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.
PROS Reverend you were present at a gathering of The Epiphany Philosophers in 1970 in Cambridge on an occasion when the Author was invited to present her Theory of Involution, were you not? Can you first clarify who the Epiphany Philosophers were and what their mission was, so to speak?
REV TG They were an interdisciplinary fraternity who published a Journal called Theoria to Theory, basically a collection of Philosophers, and Quantum Physicists, and the odd religious like me, who met to discuss the latest developments in their respective fields. It was an early attempt to create dialogue across different disciplines.
PROS And you were a member?
REV TG Lord No. I am a modest brain, not up to that incisive cut and thrust. I was ‘tea and taxi’ boy but I was allowed to sit in and stay silent. I would say that ‘present her Theory’ is a misnomer. Instead I would say ‘defend to the hilt’.
PROS Was that their usual requirement, a kind of grilling?
REV TG No, because most of the submissions were from people they knew and approved, a bolt from the blue was relatively rare. Few were courageous enough to beard the Epiphany lion in its Cambridge den.
PROS How had the Theory on Involution come to their attention? Do you know?
REV TG Someone had sent it to their Editor, Professor Dorothy Emmet, I think it was, who wanted to put it to the test and possibly publish if the others of the group stripped it down and found solid mettle (or metal) underneath.
PROS. From memory can you tell us how the Author acquitted herself?
REV TG. Rather hopelessly, poor girl. She was under assault from some of the sharpest brains in the Cambridge drawer. But no, it was pitiful really.
PROS Did you grasp the essence of her thesis from the interrogation?
REV TG. Not really. Later I did when I talked to her, but not at the time because they did not really give her a chance. They had read it, you see, and I had not, so she was under fire, so much so, that one or two walked out before the end when she could not give them satisfaction/ Ted Bastin, (a very aggressive interrogator, I remember) asked how she would incorporate Quantum Theory since she seemed to included even ‘the kitchen sink’. She, poor Author, was foolish enough to admit she knew little about quantum theory but would be prepared to talk him through Renaissance art to make similar points.
Then he said ‘For God’s sake woman, is this Tuesday or Leicester Square? and I remember her reply. She said ‘Well it’s really both, because we are talking about space time and Leicester Square has had a history of Tuesdays. That infuriated him and he slammed out.
PROS I can see why. What do you think she meant?
REV TG I think what she was trying to parallel is that quantum processes collapse at a single unpredictable moment, outside of space and time, and that the whole of consciousness is a matrix which contains many points in which it is both Leicester Square and Tuesday. When you are swimming in the field of consciousness you may ‘collapse’ your attention on one of those ‘both Tuesday and Leicester Square’ moments.
PROS. I see. Well, no, I am not sure I do. What significance would it have if she was right?
REV TG Probably very little to the normal man in the street, but it was the sort of thing the group might have found interesting…
PROS Did they?
REV TG She was not asked to clarify so no, they did not have the benefit of my subsequent cogitations! I told you, I was the tea boy.
PROS Did they consider publishing.
REV.TG Lord No. They could not wait to get rid of her.
PROS So after close interrogation we can assume the Theory was as much baloney as Alister Hardy suggested. If several people, without his personal axe to grind found little in it, we must be getting close to a quorum of negative opinion, wouldn’t you say?
PROS No further questions.
Counsel for the Defense.
DEF Reverend you said you talked to the Author later? When or where was that?
REV TG I took her off for a stiff drink. The woman had been shredded. Cambridge has no mercy you know for audacious ideas, without vehement peer defenders. I thought it unsafe to let her go in that condition. We had a long conversation and I asked her to summarise the essence of the theory so that I might have a chance to understand it.
DEF And what was your verdict on its merits?
REV TG It was not easy. It required a kind of standing on one’s head, seeing everything upside down. Darwin inside out, in a way, because she was suggesting that consciousness had controlled evolutionary progress, led to acceleration and the memory of it all was retained in cellular structures, probably DNA. The prevailing idea was that consciousness had emerged from complex organism (dominantly Man), for her it was there in everything , and all along. For me, as a priest and believer in Deity, this was very exciting, because it put God back into science. Admittedly the Gnostic God, but I was happy to find any God that had a hand in things. The other thing I remember very clearly was that, although she had been battered for over two hours, nothing had shaken her certainty that she was on to something that science needed to understand.
DEF That sort of certainty is often the characteristic of the deluded fanatic isn’t it?
