The Pride of Goodness

“It is not so easy to be good. What are you but mere machines until you are free! Should you be proud because you are good? Certainly not. You are good because you cannot help it. Another is bad because he cannot help it. If you were in his position, who knows what you would have been? The woman in the street, or the thief in the jail, is the Christ that is being sacrificed so that you may be good. Such is the law of balance. All the thieves and the murderers, all the unjust, the weakest, the wickedest, the devils, they are all my Christ! I owe a worship to the God Christ and to the demon Christ! That is my doctrine, and I cannot help it.”

Swami Vivekananda, Complete Works, Vol. 2., p. 34.

Man & Intelligence

The modern conception of human being reduces man to his/her individuality: Human being is an individual being among other beings in the world. The major shortcoming of this conception is its lack of awareness of its own origin; it fails to see that a purely individual being cannot rise above itself and perceive itself as a part in a larger whole. The consciousness that perceives the part in view of the whole cannot itself be a mere part of this whole, for otherwise it would not be capable of apprehending anything beyond itself. This shortcoming of the modern conception of human being and Reality as a whole urges us to take a look at the traditional perspective on the constitution of human being.

From the traditional point of view, human being is understood to be like an iceberg only whose tip, its smallest part, lies in the manifest order which is the realm of individualities. The largest portion of the human person which constitutes the supra-individual core of his being lies in the unmanifest, supra-individual order. Thus, the traditional conception of man always considers his whole being which is always more than his individuality.

The traditional point of view conceives of man as the ternary of Spirit-Soul-Body which correspond, respectively, to his three principal faculties of Intelligence, Sentiment, and Will. While the body which is but an avatar operative in the field of willful action lies in the purely individual order, the Spirit which is the principle behind the avatar lies in the purely spiritual, supra-individual order; it is the spirit behind the letter, the invisible meaning behind the visible word. The soul associated with psyche and sentiment is the principal channel of communication between these two orders of Reality; it is the means or the thread by which the Spirit descends to the body so that the body ascends, i.e. returns, to the Spirit. By the very fact that Spirit belongs to the supra-individual order we can no more speak of my spirit or your spirit; rather, in our individual aspects we are all manifestations of one and the same Spirit, the Supreme Principle behind all manifestations.

It is natural that the Spirit and spiritual truths must belong to the invisible order. Spiritual truths are eternal and immutable forms immune to all change and decay while worldly facts are by their very nature contingent and relative and hence subject to change and decay. Invisibility, thus, is a necessary precondition for immutability. Note that visibility and seeing in the ordinary sense of visual perception, and any human perception for that matter, entail perspective and hence relativity and contingency. Therefore, no immutable and absolute truth can belong to this contingent order of Reality. It is a matter of logical necessity that nothing of a supra-individual order can be susceptible to mundane perception and profane knowledge.

However, as we mentioned above the human person whose whole being is more than his individuality is equipped with a faculty capable of transcending the individual order and apprehending the immutable truths of a supra-individual nature. This faculty is nothing but human Intelligence which originates not from the brain or the mind but from the Pure Intellect of the Divine Principle. Intelligence has nothing to do with human individuality and is not correlated or associated with any physical or mental aspect of the human person; instead, it is the direct and sacred link between the soul and the Spirit. Intelligence is that sacred thread emanating directly from the Spirit, a thread whose principal function is the provision of the means of ascent and hence return to the Spirit Itself. It is the perverted version of this intelligence, that is, its reflection in and distortion by individual subjectivities, that has made possible the emergence of modern science, a science that by its very nature is nothing but profane knowledge.

Intelligence in its pure form and supremely objective character is that which makes man capable of intellectual intuition the result of which can only be the Sacred Science or science par excellence, namely Metaphysics. Here by metaphysics we do not mean the vulgar interest, so fashionable today, in flying spirits and angelic beings and channeling media, and in general in any supernatural power or phenomenon; nor do we imply by metaphysics the modern western sense of the word as in speculative philosophies which are purely rationalistic and thus wholly lacking in intellectual depth.

Metaphysics in its etymological and original sense of the word, the only sense in which we are interested here, is nothing but the sacred science of the universal principles, a science whose method is intellectual intuition and inward realization and whose aim is the attainment of the Supreme Identity, namely Deliverance. It is Intelligence alone that is capable of metaphysical knowledge and hence of assisting the being in its return to the Principle Itself. Intelligence in this sense is nothing but the Intellectus Archetypus, the Divine Intellect, which constitutes the only infallible means of knowledge in man.

