Monday, 28 September 2015



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The tetractys
The tetractys (Greek: τετρακτύς), or tetrad,[1] is a triangular figure consisting of ten points arranged in four rows: one, two, three, and four points in each row, which is the geometrical representation of the fourth triangular number. As a mystical symbol, it was very important to the secret worship of the Pythagoreans.

Pythagorean symbol[edit]

  1. The first four numbers symbolize the harmony of the spheres and the Cosmos as:
    1. (1) Unity (Monad)
    2. (2) Dyad – Power – Limit/Unlimited (peras/apeiron)
    3. (3) Harmony (Triad)
    4. (4) Kosmos (Tetrad).[2]
  2. The four rows add up to ten, which was unity of a higher order (The Dekad).
  3. The Tetractys symbolizes the four elementsfire, air, water, and earth.
  4. The Tetractys represented the organization of space:
    1. the first row represented zero dimensions (a point)
    2. the second row represented one dimension (a line of two points)
    3. the third row represented two dimensions (a plane defined by a triangle of three points)
    4. the fourth row represented three dimensions (a tetrahedron defined by four points)
A prayer of the Pythagoreans shows the importance of the Tetractys (sometimes called the "Mystic Tetrad"), as the prayer was addressed to it.
"Bless us, divine number, thou who generated gods and men! O holy, holy Tetractys, thou that containest the root and source of the eternally flowing creation! For the divine number begins with the profound, pure unity until it comes to the holy four; then it begets the mother of all, the all-comprising, all-bounding, the first-born, the never-swerving, the never-tiring holy ten, the keyholder of all".[3]
As a portion of the secret religion, initiates were required to swear a secret oath by the Tetractys. They then served as novices for a period of silence lasting three years.[citation needed]
The Pythagorean oath also mentioned the Tetractys:
"By that pure, holy, four lettered name on high,
nature's eternal fountain and supply,
the parent of all souls that living be,
by him, with faith find oath, I swear to thee."
It is said[4][5][6] that the Pythagorean musical system was based on the Tetractys as the rows can be read as the ratios of 4:3 (perfect fourth), 3:2 (perfect fifth), 2:1 (octave), forming the basic intervals of the Pythagorean scales. That is, Pythagorean scales are generated from combining pure fourths (in a 4:3 relation), pure fifths (in a 3:2 relation), and the simple ratios of the unison 1:1 and the octave 2:1. Note that the diapason, 2:1 (octave), and the diapason plus diapente, 3:1 (compound fifth or perfect twelfth), are consonant intervals according to the tetractys of the decad, but that the diapason plus diatessaron, 8:3 (compound fourth or perfect eleventh), is not.[7][8]
"The Tetractys [also known as the decad] is an equilateral triangle formed from the sequence of the first ten numbers aligned in four rows. It is both a mathematical idea and a metaphysical symbol that embraces within itself—in seedlike form—the principles of the natural world, the harmony of the cosmos, the ascent to the divine, and the mysteries of the divine realm. So revered was this ancient symbol that it inspired ancient philosophers to swear by the name of the one who brought this gift to humanity."

Kabbalist symbol[edit]

Symbol by early 17th-century Christian mystic Jakob Böhme, including a tetractys of flaming Hebrew letters of the Tetragrammaton.

A tetractys of the letters of the Tetragrammaton adds up to 72 by gematria.
There are some who believe that the tetractys and its mysteries influenced the early kabbalists. A Hebrew Tetractys in a similar way has the letters of the Tetragrammaton (the four lettered name of God in Hebrew scripture) inscribed on the ten positions of the tetractys, from right to left. It has been argued that the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, with its ten spheres of emanation, is in some way connected to the tetractys, but its form is not that of a triangle. The well known occult writer Dion Fortune mentions:
"The point is assigned to Kether;
the line to Chokmah;
the two-dimensional plane to Binah;
consequently the three-dimensional solid naturally falls to Chesed."[9]
( We must note that the first three-dimensional solid is the tetrahedron. )

The relationship between geometrical shapes and the first four Sephirot is analogous to the geometrical correlations in Tetraktys, shown above under Pythagorean Symbol, and unveils the relevance of the Tree of Life with the Tetraktys.

