(The history of the development of the hermetic ideas is given in Chapters 3 through 5. In skipping over those three chapters you will miss out on the efforts that groups like the Freemasons and Kabbalists have contributed to this cosmology. Nevertheless as you read Chapter 6, A Person as a World—and a God , it is my promise to you that you will begin to get a glimpse of your true self—at the fact that you are an immortal.)
First and Second Base
The chapters in this section are dedicated to providing first and second base support for the hermetic cosmology. These two are the institutions of philosophy and science—plus the first base coaches, the mathematicians of the world.
The method used is to begin each chapter with a thesis based upon a major premise in the aphorisms. The idea is to see if there is logical and empirical (scientific) support which can attest to the truth of the thesis.
According to the old religions the world was a world-sun god. According to the hermetic aphorisms a person is a world-sun god. Chapter 6 looks at A Person as a World, while Chapter 9 looks at A Person as a Solar System. The other chapters support the overall thesis.
The hermetic wisdom is a cosmology, and a cosmology seeks to understand the world. What makes this a different kind of world view is its ‘as above so below’ precept. If you want to understand the world, look to your own nature.
Thesis: A person is a world—and a god.
There are two keys needed to understand why a person is a world—and a god. The keys entail two kinds of spiritual substances—the personal spirit and the substrate. The relationship between these two produces the body and soul of a system. The soul is a set of archetypes. The body is the process of the actualization of these archetypes. When actualized, the body does not cease being spiritual in nature. It manages to be both infinite and finite. It becomes an actual infinity (‘actual’ in this sense meaning material infinity). To understand this process is to understand why a person is a world—and a god.
I. Purely Spiritual Substances: From the hermetic perspective there are four types of substances underlying creation—the substrate, the personal spirit, the soul and the body. Of these four two are purely spiritual substances. These are the substrate and the personal spirit.
A. The Substrate (∞): According to the hermetic cosmology, this substance is real, but it is not a material reality. In this book it is sometimes referred to as Ein Sof, its name in esoteric Judaism, but more often as the substrate, as pure Being, or as pure Spirit. Although the substrate is not a material thing, it is the basis of every material thing in the present, and the potential for anything which can ever exist in the future. Because it is infinite in potential, and yet is real, it can be spoken of as the infinite, and symbolized by the mathematical notation for an infinity (∞).
Space and motion are two basic material attributes possessed by a world. The substrate has neither of these qualities, and yet it is the source for both. Relative to space, because it has no spatial magnitude or extent and cannot be reduced or divided the substrate is pure Unity as well as pure Being. Everything is both composed of and unified by this substance. Once things are created and become individualized and differentiated, without the presence of Unity these could never have connection points—qualitatively, spatially or causally. In terms of qualitative connections, two separated systems with the same or a related quality could not relate to one another. ‘Order’ entails qualitative connections Whether in the same system or between two systems, without underlying unity there would be no order in the universe.
During the past two thousand years as the Piscean Age unfolded philosophers thought a great deal about spirit as the substrate. Enquiring people have always wanted to know what was at base of existence. Aristotle actually used the term substrate to speak of it. This base can also be thought of as the highest principle or highest category in the sense that, if all things are considered and examined, this is the one thing everything possesses. Because everything is composed of it, it is universal, and ‘universal’ is another term used by philosophers. The substrate is related to what Plato referred to as the ‘Form’ of pure absolute Being. According to Plato, a Form was something which gave form and yet itself had no form. (As will be seen, it is the personal spirit which is even more directly the Form of pure Being-Unity since it is the intermediary and is the actual means to creating the form of a system.)
Plato believed that everything with form was composed of various material types of being, and that types of being could not exist without possessing being. Being and existence even mean the same thing. For that reason this thing called pure Being had to exist. And it had to be connected to the material world. Otherwise the world would not exist. But he found it difficult to say how it was connected.
His student Aristotle, in addition to utilizing the term substrate, tried to handle this philosophical problem through the notion of a ‘potential.’ The substrate is both real in itself and the potential for material things. Non-metaphysically oriented, materialist philosophers have struggled with the question of how a potential can be real, while metaphysically oriented philosophers have long maintained there are both material and non-material realities.
Plato reasoned that pure Being had to be infinite, absolute and eternal. It was infinite because it was the basis of any type of being which could ever exist, including future potentials. The number of actualized types of being were finite. They were just what was meant by matter. In addition to being infinite, Plato reasoned that pure Being also had to be absolute. The types of being were relative to one another. Their character depended upon one another. And their very existence depended upon pure Being. Pure absolute Being depended upon nothing to exist. It just was. Pure Being also necessarily had to be eternal. That was because Being was not non-Being and could not not exist. Various things in the material world on the other hand could cease to be. Because it was infinite, absolute and eternal, Plato came to the conclusion that pure Being was transcendent to the material world. And yet he knew it also had to be involved with the world. How else could the material world exist?
Those who came after Plato and studied his thought processes were unsure, not just how he related absolute Being to relative being, but also how (at what level) he related Being to Unity. It is clear that Plato chose Unity as one of the highest Forms. (The highest was the most inclusive.) The universe is a ‘cosmos’ with all of its lawfully related attributes fitting together into a unified whole. Everything in the material universe does possess unity. But everything possesses being as well. Some believe Plato put the Form he called pure absolute Unity slightly above pure absolute Being. But if a philosopher does that, then something could have unity but not exist. It is better philosophically to consider pure Being as pure Unity, and pure Unity as pure Being, in other words as the same thing seen now in this way and now in that. And this is what the hermetic cosmology teaches.
Plato did make it clear that he equated pure absolute Unity with another Form he posited, and that was the Form of the Good. (Plato does in several books relate pure Being to the Good as well. Thus pure Being is best spoken of as pure Being-Unity-Goodness.)
For Plato these were the highest formative principles in the universe. Everything possessed these things. Theologians, in order to grasp the meaning of divinity, utilized Plato’s idea of pure absolute Being-Unity-Goodness in order to get a glimpse of what spirit or God might be like.
Because this was absolute Unity, those who thought seriously on the subject of the substrate believed it had to be non-differentiated and non-individuated—in other words, that it could not be separated into systems like atoms and people with all their myriad of material qualities. Because of the more precise philosophical defining which arose during the Piscean Age, it then became more and more of a problem to explain how pure Being related to the created universe. The Neoplatonist philosophers in particular, having been made more keenly aware of this paradox, found it difficult to say how the material world related to spirit. These were metaphysically oriented ‘absolutist’ philosophers rather than ‘relativists.’ They believed in the existence of absolute Being. But how it related to the material world, since a world was relative and finite, was a difficult question. As time went by this became equally problematical for theologians. These were unable to say how God was immanent within the world. This led many of them over the two millenniums of the Piscean Age to more and more see God as transcendent to the material world. In Buddhism this led to seeing spirit in an impersonal way.
In the hermetic cosmology it is the personal spirit which makes it possible for a material world to arise and to reconcile these paradoxes. This tiny seed is the means to creation. Before moving on to the nature of the personal spirit it may be helpful to first define terms. Knowledge cannot grow if people do not share the same meaning for the same terms and if those meanings are not clear. Currently, in modern science and mathematics, the term ‘infinite’ is used to refer to something material which goes on and on without end (e.g., a number series, a process, an extent, and especially a spatial extent). What is being referred to is a material extent which is greater than any measurable amount or reachable end, in other words, an actual (material) infinity. Ein Sof on the other hand is infinite but not in the sense of actualized material attributes. The substrate is not a vague kind of spatial field as some modern physicists have attempted to describe it. Nor is it a subtle energy field. There are both spiritual and material infinities.
The term absolute when describing pure spirit also needs clarification. Spirit is absolutely absolute. It is a singularity in the sense that it stands on its own and is independent. It does not depend upon anything for its nature or existence. Something which is a material absolute is also a singularity, but it is something which stands alone (such as a world). Various synonyms for the word absolute usually do not differentiate between material and spiritual absolutes but are nevertheless very helpful, e.g., ‘pure,’ ‘perfect,’ ‘not diminished in any way,’ ‘complete,’ ‘entire,’ and ‘unqualified’ (e.g., ‘absolute power’). In physics what is absolute is non-relative. In epistemology the term refers to knowledge which is ‘certain,’ ‘indubitable,’ and ‘unquestionable’ (i.e., ‘absolute truth’). Another synonym for absolute is ‘unbounded’ and ‘boundless,’ the latter of which brings the word absolute back to its close relationship with the word infinite.
The word eternal also needs clarification. Spirit is eternal. The material body, as an expression of spirit, is infinite in the sense that its parts go on and on in time as well as in space. They are ‘everlasting.’
