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.
 Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, Image Books, Garden City, New York, 1968, copyright 1965 by the Abbey of Gethsemane.
To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2018 collection.
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