The Intuition Network, A Thinking Allowed Television Underwriter, presents the following transcript from the series Thinking Allowed, Conversations On the Leading Edge of Knowledge and Discovery, with Dr. Jeffrey Mishlove.


JEFFREY MISHLOVE, Ph.D.: Hello and welcome. Today we're going to pose the eternal question: what is time? My guest, Dr. Charles Muses, is certainly an expert in this area -- a mathematician, philosopher, and computer scientist; the author of numerous books and articles, including Destiny and Control in Human Systems and The Lion Path. Charles, welcome. It's a pleasure to have you on the program.

CHARLES MUSES, Ph.D.: It's good to be here, Jeffrey.

MISHLOVE: You know, in your book you describe time in ways that are rather untraditional. You suggest that time is multidimensional, and also that time is qualitative. Could you give an example of what you mean by the qualitative nature of time?

MUSES: Well, actually, this is quite traditional, but you have to go back quite a way before it becomes traditional, and it's possible to make it traditional again, only with quantum physics. The idea, I suppose, is to imagine a person in a rather routine job -- say in a bank, or some civil service work, where they're doing much the same thing every day, with the same group. But you hear them say, "Oh, today everything was just wrong, everything went wrong today;" or, "Today everything was smooth." So time itself, independent of the people, independently of the situation, has a quality.

MISHLOVE: Now, I might challenge that, because your example doesn't really demonstrate that to me. It almost suggests that maybe the guy had something bad for breakfast that day.

MUSES: No, the kind of day I mean is where everything goes wrong with everybody. The boss is screaming, the different employees have a fight. Actresses and actors can tell this too, that audiences are different -- not that it can't be overcome, but there are wave motions. It would be, I suppose, just as reasonable to say that the oceans should have tides.

MISHLOVE: Well, tides, I suppose, must be a reflection of time, in essence.

MUSES: They are. Time and tide -- tide comes from the word time: "Time and tide wait for no man."

MISHLOVE: One of the things that you're saying reminds me of, say, the Santa Ana winds. They come in off the desert into Southern California; they're hot and dry. They carry many positive ions which cause people to get uptight, nervous -- more traffic accidents, mental illness. But would you ascribe that to the nature of time itself?

MUSES: Well, you have the foehn wind in Switzerland, you have the sirocco in Morocco. You can predict the seasons. That's perhaps the simplest kind of chronotopology. You could predict to someone that if they went to sufficiently northern or southern latitudes without proper preparation, without proper clothing, they would freeze to death at a certain time.

MISHLOVE: I should mention here, since you've used the term, that chronotopology is the name of the discipline which you founded, which is the study of the structure of time.

MUSES: Do you want me to comment on that?

MISHLOVE: Yes, please.

MUSES: In a way, yes, but in a way I didn't found it. I was thinking cybernetics, for instance, was started formally by Norbert Weiner, but it began with the toilet tank that controlled itself. When I was talking with Weiner at Ravello, he happily agreed with this.

MISHLOVE: The toilet tank.

MUSES: He says, "Oh yes." The self-shutting-off toilet tank is the first cybernetic advance of mankind.

MISHLOVE: Oh. And I suppose chronotopology has an illustrious beginning like this also.

MUSES: Well, better than the toilet tank, actually. It has a better beginning than cybernetics.

MISHLOVE: In effect, does it go back to the study of the ancient astrologers?

MUSES: Well, it goes back to the study of almost all traditional cultures. The word astronomia, even the word mathematicus, meant someone who studied the stars, and in Kepler's sense they calculated the positions to know the qualities of time. But that's an independent hypothesis. The hypothesis of chronotopology is whether you have pointers of any kind -- ionospheric disturbances, planetary orbits, or whatnot -- independently of those pointers, time itself has a flux, has a wave motion, the object being to surf on time.

MISHLOVE: Now, when you talk about the wave motion of time, I'm getting real interested and excited, because in quantum physics there's this notion that the underlying basis for the physical universe are these waves, even probability waves -- nonphysical, nonmaterial waves -- sort of underlying everything.

MUSES: Very, very astute, because these waves are standing waves. Actually the wave-particle so-called paradox isn't that bad, when you consider that a particle is a wave packet, a packet of standing waves. That's why an electron can go through a plate and leave wavelike things. Actually our bodies are like fountains. The fountain has a shape only because it's being renewed every minute, and our bodies are being renewed. So we are standing waves; we're no exception.

MISHLOVE: This deep structure of matter, where we can say what we really are in our bodies is not where we appear to be -- you're saying the same thing is true of time. It's not quite what it appears to be.

MUSES: No, we're a part of this wave structure, and matter and energy all occur in waves, and time is the master control. I will give you an illustration of that. If you'll take a moment of time, this moment cuts through the entire physical universe as we're talking. It holds all of space in itself. But one point of space doesn't hold all of time. In other words, time is much bigger than space.

MISHLOVE: That thought sort of made me gasp a second -- all of physical space in each now moment --

MUSES: Is contained in a point of time, which is a moment. And of course, a line of time is then an occurrence, and a wave of time is a recurrence. And then if you get out from the circle of time, which Nietzsche saw, the eternal recurrence -- if you break that, as we know we do, we develop, and then we're on a helix, because we come around but it's a little different each time.

MISHLOVE: Well, now you're beginning to introduce the notion of symbols -- point, line, wave, helix, and so on.

MUSES: Yes, the dimensions of time.

MISHLOVE: One of the interesting points that you seem to make in your book is that symbols themselves -- words, pictures -- point to the deeper structure of things, including the deeper structure of time.

MUSES: Yes. Symbols I would regard as pointers to their meanings, like revolving doors. There are some people, however, who have spent their whole lives walking in the revolving door and never getting out of it.

MISHLOVE: Would you explain that a little more?

MUSES: Well, they dote on symbols per se, without ever getting to the signatum, of what the map means.

MISHLOVE: Confuse the map with the territory, so to speak.

MUSES: They get stuck in the map, yes. So you have to regard a symbol as a revolving door, the point of which is to walk through and not get stuck in it, and then help other people to get through. A symbol is very useful, no question, but you can get caught in a revolving door. You have to be careful.

MISHLOVE: I've jumped a little bit, because we talked about this sort of wave form property of matter and of time, and then we went into symbols. I wonder if you can connect that.

MUSES: Well, you need symbols to handle much of these concepts, because we have words, this is the basic language, and then as everybody knows and most people are very petrified about, you have mathematics. It's taught, I must say, pretty much wrongly in the elementary grades, and that's why the average person is afraid. The moment you say mathematics -- "Oh my God, I could never understand that." But that's one of the great languages; it's poetry. I asked a graduate class in Oregon a question, reminding them that the Greeks had said there could be nothing less than nothing, and therefore negative numbers couldn't exist.

MISHLOVE: You mean like minus one?

MUSES: They couldn't exist. I said, "We all know we have debts; we all know we can make a car go in reverse. Prove now, though, prove that the Greeks were wrong." And they couldn't do it, they couldn't prove it. I didn't ask them to say that they were wrong, but to show how they were wrong. Well, they were wrong because the Greeks were confusing two things which we are confusing. The beginning of the ruler is not the first inch. May I ask you a question? What are the inches at the beginning of a ruler?

MISHLOVE: The inches at the beginning -- you know, you've really lost me. I'm kind of in a puzzle here. The inch at the beginning of the ruler is zero.

MUSES: Right. And the horse race doesn't begin at one mile; it begins at the starting line. So zero is as real as one, because the edge of the ruler is as real as the first inch. The Greeks confused zero and nothing.


MUSES: They were perfectly right to say there's nothing less than nothing, but wrong to say that that means there's nothing less than zero.

MISHLOVE: But you're saying something a little deeper.

MUSES: I'm saying zero and nothing are not the same.

