Synchronicity, Science, and Soul-Making|
by Victor Mansfield, professor of physics and astronomy.
Open Court Publishing, 1995.
Imagine: One stormy night you have a vivid dream which features a fox. The next morning the sun is out and you take a walk in the woods. Suddenly a real live fox appears from behind a tree, looks at you curiously, and disappears. You gasp: This fox looked just like the fox in your dream!
Clearly the dream fox and the real fox were not connected by a cause-effect relationship. They are acausally related, through meaning. As Victor Mansfield demonstrates in the first part of this fascinating book, such connections are far too common to be dismissed as mere coincidences. The Swiss psychologist C.G. Jung coined the term "synchronicity" for such connections.
The fairly common occurrence of synchronous events, a remarkable collection of which is related in the book, presents us with the challenge of finding a new paradigm. The mechanistic world view which tacitly we continue to hold, has no place for acausal connections through meaning.
Mansfield's book is an exploration of this challenge from a variety of vantage points. It starts with Jung's psychological system, moves on to an exploration of the role of the observer in Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity and
in Quantum Mechanics, and then invites us to become acquainted with some of the key ideas of Buddhism and, in particular, the Middle Way school with its emphasis on the idea and experience of emptiness.
The book culminates in a presentation of the doctrine of mentalism which states that the ultimate nature of all existence is mental rather than material. Mansfield's version of the doctrine, which is based on the philosophical writings of Paul Brunton and Anthony Damiani, is shown to accommodate synchronicity in a natural way. Supported by other arguments as well, it provides a convincing response to the challenge of finding a credible paradigm to replace the mechanistic world view.
This book is a tour de force. Integrating discussions of very different disciplines through the common thread of synchronicity, it is a masterful presentation of profound ideas in a highly accessible style. As Fritjof Capra, author of The Tao of Physics, put it: "This book is a serious, eloquent and thoroughly engaging exploration of an important and hitherto neglected subject."
Mexican case study
Eileen de la Torre Mulhare, a research associate and lecturer in Colgate's department of sociology and anthropology, analyzes native society and culture in the town of Totimehuacán (Puebla Valley, Mexico) over the course of more than two millenia, from the community's origins as a ceremonial center in the 7th century B.C. to the recent arrival of factories, tourism and suburban housing developments.
Totimehuacán has served as the capital of a prehispanic city-state, the seat of a Franciscan mission, and a prized military target in various wars. Despite continual contact with outsiders, the Totimehuacanos today still consider themselves a "micro-ethnic group" distinctive from their neighbors.
Relevant to those interested in anthropology, history, Native American and Latin American studies, this book (written in Spanish) makes extensive use of archaeological, archival and oral history data as well as the author's ethnographic 1978-93 fieldwork. Mulhare was in Mexico for the January launch of her book.
The Mind of Black Africa
Dickson Mungazi, a member of the Colgate faculty 1980-88 who is now teaching at Northern Arizona University, is the author of The Mind of Black Africa (Greenwood Publishing Group) which details the violent colonization of Africa by European nations toward the end of the 19th century.
Mungazi contends that colonization, justified by theories about
the African mind, had a profound impact on the mind of Black Africa which, after World War II, rebelled, leading to a struggle for the self. Political independence was followed by a betrayal of their own people by the new African leaders. The author concludes that Africans now have the responsibility of restoring and reaffirming their true inheritance -- the mind of Black Africa.