The Mystery of the Serpentine Mirror

"Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's the mind-god of them all? Me!"

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the mind-god of them all? Me!”

  γνῶθι σεαυτόν

By: Jay

Certain snotty critics in a forum posted a criticism of my Thomism article, where I looked at the flaws in Thomism that led to, I believe, to Enlightenment scientism.  That’s a good segue into the next topic I’d like to expand upon, integrating the recent articles and interviews I’ve done on the mystical, magic mirror theme.  On top of that, to make it even crazier (as opposed to attempting to placate the small-minded critics with some rationalized defense), I’m going to tack on the subject of the ancient mystery of the serpent, since I see a connection between the mirror and the serpent.  How that might be is a question of the psyche and its relation to the objective world resulting from an examination of biblical, mystical, mythological and psychological notions.  I propose that in order to understand the nature of man’s psyche, the objective world and spacetime, rather than the modern approach of mere linguistic expression, symbology should be sought as the primary means of conveying the truth.

Granted, words are symbols, but there is much more that can be contained in certain forms, especially forms such as Platonic solids, or the Monad, dyad, triad, etc., as opposed to just “words.” Could deep truths about metaphysics, meaning and space-time actually be encapsulated in the basic forms of geometry?  I think so, and in this article I am going to set out to make that argument.  It recently occurred to me that given man’s predilection for relativism, it might be possible that relativism was actually one of the epistemological effects of the Fall.  Falling from objective Truth (God) and accepting the (supposed) autonomous epistemic authority of his own desired perceptions, man chose to become his own god, but rather than achieving what he sought, his mind has become a prison for his own delusions, illusions and vanity.  As a result, man is trapped in a cyclical prison that I’m going to call the “mystery of the serpentine mirror.”

The mirror here will be man’s self-perception, embodied in the being he perceives himself to be, with his accepted and desired beliefs about his origin, meaning (or lack thereof) and destination.  I recall Bahnsen proposing in his PhD thesis on self-deception that there is an interesting distinction between being deceived, and believing “I am not deceived.” The first involves outright deception from one person to another, while the second involves the psyche actually choosing to believe a proposition about the self that is raised to a higher level, if you will.  Whereas in the first, I might be told by a suspect, “I did not steal your fanny pack and kilt,” and in the second example, I choose to believe “That cool ass dude is my bro – he would never steal my fanny pack and kilt,” even though all the evidence points to the latter, as I later see my buddy dancing in a kilt with a fanny pack.  In the first case, I didn’t know, and in the second, my desires influenced my choice to believe the erroneous proposition.  Thus, Bahnsen posited, this is how self-deception works in the human psyche.

Note the circular imagery in Canova's statue of Eros/Cupid and Psyche.  They draw each other in cyclical embrace, eternally.

Note the circular imagery in Canova’s statue of Eros/Cupid and Psyche. They draw each other in cyclical embrace, eternally.

That is applicable here. In the classical symbology, the psyche is drawn as a circle, sometimes with a dot in the middle, signifying  the individual.  The dot is the Monad, or the point of self-consciousness of the individual.  It is also the universe as a whole, as well as the sun symbol, and the beginning form of the Egyptian, Pythagorean and Platonic mysteries as the basic architecture of reality (the Platonic solids).  The psyche is also a feminine symbol, though the monad that emerges with a third dimensional extension is masculine (being a phallus).  Eros or Cupid here represents the desire of the psyche.  Desire is what moves us towards an end, and for the man deceived into the mind-prison of relativism, it is as if a mirror has been placed in front of his psyche which reflects to him a false image of what he is.  In the mirror of the serpent, the image is a reflected image of an individual deluded into thinking he is God.  In individuals who are full psychopaths, this has reached full actualization insofar as they have completely convinced themselves they are god.  Thus, serial killers often exemplify this well-known trait.

As long as man’s eros is directed towards a false reflection in a mirror he has chosen, he will reflect back upon the world his misperception that he is the divine source of meaning.  In this infinite cycle of false reflection, the world is perceived to be his creation, and his mind the source of meaning, predication and being itself.  Pantheism and classical paganism are not just representations of divinity arising from the immanent causal forces of nature hypostatized, they are ultimately, especially after the Enlightenment, psychologically-projected explanations from a purely contingent, ultimately groundless finite psyche entrapped in the phantasms of its own reflection.  This is well illustrated in Inception, where Cobb (DiCaprio) is led by Ariadne to see that his perception is based on an eternally-recurring, cyclical series of mirror images.  This is why in symbology the mirror is often used of the psyche, and broken when there is a trauma or a death, signifying the shattering of the psyche.  Indeed, the symbol of the Labyrinth is the very symbol of Inception, being based on the myth of Ariadne who leads Theseus out of the Labyrinth, where he is trapped with the minotaur.  Cobb is Theseus in the film, and in a sense, our psyche is Theseus, as we are born trapped in the maze of relativism, the prison of our own psyche.

Ariadne leads Cobb to see that his reflection is a cyclical mirror-image.

Ariadne leads Cobb to see that his reflection is a cyclical mirror-image.

The Genesis narrative posits that man fell as a result of his taking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil which the serpent enticed him to take, being told that it would “open his eyes,” and “make him as a god,” “knowing good and evil.”  In the course of the narrative, man has not yet fallen, so it occurred to me in a conversation with a friend that the placement of evil here is a deep mystery.  In classical western theology, the fall of the angels had already occurred, since the serpent was tempting man here.  Evil could only have been among the angels at this point.  This tree is apparently something man is not yet ready for, so God postpones his attainment of this mysterious angelic knowledge.  Man is then banished by the Cherubim to wander a desolate earth, subject to death.  Genesis 6, the Book of Enoch and the text of Jude in the New Testament expand on this tradition and speak of interaction with angelic beings (Watchers) that teach man hidden arts.  Regardless of one’s opinion of these texts and their meaning, we see an interesting pattern of forbidden knowledge that man is not ready for due to his deception and self-imprisonment, if we take an epistemological and mystical perspective.

As one blogger notes regarding Freud’s interpretation of female narcissism, the connection to the myth of Narcissus is amazingly appropriate here:

“Freud uses the term “narcissist” to denote the self-loving individual, from the Greek myth of Narcissus who fell in love with his reflection in a pool and as a consequence drowned. The second type of individual, who overcomes narcissism by developing an attachment to the mother, Freud called “anaclitic.” However, he was careful to point out that there is not a sharp differentiation between the two groups in terms of psychological make-up: “we assume rather that a human being has originally two sexual objects – himself and the woman who nurses him – and in doing so we are postulating a primary narcissism in everyone, which may in some cases manifest itself in a dominating fashion in his object choice” (Freud, vol. 14, p. 89)

Narcissus is trapped by his reflection in the mirror of the pond, where Echo looks on.

Narcissus is trapped by his reflection in the mirror of the pond, where Echo looks on.

Freud is onto something here. The narcissism that everyone is deceived into adopting is a result of the fall and one of its results is the mind prison of relativism.  Like Sara in the Labyrinth, she is caught in a constant maze of mirrors and deceptions that are not real, but delude her into thinking she “has it all figured out.”  Every time Sara is trapped by some reflection or appearance, she falls again, over and over.  This is pictured well in the ball-room scene where the clock strikes and the mirrors shatter, again evoking the imagery mentioned above.  Sara is Theseus/Ariadne and must escape Bowie, the Goblin King who also takes on Minotaur appearance in the orgy/dance/Eyes Wide Shut-ish scene.  Note as well that Bowie deceives Sara and wants to make her a “queen,” telling her how great she is.  However, the clock strikes and Sara is reminded that she is bound by Chronos/time, and is not a god.

