Physics, Dreaming and Extreme States: Arnold Mindell
What is reality? Why do people in extreme states feel connected to the universe, and experience uncanny and even supernatural events? Does quantum physics have something to teach us about madness? What if therapists were like indigenous tribal shamans, entering into clients’ “psychotic” worlds as if stepping into a dream?
Arnold Mindell studied with pioneering scientists Richard Feynman and Norbert Wiener and then became a Jungian therapist and founder of Process Oriented Psychology. He discusses his more than 40 years of work with individuals and groups, including people diagnosed with psychosis, and the ancient belief in a purposeful dreaming reality behind everyday events.
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Thank-you for this wonderful interview! This is so inspiring. It makes me want to become a transpersonal counselor or psycho-analyst. Quantum physics is only beginning to analyze what many mad people already know.
I know, for instance, that time is relative to the percipient. So if you get caught up in quantifying reality, you will, based on the way you “know” it exists. Knowledge is everything to us, the way we put things together. Scientists are studying psychic phenomena right now, but they’ll never get any closer than the mystic because they don’t have to. It’s almost as if this knowledge is in our blood, and this consumer society is conditioning us to believe contrary.
Why are altered states illegal? Hallmark images are the way we’re supposed to behave; they only make us feel less complete. I believe on a deeper level, we are hard-wired for something, and in fact oppressing the ability for a person to see an alternative truth is like imprisoning the mind or compromising an astronaut’s mission. That’s what I think.
Maybe reality is a dream? I mean if it can change through the memories and you can verify tiny shifts with others, anyone basically, then maybe it is “all an illusion” or something else, or a fiction. I think it’s interesting to contemplate. If reality were a dream, all it would mean is there is nothing in the way of fulfilling your desires–except that if you wrote the story in your own head, what sort of paradoxes did you put in place to keep the movie from ending?
As usual your interview was right on target Will ,and it was great to me to hear a mental health pro connect extreme states with quantum physics. I have been doing the same for quite some time and feel very validated by that and in good company.
Thanks to both of you for creating this great piece.
Hi Will, this was a truly AMAZING interview. I was completely absorbed throughout. You know its good when time goes quick, and you dont want it to end.
I LOVE the part where he talks about the Aboriginee child at school being told to ‘get real and stop dreaming’…? I think all of us have had that experience. But for the Boriginee child fresh from her own culture which would encourage dreaming it would be hard. And like he followed–‘extreme states’ are the balancing out of this suppression of our deeper dreaming being.
For anyone intersted in this so-called ‘education’ system, please checkout John Taylor Gatto who goes into about it in great death. It is an ENFORCED system of ‘education’ and will be one of the biggest causes of ‘mental disturbance’.
I was disappointed when you asked him about psychiatric medication, and he didn’t seem to either know or mention the GREAT toxic damage it can do to people!
But I AM glad I listened to this, and have learnt a lot about this process oriented psychology.
A great archetype for Theatre and the deep ecstatic expression of all experiences is the god of masks hirself, Dionysos ;)))
ps. I just LOVE how you interview, and your voice is a JOY to hear.
A listener has sent their fascinating philosophical essay on “the integration of the human world and the demon world,” you can download it here: