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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.

 -What?

-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.”

REFERENCES:

[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.

SITES:

{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

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About Nature…

14 Jun

An educated person is supposed to “love Nature”, to enjoy the fields of flowers during Spring, to watch birds, insects, animals, but behind this feelings, and so to be wise thoughts, there is all the wild activity, ruthless, without pity, struggle for life, continuous destruction and rebirth. So, what is going on, why this feeling of “love of Nature”? We are well told about the struggle for life that takes place within the natural world, but Man feels other kind of Love too, “love for the struggle for the life of others”. According to Henry Drummond, a scientist and evangelist that exercised a strong influence in his generation, particularly young people, in “From Self-ism to Other-ism is the supreme transition of history” [1]:

We have arrived at a point from which the Ascent of Man takes a fresh departure, a point from which the course of Evolution begins to wear an entirely altered aspect.  No consummation ever before occurred in the progress of the world as the rise to potency in human life of the Struggle for the Life of Others. The Struggle for the Life of Others is the physiological name for the greatest word of ethics-Other-ism, altruism, Love. From Self-ism to Other-sim is the supreme transition of history. It is therefore impossible to lodge in the mind with too much solidity the simple biological fact on which the Altruistic Struggle rests. Where this a late phase of Evolution, or a factor applicable to single genera, it would still be of supreme importance; but it is radical, universal, involved in the very nature of life itself.

As this world is full of Mephystos, here I propose listening Liszt…How the human consciousness can take wings much further away than the actual vision of the natural world…

Why we feel a need to understand the “secrets of nature” was a leitmotiv of Sigmund Freud researches on the nature of dreams. Freud had Leonardo da Vinci  as a pioneer, the “first natural scientist” [1a] and with his peculiar way, Freud wrote:

The core of his nature, and the secret of it, would appear to be that after his curiosity had been activated in infancy in the service of sexual interests he succeeded in sublimating the greater part of his libido into an urge for research. [1a]

The writing of Sigmund Freud, certainly contributed for the actual view of human nature (mainly unveiling with Jung the significance of the unconscious), not withstand the controversial interpretations offered by his theories.


Watch this video (in French), entitled “La Matière et la Vie”, about Sigmund Freud (with an interview to her daughter, in English), and the period of history where he lived.

The old meaning of the word nature is the essential character or quality of a thing. Another meaning is: Nature is the force behind the cosmos. More recently, we use this term to refer to all what is opposed to human society and their cultures. This opposition implies that or Nature is superior, or it is inferior to human society. The implications were seen by the English political philosopher Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) who, profoundly shocked with English Civil War, gave a dramatic account of that period of history in his opera magna Leviathan [2]:

[…] state of nature is brutal and violent, and so the task of political philosophy is to describe the forms of government that will most effectively prevent the disintegration of society into nature”.

Thomas Hobbes and his masterpiece, Leviathan. Image cedit: nandhi.com

But, with the Enlightenment, it occurs a shift in this view of nature, considering her superior to the human society since it displays order and harmony, and reason, a frame of mind that helps to development of Newtonian Physics at the hands of Sir Isaac Newton, still nowadays the major source of intellectual construction used by engineering. Incidentally, we may refer that the so-called inertial law, or Newton’s first law was most probably inspired by Newton’s reading of Leviathan. The order and harmony apparently displayed by Nature at that time, was a source of teaching to the human society, at the seventeenth century in Europe disgraced by absolutist governments and a society structured in a feudal order. In the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with the Romanticism, a new shift occurred, and Nature continues to be worth of studying, but Nature was much more than Order and Reason, was a source of diversity and fecundity.

Nowadays, it is clear that the meaning of ‘Nature ‘ is a concept central to ideology (i.e., a set of ideas and concepts that shape our understanding of the world). Anything that is perceived as ‘natural’ is not challenged or questioned. Marxists aim to construct a human society on the grounds of scientific principles, such as we learn from Nature. This is very clear in Friedrich Engels writings. Georg Lukács (1885-1971), Hungarian philosopher and founder of the so-called Western Marxism, created a new term that frame the experience of society, that takes into account the products of human society, culture and invention: he used the term ‘second nature’. It is not enough referred but in Franz Kafka writings the natural world is foundational to his stories. He used the natural world to «destabilize the idea of humanity»[2a0]. In one of his strange stories, “A Report to an Academy”, he tells the story of an ape that discovered the only way out of the cage was to imitate the humans…One day the ape, after “becoming human” observes human acrobats in a variety show: «What a mockery of Holy Mother Nature! Were the apes to see such a spectacle, no theater walls could stand the shock of their laughter» [2a1].

