UNUS MUNDUS

The UNUS MUNDUS forum of Psychovision (Remo F. Roth) invites discussion of theoretical and practical issues of a possible union of Carl Jung's depth psychology with quantum physical principles.
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 Unus Ambo 
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Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 2:14 am
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Post Unus Ambo
Remo (and UM readers):

Are you familiar with the work of the French philologist Henry Corbin, a friend of Jung’s who writes about Sufism? In his beautifully composed exegesis of Islamic theophany, The Man of Light in Iranian Sufism, he expounds on the concept of unus ambo (bi-unity), which he defines as the partnership between the “earthly individual” and a “heavenly partner.” Quoting from chapter two (which bears this epigraph from Psalm 23: “For thou art with me … all the days of my life”): ‘In unus ambo, each of the two simultaneously assumes the position of the I and the self – image and mirror: my image looks at me with my own look; I look at it with its own look.’ This sounds consonant with Jung’s ‘dialogic unity’ of the Self and the ego (as the shadow of the Self).

A factor that intensifies my fascination with Corbin’s concept of bi-unity is the radical discovery of neurophysiologist Benjamin Libet. As you may well know, Libet demonstrates that the mind is a side-effect of the brain. (Electronic monitors detect the impulse to act in the brain a fraction of a second before the mind experiences the volition to act.) Libet’s research questions the nature of free will and suggests the reality of an authentic self that is unconscious – and psychophysical. (Sounds, in some ways, similar to the original self, the Zen tradition of intrinsic awareness deeper than ego, doesn’t it?)

I speculate that such research supports the (perhaps science fiction) idea of essentialism: that the mind is received by the brain in the same way that a radio or television receives a broadcast signal. We receive from the Self the volitional impulse a fraction of a second before the ego becomes aware of it. Perhaps, then, the brain can only receive the mind that it is conditioned (by genetics and environment) to receive. Each of us may be far larger as a consciousness than our physiology permits us to express in any given incarnation. Like a radio or TV tuned to a specific channel or bandwidth (AM - FM; b&w - color - HDTV), there might be a whole lot more signal ‘out there’ than the device (the brain) can receive at any one time.

Perhaps we walk through the world in the disguise of our presence!

Auspicious wishes!

Al


Sun Oct 21, 2007 11:22 pm
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Post Re: Unus Ambo
Al Attanasio wrote:
Remo (and UM readers):

Are you familiar with the work of the French philologist Henry Corbin, a friend of Jung’s who writes about Sufism? In his beautifully composed exegesis of Islamic theophany, The Man of Light in Iranian Sufism, he expounds on the concept of unus ambo (bi-unity), which he defines as the partnership between the “earthly individual” and a “heavenly partner.” Quoting from chapter two (which bears this epigraph from Psalm 23: “For thou art with me … all the days of my life”): ‘In unus ambo, each of the two simultaneously assumes the position of the I and the self – image and mirror: my image looks at me with my own look; I look at it with its own look.’ This sounds consonant with Jung’s ‘dialogic unity’ of the Self and the ego (as the shadow of the Self).

A factor that intensifies my fascination with Corbin’s concept of bi-unity is the radical discovery of neurophysiologist Benjamin Libet. As you may well know, Libet demonstrates that the mind is a side-effect of the brain. (Electronic monitors detect the impulse to act in the brain a fraction of a second before the mind experiences the volition to act.) Libet’s research questions the nature of free will and suggests the reality of an authentic self that is unconscious – and psychophysical. (Sounds, in some ways, similar to the original self, the Zen tradition of intrinsic awareness deeper than ego, doesn’t it?)

Al


Hello Al, I posted something about the Sufis recently. Here is part of it:

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
Anima Mundi: Awakening the Soul of the World
Published in Sufi Journal, Issue 67, Autumn 2005

(The entire article is much longer than the post.)

THE PART ABOUT ALCHEMY, JUNG, SUFIS, EGO:

The alchemists continued to explore the anima mundi. While the Church looked for light in the heavens, the alchemists sought the light hidden in matter. They understood that there was a sacred essence in the fabric of creation, which through their experiments and imagination they worked to release. For the alchemists the anima mundi is the divine spark in matter, the “philosophical Mercury,” which is the “universal and scintillating fire in the light of nature, which carries the heavenly spirit with it.”

Alchemy is concerned with turning lead into gold, liberating the light hidden in the darkness -- “the fiery sparks of the world soul, i.e. the light of nature … dispersed or sprinkled throughout the structure of the great world into all fruits of the elements everywhere.”(6) The alchemists also understood that there is a connection between the anima mundi and the soul or innermost secret of man. The source of the wisdom and knowledge of the all-pervading essence of the anima mundi was “the innermost and most secret numinosum of man.” (7)

In the last century Carl Jung rediscovered the wisdom of the alchemical opus and showed how alchemical symbols image the process of inner transformation that can release this hidden light. Jung differentiated between two forms of spiritual light: lumen dei, the light proceeding from the spiritual realm of a transcendent God, and lumen naturae, the light hidden in matter and the forces of nature. The Divine Light may be experienced through revelation and spiritual practices that give us access to our transcendent self. The Light of Nature needs to be released through inner alchemy so that it can work creatively in the world.

