Nicolescu etc.


Wednesday, November 25, 1998

Nicolescu writes about Boehme, his approach to "reason." "...the rationality found in his writing is a living rationality, rooted in experience. What did those twelve years of silence [that passed after he, at 25 years, had a revelation that was the basis for all his subsequent work--he felt himself engulfed by an extraordinary flow of information about the hidden nature of things] represent if not sacrifice in the name of reason? Why else did he write so many books, if not to try to explain, to analyze, to rationalize that experience?. . ."

I respond this way: Boehme did what anyone with the enthusiasm to do so does: he must do it out of a variety of reasons he may himself give or may be given by those who try to reconstruct. But he's got to get something from the experience, a return on his investment of energy and time. This need not be and regularly is not, financial compensation. It is compensation none-the-less.

". . .What is the mechanism by which reason succeeds in deciphering the results of an experience which is on the whole irrational, without betraying it? . . .One might well invoke the term "imaginal introduced by henry Corbin, to designate the truly imaginary--the creative, visionary, essential, fundamental; without this vision, the real dissolves in an endless chain of veiled, deforming, mutilating images." p17

"The challenge Boehme gambled on (in 1656) was, and remains, crucial--to reconcile opposing principles while preserving their specificity: the rational and the irrational, matter and spirit, finality and endlessness, good and evil, freedom and law, determinism and indeterminacy, the imaginary and the real--concepts which appear, in the context of his philosophy, merely as laughably poor approximations of far greater ideas."

"The miracle is that Boehme did rediscover for himself a language suitable to his philosophy: the language of symbolism, which is, after all, commonly used in traditional thought. "The symbol is . . . a representation which makes a hidden meaning apparent; it is the epiphany of a mystery. The symbol brings about the unity of opposites, and, in order to be understood, presupposes the interaction of subject and object. It is founded on the logic of the included middle, which demands a language that breaks with everyday "natural" language.

The symbol is a marvelous living organism which helps us read the world. It never has an ultimate or exclusive meaning. Its precision consists just in this fact, that it is capable of embracing an unlimited number of aspects of reality. We are thus obliged to accept the relativity of our way of looking at it: this relativity can be present only if the symbol is conceived of as in movement and if we ourselves experience it. Symbolism entails a decreasing entropy of language, a growing order, an augmentation of information and comprehension, as it crosses different levels of reality." p-18

The axis of Boehme's cosmology: ". . .everything which exists is ruled by a very small number of general laws.. . .The conceptual plan is based on the interaction between a threefold logic or structure and a sevenfold, self-organizing cycle or process. . . .this method is seen in science up to the present day (established by Boehme):a certain limited number of laws--often very abstract, mathematical, and removed from directly observable reality--is postulated; the consequences of these laws are deduced; and then these consequences are compared with experienced data." P-21

Boehme considered reality to be structured in three parts determined by the action of three principles: the dark, the light and the god or power/spirit.

"These three principles are independent, but at the same time they all three interact at once: they engender each other, while each remaining distinct. The dynamic of the interaction is a dynamic of contradiction: one could speak of a negative force corresponding to the darkness, a positive force corresponding to the light, and a reconciling force corresponding to what Boehme called "extra-generation." It is a question of a contradiction among three poles, of three polarities radically opposed but nevertheless linked, in the sense that none of the three can exist without the other two.
The three principles have a virtual quality, for they exist outside our space-time continuum. As a result, they are, in themselves, invisible, untouchable, immeasurable: " . . each is the cause of the birth of the other. And this threefold spirit is not measurable, divisible or fathomable: for there is no place found for it, and it is at the same time the 'bottomless state' of eternity, which gives birth to itself within itself in a ground." p-23

"It is important to stress that it is exactly this process of contradiction which allow manifestation. The hidden god is not pure transcendence. Through the the other poles of this ternary contradiction, he can show himself, he can manifest, he can respond to the wish to understand himself. p-23

The idea of Boehme is that man is the actualization of the threefold structure. As such, each man is therefore at least potentially the "divine" manifestation--just as the Buddhists say, "god is in us." This makes more sense to me than conceiving of a "god" out there somewhere. This idea allows each entity--seed, cell, molecule, organ, organism, animal and human its own potentiality to be whatever it can be, each with its divine partition. This observation, then, tends to give this or any world a real meaning. "Otherwise, the world is dead, absurd, accidental." p-24

