Éljúðnir

Hel_(Norse_goddess)

In Norse mythology, Hel is the Goddess of Death and the afterlife who presides over a realm of the same name, located in Niflheim. She is the youngest child of the trickster god Loki and the giantess Angrboða. She is often described as a hag; half alive and half dead, with a gloomy and grim expression. Her face and body are those of a living woman, but her legs are those of a corpse, mottled and moldering.

Cast into Helheim by Odin, Hel receives a portion of the dead and distributes those who are sent to her; the wicked and those dead of sickness or old age. Her hall is called Éljúðnir, the home of the dead. “Hel” literally means “one who covers up or hides something.”

Artwork – Hel by Johannes Gehrts (1889)

Hel is generally presented as being rather greedy, harsh, and cruel, or at least indifferent to the concerns of both the living and the dead. However, her personality is little-developed in what survives of Old Norse literature. She’s mostly mentioned only in passing. Snorri describes her appearance as being half-black, half-white, and with a perpetually grim and fierce expression on her face.

The only surviving myth in which she features prominently is that of The Death of Baldur. The beloved god Baldur was slain by none other than Hel’s father, Loki, and the gods sent an emissary named Hermod to Hel in hopes of retrieving Baldur. Hermod pleaded with Hel, telling her how every living thing was in sorrow over the loss of Baldur. But Hel wouldn’t give up her prize so easily. She told Hermod – in a taunting way, we can imagine – that she would only consent to release Baldur if every last thing in the universe wept for him. Hermod and the other gods went around and got almost everything in the cosmos to weep for Baldur. Only one giantess, who was probably Loki in disguise, refused. But because of that one refusal, the terms of Hel’s offer weren’t met, and Hel kept Baldur in her cold clutches.

 

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The XXI Satanic Points

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1. Respect not pity or weakness, for they are a
disease which makes sick the strong.
2. Test always your strength, for therein lies
success.
3. Seek happiness in victory – but never in peace.
4. Enjoy a short rest, better than a long.
5. Come as a reaper, for thus you will sow.
6. Never love anything so much you cannot see it
die.
7. Build not upon sand, but upon rock And build
not for today or yesterday but for all time.
8. Strive ever for more, for conquest is never
done.
9. And die rather than submit.
10. Forge not works of art but swords of death, for
therein lies great art.
11. Learn to raise yourself above yourself so you
can triumph over all.
12. The blood of the living makes good fertilizer
for the seeds of the new.
13. He who stands atop the highest pyramid of
skulls can see the furthest.
14. Discard not love but treat it as an imposter, but
ever be just.
15. All that is great is built upon sorrow.
16. Strive not only forwards, but upwards for
greatness lies in the highest.
17. Come as a fresh strong wind that breaks yet
also creates.
18. Let love of life be a goal but let your highest
goal be greatness.
19. Nothing is beautiful except man: but most
beautiful of all is woman.
20. Reject all illusion and lies, for they hinder the
strong.
21. What does not kill, makes stronger.

P.S. Taken from ‘Codex Saerus’

The Morrígan

O Morrigan, we call your name
Across the dusty years.
You speak to us, of blood and lust. 

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The primary themes asAlso known as the Morrigu, “great queen” or “phantom queen,” the Morrigan has the ability to change her shape and take the form of a crow. Yet another name for her is Badb, meaning “battle-crow” though it’s sometimes translated as “air-demon.” The motif of animal transformation is known as the feth fiada, (“master spell” or “master mist”) and is a frequently recurring theme in Irish mythology. The Morrigan takes part in “The Táin Bó Cúailnge,” or “The Cattle-Raid of Cooley,” throwing in her lot as she sees fit. She has a connection to Cúchulainn, though her exact feelings toward him are unclear, and she takes great interest in his successes and failures; at his death, she and her sisters perch on his shoulders in crow form. The Morrigan is known as a triple goddess figure, taking the forms of maiden, mother and crone at different points throughout the myths. At the end of “The Second Battle of Mag Tured,” she predicts a grim future.