The tradition of alchemy reinterpreted into the language of inner transformation is a key to help us to liberate our natural light and to transform the world. The alchemical light hidden in darkness is our own light, which is also the divine spark within matter. Our natural light is part of the light of the World Soul. This alchemical unlocking of matter can be associated with freeing, or awakening, the world soul, the anima mundi. As a microcosm of the whole, the individual can participate directly in the alchemical process that liberates this light, a light that is needed to understand the mysteries of creation and the ways of working with its magical nature. With the lumen naturae we can once again learn how to unlock the secrets of nature, so that we no longer have to attack and destroy the natural world in order to survive.

Alchemy is our Western tradition of inner transformation. Sufis have always known about the inner process of alchemy. ( One of the early Sufi masters, Dhû-l-Nûn, was described as an alchemist, and a great twelfth-century Sufi, al-Ghazzalî, titled one of his most important books The Alchemy of Happiness. Sufis have mastered the alchemy of the heart, through which the energy of love transforms the individual to reveal the light hidden within the darkness of the nafs or lower self. They developed a detailed science for working with the chambers of the heart to effect an inner transformation that gives the wayfarer access to the light of his true nature. This work does not belong just to the individual, but can have a direct relationship to the whole of creation and the heart of the world. Once we recognize the mysterious connection between our own innermost essence and the soul of the world, we can use the tools of inner transformation to work directly with the soul of the world, to help the anima mundi reveal its divine light and awaken.

AS ABOVE SO BELOW

As a result of Jung’s writings on alchemy, we have begun to understand the nature of the inner alchemical work. The work on the alchemical lead -- the prima materia, that which is “glorious and vile, precious and of small account and is found everywhere”(9) -- is the work on the shadow, the rejected and unacknowledged parts of our psyche. The philosopher’s stone, the gold made from the lead, is our own true nature, the Self. Rather than a transcendent, disembodied divinity, alchemy reveals a divine light that exists in the very depths of our psyche. This light hidden in darkness, the lumen naturae, is also our instinctual self and natural way of being, which until it is revealed is covered over by patterns of conditioning and the layers of the false self.

What is the difference between the light discovered in the depths of the psyche and the light of our transcendent divine Self glimpsed in meditation or other experiences? It is the same light experienced in different ways. The Sufis know that the Beloved, the source of all light, has both an immanent and a transcendent quality. He whom we love is both “nearer to him than his jugular vein” and “beyond even his idea of the beyond.” The Self, “larger than large and smaller than small,” has the same dual quality.

The yogi deep in meditation and the alchemist in his laboratory are seeking the same light, the same divine nature. Everything that we experience has a dual nature, a masculine and a feminine aspect, and the same is true of the light of the Self. It can be experienced in its masculine form as a pure transcendent light, consciousness without the constrictions of the psyche or the physical world. In meditation we can first glimpse and then rest in our eternal and infinite nature, and come to know a reality not defined or constricted by our body or the manifest world. This is a reality of light upon light, our colorless and formless essence.

We can also come to know our divine nature in its feminine, embodied nature, as the light of being, our natural wisdom, the gold of our true nature. In this light we experience and know the divine within creation, the way our Beloved reveals Himself in a multitude of forms, each form a different expression of His infinite being. We see how each color, each smell, every taste, even every thought and feeling, is a unique expression of the divine. In this way we come to know Him in His creation in a way that is hidden in the transcendent. In this revelation we see that each thing is unique and that all things are one, and we discover the relationship of the parts to the whole -- the interconnected wonder of creation. We see the rich tapestry of life and know that it is one Being revealing Itself in so many ways.

REST OF SUFI-RELATED POST: (links are there to English, German, and Spanish translations)

http://psychophysical.free.fr/viewtopic.php?p=5494#5494

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"Only if a man dares to entrust himself again to the depth of his origin can he reach the height for which he was destined." Karlfried Graf Durckheim


Mon Oct 22, 2007 6:33 am
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Post The Shahid
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The Sufis know that the Beloved, the source of all light, has both an immanent and a transcendent quality. He whom we love is both “nearer to him than his jugular vein” and “beyond even his idea of the beyond.” The Self, “larger than large and smaller than small,” has the same dual quality.


Thanks, Suzanne, for directing me to that enlightening article about alchemy and the Sufis. Such knowledge rumbles low across the mind’s expanse with a noise like a thunder, attesting to the flash of illuminated insight that inspired the author.

I am particularly struck by the Sufi concept of the Beloved, the Shahid, which in Persian (Corbin points out) also means ‘the Witness.’ That, of course, brings to mind the pivotal role of the observer in modern physics, whose observations collapse the wave function to the specific actuality that is observed. In this regard, I suppose, the Self (the Shahid) is the Witness who observes the ego and thus brings into experience our existence.

