Zoologists assert that life on this planet began with the emergence of free-floating bacteria in primeval waters. Exactly how it kicked off in the first place, however, nobody knows. Professor Richard Dawkins, in his book, River out of Eden, cites a proposal made by the biologist A.G. Cairns-Smith, that the ‘ancestors’ of organic self-replicators might have been something like inorganic crystals, growing, say, in different sorts of clays, constantly stirred by ever changing waterflows.
In fact, crystals do ‘grow’ one into another, the first array of aligned atoms and molecules acting as template for the next. Crystals also produce, on occasions, flaws, ‘mutations’, in their molecular structure, which are then ‘copied’ by the subsequent developing layers. Crystals also possess right and left-handed properties, that is, two varieties – two or more being the necessary prerequisite for the phenomenon of heredity, where ‘like begets like’. However, as Dawkins himself points out, crystal molecules only act as templates for the formation of molecules in their mirror image. So in this instance, like does not beget like. Chemists have tried to ‘trick’ inorganic molecules into breeding molecules of the same ‘handedness’, but it seems the natural forces at work in the inorganic molecular world are indifferent to such deception. If you start cultivation with a left-hander crystal, you end up with an equal number of left and right-handed molecules. Thus, says Dawkins, ‘although the function of an earlier, non-organic self-replicator didn’t involve ‘handedness’, a version of this trick was pulled off naturally and spontaneously four thousand million years ago’. 1
It seems to me that this statement is somewhat lacking in scientific clarity. In fact, the suggestion that some kind of evolutionary ‘trick’ was spontaneously ‘pulled off’ all those years ago has a distinct air of the magician about it, a familiar, sleight-of-hand ‘presto’ quality, which suggests to me that its author is really a creationist at heart, one who believes in some form of ‘immaculate conception’ taking place here on Earth aeons ago.
The first bio-molecular self-replicators, though primitive, were ‘intelligent’ enough to be aware of their environment, to actively interact with external variables and so ultimately ‘tune in’ to a pre-existent and compatible self-replication program. This whole, on-going life-process has today culminated in the creation of the free thinking, conscious human being, who is also aware of his/her surroundings and is capable of ‘tuning in’ and responding to, environmental variables.
So in one sense, one could say that everything has turned full circle. The first self-replicating bacteria swam around in the primordial sea, struggling to survive at every twist and turn. And today, we conscious human beings are now floundering around in a multidimensional cosmic ocean, struggling to make sense of it all.
Of course there is a huge difference between the sphere of existence of the bacterium or the single cell and that of Homo sapiens. This is essentially one of scale. The entire lifetime of a single rudimentary cell is momentary in respect of the lifetime of the human being. The two existences are literally a dimension apart. There is a world of difference between digitally encoded strands of RNA/DNA and an Einstein. Even if it did take 4 billion years for the latter to evolve from the former, we are still talking about an evolutionary leap, from amoeba-like systems to the minds of visionaries, of immense proportions. Remember also, this miracle now unfolds in its entirety during the course of the lifetime of every one of us, from the chromosomes of our conception to the peak of our individual consciousness. This truly is a quantum leap, and it is the basis of what I call The Theory of Transcendental Evolution.
Music and the Theory of TE
The theory of TE, put quite simply, is based on the knowledge of the structure of the major musical scale. It implies that all life evolves, as the notes in a developing octave evolve, into higher ‘scales’ of being. Going up, in effect, toward the stars. In other words, human consciousness is evolving collectively, and in a pattern that conforms to established musical symmetries, into greater, ever more resonant, ‘scales’ of existence.
This concept is very old. How old, I have no idea, but certainly it was ‘born’ long before Pythagoras. Whatever its age or provenance however, the most important aspect of it is the sheer potency of the concept itself, which is such that it has become woven into the very fabric of cultural traditions the world over. All of the major mythologies, esoteric traditions and religious doctrines in history are in fact musically structured cover-versions of this singular revelation, which I have called The Hermetic Code. This name is chosen for a reason, in that the first recorded take on it appeared in the form of the earliest pantheons of the eight gods of ancient Egypt, whose principle god of wisdom was the mysterious god, Thoth, known to the Greeks as Hermes.
