Involution-Odyssey. Second Prosecution Witness: Rev TG

Prosecution-Day Two. ( continues from previous session)

Will the Defendant Stand?
Will the Defendant Stand?

Prosecution Counsel
“I now call the Reverend TG”

PROS Reverend you were present at a gathering of The Epiphany Philosophers in 1970 in Cambridge on an occasion when the Author was invited to present her Theory of Involution, were you not? Can you first clarify who the Epiphany Philosophers were and what their mission was, so to speak?

REV TG  They were an interdisciplinary fraternity who published a Journal called Theoria to Theory, basically a collection of Philosophers, and Quantum Physicists, and the odd religious like me, who met to discuss the latest developments in their respective fields. It was an early attempt to create dialogue across different disciplines.

PROS And you were a member?

REV TG  Lord No. I am a modest brain, not up to that incisive cut and thrust.  I was ‘tea and taxi’ boy but I was allowed to sit in and stay silent. I would say that ‘present her Theory’ is a misnomer. Instead I would say ‘defend to the hilt’.

PROS Was that their usual requirement, a kind of grilling?

REV TG No, because most of the submissions were from people they knew and approved, a bolt from the blue was relatively rare. Few were courageous enough to beard the Epiphany lion in its Cambridge den.

Courtroom Drawing Beineke Library Wikimedia Commons

PROS  How had the Theory on Involution come to their attention? Do you know?

REV TG  Someone had sent it to their Editor, Professor Dorothy Emmet, I think it was, who wanted to put it to the test and possibly publish if the others of the group stripped it down and found solid mettle (or metal) underneath.

PROS. From memory can you tell us how the Author acquitted herself?

REV TG. Rather hopelessly, poor girl. She was under assault from some of the sharpest brains in the Cambridge drawer. But no, it was pitiful really.

PROS Did you grasp the essence of her thesis from the interrogation?

REV TG. Not really. Later I did when I talked to her, but not at the time because they did not really give her a chance. They had read it, you see, and I had not, so she was under fire, so much so, that one or two walked out before the end when she could not give them satisfaction/ Ted Bastin, (a very aggressive interrogator, I remember) asked how she would incorporate Quantum Theory since she seemed to included even ‘the kitchen sink’. She,  poor Author, was foolish enough to admit she knew little about quantum theory but would be prepared to talk him through Renaissance art to make similar points.

Then he said ‘For God’s sake woman, is this Tuesday or Leicester Square? and I remember her reply. She said ‘Well it’s really both, because we are talking about space time and Leicester Square has had a history of Tuesdays. That infuriated him and he slammed out.

PROS I can see why. What do you think she meant?

REV TG I think what she was trying to parallel is that quantum processes collapse at a single unpredictable moment, outside of space and time, and that the whole of consciousness is a matrix which contains many points in which it is both Leicester Square and Tuesday. When you are swimming in the field of consciousness you may ‘collapse’ your attention on one of those ‘both Tuesday and Leicester Square’ moments.

PROS. I see. Well, no, I am not sure I do. What significance would it have if she was right?

REV TG  Probably very little to the normal man in the street, but it was the sort of thing the group might have found interesting…

PROS Did they?

REV TG She was not asked to clarify so no, they did not have the benefit of my subsequent cogitations! I told you, I was the tea boy.

PROS Did they consider publishing.

REV.TG  Lord No. They could not wait to get rid of her.

PROS So after close interrogation we can assume the Theory was as much baloney as Alister Hardy suggested. If several people, without his personal axe to grind found little in it, we must be getting close to a quorum of negative opinion, wouldn’t you say?

PROS No further questions.

Counsel for the Defense.

DEF Reverend you said you talked to the Author later? When or where was that?

REV TG  I took her off for a stiff drink. The woman had been shredded. Cambridge has no mercy you know for audacious ideas, without vehement peer defenders. I thought it unsafe to let her go in that condition. We had a long conversation and I asked her to summarise the essence of the theory so that I might have a chance to understand it.

