Sunday, September 19, 2004

topic 3 - synchronicity

No dream related site would be complete without a few Jungian references. Carl Gustav Jung, among his many deeds, gave us a language for discussing the meaning of dreams. Since I use these terms freely throughout the site, I've borrowed a few definitions to help out newcomers to his terminology.

I can't bring up Jung without mentioning Joseph Campbell, whose books popularized and expanded some of Jung's basic concepts, and whose thoughts are also influential on this website.

Whatever ground wasn't covered by Campbell was probably covered by Robert Graves, especially in his book on poetic inspiration and the nature of truth, The White Goddess.

If you enjoy Jung's theories, and can weed through his sexism to find inspiration, you would probably enjoy Herman Hesse's books. Hesse was strongly influenced by Jung and makes reference as well to eastern mysticism, alchemy and buddhism in his books.

Check out our suggested bibliography for books by the aforementioned authors.

As we find and create more dream-related Jungian resources,
we will post them here.

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Anima: Latin, fem., "soul." The unconscious, feminine side of a man's personality.

Animus: Latin, masc., "soul." The unconscious, masculine side of a woman's personality.

Archetype: Appears in consciousness as a universal and recurring image, pattern or motif representing a typical human experience. Archetypal images come from the collective unconscious and are the basic content of religions, mythologies, legends and art. They also emerge from the collective unconscious in individuals through dreams and visions. The encounter with an archetypal image evokes a strong emotional reaction, conveying a sense of divine or transpersonal power which transcends the ego.

Collective Unconscious: The deepest layer of the unconscious, which is ordinarily inaccessible to awareness. Its nature is suprapersonal, universal and non-individual. Its manifestations are experienced as alien to the ego, numinous or divine. The contents of the collective unconscious are the archetypes and their specific symbolic representations, i.e., archetypal images.

Shadow: An unconscious part of the personality containing characteristics and weaknesses which one's self-esteem will not permit one to recognize as one's own. It is generally the first layer of the unconscious to be encountered in psychological analysis and is personified in dreams by dark and dubious figures of the same sex as the dreamer.

Symbol: The best possible expression for something essentially unknown. Symbolic or nonlinear thinking is holistic, right-brain oriented; it is complementary to logical, linear, left-brain thinking.

Synchronicity: A term coined by Jung for a postulated "acausal connecting principle" to explain the occurrence of meaningful coincidence, i.e., whenever an inner psychic happening (dream, vision, premonition) is accompanied by a corresponding outer physical event which could not have been causally connected with the former. Most cases of extrasensory perception are considered to be examples of synchronicity.

Unconscious: That portion of the psyche which is outside conscious awareness. The unconscious expresses itself in dreams, fantasies, obsessive pre occupations, slips of the tongue and accidents of all kinds. Jung distinguishes two layers of the unconscious: the personal unconscious derived from one's own experience, and the collective unconscious containing the universal pat terns and images called archetypes.

(from Glossary of Jungian Terms ~ Compiled by Daryl Sharp, Publisher of Inner City Books)

Bonus Topic: Dreamtime:

It's always helpful to those of us suffering from the "boxed-in Western mind" syndrome, to remember that all of our rational analysis is nothing more than one cultural and linguistic model to represent our experience of reality. Unfortunately for us, such models often define our experience instead of merely reflecting it, and may leave us feeling spiritually impoverished. For instance, the state that Americans label as a form of schizophrenia bears a striking resemblance to what Haitians believe to be possession by a sacred spirit, or lwa, and is viewed as a positive, not a negative experience.

For a non-Western version of reality and interpretation of the significance of dreams, look to the Australian aboriginal viewpoint. Here are a few important terms:

Dreamtime: The "Dreamtime", the mythological past, was the time when spirit ancestors travelled thoughout the land, giving it it's physical form, and setting down the rules to be followed by the Aboriginals. Beings such as the "Fertility Mother," the Great Rainbow Serpent, human and animal totemic spirits, and even sky-heroes, survive in stories and ceremonies that have been passed down from generation to generation in song, dance and art. In age-old ceremonies Aboriginal men enacted the lives and activities of these creators of the physical world, it's human and animal inhabitants, plant life, and tribal customs. For Aborigines, the natural landscape has its own beautiful spirit that will never change, and in Dreamtime, they share this spirit with the land.

Songlines: Songlines, or Yiri in the Walpiri language, are tracks across the landscape created by Mythical Aboriginal ancestors when they rose out of the dark Earth and travelled, creating mountains, valleys, waterholes - all the physical features of the land. They are ceremonial songs which pass on these stories. As the ancestors underwent various adventures, the laws for living, and hunting skills were established. The songs, and the stories which make up the content of the paintings, are intertwined. The land was literally "sung" into existence.