Shiva: everything in the natural world emanates from Shiva, according to Hinduism. Image credit: redgreenandblue.org

The idea of nature, with its important notions about the human nature and in what consists the underlying substratum of reality, is presently lacking in our educational system [2a2]. It is lacking an education from Nature, and so enlarging our field of consciousness, our role as bio-transformers, and the delicate balance we must achieve.  In a “global world” humanity must achieve a new synthesis between Westerner and Easterner visions of the ‘natural world’, enriching human nature, since in the West our vision is based on the concept of cause, and in the East they use the concept of synchronicity. Carl Jung was deeply influenced by his reading of the I Ching (Book of Changes), an ancient text in China, dating back to the Shang Dynasty (Bronze Age 1700BC-1050BC), where chance plays a fundamental role on the natural world, and events don’t necessarily obey to a timely order.

Mandala. Image credit: adamapollo.info

In this era of political and economic turmoil, more than ever scientists must take their share of responsibility in fighting for a promising the future. Science and the view of nature that may result from this endeavour, brings to the stage the politicization of various issues, like in climate research areas. This is clear in a recent Editorial from the prestigious magazine Nature [2a].

Science and its outcome, the technological progress, decisively contributed to the “globalization process”, the intermingling of different cultures and economies, dramatically changing our view of the universe and, consequently, of “Nature”. Until the middle of the 20th century, science was still concerned with the philosophical interpretation of nature, giving to us new thoughts about “how nature works”. This concern is very clear in a famous book red by generations of scientists and written by Werner Heisenberg, a book entitled “Physics and Philosophy: the Revolution in Modern Science” [3]. It is not by hasard that science in Germany went so far when compared to other countries, just before the Nazi collapse [4]. What we understand by our own experience and accounts like those shown in Ref. [4] is that the progress in Science and Technology, the breakthroughs, are done by people working and thinking individually, not in teams. Without any doubt, freedom in science and in our societies are the best path to follow in order to attain social, cultural and economic progress [4a].

Werner Heisenberg. Image credit: brasilescola.com

It is clear to us that Science gave to us a new interpretation of nature, and Science still is a framework with which mankind can evolve to upper stages of development, since the secure process of reasoning provided by the scientific method, opens to the human mind new fields of conscience, offering to our brains (in fact, at the beginning just an assembled machine needed for survival) new virtual “organs” that help the brain to work and evolve: books, pencils, computers, internet, ships, airplanes, rockets, spacecrafts, drugs,…It is clear that these outcomes of the technological progress, give to each of us new powers and ability to think, to invent, to create and produce new ideas, in a synergetic process that step by step become to be studied. All that outcome of the technological progress, heir of the scientific thinking, enlarge the human mind, offering to our specie a potential of evolution that unfortunately our (shortsighted) politicians (as recently pointed out by the Dalai Lama in an interview to the BBC) are far way to grasp the potential. According to Carl Jung (1875-1961), the goal of personal development must be the expansion of consciousness in order to keep pace with our vast unconscious. Undoubtedly, internet raises our levels of consciousness [5].

Alternatively, and in my viewpoint, the ideology that dominates the world seeks intentionally to maintain this potential well below the point of evolution that our minds and our souls deserve, forcing humanity to an underdevelopment that concurs to slavery, and this is probably the source of the lack of interest we see worldwide for the scientific endeavour, with the notable exceptions of China, India and South Korea, countries that have well understood that fundamental science and technological progress go hand-by-hand, and when well clarified, may render social and economic progress possible.

The new (unscientific) vision of the ‘natural word’ in the minds of most of our “leaders”…and the status of the human species they envisage in their shortsightedness.

REFERENCES:

[1] The Ascent of Man, by Henry Drummond 

[1a] SIGMUND FREUD: THE SECRETS OF NATURE AND THE NATURE OF SECRETS, by JAMES W. BARRON, RALPH BEAUMONT, GARY N. GOLDSMITH, MICHAEL I. GOOD, ROBERT L. PYLES, ANA~MARIA RIZZUTO AND HENRY F. SMITH, MASS, in Int. Rev. Psycho-Anal. (1991) 18, 143

[2] Leviathan, by Thomas Hobbes

[2a0] Beyond Nature Writing: Expanding the Boundaries of Ecocriticism, by Karla Armbruster,Kathleen R. Wallace

[2a1] A Report to an Academy, by Franz Kafka

[2a2] Lost in Space? Education and the concept of nature, by Michael Bonnett, Studies in Philosophy and EducationVolume 23, Numbers 2-3 (2004), 117-130,

[2a] Political science, Editorial appeared in Nature, Volume: 483, Pages: 123–124 , Date published: (08 March 2012)

[3] Physics and Philosophy: the Revolution in Modern Science, by Werner Heisenberg

[4]  The History of Science and Technology: A Browser’s Guide to the Great …, by Bryan H. Bunch and Alexander Hellemans

[4a] Liberal positivism. A pamphlet for rationality and freedom in science and society, and other divertimenti on philosophy of science, economics and intelligent design. [Kindle Edition], by Jesus Zamora Bonilla

[5] The Spirit of the Internet: Speculations on the Evolution of Global Consciousnee, by Lawrence Hagerty

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