Associated with the Morrígan are battle, strife, and sovereignty. She sometimes appears in the form of a crow, flying above the warriors, and in the Ulster Cycle she also takes the forms of an eel, a wolf and a cow. She is generally considered a war deity comparable with the Germanic Valkyries, although her association with a cow may also suggest a role connected with wealth and the land.

Part 2: Psyche and Matter: The Connections

Modern science may have brought us closer to a more satisfying conception of this relationship [between psyche and physis] by setting up, within the field of physics, the concept of complementarity. It would be most satisfactory of all if physis and psyche could be seen as complementary aspects of the same reality.[12] – Wolfgang Pauli

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Microphysics is feeling its way into the unknown side of matter, just as complex psychology is pushing forward into the unknown side of the psyche. Both lines of investigation have yielded findings which can be conceived only by means of antinomies, and both have developed concepts which display remarkable analogies. If this trend should become more pronounced in the future, the hypothesis of the unity of their subject-matters would gain in probability. Of course there is little or no hope that the unitary Being can ever be conceived, since our powers of thought and language permit only of antinomian statements. But this much we do know beyond all doubt, that empirical reality has a transcendental background.[13] – C. G. Jung

In attempting to understand the deepest levels of reality, it is wise to take note of Jung’s observation that our concepts are imperfect instruments, and that any conceptual representations we may form of these regions of reality will likely involve antinomies, and should be taken as being essentially symbolic rather than literal. For example, progress in the conceptual understanding of the nature of quanta was accomplished by acknowledging the principle of complementarity, which states that mutually exclusive sets of concepts must be used to completely characterize quantum phenomena in all their aspects. As Marie-Louise von Franz tells us, Jung recognized that this principle of complementarity applied to psychology as well as to physics:

Bohr’s idea of complementarity is especially interesting to Jungian psychologists, for Jung saw that the relationship between the conscious and unconscious mind also forms a complementary pair of opposites.[14]

The analogy suggested here is that the wave-particle complementarity in quantum physics parallels the unconscious-conscious complementarity in psychology. Indeed, just as the wave is the unobserved aspect of the quantum and the particle is the observed aspect, so the unconscious is the unobserved aspect of the psyche and the conscious is the observed aspect. Moreover, the wave is continuously spread throughout space, while the particle has a limited location. Similarly, Jung states that

The area of the unconscious is enormous and always continuous, while the area of consciousness is a restricted field of momentary vision.[15]

The analogy goes even further. The quantum wave function represents probabilities, as contrasted to the actualized particle. Similarly, the archetypal structures of the unconscious represent fundamental potentialities of psychic manifestation, while conscious contents are actualizations of these potentialities. As von Franz explains,

What Jung calls the archetypes…could just as well be called, to use Pauli’s term, “primary possibilities” of psychic reactions.[16]

This suggests that the unus mundus behind both psyche and matter is also a continuous world of potentiality. Jung elaborates:

The common background for microphysics and depth-psychology is as much physical as psychic and therefore neither, but rather a third thing, a neutral nature which can at most be grasped in hints since in essence it is transcendental. The background of our empirical world thus appears to be in fact an unus mundus. … The transcendental psychophysical background corresponds to a `potential world’ in so far as those conditions which determine the form of empirical phenomena are inherent in it.[17]

The following table summarizes the correspondence between complementary principles in psyche and matter:

PSYCHE MATTER
TRANSCENDENT unconscious contents
unmanifest archetypes
potentiality
continuous
unobserved quanta
wave functions
indefiniteness/probability
nonlocal
EMPIRICAL conscious contents
manifest images
actuality
discrete
observed quanta
particles
definiteness
localized

Extending the analogy between psyche and matter further, physicist Victor Mansfield points out a similarity in the manner in which potentialities are transformed into actualities in the two realms:

