Hell is the Other

The man of today is drowning in the ocean of subjectivity, in phenomena, falling for his own shadow, falling a second fall. By continuous feeding of our little desires we have made a mistress out of them; mental and physical needs become more subtle, and we have developed a consciousness for them; we have become too conscious of every disturbance, and we struggle to suppress it one way or another, like a madman trying to calm the waters by pressing down upon waves. But this growth of desire has no end, a shoreless ocean it is; it opens up indefinitely like a fractal.

We are so mesmerized with the dance of forms that we can’t remember our exalted station. Man is a frail and fragile creature, a transient phenomenon; but what is within him, or what animates him, is immortal and indestructible. It is the androgynous perceiver of all the states of reality. It perceives all points of view at once; It sees through all eyes: It is the beholder of every now and then, of every here and there. It is what it is; “I am that I am.”

This universe is a one-man universe. There is no one else in it but you; there is no “other.” It is like when we reenact a situation or lost opportunity in our head, playing all sides and conversations by ourselves! This world, this diversity of subjects and objects, it is one of those situations in the mind of the Solitary One. And you are that One, the One without a second, the only One; and there is nothing like it.

If you see the success of others, why jealousy! In them, in their hearts, it is you; their gaze is your gaze. So their achievements should make you better and happier; their success is yours and their failure too is yours. Who else is in this world!? When you judge you judge only your own perceptions. If you are true to yourself, if you are objective at all, you must realize that you see nothing but your own perceptions. So, if the world is hell for you it is the hell of your own perceptions; and if it is heaven, it is the heaven of your own perceptions.

The otherness of the other is just another perception. The other is a manufactured reality, a notion, an alien interpretation read into the Current of Forms. I am all alone; I am the only reality. The diversity of subjects and objects, giving rise to the illusion of multiplicity, has its cause in a greater and higher intelligence beyond the mind. Being one and alone, It perceives within itself an apparent diversity, much like when a single mind can perceive such diversity in a dream state. As it is in the nature of light to shine, it is in the nature of consciousness to project, to make an image of its ideas. So the reality of the image is not to be found in the image itself but in the consciousness that projects it. All we perceive is light; world, diversity, is an interpretation: “The face of Truth is concealed by a golden vessel.” (Isha Upanishad)

In this world there is no such thing as equality. There are greater men as there are lesser men. What shines in them is the same; the difference is only in what they reflect of that Intelligible Light. The difference is in the degree to which they reflect in the outside world what is reflected within them. It is the matter of concentration and utilization. The psycho-physical constitution of a man, and indeed of this modern people, is such that the intelligence shining in him is mostly dissipated by mundane curiosities and irrelevant information; the attention is leaking out every which way.

As sun shines equally on everything, pure intelligence too shines equally in every being and animates it; but the receptivity of the spirit to this light always depends on our spiritual/intellectual orientation. If your mind-body complex is consuming most of your intelligence, then you are moving toward intellectual dullness and stupidity. Here lies the difference between literacy and knowledge, between mere information and true wisdom: Literacy doesn’t make noble men; it doesn’t impart virtue. Books don’t make men; it is men who make books. We see more crookedness, arrogance, and awkwardness in the merely literate than the illiterate. While literacy concerns itself with the letter, or the most superficial reading of it, knowledge is concerned with the spirit behind the letter, i.e. the transcendent and immutable meaning of things.

The imperative has always been the same: Know thyself. Know, first, that by knowing which everything else is known.

We produce informed but not wise men. We produce readers but not seers. We produce sterile beings. It is by the admission of our scientists and philosophers that “the more we know we realized how little we know.” That this knowledge, this outward curiosity, adds not to knowledge but to our ignorance. Then, how can it be called knowledge when by possessing it we feel less knowledgeable. Simple is the answer: This cannot be knowledge in the true sense of the word if it does not remove ignorance and instead multiplies it. That is why the more we fill ourselves with this world-knowledge, the more empty and arrogant we become. This is the difference between knowledge and literacy; in the latter we accumulate letters, a pile of names and forms, something even a tiny flash-drive can do; while in knowledge we accumulate nothing; we only peel off the many layers of ignorance; we add no more conceptions but stand behind all conceptions. By reaching the ground of Being we stand under everything; then and only then can we say we truly understand.