Tarot card reading arrangement[edit]

In a Tarot reading, the various positions of the tetractys provide a representation for forecasting future events by signifying according to various occult disciplines, such as Alchemy. [1] Below is only a single variation for interpretation.
The first row of a single position represents the Premise of the reading, forming a foundation for understanding all the other cards.
The second row of two positions represents the cosmos and the individual and their relationship.
  • The Light Card to the right represents the influence of the cosmos leading the individual to an action.
  • The Dark Card to the left represents the reaction of the cosmos to the actions of the individual.
The third row of three positions represents three kinds of decisions an individual must make.
  • The Creator Card is rightmost, representing new decisions and directions that may be made.
  • The Sustainer Card is in the middle, representing decisions to keep balance, and things that should not change.
  • The Destroyer Card is leftmost, representing old decisions and directions that should not be continued.
The fourth row of four positions represents the four Greek elements.
  • The Fire card is rightmost, representing dynamic creative force, ambitions, and personal will.
  • The Air card is to the right middle, representing the mind, thoughts, and strategies toward goals.
  • The Water card is to the left middle, representing the emotions, feelings, and whims.
  • The Earth card is leftmost, representing physical realities of day to day living.


Roman Catholic archbishop's coat of arms
The tetractys occurs (generally coincidentally) in the following:

Tetractys in poetry[edit]

In English-language poetry, a tetractys is a syllable-counting form with five lines. The first line has one syllable, the second has two syllables, the third line has three syllables, the fourth line has four syllables, and the fifth line has ten syllables. [10] A sample tetractys would look like this:
Your /
fury /
confuses /
us all greatly. /
Volatile, big-bodied tots are selfish. //
The tetractys was created by Ray Stebbing, who said the following about his newly created form:
"The tetractys could be Britain's answer to the haiku. Its challenge is to express a complete thought, profound or comic, witty or wise, within the narrow compass of twenty syllables."[11]

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

Friday, 25 September 2015

Mind reading may one day be possible, researchers say

According to a new study, ‘a non-invasive brain-to-brain interface (BBI) can be used to allow one human to guess what is on the mind of another human’
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With only the use of brainwaves and a specifically designed computer, researchers at the University of Washington examined the potential for exchanging basic information without saying a word. Photograph: Allan Ajifo/flickr via Creative Commons (at end of article)
Mind reading might not be as far-fetched as many people believe, says a study published by researchers at the University of Washington.
Their research, published in PLOS One on Wednesday, demonstrated “that a non-invasive brain-to-brain interface (BBI) can be used to allow one human to guess what is on the mind of another human”. With only the use of brainwaves and a specifically designed computer, they examined the potential for exchanging basic information without saying a word.
“We are actually still at the beginning of the field of interface technology and we are just mapping out the landscape so every single step is a step that opens up some new possibilities,” said lead author Andrea Stocco, an assistant professor of psychology and a researcher at UW’s Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences.
The experiment had five pairs of men and women between the ages of 19 and 39 play a game similar to 20 questions. Each group had a “respondent”, who picked an object from lists provided, and an “inquirer”, who tried to guess the object by asking yes or no questions. They were placed in different rooms, approximately one mile apart.
After a question was picked, it appeared on the respondent’s computer screen. They had two seconds to look at the question and one second to choose an answer. To do so, they looked at one of two flashing lights that were labeled yes or no. Each answer generated slightly different types of neural activity.
The respondent’s brain waves were picked up by brain wave-reading technology, such as an electroencephalogram (EEG), and sent to the inquirer. With the use of a magnetic coil behind their head, the inquirer’s visual cortex was stimulated, so that if the answer was yes, they saw a flash of light. If the answer was no, they saw nothing.
Each group of participants took part in 20 games. According to the study, they correctly guessed the object in 72% of the trials with the device, compared with 18% of the control games
brain waves lightning

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

An Experiment with Time


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An Experiment with Time
An Experiment with Time book cover.jpg
AuthorJ. W. Dunne
CountryUnited Kingdom
PublisherA. & C. Black
Faber & Faber
Publication date
LC ClassMLCM 2004/02936 (B)
An Experiment with Time is a long essay by the Irish aeronautical engineer J. W. Dunne (1875–1949) on the subjects of precognition and the human experience of time. First published in March 1927, it was very widely read, and his ideas promoted by several other authors, in particular by J. B. Priestley. Other books by J. W. Dunne are The Serial Universe, The New Immortality, and Nothing Dies.