According to the hermetic cosmology, the material world (and every system) is composed of Ein Sof. Although in one way this spiritual substance is outside material space and time, in another way (via the personal spirit) Ein Sof is matter. It is for this reason the world and every system is a type of actual (material) infinity. There are philosophical and scientific reasons for seeing a world in this way. The substrate provides one key, the personal spirit the other.
B. The Personal Spirit (0): According to the hermetic cosmology spirit comes in two forms—as the substrate and as the personal spirit at the center of a body. The latter has been referred to in Jewish mysticism as the shekinah. The shekinah is the key to producing a being and its body. It produces a being by remaining pure spirit at the center of a being. It produces the body of that being by multiplying. Although Ein Sof has both beings and the qualities of their bodies (the types of being) implicit in its nature, it is the shekinah which actualizes these things. Even more than the substrate this seed can be spoken of as the ultimate Form because it provides, both for the being of a system, and for its nature—its material form.
The mathematical notation of zero (0) symbolizes the personal spirit. That is because it is no ‘thing’—no material thing. In pure mathematics numbers represent various types of magnitudes, while geometry deals specifically with space. Zero (0) as a magnitude is equivalent to a point (∙) in space. A true point has no length, breadth or depth and is dimensionless. It is not very, very small, but rather infinitely small. In other words, infinity is reached (actualized or expressed) by the point. This is how in a way the shekinah is the same as Ein Sof. The way it is different is by being some place so to speak, and specifically at the center of a system.
[Note: If a system was not a whole at its own level and only a system within a higher level system, the shekinah in its pure form would be some ‘place’ within that higher system, which is why the shekinah as such is present only when a system is in the role of a whole, not when in the role of a part. (As will become evident, to be a ‘whole’ is to be a ‘world.’)]
A geometrical coordinate system can be used to symbolize the shekinah as it relates to a system and its parts (cf. Appendix C, Geometry). Zero is a point which stands at the center of x,y,z and -x,-y,-z coordinates. For instance ‘z’ can be thought of as ‘above’ and ‘-z’ as ‘below’ their shared zero point center, while ‘x’ can be thought of as ‘to-the-right’ and ‘-x’ as ‘to-the-left’ of their zero point center. Only a material body has an attribute like space, including relative places in space like ‘to the left or right’ of something or ‘above or below’ a point, or ‘in front of or behind’ something. According to the archetypes, the shekinah resides at the center of a system—and appropriately so since this is not a place as place is defined. At the same time the ‘place’ where the shekinah exists must be at the center of a material body (ultimately at the center of a world). Otherwise it would not be a center. Centers are a paradox. They are not material and yet have the strange intermediary attribute of being in a place. Another paradox about the personal spirit is that it is a kind of ‘part’—a part of the substrate. On the other hand, what is pure Unity is not divided. In essence the shekinah and the substrate are the same thing.
Spatially speaking, what is paradoxical about centers is that they are, as the Italian hermetic philosopher Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) put it, “everywhere and nowhere.”1 They are no-where because they are not spatial in nature. As for being everywhere, the spirit at the center of a system presents as a personal center only because of the surrounding body. In and of itself it is not set off from the substrate or from the center in every other system. What makes the shekinah different from the substrate is that it is both a limitation of the substrate and yet not. It both divides it into individual systems—and yet it does not divide the substrate because it is the substrate.
In addition to (spatially speaking) being everywhere and nowhere, centers are (qualitatively speaking) everything and nothing. The personal spirit is no-thing but it is also everything, and not just everything in a potential form as is true of the substrate. As is discussed more in depth when geometry is considered, this is the means for the material attributes of a system, not only to come into being, but also to remain spiritual in nature. The world is composed of point-instants.
The personal spirit is both different from the substrate and the same thing. It is both different from matter and the same thing. By understanding the difference (and the sameness at base of the difference) it becomes possible to see how a world (an atom, a person . . .) is created and in the process the reason as to why matter itself possesses ‘both-and’ characteristics, including the reason every system is both an individual and a part of everything else—and in the process both absolute and relative.
The substrate (the so-called ‘Unknown God’) is known by every system through their personal spirit. Every system also knows of its nature via their material body. It is experienced both as pure spirit and as an emanation of elements by means of which the attributes of the body are created. The light coming from the shekinah is those elements. That light expresses what is in the shekinah, which in turn is what exists implicitly within the substrate.
These then are the two purely spiritual substances which exist—the shekinah and the substrate. The latter is prior. Before a particular system is created its shekinah exists within the substrate as a potential. So also does an infinite number of material potentials which that system, once born, can begin to draw upon to create its body.
Very basic symbols often have layers of meaning, and the idea of the substrate containing the potential for both a system and the attributes of a system is conveyed via the symbol for the substrate—that of an infinity (∞). This symbol aptly represents the substrate because the symbol itself has no end. What is fascinating about the symbol is that it also depicts the nature of material creation. This symbol entails two circles connected by a center (∞).The center appropriately denotes the shekinah in its pure form. Since a shekinah only exists in an individual, the symbol helps show that the creation of individuals is implicit (implied) within the infinite.
Just like the personal spirit of a system, the body of that system is also implicit within the substrate. At creation the seed which the substrate generates immediately becomes a center. In order to be a center it has to be at the center of something. The smallest number of bodily parts is two. The most primal of parts are positive and negative poles. There are two circles in the symbol for the infinite (∞). The two halves or poles emerging from the shekinah are the origin of light and its positive and negative charges and poles. In the symbol for the infinite, if further circles are drawn to the right of these two, and looked at from a sub-atomic perspective, the result looks like an electromagnetic wave traveling through space-time. Electromagnetic waves are the basis of matter—of the ‘parts’ aspect of systems.
These parts are wholes when experienced from a different level. Wholes are individuals, and individuals have souls. Circles are a geometrical representation of soul. That is because the radius of a circle (the point out from center) represents the extent of the power and scope of the personal spirit at any one moment in time. (The soul provides for both an extent and for limits. Relative to the latter, the ‘ring pass not’ of the circumference of the soul provides for parameters which actually make an individual an individual—and a world.)
The two circles in the symbol for the infinite not only represent matter (light), they also represent individuals, and specifically two united individuals. These are symmetrical ‘soul’ mates with a center at the crossing point between them. Both come into being at the same time when a world is created. The production of soul-mates is implicit within the substrate. The soul mates are both parts of one another and individual wholes in their own right, depending upon the level under consideration. (Wholeness is ‘over’ partness and exists at a higher level.). By symbolizing both parts and wholes (and their essential relationship) this symbol for the infinite helps show that the part-whole, body-soul duality of creation is implicit within the substrate.
Returning to the ‘parts’ aspect inherent within the substrate, when the two polarities interact their movements actually produce ‘motion’ and ‘space’ as well as the elemental ‘qualities’ of experience. In an electromagnetic ray there are four elements within each of three domains producing twelve archetypes. Kabbalah speaks of the four elements produced through the two poles as emanations running back and forth.2 A positive (+) and a negative (-) pole each coming and going produces four elements. These movements and their directions are referred to as fire (+), earth (-/+), air (+/-), and water (-) elements. Their interactions resemble a figure 8 on its side ∞. The positive polarity of light, the eight when going up (+), out (+) from center, and to the right (+) is purely positive (+). When it circles around going down (-), back (-), and in (-) towards center, it is still positive but manifesting negative directions. Thus that aspect of the journey can be depicted as primarily positive with negative aspects (+/-). The negative pole of light is purely negative (-) when moving down, to the left and in towards the center; however it too at some point in time moves out, up and to the right. The latter are positive directions being manifested by the negative pole, so again there is a combination (-/+). This is how the qualities of matter, the ‘parts’ aspect of creation, come into being (cf. Appendix C, Geometry).
Kabbalah is an ancient way to understand the elements of creation, but modern scientists understand these four elements in their own way. Light is called electromagnetic radiation because of its two initial qualities—electricity and magnetism. The electric element has two (positive and negative) charges while the magnetic element has two (positive and negative) poles. They are different in that unlike charges repel while unlike poles attract, but in essence these four are simply different ways of manifesting polarity. (Hereafter the elements making up both the electric and magnetic components of electromagnetic radiation will simply be called the ‘poles’ or ‘polarity’ since they arise via the first set of twins—positive and negative differentiation.)
The process of producing the characteristics of light entails various kinds of relationships, and relationships presuppose differentiation. If the subsequent qualitative differentness (and concurrent spatial separation) is of the right type, it will not take away from the unity of creation. Polarization is the first type of differentiation producing matter, and the involved relationship is one of symmetry. Symmetry is produced through two equal and opposite elements facing one another—a type of mirror image wherein the two are two halves (two parts) of one whole. Symmetry is a type of wholeness and does not take away from the unity of pure Being-Unity.