The grave mistake of the rationalists in their confusion of reason with Intellect originates precisely from their failure to recognize the supra-individual element in man and his Intelligence, a confusion that has led to reducing the Intellect to human reason which is only capable of discursive thought and profane knowledge of an individual and contingent nature. This confusion is due to their total lack of comprehension of the traditional distinction between the Intellectus Archetypus, the supra-human and purely intellectual faculty, and the Intellectus Ectypus, the merely human and purely rational faculty. It is no surprise that modern science and philosophy which lack an intellectual dimension are completely oblivious to the “metaphysical transparency of phenomena”, phenomena that by their very nature prove nothing and are worthless in and by themselves compared to the spiritual truths they symbolize and of which they are only outward manifestations. This lack of intellectual depth is characteristic of the modern West whose sciences are insanely obsessed with phenomena in themselves rather than with the Principle on and for which phenomena stand, the Principle which is graspable only in light of a refined and highly objective intellectual intuition and which doesn’t lend itself to the indirect and discursive modes of knowing of the rational faculty. In spite of this, man through his/her Intelligence which constitutes his/her intellectual/spiritual dimension is made capable of participating in the Divine Knowledge whose content are the absolute and the immutable truths of a supra-individual nature.

Intellectual intuition devoid of prejudice and not contaminated by individual subjectivity and sentimentality, a contamination so characteristic of modern science, is precisely the inner eye, the Eye of The Heart, that penetrates and perceives the mundanely invisible truths of the spiritual and supra-individual order of Reality. Since the physical order, which is the realm of shadows and reflected forms, is nothing but the descending reflection of a metaphysical order, which is the realm of immutable forms, then it is natural that every visible form of the manifest order must communicate to us an invisible, and hence immutable truth of the unmanifest order. More precisely, every visible form in the individual order has only a symbolic function and is but a channel into the invisible truths of a supra-individual order, and it is only in virtue of his/her objective Intelligence that man can penetrate the veils of ignorance and at last get a glimpse of The Face.

Deliverance From The Middle Class

What is human life but a journey from relative anonymity to absolute anonymity?!

This journey, however, takes place according to the nature of things. It is the path of the initiate, the way toward the Principle. It is perhaps also similar, in idea, to the 2nd law of thermodynamics stating that nature tends toward equal distribution of its resources among all its possibilities which makes nature a perfect communist. From the purely physical point of view this movement is toward chaos, but from a metaphysical point of view this movement is toward the Supreme Principle, the end being the complete reintegration of the manifestation in the principle. The physical order being the reflection of the metaphysical order, and since all reflections obey the principle of inversion, it is no surprise that what we perceive as chaos in the physical order corresponds to the return to the principal state in the metaphysical order.

The irony is that the life of the middle class, those occupiers of ordinary life and entertainers of mediocre ideals, is a struggle precisely in the opposite direction and contrary to the natural order: It is a struggle, and not a journey, from relative anonymity to maximum distinction, a struggle that remains forever futile for reasons of principle. Hence, the individual of this class, who is eventually meant to break the bonds of individuality, remains always in relative anonymity, i.e. in the relative order of things which pertains to the plane of existence. In other words, a struggle to become distinct, to become something as opposed to something else, is a struggle against a natural current that takes all beings toward Deliverance. We must add that salvation still belongs to states of being prior to Deliverance since a desire for salvation is the individual’s desire to be saved and yet remain that individual; in the absence of a desire for keeping one’s individuality being saved has no place and meaning anymore. Hence, salvation is a possible state of the ego while Deliverance is precisely deliverance from the ego as such and altogether. While salvation is a possibility within the individual order, Deliverance is a passage to the supra-individual order.

Body being the most limited and conditioned aspect of the individual is the inverse reflection of the spirit which is the unconditioned source, of course not of the individual, for the spirit already belongs to the supra-individual order if not identical with it. What lies in between, the psyche, is the dwelling place of the middle class and its aspirations which under its substantial inertia lends itself freely to rationalism which we consider to be the “opium of the people.”

