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Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Unity of Psyche and World

Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology, (1875-1961) was deeply interested in establishing a scientific foundation for his psychological theories regarding the nature and dynamics of the psyche, which is the mind, soul, or spirit, as opposed to the body. Through collaboration with Wolfgang Pauli and Werner Heisenberg, Jung intuitively sought to establish a parallelism between psychic processes and the physical world by applying emerging theoretical concepts of quantum physics to his analytical psychology.Wolfgang Pauli, a prominent co-founder of quantum physics, first met Jung in 1930 and for the following twenty-six years they corresponded with each other exploring the relationship that they believed existed between analytical psychology and quantum physics. In 1952, Jung and Pauli published their initial findings in a book entitled The Interpretation of Nature and the Psyche.Pauli, who was born in Austria and held the chair of theoretical physics in Zurich Switzerland by the age of twenty-eight. He moved to the United States in 1940 where he accepted the position of Professor of Theoretical Physics at Princeton. In 1945, Pauli received the Nobel Prize for his discovery of the exclusion principle which was an important breakthrough in the developments of both quantum physics and chemistry.Both Pauli and Jung were deeply interested in exploring the interface between spirit and matter. Through their lengthily collaboration they came to believe that the realm of the psyche (spirit) and physis, the realm of matter, were complementary aspects of a fundamental transcendental reality which Jung called the Unus Mundus. . The term unus mundus is an ancient alchemical concept borrowed by Jung to described a level of potential reality in which psyche and matter form a single undifferentiated unity, which Jung referred to as a psychoid. He perceived it as the potential world of the first day of creation - a transcendental psychophysical stratum underlying all physical and psychological phenomena Jung's concept of synchronicity was developed during his collaboration with Pauli. Although the experiential world we live in appears divided between inner and outer events, these different events can manifest as a single synchronistic event in which this duality no longer exists. Jung in his writings gives many examples of synchronicity in which inner and outer events are intricately interwoven. One example is the case of a falling chandelier, an occurrence which accurately corresponded to what was subjectively happening within the individual experiencing it at that time. Jung believed that all synchronistic events originated in the deeper levels of the collective unconscious, or the unus mundus.

Another important psychophysical concept was the Archetypes, which are the universal patterns that shape all of our experiences. They are not just organizing structures in the mind which organize our images and ideas but they also organize the structure and transformation of matter and energy as well. An archetype possesses a fundamental unity: it has both a psychic and physical structure simultaneously acting in both realms not only during synchronistic events but during normal perception as well. If this were not the case we would not be able to perceptually experience anything at all.

Archetypes and Number
Because mathematics reflects the order of the unus mundus, it solves the profound mystery of how it is that mathematics, which is a phenomenon of the mind, should prove so remarkably effective in representing phenomena occurring the the physical world.

The early Greeks were aware that everything that exists exhibit patterns of order that can be represented mathematically. The quantitative rules they discovered were called 'principles' such as the principle of hydraulics. Pythagoras, and more recently Isaac Newton and John Stewart Mill, have all argued that number, upon which the universe is based, is fundamentally real and exists independently of consciousness. However, others, including Immanuel Kant, H. Grassmann and H. Henkel, suggested that mathematical formula are merely mental constructs which are not inherently present within the physical world at all.

Lawrence LeShan, in his book Alternative Realities (1976) classifies mathematical symbols as functional entities that exist only insofar as someone is using them. LeShan asks, "Where does a decimal point go when we are not using it?" The philosopher Wittgenstein, when asked what a mathematical point was, replied that it was a place to start an argument - implying that it was functional rather than structural in nature as a mathematical point has no length, breadth or thickness. He warns us that we should not confuse the mathematical concepts with the reality they are given to represent.

