Transmodern Alchemy - Intro
Transmodern Alchemy Intro
By Iona Miller 5/2009
THE TRANSMODERN ALCHEMIST
"Nonexistence is eagerly bubbling in the expectation of being given existence....For the mine and treasure-house of God's making is naught but nonexistence coming into manifestation." ~Rumi
In the 20th Century, Carl Jung described alchemy in terms of depth psychology and shed new light on an old science. Contemporary 21st Century alchemy can be viewed as a revolutionary dynamic process in terms of Chaos Theory and its related sciences. There are analogies between spiritual psychology, chaos theory, scalar physics and alchemical processes, some of which are more than metaphorical. Chaos is intgrated in the new paradigm.
In the Transmodern union of opposites, the real and the unreal are no longer opposed. The concept of reality emerges, no longer bound to the material world but turned into fiction because of it. Reality and existence are no longer synonymous – it is a type of reality that continues to “be” even when it may not “exist” and does not comply with the simple status of simulacrum, i.e., the virtual is the true reality.
Time is no longer a flow, projection or hope. It accelerates at overwhelming speed, becomes compressed and plays itself out. Instantaneously, everything takes place before us simultaneously, including retrievals of the past and projections of multiple futures.
The transmodern world is not in progress nor beyond history. This instantaneous world means time quickens to the breathtaking speed of an eternally updated present. Beyond the hierarchy which has lost divine legitimacy and beyond anarchy, integrated chaos represents our very own dynamic momentum of innovation.
Alchemical transmutation is likewise virtually instantaneous, because its potential exists in each and every nanosecond, at the bottom of each breath. Creative solutions arise from chaotic circumstances by more openly receptive awareness of potential. Alchemy’s protocols, in the context of art instigate some imbalance to facilitate discovery of enriching solutions to this chaos. Were we wiser in the past? What if we collapse the notion of past, present, future in the ever-present NOW?
Transmodernity is the synthesis of modernity and postmodern philosophy. So what might a chaos-informed Transmodern Alchemy look like? First and foremost our existential state space is in flux. The nation-state no longer dominates space in globalist society. Phenomena no longer correspond with old-paradigm frameworks.
Trans- is the prefix that guides the vision of reality as virtual and fluctuating. At the subquantal range of virtual photon flux, this is literally true and the metaphysical substrate of manifestation. At the virtual level, the fiction of ‘reality’ as substantive is revealed and the transparet veil is ripped away. Self-organizing dynamic transactions combine the positive momentum of the modern philosophy with the emptiness of the Postmodern, the longing for unity of the former and the fragmentation of the latter.
Our comprehension of the physical world has been transformed. We are wavefronts in local space, undergird by the vacuum fluctuation of absolute space. Material reality, as formation, atom, mass, power, space, time, etc. is an outworn concept that brought order to a Newtonian universe.
The theory of relativity and quantum mechanics , waves, chords, uncertainty, gravitational lines, the temporalization of space, etc., an entire fuzzy logic brought physics to the edge of metaphysics. We have alchemically synthesized the actual and ethereal in our transmodern cultural worldview.
Reality is no longer limited to the movement of aggregates of atoms (objects), but also quanta of information transmitted in real time. Space is no longer the site of transformation, nor the alleged place of secularization multiplied in n dimensions. It becomes irrelevant and ceases to exist, as a limit never reached before. The speed of light, takes on the form of everyday instantaneity.
The spirit, soul, reason, the subjective, objective and absolute was the main protagonist of modernity, although progressively undermined by scientific materialism, it became a mere metaphor of itself as a dynamic driving force and shared form of rationality.
Behind it all we are left with the body, fragmented, joyful, lustful, a form of moral subversion and doomed flesh. Nowadays the remaining organic matter seems more like a primitive burden, the mind plays with its transformation and turns it into a guinea pig for genetic engineering or expands it with technological prostheses. We are already mutants connected to the net, cyborgs that proclaim the era of the postcorporal and the transhuman.
