The Universe, Path XXXII

"He has ventured far beyond the flaming ramparts of the world and in mind and spirit traversed the boundless universe."
                                                              --Lucretius (99-55 B.C.), The Nature of the Universe
792.10 Universe: Universe is synergetic.  Universe is synergetically consequent to all the generalized principles, known or unknown.  Universe is not a structure.  Universe embraces all structures and more.  While a plurality of generalizations governs all structures, realized structuring is always special case.  Structures are synergetic consequences of the intimate interaction of a complex of special case factors.  Superficially, the overall limits of the manifold omniintertransformability of structures are unitarily conceptual.

792.20 Scenario Universe: Scenario Universe embraces all the nonsimultaneous, only-local-in-time-and-place structurings, destructurings, unstructurings, and restructurings.  All the somethingnesses are structures.  All the nothingness is unstructure.  All the somethingnesses are special case.  All the nothingness is generalized.
                                                            ---Buckminster Fuller, Synergetics

The Universe is the Unity which embraces all.  To say "the Universe," with a capital U, implies that we know the universe in its essence the world process.  But the Universe, in itself, remains as mysterious and unknown as ever.  What we do know are masks of the Universe or models.

These universal models may be shamanic, religious, artistic, philosophical or scientific--but they are still world pictures, represented from a number of possible interpretations.  So when we speak of models we can use the lower case version, universe.  When we refer to its true nature, which not even our wildest dreams can imagine, it is the Universe.   When refered to as a transition on the Path of Return, it is The Universe.

The modern use of the term cosmology is as the study of universes, using sciences such as physics and astronomy.  It is the science of the Universe and our current understanding of its past, present, and future.  But in ancient times, cosmology was the matrix of our place within the Whole, the Divine Order.  Mankind developed countless culturally-biased "world pictures" to provide an explanation of nature and our place in it.  They were formulated in religious and philosophical language, and were therefore theological or metaphysical in nature.

The art of creating such world pictures probably has its roots in protohistorical shamanism. Shamans were healers, seers, and visionaries who had mastered death.  This practice is more than 15,000 years old, and continues in some primal cultures.  They were technicians of the sacred and masters of ecstasy.  One of their primary ecstatic rituals was the practice of "shamanic flight," to unearthly realms.  In these flights, the spirit was entranced.  The shaman defined the culture's relationship to the cosmos.

These flights were "journeys to Other Worlds,"out-of-body experiences produced by induction of trance states which gave participants the sensations of flying up from the earth and into the cosmos. This rapture was induced by the soul leaving the body, transcending into the realm of spirits and gods. Since they were familiar with both cosmic and physical geography, these were more than flights of fancy, for they contained a fundamental element of intuition and valid information about the nature of reality.

The direction that the psyche takes is oriented toward the cosmos, the ground of being that is the universe, and the life field is therefore amplified to include all dimensions of "Unconcealed Being."  The passageway to greater life is opened and traversable.

The central symbol of shamanism is the Sacred Tree, or World Tree, the axis of the world, the center of life.  The mortal and finite dimension was transcended by climbing the sacred tree, considered the path to rebirth through directing the spirit heavenward.  The vehicle of ascension to the sky realm of the sun, to the territory of illumination, is the drum, whose pulse can induce initiatory trance states through resonance effects.

The shaman's spirit ascends beyond the plane of death, soaring to a timeless place.  The soul is transformed into a magical bird and the soul ascends into the sky realm of the spiritual sun, the light of awakened consciousness unfettered by gravity, the boundaries of space, materiality, and time.  Some shamns find themselves "being nurtured in nests high in the World Tree."  The higher the nest, the more powerful the shaman will be, the more he will know, the further he will see.

Thus, we came to think of reality not in terms of things, but as a ladder of process, a great movement and exchange of energies.  A teaching then is a copy of this cosmic process on the scale of human time on earth.  Initiation into such a teaching in our own lives means that one's own life becomes yet another copy of this process--a microcosm.