Many believe that although there is a correlation between mathematical relationships and the laws of nature, there are no mathematical laws without mind. Mathematics is merely another way of describing reality which we happen to find useful. Mathematical entities such as the square-root of minus one, are not attributes inherent in the external world. Rather they are merely inventions of human thought and imagination projected upon the world - without realizing that it is the mathematical mind that has put them there in the first place.

Jung stressed the mathematical nature of archetypes but it was Marie-Louise von Franz (1915-1998) a close associate of his, that explored the nature of 'number archetypes' as dynamical ordering factors active in both psyche and matter. In her book Number and Time, von Franz concluded that the same number archetypes underlie both mental images and the physical objects they are given to represent. In other words, a psychophysical reality existed in which the same mathematical order was actively present in both the psychological and physical domains.

The Mystery of Perception
According to the representational theory of perception, which includes contemporary neuroscience, we do not have direct perceptual access to the external world of physical objects and events. It is believed that what we actually experience are the subjective sensations that the brain creates in response to an influx of physical sense data. For example, light reflected and emitted from a physical object falling onto the retina of the eye is translated into a neural code that the brain interprets to create a perceptual representation of an external world.

However, if we do not directly perceive an objective world but only experience a mental representation of it constructed from the brain's interpretation of incoming sense data, then the images comprising that representation, in order to accurately represent the nature of the external world, must be governed by the same environmental constraints and functional properties that we normally attribute to physical objects, such as spatial depth, motion and rotation as well as environmental forces such as gravity as well.

The Environmental Invariants Hypothesis
Roger Newland Shepard, a cognitive scientist and author of Towards a Universal Law of Generalization for Psychological Science was one of the first scientists to explore the mental constraints and their relationship to the structure of the physical world. Shepard wondered - how is it possible for an organism to accurately interpret often incomplete and ambiguous sense data in order to create an accurate perceptual experience of the external world? He suggested that the perceiving mind is only able to do this because it reflects the very same principles that govern the universe as a result of internalizing environmental regularities through an evolutionary process.

The Environmental Invariants Hypothesis claims that governing principles inherent in the laws of physics, such as spatiality, momentum, gravity, friction and centripetal force etc., found in the physical environment, are also actively present in the mental imagery comprising our perception of an experiential world. That is, our mental representation of the physical world is regulated by the very same governing principles that apply to the physical environment.

For Shepard, we could not perceive an external world if an isomorphic congruency did not exist between external physical objects and the perceptual images we have of them. By experimentally manipulating mental images, Shepard and other researchers have established credible evidence that such a relationship does exist and that our mental imagery is subject to the same universal constraints that regulate the physical universe In the following sections we will explore this psychophysical congruency in greater detail..

The Thought Experiments of Telsa NikolaTelsa Nikola (1857-1943) was an amazing man, who it is said, invented the twentieth century single handedly. Telsa revolutionized electrical technology with his development of alternating electrical current and the subsequent development of the AC motor and generator, which formed the basis of the electrical system upon which our modern civilization depends.

But most importantly were Telsa’s experiences of 'light', his profound visions, and his deep awareness of a spiritual reality. Most remarkable was his ability to visualize, design and actually run his experiments in his own mind. Telsa described this ability in the following way:

To my delight, I found I could visualize with the greatest facility. I need no models, drawings, or experiments. I could picture them all in my mind. Before I put a sketch on paper the whole thing is worked out mentally. In my mind, I changed the construction, make improvements and even operate the device. Without ever having drawn a sketch I can give the measurements of all the parts to workmen and when completed all of these parts will fit. It is immaterial to me whether I run my machine in my mind or test it in my shop. The inventions I have conceived in this way have always worked with not a single exception in thirty years.

Telsa was able to use his imagination to create and test his inventions before they were physically constructed, which proved to be identical both in functional design and measurements. This suggests that the distinction we habitually make between the nature of inner images and the physical objects they represent is entirely unwarranted. The only way Telsa could successfully test an invention in his mind is if it behaved exactly the same way as an actual physical model would function in his shop - that is, if they both obeyed the same regulatory constraints and universal laws and principles that govern the physical world. One of the ways in which you can directly observe the psychophysical nature of inner images for yourself is by observing the spatial characteristics of hypnagogic imagery.