  • I. Definitions
  • II. The Puzzle
  • III. The Experiment
  • IV. Temporal Endurance and Temporal Flow
  • V. Serial Time
  • VI. Replies to Critics
Appendix to the third edition:

Basic concepts[edit]

Dunne's theory is, simply put, that all moments in time are taking place at once, at the same time. For example, if a cat were to spend its whole entire life living in a box, anyone looking into the box could see the cat's birth, life and death in the same instant - were it not for the human consciousness, which means that we perceive at a fixed rate.
According to Dunne, whilst human consciousness prevents us from seeing outside of the part of time we are "meant" to look at, whilst we are dreaming we have the ability to traverse all of time without the restriction of consciousness, leading to pre-cognitive dreams, resulting in the phenomenon known as Deja vu. Henceforth, Dunne believes that we are existing in two parallel states, which requires a complete rethink of the way that we understand time.

Dunne's experiment[edit]

In An Experiment with Time, Dunne discusses how a theoretical ability to perceive events outside the normal observer's stream of consciousness might be proved to exist. He also discusses some of the possible other explanations of this effect, such as déjà vu.
He proposes that observers should place themselves in environments where consciousness might best be freed and then, immediately upon their waking, note down the memories of what had been dreamed, together with the date. Later, these notes should be scanned, with possible connections drawn between them and real life events that occurred after the notes had been written.
While the first half of the book is an explanation of the theory, the latter part comprises examples of notes and later interpretations of them as possible predictions. Statistical analysis was at that time in its infancy, and no calculation of the significance of the events reported was able to be made.

Parallels with other scientific and metaphysical systems[edit]

Dunne's theory of time has parallels in many other scientific and metaphysical theories. The Aboriginal people of Australia, for example, believe that the Dreamtime exists simultaneously in the present, past and future, and that this is the objective truth of time, linear time being a creation of human consciousness and therefore subjective. Kabbalah, Taoism and indeed most mystical traditions have always posited that waking consciousness allows awareness of reality and time in only a limited way and that it is in the sleeping state that the mind can go free into the multi-dimensional reality of time and space (examples: "Dreams are the wandering of the spirit through all nine heavens and nine earths," The Secret of the Golden Flower, trans. Richard Wilhelm). Similarly, all mystery traditions speak of the immortal and temporal selves which exist simultaneously both within time and space and without.
There are also parallels with classical relativity theory, in which time and space are merged into "spacetime", and time is not absolute and independent but is dependent upon the motion of the observer.

Scientific reception[edit]

In 1928, Sir Arthur Eddington wrote a letter to Dunne, a portion of which was reprinted in the 1929 and later editions of An Experiment With Time, in which he said:
Some psychical researchers such as George N. M. Tyrrell and C. D. Broad have pointed out problems with Dunne's theory of time. As Tyrell explained:
Dunne wrote a book just before his death which revealed that he believed himself to be a spiritual medium. He had deliberately chosen to leave this out of An Experiment with Time as he judged that it would have affected the scientific reception of his theory.[3] The partially-revised manuscript was completed by his family and published after his death under the title Intrusions?.
In a review for the New Scientist John Gribbin described An Experiment with Time as a "definitive classic".[4] Paul Davies in his book About Time: Einstein's Unfinished Revolution (2006) wrote that Dunne was an entertaining writer but there is no scientific evidence for more than one time and that Dunne's argument seems ad hoc.[5]
In his book Is There Life After Death? (2006), British writer Anthony Peake wrote that some of Dunne's ideas are valid and attempts to update the ideas of Dunne in the light of the latest theories of quantum physics, neurology and consciousness studies.[6]

In popular culture[edit]

