Tag Archives: science

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

Superconductivity and its applications

15 Mar

“If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence passed on to the next generations of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words? I believe it is that…all things are made of atoms.”
Richard P. Feynman, winner of the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics



The idea of the absolute zero of temperature was advanced by J. A. C. Charles and J. L. Gay-Lussac (Fig.1). In fact, they have shown that by extrapolating their measurements of the volume of any gas as a function of the temperature (at constant pressure), their volume would tends toward a zero value at a temperature near -273 degree Celsius (see fig.2).

Gay-Lussac. Image credits: chemistryland.com

By extrapolation of the curve of volume versus temperature, Charles and Gay-Lussac predicted the existence of the absolute zero. Im. credit: chempaths.chemeddl.org

In 1911, Kamerlingh Onnes discovered that mercury suddenly lose its resisitivity  when the temperature dropped to -260 degree Celsius. Omnes started investigating the field of low-temperature physics in 1908, when he succeeded in liquifying helium. Whith these findings we may say that the field of superconductivity is open, bringing to us the compreension of astounding phenomena, characterized by the manifestation of the wave nature of particles at a macroscopic scale.

It is not always fundamental to reduce friction to put the body at zero degrees Kelvin. In fact, russian scientists succeeded that achievement with a simple experiment. They launched a sphere of steel on a surface made of molybdenium and sulphur, while at the same time thay beam a cloud of electrons on the surface. They observe a strong reduction of friction from a coefficient 0.9 to 0.0015!

Fundamental Properties of Superconductors
superconducting or superfluid phase is considered a different thermodynamical phase when compared to the normal state that exists when the temperature T>T_c, where T_c means the critical temperature below which the superconducting or superfuid state appears. For example, liquid 4He under its vapor pressure becomes superfluid at T_c=2.17 K. So, the passage from one state to the other is called a phase transition, and it is accompanied by a strong increase of the specifi heat when the temperature is near T_c, with a strong release of entropy. This phenomena, experimentally seen, leads to the formation of a more ordered state of matter (see also precedent video). Fundamentally, a superconductor is a conductor that has undergone a phase transition to a lower energy state below the critical temperature T_c, characterized by the appearance of groups of paired electrons, the so called Cooper pairs, carrying electrical current without any resistance and responsible, among other properties, of perfect diamagnetism.

We may distinguish two types of superconductors. A Type I supercondcutor, is characterized by the following properties [1]:

  • zero electrical resistance and perfect diamagnetism at a temperature below T_c. Normally, at temperatures above T_c this material is a normal metal, although not a very good conductor;
  • perfect diamagnetism, also called Meissner effect, the magnetic field stays outside the material, cann’t penetrate the material. Curiosly enough, if you appply an external magnetic field  B_app above a given critial magnetic field, B_c, the material suffers a transition from superconductor to normal state. An approximate functional dependence on temperature for this critical magnetic field is given by

And what is the diamagnetic property of matter? This property  is a kind of negative magnetism. This effect was studied in the framework of  classical mechanical by Paul Langevin in 1905 [2], using previous and revolutionary ideas proposed formerly by André-Marie Ampère[3]  and Wilhelm Weber [4] (nowadays we barely talk about these two great men of science that really use their minds for the advancement of science and the progress of mankind…). Langevin found, in the classic framework provided by Ampère and Weber, that N electrons moving in orbits around the nucleus at an average distance <r²>, such that the (constant and negative) magnetic susceptibility χ is given by

The magnetic susceptibility is the ratio of M/H, where M is the magnetization field and H the magnetic field. The susceptibility χ is slightly negative for diamagnets, but acquires small positive values for paramagnetic substances (e.g., ), and is strongly positive for ferromagnetics substances (e.g., Fe). It can be shown that a material constitute of paramagnetic ions with magnetic moment μ, obeys the Curie-Weiss law:

where n means the concentration of paramagnetic ions, Θ is the Curie-Weiss constant () . when perfect diamagnetism is achieved, χ=-1, that is, the magnetization M is directed opposite to the H field, cancelling it, M=-H. For example, when a superconductor with spherical form is placed nearby the poles of a magnet, it results a superposition of the applied magnetic field B_app, and the resulting dipole field (Fig.1a) , giving a curvature of the magnetic field lines of the form as shown in Fig.1b.

The dipole result when a uniform permanent magnetization M is parallel to the axis Oz (see Section 5.10 in the textbook of J. D. Jackson [4]).

Besides perfect diamagnetism, the other important property of the superconducting state is its zero resistance. In ideal conditions, an electric current established in a loop of supercuncting wire will last indefenitely. The surface resistance of the material with a current flowing along a film of thickness d, must satisfy the condition

where ρ is the electric resistivity, h is the Planck constant and e is the absolute charge of the electron.

Methods of Quantum field Theory

In quantum field theory (QFT), the Lagrangian plays a central role in working out mathematically the physical problems and from which the dynamic field equations are generated. In the Hamiltonian formulation of classical mechanics, the equations of motion of a system of particles can be obtained from a special function called the Action. Usually, the Lagrangian is dependent on the positions and velocities of the particles:

Hamilton’s minimum action principle states that Nature prefer to follow movements that  extremize this quantity called action.

In QFT, this formulation can be translated, replacing que classical quantities by a “field”, in the manner of the Table 1 below:

In field theory, the fields φ(x,t) play the role of the generalized coordinates, {qi(t)}, where the discrete index i represents the number of discrete coordinates of the system. In local field theories the Lagrangian may be written as an integral over another function called the Lagrangian density, L, such as

depending on the set of a possible fields present on the given point of space and their first derivatives:

When seeking to extremize the functional called Action, it is obtained the so called Euler-Lagrange equations for any field:The Fig. below represents several possible “trajectories”, or “stories” associated to a given dynamical field. But Nature prefer only one of them, the one “story” which is represented by the above Euler-Lagrange equations…

As written by Pierre Fermat in a letter of 1662 to M. de la Chambre:

Natura operatur per modos faciliores et expeditiones (Nature works by the easiest and readiest means).

Various possible "stories" that a physical system may undergo. However, Nature prefer the one that extremize the Action.

Maupertius argued that the principle of least action (was the first to enunciate it), showed the wisdom of the Creator. Maupertuis believed that the vis viva (which today is twice the kinetic energy) should be minimal.}: “ The action is proportional to the product of mass and velocity and space. Now here this principle, so wise, so worthy of the Supreme Being: once a change occurs in nature, the amount of action employed for this variation is always as small as possible. ” Pierre Louis Moreau de Maupertuis was a French mathematician and astronomer. Born July 7, 1698 in Saint-Malo and died in the Bale July 27, 1759. Interestingly, he was the son of a pirate.

Let us take as an example (although for non-mathematicians, a little bit too complex problem that can however be grasped as an example of the methods in QFT), the Lagrangian of a physical system composed by matter + electromagnetic field, such as described below, and we will recover essential properties of the superconductor state.
                                                            matter field                                                                             EM field                   Current


To follow


[1] Handbook of Superconductivity, Charles P. Poole, Jr. (Academic Press, San Diego, 2000)

[2] Paul Langevin

[3] André-Marie Ampère, Essay sur la Philosophie des Sciences

[4] J. D. Jackson, Classical Electrodynamics

[FN1] Annales de Chimie et Physique, 5 (1905); see paper by Paul Langevin at p.70-127


PART 2 – To follow soon…

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