Thinking in Spheres: Divine Consciousness and Globalization

Gail Thomas, Ph.D.

The Sufi poet, Rumi, says, “If Love did not live in matter, how would any place have any hold on anyone?”. I begin my talk with the notion of Love residing in matter because it seems to set up the dilemma we face with cyberspace. Perhaps this is why we fear change, and the unknown worlds delivered to us by technology—because we can’t get our arms around it—see it, smell it, sit next to it, savor the aroma of it. Love in matter holds us. It anchors us. It gives us home and harbor. More than nostalgia is at work here; there is a coming together of realms—for the sake of the evening’s discussion, let’s call it the divine and its manifestation. This place is what we yearn for. We feel safe here. We are placed here. We are able to bewho we are to be when we dwell in this realm we call Love in matter.

And yet, like Shakespeare’s King Lear, are we subject to becoming “unaccommodated man,” banishing paradise? George Gilder, historian and corporate champion of the electron says in the opening lines of his 1989 book Macrocosm: “The central event of the 20th century is the overthrow of matter.” Do our blinded eyes see what Kent sees when he says: “Is this the promis’d end?” Are we banishing matter, and losing Love in the process, a mere 3 clicks away? (The world IS becoming curiouser and curiouser.)

I am grateful to Larry and Glenn for assigning to me this task. I have done extensive research for this paper that I would not otherwise have done. In truth (I am not certain if it is because of the times or because of the title of this series) I have finally entered the world of cyberspace. I have even become a junkie. I can’t stay off-line. I don’t seem to be able to pass up a fascinating “link.” My confession here is that this is the first paper I have written that is researched almost totally on the internet. And, after many labyrnthian turns, I have emerged from this study of the life force we know as “the electron” with a renewed awe of the mysteries unfolding in the universe, a “Divinity that shapes our ends.”

During this excursion, I have veered from but not wavered in my sense that there is an order to the workings of the cosmos, a matrix with which the spark of divinity within each of us adheres. Call it what we may, this Divinity in every instance compels a coming together of worlds.

My title is “Thinking in Spheres”. Glenn and Larry gave me this title because of an image that seems to accompany much of my work, in psychology, in thinking about literature, and in city planning—it is the image of the vesica. The vesica is the conjoining of two realms, not merely touching, but overlapping and in so doing, taking a portion (but not all) of the other into itself. This touching, meeting, and taking in of the other creates yet a third sphere. This third is the vesica. This image has shaped my imagination for some time. I see it as an image for the soul. The poet, Novalis says:

Soul is there where the inner and outer worlds meet.

The vesica is the interlocking of two realms–an overlapping where two worlds merge and exchange force fields. Now, this is the important point. These two worlds exchange force fields. What does that mean? Is it a scientific concept? A psychological one? Spiritual? Does the notion of the exchange of force fields belong to the new physics? I want to claim all of them. My sense is that it is the “place” of Imagination; it is the “space” of sacred time. The vesica is where the muses dwell, in the interstices— where the voices and vibrations of the inspired ones from all time both past and future whisper in my ear. (Is this what is today called cyberspace?) It is sometimes called the Vesica Pisces, the Vessel of the Fish, and was the symbol of the early Christians, used to identify themselves to each other, so that we see this symbol in the caves outside Rome where the early Christians were banded together in hiding. We see numerous images of Christ in the Vesica Pisces, most visibly at Chartres Cathedral, as if to say this vessel is the holding-place of salvation.

And it is here the mystery is able to take place, the mystery of the ordering of the soul; the mystery of setting things right, the mystery of healing, of sanctification.

I want to suggest that the vesica appears at the decisive moment: in psychology it appears as symptom, as morbidity; in literature it is when the tragic hero and his or her Fate come together, touch, and begin to overlap; in culture, the vesica appears at the time one epoch shifts into another. Its appearance begs our attention. Whether it happens in nanoseconds or takes several hundred years, this is the moment the protagonist or society acts. Whether we call it Fate, moira, or getting what we want or deserve, if the vesica opens, we are propelled into an overlapping union with that mystery that occurs when spirit and soul unite. We are at such a time in the window of opportunity, when two worlds come together in such a way as to offer an opening into both worlds at one time, a way through, or, for our purposes in these discussions, a way “out” of a what could be the greatest test of all for the human race. I am claiming we are in this vesica at this very time.