Spiritual teaching is indirect in that is neither compels nor seduces us into belief.  Rather, it provides certain kinds of experiences, which can only be assimilated by the whole of ourselves, by exposing ourselves to the full range of events which take place in a cosmos.  Thus, we are rooted in holism, in the macrocosm.  The Universe, itself, is a great teaching.

At the dawn of culture, the world was conceived in terms of the activity of vibrant spirits.  In the Age of Mythology, the cosmos was governed by gods and goddessess who dwelt in another dimension.  The ancient Greeks were the first to refer to the world as a cosmos, an ordered system in contrast to a disordered, random chaos.    They posed the age-old question "What is the origin and structure of the universe."

This insight that the world was orderly was a quantum leap in the history of thought and philosophy, and essential to the development of modern physical science.  It took insight to realize that nature is orderly, even though we take it for granted.  All this is a far cry from the literal scientific picture, which is a sort of "cosmic box."

All theories which describe world process and purpose, that argue from the existence of the world, or certain facts about the world, to Divinity as the best explanation for these facts are called cosmological arguments.  They begin with the basic premise that there are certain facts about the world we must explain.  The arguments (whether they are causal, design or moral) are inductive since they begin with alleged facts about the world known through sense experience.  This is the realm of the philosophy of religion.

The spheres which encompass the earth in the cosmological schemes of antiquity enmesh us in a network of purposes, a ladder of hierarchies and intentions.  To the ancient mind, the very meaning of this organization and order was that the cosmos is an organism, in the sense of a hierarchy of purposeful engines.  The secret of the universe is that it's alive!  It is embryogenesis of the Cosmic Egg.  This is certainly in the spirit of the qabalistic model.

"In the Hermetic writings the hierarchical structure of the cosmos resembles that of an organism...(governed by a supreme consciousness or intelligence).  At each level of being there are "gods" or "angels" or, to use less uncomfortable language, "purposeful energies."  From this point of view, the ancient spatial descriptions of the cosmos are meant to be understood symbolically.

"Likewise, the word "sphere," used in describing forces and purposes at different levels, is never meant to be taken literally.  The very idea of the circularity of movement in "the heavens" can be understood to mean not only the encompassing nature of these progressively higher influences, but their eternal nature.  The circle is, among other things, a symbol of that which "eternally recurs," that which is not subject to time and change as we know them.

"Obviously, there is a great difference between contemplating a universe which exceeds me in size alone or in intricacy alone, and one which exceeds me in depth of purpose and intelligence.  A universe of merely unimaginable size excludes man and crushes him.  But a universe that is a manifestation of great consciousness and order places man, and therefore calls to him.

So much is obvious, for a conscious universe iss the only reality that can include human consciousness.  And only when I am completely included by something does the need arise for me to undertand my relationship to it in all the aspects of my inner and outeer life.  Only a conscious universe is relevant to the whole of human life." (Needleman, 1975)

Ancient cosmologies were symbolically geocentric, even though many cultures calculated that the earth was round and knew the heliocentric nature of planetary motion.  Those philosophies were spiritually heliocentric, but this knowledge was a deep initiation, a sacred idea about our experiential place in a hierarchically structured conscious universe.  They also knew that the senses were subject to illusion.  It is geocentrism, without the idea of microcosmic man, which modern science has rejected.  But many fail to realize that a purely external geocentrism never existed in the ancient world.
"It is only we, who have the lost the idea of the microcosm, who see it that way; and, seen that way, geocentrism surely becomes an idiocy, or--at best--a convenience for calculation.  But taken with the idea of a microcosm, geocentrism reminds man that objective reality contains many kinds of influences that can act upon us, that there is a scale of being to which man is born would he but search for it diligently, as he pursues the satisfactions of external life.  It is we who imagine that geocentrism was merely a balm for the ego and a primitive astronomical theory.  Because we, have lost the idea of microcosmic man, separate scientific from existential ideas, we imagine that this separation is what ancient man was grappling for when on the contrary it was precisely what he was struggling against." (Needleman, 1975).

