A New View of Nature, Psyche and Human Potential
A Look at Signs, Symbols and the Power of Mind over Matter
By: J. Marlando
Carl Jung tells us that we cannot define either nature or the psyche and this remains true even in the wake of all our amazing technology and advancing quantum mechanics. We know, for an easy example, that certain parts of the human brain can be artificially stimulated to produce specific responses. Indeed, today we have DBS (deep brain stimulation) which greatly reduces chronic pain, deep depression and other major disorders. Neuroscientists indeed can manipulate our blood pressure and create other amazing responses simply by stimulating certain parts of our brains.
We mention the above only to make the point that the physical brain is truly an incredible machine that does incredible things and that science is gaining more and more knowledge of it every single day but…science with all its advancement still cannot define psyche except in some subjective statement that declares that mind is a mere function of the physical brain. Nevertheless, the truth of this is that yogis have always been able to “mentally” control their blood pressure, heartbeat and many other functions of their bodies including their brainwaves. *For that matter so can dolphins. Dolphins can actually stop their flow of blood at will. We simply don’t know about the “mind-power” of other species who might even communicate non-locally (as in distant telepathy) but, the point here is quite simply that with all our advanced knowledge we still cannot define nature either. At best, all we can do is depend on the reductionists to conclude that we, and everything else, are the sum total of our physical parts and nothing more. This is a very narrow view of our human potential but one that most modern scientists and scholars take. As a result, all living creatures, like ourselves, are described as being certain “gene” machines that imagines the self as being conscious to one degree or another but, in actuality, are only robotic machines and nothing more.
With the above in mind and as food for thought, we will attempt to show that we are more—much more than our bodies. We’ll begin with the very simple sign painted on a glass door that reads PULL do not PUSH. Our behavior is immediately modified by the instruction telling us which way to open the door. If we consciously decide to push we are still responding to the authority of the sign by merely disobeying it in our resistance to follow its demand. The question that follows is: is this apparent disobedience a robotic response or an exercise of free will or, in other words, an exercising of a conscious power to choose?
For those interested in such matters, this becomes a major question because it challenges an overly populated arena of modern intellectuals who strip away all meaning and purpose and delivers a dead-world view of life and living it. In this regard, I will quote *Carl Jung who told us, “Our present lives are dominated by the goddess Reason, who is our greatest and most tragic illusion.” (I absolutely agree with this observation).
From the very evolution of our kind, including our distant but mirrored species, the Neanderthals persisted in symbolic behaviors. For one thing it is fully accepted that they buried their dead and probably used black manganese, red and yellow ochre in some form of ritual. This is amazing when we consider the projection that Neanderthals were not our direct ancestors as the early modern European (Cro-Magnon) were but rather a distinct (other) species of early people that eventually became extinct. Certainly the cave paintings of Cro-Magnon not only indicate subjective symbolism but also ritual which would evolve into the human action of so-called civilized man.
Anyway, the earliest of symbolism began by representing the goddess. Goddesses slowly changed into the male images with churches, temples and mosques symbolizing god’s power on earth. From this arrived yet another architecture which symbolized man’s power on earth. These two symbols have ruled the universal roost since the first city/states were formed at least 10,000 years ago.
Absurd belief in symbols is absolutely demonstrated by Hitler’s swastika in modern times—a best example of human beings becoming subservient to the symbolism of the demagoguery of leadership, an extension of the power of uniforms and badges—meaningless items, given meaning by pretentious authority. I will also add, most often the cornerstone of man’s inhumanity to man since historically we have been a species to torture and murder our own…for the sake of the symbols we deem as righteous or representative of the collective. The cross, for example, or the flag! **This is why the anthropologist, Marvin Harris asks the question, “Can humans exist without some people ruling and others being ruled?”
He answers this question in a surprising declaration supporting human freedom: “…for thirty thousand years after takeoff, life went on without kings, queens, prime ministers, presidents, parliaments, congresses, cabinets, governors, mayors, police officers, sheriffs, marshals, generals, lawyers, bailiffs, judges, district attorneys, court clerks, patrol cars, paddy wagons, jails and penitentiaries. How did our ancestors manage to leave home without them?”
Obviously, he concludes that small populations is “part of the answer” but he also reminds us that in many societies leaders are respected but their opinions mean no more or less than everyone else’s. This common sense acknowledgement would not hold in our world because leaders are placed higher on the social totem than ordinary people. We are in fact indoctrinated to believe that God whispers in the ears of the church as opposed to ourselves and that government’s concern is altruistic as it looks down on the rest of us. This has been the case since the advent of the civilized world when the old god/kings ruled.
The symbol of the “crown,” incidentally is interesting when it is applied to Marvin Harris’s view that our species was destined to be an “irredeemably egalitarian, (the basic belief that all people are born equal) except for the distinction of sex and age.” He warns us that “someday the world would be divided into aristocrats and commoners, masters and slaves, billionaires and homeless beggars would have seemed contrary to human nature as evidenced in the affairs of every human society then on earth.” But obviously modernism (our times) is producing exactly that human condition…worldwide!
