Smashing things together as hard as possible to see what happens is one of the more predictable things a toddler will do when given toys to play with. As well as being an elementary learning process, it’s also a lot of fun if the accompanying shouts of delight are anything to go by. Arguably then, the physicists at CERN (The European Organisation for Nuclear Research) have the best jobs in the world – smashing fundamental particles together at close to the speed of light – to see what happens.
Weighing in at over 38,000 tonnes and with a circumference of 27 kilometres, the Large Hadron Collider is the world’s biggest and highest-energy particle accelerator. That something as large and complex as the Hadron Collider has been constructed to investigate something as small and simple as a fundamental particle provides an interesting symbol of humanity’s intellectual development and the colossus that the intellect can become prior to its illumination by the simplifying light of the intuition.
While the prowess of the human intellect is something to be celebrated, the next evolutionary step forward will see it become a tool of the intuition rather than a governing principle in its own right. The intellect is a dissector, manipulator and re-arranger of the mental, emotional and physical substance that makes up the field of knowledge, of which it itself, is an integral part. For this very reason it cannot perceive why the matter in which it is immersed behaves as it does – the secrets of causality operate at more subtle levels of reality. So while a particle collider will create ever more ‘fundamental particles’ (sic) out of those it smashes together according to its size and power, the intellect that processes the information it yields will, of necessity, create correspondingly larger and more complex theories to accommodate them and their behaviour.
Already this is being reported in the media:
“Surprisingly, it appears nature produces more debris from each collision than expected… However…something completely unexpected – could be discovered…We could find that quarks are made of something smaller or that there is a new fundamental force that we knew nothing about.”http://www.guardian.co.uk/theobserver/2010/apr/04/large-hadron-collider
One of the main tasks of the Hadron Collider is the search for a missing element from the exotic zoo of particles it has so far discovered. This has been nicknamed “the God-particle”. So important is this missing particle for unifying the conventional model of the universe, it has been given God-like status in the world of theoretical physics. It is thought to endow the universe with the property of mass so fundamental to the act of Creation and life as we know it.
Of course, the search for wholeness and unity through the discovery of a particle of matter is unlikely to prove fruitful in the illusory field of knowledge wherein separativeness and division are the rule.From the angle of spiritual philosophy, this continual peeling away of layers from the onion to reveal yet more layers will continue ad infinitum – or at least until the concept of the ether is reintroduced into scientific thinking. However, the notion of the ether as a substantial medium underlying the manifested universe is the polar opposite of the current model of an ever-growing zoo of strangely behaving particles spinning around in a void. While this latter view symbolises the intellect’s natural inclination towards divisive thinking, the intuition naturally embraces the idea of the ether as a unified field of relationship and interconnectivity.
Here we have another facet of humanity’s present state of consciousness symbolised. For just as 'fragmentation' of the underlying ether is the result of a particle accelerator’s activity, so is 'psychological fragmentation' the result of the accelerated pace of modern living in the field of knowledge. While no-one would accuse a theoretical physicist of having a scattered mind, there is a dispersal of humanity’s attention in general as it jumps from one distracting bit of stimulating information to the next, oblivious of the Sun of Meaning that steadily shines from the inner realm of causes. This was explored in the previous World View article, “ The Unscattered Mind”.
Although high energy theoretical physics is complex, at the heart of the search for the fundamental condition of matter lies the yearning for that simplicity and synthesis which characterises the world of meaning. Hence the physicist’s hope of finding a Grand Unified Theory of everything (GUT) that can be expressed in a single equation. While this may be a vain hope, the research taking place at CERN is, more importantly, in itself a wonderful demonstration of synthesis and the will-to-good that arises from a purposeful group quest to understand the nature of reality. In a sense the Large Hadron Collider’s 27 kilometre loop encircles the globe, because the project is supported by an enormous international community of scientists and engineers working together in multinational teams at CERN and around the world, building and testing equipment and software and participating in experiments and analysing data.
This is an impressive fusion of minds coming together in the search for answers to fundamental questions about the nature of the universe we live in. In effect, it is an example of a fledgling group mind functioning as one spiritual organism. As this group mind evolves, its intuition will also steadily awaken. A more spiritual and synthesised understanding of the field of knowledge will then dawn – while yet opening up even greater wonders and mysteries to our astounded vision.