In physics the irreversible measurement process transforms the potentialities into actualities. What is the corresponding psychic function that transforms `the potential world…’ into the world of multiplicity? It is reflective consciousness, the association of knowing with the ego, which makes the empirical world possible and brings the transcendental into the empirical world of multiplicity. The primordial unity of the unus mundus is shattered by reflective consciousness-a point agreed upon in most mystical traditions.[18]In quantum mechanics it’s only when an individual observes that an acausal spacetime event manifests. Our participation through measurement generates acausality. Analogously, when a unique center of consciousness, a specific individual, actualizes a possibility in the unus mundus, acausality enters our world. Introducing a particular perspective, a finite center of consciousness, inevitably brings acausality into the transition from possibilities to actualities.[19]

Similarly, Jung has made a correspondence between the indeterminacy inherent in quantum measurement and the attempt to consciously determine unconscious contents:

Any attempt to determine the nature of the unconscious state runs up against the same difficulties as atomic physics: the very act of observation alters the object observed. Consequently, there is at present no way of objectively determining the real nature of the unconscious.[20]

It should be pointed out here that Jung’s characterization of quantum measurement requires clarification. The quantum measurement does not alter the actual properties of the object being observed since these properties do not have determinate existence prior to measurement. More accurately, the measurement is the occasion for the determination of the actual properties of the object. There is thus a spontaneity that enters nature in quantum measurement. Similarly, the manifestation of unconscious contents within consciousness also has an element of spontaneity, insofar as the particular conscious image manifesting an archetype is not completely determined by previous conscious contents. This type of spontaneity is especially evident in synchronicity.

Although synchronicity phenomena and quantum phenomena have certain similarities, there are also important differences. Consider, for example, nonlocal correlations that have been experimentally observed between two separated quantum events. Like synchronicity, the observed properties of the observed quanta have an element of spontaneity in their manifestation, and the correlations between the two quanta are not due to efficient causation between the two particles. Quantum nonlocality phenomena differ from synchronicity, however, because two quantum events are both events in the outer physical world. Synchronicity, on the other hand, is necessarily a connection between an inner event and an outer event, bridging psyche and matter, and thus pointing to the unus mundus. This brings us to perhaps the most important distinction between the two phenomena, which relates to the inner psychological meaning that is essential to synchronicity. As explained by Mansfield,

In the quantum phenomenon…there is no meaning involved. …In contrast, when an archetype manifests in a synchronicity experience, meaning is the critical point.[21]

Thus, synchronicity essentially involves the manifestation of meaning in the sense of an unconscious compensation that serves an individual’s process of individuation toward wholeness. Nonlocal correlations between quanta, in contrast, are connections between two physical events, and do not involve a manifestation of inner psychological meaning.

Another more subtle distinction between synchronicity and quantum nonlocality is that the quantum correlations are scientifically repeatable and predictable, while synchronicity phenomena appear to be almost entirely spontaneous and unpredictable. A closer psychological analog to quantum nonlocality is parapsychological phenomena. Mansfield elaborates:

Parapsychological phenomena are an example of general acausal orderedness, but not of synchronicity, which I strictly define as an acausal exemplification of meaning in the inner and outer world. Parapsychological phenomena are acausal since no energy or information exchange seems responsible for the correlations measured, but they lack the meaning associated with synchronicity. Furthermore, parapsychological phenomena, like similar quantum phenomena, are “constant and reproducible”…. This reproducibility is in further contrast to the unique and unpredictable nature of the more narrowly defined synchronicity.[22]

Jung considered synchronicity to be a special case of “general acausal orderedness,” which refers to forms of order that cannot be understood in terms of efficient causality or physical determinism. For example, the causal ordering of physical phenomena according to the deterministic laws of classical physics are not acausal orderedness. Nonlocal quantum correlations, however, are an instance of acausal orderedness manifest in the physical world. Synchronicity is also an example of a specific form of acausal orderedness which involves a meaningful connection between inner and outer events, exhibiting a manifestation of the depths of the unus mundus prior to divisions between psyche and matter.

