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  • Writer's pictureJohn Hernandez

The One Thing and the Field of Potentiality


The ancient practice of alchemy has captivated the minds of scholars and mystics for centuries. At its core lies the elusive concept of the One Thing – a universal substance or force believed to hold the key to all transformations. While alchemy may seem far removed from modern scientific thought, its idea of the One Thing bears a striking resemblance to the concept of potentiality in contemporary fields such as quantum physics and philosophy. In this blog, we will explore how the alchemical idea of the One Thing is related to the field of potentiality.

The Alchemical Quest for the One Thing:

Alchemy emerged as an esoteric pursuit to transmute base metals into gold and to unlock the elixir of what is possible and even, seemingly impossible. Central to this endeavor was the search for the

– the One Thing or the original substance that underlies all existence. Alchemists believed that by understanding and harnessing this primal essence, they could achieve profound transformations on the material/psychological and spiritual planes.

Potentiality in Modern Physics:

Fast forward to the realm of modern physics, and we encounter a similar notion known as potentiality. In quantum mechanics, potentiality refers to the idea that particles and systems do not have definite states until they are observed. Instead, they exist in a superposition of all

possible states, with the act of measurement collapsing the wave function and determining the actual outcome.

Furthermore, quantum physicists propose the existence of a vast field of potentiality that encompasses all possibilities. This field, often called the quantum field, gives rise to particles and their interactions. Like the Prima Materia, it is an underlying and all-encompassing medium from which the universe emerges. (As seen in many creation myths throughout the world)

Prima Materia Photo by John Hernandez, black soil of the Nile often associated with the Prime Materia or "Al-Khem"

The Connection:

The connection between the alchemical One Thing and the field of potentiality is rooted in their shared essence as the foundation of existence. Both concepts imply an undifferentiated and boundless source from which everything arises.

Moreover, alchemy's focus on transformation aligns with the dynamic nature of potentiality. The One Thing's malleability and adaptability resonate with the idea that the quantum field holds the potential for infinite outcomes, waiting to manifest when observed or influenced.

Beyond the Physical:

While the alchemical One Thing primarily delved into material transformations, its connection to potentiality reaches beyond the physical realm. In the realm of psychology and personal development, the concept of potentiality suggests that individuals have vast untapped abilities and possibilities within them. This idea aligns with the alchemical pursuit of self-transformation and enlightenment.

The One Thing and potentiality share an association with the interconnection of all things. Alchemists often spoke of the "As above, so below" principle, positing that microcosm reflects macrocosm. (Sourced from the Emerald Tablet) Similarly, the field of potentiality implies entanglement – the phenomenon where particles remain connected regardless of distance, hinting at the interdependence of all existence.


In conclusion, the alchemical idea of the One Thing and the field of potentiality share a profound connection that transcends time and disciplinary boundaries. The quest for the Prima Materia and the study of potentiality in modern physics both seek to uncover the underlying essence of existence and its transformative power. As we explore the mysteries of the universe, it is fascinating to witness how ancient wisdom and contemporary thought intertwine, hinting at a deeper truth that unites us all. Whether it be the Philosopher's Stone or the quantum field, the pursuit of understanding the One Thing and the realm of potentiality continues to captivate the human spirit.

Field of Potentiality Photo by John Hernandez Tomb of Nefertiri Valley of the Queens Egypt



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