I'm really excited to begin a deep dive into this book: The Rainbow and the Worm; the Physics of Organisms by Mae-Wan Ho.
It's been a long time that quantum physics has been providing conceptual structure to the new age school of thought, providing both delight and chagrin to respective spiritualist and scientific communities.
Although I have a healthy respect for the scientific method, I remain skeptical of the practice of science as a dogmatic institution. It has become a means to an end in consolidating power (and privilege); it has become a towering monolith beneath which we mere laymen must prostrate and receive prescriptions for living; it has become the dispensary of meaning through which we make sense of a seemingly chaotic universe. Science is the new religion - giving us purpose, providing meaning, shaping reality, explaining our beginning and our end as an individual and a species. And the scientists have become our priests. Calling something "a science" is a way to endow it with authority and power.
Rather than a canonical and orthodox approach to SCIENCE, I understand what we call science to be rather a malleable process through which we examine and apprehend universal truths. Further I deeply believe that the truth arises to meet us as we deepen our inquiry into its nature. And even beyond this I suspect that universal structure itself is in process as continual kaleidoscopic reflections of absolute truth.
The apprehension of truth and the quest for knowledge is always accompanied by an undercurrent of a quest for power. And so must always be supplemented with heart: a love of the subject and a love for truth in itself. For this reason I am enamored with this book as Ho's research shows a joy and love for the subject of physics and biology as much as for life itself. Although the text is dense it is far from dry. Rather each page holds a wonderful surprise about the astonishing nature of organic life.
My purpose is to share the wonder of our human bodies, and of all organic life. It's truly marvelous. The new generation of humanity spends countless hours addicted to screens, absorbing the mediated chaos of worldly affairs. No surprise that we find ourselves in this nihilistic and absurd post cultural mental milieu, unaware of our precious true nature and potential.
Mae-Wan Ho in the preface to the first edition:
"...one of the main purposes of this work...is to show how science can reveal in a precise way the deeper wonders and mysteries of nature which are currently in danger of being totally obscured by the kind of superficial woolly misrepresentation that many people, especially the young, mistake to be 'new age philosophy'. Another motivation for writing this book is to show that science, when properly perceived, is far from being alienating and dehumanizing. Instead, it is consonant with our most intimate experience of nature. To me, science is surely not about laying down eternal 'laws of nature' to dictate what we can or cannot think. it is to initiate us fully into the poetry that is the soul of nature, the poetry that is ultimately always beyond what theories or words can say."
I invite you to become an initiate into this poetic approach to scientific inquiry with me as we explore the concepts and ideas of The Rainbow and the Worm. I'm not a scientist by training so I will do my best to understand and present these ideas to you. I'll be posting new articles weekly to share the fascinating concepts presented. A cursory glance at the table of contents and possible topics (not all sub-chapters are listed):
Ch.1 What is it to be alive?
Ch. 2 Do organisms contravene the second law?
Law of Thermodynamics // Is Maxwell's Demon in the Living System?
Ch. 3 Can the second law cope with organized complexity?
Ch. 4 Energy Flow & Living Cycles
Ch. 5 How to Catch a Falling Electron
Life & Negative Netropy // Free Energy and Entropy // Why don't organisms live by eating Diamonds?
Ch. 6 Towards a Thermodynamics of Organized Complexity
Ch. 7 The 73 Octaves of Nature's Music
Ch. 8 Coherent Excitations of the Body Electric
Ch. 9 How Coherent is the Organism?
Ch. 10 Life is all the Colours of the Rainbow in a Worm
Light and Living Matter // Long-range communication between cells and organisms
Ch. 11 The Liquid Crystalline Organism
Liquid Crystals & Organisms // the Dynamic Liquid Crystalling Whole
Ch. 12 Crystal Consciousness
Oriented Collagens & Intercommunication // Liquid Crystalline continuum and body consciousness
Ch. 13 Quantum Entanglement and Coherence
Ch. 14 The Ignorance of the External Observer
Ch. 15 Time and Freewill
Whitehead's Organism and Bohm's Implicate Order // Organisms as coherent space- time structures
I welcome your thoughts and comments on this endeavor! Please join the mailing list here to keep in touch!