In the ternary Spirit-Soul-Body, the soul or psychological aspect of the individual order corresponds to the middle element of the social order, its middle class, since in both cases we are dealing with the seat of opinion and dogma. Middle class plays the same role in the constitution of social order as the psyche does in individual order: It is the opinionated portion of society, for it is on the one hand obsessed with the prestige of being “cultured,” and on the other hand its attachment to ordinary life and mediocre ideals makes it incapable of direct pursuit of truths due to the degree of sacrifice and objectivity required for such a task. Thus, the reality and worldview of the middle class is always dogmatic, for it is an acquisition merely through passive education and media, books and papers, etc. There is no intuition involved in any of its acquisitions, much less an intellectual intuition. This class is also the control valve of the whole society, for it is their opinion that is used as “public opinion” and fashion, whether as its pseudo-intellectual circles such as academia or still lower manifestations such as malls, etc. a public opinion that is deliberately and easily manipulated through media for the simple reason that the opinions of the middle class are, and have always been, those of the media and the governing class, though they are constantly fed from above with the illusion that they actively and consciously acquired their ideas and ideals.

We may quote Rene Guenon here where he says, “The concept of profane culture is indeed very characteristic of the mentality of this middle class, to which, by its wholly superficial and illusory brilliance, it gives the means of concealing its true intellectual nullity, and this same class is also that which enjoys invoking ‘custom’ in every circumstance.” Which is a reference to the primary function of this class as the seat of opinion and fashionability within the social order.

Random Reflections

I have been wanting to write something in my blog but I really have nothing to say at the moment, at least the usual stuff that I say. I thought it is a good opportunity to push myself to write when there is nothing to write, that perhaps a new field may open itself up to me which is concealed by what I usually think and say. So I decide to devote this post to free-writing.

I think I have put my mind in an awkward situation: At the same time I have used the analytic part of the mind most of my life, doing only physics, mathematics, and western philosophy. On the other hand, I am inherently drawn to the synthetic language of religion and spirituality. The analytic aspect of me tends to dissolve the whole into pieces, disintegrating whatever comes in its way. The synthetic aspect longs for the shattered whole. No wonder I linger mostly in metaphysics which is the intersection of scientific thought and religious aspirations.

By science of course I mean not modern science which I see as the perversion of the intellect. We should remember that the idea of science as systematic knowledge of totality was handed down to the fathers of modern science, such as Bacon and Galileo, from Aristotle. But in the vision of Aristotle science as systematic knowledge must always contain the two complementary parts, Physics and Metaphysics. Modern science took physics and dispensed with metaphysics, the result being a collection of scattered and mentally challenged disciplines that outwardly behave as science but lack the proper metaphysical foundations. For Aristotle metaphysics is the ground of all science; he called it the First Philosophy, supreme science.

Of modern sciences I like them insofar as they explain phenomena quantitatively but disliked them for their lack of metaphysical foundations. And by modern science I really consider exact sciences; the rest such as psychology, humanities, AI, and even biology and neuroscience don’t even qualify as science; they are awfully misguided in their characters and conclusions because they adopted the methods of physics which deals with inert matter and tried to apply them to totally different kind of phenomenon, life. Their procedures is based on an unfounded assumption that life is nothing but inert matter put together in a complex structure. I cannot see how one can make this unscientific assumption and claim to produce a science out of it!

There is very sharp line between organic and inorganic systems, between life and inert matter. The whole of these pseudo-sciences is based on ignoring this impossible gap between the two kinds of phenomena. We can consider a stone, a piece of wood, water, etc. to be natural phenomena, but we cannot possible consider consciousness too in the same class, for nature and all its phenomena are given to us, and known, in and through consciousness. To say that pure material phenomena and natural processes cause the emergence of consciousness is exactly like saying that the objects in our dream cause the dream experience!

The very basic division that we so take for granted, the objective-subjective divide, is itself a moment of conscious experience. The objectivity that we so much value in science is a possibility within subjectivity. The fact of the matter is that there is nothing but subjectivity; no one can say something that lies outside experience; and even the idea of “outside experience” or “independent of experience” is itself something experienced and cognized by consciousness. Only a subject can think of a world existing independently of him/her; only consciousness can imagine its own absence.

