Many / One

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Quantum Questions, Mystical Writings of the World's Great Physicists
Ken Wilber, editor
Mystical writings of the world's great physicists

1 "Restrained by our organic constitution and by our different emotions in the lower sphere of our daily occupations, we also feel ourselves urged on by the appeal of the ideal, by more or less precise aspiration towards spiritual values, and from those sentiments even the worst amongst us do not entirely escape." Louis deBroglie, 'Physics and Microphysics', Pantheon 1955

2 "To recognize is to compare the sense perception outside with the original pictures inside, and to judge that it conforms to them. Proclus has expressed the matter very finely in his simile of awakening, as from a dream. For just as the sensorily presented things in the oute world recall to us those which we formerly perceived in the dream, so also the mathematical relations given in sensibility call forth those intelligible archetypes which were already given inwardly beforehand, so that they now shine forth truly and vividly in the soul." Kepler, 'Harmony of the World', quoted by Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976), 'Science and the Beautiful'

3 "Mathematics is the archetype of the beauty of the world." Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), quoted by Werner Heisenberg in 'Science and the Beautiful'

4 "In the mystic sense of the creation around us, in the expression of art, in a yearning towards God, the soul grows upward and finds the fulfillment of something implanted in its nature. The sanction for this development is within us, a striving born with our consciousness or an Inner Light proceeding from a greater power than ours….Whether in the intellectual pursuits of science or in the mystical pursuits of the spirit, the light beckons ahead and the purpose surging in our nature responds." Sir Arthur Eddington (1882-1944), 'Defense of Mysticism'

5 "The significant point: every physicist in this volume was profoundly struck by the fact that the natural realm obeys in some sense the laws or forms of mathematics, or, in general, obeys some sort of archetypal mental-forms."

6 "The search for the 'one', for the ultimate source of all understanding, has doubtless played a similar role in the origin of both religion and science." Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976), 'The Debate between Plato and Democritus'

7 "The same elements compose my mind and the world. This situation is the same for every mind and its world, in spite of the unfathomable abundance of cross-references between them. The world is given to me only once, not one existing and one perceived. Subject and object are only one." Erwin Schroedinger (1887-1961), 'Why Not Talk Physics?'

8 "In the images and likenesses of religion, we are dealing with a sort of language that makes possible an understanding of that interconnection of the world which can be traced behind the phenomena." Werner Heisenberg, 'Scientific and Religious Truth'

9 "Religion proper speaks not of norms, but of guiding ideals, by which we should govern our conduct… These ideals do not spring from inspection of the immediately visible world but from the region of the structures lying behind it, which Plato spoke of as the world of Ideas, and concerning which we are told in the bible, 'God is a spirit'." Werner Heisenberg, 'Scientific and Religious Truth'

10 "Those individuals to whom we owe the great creative achievements of science were all of them imbued with the truly religious conviction that this universe of ours is something perfect and susceptible to the rational striving for knowledge." Albert Einstein, 'Science and Religion'

11 "The image of the triune God is in the sphere, namely of the Father in the center, of the Son in the outer surface and of the Holy Ghost in the uniformity of connection between point and intervening space or surroundings." Johannes Kepler, 'Mysterium Cosmographicum', quoted by Wolfgang Pauli (1900-1958) in 'Embracing the Rational and the Mystical'

12 "The sages have affirmed in their wisdom that all creatures are to be brought to one substance." Gerhard Dorn, medieval Alchemist, 'Congeries Paracelsicae Chemicae'

13 "If the longing for the achievement of the goal is powerfully alive within us, then shall we not lack the strength to find the means for reaching the goal and for translating it into deeds." Albert Einstein (1879-1955), 'Science and Religion'

14 "Consciousness is a singular of which the plural is unknown;… there IS only one thing, and what seems to be a plurality is merely a series of different aspects of this one thing." Erwin Schroedinger (1887-1961), 'The I That Is God'

15 "Bisection and lessening of symmetry, that's the poodle's core. Dividing in two is a very old attribute of the devil. The word 'doubtful' is supposed to have originally meant 'twofold'." Wolfgang Pauli, 1945 winner of Nobel Prize in Physics

16 "We know, when God is experienced, this is an event as real as an immediate sense perception or as one's own personality." Erwin Schroedinger (1887-1961), 'The Oneness of Mind'

17 "If I were to try to put into words the essential truth revealed in the mystic experience, it would be that our minds are not apart from the world, and the feelings that we have of gladness and melancholy and our yet deeper feelings are not of ourselves alone, but are glimpses of a reality transcending the narrow limits of our particular consciousness – that the harmony and beauty of the face of Nature is, at root, one with the gladness that transfigures the face of man." Sir Arthur Eddington (1882-1944), 'Mind Stuff'

18 "Free will in man includes as its most relevant part man's ethical behavior." Erwin Schroedinger (1887-1961), 'Why Not Talk Physics?'

19 "I – I in the widest meaning of the word, that is to say, every conscious mind that has ever said or felt 'I' – am the person who controls the motion of the atoms according to the Laws of Nature…the insight is not new. The earliest records, to my knowledge, date back some 2500 years or more. From the early great Upanishads the recognition Atman = Brahman (the personal self equals the omnipresent)…was in Indian thought considered to represent the quintessence of deepest insight into the happenings of the world…Again, the mystics of many centuries, independently, yet in perfect harmony with each other (somewhat like the particles in an ideal gas) have described, each of them, the unique experience of his or her life in terms that can be condensed in the phrase: Deus factus sum (I have become God)." Erwin Schroedinger (1887-1961), 'The I That Is God'

20 "At that moment, when true Ideas rise up, there occurs in the soul of him who sees them an altogether indescribable process of the highest intensity. It is the amazed awe that Plato speaks of in the Phaedrus, with which the soul remembers, as it were, something it had unconsciously possessed all along." Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976), 'Science and the Beautiful'

21 "The spiritual world is one single spirit who stands like unto a light behind the bodily world and who, when any single creature comes into being, shines thorugh it as through a window." Aziz Nasafi, 13th century Islamic Persian mystic, quoted by Erwin Schroedinger in 'The Oneness of Mind'

22 "Mind is, by its very nature, a singulare tantum. I should say: the overall number of minds is just one." Erwin Schroedinger (1887-1961), 'The Oneness of Mind'

This body of quotes compiled by JoAnn Kite