I thank my learned friend for making my speech to you much easier. His Reason, it would seem, is merely the surface of reliance upon traditional authority, Professors with a vested interest in suppression ( like Alister Hardy and Professor Anon) are unwilling to consider an author untainted by their own influence and running free. Rein her in, is the essence of it.
He fails to mention those, likeKonrad Lorenz and Arthur Koestler, who supported the scientific hypothesis ab initio, (and who were dismissed by these later and more arrogant witnesses) or those encountering the Author, like Canon Milford,whose enquiry was both modest and thoughtful and informed by their own long deliberations on parallel ideas in Teilhard de Chardin. Clearly so called Reason has tipping points of view. Yet you are called upon to put full weight upon it!
But I am not going to argue with Reason. Unlike the author who does that throughout the book through the voice of Soul, I am well aware that, in any challenging encounter with reason, only reason itself is re-enforced, but not truth. This book was written to undermine the strength of Reason, so why would I assist Reason to regain the throne?
What I appeal to is something different entirely: Instinct.
Instinct and your own psychological experiences of life and relationships.These are the questions I would like you to ask yourselves.
This book has come to trial with the consent of the Author. Why would an author consent to the potential destruction of a book she has spent a lifetime researching and writing?
Why would she invite the testimony of those bent upon ridiculing it?
Why were the witnesses summoned to support it; the Rev TG; Arthur Koestler; Konrad Lorenz and Canon Milford struck not so much by the intellectual claims of the work, but the self critical and doubtful questions of the author. Is calling them here in public not further evidence of those qualities they all referred to?
Are those the qualities of fanaticism, self-aggrandizement or delusion? Is there any evidence that the book prevailed upon her better nature and distorted it?
Or is what she said— that she would like to hear an honest verdict by a disinterested Jury, exactly and precisely BECAUSE of self doubt? She believed she had something of value to offer. She spent the best part of a life acquiring the requisite vocabulary. Of course the indifference must occasion her to question…yes…even her own sanity!
The Author has little life left. Given that, her choices are simple. Give up pushing a weight up a hill like Sisyphus and let it slide inevitably into oblivion or, (and this is the importance of this Jury decision), be encouraged to continue looking for an occasional reader whose life might, just might, be changed by the work?
You may think that a verdict of guilty would relieve her of her burden. In one way you would be right, (for the years remaining). It would, however, be a relief paid for by laying waste a meaningless life already spent, seventy odd years. Think about that.
The book itself refers to many notable people who died before the value of their contribution was ever recognised. The author knew the risks in the very subject matter she chose. She must have been well prepared for both ignominy and anonymity.
Why then has she brought the book to trial?
Could it be that after all that it required, including accusations of insanity, and incarceration in a mental hospital that she still retains a small flame of belief in its merits?
Not for her, but for the world heading for hell at a gallop? Who else is it for? Now?There is no glory to be had from a belated limping existence.
My learned friend has urged you to rely on Reason. I now ask reason to submit to deeper reason, psychological truth. It does not accumulate, it ‘divines’. It sees the whole, not the parts.
The Author’s testimony referred to the very strength of being anonymous, with nothing to lose but her life, no reputation, no standing, just the time and discipline to make a difference.
The book may be superficially guilty of the charges brought against it, but only judged against the weighing of established precepts, those heavy weights forged by vested interest, jealousy, self-preservation. Or the books already successful? The approved ‘genres’ with Dewey numbers? Are those the weights by which weightless inspiration can be measured? Or finding a new continent across the ice-flow, consciousness not yet mapped?
This book may not reach many, but I urge you to give it the wings of your approval to let it try. Shelley it was who said ‘Poets and philosophers are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.’ For him that legislation was the battle against revolution and oppression.He saw no gulf between poetry and politics, this book likewise sees no gulf between poetry and hard science. That gulf only exists in other minds. Those intent upon its relegation.
There is, as we have surely seen, oppression in the barring of the unorthodox opinion by the institutions of science. We heard of her demolition by theEpiphany Philosophers in Cambridge.The book is full of such instances; its rosary is threaded (and shredded) on them.
Poetry and philosophy’s legislation is engraved upon freedom, the freedom to be susceptible to the muscle of metaphor, to engage emotionally but that does not imply irrationally. Rationality has not proved adequate or even sufficient a guide, as the world about us amply shows.
To quote Adrienne Rich* ‘But when poetry lays its hand on our shoulder we are, to an almost physical degree, touched and moved. The imagination’s roads open before us, giving the lie to that brute dictum, “There is no alternative”.
This poetic history of Western thought might just ease a few into an alternative road, a new comprehension of how we arrived at the dominance of rationality and materialism, and why we are so embedded in the suck of its safety. Like a quagmire it seems to support our weight while we inexorably slowly sink.
Involution-An Odyssey does not destroy the material world, merely reveals its porous and transient nature, one that makes it permeable to thought. That alone is worth a punt, wouldn’t you say? A new kind of creative thought is hardly an invitation to extremism!
‘There is always that in poetry which will not be grasped, which cannot be described, which survives our ardent attention, our critical theories, our late-night arguments…’
So do not rely upon the dismissal of Professor Anon who said he could not grasp this work. Grasping a butterfly invariably kills it.
Let your deliberations rest upon instinct instead, and watch it fly.
I invite you to dismiss all charges and find the book ‘Not Guilty’.
Judge. I urge the Jury to take time to consider these closing statements, and return, when you are ready, to deliver your verdict in the boxes provided.
* the distinguished medallist for her contribution to American Letters (an article in the Guardian)
The closing arguments in the trial of Involution. Jury called.
Counsel for the Prosecution.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury. You have enjoyed a prolonged recess since the last witness in which to read the book on trial. Before I urge your verdict I must remind you that readers have varied reactions to books. You are not required to assess whether it is a good or bad book but whether it merited forty five years of dominating the author and whether anyone else should give it comparative importance. It is a singular work, unable to be evaluated against others. In that sense you are called upon to judge its adventurous masquerade and its claim to authenticity. Just because it looks like a book, and quacks like a book, is it, in fact, a book? Is it fiction or non fiction? Poetry or science? One book or two? Science or art?
Where would a librarian shelve it? Under Philosophy? Literature? History? New Age? Evolution? While she is making up her mind I suggest we persuade the author to cover (with nice brown velvet) the remaining copies of the doorstop Magnum opus as literally that. Doorstops. In two hundred years they will provide archaeologists with speculation. They were to ward off the evil eye? Contain the secret doctrine of the Gods? Clean boots? Enough; you get my drift…
With all that in mind it is now my painful duty to persuade you to find it guilty of the charges against it. To refresh you may revisit thesessions from the beginning
Apart from brief reminders of the evidence against it, and the authority of the witnesses whose testimony you have heard, my appeal to you is the appeal of reason, against the sentiment you are likely to hear from my learned friend.