From the above comparisons between physics and psychology, we can infer that the unus mundus is a domain of unified potentiality beyond the limitations of spatial separation and causal relationships in time. Although it is prior to many structures and limitations of manifest phenomena, this domain has orderedness and meaning–it is a domain of Logos. As a result, the deep structure of the unus mundus is perhaps most appropriately represented using the symbols of mathematics. As Jung explains,

Number helps more than anything else to bring order into the chaos of appearances. It is the predestined instrument for creating order, or for apprehending an already existing, but still unknown, regular arrangement or “orderedness.” It may well be the most primitive element of order in the human mind.[23]

And von Franz amplifies Jung, pointing out that mathematical order is common to both psychological and physical domains:

The deepest and most clearly distinguishable archetypal factor, which forms the basis of psycho-physical equivalence is, the archetypal patterns of natural numbers. . . . In respect to mathematical structure, the acausal orderedness in matter is of the same kind as that in the psyche and each is continually reflected in the other.[24]As an archetype, number becomes not only a psychic factor, but more generally, a world-structuring factor. In other words, numbers point to a background of reality in which psyche and matter are no longer distinguishable.[25]

If indeed number, and mathematics in general, reflects the order of the unus mundus, this would explain the profound mystery of how it is that mathematics, which is a phenomenon of the mind, should prove so remarkably effective in representing the physical world. This mysterious harmony between psyche and matter is implicitly present at the foundation of all physics, and testifies to the Pythagorean roots of modern science. The Pythagoreans, however, viewed mathematics as much more than a mere language of quantity. For them numbers were symbols charged with archetypal meaning. The modern view of numbers, in other words, acknowledges only the quantitative aspect of numbers and ignores their aspect as quality and meaning. Moreover, von Franz points out that numbers are not merely static forms, but also represent vibrational energies (as the Pythagoreans recognized in the intimate connection between numbers and musical tones):

Since today we see processes everywhere rather than structures or static orders, I have also proposed seeing numbers in this perspective–as rhythmic configurations of psychic energy.[26]From time immemorial number has been used most frequently to bridge the two realms because it represents the general structure of psychic and physical energy motions in nature and therefore appears, as it were, to provide the key to the mysterious language of unitary existence, particularly in its aspect of meaning (Tao).[27]

Like quanta, numbers have two complementary aspects, both of which are required if we are to more completely understand them. They have both quantitative and qualitative aspects, both static and dynamic aspects. It is through this double aspect of number, von Franz claims, that we can see their importance as a bridge between psyche and matter:

This complementary double aspect of number (quantity and quality) is in my opinion the thing which makes it possible for the world of quantity (matter) and of quality (psyche) to interlock with each other in a periodical manner.[28]

Although von Franz associates matter with quantity, and psyche with quality, it should be noted that material vibrations, as with musical strings, are experienced as qualities or quantities depending on which aspect of the phenomenon we choose to isolate. Moreover, mathematical ideas experienced in the psyche have aspects of quantity as well as quality. Thus, it appears more appropriate to identify the qualitative aspect of number with its more subtle, vibrational component (whether physical or psychic) and the quantitative aspect of number with its more concrete, discrete component. The table of complementary aspects can then be amended to include the elements of number, as follows:

PSYCHE MATTER
TRANSCENDENT unconscious contents
unmanifest archetypes
potentiality
continuous
numerical psychic qualities
unobserved quanta
wave functions
indefiniteness/probability
nonlocal
numerical physical qualities
EMPIRICAL conscious contents
manifest images
actuality
discrete
distinct numerical quantities
observed quanta
particles
definiteness
localized
distinct material quantities

In any case, the key to the unity of psyche and matter, and to understanding the unus mundus, essentially involves the nature of number. There was at least no doubt as to this point for von Franz:

In the last analysis, the mystery of the unus mundus resides in the nature of number.[29]

The understanding suggested by the above comparisons between structures in physics and psychology, therefore, is that physis and psyche are aspects of the same reality, with mathematics as a key archetypal core of both. However, we should note that the complementarity between psyche and matter (i.e., the two columns of the table above) appears distinct from the complementarity within psyche and matter (i.e., the two rows of the table above), so we should be careful not to confuse the two.

