Psyche & Matter – Common Ground
THE COMMON GROUND BETWEEN PSYCHE AND MATTER:
Within the current laws of physics, there is always an overview law or paradigm. More often than not, this structuring is not immediately evident within the specific law. This overview is implicate to the specific, still enfolded within it, yet a priori to it. The limited, objective viewpoint is defined as explicate.
The implicate law can be considered as more encompassing than the explicate since it enfolds the explicate plus something undefinable. A specific example is gravity and its explicate relationship to the force of gravity. The force of gravity is explicate in that it is measurable within a limited context. Gravity is not even understood in physics.
Explicate ordering may be used for practical application in a limited context. This form of ordering does not, however, tell us anything about the Totality. The word “transformation” is thus used to describe a simple geometric change within a given explicate order. What occurs in the broader context of the implicate order appears as a quantized transformation: metamorphosis.
This form of transformation is characteristic of psyche. In Greek, psyche literally means butterfly. The butterfly does not evolve, but rather its quantized change occurs within a vessel of transformation–the cocoon. The new science of chaos theory postulates a so-called “butterfly effect” which contends that a simple movement of the butterfly’s wing in Indonesia can create a hurricane thousands of miles away.
Psyche also expresses this chaotic sensitivity to changes in initial conditions. You never know quite where it will go next. Fundamental characteristics of psyche render it undefinable, from the explicate point-of-view. It is ceaselessly becoming, and the mystery of consciousness lies in its hidden (or occulted) implicate nature.
The implicate order may be seen to apply both to matter (organic and inorganic) and consciousness. This is equivalent to the alchemical goal of uniting psyche and matter. It requires, however, redefining our concept of consciousness.
Both parapsychology and analytical psychology have defined consciousness in terms that are most appropriate to “ego-consciousness.” It is linear, directed thinking. Ego-consciousness is linear, directed, transcendence-oriented and monotheistic. It is heroic, and as such is goal-oriented and produces the fantasy of moving consciousness through a series of hierarchal stages of development.
There is another way of imagining exitence, where soul rather than spirit is the primary motivation. In fact, there are differing styles of consciousness, depending on our perspective. Styles of consciousness are relative to one another. Within our developing framework, we might consider ego-consciousness as explicate.
However, anima-consciousness mediates implicate order. Anima-consciousness, as conceived by James Hillman’s school of imaginal psychology, is a multi-centered polytheistic perspective. Its concerns are being-in-soul, not becoming more, better, best or perfect. It is perceived as a coincidence of processes. All phases are present at once, enfolded in any part. It is experienced as a series of superimposed images. It is reflective and concerned with inter-relationships. It is diffused, not focused awareness. It mediates the unknown, or unconsciousness–that which is yet to unfold and still lies hidden behind the ‘veil.’
‘Anima’ is the Latin form of the Greek word, ‘psyche.’ They are cognate. James Hillman has called anima the archetype of psyche. As psyche means butterfly, he says it indicates “a consciousness that does not soar but stays attached, that hovers and flutters over the field of natural events.”
Anima-consciousness comes through images, multi-sensory images, from the primitive gut reaction to the most exalted vision. It brings awareness that fantasies are everywhere, conditioning our perception of reality and our place in it. Images and fantasies are not separate from our reality, but are fundamental to our notions about reality. Jung says, “image is psyche.”
Anima, as the archetype of psychic consciousness, makes us aware of our areas of unconsciousness. Soul, in its relationship with spirit, constantly invades the day-world of consciousness with images, fears, moods and mystery. It is elusive, ambiguous and paradoxical.
The interaction of spirit and soul, discrete yet connected, represents the sacred marriage, or coniunctio. So, one task is to distinguish them, one from the other. They have been confounded in theology, philosophy, psychology, and science. Descarte equated the ego with the soul, a grievous mis-representation. Anima, is a diffuse consciousness that seeks to re-create and unify with spirit in the royal marriage.
This mode of perception is conscious of its unconsciousness and can recognize the potential latent in the unknown aspect (the promise of the divine child). This style of consciousness can be characterized as illumined lunacy, and was a characteristic of many of the saints and sages throughout history.
When we can get outside of our culturally-programmed heroic consciousness and experience the world of imagination, dreams and creativity, the ego realizes that there are possibilities far outside of its sphere of observation.
There is an inevitable uncertainty principle in the realms of both matter and psyche. The autonomy of psyche’s stream of consciousness assures we will never know her next move. And in physics an electron’s position and momentum cannot be simultaneously measured. When we attempt to grasp one part of nature, we lose consciousness of another–it gets “fuzzy.”