Surely, you are asking, “What is this dramatic crossroad?”

I am personally struggling with it, and although fascinated and almost mesmerized by the sweet elixir of the Internet and all the information I have accumulated so quickly these past weeks, I feel the need (like Oedipus) to wipe the innocence from my eyes. I am startled by what I see.

One gaze offers a vision of a new world, interconnected in cyberspace through instant communication and commerce and therefore offering compassion and care to those in need, creative opportunities for invention and trade, and allowing the human community to live with conscious care for their natural habitat.

Another piercing glance offers an alarming scene. Robots with the ability to clone themselves, computers that not only think faster than humans but that have senses more highly tuned than humans. The humans in this scenario, being content with base appetites (just picture Sunday afternoons or Monday evenings in Dallas), are duller and less compassionate than are their computer masters.

Is this the promis’d end? I present these two opposing views to condense for you the vast range of ideas, some thoughtful, others quite crazy, available through research on the Internet regarding cyberspace. And I see the issue of cyberspace and the nanotech developing through it as the focus of our discussion this evening in this series, Globalization and Consciousness. The question of Divine Consciousness in Globalization resides here.

Now, I do admit to being (and I don’t want to have to use this cliché, but I will) a Luddite. (By the way, do all of you know the origin of this word? A group of British textile workers in the first years of the 19thcentury destroyed factory machinery believing if the machinery were installed it would reduce jobs. Guess what? It DID! The word carries the name of Ned Ludd who earlier had destroyed stocking frames in England.) I, like Ned Ludd, believed in the early 80s that computers would remove that quality that has no name, the quality so present here at the Dallas Institute. Guess what? They have NOT!)

I suspect that most of us in the room in the recent past have been afraid of the computer. I remember when I resisted buying an answering machine. And, I also resisted putting the Dallas Institute’s financial records on computer. We were all afraid of this monster, the computer. (I do know that one of my greatest fears was driven by economics. I made a financial decision to purchase, jointly with James Hillman and Spring Publications, a very costly typesetting machine. This gargantuan machine—the TypoGraphic—cost a whopping $12,000. But, we were given a non-profit discount so that our cost was $9,000. This was in 1981 when (like today, actually) we had very few dollars with which to operate. We decided to make a huge sacrifice for publications and purchased this enormous machine with Spring Publications–$4500 each. Within 3 months after it was installed in the small room adjacent to the kitchen, desktop publishing was announced. A computer could be purchased for half the price we had paid for the TypoGraphic and would do much more than our antique that was the size of an upright piano and had to have climate controlled heat and air conditioning. I decided right then to hate the computer. It made me look foolish and it moved faster than I could respond. I simply refused to accept the new technology).

My talk tonight is for me the recognition that I not only have accepted the computer and the trappings that go with it, I have merged with it. I have exchanged force fields with it and I am different because of it. My haunting question and one we should all ponder: Am I better off? (One physical truth—my eyes hurt!)

We are attempting in this series to understand a phenomenon that is redefining our culture, moving at a pace more rapid than the blink of an eye. Is it entertainment? Or, is it what some are now saying–God? Are we merely entertaining ourselves when we click on Or, are we linking into a source of intelligence, connecting electronically in a way that mystics and Holy Men and Women have been attempting for centuries?

Since the beginning of consciousness, we have been searching for a larger (in the past we have saidhigher) Intelligence with which our meager conscious thoughts might merge. Have we found it? Albertus Magnus asked, in the 13th century:

Do there exist many worlds, or is there but a single world? This is one of the most nobel and exalted questions in the study of Nature.[1]

Or, perhaps we are only entertaining ourselves. Perhaps Cyberspace, the Internet, Virtual Reality is the latest evolution of the media industry, designed, constructed, tinted, and made tantalizing in order to create a yet thicker veil of illusion covering the True Reality? One critic points out that movies were invented a scarce 100 years ago and it took 30 years for them to have sound, another 10 to have Technicolor and 10 years after that to have television. Then came cable, the VCR, videogames, CDs, and now, he says, “bestriding the world like a colossus, the Internet.[2] Has this behemoth been sitting behind our neck like a basilisk awaiting our attention and with it, our collective soul? How quickly will it lead us into a virtual world and at what cost to our humanity? Is this the beast that after 20 centuries of stoney sleep is crouching toward Bethlehem?

