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Interview with Michael Carmichael

Interviewee: 
Carmichael, Michael
Interviewer: 
Rieke, Robert
Date of Interview: 
1974-02-12
Identifier: 
OHCA0210
Subjects: 
Syzygy; Astronomy; Eclipse; Mercury; Alignment; Coleridge; Alchemy
Abstract: 
Michael Carmichael shares his favorite word, syzygy, which is an astronomy term. Mr. Carmichael and Mr. Rieke discuss the different facets of and concepts stemming from the term syzygy. Some examples solar and lunar eclipses and when the Sun, Mercury and Earth were in alignment.
Collection: 
A Retrospective Vision (UNCC History)
Collection Description: 
Interviews with students, faculty and alumni of UNC Charlotte were collected by Robert Rieke during research for his book, "A Retrospective Vision" which explores the history of the university's first decade, 1965-1975.
Transcript:
RR (Robert Rieke): February 12th 1974 Michael Carmichael and Robert Rieke . Go ahead Mike .
MC (Michael Carmichael): Well I wanted to tell you about my favorite word which I only discovered two days ago, it's syzygy.
RR: Spell it.
MC: S-Y-Z-Y-G-Y. It's primarily an astronomical term today; it refers to the conjunction and opposition and or opposition of celestial bodies. Primarily the sun and moon and the most obvious syzygy would be the total eclipse of the sun or the new moon. When they are at opposition. S-Y-Z-Y-G-Y. But it doesn't, it's not exclusively sun moon relationships, it could mean like an eclipse in binary stars and it's also got other meanings, other non-astronomical meanings like it can even mean, it can mean anything from copulation to conjunction forms of opposition in conjunction it's a relatively new term.
RR: So duality yin yang kind of thing or--.
MC: Yes.
RR: All right, how about the dark hole and the thing next to it, that's mobile or whatever it is, would that fit into this syzygy thing?
MC: In a relationship yes it would, certainly.
RR: All right.
MC: Primarily, the primary meaning--of course the first definition is that it's the spatial relationship between celestial bodies.
RR: Uh-hum.
MC: But from that we can derive all sorts of, of subordinate meanings. I don't know, you know, you think of the total eclipse of the sun for instance. Over a period of time there is a gradual darkening but at that final moment, at the moment of totality there is a click, a cosmic clicking into place of these spheres.
RR: Sort of like they're locked together?
MC: Yes or in, in the case of the eclipse it's for a varying amount of time, a total eclipse of the sun can last only for like a minute to about eight minutes, that's why the one last year was so phenomenal because it was over seven minutes, it was the longest total eclipse in a thousand and forty five. But you know you think too, this is the way scientific discoveries are made. This is Galileo seeing the moons of Jupiter rotating around Jupiter a click in time.
RR: Well.
MC: It's--I'm trying to think of some other important szygy's in science.
RR: Well there's an actual click or insight; the light bulb?
MC: Yes that's what it is, that's what it is that's, that's (the process of szygy)--.
RR: I want to show you something that fascinated me, Velikovsky when he was here delivering that ( ), I was seeing from the side and this is the first time that I really seen it inside because in the afternoon I looking in forward but he would talk a little bit and then, [snaps fingers] there would be a click, something clicked
MC: Yes.
RR: and then he'd shift gears and then he'd talk about something else. [snaps fingers] Then you'd hear a click. It's as though, what it was, you could see it in it's physical presence there was a tightening of the jaw or a snap in the eye it was very [snaps fingers] very definite click and when you said, you were trying to explain this lock and this click and he related it to the Galileo seeing the moons of Jupiter and then it clicked then I thought of this. Is that relevant?
MC: Certainly it is, that's how I've noticed Velikovsky do that when I was, when I've been with him on several occasions. Well I'll just admit I have got some random notes here on I've got a page it says on syzygial logic and the discussion this morning, Elizabeth Sewell was talking about polar logic, this is a term that Coleridge uses and he traces the origin or polar logic back to Bruno . Well polar logic is seen you know a duality a, a sort of--.