In true knowledge we add nothing but subtract everything until the true Self shines, until its beams emerge from underneath a pile of forms and letters. Literacy makes a man heavier, less flexible, less immortal; but knowledge, i.e. knowledge of universal principles, makes a man light, more flexible, and closer to immortality. At the summit, when the last veil, i.e. your human cover, drops and His face, your true Self, is beheld, then immortality is realized. And it is the immortal man who hovers over the surface of the waters, the waters in which the literate man of today is drowning to his demise.

Some make their own truths, and some let themselves be made by the truth: To be made is to be hammered.

 

The Overman

Much has been said of the coming of the Overman. The Overman doesn’t evolve; the Overman descends. It was not Nietzsche that spoke of the coming of the Overman; it was the Overman that spoke through Nietzsche of his own coming.

In Overman the real has become the ideal and the ideal the real since in him the ideal is fully realized. It is at the transcendent summit that idealism and realism stand united, while in the manifest order they appear to be distinct and standing against one another.

But when comes to man, this little worn out image, whose fragmented world is a reflection of his own fragmented soul, the Overman must blow in him again. We are all born and live on a life support machine. What is then the life of man?

The life of man is the journey of a shadow; he rises from nothingness and falls back into nothingness. But the Real Man, the Transcendent Man, i.e. the Overman, that which casts the shadow, remains unmoved throughout this journey, for He is the perfect image of the Unmoved Mover.

The Overman is not an individual; he is no historical figure. The Overman is not in the world; it is the world that is a thought in the Overman. He may take up the mask of Krishna, Christ, or Muhammad and become a bridge; or He may tease us through Nietzsche without giving him a taste of His face, leaving him in the madness and confusion that precedes eternal sobriety; but He can’t be understood in terms only of one or another individual. The person of a saint is nothing more than a passing appearance in which we can see the reflection of Truth, our own real Face shining in eternity. So there is in reality only one saint projecting many images of itself on Nature. The various religions and traditions are the petals of one and the same flower.

The Truth cannot fit in a theory, image, or idea; yet every theory, image, and idea is an expression of one of Its intelligible aspects. Art, religion/philosophy, and science/technique, constitute various neighborhoods in the city of Truth. We cannot oppose these to one another because they are united in their principle, the spirit; they are, so to speak, various sense organs by which man confronts reality in the form of a world. They address the different needs of a man. As the eyes cannot touch and the hands cannot see, religion sees but doesn’t build while science builds but doesn’t see. And we all know that the best and the most majestic of architectural masterpieces belonged to periods in which makers were both builders and seers, where wisdom and action were still united.

A science opposed to religion is a like a headless man. Religion by nature cannot possibly oppose science, for religion is about man and reality in an entirely different sense than that used in science. If fans of popular religion and even some religious authorities see an opposition, and sometimes even a competition, between scientific facts and religious doctrines, it is only because they have misunderstood religion altogether; their fundamental mistake is in confusing form with essence: The subject matter of science is form while the subject matter of religion and true philosophy is essence. As the subject matter of each is different, their methods of inquiry are as well different. We cannot apply the methods of one expecting to reject the claims of the other or confirm those of our own. Metaphysics, in its true sense, is the root of both science and religion, and also of art, and is a field of knowledge far from speculative. Metaphysics is the field of self-evident realities and also the source of all evidence in any rational inquiry. We can only say this, that compared to the truth and self-evidence belonging to metaphysics, the degree of evidence in pure mathematics is but a pale reflection. The essential content of art, religion, and science, is always metaphysical.

In Metaphysics we step into a new domain, the oldest reality, where world and man have no place, where the abstract becomes the living and the living the abstract. Sartre mistakenly thought that in man existence precedes essence; but it is known that in man existence is the essence.

Metaphysics is the universal and immutable form of the Real. Thus, metaphysics, the highest form of knowledge, is still a superposition on the surface of the Real. There is a higher stateless state, the Real Itself, in which there is no more metaphysics nor anything else. There is where nothing can creep in, no expression and no man, except total death and annihilation. Even God must die in order to return to the Godhead.

