Adam Is an Atom Methinks

By Wynn Wolfe

Browsing through a book on physics, I came to a chapter on electron cloud configurations, also called orbitals, that surround the nucleus of atoms. I paused and thought to myself, "I've seen images of similar geometry in the depiction of nimbuses, halos, and glories around the heads and bodies of seers, sages, shamans, prophets, poets, visionaries, Christs, and Buddhas!" These hint-packed expressions of "Eureka" and their enthusiastic aftermath creations also surface on every continent in artifacts of ritual and ceremony.

"I am That" crowded in on my thoughts, and in less than a moment it came to me: "My god, Adam is an atom methinks! Perhaps a macroscopic atom — a relative-sized and self-reflective cosmic atom." In the subatomic or quantum realms, life is teeming with interaction (self-selective bonding, absorption and re-radiation of light, etc.) as a basic property of matter leading to organic forms as we know them. Consciously or unconsciously, we as human beings do the very same on our macro-scale via the quasi-magical self-selection of attraction and repulsion, and absorbing and re-radiating the divine light of understanding. At the human level it is the Adam atom's scheme to absorb (learn at multifarious levels of excitation) and re-radiate its light (pass it on) through the creative arts. We're not just by-products of nature, but a vital synaptic link in an intelligent and wisdom-rich evolutionary chain of integrity — oneness — what we might call the informative Golden Hermetic Chain.

Intuition and invention have always been the first and foremost tools of scientists for prying into nature's forms or packaged goods. It took a long while for us "Adams" to invent a way to see into the workings of the atom; nonetheless, we have seen and are learning and re-inventing each day in our fast-paced cycle of flourishing technologies. Through our imaginative languages of mathematics and computer science come the following "Plots of Probability Density" for electron cloud configurations in the ground state and in several excited states of the hydrogen atom.

In the left column, each picture is a slice of a three-dimensional cloud (at 10 to the 10th power) with the nucleus at the center. Each electron cloud is identified by its captioned quantum number. The right column is made up of the surprising coincidental correspondences of excited or quantum states of the Adam-type atom — identified by country and date.

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1s ------------------------------------------------------------------ Japanese (1870)
 
 

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2p ------------------------------------------------------------------ Russian (1500s)
 
 

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3d ------------------------------------------------------------------ Mayan (600-900)

 

 

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3p ------------------------------------------------------------------ North American (no date)

 

 

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4f ------------------------------------------------------------------ English (1800s)
 
 

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4d ------------------------------------------------------------------ European (prehistoric)
 
 

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4f ------------------------------------------------------------------ Celtic (prehistoric)
 
 

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5f ------------------------------------------------------------------ Spanish (no date)

 

 

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6f ------------------------------------------------------------------ African (pre-1300)
 

Walt Whitman noticed that "A vast similitude interlocks all" — or as Buddhism's Flower Garland Sutra has it: "Each object in the world is in fact everything else." And Dr. Suess intuitively claimed, "After all, a person's a person. No matter how small." Nature is a divine laboratory, and each of its one-size fits all intelligent creatures will in long cycles of time glean, divine, and master their own wisdom from it. Tat tvam asi — "I am That."

(From Sunrise magazine, August/September 2003; copyright © 2003 Theosophical University Press)


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The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think. — Edwin Schlossberg