Exploring the Spatial Properties of Images
The practice of perceiving hypnagogic images, which are perceptible during that period of drowsiness between wakefulness and sleep, is one of the best ways to begin to understand how our perception of a space-time world is mentally constructed. Just before falling to sleep, pay attention to the blackness that you see when you first close your eyes and simply take time to watch these inner images develop, giving them your full attention until an emerging image is fully formed. It is important to remain in a relaxed state and simply observe these images emerging from the unconscious without interfering with their development in any way. It has been found helpful if there is a dim light source available, perhaps through a window or from another room. If you persevere, you will reach a point where the image will appear three-dimensionally and perceptible with your eyes either open or closed. For example, one of my early experiences was the perception of an exquisite piece of black and gold furniture of Persian design, which I believe actually existed in the past. It appeared three-dimensionally in the room conveying a sense of presence and grandeur that transcended any dream experience.

Hypnagogic images have a tendency to exteriorize themselves by escaping from the inner realm and appearing very real in objective three-dimensional space. They could be images of almost anything, from objects and events from the past or future or they could represent something that presently exists. However, if these images are not confined to our physical space-time dimension, in what sense can we claim that they are real? For example, if someone sees an image of someone who has passed on, does it mean that this individual still exists in some spiritual dimension or is the image simply imaginary or a memory from the past?

Although these dreamlike images emerge from the unconscious mind, this does not necessarily mean that they are meaningless figments of the imagination, completely unrelated to the physical world we live in. Just as the images we perceive through the physical senses can arise in response to some objective physical reality, so also do inner images arise in response to the influence of a psychic reality that reflects the experiential world that we live in.

Photographing Mental Images
The phenomena of Thoughtography clearly demonstrates that exteriorized mental images can physically interact with photographic film. As far back as 1910, Tomokichi Fukurai in Japan was scientifically investigating pictures produced by the mind. He was able to capture very clear thought-images transferred directly to dry photographic plates that were securely wrapped and handled under scientifically controlled conditions.

In 1963, Jule Eisenbud, a Professor of psychiatry at the Medical School in Denver, happened to meet a very gifted forty-five year old psychic by the name of Ted Serios who was living in Chicago at the time. During the following three years, Eisenbud investigated and proved beyond any reasonable doubt that Serios could repeatedly produce recognizable mental images of distant buildings, landscapes and objects, simply by staring into a Polaroid camera. This was done in front of many reputable witnesses under the strictest experimental controls, which prohibited Ted from ever touching the camera. Yet he was able to produced hundreds of recognizable pictures simply by imaginatively projecting these mental images that appeared on the developed photographic film.

In an experiment conducted in the early 1960's by the Delawarr Laboratories in Oxford, England, a mental image of an aluminum jack knife appearing on a photographic emulsion was analyzed and found to contain aluminum atoms in the photographic emulsion. As aluminum is not normally present in photographic film, the questions becomes - how did the aluminum atoms get there? Could it be that if we set aside for a moment the concept of mass that we would find that mental images and physical objects share to some degree the same energy patterns? If so, then the photographed mental image of the jack knife and its physical manifestation as an actual object are merely two different versions of the same thing, each sharing the same archetypal energy pattern but exhibiting different degrees of embodiment or mass. While material objects have a measurable mass, mental images are different: they are similar to photons of light as they both have zero rest mass but are able to acquire a 'relativistic mass' which increases with observed speed and is dependent upon a particular frame of reference.

We can therefore begin to envision how a subjective image can physically affect a photographic film, or conversely, how a physical object can appear as a mental image in the mind. As they are merely different manifestations of the same underlying archetypal energy pattern, they can appear in one form or the other. This fact provides us with some insight as to how Sathya Sai Baba a Hindu guru, is reportedly able to materialize physical objects out of thin air.