We might take a closer look at our “entertainment,” if this in truth is what it is, if we consider how rapidly it is multiplying. Listen to the concerns of Bill Joy, cofounder and chief scientist for SunMicrosystems. And you need to know that Bill Joy has been one of the “gang” who has brought us this virtual world. Writing in Wired Magazine, he tells of sitting around talking with the other speakers at George Gilder’s Telecosmconference in 1998 and having a conversation with John Searle and other icons of the tech industry that turned his head around. [3]

From the moment I became involved in the creation of new technologies, their ethical dimensions have concerned me, but it was only in the autumn of 1998 that I became anxiously aware of how great are the dangers facing us in the 21st century.

Our most powerful 21st-century technologies – robotics, genetic engineering, and nanotech – are threatening to make humans an endangered species.

Bill Joy cites a formula called Moore’s Law that is used by every young entrpreneurial computer tech hopeful in the country. Moore’s Law predicts the exponential rate of growth of semi-conductor technology as doubling every 18 months.

Until last year I believed that the rate of advances predicted by Moore’s law might continue only until roughly 2010, when some physical limits would begin to be reached.

It was not obvious to me that a new technology would arrive in time to keep performance advancing smoothly….

By 2030, we are likely to be able to build machines, in quantity, a million times as powerful as the personal computers of today….

As this enormous computing power is combined with the manipulative advances of the physical sciences and the new, deep understandings in genetics, enormous transformative power is being unleashed. These combinations open up the opportunity to completely redesign the world, for better or worse: The replicating and evolving processes that have been confined to the natural world are about to become realms of human endeavor….

But now, with the prospect of human-level computing power in about 30 years, a new idea suggests itself: that I may be working to create tools which will enable the construction of the technology that may replace our species. How do I feel about this? Very uncomfortable.[4]

Suddenly, the “entertainment” fantasy fades. What is this phenomenon? How does it affect us? How might we serve the well being of the world through it? Might we destroy our world with it? (these questions beg the “Consciousness” part of our series’ title)

Now that we are in it; let’s seek an overview. Man cannot stand too much reality, as Eliot says.

Our world is now global. We will not move back into isolated spheres. The task before us is to embrace this new dimension with the imagination of the divine showing itself in ever-new forms. Our ability to serve the world through this consciousness rests entirely on our capacity to hold together those qualities we call our soul forces while discerning what is going on in this fear evoking, systems breaking, control shattering, law mystifying, epoch defining appearance of a new way of life. We call it globalization. . I make this suggestion only from a perspective we might call a global consciousness, remembering the passage of time in the creation of this remarkable and wholly unique planet we call Earth.

I will attempt to persuade you this evening that we do indeed think in spheres, that this form of thinking is the action of the imagination, and that divine consciousness erupts when this remarkable activity is engaged. I do, however make one slight correction to my title: it must read “Thinking in Spheres: Divine Consciousness in Globalization,” not vs Globalization. The reason being that, even after all these questions, after all the fear–of biological weapons, genetic engineering, cloning, robotic takeover– I hold to the view that globalization is yet one more step in the unfolding of divine consciousness into the universe. (Many of you will disagree with me here. I hope so; otherwise, there is no reason to spend this much time preparing this talk or for you giving the time to listen to it.)

The question is: have we developed the capacity to stop? Are we able to create boundaries for our exploration? Soul forces stop us. They shape and give definition to spirit. Spirit forces direct the soul. Although we marvel at our technological advances that have brought us together globally, to move commerce and to increase information, has this increase added to our humanity, or has it brought us ever nearer to the manipulation of the human as an engineered project? We become what we do and what we think. Do we have the soul strength to remain fully human?

This is the question I have struggled with through the writing of this paper.

