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The Laws of Causality and… Synchronicity

21 Jun

Human opinions are children’s toysHeraclitus

All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and hold this must minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a consciousness and intelligent Mind. This Mind is the matrix of all matter. – Max Planck, Nobel Prize speech in 1944.

Oswald Spengler (1880-1936) gave a vivid account of the causal thinking that we, humans, are proud of.

 With his hand, his weapon, and his personal thinking man became creative. All that animals do remains inside the limits of their genus-activity   and does not enrich life at all. Man, however, the creative animal, has spread   such a wealth of inventive thought There is already activity in the existence of the animals, but deeds begin only with Man.   Nothing is more enlightening in this connexion than the story of fire. Man   sees (cause and effect) how a fire starts, and so also do many of the beasts. But Man alone (end and means) thinks out a process   of starting it. No other act so impresses us with the sense of creation as this one. One of the most uncanny, violent, enigmatic phenomena   of Nature — lightning, forest fire, volcano — is henceforth called into   life by Man and action all over the world that he seems perfectly   entitled to call his brief history “world-history” and to regard his entourage as “humanity,”   with all the rest of Nature as a background, an object, and a means.The act of   the thinking hand we call a deed. himself, against Nature. What it must have been to man’s soul, that first   sight of a fire evoked by himself! – Oswald Spengler [1]

The discovery of fire is the first instance when humankind understood the cause and effect kind of law, and from that moment this law serve as a guide to us. Quite interestingly, fire was discovered by human species well before what previously was thought. Researchers recently discovered evidence of human use of fire dating back about 1 million years ago, in the Wonderwerk Cave, in South Africa, a massive cavern located near the edge of the Kalahari Desert.

Every problem contains its own solution, and it is part of human life to be repeatedly confronted with sources of difficulties that requires a solution. In fact, these situations are the ones that keep us alert, sharpens our senses and challenges our rational mind.

We live in a materialistic world bound by a narrow logic, and constrained “physical laws” that restrain the appealing of the mysterious in us.

The usual causal thinking follows a linear trail, where events A,B,C follow one after the other, C takes place because of B, and B is due to A. Jung hypothesized that causal effects have place with transmission of energy from cause to effect. However, there are some effects that apparently occur without Exchange of energy, and the event was called acausal by Carl Jung. A well-known physical effect representing an acausal effect is the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen effect, which is also a non-local effect.

I am therefore using the general concept of synchronicity in the special sense of a coincidence in time of two or more causally unrelated events which have the same or similar meaning…Synchronicity therefore means the simultaneous occurrence of a certain psychic state with one or more external events which appears as meaningful parallels to the momentary subjective state-and, in certain cases, vice-versa. – Carl Jung, p. 251 Ref. [3].

Chinese philosophy thought occurrence of events differently from us. We usually ask: what causes this? Classic chinese texts ask: what likes to occur with what?…

But there is mysterious and inexplicable coincidences in our lives that we feel are full of meaning, although we don’t understand if we follow the stringent logic of reason, as teached by Aristotle and others in the West. These coincidences are what Carl Jung called “meaningful coincidences”, James Joyce’s “epiphanies”, and those that experienced them (and we all did) feel as they are occasions when a bridge are formed in order to connect the inner and outer worlds. We quote now the very funny text wrote by James Joyce and entitled “Stephen Hero” where he gave his definition of epiphany {FN1}:

He [Stephen Hero] was passing through Eccles’ St one evening, one misty evening, with all these thoughts dancing the dance of unrest in his brain when a trivial incident set him composing some ardent verses which he entitled a “villanelle of the Temptress.” A young lady was standing on the steps of one of those brown brick houses which seem the very incarnation of Irish paralysis. A young gentleman was leaning on the rusty railings of the area. Stephen as he passed on his quest heard the following fragment of colloquy out of which he received an impression keen enough to afflict his sensitiveness very severely.

The Young Lady-(drawling discreetly) … 0, yes … I was … at the … cha … pel …

The Young Gentleman- (inaudibly) … I … (again inaudibly) … I …

The Young Lady-(softly) … 0 … but you’re … ve … ry … wick … ed .

