The Tantra of Physics: A Review and Metaphysical Exposition of The End of Quantum Reality, a Film by Rick DeLano on the Life and Work of Wolfgang Smith
~ Charles Upton
I know too well that a great majority of Englishmen are fond of The Indefinite which they Measure by Newton’s Doctrine of the Fluxions of an Atom—A Thing that does not Exist…. For a Line or Lineament is not formed by Chance, a Line is a Line in its Minutest Subdivision Strait or Crooked. It is Itself & Not Intermeasurable with or by any Thing Else… but since the French Revolution Englishmen are all Intermeasurable One by Another, Certainly a happy state of Agreement to which I for One do not Agree. God keep me from the Divinity of Yes & No too, The Yea Nay Creeping Jesus, from supposing Up & Down to be the same Thing, as all Experimentalists must suppose.
—William Blake, Public Address
When my wife and I drove from Lexington, Kentucky to the Cincinnati area to view the long-awaited film The End of Quantum Reality, the story of Traditionalist mathematician, physicist and metaphysician Dr. Wolfgang Smith and his monumental discoveries—notably his elegant solution to the notorious “quantum enigma”—we arrived in a small, run-down Ohio River town in a semi-industrial area. The theater where the film was being shown was attached to a local bar; the audience amounted to my wife, myself and three others. After the movie, which was both an epiphany and a delight, I had planned to corral the other three viewers so we could retire to the espresso café across the street and hold an impromptu Wolfgang Smith discussion group. But since two of our fellow viewers escaped before I could accost them, I ended up talking only with one man who had driven to Cincinnati from Dayton, Ohio, to see the film, just as we had driven from Lexington. He was especially interested in it because he had a daughter who was studying theology and mathematics and a son studying computer science. We decided against the discussion group; nonetheless the teenage boy who was selling the tickets apparently realized, judging from his knowing smile, that the small audience that showed up represented more than a collection of bored weekenders motivated by no more than idle curiosity, but rather the parties to a shared secret.
The End of Quantum Reality is a real achievement. Directed by Katheryne Thomas and produced, written and narrated by Rick DeLano, it manages to be a story of the life and discoveries of Wolfgang Smith without allowing biography to obscure its main subject: the revolution in physics just now beginning to appear (though well under way in its own world), which is destined to dethrone Einsteinian relativity and reinterpret quantum mechanics, largely through the correct understanding of “the collapse of the wave-function”, in a way that is entirely line with Traditional Metaphysics, including but not limited to Aristotelianism and Scholastic Philosophy. The graphics constitute a perfect sub-text to the narration, one that is always strictly illustrative and never intrusive, while the biographical elements, since they center on Wolfgang Smith’s intellectual development, faithfully serve the ideas without distracting our attention from them. Dr. Smith’s philosophic itinerary includes graduation from Cornell at the age of 18 with a triple major in physics, philosophy and mathematics; his teaching career at MIT and elsewhere; his travels to India to consult with Hindu and Tibetan sages; and his return to the Catholicism of his youth under the influence of his wife Thea, who actually passed away during the film’s production, and who therefore appears in The End of Quantum Reality as Wolfgang’s philosophical muse, his Sophia. DeLano manages her appearance with a moderate and sensitive touch, bringing her in just far enough to allow Thea and Wolfgang’s love to illuminate certain subtler aspects of his vision of corporeal reality—which he clearly distinguishes from the material reality investigated by modern physics—notably its incarnation of the Aristotelian/Thomistic principle of the marriage of forma and materia. In addition, Rick DeLano’s writing and narration strike the ideal note that makes the film ultimately convincing: not the strident tone of the rebellious zealot but the relaxed, generous and gently humorous quality of the established hierophant whose worldview is both satisfying and secure.
