Alchemical Culture



“The interaction of our mind and consciousness with the quantum vacuum links us with other minds around us, as well as with the biosphere of the planet. It “opens” our mind to society, nature, and the universe. This openness has been known to mystics and sensitives, prophets and meta-physicians through the ages. But it has been denied by modern scientists and by those who took modern science to be the only way of comprehending reality.” -Ervin Laszlo

“Quantum Tantra” attempts to blaze a new pathway for science by incorporating previously discarded and marginal ways of thinking into a new synthesis. Two non-mechanistic, non-separatist traditions are of particular interest for this purpose: Western alchemy and Eastern tantra. Alchemy is based on the notion of a partially psychic chemistry in which the mind of the alchemist merges with the material cooking in his alembic. Tantra teaches that the universe is not mere motion of dead matter but the sexual play of two divine beings and seeks techniques to directly participate in that holy play. The goal of “Quantum Tantra:” is to initiate an entirely new direction of research by approaching quantum theory and its paradoxes as if they were incomplete fragments of a “successor science” based on tantric and alchemical principles.” –Nick Herbert

Esoteric Futures

We name our eras for the spirit of the times, but though the latest terms supersede the old ones, they don’t overwrite the past. Eras overlap as we strive to catch up with our own futures conceptually, philosophically and practically. We nostalgically fall back into old ways of talking, thinking, being and belief — even when we know they are false. Some cultural pioneers will be ahead of the curve, while others remain firmly attached to the visions and values of by-gone eras.

Turbulence is the hallmark of the Transmodern era and the hallmark of chaos. Globalized culture has been called “integral culture,” but we are far from integration, far from equlibrium. More accuratly we still inhabit a postmodern mash up of conflicting cultures and ideologies, often in hot turmoil.

Seeing irony in the fact we can’t coexist harmoniously is certainly no solution. Each of us has to help ourselves navigate the complex environment with all its dimensions and meaning. We can find some of that meaning within ourselves, within the transformative process that mirrors nature’s way. Inner knowing becomes the locus of authority. But we also must cautiously remember we can be self-deluded.

Chaos and order pulsate in an intermingling way at each and every locale. What happens in one place has rippling effects throughout the entire planet. But nonlocal complex changes don’t trickle down to remote locales. They rip through the biosphere at lightspeed, morphing the culture and nature. The virtuously instantaneous arrival of the future is like psychic electroshock.

Not everyone has arrived at a new cultural, intellectual and scientific outlook. What we see is a spectacle of hypercharged transmutation that is ubiquitous. We are a global culture in massive transition, left without a solid ground of reliable spiritual, cultural or mundane authority.

We have not learned how to flow together as a planetary species. But at the same time we are in the inexhorable process of turbulent interpenetration. We have exchanged dreams of utopia for dreams of liquid mutability and unprecedented electronic communications.

We have crossed many boundaries, and in some cases there is no going back. Each generation has the task of making gold of the lead of human history. The word current means right now, but it also means the hot charged flow of electricity…of potential. Our social organisms can become works of art meaning as much or more than the rising tide of images impinging upon us from all media.

Lifestyle Choices

In Chaos Theory, turbulence has certain qualitative characteristics. It isn’t governed by politics and eCONomics but by conceptual and mathematical attractors, including totally unpredictable strange attractors as likely to create order as chaos. We cannot know what the critical nexus points of our spinning future will bring — breakdown or breakthrough. Will we find our hidden fractal order? Can culture truly become a thing of beauty?

Ultimately, “transmodernity” is a meme, a mental category by which we benchmark cultural change. It attempts, though doomed to failure, to encapsulate the emerging zeitgeist of the new millennium. We have exchanged utopian ideals for dysphoric visions of post-apocalyptic breakdown and the liquid mutability of virtuality. Persistent deep change and confrontation of perspectives are the hallmarks of this era. But what happens once the opposites unite? Jung called that transcendence.

We must look further to find our way through the chaos of regression that opens us to the emergence of new self-organization. Old ways break down before new ways emerge and stabilize. Beyond the spectacle of breakdown lies the Unknown and we must remain optimistically open to it. Alchemy is not metaphysical but transphysical. It is an eternally renascent Philosophy of Nature.

We now realize we have to create our own Matrix of being without imploding from accelerating change, falling prey to utopianism or the myth of progress. Conversely, wallowing in narcissism, nihilism, victimization or irony won’t get us anywhere, since they are inherently oppositional. We also don’t need to emulate superheroic conquerors of by-gone eras, especially in vain attempts to “conquer” ourselves.
Less stressful orientations naturally lead to greater well-being, to natural healing. Alchemy and the natural dynamics of change describe alternative approaches for transforming. Premodern wisdom helps us transcend and transmute modernity, postmodernity and any fantasy we currently conceive to model our times. It holds secrets of transubstantiating gross materiality into spirit.

