Observation, Measurement, Science, (Un) Consciousness and Occultism (part 1)

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4

Various Quotes from various sources - ancient to modern.


Obs.0.   “Whatever being comes to be, be it motionless or moving, [derives its being] from the union of ‘field’ and ‘knower of the field’: this know.” (13:26 Bhagavad Gita; see p347 Zaehner 1969)

Obs.1.   “Now, that which imparts truth to the known and the power of knowing to the knower is what I would have you term the idea of good, and this you will deem to be the cause of science, and of truth in so far as the latter becomes the subject of knowledge; ...” 508 Plato Republic <348BC

Obs.2.   “For, if Intellection and Authentic-Existence are identical, this ‘Earlier-than-perception’ must be a thing having Act.” 1.4.10
   “Hence we may conclude that, in the Intellectual-Principle itself, there is a complete identity of Knower and Known ... by the fact that there, ‘Being and Knowing are identical’;” ... “The essential is to observe that, here again, all reasoning shows that whatever exists is a bye-work of visioning;” 3.8.8
   “‘Knowing and Being are one thing’, says Parmenides.” 5.1.8
   “The Intellectual-Principle, therefore, is itself the authentic existences, not a knower knowing them in some sphere foreign to it.” 5.9.5 Plotinus ~301AD

Obs.3.   “The first consideration I have upon the senses subject is, that I make a question, whether man be provided of all naturall senses, or no. I see divers creatures that live an entire and perfect life, some without sight, and some without hearing; who knoweth whether we also want either one, two, three, or many senses more; For, if we want any one, our discourse cannot discover the want or defect thereof. It is the senses priviledge to be the extreme bounds of our perceiving. There is nothing beyond them that may stead us to discover them: No one sense can discover another. ... Who knowes whether mankind commit as great a folly. for want of some sense, and that by this default the greater part of the visage of things be concealed from us? Who knowes whether the difficulties we find in sundry of Nature workes proceede thence? ... The properties which in many things we call secret, as in the Adamant to draw iron, is it not likely there should be sensitive faculties in nature able to judge and perceive them, the want whereof breedeth in us the ignorance of the true essence of such things?” p302 Chpt 12, The Second Booke, Montaigne 1603

Obs.4.   “The order and connection of ideas is the same as the order and connections of things.” II, Pr-7, Spinoza 1675

Obs.5.   “... whether, and, if at all, how far, we may employ our reasoning about things that are above reason ...” “If by things above reason be meant only those that are undiscoverable by reason without revelation ...” “But if by things above reason be meant such as, though delivered in words free from darkness and ambiguity, are not to be conceived and comprehended by our rational faculty ...” (p209- 210) “For my part, gentlemen, I think it very requisite to be sure in the first place ... that we can really know that there are things that we cannot comprehend ...” “... who judged it unfit to consider ... how one might know what things were to be looked on as above reason ...” “... it seemed to me that among the objects our reason may contemplate there are some” (whose existence we assent to, “whether on the score of experience, authentic testimony, or mathematical demonstration”) “whose nature we cannot comprehend ...” (and some whose existence is plain, (“we cannot deny that they are”) but whose manner of existence & operation we are unable to conceive, and finally a third category: some whose truth is irreconcilable with other truths. Boyle calls these the incomprehensible, or inconceivable, the inexplicable, and the unsociable, by which Boyle seems to mean the inconsistent, incongruous or contradictory, “wherein, which side soever of the question you take you will be unable directly and truly to answer the objections that may be urged to show that you contradict some primitive or some other acknowledged truth.” (p235)) “The first consists of those whose nature is not distinctly and adequately comprehensible by us: to which sort perhaps we may refer all those intellectual beings (if it be granted that there are such) as are by nature of a higher order than human souls, to which sort some of the angels (at least of the good ones) may probably belong.” The second “consists of such as ... how matter can be infinitely divisible, and how there should be an incommensurableness betwixt the side and diagonal of a square that no measure ... can adequately measure both the one and the other.” (p210-211) {“From the relation of a semitone to a full tone, which is that of the side of a square to its diagonal, I grasp intuitively a number simpler than our mind's reason can attain.” p59 Cusanus 1450} The third sort are such as “how a certain foreknowledge can be had of contingent things, and such as depend upon the free will of man ... to conceive how an infinitely perfect being should want prescience, or that their will should want that liberty whereof they feel in themselves the almost perpetual exercise.” (p213) ... “the greatest wits that have laboured to reconcile this infallible precognition with the liberty of man's will have been reduced to maintain something or other that thwarts some acknowledged truth or dictate of reason.” (p237) “... from the limitedness of our natures, it follows not only that we may be ... born with certain congenite notions & impressions and appetites or tendencies of mind (p215) ... and it is not an injury to reason to think it a limited faculty.” (p216) “... since the understanding operates but with the notions and truths it is furnished with ...” (p222) “And since ... we find by experience that we are unable sufficiently to comprehend things that by clear and legitimate consequences may be evinced to be, why should not this cogently argue that some of our conceptions may be of things to which somewhat belongs that transcends our reason and surpasses our comprehension?” (p225) “... by reason we do not properly perceive things above reason, but only perceive that they are above reason, there being a dark and peculiar kind of impression made upon the understanding while it sets itself to contemplate such confounding objects;” (p226) “... some things must appear to us so sublime and abstruse, that not only we find we are not able to comprehend them, but that we are unable to discern so much as upon what account it is that they cannot be comprehended by us.” (p227) “... such a difference of intellectual abilities as is but gradual in children and men may be essential in differing ranks of intellectual beings. And so it may be that some of those axioms that we think general may, when we apply them to things whereof they are not the true and proper measures, lead us into error, though perhaps intellects of a higher order may unriddle those difficulties that confound us men;” (p228) “To be short, the soul upon trial may find by an inward sense that some things surpass her forces ... and consequently that some objects are disproportionate to (the eye of the mind).” (p229) “... how can we justify our presuming to discourse at all of things transcending reason.” (p230) “... it is by the sense which the mind has, of her own limitedness and imperfection on certain occasions, that I think we may estimate what things ought not, and what ought, to be looked upon as things above reason.” (p233) “The other thing that I was to observe about the nature of the mind is that it is so constituted that its faculty of drawing consequences from known truths is of greater extent than its power of framing clear and distinct ideas of things: so that, by subtle or successive inferences, it may attain to a clear conviction that some things are, of whose nature and properties (or at least some of them) it can have no clear and satisfactory conceptions.” (p234) “... the inbred or easily acquired ideas and primitive axioms wherewith (the mind of man) is furnished, and by relation or analogy whereunto it judges of all other notions and propositions, do not extent to all knowable objects whatsoever;” (p239) (the understanding) “can feelingly discern between other objects and those that are disproportionate to its ability ...” (It would be wise) “to leave it undetermined whether man's intellectual faculty itself is uncapable, by the help of any degree of light, to discover and know those things which you call above reason ,,, if we will take upon us to determine positively & particularly about these transcendent things, we must employ ways of reasoning congruous to their peculiar natures.” (p241) “and consequently, if geometry or revelation or experience assure us of divers things of which we can know but that they are and what they do, not what they are and how they act, we must neither refuse nor neglect the study of such truths, any more than we would refuse to look into any other objects than those that we can look through. And therefore, to enrich the intellect as much as we are able, we must entertain not only those truths that we can comprehend, but those also, how sublime soever, that we can have any certain, though but a very imperfect, knowledge of -- especially since those remote & abstruse subjects may be as much more noble as more dark than others, and thereby render an imperfect discovery of them more desirable than a far clearer one of inferior things.” p242 Boyle 1681