"Worlds Without End"


In The Roots of Consciousness, Jeffrey Mishlove describes three basic illusions as being Space, Time, and the Personal Consciousness.  In Lawrence Le Shan's The Medium, the Mystic, and the Physicist, four ways of perceiving reality in the clarivoyant state as it differs from ordinary consciousness are described.

Sri Auribindo says, "Trance is a way of escape.  The body is made quiet.  The physical mind is in a state of torpor.  The inner Consciousness is left free to go with its experiences."  His comments about trance are far from complete.  The disadvantage is that trance may become indispensible and the problem of the waking consciousness is not solved, except perhaps in hypnotherapy and shamanic healing.  Le Shan's four ways of perceiving reality are more complete.

1).  In the clairvoyant state, the unity of things is generally felt rather than the individual aspect.  There is a holistic overview of what is happening, rather than an analytical view.

2).  Time is experienced as non-linear, (as if the past, present, and future were one), rather than as a durational, linear sequence of events.

3).  Value judgements, concerning the goodness or badness of any event are generally not considered in the clairvoyant state.  Things are seen only as they are--just so.

4).  Information is not gained by seeing, but by knowing, as one's unity with all things.  This clear seeing perception is expressed through the metaphor of visual experience.  It is a deliteralization of sensory awareness which allows this inner sight to occur.

Le Shan maintains that whether we travel without or journey within, whether we go as a physicist or a mystic, the same unity of experience is seen.  Throughout history the single pattern persists with all metaphysical teachings: there is something beyond space, time, and the good/evil polarities.
"Right thought is to meditate on His names and attributes and wrong thinking is an attempt to know His essence.  This idea is further illustrated by gazing on the sun, which is beyond the power of sight; but one may form an idea of it, in seeing its reflection in water, which diminishes the intensity of its light.  In the same manner, the universe is a mirror of Absolute Being in which unity appears in diversity, as by counting one becomes many.  One who attempts to know Him through the universe, the same becomes the book of the most high truth, in which consonants are substances and vowels are accidents.  The first or opening lines (emanation) is the universal reason; the second is the Universal Soul; the third, the highest heaven; the fourth 'the throne'; then the seven heavenly spheres; next the three kingdoms of nature; and last is man.  He is the soul or kernel of the world."  (Archer, The Sufi Mystery).

"326.02  All that is physical is energetic.  All that is metaphysical is synergetic. . . .
537.46  What is important about the individual and important about the Universe is that neither is exempt from any of the rules.  Universe is the sum-total, and the individual is the special case.  Universe is the aggregate of all the generalized principles.  Each individual is one of the illions of ways the game of Universe could be played." (Fuller, 1976).

The Isotropic Universe:  Location and the Cosmic Center

Modern cosmology is skeptical that any location such as cosmic center exists.  The location principle assumes it is unlikely that the Earth, Sun, and Galaxy are priviledged places, simply because we are here.  But symbolic reality still affirms for us that the center of our universe is wherever we create a sense of sacred space.  This deduction of sacred psychology is not wrong, it simply is not literal, but metaphorical reality.

The cosmological principle (deduced from the uniformity of the cosmic background radation) asserts that all places in the universe are alike.  In a state of isotropy things are the same in all directions.  This may not seem to be true as we look out from the Earth to the heavens, but it has been proven on the most macroscopic of levels to hold true.  From observations we have established that the universe is isotropic around us.

Beyond about 300 million light years, the universe begins to look isotropic, as Lucretius predicted in 55 B.C.  If the universe is the same in all places, it has no center.  As we continue projects to map the universe, we are finding out about the relative distribution of matter in the universe.  The observed state is isotropy; the deduction is homogeneity.

Fuller modeled this isotropic state in the omnitriangulated Isotropic Vector Matrix.  Every vertex of this synergetic system is an energy center.  This matrix is metaphysical rather than physical so it is not an observable field.  A field is a quantity defined at each point throughout some region of space and time, such as an electromagnetic field.  A scalar field is virtual, since it has only magnitude at each point.  A vector field has both magnitude and direction.

When we say that the figure (mankind) can not be studied independently of the ground, (Universe), this is the fundamental symbolic representation of that isotropic groundstate.  The threshold of matter, the edge of science, the groundstate of mysticism.  Understanding this pre-geometric nature of the metaphysical foundations of reality confirms that "We are That."