Two equal halves of a whole when joined together produce, not just unity as wholeness, but also completeness. A ‘world’ as will become evident in these pages is something which is complete. This completeness produces an inner world of actualized attributes for the twins. When something (with two poles) is complete and yet moving, it cycles.
Creation, however, does not merely cycle between polarities. There is to be sure a desire within systems to have (and to keep) a ‘present’—to have their world be complete. The twins are always complete-in-time because the world is created in levels. Despite being complete they also desire an even greater sense of awareness and selfhood. This desire to be more is implicit within the shekinah. The shekinah is a part of Ein Sof and ongoingly seeks to be the whole. This produces growth and (qualitatively speaking) evolution. The two circles when looked at closely seem to be growing (∞). The right side is slightly larger than the left, almost as though this system is not only going forth in time (to the right) but also growing in the process (expanding outward). An electromagnetic ray cycles, but it also moves at a 90o angle to the concurrent cycling movements between the polarities. As it goes forth into newness it grows, which in turn requires an additive element of spirit to give it the energy to do so.
As together these poles move ‘through’ time, they produce time as a movement into the future, and with it an external world—a whole-in-the-making. This has to do, first of all with higher and lower levels of being, and secondly with the relationship between an actuality and a higher level potentiality. The existence of an inner world and an outer world is implicit within the substrate. So is the existence of levels. The twins are both two halves of one whole at one level and individuals at a higher level.
Although the external world is only a whole-in-the-making it is not essentially apart from the beloveds. They would not experience it if it were. Within that world they are a ‘part’ but it is a different kind of part-to-whole relationship than that to be found within their actualized world.
Because there are two kinds of worlds, there are two kinds of part-to-whole relationships. As noted, the first kind of relationship is that of symmetry. Symmetry is an expression of wholeness in an actualized, internal world.
The part-to-whole relationship in a whole-in-the-making, the external world, produces harmony. Harmony is different from symmetry in that it incorporates a growth factor. They are the same in that neither of the two takes away from the spiritual Unity at base of creation. It is because the world (and every person) is composed of these two kinds of relationships that material creation is a material infinity (and people are everlasting immortals.) These two basic types of material relationships are discussed more at length in section IV. Symmetry & Harmony.
II. Material Substances: Body and Soul (1): In addition to the two purely spiritual substances in creation—Ein Sof and the shekinah—there are two material substances—body and soul. It seems strange to speak of the soul as material in nature, but there is no way to separate body from soul. They are ‘one’ just like the shekinah and Ein Sof are one, but in a material way. The number one symbolizes the body-to-soul relationship.
Just as soul is not different from spirit, soul is not different from body either, and yet it is. The soul is a set of potentials relative to a particular system at a particular moment in time. The body is the fulfillment of those potentials. ‘Reality’ is a constant process of soul-work. Since body and soul are different as well as the same they can be examined separately.
A. The Soul (1): The soul is the extent of the evolution of the personal spirit at any one moment in time. The personal spirit does not grow but the relationship between Ein Sof and the personal spirit does, and this is what ‘soul’ consists of.
The number one (1) is a mathematical notation for a material system, be it a person or a world. Furthermore, it is not just the symbol for a system, but for the body-to-soul relationship which creates that system. This ongoing relationship is the process of what Hermes calls soul-work—the process of turning spirit into matter—potentials into actualities—via the shekinah.
In kabbalah Adam is both a name for a person and for his collective external world. The meaning of Adam is connected to the number one. One has three basic meanings:
(a) One means ‘first.’ Kabbalah speaks of Adam as the first person. Adam’s collective (humanity) is referred to as ‘Adam Kadmon.’3 In alchemy ‘Adamic Earth’ is the first and most basic material element in the universe. The only thing prior and more basic is the unmanifest.4 Life begins with zero but one is the first ‘real’ (actualized) whole number.
(b) One means ‘whole.’ Adam is a whole. He is a being with unified parts.
(c) One means ‘sole’ and ‘only.’ Kabbalah refers to Adam as the ‘only’ begotten.5 In this sense one has the meaning of a singularity. Adam is an individual thanks to his soul.
These meanings of one are the same within mathematics and within common language as they are in kabbalah:
(a) Relative to firstness, as noted mathematicians speak of the number one as the first real whole number.
(b) The second meaning of one is as a whole, i.e., something which is characterized by internal unity. It takes something—a system—to be a whole. Something which is a whole can be complex, with many different parts, but it will have no parts which are not present and connected spatially, qualitatively, and causally. The soul is the wholeness of the parts of a system. What is different about seeing wholeness in this way is that a real substance is the means to the unification. This departs from the modern view of seeing the sum of parts as themselves responsible for their own spatial and qualitative wholeness. The soul, as the extent of the personal spirit, has its own type of reality and intermediates between what is materially real and what is a material potential. For this reason calling soul the potential for wholeness is and is not correct. The body is composed of many layers of systems composed of light. All these layers encompass one another. The soul is the highest layer and encompasses all the others, making it possible for them to be one. Soul is not light. All those below are layers of systems composed of actualized light in a three-dimensional world (atoms, microtubules, cells, organs . . ). These are constructed in terms of twelve archetypes. (In a fourth-dimensional body there are more.) The soul in one way is a potential, but it acts as a bridge to matter in that it connects all the layers which are a system’s parts, and does so in terms of a specific set of archetypes which provide for qualitative, spatial, and causal connections within the system making it possible for many different parts to all act together and be together as one.
(c) The third meaning of one is as singularitiness. Common synonyms for ‘one’ include: a single entity, a unit, solitary, sole, exclusive, only. The difference between wholeness and singularitiness is the difference between that of internal reference (to things inside itself) versus that of external reference (to things outside itself). For a system to be singular means it is a solitary unit—a distinct individual. It is set off from other things, and as such is a definite and identifiable thing in and of itself. The soul does this. It is a ring-pass-not.
This is where the meaning of an absolute comes so strongly into the meaning of one. Parts make a system relative. In addition to having parts, every system is a part of some higher level external-world group, and ultimately a part of the entire universe. Despite the relative, interconnected nature of systems, each is also set off from other systems. This attribute of being set off makes it possible for that system to be absolute in the sense of being and having a definite individual nature with spatial and qualitative boundary conditions, and not being spread out all over the universe and relative to everything else as is the case with a universal field where there are no real individuals.
It is worthwhile to go deeper into the absolute characteristics connected to the number one since this has much to do with the idea of a person being a world (and a god)—the subject of this chapter. In the historical advancement of philosophy, the concept of a Form as worked on so diligently by Plato helps visualize the nature of the soul as well as of the personal spirit, especially the external reference aspect of the soul. Plato spoke of the highest Form as that of Being-Unity-Goodness. Plato and other philosophers also thought about and wrote about lower level types of Forms including those which correspond to (a) the creation of an individual, and (b) the creation of the parts of that individual. First of all (a) a person must have a distinct personal Form if they are to have a definite, non-relative (absolute) character rather than one which blends into everything else. In addition to every individual having a Form or something to give them an absolute character, every basic elemental attribute of a person (b) must also have a Form. For any basic type of being in the material world to exist as a definite individual thing it must have something absolute about it. This is true, not just relative to its existence as a specific, distinct kind of thing, but also so that people can know what that something is in and of itself—so there can be this thing called knowledge.
Plato thought more about (b) the basic material types of being needing a Form rather than beings per se. The basic ‘Forms’ for the attributes in a three dimensional world are the twelve archetypes. There could be no knowledge if each was not distinct and a true type of being in and of itself.
This type of distinctness/apartness produces plurality in the world. But plurality requires the unity of singularitiness in order to exist. The Greeks identified the Egyptian god Thoth with their god Hermes. A title for Thoth was ‘thrice-great’ which links him to Hermes Trismegistus.6 According to Plato it was the Egyptian god Thoth who gave mankind the key to understanding how plurality arises—how the many are related to the one (Philebus 14e-18c). The secret resides in the fact that, just as Hermes himself is a whole (an individual) at one level of being, he is a part at another. The singularitiness aspect of the soul makes it possible for a part to be set off from other parts by being a whole at another level. The paradox is that it takes Unity to produce apartness. Qualitative differentiation and spatial separation are possible because and only because of the singularitiness aspect of the soul and the presence of layers in creation.
Giordano Bruno spent his life thinking about the need to posit absolutes, but more as it related to (a) individuals rather than the attributes of individuals. Bruno reasoned that for any system to be a definite individual and to have a definite recognizable identity, that system must in some way be absolute. In other words it had to be a self-sufficient unit with its own individual identity. Because of this, Bruno realized it could not relate to other things in the kind of terms a material part did when being relative. If it did that individual would not be itself and would blend into and be a part of those other things. Bruno believed truly individual systems necessarily existed and referred to these as monads. (The term means ‘one.’) Bruno then encountered this problem: If you think of a person for instance as a true individual or monad, this does not correlate with what can be seen with material eyes. People are composed of parts, these are material parts, and material parts (when in the role of parts) are quite relative in character. These internal parts are affected by other parts and by the external world as well.