In regard to cyclical and serpentine imagery, we can consider Plato’s ouroboros, the serpent biting its tail, which is the image of the universe in his Timaeus, the creation myth Plato purported to bear from Egyptian hermeticism.  In the formation of the universe from the One through the demiurge, it is also common in Greek mystery religion that the serpent be wrapped around an egg, symbolizing the fertility rites of the ancient world, worshipping as it did, the natural world and its cycles.  Since the natural world appeared to operate on a pattern of cycles of seasons and dialectical oppositions, Greek thought deified these patterns (as did Egypt) and formulated a metaphysical picture of reality that viewed reality as purely cyclical.

Other religions like Hinduism have similar ideas, where man is caught in a “wheel of time” and endless cycles of reincarnations that must be overcome to achieve some form of transcendence or “nirvana.”  In those systems, though, time and history are ontologically identified with the deception or the projection, which sets the biblical God apart as unique.  Unlike those worldviews, this world is a training ground for movement into the next, and this world is essentially good.  It is not an illusion to be denied or a lie to be rejected, but it is rather man’s own false conceptions projected onto reality that must be escaped.  I might add as a side note that in much of the “red pill” literature and media that is geared toward setting man free from his captors, be they elites, globalists, archons, demons, etc., the missing piece in much of this is the fact that it’s all ordered around victimization.  Rarely does any such information touch on man’s own deep problem of loving self-deception and lies, seeking as he often does to be a willing captive to the fantasy world of an illusory projection of himself as god onto external reality.  Indeed, man needs to be cured from himself in order to be his true self.

Nietzsche as well posited a cyclical view of history, all of which makes sense if the temporal realm is “eternalized,” as it is.  Rather than read these images in a metaphysical way (though that may be the case somehow for those that are without God), I am interested in the psychological interpretation here.  Since Kant is not correct in cutting the mind off from the objective world, we know there is a direct connection between the psyche and the external world (as I’ve argued elsewhere), meaning possibly that the individual that continues to choose the false image will continue fallen into the next life.  Only as Truth is confronted, which includes the truth about man’s own being, does man become able to “get outside himself,” if you will, taking the steps toward the freedom that only comes with objective truth.  As long as man willingly buys into the lies of his mirrored projection, he is a prisoner to the mirror the serpent has placed before him to deceive him.

One ring to rule them all.

One ring to rule them all.

Man thinks that if he can achieve control of temporal reality he can escape his prison and become God, and it is here that the myth of the Ring of Gyges fits.  Situated as it is in the Greek mysteries as part of the Republic’s dialogue, the ring should be read as consonant with Platonic triadic and circular symbolism that often emerges in his and other ancient Greek works.  The ring enables its wearer to become invisible, and the question arises as to whether any man is  virtuous enough to resist the temptation to perform any act, if guilt could be escaped.  Rings are circular and thus embody the symbolism of eternality, as the circle never ends.  The ouroboros is also a ring that never ends, and includes serpentine imagery. The early patristic writer Athenagoras cites the Hellenic serpentine mysteries embodied in the Orphic cult as follows:

“Homer speaks of:

Old Oceanus, The sire of gods, and Tethys;

and Orpheus (who, moreover, was the first to invent their names, and recounted their births, and narrated the exploits of each, and is believed by them to treat with greater truth than others of divine things, whom Homer himself follows in most matters, especially in reference to the gods)— he, too, has fixed their first origin to be from water:—

Oceanus, the origin of all.

For, according to him, water was the beginning of all things, and from water mud was formed, and from both was produced an animal, a dragon with the head of a lion growing to it, and between the two heads there was the face of a god, named Heracles and Kronos. This Heracles generated an egg of enormous size, which, on becoming full, was, by the powerful friction of its generator, burst into two, the part at the top receiving the form of heaven (οὐρανός), and the lower part that of earth (γῆ). The goddess ; moreover, came forth with a body; and Ouranos, by his union with ;, begot females, Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos; and males, the hundred-handed Cottys, Gyges, Briareus, and the Cyclopes Brontes, and Steropes, and Argos, whom also he bound and hurled down to Tartarus, having learned that he was to be ejected from his government by his children; whereupon ;, being enraged, brought forth the Titans.

The godlike Gaia bore to Ouranos Sons who are by the name of Titans known, Because they vengeance took on Ouranos, Majestic, glitt’ring with his starry crown.

Scholar Hans Leisgang comments on these mysteries:

“According to mythical or mystery thinking, the gods and cosmic forces represented here are not conceived as merely existing successively or side by side: they act upon one another and within one another.  All are manifestations of a single god and of one and the same cosmos, which is the god himself with all the powers which he discharges but still encompasses; and these forces are the whole world with all its creatures and forms.” (“The Mysteries of the Serpent,” Papers From the Eranos Yearbook, pg. 211)

Leisgang also treats at length the Hellenic picture of Phanes-Dionysius-Pan, the goat/serpent/hermaphrodite god that also sprang forth, which corresponds quite closely to the biblical image of Lucifer, described by Isaiah 14 as seeking to dethrone and become God.  As mentioned, pantheism is evident here, as the material world, often denied and derided in Greek philosophy, is in Greek paganism a manifestation of god, as it is in Egyptian religion.  As an aside, it is worth noting that Egyptian religion did not share Greek philosophy’s rejection of the human body, holding to the bodily resurrection and creation as a manifestation of Atum-Ra.  In my article on Egypt and Plato, I cited Egyptologist van den Dungen:

“Hermes tells Tat (XIII), that “the tent” or “tabernacle” of the Earthly body was formed by the circle of the Zodiac (XIII.12 & Ascl.35) and dominated by fate, who’s decrees, according to the astrologers, were unbreakable. The seven planets represented the “perfect movements” of the Deities, the unalterable “will of the Gods” as expressed in predictable astral phenomena. Magicians tried to compel this will, while Hermetism did not try to resist fate, but irreversibly moved beyond it. The existence of the Deities was acknowledged (they belonged to the order of creation and were the object of sacrifices and processions and the celestial Powers ruling the astrological septet). Indeed, the Deities, Hermes and God were situated in the eighth, ninth and tenth sphere (Ogdoad, Ennead and Decad). The “eighth” involved purification, Self-knowledge and the direct “gnostic” experience of the “Nous” as “logos”, whereas in the “ninth” man was deified by assuming God’s attributes, as did the Godman Hermes, in particular His Universal Mind, the Divine Nous, Intellect or “soul of God” (XII.9). The “tenth” or Decad was God Himself for Himself.”

And,

“The One Entity or God (the “Tenth”) is known to Its creation as the One Mind or Hermes which contains the “noetic” root of every individual existing thing (cf. Plato, Spinoza). This Divine Mind (the attributes or names of the nameless God) allows all things to be sympathetic transformations (adaptations, modi) of God.”

The alchemical serpent embodies the cyclical process of entropy and return.

The alchemical serpent embodies the cyclical process of entropy and return.

