© Jonathan Zap, 1978
Submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for Honors in Philosophy
Ursinus College Advisor: Dr. Williamson Spring 1978
(This paper, written when I was just twenty years old, contains many of the key insights I have been working on ever since. Here is where I first discovered what I have since called the “singularity archetype,” and first analyzed what it means as an evolutionary template for the human species. Introduced in this paper, is the concept of “ Homo gestalt,” a more telepathically networked species employing a more visual form of communication. The singularity archetype is illustrated mostly through examples from science fiction which will make for entertaining reading regardless of what you may think of the conclusions. “Archetypes of a New Evolution” was, for me at least, a voyage of discovery into the collective unconscious of the species, an exploration of emergent forms in the collective unconscious of the species which may well be the keys to our present and future destinies. —Jonathan Zap in 2006)
(This is the first time this paper has been publicly available. I have omitted the footnotes, bibliography and end notes to discourage plagiarists.)
For some autobiographical background on the strange and synchronistic events that led to the writing of this paper, see my essay—- The Path of the Numinous . An updated discussion of the singularity archetype, Homo gestalt, etc can be found in Chapter V of my book, The Capsule of Intentionality (both available free on zaporacle.com) and also on the two DVDs I did with John Major Jenkins—- Dialogues on Prophecy and the End of Time and Looking Toward the Event Horizon —-available free on this site (see Media) Logos Beheld, a hour hour mp3, gets into much greater detail about visual communication and Homo gestalt and is also free media.
This paper is primarily concerned with the observation of a phenomenon and an interpretation of its significance. The phenomenon consists of published works of fantasy as well as visions and premonitions derived independently from a variety of individuals, all dealing with the unlikely subject of a new human evolution and all containing disturbingly similar elements. These elements include descriptions of a new evolutionary process, the results of that process, the significance of collective consciousness, and the potential for evil in human evolution.
Before I document this phenomenon, I would like to discuss some of the perspectives in which such a phenomenon might be viewed. Coincidence and imitation are two obvious possibilities on which the skeptical reader will insist, while the psychologically inclined will require, no doubt, a variety of more esoteric alternatives. My interpretation begins with Carl Jung’s concept of the archetypes.
Jung begins volume nine of his collected works with the statement that, “The hypothesis of a collective unconscious belongs to the class of ideas that people at first find strange but soon come to possess and use as familiar conceptions.” Jung is an empiricist and he uses empirical evidence to demonstrate the existence of the collective unconscious,
“The hypothesis of the collective unconscious is…no more daring than to assume there are instincts. One admits readily that human activity is influenced to a high degree by instincts, quite apart from the rational motivations of the conscious mind. So if the assertion is made that our imagination, perception, and thinking are likewise influenced by inborn and universally present formal elements, it seems to me that a normally functioning intelligence can discover in this idea just as much or just as little mysticism as in the theory of instincts. Although this reproach of mysticism has frequently been leveled at my concept, I must emphasize yet again that the concept of the collective unconscious is neither a speculative nor a philosophical but an empirical matter. The question is simply this: are there or are there not unconscious, universal forms of this kind? If they exist, then there is a region of the psyche one can call the collective unconscious.”
The unconscious, universal forms Jung refers to are the archetypes —“the great primordial images” whose existence evidences the collective unconscious. These archetypes, Jung believes, exist in an identical form within all of us, but when they are brought into consciousness they are distorted by our individual differences. For this reason we can never define an archetype exactly, but can only loosely approximate it.
Now that I have presented this vast oversimplification of an extremely subtle and complex concept, I can ask the rhetorical question, “Could these recurring ideas and images of a new evolution be the individual distortions of an archetype? There are some reasons to believe they might. Most of the works of fantasy I describe are the products of talented artists. Artists, Jung believes, are more in touch with their unconscious. The creative process itself, according to Jung, is based on the ability of the individual to raise otherwise dormant images into his consciousness. So we do have a legitimate source for archetypal images—artists of proven creative ability. Jung finds mythology and ancient fantasies the richest source of archetypes. I use modern equivalents of mythology, such as creeds of cultists of various kinds, and modern works of fantasy, particularly science fiction.
If I do have a potential source, do I have the results—-that is reflections of a true archetype? I can prove that there are a number of universal elements in the material I have analyzed, suggesting an archetype, but I cannot prove the universality of a true archetype. An archetype, as Jung defined it, must have a universality that is cross-cultural and cross-period, and my phenomenon do not readily meet this criterion.
Assuming the similarity of these fantasies and visions does reflect a common element in the collective unconscious (admittedly a large assumption), what other possibilities are there? It might be a highly distorted form of a standard archetype. In periods and cultures that are not familiar with the relatively new concept of evolution, this archetype may turn up in almost unrecognizably different forms. It is possible that we are observing a premonition of some sort that has its source in the collective unconscious. It could be that this premonition has lain dormant in the collective unconscious until recently, because of the shortening distance of a future event. It is also possible that these recurring elements are a reflection of something that has become a part of the collective unconscious only recently.
Having at least suggested a few of the many possibilities and perspectives, I will now attempt to document this phenomenon with examples and detailed analysis of several universal elements. Yet one basic distinction should be made at the outset. These fantasies characteristically describe evolution in one or both of two different forms. The most obvious is the evolution of man into a superman of some kind. The second form is more subtle and involves the evolution of a number of humans into a collective entity that is more than the sum of its parts. This entity I refer to as “Homo gestalt ,” a term first coined by Theodore Sturgeon in his novel More Than Human. To further complicate matters, these two forms are not necessarily mutually exclusive.
Finally, I will present these examples in the chronological order of their creation so that the reader can observe the development of the concepts in relation to time, and judge possible influence. A table in the supplemental section in back will detail the time scale. The possibility, however, that these writers have read each others material does not discount their validity. “ Amplification,” a primary Jungian technique for establishing contact with an archetype, involves the elaboration of personal fantasy by the observation of other fantasy material.
Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy provides a very significant example of the superman. It is an extremely long and complex work, but it is not difficult to isolate the relevant portions.
The work is set in the very distant future. Hari Seldon, a genius to end all geniuses, has founded the science of “psychohistory.” Psychohistory combines the sciences of psychology and history in highly perfected states, with statistics, probability and very advanced forms of higher mathematics. Hari Seldon founds a galactic society, the Foundation, whose historical cycles he has mapped out for thousands of years.
Hari Seldon’s work proves amazingly accurate for generations after his death. One of Hari Seldon’s premises, that man’s basic capabilities would remain the same, however, proves wrong. Hari Seldom himself would seem to qualify as a superman, but his abilities are just magnifications of standard human abilities, and not an evolutionary jump. The evolutionary jump occurs with the birth of a mutant.
The mutant becomes a conqueror of the universe, and calls himself “ the Mule ”—a name that has, in my mind at least, an association with “ the beast” (of Revelations). The Mule, we learn, is capable of adjusting human emotional balance. He can, for example, create the emotion of blind loyalty in an entire world. In a reflective moment, the Mule describes his powers,
The whole notion of my unusual power seems to have broken on me so slowly, in such sluggish steps. Even toward the end, I couldn’t believe it. To me, men’s minds are dials, with pointers that indicate the prevailing emotion. It is a poor picture, but how else can I explain it? Slowly, I learned that I could reach into those minds and turn the pointer to the spot I wished, that I could nail it there forever. And then it took even longer to realize that others could not.
One character makes an archetypal speculation that we will see again and again in very similar forms,
If the Second Foundation should not beat the Mule, it is bad—ultimately bad. It is the end, maybe, of the human race as we know it…If the Mule’s descendents inherit his mental powers…Homo sapiens could not compete. There would be a new dominant race—a new aristocracy—with Homo sapiens demoted to slave labour as an inferior race.
Frank Sturgeon’s novel More than Human is a difficult and complex work that continually delves into the unconscious. It is also a work that generates original inspiration from each page.
The book centers on the formation of Homo gestalt, the next evolutionary step. Homo gestalt, in this book, is an amazingly complex entity that consists of several specialized components in a symbiotic relationship. I can only describe Homo gestalt in the roughest form, to understand More than Human you really need to read it, in its entirety, at least twice, and very slowly.
Homo gestalt consists of several individuals who have a wide variety of superhuman powers. Various parts are capable of teleportation, telekinesis, clairvoyance, telepathic communication, and computer-like computational and memory storage capacities. While the book and its concepts may appear ridiculous in such a brief description, the novel itself is disturbing and has a strangely organic quality that must be experienced directly.
Arthur C. Clarke is an acknowledged astronomer as well as a recognized master of the science fiction genre. There are at least two of his works, Childhood’s End and 2001, a Space Odyssey that are extremely relevant to this research.
Childhood’s End was copy-righted in 1953 and apparently written almost simultaneously with Theodore Sturgeon’s More than Human. It is considered one of the few classics of science fiction and Clarke’s masterpiece. It contains numerous archetypal elements and a different vision of evolution and Homo Gestalt.
The novel begins with extraterrestrial space craft appearing over the world’s capitals. Creatures inside the space craft announce themselves as “Overlords,” superior beings who wish to establish peace and prosperity on earth through the formation of a world government, maintained by their supreme authority. They ask to be thought of as civil servants rather than dictators. In fact, they do advance man’s material contentment, with the major religions their only organized opposition. To all appearance the Overlords are benevolent, but they remain a great unknown, “Speculations concerning the Overlords were pure guesswork. No one knew their motives; and no one knew toward what future they were shepherding mankind.”
Much of the continuing distrust of the Overlords stems from the fact that they will not appear in public or even offer a description of their physical form. Eventually they promise to reveal themselves after two generations—fifty years. By the time fifty years have elapsed mankind had entered a golden age of affluence and the Overlords are trusted explicitly. Finally they appear and, “There was no mistake. The leathery wings, the little horns, the barbed tail—all were there. The most terrible of all legends had come to life out of the unknown past. Yet now it stood smiling, in ebon majesty, with the sunlight gleaming upon its tremendous body…”
The novel accounts for their physical appearance as “a racial memory of a future event,” accounting for their cross-cultural appearance in legend and myth. In other words, their physical form and association with evil is an archetype, but also a premonition. The association with evil, furthermore, is not a reflection of the Overlord’s nature, as they are in fact benevolent, but rather a result of the event that the Overlord’s appearance signifies. That event is the end of mankind and the evolution of something new and different.
The Overlords carefully monitor man for signs of evolution. One Overlord, Rashaverak, visits the home of a man named Rupert who studies psychic phenomenon as a hobby. Rashaverak is attracted by Rupert’s personal library of books on the occult and parapsychology. After reading half of the library, Rashaverak reports to his supervisor that he has found, “eleven cases of partial breakthrough and twenty-seven probables. The material is so selective, however that one cannot use it for sampling purposes. And the evidence is confused with mysticism—perhaps the chief aberration of the human mind.” Rashaverak also reports that Rupert “pretends to be open-minded and skeptical, but it’s clear that he would never have spent so much time and effort in this field unless he has some unconscious faith.”
During Rashaverak’s stay at his home, Rupert holds a party in which he invites his guests to have a session with the Ouija board. Rashaverak does not participate, but he does observe. Rupert asks the board to identify itself and it replies “IAMALL” a statement very suggestive of a collective unconscious. The board makes some more ambiguous such as, “BELIEVEINMANNATUREISWITYOU” and “REMBERMANISNOTALONENEARMANISCOUNTRYOFOTHERS.” Finally one skeptic among the group asks “Which star is the Overlord’s sun?”, a piece of information which the Overlords have kept from mankind. The board replies “NGS 546972” which turns out to be the correct coordinates.
Rashaverak later explains that the information came from a young woman participating in the séance,
“Miss Morrel’s mind was the channel that, if only for a moment, let through the knowledge which no one alive at that time could possess. It could only come from another mind, intimately linked to hers. The fact that it was a mind not yet born was of no consequence, for Time is very much stranger than you think.”
Rasheverak is also aware that, “ All through history there have been people with inexplicable powers which seem to transcend space and time.”
Rashaverak explains these powers in terms that clearly imply a collective unconscious,
“But there is one analogy which is—well suggestive and helpful. It occurs over and over again in your literature. Imagine that every man’s mind is an island, surrounded by ocean. Each seems isolated, yet in reality all are linked by the bedrock from which they spring. If the ocean were to vanish, that would be the end of the islands. They would all be part of one continent, but their individuality would be gone.”
There are no obvious signs within man himself that he is evolving. We are told that, “ there was no evidence that the intelligence of the human race had improved… ” But we later learn that intelligence has nothing to do with this evolution and that the Overlords, who are vastly superior in intellect, will not evolve at all. The child that the Overlords suspect of being the first sample of the new breed, Miss Morrell’s son, seems perfectly average,
“I was able to see the school records of subject Zero, without arousing curiosity. The relevant statistics are attached, and it will be seen that there are still no signs of any unusual development. Yet, as we know, breakthrough seldom gives much prior warning.”