I learned two important things from The End of Quantum Reality: First, that the central significance of what has been called the Axis of Evil, the “quasi-equator” that has recently been discovered in the microwave background radiation, is that there is any kind of discernable axis in this radiation at all, since the Big Bang was supposed to have expanded from an infinitesimal, dimensionless point that could in no way have harbored Form of any kind, and the Axis is most certainly Form. The fact that the Axis is also in the same plane as the Earth’s orbit (which, I thought, might have been fairly easily dismissed by the anti-creationists as “mere chance”) was just frosting on the cake. The first manifestation of the BB should have been “pure chaos”, a chaos that, by some sort of “evolutionary” process, somehow later organized itself, apparently using the same method that a pile of automobile parts uses to automatically organize itself into an automobile. To posit pre-existing Form as the origin of the universe is as bad for the interests of contemporary materialism as positing it as the origin of DNA, which The End of Quantum Reality also touches upon through the “complex specified information” theory of intelligent design proponent William Dembski. More even than the notion of the “multiverse,” which The End of Quantum Reality debunks, the Axis of Evil has helped to deconstruct the irrational belief in a “self-organizing system” or a “self-creating cosmos,” in forma spontaneously arising from random potentia instead of intervening from without and above to fertilize and organize this potentia, a Divine act that is expressed in the book of Genesis [1:2] as “Then the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (In an attempt to express the notion of self-organization as a universal principle, cyberneticist Gregory Bateson coined the law that “the flow of energy through a system tends to organize that system.” I wish I had had the chance to ask him, “do you mean, for example, the way a lightning-bolt organizes a human body when it strikes it?” Perhaps Bateson was seeing something valid here, through a glass and darkly, but his so-called principle can only be considered true if by “energy” he meant what Dembski calls “complex specified information” and Wolfgang Smith, “vertical causality.”)
The existence of a discernible Axis in the echoes of the “earliest” phase of the universe we can presently detect suggests the Divine primordial creative polarity which is the source of all manifestation, like the polarity of Brahma and Saraswati in Hinduism, and which is reflected in the majority of creation-myths the world over as the polarity of Sky and Earth. As in electrostatics, the “potential difference” between these two primal poles generates a shakti, a Current—the Current of creation-and-reintegration that the Hindus represent by the syllable AUM, that the Muslims call the Nafas al-Rahman, “the Breath of the Merciful,” and that the Christians name the Logos, the Word. How, one might ask (if, that is, one sees no fundamental contradiction between sober objective science and mythopoetic romance), could the universe have been created without the primal love-affair between forma and materia, between the Witness and the Witnessed? The notion of a self-creating and self-organizing universe is profoundly un-romantic, which is why it can be seen as the primary quasi-metaphysical paradigm underlying radical feminism, one of whose more extreme imaginings is that women should try to develop the ability to reproduce without men. William Blake, in The Four Zoas and Jerusalem, named this tendency “the Female Will,” which he saw as a fundamental denial of his principle that “every material effect has a spiritual cause.”
The second thing I learned is that my generally negative view of quantum mechanics, of chaos and indeterminacy as somehow creative and form-giving—this being by far the most common picture of that world—had to do with a view of the sub-atomic world of potentia that ignores the true significance of the phenomenon known as “the collapse of the wave-function” thereby also ignoring the fact and necessity of vertical causality that wave-function collapse demonstrates. The collapse of the wave-function, for those unfamiliar with this term, is the transformation of a sub-atomic reality from a wave of probabilities as to the possible position and state of a particle into an actual particle with a single location and a single state, something that Wolfgang Smith sees as illustrating the Thomistic principle of the passage from Potency to Act. The original quantum theorists Werner Heisenberg and Niels Bohr, in their famous “Copenhagen Interpretation,” speculated that the act of human observation alone has the quasi-magical power to collapse the wave-function. Not all theories of quantum mechanics recognize the phenomenon of the collapse of the wave-function, however, nor do all those that recognize it accept human observation as the causative factor. Be that as it may, without wave-function collapse, quantum reality remains merely virtual, without true existence, which is why it can only be described according to probability, not causality; consequently I had seen quantum mechanics as one of the pillars of postmodern nihilism, including such trends as what I’ve called “social Heisenbergianism”. As I said in my book Dugin against Dugin: A Traditionalist Critique of the Fourth Political Theory:
When Modernist individualism, operating within a “rational” order of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, becomes, in its senility, a postmodernist “atomic individualism” operating in no context whatsoever but the laws of probability—a “social Heisenbergianism” of random indeterminacy that presumes to grant to every “voice,” every concept or fantasy or mere image of the mind, and every impulse of the passions including the most self-contradictory and suicidal, equal weight and an equal right to speak—these, not human persons, now being in effect the new “individuals”—then God is denied quasi-absolutely, and society, history, the earth and the human race are on the road to annihilation.
