The Foundations of Moral Philosophy
Various diagrams in the original are not possible to render under this format. I therefore quote page numbers for reference.
The text is very rich – even the Author’s Note (two pages) contains a lot of information!
These pages give a lot of vocabulary – it is very important to get a grasp of JGB’s basic definitions if the later material was to be understood. So, some basic terms/ dichotomies – what do they mean? – Quality/ Value, Items/terms, Class/ System.
Keys ideas for me:
JGB is seeking to go beyond traditional philosophical dichotomies: free-will v. determinism, ‘natural’ v. ‘supernatural’ laws; physical v. non-physical. The mind-matter dualism is to be replaced by ‘experience’ (defined in terms of Function, Being Will).
A basic definition is between ‘class’ and ‘system’. A ‘class’ is any group of like-things – people with blue eyes. However, a ‘system’ involves connectedness and mutual destiny – a family.
This is fundamental and important: difference, similarity is a ‘fact’: relatedness implies a certain ‘quality’ which is relevant to each in the relationship. Hence another basic dichotomy: JGB claims that all philosophy can be reduced to the distinction between questions of ‘fact’ and questions of ‘value’. Pretty stunning! I take this to also be the division between the physical and metaphysical.
So, these qualities are expressed as ‘Values’ (essential qualities):
1. Wholeness – Monad
2. Difference – Dyad
3. Relatedness – Triad – Will
4. Order – Tetrad – Being
5. Potential – Pentad – Spirit
Hierarchy is therefore involved – from abstract to concrete. It is only from term 4 that things ‘exist’ in the physical world.
The numbers relate to ‘terms’. Hence ‘multi-term systems’ as a mode of existence, and:
– Each item must be distinct from the other;
– Each item must be Mutually relevant – needed for the others;
– How many items included provides the conditions of the characteristic quality (value) of the system.
JGB outlines other higher numbers – 5, 6, 7, etc., but it is clear that our job here is to focus on ‘Triads’. However, it is as well to keep in mind that at 12 terms, we are talking about ‘harmony’ – ‘being’ and ‘will’ in mutual relevance; ideal society where each is distinct and independent yet relevant and necessary to each other – earlier expressed as ‘collective consciousness’ and ‘universal individuality’.
pp. 15 – 30 pages 27/ 28 for diagrams
JGB continues to set out a morphology for Experience: Being Function, Will. These pages deal with Being; but it is important to remember that Triads are the way that Will (Subjective/Objective) expresses itself, and this lies behind questions of Being; i.e., why something exists or not and how?. It is also important to keep in mind that Being is defined as ‘inner togetherness’ – order – organization (although this is quite a narrow definition). The basic dichotomy is still Fact and Value:
Knowledge (subject aspect of Function)
Experience: Actualisation of Fact – Process
Generated through Fact
Realisation of Value – History
Is not regulative – normative.
Does not cause action.
Things can exist as a fact – a process – but something else happens when there is a fulfilment of purpose – one thing rather than another. So discernment/ differentiation. The first question is: does this happen randomly or because of an intervention – Will. The second question is what is the source of this Will: Subjective or Objective (ultimately, the Will of God)? Only these questions allows for an ‘assent to values’ as an act of Will – distinguishing ‘true’ from ‘false’ values. We need a system of values, anchored in the natural world (fact and value harmonised), but the study of Values must be preceded by a study of the Laws of Will (Triads). This discussion is setting up a background to such a study.
JGB then elides Fact and Value with Existence and Essence. He needs this because things in potential exist just as much as actual events – although not yet actualised/realised. Even the ‘impossible’ is not quite nothing (very Buddhist!).
Participation in world process.
The terminus or End of possibilities – actualised or remaining in potential
The bearer of fact
Does not confront hazard of the impossible
Separated from Being
Is a fact
Possibility of being real, but does not exist.
Can assent to value – the bearer of value, but needs to be realised as fact
Source of the separation of possible from impossible (multiple essences).
Power to hold together a particular pattern (Order, therefore Being?) of possibilities
Neither exists or does not exist.
Then, why do things happen/ occur or not: realisation in time, space, eternity, hyparxis? A mysterious union of the possible and impossible – but acted on by Will.
Being enters into existence to become real. Existence rises towards Being to acquire essential content of reality (Being is therefore not only ordered and together but according to a specific value/essence/quality – again, why and how is an act of Will: how we understand this is through understanding Triads)). We are in a state of possibilising thrust towards the future. This distinction has implications for people. Someone aware only of the fact of their existence is secure but static. Someone aware of their essential nature is insecure: has no power – of themselves – which will make the realisation of their essential reality. So, where does it come from? An act of Will = a differentiation of value, not an emotional reaction. As Understanding is the ‘subjective aspect of Will’, understanding would seem to be one way to differentiate. But, this leads to a further question: what is understanding? Will is ‘an ableness to be’, and implicates the inner and the outer: maybe understanding connects these two. Existence is a fact but needs to be ‘spiritualised’ as value in order for the Universal Harmony to apply – people.
Quite difficult material, but I do not see how we can undestand Triads, etc. without some understanding of what lies behind them. Still, I am left with practical questions of essential nature; Mike-ness, for example? Also, how to distinguish a value response – quality – from an emotional reaction?
pp. 30 – 45 pages 34, 35, 36 for diagrams
JGB continues his account of the relationship between fact and value. So far, the six dimensions he has given, account for time and space, eternity, hyparxis – the determining conditions, but value is beyond these. At the same time, he is working to avoid a fact-value dualism. How to build value into a factual system? All values are impossible and miraculous. Basically, the universe should be amoral, but it is not. It is not because value enters – one thing and not another according to their essential nature. The Seventh degree of Freedom is when we are conscious of values and assent to them. This is reality. If we create values, we are being real. Value is ‘realized’. Let us assent to the assent to value, therefore! This reality is a fact – this value is true. Therefore, fact and value are the same in essence.
The diagrams are useful. Firstly, they allow us to look at the various permutations of Function, Being and Will (experience). FB is Natural Science; FW provide Framing Conditions. They can be also Unified, but the values to be realized from this are ‘virtual’ only – they do not exist in reality. The BU route is important because this is the path from existence towards essence.
The realization of value can be represented by considering the value aspect (essence, quality) of function, being and will. Unity itself does not have any value. The above space is the place of value (function/value, being/value, will/value). There are two ways of seeing this. Looking from the bottom (the domain of fact), unity is transcendental. Looking at it from above (the domain of value – if we could), unity is a point of essence (value) with no content in the real world.
If we give attention to something, we form an intentional link with it. We experience it. We recognise value in it but this value is not integrated with the fact of its existence. Our task is to give an account of value in line with our factual knowledge of it – consciousness as value-experience. Value is ‘realized’.
There then follows a passage on Synchronicity – the last part of the jigsaw background before we get on to the Triads themselves.
JGB posits the ‘eternal pattern of things’ – akin to the Platonic notion of ‘ideal forms’, lying behind everything that exists. Hyparxis preserves them as recurrent forms.
I am always slipping in and out of some timeless world in order to understand and follow this argument; maybe hyparxis is necessary to stabilise this shifting. One has to take a leap of faith to navigate.
Value itself is timeless, and free of associations – pure quality. It can be experienced in a flash. The aesthetic gaze. If we are not there, it passes by. But, it is not we who determine whether it is value or not. Synchronicity is a good example of this sense of value. Synchronicity is connectedness between the ‘eternal pattern’ of something and its factual existence in time. This is an aesthetic quality beyond knowledge. Synchronicity then appears as a condition of emergence and not a value in itself – more a carrier of quality. Like things fitting – a key and lock. Lots of other examples possible: Rightness, Coincidence. Here, though, I asked about relative-ness. For example, some keys and locks ‘fit’ – other do so beautifully. Fit-ness can therefore be relative? Quality cannot. Maybe the realization of quality is ‘conditioned’ in the factual world – a kind of ‘fall’??!!.
pp. 45 – 65 page 55 for diagram
Here, JGB addresses ‘the applications of the laws of synchronicity’. Again, the whole point is that the dualism of Fact and Value, the Material and the Spiritual, Mechanism or Psychism disappears in this account. Perception, it is argued, is ‘the’ synchronous phenomenon par excellence. The region between the above dyads: the gateway to experience. By learning the laws of synchronicity we are able to interpret the differences between the levels of consciousness.
So what and why these ‘laws’?
Again, we are talking about the conditions of emergence. JGB expresses these in terms as a combination of two (of three) kinds of time – Eternity (potential, organization) and Hyparxis (Regulation/Recurrence) and one (or three) forms of space (Form/Scale Proportion).
Hence: Space, Eternity , and Hyparxis
As Ken Pledge. said, the main task here is to ‘think in threes’. We have to understand what each of these mean; then what they imply according to the position they are in; then understand the dynamic and relation between the three in terms of process and outcome.
JGB expresses these as 1) Dominant 2) Subordinate 3) Intermediate
However, in the course of the section he refers to them in other ways and the way they relate to each other:
Dominate Impulse……..Subordinate Impulse…….Intermediate
Eternal Pattern………Underlying value……….Reconciliation
(Apologies: I was trying to get the above to line up as three columns but only managed this – badly – by adding the dots!)
1) and 2) and 3) …. Of a situation
2) ‘depends’ on 1)
2) ‘confronts’ 1)
3) ‘emerges from 1) and 2)
Each Law is a condition combination and the emergent quality:
I found it necessary to work through each of the six laws in detail with a view to what was in each position and how the relationship works and why what emerges does. For example, HES: The ableness-to-be of an entity dominates (H); it seeks to ‘overcome’ eternal patterns (ideal forms) in order to gain a quality of its own (E); this ableness to be and its impulse to be its own thing is then conditioned by the spatial environment (S) – i.e. is actualised in a normal state as the regular expression of a pattern.
I am sure we could discuss each law in detail and offer examples from our experiences.
pp. 69 – 72
The new section takes us into the Triad. JGB begins by looking at ‘Will’. We all have that sense of ‘something beyond’, ‘a source’ that is beyond existence. JGB reasons this out as an ultimate Will that results in this happening instead of that – a bit like the discussion we had with values. This ‘Will’ is immanent (arising in all things) and transcendent (its purpose is not recognised by finite beings). Such a ‘Will’ is infinite since it lies beyond Being: in fact, it acts to determine being and non-being. As such, it is greater than the will of will-function-being which is really the triad of experience/existence. Such a greater Will is independent because it is prior to the being/ non-being separation. JGB makes the point that there is more non-being than being. This reminded me of the Gnostic assertion that the Pleroma is at once full and empty. This (one) Will cannot be subordinated to a process – it is pure. Everything is really a playing out of this Will, at levels most of us cannot see. The First Act of Will is a bit like the Big Bang: everything proceeds from that. The logic of this argument causes JGB to acknowledge that, if in fact this Will is expressing itself in processes, then there must be a prior determination. However, in order to avoid everything being pre-determined, he argues that Will must also send out a measure of its own freedom as an act of the unfathomable source to act in processes. ‘Will’ is therefore prior to Being AND ‘will’ is also part of it: a kind of ‘fallen’ form of will. This is necessary for creativity to be possible – creativity assumes freedom, discernment, rightness. So, freedom is pre-determined and values are in potential, but things can still go one way rather than another. This is actualised in existence by acting within relatedness. Will relates Function to Being: by determining whether who we are does what we might do (and how well). Being-Function-Will is a triad – the Triad is therefore a fundamental principle of relatedness and governs everything that exists in the universe – or not. However, relatedness also implies ‘limitations’, and JGB argues that these latter are the basis of the Laws of Being. Laws are therefore ultimately coming from the ‘Infinite Will’ – universal laws. We live under these laws but do not see them most of the time. Our task is therefore to recognise the Laws of Will and the levels on which they operate in order to gain some liberation from lower forms of relatedness that keep us captive (Here, he is implying the distinction between worlds 24 and above and world 48).
pp. 72 – 89
In this section JGB moves us yet closer to actual Triads. But, first, he has to show why Triads are as they are and necessary.
The section begins with a long reflection on Will as a subjective experience. Will and wish are contrasted. Will induces action but it does this by submitting to law (the triads combinations) – as in the case of synchronicity.
Will is the source of all relatedness: it is neither the terms nor the elements of relatedness but the relationship itself. In other words, it expresses itself in how the elements are configured.
Will has various properties: Attention; Relatedness; Choice; Decision; Understanding.
JGB has something to say about each of these. In fact, if we study attention, we will learn something about the nature of Will. So,
Attention has power. It directs energy but is not energy itself. It relates. It gives direction. This reminded me of the argument in phenomenology that giving attention to something establishes an intentional structure.
All this is different from Being which is capable of consciousness and energy.
Choice and decision allow for systems of value to come into play. Understanding is effectual through attention, choice and decision. JGB makes the point that such attention and choice are unusual. Mostly action is involuntary. In actual fact, any decision not based on understanding does not originate in Will but habit. Powers can be present but only exercised if there is understanding. Will is also the operation of laws external to their own consciousness and Being. The subjective aspect of Will is the ability of exercise powers based on understanding. The objective aspect of Will comes from external sources.
This discussion leads to a consideration of Will as Why, Thus and How.
Why are things Thus and not otherwise? Because of the Unfathomable Source. An affirmative impulse proceeds from it, and enters Being : so that something exists rather than not. In this way, Will goes beyond Being-Non-Being. Will is manifested as a Triad. Every act of creativity is Triadic. Ultimately God is Will: Transcendent and Immanent.
JGB then begins to give an account of the Three Cosmic Impulses (this is the ‘How’ of Will)
The First Impulse is the Affirmative, Active, Initiating Impulse. However, it exists in two forms:
1) Essential, non-transitive affirmation: Inward and Reflective – ‘This is affirmed to be true’
2) Existential, transitive affirmative: Active and Outward – ‘an action of one entity on others’.
This impulse is therefore self-affirming and makes a demand upon existence.
The Second Impulse is the Passive, Denying, Receptive Impulse. It too exists in two aspects:
1) Essential: Being, Receptive, Eternal Mother, Wisdom, Creative Power, Unity.
2) Existential: Denial, Resistance, Passivity, Multiplicity, Separatedness.
The impulse is therefore denying and opposes existence.
For JGB, the affirmative and receptive forces have to be equal: Being and Non-being.
pp. 89 – 103 Tables on pages 94, 95, 96
For me, from now on in, it is less what an individual triadic configuration means, and its exemplification, but more how a particular combination (active-passive-reconcling) gives rise to this action of will/ result.
The triad is everywhere, except we do not see it – it is how the Transfinite Will expresses itself; the way that value can emerge in fact; the way that essence returns enriched by existence.
