Psyche and physics

Wolfgang Pauli’s Dialogue with CG Jung

A Presentation by Anne Di Lauro

Thursday 4 June 2015 7.30 - 9.30 pm Quaker Meeting House

10 Hampson Street (park on Prospect Terrace0

Members and Concession: $10, Non-members: $15

The really great and creative scientists have the same motivation as the alchemist: to find out more about that spirit or divine substance or whatever you may call it, which lies behind all existence.

Marie-Louise von Franz.  Alchemical Active Imagination, p. 13

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In the quotation above, Jung’s collaborator Marie-Louise von Franz was no doubt thinking of Nobel-prize winning physicist Wolfgang Pauli (1900 – 1958).

The one-sidedness of this brilliant young physicist brought him to Jung’s door at the age of 31.  Interested by the archetypal material in Pauli’s prolific dreams, Jung had him analysed by one of his pupils in order that he himself would not “contaminate” the material. Jung’s study of this material, in which the identity of the dreamer is not revealed, appears in “Psychology and Alchemy” (CW12).  Subsequently, these two original thinkers met and corresponded over a period of 25 years, wrestling with such questions as the parallels between psyche and quantum physics, the influence of archetypal ideas in scientific thinking, the archetypal aspect of numbers, acausality, synchronicity, ultimate reality and cosmic unity. It was Pauli who encouraged Jung to develop his ideas on synchronicity in an essay that was published, along with one by Pauli on the 17th century alchemists Fludd and Kepler, under the title “The Interpretation of Nature and the Psyche”.

In this talk we shall look at Pauli the man, the scientist and the thinker and his quest, via the theories of quantum physics and the ideas of C.G. Jung, for a unified vision of psychic and physical reality. Finally, we shall consider the possible implications of these ideas for us. 

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Anne Di Lauro's interest in the psychology of C.G. Jung began several decades ago. She grew up in Brisbane and then spent most of her adult life living in Europe and North America, working mostly for various agencies of the United Nations.  Anne has had a long association with our Society, having previously given talks on topics such as dream work, art and imagery, Marsilio Ficino, the Renaissance philosopher beloved of James Hillman, and alchemy. She has studied the Embodied Imagination method of dream work with Robert Bosnak and uses this method in her work. Anne practises as a psychotherapist from a Jungian perspective and is in private practice in Brisbane. She is a former president of the C.G. Jung Society of Queensland.