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)
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)
A Feature that Appeared in The Western Daily Press (Sat 30th June) about the relationship: The evolution of ‘Involution’ the personal Odyssey…Building a home for Arts and Family and building a book in tandem…both demolition and reclamation, old materials all re-used.
(This book Involution is all about life, the life it wrote…and here is some of it….the purple passages…..)