Process & Alchemy

Mystics, including the Renaissance magi, often live beyond the boundaries of their era, or foresee trends and knowledge which doesn’t manifest publically for centuries. The word mysticism implies a special kind of insight, deriving from the Greek meaning “to see.” In this case, being such a visionary means seeing through the alchemical framework.

In alchemy, methodology merges with revelation. It is a self-revealing process when followed to its eternally reiterating conclusions. It is a process-goal that actually never ends. It isn’t occult or hidden, except to the degree that one has inherent capacity to experientially see through its metaphors to the core of reality. It requires some reflection. The revelation is the brilliant potential of contemporary science and ancient mystical knowledge becoming congruent — they mirror and compliment one another.

The esoteric philosophy alchemy is a creative art rooted in the life of the soul (Anima Mundi) wed to Spirit and Body. Our eyes are opened by esoteric training and direct experience of the fruits of that practice. Transmodern alchemy is a hypercultural fusion of cross-cultural and interdisciplinary practices. New consciousness emerges gradually and suddenly, based on the principle of health, not self-interest or the disintegration of indulgence.

Yet we still suffer from mankind’s bane of alienation and separation. In the past, seemingly paradoxically, the retrieval of the soul and healing the scars of separation has been in developmental terms of finding an integral ‘Self,’ but we need to find more than our Selves for true healing. We need to connect with the true nature of our being, beyond the human artifacts of theology, philosophy and technology that bind us because we are outgrowing them.

Just as we are finding new areas of cultural integration in the Transmodern paradigm, we can extend our philosophical ideas in areas as yet unknown but that can be mapped out as we inhabit our transformed futures. Sometimes we have to be shocked out of our old ways of thinking and being, seized by the new zeitgeist, by the image of what was considered utterly alien.

In this way we claim the unknown parts of ourselves. We cannot have known our “Transhuman” nature earlier even though some philosophers hinted at it. It depends utterly on the technological gestalt of the day, including emergent transgenetic options. The new outlook includes the perpetual futureshock of deep change as we become transhuman, whatever that comes to mean in practical terms.

The mechanistic clockwork universe has unwound itself. We are more than the sum of our parts. Old patriarchal notions of the industrial era have led us to the edge of societal and ecological suicide. We keep trying to review and retrieve the knowledge of the past to see where we went wrong, but mostly we compulsively repeat these old memes in ways called ‘new’ that simply aren’t.

We will only understand where we have failed when we find what truly works NOW. The new philosophies of nature include ancient wisdom and modern science. The new mentality transcends and transforms modernity beyond the consumer ethic toward a paradigm that builds toward well-being for all, leaving both modern and postmodern mindsets behind.

Transcendent understanding and well-being for all may be too ambitious. But at least we can formulate our worldview in terms that include a comprehensive consideration of contemporary scientific and spiritual knowledge within an intelligent understanding. Art in the future means that the potential of genius will flow unhappered by its chosen medium.

Ultimately, the alchemists tell us that spiritual and physical reality are inseparable. Our confidence in scientific inquiry has given way to holistic vision. Consciousness, from ordinary to anomalous experience, is the proving ground of reality. The most unusual phenomena teach us the most about ourselves.

Lightness of Being

Alchemy recognizes living systems as the root science. Science has revealed that what mystics have claimed for Millennia is true – the core of our existence and all existence is living light. Turbulent light is the 5th dimension of reality, the virtual vacuum fluctuation at the core of each and every particle.

The living DNA of our bodies projects our manifestation through coherent light and sound. This is holography “without strings.” We are quantum bioholograms — hyperdimensional beings. As embedded holograms, we are hyperconnected to the whole cosmos and carry that same universe within us. We are intimate with the cosmos but often simply don’t realize it.

The groundstate of nature is the heart of matter. Our nature is radiant scalar energy, the nonobservable yet roiling cosmic ocean of vacuum fluctuation, the disassembled roots of all being, the true primordial soup. The Heart Sutra claims that all form is nothing but Void and quantum physics agrees.

Our subatomic quantum nature guides and regulates our electromagnetic and chemical being, which influences our minds and emotions, forming a reciprocal feedback loop with all objects and living forms in our environment. In the right circumstances, we can respond to one another like resonating coupled oscillators. Our whole body flickers in and out of existence at an astounding rate, and each of those quantum re-creations is an opportunity to transform utterly.

If we drop down another whole domain of observation from the juicy “wetware” described by chemistry and atomic structure, we enter the subatomic realm of quantum physics. At this level the behavior of matter, both organic and inorganic, is governed not by classical notions of cause and effect or even complex dynamics, but by those of quantum probability.

