Who am I? What is the essence I call my spirit? Does my spirit
have roots in a past as ancient as the universe itself? Does
my spirit end with my death, or does it live on until the end
Why do I sometimes sense-deep in my unconscious-flickering
images from another age, experiences going back long before my
Are these dream-like images and ancient thoughts also present
in the heart of every one of my cells, constantly harmonizing
and coordinating all the movements of this marvelous machine-my
These profound questions and many more are taken up in this
work by Jean-Emile Charon, a renowned physicist and metaphysician,
whose research in physics brought him -- late in life -- to a
remarkable discovery: that our body's electrons enclose a space
and time unlike the one we have always been aware of.
In this electronic space-time, says Charon, there is an orderly
memory of past events that goes on endlessly empowering and enriching
us -- not only in that part of ourselves we call mind, but in
every single part of our being, in the very electrons that combine
to make us who and what we are. These particles, moreover, possess
an eternal life through time, which means that each individual
human spirit (what the Greek philosophers called soul) has been,
is, and will be -- for as long as the world exists.
Charon illustrates how matter and spirit follow each other
everywhere and he describes that process in the language of contemporary
physics. He explains how the simultaneous coexistence of matter
and spirit is not only supported by hard science but also by
parapsychology and the inner working of the unconscious mind.
Indeed, Charon puts a new, scientific spin on the fundamental
myths of the world's great religions. Our third millennium, says
Charon, will be The Millennium of the Spirit. Eternal Spirit,
The Stranger Inside Us is Charon's attempt to show us how and why
this will come about.
In December of 1977,
LE POINT magazine published an interview with Jean E. Charon
regarding his new book L'ESPRIT CET INCONNU, and its controversial
subject. The interview was conducted by LE POINT reporter, Georges
Suffert, who was understandably, and unabashedly, skeptical about
the whole topic of actual scientific proof of the existence of
a spiritual time and space. Mr. Charon's answers to some of Suffert's
pointed questions provide clues to the man behind the science.
Georges Suffert: Who are you? What are you looking
Jean-Emile Charon: What I am isn't very interesting. Let's
just say that I'm a physicist who asks himself questions.
G.S.: Don't physicists, by definition, ask themselves
J.-E.C.: Yes, but which ones? A century ago, the preponderant
majority of chemists, physicists-most scientists-had the belief
that the universe and life were the product of a multitude of
encounters between chance and laws. . . .
G.S.: That's pretty much what Jacques Monod said, isn't
J.-E.C.: Absolutely. That was called positivism. However,
that's no longer the case today. Here's what's bizarre and intriguing.
Many scientists-particularly Americans-have begun asking themselves
what would in another time have been called metaphysical questions.
Let's be clear: these aren't mystics; no one "revealed"
anything to them. In their own way, they are as rational as their
predecessors. They're also looking for a way to describe and
explain matter and life. They're the direct inheritors of what
was called scientism. Simply put, the system no longer works.
G.S.: What do you mean by that?
J.-E.C: There are laws, but the concept of chance is disintegrating
before our eyes. Everything happens as if evolution were ordained.
And it may no longer be completely unexplainable.
G.S.: Here we go, along comes God, again! I knew very
well he existed . . .
J.-E.C.: Excuse me, but I never ran into him. And, I've
no intention of following you into that area today. I'm staying
at a scientific level, meaning controllable.
G.S.: I assure you that I will have absolutely no way
of controlling even the smallest portion of what you're about
to tell me.
J.-E.C.: Remember the story of Poincare? No, not the politician,
the mathematician. He would send his students to the blackboard,
and after they had used up a good dozen pieces of chalk on meter-long
equations, he would ask them to leave the chalk and board, turn
toward the other students and briefly explain, in simple language,
what they had just calculated. If they couldn't, he would stick
them with horrible grades, for he wasn't a kind man. Above all,
he firmly believed that physics should be popular (his word),
thus understandable by most.
G.S.: This doesn't prove that what you're going to
tell me is the truth. I'm incapable of reading the simplest equation.
J.-E.C.: That's why there aren't any in my book. Let me
say to you that I'm publishing at the same time, for use by mathematicians,
five-hundred pages of equations, to allow the specialists to
verify what I will be proposing. Isn't that proof of my good
Later in the interview, Charon was again
asked who he was...
J.-E.C.: I told you, a physicist.I had the opportunity,
after the war, to be sent to the United States by the French
government to do a report on the state of scientific research
over there. As you remember, we were a bit behind. We wanted
to make a small assessment of what was happening in the universities
and large American enterprises. For five years, I visited the
principal laboratories. I met many brilliant people, some of
whom became great scientists: Wheeler, from Princeton; Feynmann,
who was working at the California Institute; Post, who had been
seeking the secret of controlled thermonuclear fusion for some
time. The latter would have a decisive influence on me. In any
case, at the end of this sojourn, I hadn't become American, and
returned to France.
J.-E.C.: I liked the American scientists very much, but,
after all, I was French, and I wanted to be home. And so, here
I am, back in Paris, and I get in at the CEA (Commissariat a
l'energie atomique) where I would stay for fifteen years.
G.S.: And what were you doing at the CEA?
J.-E.C.: Some of the time, I worked on controlled thermonuclear
fusion. That's what Post had in part taught me. You know that
it's a major problem. The solution to the energy crisis probably
lies in that direction, but everyone has doubts. We're hoping
to master this recipe in a few years, somewhere around 1985.
And, we've had to adjust that estimate, realizing that we'll
probably need another ten years.It's not a sure thing. We're
almost there, but it's going to take someone, somewhere, to have
a bit of luck to gain ten years. I'm going to leave it at that.
It's an exciting subject, but it isn't the one I want to discuss
today. During the rest of my time, I do, as we say, fundamental
research. I work in General Relativity. These days, this seems
curious. It's no longer trendy. . . .
G.S.: There are trends in physics?
J.-E.C.: Why not? We have a mini-skirts and our retro
periods. In any case, I, myself, seem to be retro. One bright
day, I made the mistake of giving a few interviews, publishing
articles, and books.
G.S.: Why was this a mistake?
J.-E.C.: Because I let my "earlobe be pierced."
I let it be known that I asked myself questions that were vaguely
metaphysical. You can bet that this didn't please my colleagues.
During that time, the positivism garden was untouchable. To talk
of the "spirit" was considered proof of feeble-mindedness.
I was irked. But, the facts and equations danced under my nose
and I couldn't "throw them in the river." So, I retreated
into my cocoon, and continued to work in my corner, waiting for
the time when I would see it all more clearly.
G.S.: And, this is the time?
J.-E.C.: For the most part, yes.