If you recall, the book itself relies upon one spokesman Reason, pitted against the whispering claims of Soul. Let’s just examine what that means, and why I appeal to you to let Reason guide your deliberations.
Look at the world we live in! The irrational, so called extremes of religious fanaticism are taking us to the brink of destruction. I am not suggesting this book contributes directly to that irrationality; what I am suggesting is the seeds of danger that any reliance on sentiment carries with it.
This work is an appeal to permit, no, to give prominence to the universal longing for love, and in doing so it relegates the slow and substantial achievements of reason by supplanting them with a suggestion that they THEMSELVES were guided by the irrational: the dreams, the incoherence of inspiration by genius; genius in love with ideas, or contemplation. As though the methodical painstaking history of science can be dissolved simply in the fizzy water of a new hypothesis!
While I do not deny the role of inspiration in forging great leaps of understanding what has to be achieved—and this is THE ESSENTIAL POINT—is the anchoring of inspiration to a language understood by the mass of mankind. It is the interpretation of inspiration that is the measure of its value. Dreams are personal; expressing them forces the examination of their wider relevance.
Has this book succeeded in that?
It has signally failed to do so. You have heard Professor Hardy claim it is ‘unscientific’ and essentially ‘baloney’ ( his word), you have heard Professor Anon claim it ‘slips away from being grasped’. Even the sympathetic priest theRev TG admitted it was turning ‘everything on its head’ ( Darwin upside down.) These men are the gatekeepers in the world of rational discourse. I urge you to give heed to their views.
I would go further and invite a wider consideration. Have any of you, before this Trial encountered this Book? Heard about it? Read a review? If not, why is that? You would think the media might have run with ‘Old Woman has Big Idea’. Why didn’t they? Okay the author may not look like Madonna or have Random House behind her but you would have expected some excitement, given what she proposes?
Is it because the opinion of the world of potential readers have better things to do than struggle with something calling itself ‘symphonic prose’ to put forward an alternative THEORY OF EVERYTHING written by a NOBODY? If it was half as important to the market of ideas as it has been to the diligent author, we should have heard of it.
However sympathetic you may feel about the struggles of the Author, dominated by a deluded sense of mission I ask you to set that aside in evaluating the merits of a book seeking not merely paper to print it, trees to die in its cause, but vying for attention.
There are rational, logical, graspable books written by rational men, and yes, some of them echo elements contained within this work. If you want poetry read Dante or Milton, if you want science read Dawkins, if you want speculation read Ervin Laszlo. So let us remove this book of confusing baloney from the shelves and let those rational alternatives be more easily found. Do not mistake the few scintillating reviews by ordinary readers, thirsty for a belief in the irrational, or longing to perceive that Western Science has betrayed its promises, deflect the argument.
One of those said ‘It just feels right…’ Well, I am sure that the man who took a hammer to his mother-in-law would say exactly the same. In fact it probably felt the only thing to do at the time.
This is a test case about a market flooded with books. What we are here addressing is whether the time has come to evaluate books claiming importance that threaten the solid achievements of academic prowess, with suggestions of dubious merit, a pot-pourri, an aromatherapy, as valueless as fantasy. If you want fantasy read Harry Potter or Terry Pratchett. They do not call themselves science and are much more diverting.
It is easy at a time of crisis to suggest almost any hair-brained alternative and get away with it!
I am asking you to throw out the solid anchor of Reason and find this work guilty of all charges against it, a deluded and scientifically unproven hypothesis about the encoding of memory; inappropriate language; ill judged timing, and certainly the last, an inhumane indifference to the consequences to the author of single-handedly taking on the wall of scientific opposition and total indifference.
Her arguments may look ingenious, her scientific facts seemingly persuasive, but nobody can say anything about her qualifications for such facts or arguments. That is why we have institutions to impart rigour and peer reviews to examine that rigour. This author has not been refined in such fires of analysis. Even she is not sure, or she would not be here!
Exonerate her and you will condemn others with delusions of importance to lives spent in fruitless pursuit.
Any other verdict would simply encourage the benighted author to continue, and give encouragement to others to do likewise. You heard the author appearing as a hostile witness in this case. Why was that? Because she was as anxious as I am in seeing the book set aside and being relieved of its burden of obligation.
I urge you all to be prepared to be unpopular and find the book guilty. Such a verdict would be an act of courage. Thank you.
Judge (to Jury) This will be the final day of hearing evidence for all the charges brought against the Book Involution-An Odyssey.
Prosecution Counsel: I call the final prosecution witness Mrs Danvers. Mrs Danvers you were Matron at Sheerstoke Hospital when the Author was admitted were you not?
(Getting close to insane, this trial. Still, more interesting! Court Reporter)
DANVERS Not Matron, no. They was no matrons then. I was Ward Sister, and good at me job , though I say it meself…
PROS Can you tell the Court the nature of Sheerstoke Hospital?
DANVERS. Not much to tell. It was for the terminally insane, them as was no hope for. We just kept them safe from theirselves, drugs and…other things. I was good at it because I never judged them, never. They was life’s unfortunates…
PROS. Do you remember when the Author was admitted? How did that come about?
DANVERS. I wasn’t on duty when she come in. It was the middle of the night. She was admitted on a Police Order. By the time I came on duty she was already in a security cell, and chained to the bed…
PROS Before we get on to the sordid detail, can you clarify for the Court the nature of a Police Order?
DANVERS It meant there was no way out, or not for long. Them on Police Orders have to be returned wherever they run to, there’s nothing like bail for them is thought a danger to theirselves, or others…
Judge. To Counsel. Would you both approach the Bench. To Prosecution Barrister. Can you clarify the reasons for calling this witness who is clearly unable to offer any opinion on the merits of the Book on trial?
PROS M’lud. The Book is accused of a callous disregard of the Author in pursuit of its single minded self-importance. This woman is a critical witness to that degrading consequence.
Judge Who was responsible for taking out a police order to commit her?
PROS It was a member of the Royal College of Surgeons who summoned the police. Judge For what circumstance had he encountered her?
PROS. She had appealed to him for help. They had had previous correspondence.
Judge Why was he not called as a witness instead?
PROS He refused to appear. This was the best I could do to expose the callousness of the Book. The agents seem to me irrelevant.