“Something” appears to emerge from virtually “nothing” which physicists describe as a sea of infinite potential. They call it quantum foam, vacuum potential, or zero-point energy – we can call it the vacuum substructure. Subatomic particles wink in and out of existence on a continuous basis, like some subatomic froth. This “something” appears paradoxically in wave/particle form. This world is not transcendent to matter, but underlies it as a coherent unity, much like ecology underlies biology.

Light and Sound

In this dynamic model there are no “things”, just energetic events. Everything is one dynamic process. Light and sound (acoustic cymatics) modulate all matter. This “holoflux” includes the ultimately flowing nature of what is, and all possible forms.

All the objects of our world are three-dimensional images formed of standing and moving waves by electromagnetic and nuclear processes. This is the guiding matrix for self-assembly, and manipulating and organizing physical reality. It is how our DNA creates and projects our psychophysical structure.

DNA functions in a way that correlates with holographic projection. The code is transformed into physical matter guided by light and sound signals. DNA projects a blueprint for the organism that is translated from the electrodynamic to the molecular level. Further, research strongly suggests DNA functions as a biocomputer. This DNA-wave biocomputer reads and writes genetic code and forms holographic pre-images of biostructures. We are more fundamentally electromagnetic, rather than chemical beings.

DNA and the genome have been identified as active “laser-like” environments. Roughly speaking, DNA can be considered a liquid crystal gel-like state that acts on the incoming light in the manner of a solitonic lattice. A soliton is an ultra stable wave train that arises in the context of non-linear wave oscillation. Oscillations are set up when DNA acts as a rotary pendulum kindling other oscillations.

Chromosomes can transform their own genetic-sign laser radiations into broadband genetic-sign radio waves. This is the main information channel of DNA, the same for both photons and radio waves. Superposed coherent waves of different types in the cells interact to form diffraction patterns, first in the acoustic domain, then in the electromagnetic domain. The quantum hologram is the matrix of the translations between acoustical and optical holograms. The human biocomputer can be modeled through the marriage of quantum mechanical and complex dynamics.

Scalar energy has a direct effect on nerve cells and cell membranes. Scalar energy in the body can cause changes in brain states. Scalar energy can modulate the basic biochemical communication between nerve cells mediated by neurotransmitters. (Rein) Our brains mathematically construct ‘concrete’ reality by interpreting frequencies from another dimension. (Pribram) This pre-geometric information realm of meaningful, patterned primary reality transcends time and space.

Embedded Holograms

Holograms contain all the information needed to reconstruct a whole image. Holograms contain many dimensions of “compressed” information in a subtle network of interacting frequencies. Thus, shining a coherent light (reference beam) or laser through the fuzzy-looking overlapping waves of a 2-dimensional hologram can create a virtual image of a 3-dimensional figure.

The gist of the holographic paradigm is that there is a more fundamental reality. There is an invisible flux not comprised of parts, but an inseparable interconnectedness. The holographic paradigm is one of reciprocal enfolding and unfolding of patterns of information. All potential information about the universe is holographically encoded in the spectrum of frequency patterns constantly bombarding us.

Thus, the brain is an embedded hologram, interpreting a holographic universe. (Miller, Webb, Dickson, 1973) All existence consists of embedded holograms within holograms and their interrelatedness somehow gives rise to our existence and sensory images. (Bohm, 1980) When we consciously embody this intimate wisdom, our bodies become temples of the living spirit. We supercharge our potential.

Interference patterns of waves can be visualized interacting like ripples on a pond. At the quantum level they create matter and energy as we perceive them as lifelike 3-dimenional effects. Consciousness and matter share the same essence, differing by degrees of subtlety or density. There is a strong correlation between modulations of the brain’s EM field and consciousness (Persinger, 1987; McFadden, 2002). Our psychophysical being is embedded in the universe as a continuously evolving, interactively dynamic hologram.

Chaos Theory

New physics, chaos theory, synergetics, and information theory describe our existence as complex dynamical systems. Entropy can only occur in a system that is absolutely closed so no energy from outside can be fed into it. But the mindbody is an open system, which exchanges energy and information with its environment and can be negentropic.

We can also have a negentropic influence on one another (Gladwell), perturbing, enlarging, and creating new pathways and possibilities. Theoretically, behavior can ripple outward until a critical mass or “tipping point” is reached, changing the world. Gladwell’s thesis that ideas, products, messages and behaviors “spread just like viruses do” is a metaphor akin to memes. Highly sociable or connective people often become revolutionary leaders, bringing others together with a new perspective, a broadened worldview. This is also the cultural role of shamans.

Do we live in a persistent delusion of separateness? Only that concept limits us from constantly realizing the depths of our primordial fusion. We are all nonlocally connecting and diverging in an ill-defined yet tangible way at the subatomic, individual, group and global level.