J. B. Priestley used Dunne's theory directly in his play Time and the Conways, professing in his introduction that he believed the theory to be true. Other writers contemporaneous to Dunne who expressed enthusiasm for his ideas included Aldous Huxley, who was also interested in the expansion of human consciousness to experience time, and Adolfo Bioy Casares, who mentioned this book in the introduction to his novel The Dream of Heroes (1954).
Charles Chilton used Dunne's analogy of time as a book to explain time travel in his radio play Journey Into Space.[citation needed] Philippa Pearce's childhood fantasy Tom's Midnight Garden also makes use of Dunne's ideas.[citation needed] The book is instrumental in Dr Philip Raven's production of his future history as 'edited' by H G Wells in his 1933 work The Shape of Things to Come.
In the 1970 children's TV series, Timeslip, a time bubble allows two children to travel between past, present and future. Much of the show's time travel concepts were based on An Experiment with Time.[7]
An Experiment with Time is referenced in the book Sidetripping by William S. Burroughs and Charles Gatewood.
It is also mentioned in the book Last Men In London by Olaf Stapledon (1932) and in Bid Time Return, a 1975 novel by Richard Matheson.
It is also mentioned in the story "Murder in the Gunroom" by H. Beam Piper, and in "Elsewhen" by Robert A. Heinlein.
It is also mentioned in the short story "Extempore" by Damon Knight (1956), originally published as "The Beach where time began". See The Best of Damon Knight (1978).
The ideas of Dunne also form the basis for "The Dark Tower" a short story by C. S. Lewis, and the unpublished novel, "The Notion Club Papers" by J. R. R. Tolkien. Both Tolkien and Lewis were members of the Inklings.
In the 2002 French movie Irréversible, one of the characters is seen reading the book by Dunne. The movie also investigates the aspects of the book through the style of filming, in that the story is told backwards, with each beginning sequence beginning either minutes or hours prior to the one which preceded it in the narrative. Also, the tagline is Le temps détruit tout meaning "Time destroys everything" – it is the first phrase spoken and the last phrase written.

See also[edit]


  1. Jump up ^
  2. Jump up ^ George Nugent Merle Tyrrell Science and psychical phenomena 1938, p. 135
  3. Jump up ^ Ruth Brandon Scientists and the supernormal New Scientist 16 June 1983 p. 786
  4. Jump up ^ John Gribbin Book Review of An Experiment with Time New Scientist 27 Aug 1981, p. 548
  5. Jump up ^ Paul Davies About Time: Einstein's Unfinished Revolution
  6. Jump up ^ Anthony Peake Is There Life After Death? The Extraordinary Science Of What Happens When We Die 2006
  7. Jump up ^ Thompson, Andy. (2004). Introduction to Timeslip, p. 2. [Timeslip DVD Special Feature]. London: Carlton Visual Entertainment. 37115 06243.

External links[edit]

Phenomenology (psychology)


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Phenomenology is the study of subjective experience.[1] It is an approach to psychological subject matter that has its roots in the philosophical work of Edmund Husserl.[2] Early phenomenologists such as Husserl, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Maurice Merleau-Ponty conducted philosophical investigations of consciousness in the early 20th century. Their critiques of psychologism and positivism later influenced at least two main fields of contemporary psychology: the phenomenological psychological approach of the Duquesne School (The Descriptive Phenomenological Method in Psychology), including Amedeo Giorgi[2][3] and Frederick Wertz; and the experimental approaches associated with Francisco Varela, Shaun Gallagher, Evan Thompson, and others (embodied mind thesis). Other names associated with the movement include Jonathan Smith (Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis), Steinar Kvale, and Wolfgang Köhler. Phenomenological psychologists have also figured prominently in the history of the humanistic psychology movement.
The experiencing subject can be considered to be the person or self, for purposes of convenience. In phenomenological philosophy (and in particular in the work of Husserl, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty), "experience" is a considerably more complex concept than it is usually taken to be in everyday use. Instead, experience (or being, or existence itself) is an "in-relation-to" phenomenon, and it is defined by qualities of directedness, embodiment, and worldliness, which are evoked by the term "Being-in-the-World".[4]
The quality or nature of a given experience is often referred to by the term qualia, whose archetypical exemplar is "redness". For example, we might ask, "Is my experience of redness the same as yours?" While it is difficult to answer such a question in any concrete way, the concept of intersubjectivity is often used as a mechanism for understanding how it is that humans are able to empathise with one another's experiences, and indeed to engage in meaningful communication about them. The phenomenological formulation of Being-in-the-World, where person and world are mutually constitutive, is central here.