According to von Franz, the physicist David Bohm arrived at a similar understanding of the unified ground of psyche and matter:

David Bohm also presupposes the existence of an “ocean of energy” as the background of the universe, a background that is neither material nor psychic, but altogether transcendent. . . . Ultimately, it corresponds exactly to what Jung calls the unus mundus, which is situated beyond the objective psyche and matter and which also is situated outside space-time.[30]

Bohm’s “ocean of energy” is a deep part of the implicate order of reality, which is distinguished from the explicate order. Typically, we are conscious of only these explicate features of reality, while the implicate features form an unconscious background. Bohm’s idea of the implicate order thus normally corresponds to the unconscious, while the explicate order corresponds to the conscious. He summarizes the idea of the implicate order as follows:

The essential feature of this idea was that the whole universe is in some way enfolded in everything and that each thing is enfolded in the whole. From this it follows that in some way, and to some degree everything enfolds or implicates everything, but in such a manner that under typical conditions of ordinary experience, there is a great deal of relative independence of things. The basic proposal is then that this enfoldment relationship is not merely passive or superficial. Rather, it is active and essential to what each thing is. It follows that each thing is internally related to the whole, and therefore, to everything else. The external relationships are then displayed in the unfolded or explicate order in which each thing is seen, as has already indeed been indicated, as relatively separate and extended, and related only externally to other things. The explicate order, which dominates ordinary experience as well as classical (Newtonian) physics, thus appears to stand by itself. But actually, it cannot be understood properly apart from its ground in the primary reality of the implicate order.[31]

Reality is a flowing of this whole (or, in Bohm’s terms, a holomovement) with varying degrees of implication and explication. For Bohm, reality includes both psyche and matter, and the idea of the implicate order applies to mind as well as to matter, thus providing a link between the two:

We are suggesting that the implicate order applies both to matter…and to consciousness, and that it can therefore make possible an understanding of the general relationship of these two, from which we may be able to come to some notion of a common ground of both.[32]

And von Franz agrees:

These terms of Bohm’s can be applied quite well to the ideas put forward by Jung in his area of research. For example, in that case the archetypes can be understood as dynamic, unobservable structures, specimens of the implicate order. If, on the other hand, an archetype manifests as an archetypal dream image, it has unfolded and become more “explicated.” If we go on to interpret this image using Jung’s hermeneutic technique. . . that image would “explicate” and unfold still further.[33]

It is significant to note that, as von Franz implies, unconscious content can be explicated to various degrees, making it more conscious. This suggests that there is not a clear distinction between the conscious and the unconscious, but rather a continuum. Indeed, Jung explicitly says just this:

Conscious and unconscious have no clear demarcations, the one beginning where the other leaves off. …The psyche is a conscious-unconscious whole.[34]

In other words, the psyche is a unity or whole containing an explicate region of consciousness that is neither fixed nor ultimately distinguishable from the whole. According to Bohm, however, consciousness is not necessarily coincident with the explicate order, since we can become directly aware of these subtle flowing aspects of the implicate order taking place in the background of the more concrete and explicit aspects of our experience. Nevertheless, our consciousness is often habitually fixated on the more explicit content. As Bohm explains:

One reason why we do not generally notice the primacy of the implicate order is that we have become so habituated to the explicate order, and have emphasized it so much in our thought and language, that we tend strongly to feel that our primary experience is of that which is explicit and manifest. However, another reason, perhaps more important, is that the activation of memory recordings whose content is mainly that which is recurrent, stable, and separable, must evidently focus our attention very strongly on what is static and fragmented. This then contributes to the formation of an experience in which these static and fragmented features are often so intense that the more transitory and subtle features of the unbroken flow…generally tend to pale into such seeming insignificance that one is, at best, only dimly conscious of them.[35]

