by Marinus Jan Marijs
Gustav Strömberg, cosmologist and former director of the Palomar Institute developed in his book “The Soul of the Universe” (1940), several theories among morphogenesis of living beings, multi leveled non-material structures which exist independently of matter, and non-physical memories.
This book was reviewed and endorsed by Einstein and Eddington.
Albert Einstein about this book:
Very few could of their own knowledge present the material as clearly and concisely as he succeeded in doing.
– Gustav Strömberg; “The Soul of the Universe”. Philadelphia, (1940).
Albert Einstein further wrote:
What specially impressed me was the successful attempt to isolate the essential facts from the bewildering array of discovered data and the presentation of them in such a way that the problem of the unity of our knowledge becomes rational one – Ibid.
In this book he addressed the question why electromagnetic radiation of a certain wavelength give rise to the mental sensation of color. Strömberg: Where do colors come from? As the pain does not reside in the needle that pricks us, or sea sickness in the waves that move us up and down, so color sensations do not as such originate in the external objects we believe exist around us. These objects emit or reflect electro-magnetic radiation of certain wave lengths, and this radiation seems to give rise to the mental sensation of color, the change from radiation to color is not comparable to ordinary physical of chemical transformations (page 167).
… The transformation of radiation into color is of a more profound type. The radiation, or rather the chemicals produced by it, seems to open the gate to an entirely new realm, the realm of colors… (page 168).
The gate to the new domain is in the nerve cells the observer, but the domain itself is beyond him and his brain. The colors spring from a fount which is not ‘here’ or ‘there’; it flows everywhere in the universe. Our ordinary conceptions of space and time should not be applied to this world-transcending source.
Generalizing this idea we arrive at the following hypothesis. Our sensations and other mental attributes are not byproducts of atomic configurations in each individual brain, they have a cosmic foundation and ultimate origin common to all individuals (page 168).
We can only describe the relation between the microcosmos in the genes and the macrocosmos in the universe by symbolic analogies. We may say that the genes of red vision in the eyes or the brain were parts of, or had an intimate association or correspondence with, the ‘redness in the World Soul’. The activation made the association effective, and the color red appeared in the consciousness of the observer. It would not be quite appropriate to say that the genes were ‘in tune’ with the redness of the universe, for the word ‘in tune’ implies a numerical correspondence, and red is not characterized by any number or group of numbers, although the corresponding electro-magnetic radiation is so characterized in space and time (page 170).
The absence of space limitation in the case of extra-sensory perception is a new argument in favor of the assertion that our genes of vision are associated with fundamental cosmic attributes —and from these cosmic attributes I believe that colors and sound, harmony and music, thoughts and ideas emanate (page 172).
In the preceding chapter reasons were given for the assumption that the genes and the genii originally came from Cosmos itself. As the workers in a termitary seem to retain mental contact with their common mother, the queen, so the color genes seem to have retained their connection with their world transcending ultimate source. The optic ganglia are probably excited by resonance effects produced by chemical hormones interacting with the living wave system in the nerve cells. As the expansion of the general genie is usually manifested by the opening up of nerve channels which previously had no space extension, so potentional channels to a ‘nerve center’ or rather to a new ‘dimension’ of Cosmos are opened up during the exitation. The gate to the ‘realm of colors’ is temporarily left ajar—and we have a glimpse in our consciousness of the corresponding pre-existing color qualities in the World Soul, Cosmic Consciousness, Cosmos, God, or whatever term the reader may prefer” (page 173).
…It indicates that other mental attributes, like colors, feelings and thoughts, also may have ‘external’ or ‘cosmic’ counterparts (page 182).
Gustav Strömberg describes here a fundamental problem: The difference between physical properties and mental properties. Historically this philosophical problem is mentioned among others by Democritus, Fragment 9 (Quoted by Sextus Empiricus, Adv. Math. vii 135):
By convention there are sweet and bitter, hot and cold, by convention there is color; but in truth there are atoms and the void.
Galileo Galilei, ‘The assayer’; (published 1623):
I think that tastes, odors, colors, and so on are no more than mere names so far as the object in which we locate them are concerned and that they reside in consciousness. Hence if the living creature were removed, all these qualities would be wiped away and annihilated.