MISHLOVE: What you seem also to be implying, Charles, is that in our modern-day world some of our thinking is as illogical as the Greeks, even though we pride ourselves on having a logical, rational culture.

MUSES: You're using the word illogical. What I said to these students is, "Don't think that you were stupid in not being able to see this. You have been badly conditioned." In other words, this is the basis, really, of what the world calls brilliant thinking -- it's to get into the unfamiliar. Actually, it can be quite simple, like zero is the beginning of the ruler, but it's unfamiliar, because we have been conditioned. The teacher says she takes the apples away, and that's no apples, and that's the same as zero. Two minus two equals zero.

MISHLOVE: Are we conditioned in the same way about time?

MUSES: We have to be careful of all our conditionings. Most of us, yes; most of us are conditioned in the Western world to a completely linear time, whereas in some other cultures they have a much more circular time.

MISHLOVE: And yet we live our lives from birth to death. Isn't that sort of a linear picture?

MUSES: It is a linear picture, unless you go, of course, to the Buddhist or the Hindu picture which says that there's a beginning again.


MUSES: And in fact in some Islamic texts, that there's the beginning of a journey -- the thirteenth article of the Hebrew creed of Maimonides, immortality.

MISHLOVE: Well, let me just throw an image of mine at you, if you can relate to this. I sometimes wonder about time. For example, if the now moment were the only real moment -- that is, the past no longer exists, the future no longer exists -- then I see myself, I have a physical body in the now moment, two arms, two legs. But if the past were somehow real -- you know, where did yesterday go, after all? -- then my body would begin to look almost like a long snake, and these two arms and two legs would just be the front of it, and it would sort of be snaking around, as if I were to draw a picture on a map of everywhere I traveled today. So that in some sense, if we look at the past, we wouldn't even look the way we look, if we saw time differently.

MUSES: Very, very poetic idea.

MISHLOVE: Am I totally off base? How do you relate to that?

MUSES: No, you're not at all. You're using an image, of course. It wouldn't have to show up in the body. The past does exist in the present, but in a different way. It exists as memory. And the future exists as desire or anticipation. But they're always in the now. There's no contradiction, in other words -- the past is there. In other words, you and I are the result of previous acts we did, previous habits. We're also the result of the desires. The future is impressing itself on us right now, and that's why I mentioned in my book there's feedback from the future.

MISHLOVE: Let's talk about that a little more. The feedback in terms of our own desires -- what about precognition? What about anticipating, prophecy, or premonition?

MUSES: Are you're getting into the paranormal?


MUSES: I meant even ordinary desires. I'll return to your question, but I'd like to go by easier stages. Even an ordinary desire -- if you take away the future from people, the desire -- and I've seen this done under hypnosis -- the person goes into terrible melancholy. There's nothing, absolutely nothing.

MISHLOVE: No goals, nothing to look forward to.

MUSES: We live more than we realize in our desires, unachieved.

MISHLOVE: It's a motivation. It propels us.

MUSES: Schopenhauer pushed that to the limit and said once you achieve it, you're bored. And there's a lot of truth in that. They climb the mountain only to be there, then they look for another mountain.

MISHLOVE: A good example of that would be people who retire and find that they die.

MUSES: Too soon. We should really never retire.

MISHLOVE: People live eighteen to twenty-four months after retirement.

MUSES: Absolutely. It's a ghastly system. So you're quite right, that the future exists in our desires, in our anticipations, and in a very literal sense, and we are realizing it all the time. And the past exists, too, in terms of our habits.

MISHLOVE: I have another idea about the past I'd like to share with you.

MUSES: Go ahead.

MISHLOVE: I think of the past as sort of a big treasure house, or sort of like Dungeons and Dragons -- I know you've written about these fantasy games in your book. So there's monsters, and there's jewels and riches in the past.

MUSES: Good image.

