In recent years there has been a growing interest and reporting in the popular press and scientific literature on the topics of dark energy and dark matter. The mysterious, unknown nature of these entities has captured the cultural imagination. However, very little psychological reflection has been offered on the attention given to these phenomena. A brief overview of the human fascination with (and fear of) the dark is presented as a backdrop to the current interest being given to realms of darkness in modern cosmology. Beginning with the hypothesis of dark matter in the 1930s based on astronomical observations of galaxies, this fascination has grown. More recently the even more mysterious dark energy, a repulsive force opposite of gravity that creates regions of void, has come to the forefront of cosmological studies. This dark energy is purported to be one of the shaping elements in the evolution of the large scale structure of the universe. The psychological significance of the scientific imagery generated by these studies is heightened when a comparison with neural patterns in mammalian brains is made. Furthermore, the model of the universe emerging from these studies has striking parallels with certain schools of Buddhism, especially those that value nothingness as the key to reality. Jungian psychology is shown to be well positioned to appreciate the paradigm shift represented by the confluence of these visions.
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Cambray, J. (2016). Darkness in the contemporary scientific imagination and its implications. International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 35 (2). http://dx.doi.org/10.24972/ijts.2016.35.2.75