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..:: The Mental Field VII ::..

“Synergy”

By

Alan Schneider

                                           

              With the presentation of this article, the conceptual emphasis of THE SEARCHLIGHT newsletter will shift to a group-process orientation, and the newsletter itself will hence forth be known as SYNERGY in reflection of that transition!

            What is synergy? This term implies a conjoining of two contributing factors – synthesis and energy. So,  synergy means a synthesis of energy on several conceptual levels – the combined energy and inspiration of a group of individual human beings, the combination of different forms and types of energy into a single cohesive format (as in the implied synergy of an automobile, including the driver, passengers, cargo, vehicle, engine, motion, traffic conditions, and intended destination), and a synergy of personal consciousness and the social, spiritual, and political environment in which that consciousness functions.

            Although of interest in their own right, physical, mechanical, and chemical synergy are not the focus of this and future newsletters, while spiritual and social synergy most definitely are. With very few exceptions, spiritual perception and behavior take place and are expressed in social and cultural contexts. Even the phenomena of the spiritual hermit or solitary practitioner are still implicitly social through the rejection of social involvement, and in consequence of the lingering linguistic and cultural symbolic ego residue acquired in the acculturation process. Although confined in our isolated containers of flesh, we are, above all, social creatures who tend to cleave to each other through the media of relationships invariably occurring in cultural motifs.  

            This article forms the first edition of SYNERGY, and also the final piece of the Mental Field series. No presentation of the experience of consciousness is complete without the aspect of social manifestation and expression being treated. In this article, we will touch upon not only what is socially held in common, but what is psychically experienced in common as well.  

            The Jungian theories of the Collective Unconscious and Racial Memory have been, and continue to be, points of hot contention, in not only the academic community, but the associated spiritual and psychic communities as well. On the surface of things, it would seem to be impossible that we could share any type of experiential condition in any sense other than acculturated agreement and acceptance of the common definitions of experience, but certainly not the perceived experience itself. Jung’s great genius in this matter was his realization that the common themes of awareness seen across cultures – themes which he himself performed the ground breaking research upon – implied common root experiences present in the human Psyche, ones emerging from communal psychological sources. These drivers of collective human experience he called archetypes. I have given the reader much discourse on this subject in these articles, and will give more now.  

            The universe that we experience in the physical senses appears to be fundamentally atomistic, that is, manifest in the form of discreet entities of various sizes and types that are bound together not by any fundamental association, but by statistical tendencies to behave in predictable fashions. We call these tendencies natural laws, physical principals, chemical rules of interaction, and so forth. And the universe appears to be in a state of constant flux, always changing, from the most minute levels of quarks and cosmic strings, to the galaxies themselves – continuously expanding and becoming more differentiated. We can say that the universe is in a state of constant turbulence, resulting from and reflective of the primordial explosion that initiated it from a non-differentiated micro-singularity – the so-called Big Bang. What preceded the Big Bang we cannot know, because that event marks the limits of our ability to theorize and conduct observations – another Threshold of Chaos of an apparently different kind than that we have discussed thus far. I will suggest in this article that the difference between chaos on a cosmic scale and chaos on an internal perceptual scale is essentially nill – they are the same phenomenon when correctly understood by the observer.  

            We have evolved as a species to regard the essential turbulence of the universe as normative – it is the background condition that produces us and eventually consumes us. It is natural to us – we feel comfortable with a certain level of this turbulence, in fact must have a certain bandwidth of this condition to exist, to observe, to perceive. We must know turbulence to breath, to eat, to procreate, to travel, to think, and to feel. We are turbulence existing in a turbulent continuum of sensory interaction with a turbulent environment. And we tend to like it that way, at least as far as we know – individual, discreet objects of perception surging around on a wave of comfortable chaos amid functional infinity.  

