Summa Paradoxa:

Absolute Relativity

Absolute Relativity is a phrase I coined in 1979 in a poem I wrote then, but I did not further define what I envisioned by the phrase until the late 1990s.  ‘Absolute Relativity’ does not mean all things are absolutely relative.  Instead it expresses a metaphysical paradox: Life is born from a union of opposites, Jung’s Mysterium Conjunctionis, and is best understood when the paradox is recognized and incorporated into the mythos.

[The following five paragraphs are taken from my "Absolute Relativity" page that has been posted on my website for over ten years now.]

Absolute Relativity is my term for the quintessential axiom of my personal philosophy, which has been forged in the crucible of my heart.    By the grace of God I find myself still here on this Earth after sixty years.  God has blessed my eyes with the sights of youth, my heart with the passions of love, my ears with the sweetness of music.  I have watched my children grow and become unique spirits setting out on their own to discover the “new” world before them.  During these decades I have studied the works of the greatest thinkers who ever lived and have sought to understand how the world can be so lost and “poor” amid such light and “wealth”.  In an age where freedom and prosperity should be the right of all peoples and is certainly more than possible thanks to technological breakthroughs during the last century we seem to always be taking the wrong turn and losing our way as a species.  In the words of Nietzsche we are, “Human, all too human”. We seem to blindly follow our “herd instincts” (Nietzsche) without reflection, without even being aware of any need for introspection when it comes to such icons as one’s traditions of culture, race, nationalism, or religion.  Yet the bloody history of the last century is ample proof of the need for a better way, a higher aspiration for people to strive to achieve.  This view of humanity is the impetus behind my life’s work to obtain for myself, my children, and all people a better way, to discover if possible, the Truth behind the mirror, as I gaze at my reflection and ask, “Who am I”? And “Why am I here”?

   So what is the essential relation of Man to the Universe?  Depending to whom you address the question you will hear extreme variations of definitive statements purporting to be the final word on this eternal question.  It is my experience that the answers all lack the 'connective tissue' necessary to 'support' life, the meaning being that most are ‘perspective prejudiced', they lack the correlative unification of 'inclusivity'. Again, “they cannot see the forest for the trees” right in front of them.  Therefore I am here introducing a new concept and a new symbol for a new millennium which I believe has the necessary connective tissue required to unify our cultural chaos, the intuitive metaphysics to nullify nihilism, and the ethical insight to adapt our Gestalt, our Weltanschauung towards a truly Promethean paradigm of “metaphorical paradox”, which is not a new idea in itself, being used by Sophists, Sufis, Zen Masters, and others adepts to elucidate concepts that express experiences which defy explanation by traditional argument or analysis.  An example of such a experience is “meaningful-coincidences”, which Carl Jung called “Synchronicity” (click here for an amazing list of the  Lincoln/Kennedy “coincidences”).  The same class of phenomena has been verified by scientific experiment to exist in the physical dimensions as well (see Bell’s Theorem and Einstein’s Theories of Relativity).  In other words, things truly do happen which defy our normal, “rational” under-standing of the world.  This implies that there must be a more inclusive understanding yet to be discovered

   Absolute Relativity is a paradoxical metaphor for this yet to be defined inclusivity theory ( in physics known as the Unified Field Theory ).  Two terms, which stand at the opposite ends of the metaphysical spectrum, combined to express the otherwise inexpressible by any other known means.  Absolute Relativity refers to our ultimate relationship to existence, it refers all things to the All that is, the “I Am” of the Bible, the “In-itself of It-self” of Sartre, the “will to Power” of Nietzsche, the “singularity” of physics, the Tao, the “Quality” of Pirsig in ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’, the source and the motive force of the Universe.  And yet it ever remains more than our descriptions and conceptions.  Absolute Relativity is the relation of perspective to the source and yet is the Truth of perspective and the Truth of the absolute source beyond perspective simultaneously.  It represents the intuitive certainty that there must be at some point one Truth for all.

   I have designed a symbol which beautifully represents the concepts of Absolute Relativity by combining the symbols for the mathematical ratios of PI and PHI; both ratios were incorporated into the opposing  faces of the design of the Great Pyramid in Egypt over fifty centuries ago, and I believe the reason this was done was also to express eternally this same inclusive concept, for PI (π) mathematically expresses the relation of the center to the circumference, and PHI (φ) similarly expresses the relation of the center to infinity in the form of an ever expanding spiral.  Both ratios therefore are perfectly wonderful metaphors for the ideas embedded in “Absolute Relativity”.


