Pursuit of Wisdom and Quantum Ontology

Scientific Essay, 2011

21 Pages



I. Introduction

II. About the possibility-of-being-made
A. The hunting ground shown by Cusanus
B. There is still large quarry

III. What can we know about God?
A. The faceless oneness
B. A maximally unknown miraculous number

IV. On the origin of the possibility-of-being-made
A. Creation of feasibility
B. Generalized quantum ontology
V. There is no plurality of infinity
A. Infinity and oneness
B. About the heaven of infinities

VI. Conclusion
A. Consistent quantum theory
B. The mysterious number Ω
C. Infinite sets



De venatione sapientiae is a late work of Nicholas of Kues (1401-1464), who is also known under the name Nicolaus Cusanus. With this scripture, he invites the reader to follow him in the hunt for wisdom. Accordingly, he shows the hunting ground, speculates where one can catch a lot of booty, sneaks up to wild animals, and finally presents his prey. The most eminent objective for his pursuit of wisdom was to gain an understanding of the given by means of its relationship to the giver. This concern corresponded in his day to the spirit of the time. What could not be doubted in the Middle Ages, was the belief that the ultimate truth of all beings rests in God. In line with this holy belief, Cusanus compared the universe with an organism, in which all parts cooperate under a divine plan. Without this divine providence, which has its origin in the absolute organizer, nothing can exist. Consequently, the hunter never could kill God, because otherwise neither hunting nor hunters would have existed.

During the centuries, the seemingly consistent medieval metaphysics eroded more and more. Let us mention only a few stages represented by influential opponents. First, there is the pioneer and founder of positivism in sociology, the French mathematician and philoso­pher Comte, who designated each religion as a childhood disease at an early stage in the history of mind, while Feuerbach unmasked the faith as self-delusion. But that was not enough, there’s more. According to Marx, religion was nothing more than opium for people and Freud speculated that any religion has its root in infantile longing, which feels itself safe in the bosom of an omnipotent father. Finally, according to Nietzsche, God has died after a long and agonizing illness. The gesture of the believer who believes in the marvelousness was for the ’’philosopher with the hammer” beyond imagination. The most painful attack, how­ever, came from the mechanistic philosophy of nature, which inexorably went from triumph to triumph. This attitude reached its culmination in the physical atomism, which came up at the beginning of the last century. According to this very successful scientific theory there are indestructible, eternal building blocks of matter, which can arrange in different ways to create a specific appearance of the world at each moment. To look for a mysterious substra­tum on which this mindless game with building blocks is founded proves to be completely pointless. Within a giant world machine there is no place for God. This opinion has become so hardened that even the soul is reduced to the world of things. The mechanistic world outlook is the natural philosophy of everyday activities, where each moment contributes to a history, which is once and for all being present with all its details, being fixed and in retrospect unchangeable. This experience is so overwhelming that religious speculations are only credible if they refer to the netherworld. In this context the hunt for wisdom originally initiated by Cusanus can no longer be accepted as an invitation to participate, but it is an old story, about which one can only gossip. The content of the analysis developed by one of the most deepest thinker of the world in his famous text seems already outdated. Thereby, Cusanus finished his hunting expedition with the hope that all his captured wisdom serves ”for one’s better speculating on these lofty matters.”[1] However, for a long time scientists and philosophers were convinced that there is no kill in the hunting ground shown by Cu- sanus. In contrast to this opinion, let us ask: Is this disparaging assessment still valid? Our conclusion in this paper is amazing: The main ideas captured by Cusanus in his pursuit of wisdom can be regarded as a theological speculation which is consistent with modern quantum ontology that has been proven to be valid in countless experiments all over the world. De venatione sapientiae is therefore not only a document with reference to other old historical writings, but also a valuable proposal which serves as a promising starting point when trying to extend fundamental scientific knowledge into theological visions.


