On the boundary between science and myth

Post 4- “Towards an enantiodromic approach to the universe. Jung, Pauli,​ and beyond …”

Authored by Alain Negre

Access the Synopsis: Towards an enantiodromic approach to the universe. Jung, Pauli,​ and beyond

The formation of hypotheses is the imaginative phase of the scientific process – The unimaginable archetypes constantly recreate and reconstruct what the cosmologist perceives of the reality of the sky – The return of cyclical conceptions of becoming.

The doubling of the square in Plato’s Meno:
How do we know?
Is all research just remembering?
Memory or imagination?
Scientific discovery or scientific invention?
Was the relation E = mc2 invented or discovered?

Science and imagination

Even though untestable, the highly speculative models mentioned in the previous post (Models of the Universe as a Whole) are of great interest. Because, whatever their degree of plausibility, they nonetheless constitute schemes of intelligibility that can allow the construction of new models, which are subject to potential experimental verification. These models, all based on concepts of contemporary physics, are the result of inspired human imagination.

Inspired imagination, writes Michel Cazenave, is “creative imagination in its own unique way – but creative because it essentially is the receiver in the human soul of what arises from the ‘Nothingness of the Real’, in other words, from the darkest light of the bottomless void from which we come. From this particular point of view, we grasp that it is, by nature, a means of knowledge. This is true not only in the sense of Kant’s ‘transcendental imagination’, which carries out a priori syntheses, but above all in the sense of Proclus’s phantasia, which invents and discovers, in the same movement, the hidden essence of everything. It is particularly true of the mathematical domain insofar as it is parallel, not to mention ‘differently identical’, to the power of the soul – as if invention and discovery, creation and reception were necessarily mutually exclusive, but would nevertheless remain closely together in this intermediate realm where they find all their meaning and authenticity!” [1]

This intermediate realm of which Cazenave speaks is that of the soul which, traditionally, existed between the intelligible and the sensible. This concept disappeared with the advent of science, but the soul has been taken into account by psychology with the notion of the unconscious, which is another name for the unus mundus.

By modeling only the physical structures of the universe, cosmologists split, in a way, the unus mundus as a psychophysical holistic domain. They only keep matter, energy, and information that are understood through the mathematical equations of physics.

Psychic structures lost to knowledge persist in the unconscious. They can be reflected in the interpretation of the modeling of physical structures. Indeed, in the interpretation, the archetypes – empty structures of the cosmic unconscious – are activated in the narrative arising from the history of matter. Their reflections can be revealed in the form of possible homologies and correlations between the diverse elements of each world, spiritual or material.

Archetypes and “Calls from Being”

In the same vein as Jung-Pauli, physicist Bernard d´Espagnat postulated a “veiled reality” prior to the Mind / Matter split. He implied this reality “is not entirely veiled”. Instead of the term “archetypes”, he uses “calls from Being” somehow whispered in the ears of physicists and manifested in the structures revealed by the laws of physics. [2]

Thus, the dominant model of the material universe of contemporary cosmology says something about the essential invisible of “veiled reality.” It unveils reality in anticipation of a better, more inclusive model.

This is how science advances, unveiling the One principle in the course of paradigms shift, as we encounter falsified models superseded by new ones, which allows us to approach, without ever reaching, independent reality.

Reflections of the first four numbers

All numbers organize, structure, and shape the world. But in the ordering of the multiplicity of phenomena the first four numbers intervene with greater frequency. For the most part, primitive order patterns are triads and tetrads.

The interpretation of the contemporary cosmological model lets us discern a glimpse of reflections of the first four integers in the form of “rhythmic configurations of the one-continuum ” [3]:

  • “One” represents that which is undifferentiated.
  • “Two” represents the separation, the polarity, the opposition of the thesis and the antithesis.
  • “Three” represents the reconciliation between two polarities, the new synthesis which goes beyond the thesis and the antithesis.
  • “Four” represents stability and unity rebuilt on a higher level. It is the number of the manifested world, as opposed to an unrepresentable original totality.

History of matter

Today’s prevailing cosmological model is interpreted as a story of matter born from a vacuum fluctuation.

It is the story of a mixture of expanding and cooling particles, which, around the age of 380,000 years, differentiates between matter and light, is structured into galaxies, stars, planets, and, finally, leads to a biosphere on Earth and to Homo sapiens.

The universe thus goes through different phases progressively dominated by radiation, matter, and then the hypothetical repulsive dark energy which is deemed to be responsible for the accelerated expansion currently observed. The model can be extrapolated to the future, a very distant future.

Cyclic expansion-contraction models

The last three decades of the twentieth century saw cosmologists hesitate between an indefinite but increasingly slower expansion and a “Big Crunch” with possibilities of rebound.

The first bounce models did not take into account the second law of thermodynamics, which says that entropy continues to grow in a closed system, a concept that did not fit with the notion of eternal cycles. Nevertheless, these models are making a comeback today as part of the theory of loop quantum gravity.

Cyclic models in the case of indefinite expansion

However, the accelerated expansion favored by current observations does not preclude the possibility of cycles. Penrose was oriented towards this type of model by the “mammoth in the room” of a universe that is supposed to become more and more disordered.

For entropy, a measure of disorder, is already infinite in its past (perfectly proven by observations of the fossil radiation which shows an ideal arrangement of photons in thermal equilibrium). Furthermore, Penrose notes the absence of matter at the very “beginning” of the universe as well as in its distant  future.

This is due to the fact that material particles are negligible compared to the ambient density of the early universe. The same pure radiation remains when black holes will have swallowed the material particles and will have themselves evaporated, leaving only photons which are insensitive to the passage of time.

Thus, at the two “ends” of linear time, time vanishes: indeed, no matter therefore no energy, and therefore no clock. [4] Through using a conformal geometric transformation, Penrose shows the equivalence between contraction and infinite expansion, thus leading to a cyclic cosmology without beginning or end.

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[1] Michel Cazenave, A la rencontre de Carl Gustav Jung, Oxus Eds,2011,  p. 109-110

[2] Bernard d´Espagnat, Un atome de sagesse: propos d’un physicien sur le réel voilé (An Atom of Wisdom: Writings by a Physicist on Veiled Reality).  Paris: Le Seuil, 1982. 

[3] Marie-Louise von Franz, Number and Time: Reflections leading toward a unification of depth psychology and physics (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1974), 65-6. 

 Von Franz later uses other variants: “as rhythmic configurations of psychic energy […] and – as I would add today – of psychophysical energy.” In “Psyche and Matter” p. 256 , Trans. by Michael H. Kohn,  Boston & London: Shambhala, 1992.

[4] Between energy and matter: E = mc2 (c = constant) and between energy and frequency: E = h f (h = constant). So hf = mc2, hence f = (c2 / h) m. If m = 0, f = 0. Without frequency, no clock, no possibility of defining a time scale and therefore no space.

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.