Paying the Piper


In answer to the previous post’s question, Preston Harold once again quotes Sir Arthur Eddington at length…

Attempts to account for this phenomenon follow two main devices which we may describe as the ‘Collection-box” theory and the “sweepstake” theory, respectively. Making no effort to translate them into scientific language, they amount to this: in the first the atom holds a collection-box into which each arriving group of waves pays a very small contribution; when the amount in the box reaches a whole quantum, it enters the atom. In the second [theory] the atom uses the small fraction of a quantum offered to it to buy a ticket in a sweepstake in which the prizes are whole quanta; some of the atoms will win whole quanta which they can absorb, and it is these winning atoms in our retina which tell us of the existence of Sirius…

A phenomenon which seems directly opposed to any kind of collection-box explanation is the photoelectric effect. When light shines on metallic films…free electrons are discharged from the film. They fly away at high speed, and it is possible to measure experimentally their speed or energy. Undoubtedly it is the incident light which provides the energy of these explosions, but the phenomenon is goverened by a remarkable rule. Firstly, the speed of the electrons is not increased by using more powerful light. Concentration of the light produces more explosions but not more powerful explosions. Secondly, the speed is increased by using bluer light, i.e. light of shorter period….

Every electron flying out of the metal has picked up just one quantum from the incident light. Since the h-rule associates the greater energy with the shorter vibration period, bluer light gives the more intense energy. Experiments show that (after deducing a constant “threshold” energy used up in extricating the electron from the film) each electron comes out with a kinetic energy equal to the quantum of incident light.

The film can be prepared in the dark; but on exposure to feeble light electrons immediately begin to fly out before any of the collection-boxes could have been filled by fair means. Nor can we appeal to any trigger action of the light releasing an electron already loaded up with energy for its journey; it is the nature of the light which settles the amount of the load. The light calls the tune, therefore the light must pay the piper.

Harold then comments:

An ancient could convey all of this only by making a symbol of himself to show it. Jesus “radiated” His realization to speed the expansion of consciousness in a brief, intense effort – as symbol of light, “bluer, of shorter period.” As light’s symbol, having settled the amount of the load on the elect-ones, He, Himself, paid the piper. But there is more to the story of h and to the parallel that Jesus’ drama presents.

We will continue to explore this continuing saga in our next installment. Until then, peace.

Light’s Single Action

We will delve right into Preston Harold’s statements regarding Jesus and h:

…if an ancient were trying to state the case of h, how could he have done it? If he could utter but one word to give evidence of his grasp of h, then that word must be, “single,” singularity expressed in such a way that it would be true at every way. Jesus said: “The light of the body is in the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” These poetic words reflect light’s single action, relate light and singular behavior in its absorption – and they also present truth in another field: strangely enough surgeons now know that the cornea is the single bit of flesh that may readily be transplanted and truly grow into man’s body, so that its singularity bespeaks the sameness of one.

One can’t help but think here also of the “third eye,” also known as the ajna chakra in Hindu philosophy. The effects of this eye becoming active are a sense of oneness and connection amongst everything, therefore reinforcing the concept of singularity.


But Jesus, Himself, had to symbolize h, the one atom of action that coheres as one unit in the process of radiation, single (as He remained), an indivisible likeness to One, bespeaking a unity that overleaps space, a unity He called the same, without reservation, in every man for each hath one. He could do no more than present a clue as to the dimension of His realization – He did not attempt to state it in full: I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” How could His disciples bear to generations unborn more than poetry of the quantum, enveloped in Jesus’ drama and in the one singularly expressed reference to light’s absorption. How is it managed?

We will explore this question in our next post. Until then, peace.

The Elemental Unit

In order to set the stage for the rest of chapter 7, we must explore in depth the concept of the elemental unit of energy, h. Preston Harold writes:

In physics, the might, magnificence, and yet exquisite delicacy of the control of one is come upon when man encounters, as he must at every turn, h, an elemental unit of energy: .00000000000000000000000000655 erg-seconds. The erg is the unit of energy, the second is the unit of time, h is of the nature of energy multiplied by time.

Harold then goes on to cite Sir Arthur Eddington. I will quote Eddington at length:

Evidently h is a kind of atom – something which coheres as one unit in the process of radiation; it is not an atom of matter but an atom or, as we usually call it, a quantum of the more elusive entity in action. Whereas there are [103] different kinds of material atoms there is only one quantum of action – the same whatever the material it is associated with…. You might perhaps think that there must be some qualitative difference between the quantum of red light and the quantum of blue light, although both contain the same number of erg-seconds.; but the apparent difference is only relative to a frame of space and time and does not concern the absolute lump of action…


The indivisible units in the shuffling of energy are the quanta. By radiation, absorption and scattering energy is shuffled among the different receptacles in matter and aether, but only a whole quantum passes at each step…

The paradoxical nature of the quantum is that although it is indivisible it does not hang together. We examined first a case in which a quantity of energy was obviously cohering together, viz. an electron, but we did not find h; then we turned our attention to a case in which the energy was obviously dissolving away through space, viz. light-waves, and immediately h appeared. The atom of action seems to have no coherence in space; it has a unity which overlaps space. How can such a unity be made to appear in our picture of a world extended through space ad time?

The pursuit of the quantum leads to many surprises; but probably none is more outrageous to our preconceptions than the regathering of light and other radiant energy into h-units, when all the classical pictures show it to be dispersing more and more.

Consider the light-waves which are the result of a single emission by a single atom on the star Sirius. These bear away a certain amount of energy endowed with a certain period, and the product of the two is h. The period is carried by the waves without change, but the energy spreads out in an ever-widening circle. Eight years and nine months after the emission the wave-front is due to reach the earth. A few minutes before the arrival some person takes it into his head to go out and admire the glories of the heavens and – in short – to stick his eye in the way. The light waves when they started could have had no notion that they were going to hit; for all they knew they were bound on a journey through endless space, as most of their colleagues were. Their energy would seem to be dissipated beyond recovery over a sphere of 50 billion miles’ radius. And yet, if that energy is ever to enter matter again, if it is to work those chemical changes in the retina which give rise to the sensation of light, it must enter as a single quantum of action h….


Just as the emitting atom regardless of all laws of classical physics is determined that whatever goes out of it shall be just h, so the receiving atom is determined that whatever comes into it shall be just h. Not all the light-waves pass by without entering the eye; for somehow we are able to see Sirius. How is it managed?

So how would Jesus express these words of Eddington concerning h over 2000 years ago? We will look at that challenge in our next installment. Until then, peace.