One of the original pioneers in this research was Dr. Ruth Drown, a medical practitioner, who produced pictures of events taking place at a distance. In 1939 experimenting with equipment designed by Dr. Abrams, she was able to produce a photograph of a patient's affected organ and later produced a picture in her laboratory in the USA of a surgical operation occurring in a hospital in London England. This was the beginning of what is now known as Radionics, which was further developed during the 1950's by George De La Warr of Delawarr Laboratories in Oxford, England. An interesting experiment conducted in this lab involved the use of a photographic negative of a field plot that was infested with insects. Using a specially designed radionics instrument, this photographic negative was exposed to a magnetic field that was adjusted to duplicate a specific archetypal energy pattern which affected only the selected field plot, effectively eliminating the infestation of insects that previously had been there.

The Nature of Reality
Reality consists of patterns of mind and patterns of matter, which are complementary, each reflecting the other. We cannot separate these psychophysical patterns because they resemble the wave-particle duality of light, being merely different aspects of the same thing. As a result of this isomorphism existing between objects and images it is no wonder that we have difficulty distinguishing between the nature of the objective world and the mental images that comprise our perception of it.

As we have seen from our review of the Environmental Invariants Hypothesis, mental images behave within one's mind just as physical objects do in the external world. That is because they are both subject to the same universal constraints such as spatiality, momentum, gravity, friction and centripetal force, influencing their functional attributes.

As Telsa's physical and mental prototypes of his inventions were found to function in an identical way, the similarity between inner and objective events suggests an inherent unity of psyche and world. By looking within, the clairvoyant is able to perceive the same external world that is normally accessible through the physical senses. In fact, if both our spiritual and physical cognitive faculties were not so closely integrated during normal perception we would not be able to perceive anything at all.

The Unity of Psyche and World
Jung perceived the archetypes as merely having a 'potential' existence until actualized by an act of observation; a principle that applies equally to both quantum physics and psychology. Just as consciousness manifest from a virtual sea of 'psychic probabilities' inherent in the archetypes of the collective unconscious, so also does the material world manifest from a virtual sea of 'quantum probabilities' inherent in the quantum wave-function. As archetypes and wave functions share many similar characteristics this suggests that they are merely different perspectives of the same underlying reality. Victor Mansfield, professor of physics and astronomy at Colgate University, Hamilton NY., provides an in-depth analysis of these similarities in his book: Synchronicity, Science and Soul Making.

For Jung, the psychophysical correlation underlying perception could be explained by the fact that perceived images manifesting in the mind and the existence of something in the objective world giving rise to that experience, comprise a single event orchestrated from the same archetypal source. The physical manifestation of photons, for example, and their conscious appearance as a sensation of light are not disconnected events but merely two different aspects of the same thing.

Both the virtual energy from the quantum vacuum manifesting as the physical world and the subjective archetypal images representing that objective world are not something permanent, that is, they are not always immediately present in space and time. Rather they are both continually being created, appearing and disappearing in multi-fractions of a second. Consciousness is just as discontinuous in time as the appearance of the material world. Both appear in a state of participatory harmony from a virtual sea of potential existence which Jung called the unus mundus and Bohm referred to as the 'implicate order'. This is why our perceptual experience of an external world is always so immediately present to us; it is because what the world and the mind contribute to our perceptual experience becomes so imperceptibly blended that we cannot consciously separate them.

Although this article merely serves as an introduction to a very complex subject, other articles in the future will explore the unity of 'psyche and world' or 'spirit and matter' in greater detail. In closing, I would like to include an insightful quotation from Spinoza, a Dutch philosopher living in the 17th century: "It is never we who affirm or deny something of a thing, but it is the thing itself that affirms or denies in us something of itself. It is only by transcending the subject-object antithesis that man enters into his heritage and comes at last to be at home in the universe".


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