Thousands of years ago the idea of atoms was proposed. Ancient Hindus and then Buddhists wrote and taught about atoms, as did the Greeks. Reduced to smaller and smaller particles, physical material eventually became too small to be seen physically, so the existence of atoms was inferred.
Not verified by science until relatively recently, the atom and the components of the atom – electrons, and a nucleus of protons and neutrons – can now be observed by advanced technology. Protons and neutrons were further reduced into up and down quarks, and current efforts are focused on finding out what quarks are made of.
Quarks seem to be made of nothing at all. They have no dimension, so there is nothing to split and nothing to measure. The quark, the constituent of all matter, is not matter at all, but just a bound energetic point in space. What creates and sustains quark existence is unknown. The large Hadron collider in Europe was built to try to answer this question.
At our level of existence material things seem solid and real, but underlying everything is energetic space. The atom is mostly space; a pinhead in the middle of a football field is an accurate analogy to the nucleus of an atom and the electrons that circulate around it. Rocks are space, trees are space, frogs are space and we are space. Our thoughts and dreams are space; everything we know is space within space.
We and other things are particular types of space, bound by a force that cannot yet be found. Great effort is being made to find the Higgs Particle, sometimes called the “God Particle” because some believe it is a force that imparts mass and existence to all other particles. The Higgs Particle is also known as a Higg’s Field, because at the quantum level particles also manifest as waves and fields. Assuming that the Higg’s Particle is found, it does not mean that our search for understanding existence is completed. The question will then be how does the Higg’s Particle and Higg’s Field come to be?
One might ask, “Who cares? What does any of this have to do with the price of eggs?” That’s a legitimate question. Even if we answer the toughest questions, the challenge of being alive and making our way through life will not be solved by philosophy or science. At a basic level, human life consists of putting one foot in front of the other, working with each moment as it arises, Higg’s Particle notwithstanding. But that’s the simple view.
The subtler view is: what truth guides our actions, the meaning we find or do not find, in life? If the true nature of our seemingly solid existence is bound energy of space, is it possible to feel that binding force? With concentration one can feel one’s heartbeat, sense energy moving through and around the body, even play with the energy that surrounds us. The force that binds works with us and through us – is the essence of existence and the essence of life.
Can we taste our own tongue? Placing one foot in front of the next as we walk, intentionally moving as bound energetic space within space, we can experience great wisdom, but are simply too distracted to recognize the magic of that moment.