I have been raised as a child, and continue as an adult, to believe that Divine Intelligence is at work in all things. In this view, evil exists to force the strengthening of the soul (both the world soul, and the soul of each living thing). If we continue on our present course of globalization, with technological expertise increasing exponentially every few hours of the day, and if, in the spirit of exploration and discovery, we clone ourselves through genetic engineering in foods and with the human body itself, do we create artificial intelligence and lose all possibility of human experience? Are we testing the limits Divine Intelligence will allow us to go in this “human” experiment? Or, are we developing consciousness through the ever-present awareness of death—the Ultimate Test of Limits, that is, the death of the human being as we know it? Perhaps this new consciousness includes an awareness of the frailty of the human spirit in not being capable to cease in our exploration, and therefore moving headlong into extinction. As with the natural order, death (and in psychology we say “depth”) is integral to creation and to life.

This is more or less the shape of my personal dilemma, but, let’s not go any further with that argument for the moment. Let’s allow our questions to just hang there in the cosmos. They will build.

As a way of staying with the image of the spheres, let us explore more closely some of the more basic of these images.

Isaac Newton gives us a basic overview. He says:

God is able to create particles of matter of several sizes and figures…and perhaps of different densities and forces, and thereby to vary the laws of Nature, and make worlds of several sorts in several parts of the Universe. At least, I see nothing of contradiction in all this.

Isaac Newton, Optics

and Giordano Bruno proposed the view that the universe looks by and large the same no matter from where we happen to view it, so let us start with the orb most basic to viewing, our own eyes. Consider the relationship between our own eyes and the living spherical bodies of the universe.

If we are thinking in spheres, we notice that when one orb touches another and overlaps, a vesica appears. There is an overlapping and taking in of the other. We are not taken over by it. We are impregnated with it the way the orb of the sun hits the sphere of my eye in the first rays of morning light. And then, when I close my eyes, and look carefully at the back of my eyelids, the shining, pulsating sphere appears, always red, then magenta, turning to fuchsia encircled with luminous yellow, and green, and then iridescent green/blue. (N.B. It is interesting to me that the word iridescent begins with iris) Iris, the pigmented round contractile membrane of the eye, a prismatic crystal; the word iris in Greek means “the rainbow,” and is found also in the Greek Pantheon–Iris, the goddess of the rainbow, and messenger of the gods. Are the gods offering to us divine messages, mysteries, sacred teachings, through rays? Through the colors of things, through this diverse, rainbow infused radiant, iridescent, sphere of a world that we inhabit? )

Back to my thinking in spheres. How are things? What shape are we in? Everywhere we look, we see spheres–suns and moons, and planets with rings upon rings circling round, planetary nebulae and spiral galaxies swirling out centrifugally from a red hot center; our own Milky Way with its spiral arms illumined by young, hot, blue stars, its galactic core brilliant with older, redder stars.

Go outside and look down during these warm March days and you see spheres within spheres within flowers exposing their ringed centers lying at the base of tree trunks around which are circled cylindrical spheres of blooming color. Each pebble, each speck of sand reveals for us a phenomenal mystery telling the story of the shape of things in the universe. And now, dazzle your imagination with this knowledge I am now quoting you, gained straight from Cyberspace.

My research on the Internet tells me that Gordon Moore, chairman of Intel and founding father of Silicon Valley describes the materials that make up the computer this way:

We needed a substrate for our [micro] chip. So we looked at the substrate of the earth itself. It was mostly sand. So we used that.

We needed a metal conductor for the wires and switches on the chip. We looked at all the metals in the earth and found aluminum was the most abundant. So we used that.

We needed an insulator and we saw that the silicon in sand mixed with the oxygen in the air to form silicon dioxide—a kind of glass. The perfect insulator to protect the chip. So we used that.[5]

This quote illustrates George Gilder’s thesis—a shift from matter to mind. The materials cost almost nothing; the value lies in the idea for the design. Gilder’s main point is the overthrow of matter. Matter, and the riches we have historically assigned to it, is losing its reign. Ideas, Mind, Intelligence, Inner Space, the Microcosm, all are gaining power and value. Take this literal example. One might imagine that the computer, as ruler of our era, would be made up of diamonds, gold, and other valuable gemstones. Rather, the computer as manifestation of divine intelligence into form, is comprised of the simplest of earth’s ingredients. It is made up of sand, aluminum, and glass.