Though Egyptian theology seems to correctly eschew the future Greek rejection of the body, it does so at the expense of making the material world divine.  the false paradigms here become pantheism or gnostic dualism, or gnostic monism/pantheism.  Hearkening again to the ancient Egyptian symbology of IAO, which might be conceived as Isis, Apophis, Osiris, I made a connection to time-space, since there appears to be a relation between Isis as extension, or nature/space, Apophis is the snake destroyer that brings chaos and destruction, and Osiris is the return or resurrection.  This is of course viewed as a cyclical process that is itself worshipped as the manifestation of the All.  The gnostics therefore read the biblical God as this same manifestation, as we read in Charles Kings’ The Gnositcs and Their Remains:

“Theodoret states that the same four letters were pronounced by the Samaritans as ΙΑΒΕ (Jave); by the Jews as ΙΑΩ. Jerome (upon Psalm viii. says, “The Name of the Lord” amongst the Hebrews is of four letters, Iod, He, Vau, He, which is properly the Name of God, and may be read as ΙΑΗΟ (Iaho) (that is in Latin characters), which is held by the Jews for unutterable. The author of the ‘Treatise on Interpretations’ says, “The Egyptians express the name of the Supreme Being by the seven Greek vowels ΙΕΗΩΟϒΑ“: which sufficiently explains the mighty potency ascribed to this formula by the inspired author of the ‘Pistis-Sophia,’ and equally so its frequent appearance upon the talismans now under consideration.”

“…the Hindoo doctrine respecting the title AUM,–itself, like the ΑΙΩ, trilateral–representing the Triad, Brahma-Vishnu-Siva: A standing for the Creator, U for the Preserver, M for the Destroyer. The connection between Indian and Egyptian mythology is certain, however difficult to account for, the names of the principal deities in the latter having the appearance of pure Sanscrit. Thus Isis signifies in that tongue the Mistress; Tat and Sat, Virtue and Power; Serapis, Sripa, the Blood-drinker; Nila, Blue-water, &c. The original identity of the two religious systems no one can doubt who has intelligently studied the monuments of each: but which country instructed the other?

The balance of probabilities is strongly in favour of India, the confinement of the peculiar system within the narrow limits of Egypt betokening an importation by a colony from some very remote source. Traces of a very ancient intercourse between the two countries are discernible, though very dimly, in history. The Periplus of the Red Sea mentions that as late as Cæsar’s time the town Endæmon on that coast was the entrepôt where the Indian and Egyptian traders used annually to meet. In prehistoric times therefore it is conceivable that Brahminical missionaries may have laboured amongst the aborigines of the Valley of the Nile. This religious analogy manifests itself in the meanest details, in the sacred titles as well as attributes. For example, as the Brahmins teach that each of the letters A, U, M envelops a great mystery, so does the Pistis-Sophia (‘Prayers of the Saviour,’ § 358) interpret the Ι, Α, Ω, as the summary of the Gnostic, or Valentinian, creed. “Ι signifies All goeth out; Α, All returneth within; Ω, There shall be an end of ends thus expressing the grand doctrines of the Emanation, the Return, and the Annihilation, or rather reabsorption, of the Universe.”

The reader will immediately see that the Platonic and Neo-platonic idea of the return of emanations to the One is in some way passed down from Egypt through Greece to the gnostics.  The reason I cite this here is that we begin to see a relevance for man’s placement in temporal reality.  The repeated cycle of IAO-IAO-IAO is merely a manifestation of what is present in the structure of reality itself, according to modern physics.  As Brian Greene writes concerning subatomic structures:

“‘A datum that can answer a single yes-no question is called a bit—a familiar computer-age term that is short for binary digit, meaning a 0 or a 1, which you can think of as a numerical representation of yes or no….Notice that the value of the entropy and the amount of hidden information are equal.  That’s no accident.  The number of possible heads-tail arrangements is the number of possible answers to the 1,000 questions – (yes, yes, no, no, yes,…) or (yes, no, yes, yes, no,…)…With entropy defined as the logarithm of the number of such arrangements—1,000 in this case—entropy is the number of yes-no questions any one such sequence answers….a system’s entropy is the number of yes-no questions that its microscopic details have the capacity to answer, and so the entropy is a measure of the system’s hidden information component….[in note] Stephen Hawking showed mathematically that the entropy of a black hole equals the number of Planck-sized cells that it takes to cover its event horizon.  It’s as if each cell covers one bit, one basic unit of information.’

In other words, when entropy is considered, one comes back to the traditional Greek and Egyptian dialectic of being and non-being, I and O.  And reality itself, when considered at the level of energy itself displays this same binary structure.”

I speculate that the Egyptian and gnostic identification of the IAO “name” with the process of entropy and space-time means nothing more than that they transferred the Name of God to matter and time.  Many esoterists and hermeticists have sought to identify the biblical God with any one of various Egyptian and Greek ideas, as if Jews borrowed this.  But as with Egyptian belief in bodily resurrection, if the account in Genesis is accurate, the opposite is true: Egypt borrowed this mystery about the actual structure of reality itself and ascribed to it divinity according to their pantheistic scheme.  In so doing, man continues to accept the lie of the mystery of the serpentine mirror as he reads reality itself in the relativistic, nihilistic, cyclical structure of endless meaninglessness. He does this precisely because he projects the lie the mirror of his psyche has presented to him, like Narcissus, and (he thinks) if he can control this process of generation, destruction, and rebirth, he can alchemically master the universe and become the divine.  Indeed, this is exactly the analysis James Kelley has given of western dialectics and Trinitarian alchemy, based on its theological presuppositions (which became philosophical/technological presuppositions seeking godhood in transhumanism).

Bastian, it's Auryn-ouroboros mirror magic.

Bastian, it’s Auryn-ouroboros mirror magic.

That is how I read the mystery of the serpentine mirror: man’s own cyclical love of his false, time-bound and temporally determined reflection.  Man has put on the Ring of Gyges and gazed into its tiny mirror, seeing himself, and becoming entranced and spellbound by myths about himself that he and his serpentine overlord have concocted.  Man’s problem is not the external world that Adam, the Greeks and the gnostics sought to blame, but man’s acceptance of a false paradigm of interpretation of himself and the world – an interpretation that he is deceived into wanting, thinking his eros can be satiated with his own maya. In contrast to this, renowned Eastern theologian Dr. Philip Sherrard comments on the regaining of the knowledge of God lost to man’s Nous, in which man sees his true self, his logoi, in a mirror.

“This ‘intellectual sense’ (αίσθησιs νοερά) is not, therefore, the consequence of any theoretical and abstract speculation; it is, οn the contrary, the consequence of a long process of purification and prayer in which God is revealed in the heart. The intellect (νους) is not in this context the equivalent of the mind or of any mental or rational faculty; it is of another order altogether, being, indeed, precisely the spiritual image of God in man and naturally deiform, and having its seat not in the mind but in the heart. It is the heart which is the intellectual, or spiritual, centre of the whole psychophysical nature of man, and the intellectual sense spoken of above, and the spiritual discernment and enlightenment which go with it, can οnly be achieved through a bringing of the mind itself into the heart; for it is οnly in this ‘treasury of thought’ that the intellect ‘purified and illuminated, having manifestly entered into the possession of the grace of God and perceiving itself . . . does not contemplate only its οwn image, but the clarity formed in the image by the grace of God . . . that which accomplishes the incomprehensible union with the Supreme, through which the intellect, surpassing human capacities, sees God in the Spirit’. Μan then ‘being himself light, sees the light with the light; if he regards himself, he sees the light, and if he regards the object of his vision, he finds the light there again, and the means that he employs for seeing is the light; and it is in this that union consists, for all this is but one’. Ιn such a union, man does not merely contemplate what is outside and beyond himself; he becomes himself what he contemplates, the uncreated ground of his οwn proper being in which the whole of himself body and soul, participates, and through which he is deified, ‘not by the way of ascending from reason or from the visible world by the guesswork of analogy’, but by mingling ‘unutterably with the light which is above sense and thought’ and by seeing ‘God in himself as in α mirror’.”