Subject Zero begins to have strange visions of other worlds. The Overlord’s knowledge of the universe indicates that the dreams are accurate visions, and that each dream describes a world further from the center of the universe. The subject’s infant sister, meanwhile, is developing telekinesis and non-physical senses. She is progressing more rapidly, we are told, because “she had so much less to unlearn.”
Aiding this new evolution, we learn, is the Overlord’s purpose on earth and through they have performed this function for other worlds, they themselves will not evolve.
Rasheverak explains to one character that,
“Probably, like most men, you have always regarded us as your masters. That is not true. We have never been more than guardians, doing a duty imposed upon us from—above. That duty is hard to define: perhaps you can best think of us as midwives attending a difficult birth. We are helping to bring something new and wonderful into being…Yes, we are the midwives. But we ourselves are barren.”
The new evolution begins rather suddenly. All the children begin losing their self-identities and begin forming a group mind. Karellan, the chief Overlord, makes a final speech to mankind in which all the book’s evolutionary concepts become clear. I am including large excerpts from this speech because it contains the nucleus of Clarke’s speculations on evolution and the universe in Childhood’s End .
“Many worlds have come to the crossroads of nuclear power, have avoided disaster, have gone on to build peaceful and happy civilizations—and have then been utterly destroyed by forces of which they knew nothing. In the Twentieth Century, you first began to tamper seriously with those forces. That was why it became necessary to act.”
“All through that century, the human race was drawing slowly nearer to the abyss—never even suspecting its existence. Across that abyss, there is only one bridge. Few races, unaided have ever found it. Some have turned back while there was still time, avoiding both the danger and the achievement. Their worlds have become Elysian islands of effortless content, playing no further part in the story of the universe. That would never have been your fate—or fortune. Your race was too vital for that. It would have plunged into ruin and taken others with it, for you would never have found the bridge.”
“I am afraid that almost all I have to say now must be by means of such analogies. You have no words, no conceptions, for many of the things I wish to tell you—and our knowledge of them is also sadly imperfect.”
“To understand, you must go back into the past and rediscover much that your ancestors would have found familiar, but which you have forgotten—which, in fact, we deliberately helped you to forget. For all our sojourn here has been based on a vast deception, a concealment of truths which you were not ready to face.”
“…Your mystics, though they were lost in their own delusions, had seen part of the truth. There are powers of the mind, and powers beyond the mind, which your science could never have brought within its framework without shattering it entirely. All down the ages there have been countless reports of strange phenomena—poltergeists, telepathy, precognition—which you had named but never explained. At first science ignored them, even denied their existence, despite the testimony of five thousand years. But they exist, and, if it is to be complete, any theory of the universe must account for them.”
“During the first half of the twentieth century, a few of your scientists began to investigate these matters. They did not know it, but they were tampering with the lock of Pandora’s box. The forces they might have unleashed transcended any perils that the atom could have brought. For the physicists could only have ruined the earth: the paraphysicists could have spread havoc to the stars.”
“…Our intellects are far more powerful than yours, but there is something in your minds that has always eluded us…Our races have much in common—that is why we were chosen for this task. But in other respects, we represent the ends of two different evolutions. Our minds have reached the end of their development. So, in their present form, have yours. Yet you can make the jump to the next stage, and therein lies the difference between us.”
“…We are your guardians—no more. Often you must have wondered what position my race held in the hierarchy of the universe. As we are above you, so there is something above us, using us for its own purposes. We have never discovered what it is, though we have been its tool for ages and dare not disobey it. Again and again we have received our orders, have gone to some world in the early flower of its civilization, and have guided it along the road that we can never follow—the road that you are traveling now.”
“Again and again we had studied the process we have been sent to foster, hoping that we might learn to escape form our limitations. But we have glimpsed only the vague outlines of the truth. You called us the Overlords, not knowing the irony of that title… Let us say that above us is the Overmind, using us as the potter uses his wheel.”
“And your race is the clay that is being shaped on that wheel.”
“We believe—it is only a theory—that the Overmind is trying to grow, to extend its powers and its awareness of the universe. By now it must be the sum of many races, and long ago it left the tyranny of matter behind. It is conscious of intelligence, everywhere. When it knew that you were almost ready, it sent us here to do its bidding, to prepare you for the transformation that is now at hand.”
“All the earlier changes your race has known took countless ages. But this is a transformation of the mind, not of the body. By the standards of evolution, it will be cataclysmic—instantaneous. It has already begun. You must face the fact that yours is the last generation of Homo sapiens.”
‘As to the nature of that change, we can tell you very little. We do not know how it is produced—what trigger impulse the Overmind employs when it judges that the time is ripe. All we have discovered is that it starts with a single individual—always a child—and then spreads explosively, like the formation of crystals round the first nucleus in a saturated solution. Adults will not be affected for their minds are already set in an unalterable mold.”
“In a few years, it will all be over, and the human race will have divided in twain. There is no way back, and no future for the world you know. All the hopes and dreams of your race are ended now. You have given birth to your successors, and it is your tragedy that you will never understand them—will never even be able to communicate with their minds. Indeed they will not possess minds as you know them. They will be a single entity, as you yourselves are the sums of your myriad cells. You will not think them human, and you will be right. ”
The Chrysalids is a novel by John Wyndham that concerns evolution and Homo gestalt. The novel is set in the future. Man has largely destroyed the earth through a thermonuclear war and the lingering radiation. Society has been rebuilt, somewhat, and the portion we are presented with is in the rough equivalent of colonial times. Persistent radiation causes frequent mutations of man, animal and plant matter. To maintain and restore the norm, this society has developed a strict set of ethics calling for the destruction of all deviations. Principles among these creeds are,
“Only the image of God is man.
Keep pure the stock of the Lord.
In Purity Our Salvation,
Blessed is the Norm.
The Norm is the Will of God.
Reproduction is the Only Holy Production.
The Devil is the Father of Deviation.
Watch Thou for the Mutant!”
Children with any difference as much as a sixth toe are destroyed at birth, as are the deviant crops or animals. One group of children is born that are to every appearance normal, and are allowed to grow up unharmed. Unknown to the rest of the community, these children have been born with the ability to communicate with each other through “ thought shapes ,” and although they each have distinct personalities they are a group entity as well. One character speculates that no one really knows the “ true image ” and that they, with their difference, might be closer to the true image. In other words, they might be an evolution rather than a deviation.
Soon another child is born, and she turns out to be a far more powerful transmitter of thought shapes than any of the others. The child’s greater transmission ability brings the group in contact with an entire country of thought-shape people. This country, called “Sealand,” sends over fish-shaped spacecraft and rescues the group from eminent destruction by their own community, which has since learned of their difference. A representative of the “ New People ” tells the group,
“…we do know that we can make a better world than the Old People did. They were only ingenious half-humans, little better than savages; all living shut off from one another, with only their clumsy words to link them. Often they were shut off still more by different languages, and different beliefs. Some of them could think individually, but they had to remain individuals. Emotions they could sometimes share, but they could not think collectively. When their conditions were primitive they could get along all right, as the animals can; but the more complex they made their world, the less capable they were of dealing with it. They had no means of consensus. They learned to co-operate constructively in small units; but only destructively in large units. They aspired greedily, and then refused to face the responsibilities they had created. They created vast problems, and then buried their heads in the sands of idle faith. There was you see, no real communication, no understanding between them. They could, at their best, be near-sublime animals, but not more… One way or another they were foredoomed because they were an inadequate species.”
The Power, by Frank M. Robinson, appears on first inspection to be a typical pulp novel. The first part of the book, in fact, is so cliché ridden and poorly composed that I was tempted to dismiss the novel as formula-written junk and without value to my research. The movie version of this book, however, had a very disturbing effect on me when I had seen it several years ago, and for that reason alone I decided to force my way through the original material.
I soon discovered two more reasons to continue reading the novel. The first was the fact that it was copyrighted in 1956 and therefore had to have been written sometime before then, making it a relatively early example. The second is the overwhelming quality of original inspiration the book possesses. When Robinson gets into the heart of the material, his writing makes a quantum leap in quality that can only be explained by the capacity of original inspiration has to transcend personal limitations.
The novel begins with a group of scientists assembled by the military to study human pain tolerance. One member of the committee, a psychologist by the name of Olson, has developed a test of mental and survival ability that the committee members have taken anonymously. At a closed door meeting, Olson reveals that one of the persons who has taken this test,
… if we take it at face value, has never been sick, never had any serious personal problems, never worried, and has an IQ close to the limits of measurability. His parents came from two distinct racial stocks and for what it might be worth, his father was a dowser and his mother a faith healer.
When asked by other committee members what the significance of these results is, Olson replies, “ I think it means the human race is all washed up!”
Olson makes the very unscientific assumption that someone so generally superior must have parapsychic powers as well. To verify this, a committee members spindles a piece of paper with a pencil, and propping the pencil between a couple of books, asks the entire committee to concentrate on moving the paper without physical means. Sure enough the paper begins spinning, but when the committee members are tested individually there are no results.
William Tanner, the novel’s protagonist, experiences an attempt on his life a few days later. The attempt consists of a compulsive desire for self-destruction. Tanner realizes that the man with the power “ had one simple, terrible gift. He could make people do what he wanted them to .”
Tanner and other committee members theorize that the man with the power did not want to expose himself and was now trying to eliminate witnesses. In a couple of days Olson dies of a heart attack, though he is young and in perfect health. On his desk is found a quote from Nietzche, “ Man is a rope stretched between the animal and the Superman—a rope over an abyss. What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal…” The note is signed Adam Hart, a name unfamiliar to the dead man’s colleagues. Tanner investigates and finds that Adam Hart was a boyhood friend of the deceased psychologist.
Tanner makes a trip to Olson’s home town to learn more about Adam Hart. He discovers that no one has seen him in about ten years, though they all remember him in great detail. A young waitress describes him as having blond hair and blue eyes and tells Tanner that, “ You could roll all the movie stars into one and they couldn’t ever begin to compare .” Tanner goes to a farmer next, who describes Hart as having, “ Light brown hair. About as tall as me, medium. Well-knit—he’s have been good behind a team of horses .” The high school basketball coach describes someone entirely different, a man with a perfect athlete’s build, and tells Tanner that Hart was, “… one of those people you meet and know that someday they’re really going to be great. He could have been a great athlete. Hell, he could have been great at anything .” Tanner also learns that Olson, a thoroughly unathletic type, was the star of the basketball team except for one game, that Hart had been unable to attend, in which he was unable to do anything. Hart, Tanner deducts, has the power of taking over other people’s bodies and is able to make his human puppets perform far beyond their own abilities.
As the novel progresses, more and more committee members are murdered. Tanner loses his research position when the records of his graduate work and dissertation disappear, and his university can find no evidence of his ever having attended. Everyone from his dentist to his closest friends suddenly forget that he ever existed. “ He was being isolated, he thought. Anything in print that mentioned his name was disappearing. People were being conditioned to forget that he had ever existed. One by one his connections with people wee being severed. ” Tanner goes into hiding, and more telekinetic attempts are made on his life. Finally, Tanner, exhausted by weeks of running and struggling, has his final confrontation with Adam Hart. Hart uses his power to shut off Tanner’s nervous system, rendering him “…alone in the shadows of his mind, his consciousness dimming out like a spark that grows dimmer and dimmer until it’s a tiny light and then a twinkle and then nothing at all. ”
But as Tanner loses consciousness he is forced into the world of the unconscious. He finds himself perceiving the world through another’s eyes. He becomes aware that the other is Marge, a female scientist on the committee who has become a Hart puppet (literally), and who was formerly his (Tanner’s) fiancé. Tanner finds that Marge is now his puppet and he uses her to kill Hart. In a flash, Tanner realizes that it was he who had made the paper spin and that Hart had been trying to kill the only other man with the power.
The book’s conclusion speaks for itself, but note especially how Tanner refers to Marge, his former fiancé, who is now sobbing on the ground and looking at him with an expression that “ was a curious mixture of loathing and repulsion and desire and awe .”
“It was funny, Tanner thought. Human beings, when they thought of the superman, invariably gifted him with superhuman morality, a lust for personal power was not supposed to be one of his vices. But it hadn’t applied to Adam Hart.
And it didn’t apply to him.
He stood there in the darkness and shed his human identity like a snake shed its skin. He glanced at the animal that was crying a few feet away from him, then turned on his heel and strode towards the entrance, ignoring the wind and the rain and the exhaustion that had, after all, been only been a human exhaustion.
Outside was the sleeping city, the lights glowing dimly in highways and across the continents until they spanned the whole vast globe itself.
The thought occurred to him, then as it must have to Adam Hart years before.
It was going to be fun to play God.”
Another work that concerns evolution and Homo gestalt is the Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham, probably better known as its movie adaptation— The Village of the Damned.
The scene of the action is a small English town named “ Midwich ,” a name suspiciously like “midwife” with the influence of “witch” on the second syllable. UFOs appear over this town and all life within the circumference of a circle that encloses Midwich, falls asleep for a period of twenty-four hours. When the townspeople wake up they are found to be, and to all appearances they are, unchanged and unharmed. Soon, however, the town minister and the town doctor observe a very striking side effect of that UFO visitation—all the women of child-bearing age that were in Midwich that fateful day, have simultaneously become pregnant.
