THE PSYCHE INTERACTING WITH THE UNIVERSE

By William Markiewicz

Under this general title I shall try to treat the proposed topics as generally as possible. I have no ambition to go into details explored by various experts. Rather, I want to view the subject at a distance, faithful to Vagabond's motto 'attached to nothing.' I divide the topic into four chapters; the first two, of psychosomatic nature, concern self -defense and its opposite, expansion, meaning creativity, which will be covered briefly as Vagabond has discussed it in depth in the past. The two other chapters which are not psychosomatic, as their link to 'soma' remains unknown; are the mysterious phenomena of intuition and extrasensory perception, so mysterious that Rational philosophers reject their very existence. Still for the sake of discussion we can ponder them, as, after all, many testimonies attest to their existence.


Self - defense

I have in mind the most complex and the most private form of self-defense, meaning defense against ourselves. This is the second front when some serious battle concerning the outside world is lost and we pay the price with feelings of helplessness which engender other negative feelings; anger, shame, sorrow... Those feelings attack us in a psychosomatic way, and in a very precise location -- the solar plexus. This is the focal point of painful aggression against ourselves. The intensity of pain at the level of the solar plexus makes us realize our helplessness. Then the solar plexus becomes our enemy, a self destruction tool, attacking digestion, circulation, and other functions of our body. Like a prisoner in his cell with a lot of time for reflection, we can concentrate on the threads of the strangling net. We look for the seemingly impossible way to escape as the threads on the level of the solar plexus seem to be made of steel. And the struggle becomes very, very complicated.

Symbols/Associations

Navigating through the narrow passage between our desires and their limitations, we choose solutions according to our personalities. The goal -- achievement -- is universal, but the route varies. Joy is self evident; it doesn't need to be analyzed, we just accept and benefit from it. On the other hand, when things get complicated we cope with them indirectly through symbols/associations.

Example: A doctor healed a little boy's apparently incurable cancer by inventing a game based on 'Star Trek.' The boy became Captain Jean Luc Picard, the doctor -- a member of his crew, and the cancer -- the enemy to fight. The kid took the game seriously enough and after a few months he was diagnosed healed. Through placebo we mobilize unknown forces, often with success. The solar plexus is our psychosomatic mirror reflecting our wish to fight, physically and mentally. Our fundamental problems concerning life and death originate mostly in the external world. The solar plexus's business is to stay away from external turmoil, not to intervene in situations where it is not armed to intervene. We can 'dialogue' with our solar plexus 'telling' it: 'Lets brush it off and carry on,' meaning, continue to live our life to the extent of its potential. That's how we survive the worst while we wait and see. Whether the car drives on or stands still, the windshield has to remain clean.


Creativity

Creativity is psychosomatic activity at the antipodes of struggle. Creativity doesn't have an identifiable center like the solar plexus, and the power struggle, whether physical or social is never its first imperative. Creativity is an activity so unrelated to anything else that it's wrapped in mystery as the very expression of the soul. Overlooked is the fact that among all human activities, creativity is perhaps the most linked to the body. An example: when the hunter hunts to eat, he must perform two distinct acts; first to hunt, then to eat. Creativity is the simultaneity of action and satisfaction which derives from it and each creator knows that this satisfaction is sensual/sensorial, thus physical. We can very comfortably discuss creativity while remaining in its physical realms. Creativity makes us feel good, this is the privilege of the creator, and as Le Brun has remarked, creativity benefits the body. It must then be an act provoked by physical necessity like all other hungers (see "Pondering Evolution," Vagabond, April 96). Creativity is also, like sex, a playful interaction between the intellect and the senses.

All creators, whether in plastic arts, music or writing, use the terms 'melody' and 'rhythm.' They also may be 'emotional,' 'sensuous,' 'intellectual,' 'mystical,' 'physical,' 'abstract,.' 'narrative...'

When the writer writes his text, he brings out his subject using the melody of the language -- for him, the topic he writes about may be just a pretext to display the melody and rhythm of the language.

A painter, whether abstract or figurative, uses elements to build his picture that he finds melodious and rhythmic.

The musician can express a story; when you hear Bach you have the impression that he chants an epic like Homer. Beethoven pours out his emotions to us, Chopin, his delicate romantic sentiments, Tchaikowsky caresses his melodies, etc. etc.

In other words, whoever is a creator and whatever he creates, he indirectly expresses the realms of other fields. Melody and rhythm seem to be omnipresent in all creative expressions; one more illustration of the all encompassing patterns forming the whole universe.