A. The hunting ground shown by Cusanus

Cusanus founded his studies of wisdom on a firm basis, because he was convinced that ”which is unknown cannot be known through that which is even more unknown.”[2] Therefore, he started from scratch by capturing ’’something that is most certain - something presup­posed and undoubted by all pursuers [of wisdom]...”[3] This self-evident base is a simple tautology in his scripture: Nothing will be done that cannot be done. From this compre­hensible diagnosis, he concluded that the possibility-of-being-made precedes everything that has ever been made. While this statement still sounds convincing, we cannot help to wonder about his next step in the reasoning, when he attributed to the feasibility an ’’ontological status”. However, the possibility-of-being-made cannot have been made so that its ”exis- tence” should have something heavenly in itself. Nevertheless, according to Cusanus this mode of existence is an essential, indispensable, genuine part of the whole world. In his hunt for wisdom, the ’’ontological status” of the feasibility shows him the secret path to the fruitful game reserve, namely to something like the absolute beginning, ”which is the Beginning and Cause of the possibility-of-being-made.”[4] This preexistence cannot be made, because it precedes the possibility-of-being-made. Therefore, it is an unchangeable eternal source of all possibilities and realities. Just at this step, we arrive at the central idea of his teaching of wisdom: The Creator, who precedes the possibility-of-being-made as well as all existence ”is the absolute and incontractible Beginning, for it is all that can be.”[5] As the feasibility is neither feasible nor destructible, its beginning has a special character insofar as it ”has not been made but, nevertheless, has a beginning, we speak of it as created, for it does not presuppose anything, from which it exists, except its Creator.”[6] The possibility to make the world either way has its root in the eternal mind of God, who creates both being and nonbeing. From the almighty God (who is exactly what Cusanus called the possibility- of-making), the possibility-of-being-made was created from nothing. However, this creation is peculiar in the sense that its beginning and its end are indistinguishable. Everything can change - not God. He precedes each difference also the difference between possibility and reality. Only He is the actualized possibility-of-making, because He is what He can be. Whatever exists due to the possibility-of-being-made, exists actually only because it imitates the actuality of the possibility-of-making, which is the ultimate existence. All that has been made and all that could have been made ”is subsequent to its own Actuality, which is Eternity.”[7] Both features of the entire world, namely all that really exists and all that really can exist, coalesce within the eternal Creator. All life is only a shadow of Eternal Life.

B. There is still large quarry

The everyday experience deals with a world of hard-hitting and unchangeable facts that step forward for a brief moment to enlarge the realm of the non-varying past and to prepare the terrain for future tangible events. This succession has apparently no beginning and no end. The development is largely regular so that there is a whole universe of scientific questions that should be answered. Whether it is the anatomy of ants or the formation of stars after a supernova - the field of scientific research is almost boundless. The tremendous knowledge itself that is collected and stored in different ways, has a curious ontological status, since it is neither temporal nor palpable. This form of existence is not written in stone but nebulous. It would be an obvious assumption that the cognitive ability emerges somehow from the reality of objective facts within the human brain. However, this modern attitude breaks with a long theological tradition, for which the world of relentless facts was incomplete and in itself not consistent. Indeed, the mechanistic world outlook is a shortcut, because the possibility-of-being-made seems to exist somehow, however, without any real ontological status. A consequence of this mechanistic bias is that all transcendental reflections about the specific suchness of existence are stigmatized as pointless. Inadmissible questions of this kind are, for instance: Was the feasibility created? Is the world a creation or part of a multiverse, in which almost everything can happen? However, if we pursue wisdom, then our question has an entirely different character: Does a transcendental principle reign behind the facade of seizable facts so that people must reconsider, what reality actually means? Cusanus answered in the affirmative by referring to the possibility-of-being-made as well as the possibility-of-making and by delegating true existence exclusively to the creator. It is amazing that modern science itself returns to the very same path. Thereby, science has absolutely nothing in mind with transcendence, although one concedes willingly that the new ontology is puzzling. In fact, the possibility-of-being-made is the focus of quantum ontology (see, for instance, Ref. [8] and Appendix A). Possibilities are ubiquitous in quantum theory. Mysteriously they arrive at their destination solely in our completely atypical, quasi- classical quantum world. The existence of concrete facts is linked to conditions, which can be precisely identified in quantum physics. Thus, the understanding of the possibility-of-being- made as an essential part of reality has nowadays taken a definite shape, which is known in details namely by quantum physics. In addition, also the origin of the specific possibility- of-being-made in our quasi-classical world can be investigated from a scientific point of view, although the solution of this problem is extremely difficult. Within the framework of the conventional quantum mechanics, the study must take into account not only the quantum dynamical laws, but also the initial quantum state. From this analysis it becomes evident that the quasi-classical world is not based on itself. Rather, one has to accept some overriding principle (theologically said: something transcendental), which is timeless, full of unimaginable possibilities (namely the many conceivable quantum universes) so that it can explain, how the world of tangible facts could emerge by means of a suitable initial state (by a ”free volitional decision”). In conclusion, we admit that the prey of wisdom, which Cusanus presented in his scripture, gives us considerable food for thought. All his fundamental ontological problems have become nowadays a subject of scientific research (of course only in a specific unilateral form). A theological upgrading of all these scientific ideas was already anticipated by Cusanus so that a recollection to him is highly recommended.