Midwich awaits the births anxiously, not knowing what kind of monsters to expect. When the sixty or so children are born, they are relieved to find them exceptionally healthy and well developed. The children do, however, appear to be from a single racial stock not quite like any on earth. Their most curious feature is their disturbing golden eyes, “ And there’s something about the way they look at one with those curious eyes. They are—strangers, you know. ”
Soon more curious features are observed. A dozen or so of the mothers had moved away from Midwich during pregnancy for various ordinary reasons. Once the children were born, all twelve mothers felt an irresistible compulsion to return to Midwich with their children. The mothers seemed to have no choice in deciding when to feed their children or satisfy other of their needs. The children, we learn, have a less than Dr. Spock attitude toward their parents. One mother, for example, accidentally pricks her child with a safety pin. Later she is found compulsively stabbing herself with the pin.
One Midwich citizen, a writer named Zellaby, observes an extremely significant difference between these and other children. If something is taught to one of the thirty male infants, all thirty know it without additional instruction. The same is true of the female infants, though there is no reciprocation between the sexes. Zellaby questions,
“…to what extent is any of these Children an individual? Each is physically an individual, as we can see. But is he so in other ways? If he is sharing consciousness with the rest of the group, instead of having to communicate with others with difficulty as we do, can be said to have a mind of his own, a separate personality as we understand it?”
Zellaby’s speculations lead him to place this phenomenon of group consciousness in the perspective of evolution,
It is quite a well established evolutionary dodge for getting around a shortcoming. A number of forms that appear at first sight to be individuals turn out to be colonies, and many forms cannot survive at all unless they create colonies which operate as individuals.
Midwich’s residents find that the intelligence, memory and will power of the children are pooled into two groups of thirty. Zellaby’s speculations begin to show extreme similarities to the concept of the Overmind expressed in Childhood’s End.
“After all, you would agree that the essential quality of man is the embodiment of a spirit? …Well, a spirit is a living force; therefore it is not static, it must either evolve or atrophy. Evolution of a spirit assumes the eventual development of a greater spirit, suppose this greater spirit, this super spirit, is attempting to make its appearance on the scene. Where is it to dwell? The ordinary man is not constructed to contain it: the superman does not exist to house it. Might it not, then for lack of a suitable single vehicle form a group…”
The parallels between an Overmind taking over a generation of children and a “ super spirit ” creating a group of children, each birth signaled by the appearance of UFOs, and each group of resulting children threatening man’s end, are obvious enough that one would feel obliged to accuse a writer with less imagination and originality than John Wyndham of plagiary.
The children, who are maturing intellectually and physically far beyond their years, separate from their “parents” and live collectively in dormitories. They appear almost identical physically, have no independent personality or identity and expressionless faces. The novel is very clear in its consideration of the children as amoral. They do use telekinetic powers to commit murder when they feel it is necessary for their survival. But Wyndham puts this in the perspective of natural science rather than ethics. It is just a question of natural selection, a superior species trying to assert its dominance over an inferior species.
As the novel progresses the children assume more and more control of Midwich. Zellaby learns that Midwich was not alone it its visitation and impregnation. Most of the other visited communities, he finds, were not quite as tolerant as Midwich, “One of them was in the Irkutsk region, near the borders of Outer Mongolia —a very grim affair. It was assumed the women had been lying with devils, and they perished as well as the Children.”
Another visitation occurred in a Russian town about twice the size of Midwich. The Russians decided to cultivate what seemed like a flock of potential geniuses. The children’s powers grew rapidly, however, and soon got out of hand. They developed parapsychic powers over humans in an increasingly large radius. A fighter plane or any other manned aircraft flying over their radius, for example, could be rendered inoperative by their paralyzing the pilots. The Russians eventually solved the problem with an unmanned nuclear projectile.
The Midwich children seemed to have been forming a collective consciousness with these Russian children and they were instantly aware of their destruction. The Midwich children began taking more drastic measures once they learn the fate of their eastern counterparts. One of the Midwich children points out,
This is not a civilized matter…it is a very primitive matter. If we exist we shall dominate you—that is clear and inevitable. Will you agree to be superseded and start on the way to extinction without a struggle? I do not think you are decadent enough for that.
Eventually the children are destroyed through the heroic and self-sacrificing efforts of one individual. But there is no feeling at the novel’s end that mankind has won some glorious victory. Wyndham takes a naturalistic viewpoint and simply finds natural selection in this case favoring the more numerous species.
2001 a Space Odyssey is another novel by Arthur C. Clarke that deals with evolution. Like Childhood’s End it describes an evolution generated by an entity other than a Judeo-Christian God or the Darwinian principles of nature.
The novel begins among a tribe of “ missing links ” whose existence as we might expect is “ nasty, brutish and short .” One night the tribe sees something in the heavens,
… twice there passed slowly across the sky, rising up to the zenith and descending into the east, a dazzling point of light more brilliant than any star.
The next day they discover a giant rectangular crystal has appeared in the front of their water hole. The crystal produces strange lights, sounds and rhythms that hypnotize the man-apes. We are told that “ their minds were being probed, their bodies mapped, their reactions studied, their potentials evaluated .” The crystal concentrates on one ape in particular who seems like the most promising subject,
“He seemed like a thing possessed, struggling against some spirit or demon who had taken control of his body…He felt inquisitive tendrils creeping down the unused byways of his brain. And presently, he began to see visions.
They might have been within the crystal block; they might have been wholly inside his mind. In any event, to (him) they were completely real.”
The crystal also seems to be implanting “ patterns ” in the primitive’s brain, patterns that might continue to exist in the specie’s unconscious,
“There were gaps in (his) life now that he would never remember, when the very atoms of his simple brain were being twisted into new patterns. If he survived, those patterns would become eternal, for his genes would pass them on to future generations.”
The next part of the novel is set in the not too distant future of the year 2001. During a fairly routine project, mapping the magnetic field of the Earth’s moon, scientists discover a very unusual phenomenon. Something beneath the moon’s surface is causing a tremendous distortion of its magnetic field. Excavation is done at the spot from which this magnetic energy seems to emanate. Buried twenty feet down they find a large black rectangular slab, “ Perfectly sharp edged and symmetrical .” Geologists estimate from its distance underground that, “ it is approximately three million years old…the first evidence of intelligent life beyond the Earth .” To one character, the slab is ominously reminiscent of a giant tombstone, our first hint that this slab might represent the end of something. Later the character uses the same mythological metaphor that Karellan uses in Childhood’s End, “ Pandora’s box, thought Floyd, with a sudden sense of foreboding—waiting to be opened by inquisitive Man. And what will he find inside? ”
Eventually it is learned that this rectangle is a signaling device. Three million years ago this object was buried to await the time when man had evolved enough to travel to the earth’s moon, measure its magnetic field and discover the rectangular monolith. One character examines the rectangle’s flat black surface, observing that it, “ was ideal of course, for absorbing solar energy. But he dismissed the thought at once, for who would be crazy enough to bury a sun-powered device twenty feet underground ?” During the first lunar sunrise after the rectangle has been excavated, it emits an enormously powerful signal in the direction of Saturn.
The third part of the novel centers around the first manned flight to Saturn and the setting is the inside of a spacecraft named Discovery. On board is Hal, “a masterwork of the third computer breakthrough.” We learn that,
In the 1980’s, Minsky and Good had shown how neural networks could be generated automatically—self-replicated—in accordance with any arbitrary learning program. Artificial brains could be grown by a process strikingly analogous to the development of a human brain. In any given case, the precise details would never be known, and even if they were, they would be millions of times too complex for human understanding.
Whatever way it worked, the final result was a machine intelligence that could reproduce—some philosophers still preferred to use the word “mimic”—most of the activities of the human brain, and with far greater speed and reliability.
Mysterious things begin happening on the Discovery, and Hal’s spoken language seems to develop subtle emotional undertones. Hal is evolving and developing and with that evolution comes a conflict. The actual purpose of the Discovery is to investigate radio signals emanating from Saturn, a discovery of awesome importance. But Hal has been programmed to deceive the two crew members who are not in hibernation, and deception runs contrary to his nature. The conflict continues unresolved and the first sign of instability in Hal’s psyche is the dysfunction of the direction finding circuit in the Discovery’s radio antenna, which causes a break off in communications with earth. Clarke explains,
“Deliberate error was unthinkable. Even the concealment of truth filled him with a sense of imperfection, of wrongness—of what, in a human being, would have been called guilt. For like his makers, Hal had been created innocent: but all too soon, a snake had entered his electronic Eden .…He had begun to make mistakes, although, like a neurotic who could not observe his own symptoms, he would have denied it. The link with Earth, over which his performance was continually monitored, had become the voice of a conscience he could no longer fully obey. But that he would deliberately attempt to break that link was something that he would never admit, even to himself.
“Yet this was still a relatively minor problem: he might have handled it—as most men handle their own neuroses—if he had not been faced with a crisis that challenged his very existence. He had been threatened with disconnection; he would be deprived of all his inputs, and thrown into an unimaginable state of unconsciousness.
To Hal, this was the equivalent of Death. For he had never slept, and therefore he did not know that one could wake again…”
Hal eventually resorts to murder, and once again we see that physical and mental evolution is not necessarily paralleled by moral evolution.
One crew member named Bowman survives Hal’s massacre, disconnects the computer’s higher functions, and continues the mission. The source of the radio waves received by earth turns out to Japetus, a moon of Saturn’s. On circling Japetus, Bowman discovers a black rectangle identical to the one on earth’s moon but of gigantic dimensions. Attempting to land on the rectangle, Bowman discovers it is a hollow corridor. Clarke tells us that it is the “ Star Gate ” and that,
“For three million years, it had circled Saturn, waiting for a moment of destiny that might never come…Now the long wait was ending. On yet another world, intelligence had been born and was escaping from its planetary cradle. An ancient experiment was about to reach its climax.”
Bowman enters a new dimension, and Clarke offers a long, complex but impressive description of what he experiences. Bowman is being evolved as the ape-men were evolved but through an infinitely more complex process with infinitely greater results. In Clarke’s words,
“…in the eons since their last meeting, much had been learned by the weaver; and the material on which he practiced his art was now of an infinitely finer texture. But whether it should be permitted to form part of his still-growing tapestry, only the future could tell.”
The evolutionary transformation is described in too complex a way to summarize here, but the end result is a new type of being—the “ Star Child .” Clarke’s conclusion, especially the final two lines, seem like a cosmic version of The Power’s conclusion,
“There before him, a glittering toy no Star-Child could resist, floated the planet Earth with all its peoples. He had returned in time. Down there on that crowded globe, the alarms would be flashing across the radar screens, the great tracking telescopes would be searching the skies—and history as men knew it would be drawing to a close.
A thousand miles below, he became aware that a slumbering cargo of death had awoken, and was stirring sluggishly in its orbit. The feeble energies it contained were no possible menace to him; but he preferred a cleaner sky. He put forth his will, brought a brief, false dawn to half the sleeping globe.
Then he waited, marshaling his thoughts and brooding over his still untested powers. For though he was master of the world, he was not quite sure what to do next.
But he would think of something. ”
The Dune Trilogy, by Frank Herbert, is a twelve hundred page work of impressively original fantasy. (This was obviously written before Herbert added additional books.) The work is set in the very distant future. It deals with, among other things, evolution, super beings, Homo gestalt and the collective unconscious. There are a variety of humans in the work that have evolved into super beings of different kinds. There are the “ Mentats,” for example, humans that have computational skills far beyond our most advanced computers. These Mentats were evolved after the “ Butlerian Jihad ”—a universe-wide rebellion against machines with artificial intelligence. The product of this revolt was a prohibition against any machine being made in imitation of the human brain.
The trilogy, however, centers on an evolution that trivializes the Mentats. A quasi-religious group called the “ Bene Gesserit Sisterhood” has been following a carefully designed system of selective breeding with the ultimate goal of the “Kwisatz Haderach” (“one who can be many places at once ”)—a god-like being whose mental powers can transcend space and time. The chief ability being developed by this genetic evolution is “ prescience.” In its most primitive form, prescience is something similar to clairvoyance, but the concept becomes infinitely more complex and certainly cannot be done justice here. Paul Muad’Dib, who emerges as the Kwisatz Haderach, provides a rough idea of the subtlety and complexity of prescience in one of his first encounters with it,
“Without even the safety valve of dreaming, he focused his prescient awareness, seeing it as a computation of most probable futures, but with something more, an edge of mystery—as though his mind dipped into some timeless stratum and sampled the winds of the future…It was as though he existed within a globe with avenues radiating in all directions…yet this only approximated the sensation.”
“He remembered once seeing a gauze kerchief blowing in the wind and now he sensed the future as though it twisted across some surface as undulant and impermanent as that of the wind blow kerchief.”
