A book review
By Leonard Cruz, M.D. , M.E.
Erit in omnibus in Omnia Deus (God may become all in and through all)
The Phenomenon of Man
Pierre Telihard de ChardinQuantum mechanics, depth psychology, and mysticism are blended in Peter Todd’s scholarship as he searches for a Third-Millennium Theology. Todd effectively strikes a blow to the The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins’s enormously popular 2006 book by highlighting that the God Dawkins seeks to dismantle, a God infused with classical Newtonian and neo-Darwinian ideas, has already been silenced and annihilated. Todd correctly points out that Dawkins completely ignores revolutionary ideas emerging from quantum mechanics high priests such as David Bohm (The Undivided Universe), Erwin Schrödinger (What is Life?), and evolutionary biologists like McFadden, Al-Khalilili (A Quantum Mechanical Model of Adaptive Mutation) who propose a quantum mechanical model of evolution. One consequence of Todd’s frequent reference to Dawkins is that it may unintentionally promote The God Delusion. During the twentieth century, under the banner of process theology, various explorations of God’s attribute of being mutable were undertaken. The Individuation of God is at once a psychologically well-informed work and another contribution to process theology. Readers who are familiar with certain bedrock ideas from quantum mechanics will undoubtedly appreciate Todd’s grasp more than those for whom ideas like quantum entanglement, or emergent phenomenon are entirely new concepts. It may be helpful to explain some concepts and Wikipedia provides some succinct explanations with suitable references (retrieved 2/3/2013 ) Quantum entanglement is a form of quantum superposition. When a measurement is made and it causes one member of such a pair to take on a definite value (e.g., clockwise spin), the other member of this entangled pair will at any subsequent time be found to have taken the appropriately correlated value (e.g., counterclockwise spin). Thus, there is a correlation between the results of measurements performed on entangled pairs, and this correlation is observed even though the entangled pair may have been separated by arbitrarily large distances.In Quantum entanglement, part of the transfer happens instantaneously.  Emergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions. Emergence is central to the theories of integrative levels and of complex systems. The negentropy, also negative entropy, of a living system is the entropy that it exports to keep its own entropy low; it lies at the intersection of entropy and life. (It is a measure of a systems tendency to move toward or sustain complexity and order.) Todd suggests that God and man are in an entangled state such that both God’s and man’s individuation are inextricably bound and reliant on one another for completion. This will strike many Christians as antithetical and heretical, but it may provide process theologians a solid scientific basis for their claims. The book’s first chapter, “The Case against God” summarizes the case Dawkins prosecutes against God in which he contends that belief in a personal god constitutes a delusion. In “Religious Fundamentalism as a Shadow”, Todd notes that fundamentalism and the literalism it espouses is “One major challenge to the survival of humanity…” . (p 21) The third chapter, “Mind and Directed Evolution” introduces the most revolutionary claims. Insofar as the quality of mind is revealed even at the quantum level, Todd explains that biosystems may be viewed as quantum computers. As such, they are capable of evaluating infinite probability states, and through natural selection, efficiently choosing evolutionary changes that are useful for survival. If for example, the mutation of the HIV retrovirus involves something other than random events, then humankind’s collective conscious response may be understood as a “metaphorical quantum entanglement between the developed and developing worlds…that transcends the confines of nationalism and economic self-interest…” (p48). In the chapter titled “Consciousness as an Organizing Principle” the author decries spiritual materialism, secularism, and the religion of the state for their ability to support a “God of insects” (p82), wherein spirit and numinosity is repressed and no individuality exists like with beehives or ant colonies. This conception of God has menacing effects upon the planet and its resources. In the totalitarian states especially, “…no individuality exists … the individuation process is repressed so that personal self-identity is subsumed to a mindless devotion to the state …”. Depth psychology, theology, and the numinous qualities of archetypal symbols illuminate how man’s conception of God can evolve beyond a transitional object. The last two chapters, “Myth, Symbol, and Transformation” and “A Third-Millennium Theology” challenge conventional understanding of time’s arrow and reintroduce the numinous in an effort to propose a theology for our current millennium. Todd is not suggesting a third-millennium theology as some completed endpoint. However, he seems to be mindful of the simultaneous threats of thermonuclear warfare, chemical & biological weapons, natural resource depletion, and global warming. These are more dangerous if humanity remains fixed in the mindset of religious