Difficulties in considering subjective phenomena[edit]

The philosophical psychology prevalent before the end of the 19th century relied heavily on introspection. The speculations concerning the mind based on those observations were criticized by the pioneering advocates of a more scientific approach to psychology, such as William James and the behaviorists Edward Thorndike, Clark Hull, John B. Watson, and B. F. Skinner. However, not everyone agrees that introspection is intrinsically problematic, such as Francisco Varela, who has trained experimental participants in the structured "introspection" of phenomenological reduction.[5]
In the early 1970s, Amedeo Giorgi applied phenomenological theory to his development of the Descriptive Phenomenological Method in Psychology in order to overcome certain problems he perceived, from his work in psychophysics, with approaching subjective phenomena from the traditional hypothetical-deductive framework of the natural sciences. Giorgi hoped to use what he had learned from his natural science background to develop a rigorous qualitative research method. Giorgi has thus described his overall project as such: "[Phenomenological psychology] is nothing like natural sciences... because its [sic] [dealing with] human experiences and human phenomena. [However] I want to be sure that our criteria is this: that every natural scientist will have to respect our method. I’m not just trying to satisfy clinicians, or therapists, or humanists, I’m trying to satisfy the most severe criterion — natural scientists... because I anticipate that some day, when qualitative research develops and gets strong, the natural science people are going to criticize it. And I want to be able to stand up and say, 'Go ahead, criticize it — but you won’t find any flaws here'."[6]
Philosophers have long confronted the problem of "qualia". Few philosophers believe that it is possible to be sure that one person's experience of the "redness" of an object is the same as another person's, even if both persons had effectively identical genetic and experiential histories.[citation needed] In principle, the same difficulty arises in feelings (the subjective experience of emotion), in the experience of effort, and especially in the "meaning" of concepts.[citation needed] As a result, many qualitative psychologists have claimed phenomenological inquiry to be essentially a matter of "meaning-making" and thus a question to be addressed by interpretive approaches.[4][7]

Psychotherapy and the phenomenology of emotion[edit]

Carl Rogers' person-centered psychotherapy theory is based directly on the "phenomenal field" personality theory of Combs and Snygg.[8][9] That theory in turn was grounded in phenomenological thinking.[10] Rogers attempts to put a therapist in closer contact with a person by listening to the person's report of their recent subjective experiences, especially emotions of which the person is not fully aware. For example, in relationships the problem at hand is often not based around what actually happened but, instead, based around the perceptions and feelings of each individual in the relationship. The phenomenal field focuses on "how one feels right now".

See also[edit]


  1. Jump up ^ Hardy Leahy, Thomas (2001). A History of Modern Psychology. New Jersey: Prentice Hall. p. 381. ISBN 0-13-017573-0. 
  2. ^ Jump up to: a b Giorgi, Amedeo. (1970). Psychology as a Human Science. New York : Harper & Row.
  3. Jump up ^ Giorgi, Amedeo. (2009). The Descriptive Phenomenological Method in Psychology. Duquesne University Press: Pittsburgh, PA.
  4. ^ Jump up to: a b Langdridge, D. (2006). Phenomenological psychology: theory, research and method. Harlow: Pearson.
  5. Jump up ^ Varela, F.J. (1996). Neurophenomenology: a methodological remedy to the hard problem. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 3330-350.
  6. Jump up ^
  7. Jump up ^ Seidner, Stanley S. (1989). "Köhler's Dilemma", In Issues of Language Assessment. vol 3. Ed., Stanley S.Seidner. Springfield, Il.: State Board of Education. pp. 5–6.
  8. Jump up ^ Snygg, Donald and Combs, Arthur W. (1949), Individual Behavior: A New Frame of Reference for Psychology. New York, Harper & Brothers 1949
  9. Jump up ^ Rogers, Carl R. (1951) Client-Centered Therapy. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  10. Jump up ^ "Personality Theories", Boeree, C. George, Donald Snygg and Arthur Combs in Personality Theory retrieved Oct. 7, 2007