Genius: The Challenge to Political Correctness. Opening Our Eyes.
A man of genius…is a spring in which there is always more behind than flows from it.’ James Froude.
In this day of ‘all must have prizes, and ‘all are equal born’ genius sits uncomfortably; a challenge to everything that the democracy of equality seeks to foster, in education, in law, in ‘human rights’ and in appropriate ‘tolerance’. Part revered, part resented genius has led the human cavalcade in science, in art and music. Yet it remains a kind of orphan of thinking, capricious, unpredictable and therefore without a general or deeper significance. The gift is believed a matter of luck.
For me genius is the single phenomenon that throws a vivid lens on the fallacies in understanding. More than half the world believes in reincarnation, and past life memory, (when dug out from the deeply buried) the gradual ascent through trials and vicissitudes of spiritual advancement. Karma is seen as a deeper democracy, the correction to unequal birth by sampling the smorgasbord of different circumstances, until exhausted by the imprisonment in matter the soul ascends to Elysium. Whatever that might be.
My recent virtual encounter with the extraordinary child that is Alma Deutscher has refocused attention on this whole question.
As an introduction this interview on Zeitgeist gives a portrait of not only the truth of the quotation from Froude (above) but should be followed by taking the time to watch this ten year old’s opera ‘Cinderella’. Not merely for the music and its orchestration, but the intuitive sense of drama, character, humour and the mind-blowing naturalness of the composer in a shift and bare feet wandering about the stage playing both violin and piano when judged necessary, and generally making sure the performance goes as it should. This is a maestro who knows exactly who she is.
This composer has absorbed the idioms of Mozart, Schubert, fragments of Brahms, moments of Beethoven and Bach and, like any new linguist, shapes familiar language to express new ideas. I am sure there will be the destructive critic who will dismiss her work as past its sell-by date ( too melodic, too structured in the past forms- rondos, variations, quartets etc) but perhaps her message lies beyond music altogether. Perhaps she has come to force us to confront the legacy of genius and what it contributes to memory. It remains intact, and those endowed with access to it are a mirror about the nature of reality itself.
Perhaps genius is the artesian well through which a field, the pressure of consciousness comes to the surface. To refresh our access to the universal memory of which we are, each, a part and far from equal in our access to it.
When I wrote Involution- An Odyssey I included what I knew would raise hackles, the supposition that not only the spiritual Bodhisattva ( who returns voluntarily to raise our collective game) but that the gifted genius arrives with his/her gifts intact. Memory. I went further and leapt for an idea that the gifted genius returns to the world in which that gift is recognised, and fostered. Here is the relevant passage from Canto the Ninth.
In the words of the serpent DNA
If I am the waxen plate, A palimpsest of lives… Impressed by narratives I’m told To match the soul with parentage—
The hybrid of arriving past I assign to future— My homespun stripes speak dialects, Kinship written on calling cards Each according to their scripture… The child is father to the man, each ensures The safeguards to their hungers… The correction of residual crimes… The denial of appetites outgrown… The shaping of their talents Offers incense to the brazier burning On the altar of mankind.
Each soul is one immortal whole (Its energy vibration) Particulate in its liberty To choose what has been chosen: The dynasties within the arts, The families treading Shakespeare’s boards, Cremona’s lines of luthiers, The homing pigeons returning home To exhaust their passions…
(Ardour is not infectious Nor art sufficiently paid To fake a false conviction. The soul, passionate intrinsically, Burns steady and sustained)
Precocious early limber child Seeks guided incarnation; Leopold Mozart, so reviled, (As Commendatore immortalized) Without both his virtues and his vices (Esteeming the gift but shaving its glitter) Would Amadeus, born instead to a putz-mädchen, Have survived? Or offered man a note? Or too many, in desperation?
I can only say that this encounter ( for which I have to thank Margo’s blog for setting my nose on the track via Amira the extraordinary singer) has revived me from a near bottomless despair. Alma refuses to be Mozart, but it is possible she once was. Given his tragic life and more tragic death I would like to think she has come to finish what he never could. In her own way.
It begs many questions about everything but I don’t intend to ask those today, just to glory in the confirmation that the collective nature of consciousness might continue its appeal. We are therefore not entirely beyond hope. One child can rescue us. That was the essence of Yeshua, was it not?
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)
At Risk of Repetition but For all new and welcome Visitors to this Book Blog Site Today’s NEWS
Author Philippa Rees Releases ‘Involution – An Odyssey’, An Epic Work That Redefines Reality And Reconciles God And Science –http://ow.ly/Hel0U
Before Wilber, Laszlo, Tolle and Sheldrake, there was ‘Involution’. Rees’ epic work reunites mind with matter, intellect with consciousness and man with God. It ultimately redefines reality.
[Somerset UK, January 13, 2015] Author Philippa Rees has announced the US release of ‘Involution – An Odyssey’. In the traditions of Homer, Dante, and Milton, author Philippa Rees has created a modern-day masterpiece; a work that covers the entire spectrum of consciousness and experience. It is a work that ultimately reconciles God and science.
To communicate her message, she developed a form of ‘symphonic prose’ that bypasses the brain, speaks directly to the heart and creates an experience – one that is beyond a mere reading experience. One cannot understand a symphony by reading the sheet music. One cannot understand the taste of cake by reading a recipe. Direct experience conveys direct knowledge that lies beyond mere words.
Are You Mad? Involution and the Case for the Defence.
First off I must thank The Story Reading Ape for spreading a canopy in his Great Rift Valley in which to rest from the marketplace. Explaining this mad book and its genesis is a tall order. So this is a most appropriate venue, within sight of Kilimanjaro, since the book prompting this invitation, originally called ‘Full Circle’, begins and ends here. It is the story of the human Odyssey.
(In obedience to received opinion that non-fiction should ‘say what it is on the tin’, the book was rechristened ‘Involution’, with slightly gritted teeth.) I am here not so much about the book itself but to prepare my defence for thinking it might have legs, or writing it at all. Up to now, on my blog, ‘Careless Talk’ I have skirted round doing this for fear of being mistaken for a peddler- who needs philosophy? Instead I told stories by a fountain in Marrakech and made futile attempts to master the sleight of hand- the soft sell that slips down without swallowing. The ‘Book that wrote the Life’ is my umbrella, but as a guest of the Story Reading Ape I will now come clean and expose the entrails; it is not a literary conceit, but quite literally true.