A sign on the rim of the Grand Canyon warns, “The Law of Gravity is strictly enforced here.  Six people fell in last year.  Four somehow survived.”


Laws of the Universe express patterns of reality that are perceived to be invariant.  When viewed from different perspectives they come out to be the same.  Laws do not ‘govern.’ They describe.


Laws are the foundation and the bones of metaphysics.  Metaphysics explains things.  It provides descriptions of reality that satisfy.  In formal philosophy, metaphysics is defined as the union of three fields of study:


                       ontology           +          epistemology    +          cosmology

                            be                                     do                             have

                         models                               tools                           data


I was on the telephone with my friend.  He asked me, “what is the use of metaphysics?”  Twelve answers came cascading into my mind, from the taproot of intuition and human experience.


Answer:            “All men by nature desire to know.” – Aristotle


Answer:            Conception leads to perception leads to sensation.  Meta-physics formats and enables experience, which molds scientific reality, social reality, and individual reality, which in turn leads to sanity, health, vitality and growth.


Answer:            The process of finding organizing principles yields energy. “Energy is sweet delight.”


Answer:            The purpose of life is to bring order out of chaos.  Raw experience emanates patterns, laws, and metaphysics.


Answer:            As in the Buddhist wisdom texts, that say to demonstrate the eternal within the context of the temporal.


Answer:            “always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question”    – e.e. cummings


Answer:            “Wisdom is the supreme part of happiness.”– Sophocles


Answer:            You become what you behold.  Studying metaphysics makes you bigger and better.


Answer:            Metaphysics unifies science, psychology and spirituality.


Answer:            Certitude leads to peace of mind.  Certitude can only be found in direct experience and in metaphysics.  It’s addictive.


Answer:            Metaphysics has always engaged the minds of mankind’s finest thinkers – of all times and cultures.


Answer:            Ideas change the world – much more dramatically than genetics.



Consider the joys of wisdom:


Happy the man who discovers wisdom,

   the man who gains discernment:

gaining her is more rewarding than silver,

   more profitable than gold.

She is beyond the price of pearls,

   nothing you could covet is her equal.

In her right hand is length of days;

   in her left hand riches, and honor.

Her ways are delightful ways,

   her paths all lead to contentment.

She is a tree of life for those who hold her fast,

   those who cling to her lead happy lives.

  – Proverbs 3:13-18


Wisdom shows how to live the good life.  And we can define wisdom

as a practical understanding of cosmic law (dynamic invariants) and skill in applying it (intention).


The great trichiliocosm, Sanskrit for the three-fold universe that we find ourselves in, is described in endless detail in the ancient tantras and sutras, the Vedas and the Buddhist wisdom literature.  It consists of the universe of matter, the universe of the mind and ideas, and the even more vast universe of spirit, being, and unmanifest possibilities – potentialities.  Notice that the concept of “power” derives from “potential,” the passive.


Law is pattern, order within chaos, the general (nomothetic) versus the particular (idiographic).  Law is architecture – science, the fourth art, after music, painting, and poetry.


Law is the recognition of realities that are invariant under trans-formations of state.  The Perennial Philosophy is the result of distilling the wisdom that remains after state-dependent, culture-dependent and time-dependent realities have been subtracted.  This subtraction process is called in ancient Sanskrit “niti-niti,” meaning “not this, not this.” William Blake likened it to the process of etching where the vitriol bites out that which is not enduring.  Kaballah says that the meaning of the ten commandments lies not in the letters of the Law burned into the granite, but rather in the free space remaining, outlining the letters.


Invariant means that which everyone can agree upon from different standpoints, and in inner space, that which is the same for you among your many different inner states.  Invariance is contra-disposed to transience, that which is ephemeral, natural, and subject to the cycles of birth and death, ebb and flow.


The French, as always, have an elegant way of saying it – “plus ca change, plus c’est la meme-chose.” The more things change the more they are the same.  Law seeks that which is the same among the myriad things that change.


Invariants are extracted from generalizations, finding patterns in lots of data, finding “habits” embedded in experience, re-cognizing form and color embedded in chaos.  For the philosopher C.S. Peirce, a fundamental quality of mind is its tendency to take habits.  Adopting habits is the foundation of the inexorable trend of technology.


Here is a rich game to play with yourself and with your friends.  I call it “Who am I?”  What in you never changes?  Niti-niti, take away the ever-changing ephemera, traits that are not really you..  What remains at your core?  You arrive at your nucleus, your essence, your temperamental Self, the point at which you bond to the permanent, the eternal.


Science is the systematic search for law, for invariants.  In a like manner, art is also a reach for invariants, both in perception and in expression, that is, in experiential reality.


Science and art involve a search for things that might be understood as states, for things that might be candidates for invariants, and for events that might be understood as transformations.  They are ever-continuing processes converging to an ultimate but never attaining it.  Since laws are universal, the laws of psychology and of spirit can be “lifted” from the laws of physics – and vice-versa.