The scientist ideology, "founded on binary logic, that of yes or no, modern science reached its peak in the nineteenth century, in a scientistic ideology proclaiming that science alone, human reason alone, had the exclusive right-of-way to truth and reality. . . .The scientistic ideology began to fall apart [negative pole + the newly developing spirit?] at the birth of quantum physics, with the discovery of a level of reality that clearly differs from our own; this, in order to be understood, seemed to demand a threefold logic, that of the included middle.

Nicolescu refers to his book: Nous, la particule et le monde in accessing a product of modern physics: meaning ("le sens" in French= many processes which initially seem chaotic or disordered may be seen to have a significance or direction, the presence of order or if you will laws).
He goes on to describe the ideas of Lupasco (actualization, potentialization and the T-state--included middle), the triad of Pierce (firstness, secondness and thirdness). He relates them to Boehme: three worlds (Boehme), three matters (Lupasco) and three universes (Pierce). The source for threefold thinking is different: inner experience for Boehme, quantum physics (Lupasco) and mathematical graph theory (Pierce). And I would add examination of ancient symbols (Ross Smith). The underlying "law" manifest is that which produces the threefold structure of reality. p-27

"If threefoldness concerns the inner dynamics of all systems, sevenholdness (six for Ross Smith) is, according to Boehme, the basis, in its inexhaustible richness, for the manifestations of all processes. Sevenfoldness function in continual interaction with threefoldness: it is precisely this interaction which furnishes the key to a full comprehension of reality, at least in the view which Boehme proposes to us.

First of all, why choose the number seven? In the beginning it is difficult to understand why any number, even on the level of symbolic thought, should be more important than any other, in an absolute and definitive way. Why, for example, should the number 7 (or 6) exclude all interest in the numbers 4 or 9 or 137 or 1010 ?Of course, the mythic, theological or symbolic value of the number 7 is well known. " p-27

N goes on to say that he does not believe in an exterior source (for Boehme) for the importance of the number seven but rather that the number is a "relentless logical consequence. . . of one of the keystones of his thinking: that the basis of all manifestation must be in perpetual interaction with threefoldness."

Hereafter follows a most inaccessible interpretation offered by N. All I can grasp from it is the following:

The qualities or forces interact thusly: the first is a negative force with innate intentions, innate momentum so to speak--it desires to remain as it is. the second is a positive force, opposed to the first quality, wishing to become manifest (positive manifestation) and thusly opposing the first. This "furious goad" is associated with the appearance of the third quality--a reconciling force without which no opening towards manifestation would be possible. In effect, this 'god' or spirit of the triad (Boehme calls it quality) is born and engages in a "gigantic struggle with himself." (That sounds familiar!!!) In effect, the spirit or god of Boehme dies before he is born. This is not quite right, but close.

The merciless struggle between the first three forces or qualities produces a wheel of anguish. The triad cannot become manifest in this condition. "Something must happen to allow . . .the manifestation."

It is at this point a "principle of discontinuity" must appear to open the way for true evolutionary movement. While not a "step" as part of the sevenfold cycle per se, the event is essential to give life to the triad and the "four" move to the next level. It is this that I understand not at all. What the discussion entails is the birth of "god" with the introduction of the "third principle" [these are Boehme's terms and for some reason the third comes before the second in his lexicon]. But as I see it, what has happened is that the triad simply has to evolve, it cannot remain at rest (or dies); it changes, at which time it again recapitulates itself and on and on. Here is the point where I need Ross Smith to enlighten me. And indeed, there are shown on the diagram on p-31 three "triads."

N goes into a little feint at this point and adopts all of Boehme, whereas the cycle if viewed consistently, would result in a threefold series of threefoldness, or 9. Guirdjieff describes a law of three and a law of seven with their interaction resulting in a law of 9. Whatever the end-point 7 or 9 or 6, the cycle somehow repeats itself endlessly.