Now it so happens that this ‘code of life’ was at some crucial point in history succinctly and ingeniously revealed through the classical pi symmetry of 22/7. This, as I have explained elsewhere, is essentially a musical blueprint of creation, a symbolic representation of the ‘triple-octave’, which describes the two most fundamental laws of nature, namely, the law of the three primordial forces and the law of seven-part formation and sequence. And, incredibly, it seems that ancient peoples, possibly originating sometime in the period we currently call prehistory, somehow intuitively recognised these patterns and symmetries involved in the life process. Not only that, for the benefit, it would seem, of their natural successors - you and me - they then neatly summed-up their entire ‘theory of evolution’ by condensing it all into a single, imperishable musical symbol: pi. These symmetries, I have discovered, are ubiquitous; they constitute a universal pattern to which everything existing conforms, from subatomic quanta to galactic superclusters, from bacteria to the evolutionary consciousness of human beings, and from the exalted religious and spiritual ecstasies of the avatar and the mystic to the most advanced theories of theoretical physics. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is excluded from this all-encompassing vision.
So what I am proposing here is that the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution is unfinished: it explains only the evolution of organic bodies in the local biosphere of the Earth. The theory of transcendental evolution however, presents the whole picture; it tells us that the ongoing development of human thought will continue to evolve at an even higher level, beyond the ‘logical’ confines of the physical brain, into conceptual scales of existence that ultimately encompass the entire universe.
Harmonic scales and rhythms in nature
The ancient Greeks had some rather unusual ideas concerning the nature of ‘matter’. The Pythagoreans in particular believed that all material things are ‘psychic’ – alive – and that they are influenced in some way by music. Today we find that modern scientists have proved them right on both counts. They have discovered ‘mind-like’ qualities in the electron and what looks very much like ‘organic’ traits in plasmas, and they have identified eightfold symmetries in the two principal physical ‘scales’ of the microworld: the atomic and the chromodynamic. Then of course, we have the ‘octave’ of light, the eightfold symmetry of the white ray. All of these physical manifestations are reflections of the musical structure of creation. And remember, the octave is a fundamental component of the Hermetic Code, of pi
Further, crucially, it is evident that similar ‘hermetic’ symmetries are also prevalent in the bio-molecular world and in particular the genetic code, with its sixty-four ‘triplet-codon’ combinations (8x8) and the twenty-two evolutionary signals at the amino-acid scale of development. These twenty-two signals are, in effect, fundamental ‘notes’ in a ‘triple-octave’ of biochemical resonance.
So in reality, the whole of the microworld, from wave/particles to biomolecules, conforms very closely to the Greek view, which is that the entire universe is built, scale superimposed upon scale, on musical foundations.
We therefore have three fundamental harmonies in evidence in the microworld: the chromodynamic, the atomic and the (bio)molecular.
Underlying all of these scales is the all-pervading universal harmony demonstrated by what is known as the ‘twin photon’ phenomenon. Two photons generated from the same impact event spin off in opposite directions at the speed of light. Experimental physicists have shown that, irrespective of how far apart these twin quanta travel, when one of them is stopped in its tracks and measured, both of them will always be seen to have the very same angles of polarisation. That is, at the precise moment of measurement of one or other of these particles, its distant twin somehow ‘knows’ which angle is to be agreed upon. Consequently there must be some sort of instantaneous communication going on between them. These rather spooky ‘actions at a distance’, called by the Cambridge mathematician and physicist Roger Penrose, ‘non-local quantum correlations’, are endemic. The whole universe is perpetually in motion and all wave/particles are continuously interacting and separating, which means that the non-local aspect of quantum systems is a general characteristic of nature. Clearly this represents, in the physical world, a harmony of the highest possible order. It is one thing to say that the universe is a harmonious entity because it is constructed entirely upon the eightfold chromodynamic and atomic matrices, but non-locality suggests that there exists a far deeper interconnecting harmony underlying all physical phenomena, where everything is resonating at the very same subquantum frequency, everything is ‘in tune’ with every other thing.
My god it’s alive
We now come to another very ancient idea, which again seems to have first surfaced in the time of the early Greeks: the notion that the whole universe is itself a living, sentient being.
The Greeks had a name for this cosmos. They called it the Zoon (pronounced ‘zoh-on’), the modern dictionary definition of which is: ‘morphological individual, the total product of a fertilised ovum’. Of course, the originators of this particular concept might not have defined it in such a precise way, but it seems probable that they believed the universe was an animal, alive, hence the notion of zoology, the study of the living.
