Ancient and primitive cultures conceived the whole cosmos as alive and sentient. In the West, the mainstream approach of our contemporary culture has shifted from this way of being towards an ever-greater separation of matter and mind. Today’s dominant scientific world-view is based on an essentially materialistic representation of reality. But paradoxically, as we have gone deeper into the exploration, the concept of abstract matter itself has in some sense vanished, leaving us with a universe of possibilities rather than one of solid independent objects.
This course will examine how we are now moving in this fluid context, rethinking the ways in which we represent reality and recovering a sense of oneness with other human beings and all life forms. We will use physics as an instrument of wonder, a way to contact the mystery of our existence as conscious beings in this vast universe. We will explore our place in the universe both in terms of modern cosmology and ancient sacred geometry, visiting some living traces of this in the monasteries of the region of Siena and the Maremma. We will also refer to Bach’s music as a key to participating in the cycles of the cosmos, and the harmony of the spheres.
Finally we will explore how this way of sensing our place in the world is reflected in the wisdom classics of the East, particularly in Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching. We will find that the language of those ancient texts sometimes comes closer to expressing the subtle nature of quantum reality than that of our own contemporary scientific jargon.