Contemporary cosmologists and theoretical physicists are intensely

preoccupied with the first few fractions of a second of the newborn

universe, when all its energy became manifest, together with funda-

mental particles and the fundamental fields of nature.


The most popular current theory of the origins of the fields of

nature, the superstring theory, proposes the existence of a primal

unified field in ten dimensions, nine of space and one of time. As the

universe expanded and cooled, the symmetries of this primal field

were broken, and one by one the known fields of physics separated

from the unified field (which nevertheless continues to exist even

though its unified nature is no longer manifest). First, at around

10-44 seconds from the beginning the gravitational field separated

out; then, at around 10-36 seconds, the quantum matter fields that

give rise to strong nuclear forces; then, at around 10-10 seconds, the

electromagnetic field and the fields of the weak nuclear forces separ-

ated from each other.


As we have already seen in Chapter 4, the fields of modern phys-

ics play many of the same roles as souls in animistic, pre-mechan-

istic philosophies of nature. In this context, it is significant that the

contemporary conception of a primal unified field, a cosmic field of

fields, bears a strong resemblance to the neo-Platonic conception of

the world soul. The philosopher Plotinus in the third century AD

thought of this cosmic soul as the source of all the souls within it:

'There is both Soul and many souls. From the one Soul proceed a

multiplicity of different souls.' Modern unified field theories can be

paraphrased in a parallel manner: 'There is both the one Field and

many fields. From the one Field proceed a multiplicity of different

fields.' But the modern theory is, of course, far more detailed than

old theories of the soul of the universe, and it is far more evolution-

ary. It describes a process of cosmic becoming, even ascribing

approximate times to the various stages in which energy, fields,

matter, galaxies, stars and planets came into being as the universe

grew and developed.


Pages 106 & 107 Chapter 6 Cosmic Evolution and the Habits of Nature

Evolutionary Physics

The Rebirth of Nature The Greening of Science and God

By Rupert Sheldrake 1990 Random Century Group



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