Monday, November 12, 2012

Quantum Esoterica: Metastructures

"To sum up, then, we have used the computer as an example of how it is possible to have an objective kind of process of soma- significance, and we have expressed this mathematically in terms of symmetric and unsymmetric matrices. Through the fact that in the quantum theory both the state of existence of matter and the law of how it moves and transforms itself are expressed in terms of similar symmetric and unsymmetric matrices, we showed how our notion of the universality of soma- significant and signa- somatic activity may be seen as contained at the very basis of modern physics. But (as shown elsewhere) this use of matrices is also a typical way of mathematically formulating what is meant by the implicate order. It follows that the latter provides a general mode of description that covers the activity of human consciousness, of computers which are a product of this consciousness, and of nature in general which exists beyond this consciousness."

- David Bohm, excerpt from Soma- Significance: A New Notion of the Relationship Between the Physical and the Mental


"Yes. Physics is more like quantum organism than quantum mechanics. I think physicists have a tremendous reluctance to admit this. There is a long history of belief in quantum mechanics, and people have faith in it. And they don't like having this faith challenged."

- David Bohm via an interview with F. David Peat, found here


"Quantum mysticism is a term that has been used to refer to a set of metaphysical beliefs and associated practices that seek to relate consciousness, intelligence, or mystical world-views to the ideas of quantum mechanics and its interpretations. An example is the idea that consciousness causes collapse (e.g. the act of observation affects reality directly). Many ideas associated with "quantum mysticism" have been criticized as either misinterpretations of quantum mechanics or as pseudoscience.

... (In) the 1980 book Wholeness and the Implicate Order, David Bohm portrays reality as a unity which can be understood in terms of implicate and explicate orders. The latter book was strongly criticised by Steven Weinberg, a leading campaigner against the introduction of paradigms and ideas involving or suggesting the substantiality of mind, quasi-spiritual interpretations and other such concepts drawn from outside the purview of physics, in the so-called "Science wars"."

- excerpt via the Wiki entry for "Quantum Mysticism"


"David Bohm was widely considered one of the best quantum physicists of all time."

- via the Wiki entry for David Bohm


"Organic geometry... the idea of energy distributing itself... the concept of energy having consciousness, and consciousness being the fabric, the means upon which - and through which - energy distributes itself... acts... and, that action - through the event of idea and creative impulse - takes form... and, within a certain framework, must take form... and depending upon the conditions of its dimension, is forced to take form in specific ways.

In this dimension (sic)... perhaps in all, to some degree, the determining law of structure might be akin to both music and mathematics... the idea of rhythm, frequency, wave, fluctuation, sequence. In this way, "reality" - the physical world - cannot be as rigid as we perceive it visually. It is always in a state of flux, vitality, movement. A fluid fabric of color, pattern, sound. The law of this dimension (sic) may be seen (also) as akin to time... an imaginary structure... a symbolic structure composed of units and cycles..."

-  excerpt from the second "Temp L" notebook - Dia Sobin - 8/4/83 - NYC

I wrote the above in 1983 - almost 30 years ago, which is cause for pause - but then, I've been coming across a lot of ancient memorabilia recently, as I begin to rummage through the detritus of my life in an effort to relocate myself. As for the quote above, from a trilogy of notebooks chronicling the progress of my Metastructures project (previously mentioned here), interestingly, my "belief systems" have changed very little in those intervening years. The only word I might question is "dimension" as, obviously we do not live in a singular one, but a series of them - the actual number being a matter of opinion.

Originally referred to as Temp L, or the Temple Drawings - an enigmatic series of drawings executed in blue pencil - the images which comprise Metastructures evolved (or devolved) into a deck of cards. As it was, during the '70s - my "occult" years - I initially assumed my first sketches of the 4 symbols - which emerged at that time - were my interpretations of  Tarot deck, or playing card suits. Ten years later, however, and picking up where I left off - which I would do intermittently until the late 90's - the card deck became wholly a geometric abstraction... similar to the lesser arcana of the Tarot, but seemingly in an essentially different language - an alien tongue which, to my mind, seemed ultimately more universal. 

Initially, I had no plans for Metastructures beyond a series of abstract paintings - the 8 images below were created with the first small oil paintings I created of my enigmatic "subjects" in 1986 - but, after simultaneously creating a working deck of sketched images, I reverted to my "occult" tendencies, and began to see them as a possible oracle. Below, then are the card mock-ups and their "meanings", which have, as well as the images, evolved over time. (one later version can be found here. Though this idea was eventually scrapped, I was still happiest with mono-tones as the known spectrum of color felt inadequate.)

Esoteric overview of : Unit One - Force/Entity
Unit of Energy - Life-force dynamic - an Intelligence - the Prime-mover - the ordering force/organizing center - subatomic particle -  identity/self-reference - Creatura - the sentient entity - the conscious collective

Pictured (above, left): the Aggregate (process structure) of Unit One, numeral 6.
Practical meaning: Self-expresssion. The process of recovery and discovery. The idea of a family, or close personal ties in a work environment.

Pictured (above, right): the Radiant (dynamic structure) of Unit One, numeral 6.
Practical meaning: The integration of forces. The symbol of the spouse or intimate partner. Possibly the numerological idea of a #6 personality.