Notice also the wisdom here, ever present in divine revelation—that what you need most is usually right beneath your nose; that you have access to it; you only need to be able to see through the maze of fear that separates you and that which is fundamentally available to you.

Teihard de Chardin says: “With the evolution of Man, a new law of Nature has come into force—that of convergence. He called this single nervous system for humanity, this living membrane, this stupendous thinking machine, a unified consciousness covering the earth like a “thinking skin,” the “noosphere.” (Louise Cowan will bring this idea into focus for us in a few weeks as the final lecturer in our series.)

And of course, as children we heard this notion from the poet William Blake:

Auguries of Innocence

To see the 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.

The merging of the spheres is the very structure of the worlds we cannot see. These spheres lead the rational mind into realms formerly befriended by a spiritual imagination.

Now, let’s move to the depths of the ocean and carry with us a microscope so that we might view with the orbs of our eye the building blocks of our planet Earth itself. Here it is, plankton, the organisms that float or drift in nano billions in both fresh and salt water. Look at the image of the plankton. (click on image.) It has spheres upon spheres upon spheres, wheels upon wheels. Each wheel has within it billions of wheels, and within each of these billions more. Are they ears or eyes? Does each ring receive or emit? Does it thrust or hold?

Because of the powerful role this microscopic organism plays in our universe, I decided to look further into the etymology of the word. Where does it come from? Let us consider this word plankton. Its name comes from the Greek word planktos, which means wanderer. It is both orb and thrust. It seems to be both active and passive at the same time; it is aggressive and it also receives. The root word is plak meaning to strike. Images emerge from Middle Dutch–gust, blast; and from Old Norse—to flog, whip and to fling. From Latin— to beat, to strike a blow. And finally from the Greek plazethai meaning to cause to wander, to drift. (I go into this etymology in order to show in one more instance that the universe is in every way an unfolding and the revelation of a Divine Intelligence at work. Words are divine messengers. They are the mysteries of the universe encoded for our consciousness and use. They lose their ritual teaching when we use them unconsciously, cliches. It is a major part of our own soul tasks to release the power of words by becoming more conscious of them.)

Marine biologists are finding that plankton collect in a random pattern in the ocean or in fresh water ponds. They “forage and wander” according to Warren Currie, of Guelf Univesity in Guelph, Ontario, Canada.[6]

Last month while I was in England, I sat for an afternoon with a biologist and ecologist who talked with amazing passion about plankton, the microscopically tiny living organisms that are the building blocks of our earth. He described the activities of plankton: wandering, moving, floating on the surface of waters then collecting on the ocean floor and creating marine shelves, sea walls; coagulating, drying and rising up as land formations creating mountains only to move once again, drying up, blowing in the wind, landing on water, and starting the process all over again. This alchemical cycle takes billions of years, of course. When I hear him tell this epic story of wandering and moving randomly, I could not help but associate it with the amazing saga of the electron and the discovery of quantum theory. This pattern we see here, this Intelligence—Divine Consciousness—repeats itself infinitely. It knows what works. Isaac Newton remarked on this phenomenon:

To tell us that every species of thing is endowed with an occult specific quality by which it acts and produces effects is to tell us nothing, but to derive two or three general principles of motion from phenomena, and afterward to tell us how the properties and actions of all corporeal things follow from those principles, would be a very great step.

Isaac Newton, Optics[7]

The environmentalist in England, the passionate conversationalist on plankton, handed me a picture at the end of the week, an enlargment of the plankton. I was struck by the image. It looks like cyberspace. Compare it to the drawing of cyberspace I discovered in National Geographic.(click on image)

Our industrial world teaches us the same story: The machines we have produced as extensions of our arms and legs–the industrial world–run on gears that have the same spherical look in the microcosm as the quark and the electron, and in the biosphere as the plankton, and in the cosmos as spiraling galaxies.