Judge ( to Defence) Do you have any objection to this witness?
DEF None whatever. Bring it on.
PROS Mrs Danvers. Can you clarify why the Author was chained up?
DANVERS She tried to run away see, even got as far as the porter’s lodge afore they brought er back, struggling like a ferret in a sac. Even escaped from a locked cell. Had no choice see…?
PROS. From your experience was escaping a common event?
DANVERS. Not common, no. Most are very sedated, and some, the catatonics, just sit and mope lookin at their feet, don’t they? This one was different, a right obstinate kipper, thin as a whip but strong as they come…Had to chain er up…
PROS What was your opinion of her condition?
DANVERS Mad as the rest. Just a bit original an’all. She kep on whirling round or dancing like she had invented Spring; and when we let her out into the open ward she just lay under the bed with the covers all down, so we couldn’t get at her…
PROS Why was that, do you think?
DANVERS Don’t need to think. She refused to take any drugs. Pills never had any effect, even when we made er swallow in front of us, she’d go and spit them out, and injections? Well, whenever I was going to stick in a syringe she just rolled over. Number of needles I wasted! That’s why we had to think of different clinical options.
PROS A hopeless case, would be your opinion?
DANVERS Worse than hopeless, a roight pain-in-the-backside, ‘scuse me French.
PROS Did you know she had written a book before being admitted? DANVERS A book? Never! She couldn’t stop long enough for a simple conversation, not even a how’s yer father. Must have got that all wrong. Never a book!
PROS No further questions.
Counsel for the Defence/ Mrs Danvers have you ever read a book?
DANVERS Me? Who’s got time for books? Maybe when I retire I could try a book, rather take up crochet or go to the Bingo…
DEF Did the patient have any visitors?
DANVERS. Twiggy? Never. None of them had visitors. Nobody wants to know people in that ward. The forgotten-and-good-riddance lot we called them. But now you mention it she did get one phone call and I was a fool to let her take it…’
DEF You called her ‘Twiggy’ Why was that?
DANVERS Best to ignore who they think they are, give em all a nickname, saves remembering… and she was thin; it suited.
DEF Why were you a fool to let her talk on the phone?
DANVERS Well it gave her a hope of getting out. Somebody outside missed her. Never should have called her to the phone, but we get accused of keeping them prisoners so sometimes it’s better to…
DEF Who was it called her? Do you remember?
DANVERS I think it was the gentleman who was here last time. He and his wife came to get her out. Bad mistake. We had the operation all lined up for two days later.
DEF What operation?
DANVERS They reckoned shock treatment wouldn’t have any effect because she wasn’t depressed, so they was planning a lobotomy, not both sides, I think, just the one. Anyway she managed to get herself discharged, sly you see…must have got wind…
DEF How did she manage to be sly, as you called it?
DANVERS Well she wrote to a psychiatrist she must have known of, and he came to talk to her and then he authorised her to be discharged.
DEF So she could write and post a letter? What followed?
DANVERS She gave him some names and he said these people could come and fetch her. The couple said they would look after her. Nearly as mad as she was…
DEF How so? Mad?
DANVERS Well maybe not mad but certainly reckless. They listened to the psychiatrist and nodded and said yes a lot, and then the wife hands out the car keys and, this is not a word of a lie, they asked her to drive them home! Like they thought she was normal! I saw her setting off at the wheel, and I thought, that’s going to be three casualties within the hour…
DEF But as we heard last time they all survived. Was she ever returned?
DANVERS Not that I heard.
DEF That fact does not occasion a change of mind about your diagnosis?
DANVERS. If you knew what I do you wouldn’t even ask! You would not believe how clever the insane are, fool a lot of people they do.
DEF I suppose it’s difficult to distinguish the really clever when they are camouflaged in the middle of so many clever catatonics. No further questions.
Judge (To Jury) This concludes the evidence. We will hear the closing speeches from both Prosecution and Defense in due course. I would ask that you retire to consider what you have heard. This witness has certainly added weight to the charge upon the book of a callous disregard to the Author’s welfare.
You heard the plea in relation to this charge: (That this book, Odyssey, was not present when these distressing events occurred). That may indeed be the case, however the skeletal structure of an earlier draft had already been written and it could be argued that this treatment simply added to the Author’s determination to re-write it. After all, stripped of even the assumption of sanity, there is not much left to lose. If anything it adds further weight to the prosecution’s case.
On the other hand the Defence is likely to argue that being committed to a mental hospital by a man who is unwilling to give evidence, to defend his responsibility calls into question the safety of any diagnosis, particularly as the Author managed her discharge without help, and without any medication.
I would ask that you set aside the details of this harrowing incarceration and give attention only to the responsibility of the book as materially contributing to it. It is a moot point, but the Author has repeatedly stated that the Book Wrote Her Life, and given that assertion we must consider elements of that life which included a narrow escape from a lobotomy by being timely and devious!
All rise. All images Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons A Circus Queen, timely Absurdity- Francisco Goya http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Francisco_de_Goya_y_Lucientes Bedlam Chained to Bed This file comes from Wellcome Images, a website operated by Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation based in the United Kingdom. Walls of Bedlam This file comes from Wellcome Images, a website operated by Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation based in the United Kingdom.
Judge to Jury We will now continue the case for the Defense on the third Charge: That the book Involution-Odyssey persuaded the Author to adopt inappropriate language- something that masquerades as ‘symphonic prose’ and at an inappropriate time.
Bear in mind that even the BBC now operates by Twitter and Soundbite. This Homeric epic must be judged against that prevailing climate.
Counsel for the Defense. I now call Canon Richard Milford to take the witness box. Canon Milford you have appeared as a witness in similar circumstances before. Could you clarify that for the Court?
(An aristocratic old tweed- very frail, it’ll blow him over- gentle man. Court Reporter)
RM Well yes, although I would prefer to forget it. I was a witness for the defense of Penguin Publishers in the trial of Lady Chatterley’s Lover.
DEF Counsel Why did they ask you?
RM Well I had just been appointed as Master of the Temple and I supposed they thought my august position would speak louder than ever I could.
DEF Master of the Temple sounds Masonic. Is it?
RM Quite the opposite. Far from secret. It is a Royal Appointment that came with a charming house in central London and very few duties except to eat dinners and take a few services in the famous church of the Knights Templars. A figure head that still vaguely connects the Law to the Church, historically, but the modern Benchers, the senior barristers, would prefer to forget that. They have managed to sever Law from morality. It was a retirement sinecure that I hoped to enjoy; being left alone to study and play chess.