What modern scientific thinking has done was to push everything non-material into the human mind, telling us that imaginations, inspirations, religious experiences, etc. are all in your head, that they are subjective and not in the world. And we have simply accepted this crooked judgment and as a result take our own spirits less seriously compared to the men and women of the golden age. They have created a police state and sent everyone home, into the privacy of your mind. But when science speaks of a God-less, objective world isn’t it speaking of the subjective experiences of a few who consider themselves privileged in their knowledge of what is real and what is unreal?! Isn’t a God-less, objective world itself an idea in the consciousness of those totalitarian institutions known as academia?! What they consider objective reality is really someone else’s subjective experience, the scientists.

We have been raised and educated with this hidden propaganda that the knowledge of reality is only accessible to a few with whose unquestionable verdicts we must agree or else we are superstitious and unintelligent! Their subjectivity is better than ours! Well, if we don’t get caught up in their superficial names and forms we recognize this mentality as almost always present in history: It is nothing but fascism. It has emerged in the realm of religion, race, and now in the realm of intelligence. The dogmatic scientism exercised by many such modern scientists is nothing but intellectual fascism. When you consider your own methods of inquiry and modes of knowledge as superior to others and systematically ridicule and suppress everything that smells of the slightest disagreement, then you are that recurrent fascist who always shows up in history demanding the reign of its own truth and the exclusion and execution of the truths of others.

Modern science is but an abstraction from the immediate conscious experience. To consider these abstractions as the causes of that conscious experience is a self-refutation of science because the results cannot precede the methods by which the results are obtained. Knowledge, scientific or otherwise, is essentially the content of consciousness and cannot account for the existence and form of that consciousness no more that a water in a glass can be the cause of the glass itself. I must add that here by consciousness I mean something broader that the particular human consciousness because our humanity, our mind and consciousness, our existence, etc. are things of which we are aware, and hence they too belong in the content of a more general, universal consciousness who has no personal subject; it is rather subject-less consciousness, or if you like its pure subject is The Absolute, or God. Anything of which we are aware of is always already inside consciousness: We are constantly aware of ourselves surrounded by an external world; thus, we and world with its quality of being give as something outside me are all contents of consciousness. In other words, there is nothing outside consciousness, even the idea of outside-consciousness itself being something inside consciousness.

The problem of course is not with science as such. It is the wrongful role and status that we have assigned to it. We must understand that modern science with its picture of the universe is nothing but an abstraction, however a very practical and beneficial abstraction that can in many ways improve our lives. But this science and its objects have nothing to do with the Reality in itself, reality as it first shows up in our immediate conscious experience, the reality that contains science only as one of its possibilities, a human tradition at best. Science itself is something experienced; it may explain other objects of experience but it cannot explain itself and its own origin and possibility. Modern science as one among the many other human achievements can never understand its own master, the human person, for it is itself produced and conditioned by that person. Therefore, psychology is bullshit.

Good night.

Egology I

To better understand the ego we must understand the various levels of ego, or various egos at play. Here we do not refer to the ego as it is commonly referred to, as a purely negative and selfish aspect of the I. From a phenomenological standpoint we can distinguish between two kinds of egos that are constantly operative in the manifold of experiences:

1) The Empirical Ego

2) The Transcendental Ego

The Empirical Ego, or the psychological ego, is your human “I.” It is the I-center that we know of (hence the empirical) throughout all our world-experiences, experiences that are of objects of the world. This ego is the locus of personality; it is the empirical ego that we perceive as the human “I” and as the bearer of personality. All our hopes and desires, fears and joys, are hopes and desires and fears and joys of this ego. We may also equate it with the mind.

The Transcendental Ego, or the constitutive ego, or pure ego, is the pole that constitutes experience as such; it is constantly constituting the empirical ego and its surrounding world. This ego itself is not human or otherwise. It has no personality. It is the pure I-center that is constantly constituting the empirical ego and its personality and making them the object of knowledge of the witness (I soon get to witness.) We may view this ego as a screen on which the empirical ego and its life and personality are played out like a film. Transcendental ego has no hopes and desires, no fears and joys, because it is the very agent that constitutes hope, desire, fear and joy, and plays them before us. Transcendental ego is not something in or of the world, for world and mind are its end products. The transcendental ego also constitutes time and temporality, life and death, etc; it constitutes time in such a way that it appears to us as if there is a flow from the future to the past, but it is in fact the transcendental ego that is creating the very appearance of the passage of time. It makes the empirical ego appear to itself with a determined past and a possible future.

