wisdom concerning the One God).
Apparently in the other world, Newton recognized his big mistake: he treated space as nothing, or a vacuum. Modern physics is telling us that space is not a vacuum: Einstein stated that gravity warps time and space, and the discovery of the Higgs-Boson in 2012 shows that all of space is permeated by a field that gives everything mass. And we still tend to think of mass as "particles".  So what did Swedenborg have to say about the nature of matter?  Look at these statements: is a fallacy of the merely natural sense, that there are simple substances, which are monads and atoms; for whatever is within the range of the external sensual, the natural man believes to be such, or nothing. (Heavenly Arcana, n. 5084).
Obviously there are atoms; but by "monad" or "atom" Swedenborg is talking about an indivisible particle.
...every one shall be judged according to his works; for the end, or the love of his will, and the cause, or the reason of his understanding, are together in the effects, which are the works of his body; thus the quality of the whole man is in them. They who do not know these things, and do not thus distinguish the objects of reason, cannot avoid terminating the ideas of their thought in the atoms of Epicurus, the monads of Leibnitz, or the simple substances of Wolff, and thus closing up their understandings as with a bolt, so that they cannot even think from reason concerning spiritual influx, because they cannot think concerning any progression; for the author says concerning his simple substance, that if it is divided it falls into nothing. (Intercourse between the Soul and Body, n. 17, from Angelic Wisdom concerning the One God).
It is asserted by some that there is a substance so simple that it is not a form from lesser forms, and that from that substance, through process of massing, there arise substantial or composite things, and at length substances which are called material. But still no such most simple substances exist; for what is a substance without a form? It is something of which nothing can be predicated; and from an entity of which nothing can be predicated, no process of massing together can make anything. That there are innumerable things in the first created substances of all, that is, in the smallest and most simple things, will be seen in what follows, where forms will be treated of. (Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 229, from Angelic Wisdom concerning the One God).
As atoms were discovered during the nineteenth century, people must have thought Swedenborg was incorrect.  And here is an interesting statement - the smaller you go, the closer you will approach the infinite:
Know, that everything divided is more and more multiple, and not more and more simple,—because divided and divided it approaches nearer and nearer to the infinite, in which all things are, infinitely. This is a new thing that I relate to you, before unheard of. (Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage Love, n. 329).
Well, for physicists, that is either depressing or comforting. Depressing, as they will never reach the final answer, but comforting, as there will always be something new to explore.  Swedenborg notes, that in the smallest thing, there are discrete and continuous degrees of order:
That the greatest and the smallest of all things consist of discrete and continuous degrees, or degrees of altitude and latitude, cannot be illustrated by examples from visible objects, because the smallest things do not appear before the eyes, and the greatest which do appear do not seem to be distinguished into degrees...The declarations of the angels on this matter are these: that there is nothing so small that there are not in it degrees of both kinds; thus nothing so small in any animal, nor in any plant, nor in any mineral, nor in the ether and the air, and because the ether and the air are receptacles of heat and light, that there is no least thing of heat and light; and because spiritual heat and spiritual light are the receptacles of love and wisdom, that there is no least thing of these in which there are not degrees of both kinds. The angels also declare that the least thing of an affection and the least of a thought, nay, that the least of an idea of thought, consists of degrees of both kinds, and that a least thing which does not consist of them is nothing; for it has no form, therefore no quality, and no state which can be changed and varied, and by this means exist. The angels confirm this by the truth, that the infinites in God the Creator, Who is the Lord from eternity, are distinctly one; and that there are infinite things in His infinites; and that in things infinitely infinite there are degrees of both kinds, which also in Him are distinctly one; and because these things are in Him, and all things are created by Him, and the things which are created resemble in some image those things which are in Him, it follows that there is not the least finite thing, in which there are not such degrees. That these degrees are equally in the least and in the greatest things, is because the Divine in the greatest and in the least things is the same. (Divine Love and Wisdom, n. 222-223, from Angelic Wisdom concerning the One God).