"At a certain level of reality, the sevenfold cycle can develop fully, can stop, or can even involve; the different systems belonging to a level of reality that enjoys the freedom of self organization. The divine nature and its evolution is predetermined insofar as potentiality is concerned. But the interruption characterizing the sevenfold cycle introduces an element of indeterminacy, of liberty, of choice. As Koyre remarks: "The lightning flash is that of freedom introducing itself into nature, which is the opposite of freedom." In Boehme's universe, determinism, and indeterminacy, constraint and freedom coexist contradictorily.
Is not the god of darkness, the magical source of all reality, in himself, the great indeterminacy? But the hunger and desire is after substance, and he is obliged to accept a certain determinism, a certain contradiction. . . . It is on this divine tragedy that the greatness of our own world is founded: that of the full evolution of man. The self knowledge of god thus rejoins the self-knowledge of man." p-34

"The interlocking of all the seven cycles inside each other determines the instantaneity and non-separability acting in Boehme's universe. The unity of this endless chaining together of different cycles escapes the action of time, which operates on various levels of reality; the unity simply is, outside of all time or space. It is in this sense that the wheel of divinity, "always appears more and more wonderful and marvelous, with its rising up, and yet abideth also in its own place." (B)

Boehme's universe is also characterized by its non-separability. If one given sevenfold cycle is cut off from the others, the movement of the whole stops and degenerates, as if disabled. It would be very interesting to see in what measure the surprising idea of quantum non-separability, discovered theoretically as well as experimentally in the field of quantum physics, might be interpreted philosophically as a sign of generalized non-separability of the sort that characterizes Boehme's cosmology. Certainly, one must not confuse the different levels of reality. Quantum non-separability is a precise notion (in the scientific meaning of the term) and is thus very limited in its application. According to Bernard d'Espagnat: "If the idea of an independent reality for man is to make any sense, then such a reality must be non-separable. And by non-separable it must be understood that if we conceive of reality as being made up of parts that can be localized in space, and these parts interact in certain well-established ways when they are close together, then they will continue to interact no matter what their distance from each other, in accordance with the action of simultaneous influences." . . .in the cosmology of Boehme, everything is a sign of interaction with the rest of the cosmos. A sign is not a symbol and a symbol is not reality. But the dynamic of the sevenfold cycles in B's cosmology is a marvelous instrument for deciphering the world." p-44
"The modernity of B's thought is likewise linked to this idea which keeps coming back in different forms throughout his writing, that nature is not accidental but exists to teach us something about ourselves through our interactions with it. Edgar Morin takes pertinent note of the modern rebirth of the concept of Nature, which has been expelled as a romantic phantasm by the science of the preceding century: "At the same time that the universe is becoming strange, mysterious, frozen in space, yet burning and exploding among the stars, terrifying with its black holes which drink their own light, the rebirth is taking place of a Nature that is organic, complex, womblike, nourishing, and placental, at once enveloping man and inside of him." p-47

"It is important to remember that in B's cosmology the qualities of the sevenfold cycles are energies: they are the very source of movement. As a result a flow of energy endlessly floods the whole cosmos to insure this interaction. Nothing is empty in the cosmos: "The whole deep between the stars and the earth is inhabited, and not void and empty."

" . . .Is the fabulous energy of the infinitely small that 20th century physics has succeeded in discovering on the quantum level also a sign of this energy of unity? In any case, it is a well known scientific fact that the smaller the area of exploration, the greater the energy required to explore it. Everything indicates that an ever more immense energy seems to be hidden in tinier and tinier places (and it is good thing that it is hidden, given the murderous folly of man-kind.) Any point is linked with the entire universe; it is like the universe in miniature. For the sevenfold generative power is found everywhere, even in the smallest circle that can be imagined. Of course, once again, we must not confuse a sign with total reality. The energy that is found in the physical universe is not the energy of unity. In B's cosmology, it is love [the fifth quality] that is the source of unity and intercommunication.

