Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Wolfgang Pauli (2018 update)

Graphic of Pauli and Jung from: For Fear the Glass May Shatter, a 2014 film
"which explores physicist Wolfgang Pauli and his relationship with Carl Jung,
who celebrated him as the anonymous dreamer in his master work
 Psychology and Alchemy."

"For in the end the law of nature, irrespective of its obviously empirical derivation, is always a psychic form as well, and nolens volens also has its origins in psychic premises."

"For the invisible reality, of which we have small pieces of evidence in both quantum physics and the psychology of the unconscious, a symbolic psychophysical unitary language must ultimately be adequate, and this is the far goal which I actually aspire. I am quite confident that the final objective is the same, independent of whether one starts from the psyche (ideas) or from physis (matter). Therefore, I consider the old distinction between materialism and idealism as obsolete."

- Two quotes from Wolfgang Pauli via letters he had written to Carl Jung. See Carl Jung and Wolfgang Pauli on "Synchronicity" and "Radioactivity" and Wolfgang Pauli: Physical symbolic language of my dream. Inset right and inset right (below): Wolfgang Pauli.


In case you haven't noticed, In my last several posts I seem to be following a common thread which started out on the innocent topic of number synchronicity and will eventually come full circle shortly, leading back to what is, yet, another number synchronicity! But, bear with me, there is one more figure that needs to be addressed in this particular thread and that figure is the physicist Wolfgang Pauli. Which is not say we are finished with Jung. Not hardly.

"Synchronicity, as a firm concept, did not really occur to Jung until around 1929. It is remarkable that the development of this idea a year later coincided with the appearance of a new patient, the brilliant young physicist, Wolfgang Pauli. The relationship that grew between Jung and Pauli is remarkable and well worth the telling, for it illustrates how scientists of that period were willing to entertain Jung's ideas about synchronicity, archetypes, and the collective unconscious, and even attempt to extend them into their own fields. That one of the creators of modern quantum theory was also deeply interested in Jung's ideas is not generally known, particularly amongst the scientific community."

From outward appearances, Wolfgang Pauli was a destitute drunk when he appeared on Jung's doorstep. But he was already the physicist responsible for formulating the exclusion principle in quantum mechanics. So, though their bond was initiated within the bounds of psychoanalysis, eventually they discovered that Pauli's quantum theories and Jung's budding theories regarding synchronicity seemed to share a common ground.

"Pauli thought that the probabilistic nature of quantum theory and the Uncertainty Principle offered the possibility of discovering something beyond the mind-matter gap... There is, he thought, a quantum explanation for synchronistic occurrences which somehow “acausally weaves meaning into the fabric of nature.”

And that, ultimately:

“It would be most satisfactory... if physics and psyche could be seen as complementary aspects of the same reality."

But, both men, through their relationship with each other and their shared interest in synchronicity courted disaster in their separate scientific fields. Burns reminds us that:

"Synchronicity was (and continues to be) a prime target for criticism of Jung that for decades bordered on outright dismissal by many in the scientific and academic communities. For example, historian of science Suzanne Gieser writes that she finds Pauli’s interest in Jung “unusual” because “most of those with an academic or scientific background dismiss Jung totally."

For a short film about Pauli, try Mysticism and Science.


  1. MOST fascinating!

    Thank you for posting the video clip.

  2. For the most part, this has
    been ignored. But senior researchers at Princeton University
    did agree with the conclusions.

    The experience was the conversion
    of dream symbols to number value
    for playing the NY Lotto game.
    Something happened, and a "message"
    came through, telling that a star
    has exploded, (Kochab) and the light-energy will soon reach earth.

    News article:

    more details in google:

  3. I would love to see more collaboration like this between the hard sciences and psychology/parapsychology. I personally don't see Jung's concept of synchronicity as a very scientific concept. However, I think there are ways to view synchronicity that make it scientifically testable. I think a lot of people are aching for things that can bridge those two worlds, to the point of going after real nonsense. I think, though, that the real goods can be delivered.

  4. Robert,
    I agree... "real goods" can be delivered... the necessary instruments to do the measurements just haven't been invented yet. Then again, I assume that the variety of "measurement" increments we're inadvertently addressing may not yet have been "found" either.

    In any event, it's an endless loop of ignorance. We can but dream... so, we do! ;-)

    Meanwhile, check out the 4 scientist's links in my later "...Thoughtcrime" post - these men are putting their muster where (merely) our mouths are!

  5. I checked out your "thoughtcrime" post. I had no idea Sheldrake had been stabbed. I guess that was back in 2008. My goodness.

    I really do the think the "thoughtcrime" effect is huge. Your specific examples about Peat and Josephson being disinvited to the conferences really made the point.

    Actually, I am putting my muster where my mouth is, to use your words. I am currently heading up a pilot study on an extreme form of synchronicity, which, because of its extreme and specific nature, is scientifically testable. On our research team we have Bruce Greyson, one of the fathers of research into near-death experiences, and Bernard Beitman, a psychiatrist who devised the Weird Coincidence Scale, to measure the incidence of weird coincidences in people's lives.

    We are only six weeks into the six-month study, but so far it is going really well. I am very heartened. Once the pilot study is done, our plan is to do a more formal one.

  6. Wow - exciting news! Many kudos to you and your team - sounds very intriguing. Best of luck with it!

    Have you ever heard of IONS?

    There's a host of similar institutions and sources that can be found on the Dean Radin blog I mentioned in the article... which might be useful to your eventual needs.

    Keep us informed regarding your progress!

  7. Thanks. I'll try to keep you informed. I did belong to IONS a few years ago. And I'm a big fan of Dean Radin's work. He read my book Signs (about this phenomenon) and wrote me a favorable message about it. I'll check out the list of institutions you mentioned. Thank you for that. I could see that being useful. At this link I say a bit about the pilot study if you're interested:

    I really like the piece of art you photographed for, I think, the thoughtcrime post. Very nice!


  8. "Conjunctions of meaningfully parallel events" - I like that!

    And I find your site/blog very intriguing. though, I confess, there's a lot to read and I haven't gone through it all yet.

    The art you refer to is a digital piece I did last year with Mac in mind - Worm's Last Memory - which I mention elsewhere in this blog under the title "Butterflies in Space".


    I will soon be putting up an essay about the redefining of the term "paranormal" - a word I detest - and I look forward to your input!