MISHLOVE: I think as we move into the future from the present, we have the power to take with us what we want out of the past and to leave the other stuff there. If we had times when we felt bad about ourselves, or when our past was harmful or hurtful to us, we don't have to keep recalling that in our mind. We can leave it where it lay.

MUSES: No, we don't have to keep recalling it, quite right -- with one little proviso. We still must work through it, in terms of the unconscious habits it set up. That's what The Lion Path is about -- the acceleration of the dissolution of karma, so to speak, or of consequence.

MISHLOVE: Now you've brought up The Lion Path, perhaps you could elaborate on that a little bit more.

MUSES: Well, that takes off from Chapter 5 of Destiny and Control, and goes into practical methods of exactly what you were bringing up, Jeffrey -- how to handle the past within us, how to take what we want, how to work through what we don't want, and then leave it.

MISHLOVE: I might mention for the sake of our viewers, Charles, that I think those two books are some of the most intriguing, interesting books I've ever read -- extremely erudite and provocative.

MUSES: Glad you feel that way, though the word erudite might be a put-off. In fact, there are four-letter words in Chapter 5. I tried to make it lively. It is a very lively thing. It's life itself.

MISHLOVE: Well, you're drawing on scholarship that includes ancient religions and history, and combining that with a lot of mathematics.

MUSES: You have to add that in, especially when you go off the beaten track. But as a physician told me in London -- he had written a book on regression under hypnosis, and I suspected there was something more than he was writing about, so I made an appointment with him. I flew up to London; I was at Malta in that time. I said, "You must have meant something more in this case. He said, "Oh yes, this woman was very gifted. She came to me with what I diagnosed as gastric ulceritis of psychosomatic origin, and she regressed very easily." So he said, "What I didn't write about in the book, I regressed her beyond the womb, beyond her fetal stage, and she went into a period of blankness, and then she woke up amid characteristically black Bedouin tents, which are in North Africa. And this happened again and again." So I said, "Would you say that was a memory of a previous existence?" He said, "Well, take from it what you will, but I couldn't publish it; my associates in Harley Street would have drowned me out."

MISHLOVE: There are many books now, though, on past life regression.

MUSES: Now it's all right. So you have to be very careful, when you go beyond the bounds of the known, to substantiate everything doubly, so that's all that the scholarship is for. The readers didn't have to bother with it if they didn't want to.

MISHLOVE: Now let's get back to The Lion Path again. You're taking off from Chapter 5 of Destiny and Control, which as I recall is the practical applications of understanding the structure of time.

MUSES: And how we got into predatory time instead of symbiotic time.

MISHLOVE: You'd better explain that.

MUSES: Well, the key to our nature system is who eats whom, and we have peace movements. We say peace is wonderful all over the world, but nature doesn't believe us. Nature is not at peace. Nature is a constant war to the death, but with another side, a completely symbiotic side, where the plants breathe out oxygen, we breathe in oxygen; we breathe out carbon dioxide, they breathe it in. So there's beauty, and then there's a predatory quality. There's this very, very blood-and-tooth-and-claw quality about it, and it needn't have been. So the question arises, if we as good scientists could have planned a symbiotic biology, what went wrong, if anything? So these are the questions that Chapter 5 tries to probe.

MISHLOVE: And are you suggesting in The Lion Path that there's an evolution toward something other than this dog-eat-dog, man-eat-man?

MUSES: Yes, yes, there is an evolution toward a completely symbiotic state, and the thesis is that human beings are not the last stage in evolution -- it would be absurd to think they were, looking around us -- but that there are vistas beyond us. A dog can look above and below. He can look down at an oyster and think it's very stupid, look up to his master like a semi-god. We can only look down. So what I'm saying is we can also look up, and we have to find out where these advanced stages are.

MISHLOVE: Are you also suggesting that through disciplines we can somehow direct or control our own evolution?

MUSES: Yes, I think that's the next step for man. Man is the only creature capable of symbolic manipulation, and capable of this kind of control. In fact, they're trying to do it with genetic engineering, but they're going at it from the material side rather than from the psychic side, from the mind. And I think it can be done through the mind. Yoga of course taught that for many years.

