The Mystery of Time
Li An Phoa explores beyond linear time through the essays of holistic science practitioners. Holistic Science Journal: Parallel Time, January 2014, Vol. 2, No. 3. Edited by Philip Franses. Earthlinks UK, Dartington ISSN: 20444370
In the January 2014 issue of Holistic Science Journal a collection of 17 articles explores two tendencies of the mind experiencing time. One way of perception is a linear and intellectual conception of time, which can be measured, thought and analysed. The other form, parallel as it were to this one, is a unidirectional, unenclosed time that is continuously changing and can be intuited in the lived creative experience.
Reading these articles allows me to perceive the profoundness of this parallel belonging, whether expressed through the etymology of language or through scientific theories. As an alumnus of Schumacher College’s MSc in Holistic Science, I rediscover how the wondrous interconnectedness of life automatically deepens with this holistic and parallel consciousness. I find it a source of intellectual joy in reconnecting, and in reopening my senses to the many faces of a holistic way in “the quest for perception in lived experience” (the subtitle of this journal). It’s a subtle yet radical shift in attitude to start seeing anew and visioning the world alive in new ways; to look “upstream” to perceive the source of the river, in the words of the physicist and philosopher Henri Bortoft.
Ancient masks, on this journal’s cover and within its pages, portray the extraordinary meeting points of two parallels. With beautiful synchronicity, this issue saw the light in the month named after Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and transitions, who is depicted with two faces poised in opposite directions and was often to be found on thresholds such as doors and gates.
‘Parallel time’ is explored by a rich diversity of authors ranging from renowned scholars to graduate students, and from many angles: language, physics, biology, indigenous wisdom, ethnobotany, mathematics, process philosophy, phenomenology and mythology.
Jules Cashford relates how in early Greek logos arose out of mythos. Similarly, the idea of time arose out of the moon, which is the first image of lived time in all early calendars. The words ‘moon’ (Greek mene; Latin mensis) and ‘measure’ (mensura) share the root men- in Indo-European, Greek and Latin, indicating the ancient recognition of this parallelism with the phases of the moon as a measure of time. Around the globe different cultures, including the Chinese and the Lakota, measured a year in moons. Yet we currently consider linear measurable time as the ruling ‘story’ in our daily lives, with digital clocks and seconds ticking away.
In a previous issue of the journal (Vol. 1, No. 3) the psychiatrist Iain McGilchrist revealed how the left side of the brain with its linear, analytical approach has the tendency to think itself the ‘master’ and superior, whilst it is actually the right hemisphere, with its more holistic way of understanding the world, that is the master.
Marco Galloni’s article challenges existing scientific dogma. In 1942 the mathematician Fantappiè formulated a unified theory whereby, parallel to the Big Bang at macrocosmic level, the Big Crunch evolves at atomic level. The physicist Wolfgang Pauli opened my two ‘parallel’ eyes to how water facilitates the flow between these two levels. We have created bridges to cross water, while hydrogen atoms already form bridges, between the atomic and macro levels. Via the hydrogen bond, there is both an attraction at the atomic level (syntropy), and a movement from complex to simple, flowing into the macro level (the law of entropy). This underlines the vital importance of water and its hydrogen bonds to life.
To achieve change for sustainable living asks more of us than activating one particular mindset. It requires a transformation of our habitual minds and actions to being in accordance with life and in acknowledgement and remembrance of these two parallel worlds of time. Parallel Time awakens us to this necessity as well as to this mystery.
For more information about the journal: www.holisticsciencejournal.co.uk