Intellectual-Principle and Consciousness

“This universe is a living thing capable of including every form of life; but its Being and its modes are derived from elsewhere; that source is traced back to the Intellectual-Principle: it follows that an all-embracing archetype is in the Intellectual-Principle, which therefore must be an intellectual cosmos, that indicated by Plato in the phrase ‘The living existent’.

“Given the reason-principle (the outgoing divine idea) of a certain living thing and the matter to harbor this seed-principle, the living thing must come into being: in the same way that once there exists—an intellectual Nature, all powerful, and with nothing to check it—since nothing intervenes between it and that which is of a nature to receive it—inevitable the higher imprints form and the lower accepts it. The recipient holds the idea in division, here man, there sun, while in the giver all remains in unity.

“All that is present in the sense realm as Idea comes from the Supreme. But what is not present as Idea, does not. Thus of things conflicting with nature … is not in the seed; for a lame leg is either inborn through some thwarting of the Reason-principle or a marring of the achieved form by accident. …

“This suggests the question whether the intellective cosmos contains the forms only of the things of sense or of other existents as well.” ~Plotinus

A Living Universe

Some find it difficult to accept that the entire universe is a living thing. Many can’t even accept that the planet Earth is a living thing and that the sun is a living thing. Their disbelieve doesn’t change the reality of it, but it does hide the truth from them.

When Plotinus writes about the universe, it is often not clear if he means the physical universe of matter, the spiritual universe of energy, or a combination of both. In this case, it doesn’t really matter. The spiritual universe is alive, and so is the physical one. The proof of this is actually simple, though many will not accept it. It is this: the dead cannot generate the living. Yes, life forms can grow from the bodies of the dead, but the dead are not generating those lives. Something living must generate living beings, and it is reasonable to assume a hierarchy of generation is responsible. The Universe generates galaxies, the galaxies generate, stars and planets, the stars and planets generate life forms such as plants and animals. This is not saying that God is not the creator of those beings, but only explaining the process by which that creation takes place. It is a sort of universal assembly line where each level generates one or two levels below it. They may not even be aware that they do it, but it happens nonetheless. Continue reading “Intellectual-Principle and Consciousness”

sublime theory

Sublime Theory of Idealism and Beyond

“In Idealism we have perhaps the most sublime theory of Being which has ever been constructed by the human intellect: a theory so sublime, in fact, that it can hardly have been produced by the exercise of ‘pure reason’ alone, but must be looked upon as a manifestation of that natural mysticism, that instinct for the absolute, which is latent in man. But, when we ask the Idealist how we are to attain communion with the reality which he describes to us as ‘certainly there,’ his system suddenly breaks down; and discloses itself as a diagram of the heavens, not a ladder to the stars. This failure of Idealism to find in practice the reality of which it thinks so much is due, in the opinion of the mystics, to a cause which finds epigrammatic expression in the celebrated phrase by which St. Jerome marked the distinction between religion and philosophy. ‘Plato located the soul of man in the head; Christ located it in the heart.’ That is to say, Idealism though just in in premises, and often daring and honest in their application, is stultified by the exclusive intellectualism of its own methods: by its fatal trust in the squirrel-work of the industrious brain instead of the piercing vision of the desirous heart.” ~Evelyn Underhill

Most Sublime Theory

There are many sublime theories, many lovely philosophical concepts. Idealism is certainly one of them. I have covered Idealism in some detail before, so I’ll just say that it is a mind-centric philosophy that basically says that what we consider to be real in the world is what the mind tells us is real, and only through the mind can we understand things. While this is a profound idea to many and is reasonably true when speaking exclusively about the material realm, it ignores the spiritual entirely.

Natural Mysticism

I believe that what Underhill is calling “Natural Mysticism” is that which manages to seep through to the conscious mind with no real effort to study mysticism or spiritual growth. These little sparks that are sent to light a fire within us, to awaken a desire to learn more about the spiritual. Sometimes it works, sometimes the sparks land on rocks and fizzle out, metaphorically speaking.

Most of us experience this in one form or another. We may get a feeling when meeting a person for the first time that he is someone to avoid. We may decide, for no obvious reason, to cancel a trip and take a later flight. Or we may be looking for a new job, and something seems to be telling us which of three offers to accept. This is all good, of course, but it isn’t enough. Real spiritual development must go way beyond simply recognizing that we have intuition and using it. A sublime theory is found in the spiritual world, and that world should be embraced. Continue reading “Sublime Theory of Idealism and Beyond”


Archetype of Man: Ideal and Not Ideal

“We have to examine the question whether there exists an ideal archetype of individuals, in other words whether I and every other human human being go back to the Intellectual, every (living) thing having origin and principle there.