DEF  And what was your verdict on its merits?

REV TG  It was not easy. It required a kind of standing on one’s head, seeing everything upside down. Darwin inside out, in a way, because she was suggesting that consciousness had controlled evolutionary progress, led to acceleration and the memory of it all was retained in cellular structures, probably DNA. The prevailing idea was that consciousness had emerged from complex organism (dominantly Man), for her it was there in everything , and all along. For me, as a priest and believer in Deity, this was very exciting, because it put God back into science. Admittedly the Gnostic God, but I was happy to find any God that had a hand in things. The other thing I remember very clearly was that, although she had been battered for over two hours, nothing had shaken her certainty that she was on to something that science needed to understand.

DEF That sort of certainty is often the characteristic of the deluded fanatic isn’t it?

REV TG It is also true of the mystic. Those who have plunged into another sea cannot possibly persuade we pedestrian dry- landers of the glories they have seen, or why those glories are superior to any others in affording an entirely new perspective. I’d say her mistake was in imagining she would succeed where others either failed, or knew better than to try. She did not strike me as deluded, or fanatical. She was exhausted, but at some deep level I was convinced by her lucid conviction, that she knew something certain. She was not at great pains to impress it upon me. It was I who demanded to have the details and I remembered she drew diagrams on three beer mats. I still have them…

DEF The diagrams disliked by Prof. Hardy I suspect. Were there any repercussions, after this free-for-all?

REV TG She wrote to thank me for my kindness, and told me that because she did believe there might, somewhere, be someone who would understand, she’d sent it off to fifty specialists in different fields. She wanted to get it into the right hands. She was on a mission, not so much for recognition, but to change science.

DEF And lose any claim to the Theory if someone unscrupulous plagiarized? Well well! Reverend, in Prof Hardy’s testimony it was suggested that the Author should devote herself to research to prove her thesis. Could she have done that?

REV TG Not a chance.

DEF Why not?

REV TG  It is difficult to explain to something like a Court who sees only rational arguments, but there is little incentive to prove what you already know. Science forms uncertain conjectures and then research validates. In contrast, experience is certain. My impression was that she wanted to hand over her experience to those in a position to re-examine their emphatic materialist paradigm, rather than to persuade them of the validity of her contribution. Why should you go to great lengths for the sake of others who make it as difficult as they possibly can? Science does not want big themes, only intricate details. But there were more cogent reasons why she couldn’t,  essentially practical ones.

DEF Such as?

REV TG She had hitch-hiked to Cambridge. I gave her the fare for the train home. She was, at the time, living rough in a coal cellar in Somerset, eating only what she could forage from the fields. This Theory had cost her everything; her visa to stay in the States, her children, family, employment, a roof over her head…research was the last thing possible, it would have had to be done by someone else…Or she certainly realised that after the Epiphany demolition…

DEF  This would seem detail more pertinent to the other charge of heartlessness we have yet to address.so we will leave it there. Thankyou. You may stand down

PROS. That concludes the prosecution witnesses for the Theory of Involution in its scientific dress. Later witnesses will give opinion on Involution- An Odyssey, before us.

Court in Session
Court in Session

All rise

(Images Courtesy of Wikipedia Creative Commons)

Author: philipparees

A writer ( mostly narrative poetry) of fiction and non-fiction. Self publisher of fiction and Involution-An Odyssey Reconciling Science to God (Runner-up Book of the Year (2013), One time builder ( Arts centre) Mother of four daughters: Companion of old man and old dog: One time gardener, lecturer, wannabe cellist, mostly enquirer of 'what's it all about', blogger and things as yet undiscovered.

24 thoughts on “Involution-Odyssey. Second Prosecution Witness: Rev TG”

  1. So much for a dialogue across different disciplines.
    T G, a man with a heart.
    Were you the only woman in that snake pit of anima ridden scientists?

    And yet … nothing had shaken her certainty that she was on to something that science needed to understand … I got that from the start reading ‘Involution.’