The answer to this paradox resides in the fact that a person is both an individual and a part of higher level wholes. Each system relates by being a part of an external world. They even have parts themselves. But they are at the same time a whole. By calling a monad by a much more common name—that of an individual unit or whole—it is possible to understand this problem which has plagued so many philosophers for so long. That is because the very idea of individual wholeness speaks of a dual character present within all systems—that of part-whole duality. There are no individuals without parts, and no parts which are not the parts of some system. Furthermore, in a hierarchically constructed universe, what is a whole at one level is a part (or potential part) within a still higher level whole. And that is a major secret behind creation. An atom can be and is a true whole and yet can be and is still a part of an external world of atoms—even a part within a person—and ultimately a part within the universe as a whole. In that way it relates externally (as a part of an external world) but is absolute in and of itself (as a whole). It depends upon the level under consideration. Each of these roles is real and true—from its perspective.
All this has created ongoing theoretical problems in science as well as in philosophy. When modern physicists hold to a field explanation of creation like electromagnetic theory, they see the entire world as a field of interconnected waves and have no problem with explaining how everything is connected. But they then have difficulties with explaining how anything can be seen as set apart from other things. Individuals like atoms and people are visualized merely as temporary perturbations in a universal light field of electromagnetic waves. If on the other hand physicists hold to a particle theory like quantum electrodynamics (QED) wherein creation is made up of discrete quanta they have difficulty explaining how these connect to and interact with one another. The hermetic cosmology solves this problem, and modern physics in one way has done so as well via the famous double-slit experiment discussed in Chapter 8, A Person as a Photon. Both are true. All systems are both waves and particles. The wave-particle duality-unity is a part-whole duality-unity, and that part-whole duality-unity is the body-soul duality-unity. Although the double-slit experiment deals with photons and atoms, wholeness is what makes any system (be it an atom, person or whatever) a world; and the double-slit experiment is one piece of evidence that the thesis in this chapter is correct.
The work of Albert Einstein has produced even stronger evidence, especially relative to the subject of this chapter. That is because his general theory of relativity deals with the world as a whole rather than with photons or atoms (and helps bring the attribute of infinity in as well as that of being absolute). The general theory provides a mathematical proof of the existence of both infinities and absolutes in the material world. It entails a mathematical formula which has led to actual physics experiments which have proven empirically that the material world (which is obviously finite and relative) is also infinite and absolute.
The general theory helps describe the nature of the world by looking at the nature of space. According to the general theory the space of the world is a continuum. To be a continuum is not only to be continuous internally but also to be unending, which is to say boundless (infinite) and unbounded (absolute). According to the general theory the world has no end to it and hence obeys the condition of being infinite and absolute. At the same time the extent of the world has a definite, limited (finite) size—an extent which has even been theoretically measured. The equations of Einstein support a thesis which indicates that, where the world seems to end it may rise up into what some physicists believe could be a higher dimension or, more precisely, a higher potential dimension. When there is nothing outside a world—when it is unbounded—it is infinite.
The secret of how all this is reconciled resides in the meaning and nature of the number one. A world is both a whole (1) and a singularity (1), and as noted a singularity has the meaning of ‘only’ in the sense of being a true, distinct, isolated unit. To all intents and purposes a world is the ‘only’ thing which exists. A material singularity is a whole which is materially extended and yet is distinct from and separated off from all other things.
It would seem like anything with a limited extent would be bounded by (bordered by) something external to itself. But the world is not bounded by anything, or at least not by anything which materialistic physicists speak of as real. The material parts of a world are not bounded by anything material because a world encapsulates all the matter in that world. That makes rational sense. There is nothing (material) outside a world.
Currently it is believed that this condition of being unbounded exists because a world is a world. But the aphorisms and archetypes teach it is because of levels of being. Zero (0) is a spiritual singularity; one (1) is a material singularity. The latter has the characteristics it does because of soul. Soul is the wholeness of the parts. Soul also gives an extent to the shekinah but one which is limited. The part-whole duality of systems is due to their existence at two different levels. The both-infinite-and-finite and the both-absolute-and-relative attributes of a person are due to this straddling. What makes something a distinct individual (a whole) at one level, makes it possible to be a part at another level. It is the singularitiness attribute of a whole which makes it a good part—one which can be set off from the other parts when in the role of a part.
The part-whole duality of material systems is a reflection of the part-whole duality of the shekinah-to-substrate relationship. For the world to possess the characteristics science now says it does, it must have a spirit and a soul. Plato claimed the world had a soul and was a being. He did not say he himself was a world but, given the conditions of individuality, the converse would then be true as well. If this is so, the world can be understood through self-examination. We know through Plato that the oracle at Delphi had an inscription at the entrance to her temple—the temple of Apollo, the world-sun god of ancient Greece. That inscription was ‘Man know thyself (Charmides 164d).’ In this statement is more than the suggestion that people are a piece of the world. Modern science has that perspective. The laws of nature are in everything, and scientists know very well they can look within any system anywhere and come to understand something about the universe. What science does not possess is a microcosm-macrocosm perspective. The shekinah-to-substrate relationship makes it possible for each individual to be a world in miniature. Every individual is an individual because of its soul, and even the world cannot be an exception and be distinct. An external world is only a whole-in-the-making, but despite the difference between them, internal and external worlds are essentially the same. Both rely upon both the internal and external reference aspect of soul.
In this book all true systems (including atoms) are referred to as beings. A whole-in-the-making is referred to as a being-in-the-making. Once beinghood and the type of oneness which soul imparts is seen as the key to material creation, then many other things fall into place. One is that there can be no worlds without individuals. Beings are the basis of creation. Each individual is a world. (Lately physicists have been suggesting there may be many worlds in other dimensions. There could not be many worlds unless each had a way to set itself off from the others.)
Another thing which becomes clear is that an individual is, not only a world but also a world-god. By definition a god possesses attributes like being absolute, infinite and eternal. By looking at the meaning of these words, it is possible to see why a person is a god as well as a world. Relative to being absolute, as has been noted, the external reference aspect of the soul sets a system off from the rest of creation so that it is non-relative. To be non-relative is to be absolute. In addition to being absolute, a system can also be seen to be infinite. To be infinite, something material must be unending in space and time. A world is unbounded. It has nothing external to it to provide a bound by means of which to give it an end.
These seemingly contradictory attributes are made possible because of the existence of levels. The levels are expressed qualitatively via sets of archetypes, and spatially via dimensions. The archetypes are a limited set, but complete-in-time. Likewise each dimension, although finite, is complete in and of itself at its level. That completeness at a particular level makes a world a completed infinity. As was noted earlier, completeness is a synonym for that which is absolute and stands alone. A material world is a material singularity. Because a world is actualized in sets, it can be and is an actual or ‘real’ (material) infinity. A world is finite and yet it has no end to it. (The paradox about the so-called end is that it is a step rather than an end. At the end resides pure being and the potential to manifest a still higher level material step.)
To be a completed infinity does not merely refer to spatial extent. The spatial dimensions are a spatial manifestation of a set, but the basic idea of a ‘set’ begins with the set of archetypes producing the qualities of experience. To be infinite has a wider sense beyond that of space in that what is infinite lacks nothing in terms of any basic quality. A world is complete-in-time. Our three dimensional world only has twelve basic archetypes. There are more archetypes to be actualized in the future, including higher spatial dimensions, but the only types of being which exist in our world are being actualized by our world at this particular moment in time. The actualization of the types of being produce just what is meant by a material world. There is nothing outside a world. This is why a world is infinite in terms of any and all types of qualities and not just that of spatial extent. (Because the sets are actualized via systems, every system must correctly fulfill all the potentials they have personal jurisdiction over in order to be a material infinity.)
In addition to being absolute and infinite, the material body of a being (be it a person or an external world) has its own special way to express the eternal nature of spirit. It does so by being materially unending in a temporal sense which is what the term ‘everlasting’ refers to. That does not mean a person cannot change. Because they have an inner and outer world it is possible both for their parts to move and change and for they themselves to still be the self-same individual. That which is experienced as ‘change’ occurs inside a whole because change entails the ‘parts’ aspect of creation. All sorts of changes can take place inside a system as it utilizes the energy from a particular archetype, first this way and then that way. But all the while that individual remains the same individual due to the individual (singularitiness) aspect of their soul. (In addition to changing by shuffling around energy which was created previously, new energy is constantly coming into a system from the spiritual center of the body, creating new parts.)