The ultimate alchemy is performed on ourselves and we are headed into a vast epochal shift -- the dawn of a transgenic age fills us with both hopes and fears. Even the body reaches out, externalizing its nervous system, to unite the biological and mechanical: chips, implants, assisted reproduction, cloning, technological gadgets developed to extend our senses. The cyborg model embraces the metaphor of a mutating transhuman body, just as transsexuality has dislodged and paved the way for a vast array of possible genders, desires and identity beyond the dichotomy of masculine and feminine.
“Reality becomes constant transformation. Its actual conditions are transcended to become part of an interconnected whole that is infinitely readjusted on a global level. In the end, the Total does not bring us back to a religious or supernatural power, nor to the noumenal kingdom of Metaphysics or Absolute Logic. The transcendental that used to be beyond and yet close to empirical reality has now become the hyperreal empirical reality itself, i.e., virtual transcendency.”
The contemporary area that is criss-crossed by all trends, memories, possibilities. It is both transcendental and apparential, and is voluntarily syncretic in its ‘multichrony’. Transmodernity is a fiction: our reality, the copy that supplants the model, eclecticism both mean and angelical.
Transmodernity is postmodernity without its innocent rupturism, the museum display of reason, not forgetting history which has died to avoid ending up in barbaric cybernetic or mass media domestication. It is proposing values as stops or as fables, but without forgetting, because we are wise, because our past was wise.
Transmodernity takes up and recovers the vanguards, copying and selling them, but meanwhile it remembers that art has had, and has, an effect of denunciation and experimentalism, that is, not everything goes. It breaks down the distance between elitism and mass culture and reveals the connections between them. Transmodernity is image, series, baroque fugue and self-reference, catastrophe, loop, fractal and inane reiteration, the entropy of what is obese, the clumsy inflation of data, the aesthetic of what is full and of what has disappeared, entropic, fatal.
The key to it is not what comes after, the rupture, but the trans-substantiation and overlapping of paradigms. The worlds that penetrate each other and end up as soap bubbles or as images on a screen. Transmodernity is not a desire or a goal. It is just there, like a complex, random, imposed strategic situation. It is neither good nor bad, beneficial nor unbearable… and it is all of these things together… It is the abandonment of representation, it is the reign of simulation, of simulation that knows it is real.
Transmodernity, as an open stage and the designation of our present, goes beyond a random denomination and aims to cover the inheritance of the challenges of Modernity after the collapse of the illustrated project. If we do not renounce Theory, History, Social Justice and the autonomy of the Subject, accepting post-modern criticism, we are limiting the possible horizon for reflection getting away from nihilism without committing ourselves to outdated projects but not forgetting them.
Accepting pragmatism as a basis does not mean we have to deny that human action is guided by regulatory ideals that are the basis for argument and rationality. But these regulatory ideals which, after modernity, refused to be based on theology or metaphysics, can still not, after post-modern criticism, be legitimised by the illustrated project. We have weakened their gnoseological vigour but not the logical and social need for them, and this gives us the notion of pragmatism.
Such regulatory ideals represent operational simulations legitimised by rational perfectibility, which criticism and consensus constantly renew, non-universal but universalisable public values which find their sphere not in intuition, common sense or tradition but in the theoretical effort to create conceptual paradigms that will help increase social and individual wellbeing.
We are therefore talking about social transformation, the transcendence of mere practical management, of compromise, of lines of questioning that cross through rational enquiry, changing and being changed. (Rosa María Rodríguez Magda)
Whether alchemy can perform a causal transformation of metals to gold or not, it certainly has the capacity for creatively stimulating the imagination and the kind of divergent thinking that leads to discovery about oneself, the world, and the primal nature of reality.
THE TRANSMODERN ALCHEMIST
Alchemy recognizes its own creative role as an art based on the life of the soul (Anima Mundi) in relation to Spirit and Body, and as a healing fiction, using certain symbols and images. Spontaneous healing is a stated goal of alchemical process. It supercharges natural healing factors.
Healing occurs on many levels, including radical holistic self-organization from the deepest chaotic level. Psychology works through fictions which contribute to the healing of the psyche and heal our ideas about fiction being false. Healing fictions are fundamental to creative imagination and thereby thinking itself. It is a self-correcting process, like science.
