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The Other Side of Pauli

Pauli had a strong interest in numbers, especially 2, 4 and 137. Of course 1, 3 and 7 have fundamental and well known meanings in occultism.5 Yet for a physicist, the number 137 is approximately equal to a dimensionless constant of physics, the fine structure constant α introduced by Sommerfeld. Most physics constants are either very big or very small. The α, however, is of a human size and until his death Pauli tried to decipher its significance – Pauli died in a hospital room number 137. In Hebrew the number corresponding to the word 'cabala' happens to be 137.

In all the dreams of Pauli there are 71 instances of the number 4, the number which stands for Wholeness, Completeness. HPB tells us in Isis Unveiled: “For instance four was held sacred by the Pythagoreans. It is the perfect square. ...and the ineffable name of Him, which name otherwise, would remain unutterable, was replaced by this sacred number 4 the most binding and solemn oath with the ancient mystics — the Tetractys.”6

In a dream with a Persian figure Pauli asks: “Are you my shadow?” The Persian replies: “I am between you and the light, hence you are my shadow. Not the other way around.” Pauli: “Are you studying physics?” The Persian: “Your language thereof is too difficult for me, but in my language you would not understand physics.” Don't we see here the Soul speaking to its reflection, the personality? Pauli wanted to understand that language. He wanted to go beyond the search for an explanation by physics only, and engaged in a much wider search. Pauli could not accept to only know a fragment of reality: he wanted to know all of it, he was searching for completeness and unity.

Pauli once told H.B.G. Casimir in his autobiography: “We are living in curious times. Christianity has lost its grip on humanity. Other times should come. I think that I know, what will come. I know it quite certain. But I won't tell anyone, because otherwise they will think that I am crazy.”7

Pauli has always known that theoretical physics had to be embedded into something bigger, more complete. Increasingly Pauli felt split in his life. His dreams often had shown the direction in which he should move, yet he lacked the courage to change. Jung's assistant, Maria von Franz, with whom he formed a Platonic relationship that had deep spiritual significance for Pauli, witnesses that he "would not surrender himself to the demands of the unconscious and suffer the consequences."8 Pauli never accepted the treatment part of the depth psychology offered by Jung and von Franz: He very well understood the deep archetypal meaning of the interpretations of his dreams, but consistently failed to face the consequences thereof, neither did he apply them to his own life. In 1955 von Franz and Pauli stopped their correspondence

In a year long correspondence Jung and Pauli mutually inspired each other. Pauli was interested in a new language, called “neutral language,” which would encompass phenomena from physics as well as images from archetypes. But he did not overcome the barrier of scientific establishment although he did publish a book on the work of Kepler and Fludd4. On the other hand Jung, also hesitating a long time to publish his concept of synchronicity, was stimulated by the scientific approach of Pauli.

Coming from two totally different fields of research Pauli and Jung found each other in the concept of an “Einheitliches Sein,” a “Unus Mundus,” which Jung defined as a transcendent unity beyond concepts of time and space. In Jungian terminology synchronicities, coincidences in an inner world and an outer world, find their basis in a psycho-physical reality. Pauli's life was full of synchronicities, and Pauli saw it as his major task to work on a new description of reality. Pauli saw links with synchronicity in the a-causal nature of quantum physics: on the quantum level cause and effect, even time and space, lose their classical meaning.


F. David Peat, Wolfgang Pauli: Resurrection of Spirit in the World, http://www.paricenter.com/library/
H.B.G. Casimir, Haphazard Reality: Half a Century of Science, 1984, Harper Collins.
H.P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled, I, p9, 1877, J.W. Boulton.
A.A. Bailey, A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, 1930, Lucis Publishing, New York.