Summary of the modified physics
In my view, all material order comes from the wholeness — that system of centers of unequal value which appears autonomously in space, as a result of local symmetries and other geometric properties described in Book 1. The structure appears in space and is generated there because of structure-preserving transformations in the wholeness, and they in turn lead to a type of structure — living structure — thick with the fifteen properties. The degree of life or intensity of any one center is a result of interactions among the other centers which exist in the field, according to the degree that they support this one center. There is, I believe, a constructible mathematical picture of such a field. But it means that the life of any given part of space, the intensity of the centers that occur there, cannot be measured or understood merely as a product of the system of centers internal to that space. The intensity of a center in any one part of space is a product of the combined intensity of all the other centers, both in that part of space and beyond it — and yet these centers themselves, being products of their fields, are also affected in their intensity by the first center.
Such a bootstrap phenomenon is slightly reminiscent of something which was at one time important in particle physics. A few years ago, Geoffrey Chew proposed a view in which there are no elementary particles — each particle is somehow built out of others, and out of the interaction of others. What I have just described is somewhat reminiscent of that effort. Geoffrey Chew, Lectures on Modeling the Bootstrap (Bombay: Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, 1970).
To make all this possible, the matter, the ground in which this is happening, the character of space itself — that must be different in its composition.
What I have suggested is that space is some sort of pliable material, which itself comes to life more and more, as the field of centers gets more and more developed there. This is the different part. This is where the new idea differs from the old.
According to this new view, space is not something which has a fixed and definite nature like a mechanism. It is something whose quality evolves locally, gets better and better (one might even say becomes more and more transparent to the ground). It actually changes in its nature and as a substance as the field of centers gets more and more developed in it.
Thus the matter, controlled by the field of centers, is not a mechanism made up by rearranging fixed components. It is a structure which allows the evolution of the space itself, a process in which the space changes qualitatively, step by step, through the intensification of the centers in it. As the structure develops it changes its own nature. It is the recursive nature of the wholeness and its system of centers which causes this effect.
In my view, that is not an invention. It is what happens. It is the way that space actually behaves. Thus the phenomenon of life which seems, at first hearing, something very astonishing, is a direct result of a feature of space which can be given a mathematical representation.
The more life a particular center has, the more open the tunneling between the outward manifestation of this center and the ground. So, among the millions of centers which appear in space (buildings, doorknobs, atoms, mountains, and so on, all of them), there are different degrees of connection to the ground. When living structure is created, the ground becomes more visible, more discernible, because the connection is quite strong. Occasionally, the connection becomes very strong, as in a living human being, where the connection of the centers to the ground then takes the form of consciousness. The phenomenon of human consciousness may be one of the stronger kinds of connection between matter and the I-like ground.
Also, among great world of music or, sometimes, in very great works of architecture or painting, the connection to the ground is extremely strong. Mozart’s 40th symphony and Beethoven’s 14th quartet connect us, in some measure, to this ground. So does the Coventry Carol. The mosaics of Ravenna, and the temple of San-ju-san-gendo in Kyoto connect us, in some measure, to this ground. Reaching the ground, having contact with it through the window of a living work, is the experience we refer to as spiritual awareness. In the physical picture of matter I describe here, it occurs when we are connected to the blinding light of the ground, even in small degree. In the cases of great works of art, the ground becomes accessible, directly visible or experienced through that work. Sometimes we also experience it as love.
The degree to which the ground has ever been reached by living structure, or could be reached, is still relatively undeveloped. So far, anyway, in the history of humankind’s experience, it has been something of a rarity, and experienced only in modest degree, when we encounter living structure in the world. It is possible that at some future time, in other civilizations, that the beings, or collections of people, or works of art, or even parts of cities and societies — might reach even further toward the ground, make it more visible. Thus experiences of a depth hitherto unknown may well lie in store for humankind.
This new thing happens physically because running through the whole system of space there is a measure (the degree of life of different entities and events) which gives each place, each system, each part of space, each phrase in music, value. Entities at all scales — particles, plants, places, buildings, even regions of the world — have relative value, compared with one another. Events, too, have relatively more or less value. The value, in every case, is a measure of the degree to which living structure appears: and the degree to which the living structure, by appearing, then opens a tunnel to the ground of I. Thus value is a measure of the degree of connectedness a given place, or thing, or event, has with the ground.
Although it sounds extraordinary, and unfamiliar to our 20th-century ears, this modified version of our current world-picture does not have to be very greatly unlike the one we have had during the 20th century. Most of the known mechanical phenomena are left largely unchanged by this picture. They appear and work much as we imagine them working today. However, expressions of love, art, and spiritual awareness also have a place in this picture. They make sense within the picture, as they have not done before.