Alchemy is a form of magic facilitating acausal qualitative change of substance – transmutation, including that of the soul. In this aspect, it is a spiritual technology based in the metaphysics of a primordial chaos or the void. Seeming ‘miracles’ happen in the gaps in consciousness. For example, art has a way of wordlessly heralding the future, in general terms, symbolism and sometimes in specifics. We are momentarily freed of enslaving ideologies.
Alchemy, like the Philsopher’s Stone, can take on the projections of modern science theories from psychology to life sciences to physics. Complex systems emerge from simple systems whose parts do not predict such transformations. Yet things can and do transform into other things. We are left holding our breath in suspended animation at the paradox, the moment of despair or bliss when we are engulfed in unsolvable Mystery — riddles wrapped in enigmas, half-truths disguising lies, faulty theories explaining nothing.
Soul is a perspective not a substance. Differentiating this middle ground, we find ourselves in Chapel Perilous, a way of being in the world between thinking and perceiving, a conspiracy (seeing with) of Eros and its laws of attraction that reason alone cannot nourish. The word ‘resolve’ echoes the alchemical maxim of “Solve et Coagula,” the liquification and reintegration of essentially frozen psychic energy.
We dream into the world while we are awake - coincidence theories, perceptual theories, alchemical theories. Confusion arises when your rational view is irreparably broken. Paradoxically, as “the poison is the cure.” It might lead to breakthrough, insight or spiritual healing. We make soul by pro-actively living life not by retreating into spiritual discipline. Emphasizing the inner soul at the expense of the outer soul fosters the decline of the actual world – alchemy’s One World. We can be that hyperdimensional crossroads, that strange attractor, that archetypal probability cloud.
We struggle to connect the dots. In relentless speculation multiple mind-blowing streams of thought completely shatter preconceived notions of perception, time and space. It is as true in physics as cultural engineering. It is difficult to grasp without solipsism that everything we experience is a virtuality.
It is difficult for any of us to free ourselves from our enculturated, a priori beliefs about existence. When we firmly believe what we say, we sell others a confabulation of our own truths and lies. It is hard to view anything from outside of our own fundamental philosophical, spiritual, and psychological perspectives.
But it is possible to persuade others and many speakers have staked their careers on it. These theories, dogmas, and experiences condition how we perceive reality. Their influence may be so subtle we fail to notice where our position originated, when the shift occurred. Our viewpoint is relative to our position.
When old defenses no longer work, you must develop new coping skills for developmental challenges. But this initiatory way includes many “deaths” and rebirths. Nigredo, the blackening, isn’t always the first stage, but may be one of relapse, eclipse or another incubation stage.
Nigredo is a recurrent cycle of desire and frustration with no real beginning. Your energies are sucked from the outer world and turned in on themselves. Normal life is radically disrupted. When you are paralyzed by life there is nothing to do but let go of your control fantasies. An eclipse of the ego offers a way into the deeper energies of the unconscious.
The Art of Alchemy
Alchemy begins and ends in the quest for eternal life. It is a spiritual technology of rebirth using natural methods that in their effect transcend nature by amplifying that which is immortal within us. It does not exist in nature but must be prepared by Art. Art is a form of manifesting, making and objectifying the world - spiritual physics.
Artists and mystics are aware of their own internal space and thus able to enter it, playing the mindbody like a musical instrument. Looking inside, they see the true nature of reality and can express that literally and symbolically. We all possess the creative potential. All creative acts are a marriage of spirit and matter, reaching down into the body as the source of our essential being and becoming.
Today, we might describe this resonance as accessing energy that regenerates the mindbody. Healing is an aspect of creativity; nature is within and without us. The Magus does not dominate reality but develops embodied psychophysical equilibrium, clarity, wisdom and compassion.
Creative work originates in the body and is projected out into the world. The projections are then internalized into awareness. The bodymind of the artist is an alchemical vessel containing the creative flux during the process of transformation. Awareness and consciousness form a continuous alchemical movement. The creative gold is generated and embodied in the alembic of the mindbody. The mindbody is the same substance as the Cosmos and contains and reveals its mysteries.
