The Emperor Wears No Clothes

The idea of a metaphysical reality is something that comes up as a highly likely RESULT of the methods and models of “pure” – i.e, without religion – science, empirical and theoretical. Notice I said “likely”, as no amount of countable “evidence” is enough to conclude the matter once-and-for-all one way or another; it is a scientifically unfalsifiable idea, but this is more a rejection of the monopoly of empirical science than a dismissal of a metaphysical reality.

The human mind NEVER – and I mean NEVER! – interprets data simply from looking at facts;  it re-cognizes patterns and meanings that do not reside in the factual information. The data is taken and referred to a wider view BEYOND the data. This is why science as we commonly consider it, is a poor recourse when one believes what is really going on in the world.

However abstract and supposedly impractical as it may appear, this problem of the human mind referring to something beyond the facts leads to an ‘emperor wears no clothes’ dilemma in science, because it suggests a metaphysical reality independent of material processes, and the idea that our intelligence must be connected to it in order to know. It is an embarrassment to material science, because it complicates this notion of science being strictly a physical affair.  Let’s look at how the idea of a metaphysical reality – distinct from but interrelated to the physical world – arises as a necessary inference from mathematical descriptions of natural processes:

1) The method of scientific analysis depends upon a detachment or abstraction from what is measured, as if there is some standard of measurement independent of the whole spectacle being observed. The scientist is “outside” of the controlled experiment, even when the scientist sets it up and is influencing it. Is this approach artificial? Is the scientist actually not able to truly take themselves out of the equation and just observe?

A controlled experiment is set-up by the scientist; in a naked look into nature without controls, the idea of there being no common medium linking them would make the ability to observe anything impossible… so the separation can’t be real, can it? The answer is yes and no. This part gets interesting; there are filters and layers where the linking hierarchy of media enabling observation at-once allows for the influence of subtle activities that are yet exempt from the dense productions of physical reality. As aforementioned, it is a hierarchy of media – the subtle penetrates and influences the dense, and is more-or-less independent of the latter, the more tenuous the subtle medium is.


Thus we have the “hermetic seal”, the air-tight container that cannot be penetrated or altered by anything outside of itself, but as we see in the ancient alchemical manuscript, Chrysopoeia of Cleopatra, this seal contains greek phrase ἕν τὸ πᾶν, “All is One”, as a circular half-black, half-white serpent that elsewhere in the manuscript it is said,  “One is the serpent, which contains the poison, understood in a double significance” (two-fold = active and passive, subtle and dense; also life and death good and evil, etc). So there is nothing outside of the seal – the seal contains everything, but the two-fold “poison” *divides* it into two, perhaps artificially (“The Hermetic Art” – “Art then, what Nature left, in hand doth take, And out of one a twofold work doth make”).


Hence the idea of sieving “levels of reality”, where the ultimate level is outside and in, influencing and therefore connected to our lives, yet exempt from its own involvement. We see this above, in Matthäus Merian’s engraving originally for J.D. Mylius’ Opus Medico-Chymicum; the superior, divine sphere (natura naturans) is separated and concealed from the mundane, natural world by 1) a horizontal line, 2) a seven-fold mercurial wheel, 3) five phases of the Great Work (Raven to Phoenix), corresponding to specific planets, 4) the starry sky, and 5) all of this obscured by clouds. Notably, the male and female in the natural world are connected to the levels by golden chains. The artist in the center embodies a vertical cut, separating day and night.

2) This notion of information being distinct from the medium communicating it is not unscientific. It was the final analysis of Heisenberg’s work in Quantum Physics. Is he infallible? Probably not. But his point-of-view is never discussed in a forthright manner. Why? Tell me, do you know what Heisenberg says about Quantum Physics? Can you only think of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle? Do you know how and why Heisenberg connects it to Aristotle? Are you sure the topic is too abstruse and recondite for ordinary folk? Where are you getting your opinion on the matter from?


Heisenberg connects the information/medium distinction to Aristotle in his Physics and Philosophy. Einstein discusses this problem as the real controversy of Isaac Newton’s physics, i.e. action-at-a-distance, and Einstein himself does not deny the medium’s existence, simply says it isn’t mechanical (it does not consist of parts, very important indeed!)

What this means is that ancient thinking is true. The material world in which we live, the physical reality, is a composite of matter and form, where form is not matter and matter is not form, where matter is a medium that communicates information (form), and the information is an activity and influence that is not material.

Since the human mind does not interpret solely from data analysis, but adds something else NOT IN THE PHYSICAL DATA, we may say that the intelligible unity and synthesis of the world is due to the fact that some part of the mind is outside of the physical world and referring the physical world to this non-physical reality in order to make the physical world have meaning. Moreover, this process is an activity that influences the world in various ways.

ἕν τὸ πᾶν, Hen to Pān – “All is One”, that which sees all is seen by none. As the Upanishads state, “Sees but can’t be seen, hears but can’t be heard, knowns but can’t be known”. Further in the Śvetāśvatara Upanishad:

“This whole world is just the Person…With hands and feet everywhere, with eyes, heads, and faces everywhere, and with ears everywhere, that remains encompassing everything in the world—

That, which appears to possess the powers of all the senses but is devoid of every sense, which is the lord, the ruler of the whole world, the vast refuge of the whole world.

He moves swiftly, but he has no feet; he grasps, but he has no hands; he sees, but he has no eyes; he hears, but he has no ears. He knows what is there to know, but there is no one who knows him. They call him the first and immense Person.


Who alone, himself without color, wielding his power creates variously countless colors, and in whom the universe comes together at the beginning and dissolves in the end—may he furnish us with lucid intelligence.

One should recognize the illusory power as primal matter, and the illusionist, as the great Lord. This whole living world is thus pervaded by things that are parts of him.

There is no one in the world who is his master, nor anyone who rules over him. He has no distinguishing mark. He is the cause, the Overlord over the overlords of the sense organs, and he has neither parent nor overlord.”

It does it all, it is everywhere at once, entirely independent of matter, and its activity is an unseen but active influence, imperceptibly shaping the world in which we live in ways we do not fathom. It leaves no trace – The Emperor Wears No Clothes! 

“Thus there exists around us in space an agent differing from all known forces, whose properties and qualities have little in common with the dead forces discovered by our scientists. This agent provides the substance of our life, sustains it for a time and receives it back again when disengaged from its material shell. We gain from it our inspiration, knowledge, and understanding. Everywhere and at all times an unknown element tosses us about, as the wind sways the reed. We are, indeed, the toys of unseen intelligence. This, and no other, is the magic element.

That which ever escapes our sight is exactly that which makes us what we are. Everything points to a mysterious agency ever near and within us. Magic ever operates in and round us, and yet people deny its existence. The key may be lost: but from the extant facts the ancient science can be reconstructed.”


Information, Mediation, and Hierarchy

Magic Mirror

Alma Mater

The Hierarchy of Value

Heisenberg and Atwood Compared

Moving Pictures

2 thoughts on “The Emperor Wears No Clothes

  1. Yes: “The idea of a metaphysical reality is something that comes up as a highly likely RESULT of the methods and models of “pure” – i.e, without religion – science, empirical and theoretical. …The human mind NEVER – and I mean NEVER! – interprets data simply from looking at facts; it re-cognizes patterns and meanings that do not reside in the factual information.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s