This information provided by: Robert L. Johnson, Ph.D., M.Div., L.M.H.C. (FL lic # MHC 0001426), Specializing in Jungian Process (Holistic Approaches to Personal Development & Psychotherapy) Telephone: 850-948-7926

Return to: Library Articles

Seven Sermons - Quantum version

 

Septem Sermones ad Mortuos 55 (The Seven Sermons to the Dead)

{Composed in 1916. Published privately in the early 1920's. Published publically in 1962.}

Seven exhortations to the dead, written by Basilides in Alexandria, the city where the east touches the west.

Alexandria was once one of the great world cities. It sat at the edges of eastern and western civilizations. It housed a great library where knowledge and wisdom migrated from and to east and west. Philosophically speaking, Alexandria is now the place in the modern world where the hard sciences meet the social sciences and theological realms. In the world of quantum physics, there is great interest in searching for the Higgs particle, or more accurately a Higgs field. This essence theoretically serves as a connective or transformative state between what we know in the world of quantum physics and what we know in the world of Newtonian physics (practical reality). It is literally the field which allows quantum particles to have mass, thus allowing the physical universe as we know it. East meets west, energy meets matter, potentials meet realities... it is all the same thing.

The dead came back from Jerusalem, where they did not find what they were seeking. They asked admittance to me and demanded to be taught by me, and thus I taught them:

The dead Jung refers to are lost souls. They are the souls of both the living and the dead that have not found the answers that they have been seeking in traditional Christia mythology or other mythological structures which they have pursued. I use the word mythology here not to imply any sense of falseness, but rather more as Joseph Campbell uses it todescribe a structured belief system which is shared by a group of people.56 Here, the dead are demanding answers and are not willing to settle for the old "You’ll just have to take my word for it.", or the more traditional, "leap of faith" which is so commonly employed by religious groups. But the living dead are also those that cling to archaic theories of science that have been proved invalid such as the sun revolves around the earth or that mountain ranges were created by glaziers during the ice ages. On a psychological level, these are people that cling to false beliefs at the expense of their own personal internal growth and external understanding. They are looking for a mate to complete them even though their last five serious relationships including two marriages failed to do so. They respond with anger when the reality of the world contradicts their archaic myth system, only to make their own lives and the lives of those close to them more miserable. Nietzsche called them the "herd". Here Jung calls them the dead.

Sermon I

Hear ye: I begin with nothing. Nothing is the same as fullness. In the endless state of fullness is the state of emptiness. The Nothing is both empty and full. One may just as well state some other thing about the Nothing, namely that it is white or that it is black or that it exist or that it exists not. That which is endless and eternal has no qualities, because it has all qualities.

The Nothing, or fullness, is called by us the PLEROMA. In it thinking and being cease, because the eternal is without qualities. In it there is no one, for if anyone were, they then would be differentiated from the Pleroma.

Nothing is the same as fullness much in the same way that white light is the presence of all colors of light, so everything appears to us as nothing. The suggestion here is that the initiating force of the universe manifests out of nothing, not out of thought, or desire, or design. Existence at this level has no intent. In quantum physics, this level would be what is before the big bang, or that which brought about the big bang. It is also worthy to note that absolute oneness is everything, but appears to itself as nothing. For instance, if everything we knew were the same color blue we would not distinguish anything by color and therefore the concept of color would not exist. So, something that appears as nothing can indeed be something if it manifests such a consistency that nothing within its composition can be distinguished from any other aspect of its composition. There are presently two theories which could possibly explain existence before the big bang. These involves string theory and dark matter (and are discussed briefly in chapter 2). I am not an advocate or a detractor of these theoretical principles, and I am well aware that they have their drawbacks even on the theoretical realm. However, their potential existence gives us at least a scientific structure on which to hang pleromic non-existence. From the string theory perspective it is proposed that two sets of superstrings may have intersected causing interactions that generate the universe. In the extraordinary dark matter theory, it is suggested that somehow matter that we believe to exist, but cannot be directly observed or detected, which comprises 75 percent of our current universe, somehow manifests into matter as we know it. Either theoretical model could well be an accurate reflection of Jung’s concept of the Pleroma.

In the Pleroma there is nothing and everything: it is not profitable to think about the Pleroma, for to do that would mean one’s dissolution.