QUANTUM META-SYN LIGHT
Metaphysical Basis of Life
Formerly secret forces in the universe have been revealed by modern research. Alchemy reduces all to the first state, the ground state of being -- original experience that is timeless, infinite. The classical Void, the quantum vacuum is a carrier of information.
The energy body or the quantum field body connects us with the negentropic potential of the zero-point field. Radiant light literally emerges from this mystic void. Primordial structuring processes are common to both psyche and matter, working in the gap or empty interval between intention and action.
Light is a universal system and a general property of all plant and animal life. A photon is a quanta of light. We are photon-emission systems of low-level luminescence which differs from bioluminescence which is a chemical reaction. Even rocks, liquid and solid crystals, diamonds and inorganic materials emit photons or plasma discharge. Decay of these emissions, which are quantum events, function as clocks revealing their age. Gamma rays are electromagnetic radiation from photon emission.
Quantum optics (quantum optical coherence) is the basis of life. Endogenous light produced by living systems is called biophotons. Light is produced by our own cells and connects us non-materially to the environment. We are self-tuning resonating systems of oscillating field, coupled nonlocally, tunable to a broad range of frequencies and polarizations.
We are electromagnetic, essentially human antennas. Ultraweak photon emission is the quintessence of our being. A coherent radiation field which permeates and envelops the solid body is emitted by the organism as a whole. Tranmitting at the speed of light, it regulates and controls all life. Material structures function as antennae for absorption and emission.
Emitting matter forms a biological laser. DNA in each cell nucleus stores and modulates light emission (non-classical light, non-monochromatic, squeezed states). DNA/RNA projects its code into 3-d manifestation via highly coherent biological laser light and sound vibrations. Below the chaotic threshold, between coherent and incoherent oscillation, light sources decouple and function separately, dominated by the overall absorption of light.
The field/solid body is a holographic field of standing waves. These ultra-stable waves can superimpose to order living tissue, coupled by a coherent radiation field. DNA uses frequencies to transmit and coordinate coded information and feedback through waves. Rogue frequencies can be retuned to normal oscillations.
DNA stores light and emits it when unzipped. In our brains, neuronal activity of light information bits creates a feedback system of holographic thoughtforms. Biophotons are related to both metabolism and pathologies. During death emissions increase up to a thousand-fold and fall to zero upon death of the organism. (Bischoff)
Health is a measure of subatomic communications. We are light-sensitive at the levelof single photons. We suck up light from our environment and re-emit it, according to our functional state. Wave resonance or entrainment is the mechanism that allows us to exchange photons and even potentially influence one another, psychophysically, even at a distance.
“Biophoton emission reflects, (i) the left-right symmetry of the human body; (ii) biological rhythms such as 14 days, 1 month, 3 months and 9 months; (iii) disease in terms of broken symmetry between left and right side; and (iv) light channels in the body, which regulate energy and information transfer between different parts. The results show that besides a deeper understanding of health, disease and body field, this method provides a new powerful tool of non-invasive medical diagnosis in terms of basic regulatory functions of the body.” (Cohen, Popp, 2003)
Spontaneous ultra-weak photon emission from human subjects can be measured. The biophoton field is almost fully coherent and strongly linked to all physiological functions, cell division, morphogenesis, growth and differentiation, and regulatory activity. Information of local influences on the body is transferred by a biophotonic communication channel to other places of the body. Biophotonic emission also correlates with electrical parameters of the skin.
Biophotons are the ideal communication system for any organism. Complex organisms emit fewer photons than less complex ones. Related to nonlocal effects, holistic function, bliological rhythms, stress, adaptogens, health and disease, biophoton emission is the spontaneous emission of ultraweak light emanating from all living systems, including humans.