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Universal Order of Design - symbolism of the atomic world

This is a continuation of a series of blogs, in which I revisit the theory proposed by Arthur M. Young as described in his book, The Reflexive Universe, and reinterpret it in light of the visions of Emanuel Swedenborg. It is a different way of interpreting or approaching scientific knowledge. Most of our scientific knowledge is based on facts, and based on mathematics. But the main problem with science is that the knowledge is not structured or ordered: its a series of facts after facts, which must be memorized. This is a different way of approaching scientific knowledge, and it is based on substance and form, what is prior and posterior, and discrete degrees of order. Another concept is that the smallest thing in the universe is a microcosm of the largest thing in the universe, and vice versa: thus we are looking for patterns that repeat. The main pattern, is that there are seven planes of existence, and within each plane there are seven substages. And at times I have found if we look deeper, you can take a substage and find another series of seven states. The whole explains the part, and the part explains the whole. It reminds me of a book I once read, The Holographic Universe. Except here, we are applying it in a more useful and practical manner, where it has application to science and is not just an abstract philosophy. As William Blake once wrote,

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.


I want to revisit the atomic world, because I suspect there is a mistake in the way Young approached this plane of existence. The degrees of order within the atomic world are determined by the atomic number, and the electron shells. There happen to be seven electron shells. From wikipedia:
"The electron shells are labeled K, L, M, N, O, P, and Q; or 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7; going from innermost shell outwards. Electrons in outer shells have higher average energy and travel farther from the nucleus than those in inner shells. This makes them more important in determining how the atom reacts chemically and behaves as a conductor, because the pull of the atom's nucleus upon them is weaker and more easily broken. In this way, a given element's reactivity is highly dependent upon its electronic configuration."
Here is a diagram of the uranium atom with its seven orbitals:

Some have made comparisons between the atom and the structure of the solar system, how planets orbit around a sun. Electrons do not actually orbit the nucleus, a more accurate description is that they form standing waves at particular energy states. A more deeper truth, is that the atom is a microcosm of the universe: within the atomic orbitals, there are seven planes of existence. In fact, in the Ptolemaic system there was a strong tradition to associate the orbits of the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter an Saturn with seven heavens, as shown in the following diagram:

This tradition is ancient. In the Jewish Talmud, and some apocryphal literature related to Enoch, there are seven heavens. From this, the Quran of Islam states that there are seven heavens:

See you not how Allah has created the seven heavens one above another, and made the moon a light in their midst, and made the Sun a Lamp? (Sura 71:15-16)
Blessed is He in Whose Hand is the dominion; and He is able to do all things. Who has created death and life that He may test you which of you is best in deed. And He is the Almighty, the Oft-Forgiving; Who has created the seven heavens one above another; you can see no fault in the creation of the Most Gracious.(Sura 67:1-3)
Going even older, the seven heavens are found in Hinduism (the Puranas and Arthavaveda), and are as follows:

  1. Bhoor-Loka (भूर्लोक i.e. the Earth)
  2. Bhuvar-Loka (भुवर्लोक)
  3. Svar-Loka (स्वर्लोक)
  4. Mahar-Loka (महर्लोक)
  5. Jana-Loka (जनलोक)
  6. Tapa-Loka (तपलोक)
  7. Satya-loka (सत्यलोक)

Hinduism differs a bit as below the seven heavens, there are seven hells. Are these ancient myths and traditions correct? Yes and no. These myths are distortions of the original truth, and probably began when in ancient times Babylonian astrologer-priests misled people to worship the Sun, Moon and stars. There is an element of truth in these myths, which got distorted when they looked for evidence of heaven in the skies above them. There is evidence in ancient Babylonian tablets that they may have known of Neptune and Uranus: but this knowledge was kept hidden in myths. Although scripture assigns a level of importance to the number seven, you will not find reference to these seven heavens in the Bible. I have found evidence that the chronology of the ten patriarchs before the flood (Adam to Noah) - is based on synodic periods of the planets, including Neptune and Uranus, but strangely not Pluto. See The Ancient Astronomy of the Bible. Pluto, discovered in 1931, was originally classified as a planet, but was "demoted" as recently as 2006.

What is a more accurate statement of the truth, is that the seven planes of the electron shells of the atom are a microcosm of the seven planes of existence, which are:
1. Space-time
2. Subatomic force and matter particles
3. Atoms 
4. Molecules
5. Plants
6. Animals and Man
7. (an unknown state of existence)
The seventh is the spiritual world, which I will cover later. These are discrete degrees of order. Likewise, the electron shells of the atom are discrete. Electrons can jump from one shell to another, but can't lie in a state in between. Thus Planck discovered that energy came in discrete "packets" - this was called a quantum of action, and it is heavily used in quantum physics. As atoms emit energy, electrons drop to a lower state, but as they absorb energy, the electrons jump to a higher state.  Arthur Young notes that the world of the atoms correspond with the plants, in that plant absorb light. Moreoever, as atoms have a north and south magnetic pole, so plants can only grow up and down along an axis. This symbolic correspondence between different planes of existence is an important concept.