To think of the Pleroma is simply beyond our ability or need. It is much like asking a physicist, "What was before the big bang?",or the psychiatrist, "What was this person’s psychological orientation before they were concieved?". This idea is also modeled well in the Kabbalic Tree of Life. Ain Soph and Ain Soph Ur sit above the ten sefirah initiated by Keter, but are seldom considered for the same reason Jung realizes the non-profitability of reflecting on the Pleroma. It is the same with string theory or the idea of dark matter. At this point, we simply do not have the tools (mathematical abilities) to prove or disprove either of these models. If they exist, they are well outside the realm of direct detection. It is entertaining to discuss such things, but it is really of little value at this point. If strings or dark matter are someday discovered, we will need to ask the question from whence did they came. There will always be that which is beyond rational discussion.

CREATURA is not in the Pleroma, but in itself. The Pleroma is the beginning and the end of the created world. The Pleroma pervades the created world as the sunlight pervades the air everywhere. Although the Pleroma pervades it completely, the created world has no part of it, just as an utterly transparent body does not become either dark or light in color as the result of the passage of light through it. We ourselves, however, are the Pleroma, so it is that the Pleroma is present within us. Even in the smallest point the Pleroma is present without any bounds, eternally and completely, for small and great are the qualities which are alien to the Pleroma. The Pleroma is the nothingness which is everywhere complete and without end. It is because of this that I speak of the created world as a portion of the Pleroma, but only in an allegorical sense; for the Pleroma is not divided into portions for it is nothingness. We, also, are the total Pleroma; for figuratively the Pleroma is an exceedingly small, hypothetical, even non-existent point within us, and also it is the limitless firmament of the cosmos about us. Why, however, do we discourse about the Pleroma , if it is all, and also nothing?

Jung introduces the idea of the Creatura. He uses this word loosely throughout the text to describe various elements of creation, including creation itself, that in anyway manifest themselves in matter or energy, thus separating themselves in kind, but not in actuality, from the nothingness of the Pleroma. If all of this energy and eventual matter is still composed on the minutest level of strings or dark matter, then there really has been no significant change in the essence of the Pleroma, only in the fact that its essence now has a distinguishable manifestation. This idea of the smaller and the greater is much like our knowledge of cell development and DNA structure. All the cells of the human body were originally the same, stem cells. With the introduction of activity (cellular division), eventually, and for unknown reasons, a regular normal average stem cell decides to divide and the division produces specific function cells such heart cells. Although most of the cells of your body eventually preform different specific functions, each one has your complete and unique DNA code. In essence, each cell is you. However, it is not you, but rather the potential of you. But, unlike our DNA helix which is dividable, the essence of the Pleroma is much more homogenous and not dividable. This will eventually lead to the question of whether we or anything in creation are other than, or in any way separable from this greater essence, which is sometimes referred to as the Initial Mover. The evidence seems to point to a "maybe not"conclusion, just as our physical bodies are not separable from the atoms and molecules that compose it.

I speak of it, in order to begin somewhere, and also to remove from you the delusion that somewhere within or without there is something absolutely firm and definite. All things which are called definite and solid are but relative, for only that which is subject to change appears definite and solid.

As with quantum physics, we must begin at a place that is beyond our knowledge, and possibly even beyond our imagination. The nature of the big bang event implies that something initiated it. Perhaps, it was the vibration of a string or the decay of a vibration to another "tone" bringing disharmony or activity, or extraordinary dark matter interfacing in a way that it could suddenly manifest as photons, etc., but for the moment this is all beyond us. The main point that is made here has to do with "absolutely firm and definite". All things that appear in these ways are subject to change; even human beings; maybe especially human beings. The idea is that reality as we know it which appears solid (physically, psychologically or theologically) is not solid in the sense of unchanging, but solid or real in that it is able to change. We now know this about things as elementary as protons and neutrons at the center of atoms. Neither of them remain themselves. Rather these nucleons constantly exchange an energy particle (a gluon). Continuity is maintained as each particle converts to the other simultaneously giving only the appearance of sameness. However, if it were not for the exchange of the gluon between them and their constant ability to accept the change, protons would repel each other, atoms would not form and life would not exist.

Creatura (creation or created world) is subject to change. It is the only thing that is solid and definite, since it has qualities. In fact, creatura is itself but a quality (creatura is even quality itself).