But the energy that the physicists have succeeded in discovering on the scale of the infinitely small seems instead to draw its source, in B's language, from the first triad of the sevenfold cycle, that of the "wheel of anguish."p-48

"True imagination as the source of reality is a key idea in B's C. The recent translation of the bible by Andre Chouraqui, written after a very long period of interdisciplinary research, reconfirms B's vision in a rather unexpected way. The translation of the Hebrew word "Bereshit" is usually "in the beginning." It is composed of three words: Be (in), Rosh (head), and it (abstract ending). Thus "god" created our own world in his head. . . .Thus there are two creations of man: one in the imagination, in form; the other creaturely, out of the dust of the earth. It is indeed the true imagination which is the source of everything." p-55

"But . . . the universe of B is not predetermined. In this self-organizing universe, each level of reality has its own freedom. The orientation of the sevenfold cycle is not fixed in advance. It can go forward, or backward or even be interrupted at intervals of discontinuity. In particular, the whole process can stop at the end of the first triad of the sevenfold cycle, trapped in the dark world of the wheel of anguish. The imagination continues to act, but it becomes corrupted, it degenerates, it engenders hollow, unstable monsters. This false imagination has as much reality as the real imagination. It is diabolical in the etymological sense of the term: it separates and blocks the process of self-knowledge. Images generate other images, endlessly, in an infernal movement, where no image has any consistency. Matter is no longer engendered, nothingness feeds on nothingness. One sees why B linked the false imagination to vanity.. . .But, paradoxically, the false imagination can have a constructive role. it is like a black light which allows us to see better the true light of life. Without the titanic struggle between the false and true imagination, the sevenfold cycle could not be accomplished. Everything comes down to a question of place: the place of the false imagination is in the wheel of anguish, a necessary stage which must be passed beyond in order that there can be accomplishment. When this place is no longer respected, destruction, anarchy, and death establish themselves. In a world of false imagination, it is death which lives." p-56

"Sleep and the Imaginal
Up until now we have used the word imagination in order to be true to the French translations of JB's writings and to the different commentaries published in French. But contemporary usage of the word imagination immediately makes one think of fancifulness, which is in total opposition to the meaning Boehme attributed to the word. That is why I prefer from now on, whenever possible, to use the phrase, the imaginal, one well established in modern terminology, especially since the writings of Gilbert Durand and his school.

A discussion about the relationship between sleep and the imaginal would at first seem surprising. It is, however, crucial, for sleep appears in Boehme's writings as a central symbol in his cosmology, having a metaphysical meaning very different from t he sense that the word evokes in everyday language.

"Behold and consider the sleep,: B writes, "and you shall find it all. Sleep is nothing else but a being overcome." But being overcome by whom , or what? This is precisely the process of the embodiment of the imaginal which contains the seed of sleep as an element of resistance, a blockage of that embodiment: "And then instantly the sun and stars wrestled with [Adam], and all the four elements wrestled so mightily and powerfully, that they overcame him; and [so] he sank down into a sleep."

Sleep therefore seems like a stop, even like a break in the evolutionary process. It signifies the breaking of all contact with true imagination, a separation from the flow of reality by a turning back, a plunge into the abyss of the false imagination. B speaks of "the great mystery of separability, out of which issued living beings." This separability necessarily implies sleep as a stage of self-knowledge, a forgetting of the true nature. Sleep by itself is not harmful for "where sleep is, there the virtue [or power] of god is hidden in the center." But a sleep lasting an entire lifetime is equivalent to death. Thus B, as a great teacher, constantly invites us to wake up. This resumption of contact with true imagination is a new birth. We can be reborn, in this life, by true imagination, by reestablishing our proper place in the movement of the universe that is non-separable from all levels of reality. Man builds himself by the power of true imagination; he is the incarnation of the imagination.

A surprising process of spiritual alchemy is described in B's writings. For him, the imaginal and faith are inseparable. The the extent that each sevenfold cycle which leads to the embodiment of the imaginal corresponds to a certain degree of materiality, signifying that faith itself has a material consistency, it is a food which nourishes different levels of reality. The imaginal and faith on the human level thus nourish divinity by an ascending process, in a cycle perpetuated enlessly by those who believe. B describes with no ambiguity faith as nourishment: "Christ, according to the eternal Word of the Deity, eateth not of the substance of heaven, as a creature, but of the human faith and earnest prayer, the souls of men prasing god are his food. . ."