Bohm seems to point out possibilities of consciousness that were not acknowledged by Jung. In particular, for Jung the unconscious is a transcendental region of reality that we can never know directly. Thus, we only know the unconscious indirectly and imperfectly from the images and other concrete manifestations that surface in consciousness. According to Bohm, however, although consciousness is habitually fixated on the explicit surface manifestations rising up from deeper implicate levels of the psyche, it is nevertheless possible to become directly conscious of these implicate orders of reality–orders of reality that Jung assumed to be forever unconscious. Thus, while Jung remains correct with regard to consciousness that is fixated exclusively on explicit orders, his statements must be qualified to allow for a consciousness that develops the capacity to be aware of subtler levels of manifestation. Such a consciousness will have the capacity for direct awareness of contents that previously would be considered transcendent, unconscious, and only indirectly knowable by inference from more explicit and concrete manifestations. The implication is that we cannot maintain a rigid or ultimate distinction between the transcendent and empirical, between the archetypes and their manifestations, or between the implicit order and the explicit order. Rather, the explicit is imbedded in and essentially integrated with the implicit, with a continuum of degrees of enfolding and unfolding uniting the two. Similarly, the manifested images of the archetypes cannot ultimately be separated from the archetypes, but must be seen as their manifested aspects that are inseparable from the archetypes in their potential-actualized wholeness.

An Integral View of Psyche and Matter

Surprisingly, our exploration into the unity of psyche and matter has revealed an essential unity between the implicate and explicate aspects of each. That is, the unity is as much vertical within each realm as horizontal between them. In retrospect, we can see why this must be so, since the separate empirical realms of psyche and matter cannot truly be united if this unity only resides in a transcendent realm that is absolutely divided from the empirical realms. We must have unity both vertically and horizontally. This combined vertical-horizontal integration can be illustrated by the following analogy from physics. Prior to Einstein, energy and matter were thought to be separate and autonomous empirical phenomena. This separation of energy and matter is reflected in the two classical conservation laws: the conservation of energy and the conservation of mass. After Einstein, however, the distinction between matter and energy was no longer absolute, and it was recognized that mass and energy are separate aspects or manifestations of an underlying unity of mass-energy (mathematically represented as a 4-dimensional energy-momentum vector). The old conservation laws were thus subsumed within a new law: conservation of mass-energy.

TRANSCENDENT 4-dimensional energy-momentum vector
1 component of the energy-momentum vector 3 components of the energy-momentum vector
EMPIRICAL Energy Mass

In this analogy, the duality of mass and energy is horizontal, because these are two phenomena manifesting on the same empiric plane. They manifest as relatively autonomous phenomena as long as relative motions are negligible in comparison with the speed of light. In Einstein’s theory, matter and energy are understood as the empirical manifestations of a unified reality (i.e., the energy-momentum 4-vector). Energy corresponds to one component of the 4-dimensional vector, while mass corresponds to the other three components. Interestingly, however, the vector acts as a whole, with the result that its mass and energy components can be mixed in various ways when the vector manifests (is “projected”) into a particular empirical reference frame. This mixing betrays the unity of energy and mass within this transcendent realm. One can visualize the essence of this mixing by imagining two spotlights shining on an upright pole from different angles, projecting two shadows on the floor. One shadow is the analog of energy, the other is the analog of mass. If we tilt the pole away from its upright orientation, the lengths of the two shadows (i.e., the observed mass and energy) will change, while the length of the pole itself stays constant.

The above analogy illustrates how we might understand how psyche and matter can manifest as relatively autonomous realms that are nevertheless mysteriously coordinated by virtue of their common origins deep within the unus mundus. Like the conservation laws of matter and energy, psyche and matter manifest in such a way that the transformations of one are in many ways independent of the other. Our thoughts, for example, normally appear to operate with relative independence from the transformations taking place in most of the physical world. Conversely, the transformations of matter in the universe are not normally altered by our thoughts. Yet, certain anomalous phenomena such as synchronicity sometimes burst forth unexpectedly, hinting at some mysterious unity of psyche and matter. And at deeper, subtler, and more implicate levels of manifestation, the connections become increasingly evident, such as the archetypal patterns of number that are essential to the orderedness in both realms.