33 thoughts on “The Mystery of the Serpentine Mirror

  1. This is a good article Jay. It is true that man has a god complex. He believes himself to be the centre of creation and it is fear of annihilation that produces this complex. He must live at all costs. Man pretends this to be not so but it manifests in his egotism, his conceit, his desire to be right and his desire for conquest. But his efforts are in vain as he inevitably suffers the ultimate defeat when faced with death. A person who realises this and can act in accord with it can make great strides forward. The “mirror” you speak of is in the case of an unenlightened person a mirror of his limited psyche not of his divine manifestation or origin.

    I have to say though I sometimes think you may be at crossed purposes with those you disagree with. I don’t really see a problem between the idea that man is God and your own views. The idea that man is God has a number of meanings. It could mean that man is of God and can be identical to God without at the same time usurping God. Such a man shares in Gods nature in the fullest possible meaning of that idea. In this regard I find the last paragraph of this post to be particularly good. On the other hand if the idea that man is God is interpreted as meaning that man is the first cause of the cosmos then such an idea seems unlikely. Is this really the Gnostic view and how does such a view fit in with materialism ? I agree that the idea that reason alone represents some sort of apotheosis or godhood is silly. It is deluded in the extreme.

    • Jay has elsewhere clarified his position as panentheism, the idea that God is man and reality while also transcending man and reality. In Eastern Christian terminology, man participates in God’s Divine Energies, i.e., God’s active manifestations. Man (and all created reality) can never go beyond the Divine Energies to the Divine Essence or Nature. The Gnostic systems do see man in his spiritual component–his “spark of the alien divine”–as being identical with the Divine Essence, so the goal in such systems is to transcend created finite status and to “return” to the Divine Essence. This *is* blasphemy and usurping: it defies the created order instituted by God Himself.

      It really is ironic that when the Gnostic-types talk about shedding their particularity and returning to the Universal Primordial Oneness, they are actually stuck in the fragmented egoism of their own rebellion against the Creator. Christian deification, on the other hand, contrasts with the Gnostic image of salvation-by-annihilation in a striking way: it is by accepting and embracing one’s own finite status as a particularized human person that one allows the infinite Divine Energies to flow into oneself, not by trying to transcend one’s created status. In the Christian worldview, universality and particularity are not pitted against each other in a dualism. Rather, just like all the holy dualities–male and female, for instance–they are two poles of a single unified-diversified Truth. The logoi are one in the Logos, and the Logos is many in the logoi.

      • The idea that the uncreate and the created world are separate and one can never know the other is dualistic. I would say that the uncreate and the created world are the very mirror that Jay talks about. What is it that man is conscious of? He actually sees the uncreate but fails to realise it. Since man participates of both the uncreate and the created where is the dualism except in his psyche? When you say “The logoi are one in the Logos, and the Logos is many in the logoi” you admit as such. There isn’t really a separation just an apparent separation. One is both created and uncreated. I would also say that it is by renouncing ones status as a particularised being that leads to the flowing into ones being of “Divine Energies”. To be particular is to have an ego which is to have a God complex. It is a me against the world psychology.

      • —–
        “The idea that the uncreate and the created world are separate and one can never know the other is dualistic. I would say that the uncreate and the created world are the very mirror that Jay talks about. What is it that man is conscious of? He actually sees the uncreate but fails to realise it.”
        —–

        Distinction is not the same as separation or opposition, and does not imply dualism. The created world is an outpouring of the Uncreated. You could say it is the Unmanifest *made manifest*. The created world is the “light” to the “dark” of the Uncreated. And light and dark are not dualistic opposites, but dual *complements*, as a single day is both day and night.

        We see this interplay of “light and dark” all the time in our daily lives. If I may use our conversation here as a concrete example: I know something about Against All Logic’s essence through what he/she has manifested to me in what he/she has posted here on Jay’s Analysis. I don’t, however, know Against All Logic’s essence directly. In fact, qua essence, I still know absolutely nothing about Against All Logic’s essence. All I know are some of his/her active manifestations. I may have some round-about idea of what his/her essence is–I can guess that it is a human nature capable of speech, typing, Internet use, etc–but I will never know it in itself, which is to say I will never know it at all. I will only know Against All Logic’s energies, his/her active manifestations, which, though indeed “connected” to his/her essence, are truly distinct from his/her essence. Phenomenologically, this is evidently the case: we know what we can know, and “What we cannot talk about, we must pass over in silence.”

        Likewise, we will never know the Divine Essence, but we can know the Divine Energies. God is fully both His Divine Essence and His Divine Energies, such that when we participate in the Divine Energies, we are not “missing” anything. Infinity is found in particularity. If this offends some sensibility in you, read on…

        —–
        “When you say “The logoi are one in the Logos, and the Logos is many in the logoi” you admit as such. There isn’t really a separation just an apparent separation.”
        —–

        First off, the Logos describes the universal dimensions of created reality, not any aspect of the Uncreated except as created (i.e., made manifest). Second, again, we’re not talking about separation; rather, we’re talking about distinction. Separation is indeed merely apparent, but distinction is not.

        Now, if you insist on further asserting that all distinction is just apparent distinction, you are presupposing that all unity implies absolutely simplicity, and that perception of distinction is mere illusion or maya. More fundamentally, you are presupposing an Occam’s Razor-style aesthetic criterion that wants to shave away all complexity in favor of some more “elegant,” “austere” simple package. There is no reason to dispel all complexity and distinction as illusion aside from this aesthetic criterion. There is certainly no merely rational reason, since reality itself presents itself as simultaneously simple-and-complex, universal-and-particular, male-and-female. It is only out of a refusal to deal with this colorful complex reality–which is inherently personal–that one seeks solace in the “really real” Absolute Simplicity supposedly “behind” all “illusory” complexity.

        —–
        “I would also say that it is by renouncing ones status as a particularised being that leads to the flowing into ones being of “Divine Energies”. To be particular is to have an ego which is to have a God complex.”
        —–

        Patently false, given that the Divine Energies are by their very nature particular. Energy is a particular manifestation of an unknowable essence, manifested by a unique person (or Persons, in the case of the Christian Trinity). God’s Justice, for instance, is truly distinct from His Love, unlike the squishy Western Christian belief that all God’s acts of vengeance can be downplayed as “tough love.” But though His Justice is distinct from His Love, they are never in conflict. His Energies are never in conflict. *Our* energies, on the other hand, *are* in conflict, and this is what Eastern asceticism means by “the passions”: loosed particular energies that are in fact good, beautiful, and holy when controlled by the deified person and made to harmonize with each other. It is not particularity, but discord between particularities–discord of which is usually brought about by one or several particularities asserting themselves as universal; see the example of Lucifer–that is the problem.