This concept is as critical in the understanding of Jung’s work as it is in the understanding of quantum theory. We are studying qualities that are subject to change, not absolutism. As with quantum particles, we are a collection of qualities which change and alter as we pass through existence. We are not a summation of the qualities that we manifest much in the same way that a quantum particle is not a summation of the qualities it momentarily exhibits in an interaction with another particle. We are not able to predict by the qualities each particle has entering a collision, what specific particles will be created as a result. Perhaps a simpler example would be to look at the biological qualities of fertilizer. We fertile a berry bush to assist it in producing fruit. I doubt any of us would assign the same biological qualities to a berry as we would to the fertilizer, yet the true underlying qualities, molecular components of matter, that were in the fertilizer are now an actual part of the berry. If one then eats a berry from this bush, then part of the berry actually could become eye tissue, or lung tissue, or a blood cell. Certainly we would offer a third set of biological qualities if asked to describe the eye tissue . Yet again, on an underlying level some of the same molecular components that were in the fertilizer or the berry, are now in the person as eye tissue. But none of these essences are truly subject to the qualities of the molecule. They all have different uses for the molecule. So, although the components of the molecule may maintain certain qualities, the fertilizer, berry, or person do not need to maintain those qualities in their wholeness while taking advantage of the attributes of the shared molecules. Thus, solid things are subject to change while the basic non-apparent essences which compose them remain the same. You may rightfully argue that molecules are creatura (matter) also, however, molecules revert to atoms and atoms to quantum particles and at some point perhaps to even strings or dark matter. At some point in this process, the mortal becomes the immortal. At some level, that which is subject to creation and destruction gives way to a consistency or immortality. Although these immortal particles may well be our creators, they fall short of the connotation of a god.

We ask the question: how did creatura originate? Created beings (creatures) indeed originated but not the creatura itself, for the creatura is a quality of the Pleroma, in the same way as the non-creation [non-creatura or non-created non-world], which is the eternal death [dark abyss]. Creation is always and everywhere, and death is always and everywhere. The Pleroma possesses all: differentiation and non-differentiation .

There have been numerous theories set forth by credible scientists which suggest that once the post big bang dynamics were in motion, life was inevitable rather than miraculous. Through these theories we can argue that life, in some form, began at some point in time when certain planetary bodies had emerged and developed sufficiently to support this event. However, we can also argue that although that did occur at some specific point in time, the evolutionary space for it to occur was determined billions of years before, shortly after the big bang. Therefore, creation/creatura is always and everywhere, while any specific created beings (creatures) from quarks to planets to human beings do originate somewhere in time.

Differentiation (Distinctiveness) is creatura (creation). Creatura is indeed differentiated. Differentiation is the essence of Creatura and for this reason the created (created beings) also cause further differentiation. That is why humans are dividers, inasmuch as our essence is also differentiation. That is why we distinguish the qualities of the Pleroma , yes, those qualities which do not exist. We draw these divisions from our own being. This then, is the reason for our discoursing about the qualities of the Pleroma, which do not exist.

Here, Jung reveals the key quality that separates the Pleroma from Creatura or the perception of the post-big bang from the perception of the pre-big bang. Differentiation is the quality of the Creature. We do not differentiate because we can, we differentiate because we are. It is the very nature of our being. We must do this. All qualities come from the Pleroma, but in the Pleroma they are undifferentiated and unknown, much in the same way that a baby has no understanding of money. However, somewhere in its development it grasps the concept of money and is able to distinguish rich from poor. It was inevitable from its birth that it would eventually understand this, but until it is old enough to do so it remains unconscious and undifferentiated. Through differentiation the qualities which are of the Pleroma but do not exist in the Pleroma finally become known. It is the same for quantum particles. There is a standard view in physics known as the Copenhagen Interpretation. "The key concept is the so-called ‘collapse of the wave function’. In seeking to explain how an entity such as a photon or an electron could ‘travel as a wave but arrive as a particle’, Bohr and his colleagues said that it was the act of observing the wave that made it ‘collapse’ to become a particle."57

These particles do not distinguish themselves until we observe them. In addition, how we observe them effects how they differentiate themselves. " If you place a coin flat on the table, it will have either the head upmost or the tail upmost, but not both at the same time. In the Copenhagen Interpretation, an entity such as an electron is neither a wave or a particle, but something different, something we cannot describe in everyday language. But it will show us either a particle face or a wave face, depending on which measurements we choose to carry out on it."58 The very nature of human observation becomes differentiation.

You say to me: what was it then to talk about this, since it has been said that it is useless to think about the Pleroma?I say these things to you in order to free you from the illusion that it is possible to think about the Pleroma. When we speak of the divisions of the Pleroma, we are speaking from the position of our own divisions, and we speak about our own differentiated state; but while we do this, we have in reality said nothing about the Pleroma. However, it is necessary for us to talk about our own differentiation, for this enables us to discriminate sufficiently. Our essence is differentiation. For this reason we must distinguish individual qualities.