Dr. Smith made it clear to me in a recent phone conversation that what he feels he has achieved, in solid mathematical terms, is fundamentally the validation of the corporeal realm, the realm reported by our senses, the world in which we actually live, unmediated by scientific instruments or experiments, which he sees as a fundamentally higher level of being than the material realm investigated by modern physics; he identifies the corporeal with the “substantial form” of the Scholastics, the union of forma and materia that produces real existing entities. Consequently he does not accept the postulate of early quantum theorists that human observation is the agency that collapses the wave function; rather, he sees this event as produced by contact between the corporeal realm—in this case the instruments that the physicists use to investigate the quantum realm of potentia—and the potential/material realm itself. He calls this a “minimalist” approach that deliberately avoids broad metaphysical speculations and limits itself to what can actually be demonstrated and proved, experimentally and mathematically—which is why, in my view, it provides a solid and fertile ground for such speculation. He told me, in effect: “Speculate all you want to, but don’t attribute your speculations to me. They may have been inspired by my discoveries but they are not part of them.”
If we look at the matter in terms of three of Aristotle’s Four Causes, it may be permissible to say that the principle of quantum indeterminacy erroneously posits a material cause alone—which, when not completed by a formal cause and an efficient cause, does not rise to the definition of true causality; this is why its operations can only be described in terms of probability. The second error of the early theorists was to posit human observation as the efficient cause of wave-function collapse, as if “consciousness” alone (which, according to Dr. Smith, is a relatively meaningless term) could have an immediate, magical effect upon matter—a notion that spawned mass of quasi-metaphysical speculations that have resulted in generations of unprovable and essentially wrongheaded theories. In the place of human observation as the efficient cause of wave-function collapse, Dr. Smith has inserted corporeality as its formal cause, Since the substantial form of the corporeal realm is on a higher ontological level than the potentia of the quantum realm, contact with substantial form raises quantum indeterminacy from the level of probable existence to the level of real existence; in Scholastic terms, it effects the passage from Potency to Act. The effect of this reinstatement of the formal cause is to banish the phantom, called up by poorly-understood quantum physics, of an “illusory” world of sense perception that in “reality” is nothing but subatomic particles, quantum fields and empty space, and return us to a real world of Nature that we can actually observe by means of our five senses, a world in which the incarnate human being is naturally at home. The unprovable and wrongheaded theories that grew up to explain the strange phenomena of quantum physics had almost destroyed (with the help of personal computers and smartphones, I might add!) our belief in the corporeality of the cosmos we see all around us, not to mention our awareness of our own corporeality—and if we do not accept the reality of creation, how then can we believe in a Creator? Simply put, Wolfgang Smith’s discoveries have given us back both Nature and the human body. Human race—welcome home.
This is the essence of Wolfgang’s achievement. However, given the solid corner-stone he has provided, I feel no scruples against continuing to speculate, based on that achievement, in a more expansive metaphysical direction. Just as orthodox dogma, or the clear literal meaning of scripture, give us a stable foundation for metaphysical realization, so scientific and mathematical certainties as to the nature of the world, purified of pseudo-metaphysical fantasies, can give us a real basis for sound metaphysical speculation and insight.