The section begins with an account of the Third Impulse. The omnipotence of God enters at this point. The Third force is then variously described as: Mercy, Compassion, Immanence, Intuition, Reconciliation, Mediation, Tao, Order, result, Freedom, and God!
But, JGB has the three triadic positions acting as both process (their order) and product (their source). So, this Third impulse can act in position 1, 2, or 3: Initiating, Responding, or Reconciling – and each has implications in terms of the effect on the other two (whatever order they come in). The triad also can be viewed in different ways. 1, 2 as the means, and 3 as the purpose of creation. 1 as the ‘why’ (Initiation), 2 as the ‘how’ (process), and 3 as the ‘thus’ (result). The bracketed form are a simpler version, apparently.
He gives the example of building a house in terms of 1, 3, 2
I want a house built = 1 (Initiation)
The process of organising things so this happens meets resistance but reconciles the wish/ideal with the denial = 3 (Reconciliation in responding position)
The house is built = 2 (passive result – the house is created – its being acted as a third force). The architect is 3.
But, there is a further division, as mentioned before: the existential and essential.
1,2,3 = Involution: expansion. 1(Potential actualised) => (passivity). 1,2, 3 is Universal Involution. But, 1, 2, 3* is Individual Involution. In the first example, the outcome remains essential, in the second it exists (on earth!). The biggest change comes about when 1 and 2 are essential, and 3* is existential Here, an essential universal (the means) results in an existential individual (creation in the existential world).
The six primary triads are really the essential triads. If we introduce existential impulses in the third position – whether 1*, 2*, or 3* – we have the next 6.
For JGB, the universe exists as a series of worlds: the first 4 (worlds 1, 3, 6 and 12) mirrors the Transfinite, Infinite, Universal Wills. The 6 primary triads belong to world 6; the adding of six more (with the existential impulses in position 3) gives us world 12. Putting existential impulses in position 2 and 3 gives us a further 12 – therefore world 24. Introducing further existential impulses in positions 1, 1 and 2, 1 and 3, and 1, 2 and 3 gives us another 24 possibilities – therefore world 48. In other words, the world becomes more ‘existential’ – of the realm of fact rather than value, existence rather than essence. Worlds 1, 3, and 6 are beyond us. It is only at the level of world 12 that we can see the essential work of triads. World 24 is easier but still difficult. JGB gives the example of 2,3,1 (essential individuality) as compared to 2, 3*, 1 (the law of selfhood). The two are the same in terms of their cosmic impulses and external relationships. However, their inward character is different. They ‘exclude’ each other – you cannot have both. JGB sees this as proof as to why the human self cannot grasp the nature of their essential individuality. As we move up the worlds (or down) more triads cannot exist together as they contradict. By the time we get to world 96, we are in the realm of value-less fact, materiality, null and pseudo value, phantasy.
The final part of this section returns to Understanding: the subjective aspect of Will. To Understand is to recognise relational qualities. Knowledge is functional. Being is mysterious. Understanding is neither mysterious nor functional. It is a Power found in attention, choice, and decision. For example, it is recognisable in self-situation-choice systems – ‘who’ we are doing the ‘right’ thing as a result of understanding! This is why it is needed. To quote: ‘Man can have no will of his own until through understanding, he has brought his powers into an inner relationship that can respond to the various manifestations of the Triad’. This ‘purifies the intellect’. Understanding is therefore to perceive triadic relationships (and not just in the mind!). This comes about through the reconciling power of God. I guess we might conclude that tackling this text is part of such a process
pp. 103 – 120 Diagrams on pages 107, 110, 117,
At this point, the discussion is about how the various cosmic impulses combine and their result. For me, the way 1,2, and 3 combine and the outcome is more important than the law and its exemplification as such. Still not really sure why these are ‘laws’. I found I could follow JGB quite well and his various insights mostly make sense; although I could not come up with them myself. Need to see more of them in everyday occurrences.
JGB considers the Study of the Laws in terms of the initiating impulse: i.e 1,2, or 3 in the first position. He then considers the 1,2, or 3 in the middle position. This characterises what manifestation of will is at work; for example 123 (motherhood – receptivity), 231 (thingness- reconciliation), 213 (Digestion – active affirmation). Therefore, every Triad has a determining cosmic impulse: (132, 231), (123, 321), (213, 312).
The Third position needs to be seen in two ways: when temporal (actualisation in time), it is outcome or result.
When non-temporal (outside of time/ essential), it is the external form; eg. 231 (thingness) – a Table is a table.
The third position is also the concrete manifestation of will.
We then get into the various combinations. I picked out what JGB says about each:
123 – Expansion
Unity to Multiplicity
+ – = Here, the = becomes a new +, as things expand. This continues until the Affirmation attenuates
1 and 2 must closely match, be worthy of each other. Otherwise, it is an interaction, only; i.e. nothing essential changes. Probably why JGB see its strong manifestation in Man-woman relations.
Creation: separation of order from disorder. There is a ‘plan’ or pattern coming from the Transfinite will. Cosmic Affirmation merges with Cosmic receptivity leading to cosmic reconciliation. The outcome is creation.
132 – Interaction
eg. House building.
Affirmation reconciled with receptivity leading to a manifestation. Reconciliation holds things together. (This is a law of existence)
This is the triad of the reconciling power of God. Connectedness.
Here, the ‘denying’ cannot be intentional because it is in position 3.
Interaction with not much changing. Suggests change is by definition
213 – Concentration/ Evolution
eg. Eating. This triad renews itself at a higher level. From Multiplicity to Unity
A- A+ A= At A=, part of A is discarded as refuse. Thus, a new element is created to become B-. So, the concentration of potential creates a new seed: a process of growth begins and follows the law of expansion. Therefore, expansion and concentration are linked. – their blending comes from the Transfinite Will. ‘That which arises from the source returns to it’.
There is emergence. But, conscious guidance or selection is necessary – an exact
adjustment of affirmation and receptivity. It must be the ‘right’ effort. Rightness is involved. This is the generatrix of realised essence.
Purification: separation of fine from course: outer existential denial of our inner essential affirmation. Transformation of inner man. God is the 3rd impulse leading being and existence back: from expansion/ involution to concentration/ evolution.
231 – Identitiy
Thingness; inanimate objects; cohesion; sub human; another law of existence.
The affirmation does not act on or change the receptive element, but enables it to be what it is.
Fulfilment of cosmic role; conservation; Thusness; but, by the will of God.
Context is significant. Uniqueness, we are what we are. Hyparxis.
Reconciliation in the middle. Knowledge of difference and sameness, the ordering of function.
Identity is the prior condition of existence (stressing that these triads need to be seen as linked). Once ‘it’ is, it can transform.
I find myself getting a feel for this and sensing these laws in my surroundings. Certainly, they point to a very dynamic universe!!!
pp. 120 – 135 Diagrams on pages 125, 126,
The Law of Order 3 1 2
A triad initiated by the reconciling force and therefore independent of external action. The affirming impulse (1) is in denial is therefore kind of neutralised by the Reconciling force – so no action results.
But, JGB extends in an almost poetic way: the reconciling force protects affirmation. This is the ultimate character of World III – where the three impulses are independent and essential.
What is possible and impossible is separated by the affirmative impulse – Universal Order at the essential level.
We need to read it as descending levels: the will of god (creativity) pervades existence, transforming. At World VI, the Law of Order kicks in; at World XXIV, the determining conditions apply. Will is limited. There is a transference of patterns across the worlds derived from the original Order
The Law of Freedom 3 2 1
The reconciling impulse is initiating. It meets receptivity. Pure receptivity protects pure affirmation (in the third position) – outcome. Receptivity = submission to higher law. Supreme law is supreme freedom – an inner escape from the determining conditions.
This is Freedom – from a state of pure receptivity.
JGB returns to the idea of the Plenum: full of being from which existence/ non-existence, and possible/ impossible emerge.
Freedom enters from a forbidden region: it does not become itself but affects what becomes: what is impossible becomes possible.
There is a digression to explain how sense impressions might enter the nerve endings of an organism in an automatic way. There is a reaction (Interaction 132). But sensitive energy could be an affirming impulse transforming conscious energy (by the law of concentration 213). This requires the power of Attention (a property of Will) – also associated with the Triad of Freedom. There is then a ‘forbidden transition from automatic to conscious energy. It can happen as a self-initiation: an ‘impossible triad of free attention’ occurs. But,
‘If there is any inward reaction to the impressions whereby the self becomes engaged or affected, the freedom triad withdraws and nothing remains but interactions and reflexes – we cannot know the realm of the impossible, or the track of an act of Will which enters existence making things possible’.
Freedom = Love = Will of God = Mercy = Justice.
But, the price is Hazard, responsibility, choice.
Evil is existentially impossible – but, it is the price of existence becoming Being!
Individuality is a manifestation of Will. As Will, it is neither Function or Being (Two aspects of Self-hood). It emerges from the separation of Existence (the possible) from Being (the impossible). JGB examines this from the different World levels:
World III Cosmic Individuality. Essential triads
Prior to Being – Existence in transition
Supernatural – Begotten not made.
World VI Universal Individuality – Origin of existential triads
Manifestation of Will in the existing universe.
Pervades the World – Source and Origin of Self-hood
Natural (Subject to the condition of possibility)
Pure Will – not tied to Being or Function
When associated with an entity, it is in perfect harmony with the scheme of existence.
Confined but omnipresent
Beyond this level is individuality with power and limitations that originate in the existing world. Limited by what is possible – not essential.
World XII Complete Individuality
Subject to separation of same and other
Essential impulses are at the core of Will operations here.
True self – does not depend on existence but is manifested through other component of the triads
World XXIV True Self
Existing as whole – individual consciousness and function
Capable of independent actions
Needs internal existence but independent of external existence.
Existential counterpart of Complete Individuality.
Needs environmental conditions.
World XLVIII Divided Self
Partly true/ partly external
No fully true
Dependent on support
World XCVI Reactional Self
Null-triads – Subject to passions
No power of choice
Locked in the mesh of material existence
No independent action – Automatic – Same as matter.
The Universal Will descends to World VI through to World XII and beyond. In World XI, individual Will separate into essence (in) and existence (out). The Will searches for the unity and fullness of World VI but Worlds XII -> XCVI are increasingly incomplete.
pp. 135 – 153 Diagrams pages 140, 143, 145, 147, 150, 152
This passage is best summed up at the end: Individuality does not exist and has no functions: has neither matter nor energy. It is not a function, nor Being, nor an Entity. Individuality has characteristics – a power only when exercised when essence and existence are separated. Individuality is a transmitter and initiator of expansion (123) and concentration (213). Identity (231) and Interaction (132) are twofold in individuality. Order (312) is transitive in essence and non-transitive in existence. In the Complete Individual, there is the possibility of Freedom – participating in three worlds: VI, XII, XXIV. We can attain union with Universal Individuality – where the Freedom of World III enters existence – it pervades Function, Being and Will (Projected from the source of all) .
A lot of the discussion involves Three worlds and three types of Individuality:
Universal Individuality – World VI
Complete Individuality – World XII
True Self – World XXIV
In World VI, everything is essential. In world XXIV, most triads have existential elements. In world XXII, there is an even balance between six purely essential triads, and six which have existential elements in the final position. There is then a separation between the existential (limited) and essential (unlimited).
For example, in the essential realm, there is ‘pure’ affirmation; in the existential realm, there is ‘affirmation as opposed to (coupled with) denial’.
JGB draws out numerous contrasts between the two:
Expansion 123 and 123* Pure Expansion has two possible directions: Pure Creativity versus Individual Creativity
123 Being -> Existence – what is possible.
Creation: The essential creativity of World VI enters from the Universal Individuality through World XII.
Single direction. Individuality adds to world XII.
123* Existence -> Non-existence – what is probable.
Concentration 213 and 213* Universal Concentration has two possible directions: Unification versus Individual Evolution
213 = Unification of essence/ unification of individuality.
Here, the individual has a form of consciousness that is able to sustain the conditions of extreme tension that are produced by the task to be fulfilled.
213* – Individual Evolution comes from existence rather than the essential. Existence is united with Being by becoming.
Identity 231 and 231* Universal Individuality has two possible directions: Identity or Individual Identity.
Pure self – I am what I am – essential – becomes an identity in existence with existential commitment.
Here, the complete individual remains themselves in the face of existence.
Interaction 132 and 132* Universal Interaction has two possible directions: Interaction and Individual Activity.
The reconciling impulse in the middle is affected by the third place element in the triad – essential or existential receptivity.
There is therefore no real change or outcome: identity and interaction of things as the thusness of existence. The first is internal to the cosmic exchange; the second governs the relationships between existing entities.
Order 312 and 312* Universal Order has two possible directions: Transitive Order and Non-transitive Order
What might be (unlimited, possible, transitive) versus what is (limited, closed, non-transitive).
The non-transitive is represented by time and hyparxis, and not subject to the complete individual. The condition of realization.
The transitive is the activity of essence giving one pattern of possibilities for existence.
Freedom 321 and 321* Universal Freedom has two possible directions: Essential Freedom and Existential Freedom.
Freedom to act versus freedom from the need to act.
In existence, action is from compulsion; in essence, it is free from world processes.
Freedom within versus freedom from existence.
Essential freedom is not dependent on individuals. The reconciling impulse is transcendent. Power of God. Grace. Miraculous.
The finite individual can become united with the Universal Individuality (World VI).
For JGB, World XII is a special place between the essentially essential and the existential. Even when existence challenges the purity of essential triads, we are still talking about a high level: the Complete Individual. Indeed, without it, essential elements could not exist. World XII is more orderly; more free; the uncertainties of place and time are balanced; so are essence and existence. The Complete Individual of World XII sees existence as richer than his here and now. When he can surrender entirely his own concern in the outcome of his actualizations, which compromise existence, he can come to a full harmony of the potential and the actual. Here, he comes under the laws of World VI, and thus bring his Will into harmony with the Universal Individuality.
There seems to be two directions: one is up through the worlds (48->24->12->6->3), as ‘progress of self individualization (Divided->True->Complete->Universal->Cosmic Individuality). Thus, the more we become individual, the more we become the same – a kind of return. The other direction is down: Pure essence and Will enter into existence – specifically at World XII where it acts in various impulses. One direction seems to be one of concentration or purification; the other seems to be of dilution or pervasiveness.
pp. 154 – 163 Diagrams 157, 160
Chapter 30 deals with Self-hood and World XXIV. Basically, Individuality – World XII – does not exist as such – it is pure essence. Neither does the ‘Complete Individual’. In fact, Individuality is not attracted to existence – it is Will alone. Self-hood is the vehicle for Individuality, but it is composed of Being, Function and Will.