The reciprocal feeding of all levels of reality thus demands our active participation, through our opening the imaginal to true imagination. The sleep of man is thus equivalent to a veritable cosmic catastrophe: quite simply, it blocks the movement of the universe. This in no way signifies that the sleep of man and even his total disappearance as a species will impede the revolution of the planets or the existence of the galaxies. but the living universe of JB would then be transformed into a dead universe: mechanical, animated by a mere pretense of movement.

Modern physics and the Imaginal without Images

A stubborn cliche holds that scientific inventiveness, especially in mathematics and theoretical physics, must be associated with a method of unshakable logic. It is true that a partial, technical scientific result generally arises out of the rigorous development of a kind of formalism. But in the great game of scientific invention, the ardent fire of the imaginal often plays a predominant role in relation to the imperturbable calm of scientific logic.

Important steps toward the comprehension of the role of the imaginal in modern mathematics have been taken in the testimonies of two great mathematicians: Henri Poincare and Jacques Hadamard. In theoretical physics, the role of the imaginal has been explored by Gerald Holton. I, too, have had occasion to express myself on the subject.

Mathematics and theoretical physics are linked by a common characteristic: the imaginal here operates in an abstract, mathematical framework, whose subtlety and complexity preclude and quick understading. but there is also an important difference between mathematics and theoretical physics: mathematicions are concerned about the internal coherence of their representation, while theoretical physicists. while sharing this concern, must also allow their representations to confront the fierce resistence of Nature. It is true that this difference is not as clear-cut as it first seems. After all, mathematical theories are engendered by the brain, and the brain has this extraordinary capacity of putting itself on an equal footing with Nature. This explains why mathematical theories have sometimes found their application in physics long after their discovery. It nonetheless happens that the first presence of so-called external Nature introduces a new term into the dynamics of the imaginal in theoretical physics.

There follows a discussion of examples from flatland. (Edwin Abbott)

"If I were obliged to choose one name to incarnate the change in our world view through quantum physics, I would without hesitation choose Max Planck, the chief actor in this modern Mahabharata which is playing itself out before ours eyes in this century. The pages of his Scientific Autobiography reveal all the complexity of his interior process of clarification: "I have made vain attempts for a number of years to adapt the elementary quantum of action in one way or another to the framework of classical physics; these attempts have cost me a great deal of effort. Many colleagues have found in this something that bordered on tragedy. But I have a different opinion about it. For the total enlightenment that I then experienced was for me an unequaled enrichment. I knew with all certainty that the elementary quantum of action played a much more important role in physics than I was inclined to give it at first."

...The confrontation between two different levels of reality through the action of the imaginal contains within itself an immense potential for revealing the poetic content of the universe, for the reenchantment of the world. It is not a question, obviously, of more or less arbitrary lyrical effusions, inspired by a superficial contemplation of the marvels of modern science, but rather one of a more whole engagement of the human being on the road to self-knowledge and knowledge of the universe. The well informed imaginal can incorporate mathematical abstraction as well as freedom of intuition, the data obtained from the exploration of Nature as well as the feeling awakened by the contemplation of these data. It is this well informed imaginal which today allows the opening of a major dialogue between science, art and tradition." p-65

Next begins a discussion of the important differences and debates between science and tradition. "Non scientists are seen expressing themselves cheerfully on complex problems of quantum physics and writers who plainly know practically nothing about tradition hold forth with total assurance on any subject whatever relating to traditional thought. The situation becomes even more ludicrous (or even more disturbing) when the same writers disclose to us the . . .absence of links between science and tradition. [My marginal notes here say: esoteric??] For everything, or almost everything seems to have been asserted in this domain, ranging, on one hand, from the proclamation of the sameness of the world views proposed by tradition (especially Far Eastern traditions) and science, to the opposite extreme, proclaiming the absence of any bridge whatsoever between them. but of course this kind of research cannot be undertaken by proclamation; militant passions can only obscure the debate." p-69

". . .Stated a different way, modern science finds itself firmly trapped in the "wheel of anguish."

The first three qualities of the sevenfold cycle are those closest to the magical source of reality. but at the same time, they are the furthest from realization, from the sucessful completion of the cycle.

The context I am proposing allows us to shed light simultaneously on the essential differences between science and tradition and their equally essential relationship."

