بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Can a person be a “man of reason” and a “man of faith” at the same time, or are these concepts mutually exclusive? This is a very important question to answer for those of us defining our path as the Din al-`Aql wa-l-Fitrah – the Religion of Reason and the Natural Order.
All too often these days, it is suggested or outright stated that a person who believes in the spiritual realms or in spiritual beings is inherently “superstitious,” fool-hearty or otherwise rejects science. This, however, assumes far too many things to be a sound conclusion.
First of all, it assumes that the current mechanisms, machinery and techniques utilized by the scientific community are capable of detecting everything that exists. There is no question, scientifically, that not all extant things are perceivable with our current methods of measurement – whether our senses or technology created to aid the senses in observation. Thus, this is the first major error and assumption which deviates from the scientific method.
Second, it assumes that the qualitative experiences of literally all cultures throughout history and throughout the world, are all speaking of the same things coincidentally, or as part of absolutely identical expressions of human fears of mortality. That is a huge assumption to make as well, and just as wrong of one as the first. In fact, modern scholarship has finally begun to realize and admit past errors, where only quantitative methods were deemed “rational.” This outdated way of looking at experiences – it is now recognized – was rooted in racism, colonialism and the accompanying Western academic attempts at discrediting the experiences of the subjugated and colonized.
Third, it anachronistically imagines that the great scientific geniuses throughout history were all – or even mostly – atheists. In this way, the person making these errant assumptions narcissistically projects their own atheism and materialism on to the historical champions of science and imagines them to be just like the person making this assumption themself. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, for many of such scientists, it was belief in the unseen that drove them to their discoveries.
Finally, it assumes that all of the theoretical aspects of the physical Universe are in fact directly observable phenomenon. Nothing could be further from the truth…
So what does this mean about concepts of the “paranormal” and unseen world? Is it right to characterize these concepts as nothing more than speculation and superstition, or can one apply Reason and even observations from the natural world, to the theorizing of another dimension beyond those of the physically–observable Universe? Must all theories about such an unseen dimension be necessarily divorced from science, or can it be postulated that we are simply not yet at a stage of scientific discovery where we have the means to observe this hidden aspect of the very-much Natural world?
To begin to answer these questions, it seems useful to refer the reader to some of the ideas presented in the science–fiction epic Interstellar (2014). The film is set in a future where a failing terrestrial eco–system puts humanity on the brink of extinction. The plot follows that an intrepid team of NASA scientists, engineers and pilots attempt to find a new habitable planet, via interstellar travel.
We learn that the protagonist, Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) has a daughter, Murphy (Mackenzie Foy), named for “Murphy’s Law” – whatever can happen will happen. “Murph,” as he calls her, complains of a “ghost” that throws books around her room – poltergeist-style – and appears to leave messages.
“Dad, can you fix this?” Murph asked Cooper.
Cooper came over to the table and reached for the pieces of plastic she had pinched between her fingertips, a frown presenting on his lean face. Donald saw now what it was—the broken model of an Apollo lunar lander.
“What’d you do to my lander?” Cooper asked.”
“Wasn’t me,” Murph said.
“Lemme guess,” Tom sneered, through a mouthful of grits. “Your ghost?”
Murph appeared not to hear Tom. She had lately seemed to discover that ignoring him irritated him far more than any rejoinder she might come up with.
“It knocked it off my shelf,” she said to her father, quite matter–of–factly. “It keeps knocking books off.”
“There’s no such thing as ghosts, dumb–ass,” Tom said.
“Hey!” Cooper said, sending him a hard look. Tom just shrugged and looked unrepentant.
But Murph wouldn’t let go.
“I looked it up,” she said. “It’s called a poltergeist.”
“Dad, tell her,” Tom pleaded.
“Murph,” Cooper said, “you know that’s not scientific.” But his daughter stared at him stubbornly.
“You say science is about admitting what we don’t know,” she said.”
“She’s got you there,” Donald said.
Cooper handed Murph back the pieces.
“Start looking after our stuff,” he said.
Donald caught Cooper’s eye.
“Coop,” he admonished.
Cooper shrugged. Donald was right. Murph was smart, but she needed a little guidance.
“Fine,” he said. “Murph, you wanna talk science, don’t just tell me you’re scared of some ghost. Record the facts, analyze—present your conclusions.”
“Sure,” Murph said, and her expression said that the wheels were turning already.”
Coop first rejects his daughter’s qualitative experience with the “ghost,” saying that it is impossible for such things to be happening, and it must be her imagination. Why? Because they are people of science, and science says ghosts cannot be real.
Science, of course, says no such thing – it neither proves nor disproves the existence of ghosts. But Coop’s impression typifies that of the scientific community today. If it hasn’t been proven, it must not be real… unless it is one of those things which the scientific community accepts cannot yet be proven, but is nevertheless almost certainly real (we’ll get to some of those things momentarily).
Later, in the Interstellar plot, Coop comes to find out that what his daughter had experienced was not a ghost at all, but a gravitational anomaly caused by none other than his own consciousness acting outside of the dimensions of Time–Space (in his daughter’s “future” at that). The anomaly leaves messages in binary code: coordinates that lead Coop and Murph to a secret, hidden NASA base.
As it turns out, gravitational anomalies were detected by a team of scientists, led by one Professor Brand for almost 50 years – around the same time that a wormhole mysteriously appeared near Saturn. Essentially, the gravity equation relayed by the “ghost” is the solution to Brand’s attempt to control gravity, in order to get the interstellar arc off the ground and save humankind.
In the plot, a mass evacuation of humanity is deemed impossible with the rocket propulsion technology available to scientists in the film. Gravity is pulling down. People and rockets are too heavy. The gravity equation seeks to manipulate gravity, using the anomalies, in order to “get a viable amount of fuel and life off the planet”.
Brand has been attempting to “solve gravity” for decades, to no avail. He’s even built his entire secret facility as a space station in preparation. But as Dr. Mann (played by Matt Damon), tells Cooper, Dr. Brand’s “equation couldn’t reconcile relativity with quantum mechanics. You need more. More data. You need to see into a black hole.”
These anomalies have been sent, in part, by Coop himself, who enters a distant black hole. Upon crossing the Event Horizon, Coop finds himself within a tesseract, presumably created – the film maintains – by an advanced species which also consciously exists in that fifth dimension, as well as within physical space.
The idea that gravity can be harnessed in this way, or can travel across dimensions, is speculative science–fiction, but it’s rooted in theoretical astrophysics.
Interstellar travel – moving between stars and solar systems in the Universe – is technically impossible without a theoretical means of travel akin to a “warp drive.” Coop correctly notes, “there’s not a planet in our solar system that can sustain life, and the nearest star is over a thousand years away”.
In order to find a new home, humanity needs to find a new planet in a distant corner of the Universe. The only way to get to a distant corner of the Universe, however, is through a wormhole. Luckily, for the characters, the wormhole near Saturn – the most significant gravitational anomaly of all, a “disturbance of space–time” – leads to a distant galaxy.
The Fifth Dimension as a Tesseractal Realm of Consciousness
In 1905, Albert Einstein demonstrated in his Special Theory of Relativity that space is intimately connected to time via the cosmic speed limit of light and so, strictly speaking, we live in a Universe with four dimensions of Spacetime. For everyday purposes however, we think of the Universe in three dimensions of space (north–south, east–west, up–down), and one dimension of time (past–future). In that case, a fifth dimension would be an extra dimension of space – a tesseract (no, not the blue cube from Marvel comics and films).
Such a dimension was proposed independently by physicists Oskar Klein and Theodor Kaluza in the 1920s. In physics, Kaluza–Klein theory is a classical unified field theory of gravitation and electromagnetism built around the idea of a fifth dimension beyond the common four dimensions of space and time and considered an important precursor to string theory.
The pair were inspired by Einstein’s theory of gravity, which showed that mass warped four–dimensional Spacetime. We attribute motion in the presence of a massive body, such as a planet, not to this curvature of an “extra” dimension, but to a “force” of gravity. Could the other force known at the time (the electromagnetic force) be explained by the curvature of an extra dimension of space?
Kaluza and Klein found it could. But since the electromagnetic force was 1,040 times stronger than gravity, the curvature of the extra dimension had to be so great that it was rolled up much smaller than an atom and would be impossible to notice. When a particle such as an electron travelled through space, invisible to us, it would be going round and round the fifth dimension, like a hamster in a wheel.
Kaluza and Klein’s five–dimensional theory was dealt a serious blow by the discovery of two more fundamental forces that operated in the realm of the atomic nucleus: the strong and weak nuclear forces. Nevertheless, the idea that extra dimensions explain forces would be revived half a century later by proponents of “string theory,” which explains the fundamental building blocks of the Universe not as particles, but tiny “strings” of mass–energy. To mimic all four forces, the strings vibrate in 10–dimensional space–time, with six space dimensions rolled up far smaller than an atom. More than a few Jewish authors have noted the overlap between the 10–dimensions of String Theory and the the Sefirot (one could think of these as related to the English word “spheres”). These ten Sefirot are characteristic, even among many non–Jews, as concepts of Kabbalah and the purported “Scroll of Abraham” (Suhuf Ibrahim, mentioned in Qur’an 87:18–19), known as Sefer Yetzirah – which essentially means the “Scroll of the Spirit World Dimension.”
String theory gave rise to the idea that our Universe might be a three–dimensional island, or “brane,” floating in 10–dimensional space–time. This raised the intriguing possibility of explaining why gravity is so extraordinarily weak compared with the other three fundamental forces. While the forces are pinned to the brane, goes the idea, gravity leaks out into the six extra space dimensions, enormously diluting its strength on the brane.
