We can say that science, as we know it today, began around four to five thousand years ago, when Babylonians in Mesopotamia began to map the skies, searching for patterns, initially for those underlying solar and lunar eclipses. For we humans are as much pattern-seeking creatures as symbol-making ones, a characteristic that is not unique to science, which has traditionally restricted its pattern-forming activities to the external material world, accessible to our five senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste.
However, it was not until the ancient Greeks when the gap between science and Reality, between the outer and the inner, fully began to open up. The turning point was Aristotle’s Physics, a translation of Greek ta phusika, literally ‘natural things’, from phusis ‘birth, origin; nature, inborn quality’. In turn, nature derives from Latin nasci ‘to be born’. But Aristotle misunderstood the Origin of the Universe, where all forms are born, sending Western science into the cul-de-sac it has reached today. As mystics well understand this cosmogony, they are the true physicists.
However, we should not really blame Aristotle for rejecting Heraclitus’ mystical philosophy of change, for we live in a bifurcating universe, the first bifurcation happening when the relativistic world of form emerges from the Formless Absolute through the creative power of Life and organizing propensities of the Logos. So as Aristotle could not recognize the most fundamental pattern in the Universe, as Heraclitus had done, he, like so many others, blindly followed evolution’s divergent tendencies.
Thankfully, evolution also has a convergent, synthesizing potential, counteracting science’s analytical approach. We can see this balance most clearly in the roots of science and art. For science derives from Latin scientia ‘knowledge’, past participle of scīre ‘to know’, from PIE base *skei- ‘to cut, split’, also root of schizoid, scīre meaning here ‘to separate one thing from another, to discern’. In contrast, art derives from Latin ars ‘skill, way, method’, from PIE base *ar- ‘to fit together’, also root of coordinate, reason, harmony, and order. It is thus up to our artistic abilities to put back together that which science has separated.
In particular, as materialistic, mechanistic science has developed its delusional worldview, there has also been a convergent tendency within science, unifying pairs of opposites in a short five-step series. Johannes Kepler’s New Astronomy, which lay down the foundation of modern astronomy, took the first step in 1609, by unifying the split between causal physics and mathematical astronomy that Aristotle had opened up in Physics. The second step was Isaac Newton’s Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, which unified Kepler’s celestial physics and Galileo Galilei’s terrestrial dynamics.
In 1905, Albert Einstein then developed the special theory of relativity by reconciling the incompatibilities between the principle of relativity, which states that physical phenomena run their course relative to different coordinate systems according to the same general laws, and the observed constancy of the speed of light. In the general theory of relativity, published in 1916, Einstein went on to show the equivalence of gravitational and inertial mass during acceleration, and in so doing abandoned the Euclidean–Cartesian rectilinear model of space, replacing it with the view that space-time is curved.
Then in 1980, David Bohm continued this unifying process by showing how we can unify the incompatibilities between quantum physics and relativity theory in Wholeness and the Implicate Order. For the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics, which Bohm said should really be called ‘quantum non-mechanics’, display opposite characteristics, the former having the properties of continuity, causality, and locality, with the latter being characterized by noncontinuity, noncausality, and nonlocality.
Bohm illustrated the unification of relativity and quantum theories with the metaphor of a fish swimming in a tank with two television cameras filming it. The television screens would then display opposite characteristics of this single, underlying reality, illustrated here.
In the final, sixth step in this series we dive into the very depths of the Universe, unifying all opposites, not just some. This is the primary purpose of Project Aditi, within the overall compass of Project Heraclitus.