N attempts to define (and here perhaps reveals his subjectivity) tradition as concerning itself with the entire sevenfold cycle. But he states it this way: science is the first triad, traditon the whole cycle. That to me makes no sense, although to him it places an unbreakable relationship between the two. It seems to me that all things are the sevenfold cycle and nothing is just a part. To say otherwise is to select-out something more or less arbitrarily, at the very least, subjectively. Why not reverse the idea and retain the relationship: tradition is the first triad and science is the sevenfold cycle.

But my reading of the matter at this point in time tells me that nothing is at rest, everything is, to borrow N's word, re-inventing itself endlessly. This idea feels proper to me for it does away with any idea that one thing (or idea) is itself immutable, though I admit that it again opens the issue of beginnings--N seems to buy that god, or at least the 'mind of god' came first. His interpretations suggest themselves to be endowed with a rich acceptance of traditional almost fundamental ideas of a god ruled universe, even less giving than some of the Eastern traditionalists seem to be.

It would be my sevenfold cycle vis a vis this matter to attempt to find inside the boundaries of threefoldness and sevenfoldness, qualities and principles and so forth something to start with. As I grasp it just now, without postulating more than positive and negative forces, particles, qualities, whatever, there eventuates only from those two, the third relationship, something that reflects the intrinsic opposition of the two forces. For example, the metaphor of desire is born of the two: the search for the opposite. The completion of that search, if the forces be equal can be the death of the matter--the dance of no movement. Thus, for continuation, there must be either an unequal relationship between the forces or there must be something else, another triad in the wings or at hand to generate unrest. And, of course, as we watch or think we do, our universe--albeit day-to-day universe--dance as it does, exactly that is happening. If the sub-atomic relationships hold all the way to the macroscopic level--can we assume that the product of this molecular unrest is also going to go through a similar cycle?

The problem that I immediately see is this simply re-capitulates the positivists and materialists and while it does place a kind of spirit into the equation, such a spirit is less "idea-laden" than one might expect from the interpretation of the Bible, for example, above where the "idea" of the cosmos comes first.

Let me say that I would be willing to find a cogent spiritualism if it existed out there and in here, but I am left with a nagging feeling that we are simply talking here about causality of the 'old kind.' In my margin notes, in response to his statement: "Tradition is nourished by science, by time, by history, while science obtains all its meaning (and, in particular, its sense of value) by interacting with tradition." {But "tradition" locks itself into a time cell by replaying the same themes endlessly without modification}.

What this boils to is almost a one sentence idea: believe it and it works. That's what Ross has been saying all along. And it probably does not matter very much what it is you believe as long as it is directed in a manner that it does not become in conflict with other energies that are in opposition.

N writes: "The logic which rules the quantum world is different from that which rules our world. All the writings of Lupasco testify to the richness of this logic of contradictories in its philosophical implications. But what interests me here is the kinship between quantum logic and traditional thought. The themata of the quantum world, as alternatives to contradictions, appear to be outmoded and replaced by a veritable unity of contradictories: something not continuous or discontinuous, but continuous and discontinuous; not simplicity or complexity, but simplicity and complexity; not unity or hierarchical structure, but unity and hierarchical structure; not constancy or change, but constancy and change. The quantum entity is at the same time continuous and discontinuous. The physical interactions appear at once unified and structured hierarchically, according to the scale of eneryg on which they are being explored. The quantum world seems at once simple (through its fundamental laws which ensure the unity of interactions) and extremely complex (through the infinite variety of phenomena at different energy levels). Quantum entities ask at the same time of symmetry and a break in this symmetry. The themata appear thus at most like facets of a symbol. I have discussed elsewhere (Nous la particle etc)some idea-symbols of modern physics. The reconciliation between contemporary sceintific thought and traditional symbolic through is a major encounter which is the sign, I think, of a still more important encounter: that between the world explored by Tradition and the world explored by science. What tradition discovers in the richness of the interior life, science discovers, by correspondence, in the corporeality of natural systems.

Is the unification of all physical interaction the corresponding sign of an even more profound unification, that which is spoken of as Tradition? Is the fascinating coherence between the infinitely small and the infinitely large a sign of corresponding to and even still more profound coherence, between all levels of of reality described by tradition? These are dizzying questions, to which it would be premature to outline a response, but their formulation is inevitable.