fundamentalism, classical Newtonian mechanics, or neo-Darwinian orthodoxy. The Individuation of God inquires about time and the illusion of time’s arrow. Todd invokes Schrödinger’s reference to the “tyranny of Chronos” in considering the indestructibility of the mind. The Greek New Testament uses two words for time, Chronos (Χρόνος) and Kairos (καιρός). Kairos is the indeterminate time, often discovered in the liminal realm, when something special happens. It can be thought of as the emergent moment, the eternal now, or the realm where the illusion of time’s arrow is transcended. In the end, The Individuation of God is a valiant and well-informed effort to integrate modern science, psychology, and theology. The Individuation of God successfully interweaves an expansive list of sources. In the last chapter His Holiness the Dalai Lama is quoted, “If science proves some belief of Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism will have to change.” (p141). And from Einstein’s essay, “The World as I See It” he quotes, “The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious.” We arrive at some intriguing conclusions that “Without psyche there would be no theory to explain the outlines and patterns discovered by science.” (p150) In the course of God becoming fully human through the incarnation, arises a corollary and possibility, that humanity is becoming divine. This is in perfect alliance with Jung’s notion of Christ as a symbol of the coniunctio, for Christ reconciles opposites. The evolution of God and the evolution of man cannot be separated. There is a trajectory of humanity’s conception of God that began with a mythopoetic, animistic experience of the divine. This trajectory later traverses the epochs in which omnipotent, often patriarchal Olympian or Old Testament deities reigned with ferocity and aloofness. And this arrives at a “…three-hundred-year-old schism between science and religion” (p160) that yielded a demythologized, annihilated god. Peter Todd’s third millennium theology, may provide a path of return to the Garden of Eden. This third millennium theology is characterized by a deep appreciation for the entangled state of our inner and outer life, of I and Thou, and of the physical and the numinous. This theology brings man’s evolving notion of God full circle where it is once more infused with myths and symbols. In this regard, depth psychology and Jung’s seemingly unfathomable explorations continue to enrich us. At times it may appear at times that Todd too often refers to ideas previously mentioned, but this is necessary since many topics are likely to be unfamiliar. The frequent invocation of Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion, makes The Individuation of God, appear to be a disputation of Dawkins. This is a small shortcoming, of this book but The Individuation of God deserves to stand alone with Dawkins relegated to a footnote and bibliographic reference. – Len Cruz, MD CLICK HERE TO ORDER A COPY OF THIS BOOK
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We have to realize, quite dispassionately, that whatever we fight about in the outside world is also a battle in our inner selves. In the end we have to admit that mankind is not just an accumulation of individuals utterly different from one another, but possesses such a high degree of psychological collectivity that in comparison the individual appears merely as a slight variant. How shall we judge this matter fairly if we cannot admit that it is also our own problem? Anyone who can admit this will first seek the solution in himself. This, in fact, is the way all the great solutions begin. (CW18: 927 Marginal Notes on Wittels: “Die Sexualle Not,” 1910)As we seek solutions in a spirit of enquiry and curiosity and as we find ourselves reflected in our world, JSSS invites proposals for presentation, performance, and conversation at this conference. We invite responses that explore the individual and collective aspects of psyche and society and their various relationships: personally, in families, as communities, in relation to culture, to nature and the arts, politics and science. This conference offers an opportunity for interdisciplinary reflection, investigation and rumination as together we seek to clarify and understand the current state of our world and its affective influence upon us. Research that addresses the following questions will be particularly welcome:
- What do psyche and society say to us regarding: nature, eco-systems, climate, space, animals and human bodies?
- How might our reflections on psyche and society shed new light on: politics, cultural change, economics, education, international relations, conflict and war?
- How does psyche and society influence our response and understanding of: race, gender, identity, nation, history and spirituality?
- How does an awareness of the interaction between psyche and society help to understand cultural media? And other forms of cultural expression?
- What responses are open and sustainable to individuals and communities in the face of such concerns?
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Submissions will be acknowledged and a reply will be sent to you by February 01, 2013. Further details of the conference including a booking brochure will be posted on the website as soon as possible: http://www.thejungiansociety.org.