There is a deeper layer without which the creations of the transcendental ego would not be known or experienced, but this deeper layer is not an ego; it has no I-character or ego-pole. It is the witness, the transcendental consciousness whose sole function is pure seeing, a pure, disinterested looking at the constitutions of the transcendental ego. The witness itself doesn’t constitute anything, nor does it participate in any of the constitutions of the pure ego except lending its awareness to them; it is the light by which the creations of the constitutive ego, which include the empirical ego and its phenomenal world, are known in experience.

Neither the witness nor the transcendental ego are personal; not only they do not have a personality and do not belong to the world, also there is only one transcendental ego and one witness that we empirical egos share. The knowing that runs through all acts of our personal consciousness is the knowing of the one and the same witness. It is the one sun lighting up all objects around it. Transcendental ego too is one and the same in all of us; we may view it as a cosmic mind or a cosmic person. In other words, in reality there is only one mind and one experience; we all only participate in that experience through different perspectives. The situation is similar to how we experience our dreams: There is really only the mind of the dreamer that is present; however, it constitutes a whole world around the dream subject including both insentient and sentient beings each appearing to have their own minds; but in fact not only they are all only participating in the one experience of one dreamer, they are also made of that same mind; they do not exist apart from the mind of the dreamer.

*Note: Constitution is a more appropriate term than creation when referring to the function of the transcendental ego. In creation there is a sense in which the creator makes something that becomes separate from it and can continue existing while spatially or temporally isolated from the creator. But constitution implies a creation that is constantly happening and renewed and hence essentially dependent on the constituting agent. For example, we may say your mind constitutes your dream because your dream is really nothing apart from the dreaming mind and cannot go on without it. The moment the dreaming mind wakes up, instantly the constitution, the dream, too is gone. The transcendental ego, too, is constantly constituting the empirical ego and its surrounding world together, constantly creating and renewing them in the now, though it may appear to us that the world is something out there with a history and is sustained by the laws of nature! Then who has to sustain those laws themselves!?  

It is important, and very important, to emphasize that the constitutive ego does not constitute material objects around us; rather, it constitutes the experience of matter and physical reality. After all, the world and its objects are things of our experience. When I look at this apple or that orange I am really looking at my perception of this apple or perception of that orange. The transcendental ego needs not constitute a physical reality; it fulfills the same end by constituting an experience of physical reality, and an experience of physical reality is what we have. We often simply refer to world and it objects without noticing that we are referring to our consciousness-of objects and our consciousness-of the world, the referring too being itself an act of consciousness. In reality, what we see before us is not a world but the consciousness of a world. This consciousness may be natural like our everyday perceptions; it may be practical; it may be theoretical and analytical like in science. Nonetheless, objects, whether this tree or the abstract models of modern sciences like atoms or genes, are all meant in and through consciousness. Even to speak or think of objects existing independently of consciousness is really our consciousness of “objects existing independently of consciousness.”

The constitutive ego’s job, and only job, is to create an experience of a real world and to constitute an empirical ego that experiences itself as something surrounded by that world. The constitutive ego does the same job in our dreams, and that is why both the dream and the waking states are experiences of an embodied I inside a world that is always experienced as real. The sense of reality in experience has nothing to do with the objects of experience; it has to do with the logical structure of experience which is put together by the constitutive ego; this ego constitutes both the world and its sense of reality together. This sense of reality is derived from the witness, which is the only reality, and projected onto world-experience. That is why no amount of search by physical sciences for the sources of reality in the constituents of nature leads anywhere. They thought matter was the real basis of the world but when probed deep into it they found nothing, no material particles, no concrete basis except the mathematical fancies of scientists which exist only in the mind and as correlates of consciousness: World is void filled with the light of consciousness.

The ego’s job, whether transcendental or empirical, is to create a situation around itself. The transcendental ego constitutes the most general and the largest possible situation, the world and an empirical ego embedded in that world. The empirical ego, on the other hand, creates situations within the world; it sets out values and interests and pushes us to work for them using the fuel of hope and desire; but since the transcendental ego constitutes the world as an essentially unstable, impermanent structure, the hoping and desiring empirical ego makes a drama out of this impermanence, and hence the pain and the suffering. The empirical ego is the drama queen. In fact, world which is itself a situation, a superstructure, held in place by the transcendental ego is nothing but the empirical ego’s situation room.

