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  • Writer's pictureKarey Pohn

Mirror, Mirror


In discussing his universe, Bohm has also discovered a surprising relationship between maps and terrains. He has discovered that for the looking glass, there can be no final map, for our maps are the looking glass. Our mapmaking changes the very terrain, and the terrain in turn changes our maps (Briggs & Peat, 1984, p. 145).


In Looking Glass Universe, Briggs and Peat (1984) explore the science of wholeness. They begin with Kuhn’s 1962 book, Structure of Scientific Revolutions, which introduced the notion of paradigm shifts, and said that there is not any progress in science, but only changing perspectives. According to Briggs and Peat this “implies that science has always been a looking glass enterprise in a looking glass universe— we just didn't notice it” (p. 18).


In discussing Bohm’s work, Briggs and Peat (1984) reveal three looking glass principles along with three models that Bohm uses. Bohm’s work will be very helpful as we go along, because it provides many excellent models and mirrors, which as Lévi-Strauss would say are “bonne a pensee” or "good to think with," so we will linger for a moment and explore these models.


Looking Glass Principle 1: Everything mirrors everything else (Briggs & Peat, 1984, p.112). The previously discussed hologram serves as an excellent example. Grof (1998a) uses the metaphor an ancient Chinese image of a single candle flame being reflected an infinite number of time when brought into a mirrored room. William Blake’s famous poem comes to mind here:


To see the world in a grain of sand
and Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
and Eternity in an hour. (Grof, 1998a, p. 37)

Looking Glass Principle 2: Wholeness is flowing movement (Briggs & Peat, 1984, p. 112). Bohm uses a glycerin dye experiment to show this. If you place a drop of dye into a cylinder of glycerin and rotate it one way, the dye will gradually disburse and after being drawn out in a long spiraling line finally disappear from view, however when you rotate the cylinder back the other direction, the dye drop will reappear again. This image will be useful in the mechanics of creation section, and Briggs and Peat coined the term "Implicate Dye Drop" to express this model.


Looking Glass Principle 3: The universe does not exist only in the familiar three dimensions, or Einstein’s four, but is a universe of countless dimensions, which embody wholeness. Bohm uses the example of a fish tank viewed by different cameras at different angles, which I call "Fishtank TV" for short. When viewed on individual screens, different aspects of the fish are seen, corresponding to the different camera angles. All of the cameras are viewing the same fish, but from different angles, although to the individual viewer, it might not seem to be the same. This echoes Bohm’s view of insight not being a fixed truth but an angle of perception. In the upcoming “Kaleidoscope of Culture” section, as in Fishtank TV, we will be looking at different pieces of the cultural fish, so to speak, to see different sides, angles, or aspects as expressions of cosmic play. Mirrors will come into the picture periodically, so be on the lookout for them, because they give us the opportunity to pause and reflect.


So, seeing the correlations between ancient wisdom and modern science, we find that everything is not only interconnected and implicated in everything else, but everything old is new again as well! Nietzsche was right: there is nothing new under the sun, including the sun itself. But, back to our cosmic quest to understand the meaning of it all, as we ask the question behind everything—the cosmic Why?


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