MISHLOVE: Let's talk a little bit about the mind, because we've been talking about time, we've been talking about space and matter and symbolism. I gather from your writing that you're suggesting that the mind is part of sort of a nonphysical reality -- a mathematically definable reality, a reality that can interface and interact with physical reality, and in which physical reality is embedded.

MUSES: That's very well put. In fact, only with quantum physics could we say this. But there can be some things which are physically effective which are not physical.

MISHLOVE: Can you give me --

MUSES: I can give you an illustration, a very recondite one, but there's what is called the zero-point energy of the vacuum. The vacuum is defined in quantum physics as space devoid of radiation or matter -- no energy, no matter. Yet there's an inherent energy in there which can be measured -- this is one of the great triumphs of modern physics -- and that's physically effective.

MISHLOVE: The energy of a pure vacuum.

MUSES: Yes. Yet it obviously isn't a pure vacuum. The so-called savage would say to us, "The room is empty, and the wind is a magic spirit." We know it's air. So we are like the savage in saying that the vacuum is empty. There's something there.

MISHLOVE: It used to be called the ether.

MUSES: Yes. And then it became out of fashion, then Dirac brought it back again, because he had to. Because if you evacuate a bell jar and put a compass needle in there, and then put on an electromagnet, the compass needle moves. What pushed it? That's a good question. They don't know yet. Nobody knows.

MISHLOVE: This is a very profound notion, because in effect what we're saying is this invisible, completely nonmaterial fabric of a vacuum is the stuff out of which the physical universe is created.

MUSES: And can be effective in it.

MISHLOVE: So people who are reductionists, who suggest, for example, that the mind is made out of matter, that our minds are really our brains -- if we go further and say, well, what is the brain made of? The brain is made out of, in effect, a vacuum.

MUSES: I know; I spoke to one of these people -- in fact, a chapter of mine on the interface between biology and quantum physics is coming out in a book being published by Plenum called Self-Organization. I said to this chap, who happened to be the editor, "Why are you getting so excited about my opposing your reductionism, if you're just lifeless matter? Why would you be so angry?" This is not the characteristic of matter, this is mind. Also Konrad Lorenz had an interesting point. I was fortunate enough to have a very enjoyable dinner with him, and he, as you know, is a physician; he was trained also as a Jesuit, and he's a Darwinist. The conversation went to precisely this point, and I asked him, would he agree that a white blood cell was an amoeba, a specialized amoeba?

MISHLOVE: Oh yes. Then you asked him if the neuron might also be.

MUSES: You remember that conversation? Could the neuron be a still more specialized amoeba with six pseudopods? He thought a little while longer and he said, "Yes, of course." Then I said, "Then you're deriving human intelligence from amoebas, but you've just said by Darwinism that we've evolved far above them. How come?" So then he said, "Well, it's the way they're arranged."

MISHLOVE: The organization.

MUSES: But you can arrange morons any way you want in a room; you don't get anything more out of them. You need an operator to impose a program on the morons.

MISHLOVE: So your point is in effect that the brain, being composed of these relatively simple neurons --

MUSES: Very simple. One-celled animals.

MISHLOVE: And yet the brain is, I think we'd all agree, an exquisite structure.

MUSES: It's a transducer, that's what I'm saying.

MISHLOVE: You're saying there must have been some other intelligence that created the brain.

MUSES: There must be something operating it as we talk.

MISHLOVE: The notion of self-organization doesn't satisfy you in this regard.

MUSES: No, not when the self is the one-celled animals that are supposed to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.

MISHLOVE: Well, Charles, when we're looking at the nature and structure of time, there are so many threads to the fabric. There's our brain, there's our language, there's the structure of matter itself, and all of these various wave forms to which you've referred. You seem to be implying that it's possible for human beings to get a grip on all of these things, to have a handle on all of these various facets, using some very sophisticated version of systems theory, I think.