REV TG It is also true of the mystic. Those who have plunged into another sea cannot possibly persuade we pedestrian dry- landers of the glories they have seen, or why those glories are superior to any others in affording an entirely new perspective. I’d say her mistake was in imagining she would succeed where others either failed, or knew better than to try. She did not strike me as deluded, or fanatical. She was exhausted, but at some deep level I was convinced by her lucid conviction, that she knew something certain. She was not at great pains to impress it upon me. It was I who demanded to have the details and I remembered she drew diagrams on three beer mats. I still have them…
DEF The diagrams disliked by Prof. Hardy I suspect. Were there any repercussions, after this free-for-all?
REV TG She wrote to thank me for my kindness, and told me that because she did believe there might, somewhere, be someone who would understand, she’d sent it off to fifty specialists in different fields. She wanted to get it into the right hands. She was on a mission, not so much for recognition, but to change science.
DEF And lose any claim to the Theory if someone unscrupulous plagiarized? Well well! Reverend, in Prof Hardy’s testimony it was suggested that the Author should devote herself to research to prove her thesis. Could she have done that?
REV TG Not a chance.
DEF Why not?
REV TG It is difficult to explain to something like a Court who sees only rational arguments, but there is little incentive to prove what you already know. Science forms uncertain conjectures and then research validates. In contrast, experience is certain. My impression was that she wanted to hand over her experience to those in a position to re-examine their emphatic materialist paradigm, rather than to persuade them of the validity of her contribution. Why should you go to great lengths for the sake of others who make it as difficult as they possibly can? Science does not want big themes, only intricate details. But there were more cogent reasons why she couldn’t, essentially practical ones.
DEF Such as?
REV TG She had hitch-hiked to Cambridge. I gave her the fare for the train home. She was, at the time, living rough in a coal cellar in Somerset, eating only what she could forage from the fields. This Theory had cost her everything; her visa to stay in the States, her children, family, employment, a roof over her head…research was the last thing possible, it would have had to be done by someone else…Or she certainly realised that after the Epiphany demolition…
DEF This would seem detail more pertinent to the other charge of heartlessness we have yet to address.so we will leave it there. Thankyou. You may stand down
PROS. That concludes the prosecution witnesses for theTheory of Involutionin its scientific dress. Later witnesses will give opinion on Involution- An Odyssey, before us.
Judge (to Jurors)
To make your deliberations easier we will take the Charges one at a time. The prosecution will present its evidence and witnesses, and the Defence will be given the opportunity for cross examination. After each Charge has been dealt with you will be given time for deliberation. We hope that you (the public Jurors) will make notes on questions and inconsistencies. The verdict on all charges will be the last duty asked of you, and terminate this trial. I would remind you it s the responsibility of the prosecution to make its case. The innocence of Odyssey is presumed until proved otherwise. The Prosecution will now present evidence for the first Charge/
(To refresh your memories Odyssey is held to ‘have persuaded the Author to write a deluded hypothesis in order to humiliate her, knowing she would bear the responsibility of Odyssey’s heedless suggestions.’)
PROS Thank you m’lud. Since the charge relates to the intrinsic value of the Odyssey we will commence by examining its skeletal origins as The Theory of Involution originally written in 1970 because this proposed much of the essential thesis from a scientific standpoint. Its merits in its current form as Odyssey will be examined separately.
I call the first witness. Professor Sir Alister Hardy.
Professor Hardy You were Professor of Zoology at Oxford for many years. You had the opportunity to see this work at an early stage in its, shall we say, evolution in 1970? How did the Author contact you?
Prof H. We met a conference on Nature Man and God. I met the author briefly and on hearing about her manuscript offered to evaluate it.
PROS Very generous of you. Since the Author was entirely unknown, I am surprised you had the time.
Prof H. Well, I was by then semi -retired.
PROS And what were your conclusions?
Prof H Frankly it was, how can I put this politely? Baloney from start to finish.
PROS It had no value whatever?
Prof H. Well I remember she put forward an interesting hypothesis about incremental interiorisation- dreadful word- she suggested that evolution had been due to the laying down of memory, which accounted for the seeming progress of evolution, and its convergence to Man. It was dangerously suggestive of Lamarkian process but others had said similar things so that alone did not rule it out.
PROS Please clarify the perils of Lamarkianism for the Court.
Prof. H. In its simplest form Lamarkian inheritance suggests that an organism’s experience can be conveyed to its offspring. Soviet Russia implemented this belief in their catastrophic apportioning of roles permitted different sections of the population, steel workers would improve in strength, farmers in stamina etc. We know of no way in which that improvement happens organically. What Involution was proposing was exactly that, the changing of the genetic blueprint, so as to afford advantage entirely due to the life experience of the parent. It is gibberish.
PROS And dangerous, you said, why dangerous?
Prof H. Dangerous to the Author. It would never be taken seriously, certainly not then anyway.