            All of this begins, however, to break down under sufficiently close observation. Anomalies begin to appear that defy logical classification.  A now famous experiment concerns optical anomalies associated with the wave/particle nature of light, itself an anomaly. When light is passed through a pair of contiguous pinhole apertures, it displays what is called an interference pattern – ripples that intersect each other at a short distance from the apertures. When this is used to expose photographic film, the pattern is also apparent, and this was one of the supporting arguments for the wave nature of light – the waves were thought to interrupt, or interfere with, each other. Under these conditions, it is logical to assume that a photographic film that is alternately exposed to light from first one aperture, then the other, but never simultaneously, will not display the interference pattern seen with simultaneous exposure, since no interference is possible, but, in fact, the same pattern still occurs! The mystified researchers eventually came to the conclusion that there was something about the quantum vibration of the experiment in space-time – its quantum form – that was producing the pattern, and that this form included the researchers themselves and their observations. What was this quantum form, and where did it come from? 

            Another equally baffling situation concerns simultaneous quantum experimentation conducted at remote locations.  A group of researchers on one coast of the United States exposed a photographic film through on aperture, but not the other, while simultaneously on the other coast, another group exposed an identical film through the opposing aperture. The same interference pattern once again appeared, even with only one aperture used for the exposure! How did the light on one coast “know” what the light on the other coast was doing, and respond accordingly? Light is not intelligent, sentient, or motivated, or is it? Once again, the researchers were forced to come to the conclusion that it was the quantum form of the experiment that was being observed, and that this form was independent of physical or temporal location – the fact that the observers all knew about the experimental design was all that was required to produce the paradoxical result.

            The suggestion of these results is that the apparently dissociated universe is far more interconnected than the casual observations of the senses would suggest – interconnected by observers and their observations, both conscious and subconscious. Einstein himself has suggested that the very “fabric” of space-time is curved, and can be distorted by a sufficiently massive body, thereby causing light to bend away from its otherwise linear path as it follows the distortion. He postulated that anyone (theoretically) leaving Earth and traveling away from it as consistently as measurement would permit would eventually come right back to Earth at the point where they left it! At the end of his life, Einstein was working on what he called the Unified Field Theory of the Universe, a theory designed to support the belief that the universe was well-ordered, and that the order reflected an organizing intelligence. Although this theory required experimental methodology that is still not, for the most part, available today (in fact portions of the Special and General Theories of Relativity still have not been verified, either) quantum experimentation of the type discussed in the previous paragraph has begun to suggest that the apparent chaos of the universe is just that – only apparent, due to the as yet relatively primitive sensory perception of human beings. Because we cannot perceive the order, does not mean that it does not exist. In fact, our inability to perceive degrees of order is directly related to our observational proximity to a given condition – the more involved we are in something, the less perspective we have regarding it, and lack of perspective is one of the primary constituents of perceived chaos. Presumably, a sufficiently distant, detached observer would perceive the orderly universe that Einstein suspected existed.  

            Returning to our experimental  observers, I am going to suggest that they were all participating at some level in what amounts to a collective experience of consciousness regarding the experiments mentioned, even if they did not consciously perceive this collective phenomenon, and that this collective consciousness – essentially synergy – superseded and determined the experimental outcome. The object here is the question of where this collective manifestation of consciousness came from, and how discreet human observers can detect its presence when it occurs in their separated sensory conditions. That we were not intended by evolution to attain this level of perception would seem to be obvious, but it still may be possible. We need to begin here by looking beyond the senses into the subconscious mind.  

            I have attempted in the Mental Field series to construct a working model of human experience and perception that describes as accurately as possible the extended mechanism of consciousness and the stable dynamics of that mechanism, beginning with sensory perception, then addressing ego development and differentiation, next the personal unconscious, then the collective unconscious, and finally the Jungian Self – all following the Jungian Sphere of Consciousness model as the most scientific one available to my knowledge. A series of suggestions was made regarding what amount to transitional jumping-off points, or portals, that determine our perception as we delve deeper into the total Psyche, along with experimental methods that were felt to both safe and effective to employ in our self-inquiry into these matters, chief among them voluntary meditation. Regarding this latter, the suggestion was made that the investigator can and will profit greatly from identifying, understanding, and building upon the phenomenon of the Portal of Chaos as the first threshold beyond conscious ego experience. Beyond the Portal of Chaos, other conceptual systems were introduced for the reader’s consideration, notably the Hindu Chakra System, and the Cabalistic Tree of Life System. Every attempt was made to outline the consistencies present in, and emerging from, the field of chaos beyond logical human ego-perception, based upon the Jungian archetypes and archetypal symbols, and several significant examples were provided, including the cases of certain guardian images that mediate our perception of what appears at the Portal of Chaos. Although this series has spanned seven articles including this one, the reader can be assured that we have barely addressed the surface of these matters. But, a basic conceptual framework has been developed. 