Returning now to the opening paragraphs of this article, the question remains are we merely the totality of our physical parts, enslaved genetic robots wandering about in an illusion that we’re actually in charge of our decisions or mere gene machines that many of today’s scientific thinkers say that we are?
I believe that what the biologists and other reductionist miss is the unconscious connectedness we have with nature through the deepest aspects of psyche. Indeed, I would go as far as to say that “nature and psyche” are one in the same only “apparently different” in how each is manifested. That is, mind or energy (psyche) and matter or particle (nature). Everything that lives in the universe possesses psyche (some call it Mind, other call it Consciousness and still others call it God). What the rationalists and reductionists miss is what the medieval alchemists called Unus Mundus described by ***Jeremy W. Hayward as meaning “the world as it was in potential form.” In other words the entire universe began as symbol(s) in psyche and was made manifest as matter or, if you will, brought into being through God’s consciousness which permeates all things.
****Serena Roney-Dougal tells us that “our minds are co-extensive with the universe.” She continues to also say, “The language of symbolism is the language that is common to all peoples from all times and in all cultures.” Carl Jung called this commonality the archetypes. Roney-Dougal also tells us, “The subliminal mind thinks in archetypal symbols—to me this is the world mind, the language of Mother Earth. Every culture through all time that we know of has the same basic symbols, the same archetypes—this is the underlying common language of all people—this is the language, the thought process of our planet, common to all thinking beings. The ancient gods, goddesses and myths reside in the unconscious—that is why modern people who venture into the subliminal mind encounter the same gods and goddesses, monsters and magical beings more or less as the ancients knew them. When we speak of spirits, daemons, we do it with the understanding that we are speaking of psychological phenomena. They are as powerful as the subliminal mind—i.e. they are potentially omnipotent.”
This is the basic concept that Carl Jung gave us with his collective unconscious, another aspect of psyche (and nature) that the so-called rationalists find indigestible, like belief in the spiritual!
It is, however, the “collective unconscious” that connects us with all else; that gives us our source of infinite knowledge symbolized by Sophia, who Hayward calls “the world soul, the anima mundi.” In this regard Roney-Dougal tells us that the “subliminal mind is the source of all our creativity, art, poetry. Self-transcendence, best expressed through the arts, in the joining of the subliminal with the conscious mind—so that our divine wisdom is expressed, made manifest, in this external see-touch reality that we live in. (Please see my article, “The Creative Spirit,” if you are interested in an explanation of just how this can work for you).
What I am attempting to get at in this article is (1) while we are living in modern times we are living in the same potential world that the Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon lived in with the exception that 30,000-50,000 thousand years ago the manifest world was all nature. Civilization is nearly all artificial and separated from nature. And the “split” between our kind and nature has left us in a fragmented world in which we all yearn for *****David Bohm’s wholeness. And (2) our symbols are invariably artificial as our environment like the sign on the door that tells us to pull instead of push; like walk don’t walk and like, no U-turn. And, our symbolism becomes more detached from nature every decade as our psyches separate more and more from nature. Just look at the symbolism of such modern enterprises as Target,Credit: A New View of Nature, Psyche and Human Potential
Wal-Mart and of course the Golden Arches.
Nevertheless, even all this fabricated symbolism was dormant in the most ancient mind—it simply was in the depths of prehistoric and ancient potential just as whatever will come around in, say, another thousand years or ten thousand years we already possess in non-manifested potential. And, just as cupped hands became cups and vessels to drink from and ancient spears became space craft, what we are creating today are the mere prototypes of tomorrow’s unimaginable creations.
The idea that we are mere gene machines as we are told by the materialists (the teachers of the dead-world view) disregard the subliminal and refuse to comprehend, if you will, the universe in an acorn. As a result the reductionists (those materialists of which I speak) reduce us all to a result of nature when we are instead in oneness with it unless we choose isolation over wholeness which we have always been free to do.
The fear as I see it, is that the demagogues (call them masters) of our “irredeemably egalitarian species” are determined to create us into a robotic society wherein our world will be divided into aristocrats and commoners, masters and slaves, billionaires and homeless beggars—a sad prediction for a people that possess…free will.
References and additional reading
*Siegel, Bernie S.* Peace, Love & Healing +Harper and Row
**Harris, Marvin * Our Kind * Harper Perennial
*** Hayward, Jeremy, W. * Letters to Vanessa *Shambhala
****Roney-Dougal, Serena * Where Science and Magic Meet * Element
*****Bohm, David *Wholeness and the Implicate Order
Also read: Man and His Symbols * Carl Jung
The Matter Myth * Paul Davies and John Gribbin