Physicists Lisa Randall and Raman Sundrum suggested in 1999, that there was a way to have a bigger fifth dimension, which is curved in such a way that we don’t see it, and this was suggested by the. An extra space dimension might even explain one of the great cosmic mysteries: the identity of Dark Matter, the invisible “stuff” of the Universe, that appears to outweigh the visible stars and galaxies by a factor of six.
In 2021, a group of physicists from Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, proposed that the gravity of hitherto unknown particles propagating in a hidden fifth dimension could manifest itself in our four–dimensional Universe as the extra gravity we currently attribute to Dark Matter.
Could this dimension itself be a tesseractal realm of pure consciousness, conceptualized by mystics, sages, medicine men and holy women as the “spirit” world? In the same way, explaining this as a tesseractal dimension of consciousness is no more or less speculative or unscientific than any of these other theories.
In the academic community, there is no shortage of possible candidates for Dark Matter, including subatomic particles known as axions, black holes and even – some propose – reverse–time matter from the future. As “far out” as some of these theories might seem, and in spite of the fact that we have no empirical way to prove any of them at this time, none of them is rejected as inherently unscientific.
Wormholes: Another Unseen Theoretical Concept
The concept of wormholes emerged from Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. The concept was a hypothetical “bridge,” formed by the four–dimensional manifold of Spacetime bending to bring two distant points in the Universe closer together. In the aforementioned film, Dr. Romilly (David Gyasi) explains it to Coop as two points on a piece of paper, folded together with a pencil poked between them. A wormhole, he demonstrates, folds the paper and passes through the end points – a common way that theoretical physicists introduce this concept to students and audiences.
Wormholes, however, don’t just appear naturally, as Coop notes. Thus, he reasons, it must have been placed there by someone, or something.
All of this conceptual discussion is key to the unfolding of the film’s plot. The issue worthy of note, however, is that worm holes are – like Dark Matter – they are only theorized to exist. There has, as of yet, been no discovery of any worm hole, anywhere, ever.
Brand explains to Coop that, much as he seemed to intuit, a benevolent advanced civilization has placed the worm hole in our solar system. This is referred to in the script as the aforementioned “tesseract.” But what is a tesseract? In geometry, a tesseract is a “hypercube” – a four–dimensional version of a cube. A tesseract is to a cube what a cube is to a square.
In Interstellar, the tesseract is where or what Coop and the robot pilot TARS enter after passing through the Event Horizon – the boundary at which not even light can escape – of the Gargantua Black Hole.
TARS explains to Coop that the advanced, multi–dimensional beings “constructed this three–dimensional space inside of their five–dimensional reality to allow you to understand it.” Time is represented as “physical dimension.”
Within the tesseract, Coop sees Murph’s bedroom, but he is observing it from a vantage point that allows him to see her when she is 10 years old. Every moment in that point in Spacetime is presented through infinite physical lines which Coop is able to travel through and experience.
Coop thus realizes that all along, the “ghost” that his daughter had experiences was very real. That “ghost,” however, was none other than Coop himself sending a message to his daughter, from the “future” (from her frame of reference). Coop is now able to move around time physically, just as Brand had earlier speculated, when she says: “to Them, time may be just another physical dimension. To Them, the past might be a canyon they can climb into, and the future a mountain they can climb up.”
Ponder that… within the tesseract, time could be perceived as a physical dimension. All the while, our consciousness could very much exist there right “now.” And yet if our consciousness inhabits physical matter, rather than emerging from it (something which science still does not have the means to demonstrate one way or the other), then from our material anchoring in the four physically–perceivable dimensions of Spacetime, actions from that physical tesseractal fifth dimension would seem completely nonphysical, and we would qualitatively conceptualize and describe it as a “spirit” world, or realm of consciousness. Meanwhile, as evolutionary babies in the grand scheme of things, our species would simply be blind to this dimension of reality, which higher beings very much could be conscious and operating within, from and upon “our” world. Interestingly, this is exactly how mystics from all over the world have described the “spirit” realms. So whether we use terms like “spirit” or “consciousness,” it would seem these are not particularly different.
Coop himself can’t travel back in time physically. But in the plot of Interstellar, gravity can cross dimensions, including time. Thus, Coop is able to send a message to his young daughter, through manipulation of gravity from the tesseract.
Initially, out of sadness, he writes “STAY,” by throwing books off the bookshelf. Coop then gives her the coordinates to NASA in binary. Finally, he takes the quantum data that TARS has collected from the black hole’s singularity – data which could only be observed from within the black hole – and sends it, via binary code, to the second hand of Murph’s watch. It’s this quantum data which solves Brand’s gravity equation and saves humankind.
Dark Matter and Dark Energy
From the outset of the film, Coop attempted to discredit the experiences of his daughter because he didn’t believe the observations to be scientific. In spite of her father’s scoffing, Murph can see that something she could not directly observe the causation of was nonetheless influencing her world. In the same way, Dark matter cannot be directly observed and its role in the universe is a mystery. Yet the substance is believed to make up a quarter of all of the Universe.
Much of the evidence for Dark Matter has been through inference and theory. Dark Matter’s existence was first inferred by Swiss American astronomer Fritz Zwicky, who in 1933 discovered that the mass of all the stars in the Coma cluster of galaxies provided only about 1% of the mass needed to keep the galaxies from escaping the cluster’s gravitational pull. The reality of this missing mass remained in question for decades, until the 1970s when American astronomers Vera Rubin and William Kent Ford confirmed its existence by the observation of a similar phenomenon: the mass of the stars visible within a typical galaxy is only about 10% of that required to keep those stars orbiting the galaxy’s center. In general, the speed with which stars orbit the center of their galaxy is independent of their separation from the center. Orbital velocity is either constant or increases slightly with distance rather than dropping off as expected. To account for this, the mass of the galaxy within the orbit of the stars must increase linearly with the distance of the stars from the galaxy’s center. No light, however, can be seen from this inner mass – hence the name “Dark Matter.”
Dark Matter wasn’t technically “proven” until just the year 2022. In a paper published in Physical Review Letters, the team reports the earliest subtle traces of dark matter’s influence on galaxies in the young universe. They made the discovery after observing 1.5 million incredibly distant galaxies and their dark matter halos, peering back as far as 12 billion years.
As an alternative to Dark Matter, modifications to gravity have been proposed to explain the apparent presence of “missing matter.” These modifications suggest that the attractive force exerted by ordinary matter may be enhanced in conditions that occur only on galactic scales. Most of the proposals, however, have proven unsatisfactory, as they provide little or no explanation for the modification of gravity. These theories are also unable to explain the observations of Dark Matter physically separated from ordinary matter in the Bullet cluster. This separation demonstrates that Dark Matter is a physical reality and is distinguishable from ordinary matter.
Dark energy, on the other hand, is the name given to the mysterious force that’s causing the rate of expansion of our universe to accelerate over time, rather than to slow down. That’s contrary to what one might expect from a universe that began in a Big Bang. That’s all we know: the Universe should be accelerating in expansion but it isn’t. Whatever is causing it not to is something we know literally nothing about, but we have given it a name nonetheless, because we know it is real.
How different is this from saying we don’t understand what springs forth life, let alone consciousness? We know there is life and we know there is consciousness. But we cannot replicate it, can we? Thus, cultures throughout the world and throughout time have conceptualized this “Primal Cause” by various religious names and approximations, which all seem to be describing the same thing, across cultural and geographical boundaries.
More is unknown than is known about Dark Energy. We can estimate how much Dark Energy there is only because we know how it affects the Universe’s expansion. Apart from that, however, we can’t see it, hold it, or otherwise substantiate it. Dark Energy is a nearly–total mystery, but important mystery nonetheless, and one which we do not pretend doesn’t exist just because we don’t have many answers about it yet.
It turns out that roughly 68% of the Universe is comprised of Dark Energy. Dark Matter makes up about 27%. The rest, the material universe, matter, everything on Earth, everything ever observed with all of our instruments of empiricism – all normal matter – adds up to less than 5% of the Universe.
Thus, the fact that there is an agreed–upon name for this unknown makes it almost seem tangible, empirically–observable and scientifically–proven. But that is far from the case. Instead, Dark Energy is like the negative space of a painting that forms the shape of something not actually there. There are many mysteries in the physical Universe that, as of yet, have not be explained in any proven scientific manner.
The question of how life itself originates in the Universe, or how consciousness emerges, or even whether it emerges from matter or merely indwells it and originates beyond matter… these are all very much unanswered questions, yet religion offers theories to explain these negative spaces and missing puzzle pieces in the picture of the Universe and life – theories not particularly different from those related to Dark Matter and Dark Energy for that matter. What makes one “scientific” and the other “superstitious?” The answer is arbitrarily what the scientific community agrees is scientific versus superstitious.
Spirits? Ghosts? Angels? Demons? Jinn?
Let us refer back to the Interstellar example of consciousness within such a tesseractal Space time manipulating gravity across dimensions. It is essential to note that whether an Indigenous or traditional society refers to unseen consciousnesses as “demons” or “dybbuqim” or malevolent spirits, to suggest that it is all superstition that every unconnected culture throughout the pre–”civilized” world believed in and had nearly identical views of, is a bit of a leap. This is, of course, to say nothing of spirits in general, “ghosts” or what not. It bears repeating that all over the world, people believed in these things with zero cultural contact, between one another between one another.
How or why could that be unless people were observing things through altered states of consciousness – through spiritual exercise, shamanic herbs or the like?