    In this context Pi and Phi become spatial metaphors utilized as visual tools to aid in the comprehension of the concept of Absolute Relativity. Pi is to be visualized as representing the Absolute, the whole of existence centered around the One Truth , the "singularity" of physics, the "Creator" of religion. Phi embodies Relativity as in the many "truths" arising from position somewhere on the infinite spiral of Being and the resulting exigencies of Becoming. These relative truths possess value and validity beyond the perspective point from which they arise in so far as they correspond to the ultimate Truth at the center of Being. This Absolute may or may not be an omniscient being as we like to ascribe anthropomorphic elements to, yet there is evidence of universal consciousness and design and it is possible that the old time religions were on to something. Lastly I want to state my belief that it is possible for mere humans to partake of the "divine"; to experience dimensional breaching on a macrocosmic scale, using the terminology of physics 'expanded' (as in eleven-dimensional Superstring Theory). 


Reality is both Absolute (Being) and Relative (Becoming) simultaneously.  This simultaneity is created by conditions of existence only recently discovered and poorly (or not at all understood) by modern science.  Yet mystical traditions the world over have recognized this essential noumenal / phenomenal simultaneity since man’s earliest memory. It has been called many names. 

The Toa and the Yin/Yang of Zen was assimilated into western counter-culture by the 1970s, and in 1974 Robert Pirsig published, ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which recognized the Toa as the oriental equivalent of ‘Quality’- in Pirsig’s book Quality is the a priori essence of all being/becoming, the indefinable, paradoxical, relationship common to all creation best exemplified in the original Greek meaning to their word Arete- “excellence in all things.”.  It was from this insight that I came to the idea of calling this simultaneity AR.  The contradiction of Being and Becoming is well known in philosophy, going back to the Pre-Socratics.

 This metaphysical aspect of reality has in recent times been disavowed by adherents of the “Church of Reason” (founded in ancient times by Aristotle), with Bacon, Hume, Marx, the "Frankfurt School", Locke, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and the “logical positivist” post-moderns in particular defining a materialistic naturalism which excludes all a priori extranatural noumena, and all alleged experiences of such, as axiomatically false. 

My contention, antithetical to the above materialism, is that even modern science has now reached the point where the paradoxes of existence are undeniable, as revealed by discoveries in Quantum Physics and the theoretical postulates of String Theory. Non-locality, Dark Matter, Dark Energy and the multidimensionality of the Many Worlds Theory point to the future paradigm shift.  What science has yet to recognize is that excluding evidence of extranatural phenomena due to axiomatically incompatibility is short-sighted, at the least, and is, in fact, seriously damaging to society.  A mythos without a viable recognition and assimilation of the noumenal is a dead mythos.  Yet a mythos that harbors no room for evidence to the contrary is doomed as well. 

Man seeks answers to the exigencies of existence.  From birth we seek nourishment and a sense of security; we instinctively fear the unknown and seek comfort in the familiar.  The mythos we inherit from our progenitors in most cases sticks with us for our entire lives and we pass it on mostly unchanged to our offspring. We bond in ineffable ways to our mother and father with a thing we call love that science will never quite understand. In fact the entire spectrum of human experience, derived from a non-local thing we call the Mind/ Consciousness and the multidimensionality of the spirit, both of which exist simultaneously within and beyond physicality, are the true realm of what it means to be human. 

The religions of the past were all founded as a result of the experience of mystical metaphysical reality.  Unfortunately those founding experiences were dogmatized and subsequent  ‘followers’  often failed to keep to the insight of the original experience, to put it mildly, and often resulted in a religion that became antimonious to the intent of the founder. Science too, at the opposite extreme, fails to remain open to what it has classified axiomatically as false, despite any/all evidence to support the existence of such phenomena.

To bring forward our weltanschauung and create a new paradigm synthesizing a union of the insights of science and the insights of the original experiences upon which religions were founded is the work we must find a way to accomplish.  AR is my attempt to add to that movement.