The external world has the same nature as an internal world. Even though only a whole-in-the-making, it has the attributes of an individual and hence it remains the self-same world even though its internal parts change, and even though it gets bigger as new energy is added and it grows in extent. [In addition to all these modes of change in the midst of self-sameness, there is a monumental change when a system (and its accompanying external world) ascends to a higher dimension of expression.]
Einstein’s general theory of relativity helps validate this assertion by describing space as a space-time continuum and by seeing it as unbounded (with no bound or end). From the hermetic perspective, where one dimension of a world ends (at the so-called end of the world) it simply ascends up to a higher dimension. Relative to time, this would be a place where one type of time ends (again at the so-called end of the world), and where a world (a being) simply ascends up to a higher form of time. In other words, there is no end for a world (or for a person).
The body is a nexus of energy. The ability of the internal energy in a person to change and yet remain the energy of that person is what makes each person individually everlasting as a particular person. In addition to the general theory of relativity, the law of the conservation of energy also makes it possible to know that an individual is everlasting. This law states that energy can change form but cannot be destroyed. Currently this law only posits the everlasting nature of the energy of what people call the world, and does not speak to the existence of individuals as worlds. When on the other hand each individual is seen as a world, then the law of the conservation of energy can be seen to apply to any whole at any level of being, not just relative to the external world which people call a world. This makes it possible to see through both the general theory of relativity and the law of the conservation of energy that individuals are everlasting as individuals (when and only when they are whole of course).
B1. The Body as One (1): Soul and body are not two separate things. They are a process of interactions. Despite this, they can be discussed separately because they are different as well as the same. The soul is the potential for the material types of being, and yet paradoxically it is a real substance. The body is an actualized substance but cannot be real or even whole without its soul because the body is a process of fulfilling the potentials in the soul—those which exist for a particular moment in time for a particular individual.
When exploring the nature of the body, as was true of the substrate, the personal spirit, and the soul, it is important first to define terms. Spirit is aptly named, since the term comes from the Latin ‘spiritus’ which literally means ‘breath.’ The personal spirit gives both being and unity to a body. As it relates to the body it breathes in so to speak and draws the parts of the whole to itself centralizing them. As it breathes out it is an ongoing creative source of material substance (energy as light). The soul is also aptly named. It is closely related to the term ‘sole’ (‘one’) which denotes the soul’s ability to produce wholeness and singularitiness.
Unlike the names spirit and soul, the body has so many connotations attached to it—some good and some bad—if the various usages are not clearly defined, then understanding itself becomes cloudy. To scientists the term body refers only to the physical body. ‘Matter’ is said to be a synonymous term. In the hermetic cosmology the term material body has a wider sense. It is said people at their present level of evolution have three material vehicles—a mental, an emotional, and a physical body. This is important because it conveys the idea that the mental and emotional realms are ‘material’ in nature, if not physical. ‘
As with matter ‘form’ then also needs clarification. A body does not have form in the sense of matter being molded into shape by an additive element called ‘form.’ Matter is form—many different and yet very specific kinds of things (the types of being). These are each composed in such a way that they fit together as one (e.g., the many related beliefs in a logical mind).
Although matter is form, there are spiritual Forms which do mold material forms. Each of the twelve types of being is a material type of form. Each material form has a basic Form (in the Platonic sense) as an archetype in the soul. (The rulership system in astrology attests to these twelve being utilized by highly evolved systems like human beings to produce the form of mental and emotional bodies as well as that of the physical body.)
If these concepts are not clarified, it becomes easy to confuse that which is mind (and which is actually a material body) with that which is soul, or to confuse mind with the personal spirit, which governs awareness. As was discussed at length in Chapter 4, awareness (the ‘I Am’ of every person) is not the mental body, nor a mental process. It is a direct manifestation of the personal spirit at the center of the mental body—and actually at the center of the other bodies as well.
As for whether the mind is better or more spiritual in nature than the physical body, the mind evolved after the physical body and is stronger in nature. It is not better than the physical body—just a more evolved type of body and hence a more powerful type of body. Even the shekinah increases in power as the number and types of bodies increase.
In addition to these three kinds of bodies, the esoteric tradition also speaks of the existence of a higher body in a higher self, including mention of a ‘body’ which appears to represent the soul and is sometimes called the ‘causal body.’ That use also needs to be more clearly defined. First of all, soul is not body. It is a set of potentials. As for being a ‘cause’ the personal spirit and the personal soul are powers as well as substances, and hence are causes. The personal spirit is a first cause. It creates matter. The soul is a formal cause. It provides for the Forms connected to the twelve archetypes. The body is a set of ordinary (mechanical) causes. Spirit is not body and the soul is not body either. It is not a causal body.
That does not mean spirit, soul and body are not the same in essence, or even that soul cannot be body when experienced from a higher level. From the hermetic perspective, the soul of an atom is ‘body’ for people. When people inhabit a higher dimension, all lifetimes in this dimension are as parts of that higher dimensional self. It is important to clearly visualize the distinctions as well as the relationships between these things.
There is another sense of higher and lower which also needs to be more precisely defined. This has to do with bad versus good. The term higher and lower self has been used this way in the past, but this can lead to confusion. According to the hermetic cosmology people now alternate between two levels of worlds because of what the orthodox religions call the Fall. When parts are not coherently interrelated they cannot express the nature of wholeness—or of pure Unity. Wholeness is connected to levels of being. As Being is the Good, so also is Unity. Unity is expressed materially via symmetry and harmony. That which is ‘bad’ is lack of these things. No level is essentially bad. A three dimensional body is not bad and a four dimensional body good. But any level can have problems which need to be corrected if the parts have become incoherent. In fact they must be corrected because each level and dimension is a step towards, and a base for, the next. Each must be whole before a person can go on.
In order to understand what can happen when parts do not express the nature of wholeness, it is helpful to understand how the body is different from the soul as well as how it is the same. With soul there is an emphasis on wholeness—the unity of parts. With the body there is an emphasis on parts and hence on plurality.
B2.The Body as Two (2): In trying to decide how number symbolism relates to reality, some have supposed that the body, because it manifests plurality in the form of qualitative differentiation and spatial division, should be assigned the number two (2). They are right, but as usual this view needs qualification and is reconciled by a paradox. The one is two; and the two are one. Like geometry, pure math, and common language, kabbalah has much to teach about this. In addition to being one, Adam is also two. He has a divided nature, symbolized as Adam and Eve. The paradox is that, even in his divided nature, he is one. What the hermetic cosmology teaches is that Adam is a twin. Eve is said to come from his side. The beloveds arise as poles to one another and are born at the same time.
The name Adam means twin, and is related to the Greek word for twin (minus the unwritten Semitic ‘a’ at the beginning), i.e., δίδυμος (‘didymos’) ‘twin’. In English the Semitic Adam, after passing through the Greek Didymos, became the English Thomas. (The Greeks put an ‘s’ after names, and ‘th’ and ‘d’ were common transliterations as languages spread.) All three names mean ‘twin.’
Adam and Eve have an actualized internal world wherein they are two halves of one whole and, although different poles, are ‘one flesh.’ They also have an external world wherein they are individuals but, at the same time, are soul-mates seeking a higher level of wholeness. The latter type has to do with how the materially actualized self is seeking a higher expression of beinghood. That higher self is a higher dimensional whole-in-the-making for the twins.
The reason this type of relationship exists is because of a prior type—the relationship between the shekinah and Ein Sof. The material part-to-whole relationship is not mimicking the spiritual relationship, it is that relationship. The body is the material expression of the soul which is the personal spirit which is Ein Sof. These are the same, but different. The infinite contains within itself the potential for Adam, for the parts of Adam, and for his role as a part within higher level wholes. Adam is a Word and a word. As a Word he is an individual with parts. As a word he is a part of or attribute of a higher level Word.
Because of the Fall and because the body actually does express plurality, it has acquired a bad reputation. It is therefore important, not only to see that the body is (a) literally composed of spirit and can be shown because of this to be infinite in nature, but also (b) that it is finite as well as infinite. What is important to show relative to (b) is that the ‘ends’ matter has and the ‘plurality’ and ‘separation’ which makes matter finite is produced through the aforementioned singularitiness which is itself a form of unity and does not take away from the spiritual nature of matter. The world is made in such a way that separation is a form of unity.
In looking at (a) first, geometry is helpful. Geometry is at base of the most important formulas and concepts in modern physics. Through geometry it is possible to see that two of the most basic attributes of matter—space and motion—are composed of zero (the shekinah) as it relates to the infinite (Ein Sof). In visualizing this, the work of a mathematician by the name of Claude Bragdon (1866-1946) is especially helpful.7 In geometry zero is equivalent to a point. What geometry reveals is that the simplest type of finite spatial unit is apparently composed of ‘true’ (infinitely small) points—and an infinite number of these, even though it is a finite unit.