Regulatory activities of the body are not stable functions of the electromagnetic fields within the body, but subjects of permanent rhythmical, oscillatory and coherent field amplitudes. Cancer causing substances are light scramblers. Light is going out of sick or stressed individuals in an attempt to restore homeostasis. (Popp)
Emission is linked to mental states, blood flow and the endogenous production of excited states within the living system. The detection and characterisation of human biophoton emission has led to suggestions that it has potential future applications in medicine. Meditation may conserve biophotonic reserves by slowing free-radical activity (Van Wijk)
So, alchemy refines the way the mindbody generates and processes inherent light as medicine. It refines the aspirant's ability for tapping and amplifying Medicine Light. This primordial state is the luminous ground of our being, hidden deep in the heart of things.
It remains undemonstrated, but we may also have dark biology counterparts, an invisible self coupled to the visible human body, of massless, zero-charge dark matter and dark energy. There are some theoreticalindications that biophoton emission may be the result of interactions of Dark Matter particles with the visible particles.
In alchemy, ll other goals are subordinate to the transformative prime directive which includes meditative techniques for continuing consciousness after death. This Philosopher's Stone is also the Universal Medicine (meta-syn), the regenerative Elixir of Life. The greatest mystery is the LIFE IN DEATH: we don't die but continue in transcendent form. This is the virtual secret of man and nature.
“I suddenly realized that in the language, or at any rate in the spirit of the Glass Bead Game, everything actually was all-meaningful, that every symbol and combination of symbol led not hither and yon, not to single examples, experiments, and proofs, but into the center, the mystery and innermost heart of the world, into primal knowledge. Every transition from major to minor in a sonata, every transformation of a myth or a religious cult, every classical or artistic formulation was, I realized in that flashing moment, if seen with truly a meditative mind, nothing but a direct route into the interior of the cosmic mystery, where in the alternation between inhaling and exhaling, between heaven and earth, between Yin and Yang holiness is forever being created.” (Hesse, Magister Ludi)
In chaos, science and art draw closer to one another. Alchemical art is full of fractal-like “reflectaphors” that speak to the human condition throughout the ages. Art can be meta-syn -- therapeutic, both in the process of creation and for the viewer who reacts from personal associations. the future ceased to function as the predominant sphere of reference, and the past turned into a storehouse of images, lifestyles and ideas for us to recycle.
Alchemy is not a religious, metaphysical. nor ethical pursuit. It looks on the play of the powers of the Soul from a purely cosmological point of view, treating the soul as a ‘substance' to be purified, dissolved and crystallized anew. Each alchemist, with a will to be interconnected, is an intellectual and spiritual pioneer who enters unknown territory realizing the groundstate is non-substantial.
Only the frame distinguishes an empty set.. From pre-history onward, humans have tried to make sense of their observations by framing of the natural world even while experiencing the world as essentially chaotic. We like our doses of reality in bite-sized chunks. We chunk science into domains according to the scaleof phenomena. There is a strong relationship between chaos and fractals, which describe the edge of chaos where patterns repeat regardless of scale.
Good art also strives to incorporate the elements of self-similarity although this is generally done subtly. In a great work of art each image must related to the others in terms of its geometry and metaphorical themes. Artists and sculptors have always been inspired by the complex forms of nature, seeking to imitate, outdo them, distort or recontextualize them.
Cymatics, wave patterns produced by vibrations, visibly demonstrates how form is related to process. Poetic ideas and metaphoric notions have reflections in all fields from the wave/particle duality of quantum physics, to oscillations within the nervous system to the oscillations and distinctions that we make at every moment of our lives. Complexity and self-organization emerge from disorder as the result of simple processes and intersecting dynamic networks.
A fiercely lived life is an artform -- illumination in action, based on discipline, practice and service. Symbolism resonates between the visionary and social spheres. The specific "Art" is alchemical, a merger of inner and outer reality in One World. Art bares the soul, and provides a container for unbridled self-expression. Lack of causal specificity is no argument against the process when the proofs are in the result.
For example, science has revealed a mathematical chaos present in the chaos of the drip paintings of Jackson Pollack. Such intuitive works emerged in the context of his struggle for salvation in the retort bottles of alcoholism. Who can say how his random process managed to embody such an intrinsic aspect of nature, which is far more than chance or training could predict.