Selfhood is the association of Will to existence. Because the roots of Self-hood are in essence, it bears the seeds of its own liberation from existence. It can transform energies and, by so doing, attain completion – a kind of return journey! Will needs Self-hood to exist in the ‘real world’ – it develops Being. Self-hood is Will committed to existence.
JGB seems to be talking about the Selfhood of man here. However, he makes it clear that anything can have Selfhood, including animals and vegetables.
If we look at the triads of Selfhood, World XXIV, there are 24! Six are pure essence. Six have an existential element in the third position (so far, the 12 triads of World XXII). However, there are two more possibilities: six triads with an existential impulse in the second position, and six triads with two existential impulses in the second and third positions (making 24!). So, the triads can be purely essence, mostly existential, or mostly essential.
One more piece of information is needed. JGB sees ‘man’ as made up of the Higher Self, the ‘I’, and the Lower Self. The awakening of Self occurs when the Divided Self (World 48) makes contact with the essence in the Higher Self – i.e. the six essence triads – and becomes aware of its True self. This awakens the ‘I’ of world 24. The ‘I’ (consciousness) then assumes the role of reconciling the Higher self with the Lower parts of self. The ‘I’ brings the Selfhood into contact with individuality: in fact, individuality is also ‘purified’ in its return to essence. The paradox is that existence is both the instrument of the presence of Individuality (Will) in the real world but also a medium to be purified in its return to absolute Will.
Each triad combination is then considered in turn. In world 24, each has four possible forms: for example, 123, 12*3, 123*, and 12*3*. I found the best way of looking at the examples was to consider the two outer (extreme) forms first, and then look at the two central ones.
Expansion in World 24
In all 24 permutations, the first element – 1 – is essence. Essential Affirmation.
In 123 (Creativity), there is an affirmation of individuality; the self awakens; True self realises its divine nature. Creativity. Blake: the Divine Humanity/ Imagination. It is what the Divided self becomes aware of – touches – when the ‘I’ awakens.
12*3* (Mortality). Here, there is an essential affirmation, but it is directed to the existential world. Self-satisfaction. As existential, it exhausts itself and dies. Matter is dispersed – the self is lost in existential nature.
12*3/ 123* Here, there is one existential element in a predominantly essence triad.
12*3 – Procreation
‘I’ comes to birth in essence but is received existentially by the receptive element. Creativity as an expression of human artefact/ existence. Action of male principle of existence.
123* – Awakening
Individuality acts on Self-hood. The voice of ‘I’ awakens but reaches the existential self leading to the production of outcomes beyond the world 24 of the True self – for example, objective art.
Concentration in World 24
213 (Evolution) – In all permutations, the first element – 2 – is essence. Essential receptivity.
Here, the receptive principle draws out the male principle of self-affirmation to a submission to the Higher Will – joins with the Complete individual. But, as the latter does not exist, it does not suffer. The suffering of rebirth belongs to Self: By incarnation in Selfhood, the Complete individual takes on the experience of existential suffering and purifies its own nature – a move to the purely essential.
213 – Self-perfection.
A yearning is felt by Selfhood for perfection beyond existence
21*3* – Desire
Here, the Lower nature seeks to achieve its own satisfaction. Although coming from the essential, the power of Self turns it into egocentric striving. The Lower self has lost contact with the Higher self and therefore exists in a state of tension: what it seeks it cannot satisfy. It is restless in existence.
A key statement though is: “Nevertheless, the desires of the Lower nature are necessary for the evolution of the Self as a whole. It is the task of the awakening I to give direction to the striving that cannot direct itself, but can only yearn blindly for what it cannot understand.” This is very Blakean: Desire, Hell provide energy to initiate transformation. If things get worse, we suffer so much that we might just wake up!
21*3 – Generation
Transformation of I: brought under the power of receptivity and reconciliation.
Receptivity is received by the affirmative impulse existentially. The reconciliation is new potentialities of the existing Self. Higher forms are produced by Lower forms.
213* – Responsiveness
Receptivity is affirmed essentially and leads to an existential outcome: a demand for perfection of completion of the entity. However, this is a hazardous route, as it may get lost in the existential world. The essential affirmation is too subtle for the Divided self. 123 must be involved if it is not to lose its way.
Nevertheless, it supplies the sensitivity which allows for individuality to appear in the Self: there is the chance that the adjustment moves the Lower to the Higher self – finding its own place as a projection of receptivity.
The striving ‘I’ is placed between the Higher and Lower selves: the male and female aspect of self-perfection. The ‘I’ awakens from sleep and seeks its real master: the Individuality.
pp. 163 – 181 Diagrams on pages 164, 169173, 175, 178
This passage continues the account of the triads at world 24 – the True self.
In fact, the first example is Identity – the True Self – 231
JGB recalls that the selfhood is composite, and is inwardly divided. It is somewhat of a paradox: on the one hand it is of a ‘lower nature’; on the other hand, it gives existence to individuality – without it, the higher self would not have a vehicle to enter the world. The self-hood is also committed to eternal patterns.
The true self is both infinite and nothing: one and the whole are in one being – a kind of microcosm/ macrocosm situation. The pleroma is at one and the same time a total fullness, and total void = a Gnostic principle.
In the opposite – 23*1* – nothing essential remains. It is the ‘lower self’ which only knows existence. There is separation, anxiety (a combination of hope and fear) and fear of perishing, and the denying part of self. Still, hope can enter.
In 23*1 there is tension because of choice: between the higher and lower selves. The ‘I’ – the true self – has to choose; it does this by realising its essential nature, by submitting to Individuality. Then, existence and essence are in harmony.
In 231* there is independence: here, individuality unites with selfhood; essential receptivity and reconciliation are realised in the affirmative existential impulse. The universe in essence becomes realised in the ‘I’. Each self has its pattern of inner properties; each ‘I’ an essential pattern.
Here, essential selves share a common will Participation. In world 24, selves are generally committed to existence (i.e. particular forms), but a part of self (the higher) remains uncommitted – it can be essential or existential. Here, the true self is taken into transformation
The self is active, but aimless. There is a disturbance between 132 and 13*2*, and includes the entry of the Transcendental Reconciling Impulse. This disturbance is inherent in all existence. When there is triadic growth, there may be interaction, unrest but not necessarily destruction. With unrest comes the possibility of participation.
Here, the ‘I’ is tied to existence: it cannot go further by its own power but requires the co-operation of a factor external to itself. The ‘I’ must accomplish transformation but lacks the essential reconciling power in the essential realm. It cannot pass from one level to another; only half of what is necessary is reconciled. Therefore, there is incompleteness, separation and contingency.
Here, there is a confrontation between the essential affirmation and the existential denial. The ‘I’ is positioned between the Higher and Lower selves and bears the reconciling impulse. There is a search for self beyond fulfilment.
The laws of nature and Will meet up at this point: the human selfhood encounters the natural order. In higher worlds, there are no events; in world 24 there are. In higher worlds, there is no distinction between Space/ Eternity and Time/ Hyparxis, but there is in world 24, where the support of the external world is required for human experience. The triad of order in world 24 pertains to common order between the essence and the existential; it represents universal laws/ the determining conditions.
312 Eternity (Will)
This is a condition or receptivity where there are acts of will not regulated by individuality. It is a condition of the Higher self.
The automatic / reactional self merges the inner and outer; has no direct perception; and is dream-like. Whilst in world 24, the ‘I’ is characterised by mutual action at different levels; direct experience of the determining conditions; and recognition of the special quality in space and hyparxis.
In 31*2, the ‘I’ sees its own position (space) and becomes aware of the repetition of events (312*hyparxis). It therefore has hyparchic sensitivity. It can direct attention. It is not just a single actualisation in time and space but recurs. Consequently, the lower self can only escape world 48 through the transformation of ‘I’.
31*2* is time dominated. It therefore does not apply to the higher levels of existence that are essential dominated.
Order can also be seen as a pattern; as such a property of eternity. Basically, Will is committed to forms when man as a three natured being is subject to the four determining conditions which produces complementary/ independent limitations. This results in a diminution of possibilities: cannot be in two places at the same time, nor be aware of two different moments of time concurrently.
All is pervaded by freedom. Involution is transformed to evolution (expansion to concentration). What comes from source returns to source. This is a mystery but real. Freedom harmonises fact and value, whilst order separates them. Freedom is all essence; order is all existence. The mystery is the reconciliation of order and freedom, the responsibility of man and the omnipotence of god.
The true self is poised between essence and existence, fact and value.
The Higher part of Self can be linked to Grace – 321. Individuality. When the self does not react, it receives information beyond existence. Self needs to submit to individuality.
The I/ Ego is at the centre of selfhood. 321*.
When ‘I’ awakes’, it can see;
From seeing, it understands;
From understanding, it enters existence affirming.
In the Lower Self there is freedom in existence. The power of choice. This lower part is responsible for its own action.
The greatest freedom comes from Divine immanence; the Holy Spirit; Grace; the ineffable; is beyond self; is non-functional; has divine omnipotence – it is being without existential limitations.
In 32*1 – submission – freedom arises from the essential reconciling impulse. Inspiration. Enthusiasm. It is the entry of individuality into the self – a saint – submission to the divine will.
In 321* – understanding – the ‘I’ awakens and the self is creative in the world. From existence to essence; from fact to value in the submissions to individuality.
This occurs through 32*1* – choice. The ‘I’ has to awake to be aware of higher freedoms. Freedom is directed outwards, to do what they want, or inwards, to individuality. What is impossible becomes possible; the triad is reversed from involution to evolution; rather than destruction, there is creativity and growth. At the moment of choice, the self can put itself under the law of concentration and, instead of seeking to act, can allow itself to be acted upon. He who saves his life shall lose it.
When the moment comes, the awakened ‘I’ chooses one or another: it is a liberation of self as the transformation of existence, whereby ‘I’ ceases to live in world 48 and becomes connected with the complete individual. There is then a death and resurrection. The ‘I’ abandons ‘self’ and plunges into essence.
Freedom can only enter existence by the reconciling power of the holy sprit. It is both a grace and a power. It is also a risk and a responsibility. Freedom alone changes nothing. It is only in the manner of the exercise of Freedom that things change. Man is existentially and essentially free, but this freedom cannot be exercised until the ‘I’ at the core of self-hood awakens and realises its true destiny.
Personal note: I found the sections on the freedom triads quite inspiring and emotionally involving. I also found the argument on page 180 seem to describe my own life experience between the ages of 16 and 22.
pp. 182 – 197 Diagrams on pages 182, 192, 194
The Conditioned Will (World 48)
This section deals primarily with world 48. This is the world of the Divided Self, where there is an equal balance of essential and existential triads. World 24 is really inaccessible to our every day experience; it is inaccessible, incomprehensible to usual thinking. The True Self can produce ‘cosmic laws’ from within its 3-fold nature; but this only arises in selves capable of becoming a vehicle for Complete Individuality. However, the Lower selves need external supports from existential impulses: the Divided Self is a Dyad balancing between the essential pattern of the eternal and the influence of the environment. The adjustment is made by the Hyparchic Regulator.
The discussion comes and goes between World 48 and also World 96 and the Material World. I shall group the statements together.
– Can constitute Triads
Divided Self – World 48
– Does not experience its own division;
– Is dependent on forces generated by own dualism;
– Only aware of other;
– Subject to Hazard;
– Cannot complete triads. Does this either from above (True Self); Below (Reactional); Other selves; or external World;
– Is the source of inner resources to act upon automation;
Reactional Self – World 96
– Dominated by external forces;
– Does not act; only reacts;
– Can transmit only one cosmic impulse at a time;
– Basic dualism of reactions;
– Cut off from individuality;
– Falls into sin;
– Nullity of Man;
– Only experiences affirming, denying, etc. one at a time (although the reconciling force can be that one: thus, open to Divine Mercy);
– Habit bound – cannot respond to hyparchic regulator;
– Cannot touch true self;
– Reflects material influence back on itself;
– World of like/dislike – affirmation/ negation;
– Does nothing/ creates nothing;
– existence without essence;
– Lack of sensitivity;
– Incapable of choice;
– Transmitted by physical material; same as an object; Dormant;
– Not even reactional – just behavioural;
– Nevertheless, a residue of Freedom exists and paths to higher influences;
Expansion in World 48
Here, there is a mutual exclusion of dependence and independence.
The eight possible triads are divided between one with ‘cosmic significance’ (essential) and those with ‘particular significance’ (existential).
1) Independent and Dependent Involution
Here, four triads can be transferred from True Self to Divided Self. For example, 123* (Expansion) organises form and function in individual existence; is pattern bearing between inside/ outside; emerges by way of existence (i.e. is not the power of god = 123). 1*23* (Procreation) is specific cause and effect; preserves essential pattern; receptive impulse; learning from experience; adapts to the conditions of existence.
123 is cosmic; 123* and 1*23* are particular.
2) Negative Laws of Imagination
In –(1-2-3), there is a negative law of expansion; substituting non-factual for factual; inversion of possibilities; nullity; delusion; cannot distinguish between positive and negative triads. These negative triads have the same formal characteristics but are only pseudo-essential; played upon by dreams – no power to change them; entire self submits to consequences of imaginary activity.
When nullity signs the cheque, the self-hood pays.
Concentration in World 48
1) Independent and Dependent Evolution
In 213 – the Selfhood can be merged with Individuality. 2*1*3* is an existential law, increasing not what it is but what is has.
The particular triads are, for example:
213* – Striving to bring existing nature into conformity with essential pattern. To be true to oneself. Is initiated from above; can bring divided self into harmony with True Self (a struggle for liberation from existence).
2*13* – Striving to change what is; to alter existence. But, can do no more than reconcile the Divided self with external circumstances (striving for improved conditions) – Initiated from below.
The Divided self may embark on a search for the essential values (True Self) and see Essence/ Existence in mutual significance. Before the awakening of the ‘I’, the instrument of change must come from the Divided Self but at a Higher Level. Personality is provisional but an instrument of value for that process.
2) Self-worship or Narcissism -(2-1-3)
If 213 can be the highest form of merging with the Universal Individuality, the negative form is descent to mere existence. It is directed only to external, visible existence of self. Attracted by what is seen in Null triad; self worship; refuses to know how it really is; surrenders to the impulse of narcissism; false inner god; living death; the material self usurps ‘I’;
Illusion of egoism.
The vehicle of the Reactional Self can only be an instrument of the True self. But, the material self does not see this.
All 7 triads of negative concentration produce evil results which affect the existence of Self-hood.
