“Truth in science can be defined as the working hypothesis best suited to open the way to the next better one.” Konrad Lorenz
April Fool!!!Hostile Author Refuses to Defend Own book! ( Court Reporter at the Assizes)
Involution Trial. Defence Summons the Author. ( continues from previous session)
Counsel for the Defence.
DEF I now call the Author. I would like to advise the Court that this Author appears as a hostile witness.
JUDGE You surprise me! Can you clarify why?
DEF I think the witness should answer M’lud.
AUTHOR I would be ‘hostile’ appearing for either the Prosecution or the Defence. Although it is the scientific spine which seems here to command the focus, I feel that the book on trial, Involution-An Odyssey escaped the emphasis on intellectual debate to offer another option—education for the heart. This was, I believe an improvement which this revived talk of the Theory obscures.I realise only hard core science commands respect, but since it has been responsible for a fundamental misunderstanding I have no wish to prolong its claims to respect. Since I have been oppressed by this book for a lifetime, and might wish to be liberated from further oppression I do not want to influence, either way. If found guilty I can lay down the pen and live a few years: If innocent, my longer life has had some meaning…
JUDGE ( to Defence) Why is this witness necessary?
DEF Because two Defence witnesses have failed to appear to defend the book. Professor Konrad Lorenz has not answered our calls but may, of course, now be someone else. Cambridge University Press has declined to appear. This witness is called to illuminate the evidence on which they were due to be cross examined…
“Lorenz and Tinbergen1” by Max Planck Gesellschaft – Max Planck Gesellschaft/Archiv
First upload: 15:41, 16. Nov. 2007 by User:Gerbil. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Nobel Prize Winner gone AWOL!!! ( Evidence in Camera? Something shady here?)
DEF I have a letter written by Konrad Lorenz. I quote ‘I thank you very much for sending your Theory of Involution…it interests me enormously…I certainly do share your views…and believe, like you that so called evolutionary progress is explicable in scientific terms…’ From a Nobel Prize winner quite handsome praise. What were the ‘scientific terms’ that had him so excited?
AUTHOR I think a scientific explanation of what, with hindsight, looked like progress, suggested a process ( which Involution traced) that was intrinsic within creation and not imposed. This removed any suggestions of either God, or Intelligence, other than that WITHIN the organism and species. Lorenz was an expert on animal behaviour, who had seen the great variety of instinctive behaviours modified by learning, so this would be familiar.
DEF If already obvious through his own work why was he ‘enormously interested’?
AUTHOR Just as with other witnesses: What they themselves already know or have thought about governs how they respond. We all like to be affirmed. Lorenz had studied a range of behaviours; instinctive, learned and wholly interiorised, such as bird migration. He already knew that what I called Involution was a given throughout the biosphere. What I suspect excited him was the application of his field (behaviour, instinctive, learnt or spontaneous) as THE mechanism by which complex structures evolved through the encoding of experience as memory. It is another example of convergence and synchronicity… His ideas and mine in synchrony, evolving in parallel, but also the synchrony lower down the evolutionary ladder of each to the whole.
DEF Had you formulated your Involution from reading his books?
AUTHOR I was not reading any science when we were at the Max Planck. I was the mother of two very small children and more into nappies and a juicer… It was two years after we left that I wrote Involution, and felt he might be sympathetic to it.
DEF You wrote it in 1970 and his letter is dated the same year, so he responded immediately?
AUTHOR Pretty quickly. I think he was genuinely excited. I was not aware at the time that he was writing a work moving in much the same direction. His book, ‘Behind the Mirror’ outlines a hypothesis that proposed gradations of flexibility in patterns of behaviour (from the explosive spontaneous new combinations of previously unconnected patterns, becoming more rigidly encoded; Imprinting, Habituation and Exploratory), each more flexible and open to change than the last. It was a hypothesis also suggesting the growth of consciousness from the beginning. What was already internal was modified by the external encounters. In that sense Involution seemed simply to confirm what he was himself already apprehending. Hence his easy acceptance and his enthusiasm.
DEF Did you have further contact with him? What happened next?
AUTHOR In 1973 he won the Nobel Prize and that usually takes up time and re-organises priorities.
DEF No further questions.
Counsel for the prosecution
(Housewife offers Explanations. Prosecution goes for the jugular! – Court Reporter)
PROS. How did you first encounter Professor Lorenz if you were confined with children?
AUTHOR Through the children. He conscripted my older daughter who was three.
PROS Sounds unlikely. What for ? The Home Guard?
AUTHOR No, for his geese.
