The archetype: ordering factor, formative principle of the universe

Post 2 – “Towards an enantiodromic approach to the universe. Jung, Pauli,​ and beyond …”

Authored by Alain Negre

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The “neither/nor” and the “both-at-once” prevail in the psychophysical background – Articulate various levels without ever confusing them – The archetype – The intuition of a hidden order is common to the physicist and the psychologist – Cosmology is a discipline of physics

The archetype is nothing but a hypothesis. The important thing is the archetypal form. In order to understand the distinction between archetype-in-itself and an archetypal image or symbol, Jung uses the metaphor of the axial system of a crystal.

For example, the “face-centered cubic” crystal lattice for cooking salt (NaCl) is shown on the left as the empty form of the archetype while, on the right, the concrete geometry of the individual crystals are the archetypal forms. Other examples of archetypal forms include:

  • religious and cultural forms: cinema, music, fashion, etc.
  • the forms taken in the perceptual experience: dreams, scientific inventions …

A vertical vision

The “neither/nor” and the “both-at-once” prevail in the psychophysical background

If the “neither/nor” and the “both-at-once” of the tetralemma prevail in the psychophysical background, it is important to insist on the submission of the empirical phenomena studied by science to the principles of non-contradiction and of the excluded middle.

The potential totality of the unus mundus “one world” should not be confused with either the manifested totalities or with holographic orders theorized by science in recent decades, as presented in Pribram’s holonomic brain model or Bohm’s Implicate Order [1].

These manifested totalities relate to the level of reality that Michel Cazenave, in his book Science and the Soul of the World,  calls the “Totality-of-beings ” (see his suggestions of four levels, summarized by me in the table below). From the “Totality-of-beings” originates the “beings or entities”. These are the “separate and relatively independent phenomena, subject as such to analytical study (…) and which corresponds to classical physics, to the psychology of the conscious,  to traditional logic, to the maya of the Hindus, or to the most explicit order as explained by David Bohm.”[2]

The “Totality of beings” is founded on what Cazenave calls the “Plane of Being” which is that of the unmanifested, of medieval unus mundus, of Bohm’s super-implicate order, and of the psychophysical background conjectured by Jung and Pauli.

Articulate various levels without ever confusing them

This vision continues Cazenave “has the enormous advantage of articulating various levels without ever confusing them:

  • not to apply, for example, quantum non-separability to the macrophysical order of beings;
  • to validate the creation of systems and sub-systems that generate hierarchically from Being, while each time taking new degrees of autonomy (like a system of mirrors which reflect each other);
  • to develop a general logic that does not destroy the principles of identity and non-contradiction of the Aristotelian corpus – which perfectly accounts for our empirical reality – but goes beyond them by encompassing them within it.”[3]

The archetype

The intuition of a hidden order is common to the physicist and the psychologist

The intuition of an order hidden behind the appearances of the empirical world is common to both physicists and psychologists. Jung, when considering the symbols appearing in the dreams of his patients and the structures of various folkloric, mythological, and historical materials, was led to perceive a commonality beyond the forms, the archetypes which are empty forms of the unconscious.

They are equivalent in psychology to the ideas of Plato in philosophy.

The archetype-in-itself is, therefore, not an image or a symbol. It is an a priori given possibility of representational form. [4] The archetypes are transmitted as possibilities for representation.

Consciousness perceives only its manifestations through religions, cultures and scientific knowledge. Pauli, focusing on his 17th-century predecessor Johannes Kepler, came to regard great inventions, scientific conceptions, as being rooted in this same soil. [5]

If the laws of physics require the long and tedious process of discrimination of consciousness, the fact remains that science and myths are manifestations of these ordering factors situated beyond the distinction between ‘physical’ and ‘psychic’.

Cosmology is a discipline of physics

Cosmology is an extremely fascinating discipline of physics. Its objective being understanding the universe as a whole, the cosmologist is obliged to recognize that he/she is part of it.

By integrating the presence of conscious beings into its model, this discipline makes it possible to recompose the different fragments of knowledge and to offer the possibility of a reconciliation between the subject and the object, between the external man and the inner man. Of course, as already mentioned, this recomposition can only be done by cultivating understanding across several levels of reality.

This study is a summary of the book The Archetype of the Number and its Reflections in Contemporary Cosmology [6] which is trying to show how contemporary cosmology activates archetypal structures in its most advanced models.

Numbers govern matter as well as the psyche

Besides the Jung-Pauli hypothesis of an indivisible whole where psyche and matter form an undifferentiated unity, their ideas concerning these fundamental archetypes, which are the integers, are also important.

Jung and Pauli, rediscovering the deep link sensed by Plato in his writing Timaeus between the power of the soul and the existence of the number, advanced towards a concept in which numbers rule both matter and the psyche.

The quantitative aspects of the number, as a plurality of units, are part of number theory and are complementary to individual qualitative aspects. These two aspects are distinct although originating from the same background. They allow a reinterpretation of the history of the universe which highlights symmetries and dialectical processes.

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[1] David Bohm suggests that this implicate order has its foundation on a more subtle, deeper level, which governs the former. It is the holomovement that is “indefinable and immeasurable”. In David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1980, p. 191.

[2] Michel Cazenave, La science et l’âme du monde (Science and the Soul of the World) Paris, Albin Michel, 1996.

[3] Cazenave, ibid.

[4] Carl Jung, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, CW 9i, p. 79, para 155.

[5] Wolfgang Pauli, “The Influence of Archetypal Ideas on the Scientific Theories of Kepler,” in Writings on Physics and Philosophy, ed. C. Enz and K. von Meyenn (Berlin Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag, 1994), 219-79.

[6] Alain Nègre, The Archetype of the Number and its Reflections in Contemporary Cosmology, Asheville, N.C., U.S.A., Chiron Publications, 2018.

William House
William is an earth scientist and writer with an interest in providing the science "backstory" for breaking environmental, earth science, and climate change news.