Retribution is the inevitable consequence of self-worship.
pp. 197 – 211 Diagrams on pages 198, 201, 204208, 209, 210
This section continues the account of the triads in world 48 (The Divided Self)
This triad relates to both dependent and independent identities. There is a kind of continuum between the maximally independent Self – Individuality – and the maximally dependent – Soma.
The self, as the link between existence and essence (the power of the will) has cosmic status, but the Divided self is not aware of this. The DS is not a homogeneous entity; it is dependent on the True Self within it; it contains opposing powers.
Each pattern has its own characteristic degree of dependence. For example, the difference between 2*3*1 and 23*1.
23*1 (voluntary attention) is the ‘higher’ triad. It depends on a moment of Freedom: nothing changes outwardly in behaviour or inwards in content of experience, but an event of significance has occurred. The event is the transformation of the existential denying impulse to essential impulse as initiating impulse: 2*3*1 to 23*1 .
-(2-3-1) The Negative Triad of Identity is Fear.
– Fear = Being what one is not is confronted with being what one is.
– Horror of self-destruction.
– Material self; non-entity
– To face one’s own nothingness; identity faces its own finitude before limitless being = awe.
– The material self cannot do this: is fear of unknown.
– The reactional self can be self-destructive, with fear at its root.
– Other negative triads of identity: anxiety, suspicion, jealousy, anger, arrogance, grasping.
Fear is an evil force in the world: whole nations can become involved.
Because complete triads cannot be formed, there is a bewildering interlocking of triads – partly internal and partly external.
The continuum is between essential interaction and existential accident. In the first, the universe accepts its own power; in the second, the self has no exercise of the powers of the will.
In the lower worlds, there is no entity capable of exercising effectual powers of the will, and in higher worlds, there is no condition in which the self is wholly dependent on outside forces. So, the Divided self is not wholly subject to accident or existential laws. Even a personality can achieve a certain degree of self-directed activity.
Compare the law of opposition (13*2) with the law of exclusion (13*2*). In the first, there is not enough existence for a man to fulfil their potential. There is therefore an incompatibility between the finite self and infinite being. In the second, no entity can be in two states at the same time. This is the source of eternal blindness of human existence.
The Negative triad of Interaction is waste.
The negative component of null-triads fails to serve the pattern of existence. They may even mar or distort.
Waste is uncompensated existence.
– The offspring of delusion.
– There is no waste in the higher worlds but it may reach world 24
In most situations, there is a margin of possible variation with which the essential pattern can be realized. This will not happen if unnecessary actions enter.
Nullity can be reactional; for example, delusion enters the True self preventing the exercise of the powers of will.
Nullity may even end in risk, where blindness exposes the entire selfhood to the dangers of going beyond even accident. The absurdity of humanlife is the wasteful activity that occupies so much of our time and energy.
Order 312 (The Determining Conditions)
The continuum here is between the universal (essential) and the particular (existential).
Each determining condition separates into two sets: one independent of the presence of entities and the other operating in the limits of particular entities.
With the Divided Self, there is: objective and subjective separation; human experience; interpretations of sensations, thoughts, desires, actions. This is world 48.
Here, there are:
– 2 eternities
– 2 Spaces
– 2 Hyparxes
– 2 Times
Universal Eternity is the guarantee of the self-consistency of all phenomena.
particular Eternity is the storehouse of private potentialities.
Universal Space is the form of all existence
i) direction of motion of largest (galaxies)
ii) Direction of maximum potential energy in the universal forcefield
iii) The rotation of all entities – universal
Particular Space is the sum of the external relationships possible for a given centre of consciousness.
Hyparxis is universal as the cosmic principle of renewal and recurrence by which all existence is governed.
Particular Hyparxis is the rhythmic structure of separate selves.
Universal Time is the actualisation of existence – multiple actualisations.
Particular Time is a single line of actualisation
3*1*2* is the imprisonment of the Divided Self in a single line of temporal actualisation. Perpetual perishing.
As opposed to ‘universal time’ where past, present and future all have an equal share in the self-realisation of existence
Negative Order = Subjectivism -(3-1-2)
– Order in the wrong place
– Nullity believes its own world.
– In place of universal determining conditions, there is Nullity substituting its own accidentally formed views and convictions as the criteria of truth.
– Subjective as reality leads to an inversion of values. The least significant appears as the most.
– Time is not grasped as anything other than its own.
– Nullity fears everything.
– False world. Lives in past and future.
– What happens is desirable.
– Ludicrous manifestations.
Freedom is always invisible.
We are always present to freedom, but the Divided self does not see it – does not give experience its true value. It is blind to essential freedom.
**At the flux of involution and evolution, there is a moment of freedom: flowers, mating, etc. **
Essential Freedom is Divine Grace; Existential Freedom is Contingency. Between these, there is Compassion; Miracle; Help; Choice.
The reconciling power of grace penetrates into the world. But, as it descends, it loses its power. Grace is independent of any existential triad; whilst contingency is governed by physical and biological laws. Yet, still there are moments of freedom. The ‘null’ can notice!!!
Fortuitous noticing is perhaps the most elementary form of subjective freedom, and it is existential in character. Very important. Noticing is the perception of difference and can be the beginning of discrimination. Noticing is a power of the will. It is neither being or doing anything. It is involuntary and yet has power.
32*1 (Compassion) and 32*1* (Choice)
The Inner experience is existential. There are two kinds of Freedom in which the Divided Self recognises that it can exercise power of the will.
One occurs when it sees itself before a demand or a possibility greater than itself – when it sees there is an essential pattern that it can choose to respect. The Freedom of inner attitude can lead – through sacrifice/ payment and inner effort – to Self Freedom. Here, the Divided Self is confronted with conflict of values. It can choose an inner attitude to essential loyalty. There is a sacrifice/ payment, which opens the way to constructive effort (the higher and lower natures of self). A new freedom is acquired, The ‘true self’ freedom’ can submit to the Individuality by triads 321*. There is exercise of freedom, even in personality – a series of transformations can be initiated that will ultimately the entire selfhood.
The other form – 32*1* – is dependent on external action. The essential impulse to choose the inner attitude that corresponds to the true pattern of self cannot be responded to by the personality, as it is only aware of external forces. Wholly preoccupied with the affairs of life. Cannot choose an essential attitude. An (existential) shock may produce an experience of remorse and, from this, will come a moment of freedom from the forces of the world. A true affirmation but, because the freedom does not originate in the essential pattern, the sequence in the above paragraph is not established. The Divided Self makes an effort for its own existential benefit.
The important difference between the freedom that consists in choosing to adopt a particular inner attitude and that which consists from an external shock is that it is only when the impulse of reconciliation is its source in the essence that it can give rise to a sequence of events that leads back towards the source.
The perennial human problem of the conflict of loyalties has its roots in the multiplicity of forms of responsibility that are open to the Divided self.
Negative Freedom -(3-2-1) Identification
In Identification, the Reactional Self is cut off from its own Higher Self and loses itself in what it is not.
No receptivity in the denying impulse. Just ‘non-existence’.
It is the impossible becoming possible by the mediation of the pure reconciling influence that pervades all worlds.
The Inability to be itself.
Out of denial, affirmation issues.
In the state of identification, the will of man is useless to him. The inner hierarchy is reversed. Individuality is powerless. The ‘I’ is asleep (no contact between higher and lower selves). The personality of the Divided self takes the place of the ‘I’. Power falls to reactional self. Only automation remains. Everything is directed by extraneous influences. It is a state, not a condition of the will. Self-losing.
Attention and the Will
– The simplest act of attention is noticing. The simplest ‘no-act’ is not noticing (3*2*1*) – Contingency.
Identification engages our responsibility; nothing compels us to be identified. We do not choose to be identified, but we fail to choose to exercise our power of attention. Here, we are identified. Existence collapses: only the material self remains.
pp. 215 – 230
This section moves beyond 3-term systems to 4-term systems: triads to tetrads – from relatedness to existence – from Will to Being. A tetrad specifies the ‘concrete situation’ to which a particular relation applies. The four terms of the tetrad are independent but mutually relevant: they form an ordered series, each affecting the others.
Order is more concrete than relatedeness because we need to state the existential conditions.. Order is a series of energies: each is an element in the totality of existing situations.
Energy is the means whereby nature passes from one state of potentiality to actual Being. It is also the vehicle of Will: between virtual or eternal and actual or temporal.
Energy is associated with Hyparxis rather than with time or eternity, and with sensitivity and recurrence rather than with unchanging patterns and varying forms of existence.
There are 3 laws of Energy
I Energy neither increases or diminishes.
II All energy is in a state of entropy
III At absolute zero, all forms of energy are at the same potential.
Energy is an instrumental state of hyle (material world).
Energies have diverse characteristics:
Forms: thermal, mechanical, electrical
States: potential, latent, actual, kinetic.
Scale: short-range (atomic); long-range (magnetic)
It is a fallacy that there can be no ‘vital’ or ‘psychic’ energies.
Energies differ in organization as well as quantity and quality.
Three Characteristics of energy:
Intrinsic characteristic/ purpose (medium/ form/ results of action)
Scale of Intensity
We need to know:
1) Total quantity;
2) Various qualities;
3) Distribution in time and space.
Transformation is the presence of a means whereby one quality acts on another:
Apparatus = the means of realizing the transformation of one kind of energy to another.
Generator = Convertor to a higher form of energy.
Engine = Convertor to a lower form of energy.
**Every engine requires specific energies for its work.**
Every actualization takes place through engines using energy, appropriate in respect of quality, within certain limits of intensity and adequate quantity.
Every generator converts one quality of energy into another through the action of a third.
The Systematics of Energy
This is the science that studies the different qualities of energy in terms of their possible transformations and relates them to different levels of existence.
All forms of energy constitute a homogeneous group, all members of which are interconvertible by means of appropriate generators and engines.
Since the transformations of energy always proceed by the interaction of two different qualities to produce a third, the interconvertibility of energies requires a suitable apparatus.
Since the transformation and uses of energy depend upon apparatuses, there should be a parallelism between the scale of energies and the 12 existential levels.
There areThree Forms of Energy:
Mechanical – Physical
Vital – Living
Cosmic – Universal (independent of determining conditions).
Upper Middle + –
Lower Middle – +
Lower – –
The Ground state of hyle at zero is the first finite quality – random thermal energy.
The Highest level should be the Unfathomable source.
Subdivisions express the transition from ‘wholeness of the group’ to the polarity of characteristics.
This gives 12 qualities or different levels of energy – seen as ‘nodal’ points in a continuous range.
i) Dispersed energy – – eg. Heat; No direction; universal passive
ii) Directed energy – + Motion of bodies; force field; kinetic; not relational.
iii) Cohesive energy + – Bonds; forms and maintains existence; specific; order
iv) Plastic energy + + can adapt to environment; soul of ‘thinghood’; subsistence; mobile.
i) Constructive energy – – no sensitivity; breaking down environment to build its own tissue; dependent on physio-chemical processes; foundations of life.
ii) Vital energy – + self-renewal; sensitivity; directly experienced; vegetative;
iii) Automatic energy + – sensitivity conditioned by self-renewal; automatic functions; cybernetic/ self-regulatory; selective response; no choice; reacts to own optimum; animal energy.
iv) Sensitive energy + + Self-awareness; makes choice possible; recognises sensitivity as the power that enables an entity to be aware of two forces of a triad simultaneously; sensitivity of a limited power of choice; can be an instrument of the true self; human energy; yes/ no choice; selective attention.
pp. 230 – 245 Diagrams on pages 234, 235, 236, 238
This section begins by completing the three forms of Energy with:
The transcendental unity of experience demands that consciousness should be a cosmic property. Conscious is inseparable from existence but ‘outreaches’ it.
Conscious Energy – –
– This is the ‘passive ground state’;
– It is the energy of the True Self – World 24;
– It is consciousness which connects the universal being with individual existence;
– Consciousness overcomes the divided self by offering awareness of a higher pattern of existence. Here, life transcends life.
Creative Energy – +
– This is the motive force of self realisation;
– It is reinforced by the transcendent power of ++;
– It is the energy of the ‘Complete Individual’ – World 12;
– Creation: separation of coarse from fine. The highest manifestation of the polar force.
Unitive Enery + –
– When transcendence enters into consciousness and dominates it, the resulting energy has the power to unify experience;
– It is the energy of World 6; Universal Individuality;
– The holy power of existence – Cosmic love.
Transcendent Energy + +
– This must be hypothetical – we cannot know it;
– No limitations;
– Total effectiveness/ Total sensitivity;
– The pure cosmic impulses of world 3.
Anabolic Transformation of Energy
Anabolic transformation = the transformation of energy from lower to higher levels (inner quality of new energy);
Katabolic transformation = transformation from higher to lower (external result).
Constructive energy + Heat (dispersed energy) => Directed energy => Carbohydrates
Air/ Water/ Sunlight + O2 and water => Carbohydrates (A lower grade of heat).
Vital Energy (E7) (+sense impressions and Visceral sensations ((E7)) + Body Functions (E9)
=> Automatic reflex mechanisms (E6) (+ conscious disturbance ((E4)) + Physiologically active substances ((E8))
ð Sensitivity (E5) (Inner and Outer reflexes)
Key here is the presence or absence of ‘self-awareness. Conscious energy is important as it is active on life. This consciousness on life transmits the organising influences of the pattern of its constitution (which is both individual and generis)
The Instrumental Use of Energy
There are 3 purposes of Energy:
1) Functional – activities;
2) Being – inner togetherness;
3) Will – energy used as outside source of its own transformation.
In terms of the Instrumental use of energy, every definite function can proceed only in the presence of energy of the appropriate quality. All actualisations require katabolic or instrumental transformation of energy.
Functions can be classified according to 12 chief qualities of energy. For humans, we select:
1) Mechanical functions (x3)
2) Vital functions (x1)
3) Psychic functions (?)
4) Cosmic functions (x4)
1) Mechanical Functions (E12, 11, and 10)
– concerned in activity of a body in its heat-engine: Circulation systems (E10), Lungs (E11), Blood/ Heat Output (E12)
2) Vital Functions (E7, 8, 9)
– Characteristic Power = automatism (Locomotion/ response)
– Vital functions = respiration, locomotion, regulation (E7)
– Regulatory mechanisms and blood/ nervous systems (Constructive Energy) E8
– Inner adaptation: Plastic energy E9
From E7 onwards energies are only experienced inwardly as functional causes; can be observed as objectively present only by sensitive consciousness.
BUT Vital energies can pass from one organism to another without the intervention of the sense of sight, hearing or touch. It can be used positively: in suggestion, spiritual healing, etc.