Horace said, “The play starts in media res,” in the middle of things.  We are ever at ground zero, precisely midway between minus infinity  and plus infinity in every regard.  You are exactly half way.  We know exactly half of everything, and we always will!  The concept of Middle Earth in Nordic cosmology conveys the idea of suspension between heaven and earth, the concept of “now-here” in contrast to “then-there.” There is no then.  There is no there.  There is only here and now.


Csikszentmihalyi, author of the popular book Flow: The Psychology of the Optimal Experience, tells us about a Hungarian village where the local church steeple is known to be the center of the universe.  Blake says that the universe is all you can survey from standing on your housetop – all else is an abstraction.  In Sanskrit, the word loka means, at the same time, your narrow locale as well as your total universe.  You are always in the precise exact center of your horizon.


Experience and evolution, the constructs of time,  are symbolized in the ancient uroboros / Shofar / torus, the eye ever expanding its gaze and con-templating itself, reflexively –



This image seems to be quite contrary to the principle of in media res, that we are always precisely in the middle of things.  From an evolutionary point of view, the universe is expanding at an exponential rate – we are not at all in the center of things.  Rather, we are at the foot of a series of trends where very little has happened in the past as compared to the developments of the near future.  More art, more science, more wisdom, more ideas, more of everything is to be found in our times than has accumulated in all of time up to this date!  Imagine the future, say 10,000 years or 10 billion years from now, when this process has continuously expanded under the influence of networked multi-dimensional positive feedback.  Just think, 99.99...% of everything has not yet been invented!


Every point on the curve of exponential growth has exactly the same quality as any other – the same slope, the same acceleration, the same derivatives, e[exp(x)].  The landscape when viewed from any point is the same – in media res.  Yet the future (as in the figure, the area beneath the curve for positive x), is vastly larger than the entire accumulation of the past –


Laws are the unchanging organizing principles of the universe.  They are patterns that are observed to be invariant under all transformations.  Einstein called his relativity “invariant theory.”


To abstract pattern from chaos requires consummate skill.  Discernment, the ability to discriminate the essential from the inconsequential (by the process of niti-niti), is the faculty to make accurate distinctions. It is the highest attainment of thought.


William Blake said, “The great and golden rule of art, as well as of life, is this: that the more distinct, sharp, and wiry the bounding line, the more perfect the work of art; and the less keen and sharp, the greater is the evidence of weak imitation, plagiarism, and bungling.  The want of this determinate and bounding form evidences the want of idea in the artists mind.  Leave out this line, and you leave out life itself; all is chaos again ... contemptible, dis-arranged imitations, blundering, misapplied copies.”


Before we undertake a balanced treatment of the eight mega-laws of the cosmos, prepare yourself for thinking in a nomothetic way by practicing on a few well-known short laws,  (Nomothetic means general truth, in contrast to idiographic, particular truth).  Each one of these aphorisms will later be seen to be special (specific) cases of more general (generic) principles.



Sharing is a cosmic imperative. 

(In physical form, the law of gravity)




No two alike.

Not two.

(A physical analog is the Pauli Exclusion Principle)

(Advaita Vedanta, mystical union)



Some good comes from bad.


Some bad comes from good. 

(As in the Tao Te Ching)



Primal urge.

(contains the big bang and the ever-expanding universe)



Things change.  All things ebb and flow.  Life and death.  “This too will pass.”

(Nature, Tao)



Some things never change.

(True love, logic, mathematics, great art)



MUST PROCEED! – cummings




Blood is thicker than water. 

(Genetics is stronger than culture)



Order in Nature degrades with time.


Order in life, culture, and consciousness increases with time. 




Luxury is a necessity.  Necessity is a luxury.




Plus ca change plus c’est la meme-chose.




Supply ~ Deprivation.


Demand ~ Supply. 

(In physics, conservation laws)



Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  The beholder is in the eye of beauty.




Bloom where you are planted.

(Every point is the center of the universe)



It is never too late to start a beautiful childhood.




Invention is the mother of necessity.




Male ~ Female.




If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.




Challenge authority.

(As in Talmudic studies, Jacob wrestling with the angel)



“Seek and ye shall find.  Knock and it will be opened unto you.”



And then there are those contrary “isn’t” laws:


Fate isn’t fatal.  Fate is always fatal.


The last word isn’t the last word.


Complete isn’t complete.


Obvious isn’t obvious.


Simple isn’t simple.


Cheap isn’t cheap.


Hold fast doesn’t mean go fast.


Fix the paint so it doesn’t run.

Fix the bike so it runs.


The answer to the problem is there is no problem.



What you want is what you get.  What you get is what you want.




What goes around comes around

(in physics the closed work integral is zero)



Guilt leads to self-defeating.