On a personal qualitative level (which will surely be dismissed by dogmatic materialists): how is it that my wife Trisha “Ashirah” Naziri and I could turn on a “spirit box” before she passed – out of curiosity and actually mocking the idea that such devises used on popular shows like Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters, were legitimate at all – and we never once got it to work or produce any words at all. This is to say nothing of the obvious fact that we never observed rapid conversations and answers to things said or asked to a prospective unseen intelligence. Yet strangely, right after Trisha passed, all I or any of her closest friends and family have needed to do is turn it on and call her by name and with conscious intentionality, and then the device instantly begins spitting out words that make perfect sense in relation to what is being discussed out loud.
Before she passed, I shared many theories on the spirit world as a scientific reality that has simply yet to have been empirically measured. I also theorized to her, based on my study of meditation in various global religious traditions and Nei Jia martial arts systems, that one’s disembodied consciousness, would – from such an unseen dimension – theoretically project its yi (意 in Chinese, or niyyah نيَة in Arabic) or “intention” into the device, rather than trying to figure out how to manipulate it, and this should (again, in theory), “hack” the devise to spit out data from word libraries, approximating the intention directed into the object from “behind the scenes.”
When Trisha and her closest friends first tried the “spirit box” after her passing, we got no results. Then I reminded her disembodied consciousness aloud, of our conversation and how she could direct intention to make the devise work for her. Almost immediately, the device sprang to life. Once words started coming, the levee broke and entire conversations poured out.
The same “experiment” has been replicated on a nearly daily basis for the past six months. She has only gotten better and more controlled in her communications. While skeptics will naturally scoff, I also didn’t previously think such a device could be used to empirically collect data and replicate experiments like this. Nevertheless, these daily experiments have proven otherwise. Perhaps centuries from now, there will be even better devices to measure such things, and much more, along the same lines. Maybe in a thousand years, we will be able to immediately converse with those on the “other side,” upon their passing and smooth their transition (and ours), into that next phase of their lives, which we call “death.”
Additionally, and with similar resounding results, we have tested temperature sensors designed for similar communicative purposes. Once it was explained to her “how” to manipulate the object – and again, bearing in mind that this was a topic which we had significant discussion about during her recent life in this world – she was able to manipulate the temperature sensor to trigger the alarm over, and over, and over again – without fail.
To me, this is empirical observation. It has been repeated and replicated many times. Like Coop’s advice to Murph, early in the movie, I have logged data, repeated experiments with replicated results, in accordance with the scientific method. This, however, has not been conducted on the quantitate scale, which would be required to deems such observations as “scientific,” it is enough to say that the qualitative experiences – witnessed by nearly a dozen people, repeatedly – is evidence enough for the open mind.
For the first couple of weeks after her passing, conversations with my wife via the spirit box were nothing short of frantic. There was clear concern for matters related to our daughter, as well as animosity shown towards enemies she had in this life. After a lot of time and spiritual work on our behalf – elevating her spirit as it was said in the Talmud the rabbis of old did in “raising the dead,” as it was termed.
“Raising the ddea,” it should be noted, was a Second Temple Jewish concept related to elevating the spirits of the dead, in the aforementioned realm of Yetzirah (the Barzakh برزخ, or “Huqaliyyah” in Arabic), rather than resurrecting a corpse (Machzor Vitry, “Laws of Shabbat” 102).
The responses received since the first 40 days of her passing have not been frantic whatsoever (as they were at first), and are filled with calm and measured insight. One conversation humorously (and yet seriously) noted that in her life in this physical world, I was her teacher, but now (in spirit) she is mine.
Far from the single anecdote of such unseen contact in my life, my Indigenous paternal grandfather contacted me several times after passing from this world. Each time was in a dream, though there was an instance of direct physical manipulation of electricity in a “call and response” manner, to confirm his presence.
How is it that my grandfather can pass from this life, repeatedly give me specific messages in dreams to tell my grandmother answering questions she had about the “other side.” After coming to me three times in a dream state, he basically forced me to tell her what he said therein (and made me promise to tell her) by making the lights surge in morse code when I came over. This was nearly a decade before the similar aforementioned scenario in the plot of Interstellar. She confirmed not only that the message was directly from him about things only the two of them knew about. She also confirmed that that he had been doing various things to manipulate the physical world to send her messages in the first 40 days after he passed?
The power surge, perhaps ironically, reminded me of what was described as observed by Carl Jung and his once–mentor Sigmund Freud, while debating the paranormal as expressions of a collective unconscious. Not exactly the same, but the same idea.
Jung felt synchronicity to be a principle that had explanatory power towards his concepts of archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. It described a governing dynamic which underlies the whole of human experience and history – social, psychological, and spiritual.
Freud scoffed at the idea. Immediately, a loud crack of the wooden bookshelves of Freud’s study, let out a loud explosion – much like how the fire will answer a medicine man in ceremony, with similarly timed pops, that defy explanation. A fairly historical depiction of this incident was portrayed in the film A Dangerous Method (2011).
The setting in Freud’s study presented the two talking in the middle of the night. The full ashtray suggests that Freud and Jung have been deep in discussion for several hours.
“You mustn’t think I have a closed mind,” Freud told Jung. “I have absolutely no objection to you studying telepathy or parapsychology to your hearts’ content. But I would make the point that our own field is so embattled, it can only be dangerous to stray into any kind of mysticism. Don’t you see? We have to stay within the most rigorously scientific confines.”
Freud breaks off, frowning at Jung, who is resting a hand on his stomach, his expression increasingly pained.
“Are you all right?” Freud asks. “Yes,” Jung replied, but I can’t agree with you. Why should we draw some arbitrary line and close off whole areas of investigation?”
Freud retorts, “Precisely because the world is full of enemies, looking for any way they can to discredit us. And the minute they see us abandon the firm ground
of sexual theory to wallow in the black mud of superstition, they’ll pounce. As far as I’m concerned, even to raise these subjects is
professional suicide. Really, you..”
Freud was absolutely right. Jung was not psychotic. He wasn’t mentally ill in the least bit. He wasn’t trapped in magical thinking. He was interested in the legitimate scientific study of paranormal phenomenon. But academia being as it is (and then it was even more dogmatic, in many ways), this was absolutely right, openly discussing such concepts would have been then (as it is now), professional suicide.
Again he breaks off, this time because the wood in his bookshelves has cracked, popping so loudly that it causes Freud to duck involuntarily.
“What in God’s name was that?!” Freud exclaimed.
“I knew that was going to happen,” Jung calmly, replied.
“What?!” Freud questioned.
Jung replied, “I felt something like that was going to happen. I had a kind of burning in my stomach.”
Freud again asked, “What are you talking about? It’s the heating, the wood in the bookcase just cracked, that’s all!”
“No,” Jung said, “it’s what’s known as a catalytic exteriorization phenomenon.”
“A catalytic exteriorization phenomenon.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Freud dismissed.
Jung explained, “My diaphragm started to glow red hot…”
“I know it’s late, but….” Freud said, changing the subject.
“And another thing: it’s going to happen again,” Jung foretold.
“In a minute,” Jung calmly explained, “it’s going to happen again.”
“My dear young friend,” Freud said, emphasizing how many years his senior Freud was. “This is exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about: you must promise me to…”
But Freud was again interrupted by another deafening boom from the bookcase. He looks up at it, for once entirely at a loss for words. Somehow he knows Jung could not have just guessed that would happen and have been right.
Jung confidently responds, “You see.”
“That’s just… you really can’t…” Freud continued stumbling over his words.
Jung again adds, “There are so many mysteries, so much further to go.
“Please,” Freud again implores. “We can’t be too careful. We can’t afford to wander into these speculative areas, telepathy, singing bookcases, fairies at the bottom of the garden. It won’t do.”
Now you, the reader (I’m breaking the fourth wall, as it were, in speaking directly to you), will likely not believe this, but just as it occurred to me to include the above transcript of the exchange in the film, I downloaded the script, and though I could not remember the exact wording in this movie that I only saw once, over a decade ago, something told me to just scroll to a page and where I stopped would in fact be the correct scene to quote. Sure enough, I scrolled and scrolled and then stopped on page 54, feeling that it would be useless, as this would never work. I could never just scroll through and find the right page. It isn’t a movie I have seen so many times that I could even tell you where in the movie this particular scene is. But I stopped right on the page, exactly as the thought which “popped” into my head told me I would.
Coincidence? Yes, of course. Just many, many, many qualitative coincidences, over and over.
When I was a Diné ceremony over the past weekend, the medicine man told me I had recently lost someone very close to me who was with us. I too realized Trisha was with us. But the medicine man knew this only having met me at one other ceremony, the year before I met her. Why would he have thought anything like this? No one had briefed him on my loss. He also told me he would pray for me to have no car break down on the way home – a five hour drive. How did he know that all of the lights on the dashboard had lit up on the way there? I had told no one of this.
The car, amazingly, did make it home. It completely died beyond repair the very next day. More of those crazy “Indian coincidences,” is what the materialist would say. So many “coincidences.”
Far more rational than believing all of these qualitative experiences are mere coincidences or products of over–active imaginations of “primitive” peoples, is that there are things which exist beyond the material world, that interact with it and can influence it, regardless of our physical eyes’ ability to see things on the infrared or ultraviolet ends of the visible spectrum (or beyond that).
It reminds me of the hubris of people who argued that since SETI sent out radio signals into space and since they have not found another species ready, willing or able to communicate via radio waves in the same way, then we must “scientifically” conclude that our species is alone as “intelligent” life in the Universe.
Meanwhile these folks still cannot explain why there is quantum entanglement or the effects of the Double Slit Experiment for that matter. Both of these things that would have been deemed “insane,” and devoid of reason only a century ago. Both things have been qualitatively attested to for thousands of years by these same aforementioned “primitive” societies.
One of the things that made people like Einstein so great was his willingness to accept that held–disbelief in certain concepts h,
What is Quantum Entanglement?