So the Greeks apparently regarded the cosmos as having somehow been conceived and then born, that it subsequently grew and is still growing, and, presumably, that all systems within it, from the Earth and the planets to the sun and the stars beyond, are vital components in the living body of the whole.
Now this may seem like a tall order, asking us to believe that we all exist in the living body of some mighty creature, some ‘god’ of potentially infinite size. But then, not too long ago ideas about the hermetic symmetries involved in the creation of life, of ‘psychic’ matter and of ‘universal music’ would almost certainly have been regarded by scientists as being simply the fanciful products of primitives’ dreams. And yet, ultimately, time has proved the ancients to be fundamentally correct in these particular aspects of their world view: musical symmetry is indeed everywhere, both inside and outside of us, or ‘above’ and ‘below’, and the basic components of matter continually resonate and even act in concert: they are by no means truly inert or ‘lifeless’.
So now these ancient thinkers once again reach forward through thousands of years of time to confront us with another strange idea - that the whole universe is a living organism.
In search of the living god.
I must admit that when I was initially confronted with this concept of a living cosmos I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. It was difficult to see how the greater components of the universe – such as all-consuming black holes, exploding supernovae, collapsing clouds of interstellar dust and all the other cataclysmic events taking place out there – could ever be construed as ‘life’. On the face of things, the proposition seemed too fantastic. But at the back of my mind I harboured a sneaking suspicion that these ancient peoples, who were so knowledgeable in other respects concerning the nature of reality, were not simply fantasising about their ‘living god’, but had some basis for their belief.
So I began to investigate, to search for evidence of this. And what I found was impressive.
Not surprisingly, what focussed my attention in the right direction was the now familiar dictum of the mysterious Hermes: ‘As above, so below’. This clearly implies that the world above – the greater cosmos – is fundamentally the same as the world below, the world of man. Obviously the ‘scales’ are vastly different, but, according to this ancient master of the sacred arts, their inherent structures are based on the same hermetic blueprint. And remember, the Hermetic Code and the genetic code are also identical in every way, so we can see clearly that, in respect of the world of man and the world of the cell, the dictum, ‘as above, so below’, is directly and exactly applicable. The genetic code operates in the microcosm, the world of cells, and the Hermetic Code operates in the mesocosm, the world of man. And each of them of course, shares a common purpose, which is to facilitate the processes of evolution, of creation.
Now DNA is clearly the prime mover in the bio-molecular world. It is DNA that employs the genetic code to manufacture amino acids, which other organic components (enzymes and such) then assemble into proteins. The purpose of proteins in the biomolecular world is clear; they engineer all the complex chemical processes that go to build a living body. So what happens when the human mind employs the Hermetic Code? Does it, as I have already suggested elsewhere, produce the metaphysical equivalent of amino acids? Possibly. At least it produces ideas, thoughts, concepts, which are born of our conscious ability to sense, emote and perceive.
So on to the obvious question: are these concepts integral parts of a much bigger evolutionary process that takes place somewhere ‘out there’? That is, if the genetic code describes an organic process, is not the Hermetic Code similarly describing an organic process, but one that operates on a much greater and more rarefied scale? If this is the case – and I am, of course, proposing that it could be – then there would probably be in existence other, greater, organic components out there in the macrocosm that could somehow assemble these metaphysical ‘amino acids’ (thoughts, concepts etc.) into the conceptual equivalent of protein chains. This suggests, of course, that human brain is a form of ‘double helix’, a ‘chromosome’ in the nucleus of a living cell in the body of a much greater being.
Let us now follow this lead as we were probably intended to and turn our attention skyward, toward the heavens. If Thoth/Hermes is right, one would expect there to be signs of this ‘extraterrestrial’ life up there in the macrocosm – massive, cosmic, organic structures, not unlike the structure of our chromosomes. And what do we find up there in the greater cosmos? Significantly there are spirals, helices, literally everywhere, in all potential solar systems, in all galaxies. In the case of the solar system, we see the planets encircling the sun, but as the entire system is moving at great velocity through space, the path traced by each planet is, in fact, a spiral. Similarly most galaxies are spiral galaxies, but even so-called ‘elliptical’ and ‘irregular’ galaxies all revolve around a galactic centre – maybe a black hole – and all of them are hurtling across the universe at tremendous speeds, so the trajectory traced through space and time by every star is a true spiral, a helix. Furthermore, we ourselves, as we sit, walk or even sleep on the surface of the spinning Earth, are actually tracing spirals through space.
