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Trickster Gods and the Quantum Muse: Creativity and the Multiverse

Trickster Gods and the Quantum Muse: Creativity and the Multiverse

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Published by Ian Irvine (Hobson)
The article focuses on deconstructive, chaotic and boundary blurring/crossing aspects to creativity (associated with the archetype of the trickster) which are then linked to contemporary developments in quantum physics and astrophysics. The uncertainty principle/wave collapse, the observer affect, Bell's entanglement theory, Bohm's notions of the Holomovement and Implicate Order, Sheldrake's work on morphogenetic fields in animals and plants, the various theories positing a 'Quantum Mind' (e.g. Penrose and Hameroff's 'Orch-Or' theory & Pribram's 'Holonomic Brain' theory), as well theories concerning the so-called Multiverse, extra dimensions and parallel worlds/universe are all briefly discussed in terms of their impact on contemporary ideas about creativity. Various issues are explored: Where might the notion of the 'Muse' (or 'Muses') fit into the contemporary picture - can we speak of a Quantum Muse? How are the creative arts and humanities still important to the well-being of societies and individuals? How might the creative arts and humanities act as gateways to the Holomovement (Quantum Realms)? This article is part of the series entitled - Alchemy and the Imagination and a version of it was delivered as a talk on Monday 4th June at the Bendigo Central Goldfields Library (part of the 'Philosophy in the Library' series).
The article focuses on deconstructive, chaotic and boundary blurring/crossing aspects to creativity (associated with the archetype of the trickster) which are then linked to contemporary developments in quantum physics and astrophysics. The uncertainty principle/wave collapse, the observer affect, Bell's entanglement theory, Bohm's notions of the Holomovement and Implicate Order, Sheldrake's work on morphogenetic fields in animals and plants, the various theories positing a 'Quantum Mind' (e.g. Penrose and Hameroff's 'Orch-Or' theory & Pribram's 'Holonomic Brain' theory), as well theories concerning the so-called Multiverse, extra dimensions and parallel worlds/universe are all briefly discussed in terms of their impact on contemporary ideas about creativity. Various issues are explored: Where might the notion of the 'Muse' (or 'Muses') fit into the contemporary picture - can we speak of a Quantum Muse? How are the creative arts and humanities still important to the well-being of societies and individuals? How might the creative arts and humanities act as gateways to the Holomovement (Quantum Realms)? This article is part of the series entitled - Alchemy and the Imagination and a version of it was delivered as a talk on Monday 4th June at the Bendigo Central Goldfields Library (part of the 'Philosophy in the Library' series).

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Published by: Ian Irvine (Hobson) on Jul 09, 2012
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Trickster Gods and theQuantum Muse:Creativity and the Multiverse
Copyright Ian Irvine (Hobson), all rights reserved, 2012. [See also author’s bio at the end
of this document.]
 Publisher
: Mercurius Press, Australia, June 2012.Image:
‘Visions of the Multiverse’ designed
 by Peter Wiseman (of Media Australia,Bendigo), copyright 2012, all rights reserved. Used with permission.[This article - part of the8 part series entitled
‘Alchemy and theImagination’
- began as the draft of a public talk delivered Monday4
th
 
June, 2012, as part of the ‘Philosophy in the Library Series’
hosted by the Goldfields Library Corporation, Bendigo, VictoriaAustralia]
 
Trickster Gods and the Quantum Muse
 The Quantum world is magically unpredictable and marvelously undetermined: what better conditions for Muses to flex their inspirational muscles in the lives of greatartists? Quantum physics opens up the imagination to a plethora of possibilities wherethe possibility of mutually contradictory ways of observing something at the same time becomes a reality.
1
 