Finally, why doe the unification of all physical interactions require a multidimensional space-time so different from our own? What is signified by the extremely rapid rolling-up of supplementary dimensions into an infinitesimal region of space? There is a great temptation to characterize the different levels of reality which Tradition tells us by a space-time with a larger and larger number of dimensions (does god live in a space-time with an infinite number of dimensions?), but I cannot take this step, for it seem to me to lead to an abusive simplification, one of extreme intellectual and spiritual poverty, in opposition to the teachings of tradition. This temptation, as fascinating as it might be, has as its source the same error as that which I stressed before: reducint the sevenfold cycle to its first triad. In which sapce-time is love located? An absurd question which is not, paradoxically, the prerogative of scientists only.. . ." p-80

". . .Boehme's thought is based on a logic of contradictories, as one of his essential ideas is the unity of opposites. God himself is the incarnation of this unity of opposites. . .

The unity of all the sevenfold cycles is truly beyond good and evil. Good and evil appear when there is a dysfunction in a sevenfold cycle or in the interaction between the sevenfold cycles. Therefore there is a quite logical, clear definition of evil as anything which is opposed to the development of a sevenfold cycle or the interaction between these different cycles. In other words, evil is anything which opposes the birth of god. Unquestionable signs of evil are the complete taking over of the cycle by one or several of the qualities in it, the stopping of the cycle, or, once again, the change of direction of the sequence of the cycle.

N states that evil has a positive side so long as it is a resistance to the development of the cycle, a resistance which conditions movement. It seems to me that good then has a positive side in opposing a negative or "bad" cycle. Further, evil's opposition is also then "bad" for the "good" cycle is not played out and by the same reasoning, good's opposition to a "bad" cycle/act/quality is also "good." In other words, the arbitrary invocation of a principle of good or evil in opposition to the development of anything leaves one anywhere. What seems much more likely is that all cyclic action has within it opposable stuff--opposition is one of the qualities. To make an image of this one sees a strong positive opposed by a weaker negative, the resultant triad (with the induced "spirit god) is thus positive and is opposed by some other negative and on and on. Why it should stop at any point is in the dreams of N and B. Thus why is not all of life, the cosmos, all of all, the ineluctable result and continuous interplay of these forces, god after god being formed and then transformed without end? If the cosmos began with a negative thought and also an opposing positive thought which generated its god, we are again faced with the problem of Aquinas. Perhaps there is no beginning nor an end, just continual giving birth to gods and their transmogrification. And why should one believe that there is only one god? What leads one to that but blind acceptance, pedagogophilia or a rash of psychic searches for an answer to the human (but not necessarily cosmic) state of being? In short, N's place in this needs be factored as much as my own: I without divine pedagogy and he perhaps with? What happens to the book of Boehme, who was violently opposed in his lifetime because of his ideas, when Boehme no longer possesses the 'god paradigm?' Who seeks evidence for the existence of a human 'god desire' but those who wish to see it there? The method of science needs be employed here as well.

I am not saying I am opposed to spiritualism. As I have written elsewhere, though I have for much of my intellectual life tended towards the positivists, I have also, by virtue of the opposing effect of "tradition" dwelt also with the metaphysicians. And I feel, if not otherwise know, that belief and imagination, supplication or prayer work; how they work is interesting but not as important as knowing they do work. So it seems spiritual persons tend to find some kind of truth in believing and knowing what cannot be discovered through reason, logic or experimentation--perhaps until now.

But then, it seems that one need not postulate the opposites N recounted earlier. Everything works by the same principle and the unifying theory is simply this: triadic conformation endlessly interacting. And, if endless then also beginningless. So let's get on with it.

"The metaphor "As god dies in order to be born, man must die in this life in order to be born. His life thus comprises two births: biological birth and a self-birth or self-engendering. This new birth is a birth from above, for it presupposes the completion of the sevenfold cycle. The new birth implies death to oneself, a singular and mysterious process which takes place in the secrecy of the interior life.. . .