However, pain and suffering being both constitutions of the transcendental ego and hence parts of the world have no effect on either the transcendental ego or the witness which are not not parts of the world or in it; they are wholly unworldly. Pain and suffering become personal only when the witness identifies with the empirical ego, forgetting that this ego is only as good as dream character.

We do not have direct access to the transcendental ego, and in fact it can never become an object of experience, for whenever and wherever there is experience the transcendental ego is behind it creating that experience. However, the empirical ego which is attached to the world, the world being like its organ, can be annihilated; this annihilation of the empirical ego also annihilates the world simply because the two are the two sides of the same coin. The empirical ego and world always come together like the opposite poles of a magnet.

What the mystic experiences as awakening, namely the death of the ego, is precisely the annihilation of the empirical ego and the world with it. This annihilation is an essential possibility because neither the empirical ego nor the world are really there; they’re both meaning-structures held in place by the focus of the witness on, and its identification with, the end products of the constitutive/transcendental ego. Being-in-the-world-as-human is the end product of transcendental ego’s constitutive acts.

Once the witness, which is one in all of us, lets go of this focus, once it ceases to believe in and identify with an empirical-ego-in-the-world, it is released from its captivation-in-acceptedness. Then, both empirical ego and its surrounding world disappear into thin air, for they are nothing but projection in the void. What remains is the self-experience of the witness while the transcendental ego is still constituting experience though the world and empirical ego are both reduced to the ideas of the world and the ego. The witness’s experience of itself is not an experience in the ordinary sense of the word in which there is an object and a subject of experience separated from one another; this distinctive experience belongs only in the world; once the empirical ego and the world are annihilated natural experience ceases to be; instead there is unitive experience, namely Transcendental Experience, in which no subject–object polarity exists. This transcendental experience cannot be known or understood unless the world disappears and the face of the witness appears. It is a mode of experience unknown to us insofar as we perceive the world and ourselves as humans in it.

The distinctive mark of transcendental experience is the way time is experienced in it. In our natural world-experience we experience time as a flow from the future to the past; we cannot conceive of a now-moment that has no before and no after. But this is precisely the way the transcendental ego constitutes the world and its time; it constitutes the now-moment with the sense of the past and future attached to it. In natural experience the moment always appears to be slipping away, but it is the slipping away that is appearing in the moment. The world always appears to be coming and to be going, but it is the becoming and the begetting that are appearing in the moment as the world. The world appears to us with the sense of facticity and historicity constantly meant through but not caused by appearances. Past and future are themselves appearances within the ceaseless stream of transcendental constitutions; it is this appearance that provokes in us questions of “where are we coming from?” and “whereto are we going?” But all these are arisen simply because we have taken our natural experience of time for granted. In reality, our coming and our going are themselves appearances that are themselves not coming nor going but constantly constituted from above. It only appears that the world and we in it have a history, a past and a future. The truth is that in each moment you are witnessing the birth of the world anew.

In transcendental experience our natural experience of time is annihilated with the world. We then have a transcendental experience of time in which we cannot conceive of a before or an after. There time has no before or after; it is an eternal now. It is then that we realize our immortality, the immortality of the witness, because the witness stands outside time. Thus, in transcendental experience which is a unitive experience without subject-object polarization you are no more a human person, there is no mind or personality or even existence in the ordinary sense, and hence this experience is the same for all; you are nothing whatsoever; it is the witness witnessing itself in a way that the witness and the witnessed are not two separate things. Transcendental experience is nondual experience pure and simple. That is why it is called the Inexpressible Reality, or truth itself. Transcendental experience is standing in the face of the truth, and this standing is possible only when all things but truth itself, the witness, are annihilated out of the way; and then, who is there to express and who to impress!

In natural experiencing the appearance that we come from a place and a time and are going to another place and time is nothing but the constitution of the transcendental ego. The witness is always outside the appearance, watching it from above: It has not come from anywhere and is going nowhere, for there is nowhere else but here and no other time but now; the witness is transcendent to all place and time; and yet it is all that there is. Thus, awakening is never a human awakening, for humanity is itself the dream from which the witness must wake up, or more precisely release itself.

The empirical ego too has two principal modes, the proactive ego and the reactive ego. In another post I will write about these two aspects of the empirical ego. We will see that egotism or selfishness is a possibility within the empirical ego and not the transcendental ego nor the witness.