PROS Ah a goose girl! How very quaint.
AUTHOR Well quaint to start with, when they were goslings, and a clutch of endearing small birds followed her everywhere. It became less so when they were older, with the power to knock her over. All the children were conscripted; eggs were hatching continually and there is a narrow window for imprinting hatchlings, which was what Lorenz was studying. Whatever goslings first encounter moving is their ‘mother’ forever. He was studying this very adaptive insurance that even an abandoned clutch of eggs might adopt whatever would have to do instead, even if it wasn’t Mother Goose. Rather like me spotting Lorenz moving through the undergrowth, and following.
PROS Ah I see. You daughter was part of his experimentation on geese!
PROS And later you sent him your Theory of Involution?
PROS I put it to you that his so called enthusiasm was, in fact, gratitude for services rendered. He felt under an obligation.
AUTHOR If he did, which I seriously doubt, it was to my very small daughter, who did not write it. All the children at Seewiesen were followed by clutches of geese or ducklings. It was considered a privilege, and certainly no grounds for gratitude.
PROS So he would have remembered you?
AUTHOR I doubt it. There were many esteemed visitors to the Max Planck, like Niko Tinbergen pictured with Lorenz and I encountered him very briefly in passing in the grounds. Probably two or three times.
PROS Why did you send him the Theory? It was quite an imposition for a renowned busy scientist surely?
AUTHOR Call it naivete. In those days I was innocent and assumed that a new way of understanding might (if he approved it) have a better chance of dissemination, or publication with the support of influential people… I believed that again, recently, with the ‘Odyssey’. I now know that academics will be the last to help or support it. Most speedily ask for a free copy and leave it at that.
PROS Going back to Lorenz: That suggests you doubted it yourself if you sought his imprimatur?
(Author loses patience- Admits to seeking Support- Court Reporter)
AUTHOR You are still locked in the assumption that I was laying claim to anything. Why do egotists assume everyone guilty? If there was any hope that the Theory was of value to the world heading for hell in a handcart I needed the help of those with influence. I was happy simply to generate new thought and give it over for others to make use of. I had used a scientific language that lay to hand, that of animal behaviour, since that was, for me, a familiar field. I could have used any other (like the history of painting), to create the scaffolding from which to paint the cathedral of consciousness… Lorenz was doing much the same.
PROS Yes yes, a lot of fancy images to obscure the fact you were not a scientist…
AUTHOR I never claimed to be one. Who would? I admit to a kind of prophetic overview. All I was suggesting was that science should look again at the artesian well that filled the river; (recovered memory), replenishing science whenever it ran dry.…
PROS No further questions
Counsel for the Defence.
(University Press Refuses the Invitation to appear- CR)
DEF Can we now turn to the conduct of Cambridge University Press following their first sight of the monograph. They asked you for an expanded book?
AUTHOR Yes. They asked for two full chapters and a summary of the whole.
DEF And they were interested in publishing? What happened?
AUTHOR It was difficult providing the first two chapters while living in a coal cellar, but I borrowed a typewriter and used the Bristol Public Library to write what had been requested.
DEF So we have a book supported by two eminent men in the field, which Cambridge University Press considered for publication by an unknown housewife changing nappies. I’d say that is conclusive evidence of its merits, and would draw the Jury’s attention to giving it due weight. No further questions.
PROS But Cambridge did not publish did they? Why not?
AUTHOR What they actually said was that the work was highly speculative and complex…the reader has the impression of being bombarded with the sum total of all the knowledge of physics, biology and philosophy all at one time…the potential market for all that is extremely small… pretty well Ted Bastin’s accusation of including ‘the kitchen sink’
PROS No bleedin good, in short.
AUTHOR No I think it was more ‘in long’ If you have to turn the whole of science on its head, you do need the whole of science to do it. That’s what I attempted. Only the whole is the whole. A part would not convey the integration of mind and matter, or the distinction between consciousness and intellect, nor the chronology through all of time. It is the chronology of the scientific disciplines that is the likeliest evidence of the Theory of Involution.
PROS Alright if we must! Can you try to be brief and explain?
(Author Surrenders to Pressure and Explains the Theory of Involution and why the Chronological History of Science Provides Evidence!!- ?Probably Balls)
AUTHOR All the different sciences have emerged in answer to the penetration of memory, from the unity of early civilizations (before the separation between mind and matter began) in which they saw time, astrological patterns, celestial cycles, seasons, crops as deities ( ie God(s) were all there was) through the gradual separation into compartments of specialised knowledge. The chronology of the emerging scientific disciplines provides the evidence for the incremental penetration of memory. And a strong evidence for Involution as a hypothesis.