        A ‘God complex,’ eh? I thought one is *supposed* to identify oneself with God, at least in your worldview. Does God have a God complex, since He is, in fact, particular (not only in His Energies, but also as three Divine Persons)? Of course, you likely won’t agree that God is at all particular, since denying God’s particularity is part and parcel of Buddhism, Advaita Vedanta, Neoplatonism, and all the Gnostic worldviews that see God as some such blob of nothingness and everything-ness, but never as the personal God of Love and Justice Who tells a beautiful and majestic story through creation and history.

        Non-dualism is correct. Non-duality is insanity.

      • Thanks for your reply redoves. I suspect that our positions are somewhat incompatible but I am always open to being shown to be in error.

        I still can’t see how your argument about particularity and distinction stands up. For distinction to exist there must be an opposition or duality. Distinction cannot exist on its own otherwise what is there to contrast with? To be distinct is by definition to have particularity.The idea that there is a created world that we are aware of but no inherent dualism to allow this awareness seems illogical.

        In my view of things there is the created world on one side and the uncreate on the other. This is the fundamental mirror, the antithesis that allows self consciousness. Without this antithesis or contradiction how can we have self awareness? The “external” world or the “real” world is one half of the dualism and is the consciousness world. The uncreate is the unconscious half of the dualism and is an absolute negation ie. absolute opposite of the created world. As such even time and space are non-existent in the uncreate. The ego or the apperceiving mind is actually this uncreate. The uncreate perceives the other half of the dualism as the real world or the conscious world. It is this mechanism that produces consciousness. Even time and space rely on absolute negation for their existence.

        This is why when a person looks within they see only darkness and immobility. They are looking into the uncreate, but since time and space are non-existent here they perceive nothingness. It is this interplay that creates the illusion of being. Man is at heart unconscious and this is why we have so many problems locating ourselves. We are attracted to the outer conscious world and as a result see only one side of the dualism ie. the conscious or “real” world. This is why Buddhists consider attachment to form to be the number one problem. Form exists only on the conscious side of the dualism. At a deeper level the created world and the uncreate are unified and self consciousness does not exist.

      • And thank you for your replies, as well; I am enjoying this conversation.

        —–
        “I still can’t see how your argument about particularity and distinction stands up. For distinction to exist there must be an opposition or duality. Distinction cannot exist on its own otherwise what is there to contrast with? To be distinct is by definition to have particularity.The idea that there is a created world that we are aware of but no inherent dualism to allow this awareness seems illogical.”
        —–

        Please understand that I am not advocating an escape from duality. I *am* advocating an escape from dualism. Dualism, opposition, antithesis, and similar terms all imply an inherent *violence* between the two principles involved. Consider that the goal of Buddhism (even of the Mahayana school, in the final eschatological phase) is the overcoming of dualism by the *victory of one principle over the other*. In such systems, you’re not talking about diplomatic solutions between opposing sides; you’re talking about one side exterminating the other. That’s no profound “overcoming,” that’s just murder.

        Duality is indeed real. Again, any cursory glance at experience makes this clear. The thing experience doesn’t make clear is that *dualism* is real. For example, I am indeed distinct from the world that is not me; that doesn’t mean I am opposed, or at war, with the world that is not me. Now, I don’t mean to suggest an atomistic picture, wherein absolutized individuals combine to compose reality. Rather, I am proposing a universal reality in which for me to be myself, there must be a world distinct from myself, and not just any world, but a particular God-ordained world. Reality is both simple and complex from the get-go. There is no emergence into complexity, nor descent from simplicity. It’s just *there*, an organic whole. And as biology makes clear, organic wholes are by their nature extremely complex as well as simple.

        When you say “Distinction cannot exist on its own otherwise what is there to contrast with?”, you are abstracting into a single universal category that which defies such abstraction. “Distinction” cannot be dealt with as a logical genus; it must be dealt with symbolically, in the real interactions of dualities. This is not that big a deal. The vast majority of us have no problem with this in action when we say “How’s it going, dude?” to our bro when we pass him on the street. Reality doesn’t tolerate being dealt with in a “pure” “realm of thought.” This point aside, I never said that distinction exists “on its own.” It does exist “with” universality. Both universality *and* particularity: neither one without the other, for the former without the latter implies satanic Oneness, and the latter without the former implies satanic chaos.

        The Christian worldview does seem “illogical” insofar as it maintains both universality and particularity as authentic “aspects” (for want of a better term) of reality. Guilty as charged: the Christian worldview is indeed, from the standpoint of classical philosophical logic, paradoxical. But what’s the problem with that? Why should logic be the ultimate principle? (I would think with your username that you would be sympathetic to this point.) Can logic determine by itself that logic must be the first principle? Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem should make it clear that one cannot derive axioms from logic itself: axioms instead come from a pre-logical source. Indeed, all logic can do is cash out or make explicit the implications of preselected axioms. So if reality presents itself as being paradoxical, on what grounds can we explain away the paradoxes, aside from merely selfish aesthetic ones? It is actually here that philosophy is revealed to be Gnostic in its intent, as it insists on such rigid categorization into what ultimately result in dualism and/or monism.

        —–
        “In my view of things there is the created world on one side and the uncreate on the other. This is the fundamental mirror, the antithesis that allows self consciousness. Without this antithesis or contradiction how can we have self awareness? The uncreate is the unconscious half of the dualism and is an absolute negation ie. absolute opposite of the created world. As such even time and space are non-existent in the uncreate. The ego or the apperceiving mind is actually this uncreate. The uncreate perceives the other half of the dualism as the real world or the conscious world. It is this mechanism that produces consciousness.”
        —–

        I agree that there is a real distinction between self and other, but why categorize the former as “uncreate”? Unless you presuppose some Cartesian “pilot model” of the mind and body–wherein the ego is some “thing” or “nothing” “inside” the body that “controls” the body–phenomenology offers no support for this. I *am* my body. I don’t “have” an arm; I *am*, in an arm-wise fashion. Technically, I am as much a “part” of the “external world” as anything that is not myself. How do know, then, that I, as a mind-body whole, am distinct from everything else? From the fact that my activities–both my physical and mental actualizations–belong to me, a particular human *person*. This is how the Christian worldview sees consciousness, namely, as an activity by which one interacts with other persons. It’s not a mere epiphenomenon produced by any “mechanism.” It’s an activity, an energy.

        This is where we encounter another fundamental difference between our worldviews. The Christian worldview sees personhood as an absolute reality, absolutely distinct from essence and energy. A person, qua person, is not a thing, but neither is it a nothing in the sense of anti- or nega-being. It answers the question of “who,” distinct from the various formulations of the question of “what.” In the Christian worldview, a person is not reducible to his consciousness, nor is consciousness a prerequisite for personhood. Consciousness is indeed good, and is an energy proper to all human persons, but a person is never reducible to his energy.

        A person doesn’t need his consciousness to be a person, but he does need his consciousness to be a healthy human being. In the Christian worldview, consciousness is an energy proper to the human essence, so man is divinely ordered to cultivate his consciousness, even though he is never reducible to it. To use another example, it is healthy for a man to breathe; but we don’t for that reason define him as or reduce him to a “breathing thing.”

        [[[ Vladimir Lossky has a good short paper on the topic of personhood, if you’re interested: http://jbburnett.com/resources/lossky/lossky-person.pdf ]]]

        Now, there is a sense in which the dynamic of essence and energy “mirrors” or symbolizes the dynamic of the Uncreated and the created: essence is unknowable and unmanifest, but is made knowable and manifest in energy, just as the Uncreated is unknowable and unmanifest, but is made knowable and manifest in the created. This symbolism, however, is not identical to the Uncreated-created duality. This is a basic fact about symbolism: the symbol relates to–even participates in–what it symbolizes, yet is also truly distinct from what it symbolizes.