PROS Yet you admitted it was ‘interesting’: What was wrong with the scientific A Theory of Involution’ paper outlining it?
Prof H. It purported to be a scientific study. But there was no proof and could be no proof. So it was not scientific. I am a scientist. I look for evidence.
PROS How did you convey this to the Author? Presumably it checked any intentions she had to publish?
Prof H I told her to go away and undertake research that would either substantiate her hypothesis or refute it. She was very young, there was plenty of time ahead of her.
PROS Was it her youth that influenced your opinion? Or the valuelessness of the work?
Prof H. A little of both. You cannot go about with wild suppositions, unless you can support them with evidence, especially not so young. It is simply not done, or wise.
PROS Had she been an older and experienced researcher, rather than a 29 year old inexperienced layman, you would have looked more kindly on the Theory of Involution?
Prof. H. I might have taken it more seriously had it come from a colleague, whose erudition I respected, but I doubt even then I would have entertained the hypothesis without compelling evidence.
PROS To clarify Professor. How material was this hypothesis of incremental memory surviving individual death to the paper as a whole? If that was eliminated what remained?
Prof H. Virtually nothing. It was the spine of the work. Not only did she claim it accounted for the acceleration of evolution and its convergence to Man, but her belief was that science was simply the recovery of this encoded memory! Ludicrous!
PROS. I do see it would undermine science , or hole it below the waterline. It would rather suggest that science was being puppeteered by something ‘beyond’ .Is that why you referred to it as dangerous?
Prof H. No. Science is well able to defend itself from such absurdity.
PROS. Finally, Professor for the clarity of the Court. The work had no merit whatever, beyond an interesting, wild and unproven hypothesis?
Prof. H. That is indeed my opinion.
PROS No further questions.
Barrister for the Defense.
Professor Hardy I have the opinion letter you wrote to the Author. It runs to three pages of close script. For a busy man engaged, even part time, in his own work, would that be the usual reaction to something of no value whatever?
Prof H. Well I like to be thorough. I had given the work close attention.
DEF Let me quote a few phrases: ‘It may be a work of genius as many people consider de Chardin’s Phenomenon of Man, or the ‘book of the century’. I do not share that view. I consider de Chardin a great saint…his book is in no way a scientific book. I feel the same about yours. Not exactly valueless if compared to de Chardin is it Professor?
To continue ‘I dislike your statement that evolution proceeds through the oscillation between fission and fusion. Dislike as a scientist? Does not all cellular interaction include both fission and fusion? ‘
‘I find your remarks far too glib and quite unacceptable… What might be good Journalism in a Sunday paper is quite out of place…I strongly object to ‘random mutation snaking through the watchful eye of natural selection’. This is biological jibberish…I cannot like your arguments about consciousness and I particularly dislike your diagrammatic representation of it…’Again ‘dislike’ without saying why. ‘I must say this is not at all ‘my cup of tea’
You ended by saying ‘You ask my advice about publication. I am bound to say “Don’t. I would advise you to wait at least ten years and master some more biology before you attempt to go into print…you may yet produce something worthwhile…..”
That is a small sample of three pages.I cannot conceive of a greater diatribe designed to annihilate a young author. It is not what I, or I imagine others, expect of the lucid, detached views of a scientist. Something got your goat, for an Oxford man to use such intemperate language!
Turning to another, and possibly related matter Professor.
You had already published a book called The Living Stream, and another called The Divine Flame in which you postulated something akin to a ‘group mind’ in a species, ‘a psychic blueprint between the members of a species’. Could you prove the existence of a group mind Professor?
Prof H. Well it was one among a number of aspects I supposed could explain certain things. I laid no great weight upon it.
DEF You mistake my reasons for highlighting it. You were prepared to entertain the existence of some form of communication you could not prove, and for which you had no evidence. How does that differ from the Theory of Involution, proposing much the same?
Prof H. I had years of deep contemplation from which such conjectures arose. I recognised that science did not yet have all the answers, least of all to the religious or spiritual.
DEF In much the same way as The Theory of Involution did. You also had just (in 1969) created an Institute for the Study of Religious Experience’ had you not? Is religious experience provable Professor?
Prof H. One alone is not, a great many looked at may be. That was my intention, to collect and examine the many instances, a scientific approach, if I may say so.
DEF So as a scientist, you were taking quite a risk embarking on a sphere of interest outside the usual realms of science?
Prof H. Yes, Put like that I was, which is why I waited until my retirement to fully engage with it.