Albert Einstein famously said that quantum mechanics should allow two objects to affect each other’s behavior instantly across vast distances, something he dubbed “spooky action at a distance”. This concept has since been termed “quantum entanglement.”
Measurements of physical properties such as position, momentum, spin, and polarization performed on entangled particles can, in some cases, be found to be perfectly correlated. For example, if a pair of entangled particles is generated such that their total spin is known to be zero, and one particle is found to have clockwise spin on a first axis, then the spin of the other particle, measured on the same axis, is found to be counterclockwise. This behavior, however, gives rise to seemingly paradoxical effects: any measurement of a particle’s properties results in an irreversible wave function collapse of that particle and changes the original quantum state. With entangled particles, such measurements affect the entangled system as a whole.
Such phenomena were the subject of a 1935 paper by Albert Einstein, Boris Podolsky, and Nathan Rosen, and several papers by Erwin Schrödinger shortly thereafter. They described what came to be known as the EPR paradox. Einstein originally considered such behavior impossible, as it violated the local realism view of causality and argued that the accepted formulation of quantum mechanics must therefore be incomplete. The scientific community hates to admit that their knowledge of any thing is incomplete. For that matter, in the humanities, historians have proven no better. If something anomalous is discovered in an archeological dig, which contradicts prevailing historical models, it is often many years (if ever) before it is accepted as evidence of a knowledge gap.
Think about the Bering Strait theory, which was presented as unimpeachable fact to generations of school children, in spite of the fact that literally every Indigenous American culture rejected it as unhistorical. Still, only recently have consistent archeological discoveries proven the Indigenous position correct. Still, most history books remain unchanged.
He later came to realized that his previously–rejected quantum entanglement was the physical phenomenon that occurs when a group of particles are generated, interact, or share spatial proximity in a way such that the quantum state of each particle of the group cannot be described independently of the state of the others, including when the particles are separated by a large distance.
Over the years, the counterintuitive predictions of quantum mechanics were verified in tests where polarization or spin of entangled particles was measured at separate locations, statistically violating Bell’s inequality. In earlier tests, it could not be ruled out that the result at one point could have been subtly transmitted to the remote point, affecting the outcome at the second location. The so–called “loophole–free” Bell tests, however, have been performed where the locations were sufficiently separated that communications at the speed of light would have taken longer – in one case, a full 10,000 times longer – than the interval between the measurements.
The topic of quantum entanglement is at the heart of the disparity between classical and quantum physics. That is to say that entanglement is a primary feature of quantum mechanics not present in classical mechanics. For decades, classical physicists have been dragged kicking and screaming to the reality of quantum entanglement. Einstein was simply one of the first to go willingly.
The Double Slit Experiment and “Spooky Action at a Distance”
According to the eminent physicist Richard Feynman, the now–famous quantum Double Slit experiment puts us “up against the paradoxes and mysteries and peculiarities of nature.” Feynman’s believed that if we could understand what is going on in this deceptively simple experiment, we would penetrate to the heart of quantum theory – and perhaps all its puzzles would dissolve.
This single experiment has taken many forms since quantum mechanics debuted in the early twentieth century with the work of Max Planck, Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr and others. In some versions, Nature seems magically to discern our intentions before we enact them – or perhaps retroactively even, to seemingly alter the past. In others, the outcome seems dependent on what we know, not what we do. In yet others, we can deduce something about a system without looking at it. All in all, the double–slit experiment seems, to borrow Feynman’s own term, “screwy”.
The original experiment was classical, conducted by British polymath Thomas Young in the early 1800s to show that light is a wave. He passed light through two closely spaced parallel slits in a screen, and on the far side saw several bright bands. This, he realized, was an “interference” pattern. Caused by the interaction of waves emanating from the openings, it’s similar to the pattern that appears when two pebbles are dropped into water and the ripples they create add to or dampen each other’s peaks and troughs. With ordinary particles, the slits would act more like stencils for sprayed paint, creating two defined bands.
We now know that quantum particles create such an interference pattern, too. This is evidence that they have a wave–like nature. This was postulated in 1924 by French physicist Louis de Broglie and was verified for electrons a few years later by U.S. physicists Clinton Davisson and Lester Germer. Even large molecules such as buckminsterfullerene – made of 60 carbon atoms – will behave in this way.
What’s seemingly–perplexing is that the interference pattern remains – accumulating over many particle impacts – even if particles go through the slits one at a time. The particles seem to interfere with themselves. Stranger still, the pattern vanishes if we use a detector to measure which slit the particle goes through. Once measured, it becomes truly particle–like, with no more waviness. Strangest of all, this remains the case even if we delay the measurement until after the particle has traversed the slits, but before it hits the screen. If we make the measurement but then delete the result without looking at it, interference returns. How is this “scientifically” possible? The truth is that we have no idea, and yet this is the observable reality. Had this been postulated before the Double Slit Experiment, it would have been rejected as mysticism, but would have been nonetheless true. But we have the means to observe this reality now – though we still have no provable explanation as to “why” 0– only theories.
It turns out that it is not the physical act of measurement that seems to make the difference, but the “act of noticing,” as physicist Carl von Weizsäcker, who worked closely with quantum pioneer Werner Heisenberg, explained in 1941. This is what is so strange about quantum mechanics: it can seem impossible to eliminate a decisive role for our conscious intervention in the outcome of experiments. That fact drove physicist Eugene Wigner to suppose at one point that the mind itself causes the “collapse” that turns a wave into a particle. Perplexing though this is to the materialist, this is merely confirmation to mystics from around the world.
The Zen “Big Mind” as the Conscious Universe
The basic definition of consciousness leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Consciousness is “the normal mental condition of the waking state of humans, characterized by the experience of perceptions, thoughts, feelings, awareness of the external world, and often in humans (but not necessarily in other animals) self–awareness,” according to the Oxford Dictionary of Psychology.
Scientists simply don’t have one unified theory of what consciousness is. The truth is, they also don’t know where it comes from, or what it is “made” of. One loophole of this knowledge gap is that we can’t exhaustively say other organisms, and even inanimate objects, don’t have consciousness. Indigenous cultures and mystics have always known this to be the case. Humans relate to non–human animals and can imagine that dogs and cats have some amount of consciousness. We see their facial expressions and how they clearly make decisions. But just because we don’t “relate to” trees, rocks, the ocean, or the night sky, that isn’t the same as proving those things don’t have consciousness, though admittedly, without brain, ganglia or Central Nervous System, it is clear that what we define as physical “pain” is restricted to beings with that physical “wiring” or perhaps more broadly to eco–systems themselves. In such a model, plants, mountains and the like would be more akin to hair on the head of a sentient being. Thus, they would be permeated with sentience but not feeling “pain” as it were, apart from the whole of the organism or eco–system in question.
This is where a philosophical stance called panpsychism comes into play, writes All About Space’s David Crookes:
“This claims consciousness is inherent in even the tiniest pieces of matter – an idea that suggests the fundamental building blocks of reality have conscious experience. Crucially, it implies consciousness could be found throughout the Universe.”
This is where physics enters the picture. Some scientists have posited that the thing we think of as consciousness is made of micro–scale quantum physics events and other “spooky actions at a distance,” somehow fluttering inside our brains and generating conscious thoughts.
One of the leading minds in physics, 2020 Nobel laureate and black hole pioneer Roger Penrose, has written extensively about quantum mechanics as a suspected vehicle of consciousness. In 1989, he wrote a book called The Emperor’s New Mind, in which he claimed ”that human consciousness is non–algorithmic and a product of quantum effects.”
Let’s quickly break down that statement. What does it mean for human consciousness to be “algorithmic”? Well, an algorithm is simply a series of predictable steps to reach an outcome, and in the study of philosophy, this idea plays a big part in questions about free will versus determinism.
In physics, scientists could learn key things from a study of consciousness as a quantum effect. This is where we join cutting–edge researchers: Johannes Kleiner, mathematician and theoretical physicist at the Munich Center For Mathematical Philosophy, and Sean Tull, mathematician at the University of Oxford. Kleiner and Tull are today following Penrose’s example, in both his 1989 book and a 2014 paper where he detailed his belief that our brains’ microprocesses can be used to model things about the whole Universe.
The resulting theory is called Integrated Information Theory (IIT), and it’s an abstract, “highly mathematical” form of the philosophy we’ve been reviewing. In IIT, consciousness is everywhere, but it accumulates in places where it’s needed to help glue together different related systems. This means the human body is jam–packed with a ton of systems that must interrelate, so there’s a lot of consciousness, or phi (as the quantity is known in IIT), that can be calculated.
The revolutionary thing in IIT isn’t related to the human brain. In IIT, consciousness isn’t biological at all. Instead, it is simply this value, phi, that can be calculated if you know a lot about the complexity of what you’re studying.
If your brain has almost countless interrelated systems, then the entire Universe must have essentially infinite ones. And if that’s where consciousness accumulates, then the universe must have a lot of phi. You can read more about how “Holon Theory” proves a conscious Universe in the article Proof of the Divine: How We Can Know the Universe is Sentient and Can Be Communicated With. As the Tien Shi wrote two millennia ago: Xiang Er Tao (想爾道, the “Tao thinks of YOU!”)
“The theory consists of a very complicated algorithm that, when applied to a detailed mathematical description of a physical system, provides information about whether the system is conscious or not, and what it is conscious of,” Kleiner told All About Space. “If there is an isolated pair of particles floating around somewhere in space, they will have some rudimentary form of consciousness if they interact in the correct way.”