Walkabout: Aborigines wandered for food, hunting and gathering. These wanderings are called "walkabouts." Beyond the need for gathering food, the walkabout has a spiritual meaning. When the Aborigine is on a walkabout, the land reflects a sacred geography, and the trip becomes a Dream Journey, connecting the travelers to the Dreamtime. Because the Dreamtime creatures became features of the landscape themselves, the land is a sacred dimension in Aboriginal life. To get a spiritual message, the people regularly traverse tribal territory on sacred pathways. Because the Aborigines have no written language, these pathways are passed down from one generation to the next in songs, called songlines. While on a walkabout, or Dream Journey, the Aborigine is connected to the eternal moment of creation in the present, which is more a state of mind than any particular place. The Dream Journey is the Aboriginal path to spiritual renewal because the people and the land are inseperable. These are a people in deep harmony with nature.

(definitions from DreamTime, SongLines)

As we find and create more dreamtime resources,
we will post them here.

Bonus Topic: Theories of Everything!

Theories of Everything

Here are some definitions of scientific and mathematical models of reality... That I may refer to in other areas of this website. Enjoy!

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Chaos Theory: Formally, chaos theory is defined as the study of complex nonlinear dynamic systems. Complex implies just that, nonlinear implies recursion and higher mathematical algorithms, and dynamic implies nonconstant and nonperiodic. Thus chaos theory is, very generally, the study of forever changing complex systems based on mathematical concepts of recursion, whether in the form of a recursive process or a set of differential equations modeling a physical system. (from Chaos Theory)

Fractal: A fractal is an extremely irregular curve or shape, any part of which is similar in shape to a larger or smaller part when magnified or reduced to the same size. Take a fern. Its forking branches recreate themselves on an ever tinier scale as you look from the entire plant to each leaf blade, and then to its leaflets and their sub leaflets. There are almost limitless examples of fractals in nature. (from Lori Valigra - Special to The Christian Science Monitor)

Game Theory: Game theory is a branch of mathematical analysis developed to study decision making in conflict situations. Such a situation exists when two or more decision makers who have different objectives act on the same system or share the same resources.There are two person and multiperson games. (from Game Theory)

Grand Unified Theory: The theory which will unify the strong, weak, and electromagnetic forces is called the "Grand Unified Theory."

The Holographic Nature of Reality: Under certain circumstances subatomic particles such as electrons are able to instantaneously communicate with each other regardless of the distance separating them. It doesn't matter whether they are 10 feet or 10 billion miles apart.
Somehow each particle always seems to know what the other is doing. The problem with this feat is that it violates Einstein's long-held tenet that no communication can travel faster than the speed of light.

This phenomemon lead to the theory proposed by University of London physicist David Bohm, that objective reality does not exist, that despite its apparent solidity the universe is at heart a phantasm, a gigantic and splendidly detailed hologram. The "whole in every part" nature of a hologram provides us with an entirely new way of understanding organization and order. If we try to take apart something constructed holographically, we will not get the pieces of which it is made, we will only get smaller wholes.

This insight suggested to Bohm another way of understanding Aspect's discovery. Bohm believes the reason subatomic particles are able to remain in contact with one another regardless of the distance separating them is not because they are sending some sort of mysterious signal back and forth, but because their separateness is an illusion. He argues that at some deeper level of reality such particles are not individual entities, but are actually extensions of the same fundamental something.

In a holographic universe, even time and space could no longer be viewed as fundamentals. Because concepts such as location break down in a universe in which nothing is truly separate from anything else, time and three-dimensional space, would also have to be viewed as projections of this deeper order. At its deeper level reality is a sort of superhologram in which the past, present, and future all exist simultaneously. This suggests that given the proper tools it might even be possible to someday reach into the superholographic level of reality and pluck out scenes from the long-forgotten past.

What else the superhologram contains is an open-ended question. Allowing, for the sake of argument, that the superhologram is the matrix that has given birth to everything in our universe, at the very least it contains every subatomic particle that has been or will be -- every configuration of matter and energy that is possible, from snowflakes to quasars, from blue whales to gamma rays. It must be seen as a sort of cosmic storehouse of "All That Is." (from Holographic Universe)

String Theory: The Theory of Everything: In this theory, everything in the universe -- all particles and forces and perhaps space-time itself -- consists of fantastically small strings under immense tension, vibrating and spinning in a ten-dimensional superspace. The ten dimensions are mathematically necessary to avoid tachyons (faster-than-light particles) and ghosts (particles produced with negative probability)....Unfortunately, superstrings theory is very difficult to calculate with and has yet to yield testable predictions. (Professor John Lindner, PhD, Professor of Physics at the University Wooster)

Quantum Physics: Quantum physics is a branch of science that deals with discrete, indivisible units of energy called quanta as described by the Quantum Theory. There are five main ideas represented in Quantum Theory:

1.Energy is not continuous, but comes in small but discrete units.
2.The elementary particles behave both like particles and like waves.
3.The movement of these particles is inherently random.
4.It is physically impossible to know both the position and the momentum of a particle at the same time.
The more precisely one is known, the less precise the measurement of the other is.
5.The atomic world is nothing like the world we live in.

While at a glance this may seem like just another strange theory, it contains many clues as to the fundamental nature of the universe and is more important then even relativity in the grand scheme of things (if any one thing at that level could be said to be more important then anything else). Furthermore, it describes the nature of the universe as being much different then the world we see. As Niels Bohr said, "Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it." (from Quantum Physics)

As we find and create more theoretical resources, we will post them here!

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