The universe is self-produced through opposites

Post 7 – “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

Matter and information supersede each other in a generating loop that continually regenerates the universe within its own organization.

Over time, everything that exists evolves into its opposite. The Möbius strip is a metaphor for enantiodromia which is a mechanism of self-regulation.

Toward a cosmological enantiodromia

What can the six pairs of opposites of the quadruple ternary structure mean? Are they a cosmological expression of the Heraclitean enantiodromia for which everything that exists turns into the opposite direction? In psychology, Jung took up this principle in the form of “the emergence of the unconscious opposite in the course of time”. [1]

This phenomenon almost always occurs when the conscious is dominated by a one-sided tendency. It invites the subject to redirect some of the energy that animates him toward the antagonistic aspects that he tends to neglect.

Mental processes are not the only ones based on the regulatory play of opposites. Enantiodromia has taken on a precise meaning in several areas of physics through laws of moderation that quantitatively express how certain effects oppose their causes. This is the case with Lenz-Faraday’s law in electromagnetism, Le Chatelier’s law in chemistry, or the law of action and reaction in mechanics.

In addition to the global-scale antagonisms that shape the 4 × 3 structure, there are multiple local feedback loops, for example between stars and interstellar medium, or between dark matter and ordinary matter. The biosphere itself is made up of large, entangled cycles of trophic loops made up of myriads of mini-loops connecting living beings to solar energy, through complex biological and geological processes.

The aim now is to wonder about the meaning of possible reversals, at certain points of the cosmic cycle, toward their opposites. The study will be limited to the two pairs of opposites associated with gravity: the horizontal I-VII axis and the vertical IV-X axis.

Cosmic inflation and reflective consciousness: the horizontal axis

Cosmic inflation and the explosion of reflective consciousness are the two strongly emergent cosmological events. Both are expanding exponentially and both seem to relate to the creation of a certain type of space.

It is believed that spacetime was created around 10-35 second after time zero by the inflation mechanism that ends at around 10-32 second. It is a creation of space from the quantum vacuum – a state ruled by equations, virtually containing the universe. This vacuum has a sudden repulsive effect that induces an exponential expansion, allowing the size of the universe to be multiplied by a huge factor.

The fulgurance of this evolution may be put in parallel with that of the reflexive consciousness that arises some 13.7 billion years later, represented in the curves of the paleoanthropologists, which show an exponential development of the technique – a constitutive element of the condition and of the human evolution [2].

François Meyer, « Temps, devenir, évolution » in Communications n°41,    Paris, Editions du Seuil, 1985, p. 111-122

Consciousness and space

Can consciousness be related to the notion of space? Although impossible to locate, the flows of experiences do seem to create mental spaces. In the dream state which became a content of consciousness when it was memorized after awakening, the sensation of space seems just as present as in the waking state.

However, consciousness is not a type of space subject to the rule of the temporal, material, and spatial universe. It is a psychic reality, a tiny emergent part of the conscious-unconscious totality of the psyche. In a 1929 letter to a correspondent, Jung put forward the idea that the collective unconscious is like an “omnipresent continuum, an unextended Everywhere. [3]

Later, writing in 1952 to another correspondent, he proposed seeing the psyche as the “highest intensity in the smallest space [4], a paradoxical statement of which he was well aware – paradoxical in relation to the underlying psychophysical level.

Penrose, as a physicist, perhaps grasps the idea of this issue when he suggests that conscious experience in the microtubules of the brain is intrinsically related to the very small-scale structure of the spacetime geometry. Such a link between two scales as disparate as that of Planck (10-35 meter) and that of the biological microtubule domain (1 nanometer = 10-9 meter) remains, however, highly speculative.

Mentioning the brain to his correspondent, Jung also tried to describe it as a link, using the metaphor of the transformer: “The brain might be a transformer station, in which the relatively infinite tension or intensity of the psyche proper is transformed into perceptible frequencies or ‘extensions’.” [5] 

A collapse of the wave function, triggered by gravity

The strong emergence and exponential development of a certain “space” are not the only characteristics common to events I and VII. Gravity acts as a trigger in two physical models that are designed to account for both events.

As already mentioned, the “objective reduction” of the wave function, proposed by Roger Penrose, constitutes the “atom” of proto-consciousness that occurs in any type of matter. Together with Stuart Hameroff, he suggested that this reduction could occur in an “orchestrated” way in the microtubules of the brain. This is a highly speculative theory that could offer an element of explanation for the VII event of the history of the universe (but also, in a less synchronized form, for the VI event, the previous phase of the development of the biosphere).

