Thursday, April 28, 2011

(4) Cosmic Plenum

The idea of a "Cosmic Plenum"-- an Intelligence or Godhead that
supports and sustains the universe--has probably been around
for millennia, mainly nestled in religions and philosophies. In
Hinduism there's Brahmin, the Ultimate Reality of all phenomena.
And in ancient Greek philosophy there's the Logos, deemed the
Reason that underlies the universe. Also, later the Christian Fathers
borrowed the concept of the Logos, declaring Jesus as the
"Incarnation of the Logos." And out of this declaration, the iconic
Pantocrator--the Cosmic Christ, the Lord of the Universe--emerged,

Eventually more contemporary philosophies began to think of the
Cosmic Plenum in terms of Energy. There's the "elan vital" expressed
in Vitalism. In its simplest form vitalism holds that living organisms
differ from non-living forms, in that there is an energy that sparks their
soul or living spirit. This vital energy is a substance that infuses and
gives life to more sophisticated life forms.

And when considering the Cosmic Christ, the paleontologist-priest
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin oft referred to energy. Teilhard declared
that "all energy is psychic in nature." He believed that energy is
"divided into two distinct components--a tangential energy, which
links the element with all others of the same order...and radial energy
which draws it towards ever great complexity and centricity..."

Basically Teilhard believed that a Within underlined the Without of
the universe. Essentially he was thinking of the Cosmic Plenum. But,
like so many others, he had moved into the realm of speculation.

On the other hand, modern physicists have also dared to speculate
about a Cosmic Plenum.

Known as the "Father of Quantum Mechanics," the late David Bohm
was a protege of both Einstein and Robert Oppenheimer ( the Father
of the Atom Bomb) when he was at the Institute of Advanced Study
in Princeton. Eventually he assumed the Chair of the Physics
Department at the University of London.

But it was what Bohm did *after* he retired as a physicist. Essentially
he became a philosopher, espousing an incredibly interesting theory
about what he called the "Implicate Order." What Bohm suggested
strongly is that there is an Inner Aspect of the universe as well as an
Outer Aspect that we normally study.

He based his theory on his knowledge as a physicist. Bohm's
universal system was a "Whole," if you will, seamless, with the Inner
playing into the Outer. As he stressed, our's is a *holistic universe*
and its process is holistic. Bohm believed that there was a Cosmic
Plenum, which he called the "Holomovement."

Continuing, another contemporary philosopher, Ervin Laszlo--a
systems analyst and founder of Systems Philosophy--developed a
theory of the Cosmic Plenum that involves what is called the Quantum
Vacuum. ( In quantum field theory, the vacuum state is the quantum
state with the lowest possible energy. Generally, it contains no physical
particles. *Zero-point field* is sometimes used as a synonym for the
vacuum state of an individual quantized field.)

Perhaps difficult to understand, but Laszlo considers the quantum vacuum
that cosmic substratum which becomes unstable in universe-creating
explosions. His theory is about a recycling, recreating universe. As put
by Laszlo, the quantum vacuum is both "the cradle and the deathbed of
universes." However, he notes that this "vacuum is Akasha and Prana
rolled into one: the dynamic virtual-energy substratum that endures
through all of time and fills all of space."

Laszlo's theory broadens when he talks of the quantum vacuum as an
"information field underlying all of reality." Continuing, he notes that
"there is a feedback loop in which information is conserved and transferred
from the virtual cosmic plenum to manifest reality and back." Laszlo
further relates this occurring "in a holographic nature--think of Bohm's
implicate order."

So, this idea of a feedback loop can not only be traced back to Bohm's
idea of information conveyed between his concept of an implicate
order and an explicate order of the universe, but also back to Teilhard's
idea of an information exchange between the Within and the Without
of the universe.

Again, even in our own modern time, we are back to religious and
philosophical speculations when it comes to the Cosmic Plenum.
Still we seem very much drawn to the idea of such a Plenum or
Cosmic Mind/Spirit that somehow provides our surface world with
Information that we are mandated to make Intelligible.

So, who is to say what the Future might hold when it comes to
such wonderful imaginings about the Cosmic Plenum! Perhaps
one day we might hit upon the Reality of Such.