QUOTES

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QUOTES

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20TH CENTURY PHYSICISTS

EMANUEL SWEDENBORG

G.I. GURDJIEFF

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PHYSICISTS

The following quotes by various physicists of the twentieth century are a sample of remarkable statements indicating how physics came to view reality in non-Newtonian, materialist terms. Each physicist is listed according to dates of birth.

Many of these quotes are part of the dialogues in the Elysium’s Passage narratives.  

Max Planck 1858-1947

Nobel Prize in Physics (1918)

Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.

As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter. I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness.

We cannot get behind consciousness. A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.

Science…means unresting endeavor and continually progressing development toward an aim which the poetic intuition may apprehend, but the intellect can never fully grasp. Truth never triumphs – its opponents just die out. Science advances one funeral at a time.

Both religion and science require a belief in God. For believers, God is in the beginning, and for physicists He is at the end of all considerations… To the former He is the foundation, to the latter, the crown of the edifice of every generalized world view.

Whence come I and whither go I? That is the great unfathomable question, the same for every one of us. Science has no answer to it. There can never be any real opposition between religion and science, for the one is the complement of the other.

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.  

Sir James Jeans 1877-1946

Knighted in England (1924)

The universe cannot admit of material representation, and the reason, I think, is that it has become a mere mental concept.

The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accident intruder into the realm of matter, we are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter.

If the universe is a universe of thought, then its creation must have been an act of thought. So little do we understand time that perhaps we ought to compare the whole of time to the act of creation, that materialisation of the thought.

Mathematics enters the world from above instead of from below. God is a mathematician and the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. For substantiality is a purely mental concept measuring the direct effects of objects on our sense of touch.

A mathematical formula can never tell us what a thing is, but only how it behaves. It can only specify a thing through its properties.

Modern scientific theory compels us to think of the creator working outside of time and space – which are part of his creation – just as the artist is outside of his canvas.

The old dualism of mind and matter, which is mainly responsible for the supposed hostility, seems likely to disappear — through substantial matter resolving itself into a creation and manifestation of mind.  

Albert Einstein 1879-1955  

Nobel Prize in Physics (1921)

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger; who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.

Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence.

No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.

My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind. Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.

A person starts to live when he can live outside himself I want to know God’s thoughts, the rest are details.

Imagination is more important than knowledge. It is clear that knowledge of what is does not open the door directly to what should be —– for science can only ascertain what is, but not what should be, and outside of its domain value judgements of all kinds remain necessary.

The scientific method can teach us nothing else beyond how facts are related to, and conditioned by each other. I maintain that the cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest motive for scientific research.  

Sir Arthur Eddington 1882–1944

Knighted in England (1930)

Science has nothing to say as to the intrinsic nature of the atom. The physical atom is, like everything else in physics, a schedule of pointer readings.

Space, time and matter - and at the bottom we reach symbols. Its substance has melted into shadow. 

It is difficult for the matter of fact physicist to accept the view that the substratum for everything is of mental character. But no one can deny that mind is the first and most direct thing in our experience and all else is remote inference.

Something unknown is doing we don’t know what.

We have found a strange footprint on the shores of the unknown.

Our ultimate analysis of space leads us not to a ‘here’ and a ‘there’, but to an extension such as that which relates ‘here’ and ‘there’. To put the conclusion rather crudely-space is not a lot of points close together, it is a lot of distances interlocked.

Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.

There is no space without aether, and no aether which does not occupy space.

Science is one thing, wisdom is another.

Science is an edged tool, with which men play like children, and cut their own fingers.  

Niels Bohr 1885 – 1962 

Nobel Prize in Physics (1922)

Everything we call real is made of things that cannot be regarded as real.

If quantum mechanics hasn’t profoundly shocked you, you haven’t understood it yet.

If anybody says he can think about quantum physics without getting giddy, that only shows he has not understood the first thing about them.

Erwin Schrodinger 1887–1961

Nobel Prize in Physics (1933)

Mind is, by its very nature, a singulare tantum, I should say: the overall number of minds in just one. I venture to call it indestructible since it has a peculiar timetable, namely time is always now. There really is no before and after for mind.