I will begin my course of speculation with another apparently incontrovertible fact—that, even though Nature (or God if you will) can certainly collapse the wave-function without human intervention, one of the avenues to wave-function collapse is, precisely, human action. If, according to Wolfgang Smith, it is contact with humanly-designed corporeal instruments that collapses the wave function, rather than the direct quasi-magical effect of human observation or consciousness, nonetheless the efficient cause of this contact, the thing that brings those corporeal instruments together with that material sub-stratum, is nothing other than human intelligence and intent. So human observation, in this sense, is one of the causes of wave function collapse; it does not operate directly upon matter in the absence of a formal cause, however, but rather acts through the medium of the formal cause, as represented by humanly-conceived instruments and experiments. No traditional cosmological doctrine claims that man rather than God creates the universe, only that man has the God-given ability to discern and reproduce God’s own mode of creation on a more limited and derivative level, thus making him, not a co-creator, but certainly a sub-creator. And since there is little doubt that humanity possesses the ability to collapse the wave-function, not quasi-magically through direct observation, but rather methodically, through human intent, intelligence, and work, this ability can be seen as validating the traditional view of the nature of Man. We are so familiar with these unique powers that their uniqueness often escapes us, not to mention the fact that we are sometimes actually ashamed of them due to our radical misuse of them. Nonetheless, in traditional terms, they represent nothing less than the action of God within us. As soon as we see the collapse of the wave-function, produced by the human act of rationally interrogating the material world by bringing it into contact with corporeal instruments, as an extension of the form-giving vertical causality by which God creates that world, a prolongation of the fiat lux in terms of the human intent to investigate and understand that creation, then humanity regains its full and proper stature as “the microcosm of the macrocosm”, based on our assumption of the function that the Qur’an calls the Amana, the “Trust” [Q. 33:72]. We must recognize, in other words, the formative power that human investigation, via corporeal instruments, has upon quantum indeterminacy as nothing less than the Logos extending its power and action through its chosen representative for terrestrial existence: the Human Form. We might characterize the power of human investigation to confer substantial form on quantum indeterminacy as one of several metaphysical validations of the Anthropic Principle. The recognition of this power refutes the Copernican denial that any place or station in the cosmos (least of all, apparently, the human one) could occupy a privileged position. So once we accept Wolfgang Smith’s explanation of wave-function collapse in terms of vertical causality operating through the contact of corporeal instruments with material potentia, and remember the simple and undeniable fact (which our fully justified reaction against the theoretical extravagances of the Copenhagen Interpretation might have caused us to forget) that this meeting between the corporeal and material has taken place expressly through deliberate human action and design, we are now empowered to challenge the proponents of an exclusively materialist science in the following terms:
“You often claim that religion had falsely inflated humanity by making us the center of the universe, but that modern science has now humbled human arrogance by proving us to be little more than microbes crawling on a speck of cosmic dust lost in the vastness of the cosmos. Why, then, does religion alone preach humility before God and His creation, while materialistic science promotes a titanic arrogance which claims that humanity has the right to alter nature and the human form at will, and even to create weapons capable of annihilating all life? It doesn’t make sense. You claim that a human being is simply another cosmic entity like an animal or a tree or a mountain or a galaxy, with nothing unique or special about him that would place him on a higher ontological level than the rest of creation. But if you accept the postulate that human observations via humanly-designed corporeal instruments have the power—though certainly not exclusive power—to collapse the wave-function and effect a measurable change in objective reality, then why is the human being the only entity in the cosmos who can do this? Can a star deliberately design instruments and experiments that lead to the collapse of the wave function? A whale? A crystal? A tree? What does it mean that only humanity can perform this operation? Whatever your answer may be, the fact remains that this power is entirely in line with the traditional view of humanity as the “axial” being for terrestrial existence, the microcosm of the macrocosm, a view that has been held by Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Shamanism, the cosmology of William Blake, the Jewish Kabbalah, and innumerable other traditions for thousands of years, traditions that produced civilizations with countless millions of adherents. Is this confluence a mere coincidence? And if the traditional “anthropic” doctrine that (in the words of St. Gregory the Great) ‘man is, in a manner, all creatures’—which is why Genesis 2:19 can say ‘whatsoever Adam called any living creature, that was the name thereof’—has indeed been superseded by the materialist worldview, then how do you explain the unique human ability to collapse the wave-function by purposely and deliberately constructing experiments to investigate the quantum world? According to the Qur’an [2:31-33], God told Adam the real names of all the angels, names they themselves did not know, then commanded him to inform the angels of their own names. If we take Adam to stand for humanity, the angels to symbolize the eternal archetypes of cosmic manifestation, and the act of naming to represent the power to unveil clear signs of these archetypes by calling real entities into corporeal manifestation out of the world of indeterminate material potentia through uniting forma with materia, then the human ability to induce wave function collapse by bringing the corporeal and material worlds together squarely validates the traditional doctrine of Man as the axis of creation, host to the Imago Dei, holder of the Trust.