    Do you know of Hildegard of Bingen? another courageous woman. Margarethe von Trotta, whom I worked for in my other life, did a film on her life.

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  2. No, two of the Inquisitors, Dorothy Emmet and Margaret Masterman were, I think, women! It made no difference to the Cambridge obligation to flay an aspirant alive, and for the bear pit amusement of each other. I think I was a squash court wall against which to show off their strokes. Yes TG was the only one present with a heart and deep kindness.

    I do know Hildegard of Bingen. There is a recent biography of her by Matthew Fox which I mean to read.

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  3. Course of mirrors, what brought Hildegard to mind? I visited her magical church in Bingen some years ago. The autumn colours added to its atmosphere.

    I wonder if the mention of quantum theory was meant as a criticism – it was so often trotted out as evidence for esp, the afterlife and Everything by crackpot new-agers – good for the Author, saying she knew little about it. Shame the scientist didn’t take that as evidence that the Author (the Book) was attempting to explain something else entirely.

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  4. You realise, you single Jury members, that you ought to be keeping notes? You will need to produce a verdict one of these days.

    I think Meliz that the quantum theory has useful analogous components for consciousness- particularly the role of the observer and instantaneous creation ( or reduction from a number of possibilities to only one).Also for the element of coherence, what happens, happens everywhere.

    I am trying not to be gloomy about the few that find this worth reading, so please do keep me going! And thanks!

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  5. Dear Philippa: I really am a total solitary, an affable loner, so I honestly wouldn’t know, never having directly witnessed this: but another thing glancing over all this I had wondered about in your case is sexism in science. What part of the “hard science” community would try subversively and furtively to frame you as a “kooky female mystic”, to thrust away the more potent claims and serious insights of your work? One wonders if there’s some primal masculine territorial impulse operating in the science world, a Good Ole’ Boys’ Club. Bringing this up is perhaps the pink elephant in the room, everyone sees is there, but no one wants to mention for fear of having the “kooky” term applied to he or she.

    You might have some fun with this pink elephant a la “The Emperor’s New Clothes” as another angle to explore in your Trial. I’d like to see a chimpanzee take the stand too, and an amoeba. That would be great fun!

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  6. You mention these two women, Dorothy Emmet and Margaret Masterman as supposed Inquisitors, and I can’t help but to think what the internal dynamic of this group the Epiphany Philosophers was, and if they seriously suppressed vital portions and aspects of their beings as women to better fit in with this club. If they expressed everything they thought, even incredibly interesting suppositions, which are “out there” but which shed imaginative light on certain problems and allowed entry from different angles (to me a good thing – then again, I have nothing to lose), they’d risk tarnishing their reputations as serious intellectuals. It’s a matter of standing in the group. There’s a kind of codified logic which is masculinized, rigid, unbending, hard, pumping away like a boner in the mind, metaphorically fucking everything in sight. The old intellectual piston takes the stand, squeaks like a rusty wheel, and stands in need of a little oil, Your Honor.

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    1. Agree tout court. I think co-ordinated with what follows. Like Margaret Thatcher playing the honorary man ( until it suited to play kitten to Reagan!) One day the gradations of both/and sexuality will carpet the grass, and the instruments played more various, and sweeter.

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  7. Thanks for joining us John, and yes, I do think the pink elephant is there, often plain to see. I was strongly advised not to put my full name on the book, because men would not read ‘science written by a woman’ ( and funnily enough poetry too! We merely dabble) Much to my regret and the fury of the ‘sisterhood’ I refrained from the Philippa not for that reason but purely for the aesthetics of the cover. I did not want it ‘busy’ with irrelevance!. Not that I am believed when I explain! When one looks at the history of significant women in science like Rosalind Franklin’s contribution to the structure of DNA ( omitted from the Nobel Prize) and Jocelyn Bell Burnell’s discovery of pulsars ( omitted from the Nobel Prize) awarded to Hewish and Ryle it seems pretty clear that women are not accredited with scientific brains, and men are very happy to claim the credit for their convenient lack! And the money.