RR: Typical romantic insight under ( ).
MC: Right of course.
RR: Oh yes, it's nothing new to me.
MC: It's contradictory, it's analysis of contradiction.
RR: Yeah.
MC: Well what you said you go back to Bruno well I thought immediately Bruno and the Hermetic tradition, Hermetic tradition alchemy. This is exactly what alchemy is, alchemy is a balancing between the forces of quick silver, mercury and sulfur. The quick silver is a, is a Ying feminine passive mutual substance and the silver is a yang.
RR: Sulfur?
MC: Sulfur, is a masculine active explosive even volcanic substance and the fusion of these two produces gold or silver. This is of course this is all in the alchemist terminology. They were, they were trying to turn their souls into silver, into spiritual silver or spiritual gold and of course to begin with they're either quick silver or sulfur. The difference between the silver soul and the golden soul is that silver tarnishes that has to be re-polished over time. Gold never tarnishes.
RR: Do you know what was going through my hide while I was talking, while I listening?
MC: I can imagine.
RR: Well let me say it.
MC: Tell it go.
RR: You've heard about the Golden Brain, Velikovsky's golden brain.
MC: Yes, yes. He's a golden soul.
RR: Ok, all right. Well I've been doing some reading lately. Elizabeth gave me some of the literature on the two sides of the brain, you know with the right
MC: Yeah
RR: hemisphere which governs the left hand which is the one we know the least about because it's artistic intuitive, it's the one that recognizes faces, and doesn't have any verbal skills or even mathematical skills and the left hand of course is the one that, the left side of your brain governs the right hand is the dominant one, it's the verbalizing one. It's the one which we speak and governs our right hand and our, our strong side and of course there's a relationship between the two. Now this yin and yang and the alchemist image in the silver and gold [snaps fingers] and the golden brain and the click all come together. So that Velikovsky is one of those persons who equally uses both sides of his brain and there's no problem involved. All of us use both sides of the brain but to him he can reach over to this one, into his left side when he needs to, to pull it out and there's no conflict. You see ordinarily you have two separate personalities. You are two people inside your brain. One is the--.
MC: Schizophrenic.
RR: Yeah that's what it is but is this related to syzygy?
MC: Yes.
RR: Oh tell me more.
MC: Let me just read ( )--.
RR: Read your title now, read your title and go on reading.
MC: Well I've read my title, on syzygial logic, under syzygial logic we might consider syzygial science. Just like Kozyreff , the Kozyreff's discovery of the mercurian atmosphere from the analysis of the photographs made as mercury passed in front of the sun in it's famous transit, on November the 10th.
RR: Oh yeah.
MC: Let me read from the newspaper. [pause]
RR: Yeah.
MC: The convincing proof of mercurian atmosphere was the luminous rim or edging that appeared in the instance as the planet began passing before the sun. In other words if you can imagine, if you've seen astronomical photographs, just as, as the orb of mercury began it's transit when it was sort of in the twilight zone, there it's atmosphere flashed a spectrum and that's what Kozyreff calls convincing proof and I'm quoting from his statement.
RR: OK.
MC: It's the flash of the spectrum it's, the analysis of a syzygial moment, a scientific analysis.
RR: Has this got anything to do with the reflection of energy?
MC: Yes.
RR: Is this the reflection of energy?
MC: It could be, it's a point of the reflection of energy. Scientific discovery is the analysis of a syzygial moment
RR: All right.
MC: in scientific experimentation. I'm going to read you verbatim from my notes what you just--.
RR: Go ahead.
MC: The analysis of sygeezy, syzygy serves as the primary mechanism of discovery in science.
RR: All right.
MC: And on the concept of the law of the excluded middle of traditional logic I think we've got to consider some other aspects such as the reflection of energy of ( ), energy when reflecting on itself is--. .
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