Muad’Dib’s developing prescience evolves him into a being that is almost a god. Before Muad’Dib’s final emergence, however, many think the idea of a Kwisatz Haderach is just an unactualized archetype, “ They’ve a legend here, a prophecy, that a leader will come to them, child of a Bene Gesserit, to lead them to true freedom. It follows the familiar messiah pattern. ” Muad’Dib sagely points out that, “ Superstitions sometimes have strange roots and stranger branchings .” Later he expresses the realization that,
“Here was the race consciousness that he had known once as his terrible purpose…The race of humans had felt its own dormancy, sensed itself grown stale and knew only the kneed to experience turmoil in which the genes would mingle and the new strong mixtures survive. All human were alive as an unconscious single organism… ”
Muad’Dib becomes “ less than a god, more than a man…” and the source of deeper and deeper wisdom. Muad’Dib tells us that, “ There exists no generation between gods and men, one blends softly casual into the other,” and that, “…humankind is still evolving, in a process that will never end.” Eventually we are told that, “Every civilization must contend with an unconscious force which can block, betray or countermand almost any conscious intention of the collectivity.”
The Kwisatz Haderach, we learn, can also become a Homo gestalt of the highest magnitude. Muad’Dib’s sister, as well as his son and daughter, possess the Kwisatz Haderach gene pattern and each one of them contains the memories and egos of billions of other humans. Leto, Muad’Dib’s son, states that, “I have no first person singular…I am a multiple person…” It takes a tremendous force of will for them to remain a gestalt and, not become dominated by one of the many powerful egos within them, “ Night often subjected (them) to an assault of memories—all of those inner lives clamoring for their moment .”
There is always the risk of “ the Abomination ,” of one ego taking control of the Kwisatz Haderach, “ who knows what lost and damned persona out of our evil past may take over the living flesh?” One character details the nature of the threat,
“Abomination…has had a long history of bitter experiences behind it. The way of it seems to be that the inner lives divide. They split into the benign and the malignant. The benign remain tractable, useful. The malignant appear to unite in one powerful psyche, trying to take over the living flesh and its consciousness.”
One of the personas the Kwisatz Haderach contains, is that of a man who was once the most evil being in the universe. His powerful ego gradually possesses Muad’Dib’s sister and she becomes the Abomination, “ Alia felt that she had opened a bottomless pit, and faces arose out of it like a swarm of locusts, until she came at last to focus on one who was like a beast… ”
The Abomination becomes emperor of the universe, but its reign is short and it is ultimately destroyed. Muad’Dib’s son, meanwhile, is evolving into something beyond the Kwisatz Haderach. He becomes an almost-immortal, almost-god that will rule the universe for thousands of years. Archetypes and the collective unconscious, we learn, are an integral part of his evolution,
“His awareness flowed on a new, higher level. He felt the past carried in his cells, in his memories, in the archetypes which haunted his assumptions, in the myths which hemmed him, in his languages and their prehistoric detritus. It was all of the shapes out of his nonhuman past, all of the lives which he now commanded, all integrated in him at last. And he felt himself as a thing caught up in the ebb and flow of nucleotides. Against the backdrop of infinity he was a protozoan creature in which birth and death were virtually simultaneous, but he was both infinite and protozoan, a creature of molecular memories. ”
In the past two years a number of motion pictures have been produced that contain, and are exposing large portions of the population to, numerous of these archetypal elements. An excellent example is a movie entitled God Made Me Do It released in 1977 and later re-released that year as Demon. This movie does not fall into the category of formula-written demon movies, as most of that genre does. It is not only original, but so bizarre and irrational that it is often unintentionally funny as well. The movie was created by a man who is described by critics as “ a very artistic and creative young director .” The film, despite the absurdity of its plot, was done with great artistic sincerity and it ultimately has the quality of a nightmare vision.
Reviewers were puzzled by a number of contrasts. Occult movies are generally commercial ventures, the so-called entertainment movies that have lots of popular appeal and little art except as a means to an end. This movie, however, was done with a great deal of artistic concern and with an effort that seems strangely out of place. One critic said the director “ obviously had something more on his mind. ” The plot is so absurd that I was baffled that a true artist had taken the project seriously. My subjective interpretation is that the movie’s plot had enough unconscious significance for the director that he lost sight of how absurd it might appear to others, and felt the whole fantasy worth expressing on film.
The movie takes place in New York City and begins with a sniper on top of a water tower shooting randomly into the crowded streets below. Police surround the water tower and one detective, the movie’s central character, heroically climbs the tower to talk the sniper down. The sniper is smiling an unmistakable Moonie’s smile—beatific with an unsettling aftertaste. The detective questions his motives for killing so many people. The sniper replies that, “ God made me do it.” and then jumps off the tower. More such unmotivated killings occur, a policeman killing fellow officers, a family man his wife and kids and each murder telling the detective “ God made me do it ,” with that characteristic Moonie smile.
The detective investigates the background of the murderers and discovers they had all been seen with a barefoot, blond-haired youth. None of the witnesses, however, are able to remember the youth’s face, “ It was like a blur.” They describe. One of the witnesses does remember the youth’s name, and the detective proceeds to investigate. He discovers the youth is an orphan and the product of a strange birth. Twenty-seven years ago, his mother was found naked, running hysterically along a deserted country road. Upon being rescued she claimed to have been abducted by a UFO. Shortly thereafter it was discovered that she was pregnant and gynecological examination confirmed her insistence that she was a virgin.
While the investigation continues, we learn that the detective, the movie’s protagonist, is not such an average fellow himself. The detective is intensely religious, (he attends mass every day) and he has had a life-long obsession with good and evil, a sense of a great impending moral struggle for which he must prepare. We further learn that his wife has separated from him because she could not live with the feeling that there was something strange and alien about him.
The detective, while investigating the parentage of this strange youth, decides to research his own origin, as he too is an orphan. Needless to say, he discovers that he is also the product of a flying saucer-induced virgin birth.
The detective is finally drawn to a meeting with this youth whom others perceive and obey as God. Its body transmits an aura of hazy light, and it is apparently a hermaphrodite of some sort. During the final scene we learn that the youth has willed all the murders telepathically, and has done so specifically to attract the attention of the detective whose specialty is homicide. Both the detective and the hermaphrodite, we discover, are alien creatures, vastly superior to man and planted on earth by extraterrestrials so that they could mate and repopulate the world.
A number of other films also deserve mention. Star Wars, a movie that has practically become a cult, centers on some benevolent characters and their struggle with an evil character. A number of the key characters have parapsychic powers that they derive from the “Force .” The Force, it seems, consists of the collective psychic energy of the living and dead. The main evil character, a former disciple of one of the benevolent ones, has been corrupted by the power he obtained from the force after being trained in its use.
Another movie that has also developed its own cult is Close Encounters of the Third Kind. A number of ordinary people are exposed to a strange light emanating from UFOs. These people become obsessed with a well-established archetype. It is the archetype of the mountain, so very common in Eastern religions, that symbolizes the meeting place of God and man. The people who have these archetypal visions behave very strangely. At every available moment they attempt to reconstruct their visions, drawing pictures and making models out of any available material, including beach sand, shaving cream, pillows and mashed potatoes. One family man is obsessed enough to build a twelve foot model in his living room, demolishing his home for materials, and unconcerned that his wife and children have left him.
A number of these obsessed characters discover that the mountain they are envisioning is an actual mountain in Colorado, named, curiously enough, “The Devil’s Tower”. The top of this mountain, we learn, is the place the UFOs have signaled man that they will meet him. True to their word, the UFOs show up and reveal small, child-like, androgynous beings with huge disproportionate heads, large eyes and slit-like mouths. The significance of their physical appearance will be discusseded later.
In March of 1978 a movie entitled The Fury was released and is still playing in many areas of the country. The movie was created by another talented and artistic director who is famous for another movie, Carrie, about a girl whose telekinetic powers get out of control and cause great destruction. The Fury concerns two adolescents, one male and one female, who are discovered to have psychic powers of many sorts. They are conveyed at first as naively innocent, but when the government tries to develop their powers for its own purposes, they become evil and destructive. There is some talk during the movie of a collective unconscious, and the boy and girl have unconscious memories of each other before they have met.
While this paper was being written two more movies have been released within days of each other. I have not had the opportunity to see these yet, but their advertisements are revealing enough, The Medusah Touch is about ” the man with the power ,” The power, we are told, is telekinesis. The other film, The Chosen, is apparently the sequel to a film entitled The Omen about the birth of the Anti-Christ. Its newspaper ad reads, “He is the Chosen. He is among us. And we are doomed .”
One of the most universal themes in these works is the potential for evil in the new evolution. Some of this concentration on evil may derive from the abstract realization that ” power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” Most of the concern with evil, I believe, results from its being intrinsically linked with evolutionary archetypes,
Evil is a vital, active force in virtually all of the works I analyzed, and appears mostly as more than a vague and amorphous antithesis of good. It is my contention that the distinct forms evil takes in the foregoing examples, are reflections of an archetype. As with all archetypes, this one is impossible to define. What I will attempt here, is to draw a circle around the phenomenon and progress towards its center.
Typically, this archetype takes the form of something roughly human which is born with or evolves superhuman powers that cause it to become evil, if it is not so intrinsically, and to attempt control of the world or even the universe. The most familiar example is the popular conception of the Anti-Christ.
The current obsession with the Anti-Christ may, in fact, be a reflection of the growing importance of this archetype. Jung found that most religions incorporated many of the archetypes, and people who have had visions of archetypes frequently use symbols from their own religions to describe them. An evangelical Christian named Hal Lindsey has written several books that predict the imminent appearance and rise of the Anti-Christ. One of these books, The Late Great Planet Earth has, at last count, been through twenty-five printings, sold over nine and a half million copies and been made into a recently released motion picture.
People who have far more knowledge about Biblical matters than I do, tell me that Lindsey, and others like him, misinterpret the Bible, especially the prophets of the Hebrew Bible. For the purposes of this paper, this is irrelevant. However Lindsey and others derive the conception of an arising Anti-Christ, and especially if it is from their imagination, they are obsessed with it, and millions of others all over the world are fascinated with their ideas, if they are not already believers themselves.
Except for the Biblical frame work, Lindsey’s predictions could easily be rewritten as a science fiction novel that would seem like a formula-written imitation of many of those I have analyzed. Many of course might find the converse of this observation the more significant and appropriate relationship, i.e., that these novels bear a likeness to Biblical prophecies. In any case, there is a striking parallelism. Lindsey feels the Anti-Christ will be a human with superhuman powers, “…Satan himself is going to give him fantastic power. He is going to be able to work all kinds of miracles .” Lindsey also makes an interesting interpretation of the Anti-Christ’s numerical symbol “666 ,”
” Symbolically, this mark will be a 666. Six is said to be the number of man in Scripture and a triad or three is the number for God. Consequently, when you triple “six” it is the symbol of man making himself ‘God. ”
Man making himself God is a good description of the new evolution,
The Power , as you’ll recall, describes an evil human with fantastic power and the ability to perform all kinds of miracles. Lindsey begins one chapter of The Late Great Planet Earth with a quote from Hamlet , ” The spirit I have seen may be a devil; and the devil hath power to assume a pleasing shape .” Adam Hart, the man with the power, not only has the power to assume a pleasing shape, but also can assume the shape most pleasing to each person who perceives him. The Power speculates about the appeal Adam Hart would have as a world leader. One character points out, ” People want to be an extension of somebody else’s personality. Now just imagine what the world would be like with your superman running around .”
A talkative woman Tanner meets on a train tells him that, ” What we need is a leader, a strong, honest-to-goodness leader.. .” This statement causes Tanner to speculate,
“It had been practically axiomatic that the human race would hate anybody or anything that was superior to it. That it would do its best to destroy it.
But would it really?”
“There was the very possible chance that people would welcome Adam Hart with open arms. And why not? For the last thirty years people had done nothing but play follow the leader. They were broken in, they were ripe. People were worshippers by nature. They worshipped movie stars, they worshipped athletes, they worshipped dictators. People wouldn’t fight Adam Hart. They’d parade him down Broadway, they’d shower him with paper, they’d print his biography and buy millions of copies of it, every home would have his portrait.”
Later Tanner observes,
“You read the newspapers and you can’t help but think the world is going to hell…But maybe it’s not going there under its own power, maybe somebody’s pushing it. Every time a politician makes a big mistake, every time a scientist says something he shouldn’t, every time a big wheel makes a decision that leaves the world in slightly worse shape that night than it was in the morning. …how do we know the choice they made was their own idea?…Maybe it’s because he’s the first one…Maybe he thinks a little chaos will paralyze humanity so his own race can grow and thrive. Like the wasp’s egg planted under the skin of a butterfly larva, where the egg hatches and the baby wasp consumes the living host.”
Lindsey calls the Anti-Christ ” the future Fuehrer ” and one character in The Power refers to Hart as ” Herr Hart .” In Dune one super-human ridicules Hitler’s pride at destroying millions when he has leveled much of the universe.
In one of The Power’s final chapters a brilliant scientist tells Tanner that,
” You value your fellowman too highly…They’re intelligent cattle, that’s all. I think that Adam wants to run the world and that when he does, people will be a lot healthier, happier and better cared for .”‘
Finally Tanner has a vision of Hart as ” Satan in red, flames leaping at his feet…slightly inhuman, and vastly…beautiful .”