3) Psychic Energies
– These are reactional energies producing perception, association, feeling, instinct and movement. Head, Hands, Heart.
There are three levels of psychic work:
True Self (Consciousness Energy E4) = Selfhood; consciousness of ‘I’; Volitional Direction of Psychic mechanisms
Divided self (Divided Self – Sensitive Energy E5) = Feeling; discrimination; sensation; co-ordination of psychic centre.
Reactional Self (Automatic Energy E6) = Reflex; register impressions; automatic thoughts; emotions; movements.
Automatic energy corresponds to the work of the hyparchic regulator and the Will of the reactional Self (i.e. keeps it going). It maintains psychic functions.
The subjective experience of automatic energy is weak and fragmentary in human beings. Most people only have low functional levels of Centres: automatism, impressions, emotions, reactions, habits.
When sensitive energy flows, there is a ‘waking up’. Self- awareness therefore distinguishes between its own existence and activity of its functions; and personality and essence. There is the power of choice: it is less automatic and has more awareness of thinking. Sensitivity is comparatively rare for ordinary man. Most live at the level of the septempotent: controlled and regulated automatically (E6). Not the octopotent (Self-hood).
Sensitive energy makes it possible ‘to notice’; to be aware of the content of experience. It is a level of consciousness, not a psychic function. ‘Seeing’ is a psychic function, but to notice what one sees is a state of sensitivity. The same applies to thought, feeling, and movements.
The highest level of psychic functioning is characterised by the ability to distinguish different levels of experience as simultaneously present, and the power of volitional control over the functions. These are external, hyparchic powers: Being and Will rather than functions.
The True Self is only the level of sensitive energy which, when organised, and made able to endure becomes the vehicle of individuality.
Cosmic Energy is cosmic and transcendent. It appears as a power ‘higher than the divided self’.
4) Cosmic Energy
– Beyond direct experience of the selfhood;
– Not subject to katabolic transformation;
– Is never an instrument of human will;
– The agent of cosmic forces that acts upon man without his knowledge.
E3 is creative power. It enters as an affirming force in the transformation of sensitivity to consciousness. The Selfhood and Complete Individuality would not be in union without creative energy to complete the Triad by which consciousness and Will can be liberated from dependence on existential functions.
E2 is Unitive Energy. The energy of Divine compassion. Participation in the whole. Everything has its place. Universal Individuality. World 6.
E1 Cosmic Individuality. Transcends everything; enters every thing; from transcendental energy. There is katabolic transformation from higher to lower. All possibilities are sustained.
New Chapter. 33
Materiality, Vitality, and Deity.
Interpretation of the Tetrad
Will, as relatedness, requires a vehicle or a medium for its action:
World 6 -> World 12
Triad -> Tetrad
Will -> Being
The problem is to apply the notion of order to the structure of Reality. We need ‘mutually relevant’ terms. For example, ‘All’ and ‘Nothing’ are extremes; ‘Universal’ and ‘particularities are intermediaries.
All in All – All Being
All influenced by Nothing – Universal Being
Nothing influenced by All – Particular Being
Nothing in nothing – Non-Being
This order has no subsistence. We need to combine Will and Being (Relatedness and Order) in order to obtain 3 tetrads or complete cycles of 12 terms. We need to have some means of defining extreme terms. This cannot be done by experience because this is an intermediate term and can go beyond itself. We therefore need to look at the properties of number………….
pp. 245 – 260
n order to approach ‘reality beyond infinite Being’, we will look at number theory.
1) Aleph-zero numbers : continual counting, 1,2,3, etc.
2) Aleph-one numbers : total of orders present in Aleph-zero.
The notion of ‘order’ (tetrad) is needed to understand the different senses of infinity.
Analogy with Being
1 ) above is analogous to the ‘expansion of consciousness’ – cosmic consciousness as ever expanding.
2) Therefore, we can surmise a ‘class of states of cosmic consciousness’: infinite and limitless, but differing in properties. This is the ‘transfinite state of Being’ (including all possible AND impossible states of consciousness). Transfinite Reality.
3) There is a third ‘level’: which is neither conscious of unconscious. It is only contactable through Transfinite Reality but is unattainable. This is ‘the Unfathomable Source’.
Let us therefore consider 3 Transcendental States of Being:
1) Limitless Being
The Aleph-zero: beyond existence; the unattainable limit of consciousness.
2) Transfinite Reality
The Aleph-one; relatedness beyond Being.
3) The Unfathomable Source
Supra-rational; Beyond Existence. Perfect Order; Beyond all Being and Transfinite Reality. The Perfect relation beyond all relations.
This is ‘rational speculation’: we can express it but not conceive it. It is value not fact.
The Tetrads of Reality
The scheme requires three tetrads:
1) Deity – Cosmic
2) Vitality – Being/ Life
3) Materiality – Things/ Materials
Looking at each of them in turn:
1) The Tetrad of Deity 4 terms
Infinite/ Infinite – IV – the unfathomable source – Beyond all distinction.
Infinite/ Finite – III – The Transfinite Reality – All possible & impossible
Finite/ Infinite – II – Limitless Being – Infinite Will
Finite/ Finite – I – All existence – Finite Experience
Q: Does the Universe have a beginning?
A: In this form, the implication of this question is that time is an ultimate category, whilst all four determining conditions are needed.
Q: Is the Universe Finite of Infinite?
A: The universe is all existence – nothing is beyond it.
Q: Is existence finite?
A: This is a question of fact. Existence is probably finite.
Q: So, is Being also finite?
A: No. Possibilities may be finite but impossibilities are infinite.
Limitless Being = Being
What is possible = Existence
Q: How does Being arise?
A: Being = what is possible + what is impossible (forbidden by universal laws).
Q: How did the possible come to separate from the impossible?
A: Possibility/ Impossibility imply Reality beyond Being. Since reality is beyond the infinitude of impossibilities, we call it Transfinite. It is outside the range of physical and mental operations. It cannot be reached by experience. Transfinite Reality transcends Being in a manner that is wholly different from transcendence by Being of Existence.
Q: Is that the end?
A: No, Transfinite Reality still allows questions. ‘How’ and ‘why’ are not abolished when we go beyond the Transfinite.
Only what exists is knowable; Limitless Being is Unknowable.
Being can be apprehended by consciousness, but beyond this, Transfinite Reality, we cannot know.
In the Unfathomable Source, there is no ‘why’ and ‘how’ – no distinctions.
Man is a nature not limited by existence. We can experience the impossible.
We have conviction that Transfinite Reality contains all Being but then transcends it. The unknowable and the incomprehensible are not alien to us.
– Greatness/ Majesty; It is transcendent (beyond infinity) but also immense (the existing universe disappears before it).
– Truth, Goodness, Beauty, Love cannot be ascribed to it (these are finite qualities)
– Distinctions vanish (they are our own).
2)The Tetrad of Vitality
Essence-Essence – IV Cosmic Life Principle
Essence-Existence – III Unconditional States of Being
Existence-Essence – II Conditional States of Being
Existence-Existence – I Nature
IV Cosmic Life Principle
– All existence – Life Force from Will of God;
– Pure essence – shared living forms – source of all life;
– Affirmation/ Source of Being;
– Immanent Universal Power – Life Principle;
– Individuality in the Triad;
– Deity beyond Being;
– Perfect Individuality (Combination of Function with Being and Will that is perfectly harmonised in itself). This is impossible under the determining conditions; as perfection and individuality are incompatible. The source of individuality is pure Being beyond the possible/ impossible (it can be present in Existence without being subject to its vicissitudes);
– Individuality is the form in which Will enters and operates in the ‘existing’ world. It harmonises the infinite with the finite – it must therefore partake in both.
III Unconditional States of Being
– This is the projection of the Cosmic Life Principle into entities in the existing world;
– Any entity conscious of its own essential nature is able to receive the Cosmic Life Principle (E1-E4);
– This is the Universal Soul: not subject to the 4 determining conditions of world 24);
– Its modes are: static (angelic essence) and dynamic (3-nature Being);
– The complete perfection of man is 3-fold;
– The basis of Individuality = Will manifested in functions;
– This is the Harmony of Will and Functions by which the soul is liberated from the limitations of time and space.
II States of Being
– Unrealised potential;
– Conditioned states;
– The ‘True Self’ (unconditioned) needs this embodied state to act;
– ‘I’ – the conditioned surrenders to the unconditional;
– Selfhood of World 24 (this is the point between the conditional and unconditional);
– Life in time;
– Conditioned Being is therefore linked to Selfhood.
– If we consider the entire Scale of being with its 3 tetrads, we observe that the midpoint lies here, between conditional and unconditional.
– the vitality of the Universe
– Existential Life.
3)The Triad of Materiality
Uncertain-Uncertain – IV Elemental States
Uncertain-Causal – III Constructive States
Causal-Uncertain – II Destructive States
Causal-Causal – I Inert States
– Materiality is devoid of intrinsic reconciliation;
– Incapable of independent initiative;
– Thinghood – enters existence as the universal denying force;
– Includes and element of uncertainty;
– Causal and uncertainty are the dyad – so, it is more than fact (value, as uncertainty, enters in albeit in a denying capacity);
– Mechanicity (manifestation of Will); Materiality (manifestation of Being)
There are 3 aspects of materiality
1) The Direct manifestation of the limitation of Being;
2) …’in’ itself and ‘for’ itself;
3) …in the perspective of life (striving for individuality and consciousness is opposed by materiality).
When man falls under the automatic transformation of materiality, it falls under the spell of the lower worlds – evil.
The 2 principles of materiality – uncertainty and causality – have their source beyond Being in the Transfinite Reality. They pervade all existence – high to low. Being in its denying state. Therefore, uncertainty is not to be accounted for as a consequence of the interaction of consciousness and matter but as an element in all Being: Cosmic and Transfinite.
– Primordial – without shape or pattern;
– Non-living entities;
– The element of uncertainty by which the hyponomic world is able to disturb the harmony of all existence;
– War/ pestilence = elemental
– balance of order and disorder;
– working of laws of nature, leaving the possibility of freedom;
– NOTE: In each tetrad, the second member is the channel through which the cosmic powers flow:
Transcendental Tetrad = Power of the Unfathomable Source of Being
Tetrad of Life = Reconciling action of all life
Tetrad of Materiality = Power to return to source
Uncertainty/ causality endows existence with the potentialities of ascent and descent.
– Here, the potentialities are held captive by mechanical laws;
– Passive in their essence;
– No potential for transformation;
– Cannot be assimilated;
– Thinghood: Embodiment of denying force – the instrument whereby the determining conditions can produce the stage upon which the drama of existence is enacted;
– Things are unconscious;
– Subject to material forces – When these forces act upon a level of Being for which consciousness is normal, then their action is not merely destructive but evil.
I Inert State
– What is dead comes under destruction;
– Death and evil are the twin aspects of materiality, viewed from the perspective of self-perfection;
– The selfhood that surrenders itself to material forces becomes a mere thing that can only exist under causal laws;
– Below possible transformation;
– Inertia is not just a fact but a value concept.
However, even complete subjective apathy can be a source of action for the affirming force, and therefore a potential for change. But, a ‘higher’ organising power is needed (inner and outer).
pp. 260 – 275 Diagrams on pages 261, 266, 270, 272, 274
Historically, Creation is seen in different ways: ex nihilo; emanation/ pantheism; spontaneous.
For JGB, the focus here is ‘Creation as partition’. This notion does not conflict with the religious doctrine of Creation from Nothingness, for the void or nothing, in which the creative act is accomplished, can be understood as the Plenum of Being in which there is no existence (very Gnostic!).
Creation is the progressive separation of opposites.
We begin with the Unfathomable Source (-> Oneness->Infinity->Experience).
Here, nothing is predictable.
Infinite.Infinite (Beyond the Possible and Impossible)
(Being and Non-Being)
Finite.Infinite (Impossible in Possible)
Infinite in Finite (Possible in Impossible)
Finite.Finite (Possible without Impossible)
Partition and Blending is a kind of inverted dialectic.
Creation is separation of Finite and Infinite (or, possible and impossible)
Every origin is a partition but not a complete divorce.
The First Tetrad of Creation: Beyond Life/ Deity
We can distinguish between two ultimates:
– one absolutely inaccessible;
– one infinitely inaccessible (this recalls the discuss on infinity and order)
There is a creative step which partitions these two.
That of which nothing can be predicted contains that of which everything can be predicted
The Tetrad of Partition (This follows the same approach as above)
Unfathomable Source : Wholly Unpredictable
Transfinite Reality : Predictable contained in unpredictable
Meaning/ Beyond Meaning
Limitless Being : Unpredictable contained in predictable
All Existence : Wholly Predictable
We can see creative steps from one to the other: there is prediction with or without substance (Substance is Being/ Non-substance is Non-Being). The Transfinite is all of Being and Non-Being before partition.
Second Stage of Creation is the separation of all that has meaning from what is beyond meaning
Third stage of Creation is the separation of the possible from the impossible.
So, the 3 Stages of Creation:
1. Unfathomable Source (Unpredictable) ->
2. Transfinite Reality (Being and Non-Being/ Meaning and Beyond Meaning) ->
3. Being (Possible and Impossible. Commitment and Limitation)
I THINK WE ARE BEING ENCOURAGED TO SEE THESE AS A PROCESS:
Limitation is of Being is as condensation of vapour (one degree of freedom is lost but ‘knowableness enters).
Determination is Condensation; condensation is knowableness.
All three conditions must be established to realise potential (Here, eternity, space and hyparxis are all one).
When existence does in fact emerge, the one thing that is lost from Being is Unity (i.e. the Impossible remains ‘non-existent’).
We, as humans, draw on the Laws of Existence because we ‘exist’ as a fact – on the ‘possible’ side of the boundary. Functional regularities can only arise when there is existence.
The Fourth Stage of Creation =
4. Existence (the Laws of Possibility: Finitude; Poorer than Being)
What is created is to fulfil a certain purpose that is within the bounds of possibility. So, there is a purpose to existence that cannot be fulfilled by existence alone. The Reconciling impulse is necessary to all Existence to do what it could not do alone: to return to its own source where the finite unites with the infinite (fact and value!). The possible and impossible are reconciled. This is the Domain of Harmony.
Second Tetrad of Creation Materiality: Individual Life
The Universe = the whole of created/ existing things.
We need to distinguish:
– Existence as Essential Reality (Pattern; Non-material)
– Existence as Concrete fact (content; material)
Transition from 1st to 2nd Tetrad of Creation
Existence (as the sum of all possibilities of Being according to Law) to the Universe (the vehicle of realizing all possibilities)
The ineffable aspect of existence is separated from the material aspect in passing through to the fourth stage of creation.