Psychic energy or libido is a psychosomatic phenomenon analogous to the paradoxical nature of energy/matter or wave/particle. The human body is not an object in space, but seamlessly welded to spacetime. We are not merely a phenomenal body of flesh, but one of awareness, of consciousness, a living interface of inner and outer field phenomena.

We all experience visceral or gut reactions and know instinctively how our mental states affect our physical vitality, and vice versa. But often we loose the intimate relationship with our mindbody, with the source of our being, our aliveness, our passions, our self-expression, essence and healthy self-image. If we experience this flow at all, it ebbs and flows away. Our individual and collective creative potential remains largely unrealized.

Soma Sophia – Body Wisdom

How often do we pay attention to those vital signs, the innate wisdom of the body, inhabiting our minds rather than our flesh? We are increasingly not instinctual, but cultural, and we choose many of our behaviors for good or ill. Most of us are, indeed, “sick and tired” of the way things are, but what do we do to change them and ourselves?

We can learn simple techniques for self-care and self-regulation, such as biofeedback, yoga, and meditation. Creativity, as an activity in several fields, brings many intrinsic health-promoting rewards. We can create new habits to help us cope with technocratic society that tone or recalibrate our systems and change our physical state. We all have to learn how to deal with personal and/or global catastrophe whether we want to or not.

This dance is a harmonic continuum from the smallest to the largest scales, permeating all domains of assembly and observation: subquantum, quantum, molecular, chemical, even cultural, global, and cosmological. The evolution of our dynamic system obeys universal laws. Likewise our behaviors flow into manifestation from our beliefs, thoughts and emotions, including our self-image, generated by our interaction with the environment from the womb forward.

By opening to system dynamics we can reorganize away from the entropic, reductionistic, destructive habit patterns that plague our species. We can make stress-reducing negentropic choices for structural and psychological adjustment, which improve our quality of life. Integration is a synergistic process rooted in primordial bodymind consciousness.

Field Body

The brain is not confined to our skull, but permeates our whole being through the intracellular matrix and sensory system, as well as the strong EM fields generated by the beating heart. Research suggests activities in the brain may be pre-conditioned by the DC field of the organism (Oschmann; Becker). Our molecular system extends beyond the nervous system and is the bedrock of intuitive, subconscious and unconscious processes.

Turning our attention deep within ourselves we find the Voice of the Silence speaking back. Our felt-sense is our wise intuitive response if we but listen. It brings meaning and value to life. What is your body trying to tell you? The body has a mind of its own and speaks that mind in gut reactions, body language, dreams, psychosomatics, and literal symptoms.

Both the alternative health fields and mindbody psychologies such as the humanistic, Jungian and transpersonal psychologies have sought the triple union of body, soul, and spirit much like the medieval alchemists. But only a fusion of those approaches can manifest the union of opposites in the golden flesh. We can learn to care for our mindbodies in new ways from the inside out, conceptually and experientially.

Creativity and Healing

We can return to Nature and our own nature, collectively preparing a paradigm shift for a new shared reality and trajectory that integrates physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual coherence. The silent frictionless flow of living intelligence is beyond words and conceptual constructs.

We are a process of recursive self-generation. The groundstate is our creative Source, directly discoverable in the immediacy of the emergent embodied moment. We are continuously in the deep embrace of the physical universe. It not only interpenetrates but is the very fabric of our being.

The healing response includes behavioral, mental and spiritual shifts or transformations. Health is the natural outcome of a meaningful life, not just absence of symptoms. It means a connection with and comprehension of the complexities of life that is deeper than the conventional worldview of cause and effect. Many researchers view consciousness as the foundation of reality. We do not exist independently from the Universe; we are fused with it. But the exact nature of that seamless connection is unknown.

How we Know What We Know

A radically empirical phenomenological approach includes subjective experience as primary data and addresses the totality of experience. We are not mere observers of consciousness and cosmos but interacting in fluid interpenetration.

We need to recognize even unconventional or paradoxical metaphors that help us order our experience and knowledge, including metaphors of consciousness. Alchemy, dynamics and physics are rich in such metaphors that speak to our direct experience. The influence of the unconscious on how we experience ourselves and our environment is far greater than we realize.

Science itself must be thoroughly re-assessed in the light of this pervasive influence of the unconscious mind. We must reassess challenging evidence, contemplate alternative conceptual frameworks and metaphors, scientific interests and disinterests, and scientific judgment. We must accept the presence of unconscious processes and contents, not as minor perturbations, but as a potentially major factor.

Changing our relationship with the world is both a psychological and political act. The ailments we perceive in the world are as much in ourselves. Through remembering our interdependence, we can experience the power of our individual actions to influence the whole.


~ by ionamiller on May 17, 2009.

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