*FIREWORKS by Professor Hasan Askari, “Alone to Alone”, 1991*

There must be an ingathered state followed by an outgoing which returns to the same ingathered state: a ceaseless series of alternate outgoings and returnings: a pulsating and breathing cosmos, a centre inflating into a sphere and a sphere contracting again into its centre.What preceded the BIG BANG?With each outgoing goes the ingathering; with each manifestation stays its source; hence, the returning. There is no absolute infinite outflow. Hence there is no loss, either of the part in the whole or of the whole in each part.

There could be three possibilities. There is no fourth. First, there is a whole which lasts longer than its parts; parts replaced by other parts; say, within a species which endures but its individuals come and go. Secondly, a whole, being a plurality and a diversity of its constituent parts or individuals, involves a co-presence or co-endurance with its parts, for an empty wholeness without parts and constituents is untenable. Hence, there is a co-temporality (long or short) of the whole with its parts. Thirdly, as the whole with its wholeness is an outgoing from an ingathered state, its returning to its original condition must then be a unity wherein there cannot be a differentiation between parts as such and whole as such. Such a unity should be present at each point even of the outgoing wholeness, and therefore unity within the ingathered state or in the outgoing expanse are not two different realities. They are one reality. Hence, what goes out is already what is within. For example, has the seed from which a tree springs disappeared into nothingness as its source?If one talks of the original bang, what sort of bang was it? An explosion? Like that of dynamite exploding inside a mass of rock? In this analogy the explosion expires with the explosion; each fragment of rock flowing out of the original mass has no longer the source of explosion with it. The ingathered source does not go, if such was the original explosion, with the outgoing fragments.

If such was the case, the universe would have long ceased to exist, unless each piece that flies out of the explosion becomes an occassion of further explosion. In order to explode it must be first intensely self gathered. Both for the large entities and for the smallest such a series of explosions must exist, whether they be stars or atoms. Hence, the difficulty or the impossibility of locating the centre of the universe; hence, there is no such thing as one original bang, but many bangs. That is one way to think afresh on the question of cosmological origins. Questions pertaining to the discovery of new galaxies, new structures and periodicities can be resolved when we re-examine the theory of the so-called big bang.

The phenomenon of the uniform and smooth micro-radiation in the universe, instead of tracing its origin to one mythical origin, may be seen as an evidence of an ongoing ingathered and outgoing activity throughout the cosmos.

There is however a far more serious issue about the so-called big bang. Apart from the course which the exploding “mass” took, whether leading to more and more “bangs” and apart from the question what sort of matter, of one sort or of two sorts (“matter” and “antimatter”), issues out of this explosion, one issue is first of all worth settling, namely, the behaviour of the original particles and forces. Was this behaviour haphazard? Was it arrived at through trial and error? Was it pregiven?

The very first question pertains to the law of the behaviour of antimatter towards matter. Their equal quantities are not supposed to coexist, for one will destroy the other. For the universe to survive and expand and grow, there should be some matter in excess of antimatter. We are not concerned here with the substantial question. Then the question of forces. Apart from other forces, the weakest among them all is gravity. However weak, it is essential to the structure of the universe.

We may for the time being believe that the so-called big bang really took place. We may also agree to the first massive and tremendous explosion of energy and matter, however difficult it is at this stage to differentiate one from the other. But what about “laws” which seemed to immediately come into operation soon after the said explosion? Did laws also “explode” into existence along with the energy and matter that they were supposed to govern and regulate? Under no stretch of reason one may suppose laws also exploding into the universe along with the bang. To say that the law of gravity also exploded with the big bang is to indulge in stark stupidity. And what about other laws which govern the properties of those elements which came into being much later, say carbon dioxide? And laws governing organic matter, life, consciousness, reasoning? Did they all explode with the big bang? Were they lying in suspense until those substances and forms arose which required them? Where were they lying in abeyance?

While we are trying to know what happened in the tenth of a second after the big bang and while we are thus trying to reach the first minimum of time at the advent of the cosmos, are we also reaching for the smallest possible unit of condensed matter? What held it in that state of intense density, and not allowing it to explode or expand? What force of gravity within itself pulled it to itself that it retained its intense density? If it exploded at x time, why not before, why not later? What suspended its internal gravity for an instant that the great bang was triggered? The answer is that we do not know, or we should ask another sort of questions. If the so-called big bang is a result of an instant’s suspension or weakening of the force of gravity is in itself a hopeless question. Or, was it so that a force involving a greater force of gravity pulled out of the contents within that mythical mass with such force that an explosion occurred? What was that force? If there was any, it makes the big bang a secondary phenomenon. For questions like these we require another perspective, another method.