For its solution one can make use of the primary/secondary quality distinction developed by John Locke. Locke raises a distinction between the “primary” and “secondary” qualities of physical objects. Primary qualities include size, shape, weight, and solidity, among others, and secondary qualities include colour, taste, and smell. While Gustav Strömberg’s suggested solution goes in the right direction, it lacks details. A more detailed solution is possible when one takes non-physical subtle energies into consideration. For example color in the physical world is a secondary quality, but the color of non-physical subtle energies is a primary quality. And the color perception of non-physical subtle energies may be the origin of color perception in the physical world.
Another problem is the nature of emotions. It is clear that the information which is processed by the limbic system is connected with emotions. However there is no neurophysiological explanation how these processes are connected with the subjective experiencing of emotions.
The preposition here is that the subjective experiencing of emotions is connected with brain processes but finds it origin in the activity of subtle energies on what is called the astral level. They are seen as colored fields, but they are felt as emotions. It is for this reason that, when this subtle energies enter the chakras at the navel or at the heart, that one feels that emotions are located in that area. The actual connection between consciousness, subtle non-physical energies and physical brain processes is discussed in as the mind-body problem on this website.
The feeling of emotions in the heart area is an universal human experience which is described in different cultures all over the world, for which there is no neurophysiological explanation, because it is not generated by the central nervous system/the brain but by clusters of subtle energies which enter the heart chakra.
The same applies to color perception in the physical world, which finds its origin in the primary quality of subtle non-physical energies.
So the secondary properties like color, sound and so on, are primary properties in the higher world spaces. The idea is that all subjective experiences like color, sound, emotions etcetera are not properties of the brain but are properties of subtle energies.
It should however be noticed, that for example the Greek Philosopher Plato saw the transcendental forms as primary, and the physical objects as secondary. Many philosophical, metaphysical and spiritual systems share Plato’s view.
The utter inability of neuroscientists (psycho-physiologists) to satisfactorily account for the subjective, “phenomenological” experience of seeing color, hearing sound and music, and feeling emotional states such as “love,” “happiness,” “sadness”—merely in terms of neuronal processes in the brain. Such physiological states can be correlated with these subjective experiences, but descriptions of physiological events cannot adequately account for the extremely vivid immediacy and emotional richness of these “noetic” experiences. This phenomenon—better to say “noumenon”—fascinated the eminent Canadian brain surgeon Wilder Penfield, who raised these philosophical issues back in the 1970s.
Wilder Penfield, The Mystery of the Mind, Princeton Univ. Press, 1975.
Five fundamental subtle energy groups
As put elsewhere on this website on the higher ontological levels there are five fundamental subtle energy groups which each have their own colour:
red, yellow, green, blue and violet.
On a physical level one would expect that relating to physical visual perception, there would be six fundamental colours: Red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet.
However in an Article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences · May 2017
Biological origins of color categorization
by: Alice E. Skelton. Gemma Catchpole, Joshua T. Abbott, Jenny M. Bosten, and Anna Franklin:
Humans parse the continuum of color into discrete categories (e.g., “red” and “blue”), and the origin of these categories has been debated for many decades. Here, we provide evidence that infants have color categories for red, yellow, green, blue, and purple. We show that infants’ categorical distinctions align strikingly with those that are commonly made in the world’s different color lexicons. We also find that infants’ categorical distinctions relate to the activities of the two neural subsystems responsible for the early stages of color representation. These findings suggest that color categorization is partly organized and constrained by the biological mechanisms of color vision and not arbitrarily constructed by language.
The biological basis of the commonality in color lexicons across languages has been hotly debated for decades. Prior evidence that infants categorize color could provide support for the hypothesis that color categorization systems are not purely constructed by communication and culture. Here, we investigate the relationship between infants’ categorization of color and the commonality across color lexicons, and the potential biological origin of infant color categories. We systematically mapped infants’ categorical recognition memory for hue onto a stimulus array used previously to document the color lexicons of 110 nonindustrialized languages. Following familiarization to a given hue, infants’ response to a novel hue indicated that their recognition memory parses the hue continuum into red, yellow, green, blue, and purple categories. Infants’ categorical distinctions aligned with common distinctions in color lexicons and are organized around hues that are commonly central to lexical categories across languages. The boundaries between infants’ categorical distinctions also aligned, relative to the adaptation point, with the cardinal axes that describe the early stages of color representation in retinogeniculate pathways, indicating that infant color categorization may be partly organized by biological mechanisms of color vision. The findings suggest that color categorization in language and thought is partially biologically constrained and have implications for broader debate on how biology, culture, and communication interact in human cognition.
The illustration on top of the page is by Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky (29 July 1817 – 2 May 1900)