    One of the remarks of the REV TG when he put me on the train ( after the pub session above) was ‘Perhaps it was lucky you visited when a certain member of the Cavendish was abroad, or you’d find Involution published before you got home- under another name! It was common knowledge and commonly accepted. He also suggested ‘Try Oxford, its a more welcoming place for new ideas, and new faces’.

    It is very hard to convey to most people the smear of condescension that colours many interactions. Far from all, but a very great many. It makes the respect one does get from the few doubly precious. I think Dustin Hoffman was blown over when he walked abroad as Tootsie, and really saw the sliding of the eyes, and the tilted kind pity that washed across any mention of serious ideas. I also find the increasing abuse of women ( and the tolerance of that abuse) a very disturbing and accelerating phenomenon, as though equality was a pretense no longer needed. I have never been inclined to strident feminism- never felt the need of it but beginning to (against my will) now.

    Your suggestion of bringing a primate to the witness box I shall seriously consider, the slime mould might have things to contribute about collective co-operation too.

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  8. If anyone needs to speak up about sexism, inequality, it’s someone like you, Philippa. You have found your voice, clear and potent; the currents flowing through it are not merely of the dirty water of politics. It’s above and beyond pettiness and meanness, a warm and compassionate, resonant voice which I recognize myself in, in the fullness of being, aspects both feminine and masculine: the Androgyny of the Whole Self, before it became divided.

    To be sure, there is a feminism which is obnoxious, which has lost its way, divided and turned in certain strains virulent and militant against its other half. You could say that many men have feelers out, longing to hear a voice which they feel would help bring them back in touch to merge with the feminine in themselves, ascending back toward that blissful androgynous state. Does the purest form of Soul even have a gender?

    I see you capable of writing a hugely witty and entertaining satire on this theme.

    P.S. I haven’t read Robert Graves, but I recall a while back coming across words about his “White Goddess” book – something about that entire project having been undertaken in his insight of so many contemporary maladies and the sickness of soul – the perverse and contorted uses to which Intellect is put – due to Man being cut off from the living Goddess. I don’t even need to read him to understand this. It’s happened, has happened to me personally… Quiet, personal tragedies are happening everywhere due to this internal division.

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  9. A truly intelligent group ought to perceive that there might be other dimensions, other sets of rules, as unseen by us now (and yet just as capable of running the show) as that which only became visible through invention of the microscope.

    Because we can’t see it now, it’s not here? Because we can’t prove it now with data, it doesn’t exist? Oh boy. You may have talked to smart people but they weren’t great minds. They would have insisted that the world is obviously flat.

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  10. Welcome Kristin! This is beginning to be as close to a party of friends as I can nowadays expect. Apropos the flat earth society, I think curvature under control is more the ticket. We are still smashing protons to see the sparkles like children in a glass factory. Dark matter, dark energy, is what is under the ‘microscope’ of mind now. But the light by which darkness is identified? The light of mind? Shhh, we see no evidence of that!

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  11. Such a brilliantly thought-provoking reply, Philippa. I’ve returned several times to this reply of yours to Kristin. Is it not the most intimately near and obvious which so often becomes the richest and most satisfying? Contemporary man in so many ways has become much too clever for his own good, to the point where he no longer recognizes the most obvious.

    Blessed are the children. Woe to those adults who can no longer move into the childlike and move with its spirit! They cease seeing with fresh eyes and to question with wonder and imagination. It’s like Brian George observed about actual reading which is becoming a lost practice with the flood of information washing over us and our over-saturation – drowning – in it. I love these words of his. I knew this, having felt this myself for a long time, but it’s refreshingly confirmative and encouraging coming from him: “As a culture, we have grown so used to scanning articles and books only for their information, that we have forgotten what actual reading is and how it has been practiced through the centuries. We do ourselves no favors in trying to cruise through tens of thousands of books. I often think that we would do better to read a very few books, but read them deeply and well. If you look through a volume of letters home from average civil war soldiers with an eight-grade education, it is shocking to find that prose style is often clearer and more powerful than that of today’s college educated professional.”

