Fortean Times Review: July Issue
THE RIDDLE OF THE SPHINX
The Universal man, interstellar genes, galactic double-helices,
group consciousness and the magic of the octave make a heady brewThe
hot search among physicists and other game scientists is the 'theory
of everything'. One physicist quipped that the answer to the question
'Why is everything the way it is?' would be an elegant equation
which could then be put on a T-shirt. This 'been there, done that'
approach to cosmological riddles is typical of the nerdy sensibility
that informs much hubristic science. What will scientists do once
everything has been neatly accounted for? A too successful summing
up of the Universe will put a lot of other people out of business.
This reflection has spawned several 'end of science' books, with
gloomy predictions about the boredom that will descend on our intellectual
life once our speculative Alexanders have no new worlds to conquer.
As Michael Hayes argues in this intriguing book, the search for
a theory of everything has a long and fascinating history, though
contemporary thinkers on the subject will probably look askance
on Hayes's more mystical approach. He argues that there isn't a
'final equation' to the Universe, but a code, which he calls the
Hermetic Code, based on the musical scale of octaves. (The alchemical
aphorism, 'as above, so below', associated with the legendary Hermes
Trismegistus, is the most concise expression of the Code). With
diligence and a little maths, he suggests, the open-minded seeker
can find evidence for it in, well, just about everything.
Hayes's central thesis is that the musical symmetry of the octave
can be found in phenomena as disparate as the DNA molecule, the
major world religions, the holographic character of the brain and
the ancient Chinese I-Ching, or Book of Changes. Hayes argues that
the code was known to the ancients and was inherited by them from
a hitherto unrecognised earlier civilisation. Readers of Graham
Hancock and Robert Bauval will be in familiar territory in the opening
chapters, but Hayes does more than re-present their arguments. Building
on speculations about these early Atlanteans, for want of a better
name, Hayes links architectural and engineering marvels like the
Sphinx and the Great Pyramid to a host of other fields and thinkers.
Stan Gooch's reflections on Neanderthal man, David Boom's ideas
about the 'implicate order', the precession of the equinoxes, elementary
physics and the nature of light, non-Darwinian evolution, Sri Aurobindo
and Pythagoras and many others, are brought together to form a heady,
stimulating alternative to mainstream accounts of what makes the
world tick. Following the insights of another philosophical maverick,
G.I.Gurdjieff, Hayes argues that at bottom, the key to understanding
the fundamental structure of reality lies in vibrations. Hayes suggests
that the builders of the Sphinx might have created a 'group mind'
to 'tune into' the vibrations of elementary particles in order to
move the massive stones needed to construct the Sphinx enclosure
and other ancient monuments.
like these might strike sceptical readers as groundless. Yet when
we grasp that the more orthodox methods of transport available then
can't account for how blocks weighing 200 tons or more were shifted,
the notion of homonoia, Pythagoras's term for group consciousness,
doesn't seem too far-fetched. Hayes argues that consciousness then
was radically different from our own, and that in some strange way,
people were able to intuit the presence of the Hermetic Code and
use it to perform what would strike us as miracles.
may have heard this before, but Hayes does an admirable job of marshalling
enough mathematics, historical evidence and persuasive speculation
to warrant a fresh look. He suggests that the fundamental insight
of the Hermetic Code is, contrary to accepted belief, that the Universe
is in some way alive and, perhaps even more odd, growing. Bringing
together kabbalistic ideas about Adam Kadmon - the universal man
- and DNA, Hayes speaks of 'interstellar genes' and 'galactic double-helices'.
Rejecting notions of chance, he instead argues that human evolution
is part of a vast 'cosmic octave', which in ourselves is reaching
a higher level through increasing consciousness. Richard Dawkins
devotees may groan, but anyone looking for a new approach to understanding
our world will find much to ponder over in this book.
Wisdom of the 'East' meets science of the 'West'.
Solving The Riddle Of The Sphinx