Here we learn that our inability to know something creates a need in us to project. Thus, we differentiate out of nothingness. We pull opposing (neutralizing) qualities out of nothing and then assign them meaning and expression. The resulting projection does not necessarily say anything about the essence on which we are projecting, or anything about the quality we are projecting. Rather, it says a lot more about us, individually or collectively. We find a good example of this in relationships. Relationships do not really exist. They are a compilation of two sets of individual projections. To make things even more complicated, other people then put their projections on top of the initial projections of the two people involved which adds additional twists. We differentiate out all of these qualities as if they were external rather than realizing we are all talking about ourselves and our needs. These qualities may not even exist until we conjure them up and differentiate them out. Differentiating these qualities seldom changes anything unless an individual decides to change their projections. The relationship goes the way it was going whether we are aware of the underlying dynamics or not. We just like to go through the whole process of why it worked or why it did not, what went wrong or where it went wrong, and who was at fault. We love to differentiate. It is the nature of creatura.

This attempt to balance discernment with uncertainly can also be understood on the quantum level. "A quantum object does not have a defined momentum and a precisely defined position. The electron itself does not "know" within certain limits where it is or where it is going. Exaggerating only slightly, if it knows exactly where it is, it does not know where it is going at all; if it knows exactly where it is going, it doesn’t have the faintest idea of where it is."59

Our desire to discern quantum particles does not make the universe run more effectively, nor does it give us an understanding of their nature outside of the environment in which they are observed. Our ability to decide whether photons are particles or waves does not change what these energy units do. They have all worked for millennia without our knowledge or conscious awareness. To understand the system in which they work is to understand the same system that created us and has the potential of giving us insights into our own beings.

You say: what harm does it do to not discriminate, for then we reach beyond the limits of our own being; we extend ourselves beyond the Creatura, and we fall into the undifferentiated state which is another quality of the Pleroma. We submerge into the Pleroma itself, and we cease to be creatures (created beings). Thus we become subject to dissolution and nothingness.

If we do not discriminate (fail to maintain qualities) we cease to exist as human beings or quantum particles. We distinguish opposites such as: food from not food, pain from not pain, love from not love. Quantum particles distinguish half spin from whole spin, blue color from red color, positive charge from negative charge, etc. This is the very basis of quantum theory, that energy and particles come in units that are recognizable and are able to recognize qualities in other particles. If two electrons come too close together, there is a recognition that they are both the same charge and must move away from each other if possible. The repulsion of the two particles is accomplished through the electromagnetic force via an exchange between the electrons of a virtual photon60 (appendix 3, diagram 1). Since electrons distinguish themselves with the quality of charge, they remain distinct from the Pleroma (or sameness).

Such is the very death of the creature. We die to the extent that we fail to discriminate. For this reason the natural impulse of the creature is directed towards differentiation and toward the struggle against the ancient, pernicious state of sameness. The natural tendency is called Principium Individuationis (Principle of Individuation). This principle is indeed the essence of every creature. From these things you may readily recognize why the undifferentiated principle and lack of discrimination are all a great danger for the creature.

Discrimination not only allows us to maintain our individuality, it is this quality which is our very being and enables us to continue to become. The quantum particle must be willing to constantly change to participate in the collective particle dance. Similarly, our abilities to discriminate move us to the next momentary opportunity to accept or negate a potential interchange of energy that will allow us to alter our perspective and move to the next creative step of the journey. This individual moment to moment choice is Jung’s Principle of Individuation.

For this reason we must be able to distinguish the qualities of the Pleroma.
Its qualities are the pairs of opposites, such as:
the effective and the ineffective
fullness and emptiness
the living and the dead
difference in sameness
light and dark
hot and cold
energy and matter
time and space
good and evil
the beautiful and the ugly
the one and the man
and so forth.
The pairs of opposites are the qualities of the Pleroma: they are also in reality nonexistent because they cancel each other out.

These opposing qualities exist is human beings, but not in the Pleroma. In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus is asked by his disciples what they must do to enter the kingdom of heaven? Jesus responds, "When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one , so that the male will not be male nor the female be female; and when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image; then will you enter the kingdom."61 It seems human beings must distinguish them in order to reunite them in consciousness. It is not sufficient to remain ignorant. We must become aware and then bring the opposites back together.

This is no different than the dance of quantum particles. As noted in chapter two, massive numbers of particles were produced in the electroweak and particle eras in order for matter to exist. The vast majority of the differentiated particles were then annihilated with their antiparticle. Dissolution, opposing pairs and again dissolution. This is the order of creation. One quark out of a billion quark/anti-quark annihilations survived this process. These are the quarks that make up the protons that make up the present universe. This apparent error in a perfect annihilation is allowed in the laws of physics under violation of CPT where C is charge, P is parity (mirror image), and T is time reversal.