This trivialit*y made him think of collecting many such moments together in a book of epiphanies. By an epiphany he meant ‘ a sudden spiritual manifestation, whether in the vulgarity of speech or of gesture or in a memorable phase of the mind itself. He believed that it was for the man of letters to record these epiphanies with extreme care, seeing that they themselves are the most delicate and evanescent of moments. He told Cranly that the clock of the Ballast Office was capable of an epiphany. Cranly questioned the inscrutable dial of the Ballast Office with his no less inscrutable countenance:

-Yes, said Stephen. I will pass it time after time, allude to it, refer to it, catch a glimpse of it. It is only an item in the catalogue of Dublin’s street furniture. Then all at once I see it and I know at once what it is: epiphany.


-Imagine my glimpses at that clock as the gropings of a spiritual eye which seeks to adjust its vision to an exact focus. The moment the focus is reached the object is epiphanised. It is just in this epiphany that I find the third, the supreme quality of beauty.

-Yes? said Cranly absently.

What we see here, is the apparent lack of rational explanation in terms of the usual methods that are currently teached in school, in terms of causal links and connections that hide a fabric of underlying patterns where the mental and the material coincide in what seems to be connectors with potential to transform our lives. The transformative power of synchronicities led the outstanding physicist Wolfgang Pauli to explore the deep connections between the psyche and matter in the book “Resurrection of Spirit within the World of Matter” [2]{3}.

Why a great physicist, as Wolfgang Pauli was, become interested in Synchronicity and the role of the psychic life, may be found in the tragedy that attained him when his mother committed suicide, after knowing about his father’s infidelity. This tragedy accompanied Pauli all his entire life, and the series of dreams that so much have perturbed him, lead him to Carl Jung, and from the therapeutics sessions he had with Jung, it followed an intense collaboration and sharing of thoughts about these matters, that culminated in Jung’s book “Psychology and Alchemy”. One recurrent dream that Pauli had, called “The World Clock”. Pauli recurrently saw two clocks with a common axis, but one clock was at 90 degrees with other, connecting two different patterns of movement, and apparently showing a link between the real time and the complex time, since complex numbers can be represented since Euler, Wessel and D’Argand in a kind of Cartesian frame where the Ox axis represents real numbers and the Oy axis the complex numbers (see Complex Plane).

Wolfgang Pauli 45's birthday.

Wolfgang Pauli 45’s birthday.

Pauli’s mind was full of strange dreams that reflect his deep interest about all this world we are living in. He was deeply interest in a dimensionless constant of physics that is near the cabalistic number “137” (the fine-structure constant representing the coupling of light to matter). We may say here that Pauli was na outstanding physicist, maybe greater than Albert Einstein, but instead to be willing at the front with other succesful physicists, he choose to stay behind, thinking and giving ideas to others. He died in a hospital room number 137…

Another strange dream that was reported about Pauli involves a Persian figure. Pauli asks: “Are you my shadow?” The Persian replies: “I am between you and the light, hence you are my shadow. Not the other way around.” Pauli: “Are you studying physics?” The Persian: “Your language thereof is too difficult for me, but in my language you would not understand physics.”{4}

As David Peat wrote in his inspiring book “Synchronicity: the Bridge between Matter and Mind and the Resurrection of Spirit in the World” [4]:

The universe was perceived not so much in terms of separately distinct objects connected by forces but through sympathies, influences, humors, resonances and patterns that belong together. It was not that movements of the planets causally influenced events on earth, but that an essential harmony was maintained between the patterns of heaven and earth. Within such a world-view, synchronicity is perfectly natural.

The concept of Causal relationships implies a linear concept of time, introduced with the rise of banking and commerce, when lending money implies accumulating interest. With the Renaissance, all other concepts of time (including the idea of a circular time, the eternal return) were definitively banned, and replaced with a “time” used for prediction, control, accumulation rates, and wealth. With this time it followed the concept of biological evolution (Krishnamurty and David Bohm they don’t believe on this concept, see important interview), and the general idea that pervades our societies that linear time lead us all to progress.