Metaphysics & Geometry

Metaphysics is the science of the universals; it is the science of essences, i.e. realities that are universal and unchanging,i.e. do not depend on time or any particular degree of manifestation. Metaphysics is not the same as speculative philosophy or theories of creation. Metaphysics is and is true whether or not Big Bang Theory of the Hypothesis of Evolution are true. The subject matter of metaphysics proper is the Truth as perceived by the so-called Divine Mind. Metaphysics is not a human knowledge but is the content of the Divine Intellect or Pure Intellect. Metaphysics is not invented or learned; it cannot really be taught; it is only discovered, i.e. remembered, by a Seeing that is altogether other-worldly and absolute. This science, contrary to all other human sciences, is not done by speculation or experimentation but through intellection which is a transcendental, and by no means mental, activity of the spirit.

Metaphysics is about Truth Itself and not what men and women, whether saints or philosophers, have thought or said about the truth. Metaphysics is about the architectonics of reality as a whole, i.e. totality, as opposed to empirical science which consider reality only insofar as it is sensible and measurable by minds and men. We cannot say, for example, that metaphysics is other than physics though it is also not identical with it. Metaphysics encompasses all other sciences and is their very ground, but the nature of its relation to human sciences is always misunderstood; this relation is best understood only within the framework of an analogy, of course until the attainment of metaphysical realization which is the same as the Liberation. So, we offer the following analogy that we hope clarifies the nature of the relationship between metaphysics and empirical reality or empirical sciences:

Consider a video game in which your avatar, i.e. your embodied character inside the game-world, is put in a world similar to ours and its mission is to explore this world and find its natural laws. Basically, in this game you are a scientist that has to use the tools of the game to find the most general regularities of that world, things such as  gravity, electricity, etc. Now, if we want to transpose the idea of metaphysical knowledge into the context of this game, what element of the game should we choose? Let us begin by saying that metaphysics is not anything of the nature of a fact or a piece of knowledge within the game-world and can be sought and found in the same manner that one seeks and finds the facts of a world. It is not something that our scientist can find by means of exploring inside the world game.

Within the context of our game, metaphysical knowledge can be compared not to any natural law or any fact of the game-world but to the programming code that is behind the very phenomenon called the game-world and has made that world possible. Our scientist cannot find this underlying code by exploring inside the game-world and experimenting on its phenomena; he himself and all his explorations, etc. are nothing but the manifestations of the programming code underlying the game. To access metaphysical knowledge, i.e. the code in this analogy, the avatar does not even have to look outside himself or to move around, for this knowledge is, as it were, inside him, i.e. known by realizing that “there is a game” and then trying to transcend it. Now, how a game can be programmed so to make such our scenario possible, and whether it is possible or not, is entirely irrelevant here. The point of analogy was only to show the radical nature of this science of metaphysics and its relation to all other empirical sciences which can know only what is inside the game and not what is behind it. Even the methods of inquiry are radically different: In empirical science we explore and experiment, but metaphysical truths, i.e. that programming code, is not susceptible to such methods of investigations; the only way of accessing such knowledge is to somehow exit or transcend the game, or more precisely, to wake up rather than to look out and explore.

It is natural that the methods of inquiry inside the game, methods designed to find empirical facts and natural laws, can in no way help one even become aware of the possibility of a programming code behind the game, let alone finding that code. All such methods, all empirical sciences, are sciences of phenomena, but metaphysics, being the science of essences, i.e. the science noumena as opposed to phenomena, has nothing to do with phenomena but the meaning behind them. In other words, metaphysics studies the metaphysical roots of phenomena. Therefore, the failure of empirical methods in becoming conscious of the possibility of metaphysical knowledge, let alone discovering it, is only a failure and a shortcoming and doesn’t mean that there is no metaphysical foundation, or code, behind the game, a code that is different from the facts and natural laws inside the game simply because these laws are themselves manifestations, or projections, of that very code. One cannot use these methods to prove or deny the existence of a program behind the game, and this indicates the futility of all attempts at denying that there is a metaphysical foundation behind all things. The ultimate proof of metaphysical truths and realities is metaphysical realization, and this realization has been known and done and is not something up for discussion or refutation. As we have said many times, those trying to deny metaphysical knowledge, which by the way has nothing to do with god or religion but encompasses them, are like blind men trying to dispute the reality of a rainbow. A true metaphysician, i.e. a Jivan Mukta, never bothers trying to prove to anyone the possibility and reality of metaphysical truth; he can at best show the way for the seeker of truth to see and realize for himself that which is never a matter of opinion or speculation of any kind: The only proof of the Face is the face Itself.  