God seems to be represented in the circle. Or the circle seems to be God. Whichever it is, there is a consciousness at work, with gears and wheels, and cycles and seasons that forms the world into its shape and intelligence. Remember Dante’s final vision of God in the closing lines of the Paradiso:

Within the depthless deep and clear existence of that abyss of light three circles shown- three in color, one in circumference: the second from the first, rainbow from rainbow; the third, an exhalation of pure fire equally breathed forth by the other two…. I fixed my eyes On that alone in rapturous contemplation. Like a geometer wholly dedicated to squaring the circle, but who cannot find, think as he may, the principle indicated- so did I study the supernal face. I yearned to know just how our image merges into that circle, and how it there finds place; but mine were not the wings for such a flight. Yet, as I wished, the truth I wished for came cleaving my mind in a great flash of light. Here my powers rest from their high fantasy, but already I could feel my being turned- instinct and intellect balanced equally as in a wheel whose motion nothing jars by the Love that moves the universe.[8]

Plankton and electrons seem to behave in similar ways. Just imagine the hubris of the electron, whose name has inspired our entire age. Hear these words in spiritual terms, “being the light of the world” yet not seen by the naked eye in a society where seeing is believing. So like the divine countenance, yet not so. The electron is an humble giant.

Electrons are the prime mover of cyberspace. Yet, the electron does not occupy any specific position in space; it jumps around from one orbit to another emitting energy. In a famous experiment, a single electron passes simultaneously through two separate holes in a screen. It is a strange attractor cavorting about in random acts.

Let’s stop here and see what is happening. We are suddenly able in this century to observe something altogether new, the very something that will make cyberspace, the Internet, globalization, all possible. What is it?

Apply the image of the vesica. Two worlds, both in the realm of physics, are coming together—one, classical physics, the familiar universe with immutable laws, known since the 18th century, the other—the quantum domain. Quantum physics defies rational thought. It was begun by the work of Niels Bohr, mapping the microcosm for the first time.

Suddenly, we (the scientist) observe something we’ve never seen. It is strange like a foreigner, there is a serendipitous meeting, and it is obeying a law unknown to us. The strange appearance forces us into chaos, and into exploration. Our eyes look for the familiar, seeking finite laws within infinite galaxies of inner and outer space. We don’t find the familiar. Instead, we observe that a particle moves and has a certain movement because of “waves.” We observe that in order for an electron to send off energy (to create electricity), it has to have something missing.

Electrons tied to their atoms create stability; electrons freed of their atoms create electricity.[9]

I am fascinated by this discovery. Something has to be missing for the electron move and send off energy. The electron acts the same way we humans do. Psychologically we would say, it is the wound that motivates.

What’s more, it changes when it is being observed. Now this is really something. Only when it is observed does the particle vibrate. Something is going on that sounds quite spiritual to me. Is it like prayer? How does prayer work? Is there a Divine Consciousness that knows when it is given attention? This line of thought is not rational and is uncomfortable at the dining table with scientists.

But, I have learned to look for the creative flow that issues from what I call the place of not knowing. My sense is that we deaden our sensibilities when we have to “know” and when we are “in control.” Is it possible that when we “know”, we fail to learn? Quantum physics would not have been discovered without the ability of letting know what is known.(Heisenberg’s Uncertainly Principle) When we are in control, we are not being taught by the universe. Allowing oneself to be in the realm of not knowing requires a basic trust in the governing laws of the universe, laws that reign over random activity, over spontaneity and serendipity, and yes, even over electrons. It requires a knowing that supercedes all other knowledge–that there is a divine mind at work in this project we call life and this divine consciousness is at all times revealing itself to us. Not only revealing itself, but presenting challenges so great that it takes an enormous effort to develop the soul forces needed to face the fears of the phenomena presented to us.

Fred Turner suggested in his lecture that there are many ways of grasping what is offered as divine revelation. Seven blind men discover an elephant and offer their experience of the encounter. Each one believes he knows the elephant, when in truth, each one knows only a part. It is the most difficult of all tasks to give up the thing that we know especially if we have endured hardship and sacrifice to gain access to our knowledge. But if we are capable of entering this realm of not knowing, we allow an opening for revelation.

We have a saying in psychology: if one is ready to do one’s soul work, the ego must diminish. The only territory the soul has into which to expand is ego territory. That is why it is so difficult to give up control.

We fear what we do not understand. Therefore, we fear change more than anything else. Change as the unknown , the stranger , the foreigner, the strange attractor, sound disruptions as in explosions or the unfamiliar noises in the night. We claim a sense of repose when we feel secure. We feel secure when we know what is going on. Fear erupts when we are not in control.