It is progressively clear that Science is not serving humanity the way it should. Since the Atomic Bombs and the horror provoked in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Cold War and its sequels, the use of science (including fractal geometries) to finance that ultimately led us to the bankruptcy, and the end of the dream, the use of technology to submit man to powerful people who the only good they seek is money and power, is not a good asset for our future. Scientists must depart in a new journey, developing a new Science where the soul and qualities are treated  equally, finishing with the general mechanistic view, and thinking about what kind of Science is good for all of us. Otherwise, Science risks to become a real danger, or at minimum no more an interesting subject with important outcomes for Society (for example, David Bohm and even Einstein, they wouldn’t choose the same profession, if reborn). In a way, I believe that a new Era for humanity is already beginning, scientists (including me) are committed to explore new paths, aiming to serve humanity, helping us to more deeply what means to be a human being, and for what purpose we are here on this little planet.

We recall here Pauli, again, as reported in his autobiography by the brilliant Dutch theoretician H.B.G. Casimir who discover an important proof of the existence of the vacuum as having an internal structure: “We are living in curious times. Christianity has lost its grip on humanity. Other times should come. I think that I know, what will come. I know it quite certain. But I won’t tell anyone, because otherwise they will think that I am crazy.”


[1] Oswald Spengler, Man and Technic

[2] David Peat, Synchronicity

[3] Jung and the Postmodern: the interpretation of Realities, by Christopher Hauke

[4] “Synchronicity: the Bridge between Matter and Mind and the Resurrection of Spirit in the World”, by F. David Peat, Edited by Robert jon Religa

[5] H.B.G. Casimir, Haphazard Reality: Half a Century of Science, 1984, Harper Collins.


{1} Hot Find! Humans Used Fire 1 Million Years Ago, Charles Choi, LiveScience Contributor

{2} Excerpt of James Joyce’s Stephen Hero.

{3} Listen to Sting, singing together with The Polices, the theme Synchronicity

{4} Towards One World

Pataphysics: the beginning of a new science…

13 Feb

All mankind have an instinctive desire of knowledge. This illustrated by our enjoyment of our sense-perceptions. – Aristotles, in his first book on Methaphysics.

“Blind and unwavering undisciplined at all times constitutes the real strength of all free men.” – Alfred Jarry (1873 to 1907)

“Duration is the transformation of a succession into a reversion. In other words: THE BECOMING OF A MEMORY.” – Alfred Jarry (1873 to 1907) from How to Construct a Time Machine

“God is the tangential point between zero and infinity.” – Alfred Jarry (1873 to 1907)

Aristotles wrote fourteen books on the ultimate conceptions of philosophy. In fact, he entitled the books with the word “the lectures that come after the lectures on Physics”  (the lectures on Physics are composed by eight books). He dedicated his thoughts about being, what is a being in regard to its existence, independently of any secondary quality that may qualify it. The name “Metaphysics” was given by the editor of his works on first philosophy, because they appear after the researches done on the physical world.

Aristotle school at Athens, in a fresco painted by Rafael, located at the Apostolic Palace, Vatican city. Image credit: wikipedia

Aristotles understood that just searching around the physical world would not give to him any clue about the universe and the being, about the essential attributes of the existence. Mathematics and Physics, only treat the laws of the universe based on ideal assumptions: line, points, plane, space, time. But the meaning of them are not enough to approach a functional understanding of life, its purpose, and the marvellous meaning of Being and Time. One wonderful example of thinking can be witnessed in this video with Martin Heidegger talking about his understanding of what is a being and our relationship with it.

The problem of being is not only philosophical, it should be also a concern to physicists (how matter is created locally, how the universe appeared apparently from nothing, from a Big Bang?…). This is well stated by William James: “How comes the world to be here at all instead of the nonentity which might be imagined in its place? … from nothing to being there is no logical bridge.”