DEF Why did you agree to appear for the defence of Lady Chatterley. Presumably you supported the book?
(Hardly one of the world’s shakers CR)
RM I read it, at the publisher’s request, for the first time, and could see nothing wrong in publishing what essentially is a book about love. Love ennobling sex, as I saw it.
DEF So not one to corrupt the servant classes?That was an allegation wasn’t it?…
RM If they could read it, probably not, but I have never had servants since my nanny departed when I was seven, so I would not know.
DEF Canon Milford you were an incumbent priest at St Mary’s Oxford, the Founder of Oxfam, the Chancellor of Lincoln. What made you expose yourself, if you will forgive the expression, for a highly public trial of a questionable book?
RM Frankly I did not anticipate the consequences. I thought it was a moral question being examined. I simply lent a little weight to the argument for creative freedom. I learned a lot from it. We really were an imprisoned generation. The crippled husband in a wheelchair summed us up. I considered it both brave and poetical, necessary for the time. It banished the fetters of Puritanism, to liberate sex as something joyous. It has now been cheapened, of course…
DEF What were the consequences that you say you regretted?
RM I was blackballed by the Benchers. After that I ate my dinners off a tray in my charming living room. My poor wife had hoped to be released from cookery, (not her forte- she preferred T’ai Ch’i), instead she had not only to cook but to ferry trays. It was a small kitchen designed for a bachelor with a housekeeper who made tea.
DEF Blackballed why?
RM Rigid protocol really. It was not considered proper, as a member of the Temple, to participate in a show trial that might change the Law. Setting precedents was as reprehensible as appearing in court without a wig, or in church without a surplice, but I did not realise that. I read a book, defended its right to exist, and the sky fell on my head.
DEF Well let’s hope this book will treat you more kindly. Please give us your view of this new edition of Involution?
RM Like Lady Chatterley it is equally a necessary new vision for our time. Unlike sex it won’t have the same appeal…God is for Sundays, and rituals, not daily bread and butter.
DEF What does this book require us to banish?
RM The outdated views of both God (as an external ‘mover’) and the natural world (as also external to us ). There is only consciousness, or God. Tough but there He is. I believe it a valuable contribution to the approach began by Teilhard de Chardin, the perception of the incremental spiritualisation that underpins evolution, what he called Christogenesis…
DEF Which means what?
RM The increasing unity of creation, and particularly in its convergence to Man of a consciousness of all participating in the collective cosmogenesis-the evolution of the Cosmos. I find that a great comfort in reconciling the gulf between science and my own theological belief, it renders the spiritual both magical and rational. Nothing divides us from the world about us, once you understand that.
(Good point. He is quite sharp for all the etiolated frame and thick glasses CR)
DEF You support this poetic prose language to express that? That scientific view?
RM I suspect it is the only language worth attempting since science will not take this Author seriously anyway. She seems to have found a new way of expressing a very old and universal understanding, just as de Chardin did.
DEF We have heard the charge of inappropriate authorship and the book was cleared. So writing poetically addresses another readership?
RM I believe it might. Not many, but some will understand it, if they are ready to…It is not difficult.
DEF So it does not trouble you that the Author has been lassoed by a book for which there will be few readers?
RM That has been true of many. I don’t believe she expected otherwise. To be ignored, or even shunned, is not a crime. You might as well suggest that everyone who fails should never have tried.
DEF No further questions.
PROsecution Counsel. Canon, you befriended the Author over many years. Don’t you think you should have made that clear?
RM I was not asked the question but it is not material to my opinion. Had I thought the Book of no value I would have been the first to spare her both the effort of writing it, and the vilification from the heartless world of academia. That I am more than familiar with; it is brutal.
(Knows whereof he speaks -an otherworldly fellow who started Oxfam! and walked smack into the strong arm of the Law! CR)
PRO What attracted you to the Author and her book?
PRO Will you answer the question?
RM I will but I doubt you will understand the answer. You are bound to misinterpret. I had spent close to sixty years looking for belief, real belief. I have read widely from the theological convictions of others, but they never reached the core to afford me any kind of peace. I have preached about love, and not practised it enough. I have never been blessed with religious fervour, much as I might have wanted it. When the person you call the Author blew into our lives, barefooted usually, destitute, yet full of joy I knew it could only be because she had found what I had been searching for. She was infectious. I was infected, perhaps at second hand, but undeniably. Not something a court would understand. It wasn’t her theory, although it was interesting as a means of conveying her experience, and something to hold on to, it was simpler than that, simply an irrepressible joy, and a great deal of humour…I loved her. As did my wife…The language of the book is the language of joy, admixed with enough factual logic to make it comprehensible to those whom Joy had eluded…
PROS Yet it was you who recommended her visit to the Inquisition at Cambridge? You were happy to risk her innocent joy to that destruction.
RM I hoped they might be both kinder and more interested. It was an error of hope over experience. I try and believe declarations sincere…they claimed an interest which proved untrue. But she also understood that, and could forgive it. She was a good mimic and gave a great performance of her reception…
PROS You did not, perchance, hope they would kill it off?
RM I did not. The Author was truly impoverished, living in our modest caravan through the winter, without her children, and I hoped…
PROS That someone would take her off your hands? She and her obsessive Joy!
RM How base a suggestion! No, if she was weighted with anything it was the belief that she had to impart a critical new vision before the materialist viewpoint did any further damage. I wanted to help in any way I could. Contrary to your suggestion, we thoroughly enjoyed her company, my wife had it through the days of sewing and searching for a place for her to live, and I had her in the evenings over the washing up, when we talked about her extraordinary experiences…and de Chardin…and played games finishing each other’s limericks. She taught me some biology, especially about the structure of DNA which she made fascinating; I taught her chess. She was not good on defensive play, good on the attack…
PROS Extraordinary in what way?
RM Well constant synchronicities, some almost worthy of calling mystical… They happened to us when she was about. That’s when I began to see the integration of thought and event, not as theory but a living reality. I am naturally sceptic, much too absorbed intellectually to notice such things but once I suspended disbelief they started happening all the time. The more I accepted her reality, the more it became ours…I found a renewed love for my wife, and indeed life itself. It was a wonderful period.
PROS Are you saying that her mere presence distorted time?
RM No, nothing so inflated, what it altered was my perception, and therefore influenced the unfolding of events; they became immediate,
PRO You can judge these? You have had similar encounters with the allegedly mystical?
