|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.
F. David Peat writes in his article "Divine Contenders: Wolfgang Pauli and the Symmetry of the World":
"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.
In Charlene P. E. Burns' article "Wolfgang Pauli, Carl Jung, and the Acausal Connecting Principle: A Case Study in Transdisciplinarity", she writes:
"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.