 Being and Becoming are forces pulling in sometimes opposing directions within the breast of every human.  But human beings are subsumed by the archetypal daemons buried within them by a million years of dangerous, frightening, and potentially deadly environments and circumstances.  We are often the victims of powerful instinctive complexes of behavior which run largely below the radar of our consciousness- in our “subconscious”, often due to the “Shadow” and “Inflation”- Jungian terms which describe how these “reactionary” elements within consciousness manifests typically as a refusal to accept, or to violent reject and attack that which is perceived as a threat to the integrity (the structural foundation) of one’s ego. The ‘Shadow’ is the Jungian term to describe how we will “project” that which is unacceptable within ourselves onto a external ‘scapegoat’- as in how Hitler used the Jews to blame on them what he saw within the German people as undesirable.  Jung’s “Inflation” is exemplified by how Hitler created or encouraged a mythos within Germany that Germans (“Aryans”) were so superior to other they had the right to conquer and enslave or destroy them. Inflation then is the ego’s subconsciously overcompensated sense of “self-worth” , “inflated” to make up for unacceptable characteristics within oneself which would, if consciously recognized, lower self-esteem and thereby jeopardize the ego’s integrity. Lastly, due to these elements Jung also discovered an additional element he called “Enantiodromia”.  Within the scientific dogma that Jung adhered to his concept of enantiodromia refers to a internal compensation within the subconscious affecting the decision-making and actions performed consciously in a way that tries to correct the errors created by the “Shadow” and “Inflation”, to restore balance and advance toward what Jung called  “Individuation”.  “Individuation” is what Jung considered to be the ultimate goal of the human being- to become an authentic and whole person, in which the conscious and subconscious are unified and therefore freed of the [‘original sins’-my preferred terminology] compulsions of the controlling archetypes.

I personally see more to the forces at work on our thoughts and actions than Jung would admit, at least to those within the scientific paradigm. What his private thoughts were we may never know. Yet his book, Liber Novus (The Red Book), which is his autobiographical account of visionary experiences he had during the time approaching and including when WWI occurred, implies to my mind what must be “extranatural” or, “noumenal” phenomena. Some of his visions and dreams were in fact prophetic, and could reasonably be interpreted as coming true. 

He also proposed a “collective unconscious”, which everyone shares, containing archetypal and mythological symbols and signs, among other things, which he concluded were occurring in the dreams and visions of his patients without their ever having the chance to have encountered such symbols or signs in their waking lives.  Based upon his extensive research over fifty years of psychiatric practice and study he believed these phenomena rise spontaneously from the “collective unconscious” when they are needed by the psyche to help correct or guide the individual out of psychological dilemma or cope with experiences creating stress, conflict, or worse for that person. Jung found that the person suffering a condition such as just described would often recover after coming to understand the meaning of the content in their dreams that arose from the “collective unconscious”.

Jung never formally ‘located’ the “collective unconscious”, whether in the brain, or our DNA,  but I would rather propose that the “collective unconscious” may in fact be the individual’s ability to tap into something external to our physical being, as consciousness itself may be, based on the scientifically confirmed phenomena of “non-locality”. Non-locality has been proven by repeated and peer-reviewed experimental results. It is the fact that “matter” itself appears to be “conscious” of the conditions other “matter” is experiencing at a distance- SIMULTANEOUSLY.  Such would seem to defy logic.  It represents a leap of faith modern science is still reluctant to make- that all matter, perhaps the entire universe, is conscious and non-local. If so it would allow a “scientific” explanation for all types of “extranatural” phenomena currently unacceptable to empiricists.  In my mind that includes the concept of God.

It may be that science will never catch up to the mystics in understanding this range of human experience- the technology we have created may put a end to such advances before we have had time for science to get its head around it.  Nuclear weapons may see to that, now that America has gone to the dark side (elected as near a Hitler as our worse nightmares could have imagined as president).  If that is our fate it may not be entirely the fault of those that voted for Trump.

 Remember Jung’s concept of “Enantiodromia”? Again I would expand his meaning to include the metaphysical domain- the ideas of Karma, sin and retribution, and Judgment Day may or may not be factors influencing the decisions and actions of many in ways beyond their conscious control. Perhaps Angels and Demons still wage war for the fate of the earth and we are just pawns in their battle.  Perhaps we deserve the fate we get, or, perhaps most will simply be the victims of the enantiodromiated actions of the wrong men at the wrong place at the wrong time. 

I hope none of that is true but I feel it may well be.  Call it “intuition”, if you will.

  Thomas Theodore Welborn 1/29/17

                                                                                                                       © 2017 Thomas Theodore Welborn

Writings Since 2017 Began
About the Author...
What Must Be Done
Room for Thought
Battleground for the Souls of Men
Days of Gold
Ode to a Sophist
Justice forAll