The responsibility for man is immense, for, in Boehme's perpsective, the non-completion of his sevenfold cycle leads to a cosmic catastrophe.. . ." p-89
But if we do not invoke the sevenfold cycle, this catastrophe is averted, it seems to me. And it also seems to me that the only reason to invent such a series is to support the underlying need to place man at the center of the cosmos and to avoid the conclusion that otherwise the universe is cold and meaningless.

B finds meaning in sevenfoldness and N as well, but there can also be meaning found in triadic ever-generating changefulness with gods beyond number everywhere. My own life is not less because of the possibility that its presence is a manifestation of triadic fertilization any more than it would be less were I to discover that I, the human, am the specific result of an experiment started by visitors with superior intelligence from the moon of Jupiter, Titan. The outcome is the same in any case: death. The problem in life is to live it knowing that it does end and to know that life might be what it appears to be to a particular watcher. Life is therefore many lives. It's just like the quantum guys tell us it is: it is observer-centric.

N's penultimate chapter states:"An interesting example [of the attempt to study the unity of contradictory opposites] is the recent birth of a new truly transdisciplinary branch of science--quantum cosmology. As its name indicates, this new science is based on the idea of the unity between tow scales of nature which were considered, until just a few years ago, completely different--the quantum scale and the cosmological scale. The interaction bwteen particles can tech us about the evolution of the cosmos, and data about cosmological dynamics can clarify certain aspects of particle physics. The universe seems capable of creating itself and also fo organizing itself, with no "outside" intervention. The most appropriate image for visualizing this self-contained dynamic of the universe would be the ouroboros--the serpent which bites is own tail--an ancient Gnostic symbol and also the symbol of the completion of the Great Work in alchemy.

This example foreshadows the richness of a transdisciplinary kind of research. A true dynamic of the bootstrap type (self-consistency) could be envisaged between different levels of reality: each level of reality is what it is because all other levels of reality exist at the same time. [I propose the term "ISNESS" to describe this condition.] A meta-discourse or a meta-theory would therefore be possible, but they would never be unique or absolute.. ." p-106

Well sure, simply assert that everything is as the Queen of Hearts suggests, is what we mean it to be or define, and then the problem is solved. Physics and metaphysics co-exist. Materialism and spiritualism share the same church on alternate days. Logic and irrationality can both be employed to describe the same phenomenon.

He goes on: ". . .While located resolutely in the domain of the rational, [??] the transdisciplinary approach would permit the emergence of a polyphonic dialogue between rational and irrational, sacred and profane, simplicity and complexity, unity and diversity, nature and the imaginal. man and the universe. [In short, what there is now.] I am convinced that in the decades to come it could establish itself as the preferred means for developing the epistemology of complexity and could light the way to the formulation of a new Philosophy of Nature."

N ends by discoursing upon the concern that humanity is confined to the "wheel of anguish," the first triangle of Boehme. Such a conclusion implies that there has been no intervention as yet by the "third principle" of B, but since that always happens, one way or another, we need only to wait. Another explanation might use the triadic. We are simply altering ourselves now and can expect the inevitable consequence of that to be opposition by an opposite energy to thereby generate another 'godlet' along the way. Deep in the vision of B and of N must lurk the shadow of beginnings and of endings. Who is Lucifer, to one who has never heard of him, but just another fairy tale? N then moves into an interesting place: he sees a quest for identify in Europe, a "build-up." Whatever might that be? Again, to one who avoids the periodicals on this, such a reality does not exist. [Hit--what other example of competing realities do we need when we have them at hand. To one who does not know of the existence of a moving stock market, for example, the reality of it is both meaningless on one hand and it becomes another facet of the crystal of reality (an example by N). N states that if one of the facets of this crystal is removed, it ceases to exist--[but it does so only in the mind of him who sees all facets.] It is not different from the question of trees falling in the forest. It might be interesting, but it is not important. If we are not there to hear or to see, the tree is imaginal to us. It simply does not matter (to us.) To a beggar on the street, a market decrease of 100 points is almost meaningless. A crash might mean he will be sharing his bed, but an important and meaningful (to someone else) event does not touch him. It might so be with quantum events. Unless we are employed by the seeker of same, it simply doesn't matter. We can use Newton instead of Bohr or Planck.

And, so it goes.

And so it goes.