One of the basic attributes of space is its occurrence in terms of step-like dimensions. The first dimension of space can be symbolized by a line. (By looking at a spatial coordinate system it becomes possible to see that zero is the origin of the two coordinates on a line.) What is demonstrable through geometry is that zero is not only the origin of the first dimension, it continues to be its substance as well. According to Bragdon it takes an infinite number of infinitely small points to make a line whole. Zero point is needed both for the internal composition and to connect things. Without these point-instants the line would not exist, nor would it be whole. Note that a line is composed, not just of zero, but of a relationship between zero (∙) and the infinite (∞).
This continues with each higher dimension. The first line is created via a set of points. That set (the line) then multiplies as a whole. (Because the shekinah is a part of Ein Sof, higher dimensions relate as part-to-whole.) In the new dimension zero point is again needed to make the connection between the sets (the lines) as they actualize a new dimension at a 90o angle from the first. In addition to the point (0) the infinite (∞) is also needed. Per Bragdon, it takes an infinite number of infinitely small lines to make a surface continuous or whole. Relative to the next highest dimension (a cube world), it takes an infinite number of infinitely small surfaces to make a cube whole. The production of the material quality of ‘space’ is due to a relationship between the personal spirit and the substrate.
A material body is (a) literally composed of the substance of spirit. It is infinite thanks to the internal-reference aspect of the soul. The external-reference aspect makes it possible for that system to be (b) finite as well as infinite, in other words, spatially separated off from other things. Relative to the latter, Bragdon does not visualize space as ‘out there’ as physicists currently do when they look upon individuals as existing within the space of the external world. Instead he visualizes space as created via individuals. (Even an external world is a whole-in-the-making.) Thus he speaks of ‘line beings’ and ‘surface beings’ and ‘cube beings.’ One (1) has the meaning of singularitiness as well as of wholeness. The external reference aspect of the soul produces a limited extent. This is what a world entails. A being is a world and a world is a being.
Let us switch from geometry to pure mathematics, so-called number theory. It is possible to verify the truth of (a) and (b) with numbers as well. The number one symbolizes a material whole and a singularity. If living systems are produced by a relationship between the shekinah (0) and Ein Sof (∞) there will be a formula in mathematics capable of testifying to this—and there is. The formula for creation is 0 x ∞ = 1. This is known to be a valid mathematical equation (cf. Appendix C, Geometry), and one which is a proof that the reader (1) is composed of a relationship between two spiritual substances—their personal spirit (0) as it relates to the substrate (∞) and ongoingly multiplies (x) ‘over time’ producing the body-to-soul relationship. That multiplication process is time. It creates a person (and a world).
The formula which makes it possible to actually see the internal composition of ‘1’ is the inverse of the equation 0 x ∞ = 1, in other words, 1/∞ = 0. What this says is that if a material line (a line-being) is divided to an infinite extent (1/∞) what it comes down to is a spiritual singularity (0). This formula testifies, not just to the spiritual origin of the material world, but also to spirit as the ongoing source of the substance of the world—and of a person. Zero point is needed not just for connections between parts, but also to make up the substance of the parts.
It is the same with motion as with space. Philosophers have always been aware of the need for there to be something inherently infinite about motion for motion even to exist. Motion in order to be truly whole (in this case serially continuous) must be composed of an infinite number of point-instants occurring in a row over time. The internal-reference aspect of the soul provides for continuity. The external-reference aspect makes it possible for a motion in the material world to be ‘a’ motion and to be completed.
These ideas have been developing in the minds of philosophers for millenniums. Zeno of Elea for instance (490-430 BC) believed finite and infinite things were incompatible, but he still helped the progress of philosophy by devising thought experiments called paradoxes to show that space and motion were impossibilities and hence must be illusions.8 This can be illustrated through the story of ‘Achilles and the Tortoise.’ In Zeno’s paradox Achilles and the tortoise are walking in the same direction. Achilles is behind the tortoise but walks faster. Per Zeno, the space between the two gets smaller and smaller, but can do so infinitely. Both motion and space in order to be and to be continuous must be composed of an infinite number of point instants. Because of this they are infinitely divisible. And because of the infinite divisibility Achilles presumably can never reach or pass the tortoise. This paradox can be reconciled via the hermetic cosmology. It is the existence of part-whole duality (levels of being) which makes for the limits to be found in a ‘world.’ (Every motion or interaction and every spatial interrelationship is a whole-in-the-making, a little ‘world.’) Whether dealing with motion or spatial extent, what is involved is an actual infinity. Because of the limits of a world, which in turn is due to levels of being and completeness at each level, a motion can be completed.
The above ideas mainly have to do with motion or space. Plato in the Parmenides (Parmenides 128a-d) says these are the same types of arguments as the Eleatic philosopher Parmenides (c. 485 BC) presented in order to illustrate that qualitative differentiation (plurality in that sense) could not exist and that the entire material world, because it is highly differentiated and plural in nature, must be an illusion. The number one (1) is a real number. One is very much a paradox, and very much an odd number (in the sense of strange), but the paradox is reconciled by the existence of a world with layers in it. (As was noted earlier, the Pythagoreans viewed the number one as both odd and even, and both limited and unlimited.9)
III. Creation as a Process: Creation is a process, and specifically a process of spirit being turned into matter. There is another way to use mathematics to understand the nature of creation—a way which among other things helps explain the ‘x’ sign in the equation 0 x ∞ = 1. The simple mathematical operatives help illuminate the process of creation, especially when they are correlated to the four elements in the hermetic category system. The elements within each domain are referred to as fire, earth, air and water signs. What these show is that it is not by accident that mankind has mathematical processes of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. These basic operations denote processes connected directly to these four elements. (Chapter Twelve examines each the twelve archetypes more in depth, including the things they have historically been said to ‘rule.’)
a. Addition & Subtraction: Addition and subtraction are ruled by the positive (+) fire signs and the negative (-) water signs respectively. The three purely positive (+) fire signs (Leo, Sagittarius and Aries) make addition possible. In the domain of Form per se Leo is an immediate mode of the shekinah. It is due to the shekinah relating to the substrate that creation begins. It produces both a being and the attributes of that being. It is through the shekinah that energy is created and continually ‘added’ to the material world. The process of the shekinah (via Leo) producing an electromagnetic ray concurrently produces motion (Aries) and space (Sagittarius). It is the addition of points in a line which produces a spatial extent. The addition of points in a line part-at-a-time produces motion.
The three purely negative water signs (Pisces, Cancer and Scorpio) assist the process. They make subtraction possible. Subtraction assists addition. The shekinah takes what it needs from the substrate and adds it to the world. In the domain of Form per se the water sign Pisces is an immediate mode of the substrate. The substrate provides the substance which the shekinah uses to produce energy. In the domain of space, the water sign Cancer assists the fire sign Sagittarius. Cancer is said to rule the potential in a person, and in particular the potential for their spatial growth, the latter of which Sagittarius makes possible. In the domain of motion, the water sign Scorpio assists the fire sign Aries. Scorpio gives the ‘push’ from behind. It governs power as the potential behind the energy of motion. In addition to power, Scorpio is also said to govern ‘endings-which-are-new-beginnings’—that which people refer to as ‘change.’ As motion (Aries) ‘goes forth’ there is a ‘leaving behind.’ Subtraction infers taking something away but, because a system is a world, any ‘leaving behind’ (Scorpio) is merely change (not loss). Due to levels of being a system can change and remain the self-same individual.
Material subtraction reflects the nature of spiritual subtraction. Ultimately what is experienced as subtraction is merely a change from a potential into a material actuality—from pure being into material being. Because spirit is no-thing, nothing can be taken away from it. It is Being, not non-being. There is addition but there is no real subtraction except in so far as it assists addition in the material world by making potentials available for more energy to be actualized. The only process of subtraction is that of the substrate being turned into material creation and the substrate itself can never be diminished. At the end of every motion (and every world) pure Being resides and is constantly being turned into material being—the source of all beginnings.
b. Multiplication & Division: It is through multiplication that the truth of the equation 0 x ∞ = 1 can best be seen. The world is created in terms of sets, the most basic of which are the polarities. The polarities, in their role as both parts of one another and wholes in their own right, produce levels of being. It is the existence of levels which make it possible for a system to be a world, i.e., to be complete-in-time at each level. Multiplication adds sets. The set called 9 when added twice (9+9) equals 18. The entire set when multiplied by 2, i.e. (9x2), also equals 18, but the process is different. When used to help explain the equation 0 x ∞ = 1, multiplication expresses through mathematics the hermetic truth that the world is created by adding sets one layer at a time.
