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Surprisingly, our exploration into the unity of psyche and matter has revealed an essential unity between the implicate and explicate aspects of each. That is, the unity is as much vertical within each realm as horizontal between them. In retrospect, we can see why this must be so, since the separate empirical realms of psyche and matter cannot truly be united if this unity only resides in a transcendent realm that is absolutely divided from the empirical realms. We must have unity both vertically and horizontally. This combined vertical-horizontal integration can be illustrated by the following analogy from physics. Prior to Einstein, energy and matter were thought to be separate and autonomous empirical phenomena. This separation of energy and matter is reflected in the two classical conservation laws: the conservation of energy and the conservation of mass. After Einstein, however, the distinction between matter and energy was no longer absolute, and it was recognized that mass and energy are separate aspects or manifestations of an underlying unity of mass-energy (mathematically represented as a 4-dimensional energy-momentum vector). The old conservation laws were thus subsumed within a new law: conservation of mass-energy.

In this analogy, the duality of mass and energy is horizontal, because these are two phenomena manifesting on the same empiric plane. They manifest as relatively autonomous phenomena as long as relative motions are negligible in comparison with the speed of light. In Einstein’s theory, matter and energy are understood as the empirical manifestations of a unified reality (i.e., the energy-momentum 4-vector). Energy corresponds to one component of the 4-dimensional vector, while mass corresponds to the other three components. Interestingly, however, the vector acts as a whole, with the result that its mass and energy components can be mixed in various ways when the vector manifests (is “projected”) into a particular empirical reference frame. This mixing betrays the unity of energy and mass within this transcendent realm. One can visualize the essence of this mixing by imagining two spotlights shining on an upright pole from different angles, projecting two shadows on the floor. One shadow is the analog of energy, the other is the analog of mass. If we tilt the pole away from its upright orientation, the lengths of the two shadows (i.e., the observed mass and energy) will change, while the length of the pole itself stays constant.

The above analogy illustrates how we might understand how psyche and matter can manifest as relatively autonomous realms that are nevertheless mysteriously coordinated by virtue of their common origins deep within the unus mundus. Like the conservation laws of matter and energy, psyche and matter manifest in such a way that the transformations of one are in many ways independent of the other. Our thoughts, for example, normally appear to operate with relative independence from the transformations taking place in most of the physical world. Conversely, the transformations of matter in the universe are not normally altered by our thoughts. Yet, certain anomalous phenomena such as synchronicity sometimes burst forth unexpectedly, hinting at some mysterious unity of psyche and matter. And at deeper, subtler, and more implicate levels of manifestation, the connections become increasingly evident, such as the archetypal patterns of number that are essential to the orderedness in both realms.

Thus, if consciousness becomes sufficiently subtle to see the implicate aspects of both psychic and physical phenomena, their unity in a common source can be directly experienced and not merely inferred indirectly from diverse concrete particulars. This implies the necessity for an expanded epistemology for physics, psychology, and knowledge in general that takes us well beyond the forms of knowing that are limited to only the most explicit orders of reality. For truly integrative knowledge, we must expand and deepen our capacities of consciousness. Otherwise, an integral theory will be nothing more than a pleasing speculative construct based on explicit contents that have emerged from the deeper levels. In short, if we are really to know the unitive depths of Bohm’s ocean of energy, we must allow ourselves to sink down into them, and not merely watch the surface phenomena that merely hint at what is below. The unconscious calls us into its depths.