Mysterious Connections

Few have experienced it and most of the rational world doesn't believe in it. Twilight zone topics can be discussed; detectives, theologians, researchers in abstract branches of science do it all the time, tracking elusive proofs in their setting. Intuition, extrasensory perception, have the world as a setting and those who seem to have access to it mostly have nothing to say about it and didn't desire to be touched 'by grace.' Unlike those blessed with creative talents, most recipients of these 'unrelated perceptions' don't benefit from their skill, unless they are, for instance, fortune tellers. The 'mediums' don't mark their surroundings as creators do and don't bear any sign of their skill either through personality nor 'hocus-pocus.' Usually intuition and extrasensory perception appear when least expected and nobody can claim to exercise control over them. What remains to be explored then? Well, the Universe; too much and too little at once. That's why we don't possess any valuable scientific material on the subject.

The Predictable (?) Universe

If something can be perceived from a distance, whether in time or in space, it can mean only that the world is predictable. The world is predictable only if it follows self-evident pathways which immediately implies the notion of eternal recurrence. We can predict only what "was" already.

If we accept the Big Bang hypothesis (to explore subject I've chosen to accept it), then eternal recurrence is the next logical step. The concept of 'Big Bang followed by Big Crunch, followed by Big Bang...' doesn't require any spontaneous creation of matter nor any loss of matter. It must always be the same, always following the same pattern with sequences occurring on their own time, sharing infinite common space. Eternal recurrence eliminates the notion of chaos and unpredictability no matter how immense and complex the universe is. Eternal recurrence is the only notion that expresses absolute control of the universe over itself. So for an outside observer the universe would be a constant circle of repetitions through eternity.

The Universe is a structure with complex patterns forming its fabric. All structures in the Universe form a pattern when viewed globally. Those structures are in constant interaction which amalgamates into bigger and ever-changing patterns. The world is like a ballet and all its manifestations from the galactic order to living species down to the tiniest individuals, are its dancing steps. Still there is no 'method' in the universe so the universe cannot be perceived 'anthropomorphically.'

The 'Predictors' (?)

If the universe is predictable then somebody could be able to predict it. This must be a matter of some particular talent, like any other talents.

In prediction or extrasensory perception there is no 'hunger' involved as in creativity. Information comes uninvited, therefore the 'medium' has no clues to give us. As we don't know which rules apply to this mysterious process of communication, we can't select method or stage through which to implement it or to decipher it. After all we discuss something 'non-official,' with no starting point, equivalent to a 'science' of God for example. We have the luxury of floating without hallucinogens.

Through a connection which can touch us and which we cannot touch our mind may apparently reach what is unreachable by the senses and understanding. Extrasensory perception, intuition, if we assume their existence, are communication from a distance, but so are distance games like archery, golf, or other ball games. Those games are psychosomatic since muscles and mind participate. Creative inspiration is psychosomatic since complex internal functions and mind participate. The contact in space or time through unknown circuits of intuition and extrasensory perception are not of psychosomatic nature because the body doesn't seem to participate nor benefit from it. We try to use it sometimes for practical purposes (fortune telling) with mostly vague results. The difference between target shooting for instance and 'pathless information' is that in the second case the target 'hits' us. The other difference is that while we are willing participants in games and creative activities, with 'pathless information' we're purely passive involuntary recipients, even though there are some enhancing initiation practices by various shamans or fortune tellers.

Enigma

We don't know how the psyche interacts with the Universe. We don't understand how the pattern of mind and universe can mix and interact. We don't understand 'perception without pathways', but we don't understand a multitude of other enigmas which we take for granted. Extrasensory perception and intuition are not the strangest among the mysteries. A few examples: we don't understand the complex caretaking of offspring among species which otherwise don't manifest complex behaviour. Or, on the contrary; species with a potential for complex behaviour, like for instance the octopus which manifests certain communication with humans and doesn't pay the slightest attention to its tiny offspring as they are devoured en masse by fish as soon as they appear. Usually animals possess very specialized organs/tools to perform their various tasks. But sometimes nature seems to 'improvise.' Has anybody seen the crocodile use its ultra clumsy feet to dig a well designed opening in the ground and liberate its delicate hatchlings? We may witness extrasensory perception or intuition even among species at a very low evolutionary stage. A recent TV program showed a snake devouring a voluminous cluster of frog eggs. It slowly chewed the bits at one end, and, at the other end, toads which would normally continue gestation were jumping out of their eggs in a 'premature birth!' How could they have known that danger was at the other end of the voluminous cluster?! Etcetera, etcetera...We live in a very little fathomed universe with no clues in sight.

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