Since we ourselves are the Pleroma, we also have these qualities present within us; inasmuch as the foundation of our being is differentiation, we possess these qualities in the name and under the sign of differentiation, which means:
First - that the qualities are in us differentiated from each other, and they are separated from each other, and thus they do not cancel each other out, rather they are in action [activity]. It is thus that we are the victims of the pairs of opposites. For in us the Pleroma is rent in two.
Second - the qualities belong to the Pleroma, and we can and should partake of them only in the name and under the sign of differentiation. We must separate ourselves from these qualities. In the Pleroma they cancel each other out; in us they do not. But if we know how to know ourselves as being apart from the pairs of opposites, then we have attained to salvation.

We are meant to understand that we are somehow the activity of the opposites that are contained but not differentiated in the some pre-existing Form. We are therefore a manifestation of this Form as a processing system for its own undifferentiated qualities. We are not these qualities. Our being has no qualities. The qualities belong to the Pleroma (Form), but in the Pleroma they are canceled out by their opposite and therefore do not exist. We simply differentiate the qualities. If we at any time associate with a quality, then we fall prey to that archetypal aspect of existence without good access to its opposite which will lie buried in our unconscious. But, again I am getting ahead of myself.

When we strive for the good in the beautiful, we thereby forget about our essential being, which is differentiation, and we are victimized by the qualities of the Pleroma which are the pairs of opposites. We strive to attain to the good and the beautiful, but at the same time we also attain to the evil and the ugly, because in the Pleroma these are identical with the good and beautiful. However, if we remain faithful to our nature, which is differentiation, then we differentiate ourselves from the good and the beautiful, and thus we have immediately also differentiate ourselves from the evil and the ugly. It is only thus that we do not merge into the Pleroma, that is, into nothingness and dissolution.62

It is what we do that maintains our differentiated state. If we refuse to differentiate or if we get caught in a particular aspect of life and refuse to understand its opposite then we are susceptible to it negating our progress, thus returning the life situation to its initial state. We can see this readily with weight loss diets and problems with addictions.

Particle physics research has now reached a point where it can manufacture an anti-hydrogen molecule. This is done by creating an anti-proton and a positron (anti-electron) and bringing them together. Physicists are actually able to differentiate out these anti-particle forms. However, the particles must be closely tended less they escape and annihilate themselves.

You will object and say to me: Thou hast said that differentiation and sameness are also qualities of the Pleroma. How is it then when we strive for differentiation? Are we not then true to our natures and must we then also eventually be in the state of sameness, while we strive for differentiation?

What you should never forget is that the Pleroma has no qualities. We are the ones who create these qualities through our thinking. When you strive after differentiation or sameness or after other qualities, you strive after thoughts which flow to you from the Pleroma, namely thoughts about the non-existent qualities of the Pleroma. While you run after the thoughts, you fall again into the Pleroma and arrive at differentiation and sameness at the same time. Not your thinking but your being is differentiation. That is why you should not strive after differentiation and discrimination as you know these, but strive after your true nature. If you would thus truly striveyou would not need to know anything about the Pleroma and its qualities, and still you would arrive at the true goal because of your nature. However, because thinking alienates us from our true nature, therefore I must teach knowledge to you, with which you can keep your thinking under control.

Jung gives us a great insight into the Process of Individuation when he tells us to strive toward own true being rather than strive after the qualities of the Pleroma. I believe that in the Individuation Process one does not have to go looking for issues to differentiate. Our issues will find us. If one strives for some particular archetype or dynamic then one becomes susceptible to both the creative and destructive aspects of that archetype. We may see this in people striving to be loving parents who over discipline their children in their efforts to care for them. Striving for one’s own nature is an internal process where one constantly attempts to clarify the opposites in

both internal and external events so one can choose how to creatively proceed as an ego serving the greater internal Image. The thinking function can easily get lost in this process if it is not constantly linked with its natural opposite the feeling function. If the thinking function is on its own it is simply pursuing artificial philosophic ideation that does not relate back to the true nature of one’s being. It may discover its perfect mate, at least on paper. Then it discovers in reality that its perfect mate has other characteristics that are quite the opposite of what was on the paper. The job of the thinking function is to determine the essence or the path to the desired goal that the feeling function has identified. When the thinking function is linked to the feeling function (that which is important to me) then its discoveries are relevant to me and the striving is then for my true nature rather than the archetypal philosophic ideation. This allows me to gain experience which is consistent with my perception of my humanity.

Sermon II

Previous Article · Next Article
Return to: Library Articles