Maybe, too, that answers my query about Benjamin Libet’s discovery of the latency separating the unconscious impulse to act and the conscious experience of volition: which may be the lag between the Self’s witnessing and the ego’s experiencing.

Your reference to the Shahid reminds me that the great German poet, Rainer Maria Rilke, placed the Shahid prominently in his monumental work Duineser Elegien (Duino Elegies). There, the Shahid appears as der Engel Ordnungen (the angelic orders) … Frühe Geglückte (fortuitous first ones) … Räume aus Wesen, Schilde aus Wonne (spaces of being, shields of ecstasy) … Spiegel (mirrors). In the words of the article you reference: “This is a reality of light upon light, our colorless and formless essence.”

Such poetry – of the alchemists, the Sufis, Rilke, and right here in our own backyard with Remo’s psychophysical elaboration of quantum physics – extends awareness beyond Logos into the ranges of Eros much like grace or jazz: an experience beyond definition or description yet clearly felt when in its presence.

Thanks, again, for this splendid reminder that “alchemy reveals a divine light that exists in the very depths of our psyche. This light hidden in darkness…”

Uplifted!

Al


Tue Oct 23, 2007 1:33 am
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Post Full Moon musings
Many thanks for all the insight and the beauty. Reading your well-considered words, Al and Suzanne, I am returned to MLvonFranz's discussion in "Alchemy", where she is discussing the role of the unconscious, saying,

Quote:
The unconscious seems to deliver models which can be arrived at directly from within without looking at outer facts, and which afterwards seem to fit outer reality. Is that a miracle or not? There are two possible explanations: either the unconscious knows about other realities, or what we call the unconsious is a part of the same thing as outer reality, for we do not know how the unconsious is linked with matter...Dr. Jung speculate(s)..that probably the unconscious has a material aspect, which would be why it knows about matter, because it is matter, it is matter which knows itself, as it were. If this were so, then there would be a dim or vague phenomenon of consciousness even in inorganic matter. (p.36-7)


What exactly is the role between the psyche and matter? If it is true that "the ego of an individuated person is...a manifestation of the Self...open to the unconscious" (155) as von Franz suggests, just where does that Self, or Witness, emanate from exactly? And is the unconscious really wholly separate from the Self? If the 'authentic self is unconscious' as Benjamin Libet postulates, the questions only multiply! Maybe as the Sufis say the individual Witness or Self is only a tiny reflection or piece of a magnificent, conscious, omnipresent, omniscient Source that lies outside the physical body, just as the moon reflects the light of the sun.

In a discussion of Arabic alchemy, MLvonF shows how Senior's text regarding the love letter between the sun and the moon shows "A conflict between a wrong ego attitude towards the earth, or unconscious, and an ego attitude which allows the Self to manifest"(155). This 'Self' "has the quality of unique creativeness in each moment of life", and oneness with this Self involuntarily produces "unexpected creative reactions". The Self (or Witness) must operate apart from collective functionning, according to this discussion, because a person at one with Self exhibits reactions which are completely original in the moment. Such a person may appear inconsistent and be labelled as eccentric or unusual, but as MLvonF says, "one becomes a mystery to others, because of the oneness with the Self":

Quote:
We meet most people on the collective level and know the qualities we share, such as jealousy and love, and without empathy we cannot relate, but that is not [the same thing as] the uniquenss of the individual. It is the quality of genius to produce the unexpected; it is the surprising thing which clicks and yet is not banal.


Von Franz says "the shut chamber alludes to this secret centre of the personality, the secret source of life. It is the shut chamber of the heart, the unique creativeness in each moment...for ultimately the individual is a unique and closed system, a unique thing which centres round an unpredictable source of life."(p159) Wherefrom does this unpredictable source spring? As something which is distinct from ego functionning, from the cult of personality, where does Self 'reside'? Whatever the case, it is evident that

Quote:
...if that becomes real in an individual then one feels the mystery of a unique personality. That has to do with shutting the house, which means separation from collective entanglements and contamination, not only outwardly, but inwardly, separating within oneself from what is ..not oneself" (p160)


This uniqueness then is not something which is intentional, but is that which springs from an inherant creativity, from union with the Self, from a Self which could in fact actually reside within (or emanate from) the unconscious (if I am reading Libet's hypothesis correctly -- Al, pls let me know if I'm on the wrong track). At any rate, it is precisely the one who has forgotten his/her own enlightenment who is in touch with this authentic self, as outlined by MLvonF, for, "the enlightened one does not feel unique but very human and that is why you can say such people are very open to the world and very human with everybody, or paradoxically you can say they are infinitely unique and incomprehensible".

The topic of Self and it's relation to the unconscious is clearly more timely than ever now that we are facing such things as the creation of artificial intelligence. It would definately be helpful to hear more from the psychophysical point of view on this theme, as Remo's work does move beyond some of what was postulated by MLvonFranz above. Libet's theory is definately food for thought along the same lines -- I wonder how his deductions might be integrated, if at all, with Remo's formulations...If anything, the plot only thickens!


best to all,
Kristin

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Fri Oct 26, 2007 9:25 am
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