A. The faceless oneness

All real things and phenomena are anticipated by the possibility-of-being-made, which points to an origin, which itself is not made, but by which the feasibility gets its contours. What precedes existence and possible existence should be free from any intrinsic difference, since it is the indivisible cause of diversification. This profound oneness cannot be explained exhaustively, because it is the definition of itself. Everything that is definable has its origin in it. This ultimate ground, which permits to define everything as well as itself is nothing else but the not-other or the one. Just like God, the absolute eternal oneness is generally shaped by that what it can be. The omnipotent one is the beginning and the end of the unqualified possibility-of-being-made, whose singular contraction determines the essence of all things that are actually made. The oneness itself ”is not essence, since it is the Cause of essence, for essence is something caused by it.”[9] As God allows the understanding of all phenomena, he himself cannot be understood entirely. Rather, everything that is understandable is due to the possibility-of-being-made and is a representation of the eternal oneness that precedes understandability. Consequently, nothing fundamental can be learned about the omnipotent one. The true nature of God remains eternally hidden, not because our power to understand will never be sufficient, but because there is simply nothing to recognize. God is not an object of perceptibility. The divine ’’knowledge” of God is gained through ignorance that is the prerequisite for the pursuit of wisdom. Nevertheless, we see God’s order, which is a sign of his government. At least, we realize that ”the Divine Mind creates all things and always harmonizes all things and is the indestructible Cause of the order and harmony of all things.”[10] The confusing ambiguity of our holy wisdom, its helplessness, is not a deficiency but the logical abandonment of pretensions to decrypt the divine origin of all phenomena. Enlightened people, who are educated about the limitations of the conceivability, find peace in the certainty to participate in the order and intention of the universe. All phenomena are integrated in the eternal harmonic organism, in which both reality and potentiality have their origin and which is worthy of praise beyond all limits. This confidence gets its completion by the religious faith in Jesus, who promises immortality of the soul. The humanity in Jesus is not only the unification of the lower with the higher nature, the timeliness with eternity, but simply the humanity of the Creator. We seek wisdom to become immortal. However, no wisdom can free us from death - this is the wrong route to wisdom. True ”wisdom will be wisdom through which that necessity of dying is made into a virtue and will be wisdom which becomes for us a sure and safe passage unto the resurrection of life. This [passage] happens only by the power of Jesus and only for those who remain steadfastly on His pathway.”[11]


[1] N. of Cusa, in NICHOLAS OF CUSA: METAPHYSICAL SPECULATIONS, edited by J. Hopkins (The Arthur J. Banning Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1998) p. 124.

[2] Cf. Hopkins (1998), p. 6.

[3] Cf. Hopkins (1998), p. 6.

[4] Cf. Hopkins (1998), p. 7.

[5] Cf. Hopkins (1998), p. 7.

[6] Cf. Hopkins (1998), p. 7.

[7] Cf. Hopkins (1998), p. 36.

[8] R. B. Griffiths, e-print arXiv:quant-phys/1105.3932v1 (2011).

[9] Cf. Hopkins (1998), p. 115.

[10] Cf. Hopkins (1998), p. 89.

[11] Cf. Hopkins (1998), p. 96.

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Peter Dr. Kleinert (Author), 2011, Pursuit of Wisdom and Quantum Ontology, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/179169


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