How are the next stages of Creation reached?
Universe – Wholeness
Galaxies – Parts in a whole
Stars – Wholes in parts
Planets – Parts
Therefore, the Creative process goes from the Universe (as a whole) to lesser cosmic concentrates.
Oneness (free from distinction) = Existence
Wholeness (unity v. particular) = Universe. It is whole but made up of parts
This distinction between whole and part is found everywhere, even in atoms.
We need to postulate a cosmic vehicle for the Universal Individuality of World VI. We look for this in the largest parts of the Universe because here the separation between Essence and Existence is more marked.
The Fifth Stage of Creation involves Completeness/ Incompleteness as Existence is incapable of fulfilling its task.
With ‘incompleteness’ comes Hazard (uncertainty of Fulfilment).
There is a triad:
Universe (Affirming) – Galaxy(Denial) – Power of God (Reconciling)
(Pattern) (Denial of Pattern) (Compassion)
TO SUM UP THE STAGES OF CREATION:
4.Existence separates into (Universe and Galaxies)
5. Universe separates into (Whole and Parts/ Complete and Incomplete).
6. Parts separate into (same and other).
7. The same whole separates into (visible/ matter and invisible/ spirit).
In this way, the particular/universal goes to the whole within parts. Creation of Life.
Every living Being is a whole within a part (i.e. the species to which it belongs).
The Hypothesis of Existential Creativity is the projection into the Universe of the partition and blending that is the source of all creativity both within the universe and beyond it.
The Sun = the Transfinite Reality (i.e. at the Head of the 2nd half of the series of 12 steps). In passing from Sun (Wholeness within parts) to planets (parts only), we go from one to many. The separation of Agent and Instrument must enter into the purpose of Creation.
The Creation of Life is distinct from the Creation of the Universe:
Sun -> Heavenly Host
The counterpart of this creative step, in the sphere of Will, is the transition from:
Individuality -> Selfhood
World XII/ Solar -> World XXIV/ Planetary
ABC -> AB*C
Life on Earth is 3-Fold: Vegetable – Animal – Human
Corresponding to: Reactional- Divided- True Self
The Three forms should have a similar structure of living forms on all ‘true’ planets.
It is a cardinal notion to regard life as an independent Creation, made at the point of Existence, that is most remote from the Unfathomable at one Extreme, and absolute at the other. Same as life is the vehicle for the Third Reconciling Force of Creation.
Living God describes, not Being, but a property whereby God lives in all Life and Life lives in God.
The Sun is not God, nor a ‘god’, but it is the instrument whereby the Creative Power enters into Existence and works ‘within it’ immanently.
Pp. 275 – 290
This section is divided across two chapters: the end of part of Creation; and the first part of the Pentad – Essence.
Recognising that ‘solid matter’ is rare in the universe is not enough – we need to discover its true significance (2nd Tetrad of Creation)
– The earth’s crust is solid but is the scene of energy-exchanges with air, water (the three elements).
– The earth is the mother of life – incarnated life is subject to the Laws of the Material World
7th Stage of Creation
Biosphere – Partition continues
8th Stage of Creation
Completed/ Coupling of male and Female/ Sun and Earth
Earth bears life as somatic existence; Sun engenders it as the germ of particularity.
Creation reconciles the two opposites.
Life needs the supporting Earth; even though it bears individuality.
Life is the meeting point of opposites (passive/ reactive; hostile/ denying)
Earth as Life Mother v. Earth as Life Prison
Condition of autonomous existence v. opposition union of life and Individuality.
The creative act turns upon the separation of 2 forms of denial: one essential and the other existential:
Earth as Life Prison – Earth as Life Mother
Second Cycle of Creation
Universe – Great Whole
Galaxy – Divine Compassion
Sun – Instrument of Creative Power
Planets – Abodes of the Heavenly Host
Biosphere – Second Creation
Unseen Earth – Earth as the Mother of Life
Visible earth – Matter in its solid state/ Earth as Life Prison
Third Tetrad of Creation (Materiality)
– An account of the denying mode of Existence. Materiality is more than inertness – it is a condition of denial opposed to the affirmation of Oneness, Completeness, Fulfilment with which Existence separates from Being.
– We need to go beyond the notion of God as a great Being. Similarly, the Devil as a Being.
– Satanic denial has an equal cosmic significance.
The third tetrad is the outcome of a negative partition – the automatic isolation of Existence from Essence (following on from the separation of the part from the whole).
The Negative Role of Creation
Dependence – Together Alone
Hazard – Isolation in togetherness
Death – Togetherness in Isolation
Outer darkness- Isolation Alone
Connectedness of the Material World. This is a limitation which is non-temporal and temporal.
From 8th stage of creation:
Dependence – purpose 9th
Hazard – Good/ Evil 11th
Dependence is togetherness – that is without form or pattern. When dependence is separated from purpose, it becomes a denying factor in the fulfilment of the Universal Plan. Dependence is universal – like life and all other members of Creation.
10th Stage of Creation
– universal dependence: is separated from particular connectedness. This leads to contingency and uncertainty: i.e. Hazard.
– When creative processes become involved with Hazard, the drama of the universe is brought into the open. Each part is now under its own ‘partial law’ (both temporal and synchronous)
– The right-hand side is ‘good and evil’. Here, the purity of essence has been lost. They are correlative to hazard. The idea of Good and Evil being antithetical is abhorrent to Essential Being (William Blake)
– Within negative creation, good deeds would produce ‘good results’ and evil deeds evil results – but, this is not so. Good and evil are the effect of isolation.
– In human terms, universal dependence can be regarded as moral law – self-realisation. When these are partitioned, Good and Evil arise together with Hazard. Through their connectedness, hazard becomes meaningful, and good and evil cease to be absolute.
The 11th Stage of Creation
– is the partition of Fact and Value. Value is left behind; there is only fact but no possibility of returning to the source.
Materiality – Food
Death has two meanings:
– Death and resurrection (Food/ value)
– Descent into matter (Materiality/ Fact)
– the great divide;
– to surrender to it is to fall from self-hood;
– loses contact with the individuality;
– togetherness in isolation;
– no quality, just quantity;
– no-inner connectedness;
– only identity and interaction.
Materiality is the third great characteristic of Existence (the other two being Universe and Life).
Death = Decisive separation/ end of possibilities.
The 12th Stage of Creation
– is that which permits the final dissolution of all elements of existence; partition is between consciousness and Being
– This leads to 2 forms of non-existence: one is matter without consciousness; the other is consciousness without matter.
If the earth is the place of conflict and uncertainty, the moon is the place of dissolution (all existence is in a state of passivity). Here, Existence merges into non-existence. The 12th stage =
– 3 degrees of potency below thing-hood;
– Includes all states of Hyle;
– This is the most of the universe.
The condition of Existence in which there is no possibility of initiative must be present throughout the universe.
The destruction of initiative without the disappearance of consciousness is the state of damnation.
Stage 12 is the ‘outer darkness.
Beyond the absolute darkness is Absolute Nothing. So, creation begins and ends in an Unfathomable Source: When all has been separated and all has been isolated until nothing remains, the Act of Creation is complete. But, within the created, there is another action by which everything can return to its source – this is the Reflux.
The Spiritualization of Existence – The Spirit of the Pentad
– the total significance of Existence consists in realizing a Supreme value that is not outside and beyond, but in some ways pervades and flows through everything.
– Here, Being and Becoming are unified (static and dynamic/ actual and potential);
– This might be a triad: Being and Becoming – but we need something that expresses the static conception of Identity and the dynamic one of evolution.
– The tetrad – with the notion of ‘separation and blending’ comes nearer to the notion, but a tetrad is static and creation is not static.
– We have to interrogate our own feeling about existence as to whether we incline towards Being or towards Becoming.
– We have to extend and make universal the notion of potentiality
– Potentiality is that which permits the possible to merge with the impossible.
– The condition that allows Value to arise out of fact.
– We need a word for cosmic potentiality, latent in all existence: the uncreated in the created; the impossible in the possible = Spirit
– The meaning we wish to express is not the opposition of Spirit/ Matter and Existence/ Non-Existence but something to include sameness, difference, relatedness and subsistence – something where existence can be more than itself = the Pentad.
– Every event in which there is an interchange of essence and existence can be represented as a pentad.
– The essential difference with the tetrad is a central point in which spirit potential is concentrated. Extended upwards and downwards in the sense of both Will and Being.
– True spiritual potentiality requires that the environment or context should present itself as a twofold influence. The entire five-term system gives the ‘Spirit of the Event’.
Notion of Reflux
– We seek a means of expressing the property whereby existence is a nexus of significant events;
– Significance arises from the connection between fact and value. But, it must be transformation that is both subject to and beyond the determining conditions, and above all it must preserve the full wealth of significance that we attribute to Spirit.
– Potentiality must have existence in its own right – it therefore must have potential of its own.
– We signify by the term Spirit that concrete property whereby all existence is endowed with potentiality – spiritualization is the action where existence fulfils its destiny
– Since the notion of essence implies a pattern or plan or purpose towards which existence is drawn, we can look upon spiritualisation as the movement of existence towards essence.
– The property of spirit is to harmonise existence and essence; this requires not only the spiritualisation of existence but the realisation of essence;
– If creation is partition and blending, then the harmony of being can only be restored if there is also a disengaging and reunion.
– All that’s separated must come together, but in such a way as to preserve all the new content that has been added to existence by the interaction of several parts;
– If the harvest of Universal Existence is to be gathered, there must be some principle of return – spiritualisation of existence and realisation of essence =
Reflux of the Spirit
law of Reflux
= counter creation (the return of all existence towards its source in the unfathomable).
– Existence is not isolated from Being until the final stages of Creation: as reflector that enables the essential influences to flow back towards their source in the unfathomable.
– Reflux is everywhere;
– Existence is not spatially delimited;
– It is not separated from Being by being placed ‘outside’ it but by mutual exclusion of possible and impossible situations within the plenum of the Transfinite.
– The partition of Existence and Essence is all pervasive. We can always discover in our own experience an influx of Being influence in the form of the essential qualities from which existence derives its values.
– Essence/ existence are only half real: the powers of the Will are lodged in essence but their exercise belongs in existence;
– Realisation = merging of Essence and existence;
– Spiritualisation is the transformation of existence by the influx of essential values;
– Reflux is thus the penetration of essence into existence from below. Realisation is the use of the freedom latent in all existence to seek the essence and merge with it;
– Reflux is more than mere ‘return’ for it brings with it a newly generated qualitative content;
– That which is real can be truly free, not only from the conditions of time and place, or the limitations of Existence itself, but from dependence upon the Creative Act which brought it into being.
– The spiritualisation of existence is the transformation of fact into value. By it, the impossible becomes possible, and the entire universe, which exists as mere fact, become permeated with value and gains significance that is its own.
– Commonly, the realisation of essence is the embodiment of value in fact. By it, the realm of abstract values is clothed with the flesh and blood of concrete events.
pp. 289 – 304 Diagrams on page 296, 299, 301 302
This section is a continuation of the ‘Spiritualization of Existence’ chapter. For Bennett, everything is in a state of potential and continuous creativity. All is possible, all of the time – even the impossible. So, why does it not all happen – i.e. exist? This is the situation/ question behind what he writes. Really, we need to see the dyad as contained within the tetrad, and the tetrad within the pentad. At this point, we are talking about what is happening before us rather than at the level of will, or being. Hence, we have a vision of the universe, and beyond, in terms of everything being in potential relation with everything through what Gurdjieff called the ‘law of reciprocal maintenance’ – basically, everything is feeding something else of being fed by something else. Analogously, everything is building up or breaking down – I found it useful to think of this in terms of ascent and descent. At one extreme there is nothing but material fact (although even here there is a beyond – conditions of life – water, air heat). At the other extreme, there is nothing but essential value (beyond knowing/ experiencing). In between, one becomes the other, or at least is fed by and feeds the other in ever increasing portions. Life as one large food table where nothing is wasted!
This is in essence of the ‘law of reciprocal maintenance’ – everything is mutually dependent:
– exchange and transformation;
– renewal of energies;
– entities built up from the prior existent;
– elements organised in an appropriate patter.
There are 12 principal qualities of energy which characterise ‘modes of existence’:
– Polar energy – bodies organised by common presence;
– Vital energy – the organised sensitivity of tissue;
– Automatic energy – liberated from organisms with living tissue;
– Creative energy – calls for a structure of complete individuality.
‘Energies’ is the way we live in our world/ bodies – what we can work with. We can transform one to and from another. A 5-form system is needed for such transformation. The Reflux Bond (RB) is what performs this transformation as it operates on a principle of exchange of present entities: energies, forms, substance. When this occurs, spirit is present – thus, existence is’spiritualised’ in transformation. The RB is not just changes in states of existence but the flux of the spirit (creation and counter creation), as one and another feeds the creative process. Creation: the coming into being of that which did not exist.
The RB makes for essence realised – existence spiritualised. A notion of food is therefore needed to signify the sense of ‘eating and being eaten’ in the creative process.
The Higher level feeds on the lower as it passes still higher. For this to happen, there have to be corresponding structures in the ‘food’ and the ‘eater’, and clear a relationship between levels. Evolution is therefore of entities to a higher level than their original source through the realisation of essence in them. In fact, what is transformed is not so much entities than ‘qualities’. Existence without essence will collapse – essence food is therefore needed. Essence food gives the qualities that are required for maintaining entities so that they can fulfil their place in the Universal harmony.
All life depends on green vegetation – it provides pattern, a key fitting a lock. This pattern reaches the animal world through eating. When we move from a lower to a higher level, there is a separation of fine from coarse: constructive energy => automatic energy. So, the essence realization is a higher pattern developed from the lower. RB is the flow of these essential qualities – blended for a higher pattern. Essence is realised – quality is purified from lower to higher. Where essence is ‘debased’, the opposite applies. For example, when a cow eats grass, one part is transmuted into bovine essence, whilst another part becomes excrement.
An essence-class is an entity – or more than one entity – sharing a pattern of a kind; for example, a table. They are linked by a common essence, of a quality sufficiently fundamental for all members of the class to play a role in the same cosmic harmony.
There is a kind of continuum as essence classes spread themselves out across things of value and thing of fact: at one end is Ultimate realisation; at the other end are simple conditions and materials.
8 – Ultimate realisation
– Cosmic Harmony
– Cosmic Individuality
7 – Demiurge
6 – Men
5 – Animals
4 – Germs
3 – Plants
2 – Soil
1 – Crystals
Essence Linkage – the Pentad
This account of essence carries us deeper into ‘reality’ than before – i.e. what we can experience. We cannot study it in terms of function, being and will separately because the relationship between food and eater cannot be reduced to a triad – the nature of what eats needs to be taken into account.
