Holistic science: the ‘nothing’ our theory of everything forgets

Talk given at the advaya event Quantum Physics & Holistic Science.

The zero was developed in the East several thousand years ago, in a mathematics that understood emptiness and realisation as the foundation of existence. Ancient Greece in contrast was founded on a notion of the one. The zero was never understood in the West as a foundation to mathematics. Only in the 16th century did zero and the decimal system enter into Western thought giving an abstract perspective to existence. In the 17th century, Newton understood the colours as relating statically to light, without including the influence of the darkness. The physics Newton founded discarded the importance of darkness from the experience of light.

Goethe (1749-1832) is well known as a playwright exploring the darkness of the human soul through his play Faust. Goethe looked into science for the dynamic interaction, where darkness develops into light and light is limited by darkness. In acknowledging the influence of darkness, Goethe showed new aspects of colour with complementary effects (of darkness journeying into light) to those Newton had presented (of seeing light limited by darkness).

Goethe illustrated the play of darkness and light in the way we are moved by anItalian Master’s painting to live the raw emotion of death and life presented through it. Action is framed within the shades of emptiness and the bright calling to realisation. Zero and one is the ladder which existence visibly descends and ascends. In redrawing the balance of darkness and light, emptiness and realisation, zero and one, a dynamic challenge is painted of who we are, combining science and spirit.


Philip Franses

Philip Franses is a Senior Lecturer of Holistic Science at Schumacher College. Philip studied mathematics at New College Oxford from 1976 to 1980, yet academia’s dull explanation of the world inspired Philip on a counter-journey into the depths of experience, travelling and a re-sensitisation to quality.

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