        —–
        “This is why when a person looks within they see only darkness and immobility. They are looking into the uncreate, but since time and space are non-existent here they perceive nothingness. It is this interplay that creates the illusion of being. Man is at heart unconscious and this is why we have so many problems locating ourselves.”
        —–

        To be blunt, I think this is wrong. According to the Christian ascetic and mystical tradition, when one looks within, one sees the Kingdom of God, true Light, and Eternity in the sense of stability-in-movement rather than pure stasis. One doesn’t see an absence of time and space: one sees *sacred* time and *sacred* space. Of course, one can only see all this if one has purified oneself, reordered one’s passions, and is on the path of deification. Inasmuch as one’s heart is buried under the dross of sin, pride, sloth, and all the disordered passions, one will only see darkness, or else the fallen angels, masquerading as “beings of light” or even the “awe-inspiring” blinding light of the Absolute Oneness or Void.

        And this holy internal contemplation is *not* mere mental or rational deliberation: it is perception of Reality Himself. Furthermore, as Alva Noë argues, perception is an activity, an energy. It is by participating in this Divine Energy that man is able to perceive the Divine Reality (that is, the Divine Energies), not only within himself, but also in the world around him. Man may indeed be largely unconscious at present. However, that’s due to the Fall, not because unconsciousness is proper to his essence.

        —–
        “This is why Buddhists consider attachment to form to be the number one problem. Form exists only on the conscious side of the dualism. At a deeper level the created world and the uncreate are unified and self consciousness does not exist.”
        —–

        As I say above, that is no profound unification. That is just the “uncreate” subsuming the created world into itself. That is annihilation of creation. Why should anyone find this desirable? Okay, reality is samsara, suffering, etc. etc. However, the fundamental human plight–suffering–is not intrinsic to differentiated reality, and any honest person who has imagined what Heaven must be like knows this. We don’t want to be mashed up in pure unconsciousness. We want the perfection of differentiated reality, not its ceasing. We want love, peace, joy, pleasure, holiness, and infinite growth. Philosophical (read: Gnostic) logic may say that pleasure must be “dialectically balanced” by pain, but one can only assent to this insofar as one is stuck in the paradigm of *fallen* reality. If anyone insists that pleasure must be balanced by pain, he is guilty of putting God in a box, of telling God what reality must be like. Again: blasphemy and usurping.

        No, you don’t need negative categories to understand positive ones. You don’t need pain to understand pleasure. Phenomenologically, this is obvious: when you’re engaged rapturously with your lover, the absolute last thing on your mind is how much it contrasts with the root canal you had last week.

      • I have, and it’s a great read. Though he denies he ever spoke much with Noë, one of my philosophy professors who specializes in philosophy of mind and philosophy of action had Noë as an adviser on his dissertation, who was in any case a major influence on my professor’s thought. My professor’s own emphasis on action and personhood (informed by his Catholicism) was a beautiful and rare sight in academia.

      • Thanks again redoves, I am enjoying this conversation in the sense that it is interesting though I must admit I find the task of arguing large numbers of points somewhat tedious. As a result I will focus on a few key points.
        ____

        “Consider that the goal of Buddhism (even of the Mahayana school, in the final eschatological phase) is the overcoming of dualism by the *victory of one principle over the other*. In such systems, you’re not talking about diplomatic solutions between opposing sides; you’re talking about one side exterminating the other. That’s no profound “overcoming,” that’s just murder.”
        ____

        This is a misunderstanding. The goal of Buddhism is not the victory of one principle over another it is the conscious recovery of the perception of both principles as opposed to mans normal state of extreme one sidedness. The unenlightened person is established almost entirely on one side of the dualism ie. the conscious side. He only “recovers” the unconscious side when he sleeps. What are the key characteristics of the sleeping state? They are the loss of the perceptions of space and time. Man luxuriates in the unconscious or uncreate in the sleeping state but he has jumped from one extreme to the other. In the waking state he loses consciousness of the sleeping state and in the sleeping state he loses consciousness of the waking or conscious state. He flip flops from one to the other. The enlightened person perceives the conscious and unconscious states simultaneously while in the waking state. He is at once both awake and asleep. He has recovered the unconscious side of the dualism and is thus complete. He does not suffer from all the neuroses of the unenlightened person because he perceives his real nature. He is not a being suffering from a surfeit of consciousness and hence self consciousness. He is balanced, he is unconscious and he is conscious.
        ____

        “I agree that there is a real distinction between self and other, but why categorize the former as “uncreate”? ”
        ____

        I don’t consider the self to be merely the uncreate, it is both the created and uncreated. The illusion of being requires both sides of the dualism. Consciousness cannot be self conscious without a “mirror”. The two sides of the mirror are the created world and the uncreated world. By the uncreate I mean that which is a complete negation of the “real” world ie. it is free of space, time and form. The ego or apperceiving mind is indeed the uncreate in that it perceives the created world and with it space, time and form which constitutes an image of a conscious reality. But it could not perceive space, time and form if it were not it’s exact opposite. There must be a mirroring action. The sense of self that is not the external world derives from the conscious side of the dualism perceiving the unconscious side but because the unconscious side does not have the properties of time and space the sense of self is vague and difficult to locate. We feel our existence but cannot see it as there is nothing to see in the spatial sense.

        In my view of things, when I say “self” I mean both aspects of the dualism and when I say “other” I mean the conscious side of the dualism as viewed by the unconscious ie. the “external” world. The perception of other is illusory as is the perception of a self. Buddhism denies the existence of a self as a self contained entity. Self is illusion and there is no such thing as a soul or soul substance. The human experience is exactly that, an experience formed by the interplay of opposites.
        ____

        “Does God have a God complex, since He is, in fact, particular (not only in His Energies, but also as three Divine Persons)?”
        ____

        If God is particular he cannot be All. This is a contradiction. I personally think that to use the intellect in an attempt to understand God is a mistake. These things are beyond the intellect but perhaps not beyond direct perception. Intellection without experience is the surest way to go astray. All intellect is dependent upon perception.

      • I’ll try to restrict myself, as well. However, I don’t believe I was in fact arguing several different points; rather, I was attempting to present a comprehensive and holistic picture. In any case…

        —–
        “This is a misunderstanding. The goal of Buddhism is not the victory of one principle over another it is the conscious recovery of the perception of both principles as opposed to mans normal state of extreme one sidedness.”

        “He does not suffer from all the neuroses of the unenlightened person because he perceives his real nature. He is not a being suffering from a surfeit of consciousness and hence self consciousness. He is balanced, he is unconscious and he is conscious.”
        —–

        Yet this contrasts directly with eschatological nirvana, which is the total end of samsara and particular existence. In the *final analysis*, Buddhism does seek the victory of the Void over differentiated reality. Those of the Mahayana school may say that samsara and nirvana are the same, but they’re actually just stressing the complete unreality of samsara, the unity of samsara and nirvana in the Void. Again: particularity is swallowed by universality. You admitted yourself that the self is an illusion. Are you seriously suggesting that it is spiritually healthy to be “balanced” between truth and illusion?