As we collectively re-penetrate the universal Akashic record, back through time, which each of us has access to, (but the Eureka moments of genius unlock) science moved simultaneously towards the larger and larger, and the smaller and smaller, because the more we understood of one the more we understood of the other, as Heraclitus first pointed out. First early cultures held the macro understandings of holistic concepts; astronomy, time, planetary and galactic motion, but also the qualities of mind observing; Pythagoras and the Egyptians with the mathematics, and sacred geometry that underpinned it..
Then Aristotle’s distinctions between the ‘hermetic citadel’ heavens and the earth began the separation of the macro from the micro. His study of the earth and its flora and fauna concentrated on the immediate and local. From then on Science went on slicing the local smaller and smaller, into Biology, down into Chemistry, Classical Physics, Anatomy and Physiology. Following on the other ends of scale Faraday, Maxwell, Bohr and Einstein began going deeper towards the beginning with the re-unifications of new field theories of the macrocosmic, but equally into atomic and quantum theory and the first elementary particles This was the convergence towards the beginning of memory, when both macro and micro were both integrated as a single field of energy.
Now science is running out of enough matter and we have hypothetical multi universes and string theories to explain what the orthodox division between inner and outer has created, the fallacy of a separation between mind and matter. Equally that fallacy is now turning to the most recent sciences, neuro physiology and artificial intelligence… and psychology to explain how our understanding of everything else works, but not the falsehood we have collectively created…or even the nature of perception…Consciousness is now emerging as the latest study, but the entrenched materialism of the collective idea still only sees consciousness as the emission of brain, not the other way round, brain as the creation and receiver of consciousness…
PROS It is just a pattern, a neat mirror isn’t it? How would you prove that it explains anything?
AUTHOR A good image. Mirrors are fundamental. They show things back to front, left to right. But here is another pattern. Since Socrates’ injunction to ‘Know Thyself’ the mystical geniuses have sought God within. Individually. Individually they have achieved the ‘coniunctio mysterium’ ( the mystical union) and the dissolution of any boundaries in light. Science poo-poohs such accounts as deluded ( and precluded!).
Involution suggests that evolution itself has been that same search, but collectively. Collectively we have moved through ourselves, (memory and the seeming past) to face that same dissolution. What the individual discovers, the collective resists but ultimately has to follow. Matter is now disappearing into dark matter and invisible universes are being imagined or contrived to replace it- because we cannot face the possibility that we have been mistaken all along. We have separated mind from matter, past from future, intellect from consciousness.
PROS Any evidence of light at the end of this tunnel? That’s what we should expect if you are right, isn’t it?
AUTHOR I’d say ‘polarized light’ perhaps. The twentieth and present century has offered giants of darkness, Hitler, PolPot, Mau,Stalin et al, and currently there are hundreds of Islamists all infected with the dark. But there is also now an accelerated growth towards spirituality, and searching. The Akashic field has to accept both. Polarity has been fundamental to creation, the fight now is to preserve polarity against the pull of Unity and dissolution.
PROS Now we wait with bated breath for you to tell us what Einstein missed!
AUTHOR No: I suggest you read the book, and think it through yourself.
PROS I have no intention of doing any such thing! I am briefed to prosecute, not to think for myself. It would prejudice the case!
AUTHOR It might. Or it might not. As we have already seen, pre-existing knowledge and vested interests determine everything. The distinction between scientific intellect and consciousness is a war between the collective orthodoxy of what we think we already know, and the individual who perceives it anew. . That’s a large part of the Theory too.
PROS Oh I give up! Enough woman.No further questions.
JUDGE That concludes the evidence on the First Charge. I remind you of the charge against the Book ‘Involution-An Odyssey…’ That you have persuaded the Author to write a deluded hypothesis in order to humiliate her, knowing she would bear the responsibility of your heedless suggestions.
The Jury will now withdraw to consider their verdict. For the purposes of this Court a majority verdict will suffice….
Barking dogs occasionally bite, but laughing men hardly ever shoot. (Lorenz)
17 thoughts on “Hostile Author Refuses to Defend Own book!-Trial of ‘Odyssey’ Continues.”
O this has me excited Philippa thank you! So beautifully told, I can see you on the witness stand refusing to defend your book! Such a powerful precis thank you so much!
That is reassuring Susan. Another friend suggested that to form part of the Jury , a reader of this blog would have had to read the book. (That might have been a relevant reason for writing it!)
