“The universe as we know it is a joint product of the observer and the observed”
Quantum physics has proved that an observer is necessary in order to crystallise this or any other reality from the infinity of potential.
Carl Jung first wrote about the “collective unconscious”. This lies below and as a foundation of our own individual unconscious. It is a pooling between us, now and in the past. It is also one gateway (I believe) to the shared life beyond the fragility of our mind in the life – our material consciousness – the Brahman of Hinduism or Nirvana of Buddhism, that can be glimpsed through meditation.
The collective unconscious speaks in a language both of archetypes and mandalas. Archetypes are the powerful shared images which make so many movies effective for instance the monster in the dark of horror films and the ecstasy of union and community of Avatar. Mandalas reflect perfection in images and seem, at least to me to be linked to the beautiful fractals of chaos theory that underlay existence. (look at free fractal apps on your iPhone for a direct view of reality!).
It is only our mind, this particular consciousness that dies, this is anyway an illusion. If we can connect to the shared stream of unconsciousness now , then we already experience our immortality. Through prayer, meditation, connection with our loved ones or nature – even the cinema.
After all, the movies are right, forget what people call it – Avatar is what awaits. May the Force be with us.
De Chardin’s work is scintillating – a brilliant piece of philosophical science. But, oh how difficult to access! It appears as a work of nineteenth century charismatic spirituality, language calculated to repel a positivist scientist. Yet it deals with concepts and theories that bring together quantum mechanics, relativity, geology, evolutionary biology and anthropology. One struggles to absorb the width of his landscape.
And he distils some compelling concepts.
Material evolution started at the big bang with occasional phase-shifts from plasma to atoms, from giant molecules to cellular life, from complex organisms to the birth of ideas. Evolution within the geosphere (the crystallising and polymerising worlds) leading to the biosphere and now the noosphere.
A duality of material and spiritual, which he calls the “without” and “within”. He traces the development of the “within”, an evolution of consciousness. He names man as a stage in that process associated with the phase-shift from the evolution of biology to the evolution of ideas.
He shows that everything, both material and spiritual in each phase has common properties – plurality, unity and energy.
His ideas have of course been widely adopted, but almost by stealth and by others. He was a Jesuit priest, and the church tried to gag him. He bowed to pressure, because of his vows of obedience, and much of his work came to light after his death. . De Chardin’s work gloriously and selflessly witnesses the growth of God within and between us. What an irony that the entombed treasury of his ideas was pillaged most famously by Richard Dawkins (memes? Noosphere…), who is of course the Ian Paisly of atheism.
It is meat and needs to be chewed, but it is rich meat and will repay the effort.
From “Science and Humanism” (1951) Arnold Schroedinger (Physicist)
“The scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives a lot of factual information, puts all our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and … delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good and bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.
…So, in brief, we do not belong to this material world that science constructs for us. We are not in it; we are outside…The reason why we believe that we are in it – that we are in the picture, is that our bodies are in the picture. Our bodies belong to it. Not only my own body, but those of my friends, my dog and cat and horse… This is my only means of communicating with them.
Science is reticent too when it is a question of the great Unity – the One of Parmenides – of which we all somehow form part, to which we belong. The most popular name for it in our time is God – with a capital “G”. Science is very usually, branded as being atheistic. After what we said, this is not astonishing. If its world-picture does not even contain blue, yellow, bitter, sweet – beauty, delight and sorrow – if personality is cut out of it by agreement, how should it contain the most sublime idea that presents itself to human mind?”
“The incomparable greatness of the religions of the East lies in their having been second to none in vibrating with the passion for unity. This note, which is essential to every form of mysticism, has even penetrated them so deeply that we find ourselves falling under a spell simply by uttering the names of their Gods”
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
A brilliant philosopher and scientist. He conceived of evolution cascading from physics through chemistry and biology and now crossing to ideas. As he put it – a transition from biosphere to noosphere. His work dovetails with that of psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion, who conceived of brain as machinery imperfectly grown so that pre-existing ideas can be thought.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin – fabulous name – was also a Jesuit priest.
Beloved, whose heart is heaven
Hallowed be thy pain
Our kingdom come
As will is one
On earth as it is in heaven
Give us today a body bred
From shriven trespasses forgiven
Surprising lilacs out of dead land
Redeeming deserts of isolation
Delivering us from evil.
Thy love is the kingdom, the power and our glory
Now and for ever
“We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.”
TS Eliot. East Coker
When I was a small blonde child I had a nightmare about the void. Utter non existence. Dylan Thomas’ poem about his fathers death, “..rage against the dying of the light” holds that place for and to me.
In February this year, sixty years later I had a cycle accident. The “I”, that is to say – me.. well, it just blinked out. I was rebooted in an ambulance some hours later. I remember nothing of the time or even how the accident happened. Where did I go? Was I meanwhile in that void? I believe my ego simply ceased – being a confection of the brain. But that something – an essence continued. (As do our atoms and our effect also). It seems to me that we fade to white, not to black. That we rejoin our real life which is co-rooted in some different way, place and dimension. This after the separations loneliness and pains of this materialistic world. Indeed that this, here and now is the nightmare, not the return beyond death to our intermingling.
Something like “Life’s a bitch but then you die”.
The purpose of this moment of lonely and fragmented consciousness? Maybe simply to witness the glory of the universe in some way – then to help bring the whole to consciousness of the love the underlies all that is.
My answer to Dylan Thomas’ poem about death? ..
Rather than “ Do not go gentle into that good night..” it should be
“Let us go gentle into that good light, Old age should turn to brave the close of day; Courage guag’d against the flighting of its wight”