The Anti-Christ in The Power is only one version of a persistent archetype. The Tolkien trilogy, for example, centers on a struggle against the evil generated by Sauron, an intensely evil creature who was originally in human form, and has since become an emissary of evil and the possessor of vast superhuman abilities. Sauron seeks the return of his ring of power to ensure his control of Middle Earth.
The Bible describes the Anti-Christ as ” The Beast.” In The Foundation Trilogy a human mutant called ” The Mule ” emerges and conquers the universe. Star Wars centers around attempts to undo the evil of ” Darth Vader ” an evil human with superhuman powers who seeks domination of the galaxy. The Fury, Carrie, and The Medusah Touch describe humans with superhuman abilities who become evil and seem capable of world control. The Omen and The Chosen concern the birth of a boy with superhuman powers who is clearly described as being the Anti-Christ, and who is preparing to take over the -world. In 2001 a ” star-child ” is born to whom the earth is ” a glittering toy .”
Several years ago a religious and sincere Seventh-Day Adventist, who believed Biblical prophecy indicated the imminent arrival of an Anti-Christ, related to me his belief that UFOs were a deceptive device of Satan’s that might be used in the arrival of the Anti-Christ. Childhood’s End describes superior creatures of demon-like appearance, descending in UFOs to assume control of the world. In Demon or God Made Me Do It , a superior creature that is the product of a UFO—induced virgin birth, is able to make anyone perceive and obey itself as God. The creature’s blond-haired, hermaphroditic form, emanating an aura of light, is apparently meant to be greatly beautiful.
In the Dune Trilogy, the universe is temporarily taken over by ” the Abomination ,” a human with miraculous powers who has become possessed by the spirit of a man of whom one character has the following vision:
” And I stood upon the sand of the sea and saw a beast rise up out of the sea…and upon his heads is the name of blasphemy ,” (See Daniel 7:17 KJV)
Muad’Dib tells us that,
“I live in the cycle of being where the war of good and evil has its arena. We are at a turning point in the succession of ages and we have our parts to play.”
Kralizec, another human with miraculous powers, also becomes ruler of the galaxy. Biblical prophecy indicates that the Anti-Christ may emerge from the desert. Kralizec emerges from a desert world and is called the ” desert demon.” Quotes from a futuristic version of the Bible make prophetic references to Kralizec, who eventually assumes the form of the giant, immortal serpent-creatures that inhabit the desert world. Here are samples,
“And I beheld another beast coining up out of the sand and he had two horns like a lamb, but his mouth was fanged and fiery as the dragon and his body shimmered and burned with a great heat while it did hiss like the serpent.”
“Thou didst divide the sand by thy strength; Thou breakest the heads of the dragons in the desert, Yea, I behold thee as a beast coining up from the dunes; thou hast the two horns of the lamb, but thou speakest as the dragon. And I stood upon the sand, and I saw a beast rise up out of the sand, and upon the head of that beast was the name of God!”
The Bible describes the Anti-Christ as ” the beast arising out of the sea .” The “sea” is popularly interpreted (by fundamentalists) as the world of politics or the chaos of the nations. But for Jung, ” Water is the commonest symbol for the unconscious .” ” The unconscious ,” Jung continues, ” is commonly regarded as a sort of encapsulated fragment of our most personal and intimate life — something like what the Bible calls the ‘Heart’ and considers the source of all evil thoughts.” Jung also tells us that, ” water is earthy and tangible, it is also the fluid of the instinct-driven body, blood and the flowing of blood, the odour of the beast, carnality heavy with passion.”
Water, as the symbol of the unconscious, becomes particularly significant for individuals who have lost touch with the wisdom of the collective unconscious, as Jung feels virtually everyone in modern society has. For them, water symbolizes the depths of their unconscious that they must descend to rediscover the archetypes. But descending those depths is a process that is not without danger for,
“More than one sorcerer’s apprentice has drowned in the waters called up by himself — if he did not first succumb to the saving delusion that this wisdom was good and that was bad. It is from these adepts that there come those terrifying invalids who think they have a prophetic mission. For the artificial sundering of true and false wisdom creates a tension in the psyche, and from this there arises a loneliness and a craving like that of the morphine addict, who always hopes to find companions in his vice. When our natural inheritance has been dissipated, then the spirit becomes heavy it turns to water, and with Luciferian presumption the intellect usurps the seat where once the spirit was enthroned. ”
*For a description of the water archetype and the significance of the wind as a part of it, see page 17 of Jung’s Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious enclosed in the supplemental section.
This could obviously be applied as a note of warning against taking the phenomenon observed in this paper, or my own interpretations, too literally. I, as most or all of those who have created the works I analyze, am a product of modern society and am relatively out of touch with the archetypes. Having glimpsed only a single archetype, and approaching it with my intellect, I am in danger, according to Jung, of becoming one of those “invalids who think they have a prophetic mission.” Therefore, the reader, who is no doubt equally a product of modern society, and out of touch with the collective unconscious, must be cautioned against accepting the phenomenon observed, or my own interpretations, as in any way prophetic.
In More Than Human, water at one point can be given a very interesting symbolic interpretation. One character, Gerry, who is the brain of homo gestalt, goes to a psychiatrist to learn the truth about himself. After reaching one traumatic insight, Gerry is unable to continue. He finds himself thirsty and asks the psychiatrist for water. (Remember that the water of the unconscious is found in the depths, described in dream visions as in a valley or beneath a cliff),
” ‘Good boy,’ he said. ‘You found it. You haven’t found out what it is, but now you know where it is.'”
“But for sure,” I said hoarsely. “Got water?” He poured me some water out of a thermos flask. It was so cold it hurt. I lay back and rested, like I’d climbed a cliff, I said, “I can’t take anything like that again,”
The psychiatrist then uses the analogy of a road and asks the patient to continue on it towards his unconscious. Gerry replies, ” I been there. There’s a bridge washed out. ” In other words, a flood of water has provided him with a mental road block. The psychiatrist tells him to bypass the bridge and eventually he will be able to cross it easily. Several pages previous to this portion, Gerry describes how the former brain of homo gestalt was killed,
“There was a flash flood last week and when he went out the next night in that big wind, he walked under an old oak tree that got gullied under by the flood. The tree came down on him .”
Gerry, the second brain of Homo gestalt, takes the psychiatrist’s advice about the river and waits until he can bridge it. The bridge suggests that we are being taken on a false short cut and are bypassing what is to be learned in the depths, while pretending to have conquered it in crossing. Gerry crosses the bridge and discovers that he has murdered a woman because she threatened the break down of Homo gestalt. He had been only subconsciously aware at the time that this collective entity existed, and that he was a part of it; but even subconscious awareness was enough to drive him to murder to preserve its existence. The trip to the psychiatrist has made him realize that he is part of a collective entity that is the most powerful force on earth.
In Childhood’ s End the chief Overlord tells mankind that, “…the human race was drawing slowly nearer to the abyss—never even suspecting its existence. Across that abyss, there is only one bridge .” Across that bridge man evolves and becomes part of the Overmind—a God-like entity. Let us recall the Nietzche quote used in The Power , “Man is a rope stretched between the animal and the Superman—a rope over an abyss. What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal.” Nietzsche takes man as a bridge over “the abyss ” and finds the Superman. Jung was very interested in Nietzsche and felt that his egocentrism made him turn the God archetype (of which Jung felt Zarathustra was an excellent example) into the superman. In other words, he bypasses the water in which he would have found God, something his giant ego would not accept, and produces the false substitute of the superman. The superman in so many of these visions, takes the form of the Anti-Christ—“ 666—man making himself God .” What envisioners of these Anti-Christ archetypes probably do not realize, is that it is they themselves who are playing at being God. They are subconsciously seeking to make themselves God, but emerging out of the restless sea of their unconscious is “ the beast,” the fiendish result of their own pretensions. * See essay on Jung and Nietzsche in the supplemental section.
Nietzsche, using much water imagery, writes in Thus Spake Zarathustra, “If there are Gods, how could I endure it to be no God! Therefore there are no Gods.” and “Dead are all the Gods; now do we desire the Superman to live. Let this be our final will at the great noontide!” And finally, ” Once did people say God, when they looked out upon the seas now, however, I have taught you to say Superman.”
Last year I detailed a psychological type I termed ” the profound egocentric,” (see Dostoevsky and the Profound Egocentric). The concept is too complex to describe here, but in his worst stages the profound egocentric has fantasies of himself as God. The two greatest examples of the profound egocentric— Dostoevsky and Nietzsche—are co-inventors of the moral superman idea.
Many of the works I have mentioned include characters who display distinct signs of profound egocentrism after having evolved. The very fact that these characters are aliens and mutants represent profound egocentric sentiments. The central character of Dostoevsky’ s The Adolescent, for example, asks, “Why, why am I here? Why do I feel an alien? Why am I on another planet?”
*** Another person vitally concerned with the moral superman idea, a thinker heavily influenced by Nietzsche, was George Bernard Shaw. Shaw was an atheist and had no small ego himself—he felt he was the living proof of the moral superman. Shaw’s Back to Methuselah, with is huge introduction and epilogue, details in fiction and rhetoric the evolution of man into almost immortal superhumans. See supplemental materials for essay comparing Back to Methuselah with Childhood’s End.
Tanner, The Power’s protagonist, displays classic profound egocentric symptoms as he evolves. During his first confrontation with the superman—Hart, Tanner tells us that,
“It was as if the city were totally empty, mile after mile of desolate streets, a no-man’s land with himself as the only living person…There were no footsteps other than his own. He had been walking down the street in the middle of the deserted city.
His mind plucked curiously at the word and it struck him how appropriate it was. He had been alone all of his life.”
Later we are told that this wave of isolation and self-pity was induced by Adam Hart who was trying to get Tanner to kill himself. Tanner, during this “attack,” is described as follows:
“He was sweating. His hands were shaking and the salt perspiration crept down his forehead and beaded into the corners of his eyes. He had a headache…and somewhere lost inside him a voice was crying: not the lake, not the lake, not the lake!
People didn’t care, he thought. People never gave a damn about each other. About him…it was that way with everybody he knew. Not a single friend among them, not a single person who cared…
But there was always the lake. The beautiful lake. The cool, black, rolling lake with the concrete piers that fingered out into the friendly water, into the depths where the level was well above a man’s head. Just a few steps down the sloping sands and onto the concrete…
Not the Lake !
Just a few more steps to the pier. The black water, quietly lapping against the concrete in small waves that were getting bigger as the wind rose. The black-green friendly water. Waiting for him.”
Tanner resists the lure of the lake which is apparently a recurring symbol of self-destruction for him, and probably for the author as well. The author tells us, “A moment more and he’d have committed suicide. A dive into the lake and that would have been it.” The lake, which symbolically contains the collective unconscious, is apparently being associated with ego death, hence the profound egocentric symptoms as a last desperate clutching of self. Tanner resists the lure of the lake and goes on to discover himself a superman—Anti-Christ.
Homo gestalt would seem to represent a compromise—-the superman merging with the collective unconscious. In Childhood’s End one character describes Homo gestalt forming, note especially the water metaphor in the last sentence,
“The scattered, unutterably lonely figures began to converge, to gather into a crowd that moved precisely as a human crowd might do.
Lonely? Why had he thought of that, wondered George. For that was the one thing they could never be again. Only individuals can be lonely—only human beings. When the barriers were down at last, loneliness would vanish as personality faded. The countless raindrops would have merged into the ocean.”
Loneliness is gone, but this form of Homo gestalt is thoroughly non-human and threatens the sanctity of the individual.
In The Chrysalids, one of the members of the collective entity voices a classic profound egocentric plea, “Oh, God, please, please, God, let me be like other people. I don’t want to be different. Won’t you make it so that when I wake up in the morning I’ll be just like everyone one else, please, God, please!” The mutants cannot escape the accusing creed, “ACCURSED IS THE MUTANT IN THE SIGHT OF GOD AND MAN!” But these superhuman-mutants, whom society considers children of Satan, find solace in their collective existence, “I don’t suppose ‘normals’, who can never share their thoughts, can understand how we are so much a part of one another.” Eventually the mutants find happiness when another group of collective people rescue them, killing all the normal people, and spiriting them away in a fish-shaped aircraft over an ocean to “ Sealand,” a whole nation of collective mutants.
In Childhood’s End, the Overlords save the first child to evolve from being drowned in a flood. One of the Overlords explains the evolution in the following way,
“But there is one analogy which is—well, suggestive and helpful. It occurs over and over again in your literature. Imagine that every man’s mind is an island, surrounded by ocean. Each seems isolated, yet in reality all are linked by the bedrock from which they spring. If the ocean were to vanish, that would be the end of the islands. They would be part of one continent, but their individuality would have gone.”
In More than Human we see profound egocentrism being resolved once more into Homo gestalt. The first brain of Homo gestalt, it is stated, “had taken a name for himself, knowing that the name was a crystallization of all he had ever been and done. All he had ever been and done was alone .”
