Psychology and Tradition

The ancient arts of healing, like the philosophies and worldviews of the past, such as ancient Eastern philosophy or the Western hermetic tradition, were based on an absolute, universal and global worldview. Psychology is a modern science and, like all modern sciences, is positivist and tends to consider man (and the world in general), analysing its parts, after fragmentation, in a specialised manner, but also separately; that is, without providing a global and integrated view.According to tradition, the world is spirit and matter is nothing but the manifestation of this spirit; for official science, on the other hand, there is matter and the laws that govern it. Apparently there is a big difference between official science and the ancient traditions, in reality they are the two sides of the same coin. This means that by integrating these two ways of seeing reality, we can expand our knowledge and consciousness, and link the past with the present to improve the future. Certain discoveries of modern physics, obtained by observing matter through powerful microscopes, can be compared to certain ideas that were part of ancient shamanic traditions; according to these traditions, all elements of nature (minerals, plants and animals) emanate energy. Current discoveries in quantum physics have led to the observation that the smallest thing that exists in the universe is precisely a unit of energy, which has been called a quantum (particle). Einstein postulated that any form of electromagnetic radiation can manifest itself as a wave or as a Quantum. The Quantum, or unit of energy, is considered as either a particle or a wave. Max Plank discovered that radiant heat energy (such as from radiators) is not transmitted in a continuous flow, but in small units of Quanta. So when the ancients spoke of the energy of stone, wood, etc., the idea was not wrong. The Chinese, in 380 BC, postulated the existence of a vital energy called Ki or Chi that permeates all animate matter.There is a current in psychology, called transpersonal psychology, that studies the phenomena of consciousness. This discipline claims that by provoking a change in the state of consciousness, it is possible to perceive phenomena or events that occur in nature and are imperceptible in an ordinary state of consciousness. For example, if a person succeeds in developing the Alpha state, which is a state of consciousness characterised by a particular relaxation that we can place somewhere between wakefulness and sleep, it is very likely that this person will be able to perceive the minimal vibrationality of matter in its pure state if he or she wishes. These states of perception can be achieved through relaxation techniques and meditations such as Tai-Chi-Chuan, Yoga, autogenous training, dynamic meditation, etc… Tai-Chi, for example, is a very special technique, as it integrates meditation and relaxation in a dynamic form of slow, harmonious movement that resembles a dance. This imitates the movement of nature and animals. Tai-Chi, the Supreme Unity or the Supreme Way, is the principle of the union and balance of the two opposing and complementary energies of Yin and Yang, represented by heaven and earth, man and woman, body and spirit; whose interactions generate and maintain life. In Brazil, some religions speak of energy vibrations called Los Orixas. These are considered to be entities that take the form of stones, metals, water, fire, air, etc… in other words, everything that exists in nature and that can help to heal and improve people’s existence. Venturing into a bold hypothesis, we could say that the Quanta, the Archetypes, the Ki, the Los Orixas, are part of the same reality and that this reality cannot be reduced to a single element; rather, it would be an indivisible whole, like a crystal whose various faces we can see. This indivisible reality composes a kaleidoscope of colours and dimensions, which we can visualise within a three-dimensional spiral, a great cosmic mandala, in which time and space merge in the continuous succession of events. So it is that science and poetry, numbers and music, logic and art, mind and body, are part of this one and indivisible reality; it is divine and mysterious, as is the existence of the human being during his journey on planet earth. We can therefore see that there is a substantial harmony between the spirit of wisdom of the traditions and the more recent conceptions of Western science; a knowledge that seems to be beyond technique and that seeks the way of the heart and self-realisation. It is for me not only a goal I aim to achieve, but also a way of life itself. Werner Heisenberg states: ‘It is probably true in principle that in the history of human thought the most fruitful developments often occur at the points of interference between two different lines of thought. These lines may have their roots in absolutely different parts of human culture, at different times and in different cultural environments or in different religious traditions; therefore, if they come together closely enough to give rise to effective interaction, one can then hope that new and interesting developments may follow’. Of fundamental importance is the ability to take on, integrating them into the points of view proposed by modern science, some of the attitudes proper to tradition, in order to experience the wholeness of nature and from this experience draw the art of living in harmony with ourselves and with it. What we need is therefore a dynamic, dialogic interaction between mystical intuition and scientific analysis. Taken from: Journal of Arts Therapies and Neuroscience online – author Roberto Clovis