One of the earliest Western theorists to “discover” this Indigenous knowledge was Margaret Cavendish, the Duchess of Newcastle. Cavendish was a fiery novelist, playwright, philosopher and public figure known for her dramatic manner and controversial beliefs. She made her own dresses and decorated them in ribbons and baubles, and once attended the theater in a topless gown with red paint on her nipples. In his diaries, Samuel Pepys described her as a “mad, conceited, ridiculous woman,” albeit one he was obsessed with. Though he claimed to hate her, he wrote about her a lot – six times in his journal, within three–months alone.
The duchess drew public attention because she was a woman with ideas, lots of them, at a time when that was not welcome. Cavendish had grown up during the murderous paranoia of the English witch trials, and her sometimes contradictory proto–feminism was fueled by the belief that there was a parallel to be drawn between the way men treated women and the way men treated animals and nature. “The truth is,” she wrote, “we [women] Live like Bats or Owls, labour like Beasts and die like Worms.” This understanding is, of course, fundamental to intersectioanl veganism today.
In 1666, she released The Blazing World, a romantic and adventurous fantasy novel (as well as a satire of male intellectualism) in which a woman wanders through a portal at the North Pole and is transported to another world full of multicolored humans and anthropomorphic beasts, where she becomes an empress and builds a utopian society. It is now recognized as one of the first–ever works of science fiction.
This idea of a blazing world was not just fiction for Cavendish. It was a metaphor for her philosophical theories about the nature of reality. She believed that at a fundamental level, matter wasn’t mostly lifeless and inert, like most of her peers believed, but animate, aware, completely interconnected, at one with the stuff inside us. In essence, she envisioned that it wasn’t just humans that were conscious, but that consciousness, in some form, was present throughout the Natural world, within non–human animals to plants to rocks to atoms. The world, through her eyes, was blazing.
Cavendish was not the only one to have thoughts like these at that time, but they were dangerous thoughts to have. In Amsterdam, the Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinoza wrote that every physical thing had its own degree of consciousness. Those consciousnesses were at one with God’s Mind and Universal Consciousness, he explained. Spinoza’s books were banned by the Christian Church, he was attacked at knifepoint outside a synagogue. Eventually, he was excommunicated, through Cherem, when such bans were still acceptable within proto–orthodox Jewry.
Twenty–three years before Cavendish was born, the Italian Dominican friar and philosopher, Giordano Bruno – who believed the entire Universe was made of a single universal substance that contained “spirit” or “consciousness” – was labeled a heretic, gagged, tied to a stake and burned alive in the center of Rome by the agents of the Inquisition. His ashes were dumped in the Tiber River.
If the dominant worldview of Christianity and the rising worldview of science could agree on anything, it was that matter was dead: Man was superior to nature. This has been the prevailing materialist view of the bulk of the scientific community in the West ever since, and its roots are in Western Christian dogma and theological misinterpretation of the first chapter of the Torah. When translated from the Greek bastardization, known as the Septuagint, the Hebrew commandment to be a caretaker of the eco–system became a European anthropocentric call to dominate Nature, with man positioned as a unique creature separate from and above it.
Cavendish, Spinoza, Bruno and others, however, had latched onto the coattails of an ancient yet radical idea, one that had been circulating philosophy in the East and West since theories of consciousness were first set to pen. Traces of it can be found amongst literally all Indigenous cultures throughout the world, amongst Hindu sadhus, Buddhists, Taoists, Jewish mysticism or Kabbalah, Sufism and most traditional belief systems throughout the world.
“At a very basic level,” wrote the Canadian philosopher William Seager, of these ideas, “[it is clear that] the world is awake.”
Plato and Aristotle also held to panpsychist beliefs, as did the Stoics. At the turn of the 12th century, the Christian mystic Saint Francis of Assisi (d. 1226) was so convinced that everything was conscious that he spoke to flowers and preached to non–human animals (which he thus refrained from consuming). The history of thought is, in fact, peppered with great thinkers coming to this seemingly “irrational” and “unscientific” conclusion. William James, the father of American psychology, was a panpsychist. The celebrated British mathematician Alfred North Whitehead was as well. The Nobel Prize–winning physicist Max Planck once remarked in an interview, “I regard consciousness as fundamental.” Even the great inventor Thomas Edison had some panpsychist views, telling the poet George Parsons Lathrop: “It seems that every atom is possessed by a certain amount of primitive intelligence.”
Why do so many try to hide the historical reality of these scientists and philosophers panpsychism then? It isn’t coincidental. Just as we have seen how thoroughly intertwines such ideas of a dead–matter Universe are with racism and colonialism, so too are these the building blocks of anthropocentricity and corporate domination of Nature through depletion and destruction of eco–systems in the pursuit of profit and imagined gain.
The Brain as a Receiver and Transmitter of Consciousness, Rather than its Originator
What consciousness is and where it emanates from has stymied great minds in societies across the globe since the dawn of our species. In today’s world, as we have begun to see in aforementioned examples, it is a realm and challenge embraced by physicists, cognitive scientists, and neuroscientists, more than ever.
The prevailing theory at play in the realm of scientific speculation is materialism. This is the notion that consciousness emanates from matter, in our case, by the firing of neurons inside the brain.
Take the brain out of the equation and consciousness doesn’t exist at all to a materialist. When you die, the lights go out and your consciousness simply ceases to exist. Indigenous societies which have maintained otherwise are simply “primitive,” culturally and intellectually “underdeveloped” and “savage.”
Western scientists are often stalwart materialists. At this stage of research, however, they are beginning to slam up against the limitations of materialism. Whether the chasm between relativity and quantum mechanics, or Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, one can quickly begin to recognize the incongruities within the materialist paradigm.
The second theory is the previously–mentioned mind–body dualism. This is most often recognized in organized religious institutions and traditions, which maintains that consciousness is separated from matter. It is a part of another aspect of the individual, which in religious terms we might call the soul.
Then there is our third and aforementioned option which contrasts both materialism and dualism alike. This view of wahdat al–wujud (وحدة الوجود, the Oneness of Existence), gains ground daily in an array of scientific circles, which term it “panpsychism.” In this view, the entire Universe is inhabited by consciousness.
In quantum mechanics, particles don’t have a definite shape or specific location, until they are observed or measured. Is this a form of panpsychic–consciousness at play? According to the late scientist and philosopher, John Archibald Wheeler (1911 – 2008), it just might. Wheeler is famous for coining the term, “black hole.” In his view, every piece of matter contains a bit of consciousness, which it absorbs from this panpsychic “Consciousness Field.”
Wheeler termed his theory the “Participatory Anthropic Principle,” which posits that a sentient observer is key to the process of defining reality. Wheeler explained, “We are participators in bringing into being not only the near and here but the far away and long ago.” In his view, much like the teachings of the Buddha, nothing exists unless there is a consciousness to apprehend it.
Veteran physicist Gregory Matloff of the New York City College of Technology, says he has some preliminary evidence showing that, at the very least, panpsychism is possible. Dr. Matloff told NBC News, “It’s all very speculative, but it’s something we can check and either validate or falsify.”
Matloff posits that the presence of a panpsychic–consciousness field could serve as a replacement what we currently term Dark Matter. As we have seen, Dark Matter supposedly makes up around 95% of the Universe, although, scientists can’t seem to find any of it. Still, it is generally accepted as real, because it explains the otherwise known.
Thus, for the sake of argument, if consciousness is a property that arises on the subatomic level with a confluence of particles, how do these “bits” of consciousness coalesce?
According to Max Planck (1858 – 1947), a German theoretical physicist whose discovery of energy quanta won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918, consciousness is the original source of all “things.” He explained, “I regard consciousness as fundamental.” Adding that, “I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
Planck made many contributions to theoretical physics, but his fame rests primarily on his role as originator of the quantum theory. This theory revolutionized our understanding of atomic and subatomic processes, just as Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity revolutionized our understanding of space and time. Together they constitute the fundamental theories of 20th century physics. So why do materialist cherry–pick the theories and discoveries of such scientific heavyweights?
The Hubris of the Materialists
Remember the once–widely–loved Neil deGrasse Tyson? If you followed his career at all, you may have noticed his arrogant claims about Traditional Chinese Medicine and herbal medicines of Indigenous cultures. As you might imagine, he isn’t much of a fan. Tyson tweeted: “What do you call [herbal] alternative medicine that survives double–blind laboratory tests? Regular medicine” (May 31, 2012).
Hilarious, right? There’s only one tiny problem: Tyson does not know anything about what herbal medicines have been tested, or he would not have made this demonstrably inaccurate, flippant comment.
Similarly, Tyson’s ignorance of Western studies on herbal medicine is second only to his complete unawareness of the use of Traditional Chinese Medicinal herbs in mainstream hospitals in China, to fight cancer. One prominent herb, the Turkey Tail mushroom, has recently stepped to the forefront, but it is largely being ignored in the West. Still, it is now promoted by some cutting-edge researchers, as complimentary to pharmacological treatments.
“We didn’t discover turkey tail,” says lead investigator Leanna J. Standish, PhD, ND, LAc, FABNO, medical director of the Bastyr Integrative Oncology Research Center. “It’s been used in Asia for thousands and thousands of years, and it turns out to be a really potent immune therapy. The significance, I think, is that we’re bringing a new medicine to cancer patients in the U.S.”
Previous research by Bastyr and the University of Minnesota found a Turkey Tail supplement may support conventional breast cancer therapies by strengthening a patient’s immune system. That study was published recently in the peer-reviewed journal ISRN Oncology. It has since been published in multiple studies, demonstrating its efficacy in fighting prostate cancer. Apparently Tyson didn’t get the proverbial memo on any of this.
TCM herbs are also being promoted for COVID-19 treatments, and were employed in China to quickly get the pandemic under control (much more so than Western countries were able to). Tyson is apparently unaware of the literally thousands of published Chinese–language studies on such plants, which are in fact the result of double–blind laboratory tests.