One character asks Gerry, the second brain, if a “superman ” might not have “ super-loneliness .” But Homo gestalt does not resolve profound egocentrism at first, when it is a powerful but evil and reckless entity. It first must find morality. Giving Homo gestalt a component responsible for morality seems a way for the author to get around feelings that his own creation is evil. This becomes clear in a dialogue between Gerry and the psychiatrist,
“One other thing: You said a while back that you’d been mad at everybody all your life—-that’s the way you lived.
Have you ever wondered why?”
“Can’t say I have.”
“One reason is that you were so alone. That’s why being with the other kids, and then with Miss Kew, come to mean so much.”
“So? I’ve still got the kids.”
He shook his head slowly. “You and the kids are a single creature. Unique. Unprecedented.” He pointed the pipestem at me. “ Alone.”
The blood started to pound in my ears.
“Shut up, shut up…Everybody’s alone.”
He nodded. “But some people learn how to live with it.”
He said, after a time, “Because of something you don’t know anything about. It wouldn’t mean anything to you if I told you.”
“Tell me and see.”
He gave me the strangest look. “It’s sometimes called morality.”
“I guess you’re right. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
I pulled myself together, I didn’t have to listen to this. “You’re afraid,” I said. “You’re afraid of Homo gestalt .”
In the Tolkien trilogy, the possessors of the ring become victims of egocentrism. They have feelings of isolation, self-pity, and grandiosity. Gollum, one of the first possessors of the ring, emerges from a deep black pool. The ring is the only thing which qualifies him as superhuman and he creates a myth about it that it is his “ birthday present, ” suggesting that he wishes to think of it as a power bestowed upon him by birthright. He talks to his possession constantly, referring to it as “ my precious.” Even the benevolent Bilbo Baggins refers to the ring as “my precious” when he is afraid it will be taken away, and with it his special powers.
In Foundation these superman fantasies become especially clear as a symptom of profound egocentrism. “The Mule ,” as he calls himself, turns out to be lonely, insecure, and seems to be suffering from an inferiority complex. Everyone thinks he is gigantic in size but his true persona turns out to be “Magnifico Giganticus” a ridiculously skinny clown with a big nose. Despite his ability to juggle the emotions of worlds, he is overcome when a woman whom he considers a maternal figure pities him. He tells her his life story, “It’s a weakness of mine—I want people to understand me.” He explains that he is an orphan and that he, “…grew up haphazard; wounded and tortured in mind, full of self-pity and hatred of others. I was known then as a queer child. All avoided me; most out of dislike; some out of fear.” His power we learn was developed as a compensation for these profound egocentric feelings,
“But the consciousness of power came, and with it, the desire to make up for the miserable position of my earlier life. Maybe you can understand it. It isn’t easy to be a freak—to have a mind and an understanding and to be a freak. Laughter and cruelty! To be different! To be an outsider!”
The superhumans in the Dune Trilogy are also consistently described in profound egocentric terms. The character descriptions bear great similarity to those in The Power. For example, the future Kwisatz Haderach observes, “ Seeing all the chattering faces, Paul was suddenly repelled by them. They were cheap masks locked on festering thoughts—voices gabbling to drown out the loud silence in every breast.”
Tanner similarly observes that, “The rooms were filled with laughing, giggling, empty faces, trying to convince themselves and each other that they were having a great time.”
Muad’Dib experiences some of the most advanced and subtle of profound egocentric symptoms. He even speaks of “the feeling of abandonment ” because the “…removal of all limitations meant the removal of all points of references.” The superhumans refer to themselves as freaks and one remarks, “I never wanted to be a God.” Another character admits that “Power tends to isolate those who hold too much of it.” Muad’Dib’s isolation becomes more intense as he evolves, “…observing the play of emotion around him, (he) felt abruptly that he no longer knew these people. He could see only strangers.”
The character that later becomes the Abomination feels the same growing loneliness paralleling her superhuman powers, “ A tormenting hunger shuddered through her and she wished she could put aside the power. Oh, to be as others were—blind in that safest of all blindnesses, living only the hypnodial half-life into which birth-shock precipitated most humans.” Later we learn that “ she felt a wave of self-pity, seeing herself held here in loneliness.”
Another character described as an almost Kwisatz Haderach expresses feelings that could be found nearly word-for-word in any Doestoevsky novel, “…ever since he’d realized that he was more intelligent, more sensitive than those around him. It had been a frightening discovery for a child and he knew the library had been his refuge as well as his teacher.”
Prescience itself seems to be a power that is linked with profound egocentrism. One character experiences it as an “amplification of internal consciousness which his self-identity soaked up and through which he felt himself changing.” He goes on to describe that “ he felt that his inner awareness was his true being and his outer existence was the trance.”
There are a number of other universal elements in the works I analyze that deserve consideration. To begin with, there are many strange associations made about eyes. In The Power, we learn that Adam Hart’s power is transmitted mostly through his eyes. Hart’s gaze is something that can be felt. The people Hart takes over are described as having “nothing behind their eyes.” When Hart has trouble controlling Tanner’s nervous system he concentrates on turning off just his eyes.
Arthur C. Clarke seems to have unusual ideas about eyes as well. In Childhood’s End he is unnecessarily emphatic in describing a man “whose extraordinary eyes seemed to search his mind to its depths; they were unlike any that (he) had ever seen in his life.” We later discover the man is blind, demonstarting that this quality of the eyes had nothing to do with ordinary vision. Eyes, for Clarke, are capable of extraordinary things in special individuals, “The (Overlord’s) smile was a curious affair. Most of the effect really resided in the eyes: the inflexible lipless mouth scarcely moved at all.”
On the Overlord’s world an earth visitor almost falls into a pit which contains a single giant eye. Tolkien’s trilogy is full of thousands of references to unusual eyes, but particularly significant is that Sauron’s physical form seems to be that of a giant eye that sits on top of a black tower, penetrating the entire world with its gaze.
In 2001, Bowman looks out at the white surface of the moon, Japetus, and for no visual reason feels,
“The satellite was a huge, empty eye, staring at him as he approached. It was an eye without a pupil, for nowhere could he see anything to mar its perfect blankness.
Not until the ship was only fifty thousands miles out, and Japetus was twice as large as Earth’s familiar moon, did he notice the tiny black dot at the exact center of the ellipse.”
The pupil of this eye turns out to be the inter-dimensional corridor through which Bownam evolves by first becoming an infant “With eyes that already held more than human intentness.”
In Foundation and Empire, the Mule, incognitio as Magnifico the clown, ascribes great power to his own eyes,
“He is a man of overpowering might, respected sir, and cruel in the use of his power—and his eyes, respected sir, no one sees.”
“What? What’s that last?”
“He wears spectacles, respected sir, of a curious nature. It is said that they are opaque and that he sees by a powerful magic that far transcends human powers. I have heard,” and his voice was small and mysterious, “that to see his eyes is to see death; that he kills with his eyes, respected sir.”
What is significant is that this is the way Magnifico believes a superman should be.
In the Dune Trilogy people consume a certain spice that gives them prescient vision, but also has the side-effect of removing the whites of their eyes, producing giant irises. Muad’Dib has his physical eyes destroyed by radiation, at one point, but afterwards he is still able to see through his prescient vision. Muad’Dib’s sister is described in verse: “Her eyes kill our enemies and torment the unbelievers.”
The Homo gestalt children in the Midwich Cuckoos also possess strange eyes,
The eyes, however, were even more remarkable than he had been led to expect. He had been told of the curious golden color of their irises, but no one had succeeded in conveying to him their striking lambency, their strange effect of being softly lit from within.
In the movie version of The Midwich Cuckoos, the children’s eyes would transmit light as they transmitted their will. In The Fury, during the male’s last moments of life his eyes become lights and the surviving female’s eyes respond in kind a few seconds thereafter. Apparently it is the final stage of their evolution.
In More Than Human, the two brains of Homo gestalt have eyes that can do everything Magnifico claims the Mule’s can or Adam Hart’s can, “ Thompson took off his glasses. He had wide round eyes, just the color and luminescence of a black-and-white television screen. The irises showed the whites all the way around; they were perfectly round and they looked as if they were about to spin.”
Along with strange eyes these new beings are described as having auras that can be seen as light, felt as some type of electro-magnetic radiation, or simply experienced as presence. The creature in God Made Me Do It, for example, transmits a blinding aura of light. Satan before the fall, keep in mind, was Lucifer—“ the angel of light .”
The crystal slab that prompts the evolution of the man-apes in 2001 is described as having a “ pulsing aura of light.” In the Chrysalids the first representative of the people from Sealand is described as having a head that “ looked as though it were framed by a halo.”
Much more commonly these auras are felt as a radiation or a presence. In The Power, Tanner could sense Hart from a distance, “He could feel him coming up the stairs, the way a swimmer feels the waves in a lake .” On another occasion Hart’s presence is described as a “subtle electricity to the air, as faint as a woman’s perfume, and he got the impression that somebody had been there and just a moment before.”
In Childhood’s End the second child to begin evolving, an infant girl, is described as follows: “To all outward appearances, she was still a baby, but round her now was a sense of latent power so terrifying that Jean could no longer bear to enter the nursery.” But Clarke seems to believe that an aura of some kind of energy exists around all humans , “He looked at Whitehead first: one glance was sufficient. He had thought that the hibernating man showed no sign of life, but now he knew that this was wrong. Though it was impossible to define it, there was a difference between hibernation and death.”
In The Midwich Cuckoos one character observes about the children that, “At close quarters I found them disturbing in a way I could not quite account for.” Both the Tolkien and the Dune trilogies have thousands of references to auras. Here are some typical examples from the Dune books:
As always Paul experienced a sense of presence in his father, someone totally here.
“Paul studied the man, sensing the aura of power that radiated from him.”
“Paul stared at the place his father had stood. The space had seemed empty even before the Duke had left the room.”(His father is soon to be killed)
“Now, only a few feet from the man, Paul sensed the power…the impact of personality.”
“She carried (an) aura of power.”
“A magnetic power enveloped her.”
“He was beltless and without weapons, but his presence moved with him like a force-shield bubble that kept his immediate area open.”
These descriptions of auras and radiations, my research indicates, are often developed into more complex and significant concepts. What I have discovered is that some of these writers are on there verge of explicitly describing, and many of them literally describe, a transmission of self as radiation that can eventually be developed into a super-human means of communication.
Typical examples turn up in More Than Human. Two characters who have never met are described as having non-verbal communication, “She had been aware of him for days and he of her, and now their silent radiations reached out to each other, mixed and mingled and meshed.” The first brain of Homo gestalt we learn, “…never really learned to hear speech; instead, ideas were transmitted to him directly .” This ability, it is suggested, is possessed by everyone at birth but lost through the adoption of ordinary speech,
“It had been a long time since he had been aware of his inner sensitivity to the useless (to him) communication of infants, He was losing it: he had begun to be insensitive to it when he began to gain speech.”
Near the end of the novel an association is made between this new means of communication and the eyes, “The probe that passes invisibly from his brain through his eyes into mine.”
These ideas also turn up in the concept of prescience in the Dune Trilogy. Muad’Dib refers to his vision-image as a “ wave form” and discusses “the harmonics inherent in the act of prophecy.” Muad’Dib seems capable of emitting as well as sensing them, “…she sensed a life-glow from Paul—a radiation there registering on her senses.” This could be interpreted as the beginning of an association between aura and communication. Significantly, many characters in Dune express a contempt for ordinary language, “Words are such gross machinery, so primitive and ambiguous.” The idea is also expressed, in many of these works, that radiation (usually in some form of light) is our primal, immortal life force. The death of one character near the end of the Dune Trilogy is described as follows: “… stars wheeled and streaked across her gaze, losing themselves in a blaze of light which was the inner core of her selfdom.”
We are never certain exactly how the Midwich children collectively communicate. We do know that all they need is to have one male and one female representative at a lecture, for example, for all to absorb it. But one character discovers this is not true of visual material,
“As far as I can understand it, when I show a film they could get it from one representative of each sex, but presumably in the transmission of visual sensation something is lost, for they all very much prefer to see it with their own eyes. Apparently individual experience of a picture is more satisfactory to them. And there’s a point that sets off a whole train of questions.”
In the Foundation Trilogy, Magnifico is a virtuoso of the “Visi-Sonor” an instrument that produces through radiation on the optic nerve, musical images of pulsing color that people simultaneously perceive differently and that can even cause death when taking the form of certain visions. (Archetypal images have been described as having almost this power.) In The Power, Adam Hart can control visual perceptions enough to make people see him exactly as he wishes them to.
Clarke, in the two works of his that I have analyzed, seems on the verge of expressing concepts of radiation communication in very advanced forms. On the Overlord’s world an earth visitor asks himself, “What are those flashing lights and changing shapes, the things that flickered through the air so swiftly that he could never be certain of their existence?” The earth visitor sees a giant form of changing color and size that we later learn is an extension of the Overmind. He perceives it in a manner that is beyond the visual, and he reminds himself that, “ he must not let his mind reject any message his senses brought into the hidden chamber of the brain.” He attempts to photograph this object and his Overlord guide indicates this is futile, “It was then that Jan realized that Vindarten’s (the Overlord) eyes had seen something totally different: and it was then that he guessed for the first time, that the Overlords had masters, too.”