Now, what does all this have to do with geometry? Well, as we said metaphysics is the science of universal and immutable truths, realities that are unchanging, and hence do not depend on time or any becoming whatsoever. Thus, all theories of creation, modern or traditional, religious or secular, are only human theories and speculations and at best have symbolic value, for they all presuppose a becoming of some sort. In metaphysics, there is no becoming. Creation is a human fact; from a metaphysical, i.e. transcendental, point of view, creation and becoming are absurd and unreal concepts. But since we find ourselves as humans in the midst of a world of becoming, our thinking is conditioned by it and can understand things mostly in terms of being and becoming. At the same time, because of the transcendental nature of metaphysics it can only be understood through analogies until the point of metaphysical realization in and through which all metaphysical truths are grasped immediately and intuitively and with absolute certainty.

A proper and successful analogy is that which is based on a fundamental but common feature present in both sides of the analogy. Since immutability and the absence of time and becoming is the most fundamental and definite characteristic of metaphysics, the most appropriate analogical means for its expression should be another science that is devoid of the concepts of time and becoming. We know that all empirical sciences such as physics, biology, etc. are in fact about change and becoming, so they cannot possibly provide enough ground for a successful analogical method of communicating metaphysical truths. Of all the sciences accessible to man, the only one that is devoid of the concept of change and time is geometry, and in general pure mathematics. There is a direct correspondence between most propositions of geometry and abstract algebra, and this to the extent that we can even say geometry and abstract algebra are only two different ways of expressing same mathematical truths: In abstract algebra we are dealing with abstract symbols and their relationships but in geometry we are dealing with spatial relationships, so it is like abstract algebra only with the advantage of visualization. For this reason, geometry is a little more suitable for communicating metaphysical truths because it allows some space for visualization which is a great tool in all learning.

Thus, we believe and we can show that metaphysical truths, which are entirely independent of the concepts of god, creation, divine, etc. but are at the same time the very source and ground of all these concepts and realities, is best conveyed through geometry. And it is no surprise that geometry has always been considered a sacred science and present almost in all esoteric schools such as Pythagoreanism, Platonism, Neoplatonism, Eastern and Western religious esoterisms, and also in Freemasonry. For example, the letter G at the center of the symbol for Freemasonry consisting of square and a compass, traditional tools of architecture, stands both for God and Geometry, in which God is viewed as the Great Architect of the Universe who creates by means of immutable and intelligible relationships, i.e. geometrical forms. We only add that geometry is not to be seen as identical with metaphysics, and we should not think that in reality there are points and circles; but geometry and its concepts are used as the best symbolic means of expressing intelligible realities that are beyond any spatial relationships. In other words, geometry is the reflection of intelligible truths in the plane of human mind which can understand things only in terms of the conditions of time and space. The reflection of the sun in the pond is not the sun but can tell much about the sun, at least about its form. Metaphysics too exposes the universal forms by which truth can manifest Itself, the Truth Itself and in Itself remaining always unmanifest and only known by being it, a mode of knowledge accessed upon metaphysical realization, i.e. Supreme Identity.

It is outside the scope of this article to delve into geometry and show the metaphysical truths that are reflected in it. Our goal was only to show, firstly, the radical nature of the science of metaphysics and its relationship to all other spheres of human knowledge, and secondly, to suggest the best way of approaching this science, which is done through geometry. We hope that in the future we can devote a few articles to some aspects of metaphysics using geometrical truths. The main problem that makes metaphysics difficult to understand for the average mind is that metaphysics is not a science for everyone and requires a very refined and objective intelligence not deformed by the assaults made against the mind by the universal compulsory education. One needs to know some abstract algebra and be very well familiar with geometry, particularly the theory of functions, power series, Taylor Expansions, etc. in order to perceive the subtle metaphysical truth reflected in these forms. However, metaphysical truths, which is a way toward liberation and Supreme Identity, is not the only way. Religion and spiritual disciplines have the same end in view. While metaphysics is the way to Truth for the born philosopher, religion is a way for everyone, even the last man. The spiritual man if he succeeds may come to see the Face of Truth, but the metaphysician if he succeeds comes to see the Whole of Truth.

