Where art, science, culture and ideas intersect at the meaning of life.
For followers of this blog, or rather for my Mom, it’s been a tentative start.
With the title “Mashup Soup”, I was hoping to be eclectic and a bit mysterious. I have perhaps, succeeded too well. I hope that a renaming will better reflect my intention and my interests – to stimulate myself and maybe others.
I am not sure when I will move the blog to alchemyofevolution.com, but I surely will – in the not distant future. Until then, I remain here, but thinking alchemy of evolution.
As I have written previously, I think that evolution is the meaning of life – our central purpose. That is just the beginning of course. Each one of us must determine our own personal meaning to our lives. The search for meaning, expanding that meaning, relating it to other people and their meaning and greater knowledge (broader and deeper), is essential to evolution. The search for meaning is an exploration of our deepest self – our soul.
There are a number of ways to express this bigger meaning of life – I like evolution. It includes the scientific sense of evolution a la Darwin, but goes way beyond that narrow conception. You could also call this bigger meaning of life growth, expansion, transformation, or even enlightenment – sort of. To me enlightenment implies a destination you could reach, but I’m speaking of a never-ending journey along a personal path, that winds and curves as it meets and crosses the paths of fellow travelers. I don’t think there is a final destination – only the road forward.
Ultimately we are speaking of the evolution of our souls – that deep part of us that resides and endures beyond our egos. We are not our egos. They are a tool of our minds. Like any tool, our egos are useful for some tasks, and not for others. It’s very easy to identify yourself as your ego, and that is a common error. The ego actively encourages this indentification. It would be like identifying yourself as your car or your house. Ironically enough our egos often do elevate our cars and our houses to be identified as fundamental parts of ourselves.
So. Alchemy. It’s complicated.
Wikipedia defines alchemy as: “a philosophical and a proto-scientific tradition practiced throughout Europe, Egypt and Asia. It aimed to purify, mature, and perfect certain objects.”
That is the traditional or simple definition. But definitions are very narrow descriptions of complex concepts, and alchemy is as complex as concepts can get. That’s a good thing. Just considering alchemy and exploring its history and its implications is enough to expand and evolve you.
The last thing you should do with the concept of alchemy is to dismiss it as an ancient and misguided early attempt at chemistry. Alchemy needs no defense. You just need to keep an open mind. To dismiss alchemy, is to close the door to a tremendous source of wisdom that has evolved over thousands of years.
Carl Jung recognized the power and value of alchemy and was instrumental in restoring interest in this ancient art and science. He wrote extensively on the relationship of alchemy and psychology in his Collected Works, Volumes 12, 13, and 14. Jung’s approach to psychology is ideally suited to our transformation and evolution. He was a man uniquely ahead of his time and we’ll have lots more to consider with him, including alchemy and its relationship to psychology. For me, Carl Jung is the first psychologist to recognize the centrality of our transformation and evolution as conscious beings.
In its broadest sense, and most essentially, alchemy is all about transformation and not of lead into gold. That is a metaphor. Alchemy is concerned with the eternal and the transcendent – much less so the material world. Gold is certainly nice and it’s a useful commodity in the world, but our soul, our being, is the real aim of life and yes, evolution. Gold can help our evolution, but it can more easily stand in the way. It often does. The pursuit of gold and the trappings of material existence are not to be rejected out of hand, but their pursuit can become a substitute for life – a terrible distraction from the real nature of our being.
Alchemy is an exploration of the mysteries of human life and that leads to evolution. Alchemy is an enormous body of wisdom and processes that can serve us in our lives and in our transformation and evolution. Alchemy serves our deepest selves – our souls.
Alchemy is metaphor, to study and explore meaning. It speaks to the deepest mysteries before us and within us. With alchemy, we have a conversation with life and the universe.