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Psychology and Contemporary Physics

Thanks to Tamara Scarlett-Lyon, we saw the video below, a moving presentation by neuro-anatomist, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor. In her 18 minute video you will hear the scientist talk about a massive stroke she had in her left brain hemisphere. She tells about  the amazing experiences she had as a result of this stroke, and how she understood her left hemisphere in terms of what we have been calling consensus reality. Listen to what she says about her right hemisphere, it sounds like what we have been calling, dreamland’s nonlocality and essence levels.

If you are in the mood of thinking about where we live and have 6 minutes time (we know, that is a lot!!), check out this (NASA supported short) You-tube video. Click:

We are thankful to and following with great interest, the creative work of our friend and colleague, Ione and her focus on women’s mysteries. We feel very lucky to be “honorary ministers” of Maat. See for more:

Deep Listening Institute, Ltd.

Ministry of Maåt Website

Director, Ministry of Maåt, Inc Myspace page

We are interested in Prof. Robert P Crease of Brookhaven National laboratory in the US. His article, “Gravitation”, can be found on the physicsworld.com website, where he describes the influence of gravitation on our social systems.  He says  “Newton’s famous equation describing the gravitational force between two objects altered more than our ideas of the solar system.”
As Robert P Crease explains, it also influenced our conception of human nature. For ease, we have attached the rest of his article here.

Download article Download “The Influence of Gravitation” by Robert P. Crease (108Kb PDF file)

Why did the Moon appear to be so large in the Northern Hemisphere at the end of June? (See the Nasa photo taken by Shay Stevens, “The Moonrise Over Seattle”. -Credit and Copyright, Shay [email protected]) .

In 1913 Mario Ponzo gave one explanation to why the moon seems so large when it is near the cityscape or horizon. This explanation is called the “Ponzo Illusion” or the “Moon Illusion.” He suggested that our minds increase or decrease the actual size of objects, depending upon their background.  If they are bright and round up and up in the air in the midst of a black or blue sky, they seem smaller than when they appear near the earth’s surface or horizon.  There are various newer explanations of this illusion as well.

Our explanation for the moon illusion is a bit different than Ponzo’s. When the Moon or anything else from the sky appears at the horizon (i.e. the edge of the earth) it will seem larger to many people, even larger than Ponzo’s optical illusion would predict, because we need the moon to be larger, closer and more accessible.  Amazing things are never close enough!

In any case, next time you see the moon, don’t pass by it by. Stop, watch it flirt with you, and ask yourself, “how large is that moon, and how close is it to your heart”? We hope that everyone interested in psychology, to be amazed at the world and universe we live in.

Einstein’s cosmological constant has undergone many re-evaluations since he proposed it.  This constant determines whether the universe gets bigger or smaller.  It is a kind of intrinsic energy density of the vacuum.  This “constant” is very fine tuned, and measured to be of the order of 10-29g/cm3.  To date, no one can find the reason for it being so small.  And no one has yet explained why if it were changed just one part in many trillions of parts, life itself would not exist.  This kind of accuracy seems very unlikely, very improbable.

Therefore some scientists believe there was some sort of intelligence, a life creating force generally referred to as the “anthropic principle”. That means, the universe is fine tuned so that life can come into being.

Our question; how does this “anthropic principle” appear in psychology?  Or does it? What is consciousness and life?  Why have many people always believed there was some sort of intelligence “out there in the universe”?

There is always a lot of blaming or “fingerpointing” around difficult world events. For example, the US news is still asking who is responsible for the broken levees and flooding of the city of New Orleans in Louisiana, USA (NOLA) after Katrina hit that city in September of 2005. The levees protecting NOLA broke during the storm.  Various groups have said the US Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for inadequate construction. But the Army says the local and federal government is responsible.  Some have said racism was the reason the levees were left in an inadequate condition.

In any and all cases, today the people of NOLA are all faced with the interaction between the forces of local and federal government systems, social systems, the climate, the geophysics of the earth, New Orleans culture, mythology and dreaming.

To understand this situation, each of us ought to ask ourselves; “If you know it might be dangerous to live in your room, but can’t find the time or money to make it safer, who is to blame?  Culture, classism, racism, ageism, engineering, and/or fate?”

Today, there is reconstruction going on at various rates and at all levels in NOLA.  But we hope everyone will think about, and learn to deal with devastating community problems such as Katrina, before they occur again.  We need (and are working on) methods that deal with each issue individually, and at the same time, with the entire city “field”.

–Thanks for your comments on this topic.

Thanks to Dr. Alexandra Vassiliou for making us aware of these enjoyable extra dimensional theories in animation form. They would be good background for Arny’s Quantum Mind.

For Flatland click: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWyTxCsIXE4

For the Double Slit Experiment click: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfPeprQ7oGc

God, Physics, Psychology and Self-Reflection

Thanks to Dr. Gary Reiss for pointing us to the astrophysicist Bernard Haisch’s book, the “God Theory”, and Haisch’s interview with Tikkun Magazine about that book.

We are thankful to Prof Haisch for trying to connect mainstream scientific thinking with the “God” hypothesis; namely that there is some “intelligence” and “purpose” behind the creation of the present universe –which at present is believed to be about 13 billion years old. Haisch suggests that God is an intelligence that wants “to know itself” and “pre-existed” this universe.

In the “The Quantum Mind,” Arny suggests that a way of understanding the self-reflecting nature of the universe (suggested originally by John Wheeler in the 1950’s) is to examine a central mathematical characteristic of the universe, namely the quantum wave function. Quantum theory produces highly accurate empirical answers about physical “reality”. No scientist today knows where this self-reflecting mathematical property comes from. In “Quantum Mind”, Arny suggests there is no “reason” for this self-reflecting property; he simply accepts it as a basic property of the universe we live in.

What is the purpose or reason the universe wishes to self-reflect? Why do those equations of quantum theory work so well? We don’t know.  As therapists however, we respect a given individual’s or community’s belief system about “why the universe may self-reflect.” If a given belief system enriches the lives of the people concerned, it is a valuable belief.

As far as we are concerned however, we know from observing thousands of people the world over, that the self-reflection “property” of the equations of quantum theory (and the nature of the universe) leads to useful psychologies, group and organizational methods. Focusing on the awareness process, that is, noticing experiences, and becoming aware of awareness allows one to follow one’s own deepest nature. This focus almost always leads to a richer life experience. Individuals, partners and groups that self reflect, experience more interest in diversity, in one another, and in life.

We don’t understand where the self-reflecting properties of the universe come from, but because they work so well with kids, adults and people near death, we believe in them. (See, for example, the actions and last words of Dr. Sara Halprin.)

Synaesthesia

We are studying synaesthesia because it plays a crucial role in practice—especially working in states of consciousness where experience is difficult to clearly verbalize. We find this area most challenging!  Some definitions follow for the synaesthesia in physiology and psychology.

Synesthesia, or syn·aes·the·sia  in physiology refers to sensations felt elsewhere in body: the feeling of sensation in one part of the body when another part is stimulated. For example, you are touched in the foot, but feel it in the stomach. Or you are touched in the air near your body, and feel that in a part of the body.

Synesthesia in psychology is the stimulation of one sense alongside another: the evocation of one kind of sense impression when another sense is stimulated, e.g. the sensation of color when a sound is heard, or the sense of geometrical form, when certain tastes appear. These experiences lie at the root of the dreamingbody concept, the dreamland level to body experience where dream images overlap with body sensations. This is like the quantum or “essence” level of psychology, where sensed, yet nonverbal experiences may be equated with the Tao that proverbially, according to the “Tao Te Ching,”  “cannot be said”.

Apparently synaesthesia comes from the late 19th century. < modern Latin < syn- (< Greek sun “together”) + stem of Greek aisthesis “sensation,” after anesthesia.

Shifting from figures, forms, insights and cognitive thinking, to the subtle nature of force fields, will bring psychology closer to the earth, body and natural sciences. Our question is; how do we bring science closer to human experience, and what is now called psychology, closer to the nature of the physical universe?

To answer our questions about life, we are pondering the connections between Shamanism, Physics and Taoism:
We are thinking about these three quotes (Thanks to Brian Kahn and Dr. Jai Tomlin for pointing these out to us.)

I. “Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns. So each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire Tapestry.” Richard Feynman

II. Spinning with your ally will change your idea of the world. That idea is everything. And when that changes, the world itself changes.” Don Juan Matus.

III. The reason why the universe is eternal is that it does not live for itself. It gives life to others as it transforms.” Lao Tse

We are pondering the connection between the experiences and feelings people seem to have always had about the living quality of the earth, (e.g. “dreamtime” nature), and the behavior and symptoms of our physical bodies. What’s the connection? How exactly did we get disconnected from the earth?

We are pondering Dick Bierman’s work on perception. This experimental physicist at the University of Amsterdam did experiments that show we apparently know things 1 to 2 seconds before we see them. This convincing work seems to support timeless or time-reversible aspects of observation. In other words, we seem to know events before the physical event signal is actually received by our retinas. Seattle physicist John Cramer’s quantum theory explanation of observation (see Arny’s Quantum Mind for more on that) is that there are forward and backward movements in time. He speaks of a “quantum exchange” between observer and observed before observations take place. It seems to us as if Bierman’s work may lend us experimental validation for Cramer’s ideas. In other words, the roots of observation are time-free exchanges. He calls our ability to know things before we receive physical signals, “presponding” instead of responding.

While astronomers are deciding how to define the meaning of the word “planet”, we are studying how to define who we are. What is the difference between our everyday selves, and our occasional sense of ourselves as timeless beings?

Each of us lives on earth. (Or at least most do :) ). But at the same time, perhaps a part of us does not. If you simply let your intuition work for a moment, ask yourself, where do you sense you would fit in this sketch of The New Solar System?”

If your intuition allowed you to guess where you are located you in this sketch, go another step. Ask yourself what is the significance –if any– of your location? What does that significance –if any—imply for your everyday psychology here on earth?

This frog helps us understand how to maintain an awareness of everyday reality and simultaneously of the altered state of dreaming. :)


Click for a larger image

Once again, we are exploring Aboriginal shamanistic traditions, and the teachings of Castaneda’s Don Juan. In particular, we wonder just what is needed for individuals and groups to “shape shift” and change “assemblage points”. That is, what is needed to move from the time and space identification of everyday reality to the “Nagual”, that is to temporarily move into the “rheo-mode.” Rheo means “stream” or “flow”. We therefore speak of a “rheo-mode” to mean the flow of the dreaming process. We are very thankful to Emetchi for the 150 feet long wonderful mural she painted on the driveway wall outside the Process Work Institute of Portland. She let us use two of the many pictures of that mural. When we saw what we call her “Bear Dance”, we immediately thought of what it is like to dance at the edge, and of the shaman’s sense of earth power at that point. The second picture, “At the Edge Before the Rheo-mode” we see the larger perspective of what happens at the edge. When we dance at the brink, the known world is behind and the rainbow serpent path lies in front, leading the shaman-artist into the unknown.

Bear dance Rheo mode

Click each for a larger image
Images by Emetchi of Portland