We can define the unconscious in the most general sense as the domain of all things that are indirectly known, posited, or presumed to exist outside of the present conscious awareness but that have an influence on the contents of conscious awareness. The unconscious is the realm of the unmanifest (relative to our present consciousness). Typically, our consciousness is fixated on the explicate order, while the implicate order remains largely unconscious. In some cases, however, consciousness may move into the depths of the implicate order. In addition to both personal and impersonal psychic contents, these depths also include both personal and impersonal physical contents. For example, although the dishes inside the dishwasher are presumed actually to be there, they are in fact outside of present conscious awareness, and are in the domain of the unconscious (relative to our present consciousness). Because they are in principle accessible to anyone, they are part of a collective unconscious. What we conventionally call objective physical reality, therefore, can be viewed as a region of the collective unconscious that is partially presented to each of us in a unique way during our waking consciousness. The structures of this region of the unconscious are known as the physical laws, since they determine the lawful manner in which this region behaves and evolves. The so-called objective world is in fact part of the unconscious and is only glimpsed indirectly through its projections into conscious awareness. For example, if I open the dishwasher, what appears in consciousness is a visual image of a plate viewed from a particular perspective. The plate in itself is not seen. It is not in consciousness. Only a projection of the plate’s visual image is seen. The plate itself (its implicate aspect) remains a transcendental idea posited to exist outside of consciousness. The plate is therefore still largely implicate in the unconscious, even when I am looking at an explicate aspect of it. Only an image of the plate actually arises in consciousness. Moreover, if my friend is looking as well, she will see a different image due to her different perspective. Neither one of us sees the plate in all its implicate totality, however. This is analogous to the fact that the universal implicate aspects of archetypes are not manifest in the explicate order, but their diverse explicate aspects manifest to us in dreams as particular symbolic expressions that vary from person to person.

The explicit archetypal contents that are generally accessible to us provide the basis for a collective understanding of a shared world. In the case of access via the physical senses, this collective understanding takes the form of the physical world. In the case of the mind, this collective understanding takes the form of psychological archetypes, transpersonal states of consciousness, mathematics, and so on. Insofar as the archetypes are not entirely unambiguous in their explicate manifestations, or manifest in ways that are influenced by cultural or personal factors, they allow us to create a multitude of interpretive frameworks for understanding and representing these objective worlds. Thus, for example, our inner experience of mystical states of consciousness may find expression in various different philosophical or religious systems, while our outer experience of physical phenomena may be understood in terms of distinct scientific paradigms. The development of physics involves the successive refinement of our shared understanding and explorations of deeper and deeper regions of these collectively accessible regions of outer experience. As our understanding penetrates to deeper levels of increasing subtlety, the representation becomes more universal and comprehensive, so that the structure of the nested representations within physics range from very general universal laws down through particular instances valid only for restricted domains of experience, to a specific quantitative numerical prediction for a given experimental arrangement. Our understanding is therefore provided with a depth that reaches from the multiple contents of explicate conscious awareness from many possible perspectives, down to the universal implicate depths that are common to all perspectives. A similar structure is present in mystical traditions, where the understanding links the particular experiential phenomena of an individual, up through intermediate levels common to certain types of individuals engaged in particular practices, to universal principles common to all individuals. Depth psychology is again similar, with experiential dream images and such related first to personal unconscious contents, and then to deep archetypal structures of a collective nature.

Note that each phenomenon contains within it aspects of all levels. The implicit aspects of a phenomenon may be known directly by a correspondingly subtle awareness. Alternatively, they may be unfolded by comparing and contrasting similar phenomena from many different perspectives, providing us with a more explicit understanding of the aspects that are particular to each phenomenon, and the aspects that are universal to all the similar phenomena.

It appears that at a very deep level there is no distinction between physical and psychic structures, and that these are, as it were, two perspectives we have on the same core reality. Thus, through comparison and contrast of physical and psychic phenomena, we can isolate the essence of this common core. It does seem clear, however, that one key feature of this core is its mathematical nature. (Note that this view contrasts with the notion that “physical” is a concrete level of reality, while “psychic” is a subtle level. Rather, they both have depths of subtlety that penetrate to the core of reality, and they both have a concrete surface that is immediately present in ordinary empiric consciousness. Thus mind cannot be reduced to matter, nor matter to mind. Both emerge as different aspects of a more fundamental ground.)

It should be kept in mind that, as Bohm points out, our access to these deep implicate levels is not necessarily limited to indirect access through correlation of diverse explicit contents with theoretical representations in order to infer their common core. It is also possible to directly access these implicate levels of reality that are normally considered unconscious. In other words, the unconscious can become conscious in two ways: indirectly through inference from explicit contents, or directly through an expansion of the range of consciousness into the more implicate levels of reality.