If, as we’ve been suggesting, the phenomena personified in deities and legendary figures like
Thoth, Hermes, Mercury, Mercurius, Hermes Trismegistus, Merlin, etc. (as well as in femaletrickster/witch figures like Hecate, Cerridwen, Morganna, Vivian, etc.) exist not only on
earth but throughout the ‘Multiverse’ as theorised by modern astrophysics, astronomy,
 physics, etc. then the back-road, the boundaries and in-between zones, that the trickster figure now haunts have b
ecome vaster and stranger (more literally ‘alien’) than at any time in
the known history of the human species.The old alchemical-
Hermetic maxim, ‘as above, so below’ these days demands the
integration into our everyday consciousness of realms and dominions encompassing billionsof galaxies and star systems many of which contain millions, sometimes billions, of stars and
 perhaps billions and billions of planets. The Multiverse Hermes traverses (that is ‘mediates’
for us humans) contains exotic phenomena l
ike ‘dark matter’, ‘dark energy’, ‘quasars’, ‘black holes’, ‘super novas’, ‘cannibalistic galaxies’, ‘anti
-
matter’ etc. So vast is this domain that
time and space etc. expand beyond the abilities of most of us to even conceptualise in ameaningful way. The very act of staring up at the night sky is like stepping into a timemachine since the light from distant stars and galaxies has taken many light years (hundreds,thousands, millions, billions) to reach us. Much of what we stare at is so out of date as to begrossly misleading. Most systems are much older than they appear to us in the night sky.
The short of it is that this new ‘Multiverse’ governed by laws and phenomena unknown to the
alchemists and Hermetists of old needs to be integrated into any contemporary alchemical-Hermeticist, indeed Jungian (for our purposes), attempt to re-enchant matter, humanconsciousness and the faculty of creativity. Put differently, at the end of the Newtonian-Promethean era any project that wishes to rebalance matter with the human mind(consciousness), emotions, etc. must first integrate new discoveries in the realms of Quantum physics and cosmology.As Jung developed his up-date on ancient Hermesian notions of the psyche from the 1920s to1940s he only gradually became aware of the New Physics
 — 
largely through a famousexchange of letters between members of his circle and one of the founders of Quantum theoryPauli, who underwent analysis with Jung in the early 1930s after a marriage break-down.Pauli was eventually awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in 1946 and was a colleague of Einstein, Heisenberg and other innovative physicists of the period. Jung came up with key
 parts of his theory e.g. ‘synchronicity’ and ‘psychoids’ during this period. In retrospect he
was clearly looking for ways to liberate his psychological system from what he felt to be the
increasingly narrow version of ‘reality’ proposed by Newtonian
-Cartesian thinking (whichremained fundamental to the Freudian approach). As a result of these theoreticaldevelopments, which were also influenced by his studies in occult/paranormal phenomenaand ASCs (altered states of consciousness), Jung gradually developed a non-Newtonian formof psychoanalysis. The figure of Hermes, trickster god and magician, was at the very heart of 
1
Forster, 2007 [Kindle e-book Location: 1579].
 
this change in Jung’s thinking (as I’ve discussed elsewhere). It is not generally understood
that the trickster-Hermes figure also influenced Jung via Quantum theory. Jung was not alone
among Europe’s intelligentsia in being forced to respond
to the strange new pictures of boththe micro (or sub-atomic) and macro (or cosmological) realms surfacing among physicists.Many disciplines besides psychology started to drift, inevitably, into postmodernism due tothe ontological and epistemological uncertainties unleashed by the New Physics.
To understand the way ‘Quantum Hermes’ helped undermine some of the ontological and
epistemological foundations of modernity we need to explore the difference between versions
of reality as theorised by ‘classical
 
 physics’ and versions proposed by Quantum theory. Given
this has primarily been a series of talks about creativity we will eventually focus on the possibilities these developments open up for the formulation of a post-
 postmodern ‘poetics’.
 
NEWTONIAN MIGRAINES IN YEAR 12 PHYSICS
When I studied Physics at Rangitoto College on Auckland’s North Shore back in the early
80s we were taught practical, which is to say Newtonian, models of the physical world. It
was ‘materialist’ physics perfectly suited to the school’s goal which was to turn out young
men and women intent on serving the Gods of industry and commerce. The endless physicsequations, however, gave me migraines and the subject matter bored me to tears. I knew
intuitively that such a version of ‘science’ had no ability to explain life’s deepest mysteries
to me. Luckily for me, the college also gave me a thorough grounding in History andLiterature!When I returned to university at La Trobe in the early 90s the Humanities lecturers typicallycritiqued much of modern science as a Promethean-Materialist phenomenon. I suspectedCartesian-Newtonian science also gave them migraines and we were united in our view of 
the cure: i.e. literature, philosophy and a sacralised perspective on life. There wasn’t a grea
tdeal to argue about! As I studied and eventually taught literature, history, the creative arts,etc. I came to have less and less to do with modern science. I felt that though it certainly hadits uses, especially in the worlds of medicine, engineering, etc. it reduced to a philosophy of disenchantment and alienation whenever it sought to monopolize descriptions of: 1) human
consciousness, psyche and soul (though it didn’t even acknowledge soul!) and 2) our 
relationships with each other, nature and the cosmos generally.
Until recently this remained, more or less, my position on ‘modern science’.
 
FROM PROMETHEUS and NEWTON to EINSTEIN and HEISENBERG
In truth, however, science got very weird in the 20
th
century. Indeed it could be argued thatit began a slow and painful transition away from the Newtonian (let us say Promethean) paradigm toward something new, strange and wonderful. Also
 — 
and this is important for the discussion of the trickster archetype that will follow
 —it became as ‘mind
-
expanding’,‘unpredictable’, at times even as ‘chaotic’ as any psychoactive drug or traditional spiritual
regime. Although it is not generally acknowledged by many mainstream scientists, it
 became, if anything, stranger, more bizarre, more ‘other 
-
worldly’ than almost any
of thespiritual systems and wisdom traditions known to human history.In this article I want to argue that the schism between science and the humanities described
 by C. P. Snow back in the early 60s, and labeled at the time ‘The Two Cultures Debate’,

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