As Dante taught, man makes art—a name that can be legitimately applied to the totality of human creativity—by utilizing the same norms and processes that God established when He created the universe. So the human act of asking the right question—perhaps because it is the exact inverse of the self-will by which Lucifer fell from heaven—has profound and unexpected depths; it is, in fact, the essence of islam, of submission to God’s Will, which is why it holds the power to invoke God’s Will. What else could explain the instantaneous effects of “quantum entanglement” consequent upon the collapse of the wave-function as produced by intentional human action? (Quantum entanglement, for those unfamiliar with it, is the observed phenomenon that occurs when a pair or group of particles is generated, interact, or share spatial proximity in a way such that the quantum state of each particle of the pair or group cannot be described independently of the state of the others, even when the particles are separated by a large distance. Some instances of quantum entanglement can be explained by the emergence of two or more particles from a common source, yet entanglement also apparently occurs with no causative factor other than the human action of experimentally bringing the corporeal and the material realms into contact with each other for the purpose of observation—which, incidentally, makes the intent to make observations for the purpose of gaining knowledge the fourth of Aristotle’s Four Causes, the final cause of both humanly-induced wave function collapse and humanly-induced quantum entanglement.) Luciferian self-will says: “I want Truth to be whatever I say it is”; this is how the collapse of the wave-function is sometimes interpreted by those with no concept of vertical causality, of the intersection of Eternity with time. On the other hand, the piety of both true science and true spirituality says: “I will submit to the Truth whatever it may be, even if it destroys my most cherished notions—only let It appear!” Self-will banishes Truth, but submission invokes It—and Truth, in the last analysis, is God Himself. In Islam, one of the Ninety-Nine Names of God is Al-Haqq, “the Truth”; likewise, Christ called Himself “the Way, the Truth and the Life.” The act of asking the right question holds an unmistakable ontological superiority over mere material potentia, just as Necessary Being (another name of God) holds superiority over Possible Being; it partakes of what, in Islam, is called yaqin, “certainty”. Think of what asking a true question embraces: the certainty that true questions can be asked; the certainty that the world must yield true answers to true questions; and the certainty that the one who asks the questions will be able to understand the answers. A true question seeks “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”—St. Paul’s definition of faith. By embracing both the questioner and the thing questioned it transcends the Cartesian bifurcation of subject and object, a transcendence that is well expressed by the Quranic verse I will show them My signs on the horizons [the outer world] and in their own souls until they are satisfied that this is the Truth. Is it not enough for you, that I am Witness over all things? [Q. 41:53].
I am willing to credit Wolfgang Smith’s conclusion that quantum mechanics, as long as the real cause and significance of the collapse of the wave-function is grasped, largely demolishes Einstein’s theory of relativity, which has certainly been one of the major pillars of the destructive social relativism of the postmodern ethos. Nonetheless, I continue to appreciate Einstein’s dismay at the more common, incomplete picture of quantum mechanics as something that replaces causality, whether horizontal or vertical, with mere probability (and Einstein had no clear idea of vertical causality), a picture which has led many physicists to interpret the collapse of the wave function and other quantum paradoxes in an illogical and nihilistic, if not Promethean, manner—as the human right and ability to determine what is true (since nothing is true in itself), thereby leading to their acceptance the Serpent’s false promise in Genesis 3:5, “ye shall be as gods.” When Einstein said “God does not play dice with the universe,” he was speaking out of a sound instinct to place forma above materia, Act above Potency, though he had absolutely no idea of how to actually do this, in concrete terms, in the face of quantum mechanics and its undeniable predictive power.