Obs.6.   “Whoever notices the power of judgement created with mind, through which it assesses all reasons, and notes that reasons stem from mind, sees that no reason reaches the measure of mind. So our mind remains unmeasurable, indefinable, and unlimitable by every reason.” p93 Cusanus 1450

Obs.7.   “For double the vision my eyes do see,
   And a double vision is always with me:
   With my inward eye 'tis an old man grey;
   With my outward a thistle across the way.”

Blake 1802

Obs.8.   “Whoever sees in physical experiments only the observation of facts would not understand the role played by corrections in these experiments; he would not understand, furthermore, what is meant in speaking of ‘systematic errors’ that an experiment may involve.” (p158)
   “But, once again, what the physical states as the result of an experiment is not the recital of observed facts, but the interpretation and the transposing of these facts into the ideal, abstract, symbolic world created by the theories he regards as established.” p159 Duhem 1906

Obs.9.   “... the definition of the state of a physical system, as ordinarily understood, claims the elimination of all external disturbances. But in that case, according to the quantum postulate, any observation will be impossible, and, above all, the concepts of space and time lose their immediate sense.” p54 Bohr 1927b

Obs.10.   “It is difficult for the matter-of-fact physicist to accept the view that the substratum of everything is of mental character. (p281) I very much doubt if any one of us has the faintest idea of what is meant by the reality or existence of anything but our own Egos. (p282) The only object that is presented to me for study is the content of my consciousness.” (p283)
   “Whatever justification at the source we accept to vindicate the reality of the external world, it can scarcely fail to admit on the same footing much that is outside physical science.” (p288) “Consciousness as a whole is greater than those quasi-material aspects of it which are abstracted to compose the physical brain.” (p323) “The world-stuff behind the pointer readings is of nature continuous with the mind.” (p331) “The scheme of physics is now formulated in such a way as to make it almost self-evident that it is a partial aspect of something wider.” (p331-332) “Consciousness is fundamental rather than representing an inessential complication occasionally found in the midst of inorganic nature of a late stage of evolutionary history.” (p332) “The sanction for correlating a ‘real’ physical world to certain feelings of which we are conscious does not seem to differ in any essential respect from the sanction for correlating a spiritual domain to another side of our personality.” (p332) “Certain states of awareness in consciousness have at least equal significance with those which are called sensations.” (p334) “The cyclic scheme of physics presupposes a background outside the scope of its investigations. ... The idea of a Universal Mind or Logos would be, I think, a fairly plausible inference from the present state of scientific theory.” (p338) Eddington 1928