Why would Tyson claim otherwise? Because he doesn’t know any better, and in his arrogance, he assumes that if he does not know something, then knowledge of it must not exist. In The Greatest Story NEVER Told: The Truth About the “Jesus” Myth and the Historical Figures Behind It, I term this the “Christopher Columbus Approach to Research.”
As well, Tyson apparently is unaware that not everything in medicine is based on Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs), and not everything that is shown to work on RCTs will work in real life and are sometimes eventually withdrawn due to various issues.
For all of his claims of championing “evidence based medicine” – prospective studies that measure the effectiveness of a new intervention or treatment – doing so without clinical experience and judgement is also just as bad as the quackery which he claims to denounce. But he wouldn’t know that, since he has neither formally studied Western Pharmaceutical or Traditional herbal medicines. If he had, he would have known that main treatments for malaria recommended by the World Health Organization is a Chinese herb? And yes, there have been numerous studies on its efficacy. They just do not teach such things in Astronomy graduate programs. But that hasn’t stopped Tyson and people like him from assuming that their expertise in one area transfers and translates to any area of study.
Tyson was later exposed as a sexual abuser and rapist of at least four women. In another tweet, Tyson explained that “B*tches be like Quantum Physics: Always behaving different when they’re being observed.” I wonder what could have led him to make an attempt at humor like that? Could it be the fact that women were holding him accountable for the actions which had been only observed between himself and his victims?
Though he has kept his jobs due to his popularity with materialists who see him as a champion of denigrating qualitative experiences of non–European cultures (or European Indigenous ones, like the Sami People, for that matter), he has largely fallen from public grace due to his abuses. Interestingly, the renowned theoretical physicist Steven Hawking never suffered professional repercussions after it was revealed he was a regular at Jeffrey Epstein’s “Pedo–Island” – full of underage sex slaves… but I digress.
This seems to be a great time to remind people that scientists are not unimpeachable. Tyson is an astrophysicist and should be viewed as a very educated authority on that subject alone. This does not qualify him as an authority on medicine, biology, nor the chemical properties of plants throughout the world. This, however, has not stopped him from speaking authoritatively on this matters, with the Western arrogance that would rival any of his European contemporaries.
From Galileo to Alan Turing (1912 – 1954), the scientific community of the day has often persecuted revolutionary and ground–breaking scientists.
We tend to think of black holes as a 20th century discovery, dating back to 1916, when Albert Einstein first published his theory of general relativity, followed by fellow physicist Karl Schwarzschild used those equations to envision a spherical section of spacetime so badly warped around a concentrated mass that it is invisible to the outside world. The true “father” of the black hole concept, however, was a 18th century Black man in England. This Episcopalian cleric named John Michell (1724 – 1793) was described in contemporary accounts as “a little short man, of black complexion, and fat,” who was nonetheless “esteemed a very ingenious Man, and an excellent Philosopher.” Michell was so far ahead of his scientific contemporaries with his Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London (read on November 27, 1783), and his published works that followed, that his ideas languished in abstruseness, until they were re–discovered more than a century later. “He died in quiet obscurity,” states the American Physical Society, “and his notion of a ‘dark star’ was forgotten until his writings re–surfaced in the 1970s.”
Read that again.
Michell’s deduction of black holes was so disregarded that no one even gave his early reasonings on the matter any thought until the 1970s. The first black hole ever discovered was Cygnus X–1, located within the Milky Way in the constellation of Cygnus, the Swan. Astronomers saw the first signs of the black hole in 1964 when a sounding rocket detected celestial sources of X–rays according to NASA. That means from 1783 until almost two centuries later, this man of reason and faith’s calculations and deductions were not proven by science. This didn’t mean they were unscientific, nor were they untrue until proven. Something can be absolutely true and have a scientific theoretical explanation even centuries before it can be scientifically proven.
Michell suggested that there might be many “dark stars” throughout the Universe. Today astronomers believe that black holes do indeed exist at the centers of most galaxies. Similarly, Michell proposed that astronomers could detect “dark stars” by looking for star systems which behaved gravitationally like two stars, but where only one star could be seen. It was an extraordinarily accurate prediction. All of the dozen candidate stellar black holes in our galaxy (the Milky Way) are in X–ray compact binary systems.
A Sirius Mystery
Scholars of the “hard” sciences are not the only subscribers to the “Christopher Columbus Approach to Research.” Historians and anthropologists are often much worse.
In 1950 there appeared a curious account in the French anthropological literature describing the traditional beliefs regarding the star Sirius held by the Dogon tribe of Central Africa. The article was written by Marcel Griaule, and a colleague Germine Dieterlen. Griaule was a renowned French anthropologist with decades of experience in Africa. Griaule studied the Dogon for almost twenty years, and during that time he talked extensively with a blind elder named Ogotemmeli. He divulged to Griaule secret teachings of the Dogon ancestors. To Griaule’s surprise this knowledge included the rings of Saturn, the moons of Jupiter and the fact that Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, had at least one companion star. Ogotemmeli drew a star map of Sirius – which he called sigu tolo. Griaule, a bit of an admitted astronomy buff, recognized the very elliptical orbit of Sirius B, a white dwarf companion to Sirius A. This had only been discovered in 1844 and has never been visible with the naked eye. According to Ogotemmeli this was lore that stretched back millennia, and there was no evidence of any other outside contact with astrophysicists cum anthropologists.
These Dogon beliefs were elaborated on several years later in a posthumous book Le Renard pâle, or The Pale Fox, written by Griaule and his colleague Germaine Dieterlen. As described, the beliefs appear to contain many of the essential facets of modern scientific knowledge about Sirius and its companion. This includes knowledge that “modern man” obtained with powerful telescopes, coupled with sophisticated scientific theories about stellar interiors. It was stated, for example, that Sirius was orbited by a tiny star moving in an elliptical path with a period of 50 years. Moreover, the faint star was made from a “dense metal”, so heavy that all the people on earth could not lift it. How could the Dogon have acquired such astonishing knowledge?
The Dogon stories about Sirius bear unmistakable parallels to modern scientific knowledge about Sirius: the fifty year elliptical orbit of the white dwarf, the super dense matter that it was composed of, and other curious pieces of information. For many years the Griaule article lay uncommented on. For the most part astronomers didn’t read the French anthropological literature and anthologists did not recognize the unique astronomical signature of the information. It finally gained widespread attention in the late 1970s. Skeptics like Kenneth Brecher of Boston University and Carl Sagan of Cornell University, regarded the Dogon stories as cultural artifacts, products of contacts by the modern world with the Dogon, which they incorporated into their own traditional culture. But there is no evidence for this, and much to the contrary.
As well, the confirmation of Sirius C as difficult–to–detect “Dark Star,” as the Dogon believed, only came in 1995. Since 1894, irregularities have been tentatively observed in the orbits of Sirius A and B with an apparent periodicity of 6–6.4 years. The 1995 study concluded that such a companion likely exists, with a mass of roughly 0.05 solar mass – a small red dwarf or large brown dwarf, with an apparent magnitude of more than 15, and less than 3 arcseconds from Sirius A. Though recent theories have argued against the 1995 thesis, the fact that the existence of such a star is even being debated in the scientific community raises the question of why the Dogon would have had such a claim, so many years before it was theories, or believed that the third of the stars in the Sirius system was visibly dark, and would be difficult to detect? Who could have told them of this in the 1930s?
To answer this question, some have postulated that the Dogon must have been contacted in the distant past by ancient extraterrestrial visitors from Sirius. Is this true? We can’t prove such a thing, one way or another, but there is nothing unscientific about such a theoretical explanation.
What we can do is acknowledge that there is know known way that the Dogon of Mali could have come to this knowledge through empirical observation with their physical senses. The choices we are left with are either the “Ancient Aliens” hypothesis, or something more mystical, suggesting that through accessing unseen planes of existence, knowledge of that aspect of the Natural world can be obtained without empirical observation in the physical Universe. What is not reasonable is to imagine that such traditions of the Dogon were mere conjecture or superstition that just coincidentally panned out. That is simply too many striking coincidences to be statistically probable.
Geniuses Mocked and Rejected by Their “Scientific” Colleagues
As note, the reader should be reminded that the gatekeepers in academia have typically opposed visionaries and geniuses, and fought them tooth and nail, every step of the way. For example, theoretical physicist George Zweig (born 1937), proposed the theory of quarks right after defending his doctoral thesis and at the same time as rival Murray Gell–Mann. Because Zweig was a young graduate student and not as well established, the journal that both scientists sent their respective papers to, accepted Gell–Mann’s after having rejected Zweig’s for the same theory. Gell–Mann then went to receive a Nobel Prize in Physics for his work.
Almost unbelievably, Gregor Mendel’s (1822 – 1884) work on genetic inheritance wasn’t read by anyone during his life. This certainly wasn’t due to lack of effort on his behalf. Even though Mendel attempted on many occasions to contact renowned scientists, to share his discovery, they struggled to understand him and his theories.
Attempts to replicate his experiments also proved problematic. Although his experiments on pea plants worked, when asked to reproduce this experiment on more complex plants, such as hawkweed, he couldn’t replicate similar results. We now know that this was because Hawkweed has the ability to reproduce asexually. It wasn’t until the next century, a full 16 years after Mendel died, that his work was rediscovered and replicated successfully. Interestingly, it was said that Charles Darwin had a copy of Mendel’s paper, and if he had read it, then the connection between evolution by natural selection and classical genetic hereditary would have been made much earlier.