Of course DNA is a double helix, but in the biomolecular world there are many single helical structures – viruses, bacteria etc. – composed of single strands of DNA’s close cousin, RNA. But anyway, when we think we ‘see’ a single spiral out there in space, we might not necessarily be taking in the whole picture. That is, there may be ‘invisible’ helices that we also need to identify. In a typical galaxy, for example, scientists have discovered that the visible spiral arms, composed of stars, are enveloped by an accompanying magnetic field, which actually spirals around each of the arms. Also binary stars trace a double helix through space and time. Again, in the solar system there are several planets, each one spiralling along its respective trajectory, but if you consider the combined paths of any one of them in relation to another, or in relation to the sun, the result, quite clearly, would be a double-helix configuration. The point is, it is the helix itself, whether single, double or even multiple, which appears to be the basic design for all evolutionary phenomena, above and below.
Is it not highly significant, therefore, that the Egyptians and the Greeks, in whose belief-systems the firmament above was so important, should have a principal god of wisdom whose symbol was a magic wand known as the caduceus, featuring a double helix in the form of two entwined serpents surmounted with wings? Clearly this symbol, like the Great Pyramid, which is aligned so precisely with key stars in the duat (sky), is inducing us to look heavenward. The same can be said of the Amerindian serpent/thunderbolt symbols of Viracocha and the plumed serpent of Quetzelcoatl.
Having identified these ‘serpents in the sky’, we can now perhaps understand why the ‘gods’ of the ancients were so pre-occupied with them: they knew instinctively, or perhaps intuitively, that humankind’s evolution was star-bound.
A little alchemy
It would appear that the Great Pyramid of Giza has been intentionally aligned to the cardinal points and to prominent stars. Whatever else it was intended to be, it is undoubtedly a powerful symbolic link between Earth and ‘heaven’. One of the ancient names for the GP –‘Khuti’, ‘The Lights’ – suggests further that light is the cosmic intermediary, the interface, or, rather, the ‘messenger’, between man and god, earth and stars. And light itself, as we have noted, is a musical phenomenon, the most resonant ‘octave’ in existence. Therefore music is the key. But then music is a hermetic phenomenon, and the Hermetic Code describes exactly how the genetic code operates, or how organisms grow.
So now let’s try to envisage how this spiritual growth might develop. By this I mean the process by or through which consciousness can eventually ‘tune in’ to the non-local dimension, or to the metaphysical frequencies characteristic of light quanta.
We have seen how, in the microcosm, the most powerful transmitter of intelligent data is the DNA double helix, which codes for complex biochemical processes with such precision that it can create the brain of a human being. In the molecular world, this evolutionary music played by DNA represents a harmony of the highest order.
The human brain, the ultimate product of DNA’s evolutionary development, is more than just a biological organ like, say, a heart or a liver. It possesses self-awareness and can perform a whole range of extra-biological or metaphysical functions – intellectual, speculative, intuitive or whatever. This is to say that the human brain, like the double-helix from which it originates, can generate transcendental influences. Through literature, artefacts, symbolism, buildings and so on, it can transmit ‘bio-metaphysical’ signals to spheres far removed from the physical body in which it exists. Thus the designers of the Great Pyramid, for example, or of the I-Ching, or the authors of the New Testament, the Upanishads or the Koran, having existed in the remote past in different parts of the world, are still speaking to you now through these and innumerable other contemporary works. These works are, in effect, transcendental phenomena, ‘metaphysical genes’, coded to synthesise, in the mind of the human being, higher, more complex modes of cognition.
As we see, both the DNA double-helix and the human brain function in strikingly similar ways. In the concluding chapter of my first book, The Infinite Harmony, I suggested that the conscious/subconscious aspects of the human brain, with its right and left hemispheres, could be regarded as the metaphysical equivalent of the acid/alkali aspects of the DNA strand, with its ‘right’ and ‘left’ nucleotide chains. Both work with the same hermetic/genetic blueprint, with its four ‘bases’, its sixty-four possibilities and its twenty-two transcendental or evolutionary ‘signals’. Thus the music being played in the microcosmic processes of evolution is being echoed, note for note, in the mesocosmic scale above, in which the human mind is the principal player. So the ancient dictum, ‘As above, so below’ means, quite literally, that the only difference between the DNA double-helix below – the chromosome – and the fully-functioning human brain above is simply one of scale. Both work with exactly the same numbers and combinations of forces and components, but the components themselves are graded accordingly, the bases used by DNA presumably being of a less rarefied form of resonance than the ‘bases’ from which higher frequencies of consciousness are developed.