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Philippa I can’t tell you how I yearn to read it. Hopefully when we get down to Plett at month end. Time to chill and savour … much needed. Right now a friend has my Kindle .. they were our hosts at Madikwe this past weekend, and she’d forgotten to bring something to read – I was racing through a library book. maybe I’ll drop her a note to say she can read it in the meantime, return it before we leave ..
Whatever goslings first encounter moving is their ‘mother’ 🙂
Stand by your self. There were no maps for what you were doing. I think Ken Wilber (a fellow sufferer of initial rejection) made a good attempt with his Integral Theory.
… And in the highest reaches of evolution, maybe, just maybe, an individual’s consciousness does indeed touch infinity—a total embrace of the entire Kosmos—a Kosmic consciousness that is Spirit awakened to its own true nature. It’s at least plausible. And tell me: is that story, sung by mystics and sages the world over, any crazier than the scientific materialism story, which is that the entire sequence is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying absolutely nothing? Listen very carefully: just which of those two stories actually sounds totally insane?
— Ken Wilber, A Brief History of Everything, 42–3
My former unconventional Sufi teacher introduced us to a maps of three realms, cosmos, psyche (the bride) and pneuma. They have different functions, structures and contents. He encouraged us to play with these maps, which was very liberating.
Ideally, scientists should also study philosophy, psychology and cultural history. Ideally, the latter should also study science and its history. These studies do not usually fit into a single lifetime. I think you put the scientists you sought recognition from to shame for their lack of insight and understanding. Rightly so.
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That’s so funny, ‘the bride’ should have been ‘the bridge.’
Marvellous thoughtful contribution, Ashen. Yes, you are right, there are inter-penetrating, but different dimensions of knowledge, and from the higher ones, those below are clearly seen, but not the other way around. This took me a long time to comprehend. I believed, as this examination shows, that offering patterns, and reflections between science and memory, would cause some new ‘reflections’! Vain hope for the reasons stated, which is why I am so reluctant to embark upon any kind of intellectual defence.
Thanks for contributing to this ad hoc jury! Perhaps I appoint you Jury Foreman to present a verdict to the Court? We’ll wait for a few more contributors?
The Devil’s Advocate in me says: Relying on the good will and open-mindedness of people, and not from the beginning seeing it as war against stupidity and ignorance, has led you, on the one hand, to dropping your book down a deep, dark well, and on the other tossing it to a pack of wolves in sheeps’ clothing. Even in your witty barbs there’s something proper and fair-minded about you. Chronic literature. You carry everywhere in yourself a sense of propriety. You don’t go over the top, or into extremes of expression, embracing the inner bitch, coming out of the fold of proper literature and being raw and rude, creating ruptures or disruptions to the usual narrative. You don’t come down from a certain height and get dirty. But by playing that way, the male-dominated modes of expression prevail, never challenged, and you don’t get your points through. You’re easily marginalized and not taken seriously, though you may be humored and strung along patronizingly. (It’s why I’m curious considering you in relation to punk rock women, or that group of intelligent and brave young women in Russia who call themselves Pussy Riot, or other heretical and trailblazing women who played out all the injustice they experienced in the field of action. In another time you’d be on trial as a witch.)
The Angel’s Advocate in me says: If you agree with Old Man River, then who cares what anyone thinks of the Involution theory. It’s out of your hands. If the theory proves increasingly true, till it can no longer be ignored, then it may be only after you’re dead that your work finally gets the attention it deserves. As Simone Weil wrote: “…above this level, far above, separated by an abyss, is the level where the highest things are achieved. These things are essentially anonymous. It is pure chance whether the names of those who reach this level are preserved or lost; even when they are remembered they have become anonymous. Their personality has vanished.” What you’re fighting for, how you’re trying to fight for it, you can either play God, which because you shall fail turns you to some extent into an agent of the opposite, hard and arrogant, or humbly accept your place in the scheme of the collective consciousness through which the whole of Involution works itself. You can’t defend it. It can’t be humanly defended. It can only Be. I can only imagine a just trial of this being held in a Celestial Court.