Addition and subtraction are ‘parents’ to multiplication and division. In each domain the four elements are like a family with the air and earth signs being children of the fire and water signs. The fire and water signs are closest in nature to the shekinah and substrate respectively. The air and earth signs govern the part-to-whole, body-to-soul relationship. The primarily positive (+/-) air signs govern multiplication, and the primarily negative (-/+) earth signs govern division.
Both air and earth signs need both wholeness and singularitiness to be what they are. The
difference is that with the air signs there is an emphasis on the internal reference (wholeness) aspect of the part-to-whole relationship whereas with the earth signs there is an emphasis on the external-reference (singularitiness) aspect. Both the air and earth signs express what it means to be One. (Of the three air signs, Aquarius rules qualitative connections, Gemini rules spatial connections, and Libra rules causal connections.)
Division is the converse of multiplication. The three earth signs, in being polarity partners to the three air signs, govern division. The earth sign Virgo rules the type of division experienced as qualitative differentiation, while Capricorn governs spatial division—things being set off from one another spatially. Taurus rules the limits of a motion. Each earth sign and the type of division it produces assists multiplication in its own particular domain.
When something is moving towards greater differentiation/division, it would seem to be moving away from Unity. Anything susceptible to spatial division for instance would presumably necessitate a leaving-off place where it was divided off from other parts. But what Hermes teaches and the archetypes reiterate is that division assists multiplication, and that even the most finite attributes of the body are due to levels of being, i.e., the ability of a part to be a whole at another level.
c. Exponentiation & Square Roots: Creation occurs in terms of sets, but there are two kinds of levels and sets in the world—those which express the multiplication of material parts into many different layers, and those which express the multiplication of the aforementioned ‘I am’ of beinghood. Exponentiation is a special form of multiplication. As systems evolve, there is multiplication in the normal sense in that many layers of sets in one particular dimension can be and are added to bodies as atoms become molecules, molecules become one-celled living organisms (such as a virus), and (in very evolved systems) a complex network of microtubules, cells and organs is produced. Despite the many additions of layers of parts in a particular dimension, at some point in time a system as a whole rises up to a higher dimensional state of being. Exponents or powers express this concept, e.g. 92. This is like 9×9 but the concept is different, just as 9+9 and 9x2 are the same but different. This is the power of self-multiplication and occurs when a whole multiplies itself as a whole. This process helps show first of all that wholeness (individuality) as well as partness (material being) is implicit within creation, and secondly that internal and external worlds (different dimensions) are implicit.
The body follows the ‘I Am’ in this process. A line multiplies as a whole to produce a surface, a surface multiplies as a whole to produce a cube. Any time a ‘power’ is seen in a major physics formula this is an indication that a dimensional change may be involved. (Square roots are the converse of exponents.)
As with the simple numbers like 0, 1 and 2, these simple basic math operations are behind the creation of a world. What they teach needs to be listened to.
IV. Symmetry & Harmony: The spiritual nature of the material world is due to the fact that, even though there are many parts, they all fit together and act together as a whole. A person cannot be god-like (or a world) if their parts do not express Unity.
There are two ways in which parts interact and express Unity. The first is via symmetry. Symmetry entails two equal parts which are essentially the same but opposites in that they are facing each other. Symmetry in motion produces cycling. The beloveds (as poles) are two halves of one whole and symmetry is a type of twinship.
The twins do not merely love one another, they love their source as well, and this leads them to desire more than their current state. Reaching for more produces spatial growth and qualitative evolution. It also produces an external world—a whole-in-the-making or higher potential state of beinghood.
The first type of relationship provides for completeness in the present—actually producing the ‘present’ which is a type of extended eternal being and is not officially ‘time’ in its sense as a movement into the future. The second type of relationship produces a movement through time (actually producing time) as the twins seek a higher sense of selfhood. Spatially speaking time is a relationship between higher and lower dimensions.
When in their role as electromagnetic waves, as the twins cycle there are phases in their interactions—phases in the light of which they are composed. When they move in a new direction, this produces frequencies. Frequencies factor in time in its role as a movement into the future.
In the external world each archetype manifests as a frequency in light which, although different, is harmonious with the others. Both symmetry and harmony are types of unity, and both express a part-to-whole type of relationship but, unlike symmetry, harmony has an element of growth factored in. As noted, these two types of unity are the reason an electromagnetic ray both cycles and moves forward at a new (90o) angle to the cycling.
Expressed spatially the first type of partness is merely ‘one divided in half equals a half of the whole.’ Geometrically a line would just be divided evenly. The second type of partness is expressed in the line below. Numerically it is called phi (φ) and amounts to approximately .618 . . .
1 .618 . . . .
In addition to phi this has also been called the golden ratio. Plato and other adepts of the old hermetic mystery schools were taught there was a way to divide a line ‘very carefully’ and in the process better understand how the many are related to the one. Phi has been of interest to people for thousands of years, perhaps tens of thousands.10
The line above does two things. First of all it illustrates the nature of harmony. Secondly it shows how the two types of part-to-whole relationships—symmetry and harmony—are themselves interrelated.
The relationship between symmetry and harmony can be seen better in the surface representation below. The entire figure of #1 below is in the shape of a phi rectangle. If it is cut down to the size of a square, that then leaves a little phi-shaped rectangle to the right. If a square is taken out of that it leaves a little phi rectangle at the bottom. In diagram #2 on the right, diagram #1 has been inserted into the center of #2 as the smallest rectangle. The actual process is in terms of an ascent rather than a descent. The first type of partness, symmetry, in this case expressed as a square, is a step towards the second type. Thus the increase is like a series of squares increasing in size—a staircase to the stars so to speak. Note too that the part is the whole and the whole is the part, depending upon the level under consideration.
<INSERT IMAGE #1 HERE> <INSERT IMAGE #2 HERE>
Phi Rectangle Phi Rectangle in Phi Rectange (Page 20 of Page Three)
This is how the parts in a system are related to the whole. It is also a representation of how systems grow. The light systems are composed of both cycles and spirals through space time. The latter, the spiral, is not a perfect circle/cycle. In the spiral there is constant growth. This is what the ‘phi-spiral’ expresses in the diagram below. A golden spiral gets wider by a factor of φ for every quarter turn it makes. [This diagram also shows how circles are related to squares (cf. Appendix C, Geometry, section o, ‘spatial shapes’).]
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Golden Spiral – Phi Rectangle Page 20 of Page Three Doc
Number theory relates to geometry. If the increase in size is related to the size of the first little square, the successive larger sizes encompass a certain number of squares as seen above. The total number of squares in higher level squares increases as follows: 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144 . . . These are called the Fibonacci numbers. These numbers and the spatially represented phi relationship are everywhere in nature in the parts of systems as they relate to the whole system, including simple leaf-to-stem arrangements in plants, or petal-to-flower patterns. These arrangements are in inorganic as well as organic systems, even in the smallest parts of an atom. Physicists speak of the basic characteristics of the world as being created in terms of a few elementary particles called quarks. Each quark is a different version of the golden ratio.11 Within these various forms, phi is to be found as a growth factor captured in both inanimate things like a galaxy (a ‘spiral’ nebulae) and the parts of simple living systems, such as the spiraling shell of the chambered nautilus—a marine mollusk. From the esoteric perspective, this design manifests everywhere because it is implicit within the substrate and is actualized via the shekinah-to-substrate interaction as it produces both an internal world and an external world—a whole and a whole-in-the-making. Symmetry and harmony are implicit throughout all creation, and the latter produces growth and evolution.
Not surprisingly the phi relationship is the basis of what people experience as harmony in music. Each note of the musical scale is a version of the golden ratio. Creation is made so as to be a symphony. What all this provides a proof for is that the material world is intended to be a good world, with all the systems within it expressing Unity via symmetry and harmony.
Like pure and applied mathematics, physics and biology provide proofs of implicit value within nature, even of the purpose of life. That purpose is not just for the ‘I Am’ to be, but also to become more and more aware of its unity with all that is—and to express this in a material way via ever higher levels of material encompassment, increasing its ‘wholeness’ by encompassing more and more systems into itself as true parts (without the individual selfhood of any of these systems being lost).
The spatial dimensions are a simple way to illustrate this, including how symmetry (a square) is related to the ascent. No matter how many dimensions a material system comes to encompass, it must ascend as a whole when it moves upward to experience a higher dimension. The cubes in the diagram below illustrates the ascent from a point to a line to a surface . . . Note how each dimensional ascension from a line to a surface to a cube entails a 90o angle, and an ascension as a whole. This is true even in terms of the fourth dimensional form.