Thus, if consciousness becomes sufficiently subtle to see the implicate aspects of both psychic and physical phenomena, their unity in a common source can be directly experienced and not merely inferred indirectly from diverse concrete particulars. This implies the necessity for an expanded epistemology for physics, psychology, and knowledge in general that takes us well beyond the forms of knowing that are limited to only the most explicit orders of reality. For truly integrative knowledge, we must expand and deepen our capacities of consciousness. Otherwise, an integral theory will be nothing more than a pleasing speculative construct based on explicit contents that have emerged from the deeper levels. In short, if we are really to know the unitive depths of Bohm’s ocean of energy, we must allow ourselves to sink down into them, and not merely watch the surface phenomena that merely hint at what is below. The unconscious calls us into its depths.

We can define the unconscious in the most general sense as the domain of all things that are indirectly known, posited, or presumed to exist outside of the present conscious awareness but that have an influence on the contents of conscious awareness. The unconscious is the realm of the unmanifest (relative to our present consciousness). Typically, our consciousness is fixated on the explicate order, while the implicate order remains largely unconscious. In some cases, however, consciousness may move into the depths of the implicate order. In addition to both personal and impersonal psychic contents, these depths also include both personal and impersonal physical contents. For example, although the dishes inside the dishwasher are presumed actually to be there, they are in fact outside of present conscious awareness, and are in the domain of the unconscious (relative to our present consciousness). Because they are in principle accessible to anyone, they are part of a collective unconscious. What we conventionally call objective physical reality, therefore, can be viewed as a region of the collective unconscious that is partially presented to each of us in a unique way during our waking consciousness. The structures of this region of the unconscious are known as the physical laws, since they determine the lawful manner in which this region behaves and evolves. The so-called objective world is in fact part of the unconscious and is only glimpsed indirectly through its projections into conscious awareness. For example, if I open the dishwasher, what appears in consciousness is a visual image of a plate viewed from a particular perspective. The plate in itself is not seen. It is not in consciousness. Only a projection of the plate’s visual image is seen. The plate itself (its implicate aspect) remains a transcendental idea posited to exist outside of consciousness. The plate is therefore still largely implicate in the unconscious, even when I am looking at an explicate aspect of it. Only an image of the plate actually arises in consciousness. Moreover, if my friend is looking as well, she will see a different image due to her different perspective. Neither one of us sees the plate in all its implicate totality, however. This is analogous to the fact that the universal implicate aspects of archetypes are not manifest in the explicate order, but their diverse explicate aspects manifest to us in dreams as particular symbolic expressions that vary from person to person.

The explicit archetypal contents that are generally accessible to us provide the basis for a collective understanding of a shared world. In the case of access via the physical senses, this collective understanding takes the form of the physical world. In the case of the mind, this collective understanding takes the form of psychological archetypes, transpersonal states of consciousness, mathematics, and so on. Insofar as the archetypes are not entirely unambiguous in their explicate manifestations, or manifest in ways that are influenced by cultural or personal factors, they allow us to create a multitude of interpretive frameworks for understanding and representing these objective worlds. Thus, for example, our inner experience of mystical states of consciousness may find expression in various different philosophical or religious systems, while our outer experience of physical phenomena may be understood in terms of distinct scientific paradigms. The development of physics involves the successive refinement of our shared understanding and explorations of deeper and deeper regions of these collectively accessible regions of outer experience. As our understanding penetrates to deeper levels of increasing subtlety, the representation becomes more universal and comprehensive, so that the structure of the nested representations within physics range from very general universal laws down through particular instances valid only for restricted domains of experience, to a specific quantitative numerical prediction for a given experimental arrangement. Our understanding is therefore provided with a depth that reaches from the multiple contents of explicate conscious awareness from many possible perspectives, down to the universal implicate depths that are common to all perspectives. A similar structure is present in mystical traditions, where the understanding links the particular experiential phenomena of an individual, up through intermediate levels common to certain types of individuals engaged in particular practices, to universal principles common to all individuals. Depth psychology is again similar, with experiential dream images and such related first to personal unconscious contents, and then to deep archetypal structures of a collective nature.