We end this piece by mentioning the simplest of all metaphysical truths whose reflection is found in the geometry of a circle:

Where there is a circle there is also a center, as no circle can exist without having and belonging to a center. A center, a singular point, however, can be without belonging to a circle. But what is a circle really? A circle is nothing but the expression of its center in terms of spatial relations. All the points on the periphery are the outward projections of the central point. In other words, a circle is nothing but a dimensionless point in expansive mode: Circle is the expression of a point. Or, when a point utters itself, the circle is that utterance.

Note that in expressing itself the center has not become, or turned into, a circle; the center doesn’t become the circle or cease to be the center; the center just is, and it is all that there is, for the circle is nothing but the center in its expansive mode: Circle is only a point’s dream. In reality, there is no expansion or contraction; there is only expression, the sound, The Word.

As every circle has a center and is nothing but a homogeneous expression of that center, every world, i.e. degree of manifestation, has an origin and is nothing but the homogeneous expression of that origin. This origin is exactly what is known as God in all spiritual traditions of the world.

In more abstract terms, a circle is the Taylor Expansion of a dimensionless point. Here, there are no two realities but only one reality with different names. To see and understand the exact logical and ontological relationship between the center and the points on the periphery of the circle consider this analogy: In life you are one person but with different roles or relationships. Say you are a man; to your wife you are a husband; to your son you are a father; to your father you are a son; to your employer you are the worker, and to your employee you are the boss; you can also be an uncle, a grandfather, a nephew, etc. As a father your relationship to your son is different from your relationship to your wife as a husband, etc. All these names, i.e. son, father, boss, husband, cousin, etc. which are different roles and relationships pertain to you, one and the same person. All these names designate different relationships that can be potentially established, or activated, within one and the same person; some of them may be only potential, for example you are only potentially a father when you have no kids, but once you have a child you have activated that potentiality which was within you all along and was nothing apart from you. Now, the logical and ontological relationship between you and all these names, i.e. relationships, is the same as the logical and ontological relationship between a central point and all the other points on the periphery of a circle spanned by that central point. Therefore, there are no many points; there is no becoming. There is one reality and multiple expressions, the expressions being only potentialities within one and the same point which is the basis of all Reality.   

 

 

 

The Paradox of Atheism

The battle of the atheists is not really with religion but with their own understanding, or more precisely misunderstanding, of what religion is, for what they know of religion is the most literal, and hence the most superficial understanding that they themselves have read into it. For instance, a physicist cannot possibly take seriously a layman’s questioning of the peculiarities of modern physics, not so much because the latter is inferior to him, though his knowledge is, but because due to lack of proper training the layman’s objection isn’t really to physics but to what he understands of it, an understanding that is not grounded in experience and evidence but in pure speculation.
In the same way, it is futile to take the objections of atheists seriously or bother to debate them, for they have not even tasted religion, and hence their judgment of it is entirely groundless and devoid of objectivity. After all, how can a blind man become a rainbow scholar and specialist, and worst of all deny the reality of rainbows!?
A lot of these militia atheists, i.e. pseudo-intellectuals of our time, lose their temper when hearing of new age spirituality and fake gurus such as Chopra’s mixing of science and religion, claiming that these masters are not qualified to read into science their own spiritual impulses, for they do not have the proper training to understand science. And I must say I very much agree with atheists on this point, for this new age mixing of science and religion is not only unnecessary for one’s spirituality, but it also damages both science and religion, for they read into sciences such as quantum physics what is totally unrelated to it.
But the main point is that the same objection applies to atheists themselves: If a layman is not qualified to judge science or dispute its claims, the atheist too is a layman when it comes to religion: Spiritual realization is an activity, much like science, equipped with a well-defined goal and method. Even the most brilliant scientists or philosophers, such as Einstein, etc. are unqualified to judge the facts of spiritual life without having undergone the proper training under a spiritual master.
Thus, we only turn the atheist’s objection against himself, for he is oblivious to the fact that when it comes to religion he himself is in the exact same position as that of an arrogant layman’s skepticism when it comes to science.