The Chinese language and ideographic writing

Language and writing undoubtedly represent the most characteristic elements of the culture of each people and that of each individual: they are in fact the synthesis of the method used of observation-description-reading-codification-interpretation of reality that each people inherits from its history as well as each individual of that people from its parents and ancestors, to develop it in the present and pass it on in the future through subsequent generations. In our chromosomes are collected the codes that tell the phylogenetic evolution of life starting from unicellular organisms, passing through fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals, to finally arrive at man and, within each individual man, to that very particular renewed individuality that is the result of the completely original synthesis of the inheritance of the paternal and maternal genetic patrimonies at the moment of fertilization. In the same way in the words we pronounce, in the logic, grammar and syntax that govern their relationships, in their graphic representation through the symbols of writing are collected the codes of cultural evolution of all the generations that preceded us. Our ancestors observed, described, read, codified and interpreted reality through a language that has translated into a writing that evolves with the history of successive generations. As in biology the chromosomal map is a mirror of the past that organizes the present and designs the future of the species, so the map of the language-writing of each people is able to provide us with the story of its method of reading and comparison with reality, of its mode of perception, ultimately of its culture. Language is consensually reading, codification, communication of men and between men but also represents the mode of perception that each individual possesses of reality: this perception is ultimately strongly characterized by the codes that are used to describe it. In this sense, we must not be naïve: our brain is not a ‘tabula rasa’ that observes and catalogs in an absolutely subjective and independent way, its perceptual mode and above all the interpretative one are determined by the words and syntax learned from the first days of life. Starting from these considerations we address the most salient aspects of the Chinese language and writing that represent the reference model for all other languages and Far Eastern writings, such as Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, which derive directly or indirectly from Chinese. Alphabetic and ideographic writingThe Chinese language and writing are completely original when compared to those used throughout the rest of the planet. While in fact Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Romance languages, Anglo-Saxon and Germanic languages, Slavic languages, but also Arabic and other Indo-European languages use the alphabetic system for writing, in China and in the Far East ‘characters’ are used. In the alphabetic language each word is formed by sounds (or phonemes) that correspond to signs (or graphemes): no phoneme has meaning in itself, as well as no grapheme. The letters of the alphabet (a, b, c, d etc.) are only ‘sounds and signs’ and mean nothing when taken in isolation; They take on semantic value only when they follow one another to form and define a word that has specific meaning. In some way it can be said that even in alphabetic writing the typically Western method of dealing with reality is used, which is based at the beginning on analysis – the isolation of the individual elements of reality, which in the case of language and writing are the individual sounds and individual signs – and then on synthesis – the succession of individual sounds and signs to form the read or written word. All known alphabets work in the same way even if they use different signs or graphemes. From this point of view, an Italian, an Englishman or a French who write with Latin characters are very close relatives of a Russian or a Serb who writes with Cyrillic characters, of an Israeli who uses Hebrew ones, but also of a Syrian who writes in Arabic or of an ancient inhabitant of Hellas who used the Greek alphabet. In China there is no alphabet that corresponds phonemes, that is, simple sounds, to meaningless signs or graphemes: on the contrary, every ‘character’ of Chinese writing – with very rare exceptions – has its own specific meaning, indeed generally has more than one meaning, different possible meanings: ‘each character is polysemantic’ and acquires within the sentence the meaning – among the many it possesses – which is the most probable and plausible taking into account the characters that they precede and those who follow him. It can be said – with an evident forcing that nevertheless serves to introduce us to this system – that each series of characters of a Chinese sentence is a sort of ‘rebus’ whose true meaning is identified by grasping the link between the individual characters that, of the multiple meanings of each character, enucleates and identifies the most probable one or those starting from the given link. The Chinese characters in current use are about 2,000-3,000 and those known by a person of culture plus a few thousand, so the possible combinations are extremely numerous. To complicate the question is added the fact that often the character is formed by several ‘radicals’ which, in turn, are ‘simplified characters’: the final character will have as its own meaning the synthesis of the meanings of the individual radicals that compose it dynamized by their mutual relationship.