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The Hierarchy of Heaven and Earth

A View by Richard Lang


Observed closely my atoms turn out to be made of particles. For example, each of my carbon atoms consists of six tiny electrons whizzing round a central nucleus of six protons and neutrons. If the nucleus of one of my carbon atoms were the size of a marble, the space defined by its electrons would be as big as a football stadium, and the electrons themselves less than dust motes.

Within protons and neutrons are thought to be even smaller units called quarks about which we know very little at present. All these particles, better described as 'wavicles', are as much energy as matter. They are impossible to locate precisely, change their nature according to what their pursuers ask of them, and randomly appear and disappear in the quantum void. Their very existence is seemingly dependent on an observer looking for them.

The Presence Of The Observer

Here is a view of myself at close quarters - I am difficult to pin down and hard to describe. And here, as on other levels, I need my observer to help me know myself. In fact, were it not for her observation of me it seems I might not even exist! My observer is equally elusive when I study her at this range. When we go right up to each other we lose each other. To make something of each other we must keep our distance.

From Dust To Flesh

When you analyse me right down to my minutest constituents, you discover that all my human behavour arises from dust - from less than dust. How does my human life in all its complexity, richness and colour emerge from colourless, silent, scentless, intangible particles? My travelling observer says it is because my particles choose to link up with other particles that eventually means they turn into a human being. This description fits, but it falls far short of explaining the mystery that I am.

Who Am I? The Failure Of Science

What am I really made of? What is my fundamental nature, my ultimate substratum, that which cannot be peeled away to reveal yet another layer of me? What is the ground of my being, the centre of all my layers, the source of all my appearances, the fountainhead from which my many-levelled life springs forth? Objective science fails to tell me for it can only observe my regional manifestations, only observe me from a distance. Though the range it finally achieves is very small indeed, in the end it falls short of its final goal, the revelation of what I am at centre.
The failure of objective science to uncover my true identity is no surprise to me, for my observer remains always outside me, always at a distance. How could she step over from the outside to the inside, collapsing the distance between us to nothing? Nor is her failure a disappointment for me, for I can do what she cannot do - I can look here into the ground of my being myself and complete her story. This momentous observation of my own centre is easier than any observation my observer can make of me, for here is nothing complicated, distant, or difficult to see, nothing that simply hides something else. My true nature is the bottom line and lies wide open to me, forever.

Film of moving electron  

Go to The Centre

"The revelation by modern physics of the void within the atom is more disturbing than the revelation by astronomy of the immense void of interstellar space." Eddington

"Hsueh-feng went to the forest to cut trees with his disciple Chang-sheng. 'Don't stop till your axe cuts to the very centre of the tree,' warned the teacher." The Iron Flute

"I think I'll go and meet her," said Alice…
"You can't possibly do that," said the Rose, "I should advise you to walk the other way."
This sounded nonsense to Alice, so she said nothing, but set off at once towards
the Red Queen. To her surprise, she lost sight of her in a moment. Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

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