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.

Truth & Intelligence

We superimpose our human rigidity on God, making Him judgmental and ourselves fearful. While we must fear God, our fear of Him should be a humbling awe with utmost veneration before His infinitude rather than a childish fright before His revengeful wrath.

We, and especially we religious and spiritual people, and even more so myself, constantly judge ourselves, and that is our egos behind all judgment since ego is always concerned with my individual perfection, and then we assume this judgment to be God’s as if God expected perfection from that which is essentially non-God, namely creation. God’s infinitude projects in the plane of existence as boundless, unconditional, pure love. God loves us even when we hate ourselves, and He gives Himself to us whenever we call on Him. He forgives us and yet we punish ourselves. When we obsessively judge and slash at ourselves for our imperfections we are in fact judging God’s creation and hence Him by association.

We are by nature imperfect and yet expect perfection from ourselves; God is by nature perfect and He doesn’t expect anything from us. From God’s point of view, as if there were others, we are always already perfect, for we are nothing but the manifestations of his perfection and infinitude. We are deluded into thinking that God has given us an awareness of our imperfections; but what we perceive, due to ego’s self-obsession, as the awareness of our imperfections is in fact nothing but the awareness of God’s perfection. It is only in light of our consciousness of God that we feel small and imperfect.

The awareness of our imperfections, which is the other face of our awareness of God’s perfection, is a saving thread graced upon us to redirect our attention away from ourselves and toward God. When we are instead preoccupied with our spiritual imperfections we are not being spiritual at all, for we are distracted from the Truth and the Way by constantly diverting our consciousness from its sole purpose of absorption in God to absorption in ourselves under the name of spiritual perfection.

God, being Absolute and Infinite, is the endless source of generosity. It is our egos, especially in our spiritual paths, that is obsessed with our own perfection, and particularly with our spiritual perfection, the ego that constantly finds faults with us without ever accepting us the way we are. God, however, accepts us, always and forever, as who we are with all our imperfections and shortcomings, for He is the source of our very Being; God is our very Being itself. We forget this basic truth that our spiritual journey is never about us; it is, and always should be, about God and Him alone: Our spiritual journey begins by finding ourselves in the midst of our imperfections and it ends by losing ourselves in the midst of God’s perfection. Instead of focusing on our own imperfections we must contemplate His perfection.

We limit His infinitude with the finitude of the vessels that we are. The traditional man used to view God as the final station to which he had to ascend; but now we look at ourselves and our own level as the final station to which God must descend. We no more strive to rise up to truth but instead bring truth down to our own little and pitiful level. This is the predominant attitude of modernism and symptomatic of all modern educational systems, the insistence on bringing everything down to man instead of pushing him up to truth, the urge to dilute everything great and of high value so to make it suitable for our weak digestion, and hence making it weaker and weaker.

The result is a modern man with watered down intelligence incapable of grasping anything beyond himself, anything beyond the mental and the physical, anything that doesn’t guarantee instant gratification. Modern man, a species reduced to a mere psycho-physical phenomenon, utterly lacks the intelligence and intellectual intuition capable of perceiving eternal truths. The natural consequence, and the more profitable road, is for this modern man to define his/her own commonsense and crooked intelligence as the final and the only truth and the absolute criterion of all other truths, if at all he believes in any truth. In modern man intelligence has hit its rock bottom with a loud bang that we hear as the babbling of its militant atheists and liberals.

This modern man is confused and hopelessly disoriented; he confuses things of the high planes with things of the low grounds, the archetypes with brain chemistry: He confuses true knowledge with mere information, intuition with mere computation, intellect with reason, intelligence with memory and book knowledge, philosophy with sterile mental masturbation, science with dogma, rational judgment with sentimental prejudice, degradation with evolution, regress with progress, and above all he confuses objective truths with his own subjective preferences as a result of which we have been dragged into a new Dark Age, the Age of Dogma, an age marked with the reign of irrational beliefs, superstitious opinions, and wild sentiments, and worst of all an unprecedented treason against human intelligence, and intelligence as such.