Was this the gift that the ‘fire-water’ [displacement of the Elixir] gave him which was more than metaphorical? His sense of aesthetics guided his apparent freeform motion toward ineffable Truth which took decades more for science to find. His works didn’t require any metaphysical commitment prior to execution. They simply flowed forth from his essential, yet trained being. He mined his subconscious for creative potential. This potential of emptiness is the hidden ground of our experience of the stream of consciousness.
“Pollock denied "the accident"; he usually had an idea of how he wanted a particular piece to appear. His technique combined the movement of his body, over which he had control, the viscous flow of paint, the force of gravity, and the absorption of paint into the canvas. It was a mixture of controllable and uncontrollable factors. Flinging, dripping, pouring, and spattering, he would move energetically around the canvas, almost as if in a dance, and would not stop until he saw what he wanted to see.” [Pollack wikipedia]
“When I am in my painting, I'm not aware of what I'm doing. It is only after a sort of 'get acquainted' period that I see what I have been about. I have no fear of making changes, destroying the image, etc., because the painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through. It is only when I lose contact with the painting that the result is a mess. Otherwise there is pure harmony, an easy give and take, and the painting comes out well.”
High synergy is a differentiating characteristic of the nonagressive and secure. Beyond synergy is negentropy, the flow of creative connection with Source. Non-objective art is about flow and the feedback process between artist and creation. When the constructed forms which hold personality together are voluntarily relinquished, consciousness "liquifies" and rapidly moves toward the unconditioned state.
Chaos is the universal solvent. Though easy to say, it is sometimes difficult to achieve such liberation from the mental-conceptual activity of the nervous system. When we do, the quiescent nervous system is open and receptive to the conscious recognition of pure energy transforms with no interpretations. Solutio implies the liquification of consciousness through the dissolution of rigidities which inhibit free flow.
In reducing all to pure water, the prima materia and the ultima materia become synonymous. That primal consciousness state, that creative and chaotic consciousness is the beginning of the operation of "water", and its ultimate realization. It becomes easy to see why the operation of water is the "root of alchemy." Through consciousness journeys which liquify our rigid notions of self and world, we re-create the adventures of the hero or heroine. The theme is the loss and recovery of identity.
Symbolic art has both an emotional and cognitive content. Metaphysical art draws on the multicultural iconography, not only of the globe, but of the Beyond. At its best it embodies and reveal the indomitable human Spirit.
We need a new cultural proving ground, a new paradigm for the potential of the bodymind and the culture for which it is the ground. In our culture, the body and our fantasies about it, have come to represent the lost Feminine element. We have lost touch with our primal femininity, the animating principle (nature, body, instinct). We have become estranged from the body through the Cartesian mind/body split, which is also non-relativistic. We talk a good game about ‘wholeness’ but don’t really connect as much as nostalgically yearn for it.
There is a way that joins spirit and body through the spontaneous imagery of soul. It seeks neither to solve our troubles (pathologies) nor “save” our souls. It suggests direct engagement with images for soul-making or deepening through personal experience. We can see through the nature of apparent reality for ourselves, if we but try. Then we develop our own philosophy, apart from consensus. When it comes to questions of speculation on the unknown, we can either accept what others have said, or look for ourselves.
We seek the lost soul primarily because of the intense degree of wounding in our modern consciousness. This wounding has “opened” us to transformation. We can embody soul by seeing-through appearances to an acute awareness of the archetypal, subjective perception of our experience.
Bischoff, “Biophotons: the light in our cells,” www.international-light-association.eu/PDF/Biophotons.pdf
Rosa María Rodríguez Magda GLOBALIZATION AS TRANSMODERN TOTALITY http://transmodern-theory.blogspot.com/
Eduard P.A., Heike Koch, Saskia Bosman, Roeland Van Wijk. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. January/February 2006, 12(1): 31-38. doi:10.1089/acm.2006.12.31.
S.Cohen and F.A.Popp: Biophoton emission of the human body. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B 40 (1997), 187-189.COHEN, S. ; POPP, F. A. ; Indian journal of experimental biology 2003, vol. 41, no5, pp. 440-445 [6 page(s) http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=14713190
Resonance, Iona Miller - Nonlocal Healing