“Happiness makes up in height for what it lacks in breadth.” – Robert Frost

(and it comes again – the climax)



“Should have” is a sin.




Nothing is just, the unjust said.


Nor un- replied the just.  – cummings




“Nothing is enough to the one for whom enough is too little.” – Epicurus




“The whole is less than the sum of its parts.”




After every ending there is a new beginning.




“Follow your bliss.” – Joseph Campbell




“Nourish the root, enjoy the fruit.” – Maharishi





“All lunches are free.”– Alan Guth

(vacuum energy)



“It takes three to make a child.” – cummings





Take the high road.




God is Love (Sharing) / God is Zero-ing. 

 (nothingness, Advaita Vedanta, Buddhism)



“Where there’s a will there’s a won’t.”

(Newton’s law of action and reaction)


female precedes male (stasis)

learning is better than knowing (stasis)

becoming is better than being (stasis)

living is better than being perfect (stasis)

earth is better than heaven (stasis)

people are better than angels (stasis)


– William James, Maslow


Nature abhors a vacuum. 

(Le Chatlier’s Principle)

The Absolute loves a vacuum.




Knowledge accretes. 

Wisdom does not.




Use it or lose it – sighted salamanders in a cave lose their sight in ten generations – embedded in their DNA!




Anything that can happen will happen, but some things are excluded.

(Bohr, Schroedinger, Pauli)

Any possible event is more or less likely.






The future ain’t what it used to be.




And here are some short laws from that ultimate lawyer, William Blake:


“Joy & woe are woven fine, a clothing for the soul divine”


“He who binds to himself a joy, doth the winged life destroy.
He who kisses it as it flies, lives in Eternity’s sunrise”


“What is it men in women do require?,
the lineaments of gratified Desire.

  What is it women in men do require?,
the lineaments of gratified Desire.”


“For every pleasure money is useless”


“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
and a Heaven in a Wild Flower,

  Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

  and Eternity in an hour.”


From the time of the most ancient Tantra, eight mega-laws have been distilled from the folk wisdom expressed in these aphorisms.  The first four Laws (I to IV) are laws of form, static, grounded in the timeless Absolute.  The second four Laws (V to VIII) are laws of process, dynamic.  They operate in Nature.  There is an interesting parallel here, the laws of Nature, the second four, are isomorphic to the first four, the laws of the Absolute.   As Hermes Trismegistes says, “As above, so below.”


I.    The Law of Nothingness. The beginning of everything and the end of everything is the void.  The power of the void is accessed in meditation, in mystical timeless experience in flowing resonance with Nature.  The whole universe emanated from the void and progresses to the void.  Quantum mechanics shows that society may someday enjoy the boundless energy that can overflow from the fluctuations in the vacuum point.  This Empty place is where we go for purification and rebirth, in meditation and in Life.


II.   The Law of the Progression of Contraries. For everything there is a contrary:  the interplay of Male and Female, Good and Evil, light and darkness, and the Hegelian process of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis,  “Joy and Woe are woven fine, a clothing for the Soul Divine” – William Blake


III.  The Law of Concealment. Most of the universe is unknown to us. 99.99... % of things have not yet been invented.  Life is a mystery.  Our deepest thoughts have not yet been revealed.


IV.  The Law of Revelation. In a flash we see it – the “aha” experience.  The view from Mount Olympus comes into focus.  What once was only hinted at darkly is suddenly, in this luminous moment, perceived in fine detail!  Science, self-knowledge, learning  are progressive revelations.


V.    The Law of Emanation. The acorn becomes an oak.  Love becomes a baby.  An invention becomes a technology, with the support of the Universe.  Invention is the mother of necessity.  Come forth with exuberance.


VI.  The Law of Sustenance.  Life, projects, manifestations, universes are supported through the multifarious things that they need.  We are unaware of most of the things that we need, yet we are innocently sustained by providence.  You get what you need, guaranteed. Live with vigor.  Enjoy your birthright!


VII.  The Law of Dissolution. That which comes forth will eventually withdraw.  All things born will decay and die.  Death is to be celebrated as is birth, they are symmetrical processes.  “Die before you die.”  Die with grace.


VIII.  The Law of Return. Beyond the path from innocence to experience, we come back again innocence in rebirth, bringing with us only the essentials that we choose to carry forward from earlier manifestations.


The following eight chapters explore these principles in more depth.



Cosmic Law Home Page  
How This Book Came to Be III   The Law of Concealment VII  The Law of Dissolution
Introduction IV   The Law of Revelation VIII The Law of Return
I    The Law of Nothingness V    The Law of Emanation Epistemology
II   The Law of the Progression of Contraries VI   The Law of Sustenance Bibliography
Cosmic Law is not copyrighted and has been placed in the public domain by the authors on May 4, 2003.
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