Essays by Stan Tenen

Informal Essay by Stan Tenen: On Immortality
©2000 Stan Tenen

e-list posting, May 2000

[The essay below was first published in the e-list Meta-Reiterations, in May 2000.  In this piece, Stan introduces a possible mechanism for the survival of aspects of the soul beyond physical death .  --Cynthia Tenen]

If we and all things in life (which may include the entire universe) are formed in the "image of God," then this image, whatever it is, or however it might be approached, would be the "fractal module" and/or "common ground" of all being.  This may be a big "if", but it is not unreasonable that this is what we have in common with an electron or a photon, for example.  So, we can examine what happens with "simple" entities, and then see how this applies to us.  The model of this "simple" entity in the Meru hypothesis is "naked recursion" in the form of an idealized "hand", taken from idealized cosmic "fruit" (see the poster, "A Model of Continuous Creation," at <>).

The Kabbalistic model claims that God can be known as Ain Sof (also known as Sophia, Sufi, and Sufah).  One of the first "images" of Ain Sof is Adam Kadmon, the primordial male/female human.  Adam Kadmon is the archetype for Adam and Eve.  In the garden, Adam and Eve become self-aware, and their objective and subjective natures separate into the external and internal world. 

The Source is non-dualistic, but our incarnation is dualistic, and the first distinction, the letter Bet at the beginning of the Torah, establishes the archetype of distinction between inside and outside, from which all dualism, and all dualistic views, flow.  The Sh'ma (the "credo" of Judaism: "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One"), from Deuteronomy, tells us that Hashem-Elokim (YH-VH / Lord  -  Elo-him / God) is Echod (exquisite _non-dualistic_ Unity).  All-There-Is in the Universe is identified with Elokim, and the Singularity of our conscious experience is identified with Hashem.  Elokim creates the world at the beginning of Genesis, but Hashem orders Adam and Eve around in the garden.

Put simply, our inner consciousness feels wave-like and continuous, and our objective knowledge of the world appears to be made up of discrete parts.  The separation of our being into objective and subjective leaves us with a "skin" between the two (which is what Adam and Eve come to realize, after they establish their personal will as separate from the Will of God).

So, our skin incarnates the separation between objective and subjective, between particle and wave; and we experience Hashem in our minds, and Elokim in the world.

Now, we know what happens when an electron hits a physical barrier that it cannot cross.  Wave-particle duality insists that the particle aspect of the electron cannot cross the barrier, but that the wave aspect of the electron can "tunnel" through.  Much physics is based on this "tunneling," and it has been completely confirmed by experiments and wide usage.

If our bodies and the physical world are particle-like, then our bodies, like the electron, cannot cross physical obstacles or limits.  Just like the electron hitting a physical barrier, when our body meets the physical barrier of its own deterioration, it cannot cross.  Our bodies, like the electron, do not survive to reach the other side.

But since Eden, we have a dual nature which is comparable to the dual nature of the electron.  While our ego structures, which are identified with our bodies, cannot cross the barrier, the rest of our being which is not ego-centric, such as our character and our altruism and our honesty, and our ability to yield, can, like the wave-like aspect of the electron, cross physical barriers.  I don't know of any religious tradition that does not advocate character building and altruistic, non-ego-centric behavior.  Persons who have not had personal transcendent experiences are admonished to be loving, honest, and egoless, and persons who have had personal transcendent experiences have these traits naturally as a result of their experience.

If our religious traditions embody an objective science of consciousness, then their teaching of love and honesty and selflessness may be evidence of that science, because objectively (at least in the case of the electron) this is how to cross an impossible/impassable physical barrier and gain immortality.  The presence of the Ain Sof / Adam Kadmon model is evidence of this, because Ain Sof and Adam Kadmon take the same topological form as, for example, electrons or photons (see "The Reflexive Universe," by Arthur M. Young).  (There are variations in how the elements of the model are assembled, and these lead to the different sorts of subatomic particles -- fermions, such as electrons, are different from bosons, such as photons -- but they all make use of the same elements.)

So, when an electron-particle approaches a physical barrier that it cannot cross, it doesn't cross.  Instead, its complementary wave-like nature "tunnels" through.  If the wave aspect of the electron that makes it through the barrier is sufficiently coherent, then a new particle-like electron appears on the other side of the barrier.

Metaphorically, if we are formed in the "image" of God (Ain Sof) that is both Singular (particle-like) and Whole (wave-like), then Adam Kadmon is strung out on an "earth-plane" between inner and outer, and electrons exist on the physical plane between wave-like and particle-like.  If this understanding of the complementarity principle was explicitly known to the sages of our great faiths, then it is likely one of the most important reasons why our great faiths teach that we can be immortal.  There's no way to know if the metaphor is physically true, because outside of the ego-death experience, which may or may not be similar to real death, no one knows if it's possible for consciousness to survive death, and/or for a dead body to be resurrected.