Since this modern man, this little man of intellectual and spiritual retardation, cannot conceive of anything above himself he must look for something below himself, perhaps he must be a descendant of apes, and he really is nothing more as long as he considers himself to be that; and what is ironic about this man is that he takes so much pride in boldly standing up for these modern superstitions that pass for scientific facts!

But how can we take serious the sciences of a species which claims himself to be nothing more than a sexually repressed ape of no freewill?! How can we expect any objective knowledge from a species hopelessly conditioned by its animal drives and the purely self-interested motive for mere survival?! You see, this modern man cannot open its mouth and say something without contradicting himself: He claims that he is nothing but a “small phase of an evolution going from the amoeba to the superman,” and yet in some mysterious fashion he can at once objectively know where he stands in all this! He asserts with absolute certainty that there are not absolute truths and yet makes an irrational exception in favor of this assertion itself elevating it to the status of an absolute truth, and hence excluding himself and his sciences from the consequences of his own scientific conclusions!

Modern man performed a miracle that even God cannot perform: He made a fashionable commonsense out of the absurd! This is genius, and in fact his only genius. It is as if he secretly enjoys having come from the ape instead of the apex. His irrational insistence on being closer to chimpanzees than to transcendent archetypes, despite lack of scientific evidence, is really nothing but an adolescence rebellion of a reverse puberty that we know of as the Renaissance and its Age of Enlightenment which gave us the last kick into an irremediable darkness.

This modern man is more arrogant than ever, but this outward arrogance is nothing but the reflection of an inward ignorance and insecurity that befell upon him when he washed off the sense of the sacred from nature and himself and replaced it with the illusion of evolution and endless progress, and hence he destroyed the very ground upon which he was standing. Modern man is not standing anymore; he is crawling like a worm in his own filth made of synthetic ismisms and a whorified consumerism with the sole end of welfare and instant gratification. But we’re being too charitable here, too optimistic in our view of modern man. This modern man’s crawling is in truth a sliding backwards into a Godless oblivion.

World as Divine Symbol

World as the totality of all existence, both in its form and content, is nothing but a symbol. It is a symbol because it always points to something other than itself, to an origin that is itself not in or part of the world, to an origin that is itself other-worldly. Even modern science has secretly come to this same conclusion though it does not explicitly admit it: They claim that the physical world came into being without the need for something outside itself. If we ask why and how, their answer is ” according to the laws of physics!”

However, if Big Bang occurs simply due to these laws, then these laws must preexist the Big Bang itself, if not temporally but surely logically, in order to make it begin; these laws must in one way or another transcend the universe or else our world could not come into existence. On the other hand, laws of physics are not themselves physical entities; they are not made of matter and neither are they tangible worldly phenomena; rather, they are Ideal, invisible forms that can be grasped only through intellectual intuition.

Thus, we see that science too cannot help but explain the universe by recourse to a set of ideal and other-worldly beings that must necessarily both precede and transcend the phenomenal world. If modern science only apparently succeeded in omitting God from the picture it was also simultaneously forced to replace God with universal laws enjoying an absolute and Godly status. Scientists only renamed that transcendent ground of the world from “God” to “scientific laws”. Apart from the name, the traditional God of religion and the modern laws of science both have the same role and authoritative voice in explaining the phenomenal universe: Without them our universe could not be, and now that it is its every moment and phenomenon is sustained only because the Godly laws keep being what they are without themselves being in need of anything else for their existence.

It is in virtue of its symbolic character that world is a questionable phenomenon, something always in need of explanation, and it will always remain so until we realize that world as symbol cannot be explained in terms of world-phenomena themselves but only in terms of a transcendent principle.

Adi Shankara
Adi Shankara

Adi Shankara, the great Hindu philosopher and theologian of the early 8th century CE, expressed the necessity of a transcendental understanding, and origin, of the world in the following sentence:

Trying to explain the phenomenal universe without reference to the Divine is like trying to explain day and night without reference to the sun.

The advent and development of world’s three greatest intellectual traditions all aimed at understanding the phenomenon of world, namely religion, philosophy, and science, is itself the most obvious indication of the always insufficient, and hence questionable, character of this phenomenon. If world was self-sufficient and had no ground outside itself, then we would never question its being and appearance in the first place; we would simply take appearances at face value and as they present themselves to us in immediate experience without even the idea of a cause or origin, and the need for explanation, coming to our minds.