Esoteric overview of : Unit Two - Motion/Emotion
Unit of Activity - Fluid - Flow - Fluctuation - Rhythm - Magnetism - Gravity/Acceleration - Reflection -  Relationship - chemistry - Pulse/Impulse - spin

Pictured (above, left): the Aggregate (process structure) of Unit Two, numeral 6.
Practical meaning: Re-stabilization after discord. Emotional recovery, support.

Pictured above, right): the Radiant (dynamic structure) of Unit Two, numeral 6.
Practical meaning: Love affair - an essential bonding. Fusion. Regeneration.

Esoteric overview of : Unit 3 - Dimension
Unit of Consciousness - Psi - psyche - Energy's path - Frequency - Wave - Code - communication - Network - Matrix - Idea (unformed) - "aether" - synchronicity - transference of thought 

Pictured (above, left):the Aggregate (process structure) of Unit 3, numeral 6.
Practical meaning: Solving a problem; communication processes. Psychological dependency. Seeking/finding help. Something known but not consciously excepted.

Pictured above, right): the Radiant (dynamic structure) of Unit 3, numeral 6.
Practical meaning: A successful idea, plan, concept. An affirmation, an agreement, an important communication.

Esoteric overview of : Unit 4 - Form
Unit of Structure - finite matter & the material - crystallization, manifestation, synthesis - the physical body - the corporeal world

Pictured (above, left): the Aggregate (process structure) of Unit Four, numeral 6.
Practical meaning: Stabilization of resources, finances. A family-run business, or working from the home; productivity in said environment. To build. To heal. To repair.

Pictured above, right): the Radiant (dynamic structure) of Unit Four, numeral 6.
Practical meaning: A successful product. Physical health; to conquer a disease. Merging of business enterprises. Sometimes, a sexual relationship. Marriage in a legal sense.


Inevitably, I became very perplexed with the deck in the end... not sure what their real significance was, what I really was supposed to do with them, and whether or not my interpretations were on the mark. So, I'm afraid there's no "big reveal" here, just another portion of the record of this artist's journey.

Originally, the title of this post was "The Artist as Quantum Mystic", which was then changed to "The Quantum Occultist: Loving the Alien". In both cases, however, there was too much room for misinterpretation... and the internet, being what it is, generally, the rule of thumb is: the less said the better.

The word "Quantum", of course, immediately lends itself to a number of interpretations because its definition is vague. Is it a unit of matter, or is it a unit of energy? And, if the two are one in the same, well then, really, let the philosophical games begin! So, while there are physicists who cringe at "quantum mysticism," I dare say it's due to a decided lack of imagination and inspiration on their part... which is generally what separates a true genius from a mere practitioner. in his own way, Einstein was a "quantum mystic", as well as Wolfgang Pauli and Jung. And, while there are some who'd go ballistic at even marginally including names like  Crowley and Robert Anton Wilson - "quantum occultists" - in the same paragraph... well, there, it's done. ;-)


One further note: regarding the four images at the top of this post, which represent the four "Field" cards of the symbols - their monads (in shades of grey) can be found here - if one looks closely, the relationship between the four becomes apparent; in fact the "fields" are almost one in the same, so that, both on a metaphorical and demonstrative level, the fields are, indeed, "unified". Below is a group of "tiles" that might be used to create the field cards. Keeping in mind that the Unit 1 field represents the coordinate points of the remaining 3 units, one only needs to rotate the Unit 2 tile and flip Unit 4, and voila - the designs are almost identical. Incidentally, it was working with this hexagonal lattice or grid pattern - which, in turn, is fundamentally based on the vesica piscis and the "flower of life", that I discovered the cyclohedra. More interesting still, the way in which the cyclodhedra "emerge" from that field is reminiscent of David Bohm's implicate and explicate orders.

Note (7/23/13): For a further exploration of this topic, see the latest Trans-D post, A Cosmic Nest.


  1. Most intriguing........but then I have a weakness for things that tend to fall within a quantum consciousness....or...Hmmmmmmm....quantum mechanism - some lonely mathematical construct that exists within the center of all dimensions and co-ordinates the structure down to the final atom. Or, at least, I muse.

    I find the 'quantum tarot' series very intriging and love how you managed to tie mathematics with the occult in a most artistic manner. The forms inherent in the works strike notes of spirituality, science and alchemy -- most apt, in my view.

    Excellent post! Enjoyed it very much.

    1. I have a tendency now to dismiss those years but, looking back, much of the 80's and early 90's were the most intensely inspired and spiritual years in my schizoid history as an artist. Perhaps, I was merely delusional - and/or possessed - but I really thought I was on to something. I had a number of "paranormal" experiences at the time - I was a real "Alice in Wonderland" - but, for all of that, I think I was functioning as a "whole person" far better than I am now. There is something to be said for incorporating the "spiritual" (regardless of the form it takes) into one's day-to-day existence.

      So, yes: "Spirituality/science/alchemy" - thank you for recognizing that. And, as always, thanks for the input.

  2. This post is fantastic, and I love the Temple Drawings. I've returned to view them many times now. I'm sincerely interested in whether you'd be willing to part with them, or perhaps if you might consider a commissioned work?

    1. Thanks so much, Jim!
      Well, I'd certainly be willing to discuss it...