The Animaterial Universe

Six-Winged Seraph, by Mikhail Vrubel  

Classical physics says that reality is actually little particles that separate the world into its independent elements. Now I’m proposing the reverse, that the fundamental reality is the enfoldment and unfoldment, and these particles are abstractions from that. We could picture the electron not as a particle that exists continuously but as something coming in and going out and then coming in again. If these various condensations are close together, they approximate a track. The electron itself can never be separated from the whole of space, which is its ground. (David Bohm, On Quantum Physics, 1987)

Animaterialism, in its basic premise, agrees wholeheartedly with this statement by David Bohm. Reality is one Whole and all the distinctions we think we experience are but abstractions from that whole and are therefore illusory. This is nothing new. For thousands of years, Hinduism has taught about the deity, Maya, which creates the illusion that reality is separate.

I am proposing (which is really nothing new either) that the enfoldment and unfoldment of Reality, spoken of by Bohm, arises from the agent of The All in our Universe, the Anima Mundi, or the Soul of the World. The Soul of the World is the Mediatrix between enfoldment and unfoldment, the Governess of this sacred, reciprocal process of Reality. It is She that weaves the cyclical web of the Universe, the Snake that eats her own tail eternally. It is She that makes manifest what we experience, both physically and psychically.

Bohm believed in what he called a Holographic Universe. He based this belief on his interest in holographic photography. “In a holographic reconstruction, each region of a photographic plate contains the whole image (Wikipedia).” Just as each region of the plate contains the entire image, Bohm believed that every particle in our Universe contains the entire Universe. This William Blake passage arises in my mind:

To see the world in a grain of sand,
and to see heaven in a wild flower,
hold infinity in the palm of your hands,
and eternity in an hour (Auguries of Innocence).

Enfoldment and Unfoldment is also connected to the Unus Mundus and the phenomenon of synchronicity, as proposed by C.G. Jung, who built on the foundation laid down by scholars like Giordano Bruno, who, in the late sixteenth century, said,

…the spirituality of all causation; the eternity of matter; its divinity as the potentiality of all life; its realization in the universe as a “formed” thing; the infinite whole and the innumerable parts, as different aspects of the same: … diversity and difference as aspects of one and the same substance (Giordano Bruno, Cause, Principle, and Unity, McIntyre translation)…

One of the most tremendously talented physicists of the twentieth century was Wolfgang Pauli. Pauli was also of the mind that Reality is complementary, but ultimately One. He predicted that the future would bring new ideas of this truth and that scientists would even begin to accept them. He understood the error of the alchemists, which I wrote about in The Paracelsan Slip, that brought about Descartes’ cleavage of mind and matter, and he saw the possibility that the discoveries of quantum physics could correct that egregious mistake:

It is true that the distinction of ‘physical’ and ‘psychic’ is inevitable in the empirical world of phenomena, and it was the mistake of the alchemists to apply a monistic (neutral) language to concrete chemical processes. But since matter has now turned into an abstract, invisible reality for the modern physicist, the prospects for a psychophysical monism have become much more auspicious (Wolfgang Pauli, Letter by Pauli to C.G. Jung of February 27, 1953. Letter 1526 in von Meyenn (1999), p. 49).

Even though our world is in continuous turmoil, the Anima Mundi has her feet firmly entrenched, one in Spirit and one in Matter. The Epoch of Soul has arrived. We stand on the cusp of the greatest Renaissance of humanity in the history of the world because Soul is healing the rift between all complementarities.

Addendum: I must add that this renaissance may include the creation of a new human species, what some have called homo integralis. It is uncertain at this point in human history whether homo sapiens sapiens will be able to extricate itself from the damage it has done to the earth. I remain cautiously optimistic. -Mark

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