MUSES: That's the way the book had to be written, and it is that way, but that's a post hoc thing. The real way you get a handle on it is not through the intellect, but through the feelings. In other words, the poet grasps the world as a whole much more accurately and profoundly than the average scientist. That's what I'm really saying. And the human being has to filter things through the heart, through the emotions, before the logic even gives assent to it. If you're talking with even a very intelligent man or woman, if he or she is against what you say emotionally, you can talk all night; the logic won't avail. So it's the emotions where the key to human development lies, rather than the intellect.

MISHLOVE: Are you then going a step further and suggesting that if we can cultivate this emotional sensitivity to the rhythms and the cycles and patterns of time, that this may have practical benefit for us in our government, in our culture, in our businesses?

MUSES: Oh yes. It would eliminate fear, it would increase our intellect. For instance, you can train a dog through affection much better than you can train it through fear. Its intelligence will develop with affection. Everybody who has a dog knows that, and loves them. Whereas with fear, which is the basis of present-day governments -- "Thou shalt not do this; if you do this you'll get a fine. If you don't pay this, we will grab you" -- it's all fear.

MISHLOVE: Much of the marketplace is driven by fear as well.

MUSES: That's right. And what I'm saying is that fear is paralytic. And if you want to call it love -- but not in a sentimental sense, like a cosmic power -- is unfolding, is a blossoming effect, and that's what we need. Children, of course, immediately respond to that. We all know that. If you try fear, you'll just lock them up. Also the feeble-minded, also the people who tend to be neurotic or psychotic. They all respond negatively to fear.

MISHLOVE: Would I be too crass to try to push your argument in this direction?

MUSES: Push away.

MISHLOVE: You haven't heard me yet.

MUSES: But I don't mind.

MISHLOVE: Let's suppose I'm buying or selling stocks, bonds, commodities. I'm in the marketplace of the world, I'm in business. Would you recommend that I cultivate a sense of emotional relationship to the market -- try and feel the group mind, or what other people are doing, the cycles of time?

MUSES: Well, for one thing, the cycles could be calculated. But where I inculcate the emotion is where you're dealing with human beings. The stock market, of course, is a reflection of human beings, but it's not dealing directly with them, so I would say it's a misplaced analogy. The stock market cycles can be studied, yes indeed. But they go and turn back to emotional cycles, because when people lose faith in a business or in given money, the stock market drops, even if the money still has value, or the business has value. There's a psychological overlay on the stock market of emotion.

MISHLOVE: What are the directions -- we've talked about the further evolution of the human being, which seems sort of very lofty and really, in a way, spiritual. What are some of the other directions in which chronotopology, the discipline that you've named, is moving today?

MUSES: Well, getting teams together -- choosing teams that can work well together, that have destiny patterns that harmonize. You'd cut down very much on airplane accidents.

MISHLOVE: Team building.

MUSES: Yes, team building. Even insurance companies have learned there are people who are accident prone. They don't know why, but they know it. And so you'd get maybe one of these on a team; don't put a majority of accident-prone people together on one team. And then you steer away events -- this is the theory. You would actually steer away, because the event is attracted to the type of destiny pattern of the person. You may have often wondered why the victims of many horrible crimes are very often very nice, innocent people. The Hindu theory saying that they must have been very bad in some past life and therefore deserve this, doesn't hold up when you look at the cases. The victims usually are pitifully innocent, often naive. Well, when you see lightning going through a sky, and it seems very zigzag, what it's actually doing is not zigzagging at all, it's finding the place of least resistance through the air.

MISHLOVE: It's following a structure.

MUSES: So if a person has no resistance around him, then the evil lightning, the will of somebody who's destructive, can find them better. This is the theory.

MISHLOVE: Charles, it's been a pleasure having you with us on the program. We've really covered a lot of ground, from quantum physics to poetry to history.

MUSES: Thanks to your questions.

MISHLOVE: Thank you very much for being with us.

MUSES: It's a pleasure.


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