RM No, unfortunately. I usually take my theology straight, not laced with visions and voices, but I have read enough of the mystics to recognize their qualities. I believed her entirely without pretension, or grandiose inflation. She is very straight forward. That above all is what convinced me that her book was based on genuine experiences, akin to de Chardin… He failed to find the following his work deserved, as she has. Luckily I am not sufficiently worldly wise to rely on the opinions of others. I form my own opinions from what calls to me…Her dedication in the face of extreme hardship was another reason I believed she had something valuable to convey.
PRO What has been the legacy of your relationship with her?
RM That s the first meaningful question you have asked. I came face to face with inhumanity, I leaned about the hypocrisy of academics who claim to seek truth, and the so called spiritual organisations who seek to suppress it. From her I leaned that I needed blinkers to carry on living, and ploughing a narrow furrow. It is not the book that should be on trial but the world itself. You are asking all the wrong questions.The book is on trial because it failed, but its failure was presumed before it was read. Neither it ,nor the Author fitted the mold. Who decided on that mold? The vacuous, conformist, correct-way-to-do-things… It should be the sardonic, contemptuous, self serving institutions…
Judge Thank you Canon. You may stand down…
RM On the contrary it is time to stand up…
Judge. Canon , if you continue I shall hold you in contempt of Court…
RM Don’t worry. I have taken contempt for myself. Save yourself the trouble.
(Wow! Who would have thought the old man to have so much blood in him. Must interview him before the fire goes out. This will be worthy of a front page tonight…Yippee. CR)
Judge (to Jury) I direct you to ignore the outburst of the last witness. It is not relevant to your deliberations.
While the Jury is ‘out’ I thought to anticipate the next stage of the trial ( inappropriate language) by giving you an introduction to ‘said’ language!
This five minute reading illustrates and invites. Rather than board Tardis ( as previously suggested) this is a short journey on a tall ship. A taster of the journey you might wish to take? This reading might clarify ‘symphonic prose’ and a book more intimate than Magnum Octopus, really a bedside companion with which to go skinny dipping.
Recording kindly provided by Dmitry Selemir and taken at Scriggler Live Event on 17th April.at The Harrison Pub’s underground theatre.
Imagine being kidnapped in the Tardis by Doctor Who ~Involution – An Odyssey reconciling Science to God by Philippa Rees.
Over several weeks, my reading matter was something totally out-of-the-ordinary, and I’d like to share with you the review I wrote for Amazon:
Imagine being kidnapped in the Tardis by Doctor Who. That’s the only comparison I can make for the reading of Involution. It’s a wild ride across Time and Space (inner and outer), and the author accompanies you with the same infectious enthusiasm and love for humanity that the Doctor expresses. You are treated to the same expectation that you can and will keep up with the Doctor’s energy and understanding but also with the acceptance that at times you simply won’t be able to and it doesn’t matter as long as you are enjoying the ride and trust that you’re going in the right direction and experiencing…
(Judge ever so cross. Was hoping for a guilty and wrap up. Court Reporter)
JUDGE Involution-Odyssey. The Defendent Involution-An Odyssey has been cleared by a majority verdict on the first Charge.
The Trial addresses the Second Charge Against the Book
The Second Charge That you Odyssey acted without deliberation, or discernment in harnessing the Author to a lifelong service and made promises of reward that you have not fulfilled. How do you plead? BOOK. Not guilty on both counts
PROSECUTION. Let us dispense with the easy one first. How many beautiful copies of yourself have been sold?
BOOK. Sold? Probably about 100. Given away? About the same.
(Blimey! A fuss about a limping loss. CP)
PROS. Not a resounding success are you? Given to whom?
BOOK People the Author thought would be interested, Authors of alternative science, and others of spiritual bent who might review and endorse.
PROS How much do you cost to print and send someone who might be interested?
BOOK A little under ten pounds.
PROS So the Author cast you upon the waters at a personal cost of about a thousand pounds. She has faith in you even if we don’t. How many of those lucky recipients replied or reviewed?
BOOK Initially four.
PROS Presumably the Author had selected them? Not a great endorsement of your worth. Not even gratitude for a relatively expensive book.. You may stand down. I call my first witness on the second charge. Professor ANON.
(Behold the aesthete! Looks like a Vampire, never seen the sun. Only comes out at night. CP) Shhh…
Professor ANON. I understand you agree to appear on condition of anonymity. Please tell the court why you were selected as one of these unfortunate recipients?
ANON Let me see? It could be be because I head up the educational programme of a very prestigious Institute ( so Rare we are almost bleu CP), or maybe because I am a poet with a poetic open vein and the author thought I might be infected by her poetry, which I have to say hardly qualifies… Or maybe because I am also Critic with fine forceps for the phoney, and then I am an Essayist able to sustain a Marathon. Or it might be because I hold readings of poetry from various traditions to gatherings and I suppose she hoped…
PROS Clearly a modest man of parts… How did you react to the work? What was your opinion?
ANON Frankly, (well maybe not very frankly) it was hard to form any opinion. Opinions need meat to chew upon. It is certainly not poetry, but it does not have the clarity of prose either. It purports to put forward a scientific hypothesis but grasping it is problematic because it uses the same word ‘Involution’ for two very different processes, the enfolding and encoding of experience, and the manifestation of that encoded memory through the scientific recovery of it. I made a serious effort to grasp the book, and read it twice, but in the end abandoned it. I got glimpses but then they evaporated… most frustrating…
(Pompous git. Needs his dose of blood presto.CP)
PROS Not easy for you then? What is the purpose of your Institute ? Its mission if you like?
ANON Well! That would be telling. If forced to be rough I’d say roughly ‘To foster a bridge between the perennial philosophy, science and poetry’ but it’s much more complex than that….
PROS I am sure it must be. It is not a characteristic of the Perennial Philosophy that the experiences giving rise to it are ephemeral?Is that not also the characteristic of poetry- to allude or suggest but not quite define? So you would not consider this book of scientific allusion a contribution to that bridging endeavour?
ANON Well I have been working on almost identical ideas for a number of years, so it is not new to me. Limited in value would be my opinion. If I were her supervisor I would suggest the author would have been better writing a scientific hypothesis in scientific terminology so that her thesis might have been debated amongst those of us able to evaluate it. As it is, it will remain unread and understandably so. Unfortunate but there it is.
PROS So, as a promoter of the perennial, and elusive you would have preferred instead a defined and argumentative hypothesis. No further questions.
DEFENCE COUNSEL Can you clarify how you came to be approached to read this work in the first place?
ANON The Author, I believe, had researched the Institute of which I am a Director. We are the only one of its kind. She wrote to ask me to give an opinion
DEF And you agreed to receive a copy?