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Geometrical Progression of Dimensions in space (Page 21 of Page Three Doc)
To visualize the step which is equivalent to the fourth dimension, instead of the two cubes in section 4 of the above illustration (which shows the ascension as similar to a higher level step on a stairs) a tesseract can be used.
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Tesseract cube here
Unlike the prior diagram, this one illustrates the fact, not only that each dimension is larger (the growth factor), but also that dimensions entail hierarchically encompassing wholes within wholes. A line encompasses dots, a surface encompasses lines, and a cube encompasses all the surfaces it is composed of. It is this which lends credence to the idea that all lifetimes in this dimension are as parts to a higher dimensional self and hence that they are not lost or left behind when people ascend, but rather continue to exist as parts within the higher self. [And since kabbalah indicates that a world is created from love, this dimensional encompassment also lends credence to the hermetic assertion that Love never destroys; it merely enfolds.]
Creation moves forward in terms of ever higher and larger sets/levels, and each level is both infinite and finite (complete). A complex system like a human being is composed of many different layers of sets, and each level is (and must be) complete at its own level of being.
What is fascinating about this is that, just as a person can be complete-in-time at any one moment in time there are an infinite number of potential sets and dimensions, precisely because spirit is infinite in potential. No one will ever be perfect in the sense of coming to an end in their ability to manifest new higher level sets and dimensions —and yet everyone (when whole) is always at any one moment in time perfect (complete)—precisely because of what the personal spirit (as a limit which is not a limit), and the soul (as a limit which is not a limit), makes possible.
Thinking about ‘heaven’ has bothered some because it sounds boring to live in a place which is perfect. Presumably perfect means no more evolution, no growth, no essential change. The world has been created in such a way that there is both perfection and growth. Because it is created in stages, and because people are time, people just need to fulfill their potential at any one moment in time and they can be both perfect and grow. Heaven is not a place but rather a state of being.
This is a beautiful way to make a world. This is why the root of the name of Solomon [שלם (shalem), meaning to be whole, complete and unbroken] does not merely express the nature of a person as an unbroken whole, but also as a complete individual at all times.
That completes this section on symmetry and harmony. Before ending this chapter one more thing about symmetry should be added—something related to its practical application.
- Symmetry and Law. Whenever a person does anything to compromise their wholeness what they are doing is breaking the laws of the universe. It is symmetry which relates to law. In motion this is the third law of motion, ‘For every action there is an equal reaction.’ As the diagrams show, growth is dependent upon everything being ‘squared away’ so to speak. Every iota of the law must be fulfilled because the material body is composed of law. It is not possible to have missing places and rise upward.
Kabbalah talks about two ‘pillars’ made of silver. Symmetry between the two poles is the base which upholds creation. Law is like silver. Free will and the ability to grow and be more—these are like gold. If only law existed there would be no growth and everything would just cycle unendingly. There is growth. Spirit is constantly adding more substance to the world. Both are valuable, but gold (the golden section) is the more valuable because it allows for freedom as well as for the deterministic factor involved with law. It also permits free will to be over law.
Symmetry reflects the primal nature of the poles. The poles however are not just the positive and negative poles of light energy. In complex, highly evolved systems like human beings these are the beloveds. People are both wholes and parts. The beloveds are equals. Among other things this means people must learn about the need for equality between the sexes before they can move onward and upward. And because ultimately, not merely the beloveds but all systems are one, people must learn that every living system possesses equal value, whatever the level of their evolution.
This subject will be returned to in Chapter 12 when speaking of the Libra principle. Libra rules the third law of motion. This is a law of laws. Law has been depicted in front of state and federal courts as a woman holding a scale beam in her hand. Libra is the ‘sign of the scales’ and has also been symbolized in this way.
At the entrance to this country another woman holds up the torch of liberty. Both freedom and law are necessary and interdependent. There can be no freedom (or rise upward) unless law is respected and it is understood that everyone has an equal right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Conclusion: A world is a material (actual) infinity. Every individual system is an actual infinity. They could not be an individual if they were not. A person is a world—and a god.
– – – – –
All of this new information in science and mathematics is emerging and converging at the heart of the hermetic cosmology. A new innovation in pure mathematics (set theory) was created by the Russian-German mathematician Georg Cantor.12 It demonstrated, via sets, that there is such a thing as an actual infinity. This is what a material world is. The world (and every person) is an actual (material) infinity. Cantor’s work when applied to the real world provides one more proof that a person is a god.
All these proofs are now available to whomever searches diligently for the truth. When researching set theory, as with all things spiritual, it is good to look at the history of this idea. As was discussed in Chapter 3, it is not just religion which has presented obstacles towards the establishment of a spiritual paradigm. So also has academia. Set theory provides a proof that both zero (0) and the infinite (∞) are real, including information as to how a material infinity (1) is related to a spiritual infinity (∞). The reality of zero has created enough problems in mathematics, but there has been even more resistance to any notion of the reality of the infinite. Throughout his lifetime Cantor was persecuted academically. If the future is to be different from the past, it is important to revisit and learn from the past.
As for how the equation 0 x ∞ = 1 is treated, many mathematicians say the equation is valid, but that it makes no sense. Materialistic mathematicians and physicists do not believe in the reality of either the infinitely small (0) or the infinitely large (∞). They agree that 1 is a real number. One is the first real whole number and is the basis of the counting system. Zero presents its own little problem, but despite differences of opinion about the nature of zero, it is the infinitely large which really gives mathematicians a headache. Numbers do not lie and infinities pop up in important mathematical equations all the time, as for instance in quantum field theory. Currently physicists get rid of these worrisome problems through various types of elicit procedures from dropping very small numbers to ‘renormalizing’ very large ones (cf. Appendix C). Mathematics has the potential to show people that the material world is created from spirit, and what mathematics reveals needs to be listened to.
Footnotes, Chapter 6
1. Reese, ‘Bruno,’ p. 69.
2. Kaplan, p. 51. In the Sepher Yetzirah it is said to be the ‘Word’ within the primary sefirot which initiates the ‘running and returning.’ (Cf. also Ezekiel 1:14.) The words of the Word are the polarities as these produce the four elements—fire, earth, air and water—which in turn produce the twelve archetypes. These (the two plus their center) are what kabbalah speaks of as the primal three. The two words are one, a Word of God.
Per the Sepher Yetzirah, as the polarities arise they produce both a ‘particle’ expression as a “whirlwind” (something circular). But they also (in wave-form) have the “appearance of lightning.” Lightning is produced by an electromagnetic current wherein positive and negative charges separate—negative towards the bottom of the cloud and positive towards the top. These polarities are two sides of one whole and at the center (the ‘throne’) as they cross over into one another what was down becomes up, and what was up becomes down as they “prostrate” themselves. (turn ‘face down.’) Sepher Yetzirah 1:6.
3. Blavatsky, Theosophical Glossary, ‘Adam Kadmon’ p. 5.
4. Ibid., ‘Adamic Earth’ p. 6.
5. Ibid, ‘Adam’ p. 5.
6. Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians, Vol. 1, p. 402, 415.
7. Bragdon, A Primer of Higher Space, and Explorations into the Fourth Dimension.
8. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, Zeno’s Paradoxes,
9. Craig, ‘Pythagorianism,’ pp. 859-860.
10. Plato says there is a proportion wherein that “which is to the last term what the first term is to it, and again, when the mean is to the first term as the last term is to the mean, then the mean becoming first and last, and the first and last both becoming means, they will all of them of necessity come to be the same, and having become the same with one another will be all one (Timaeus 32).” (In his famous book titled the Elements Euclid puts the golden mean into the verbal terms ‘extreme and mean ratio.’)
The Timaeus includes Plato’s description of how the four ‘elements’ (fire, earth, air and water) are symbolized via solids. For a look at how phi relates to the so-called Platonic solids see Wikipedia, ‘Platonic solids.’ (Cf. also, Google: ‘Platonic solids, water and the golden ratio.’ Cf. also Google: Platonic Solids and Plato’s Theory of Everything—MathPages.’)
11. Olsen, p. 57. Cf. Google: ‘fibonacci numbers in life/nature,’ or Wikipedia, ‘spiral galaxy.’
12. Cantor. For an overview of set theory try Wikipedia, ‘set theory.’ For an overview of the current paradox in mathematics in regards to an ‘actual infinity’ and its relationship to the notions of potentiality and actuality, try Wikipedia, ‘actual infinity.’ For Aristotle’s contribution to the subject of potentiality versus actuality try “Potential Infinite vs. Actual Infinite – Aristotle,” http://sites.middlebury.edu/fyse1229pisapati/mathematical-work/potential-infinite-v-actual-infinite/