Obs.11.   “Are we, in pursuing the mystical outlook, facing the hard facts of experience? Surely we are. I think that those who would wish to take cognisance of nothing but the measurements of the scientific world made by our sense-organs are shirking one of the most immediate facts of experience, namely that consciousness is not wholly, nor even primarily a device for receiving sense-impressions.” Section IV, p28 Eddington 1929

Obs.12.   “On careful examination the physicist finds that in the sense in which he uses language no meaning at all can be attached to a physical concept which cannot ultimately be described in terms of some sort of measurement.” p446 Bridgman 1929

Obs.13.   “Where Cartesian thinking most obviously fails us is when we try to apply it to motivation and evaluation. It enables us to master techniques but does not adequately guide us as to what we are using them for. The mind that exercises that thinking is polarized by its own separate self-image, about whose protection and perpetuation it is avidly concerned. Results that cannot be verified within the structure of a Cartesian framework of reference ... must be illusory or in some way unacceptable. One might wonder why the good results cannot be accepted anyway, whether they have a logically Cartesian explanation or not. Probably the real cause of their rejection is a psychological one. Since Cartesian thinking necessarily takes a self-image as its starting point, any doubt thrown on this process of thinking is felt as a threat to the self-image and so to the very existence of the thinker.” p180 Shearman 1994

Obs.14.   “... Born, Pauli, Heitler, Bohr, and Margenau. They are all firmly convinced that the riddle of the double nature of all corpuscles (corpuscular and undulatory character) has in essence found its final solution in the statistical quantum theory. ... What does not satisfy me in that theory, from the standpoint of principle, is its attitude towards that which appears to me to be the programmatic aim of all physics: the complete description of any (individual) real situation (as it supposedly exists irrespective of any act of observation or substantiation).” (p666- 667) “‘Being’ is always something which is mentally constructed by us, that is, something which we freely posit (in the logical sense). The justification of such constructs does not lie in their derivation from what is given by the senses. Such a type of derivation (in the sense of logical deducibility) is nowhere to be had, not even in the domain of pre-scientific thinking. The justification of the constructs, which represent ‘reality’ for us, , lies alone in their quality of making intelligible what is sensorily given ...” (p669) “... in the macroscopic sphere it simply is considered certain that one must adhere to the program of a realistic description in space and time.” (p671) We regard such distinctions as that between red and blue as necessary. “We regard the distinction as a category which ewe use in order that we might better find our way in the world of immediate sensations. ... We represent the sense-impressions as conditioned by an ‘objective’ and by a ‘subjective’ factor. For this conceptual distinction there also is no logical-philosophical justification. ... It is also the presupposition of every kind of physical thinking. Here too, the only justification lies in its usefulness. We are here concerned with ‘categories’ of scheme of thought, the selection of which is, in principle, entirely open to us and whose qualification can only be judged by the degree to which its use contributes to making the totality of the contents of consciousness ‘intelligible’.” (p673) “So long as we move within the this programmatically fixed sphere of thought we are thinking physically. Insofar as physical thinking justifies itself, in the more than once indicated sense, by its ability to grasp experiences intellectually, we regard it as ‘knowledge of the real’. After what has been said, the ‘real’ in physics is to be taken as a type of program, to which we are, however, not forced to cling a priori.” ... “we do not conceive of the ‘categories’ as unalterable, but as free conventions. They appear to be a priori only insofar as thinking without the positing of categories and of concepts in general would be as impossible as is breathing in a vacuum.” (p674) “Thinking is necessary in order to understand the empirically given, and concepts and ‘categories’ are necessary as indispensable elements of thinking.” (p678) “In order to be able to consider a logical system as physical theory it is not necessary to demand that all of its assertions can be independently interpreted and ‘tested’ ‘operationally’; de facto this has never yet been achieved by any theory and can not at all be achieved. In order to be able to consider a theory as a physical theory it is only necessary that it implies empirically testable assertions in general.” (p679) “... there exists no logical path from the empirically given to that conceptual world. ... A wavering between these extremes (the empirical and the rational) appears unavoidable” ... “‘The real is not given to us, but put to us (by way of a riddle).’ (Kant) This obviously means: There is no such thing as a conceptual construction for the grasping of the inter-personal, the authority of which lies purely in its validation. This conceptual construction refers precisely to the ‘real’ (by definition, and every further question concerning the ‘nature of the real’ appear empty.” p680 Einstein 1949b

Obs.15.   “An exception was the composer Brahms, who at the end of his life, in remarks which he forbade from publication until fifty years after his death, described composition as contemplation that we are ‘at one with the Creator’. This led him to ‘immediately feel vibrations that thrill my whole being’ and ‘assume the forms of distinct mental images’, so that ‘straightaway the ideas flow in upon me, directly from God, ... clothed in the right forms, harmonies and orchestrations ... I have to be in a semi-trance condition to get such results ... I have to be careful, however, not to lose consciousness, otherwise the ideas fade away.’ Abell 1956” by Grattan-Guinness 1979 p31


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