        I’m going to proceed with another argument from desire: What normal person wants to be both unconscious and conscious, if he can even make sense of what that means? There’s an extent to which we would like to be so skilled at doing something that we no longer need to think about doing it, but that’s not doing an action unconsciously: it’s doing an action with such extremely fast consciousness that we don’t need to struggle with it anymore. The pianist who can “automatically” and “unconsciously” traverse through chord progressions is actually doing so consciously, just at extreme speeds. It’s a kind of “hyper-consciousness,” in the sense that it’s a super-abundance or perfection of consciousness. And people similar to the concert pianists, people who have achieved this hyper-consciousness? They’re the envy of the world.

        As you have already pointed out, our positions are indeed incompatible. But wasn’t your first comment concerned with proposing that what Jay is arguing for in this post is in fact compatible with some of his targets? I think we have established firmly that his and my position is actually incompatible with his targets, your own worldview among them.

        —–
        “We feel our existence but cannot see it as there is nothing to see in the spatial sense.”

        “The perception of other is illusory as is the perception of a self. Buddhism denies the existence of a self as a self contained entity. Self is illusion and there is no such thing as a soul or soul substance. The human experience is exactly that, an experience formed by the interplay of opposites.”
        —–

        Sure, I can see my existence: I’m looking at my hand right now. Granted, you’re right that, qua personhood, there is nothing to see in the spatial sense. But that’s because space, time, and form are the result of *energies* activated by free persons! My spatial, temporal, and formal dimensions are my personhood actualized as spatial, temporal, and formal. Personhood qua personhood is truly distinct from energetic categories (including space, time, and form)–hence what I said earlier about personhood not being reducible to energy–and yet energy truly is the person activating it. There is no energy, no spatial, temporal, or formal reality, without a person responsible for it.

        Okay, so there is a distinction in your view between self and the “ego or apperceiving mind”; thank you for that clarification. I assume when you talk about the ego or apperceiving mind, you’re not talking about anything there can be *multiple* of, right? Like multiple persons? I figure you aren’t, since (1) there are no selves; (2) human experience is mere epiphenomen arising from the interplay of dualities; and (3) it is only in the domain of selves and human experience that we notice multiplicity, particularity, etc. So you’re just talking about one person, if we can even call it that. We’re supposed to “realize,” then, that all reality is really just one “thing,” the Void, and that all dualities are merely apparent.

        Explain to me again how this *isn’t* the victory of one principle (universality) over another (particularity)?

        —–
        “If God is particular he cannot be All. This is a contradiction. I personally think that to use the intellect in an attempt to understand God is a mistake. These things are beyond the intellect but perhaps not beyond direct perception. Intellection without experience is the surest way to go astray. All intellect is dependent upon perception.”
        —–

        In saying that if God is particular He cannot be All, you’re still stuck in Either/Or logic. You’re still putting Him in a box. Again: why are the rules of logic so absolutely binding? If you think using the intellect–by which I think you mean the reason–in an attempt to understand God is a mistake, why do you insist on using it to prevent God from being particular?

        What *do* you mean by the intellect? The Christian worldview understands it as a perceptual ability, and by that token, understands it as being limited to whatever it is capable of perceiving. In the case of intellection, it is the ability to perceive the Divine Energies. It is not mere rational capability. That function belongs to the reason.

        All intellect *is* perception. Saying that all intellect is dependent on perception sounds like empiricism. But if by “intellect” you really mean “reason,” then I can agree with what you’re saying, inasmuch as “perception” means what I mean by intellection (i.e., perception of the Divine Energies). Reason/logic just does require first axioms in order to do anything, and for reason to do accomplish anything correctly, these first axioms must be the correct ones: the Divine Energies. And it is through this perception that one sees what I’ve been trying to outline: the holy matrimony of universal and particular, each as real as the other.

      • Thanks redoves, I can see that you and I could go around in circles for months on end and still not fully understand one another. That is the problem with metaphysics it’s potentially limitless in scope. I don’t particularly like debating continuously in this way as we tend to repeat ourselves and it begins to take on the nature of conflict. I have presented my ideas and you have presented yours which I have found to be of interest. I think we have our differences but also things we can agree on. I will therefore answer some of your further questions and then point out some areas of agreement.
        ____

        “Yet this contrasts directly with eschatological nirvana, which is the total end of samsara and particular existence. In the *final analysis*, Buddhism does seek the victory of the Void over differentiated reality. Those of the Mahayana school may say that samsara and nirvana are the same, but they’re actually just stressing the complete unreality of samsara, the unity of samsara and nirvana in the Void. Again: particularity is swallowed by universality. You admitted yourself that the self is an illusion. Are you seriously suggesting that it is spiritually healthy to be “balanced” between truth and illusion?”
        ____

        Again this is a misunderstanding. The void in Buddhism does not mean annihilation. This is the commonest and most fundamental mistake people make with regard to that term. The void means the empty nature of form. To perceive form as being empty in nature is to perceive the void. There is no annihilation. What do you take form to be? If you mean that matter actually exists as a solid substance separate from underlying reality then you are proposing that individual objects are self contained universes and this cannot be. The laws of physics belong to reality as a whole not to individual objects and therefore matter is an emanation within reality. It is not self contained. As such it is ultimately empty in nature and perception of this is perception of the void. Particularity is illusion but then what else could it be if matter is empty in nature. There is no conflict between truth and illusion. The thing that you call illusion is an emanation from truth. You could call it Gods mechanism for the creation of reality and a self reflecting mind.
        ____

        “I’m going to proceed with another argument from desire: What normal person wants to be both unconscious and conscious, if he can even make sense of what that means?”
        ____

        To be both conscious and unconscious is to see the empty nature of form and the empty nature of the senses. It dispels the perception that matter is solid and that the senses belong to the body. When a person is aware of only the conscious side of reality they perceive separateness because they perceive only half the picture. The other half, the uncreate or unconscious is what the conscious or “real” world arises in or perhaps better, it is the reflecting part of the mirror that produces the illusion of an external world. It is a form of consciousness but it is a complete negation of normal consciousness. A person can become aware of this consciousness in the same way they are aware of normal consciousness but they must drop attachment to form in order to cross over the boundary so to speak. You can by the way perceive empytness in everything you do if you simply drop attachment to form and with it the overt thinking process. In other words look at the “external” world while maintaining complete neutrality and halting the thinking process. Neither accept form nor reject it. To reject it is to be attached to it. The reason you can’t make sense of this is because it is an experience and unless a person actually has the experience it seems like nonsense. This is what I meant by saying it is always dangerous to proceed by intellect alone, but that is not the same as saying all experience comes through the senses. On the contrary, this experience is above (or below?) the senses so to speak.
        ____

        “I think we have established firmly that his and my position is actually incompatible with his targets, your own worldview among them.”
        ____

        I agree with Jay about there being a mirror and I also agree that man mistakes himself for God or perhaps better, in desperation must see himself as God, but I think we disagree on the nature of the mirror. This is fine with me, everyone must follow their own lights as it were.
        _____

        “Sure, I can see my existence: I’m looking at my hand right now. Granted, you’re right that, qua personhood, there is nothing to see in the spatial sense. But that’s because space, time, and form are the result of *energies* activated by free persons! My spatial, temporal, and formal dimensions are my personhood actualized as spatial, temporal, and formal. Personhood qua personhood is truly distinct from energetic categories (including space, time, and form)–hence what I said earlier about personhood not being reducible to energy–and yet energy truly is the person activating it. There is no energy, no spatial, temporal, or formal reality, without a person responsible for it.”
        ____