DEF Ah I see, The ‘get tenure before you talk of consciousness’. That is well known in the United States. In 1979 you went on to publish a further book, The Spiritual Nature of Man in which I quote there is ‘No dualistic split between soul and body, between matter and mind, between life and non-life…all phenomena are natural…our newer style of evolution is Lamarkian’ This comes very close to The Theory of Involution does it not, which proposes that the progressive interiorisation creates a field of consciousness in which both mind and matter communicate and survive throughout the biosphere?
I put it to you Professor that the ten years you suggested the Author should wait before seeking to go to print, was the ten years you required to publish your own account of much the same thing? It was also a very great advantage to you that your work was awarded the Templeton Prize, a million dollars was not to be risked by encouraging an unknown young author, in a position to publish first.
Prof H I could not know I would be awarded the prize. That was years later. You are not suggesting….?
DEF What I am speculating upon, (since speculation is apparently allowed with sufficient evidence Professor), is that you had just embarked upon a new field, almost entirely your own- you are called God’s Biologist are you not?- and needed that newly created collection (by others) to provide the evidence for a thesis which The Theory of Involution had already usurped. You were outraged that a unknown young woman had made the imaginative leap you imagined was yours, and yours alone. Unlike Darwin, faced with Wallace doing much same for his Origin of Species, you were not gracious. Your letter to the Author, and indeed your testimony before this court, was mean spirited, and determined to discourage any further publication of a work before you had collared the glory…
Prof H Outrageous suggestion. I protest most emphatically…
The Trial of Involution-An Odyssey. Opening the Case for the Prosecution.
Judge. ‘Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury. The Court thanks you for your time and for what will, I am afraid, be a trial lasting several weeks. This is not a trivial case but one which will have a bearing on many other cases in which books subject their Authors to unwarranted pressures, if not seeming torture. In this age of abundant plenitude and a surfeit of books of all qualities and values it behoves this Court to bring a test trial to examination. The essence of our examination will focus upon the following principal questions:
Firstly. How can an Author evaluate the claims made upon her by a Book? Or decide whether the Book in question has a value that justifies not only its creation, but the prolonged energy, time and money required to bring it to birth. (There are attendant issues: Who decides? What Author? What Qualifications?)
Secondly: In the surfeit of books, to what extent is public and professional opinion relevant to the Author undertaking the incubation and research necessary. In short: Can the claims of a Book for serious consideration be separated from the Public to which it is addressed. (Again: Who decides? How evaluate? What about timing?)
I put it to you that the reasons Involution-An Odyssey (for future reference we will shorten to ‘Odyssey’) is a fitting test case is because it lies at the extremes, both in the strength of its claims upon the Author’s life, an entire life, and secondly because of its claims to have written a new World view on the Nature of Science. If the latter is borne out ( and it is a matter yet to be decided by the Court) then the former is explained, perhaps nullified. In short it is the intersection between its value and its demands that is in the microscope of this Court’s analysis. The same would be true of any book.
I make this context explicit so that you are assured that what might seem at first glance to be the trial of an unborn child ( and the analogy is apposite) will have relevant guidelines for other Authors and other books, even fictional works. Society, on the whole expects parents of children to be fit, self-sufficient and responsible, and children to be healthy and disciplined. Although the Odyssey claims to be non-fiction, that too is to be debated. It is certainly creative non-fiction and may turn out to be self-aggrandising fantasy. Its wider relevance is therefore apparent. Odyssey is an ideal candidate to act as a lens by which to examine issues relevant to all books.
Let us Proceed. Will the Odyssey in the dock please stand while the Prosecution reads the clauses of the Indictment.
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. How do you plead?
Odyssey: Not guilty. I do not believe her or myself deluded. As to humiliation I do not believe that can be laid at my door, though I acknowledge it has happened .
That you 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?
Odyssey: I plead guilty to the harnessing, but not to the ‘without deliberation or discernment’ I believe I acted with both. As to the accusation of reward, I made no such promises.
That you failed to evaluate your claims in terms of bad timing, and inappropriate language upon the Author before enlisting her service. How do you plead?
Odyssey: Not guilty. Both timing and language were the responsibility of the Author. I accept that I approved the language and would have changed the timing were it in my gift to do so.
That you initiated your inspiration without any invitation, and in a manner that no Author could refuse. In short you subjugated her without thought to her welfare or that of her family or circumstances. How do you plead?
Odyssey: Not guilty. I have an alibi for the Inspiration. I was not present.
Finally, That at no time since your publication have you made any efforts to modify or adapt to assist your Author to argue your hypotheses, or in fact to assist her in any way. How do you plead?
Odyssey: Guilty in the main, but I would ask the Court to take into consideration my willingness to appear before it, in mitigation.
Judge. The Clark will duly note the mitigation.
The Court will adjourn and at the next appearance the Prosecution will open the case and call witnesses.