Note that each phenomenon contains within it aspects of all levels. The implicit aspects of a phenomenon may be known directly by a correspondingly subtle awareness. Alternatively, they may be unfolded by comparing and contrasting similar phenomena from many different perspectives, providing us with a more explicit understanding of the aspects that are particular to each phenomenon, and the aspects that are universal to all the similar phenomena.

It appears that at a very deep level there is no distinction between physical and psychic structures, and that these are, as it were, two perspectives we have on the same core reality. Thus, through comparison and contrast of physical and psychic phenomena, we can isolate the essence of this common core. It does seem clear, however, that one key feature of this core is its mathematical nature. (Note that this view contrasts with the notion that “physical” is a concrete level of reality, while “psychic” is a subtle level. Rather, they both have depths of subtlety that penetrate to the core of reality, and they both have a concrete surface that is immediately present in ordinary empiric consciousness. Thus mind cannot be reduced to matter, nor matter to mind. Both emerge as different aspects of a more fundamental ground.)

It should be kept in mind that, as Bohm points out, our access to these deep implicate levels is not necessarily limited to indirect access through correlation of diverse explicit contents with theoretical representations in order to infer their common core. It is also possible to directly access these implicate levels of reality that are normally considered unconscious. In other words, the unconscious can become conscious in two ways: indirectly through inference from explicit contents, or directly through an expansion of the range of consciousness into the more implicate levels of reality.

With the advance of physics and psychology, our theoretical understanding of the mystery beyond the range of our present consciousness is expanding to the point where we see hints of the identity of psyche and matter at deep levels. The evolution of consciousness that is explicating and integrating more of the unconscious appears to be bringing into an explicate unity an original implicate unity. This integrative theoretical understanding, however, is merely an attempt to conceptually hold together diverse fragmented contents that have emerged on the explicate level. Such a conceptual unity is at best a partial and imperfect representation of otherwise unconscious content, and we must be careful not to mistake this representation for the unconscious content itself, confusing our world of abstractions with concrete experience. Fundamentally, this mistake is the ignorance of the process of positing the existence of things beyond or outside our consciousness, and thus confusing our conscious representations of those things as being “things themselves” (such as when we imagine a material particle to have an objectively existing position). Because the conscious representation inevitably fails to correspond exactly with the unconscious reality, the confusion results in a distortion of our understanding of reality. Inevitably, reality (i.e., the unconscious portion of reality) manifests itself to consciousness in a way that contradicts this distortion. This unconscious compensation is then experienced as a crisis, and the anomaly is either integrated or denied. If it is integrated, a more comprehensive and accurate conscious representation of reality typically develops. If it is not integrated, the unconscious compensations will continue until they create sufficient cognitive crisis to result in a sacrifice of the distortion. In either case, because our representations can never perfectly mirror reality, the developmental process will continue. This whole process of development is based on the fundamental mistake of failing to recognize that our conscious representation of what is outside of our consciousness (i.e., the objective world) is an imperfect imaginative construct, and not an actual mirror of some real, objective reality.

If there is a recognition of the very process of positing the existence of things outside of consciousness through the confusion of the representation with the real, then any inaccuracy of our conscious representation is no longer a problem because it is never confused with reality in the first place. The spontaneous revelations of reality that do not fit into prior representational schemes are then experienced with delight, and are not met with resistance. In other words, it is recognized at the deepest level of our psyche that reality always has and always will infinitely transcend our representations of it. As a result, we are most in touch with reality when our experiences go beyond our representations of reality.