Time & Consciousness

The object that I see in front of me I see as something in space, but my seeing of it is not something in space. What is seen is seen to be an spatial entity; however, seeing itself is not something spatial. We tend to treat objects of the world as independently existing entities as if our consciousness could stumble upon them by chance!

Consciousness cannot make as its object something that is not already prefigured in it. I see the world through my perceptions but I do not see my perception through any intermediary mechanism. It is due to the self-evident and immediate givenness of perception that I come to know the world and know that I know it. That I perceive an object is because the object is something constituted within the temporal flow of perception. Even the spatiality of an object is something itself first perceived and only later spoken of. In this sense, the world and its objects are essentially temporal extensions before they are spatial.

To put it more precisely, world and its object are made of time, for it is in and through time that they appear within the field of perception. To exist means to be, to keep being in time, to endure in time. From here we can see more clearly how world is constituted in consciousness and not outside it. Time and being in time have no meaning and existence apart from consciousness, for the passage of time is something meaningful only in and through experience. Time is what we experience and not something we perceive out there in the world. Only a consciousness that subsists the flow of time can experience the passage of time.

Time is nothing but the ecstasy of consciousness, that is consciousness experiencing itself as conditioned and partitioned. It is this partitioned and fragmented consciousness that appears to us as diverse experiencing subjects. In reality there is only one subject, but this subject cannot experience itself unless it objectifies itself into the manifold of its own infinite possibilities. Each person is one possibility for the being of one and the same consciousness.

Consciousness undergoes the same self-objectification into multitudes in the case of dream experience: In a dream one and the same consciousness, that of the dreaming subject, projects itself into a world of diverse objects and experiencing subjects. All the conscious agents that appear in our dreams are the possibilities inherent within the dreaming consciousness. It belongs to the nature of consciousness to project itself outwardly in such a way that it appears to itself as something fragmented and embedded inside a world as if it were only a part of that world. In our dream we appear as a person among others inside an infinitely extended world of objects, but all persons and objects are one and the same consciousness, only appearing to itself as if it were outside itself. Consciousness inside itself is the dreamless sleep, but consciousness outside itself is the world. It is in this sense that I see the world as the ecstasy of consciousness.

The Grace to Embrace

We must remind ourselves, those of us practicing religion as a means of salvation rather than welfare, that the spiritual life, the life of God, is about God and not us. That we complain so often of our imperfections and the subsequent suffering is a misunderstanding of religion. Perhaps we think that spiritual life is about having a good time, that a good spiritual life is a life of mental and emotional security and perfect devotion. In the face of the slightest suffering we blame ourselves of spiritual failure as if perfection, spiritual or otherwise, was a human possibility!
It is a bad habit of our times, more so in the western hemisphere, that we should think everything is about us and how we feel, that anything that disturbs the emotions has an evil origin unless one sees the visible hand of God. We have a hard time accepting, let alone trusting, that whether we are in suffering or not God is working within and without. We feel that we must know his every move or else we lose faith and find ourselves in despair, as if He owes us an explanation on top of the possibility of salvation offered by grace, as if God has a “Buy one get one for free” business!
We cannot trust in the invisible, thanks to our faulty culture and education; so instead of raising ourselves to God we bring Him down to our own mundane level which is no more Him but a projection of our own desires in one form or another. Our complaint over lack of spiritual perfection is the most destructive of all spiritual imperfections, for it indicates that we pursue the path so to feel good about ourselves; above all it indicates our lack of faith and trust in Him.
The best violins in the world were at once a seemingly useless pieces of wood. That wood has become the masterpiece that it is because it gave itself totally to the hands of a master who chopped and hammered it for thousands of hours. The best architect chooses the material that shows the highest degree of conformity to both the means and the final end of perfection.
Whenever we come to such moments of suffering, the dark nights of the soul, we must think ourselves, if we seek God rather than the self, as deformed souls under the hammer of God who is cutting away our imperfections. And by no means should we think or expect that we are on the way of becoming perfect beings in the face of God, for our perfection is in our non-being before Him: Our salvation is nothing but our annihilation in God.
We must ask of God nothing for ourselves except more consciousness of Himself. And we must remember that each blow of His hammer is a chance of becoming more conscious of Him. God’s hammer is the grace to embrace.