    I received your “a Shadow in Yucatan” book today. Still waiting for Involution. I flip to the back to the photo of you. You have a face with great character. Every wrinkle tells a story in a face with character. They are not “old age” wrinkles; but wisdom wrinkles, like one sees in old photos of the wise elders of indigenous tribes, who are not cut off and separate but an integral and harmonious part of the landscape, translators and speakers of the spirits. You have that about you, but also another kind of clarity. It’s a clean and natural clarity. That probably has come from your time contemplating science, seriously thinking about its problems in the greater light of your life-altering, transformative experience, and from being uplifted into the classical music sphere, spending time there replenishing your vital spirits, the beauty of it rubbing off on you. I love your eyes. They have feeling in them one feels one can humanly approach, even in their detachment and traveling into distances; some traces of pain and anxiety from what you’ve been through in your life is about them, an immanence of concern, but an exquisite sensitivity is written all over them which extends to the other features of your face, unmistakable intelligence, and an overall tranquility is there too, a benevolent calming influence. Your eyes clear and open like a blue sky one wouldn’t mind walking around under, hiking around the terrain. But one senses too that you could make a storm-cloud appear, out of which, if so pushed and angered, you could launch a thunderbolt. I do imaginative visual art more on the sicker and more shadowy side presently, but if I were a portraitist and felt a bit healthier, yours is a face of which I could well enjoy making a portrait. I’ve already had a “visionary” portrait of Brian George appear in my imagination. I don’t know if it’s something I could translate into concrete reality!

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  12. How to answer such a comment? One neither can, nor cannot. If I had half the wisdom you ascribe to the face that never launched a single ship, I would do it with dexterity! As it is, I must simply take your hand, thank you and resolve to try and deserve a small part of the tribute. I would be interested in any portrait you might make of Brian ( or indeed that woman I hardly recognise!) Thunderbolts are still occasionally possible!

    This Court case is beginning to feel somewhat narcissistic, since there are so few of us attending. To be sure I was genuinely hopeful that I would arrive at a verdict, one way or the other? But I shall see it out, since books require readers, and I need to discover why mine send readers bolting like sheep to the far perimeters.

    They are simple enough! Brian’s writing is far from simple; elegant, shaped, mellifluous and deep. He carves, re-carves, sands and polishes whereas I tend simply to have fun. One or two have noticed the poking of fun at pomposity, or over-seriousness but I have been accused of erudition, and perhaps that ‘charge’ gets me a life sentence these days!

    It is far from true. For Involution I had to turn shambling bag-lady and amass a collection of factual debris by which to lay out a trail, in the hope of company. Thanks for being one of them.

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  13. Dear Philippa:

    You’re an accomplished individual in a speeded up and dumbed down world. So is Brian George. You also have good taste, a sense of where to leave off, where to continue. It’s in your manner, in your words, in your silences. I’m not used to relating to individuals such as you and Brian, which is why I’m taking such care. I feel tremendous respect for both your and Brian’s intelligence and particular characters, the humanity too I sense there, and could only hope a little of that rubs off on me. My words to you are not a conscious tribute but what I actually see there. I don’t think I overdid anything. It’s all really there. The quality of your work itself is very high and fine, despite your trying to downplay it. Your reply tells me: You’re sorely neglected, not getting the kind of recognition and quality interactions you so richly deserve.