ANON I did, somewhat apprehensively, and rightly so, as it turned out. She turned quite nasty..
DEF Dr ANON I have a copy of an email written to the author in which you said and I paraphrase… I read the comments from Koestler, Lorenz and others…they were less than unequivocal. None of them offered to use their influence in getting the work published, and one word from them would have undoubtedly done the trick. You recall the instance? You took your appraisal of its likely merits before you saw it? Simply because she had self-published?
ANON Well in my position one does take the opinions of others before embarking on what may prove a pointless waste of time. There’s very little of it about. Time, I mean. One of them, (I think it was Koestler) expressed his doubts about the likelihood of publication.
DEF Yes. He said ‘I am less certain about publication’ Does that not imply it would be difficult, rather than unwise? In the same letter Koestler also said ‘ ‘To expand your thesis would undoubtedly be worthwhile‘ Interesting that you selected only the doubt but not the validation. How did you know of these other authorities; Koestler, Lorenz etc?
ANON The Author had made an completely unsubstantiated claim in her letter that they had supported her thesis.
DEF You did not believe her? So she afforded you the stick with which you then beat her?
ANON No, no. Their letters suggesting approval were not full endorsements. Had they been so, given the authority of both eminent men, the earlier work would have been published when it was first written in 1970. They were simply being kind as one is in private letters to a needy supplicant…
DEF Was it kind in your first letter to the author when you said ‘It always seems to me dubious to quote people’s letters: they feel compelled to be polite and so say positive things that they certainly would not stand by in print. I would not like my letters quoted to all and sundry?.That is quite a generalisation. It does convey your doubts before you even saw the work. Were you aware that the Author had personally known Konrad Lorenz through her first husband’s work with him at the Max Planck Institute?
DEF Or the nature of her correspondence with Koestler?
ANON No. How could I be?
DEF But you did not ask, did you? You simply assumed because you had never heard of her that the claim was spurious. For all you know these eminent men meant what they said. Perhaps not everyone is as ‘kind’ as you are? Are you aware the work has been endorsed, openly and freely on the cover by Ervin Laszlo.
ANON I am now.
DEF Would you say Ervin Laszlo is an eminent man of the calibre of Koestler or the Nobel Prize winner Konrad Lorenz
ANON Yes. But…
DEF Are you also aware that Laszlo tried to get his publishers to take on the publication, as did another endorser, and both failed. Does that in any way give an indication as to the merits of the work?
ANON Probably not. It merely means it is not a commercial proposition.
DEF Rather contradicting yourself aren’t you? So the failure to attract a publisher is not a measure of the merits or value of the work? Yet it was the first assumption that you made, as well as casting doubt on the integrity of the author in quoting them. Would you say that gives an impression of ‘open mindedness’ in an approach? Either towards the book or the Author? Is it,in fact, appropriate to the promoter of the ‘Perennial Philosophy’ which, if anything is about openness and trust, to immediately doubt an account of such perennial experience and relationships with others?
ANON I am an academic. All that was explained before I agreed to consider the work. One can meet a lot of crackpots these days. I was just protecting myself from a possible crackpot.
DEF I see. Author armed with book. Very hazardous.Given that initial reaction, it was generous of her to even continue communication with you. But she still gave you the opportunity to reconsider and sent a copy.
ANON She needed my help, obviously. I am rather well known in the field…
(So are cows and sheep. Slaughter anyone? CR)
DEF So after you had read the work of the possible crackpot, you communicated your negative views about it to the author?
ANON I cannot remember but I expect I did.
DEF Let me refresh your memory. You received the book in early March. It was at the end of August that the author wrote and I quote As I think our preliminary correspondence made clear I was in search of help, support, contacts, dissemination. Since you have been either unable or unwilling to provide even a comment I wonder whether you might be prepared to return the book?. I am very short of copies for review and there are others to whom it could be sent. I will certainly refund the £3.00 postage if you wish.
Did you return the book as requested?
ANON No. I had made copious comments in the margins. It could not have been used for another review. I sent a cheque for the cost of the book instead.
(But not before taking it all in! And not until asked!CP)
DEF. You deface books. That’s interesting. So you were interested enough to copiously annotate this misguided book. Was the cheque banked?
No further questions.
PROSECUTION I would recall the book to answer the first part of this charge. Odyssey, you are charged as follows:
That you acted without deliberation, or discernment in harnessing the Author to a lifelong service. How do you plead?
BOOK Not guilty
PROS. Do you deny the lifelong service required of this Author?
BOOK No, but that was hardly my doing. The witnesses already called have explained the climate of rejection and unreadiness: more specifically, as in the last witness, their personal prejudices against me, I’d invent a new term and call it ‘Bookism’. You need letters behind your name before you write a book as speculative as me…
PROS That brings me neatly back to the first part of this charge: your lack of discernment in selecting this author to carry the ignominy of your claims! She was not an appropriate choice was she? She had no standing in either academic circles or spiritual community. What you call Bookism was directly due to that lack of discernment. Why would she pass muster? It was inhumane to subject her to such judgement was it not?
BOOK There is an expression ‘Judge not lest ye be judged’ It does not mean the superficial interpretation; that if you judge others you will be judged by them. It means your judgement itself enables the measure of your prejudice, your limitations, your preconceived ideas. You have heard a poet saying I am not poetry, a scientific Professor saying I am not science ( or not until he published first) but a few who had similar ideas offering some applause (and who are then disbelieved!) The market is no measure of a book, because it would choose Fifty Shades of Grey as the paeon of value. You will have to do better than that.
PROS No further questions
DEF There was another poet, a Professor of Poetry at Oxford who was approached. Why that one?
BOOK Because she held a temporary Chair for the promotion of poetry in contexts where it is not usually found.
DEF So a History of Science written in poetry would seem exactly what she was paid to promote? What was her opinion?
BOOK She said she did not have time to read the work of ‘other poets’ and declined to accept a copy.
DEF Ah how elastic is the public purse for self-interested people…So why did you choose this Author?
BOOK. She is still here. That’s why.
DEF You mean she has survived?
BOOK No. Not survived. Believed.
DEF In you?
BOOK. Not so much in me, but in the importance of what I contain, an alternative to destructive materialism, an alternative to intellectual argument. More importantly a kind of irreverence to upstage the dogmatic…any dogma…particularly intellectual dogmas. I am about intuition…
DEF Irreverence! You are all about God!