The show that is going on obviously acquires a meaning only with regard to the mind that contemplates it. But what science tells us about this relationship is patently absurd: as if mind had only been produced by the very display that it is now watching and would pass away when the sun finally cools down —  

Werner Heisenberg 1901 – 1976

Nobel Prize in Physics (1932)

Physics can only make statements about strictly limited relations that are only valid within the framework of those limitations.

I assert the nature of all reality is spiritual, not material or a dualism of matter and spirit.

The hypothesis that its nature can be, to any degree, material does not enter into my reckoning, because we understand now that matter, the putting together of the adjective material and the noun nature does not make any sense.

Is the nature of reality material or spiritual or a combination of both? I will first ask another question. Is the ocean composed of water or waves, or of both? Interpreting the term material (physical) — corresponds to the waves, not to the water of the ocean of reality. The solid substance of things is another illusion. It too is a fancy projected by the mind into the eternal world.

We have chased the solid substance from the continuous liquid of the atom, from the atom to the electron, and there we have lost it. Actualities have been lost in the exigencies of the chase.

Insofar as supernaturalism is associated with the denial of strict causality, I can only answer that that is what the modern scientific development of the quantum theory brings us to.

In comparing the certainty of things spiritual and things temporal, let us not forget this: mind is the first and most direct thing in our experience, all else is remote inference.  

John Wheeler 1911 – 2008 

Einstein Prize in Physics 

No phenomenon is a physical phenomenon until it is an observed phenomenon. The universe does not exist ‘out there,’ independent of us. We are inescapably involved in bringing about that which appears to be happening. We are not only observers. We are participators. In some strange sense, this is a participatory universe.

There is nothing in the world except empty curved space. Matter, charge, electromagnetism, and other fields are only manifestations of the curvature of space. In order to more fully understand this reality, we must take into account other dimensions of a broader reality.  

David Bohm 1917 – 1992

Fellow of the Royal Society (1990)

The world cannot be analyzed into separate and independently existing parts — moreover each part somehow involves all the others: contains them or enfolds them. This fact suggests that the sphere of ordinary material life and the sphere of mystical experiences have a certain shared order and that this will allow a fruitful relationship between them.

The true state of affairs in the material world is wholeness. If we are fragmented, we must blame it on ourselves. This implicate order implies a reality immensely beyond what we call matter.

Matter itself is merely a ripple in this background. Thought is creating divisions out of itself and then saying that they are there naturally.

If I am right in saying that thought is the ultimate origin or source, it follows that if we don’t do anything about thought, we won’t get anywhere.  

EMANUEL SWEDENBORG

1688-1772

Swedenborg was a highly regarded scientist in Europe in the eighteenth century and was closely associated with Sweden’s royalty as a friend and administrator (Royal Assessor of Mines).

In 1741, at the age of 53, much of his life changed when he became exposed to the spirit dimension. First beginning with dreams, a few years later he reported his soul’s heavenly visitations that continued for the remaining twenty eight years of his earthly life. This he described as his spiritual awakening. From then on he recorded his celestial visits that included speaking with hundreds of spiritual entities, not all in the higher realms.

He wrote several books of theological concern, with over eighteen works published in Latin. Most of his works are deeply profound, and for some, perhaps difficult to read. His most popular and arguably easiest to comprehend is Heaven and Hell (1758); a popular introductory summary of his experiences and conclusions.

Given the nature of his experiences and how remote his spiritual discourses were from conventional life, some considered his works insane. But this was largely mitigated by his impeccable reputation as a scholar and scientist with the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He was also part in the Swedish House of Nobility (the Swedish Riddarhuset) and Parliament (Riksdag).

On a personal level he was characterized as being a very pious and warm-hearted man, speaking easily and naturally. Many literary luminaries became devoted readers of his works including, Jorge Luis Borges, Daniel Burnham, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Y.B Yeats, John Flaxman, George Inness, Henry James Sr., William Blake, Carl Jung, Immanuel Kant, Honore de Balzac, Arthur Conan Doyle, Helen Keller, Czeslaw Milosz, August Strindberg and D.T. Suzuki.

There are several books written on him and his works, many of which can be accessed online.The following quotes are a small representation of some of my favourites. 