    I agree with you that the Court case doesn’t appear to have enough participants to get going really and offer you much in return. I could’ve told you that before you got started. (As polite as I can be, I really do have a dark strain of pessimism running down into my depths. Individuals such as you and Brian George are to me a true gauge of how shallow and stupid the world we’re living in has become.) I think Joe Linker, without having compromised his own learning and intelligence, has discovered in blogging something of the “sweet spot” – the zone – wherein he’s able to generate more interaction and general back and forth. He shifts between very light themes and more serious ones. He keeps a sense of play alive throughout. You sparkle with a different kind of intelligence and wit – more elevated and classically refined, and, yes, more perfectionist as is displayed in your books – which, as I’ve written before, can be forbidding to approach and difficult to interact with for many. Even when you try to loosen up and to have a little fun, as you wrote of yourself, it doesn’t fully conceal your formidable presence behind it. It’s not something you can pretend not to have. You have more power than perhaps you realize. You’re like this superhero in disguise with a power which you’re only now in relation to the Public slowly and with difficulty realizing in its darker and more negative aspects, the curse side of the blessing. The Deities accept and embrace you, and they accept and embrace Brian George too, you’re both welcome in their dominion, both of you speak their language, having that genuine poetic voice, but turned toward the Public, the groveling, dirty, low and needy, fickle, vain and petty Public, a single ringing line out of that poetic voice, even a joke or a quip meant to elicit a smile or a laugh, can send those who belong more to the Public, being less developed within and less individuated in mind, shivering and scattering for cover, hiding and cowering in muteness, or running back to where they feel safety in numbers.

    I read it quite awhile ago in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, but as I’ve exchanged words with you and Brian, the presence of each of you in my mind and affecting me, the fable of Baucis and Philemon has revisited me. The story is now especially meaningful to me. Zeus and Hermes come to town dressed as ordinary peasants, and Baucis and Philemon, an old couple, simple, honest and good, poor but sound and true, are the only ones of all the townspeople to welcome the two disguised gods into their home. They offer the disguised gods to stay overnight, and they offer them food and wine. I take the rest of the synopsis from Wikipedia: “After serving the two guests food and wine (which Ovid depicts with pleasure in the details), Baucis noticed that, although she had refilled her guest’s beechwood cups many times, the pitcher was still full (from which derives the phrase “Mercury’s Pitcher”). Realizing that her guests were gods, she and her husband “raised their hands in supplication and implored indulgence for their simple home and fare.” Philemon thought of catching and killing the goose that guarded their house and making it into a meal, but when he went to do so, it ran to safety in Zeus’s lap. Zeus said they need not slay the goose and that they should leave the town. This was because he was going to destroy the town and all those who had turned them away and not provided due hospitality. He told Baucis and Philemon to climb the mountain with him and Hermes, not to turn back until they reached the top.”

    “After climbing to the summit (“as far as an arrow could shoot in one pull”), Baucis and Philemon looked back on their town and saw that it had been destroyed by a flood and that Zeus had turned their cottage into an ornate temple. The couple’s wish to be guardians of the temple was granted. They also asked that when time came for one of them to die, that the other would die as well. Upon their death, the couple were changed into an intertwining pair of trees, one oak and one linden, standing in the deserted boggy terrain.”

    Such a beautiful fable. How the old couple reacts and immediately responds when they suddenly realize they’re in the presence of Deities is what moves me most. When the veil is torn away, they aren’t caught in a lie or pretending, but stand in a true relation to the gods, naked in their goodness, vulnerable and naked in their humanity. That part can bring me to tears when I reflect on it. What’s also very notable is how the majority of people treat the gods when they first enter the town dressed as ordinary peasants!

    More related words by Brian George which I love for their honesty of self-assessment and deeply admire and respect for his plainly stated and determined ‘nonetheless’ conclusion: “I guess I felt that the world would wait for me while I fit together all the moving bits and pieces of my vision. Instead, it has moved quickly on, and I do not know that I will be able to find my place within it. It may be too late to launch a normal literary career, as I might have imagined such a thing when I was first starting to write, nor can I afford to care about this much more than I do. One way or another, I will make my work available, and will put my trust in the principle of “like attracts like.” And if that doesn’t work, I will just have to keep plodding along.”

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  14. This is all reminding me of Hannes Alfven.

    He was a respected plasma physicist, awarded the Nobel Prize…

    He later discovered that red-shift, as used by astrophysicists to gauge distance, was more probably an indicator of the age of objects…

    The establishment, in fear for their theories, banned his access to certain telescopes…

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