In another tragic example, Ludwig Boltzmann (1844 – 1906) developed equations and formulas which explain the properties of atoms and how they determine the physical nature of matter. Proposing a theory that disproves other laws of physics, to say nothing of the scientists who built their careers on such theories, thought to be correct at the time, does not make you particularly popular or appreciated in academia. After years of fighting for atom theory to be accepted, Boltzmann committed suicide. This was only three years before Ernest Rutherford discovered the nucleus of an atom, proving Boltzmann’s theory. Boltzmann’s student Paul Ehrenfest (1880 – 1933) would eventually commit suicide as well.
Noticing a trend here?
A Hungarian physician working in Austria, Ignaz Semmelweis (1818 – 1865) noticed that one hospital of his had very high death rates. He theorized that this death toll could be lowered by surgeons washing their hands between patients. Semmelweis’s theory was correct. Greeted with such an easy way to reduce mortality, do you think his fellow practitioners welcomed this research? As you might have guessed by now, having seen so many similar cases presented herein, they disregarded it, scoffed at his conclusions and “debunked” them as “unscientific.”
After years of trying, Semmelweis finally gave up and ended his days in an insane asylum. It wasn’t until around 20 years later that Louis Pasteur’s germ theory inclined more people to wash their hands often. Semmelweis was proven right, but it was sadly too late. The scientific community of his day simply did not have the means in which to quantify his theory and prove it through material means. Still, qualitatively, he knew he conclusion was right. There is a saying in research that “enough anecdotes is called data.”
Einstein Intuition and Reason
The dogmatism of Semmelweis’s fellow scientists literally drove him insane. And yet, he was the sane one, and was absolutely correct in his conclusions. Perhaps, realizing the trappings of such short-sightedness, this is why Einstein famously said that “imagination is more important than knowledge,” and “the only real valuable thing is intuition.”
Einstein also claimed the purpose and drive behind his own research was to “know God’s thoughts.” Should we then conclude that Einstein was not a man of reason? What arrogant lesser mind would dare to claim such a thing to defend their lack of insight and vision?
Even Einstein himself was proven wrong about such matters as the black holes (which he reluctantly accepted, but said there was “no hope of observing this phenomenon directly. He was also wrong about the cosmological constant (which he later had to discard as a wrong conclusion of his earlier research). He was wrong about gravitational waves – nearly publishing a paper vehemently arguing they didn’t exist, before reluctantly accepting them. He was also wrong about many minor errors in his calculations and conclusions.
In spite of this, however, we do not throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater and reject the overwhelming body of his scientific observations and mathematical calculations. What made Einstein great was not just his theories and calculations, it was also his willingness to admit his understanding of science was wrong when it was proven to be so. But this did not stop him from theorizing even before the empirical verdict was in. Lack of empirical proof did not mean something was proven to be false. That is not science, that is Western narcissism. If no Europeans were known to have stepped foot on “Turtle Island,” which became termed the “Americas,” then the European arrogant mind proclaimed that it had not been discovered. It did not matter that so many millions of people already lived there.
To play on the classic Zen koan, if a tree falls in the woods and a European was not around to hear it, then did it really make a sound? Perhaps others were there to hear those sounds, and what is sound anyway but vibrations? So what is meant by “sound?” Do we mean “is sound perceived,” or do we mean “are the waves created that could be registered as sound by a conscious observer?”
Thus, to Western arrogance, if mainstream institutions and academics are unaware of a thing, it is as if it does not exist. For in their minds all that there is truly great to discover has been discovered. Nothing could be further from the truth, and thankfully, daring scientific visionaries are proving this fact year after year. In time, the hubris of materialists today will be disproven too, as science develops ways to quantify what we can currently only qualitatively research – much as was the case with Semmelweis. Like Semmelweis, the sages, prophets, medicine men and holy women throughout traditional cultures and spiritual paths are not wrong just because there is not a microscope to examine their qualitative experiences under. Time will demonstrate this, as it always has.
The “Savage Mind” and Eurocentric Hubris
The efforts to dismiss and denigrate traditional and Indigenous cultures and religious beliefs began with the European “Enlightenment.” As the West was trying to “lighten” the controlling powers of the world through colonial endeavors, they simultaneously propagandized their own rationalism as evidence of their genetic and cultural superiority. In the East, enormous, anomalous European fighters were sent to try to embarrass traditional martial artists. This did not always end the way the colonists had hope, as in the case of Huo, Yuan–Jia (1868–1910), well known for his Jing Wu Athletic Association, and his public bouts, defeating those burly Europeans attempting to humiliate the “sick men of Asia,” as they termed them.
As well, in academia, an array of Eurocentric anthropologists brought colonialism out of the trade routes, settlements and battlefronts, to the University and publishing house.
Prominent Victorian theorists identified global Indigenous beliefs and practices with what became known in the field of psychology as “Magical Thinking” – the belief that unrelated events are causally connected despite the absence of any plausible causal link between them, particularly as a result of supernatural effects. Before this term came into common parlance, however, the phrase “associative thinking,” was employed to describe what European anthropologists and Orientalists believed was a common feature of practitioners of “magic,” and thus a characteristic form of irrationality. Still, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual clarifies that psychology does not consider religious beliefs or practices to fall under the rubric of actual magical thinking. This clarification came centuries too late, however, as the cultural damage was already done to Indigenous peoples.
Edward Burnett Tylor coined the term “associative thinking,” characterizing it as pre–logical, in which the “magician’s folly” is in mistaking an imagined connection with a real one. The magician believes that thematically linked items can influence one another by virtue of their similarity. For example, in E. E. Evans–Pritchard’s account, members of the Azande tribe believe that rubbing crocodile teeth on banana plants can invoke a fruitful crop. Why? Because crocodile teeth are curved (like bananas) and grow back if they fall out, the Azande observe this similarity and want to impart this capacity of regeneration to their bananas. To them, the rubbing constitutes a means of transference. To European anthropologists, this meant the Azande were stupid and superstitious.
All ancient cultures had a name for an energy center in the lower abdomen, like the Chinese Xia Dan Tien, Japanese Hara, or the Indian Svadhisthana Chakra. African cultures too had the same concept. Edward Evan Evans–Pritchard noted, in his Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic Among the Azande, references of the Dan Tien being, in the African view, the storage house of a sorcerer’s power, yet – while its location in the lower “abdomen of the witch” was certain, Pritchard concluded disappointedly that he was “left in doubt as to what it is anatomically.” Regardless to say, he did not believe this to be anything more than superstition, yet millions of practitioners of Nei Jia systems of “Internal Kung Fu” know otherwise.
For instance, I begin showing new students how to move from the Dan Tien on the first day of class, and to coordinate the opening and closing of the kwa surrounding it, to generate tremendous, measurable martial power. As well, simply by teaching intentional use of this Dan Tien as a “vice grip” of sorts, I can and do demonstrate crippling power of qin na joint locks, that effortlessly far exceed what can be generated from mechanics alone, and without having to rely on as large frame of external motions to perform such joint locks. Obviously, to the non–practitioner, or novice martial artist, this sounds ridiculous. I invite them to come take a free introductory class at my martial arts school any time.
The next in the line of extremely dismissive and racist European anthropologists to dismiss Indigenous believes as stupidity and superstition was Sir James Frazer (1854–1941). I was first introduced to Frazer in my first secular religious studies course, in the University where I studied and received my undergraduate degrees and first masters. Thankfully, a disclaimer was offered by the professor, regarding how outright racist Frazer’s dismissive ideas were.
Frazer elaborated upon Tylor’s principle by dividing magic into the categories of sympathetic and contagious magic, and in this he was fair in his categorizing. The latter, he explained, is based upon the law of contagion or contact, in which two things that were once connected retain this link and have the ability to affect their supposedly related objects, such as harming a person by harming a lock of his hair.
Sympathetic magic operates upon the premise that “like affects like,” or that one can impart characteristics of one object to a similar object. Frazer believed that some individuals think the entire world functions according to these mimetic principles.
The next academic colonist I came across in my early anthropological research into global religious was Lucien Levy–Bruhl’s How Natives Think (1925), in which he describes a similar notion of mystical, “collective representations.” Like Frazer, he saw magical thinking as fundamentally different from any Western style of thinking. He did not realize that to Indigenous and traditional cultures, this is a feature, not a bug, so to speak. He asserted that in these representations, “primitive” people’s “mental activity is too little differentiated for it to be possible to consider ideas or images of objects by themselves apart from the emotions and passions which evoke those ideas or are evoked by them.”
Levy–Bruhl claimed that the indigenous people commit the post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy, in which people observe that x is followed by y, and conclude that x has caused y. He believes that this fallacy is institutionalized in Indigenous cultures and is committed regularly and repeatedly, because the minds of Native peoples are simply not as developed and refines as that of Western Europeans.
Despite the view that Indigenous “magic” is less than rational and entails an inferior concept of causality, in The Savage Mind (1966), Claude Levi–Strauss suggested that magical procedures are relatively effective in exerting control over the environment. This outlook has generated alternative theories of magical thinking, such as the symbolic and psychological approaches, and softened the contrast between “educated” and “primitive” thinking: “Magical thinking is no less characteristic of our own mundane intellectual activity than it is of Azande curing practices.”
Just as Evans–Pritchard was demonstrably wrong about the Azande “dan tien” being a unique superstition of that one particular culture, and just as he imagined it to be based on nothing but pure imagination and magical thinking – when this can and has be proven otherwise whenever a qualified master of Nei Jia martial arts is called upon to demonstrate as much, so too it be that many of the associations Indigenous cultures have maintained over the years might have a quantum relationship, which are, as of yet, unable to quantify through empirical measurements of the material world.
