“‘Everything that is in motion must be moved by something.’ Gregory of Nazianzus, responding to Aristotle’s identification of God as a “fifth element” alongside the traditional four stoicheia, asked: ‘What is the force that moves your fifth element [aether] and what is it that moves all things, and what moves that, and what is the force that moves that?” -Jaroslav Pelikan’s Christianity and Classical Culture, pg. 66
Modern science is very much interested in the question of quantum mechanics and yet still dominated by the reductionist, physico-biological model of reality. The spirit of dissection and quantification has resulted in numerous, amazing discoveries surrounding the sub-atomic level of reality, which no one can deny. We learn that at that infinitesimal level, the interaction between mind and matter is much more nuanced and mysterious. The action of the observer appears to affect the result of the experimentation, especially in regard to examinations concerning light itself, which gives evidence of being both a particle and a wave. This dialectical, sneaky manifestation light produces suggests several things in my estimation that call into question the current reductionist models of reality, suggesting ideas much closer to older, ancient models, where fundamental metaphysics was based around principles like Eidos, entelechy and tropoi, energeia, telos and aether.
One of the central areas of research for quantum issues is CERN, the European Institute for Nuclear Research, and a central figure in nuclear research is of course Wolfgang Pauli. Readers will recall that I have cited Pauli in past articles, but in this article I want to focus on other elements that relate to philosophy, Platonism, Theism and metaphysics. In light of recent responses from atheists, it will be especially pertinent to consider the fact that the endeavor of quantum studies from the mind of Pauli and his inspirations were, in fact, based on Pauli’s hermetic and Platonic presuppositions and speculations. I think that the electromagnetic forces in “nature” are unified by the very things that Pauli was looking into that pointed to older models of reality, especially aether. And when we consider that perception is an active, energetic presence that subtly interacts with its intentional objects, we are back at metaphysics, like Pauli.
Indeed, a survey of eastern patristic metaphysics, sharing much with Hellenic and Egyptian metaphysics that preceded it, demonstrates numerous insights into how we might construct different models that integrate and harmonize these disparate and seemingly unrelated sciences and topics. In the case of light, we have what appears to be a contradictory amount of evidence: is it a wave or a particle? In similar fashion, all reductionist models of reality end up placing particularity in the subject mind of man as something foisted upon the objective world, with no way to bridge that gap. Since reality is monistic (all one type of thing), in the atheist/materialist view, we have with these sophists a return of the ancient atomists (I am aware that atomists had a more sophisticated view than mere materialism). Similarly, with both Plato and Aristotle, all reality is reduced at some level to the One or Monad, making temporal reality an emanationist iconographic manifestation of copies of that fundamental reality. For Plato it was the One, for Aristotle, Prima Materia, etc. Modern scientific endeavor owes much of its heritage to Aristotle, of course, and in that respect, we should consider a fundamental error in Aristotle that remains today in all his monistic successors.