So what exactly are these ‘bases’ from which consciousness is created? In the Hermetic Code they are symbolised by the four ‘base-notes’ – the four Do’s – of the triple-octave. Now these bases, like the free-floating nitrogenous bases in the living cell, would theoretically be everywhere, all around us, waiting to be ‘scooped up’ by the double helix of the mind, combined into more resonant units, and finally passed on for future synthesis at a higher level of development. These bases, I would suggest, come to us in the form of our impressions, namely our sensations, emotions and perceptions, the trinity, or ‘triple-octave’, within us all. There is a fourth, of course, a crucial, transcendental base, the product of the harmonious interaction of the first three, which, if fully developed, manifests in the form of our concepts.
If the human brain is a form of chromosome, a metaphysical double helix, then presumably it is also an integral component – a ‘cell-nucleus’ – in the greater body of an infinitely more complex, macrocosmic ‘organism’, a creature which, one assumes, is formed from the collective evolutionary consciousness of the entire human race.
The characteristic spiral form of DNA has been photographed in its totality through a process known as X-ray diffraction. It is clearly a double helix, and all DNA molecules in every living plant and animal are structured in exactly the same way. Each DNA molecule does not suddenly appear fully formed: it develops in a linear fashion over a given period of time. As the parent DNA ladder unzips at one end prior to cell division, and free-floating bases link up with the open ends of the split rungs, two identical chromosomes are formed.
It might be argued that the description double helix cannot reasonably be applied to the two hemispheres of the brain, which look more like three-dimensional segments of some weird exotic fruit than the structural features of a chromosome. But of course, like DNA, we must assume that this metaphysical ‘chromosome’ does not suddenly appear ready-made, but requires a given period of time to develop its overall form, and that this unfolds in a linear fashion. Time is the line and its length is a lifetime.
And what exactly happens during the lifetime of an individual brain? Remember that the two hemispheres have a physical existence on the surface of a planet that is spinning endlessly on its axis as it soars through space. Therefore each hemisphere is in fact tracing a spiral, a helix, through space and time. Taken together the overall configuration is, of course, a double helix.
So possibly the human brain is an evolving double helix developing in time, at one end of which lies conception, at the other, death. All that happens in-between, all our experiences in life, both conscious and subconscious, define the particular ‘colour’, or quality, of each evolving mesocosmic ‘chromosome’. The most successful or the most resonant of the ‘genes’ in these chromosomes, like, say, the ‘bright’, enduring concepts of such as the Buddha, Confucius, Pythagoras, Christ or Mohammad, are those which are replicated most, in succeeding generations, by other metaphysical chromosomes, other human brains.
The DNA structure of living cells has two sides to it, two chains made up of sugar, phosphate and nitrogenous bases, each side being a mirror image of the other. The two chains are held together by the bases: adenine, thymine, cytosine and guanine. Similarly the human brain, as we have seen, also has two sides to it, the conscious processes of the left hemisphere and the subconscious processes of the right. As with DNA, these different aspects of the two hemispheres are inextricably linked to one another by ‘bases’, by our experiences in life, born of our sensations, emotions, perceptions and conceptions.
This, then, I believe, forms the core of the ancients’ view of mankind’s evolution. Consciousness is an organic phenomenon, it develops according to the dictates of the Hermetic Code, and its natural inclination is to grow upward and outward, toward the stellar scale of existence, the non-local plane of light. So as consciousness evolves, the whole of the human race, like the pyramid builders of the ancient world, will be working together in states of ever increasing harmony to build, in a higher dimension, a vastly more complex, macrocosmic structure. Theoretically such an entity would either possess, or would be evolving, a ‘brain’ of its own, an immense ‘solar’ helix which, in terms of scale and complexity, would be as far removed from the individual mesocosmic double-helix – the human brain – as the mesocosmic double-helix is from microcosmic DNA. If this is true, then we should expect to find the main components of this helical structure in the cosmos above. And as I have already implied, such components are most definitely in evidence…
To be continued.
1. Richard Dawkins, River out of Eden, Orion, London, 1995, p 142