Essence has a 3-fold nature (triad); therefore, the RB must have a 5-term system (5 internal and 2 external). For example:
Human Essence and True self are respectively left and right of this list.
So, every pentad, has a nucleus placed between 2 oppositionally placed essence patterns. These three placings, and their relationship, needs to be understood together to understand the way that essence is involved. For example, human, animal, and germinal (4-6) in the above list need to be considered together in order to understand the essence of ‘animal’.
The essence-food of a class is given by the class above (higher nature) and class below (lower nature):
Five Elements are involved:
(sadly, I cannot get the spatial aspect of these to represent here)
– Each belong to different essence classes;
– Each spans 3 classes;
– Existence is tied to its own level;
– Essence is not tied to existence;
– Essence is purified and existence realised when the two merge in Cosmic Harmony.
This is the Ground State
– It is non-entity – formlessness;
– There is no essence;
– No pattern; No quality;
– However, this itself sets up a reaction – a need for value. In fact, it is only at simple substances that essential qualities emerge. Bare existence is in search of essence, but there is not enough to meet its need. Only bare existence can be the source of Essence (very Gnostic), as pure essence has to be the starting point of the creation of the world.
– Therefore, simple entities achieve a pattern as a first step in the Reflux of the Spirit.
Again: The realisation of essence leads to the debasement of essence
The Reflux of the Spirit = separation of essence qualities into fine and coarse.
The fine rises and the coarse descends (returning to the source – the Unfathomable).
The 12 Essence Classes give 8 Pentads
First Pentad– Crystalline Essence
Here is the simplest nucleus – Crystals:
Crystals have geometric pattern: they feed on heat and are food for plants (Heat is an ‘elementary’ state with no property and random motions – an essence-quality with no pattern).
Second Pentad – Soil Essence
This is the Pentad for the preparation of life. Its members are complete essences. Soil supports life – it emerges from crystalline materials. Here, the geometrical transforms to the organic. Soils awakens the spirit. Wherever there is autonomous existence, there must be transitional essence – pattern by which the Reflux of the Spirit may proceed. So, for example, rock is ‘spiritualised’ into soil. Heat, air and water all vivify the rocks. So, the ‘simples’ are the true essence food for soil. Heat, air, and water are therefore spiritualising elements. This can be seen as descending streams of essence bringing life to soil in order to retain life.
Third Pentad– Plant Essence
Plants link active germs and soil. Their essence is passive but plants are the great regulative spirit – power – on earth. Rooted in the soil!
NB. Dynamic and Static natures need to be understood. Static essence is not passive externally but internally. Dynamic essence is evolutionary (transformed into essence of a higher self). So, germinal essence is the upper limit of plant essence; soil essence is the lower limit of plant essence. The food of plants is therefore ultimately crystalline. An example is photosynthesis. It produces not only a pattern of essence for the plant but it also liberates the oxygen that is needed in the metabolism of nearly all forms of life on Earth.
The plant essence is the nucleus of the pentad of Emergence, where spirit begins to acquire form.
pp. 304 – 320 Diagrams on pages 305, 307, 310, 313, 317
This section continues up the ‘food chain’:
The next essence class is:
Germinal Essence : The Fourth Pentad
The ‘germ’ is something capable of spontaneous development/ the smallest primary unit of tissue.
At its lowest extreme, ‘germinal’ essence merges into plants; at its upper limit, it touches animals.
It feeds on soil and can be the food of men.
JGB argues that the essence pattern of a worm (which is dependent on soil) is exactly the pattern that men need: it is germinal. It therefore provides the proteins, carbohydrates and fats by entering the tissues of animals.
The link between Soil, Germs and Man is a ‘bond of life’ involving reflux: consequently, it cannot be expressed in factual terms.
‘Strife’ appears in the Germinal: that is, the essence can be aggressive and restless (compared to plants which are passive).
At this point, spirit comes under an action which is just before its conscious participation in the cosmic process.
Therefore, it is the Pentad of Vitality compared to the plant-based Pentad of Emergence.
The germinal essence ‘emerges’ from the passivity of plant life to initiate a realisation that culminates in man with the striving, questioning, uncertainty that makes him seek to understand his place and his role in the cosmic process.
Animal Essence : The Fifth Pentad
This essence can be understood as the ‘organic sensitivity’ of warm-blooded animals. It is the culmination of the essence pattern: Crystals->Plants->Animals.
Crystals, vegetables, animals share an essence-pattern that is symmetrical – something that appears as complex and sensitive as we go from crystals to animals. Soil and Germs, on the other hand, are asymmetrical, unbeautiful and insensitive.
At its lower limit, animals are germs; at its upper limit, they are men. They feed on plants and are eaten by demiurges.
The essential nature of animals is to be what it is – some can transform energies.
Each animal is highly specialised, and transforms a specific life energy into a quality of experience.
Animals are therefore created to perform a cosmic task. If one is made extinct, another has to do its work.
(NB. The Biosphere is as it is in order to survive. Gaia. If the harmony is disturbed, it will adjust itself to the point where the earth is un-liveable for man so that the Biosphere survives.)
So, as certain animals and insects become extinct, there is a decline in human qualities of freedom and responsibility amongst men and women. Though human in function, they revert to animal properties of complete dependence on external influences for their being-manifestation (automatic, reactional selves).
Human Essence : The Sixth Pentad
Essence conflict first found in the soil reaches its culmination in Man here.
At the same time, the quality of responsibility for the Cosmic Purpose appears in the Cosmic Individuality.
Man thus stands between Strife and Responsibility.
Cosmic Individuality 8
Selfhood is suspended between demiurge essence and animal essence – thus in conflict.
At its upper limit, men are demiurge (selfhood) – at the lower limit animals.
They eat ‘germs’ and are eaten by Cosmic Individuality.
(NB. This is why the more men transform – ascend worlds – the more they become the same.)
However, man can be conscious of this conflict. Man can be a conscious instrument of the transmutation of substances while animals do this in an involuntary way.
Human essence is the result of 6 stages of realisation:
– 3 static: crystals, plants, animals.
– 3 dynamic: soil, germs, man.
At each stage, transformations enrich the next stage above:
Simple substances -> crystals -> soil -> plants -> germs -> animals -> man.
Each stage is a miracle: upper and lower natures are reconciled.
When man appears, he becomes responsible for his own realisation.
The Lower nature of each essence is food for the Higher (Law of Reciprocal Maintenance)
Plant essence is static and feeds the static side of men’s nature. Germinal essence is dynamic and feeds the dynamic side of men’s nature: (strife and striving).
But, the true significance of Germinal essence is as a Germ of Breath: born of spirit or life principle of all conscious essence.
Therefore, Germinal Essence has to be present for there to be Conscious Transmutation.
Man is not ‘man’ in the essential meaning of the word. Man is only potentially a part of human essence. ‘Ordinary man’ is little more than a variety of animal: the Divided Self prevents the True Self from occupying its rightful place.
Not until the spirit enters and awakens the Selfhood can it use bodily powers for the purpose of conscious self-realisation of energies.
1) While man is automatic, he remains at the level of animals.
2) ‘Man’ in essence is higher nature: Cosmic Individuality.
In 1), he remains as he is: energy is transformed, but passively (like animals) through sensations, feelings and associations – Living and dying, with no results for individual essence.
In 2), energy is consciously transformed – by labour, intentional suffering, results serving a higher purpose. So, individual spirit is transformed: Selfhood and Individuality are fused.
pp. 313 – 320
7th pentad – Demiurge Essence
– These essences cannot be verified by human sense-perception but by the regularities of nature.
– Demiurge = worker for the people
= artificer of the world
= instruments of universal individuality (Involution/ evolution)
= beyond selfhood (it is therefore difficult to be aware of them.
Cosmic Harmony 9 – Eater
Cosmic Individuality 8
Animals 5 – Food
– 3-fold nature of every independent spirit requires 3-fold bodily support.
– The spiritual nature of the demiurge requires a body that is composed of conscious energy. Therefore independent of limitations of time and space.
– Essences are to take control of energies rather than material objects. Their role is to maintain universal harmony (Angels).
– With Will, the planetary world is contingent, and planetary existence hazardous.
Involution is automatic
Evolution is conscious and voluntary.
– Demiurges are the source of the essence patterns of the Biosphere. Therefore, the first 4 levels of Hypernomic existence are bodily supports of the demiurges.
– Demiurges maintain universal order, especially at the planetary level where existence is hazardous and contingent. They have a 3-fold nature – the nucleus contains sensitive energy beyond the reach of human perception.
– Animals are the food for demiurges. Demiurges are food for the cosmic harmony. Animals transform the energies of plants into sensitive experience. These energies are liberated at critical moments: conception, death, etc.
– Energies range from the sensitive to the percipience and are what the demiurges need.
– It is by their essence quality of sensitivity that animals become food for the demiurges. (Man too when in automatic mode!). Man without an ‘I’ becomes the food for the demiurges. The demiurges then use and regulate energies released from the death of animals and men.
– Those men who can transform their own animal energies into the energy of consciousness, bring into existence the third or demiurge body, and can regulate energies in the same way as the demiurges.
– Free energies can be composed by the conscious power of the demiurgic essence into Existential Images: (organisng sources for essence patterns. Therefore, new organic forms are moulded from patterns of existing species. Essence Images act on the percipient energies of man and enter human experience as ideas (the conscious counterpart of elemental powers).
8th Pentad – Cosmic Individuality
– Here the essence flows from responsibility to compassion.
– The regulative task of the demiurges is essentially static.
– The work of compassion is to create conditions that permit the limitations of the universal order to be transcended.
Ultimate Realisation 10 – Eater
Cosmic Harmony 9
Cosmic Individuality 8
Men 6 – Food
Ultimate Realisation = incomprehensible quality that is final and yet in a process of fulfilment
Reflux => Eternal Peace => Cosmic Harmony
This is Eternal Becoming and Endless Realisation
(MG: The Gnostic symbol of the Serpent with its tail in its mouth.)
This is the “Divine Pentad” – Here, Human Destiny is revealed.
– The Human essence, by reason of its germinal source is involved in strife, but, by reason of its destiny to become food for the Cosmic Individuality, it bears the seeds of compassion. Man belongs to the series of dynamic essence classes and, if he loses his dynamism, he betrays his destiny and falls into the fate of the animal essence – to be no more than a source for varied energies required to maintain world order.
– Man’s Higher nature corresponds to that of the demiurges. The highest human essence-quality is responsibility– that is the acceptance of a task to serve a cosmic order.
– In order to become food for the ‘Cosmic Individuality’, man must be ready to surrender, consciously and voluntarily, his own separate existence (to become part of the cosmic compassion).
Ultimate Realisation = Holy God
Bare Existence = Holy the Fixed
Cosmic Harmony = Holy the Immortal
Male Power………………………Female Power
Ultimate Realisation ………………………………Cosmic Harmony
Germs Eater (Food^)…………………..Plants
Soil Eater (Food^)………………………Crystals
(Sorry, problems with typesetting here)
– Energies of the static series produce bodily supports that are systematic harmonious and beautiful. The dynamic series are organised and potent – but subject to tensions and even ugliness.
– Each species of animals exhibits some essence-quality in a higher degree than man, but because of their specialisation, these qualities can serve only for the static transformation of a narrow range of sentient or automatic energies. Man, the weakest of animals, and the most chaotic in his essence, has possibilities to which no animal is open. By the very conflicts and disharmonies of his nature, man can transform conscious, voluntary energies that serve the inscrutable purpose of the Cosmic Individuality.
– Every essence is, by nature, pervaded by its own opposite. Man’s nature is the opposite of the animal and demiurge – but neither the one nor the other is the nucleus of man’s essence. The true human essence is created out of the need to harmonise the opposing natures. The same is true also of static essences. The animal essence is half-germ/half-man but the inherent dynamism leads only to an involuntary development. This recalls the Chinese aphorism: Animals are beautiful when they are young. Men when they are old. The animal is most perfect in conception, when all is dynamism, but as it is born, grows old, its powers fade and it ends life completely static. The true destiny of man is exactly the opposite – he is born an animal and has no more than animal beauty – but if he strives to fulfil his destiny, a new creative dynamism enters and his life ends at a higher level of beauty and power than it began.
– The essence linkage is therefore deeper than the relationship of Will, Function or Being.
Question: Is the Reflux of the Spirit to its source assured, or is it uncertain and hazardous?
Answer: Existence is contingent. We cannot know how it stands with essence – uncertainty prevails so long as essence and existence are divorced. This divorce is watched over by the demiurges – elementals.
But, the uncertainty of whether Law and Love can finally be harmonised remains!!
pp. 321 – 335
God and the Cosmic Drama
The basic idea behind this part is that ‘God does not exist’. God does not exist because God is beyond existence – essence. However, God is active in the world; particularly through the ‘third’ reconciling force of the triads of Will – although, even here, what is actualised is subject to hazard.
– We draw on human experience to picture the Being of God. And, we are aware of Divine Love/ Majesty. However, Human logic is inconsistent with Divine Omnipotence. In other words, what we come up with in terms of God is a product of our ‘human’ logic, not Divine Omnipotence – thus, partial at best!
– We are aware of goodness and consciousness despite accusations against God, bitterness because of the shortcomings of the picture we have of God – resentment.
– The struggle between universal forces can be seen in terms of human conflict as a reflection of cosmic conflict. Thus, human beings are involved in the cosmic drama.
– Most of the difficulties in approaching the cosmic drama is a failure to distinguish between Function, Being and Will. We picture God as existing, and therefore subject to limitations of possibility.
– God does not ‘exist’.
– God is Being – unknowable; includes the possible and impossible.
– We find Omnipotence in Will. But, there is a distinction between the Ineffable Will (beyond Creation) and Triune Will (that enters the creative process through the Triad of World III)
– The three impulses of World III are all omnipotent: not subject to the limitations of mutual action. Thus, transcendental of human experience. But we can surmise:
First Cosmic Impulse
The power that sets the creative process in motion – and maintains eternal flux.
Second Cosmic Process
The limitless possibility that resides in all creation to fulfil the purpose of existence.
Third Cosmic Process
Bearer of the omnipotence within creation itself. Limitless reconciling power.
The God of our worship can be found in the Third reconciling Impulse. The mystical experience of Deity is indeed union with the Third Cosmic Impulse.
– Functional man confronted with a functional God would indeed be no more than a helpless mechanism: autocratic power of fact.
– ‘Non-autocratic power’ = Will (Omnipotence): not compulsive but permissive; a reconciling force; not limited by possible/ impossible that separates existence and essence.