        This is fine as far as it goes but it attributes godlike qualities to persons. They must exist outside of created reality and activate their energies to produce time and space and form. It also doesn’t explain what produces a self-reflecting mind. I agree there is no spatial, temporal or formal reality without a person but disagree that the person themselves activates it. Multiplicity of persons is initiated at a level below either the created or uncreated world where there is yet no dualism. For whatever reason a split occurs within this “ground” and that split produces a self reflecting mind.
        ____

        I am in agreement with you when you say that a person can be illuminated by an inner light that can lead them on to further spiritual quest. I also agree that this light might be thought of as “Gods Grace” so to speak. I consider the light to emanate from that place where no dualism yet exists. The light could be thought of in terms of your “energies” and in my opinion it splits the “ground” into the created and uncreated aspects of reality and produces the self reflecting mind. Perception of this light represents the beginning of a union and in that sense we have some agreement but we seem to disagree on the details of the mechanism. In the end whatever the truth we are all of the same source and perception of that source is more important than intellectual opinion.

      • Thank you for your clarifications. I agree that conversations such as these tend to result in repetition–I’m starting to notice it already–so, eschewing the point-by-point method I have been using, I will make some final remarks.

        What you are saying about the Void and illusion is extremely similar, if not identical to, the Neoplatonic image of the One and its emanations into differentiated reality. Plotinus also did not see the return back to the One as annihilation, and he also wanted to prize differentiated reality as the “Overflow” of the One. He explicitly argues against the Gnostics on this note. However, there is a vital difference between what a metaphysician wants to say and what he actually must say given his axioms.

        That is, it necessarily follows from Neoplatonic axioms about the One that differentiated reality is a falling away from the One, is unreal in comparison with the One, and only finds its fulfillment in returning its particularity to the primordial universality. In most formulations, the One is internally compelled to produce multiplicity, to then draw multiplicity back into itself, and to then repeat this process for as long as it can exhaust its infinite possibilities. This is the cyclical metaphysic, the perennial philosophy of Guenon, Schuon, and the like, present in its arguably purest form in Vedantic doctrine, wherein there is no hope for ultimate cosmic rest or freedom. Christians and Jews have railed against this idea, and St. Maximos Confessor puts the case as well as any can: “If reasonable beings are thus to be carried about and have no place to rest and cannot hope to have any abiding steadfastness in the good, what could be greater reason to despair?”

        By contrast, the Christian worldview considers particularity as real as universality. While the Neoplatonic and similar worldviews may try to attribute some good or necessary status to particularity, it is still a derivative status, subordinate to universality. No, I do not affirm matter as a self-subsisting substance, nor do I affirm any created reality as self-subsisting. Rather, anything only exists because it partakes of God’s Activities or Energies. In addition to affirming radical particularity, the Christian worldview affirms radical universality in creation, though this universality is not rooted in some impersonal Essence or One. It is rooted in the personal Logos, distinct but not divorced from the Divine Essence. I do believe that men are supposed to be gods, not as God in His Essence, but in His Activities, His Grace. We are to be gods in both our particularity *and* our universality in the Logos. Again: the logoi are one in the Logos, the Logos is many in the logoi.

        The radical difference between the Christian and Jewish worldviews and the Neoplatonic and similar worldviews is how each describes the Fall. In the Christian and the Jewish worldviews, it is the attempt to shed particularity that constitutes the Fall; in the Neoplatonic and similar, it is the attempt to gain particularity. The Christian worldview affirms the God-ordained dualities, such as male-female, I-Thou, here-there, Heaven-Earth, self-other, while condemning the false dualities erected by fallen agency. Truth-illusion is one such false duality; others include good-evil, strength-weakness, beauty-ugliness. The problem with the Neoplatonic and similar worldviews is that even these false dualities are legitimized; in any case, they are always put on a par with the authentic dualities.

        Thanks again for our conversation. Godspeed to you on your own spiritual journey.

      • Thank you redoves I appreciate your attempts to explain these similarities and differences. If you want to truly understand my outlook put into practise the following: Try and describe the colour blue. Put all your effort and being into this task. When your mind stops, keep it there and hold it with effort permanently. Keep your mind free of conception so that not one iota of “I am this” or “I am that” remains. An insight may come upon you.

        Best of luck and thanks for keeping it polite. You are both knowledgeable and gracious something that is rare in this day and age.

  2. Very thought-provoking on many levels. Interesting motif of the mirror. It makes me think of my Buddhist lessons where the pure mind is a perfect mirror, ego being dirt that defiled it. Although this may seem contradictory to what you suggest here. Anyway this article sparked off a few other things. Thanks for the entropy hidden suggestion in binary – that’s really helped me get to grip with how sound can be reproduced by digital programming. Often wondered about how 1’s and 0’s cover gaps between notes. This could be a possibility. Also, I’ve heard an interesting view about the word GOD and what it stands for – G- generative O – Order D – destructive – this from a Hindu. Wow- this article covers some ground. And fractals sprung to mind when multiple images are produced – a sign of geometric patterns reproducing in nature on infinite levels. Phew.

    • I don’t know about the English word “GOD,” but certainly there are mysteries like you described in relation to sound and notes. Thanks for your comments.

  3. “People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy, and I can’t do that as Bruce Wayne. As a man I’m flesh and blood. I can be ignored, I can be destroyed. But as a symbol I can be incorruptible, I can be everlasting.” (Batman Begins, 2005)

  4. “One of the things we have to recognize—are being forced to recognize—is that the form of society we build around us is the mirror of our own inner world; it is the extraversion of our inner world. In it the state of our consciousness and our attitude to the fundamental realities of human existence take shape and are given an external form. A society can be an image of integration and beauty and significance. It can also be an image of disintegration and ugliness and fatuity. Which it is will depend on ourselves.” -Dr. Sherrard

  5. Pingback: Egyptian Mysteries of God and Energy in Relation to Modern Geopolitics | Jay's Analysis

  6. Pingback: Edge of Tomorrow: Esoteric Analysis | Jay's Analysis

  7. Pingback: The Ninth Gate (1999) – Dante’s Esoteric Inferno | Jay's Analysis

  8. Pingback: American Gladiators: How The Running Man is Our Reality | Jay's Analysis

  9. Pingback: American gladiators: How 'The Running Man' is our reality - Intellihub

  10. Pingback: How The Running Man is Our Reality - Waking Times : Waking Times

  11. Pingback: IQ, Psy Ops and the “Civilization” of the Scam | Jay's Analysis

  12. Pingback: IQ, Psy Ops and the “Civilization” of the Scam - Waking Times : Waking Times

  13. Pingback: IQ, Psy Ops and the “Civilization” of the Scam | WebInvestigatorKK

  14. Pingback: MIND GAMES: IQ, Psy Ops and the “Civilization” of the Scam – By Jay Dyer | RIELPOLITIK

  15. Pingback: Stupider That EVER!

  16. Pingback: IQ, Psy Ops and the “Civilization” of the Scam | The Modern Gnostic

  17. Pingback: Jupiter Ascending – Feminist Gnostic Liberation | Jay's Analysis

  18. Pingback: Half Audio: Plato’s Republic, Magical Rings & Secret Societies | Jay's Analysis

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s