Friday, 6 November 2015

Physics and metaphysics: the stuff that dreams are made of

The stuff that dreams are made of, John Anster Fitzgerald (1819-1906), oil on canvas, 1858
Continuing from yesterday about the Pauli/ Jung letters: Jung devoted quite a lot of ink to Wolfgang Pauli's dreams, so I found Pauli's essay, Modern Examples of Background Physics, especially interesting for his views on the nature of dreams. In a long letter of 31 March 1953 Pauli says:
"When you say that "the psyche is partly of a material nature,"7 Then for me as a physicist this takes on the form of a metaphysical statement. I prefer to say that psyche and matter are governed by common, neutral, "not in themselves ascertainable" ordering principles. (Unlike the psychologist, the physicist has no problem, for example, with saying "the U field" instead of "the unconscious," which would thus establish the"neutrality" of the concept.)
 "7 Your letter, p. 6. This statement seems to me alarmingly close to the definitely meaningless statement that "everything is psychic"! For "psychic" to acquire any meaning, there must also be something nonpsychic involved, and this is where the "not in itself ascertainable" seems to me suitably neutral."
We see in the above a foreshadowing of David Bohm's Wholeness and the Implicate Order, yet in that work, Pauli gets no mention at all, neither does the Unus Mundus. Bohm does not mention Jung, either, but Bohm obtained many of his ideas about the psyche from Jiddu Krishnamurti. It should be mentioned, however, that Jungian Marie-Lousie Von Franz does refer to Bohm and to Wholeness and the Implicate Order in her (1988) Psyche and Matter.

In his (also long) reply, Jung says:
"You are perfectly correct when you say that my remark concerning the material nature of the psyche is a metaphysical judgement. It was, of course, not meant as such and is not to be taken literally. The remark is simply intended to point out that the nature of the psyche is involved in both hypothetical conceptions, spirit and material, and, like them, is not ascertainable. The aim of the remark is to indicate that whenever something material exists, the psyche is also partially involved. When it comes to the overall judgement, the following sentence needs to be added: Wherever the spiritual exists, the psyche has its part to play. This participation is ascertainable in that there are conceptions that are labeled partly as spiritual and partly as of material origin. But just what form this participation actually takes cannot be ascertained because material, psyche, and spirit are in themselves of an unknown nature and thus are metaphysical or postulated. Thus I fully agree when you say "that psyche and matter are governed by common neutral etc. ordering principles." (I would simply add "spirit" as well.)
"Under these circumstances, I simply fail to see—with the best will in the world—how psychology can be "overburdened" with me, or what form an expansionist tendency of my concept of the psyche is supposed to take."
Following Markus Fierz' comments from yesterday,  he says of Pauli's essay: "...Pauli refers to it as an outline—but actually an attempt to come to grips with a problem that had always preoccupied him. What he had in mind was "a description of nature integrating both physis and psyche.""

In Tertium Organum, Ouspensky says:
"...according to Kant, everything that we find in things is put in them by ourselves. Independently of ourselves we do not know what the world is like. And our cognition of things has nothing in common with the things as they are outside of us—that is, in themselves. Furthermore, and most important, our ignorance of things in themselves does not depend upon our insufficient knowledge, but is due to the fact that by means of sensuous perception we cannot know the world correctly at all. That is to say, we cannot truly declare that although now we perhaps know little, presently we shall know more, and at length shall come to a correct understanding of the world. It is not true because our experimental knowledge is not a confused perception of a real world. It is a very acute perception of an entirely unreal world appearing round about us at the moment of our contact with the world of true causes, to which we cannot find the way because we are lost in an unreal "material" world. For this reason the extension of the objective sciences does not bring us any nearer to the knowledge of things in themselves, or of true causes.
"In A Critique of Pure Reason Kant affirms that:
"Nothing which is intuited in space is a thing in itself, and space is not a form which belongs as a property to things; but objects are quite unknown to us in themselves, and what we call outward objects are nothing else but mere representations of our sensibility, whose form is space, but whose real correlated thing in itself is not known by means of these representations, nor ever can be, but respecting which, in experience, no inquiry is ever made.
"The things which we intuit are not in themselves the same as our representation of them in intuition, nor are their relations in themselves so constituted as they appear to us; and if we take away the subject, or even only the subjective constitution of our senses in general, then not only the nature and relations of objects in space and time disappear, but even space and time themselves...."
Have a great weekend and think about these things, or not, because if you don't mind, it doesn't matter

John's Coydog Community page

No comments:

Post a Comment