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Record Type: Review   ID: 335

Science, Paradox, and the Moebius Principle: The Evolution of a "Transcultural" Approach to Wholeness

Rosen, Steven M.

 This is a collection of 14 previously published papers on a variety of subjects involving physics, spirituality, psychology, and mathematics that are nonetheless unified in three ways. First, the Preface, the Introductions to the three main sections, and the Epilogue pull the content of the book together. The Epilogue is an essay in itself, and is titled " The Limitations of Language and the Need for ‘Moebial’ Way of Writing." "Moebial" refers to the Moebius Strip, which is key to Rosen’s thinking and is a unifying factor in all he writes—not only in the text but in his own act of writing. The third unifying factor is Rosen himself, whose life typifies what he views as the major human concern today: the problem and the way of achieving wholeness in the midst of increasing fragmentation. This thread weaves its way through his living and is reflected in his writing. In fact, these two opposites can be viewed in a Moebial way, as two sides of a Moebius strip wherein each side of the strip represents one of the two opposites. But because the Moebius strip is twisted, if one goes far enough along the strip on either side he or she will end up on the other side. At the point where the turn is made is perhaps where an exceptional human experience can be encountered—for either "still trailing clouds of glory," one comes upon fragmentation, and can hold them together as one for just that moment—for that moment enter the Experimental Paradigm and see the world in a different way—or one can be bedeviled by distraction until one can barely hang on any more and, in what often seems to be a moment of "grace," make the turn from fragmentation to wholeness, bringing the fragmented self along into the blessed wonder and peace of unity. The problem (or the solution), as Rosen points out, is that nothing stays the same. There is a process involved, and a dialectical approach is required. Moreover, he also takes a dimensional perspective such that the experience of wholeness is progressively higher. This implies that fragmentation, too, is progressively more complex and daunting. But it makes the next experience of wholeness that much more sweeter and rewarding. The three parts of the book are The Moebius Principle in Science and Philosophy, which consists of 6 chapters. That there is unity in the diversity, as well as dimensionality, is evident from the first, "The Unity of Being and Becoming," written in 1975, to "The Paradox of Mind and Matter: Utterly Different Yet One and the Same," written in 1992. Section II, The Moebius Principle in Parapsychology," ranges from "A Case of Non-Euclidean Visualization" (1974) to "Psi and the Principle of Nondual Duality" (1987). The last section, Dialogues with David Bohm, consists of three chapters beginning with Rosen’s 1982 interactive essay based on Bohm’s Wholeness and the Implicate Order, followed by correspondence with Bohm in 1983 and Rosen’s essay, "Time and Higher-order Wholeness," written in response to Bohm in 1984. In the Epilogue he summarizes the foregoing work as follows: "In the Moebius principle, wholeness is sought in the embodiments of paradox. This provides a ‘higher order wholeness’ that is a wholeness of wholeness and separateness in which the two are fully integrated yet also entirely distinct (they constitute a nondual duality, not a mere nonduality). The wholeness ... is utterly fluid and dynamic, an unobstructed boundless flow" (p. 269). But he also shares the quandary this experience/insight has brought him to, which is the work in which he is currently engaged. It is no longer enough to write about wholeness, because that obscures it. Instead he is trying to achieve a more meditative and poetic form of writing in which he offers himself to the reader. "Evidently, I somehow must bring subjectivity into the text as prelinguistically embodied" (p. 27). In effect, he says he must apply the Moebius principle to a new way of writing that would "encompass the deeper wholeness of object and subject. ... this ... would require and invite reciprocation on the reader’s part; its effectiveness would depend on us" (p. 271). On a personal note, I feel exceptional human experience has a role to play here. In a sense, every EHE involves a conscious transcendence of limits: or the turning point of the Moebius strip. When a person’s exceptional experience is so undeniable that he or she shares it regardless of the possible negative reception it might receive, for me nothing transcends subject and object, writer and reader, as much as reading such a first-person account of an EHE. If the reader, too, has had one, then both enter the Experiential Paradigm through the experiential account.
Publisher Information:Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994. 318p. Bibl: 281-291; Chap. bibl: 273-279; 26 figs; Index: 295-317; 3 tables
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