BOOK. God is all there is. That’s what she believes anyway. That’s why I chose her. She never would have joined a ‘prestigious Institute’, or an ‘established congregation’ of any kind. She has nothing to lose, because she has no standing, no pre-established loyalties, and she has been so vilified by the academics she has written a book for everyone else. That stoicism and broader appeal took a lot of training, and dare I suggest, some considerable discernment. I very carefully picked and trained a bloody-minded virtual orphan and made sure she never settled comfortably anywhere. Nobody with good opinions to lose would have written me.
DEF No further questions.
JUDGE (To Jury.)
I direct you to give full weight to the evidence presented today. If you find the defendant acted with right judgement in the selection of its Author you are bound to find it Not Guilty. The question of financial reward as a measure of value I direct you to ignore. Please confer before the next Charge is brought, relating to inappropriate language and timing.
Judge: (to Members of the Jury) You are assembled to deliberate the first charge against the book Involution- Odyssey: namelyThat 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.
You have heard the evidence both for the Defense and Prosecution and the testimony of the witnesses, including the hostile Author. At this point it is the ‘deluded hypothesis’ that is under deliberation.
What you have to decide is whether the skeletal argument is sufficiently robust to support the book in question.
You are not yet examining the second and third charges of the book’s lack of discernment in its selection of Author, nor the appropriateness of the timing or language or spurious inducements with regard to possible rewards. Evidence for those charges will follow.
All you are required to concentrate upon is the underpinning scientific hypothesis and whether what you have heard is plausible. You do not have to accept it in a single jump, or even agree with it , but to decide whether it merited a lifelong commitment, and the punitive and hostile reactions it received. If you should acquit the work of ‘delusion’ then the remainder of this case will be simply about ways and means ( or rather the lack of ways and means). If you should find the book guilty of a deluded hypothesis then the remainder of the case falls.
I would remind you that in evaluating the opinions of witnesses you have a duty of care in deciding how reliable, unbiased, or motivated those witnesses were. Professor Hardy intended a book of his own when he had gained the time to gather the necessary research; Professor Konrad Lorenz was already engaged in writing a similar work. Arthur Koestler had written much that furnished the Odyssey’s arguments with factual support as well as hypotheses on synchrony and holons. All had reasons to accept or reject the work. You also heard from The Reverend TG (in many ways the most innocent of prejudice) and his reactions. All these will assist you in coming to a verdict.
A few of you have already read the work and will be able to rely on forming your own opinions, and sharing them with others who have not.
The Author has very kindly agreed to offer e-copies of the book to anyone prepared to read and honestly review and take part on this Jury. ( email signup on home page column top right to provide contact details.)
The Jury Clerk has made refreshments available in the Jury room and you have as long as you need to reach a decision. Please begin by appointing a Foreman and by taking an initial vote so as to be able to evaluate the progress of your discussions. Make yourselves comfortable in the Comment boxes and feel free to offer wide ranging opinons.
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?
DEFI 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…
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.
DEFYou 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.
PROSAh 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.
PROSGoing 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)
Judge. (to Jury) I call the Defence to put its case for the first Theory of Involution.
Counsel for the Defence. I now call Dr.Arthur Koestler.
PROS. Objection Your Honour. The Prosecution was not advised of this witness. The dead are not usually present.
DEF. The Defence were not advised either, m’lud. There was no way of knowing whether this witness would appear. That, I’d say, gives no advantage that requires a ruling.
Judge. Objection over-ruled.
DEF. Dr Koestler, it is good of you to appear before this Court.
Koestler. I was summoned to appear. I thought; so to comply.
DEF Well not many with your excuse answer that summons. Would they did! Think of the murders we could solve without Juries. To the point. Dr. Koestler you were among fifty people to whom the Theory of Involution was sent in 1970. Do you recall the occasion?
Koestler. Indeed I do. Firstly because I neglected to read it for about eight years, which was very remiss, and hard on the poor Author, but because it gave me grounds for hope…
DEF Of what exactly?
Koestler. That my own work had some promise of continuation. One likes to live on, even when dead. We, by that I mean I and the Author, were very much on the same wavelength, which I now know to have been a valid intuition.
DEFBefore we get to your privileged perspective, (because I am not sure the Court can crane its neck sufficiently), let us turn to the wavelength. What wavelength?
Koestler. A wavelength of synchronous thought: Synchronicity as I explained in The Roots of Co-incidence was fundamental in my ideas. Rather than occasional, I proposed they were a constant. You seldom look deep enough to see clearly: instead odd encounters are dismissed as chance occurrence. For constancy there has to be an underpinning causality outside of time. Now and eternity are the same place: Instant creation makes thought itself a priori and material events merely a consequence. For as long as science gives primacy to the material this idea will be rejected. Naturally.
The attraction (synchronicity) between coherent vibrations, is the very opposite to competitive Darwinian evolution. Involution stressed the oscillation between fission and fusion. Fusion is in evidence throughout scientific thought in such similar radical ideas synchronising in different people widely separated geographically, like crystals never seen before; or habits evolving in different populations without any contact between them. More tellingly in instances of Extra Sensory Perception, or telepathy, working instantaneously…
PROS Objection! Mr Koestler’s ideas are irrelevant to this case. Not only have they been widely discredited, but we are examining the value of Involution, not his inflated publishing record!
Judge Objection sustained.
DEF.Mr Koestler. Did your support for Involution stem from its agreement with your own ideas rather than any intrinsic merits of its own?
Koestler. My own vested interest in promoting its ideas played a part, in exactly the same way as the vested interests of Professor Hardy caused him to reject it. The difference lies in the reasons. Why does a court summon expert witnesses if every opinion is discredited for being pre-existent? What are ‘experts’ if not those with existent knowledge? Or, in some cases,as we have seen, ‘other agendas’ that believe ideas belong to them exclusively?
DEF Touché. Have your ideas been, as my learned friend claims ‘widely discredited’.
Koestler. They were met with as much hostility as I predicted Involution would receive. Discredited? No. Disliked perhaps. But no longer. Entanglement is now the buzz phenomenon, everything affects everything else in the quantum world. What is mind but a quantum event, unpredictable, timeless, unbound by the speed of light, able to cross infinite distances instantaneously…?
DEF Or settle on Leicester Square on a Tuesday? But not, it seems, able to penetrate the stone wall of ‘received opinion’?
Koestler. Adherence to ‘received opinion’ is a kind of collective thought as well, I’d call it a small stone in a great many shoes; consensus jack-boots. Unfortunately it traps imagination from taking flight. Since imagination has access to deeper understanding that is the misfortune of science. It limps or plods through well worn tracks in blinkers like a Clydesdale. Handsome, steady, but unimaginative.