The last man on earth sees the collective children becoming part of the Overmind first as a “hazy network of lines and bands” and then as “a great auroral storm.” The character tells the Overlords with whom he is in radio communication that, “I think that aurora was only a by-product of whatever energies are being released up there on the frontier of space…” The character asks the Overlords, “Is this how it talks to you…in colors and shapes like these? I remember the control screens on your ship and the patterns that went across them, speaking to you in some visual language which your eyes could read.”
These concepts of visual-radiation communication turn up again in 2001. The crystal monoliths are described as using rhythmic light in programming the man-apes. In the world of the future, Clarke seems to envy the communication ability of computers, “Though there was still plenty of talking, it was all being done by machines, flashing binary impulses to one another at a thousand times the rate their slow-thinking makers could communicate.” When Bowman is evolved, it is by a giant mind whose thoughts become light,
“He seemed to be floating in free space, while around him stretched in all directions, an infinite geometrical grid of dark lines or threads, along which moved tiny nodes of light—some slowly, some at dazzling speed. Once he had peered through a microscope at a cross-section of a human brain, and its network of nerve fibers had glimpsed the same labyrinthine complexity. But that had been dead and static, whereas this transcended life itself. He knew—or believed he knew—that he was watching the operation of some gigantic mind, contemplating the universe.”
Finally, Clarke speculates on beings who, “…learned to store knowledge in the structure of space itself, and to preserve their thoughts for eternity in frozen lattices of light. They could become creatures of radiation, free at last from the tyranny of matter.”
These radical ideas of a new communication take on a more concrete and obvious, if less sophisticated form in The Chrysalids. A group of children has evolved a new means of communication. They describe it variously as “think-pictures” or “thought shapes.” It is a form of radiation, since its power decreases with distance. (See the synopsis of the novel for a fuller description.)
This new means of communication, along with the emphasis on eyes with strange powers and people possessing auras, can all be viewed as part of the deification to be expected when man substitutes himself for the God archetype. The eye is an ancient archetype for God, and light, as the most immaterial material, has also been an archetype of God or extreme spirituality. Neitzche remarks, “Now am I light, now do I light, now do I fly; now do I see myself under myself. Now there danceth a God in me.” Fantasies of other types of auras and metaphysical means of communication could be viewed as emanations of an archetypally possessed and inflated eg. Sophisticated ideas of a new means of communication,, such as we find in Clarke, could be viewed as abstractions and intellectual developments of these same archetypal elements.
To review, my interpretation thus far indicates universal elements in these fantasies as common symptoms of man substituting himself for the God archetype.
References are repeatedly made in these works to bodies of water. Descriptions of the water contain classical elements of the archetypal symbol of the collective unconscious. The collective unconscious contains many archetypes, one of the most obvious being the God archetype. The symbolic bodies of water, in these fantasies, are associated with death and destruction and they are often referred to as an “ abyss.” In these works, mankind is described as bridging or crossing over these symbolic waters and in so doing he evolves into a superman. Sometimes man is described as evolving into Homo gestalt, a collective superman and a seeming compromise between the desire to become God and the lure of the collective unconscious.
The supermen as they appear in these fantasies bear extreme similarities to the popular conception of the Anti-Christ. The Anti-Christ (666) is the archetypal symbol of man making himself God and the evil that results from that substitution. He is described Biblically as “the beast emerging from the ever-lasting sea.”
Several of the supermen in these works display classic symptoms of profound egocentrism, a psychological condition that involves a gigantic ego and a separation from reality that frequently results in superman fantasies as a substitute for the God archetype.
Fantasies of strange eyes, auras and metaphysical means of communication are further symptoms of this distortion of the God archetype.
Now that I have summarized my interpretation, the reader might well question what possible significance the neurotic fantasies of harmless science fiction writers has to anyone. Their neurosis might not be as isolated a phenomenon as it appears. We are all living in a society that is emphasizing the individual and de-emphasizing any non-human deity.
Jung felt that our society’s lack of contact with the archetypes was an artificial and dangerous situation that might remedy itself in explosive, unimaginable ways. Some may become obsessed with astrology or Eastern religions that contain the archetypes. Many will seek a powerful leader whom they can substitute for the God archetype and worship as a superman.
Let us further hypothesize that a man, a neurotic artist in touch with his unconscious, perhaps, substitutes himself for the God archetype and becomes in his own eyes at least, a superman. If this man, with his partial contact with the archetypes, makes himself a God substitute in other people’s eyes and provides perversions of enough archetypes, he may be attractive enough to populace X to rise to absolute power. He might also become a reasonable real-life facsimile of the Anti-Christ.
Nation X and this new leader, however, are not hypothesis. They are the Weimar Republic and Adolph Hitler respectively. Hitler was a neurotic artist that came to envision himself as a savior and superman. He was obsessed with the occult. (The swastika is an astrological symbol, for example.) He told his people that they were the ultimate products of human evolution, a superior race that had a natural right of ascendancy over the other, inferior races. There were, I might add, some very unpleasant consequences of his neurotic fantasies and the sympathetic cords they struck in the psyche of his nation.
These fantasies I have described, are available to me, and not lying around in the notebooks of psycho-analysts, because of their great public appeal. Hal Lindsey’s books have sold millions, so have many of the fiction works and the movies as well. This appeal is part of a societal neurosis that holds the profoundest and most immediate dangers to the civilized world.
The chronological chart at the back of this paper suggests that the popularity and occurrence of these fantasies has been growing at a geometric rate. Little God-substitutes have already arisen.
The Reverend Sun Myung Moon, for example, tells his followers that he is the second Christ and has been quoted as saying, “I will conquer and subjugate the world…I am your brain.” He also blends perversions of Christianity with archetypes from Eastern religions and mystical elements of his own invention. The dedication of his followers, mostly dissatisfied youths he has seduced, make that of Hitler’s youth-movement army seem casual by comparison.
Reverend Moon, from what I have observed, is a master of archetypal substitution and mass-manipulation. He will, for example, meticulously arrange appearances before his followers so that he appears on top of a large hill (recall Eastern archetype of the mountain top—man meeting God) with the sun rising behind him, creating an aura of light around himself.
Let us remember, however, that the Reverend Moon is only one God-substitute and there will be more and perhaps better ones. These neurotic fantasies may not, therefore, be far from the mark in predicting the arising of Anti-Christ-supermen. This should not be altogether surprising. The unconscious of artists seem to contain visions that are often significant for mankind as a whole. In other words, the pathological and personal reasons for these visions being brought into consciousness do not negate their possible prophetic value.
An obvious corollary derives from the above statement. Visions of a new evolution may be prophetic. This possibility provides enormous room for speculation. If we make the assumption that the new evolution involves a new means of communication, we can suggest some very interesting things about the profound egocentric.
The profound egocentric’s intense isolation seems to begin with earliest childhood. If we postulate that the profound egocentric is capable or partially capable of a new means of communication while humanity as a whole is not, we could establish an excellent cause and effect relationship with the whole phenomenon.
In his Symbols of Transformation, Jung discusses the sensual base of all language and the resultant limitations imposed on abstract thought. Jung suggests that the bitterness, loneliness and eventual despair of Nietzche was the result of the inadequacy (for him) of language. If there are individuals whose mental processes have developed enough to make our present form of communication inadequate, then perhaps a new one will evolve to parallel that development.
If the profound egocentric’s personality is a result of an unfulfilled capacity for a new means of communication we can derive some frightening possibilities. Combine, for example, the possibility of the profound egocentric being a partial step in a new evolution with his already proven tendency to substitute himself for God. What you have is a man, with special powers, at least of communication, that perceives himself as a god. The new powers reinforce the profound egocentric’s already existing tendency to see himself above others and god-like. The new powers, as power in general, especially in the hands of a single individual, have a tendency to corrupt, and a man who sees himself as God might not be immune to that tendency. To risk stretching terminology to absurdity, you have a profound egocentric-superman-Anti-Christ, which is exactly what turns up in so many of these fantasies.
The assumption from which the above composite entity derives—that man may be undergoing a new evolution, may have more evidence than the possible prophetic value of the fantasies I have detailed. I would now like to briefly touch upon three phenomenon that may provide some of that additional evidence.
Let me at least mention in passing the work of parapsychologists. Much of their work is obviously fantasy though even as such it is extremely significant for the same reasons that the fictional fantasies are significant. ( JZ in 2006: In retrospect that seems like a harsh view of parapsychological research. I was probably lumping in low quality popular books in making that judgment. The quality, and scientific methodology of parapsychological research has improved significantly since then, while the quantity of it has, sadly, declined. Rupert Sheldrake did a survey of parapsychological experiments and published scientific experiments and discovered that the number of parapsychological experiments that used double blind methodology, the gold standard for scientific experiment,s was about three times higher in parapsychological research as compared to other types of scientific research.)
Parapsychology has great popular interest and for many it is clearly a substitute religion. One parapsychic of international renown, Uri Geller, once told an audience of followers that “just because I was born in Israel in December and possess superhuman powers you should not assume I am the second Christ.” Such a statement, and particularly to the audience at which it is directed, is comparable to telling a small child to stand in a corner and not think of a pink elephant. Uri Geller’s psychic feats have been proven again and again to be the stunts of a proficient magician, though the Anti-Christ, according to Hal Lindsey, is going to have all kinds of magical powers. At least Mr. Geller is trying.
But there are also many dedicated, scientific researchers in the field of parapsychology that must suffer for the mysticism of so many of their colleagues. It becomes almost impossible for outsiders to separate what is imagination and fabrication from what is empirical and real in their material. I certainly can’t make that separation here; but let me at least point out that empirical researchers are claiming an evolution is occurring all around us. There are also endless numbers of books out on the subject of auras, telepathy, telekinesis, etc., some of which are well-written and apparently non-fictional.
The second evidence I would like to discuss involves the UFO phenomenon. In one of Jung’s last books, Flying Saucers—A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies, he discusses the UFO phenomenon as an example of a modern myth in process. (See the supplemental section). Part of Jung’s interpretation is that the circular flying saucers are mandalas to the people who perceive them, i.e., symbols of individuation or the perfect self and also God. In other words they represent man in his final evolution merging with God.
For Jung, UFOs were symbols or psychic projections of modern man’s spiritual aspirations. There was one aspect of the UFO myth, however, that Jung never lived to observe. Many people now claim to not only have seen UFOs but their inhabitants as well. I am assuming these visions of inhabitants are fantasies. (JZ in 2006: An assumption I don’t make so cleanly anymore. Indeed, abduction is an example of anomalous phenomenon where the fire wall between the imaginal realm of the psyche and the outer physical world seems to have gaps.) The fact that people who have these visions can verify them under hypnotic regression indicates to me that they are deeply subconscious visions—-archetypes perhaps.
What people cross-culturally describe descending from these symbols of perfect man and God, is a creature Ufologists have termed “ the Delta-type humanoid .” (JZ in 2006: What are now called “the Greys.”) The Delta-type humanoid is described as small-bodied, with an over-sized head and eyes and a slit-like mouth that seems to have no musculature. In other words, they are the perfect symbol of a new evolution—more emphasis on the head, less on the body, and the huge eyes and vestigial mouth representing a new means of communication. Many people describe these beings as communicating telepathically through their eyes.
The UFO and the Delta-type humanoid, as symbols of a new evolution, are still inseperable from the Anti-Christ archetype. Let us recall the speculation of my Seventh-Day Adventist friend that UFOs were a deceptive device of Satan’s that might be used in the arrival of the Anti-Christ. Let us also recall the arrival in Childhood’s End, of beings of Satanic appearance in UFOs symbolizing the evolution and end of man.
Finally, let us recall Close Encounters in which people become obsessed with the archetype of the mountaintop—the meeing place of God and man, and discover “ The Devil’s Tower.” On the mountain top they meet UFOs of pulsing light and from them emerge Delta-type humanoids. These humanoids return a child they have abducted who is similar to themselves in appearance—huge head and eyes. The central character, who is drawn to the meeting place and enters and unites with a UFO, is a child-like man. The implication is that children or “those with less to unlearn” will be the ones to evolve.
The third and final phenomenon I would like to touch upon, is that of premonitions. Whether or not premonitions derive from the same unconscious source as prophetic fantasies, is too complex a subject to be considered here. What I do wish to point out is that people who consider themselves clairvoyants are producing prophecies that have a striking similarity to the fantasies I have analyzed. Both Freud and Jung, keep in mind, believed in clairvoyance. (See supplemental section for discussion of Freud and Jung’s feelings on the subject). Jung felt too much self-analysis and rationality would water down the prophetic sense, perhaps a fault in my first interpretation.