And yet, amazingly, it is at such a moment that creation enters, when we are not in control, when we enter the realm of not-knowing. Is this not true? This notion is touted today as the Chaos theory and yet, paradoxically, creative thought, new ideas, and yes, law and order, evolve out of chaos. Though different in form, Chaos theory and globalization are in partnership. Cyberspace, and therefore globalization, could not have happened without chaos theory.

“Does God play dice with the universe?” Einstein asked this question when challenging new theories of quantum mechanics. In a letter to Max Born, Einstein writes: “You believe in a God who plays dice, and I in complete law and order.” Einstein was speaking of the immutable laws that prescribe the motion of every particle in the universe, what we now call classical mechanics. Most of these laws of nature had been outlined by the 18th century. Quantum mechanics explodes these laws into chance. We have never seen this before.

Today, proponents of the “new science” surmise that God can play dice with the universe and create a universe of law and order in the same breath.[10] Is this not the supreme mystery?

The major idea of this paper is that it is in the convergence of the myriad spheres of our lives that the work of soul-making takes place. Cyberspace and I –my human body—have come together, touched, and overlapped. I am changed by this experience, a new being. It has challenged me to retain a soul consciousness of what these changes include. While my eyes ache and my back hurts from sitting in one position, there are profound benefits. When I break from my hypnotic sessions in cyberspace and wander outside, the world is more alive than ever. There is dialect in the birdsong I have not noticed before. And the colors and smells–purple blooming wisteria twisting through budding trees and hanging voluptuously out of my reach. Red and yellow tulips, deep blue pansies, dark, wine/magenta petunias, and the sand, how it sparkles in its potentiality of becoming a computer chip. Sensual delights of every kind.

With such heightened sensibility, I do not feel like a robot, although I do notice a dizziness in my consciousness, perhaps a slight disorientation, but not soulessness, not that. I am not aware of less soul because of having been subsumed in the virtual world, perhaps because of my struggle to remain conscious of what I am doing. Convergence is a coming together and overlapping. It is not a total absorption.

So, some final thoughts. I began by talking of love in matter. This of course is the difficulty with cyberspace. We must have a place for love. The virtual world is physically lonely. And we can so easily be fooled by it. Cyberspace acts a lot like soul. As Robert Sardello says: “It is seemingly imagistic, seemingly creative, seemingly non-liner, but only seemingly. Like all media, if the image work is pre-digested, soul goes dead.”

Soul wants life. But, here the argument converges and overlaps into the field of quantum physics and electrons that jump through two holes at one time, and particles that generate movement only when observed. There is some sort of intelligence going on. We call it “artificial”, but let’s look again. Art, according to Webster, is the human effort to imitate. To imitate what? The work of nature? Or Divine Consciousness? And, in Greek, art is techne. Ficio means to make. This way of observing artificial intelligence suggests there is a making going on in technology that involves the art of imitation of a divine consciousness. The main question is: what does this imitation do to the soul?

I introduced at the beginning the notion that there is a divine intelligence behind and within all realms–virtual and natural–setting before us challenges of the greatest magnitude in order to strengthen the forces of soul. If, through the image of the vesica, we see the overlapping of the two worlds–our wondrous, sensuous spring-world here in Dallas, Texas converging with cyberspace—we might imaginesoul at work here, consciously interweaving the spirit of both realms together. If the quantum world is one that vibrates when looked at, a vibration that creates random patterns and unexpected appearances could we not image that this virtual world might also be observing us?

And I close by quoting once again from Dante:

Here my powers rest from their high fantasy, but already I could feel my being turned- instinct and intellect balanced equally as in a wheel whose motion nothing jars by the Love that moves the universe.[11]

End Notes

[1] Car Sagan, Cosmos. P.137 [2] Michael J.Wolf, The Entertainment Economy: How Mega-Media Forces are Transforming our Lives. ForbesASAP. Oct.’99. p.176

[3] Bill Joy, Wired

[4]. ibid

[5] ibid. 18


[7] Carl Sagan, Cosmos. P.45

[8] Dante, Paradiso, Canto XXIII

[9] Gilder.p.25

[10] Ian Stewart, Does God Play Dice. P.1

[11] Dante, Paradiso, Canto XXIII

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