DEFIs this what Involution was attacking?
Koestler.From memory I recall it did not so much attack as show the insufficiency of the scientific rejection of intuitive or maverick impulse, whether in a mongoose grabbing a snake behind the head, or a genius grabbing an idea from the opposite end..
DEF As you did?
Koestler. I like to think so. I proposed an alternative to the reductionism of taking things apart into component simple elements: Instead I built backwards seeing each form as a holon building towards holons of greater complexity. Thus each retains its integrity as a complex system, but becomes a stage towards a greater integrated complexity. It implies that the future has causal influence; pulls towards a larger field of integration. Each system forms a stage ‘towards’ rather than a component ‘of’ something else. I was not the first to suggest that. Jan Smuts, a compatriot of the Author, first anticipated the validity of this approach. It does of course imply an impetus to progress, rather than haphazard incidental change emerging from the past or present.
DEF. Would you say the current state of the World shows evidence of progress?
Koestler. Yes and No. I think the violent fundamentalism is the fight put up against dissolution. There seems a sense of impending unification, and the loss of power both in capitalism and religious institutions. People fear loss, and loss of narrow power is imminent.
DEF. Returning to your ideas of holons and so called progress…Why is this important, if it is true?
Koestler. It is now probably too late for it to have the importance it might have forty years ago. It means seeing each holon ( whatever the organism might be) as perfected and integral. It might share elements common to others, but uses them in a unique way. It should, if understood, undermine the reductionist attitude that finds the ghost in a machine only by breaking it apart, sometimes in the process destroying it. It is only the whole that explains the parts, not the other way round. Science has now started fracturing and replacing components of DNA, without understanding its origins. Like everything in nature, it is shaped by what was, and what is to be. Interfering with that is not unlike splitting the atom, the fall out is unknown.
Think of a Rubik’s cube. It has six faces, each deemed harmonious when of uniform colour. That is the surface and in science every organism is envisaged rather like that: They all appertain to a single shape, but none of the faces appear to relate to any other. Science examines and manipulates them in isolation, and what is on the ‘inside’ is hidden from it. It makes assumptions about that inner core, but can never observe, or measure it, or its effect upon the surface. That surface view characterises reductionist thinking.
Instead envisage an organism as a sphere, or better still a torus donut, where any part of the surface is related to every other part, and all of it governs each part of it. It is recapitulated in each embryo’s development where you find the surface cells flowing inwards to centre the brain and spinal cord. The outside surface becomes the ‘registering’ inside. That is involution’s physical equivalent, and the likely evidence of it’s truth.
If the future has a causal pull towards a converging integration the encoding of that record through historical time explains the fine tuning of each to the whole. Far better and more persuasively than accidental and divergent evolution ever can. Each organism is both a holon and part of a greater holon, the ultimate one being the Universe.
If that became the scientific approach it would seek ‘towards’ not ‘from’. Where is this going?’ would be more often asked than ‘where did this come from?’ Notice the distinction between ‘is’ and ‘did’. One continues, the other has already happened. That is science’s time bound emphasis on the past.
DEF And you could find this in The Theory of Involution?
Koestler. It did not require much extrapolation. If each new step in the recovery of past memory was also the future of scientific progress, the past was simultaneously the future. Creation was NOW, limited by acceptance (or mostly lack thereof). The limits of the past understanding was a ball and chain making for conservation, the future a deep summons to those who could hear it.
DEF You say it is now something you have validated since your death. Please explain.
Koestler. The fact that I am here should not require further words. I continue to exist, outside my Parkinson’s infected body, which I discarded. I was summoned, and I registered that summons. Hence the evidence of a single ‘field’ of which you, embodied, and I , disembodied , provides the QED. One field, some call the Akasha, integrates everything, at different levels of comprehension. You see only half, the embodied half. I see both; the seeming solid material and the non material. Involution sought to bring out that comprehension for science. Unfortunately, 45 years ago, science was not ready for it. That was why I was pessimistic as to its chances of acceptance. It is now becoming commonplace with books like Laszlo’s ‘The Self Actualising Cosmos, a work which suggests the Cosmos itself has mind moving towards spiritual unity, the final holon of everything.
I have also made a study of scientific stubbornness, or as the author now puts it ‘antigen attack from the body politic’. This continues in this debate does it not?
DEF Dr Koestler. In you first letter to the Author you say ‘Needless to say I agree with much, if not most of what you say… What did you have reservations about?
Koestler. At the time I was not sure about her conjectures concerning junk DNA, as the source of memory storage, or not as rigidly as it seemed to imply. It seemed too static a conjecture for something so dynammic, but I might have misunderstood. It could well be the resonating and coherent matrix of integration, the means through which each has access to the All. The wormholes of instant communication perhaps…
DEF And now?
Koestler. Undoubtedly DNA resonates to the Akasha, in terms of integrating the individual’s access to it, and manifests the scars of past life memories. There is considerable evidence that scars from past life trauma often appear in the body of the next life; in physical structures, club feet, port wine stains, skeletal weaknesses as well as mental flexibility and creative talent, notably inexplicable genius.
If that happens it suggests that the soul imprints its ‘structure’ upon the new DNA rather than deriving it from DNA. While children resemble their parents physically, emotionally and mentally they bring qualities with them. In that sense we choose our parents and bring our emotional baggage with us. DNA structure is a conversation between past and future. I just had not made that jump at the time because DNA was understood to manufacture proteins and little more. We are all tethered by the prevailing ideas, even when we think we have gone beyond them. No doubt I was guilty of that too.
DEF IN the same letter you also expressed doubt about whether Involution would ever be likely to find a publisher. Despite that you suggested that the Author should expand her thesis. Why did you encourage her to further work with little hope of publication?
Koestler. If the Akasha retains everything, all experience, all interaction, the thinking itself, and expressing the ideas alone makes a difference. Mankind’s limitations, not even clever Oxbridge ones, and certainly not the self-interest of publishers, do not limit what is beyond him, or the direction of travel. By formulating a comprehensive thesis the Author would embed it in something beyond science. Science will get there eventually. I made that clear to her in subsequent correspondence.
DEF Thank you Dr Koestler. You have been most enlightening. No further questions.
Counsel for the Prosecution.
PROS Dr Koestler… Dr Koestler?… DR KOESTLER?
He has evaporated! Your honour I object, I must be allowed to put my questions.
Judge. It seems your initial objection has now been heeded. It may be well to object less strenuously next time.