But man was never satisfied with mere appearances; he believed, and even now secretly believes, even subconsciously knows, that there is something behind appearances, that appearances must stand on something other than themselves, something itself not an appearance, something transcendent to all appearances. This is the always present but often concealed presupposition that initiates and drives all inquiries. This intrinsic referencing of phenomena to something behind themselves, this pointing-beyond which is the root cause of the sense of wonder, this referencing-beyond is always there in all phenomena precisely because this world-phenomenon as a whole is nothing but a symbol. A symbol is a pointer, and world insofar as it points to some ground of existence is nothing but a symbol. The very fact that man can raise questions, that he/she can doubt, and in general the very phenomenon of questioning, is possible only because world-phenomena-in-themselves are by their nature insufficient and questionable, and that man knows from the depths of his heart that there is something above and beyond everything that appears, and thus by his struggle to know he is in fact yearning to return to that absolute ground in which no question and no desire can creep.

Man can raise grand questions and move toward their final resolution because as spiritual being he is equipped with a spiritual instinct, the instinct to scent the truth and return to it: For man the knowledge of truth is always a matter of return to that knowledge, for if man were not somehow intimately familiar with truth he/she could not even begin to form, let alone assimilate, the idea of truth in the first place, and hence he/she could not scent and find it. Thus, man’s questioning is a sniffing around of the divine perfume that is meant to intoxicate him out of the world and into transcendence, namely deliver him from world-bondage.

If man can question the world it is only because this world by itself does not have the character and quality of a final answer. In other words, a self-sufficient and self-contained world cannot develop an organism capable of questioning the existence and adequacy of that world; a world cannot by itself develop and house other-worldly ideas.

Man questions because this world is not the answer

More precisely, world is a transcendental clue. If we take it by itself and in itself, and then set our hopes and interests with reference to world itself, whether these interests are material or spiritual, then we have missed the point. World must be viewed as a means and not as an end in itself. It should be seen as a hanging thread from which we must ascend to the divine instead of descending further down into its inevitable emptiness. A symbol by itself is always empty and devoid of meaning if we overlook its symbolic character and fail to see that it is pointing to something other than itself. The primary cause of the meaninglessness of lives in modern era is that the end toward which this world points is omitted from the picture. We have taken the symbol as that for which it stands and that to which it must lead us. Hence, our lives point to nowhere; we are not anchored in anything transcendent and permanent. We are not anchored at all.

“In the beginning there was Word.” This Word refers to the world, world as the incarnation of meaning, world as word as symbol. But a word must by necessity point to a transcendent referent if it is to mean anything at all, a meaning that is produced when consciousness confronts the symbol, a meaning that is grasped only if consciousness transcends that the word, namely the world, and enters into the realm of pure meaning, naked truth, God Himself. As a symbol without referent is meaningless, our world too without reference to the divine is meaningless: God became flesh so that flesh becomes God. In the present condition in which we are totally forgetful of the Divine Principle we have nothing to become; we have nothing worthy of becoming except what lies beneath and below ourselves; instead we see ourselves as nothing but the becoming of a chimpanzee.

World is a sacred symbol descended from above; world as a mundane phenomenon ascending from inert matter makes no sense at all, and this is so besides the brute fact that the ascent of matter to consciousness is both logically and empirically impossible and by all means an irrational position. We could all see this if we used the aid of the infallible intelligence instead of letting ourselves being bullied into irrational opinions by what is intellectually fashionable nowadays.

Facing the truth regardless of public opinion and intellectual prejudice demands courage and refined intelligence. Only a coward accepts anything stupid and irrational simply because it comes out of the mouth of academia or because it is intellectually fashionable. Being intelligent and open-minded is no synonym for blind faith in evolution and the claptrap of the sort. Being intelligent and open-minded has nothing to do with believing and babbling incomprehensible gibberish under the guise of fancy and pseudo-intellectual names and forms and theories. Being intelligent and open-minded has to do with seeing things as they are and regardless of the pressure and the judgmental squint of the prevailing untruth.

Being intelligent and open-minded has to do with seeing pure and simple.