The objective physical threshold, providing a plausible lifetime for the superposition of two quantum states, is given by a form of the uncertainty principle: EG = ћ / τ. In this expression, EG is the gravitational self-energy [6] of the superposition and τ is a kind of average time for the state reduction to take place, resulting in a “moment of consciousness” (ћ = h / 2π with h = Planck’s constant).

The ‘Big Wow’and the little ‘bings’

The Penrose-Hameroff theory thus describes consciousness as a fundamental property of reality, which has its roots in the Planck-scale structure of spacetime. It is now remarkable that a “moment of consciousness”, or “bing” in the brain, would require 109 microtubules. This number has caused a state of wonder in physicist Paola Zizzi as she has been interested in the opposite event, that of the primordial universe.

The state of this medium empty of matter is often represented by Willem de Sitter’s cosmological model, for which the only contribution to the energy density comes from the cosmological constant. [7] As she works in the field of “loop quantum gravity”, which is one of the attempts to unify general relativity with quantum physics, Paola Zizzi models the universe as a kind of neural network with quantum gates and associated qubits. She thus obtains a particular quantum memory register that grows over time, a “Quantum Growing Network” (QGN) whose qubits are pixels of the “event horizon” of this universe.

Free outgoing links are qubits. Connection links are virtual states. The nodes, indicated by integers, are Hadamard gates.

With each time step, the vacuum state of this quantum register increases due to the uncertainty in the quantum information induced by the quantum fluctuations of the vacuum. The resulting virtual states (responsible for accelerating growth – in other words, inflation) are controlled by quantum logic gates and turned into qubits. During inflation, the universe is thus a quantum superposition of several possible spacetime geometries which are multiple worlds in Everett’s sense. This superposition reaches a quantum gravity threshold at the end of inflation. Thus, there is “objective reduction”, in the sense of Penrose, which follows instability in the separation of spacetimes.

The objective reduction of the superposition to a single universe constitutes a “conscious moment” which Paola Zizzi, in the context of the early universe, calls “Big Wow”. She notes that the quantum gravity threshold reached at the end of inflation corresponds to a superposed state of the quantum register of 109, which is the same number as that of the superposed tubulin-qubits in the brain, necessary for the existence of an individual consciousness.

The universe could thus have reached a threshold of computational complexity sufficient for the emergence of consciousness during the period of cosmic inflation. Paola Zizzi makes a very speculative analogy between the individual microcosm brain and the macrocosm universe which, from its “creation”, would have had the structure and organization necessary for the emergence of our individual consciousnesses.

The enantiodromic link between events I and VII is illustrated by Wheeler’s “it from bit” drawing which describes the universe as a huge feedback loop. [8]

Enantiodromic link between I and VII. Information and Matter

The right side of the U represents the material universe (it) with a “conscious” eye looking attentively at the left side which represents the informational aspect of reality (bit). In other words, the immaterial and global information of the quantum foam “preceding” the space-time-matter (I) is gradually transformed and reversed into material forms that are more and more individualized and self-conscious (VII).

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[1] Carl Jung, Psychological Types, CW 6  (R. F. C. Hull, Trans.) (H. Read et al., Eds.), (Original work published 1921), par. 709, p. 426.    

[2] André Leroi-Gourhan, Gesture and Speech, An OCTOBER Book, The MIT Press Cambridge, Massachusetts, p.138.

[3] Carl Jung, Letters 1: 1906-1950, Edited by: Adler, G., Jaffé, A. and Hull, R. F. C. to Dr Albert Oeri, pp 57–58.

[4] Carl Jung, Letters 2: 1951-1961, Edited by: Adler, G., Jaffé, A. and Hull, R. F. C. To John Raymond Smythies pp 43-47 

[5] Carl Jung, ibid., (Letters 2, pp 43-47.)

[6] Stuart Hameroff, Roger Penrose, “Consciousness in the Universe:  An Updated Review of the ‘Orch OR’ Theory.” Available at

[7] Paola Zizzi, Emergent Consciousness: From the Early Universe to our Mind, NeuroQuantology, Vol.3 (2003) pp. 295-311 Available at

[8] John Wheeler, « Genesis and Observership » Foundational Problems in the Special Sciences, edited by R. E. Butts and K. J. Hintikka, Reidel, Dordrecht, 1977.

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.