With the advance of physics and psychology, our theoretical understanding of the mystery beyond the range of our present consciousness is expanding to the point where we see hints of the identity of psyche and matter at deep levels. The evolution of consciousness that is explicating and integrating more of the unconscious appears to be bringing into an explicate unity an original implicate unity. This integrative theoretical understanding, however, is merely an attempt to conceptually hold together diverse fragmented contents that have emerged on the explicate level. Such a conceptual unity is at best a partial and imperfect representation of otherwise unconscious content, and we must be careful not to mistake this representation for the unconscious content itself, confusing our world of abstractions with concrete experience. Fundamentally, this mistake is the ignorance of the process of positing the existence of things beyond or outside our consciousness, and thus confusing our conscious representations of those things as being “things themselves” (such as when we imagine a material particle to have an objectively existing position). Because the conscious representation inevitably fails to correspond exactly with the unconscious reality, the confusion results in a distortion of our understanding of reality. Inevitably, reality (i.e., the unconscious portion of reality) manifests itself to consciousness in a way that contradicts this distortion. This unconscious compensation is then experienced as a crisis, and the anomaly is either integrated or denied. If it is integrated, a more comprehensive and accurate conscious representation of reality typically develops. If it is not integrated, the unconscious compensations will continue until they create sufficient cognitive crisis to result in a sacrifice of the distortion. In either case, because our representations can never perfectly mirror reality, the developmental process will continue. This whole process of development is based on the fundamental mistake of failing to recognize that our conscious representation of what is outside of our consciousness (i.e., the objective world) is an imperfect imaginative construct, and not an actual mirror of some real, objective reality.

If there is a recognition of the very process of positing the existence of things outside of consciousness through the confusion of the representation with the real, then any inaccuracy of our conscious representation is no longer a problem because it is never confused with reality in the first place. The spontaneous revelations of reality that do not fit into prior representational schemes are then experienced with delight, and are not met with resistance. In other words, it is recognized at the deepest level of our psyche that reality always has and always will infinitely transcend our representations of it. As a result, we are most in touch with reality when our experiences go beyond our representations of reality.

End Notes

[1] Jung (1955), 536.

[2] von Franz (1964), 384.

[3] Heisenberg (1962), 201.

[4] Jung (1970), 25.

[5] Jung (1966), 66.

[6] Jung (1966), 66.

[7] Jung (1966), 275.

[8] Jung (1966), 95.

[9] Jung (1966), 185.

[10] Jung (1970), 5.

[11] Jung (1951), 261.

[12] Pauli (1994), 260.

[13] Jung (1970), 8.

[14] von Franz (1964), 382.

[15] Jung (1968), 8.

[16] von Franz (1964), 383.

[17] Jung (1955), 538.

[18] Mansfield et al. (1991).

[19] Mansfield (1995), 202.

[20] Jung (1970), 27.

[21] Mansfield (1995), 82-83.

[22] Mansfield (1998).

[23] Jung (1973), 40.

[24] von Franz (1980), 194.

[25] von Franz (1992), 216.

[26] von Franz (1992), 256.

[27] von Franz (1974), 284.

[28] von Franz (1992), 57.

[29] von Franz (1974), 54.

[30] von Franz (1992), 253.

[31] Bohm (1990).

[32] Bohm (1980), 196.

[33] von Franz (1992), 252.

[34] Jung, as quoted in Pauli (1994), 153.

[35] Bohm (1980), 206.


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Heisenberg, Werner (1962), Physics and Philosophy: The Revolution in Modern Science, (Harper and Row: New York).

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Sobre seletynof

Escola (ensino médio):Colégio Marista Cearense;Faculdade/Universidade: Universidade Federal do Ceará;Curso:Física; Diploma:Pós-Graduação em Física;Profissão:físico e professor; Setor:Científico.

Publicado em 25 de agosto de 2007, em FISICAPSICOLOGIA. Adicione o link aos favoritos. Deixe um comentário.

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