“If Socrates, Socrates’ soul, is external then the Authentic Socrates—to adapt the term—must be there; that is to say, the individual soul has an existence in the Supreme as well as in this world. If there is no such permanent endurance and what Socrates may with change of time become another soul and be Pythagoras or someone else—then the individual Socrates has not that existence in the divine.

“But if the soul of the individual contains the Reason-Principle of all that it transverses, once more all men have their (archetypic) existence there; and it is our doctrine that every soul contains all the Reason-Principle exist in the Cosmos: since then the Cosmos contains the Reason-Principles that exist in the Cosmos: since then the Cosmos contain the Reason-Principles not merely of man, but also of all living things, so must the soul. Its content of Reason-Principles, then, must be limitless, unless there be a periodical renovation bounding the boundless by the return of a former series.” ~Plotinus

Ideal Archetype

For most spiritual people and in most spiritual schools there is no question that there is indeed an ideal archetype Man (which include women). This archetype is what we were originally, that is, before the Great Fall. It is what we desire to be again. Becoming that archetype Man is possible if we are willing to work at it and develop ourselves. Michelangelo didn’t create David or any of his other great statues by just wishing and hoping for it. He formed the idea in his mind, then worked to make it reality. And he didn’t expect to get his projects done overnight. He knew it took time to get good results.

Intellect and Consciousness

One difficulty with trying to understand the philosophy of Plotinus is that he doesn’t distinguish between intellect and consciousness. As a result, he relates both mind and soul to intellect. In reality, intellect is purely a mind thing and the soul deals with consciousness, which is not the same. The intellect deals only with the physical world. It can speculate on things beyond the physical, but can’t really know them. The soul, on the other hand, connects to universal consciousness that exists in all dimensions, spiritual as well as physical. And the principle of everything living comes from consciousness. Only the physical body is a product of intellect. The realization of the ideal archetype means fully developing both intellect and consciousness, with the emphasis on consciousness. Continue reading “Archetype of Man: Ideal and Not Ideal”

reason, material mind, habit mind

Reason of Will and Divine Reason

“The spirit of the Will may mount aloft in pride, self-conceit, or covetousness; (from whence self-arrogance rises, the Will of Reason desiring to be honored;) for it supposes it has attained the sum of all happiness when it has gotten the Light of Reason, and can judge the House of hidden Mysteries that is shut up; which nevertheless God can easily unlock. …

“From this understanding of Reason false Babel is brought forth in the Christian Church on Earth, wherein men rule and teach by the conclusions of Reason, and has set the child which is drunk in its own pride and self-desire as a fair virgin upon the Throne.” ~Jacob Boehme

Will of Reason

This is not God’s Will, or Divine Will here. Boehme is talking about Man’s will, the will of ego. This is the will that often gets us into trouble. It holds itself to be the ultimate authority on virtually everything. Reason does not wish to seek beyond itself for truth except in reason. It trusts it’s own reason, and therefore the reasoning of others. It considers human ego reasoning the highest form of thinking. In short, this is the intellectual. Such people cannot accept that there can be higher forms of knowledge than man’s reason. The ego won’t accept such a thing.

This is why some modern spiritual teachers have hit upon the simplistic idea that the path to spiritual enlightenment is destruction of the ego. You can rest assured that this conclusion is not based upon personal experience, but a theory of that materialistic reason that Boehme is calling false truth. I say that because if a person should succeed in completely destroying his ego, he would never teach a class, never give a seminar, never write a book. To do any of those things requires desire that can only come from ego. Ego needs to be controlled, not destroyed. It needs to be ruled y the soul. That, of course, requires the the soul be awakened.

House of Mysteries

You could think this is a reference to the ancient mystery schools, but it isn’t. Not directly, anyway. It is a reference to the mysteries that were taught in such schools, and still are. It is the mysteries of life, of truth. No one can teach these mysteries to you. That knowledge must be gained directly from the source. When you get it secondhand, it either won’t be understood, or won’t be believed. All a spiritual teacher or school can do is teach you the techniques by which these mysteries are revealed. Continue reading “Reason of Will and Divine Reason”