This I can declare: things that are in heaven are more real than things that are in the world. 

Heaven is not located on high, but where the good of love is, and this resides within a person, wherever he or she might be.

We are all spirits inwardly. This is what's alive in the body, not the body on its own.

Such as the love is, such is the wisdom, consequently such is the man In a word, to grow old in heaven is to grow young.

Happiness is in service, from service, and according to service.

Love in its essence is spiritual fire. Man knows that there is love, but he does not know what love is.

A man after death is not a natural but a spiritual man; nevertheless he still appears in all respects like himself.

The inner self is as distinct from the outer self as heaven is from earth. We do need to realize, though, that it is the quality of our love that determines the quality of this life.

Love comes into being through useful service to others.

We are, because God is.

Man, before he is being regenerated, does not even know that any internal man exists, much less is he acquainted with its nature and quality.

In the spiritual body moreover, man appears such as he is with respect to love and faith, for everyone in the spiritual world is the effigy of his own love, not only as to the face and the body, but also as to the speech and the actions.

People who have intended and loved what is evil in the world intend and love what is evil in the other life, and then they no longer allow themselves to be led away from it. This is why people who are absorbed in evil are connected to hell and actually are there in spirit; and after death they crave above all to be where their evil is.

Man, when he is re-born, passes through the ages as he who is born; and the preceding state is always as an egg in respect to the subsequent one, thus he is continually conceived and born: and this not only when he lives in the world, but also when he comes into another life to eternity: and still when he cannot be further perfected, then to be as an egg to those things which remain to be manifested, which are indefinite.

For heaven is within us, and people who have heaven within them come into heaven. The heaven within us is our acknowledgment of the Divine and our being led by the Divine.

Love consists in desiring to give what is our own to another and feeling his delight as our own. The nature of heaven is to provide a place there for all who lead good lives, no matter what their religion may be. 

The activity of love and faith is what makes heaven. A life of faith without love is like sunlight without warmth—the type of light that occurs in winter, when nothing grows and everything droops and dies.

Faith rising out of love, on the contrary, is like light from the sun in spring, when everything grows and flourishes.  For every man’s soul is in a spiritual body after it has cast off the material coverings which it carried about in the world.

When the topic of religion comes up, materialists start to debate about it with one another and with other groups. The ensuing proposition and debate rarely results in an affirmation of the faith that God exists.

Materialists associate more and more with the evil, because only from God can one do something good with a love for what is good. Every man is received in heaven who receives heaven in himself while in the world, and he is excluded who does not.

Goodness and love mould the form into their own image, and cause the joy and beauty of love to shine forth from every part of the face.

Heaven is such that all who have lived well, of whatever religion, have a place there.

What a man thinks in his spirit in the world, that he does after his departure from the world when he becomes a spirit.

The more one is absorbed in so-called philosophy, the greater one's delusion and blindness.

He who is in evil, is also in the punishment of evil. Such as the love is, such is the wisdom, consequently such is the man.  

GEORGES IVANOVICH GURDJIEFF

1872-1949

Gurdjieff lived his early years in the Transcaucasia region which had rich ethnic mix comprised of Georgians, Armenians, Kurds, Greeks, Turks and Russians.

At the age of fifteen he set out to wander the world, gleaning whatever ancient wisdom he could in scattered Sufi ashrams, Christian churches, Buddhist temples and assorted mystery schools across central Asia, Egypt, Rome, Iran, Russia and going as far as Tibet.

He later established himself back home in Russia where he taught his esoterica under his own auspices, often in Moscow and St Petersburg. In the first half of the twentieth century, Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, his student, brought many ancient esoteric traditions to the Western world such as the Enneagram. He also wrote certain classical scores for piano designed to awaken human consciousness and introducted Sufi whirling dervishes by bringing several to New York to perform.

They escaped the Bolshevik revolution by traveling on foot down through Georgia to Istanbul in 1920. Each established their own institute, Gurdjieff in Paris and Ouspensky in London, as they taught and disseminated their ideas on the nature of consciousness and other arcane philosophies. For example, teachings in the Forth Way school of thought include concepts such as being present, self-remembering and non-identification, to name just a few.

