Being Neither a-Waving Nor a-Parting: Considering Both Science And Spirituality
Produced on the occasion of publication by Science of an inspiring map of the Universe shortly after the Big Bang.
Fundamental physics has long stressed the interrelationship between energy and matter, and their interconvertibility. Light, as one of the most basic forms of such energy (and necessarily the most “visible”) is understood to be neither wave nor particle — or either depending on the circumstances. Efforts have been made to articulate the implications for human beings through understandings of quantum consciousness and quantum cognition.
Rather than engage in arid exploration of levels of complexity — ironically only comprehensible to the “enlightened” — the question here is whether there is a far more immediate understanding of how the distinction between wave and particle is to be experienced personally. Does such experience offer more radical and richer understandings of the sense of individual identity than is offered by convention?
How is it possible to “be a wave”, to be identified with a wave, or to be carried by one — as with a “wave of protest”, a “wave of disgust”, or a “wave of enthusiasm? How is it possible to “be a particle” (as one extreme), to be identified with one, or to be carried by one? This could be the case of those sensing their insignificance in the scheme of things to be less than an “iota”, being incapable of making an “iota of difference” to the development of events? In exploring such experiences, as experiences, a degree of emphasis can be usefully placed on the associated feelings — as with a “wave of emotion”.
For this reason, with a degree of aesthetic licence, “being a wave” can be provocatively carried by “a-waving”. Similarly, feelings associated with “being a part” can be carried by “a-parting”, thereby extending the significance of “a part”. Appropriately such constructions continue to appear in poetry and as archaic forms surviving in English in a few idiomatic phrases and chants — or The Times They Are a-Changin’ (1964) of Bob Dylan.
As clarified here, although the construction appears to be an “a” prefixed to a gerund, technically it is better understood to be prefixed to the present participle. It serves as an adjective, whereas a gerund is a verbal noun, which can be the subject, direct object, or object of a preposition. A German equivalent is “Ich bin am lernen” (I am at learning). There are extensive references to “a-coming and a-going”, both in ordinary language, in philosophy, in religious texts, and in literature. This can be suggestively related to “a-waving and a-aparting”.
Science now offers a greeting — through “a-waving” — from the origins of the Universe, to a global civilization faced with collapse — “a-parting” — through lack of capacity to encompass its own paradoxes consequent on its growth. The paradoxes are those assiduously explored by the best of science and spirituality.
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 25 Mar 2013.
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