            Synergy in the spiritual sense involves the personal perception of any tradition, including the one outlined in the Mental Field series. The individual reader is invited to ponder what is said in these pages, and arrive at whatever conclusions seem to be valid ones. Synergy in the social sense involves group processes and the sharing of individual perception in the group contexts. If Jung was correct in his observations and suppositions regarding the human Psyche, then our individual perceptions and experience tend to be collectively determined by the archetypes. These, in turn, suggest an ordering influence at work in the chaos beyond superficially organized (i.e. ego) perception. The question here is this – how orderly is the chaos at the Portal of Chaos, and how can this order be experienced and identified at the group level by a set of apparently isolated human observers?  

            Meditation involves the relaxation of the ego-focused state of consciousness equated in these articles with the Physical Plane (or state, or mode) of awareness, and attendant sense perception.  As soon as we begin the practice of meditation, we begin the identification and construction of the Portal of Chaos in the Mental Field, although we may not even notice this process, or the mandala of perception that results. It is of critical importance from the viewpoint of legitimate scientific investigation that we acknowledge that we leaving the world of concrete manifestation behind in meditation by turning away from the senses and the ego. The recognition and acceptance of the existence of the Portal of Chaos as the first mediating influence beyond sensory experience builds a perceptual bridge from that mode of experience to the unmanifest, but still perceptible, contents of the subconscious mind, and creates a perceptual environment for those contents to be expressed within. So, we can say that the Portal of Chaos is a clarification or focusing mechanism for the contents of the subconscious mind – in a word, the archetypes. At the same time, it serves as the interface back to the ego and physical senses. Whether we progress only slightly or very far into the Psyche, the implicit acknowledgement that we are still working within the mandala form of the Portal of Chaos will go a long way toward the maintenance of a sane, integrated consciousness. 

            The Synergy concept as I envision it involves the individual spiritual perception coupled with collective, social group perception, using meditation as an exploratory tool to “mine” the contents of the subconscious. This meditation may take place within the individual Psyche, but acquires deep, collective meaning through subsequent group interaction and discussion of the visions occurring at the Portal of Chaos upon returning to the “normal” perception of the Physical Plane and senses. The discussions and interaction can involve any relevant comparisons of similar perceptions among group members, and symbolic interpretations of meanings and import present. It is my feeling at this writing that the traditional, unguided Self-Realization meditation is the most effective tool for our subconscious exploration process, since it permits the maximum degree of freedom for the contents of that region to emerge unfiltered and uninterpreted into perception at the Portal of Chaos. In general, the less ego-involvement present, the better the chances that the influence of the archetypes, and ultimately the Jungian Self, will be revealed to the individual through the group social context.  

            And this concept will continue to function, even without meditation as the catalyst process. Any perceptual process that departs from the stream of sensory experience and interpretation, however briefly, will produce some kind of symbolic image residue, and this can also be integrated through group dynamics. Fantasies, day-dreams, waking visions, and sleeping dreams are all things that can be illuminated by the Synergy process. Even the waking experiences of synchronicities can be meaningfully investigated through group Synergy techniques. 

            The process of evolution on this planet has produced humanity as the sentient, dominant species resident here on the Physical Plane of Manifestation.  We are, above all, makers of meaning and purpose in this life that serves as the backdrop for consciousness and the Psyche.  It is inconceivable that our presence here on Earth is a mere statistical accident, the superficial indications of the senses notwithstanding. The apparent chaos within and around us is filled with hidden meaning, and we have at our disposal the methodology of successful investigation into these matters if we will but take the required steps along the Path.

 

                                          - With Love, Alan -

                                  (CR2008, Alan Schneider)

 

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