But nobody could imagined that, later, Alfred Jarry will invent a new area of though called Pataphysics (a contraction of the pseudo-Greek term τὰ ἐπὶ τὰ μετὰφυσικά (ta epi ta metaphusika – “that which is above metaphysics“). Jarry intent with this denomination to suggest a humorous variation of Aristotle’s work “Metaphysics”, and so Pataphysics means “that which is above that which is after physics”.

Jarry loved cycling.Despite the disaster that represented the opening of the piece Ubo Roi [2], and the shocking first sentence uttered , “merdre” (watch the video, in French), together with the scene of boxing that followed in the audience, there is an interesting tentative of conceptualization of a phenomenon rarely spoken and even less studied. The Pataphysics is actually a critique of science and an attempt “to subvert the procrusteans constraints of science” [3]. It is a critique of the society as a all, turned to useless purposes, plain of vanity, and with grandiloquent speeches, but with its “scientific effort” bringing no results with interest to the humankind. It is a critique of “science” as is done nowadays, searching for “reports” that end on the managers archives, useless, a “science” that is not concerned with  understanding Nature, nor the meaning of being (and its enormous importance to our achievement as human beings), but a “science” that serves a nomenclature that uses it for self-promotion, as a living commerce (science sells).

In a dellusional work, criticising the scientific establishment, tempted by the big shows and impressing the public, fainting to be an astrophysicist or some specialist alike, he wrote “How to build a time machine”. Another work full of genial veine is “Exploits and Opinions of Dr. Faustroll, Pataphysician” [5].

Pataphysics will examine the laws governing exceptions, and will explain the universe supplementary to this one; or, less ambitiously, will describe a universe which can be – and perhaps should be – envisaged in the place of the traditional one,  since the laws that are supposed to have been discovered in the traditional universe are also correlations of exceptions, albeit more frequent ones, but in any case accidental data which, rediced to the status of unexcpetional exceptions, possess no longer even the virtue of originality. – Alfred Jarry, in Ref.[5], p. 854.

It is not a surprise to see that, in this era of fake reality, where things appear to be serious due to marketing and the fragility of people minds, there is a growing “[…]body of art that adopts the language and trappings of officialdom. Examples include Los Angeles’s Center for Land Use Interpretation, the Center for Tactical Magic from Oakland, Calif., and, locally, the Institute for Infinitely Small Things, the National Bitter Melon Council, and the Institute for Applied Autonomy.”[Blog1].

These social/cultural phenomena are a reaction from the society to the bad use of science, or better, of the despise with which real science is treated by governments and “managers” looking for numbers, statistics, statistics of things they don’t fully grasp, statistics that only aim for the immediate use of technology and huge profits for corporations, instead to be concerned with the preparation of minds (particularly the young generation), and the quest of the fundamental laws of the universe, that might help humanity escape from war, poverty and delusion. That’s why the great French philosopher, Jean Braudillard, called Pataphysics as the imaginary science of excess of emptiness and insignificance [4]. Clearly this new kind of non-philosophy, is anti-establishment without being truly political.

Two asteroids crossed the space between earth and moon recently. It could be too late to avoid disaster...Im. credit:

It is but due to the benevolence of gods that we are still here, writing on the Web, reading, thinking, and fighting for a better and a more dignified world, since otherwise we are not really protected from cosmic disasters, as it remains clear from the recent event of two asteroids that crossed the space between earth and the moon. It could be too late to avoid disaster. Because science is not being taken seriously, as it should be.


[1] Aristotles on his predecessors, being his firts book on Methaphysics

[2] Ubo Roi, manuscript by Alfred Jarre

[3] Christian Bök, Pataphysics: the poetics of an imaginary science.

[4] Pathaphysica, by Cal Clements

[5] Exploits and Opinions od Dr. Faustroll, Pathaphysician, in Poems for the Millenium: the University of California of Romantic and Post-Romantic Poetry, Vol. III

Other Blogs:

[Blog1] Cabinet of Wonders


[1] Musée Patamécanique


[1] Institutum Pathaphisicum Londiniense

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