The most recent attempt to map the Universe (SciAmer, Ju1999, p38-45) show that galaxies tend to clump together into larger and larger groups.  These immense intricate structures are the results of the forces of early inflation or expansion of the universe, and subsequent gravitational interaction.  But clumpiness is paradoxical to the cosmological principle that the universe is isotropic and therefore homogeneous.

How do we reconcile the ultimate evenness of matter with the unevenness of our immediate observations?  Isotropy is only true in a subtle, statistical sense.  What we oberve are superclusters and abysmal voids, density flucutuations.  Yet in cross-section of a many as 3 million galaxies, the sky looks roughly the same in all directions.  We are discovering even the voids contain intergalactic "dark matter," and intergalactic space is populated by a full 1/3 of all stars, existing as singlets outside of galaxies.

Up to 100 million light years, galaxies are distributed as fractals.  Fractal distribution cannot be isotropic nor homogeneous.  But on scales of hundreds of millions of light years, the fractal nature yields to a noise process.  Still broader observations show the return of clustering or bunching in walls and voids.  But in harmonic analysis, the mathematical distribution of galaxies and random noise is identical.

"Harmonic analysis can reconcile the cosmological principle with the clustering of matter.  If the universe is homogeneous and isotropic, observers sitting on planets in separate galxies should measure the same properties for the universe on its largest scales.  Of course, the will se different glaxy distribution...But given enough surveys, or a survey of sufficient size, the two observers should measure the same statistical fluctuations."
Modern science has a different mode and means of harmonic analysis than the Pythagoreans, hose harmonies were those of the "music of the spheres."  But it is still aesthetically pleasing.
"[Harmonic analysis] is based on analyzing the harmonic components of random distributions, and the sound is more like the gush of a waterfall han that of divine instruments.  Although this modern endeavor may seem neither as pleasing nor as spiritual, as those of the past, the concept of an isotropic universe wedded with an understanding of random fields now allows us once again to hear the music of the spheres." (Landy, SciAmer,June1999).
Astronomer, Roberto Mendez (Discover, Feb99, p82-87) has discovered intergalactic stars and even planets in the dark voids of  galaxy clusters.  He conjectures that these vast numbers of intracluster stars come from the near misses of galactic interaction.  Sprays of stars are shed as galaxies pass by one another.  Some of these stars may actually be the ancestors of the galaxies near them, from a far earlier generation of stars.  These dim stars could be primordial.  The observable space around these isolated stars appears different from our illuminated canopy.
"It is only slightly more imaginative to suppose that some of those planets might be inhabited.  What might the inhabitants see when they loop up at night?  Maybe a few sister planets, a few fuzzy galaxies, a star or two--but otherwise their sky would be utterly black.  All the other stars would be too far away for the naked eye to see.  To those intracluster creatures in Virgo, the universe would seem an empty place.  They might even think it revolved entirely around them."  (Kunzig, Feb99).


Capra, Fritjof & Steindl-Rast, David, Belonging to the Universe, Harper San Francisco, 1991.

Halifax, Joan, Shamanic Voices, E.P. Dutton, New York: New York, 1979.

Harrison, Edward R., Cosmology: The Science of the Universe, Cambridge University Press, New York, 1981.

Kunzig, Robert, "Lone Star in Virgo," Discovery Feb. 1999, pp. 82-87.

Landy, Stephen D., "Mapping the Universe," SciAmer, June 1999, pp. 38-45.

Needleman, Jacob, A Sense of the Cosmos, Doubleday & Co., Inc. Garden City: NewYork, 1975.

Stewart, David, Exploring the Philosophy of Religion, Prentice-Hall, Inc. Englewood Cliffs: New Jersey, 1980.

Swimme, Brian, The Universe Is A Green Dragon, Bear & Company, Santa Fe: New Mexico, 1984.

NEXT:Path 32:  THE UNIVERSE, Saturn

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Date Created: 9/22/99     Last Updated: 8/3/02

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