Nevertheless, electrons are "resurrected" after crossing impassable physical barriers, by the billions and billions, all the time, everywhere.  If we are like (i.e., topologically related to) enormously complicated electrons, but nevertheless essentially like electrons (or other similar subatomic particles or quantum entities) then what holds for an electron could hold for us (our minds and our bodies).

The model hand ("naked recursion") of Continuous Creation (of conscious will) specified by pairing the letters at the beginning of the Hebrew text of Genesis is topologically the same as models proposed by physicists for subatomic particles.  It also meets descriptions in the narrative texts of a wide range of spiritual traditions.  It also matches Kabbalistic descriptions of Adam Kadmon.  In my opinion, none of this is a coincidence.

When we recognize that what happened in Eden (the separation of our objective and subjective natures) is exactly the duality now represented by the complementary wave/particle aspects of physical entities as they're known to physicists, then it's possible to see how our bodies might die, and physically disintegrate, while our consciousness could continue and "reincarnate" just like tunneling electrons do every day, and all the time.

Besides its extraordinary elegance, one of the reasons I'm willing to believe that the Kabbalistic model woven into the letter-sequences of the Hebrew text of Genesis is valid, is that it addresses fundamental issues such as our possible survival after death, and our possible resurrection.  It's also interesting that this model does not rely on any unknown mystical or "psycho-cosmo-tronic" forces, but is based entirely on physics and math that have been extraordinarily well verified, and on basic principles that we know could have been known with the tools available in the ancient world.

Scholars may sit and debate whether we survive death or are resurrected on the basis of our personal experiences, and on the basis of our current beliefs, and no one will be changed by it.  Or, we could examine candidate models that claim to tell us what to expect, based on what we already know and can demonstrate, and we can test these models by experiment. I'd certainly like to do this, and I am claiming that the Kabbalistic / Sufi / Yggdrasil / Hermetic / Christian mystical / Greek / Egyptian, and many Eastern and native religions and traditions have always done so, and that their results should be examined.  The "hand" of Continuous Creation in the form of an idealized "fruit tree yielding fruit whose seed is in itself" (Genesis 1.11) that appears in the Hebrew letter-text of Genesis appears to meet the requirements for a successful model.

And of course, just like much of quantum mechanics, narrative, descriptive discussions that are not supplemented by accurate geometric models, simply can't do the job.  It's no more possible to do modern science, which addresses fundamental issues with regard to quantum mechanical entities, without mathematics, than it would be to recognize or make use of a true science of consciousness, passed down to us by our traditions, without geometry.  This doesn't mean that word scholarship is worthless. It isn't.  But word scholarship with regard to these matters, when it is exclusive and does not include geometry and other aspects of math, simply can't do the job.  For scholars to do this job, they must master both the words and the music.

This perspective offers an opportunity for some objective tests.  After all, _IF_ we really are (topologically) like subatomic particles, then we really do have a dual nature, and most of what I have written above could be real.  So, the question is, how can we demonstrate that we're like electrons, and in what way is such a statement meaningful?

Arthur M. Young has proposed that our personal quantum of conscious volition is each choice we make.  It is not possible to predict the time of appearance or the direction of emission of a photon.  Young suggests that our freedom to make whatever choice we want is unknowable to outsiders (those outside our mind) in the same way as objective science finds it impossible to predict the timing and direction of a particle that separates itself from the false vacuum, or is otherwise created spontaneously in quantum mechanical interaction.

The idea is that information is carried by pointing direction.  We make choices by pointing to them, and all quantum mechanical entities are specified by a quantum state vector which itself is a pointing direction.  We point in the world, and in our mind, with our hand.

We are like spontaneously created subatomic particles, in that there is no external way to determine the timing or direction of our choices, any more than it is possible to determine the timing or direction of particle "choices".  So, if we were to examine topological models of this choosing-system, they would be held in common by ourselves and the particles that we're made of.  I'm suggesting that the model of Continuous Creation in the Hebrew text of Genesis does this.  It establishes a topology that flows inexorably from the initial letter of the text, the letter Bet.  Bet establishes a distinction -- THE primary distinction -- between inside and outside, subjective and objective, wave and particle, and our experience of God as both utterly Singular and all-inclusively Whole.

We may not look at all like electrons, and neither we nor electrons may look like God, but the topology of our internal relationships is what we all hold in common.  I'm suggesting that this is the root of the Western and most other high traditions, and that the coherence, elegance, and integrity of this metaphor is one of the primary explanations for our sages' faith in the possibility of human immortality.

Stan Tenen
May 2000

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