The Russian “Traditionalist” philosopher Aleksandr Dugin, following Heidegger, has announced in several of his books—notably The Fourth Political Theory—the demise of Logos (and Christianity along with it) and its replacement as a universal paradigm by Chaos, which he associates with quantum theory as it is most commonly understood. Dugin claims, in line with the nihilistic interpretation of quantum indeterminacy, that Logos (or Form) emerges from Chaos, that it is no more than one of the possible states that Chaos embraces, thereby revealing his notion of Chaos to be of the same order of ideas as the belief in a “multiverse”, which explains the order we see all around us, and within us, as based on the notion that we just happen to live in an ordered universe because, out of an infinity of random universes, one of at least them has to be a universe of order. What Wolfgang Smith has done, however, is to define the precise point where—after the seeming triumph of Chaos, Potentia, Substance, the Reign of Quantity over Logos, Form, Act, Essence, the Reign of Quality—Logos/Essence/Quality necessarily re-asserts itself and retakes the throne, through the actualizing effect of the of the corporeal world of substantial form when brought into contact with the potentia of the material world. It was one of the most profound achievements of the French metaphysician René Guénon to analyze the Hindu manvantara, the cycle-of-manifestation, in Aristotelian/Thomistic terms, as the descent from the Pole of Essence (forma) to the Pole of Substance (materia). According to him, the terminal phase of the cycle will be characterized by a triumph of material quantity—whose ultimate phase is Chaos—over metaphysical quality, of Substance over Essence. Thus the Heisenbergian shift in physics from the notion of mechanistic determinism to that of indeterminacy and probability is perfectly in line with Guénon’s picture of the triumph of the Substantial Pole over the Essential Pole—which must, according to him, lead to the apocalyptic dissolution of our present world. What Wolfgang Smith has done, however, is to discern the exact point where, at least in theoretical terms, the center of this apocalypse has already been passed, the point where—via the discovery of the collapse of the wave function—form-giving Essence has re-asserted its primacy, though certainly not its sole validity, over form-receiving Substance. Speaking in scriptural terms [Apoc. 21:1-2], this is nothing less than the vertical descent of the Heavenly Jerusalem, “adorned like a bride for her husband”—celestial Form—that brings with it “a new heaven and a new earth,” a new conceptual universe which must result, if not in this world then in the next, in a new form of human terrestrial existence: the Golden Age of the next manvantara.
In most mythic symbol-systems, Form is seen as masculine and Matter as feminine, a fact that is clearly illustrated by the etymological relationship between the English “matter” and the Latin mater, “mother”. Yet the opposite attribution is also possible. In The Divine Comedy the figure of Dante represents a relatively unformed materia seeking celestial Form, a Form that is symbolized and incarnated by Dante’s own Sophia, Beatrice; this mythos represents the ultimate development of the Courtly Love tradition. It is even speculated that Dante’s initiatory spiritual order, the Fedeli d’Amore or “Faithful to Love”, practiced a form of esoteric Aristotelianism whose goal was the conscious union of forma and materia, the attainment of substantial form, within the human microcosm itself. According to one phase of this yoga, the “Lady” was undoubtedly taken as a symbol of forma and the “Knight” of materia, though these roles might possibly have been reversed at later stages. In any case, the union of purified Matter with newly-unveiled Form is the perennial keynote of the Golden Age, whose distant yet ever-advancing shape Wolfgang Smith has almost certainly seen, and lived to tell of it. Nor is this picture of the creative event as the union of the Creative and Receptive principles, forma and materia, limited to Hinduism and Christianity. Besides being the basis of the cosmology of Taoism in the form of the Yang and Yin, most thoroughly explicated in the I Ching, it appears within Islam as the Pen (kalam) and the Guarded Tablet (lawh mahfuz), conceived of as God’s creative Word inscribing itself, as letters are inscribed on the waiting page, upon the receptive matrix of potential existence. Likewise when William Blake, his vision supercharged with the awesome celestial archetypes, put his stylus to the plate to engrave those Giant Forms upon the receptive materia of this world, he performed his own artistic version of the collapsing of the wave function, banishing the Indefinite that was represented for him by blurry painters like Rembrandt, and inscribing instead what he called “the hard and wiry line of rectitude” by which Form assumes strict precedence over Matter—in exactly the same way, and by exactly the same power, as Christ walked on the water.
