Light, between Quantum Physics and Symbolic Concept

Discussion in 'Masonic Education' started by Blake Bowden, Nov 27, 2009.

  1. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

    Grand Master, National Grand Lodge of Romania

    What is Light?

    Dictionaries give definitions: “Electromagnetic radiation comprising an electric field and a magnetic field in the same space and that impress the human eye†or, according to quantum physics, “photon flux possessing both wave and particle propertiesâ€. On light and colors there have been speculations since antiquity, such as the writings of Aristotle but also of other ancient philosophers. Establishing the relation between light and color, respectively light as a source of color started with Newton. The corpuscular theory of light, elaborated by Newton, resisted almost a century. In the beginning of the nineteenth century, the experiments of T. Young and A. J. Fresnel on light interference and difraction prove light has also wave functions.

    Coming from the darkness, knocking on the door of the Temple, the profane ask for Light. In the masonic dictionary it says that “Light is received when you become a freemason. It is the moment of the removal of the scarf covering the eyes of the profane throughout the initiation ceremony†and when, half-blinded by the Light of the Orient, he sees there the Worshipful Master, the Orator and the Secretary. Soon after that moment, the new entered apprentice finds out more, and hears that Light comes from the east, he hears that though he received the Light when he was initiated, all brethren in the Lodge seek the Light, that others have sought it also for centuries and perhaps millennia and no one has yet found it, otherwise why would they seek it, all of them, in our time. Eager to know more, the apprentice diligently reads books about masonry and listens attentively to what the master masons say, the dignitaries and officers throughout the ritual. The mystery and the confusion deepen. Light, that he was told he’d received and thought he’d seen after the removal of the scarf, is not the real one. He finds out that there are three Great Lights – the Three Sacred Lights of Freemasonry – the Book of Sacred Law, the Square and the Compasses.

    What, though, is Light?

    All great creation myths show that among the first principles appearing as a result of the divine activity was Light. In ancient Egypt, the symbol of the sun was the Light of Ra, the sun god, and for the Babylonians it was Marduk, the god of light, in Iranian Zoroastrism it was Ahura Mazda. For the Chinese, out of the primordial chaos unfolded in the making of the world the two principles: yin and yang, yin – the principle of darkness, and yang that of life and Light. We can find that before these classical ancient civilizations there existed a Carpathian-Danubian-Pontic population that migrated south giving birth to the pre-Mediterranean and then the Aegean-Cretan civilizations. They were the pelasgians, the ancestors of the Dacians, as Densusianu puts it, about which Homer, some millennia closer to their times than us, said they were worshippers of the victorious Sun and of the Light. Was the light worshiped because the sun generated life and darkness, fear and death?

    Without commentaries of a different nature, we can remember that in many great religions from various parts of the world the apparition of certain characters is mentioned, who, after the destruction of the world as a result of a cataclysm such as Noah’s deluge, reinitiated the survivers on the rudiments of knowledge, making possible the continuity of human evolution. Osiris and Thot for the ancient Egyptians, Vishnu for the Indians, Enki and Ea (Oannes) for the old Sumerians, Quetzalcoatl and Viracocha for the old Aztecs and Incas, Zamolxis for the Dacians, present a sum of common characteristics. In the Old Testament, when the world was Created, God first made the sky and the earth and God said: „Let there be light! And there was light†although the light-givers – sun, moon, and stars – were made only in the fourth day. About the biblical Light we find out more from John’s Gospel, where it is said that „In the beginning there was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things ere made through Him; and nothing that was made was made without Him. He was life and life was the light of men. Light lights in the darkness, and darkness has not conquered it. There came a man send by God: his name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all may believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to witness the Light. This Light was the true Light, that lights any man, coming in the world.†Light is viewed metaphorically as a sum of knowledge, as becoming of human spirituality. Both Jesus and Quetzalcoatl were born of virgins and then a new star appeared in the sky, they made miracles, prophesied the future, sent their disciples to preach the new faith and promised they will come back to the earth again. The Mayan Kukulkan wandered to meet and talk with men, preached love and penitence, had the power to heal and even to bring back the dead. When he left, he promised his disciples that he will come back. Thot in the Egyptian mythology, the companion of Ra – the sun god and of the Light – is the one who teaches the Egyptians writing, astronomy, numbers, medicine, etc. In Sumerian mythology, the god Enki of the Sumerian city Eridu, known also as Ea in the Akkadian period and as Oannes later among the Greeks, is the one who transmitted to men knowledge, art, science. The son of Enki, Marduk – the god of light – becomes the principal deity in Hammurabi’s Babylon (XVIIIth century BC). Viracocha after he created the world, destroyed it through a deluge and recreated it, transmitting now the necessary knowledge for it to be better than the initial one. The Light and knowledge thus appear in each other’s society in legends, myths and religions.

    The legends of the Aymara indiens in the Andes in South America, precursors of the great civilization of the Incas, say that their great god, Viracocha, came out of the waters of the lake Titicaca to bring Light in a dark world. To the great white Viracocha, the supreme god, to whom, in the belief of the Incas, was owed their life and their culture, temples were build and he was adored. In the Temple of the Sun in Cuzco – the capital of the Inca Empire – as well as in other temples, the sign under which Viracocha was worshiped was the rainbow, the sum of colors resulted through the decomposition of light. The rainbow has remained to our day the signal of the Inca civilization. It sounds familiar. About the rainbow, Greek philosophers talked, Aristotle basing his first model of colors on observations of rainbows, it was studied by Arabs and the Schoolmen of the European Middle Ages. Sir Isaac Newton, the founder of modern optics, proved that light can decompose in its component parts – the colors of the chromatic spectrum – by passing light through a prism, but also that the color white can be recomposed by the superimposing of the seven fundamental colors of the spectrum.

    Finishing his mission – after Inca mythology – Viracocha left over the waters of the Pacific Ocean, promissing that he will return, as all the great Teachers have promised in other myths and religions. His complete name is Con-Tici Viracocha and he is found as god of the sun in the beliefs of polynesians. The Norwegian ethnographer and traveler Thor Heyerdahl, in his attempt to prove the connections between the Inca civilization and the Polynesian Islanders’ beliefs, he executed his celebrated 1947 expedition, his Kon-Tiki raft floating 8000 km over the waters of the Pacific Ocean. It is interesting that in the journal of James Cook, who reached the Tahiti island in 1769, sent by the Royal Society in London to make astronomic observations on the sun and on the planet Venus, this is mentioned: “... their cloth (the Tahiti natives’, my note) becomes as white as snow through whiteningâ€. Why the cult for this color white that would imply the effort of creating a white white than the usual white and that in an island where there is no snow, the reference, but where are present abundently and with maximum brightness the chromatic colors? In David’s Psalm to the prophet Nathan in the Old Testament it is said: “Wash me and I will be whiter than snow†(Psalms, 51:7).

    And yet, what is Light?

    Now we coul think we know more. Light can be the symbol of the sum of all knowledge and traits that the Great Architect of the Universe wished to transmit to humanity and that freemasons everywhere and always desire to find, acquire in order to become perfect, better, more enlightened, more just, more tolerant and thus more useful to society.

    “The truth is everywhere, only the errors that stifle it must be taken away. The truth is hidden and requires taking out of all that is error and dogma. True friends of truth do not enclose themselves in the narrow circle of their mntal horizon, but seek the light. Laymen accep the tyranny of the dogma, but others take steps in the search for the truth. Initiation is in the art of thinking.†(Oswald Wirth)

Share My Freemasonry