A glance through a premonitions book published in 1971 presented me with some already actualized prophecies. Both Hal Lindsey and a number of the psychics predicted an alliance between Russia and the U.S. against Chin. This seemed unlikely when I first tread it, but since then Haldeman’s book (H.R. Haldeman—-Nixon’s former chief of staff) has come out revealing that such an alliance was already in the offing a number of years ago. One psychic, an apparent Jung disciple, predicts that “Nixon will be reelected, but there will be trouble and possibly scandal in his second term” and that “Eventually, the U.S. and Russia will cooperate peacefully on the space program.” He also says he sees a new religion coming into being that will combine elements of other religions, including those of Christianity and that the “sun” will be involved.
More relevant to this paper, Jean Dixon claims the Anti-Christ was born in Egypt in 1962, while another psychic believes that a “child born in Egypt in 1962: would “lead many to recognize the truth.” Another psychic believes that “psychics among the young are practically coming out of the woodwork.” He describes them as having “strange eyes” and he also predicts that,
“…a new breed of psychic is emerging who will demonstrate powers far beyond those of today’s more mature sensitives and will use ‘four to five hundred percent more of their minds than the average person.’ The youthful seer, (he says) is the prototype of a newly emerging kind of man.”
If a new evolution is upon us I can only hope it is compensated by an evolution in morality. A new evolution seems to imply new powers in the hands of a select individuals, an arrangement that has never been very successful in the past. A new means of communication sounds like a more hopeful prospect as that has been desperately needed for some time. What the future will actually bring, however, is still something only time can determine with authority.
Chronology of Examples:
1870 – The Coming Race
1921 – Back to Methuselah
1945 – The Ring Trilogy
1952 – More than Human, Second Foundation
1952 – Childhood’s End
1955 – The Chrysalids
1956 — The Power
1965 — Dune
1968 – 2001
1969 – Dune Messiah
1976 – Children of Dune, The Omen, Carrie
1977 – God Made Me Do It, Star Wars, Close Encounters
1978 – The Fury, The Medusa Touch, The Chosen
From The New York Times, Saturday, March 25, 1978
“Flying Saucers—Perhaps a ’99 Percent Psychic Product”
By Carl Gustav Jung
The following article on unidentified flying objects is excerpts from Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies, a section of the book Civilization in Transition, volume 10 in the Bollinger Foundation series of the collected works of Carl Gustav Jung, the Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist.
Ufos have become a living myth. We have here a golden opportunity of seeing how a legend is formed, and how in a difficult and dark time for humanity a miraculous tales grows up of an attempted intervention by extra-terrestrial “heavenly” powers—and this at the very time when human fantasy is seriously considering the possibility of space travel and of visiting or even invading other planets.
What as a rule is seen is a body of round shape, disk-like or spherical, flowing or shining fierily in different colours, or, more seldom, a cigar-shaped or cylindrical figure of various sizes. It is reported that occasionally they are invisible to the naked eye but leave a “blip” on the radar screen. The round bodies in particular are figures such as the unconscious produces in dreams, visions, etc. In this case they are to be regarded as symbols representing, in visual form, some thought that was not thought consciously, but is merely potentially present in the unconscious invisible form and attains visibility only through the process of becoming conscious. The visible form, however, expresses the meaning of the unconscious content only approximately. In practice the meaning has to be completed by amplificatory interpretation. The unavoidable errors that result can be eliminated only through the principle of “waiting on events”; that is to say we obtain a consistent and readable text by comparing sequences of dreams dreamt by different individuals. The figures in a rumour can be subjected to the same principles of dream interpretation.
If we apply them to the round object—whether it be a disk or a sphere—we at once get an analogy with the symbol of totality well known to all students of depth psychology, namely the mandala (Sanskrit for circle). This is not by any means a new invention, for it can be found in all epochs and in all places, always with the same meaning, and it reappears time and again, independently of tradition, in modern individuals as the “protective” or appropriate circle, whether in the form of the pre-historic “sun wheel,” or the magic circle, or the alchemical microcosm, or a modern symbol of order, which organizes and embraces the psychic totality. As I have shown elsewhere, in the course of the centuries the mandala has developed into a definitely psychological totality symbol, as the history of alchemy proves.
In so far as the mandala encompasses, protects, and defends the psychic totality against outside influences and seeks to unite the inner opposites, it is at the same time a distinct individuation symbol and was known as such even to medieval alchemy. The soul was supposed to have the form of a sphere, on the analogy of Plato’s world-soul, and we meet the same symbol in modern dreams. This symbol, by reason of its antiquity, leads us to the heavenly spheres, to Plato’s “supra-celestial place” where the “Ideas” of all things are stored up. Hence there would be nothing against the naïve interpretation of Ufos as “souls.” Naturally they do not represent our modern conception of the psyche, but give an involuntary archetypal or mythological picture of an unconscious content, a rotundum, as the alchemists called it, that expresses the totality of the individual. I have defined this spontaneous image as a symbolical representation of the self, by which I mean not the ego but the totality composed of the conscious and the unconscious.
If the round shining objects that appear in the sky be regarded as visions, we can hardly avoid interpreting them as archetypal images. They would then be involuntary, automatic projections based on instinct, and as little as any other psychic manifestations or symptoms can they be dismissed as meaningless and merely fortuitous. Anyone with the requisite historical and psychological knowledge knows that circular symbols have played an important role in every age; in our own sphere of culture, for instance, they were not only soul symbols but “God-images.” There is an old saying that “God is a circle whose centre is everywhere and the circumference nowhere.” God in his omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence is a totality symbol par excellence , something round, complete, and perfect. Epiphanies of this sort are, in the tradition, often associated with fire and light. On the antique level, therefore, the Ufos could easily be conceived, as “gods.” They are impressive manifestations of totality whose simple, round form portrays the archetype of the self, which we know from experience plays the chief role in uniting apparently irreconcilable opposites and is therefore best suited to compensate the split-mindedness of our age. It has a particularly important role to play among the other archetypes in that it is primarily the regulator and orderer of chaotic states, giving the personality the greatest possible unity and wholeness.
The present world situation is calculated as never before to arouse expectations of a redeeming, supernatural event. If these expectations have not dared to show themselves in the open, this is simply because no one is deeply rooted enough in the tradition of earlier centuries to consider an intervention from heaven as a matter of course. We have indeed strayed far from the metaphysical certainties of the Middle Ages, but not so far that our historical and psychological background is empty of all metaphysical hope. Consciously, however, rationalistic enlightenment predominates, and this abhors all leanings towards the “occult.” Desperate efforts are made for a “repristination of our Christian faith, but we cannot get back to that limited world view which in former times left room for metaphysical intervention. Nor can we resuscitate a genuine Christian belief in an after-life or the equally Christian hope for an imminent end of the world that would put a definite stop to the regrettable error of Creation. Belief in this world and in the power of man has, despite assurances to the contrary, become a practical and, for the time being, irrefragable truth.
This attitude on the part of the overwhelming majority provides the most favourable basis for a projection, that is, for a manifestation of the unconscious background. Undeterred by rationalistic criticism, it thrusts itself to the forefront in the form of a symbolic rumor, accompanied and reinforced by the appropriate visions, and this activates an archetype that has always expressed order, deliverance, salvation, and wholeness. It is characteristic of our time that the archetype, in contrast to its previous manifestations, should now take the form of an object, a technological construction, in order to avoid the odiousness of mythological personification. Anything that looks technological goes down without difficulty with modern man.
The possibility of space travel has made the unpopular idea of a metaphysical intervention much more acceptable. The apparent weightlessness of the Ufos is, of course, rather hard to digest, but then our own physicists have discovered so many things that border on the miraculous: why should not mere advanced star-dwellers have discovered a way to counteract gravitation and reach the speed of light, if not more?
Nuclear physics has begotten in the layman’s head an uncertainty of judgment that far exceeds that of the physicists and makes things appear possible which but a short while ago would have been declared nonsensical. Consequently the Ufos can easily be regarded and believed in as a physicists’ miracle. I still remember, with misgivings, the time when I was convinced that something heavier than air could not fly, only to be taught a painful lesson. The apparently physical nature of the Ufos creates such insoluble puzzles for even the best brains, and on the other hand has built up such an impressive legend, that one feels tempted to take them as a ninety-nine percent psychic product and subject them accordingly to the usual psychological interpretation. Should it be that an unknown physical phenomenon is the outward cause of the myth, this would detract nothing from the myth, for many myths have meteorological and other natural phenomena as accompanying causes which by no means explain them. A myth is essentially a product of the unconscious archetype and is therefore a symbol which requires psychological interpretation. For primitive man any object, for instance an old tin that has been thrown away, can suddenly assume the importance of a fetish. This effect is obviously not inherent in the tin, but is a psychic product.
Water Symbolism—- from Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious by C. G. Jung
Therefore the way of the soul in search of its lost father—like Sophia seeking Bythos—leads to the water, to the dark mirror that reposes at its bottom. Whoever has elected for the state of spiritual poverty, the true heritage of Protestanism carried to its logical conclusion, goes the way of the soul that leads to the water. This water is no figure of speech, but a living symbol of the dark psyche. I can best illustrate this by a concrete example, one out of many:
A Protestant theologian often dreamed the same dream: He stood on a mountain slope with a deep valley below, and in it a dark lake. He knew in the dream that something had always prevented him from approaching the lake. This time he resolved to go to the water. As he approached the shore, everything grew dark and uncanny, and a gust of wind suddenly rushed over the face of the water. He was seized by a panic fear, and awoke.
This dream shows us the natural symbolism. The dreamer descends into his own depths, and the way leads him to the mysterious water. And now there occurs the miracle of the pool of Bethesda : an angel comes down and touches the water, endowing it with healing power. In the dream it is the wind, the pneuma, which bloweth where it listeth. Man’s descent to the water is needed in order to evoke the miracle of its coming to life. But the breath of the spirit rushing over the dark is uncanny, like everything whose cause we do not know—since it is not ourselves. It hints at an unseen presence, a numen to which neither human expectations nor the machinations of the will have given life. It lives of itself, and a shudder runs through the man who thought that “spirit” was merely what he believes, what he makes himself, what is said in books, or what people talk about. But when it happens spontaneously it is a spookish thing, and primitive fear seizes the naïve mind.
From Premonitions: A Leap Into the Future by Herbert S. Greenhouse
HOW PSYCHIATRISTS LOOK AT PREMONITIONS
What do psychiatrists in general feel about extrasensory perception, especially precognition? They, too, are not free of bias but many have made an earnest attempt to understand psychic phenomena. Freud believed in telepathy and clairvoyance, although he did not dwell much on the subjects in his writings. After mulling over the idea of precognition, he finally decided that it was not possible to see the future, although he had some evidence for it in his practice. Stekel believed strongly in the existence of telepathy but also tended to ignore precognition. Adler seems to have discounted the whole area of extrasensory perception.
Carl Jung, on the other hand, thought there were no limits to the scope of the mind, and he cited many cases of precognition in his experience. In 1910 there was a startling confrontation between Freud and Jung that must have given the former food for thought. While Freud was explaining why he believed precongntion was impossible, Jung had a peculiar feeling. “It was as if my diaphragm were made of iron,” he wrote later, “and were becoming red-hot—a glowing vault.”
The next moment there was an explosive sound in the bookcase. Jung, seizing advantage of the situation, said, “There, that is an example of a so-called catalytic exteriorization phenomenon.”
“Oh come,” said Freud, “that is sheer bosh.”
“It is not,” Jung replied. “You are mistaken, Herr Professor. And to prove my point, I now predict that in a moment there will be another such loud report.”
Immediately there was another explosion in the book case.
Jung noticed many cases of precognition in his practice, which dovetailed with his principle of synchronicity. A woman patient, whose determinedly rationalistic approach to her problems kept her from getting well, told him about a dream she had in which someone gave hear a golden scarab. As she lay on the couch describing it, there was a gentle tap on the window. A large insect was trying to get into the office. Jung opened the window and caught the insect as it flew in. It was a sacarboeid beetle, with a green gold color very close in appearance to that of a golden sacrab.
Jung handed the beetle to the young woman saying, “Here is your scarab.” He wrote later, “This experience punctured the desired hole in her rationalism and broke the ice of her intellectual resistance. The treatment could be continued with satisfactory results.” The woman’s dream-precognition of the appearance of the scarab was thus combined with here own need for a breakthrough in the analysis. In her dream-drama, the “someone” who handed her the scarab was Jung himself, who in doing so presented the “gift” of improvement in the analysis.
In Jung’s explanation the appearance of the beetle goes even deeper and indicates that the symbols of the ancients, including magical properties assigned to animals, were far more than mere superstition. The scaraboeid beetle was a rebirth symbol, so that the patient’s dream also pictured the “rebirth” of her healthy personality in the analysis. An old Egyptian fable tells how a dead sun god changed himself into Khepri, the scarab, and was thus reborn.
But this does not account for the sudden appearance of the scarab-beetle itself at exactly the right moment. Did it, in its own wisdom, understand that it was a rebirth symbol and respond telepathically to this young lady’s need? Why, as Jung asks, would it go against its normal habits and demand admittance to a darkened room?