This is how the revolution Wolfgang Smith has uncovered appears in mythopoetic terms—but what of the drier and more precise art of mathematics? If, as The End of Quantum Reality points out, Plato saw mathematics as the necessary prelude to a true understanding of metaphysics, how can we explain this? How can the supremely quantitative science of mathematics open us to a contemplation of metaphysical qualities? Dr. Smith, by his solution to “the quantum enigma,” demonstrates exactly how this can be done—and he is in very good company. Pythagoras, for one, also pointed the way when he analyzed musical tones and chords as the products of strict mathematical ratios, thereby opening (for all of us) the door that leads from Quantity to Quality. Plato did something similar in his representation of the Five Elements in terms of the regular polyhedra; what Pythagoras achieved for time, Plato accomplished for space. And in terms of the mathematics that underlies contemporary physics, universal constants play much the same role; The End of Quantum Reality suggests this by its reference to the planck constant. The speed of light, for example—c—can be seen in quantitative terms as a velocity of 186,282.6 miles per second in a vacuum (assuming we can still recognize such a thing as a vacuum!). From another, essentially Einsteinian standpoint, however, c is one of the mathematical incarnations of the quasi-metaphysical concepts of zero and infinity. If, according to Einstein’s myth, one were to actually attain the speed of light rather than simply observing it—which would require an infinite expenditure of energy—his or her velocity as experienced would reach infinity, which is another way of saying that, from his or her standpoint, the rate of the passage of time would reach zero, while the rate of the passage of time for the surrounding universe would, again, be infinite. Zero and infinity, however, are not material quantities: they are conceptual doors leading beyond matter, energy, space and time entirely, beyond Quantity to Quality, passageways from the physical order to the metaphysical order. Consequently light, for Einstein, becomes almost a metaphysical symbol of the Formless Absolute as well as a material quantity, something roughly comparable to a theophany of the Deity. Likewise, according to the Qur’an [24:35], Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth. God, while He is essentially of the metaphysical order, is necessarily reflected, since He is infinite, in the corporeal and material orders as well.
Another passageway from Quantity to Quantity can be seen in the qualitative mathematics of the rational integers. Various whole numbers such as 3, 4, 7, 9, 10 and 12 have particular inherent qualities, beyond their quantitative use for counting 3 sheep, 4 cows, 7 ravens, 9 doves, 10 oxen or 12 eagles. 3 is stable spatially—a triangle can’t be easily deformed like a rectangle can—but dynamic temporally, as with the peak, trough and baseline of a sine-wave; these two qualities, taken together, suggest the eternal motionless dynamism of the Holy Trinity, another apt symbol of which is the circle considered in terms of its center (the Father), its diameter (the Son) and its radius (the Holy Spirit); this is the diagram that Rick DeLano brings forward in The End of Quantum Reality as a symbol for the Divine creativity. 4 appears as the four directions of space, as well as the 2 solstices plus the 2 equinoxes, which is why it represents the stability and regularity of terrestrial reality in many traditional symbol systems, including that of the I Ching. 7 is the 6 directions of a 3-dimensional space radiating from a common center, thus making it a fit symbol of the receptive Matrix of the Divine creative Word. The number 11 is particularly unique; it can neither be constructed on a 2-dimensional surface using a straightedge and compass, nor can it be represented in terms of a regular polyhedron; thus, it stands as a symbol of pure transcendence, what Islam calls tanzih, God’s absolute incomparability. So, mathematics has many signposts and doorways leading from the realm of Quantity to the realm of Quality, though only those who have already realized that a world of Quality exists, a world known as the metaphysical order, can find them and follow them.
The End of Quantum Reality demonstrates how Wolfgang Smith, metaphysician and mathematician, has unveiled for the 21st century some of the most significant qualitative, metaphysical realities that mathematics foreshadows and implies. In so doing, as Rick DeLano points out, he has emerged as a major figure in the fundamental reversal of the materialistic paradigm that has been dominant in the West ever since the Enlightenment. The End of Quantum Reality is intellectually enlightening, emotionally moving and spiritually inspiring; it demonstrates in the clearest terms why many people of the Millennial generation and younger (they call themselves the “Wolfgangsters”) have flocked to Dr. Smith’s banner. This is not a cult of personality so much as the expression of a fundamental dissatisfaction with a scientistic establishment based on nihilistic materialism. The End of Quantum Reality most certainly deserves the largest audience it can muster.