Toward a Centrist Noetic Science of Matter Mind and Spirit
Space and time are not conditions in which we live,
but modes in which we think.
Value-free science? Science’s “fact/value” dichotomy is a misleading modernity myth. Science is quantitative and qualitative. The “qualitative”—value judgment—is active, yet suppressed in scientific praxis. So let us shamelessly recognize and strategically develop this brave new world of our post-ideological, ontologically relative qualitative dimension in science.
In Search of a Neuroscience of Consciousness. What is now urgently required is a new Wissenschaft; a post-materialist, post-ideological integral noetic ontology, with a centrist epistemology and first-person methodologies that explore our direct introspective experience of this trans-rational, yet contemplatively knowable subjective ultimate or universal reality matrix, this original emptiness base, our “groundless ground”. Such a reflexive primordial awareness wisdom base (gzhi rigpa, vidya, gnosis), “fundamental innate mind of clear light”, is known to our wisdom traditions as perfectly subjective great kosmic whole, our “supreme source” ground in whom relative spacetime cosmic particulars—energy, mass, force, charge, waves, particles, fields and people—arise and participate.
We’ve seen that, mereologically, wholes and their parts are relatively, logically, interdependently connected in a relationship of ultimate identity. The prior ontic unity that is this vast unbounded whole—this perfect sphere of Dzogchen—transcends yet embraces its parts, while the nested holonic parts perforce participate in the whole.
From the dualistic view of Relative Truth, part and whole are separate. From the nondual noetic view of Ultimate Truth, part and whole are not essentially separate, but a prior and present unity, one truth, invariant through all our cognitive state changes—1) objective, exoteric, conceptual; 2) subjective esoteric, pre-conscious, supra-conscious and nondual.
This view is, to the savants of the culture imaginaire of “normal science”, experimentally remote. Clearly, such an integral noetic science requires a methodological “post-materialist” relaxing of the a priori knowledge taboo of our obsessively objective positivist view and praxis of classical (non-quantum) Metaphysical Scientific Realism/Materialism. The Quantum Revolution tells us so. Such a post-quantum, Kuhnian scientific revolution is now upon us. I have here, and elsewhere referred to this seismic paradigm shift—our new wisdom meta-narrative—as the Noetic Revolution in matter, mind and spirit (Boaz 2020 forthcoming).
The diaphanous gestalt of basal quantum ground energy, ZPE zero point energy field—dark energy, Einstein’s cosmological constant lambda (Λ), Dirac’s zero womb emptiness—with parallel Buddhist alaya substrate and its ontologically prior primordial emptiness ground (shunyata, dharmakaya) in which this cosmic energy source arises, provides a holistic basis for a centrist neo-pragmatic epistemic reconstruction of our concepts and beliefs about objective Science and subjective Spirit.
Objective and subjective: these two dimensions of mind—our foundational noetic doublet—are the two voices of unified human cognition. Such an integral positive psychology requires noetic contemplative research methodologies that utilize both quantitative objective third person data sets, and qualitative subjective first person reports: introspective personal, transpersonal, and contemplative.
Intimations of Nonlocality and the Failure of Spacetime. In 1928 ingenious English physicist Paul Dirac (1902-1984) bestowed upon us what proved to be one of the greatest accomplishments in physics. He derived the amazing Dirac Equation, a relativistic wave equation which reconciled Einstein’s Special Relativity (the light speed constant c) with Bohr-Heisenberg quantum mechanics (the constant ħ which is һ divided by 2π+), with Schrödinger’s wave function Ψ, predicted antimatter, which led to the discovery of the positron and PET tomography, and won its creator a Nobel Prize in the bargain! (The 1933 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to both Dirac and Schrödinger.)
The later result of Dirac’s sublime equation was Relativistic Quantum Field Theory (QFT), the quantum logical formalism for fabrication of quantum mechanical models (QED) to describe interactions of hitherto purely physical spacetime located subatomic particles, with their trans-physical fields. Not to mention the semiconductor. Dirac changed everything.
Just so, holistic QFT moved quantum mechanics from a particle ontology to a field ontology resulting in the computer, the laser, and the bomb. The two forces/interactions of the Standard Model—unified electroweak and strong nuclear (but not gravity which is post-Standard Model)—abide within the mathematical formalism of QFT/QED. Local physical particles are now subsumed by the ontic priority of the quantum field. Matter/mass becomes relationship—participation of the process of excited particle states in a quixotic new reality of the nonlocal interactive dynamics of ZPE, zero point energy quantum field (Wheeler’s quantum foam). Duly chastened atomic baryonic particles are here reduced to local, classical, theory/metaphor-laden factoids ontologically embedded in a subtler, more inclusive, even nonlocal quantum reality. QFT and QED fabricate the quantum bridge to post-Standard Model ZPE, supersymmetry-superstring-M Theory, and even multiverse physics and cosmology.
Toward a Noetic Centrist View. Now both of these realities—classical relativistic and quantum ZPE—provide relative-conventional epistemic ballast to a post-quantum trans-conceptual, even trans-physical, nonlocal, nondual emptiness “groundless ground”; a relative cosmos embedded and embraced in ontologically prior kosmos, ultimate unbounded whole itself (mahabindu); for those with post-ideological eyes to see.
Such a centrist view represents a middle way between Western realist-materialist/physicalist absolute existence, and both Eastern and Western Metaphysical Idealism that views spacetime reality as illusory and inherently, nihilistically nonexistent (avidya maya).
In any case, the “Two Truths” that are ultimate emptiness and relative form are a prior and present ontic unity. As Buddha told, “Form is empty (stongpa); emptiness is form stongpa nyi)”. Our primordial Two Truths duality—conceptual, objective, relative, and trans-conceptual ultimate—are a complementary, conjugate “unitary” whole, as Niels Bohr might have said it. David Bohm would have described this nondual unity as the objective spacetime “explicate order” nested within the perfectly subjective “vast implicate order of the unbroken whole”.
Our two reality dimensions—perfectly subjective ultimate, and relative objective spacetime stuff perforce arising and participating therein—are at long last unified! Indeed, to contemplative noetic (body-mind-spirit unity) nondual Wisdom Mind this great unity has obtained “from the very beginning”. Knowing subject and its object known are not ultimately intrinsically separate; although to relative conventional mind it certainly appears so. In the subtle nondual view of our Bodhi Mind wisdom Mind the egoic hell of samsara and the selfless happiness of nirvana are one and the same. Conceptually recognizing, then contemplatively realizing this great invariant truth is the mindful, contemplative process of human Happiness Itself (Appendix D).
“That which you seek is already present within; but you do not see it” (Jesus of Nazareth). And for Buddha, “Wonder of wonders, all beings are Buddha”. Alas, without direct contemplative experience, it’s all just concepts; albeit sublime concepts, to be sure.
What then, is the deeper trans-conceptual understanding; the unitary, unified objective/subjective contemplative truth of the matter; and its natural happiness result for human beings. We have explored Buddhist emptiness. We must now probe a bit more deeply into the nature of quantum emptiness; and its impact upon our admittedly spooky collapse of objective reality.