To conclude, Philippa, I think you must choose decisively either war or peace. In a sense it’s a choice between ego and soul. Unless you’re willing to engage in war, this is a fight you should lay to rest, leaving the fate of Involution to God, Mother Earth and Old Man River, and instead use that energy you burn up grinding your teeth and pacing back and forth… to continue creative activity to the glory of the created world. Come down from the mountain and mix with regular people. Serve the people. Teach the people. Perhaps your real work, now that the theoretical has been established, has only just begun. Write another book, or poems, take up painting, or study music and keep learning and practicing the cello, or write a book of philosophical reflections, or observations of human nature. If solitude and deep reflection on the nature of things is your choice, then choose it. Anything you do is a manifestation of Involution. But if you want more attention for your Involution book, now and in your lifetime, if that’s your focus and passion, then choose war, and don’t do it half-way. But to break though the usual narrative you need a new strategy, which includes getting in touch with the inner bitch and getting raw and rude. In the gray middle region, you’re only wasting away, grinding yourself down, playing the game by rules which have only served to keep you domesticated and in your place, a marginalized woman. If you don’t have it in you for war, then drop it and choose peace with your whole being. I think you’re great either way, no matter what you choose. If you burn a trail with your ego and get to a place where you get recognition and fame now, or illuminate the world with the light of your soul, either way given your remarkable talent and intelligence you’d leave valuable lessons and nuggets of wisdom. My point is that you appear to become less than what you are, diminishing yourself, even degrading yourself, by trying to play it both ways, there in the gray middle region, trying to make blends of both war and peace elements.
Simone Weil: “… love of truth is always accompanied by humility. Real genius is nothing else but the supernatural virtue of humility in the domain of thought.”
I don’t speak as a juror, but with the candor of a devoted friend.
P.S. I’ve chosen soul over ego, but my choice was made easy. With my modest gifts and amateurism I’ve never been tested in the way I imagine you are, with what you’ve created. The lurking temptation in the back of your mind and anguish in you must be so much greater.
Instead of a juror to opine upon evidence, I get me a real raw bulldozer of a life coach! Much more perceptive and more valuable. Involution was always written to serve. It was distilled drop by drop from patterns forming like ripples welling up from depths. There was obligation in it, there were sobering realisations that it would probably fail to be taken seriously, or even noticed. This second Odyssey was simply to offer it to those others ( non scientists) who might derive a deeper comfort denied by the reductionism of science and its bleak message that there never was purpose or soul, but an accidental arrival against the odds of chance.
Service to it is now tapering into discharging the last remaining obligations to wave small flags, and indicate it exists. Declaring war ( which it is intrinsically anyway) is, as you imply, the contradiction of its central truth, that only the willing embrace opens the doors to experience. Those pearly gates are never forced. Besides I am probably too tired to frogmarch anyone anywhere. What this trial is written to expose, is precisely the circumstance of that fatigue and near despair. Not because I have not been recognised, but because what I hoped it would offer of value is probably too late. Its method of appeal through ‘symphonic, or poetic’ prose was a last ditch hope, and ironically, you ( and several others) suggest plain speaking, new writing instead! The whiplash ‘call’ continues.
Yet I recognise the deep kindness and identification that underlies that suggestion. Because Involution was milked from life and life’s harsh initiations and consequences ( and not just for me, but the terrible trials of countless others) I know the material only too well, and am probably in danger of repeating what Involution says more comprehensively and intuitively. Yet I might find a way to renew. The need for me to die first is not unattractive! It is interesting that Koestler is probably more read now than he was alive, and that is true of many who would rather sell one book a year for a hundred years, than a hundred books for one. In one respect you are absolutely right, it has to be as standard bearer, on a charger, or Pierre wandering about the smoking ruins of Borodino with the coat of virtue clutched close in the mayhem of meaningless battle.
I am greatly touched by your identification, and friendship beyond the book, and the time taken to make that evident. If a book generates such a glow of warmth, it has ignited something that may well spread in low winds. There is much peace in that thought.
“I am briefed to prosecute, not to think for myself. It would prejudice the case!”—could be written, “I am briefed to conduct science, not to think for myself! It would prejudice the accepted theories!”
So where have you been all this time Alexander? You see how you have been missed!
You mean where have I been that I was away from this blog?
Well, I thought I was writing a book (God willing, one day, I will again…) and, when working in such a rarified atmosphere, mixing of airs is somewhat dangerous 🙂
And, as well, I have missed being here—yet, now I am, for whatever time my Muse allows…
I will appear at the final judgement………
I knew why you were absent! Just teasing. I meant that I needed someone like you to see what there was to see- re vested interests determining judgement! Yet ‘expert witnesses’ are summoned to do just that, strip off their pre-existent agendas and call it ‘objectivity’! Ah well. Welcome to the increasingly informed Jury!
I’m still on jury duty???
Ah, well, it’s my symbolic responsibility, eh?
You are on duty for as long as it may please you Sir! Final summaries before the verdict this week.