Here is the periodic table again:

In his book The Reflexive Universe, Young divided the atoms into seven categories as follows:

1. Hydrogen (H).
2. Helium to Fluorine (He to F).
3. Neon to Chlorine (Ne to Cl).
4. Argon to Bromine (Ar to Br).
5. Krypton to Iodine (Kr to I).
6. Xenon to Astatine (Xe to At).
7. Radon to #118 (Rn to Uuo).

Well not quite true, the upper elements of the periodic table had not been discovered when Young published his book. But he makes a slight error. The rows or groups of the periodic table are according to the electron shells of the atom: each substate of the atomic world should be according to the electron shells. So let's correct it slightly, where we just simply follow the rows of the periodic table:

1. Hydrogen to Helium (H to He).
2. Lithium to Neon (Li to Ne).
3. Sodium to Argon (Na to Ar).
4. Potassium to Krypton (K to Kr).
5. Rubidium to Xenon (Rb to Xe).
6. Caesium to Radon (Xe to Rn).
7. Francium to #118 (Fr to Uuo).

There are only 2 atoms that have just one electron shell: Hydrogen and Helium. So...what thing in the universe is composed almost entirely of Hydrogen and Helium?  Well, the suns and stars.  Here is a breakdown of the elemental composition of the Sun:

So, remember how I said those myths which related the sun, moon and planets to the seven spheres of the heavens are obviously false?  Well some of it is true. Because now we see that the first electron shell of the atom "corresponds" to the Sun. In a literal sense the myth is false. In a symbolic sense, the myth is true. Our solar system as seen from earth is an approximate symbolic representation of the seven electron shells of the atom.

As the form of the atoms progress and become more complicated, another pattern emerges. Although categories are debated for some of the atoms, we can classify the atoms into seven main categories according to their groups (columns in the periodic table):

1. Alkali Metal2. Alkaline Earth Metal3. Transition Metals (including Lanthanides and Actinides)
4. Post-transition metals and Metalloids5. Nonmetals6. Halogens7. Noble gases.
For the third category, Transition Metals, it includes three types: Transition metals, Lanthanides and Actinides. It reminds me a bit of the weak nuclear force - the third subtype of the subatomic plane - which has 3 subatomic particles: two W bosons an one Z boson. Note that the elements of brass, silver and gold reside in this category, and all belong to the same column or group (#11). As these metals are mentioned in scripture, we know of their symbolic significance from Swedenborg. Here is a quote from Wikipedia:
"Most scientists describe a "transition metal" as any element in the d-block of the periodic table, which includes groups 3 to 12 on the periodic table. All elements in the d-block are metals. In actual practice, the f-block is also included in the form of the lanthanide and actinide series."
There is a lot of debate about the fourth group: it is hard to define. Why?  For Metalloids, here is a statement from Wikipedia:
"A metalloid is a chemical element with properties that are in-between or a mixture of those of metals and nonmetals, and which is considered to be difficult to classify unambiguously as either a metal or a nonmetal. There is no standard definition of a metalloid nor is there agreement as to which elements are appropriately classified as such. Despite this lack of specificity the term continues to be used in the chemistry literature."
Note how they belong to the fourth stage: which corresponds to the turn at the bottom of the arc in Young's diagram, representing the transition from minerals to life forms.

The Nonmetals belong to the fifth group.  Now, if we look at the fifth plane of existence, it is the realm of plants: it is where life begins.  Now here is the elemental composition of the human body:

Oxygen (O), Carbon (C), Hydrogen (H), Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), Sulfur or Sulphur (S), all belong to the Nonmetal group. They are the elements of life. Calcium is used to make the bones, which tends to survive the longest after death.

The seventh and last category are the Noble gases - all in gaseous form. Since their outer shell is full, they tend to not chemically react with other elements, and they are invisible and odorless. From symbolic correspondence, we can presume that this corresponds to the seventh plane of existence which is the spiritual world. In Hebrew, the words "spirit" and "breath" are one and the same. The general pattern we see is thus from base minerals or metals, transiting to elements needed for life forms, transiting to gases which represents the spirit.