Regardless of the details of the Big Bang, whether it obeyed laws that were already in place, or the laws were established as a result, the entire process demonstrates awe-inspiring complexity, creativity and intelligence. Evolutionary scientists tell us that the universe came out of nothing, by accident, and continues to exist through an incredible series of lucky breaks. They claim life is the result of a random mixture of dead chemicals that suddenly came to life. On the other hand, quantum physics tells us that all energy is life and life is energy. They’ve discovered that it takes consciousness directed at energy to transform energy into matter. So, within the universe we find the consciousness, energy and life force needed to spark the big bang and keep the universe finely tuned and running smoothly even though it appears as if it should not.

It would be impossible for us to say exactly what happened, but scientists do tell us our entire universe came into existence from an infinitesimally tiny amount of ‘source material’ somewhere between one ounce and a billionth the size of a subatomic proton! The first explosive expansion was so incredibly fast, Steven Hawking said that this would be similar to taking a small coin and expanding it to ten times the size of the Milky Way in far less than a second.

We cannot help but go back to the Chandogya Upanishad and wonder at it all:

In the beginning was only Being.

One without a second.

Out of himself he brought forth the cosmos

And entered into everything in it.

There is nothing that does not come from him.

Of everything he is the inmost Self.

He is the truth; the Self supreme.

You are that. . .you are that.

Thank you for sharing these thought provoking questions, Musa

i have also thought somewhat on these matters, and feel strong sympathy with the clear and logical exposition followed here by Prof. Askari. rather than detain the reader with my own ruminations, which would add little or nothing to what has been stated, i would like to append a handful of related observations from the world of mathematics – to be specific, from aspects of the eternal being of that wonder beyond wonders, the “complex plane”. a little preliminary description is requisite here.

the complex plane

to apprehend something of the perfection, beauty and power of the deeper mathematical truths is akin to listening to a transcendental music…evidently such qualities can be only very imperfectly expressed in our everyday language. in fact what is known as the complex ‘plane’ is also akin to the surface of a sphere whose poles are zero and infinity and whose equator is the ‘circle’ – this circle is the transcendental closure of a dense set of algebraic complex numbers, each one of which is a ‘root of unity’. the points within the circle comprise exactly the numbers which are the complex probabilities employed by ‘quantum physics’.

the anatomy of the complex plane, at the most holistic level, is determined by the pole at infinity, together with a heptarchy of finite numbers. these eight numbers are the foundation of all complex analysis, a branch of mathematics as indispensible to the :purest investigations of number theory as to the formulation of both the quantum and relativity theories of ‘physical reality’. i have attached to the list some purely fanciful associations, to vivify somewhat the picture of an abstract mathematical landscape.

1. infinity (the absolute, unknowable, for the soul – the gateway to the reality beyond this one)

2. zero (the seed, the centre of the circle, the projection of infinity into the circle; as a probability=impossibility)

3. one (unity, and the radius of the circle, as a probability=certainty, full moon)

4 the negative square root of one (minus one, new moon)

5 and 6 the two imaginary square roots of minus one (rotation: deosil and widdershins)

7. the transcendental number pi (the circle, beauty, ruler of space, integer symmetry, rotation & periodicity, cosmic yin)

8. the transcendental number e (logarithm, repeated cycles of existence, the relation of heaven and earth, ruler of time and transformation, cosmic yang)

what are here labelled nos. 3 – 6, the four equatorial points, comprising unity and its other three fourth roots, form a square, and imply a possibility of rotation of the sphere in contrary directions, since multiplication of a complex number by either of the square roots of minus one occasions a rotation through a quarter of a cycle (in contrary senses, of course). the numbers 5 and 6 are interchangeable through a symmetry called conjugation. without them the sphere would collapse to a line.

the virtual explosion of zero ‘creates the plane’ – an analogy with the big bang.

the complex plane offers the scope for a marvellous extension of ordinary arithmetic. with certain exceptions a complex number raised to the power of itself (self-exponentiation) gives rise to an infinity of values which all lie on a spiral connecting zero and infinity. as the numbers approaches zero the spirals tighten so that the set of values of the function becomes more and more densely distributed in the complex plane. this function has an ‘essential singularity’ at zero so its ‘values’ there cannot be defined, but figuratively the limiting process as we approach zero it is like moving backwards towards a point of ‘explosion’ which generates all of the plane except infinity, from zero.

the mandelbrot diagram

i assume the general nature of mandelbrot’s discovery is known in outline, and would only wish to point out that the fractal properties of this remarkable construction in the complex plane reveal that the characteristic ‘buddha’-shape reproduces itself (though never quite identically) at all levels of minaturisation. these things are inherent in the structure of the numbers themselves, i.e. ingrained in the hyperphysical substrate of all possible universes, at least those of a kind with which we deal with in physics. this property seems to me a very potent metaphor for the ‘third’ possibility of Prof. Askar, which he described thus:

<>

this post is by now quite long enough. may i apologise for any unnecessary prolixity, and thank my hosts for giving me the opportunity to develop this mathematical metaphor a little further than i had before. i hope any reader will derive something of use to reward them for the labour of perusing it. any comments can be forwarded to me via my twitter account @etominusipi. useful criticism is always welcome.