– Therefore, Omnipotence is the power by which existence is destined to be spiritualised and essence realised. Men are the chosen vehicle of this destiny. Freedom.
– The flood tide of creation must spend itself in the endless desert of non-existence. Creation can redeem existence through essence.
– The potential of reconciliation is equal to the potential for denial
– Uncertainty and hazard enter into the very heart of Creation; where finite self-hood fights its solitary battle for fulfilment.
Man and the Image of God
– Suffering on earth bears little relation to merit or demerit; as if was the arbiter, rewarding and punishing (Old Testament view of God). This is a misleading picture of God, applied to existence only – it has no meaning in a realm where the possible and impossible are undivided.
– The God we worship is only one aspect of God – an idealised, perfect, Being – and cannot be the unfathomable.
– God the ‘ideal Being’ is revealed to us in the ‘Cosmic Individuality’ (World III) – the supreme person (son of God) whose beyond is beyond the limitations of Eternity, Space, Hyparxis, and Time.
– With Men, we have the impossible; with God we have the possible and the impossible.
– Man is man in the image of God as (son of God).
– Man reproduces in himself the pattern of the perfect Will that has created all worlds.
– Man is a complete triad by reason of his 3-fold nature. The higher or demiurgic nature of man corresponds to the First Cosmic Impulse (of affirmation). The lower nature corresponds to the Second Cosmic Impulse – receptivity. And the ‘I’ of the inmost soul corresponds to the Third Cosmic Principle
Man is made in image of God by the property of self-determination, bestowed on his ‘I’. In other words, he can voluntarily ally himself to his Third Cosmic Impulse, and can therefore enter worlds.
A ‘god-filled man’ is aware that his Selfhood (World XXIV) has been annihilated by the immanent individuality (World XXII). He therefore becomes a vehicle of the transmission of the Cosmic Reconciling Impulse.
Pictures of Deity
– Himself must be beyond all uncertainty, all suffering, all forces of evil.
– Will is the arbiter of all processes of existence by the triad of order – 312
– Creator of existence – 133
– Regeneration/ redemption – 213
– Identity/ Action – 231/132
– Giver of Grace – 321
Though not a participant, the Will of God enters everything. It does everything, but is involved in nothing.
The Hazards of Existence
– In the Domain of Fact, there are counter streams: involution and evolution; entropic and syntropic.
– In the Domain of Value, there is a corresponding dualism of reflux and creation.
– Creation is the stream in which all possibilities are worked out. It is existence as the warp of reality.
– Making what is not out of what is
– The counter stream is the Spirit-Reflux, which weaves into existence a pattern that is as much impossible as possible.
– The nature of creation is to fill existence with all that is possible.
So, there are two streams – different in source: one flows from cosmic affirmation; one rises from cosmic receptivity, in which nothing is possible and nothing impossible.
Realisation of value is always subject to hazard.
Life is the bearer of the reconciling factor of all existence: and is a Keynote of the Dramatic Universe; it is the spiritualisation of existence. The connection between Life and the Third Force = God is the living God and the God of Life, is the vehicle of the spiritualization of Existence and the realisation of Essence.
The cosmic omnipotence enters into every triad of all existing worlds from World VI.
God is at the centre of Selfhood (World XXIV). The realisation of one’s own nothingness => Triad of Grace (beatitude) 321.
Faith is the work of the reconciling impulse.
Hazard is a fundamental necessity of existence: a condition of faith; a precursor of freedom.
The Hazard of Stars and Planets
– Complete Individuality (World XXII) is associated with the Sun.
– Stars are cosmic entities; individuality being inherent in their essential nature.
– The creative Will of the Sun is free existentially and essentially.
– Suns are not subordinate to Universal Individuality (World VI).
– Every star has its individual destiny – harmony with the whole; but never completely because of existence.
– The consciousness of the sun cannot penetrate to the immeasurably greater consciousness of the whole universe. The Complete Individuality of World XII can never comprehend the Cosmic Individuality of World III, where Divine Will is free from commitment.
– Consequently, hazards and tensions must arise. If stars were not exposed to hazards commensurate with the greatness of their own powers, they would be deprived of the possibility of union with the Cosmic Individuality. In brief, stars (angels) in their creative activity as the source of planetary life are also fallible – so, their own creations must be imperfect, nit just in existence but in essence!
This, though man is made in the Image of God, the artificer of his Self-hood is not the infallible Divine Will (World III) but the hazardous creative power of the sun (World XXII). Here is the distinction between Selfhood (World XXIV and beyond) and Individuality (World III, VI and XII)
Rare individuals can see beyond earthly purposes. Usually, man is far from experiencing responsibility for the destiny of the planet.
And so, the problem of the planetary hazard.
– It is usual to suppose that life has adapted itself to the slowly changing physical and chemical conditions of the earth’s surface and atmosphere. But, it is possible that the planet has progressively adapted itself to the changing needs of life (Gaia!). If this is so, the hazards of the planet are somewhat akin to those of Self-hood: the nature of the planet stands between the spiritual impulses of its own existence. Life itself is analogous to the core of the Self-hood (World XXIV) – the ‘I’ – that seeks realization in the Complete Individual (World XXII).
– The Selfhood (World XXII) exists to provide conditions for the incarnation of the Complete Individuality.
– It may be that the planet exists to provide conditions for the arising of a Biopshere that can incarnate Universal Individuality.
The Hazards of the Galaxies
– The doctrine of man as the image of God can be extended to all cosmic structures.
– Since all existence is functionally linked, it must be regarded exceptional, even impossible, for inner freedom to exist.
– The largest cosmic units are galaxies: they are entities between the stars and the universe as a whole – thus, perhaps, belonging both to the domains of fact and value. The fact that galaxies include hundreds of thousands of stars is evidence that they are subject to the laws of existence. It is probable that they include a pattern where essence and existence are reconciled. This is a process of time, and hazard, therefore, can be seen as success or failure in achieving the cosmic purpose.
– As creation and counter-creation are harmonised, existence triumphs over change…and death over time!
Galaxies can be seen in these forms:
Higher nature galaxies as the affirmation of all existence. Lower nature galaxies as the receptivity of its constituent stars, with all the planets. The Higher nature is essential and the lower nature is existential. The first descends as a creative act from above; the second emerges in the Reflux from the undifferentiated hyle-field. The galaxy is a cosmic unit having identity but not from below in terms of functionality. They have been created as cosmic units to serve the Universal purpose.
What is the mighty consciousness that can occupy the central position and experience the affirming and denying forces that must stream in upon the galaxy from the creative source?
ð Universal Individuality , as the Will of the galaxy (World VI).
1) The Universal Individuality belongs to World VI, where the determining-conditions take the form of the Law of Order.
2) The fourth stage of creation – Universal qualities of Love and Compassion are significant. The triad here is: The Universe; the Galaxies; the Stars. Galaxies as both its vehicle and instrument.
3) We should, therefore, supplement are picture of the Reflux with that of the hazards of the galaxies, and the reconciling role of the Third Cosmic Impulse, transmitted through the Universal Individuality by which every galaxy is pervaded.
The hazards of the galactic existence are incomprehensible to us.
Each galaxy should achieve its Spiritual Perfection as to fulfil the purpose of Creation.
The Universal Individuality (World VI) must watch over the human race – must be an instrument of the reconciling cosmic impulse.
It is compatible with what we know about Selfhood and Individuality, that man may become the vehicle of the Universal Individuality: eg. Prophets, messengers – men filled with love of God. According to the view that the Universal Individuality has its abode in the galaxies, we should say that prophets have come to earth ‘from beyond the solar system’. However, contact with the Universal Individuality is not confined to special incarnations. There must be a balanced action between the ordering function of the Demiurgic Powers and the harmonising work of the Universal Individuality. It never ceases though we are seldom aware of it – if they were not present, the destructive tendencies of the lower forces in human Self-hood would lead the human race into disaster.
pp. 335 – 340
The Cosmic Individuality – World III
Finally, we reach the threshold of a very great mystery – the destiny of the entire existing universe.
Are we to ascribe hazard to all Existence and uncertainty of fulfilment to the purposes of Creation?
– Can there be Hazard for the part and Assurance for the Whole?
– Time is endlessly unravelling the skein: nothing comes into existence but bears the seeds of its own dissolution.
If we turn from temporal images (valid for abstract, dualistic systems of matter and function) to the concrete realities of Will, we see that all worlds open to existential impulses are subject to hazard.
The laws of Involution and Evolution can be reconciled only by the exercise of freedom, and this is given in its fullness to Individual Will alone.
The reality of sin is one of the chief spiritual truths in the life of man.
Will on the planetary level – World XXIV – throughout all Existence, must be tainted by sin. All life on all planets is therefore in need of redemption.
– Creativity – parting opposite from opposite (Being).
– Existence is cast out of the bosom of its Transfinite Source to languish in finitude.
– Separation of essence from existence leads to death and dissolution.
– Life itself does not die but we dare not have confidence that life unaided can fulfil its prodigious task of uniting matter with God – pervading all Existence with the consciousness of its transcendental purpose.
– Linkage and transmission (Spirit/ Potentiality).
– Spirit may harmonise Existence with Essence to reconcile fact and value.
– There is one uncertain weakness in the link that connects Life with the spiritual Essence beyond life. That is Selfhood – that makes its own choice between Spirit and Matter, Essence and Existence.
– The demiurgic powers cannot perform the task that has been left to Selves.
– The sins of selfhood impose on the demiurges – the burden of destruction rather than vivification – so that the Universal Order should not be disturbed. This is why we are sometimes more aware of Retributive Justice than Divine Mercy.
However, there are two conclusions:
1) Wherever there is life there is hazard;
2) Life bears responsibility for the destiny of all existence.
Returning to the earth:
– Life on earth is hazardous;
– So is spiritual destiny.
But, uncertainty, hazard and sin cannot be confined to our small planet:
– Life itself would be meaningless if it were not precarious.
– Existence itself is subject not merely to uncertainty but to hazard and sin.
At no point can we say with hazard: thus far and no further.
Possibility endowed with freedom is responsibility.
Disregarded responsibility is sin.
Existence = vehicle of all possibilities – but not all impossibilities.
Where the possible and the impossible are separated, there is uncertainty.
But, when the impossibility is mitigated by the limitless power of freedom, uncertainty can be the occasion of sin.
At a higher level…..
…..the more the impossibilities outnumber the possibilities, the more the attainment of cosmic harmony seems almost infinitely improbable.
The spiritual destiny of the existing universe is not beyond hope.
Human experience: Hope – objective, concrete hope – not limited by time and space – can be restored.
Hope lies in freedom
The exercise of freedom is through Individuality.
A man can liberate others from their failures, but only within the limits of the lower world.
The Complete Individual of World XII can be a redemptive factor in the world of True Selves – World XXIV
We have connected the Complete Individuality with the Solar Systems and the Universal Individuality with the galaxies:
I – God – Transfinite Will
III – Logos/ Son of God – Cosmic (Infinite Will) – Universe
VI – Universal Individuality – Galaxies
XII – Complete Individuality – (Planets) – Solar System
XXIV – True Self (Selfhood)
In the world of Will, a variety of redemptive actions is possible. By such actions, the hazards of Existence are relieved. If uncertainty, hazard and sin taint all existence, only Will, beyond the limitations of existence, can restore the balance (Will has a will).
Finally, in the Cosmic Individuality, we seek the assurance that Existence and Essence may be reconciled and harmonised (World III) – Beyond separation.
This is the Triad of the Infinite Will, and thus beyond determining conditions. It is omnipotent. Hence, we have Cosmic Individuality at the heart of the Divine Pentad reconciling all finite essence with the infinitude of ultimate fulfilment.
Only in world III can we find the power that can deliver the universe from the hazard of its own existence (that can take away the sins of the world).
In world III, there are no impossibilities because there are no limitations.
With man, it is impossible. But, all is possible with God.
All existence is what possesses all that is possible, but lacks the key to the impossible.
The Reflux of the Spirit cannot be accomplished without the help of the power that is equal to itself but different in nature.
The intervention of the Cosmic Individuality is necessary upon all levels, and thus implies the descent of that which is beyond hazard and free from sin, of the consequences of sin and hazard.
At the core of the cosmic drama is a spiritual presence that links the finite and the infinite. Its individuality partakes of both.
We men on earth are not alone in our uncertainties, our hazards and our sins – we share in the hopes and fears of all existence.
The Cosmic Individuality is the cosmic logos (the Christ, the Son of God as revealed in the Christian faith) – the unity of substance and the duality of natures required by Christian theology.
God the Father = Transfinite Will = I
Son = Cosmic Individuality = III
The spirit works in the Cosmic Reflux as the third hypostasis of the Blessed Trinity.
Third Hypostasis => Blessed Trinity
The incarnation of God in Jesus Christ is a manifestation, on the infinitesimal scale of earthly life, of the total descent of the Cosmic Individuality into the Existing Universe.
So long as we persist in thinking God in anthropomorphic terms, as a ‘being’, and even of the Blessed Trinity as ‘three Beings’ we are faced with irresolvable contradictions.
We must go beyond time and place, eternity and hyparxis, beyond existing and imaginable forms, beyond existence, to the realm of the impossible (there we find God) other that all that exists – yet nearer to existence than existence itself.
Suffering and evil are enigmas only so long as we persist in misunderstanding the nature of existence and freedom.
The very nature of freedom is to be neither compulsive nor necessary.
The Cosmic Individuality enters the Universe, not as the Cosmic Autocrat but as the redeemer, to restore the freedom that has been misused.
Entering into Existence, the Cosmic Individual assumes the role of the suffering servant. This is the nature of the Cosmic reconciling Impulse – the God of our worship.
– There is Hope.
– Though Existence is powerless to redeem itself, it is nevertheless to be redeemed, and indeed is redeemed eternally, by the supreme sacrifice whereby the Cosmic Individuality assumes all hazards of Existence. That which is enacted upon the earth is the Passion of Christ, and renewed in every redemptive sacrifice. This is not only a pledge given to mankind but also the assurance that upon every planet in every age, the Cosmic Individuality enters life….
(Blake: Each instant is a ‘last judgement’ when ‘error is put off’)
….and so makes it possible for the Selfhood that pervades existence to carry the burden that is beyond its own strength to bear.
The mystery must remain – a mystery for it is the very condition of the cosmic hazard. The drama of the Universe is that we may fear and we may hope – but we can never be certain so long as we remain behind the prison bars of existence.
We may take comfort from the conclusions that we are not alone and that the stars and the galaxies share in the Drama that gives infinite significance to every living soul.