Unfortunately, concepts dealing with higher consciousness are not well understood or recognized in most universities in the West, since so few know anything about esoteric philosophy. (One notable exception is eminent Philosopher Jacob Needleman from San Francisco State University). Anything written by Gurdjieff, Ouspensky or other students such as Orage, Nicoll, Nott and Bennett are recommended, although certain books can be challenging at times. The Gurdjieff Foundation has several affiliate organizations throughout the world. (For more information, refer to the Gurdjieff Foundation web site. 

Without self-knowledge, without understanding the working and functions of his machine, man cannot be free, he cannot govern himself and he will always remain a slave. 

Conscious faith is freedom. Emotional faith is slavery. Mechanical faith is foolishness.

It is very difficult also to sacrifice one's suffering. A man will renounce any pleasures you like but he will not give up his suffering. 

Awakening is possible only for those who seek it and want it, for those who are ready to struggle with themselves and work on themselves for a very long time and very persistently in order to attain it.

Two things in life are infinite; the stupidity of man and the mercy of God.

I will tell you one thing that will make you rich for life. There are two struggles: an Inner-world struggle and an Outer-world struggle...you must make an intentional contact between these two worlds; then you can crystallize data for the Third World, the World of the Soul.

In order to awaken, first of all one must realize that one is in a state of sleep. And in order to realize that one is indeed in a state of sleep, one must recognize and fully understand the nature of the forces which operate to keep one in the state of sleep, or hypnosis. It is absurd to think that this can be done by seeking information from the very source which induces the hypnosis.

One thing alone is certain, that man's slavery grows and increases. Man is becoming a willing slave. He no longer needs chains. He begins to grow fond of his slavery, to be proud of it. And this is the most terrible thing that can happen to a man.  

If you want to lose your faith, make friends with a priest. 

Remember you come here having already understood the necessity of struggling with yourself — only with yourself. Therefore thank everyone who gives you the opportunity. 

Better to die than live in sleep. 

What is possible for individual man is impossible for the masses. 

What is nearest to us is man; and you are the nearest of all men to yourself. Begin with the study of yourself; remember the saying 'Know thyself. 

The only type of sexual relations possible are those with someone who is as advanced and capable as oneself. 

You are in prison. If you wish to get out of prison, the first thing you must do is realize that you are in prison. If you think you are free, you can't escape. 

Life is real only then, when "I am". 

Modern civilization is based on violence and slavery and fine words. 

The one great art is that of making a complete human being of oneself.

The crowd neither wants nor seeks knowledge, and the leaders of the crowd, in their own interests, try to strengthen its fear and dislike of everything new and unknown. The slavery in which mankind lives is based upon this fear.

Never will he understand the sufferings of another, who has not experienced them himself, though he have divine Reason Man such as we know him, is a machine.

Only help him who is not an idler.

Don't judge a man by the tales of others.

By teaching others you will learn yourself.

In speaking of evolution it is necessary to understand from the outset that no mechanical evolution is possible. The evolution of man is the evolution of his consciousness.

Man such as we know him, the "man-machine," the man who cannot "do," and with whom and through whom everything "happens," cannot have a permanent and single I.

He changes as quickly as his thoughts, feelings and moods, and he makes a profound mistake in considering himself always one and the same person; in reality he is always a different person, not the one he was a moment ago.

In literature, science, art, philosophy, religion, in individual and above all in social and political life, we can observe how the line of the development of forces deviates from its original direction and goes, after a certain time, in a diametrically opposite direction, still preserving its former name.

A man may be born, but in order to be born he must first die, and in order to die he must first awake. A man will renounce any pleasures you like but he will not give up his suffering.

The sole means now for the saving of the beings of the planet Earth would be to implant again into their presences a new organ … of such properties that every one of these unfortunates during the process of existence should constantly sense and be cognizant of the inevitability of his own death as well as the death of everyone upon whom his eyes or attention rests. Only such a sensation and such a cognizance can now destroy the egoism completely crystallized in them.

It is very difficult to explain what takes place in me when I see or hear anything majestic which allows no doubt that it proceeds from the actualization of Our Maker Creator. Each time, my tears flow of themselves. I weep, that is to say, it weeps in me, not from grief, no, but as if from tenderness.

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