Perhaps the medicine men and shamans throughout the world have known something Western materialists do not. Perhaps they are accessing that tesseractal Fifth Dimension, and we simply cannot perceive what is going on “behind the scenes” of the physical dimensions we can see, touch and measure. Maybe that is the case, or maybe the Western “rationalist” is laughing at such a suggestion. As they cannot prove the matter one way or the other through materialist methods of measurement and observation, it would seem that at best they should say that while they doubt such a thing, it is theoretically possible. Such open–mindedness, however, is not typically a characteristic such people are known for.
Let the scoffers scoff, and let those who know, know. The medicine man does not need to submit to the tests of Western skeptics to legitimize Indigenous tradition. The OMD does not need the West’s stamp of approval before healing the sick. As it is written in the Tao Te Ching:
When superior people hear of the Tao,
they carry it out with diligence.
When middling people hear of the Tao,
it sometimes seems to be there, sometimes not.
When lesser people hear of the Tao,
they ridicule it greatly and laugh out loud.
If they didn’t laugh at it,
it wouldn’t be the Tao.
In other words, such people are not supposed to get it. As the Qur’an says, “to you be your way, and to me be mine” (109:6).
The Natural Conclusion
For now, it suffices to say that there is no inherent contradiction between reason and qualitative spiritual experience – that visionary intuition and imagination that Einstein lauded – so long as faith does not reject things that can be empirically proven. Still, the fact that something has not been empirically proven at a given time is not proof nor even evidence that it is false. Such an errant belief is not science, it is Western materialistic dogma, and it is every bit as much a religion as any other – this faith being one solely invested in the ego and imagined limitlessness of modern human understanding.
So, can you follow REASON and believe in the UNSEEN Spiritual world? Yes, just as much as you can use reason to deduce any number of things which cannot yet be quantified by current scientific methods of empirical observation. That is why it is called reason, because it used logic beyond mere physical observation, yet drawing on and employing such observations to the extent which they can currently be measured. That “imagination” and “intuition” Einstein was talking about? It wasn’t for clever quips, contrived platitudes and 21st century memes to be shared on social media. It was literally his way of trying to impart the importance of such vision and qualitative “gut” research, in driving huge and revolutionary discoveries both in his own life and in the generations forward.
Does “God” have to be part of our understanding of the universe for it to be scientifically–understood? No, clearly not. But if scientists tell the public that they have to choose between God and science, most people will choose God. Why? Perhaps this is because of their own qualitative experiences which materialists are seen as dismissing and attempting to delegitimize (along with Indigenous and traditional cultures which hold to a view of the world which explains these universal, qualitative experiences).
By denying these universal qualitative experiences, many are led to denialism, hostility to science and the profoundly dangerous mental incoherence in modern society that fosters depression and conflict. Meanwhile, many of those who believe they have made a discrete choice in “science alone,” find themselves without any way of thinking that can give them access to their own spiritual potential. What we need is a coherent big picture that is completely consistent with – and even inspired by – science, yet provides an empowering way of rethinking that Force that some call “God,” which provides the human and social benefits without the fantasy.
How can we arrive at this? A good guide is to follow what Einstein expressed when he said “the God that the atheist does not believe in, I do not believe in either.” If your vision of the Creator is akin to that of a “man in the sky” or a gendered father–figure, which you take literally and without metaphorical interpretation (such as “Father Sky, Mother Earth”), then your theology is no doubt inconsistent with Reason and Science. Einstein correctly denounced this as a “God” that the atheists do not believe in, which he too rejected. We also reject this concept of Divinity.
The Qur’an, however, does not speak of such a deity. Instead, the it tells us that “wheresoever you turn, there is the Face of Allah” (2:115) and that the Divine powers revealing the Qur’an are “nearer to you than your jugular vein” (50:16). The First Kalimah, the Shahadah of Islam even tells us “La ilaha” there is no god, there is “ill Allah” only Allah, Al–Ilah, the Divine. The A’immah of the Ahl al–Bayt said that when the Mahdi rises, he will do so praying the holiest of Names of Allah in the Hebrew language. Why is that? The Tetragrammaton (to say nothing of the Shem Ha’Meforesh) is itself not even a noun.
It is not the “name” or “title” of a deity, it is a literal verb. God, as Rabbi David Cooper rightly said, “is a Verb!” We are thus, as Rabbi Cooper noted, not to think of a noun–based “God” in the sky, but of the process of “God–ing” that is encoded and encapsulated within the Hebrew Name “YHVH.”
Science can never tell us with certainty what’s absolutely true, since there will always be the possibility that some future discovery will rule it out. But science can often tell us with certainty what’s not true. It can rule out the impossible. Galileo, for example, showed with his telescope that the medieval picture of Earth as the center of heavenly crystal spheres could not be true, even though he could not yet prove that the Earth moves around the sun. Whenever scientists produce the evidence that convincingly rules out the impossible, there’s no point in arguing. It’s over. Grace lies in accepting and recalculating. That’s how science moves forward. This is wisdom.
What if we thought this way about “God?” What if we took the evidence of a new cosmic reality seriously and became willing to rule out the impossible? What would be left?
As people of Science (`Ilm) and Reason (`Aql), we can, in fact, have a real “God,” but only if we let go of what makes the gods of theology and dogma unreal. A person of Reason is only interested in a concept of Divinity if that concept is real. If It isn’t real, there’s nothing to talk about. This doesn’t, however, mean real in the sense of a physical object. We must mean real in the sense of the full scientific picture of our biology, the eco–system, and the double dark Universe, composed primarily of what is today termed Dark Matter and Dark Energy – a concept previously was scoffed at and ridiculed – which we live in. No doubt, as our understanding expands, and data is clarified, it will be termed something else – perhaps more consistent with the reality beyond the mystery.
 Excerpt From: Greg Keyes. “Interstellar.”
 Einstein, A., Podolsky, B. & Rosen, N. Phys. Rev. 47, 777 (1935).
 Cole MSS XXXIII, 156, British Library
 Benest, D.; Duvent, J. L. (July 1995). “Is Sirius a triple star?” Astronomy and Astrophysics. 299: 621–628
 In 1902, Huo responded to a challenge advertised by a Russian wrestler in Xiyuan Park, Tianjin. The wrestler openly called the Chinese “sick men of Asia” because no one accepted his challenge to a fight. The Russian forfeited when Huo accepted his challenge and told Huo that he was merely putting on a performance to make a living and apologized for his earlier remark in the newspaper. Between 1909 and 1910, Huo travelled to Shanghai twice to accept an open challenge posed by an Irish boxer, Hercules O’Brien. The two of them had arguments over the rules governing such boxing matches and eventually agreed that whoever knocked down his opponent would be the victor.
 Nisbett, D.; Ross, L. (1980). Human Inference: Strategies and Shortcomings of Social Judgment. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. pp. 115–8.
 American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM–5). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing. pp. 655, 824
 Glucklich, Ariel (1997). The End of Magic. Oxford University Press. pp. 32–3.
 Evans–Pritchard, E. E. (1977). Theories of Primitive Religion. Oxford University Press. pp. 26–7.
 Evans–Pritchard, E. E. (1937). Witchcraft, Magic, and Oracles Among the Azande. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
 Lévy–Bruhl, Lucien (1925). How Natives Think. Knopf. p. 36.
 Shweder, Richard A. (1977). “Likeness and likelihood in everyday thought: Magical thinking in judgments about personality”. Current Anthropology. 18 (4): 637–58 (637). The Azande practice of curing epilepsy by eating the burnt skull of a red bush monkey, based on the apparent similarity of epileptic movements and those of the monkeys, discussed in Evans–Pritchard 1937, p. 487.
 Tao Te Ching, 41
 Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Sa’eed bin Oqda narrated from Ali bin al–Hasan at–Taymali from al–Hasan and Muhammad, the sons of Ali bin Yousuf, from Sa’dan bin Muslim from a man that al–Mufadhdhal bin Umar had said: “Abu Abdullah as–Sadiq said: “When the Imam [al–Mahdi] calls out the azhan, he will pray Allah with His Hebrew Name [YHVH] and then his companions, who will be three hundred and thirteen [in number], will be permitted to join him. They will gather like the cloudlets of autumn. They will be the bearers of the banners. Some of them will be missed in their beds in the night and in the morning they will find themselves in Mecca. Some of them will be seen walking on the clouds during the day. They will be known by their names, their fathers’ names and their lineages.”
I said: “May I die for you! Which of them is greater in faith?”
He said: “It is those, who walk on the clouds during the day. They are the missed ones. About these companions Allah has revealed this verse, ‘Wherever you are, Allah will bring you all together” (Qur’an, 2:148.).
 We can understand this as related to the verbal Akun in Arabic, though the form expressed in the Torah is a unique form that cannot be employed in normal discourse because of the conjugation of “perpetual Be–ing” which cannot linguistically apply to anything in the created Universe.
أخبرنا أحمد بن محمد بن سعيد بن عقدة قال: حدثنا علي بن الحسين التيملي قال: حدثنا الحسن ومحمد بنا علي بن يوسف، عن سعدان بن مسلم، عن رجل، عن المفضل بن عمر، قال:
قال أبو عبد الله: إذا أذن الإمام دعا الله بأسمه العبراني فأتيحت له صحابته الثلاثمائة وثلاثة عشر قزع كقزع الخريف. فهم أصحاب الألوية منهم من يُفقد من فراشه ليلاً فيصبح بمكة، ومنهم من يُرى يسير في السحاب نهاراً يعرف بأسمه واسم أبيه وحليته ونسبه.
قلت: جعلت فداك، أيّهم أعظم إيماناً.
قال: الذي يسير في السحاب نهاراً، وهم المفقودون، وفيهم نزلت هذه الآية
وَلِكُلٍّ وِجْهَةٌ هُوَ مُوَلِّيهَا ۖ فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ ۚ أَيْنَ مَا تَكُونُوا يَأْتِ بِكُمُ اللَّهُ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