The 2035 Nobel Prize Lecture in Psycho-Physics
Dr. Kilgore Bisson
Lagrange L5 Colony PRIAM
As provided by Richard Krepski
Art provided by Errow Collins
I first came upon the notion of the synchronicity of guilt and gravity in my background reading for an undergrad course on the Cold War–some flippant remarks in an essay by Thomas Merton. The occasion was the launch of an ape into orbit as part of America’s embryonic space program. Merton observed:
(The ape) was bothered by no metaphysical problems. He felt no guilt … Why should an ape in space feel guilt? Space is where there is no more weight and no more guilt … Perhaps if we can all get into space we will not feel any more guilt…. Maybe we will feel just a little guilt on the Moon, but when we get to Mars we will feel no guilt at all … If we blow up the world from the Moon we may feel a little guilt. If we blow it up from Mars we will feel no guilt at all. No guilt at all … push the buttons, press the levers!
Although Merton mucks up the metaphor, somehow reasoning that gravitational effects on Mars would be less than those on the Moon, the point is still clear. There is, to use the terminology of Jung, a synchronicity of the physical experience of gravitational force (or weight) and the psychological phenomenon of guilt. It is not cause and effect, but rather a correspondence or coupling between happenings on the physical and psychical planes of existence.
Writing at the height of the Cold War, Merton was in fact attempting to get his readers (and himself) to overcome their denial and experience their own guilt regarding the potential for nuclear conflagration. Little could he have realized that his prescience was laying the foundation for psycho-physics, a new branch of the science that he apparently abhorred.
The exhilaration of freefall is a phenomenon that has been known since the proliferation of amusement parks in the nineteenth century. The late twentieth century saw an exponential increase in such enthusiasms as skydiving, bungee-jumping, and extreme sports that seemingly negated the law of gravity. The intense pleasures of these experiences were seen by contemporary psychologists simply as stimulation that distracted the psyche from its primary issues.
But with accumulating data from long-term orbital missions, there came the recognition that something real and profound was associated with the zero-g experience. The remarkable therapeutic effects on mother-daughter relationships were established via the work of Dr. Phil at the Winfrey Institute in the early 2020s, and the family dynamic was further examined through the PBS reality series “An Extraterrestrial Family” in 2027-28, the basis for my book Guilt-Free Forever, which has remained a New York Times bestseller for the past five years.
The potential for guilt-free living under zero-g conditions has been actively publicized by those positioned to profit from mass migration into space. This was the impetus for the construction of Lagrange L5 Colony PRIAM. The Lagrange points L4 and L5 are a remarkable gift of the laws of physics. At these locations, the gravitational fields of earth and moon pull anything inserted there in an effortless, stable orbit, maintaining a fixed, equal distance from earth and moon. Space junk, wayward asteroids, and cosmic dust all enjoy a free ride there. So do icy micro-comets towed to the location, providing a ready source of water and minerals for Colony PRIAM. The Lagrange L4 and L5 locations remind me of the hobo cities that popped up during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Here, men who had been unable to support their families and so abandoned them found refuge, leading vagabond, guilt-free lives. Again the correspondence emerges–the synchronicity of guilt and gravity.
We use the terms zero-g and microgravity, but of course there is no way to avoid the force that directs the choreography of the universe. Gravitational fields are everywhere–there is no escape, unless the recent work on gravitational shielding and “dark-energy” propulsion should bear fruit. What we are really addressing is our experience of gravity, the force called weight that arrests our freefall. The vector of time drives us toward the future, while its “evil twin,” gravity, wants to pull us perpetually to the past, toward the inception point of the Big Bang from which all matter-energy emerged.
This phenomenon of synchronicity that I have been researching for the last twenty years is, in fact, a means of exploring the true nature of time, a subject that has always remained tantalizingly just beyond our comprehension. For synchronicity is really a matter of timing–“the readiness is all,” to rob a line from Hamlet. Just as we as a species are finally able to escape the planet, so as evolving beings of psyche, we find that it is time to leave our guilt behind.
But are we indeed ready? Can we cope with this detachment from the bonds of guilt and gravity? Guilt is psyche’s pain. If pharmaceuticals were used to eliminate all pain in the experience of young children, would they not insert their hands into the flames, just to watch them char? So too does our psychic immaturity call into question the advisability of this mass neutralization of guilt that Earth society is now clamoring for. Guilt is what holds many relationships together, just as gravity keeps the planets of the solar system in their orbits. Remove the field of attraction, let go the anchors of obligation and responsibility, and all the components of the system go hurtling into space.
The mass commercialization of off-planet experience that is now being driven by capitalist consumerism needs to be put on hold until we have thought these things out. I have come to feel somewhat like Robert Oppenheimer did after the Trinity test detonation of the first atomic bomb. “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” This science of synchronicity has not unleashed a new destruction, but a new freedom …
Editor’s note: Here the speaker departed from his notes, began shuddering violently and repeatedly shrieking “Oh my God! What have I done? What have I done!” We have been informed that this is a not-unexpected manifestation of the readjustment of the psyche to a sense of guilt after termination of a prolonged experience of microgravity conditions. Dr. Kilgore has returned to L5 Colony PRIAM, where he is reportedly recovering. A complete version of the text will hopefully be available for the next volume in this series of Nobel Lectures.
 Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, Image Books, Garden City, New York, 1968, copyright 1965 by the Abbey of Gethsemane.
 Richard Rhodes, The Making of the Atomic Bomb, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1986.
Dr. Kilgore Bisson has been Director of Psycho-Physical Research at Lagrange L5 Colony PRIAM since 2029, and served as technical advisor for the PBS series An Extraterrestrial Family from 2027 to 2028. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Guilt Free Forever. Dr. Bisson was awarded the inaugural Nobel Prize in Psycho-Physics for 2035.
Richard Krepski is retired from a 30-year career as research scientist and educator. He currently resides in the twilight zone between scientific rationalism and poetic lunacy. His work has appeared in Oberon, Mobius, Bolts of Silk, Fickle Muses, Jesus Radicals, Parody, Still Crazy, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and Tiferet–A Journal of Spiritual Literature. Krepski’s essay “Center of the Universe” was awarded the Tiferet writing prize for 2009. Information on all his writing can be found at substance-to-spirit.com.
Errow is a comic artist and illustrator with a predilection towards mashing the surreal with the familiar. They pay their time to developing worlds not quite like our own with their fiancee and pushing the queer agenda. They probably left a candle burning somewhere. More of their work can be found at errowcollins.wix.com/
“The Synchronicity of Guilt and Gravity” is © 2018 Richard Krepski
Art accompanying story is © 2018 Errow Collins