Space: The Final Frontier

The concept presented in our last installment, five “intervals” needed to completely secure or “house” one of them, and three “intervals” moving against two “intervals” as two “intervals” react against three “intervals” to accomplish this, is presented in Jesus’ equation of One. He says:

…five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.

Preston Harold says:

To insure that these words be recognized as a mathematical formula, Jesus gives an explicit division of the household. He states it as: father against son, mother versus daughter, mother-in-law versus daughter-in-law. Only if the mother plays a dual role—that is, mother is also mother-in-law – can these six “factors” be reduced to five forces, the number of forces “at issue” in one’s household as given in the equation. And only if every family were four in number with one son married, and one daughter unmarried, could the words apply to life. Jesus spoke symbolically or poetically, but He spoke as a mathematician…

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Jesus states the field formula so explicitly that His words bespeak a still “finer division” underlying the matrix. That is, he describes the forces at issue as: father versus son, and son versus father; mother versus daughter, and daughter versus mother; mother-in-law versus daughter-in-law, and daughter-in-law versus mother-in-law. His words give rise to twelve signs, eight negative, four positive, thereby “elaborating” the ratio of negative to positive force, presenting the concept that a still finer division of forces underlies the “field” – a force that involves “doubly stated double negatives” giving rise to a negative effect which is of positive value in life, an effect that sustains the division of the manifestly positive factors and/or measurable dimensions of one thing.

Harold goes on to explain how both negative and positive polarities are necessary for the manifestation of life:

This negative effect that is of value in life, but can be expressed by “nothing positive,” may be described only as Lao-tzu describes Tao:

We put thirty spokes together and call it a wheel;

But it is on the space where there is nothing that the utility of the wheel depends…

Therefore just as we take advantage of what is, we should recognize the utility of what is not.

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This, Tao—Holy Ghost, zero, nothing explicable—has endless descriptions which yet cannot describe the nature of it:

There is something formless yet complete

That existed before heaven and earth.

How still! How empty!

Dependent on nothing, unchanging,

All pervading, unfailing.

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Is it not space? Only by paradoxical exclamation points can the fullness of it in the universe be implied, so that “Tao never does; Yet through it all things are done.” Space may be seen as pre-existent unity and multiplicity at once, as continuous creation of positive value by means of the eternal presence of “nothing manifest” in which one and all have their being.

Until next time, peace.

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Jesus’ Mathematical Influences

Preston Harold speculates on other means by which Jesus may have acquired his mathematical knowledge.

But one does not have to look altogether to the unconscious for Jesus’ source of mathematical knowledge. Within His reach was Alexandria, the center of mathematical studies and of Neo-Pythagorianism. Here, Nicomachus of Gerasa, one of the “golden chain” of philosopher-mathematicians, is presumed to have studied, for Gerasa was a city in Palestine, primarily Greek – it is near to the place where Jesus cast demons called “Legion” into the swine – and it is probable that Nicomachus did not receive all of his education there… Nicomachus is thought to have flourished between the middle of the first and second centuries, but it is possible that he was a contemporary of Jesus, and he could have brought Alexandrian mathematics to Palestine, placing his knowledge within easy reach…

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Many of Jesus’ statements regarding one reflect Nicomachus’ thinking, which, in turn, rests upon the mathematical knowledge of his day. Nicomachus had much to say of one, which he saw as unity. Jesus’ mathematics came to rest in His concept of one, which appears to have arisen from His grasp of the operation of signed numbers and the concept of zero.

Zero, that non-number number that is both nothing and everything.  At the end of his introduction to his book, “Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea,” Charles Seife writes, “The clashes over zero were the battles that shook the foundations of philosophy, of science, of mathematics, and of religion. Underneath every revolution lay a zero – and an infinity… Yet through all its history, despite the rejection and the exile, zero has always defeated those who opposed it. Humanity could never force zero to fit its philosophies. Instead, zero shaped humanity’s view of the universe – and of God.”

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Preston Harold writes:

About the time Euclid was stating his axioms (300 B.C.) an unknown scribe jabbed into a wet clay tablet a point to make the space that zero would come to occupy about a thousand years later when Hindus brought to the court of the Caliph of Baghdad the digit 0, still used today. To the mathematician, zero – 0 – is indeed a perfect pearl for the possibilities opened through this symbol are limitless. Did the digit 0 take shape in Jesus’ mind – or was it another gift of the Magi? In speaking of the “eye” of the needle, Jesus called to mind this configuration: 0, and related it to “naught,” for the “eye” of the needle is the  “nothing” of it that makes it operable; and in this enigmatic statement, He brought God, the absent or “minus” one into correspondence with man, the present or “positive” one, and brought both one’s into correspondence with this “hole,” or whole of “nothing” that takes on a “circular” shape, through which God, “minus” one, draws man, “positive” one, into infinity. Through this correspondence, any one-thing is vested with zero’s enigmatic, unmeasurable properties. But Jesus appears to have realized that although one and zero are corresponding unities, they are not the same in action and reaction.

It is this difference between one and zero that we will look at in our next installment. Until then, peace.

Jesus the Mathematician?

We now begin to look at Jesus’ ministry in quite a unique, “unorthodox” way; as that of a mathematician. Rest assured, when one considers how often Jesus used the number “one” as a part of his teachings, one must wonder at his mathematical knowledge.

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Jesus has never been considered a mathematician. He made but few statements dealing with number. Yet, He made many statements about one, the number that is the basis of arithmetic through which all branches of mathematics become possible. If He described one’s inner structure and the principle upon which one, as measure, operates, He was a mathematical genius. How could this come from the man of Nazareth?

How indeed? At this point I am reminded of the 12 year-old Jesus amazing those present in the Jerusalem temple with his questions, answers, and understanding. From where does his wisdom come?

The realization could have arisen from His unconscious, as has been the case with other great mathematicians. Jung felt that a fruitful field for further investigation was the study of man’s basic “mathematical axiomata – which Pauli calls ‘primary mathematical intuitions,’ and among which he especially mentions the ideas of an infinite series of numbers in arithmetic, or of a continuum in geometry, etc.” Dr. von Franz writes that “William James once pointed out ‘the idea of an unconscious could itself be compared to the ‘field’ concept in physics.’” She says:

“In other words, our conscious representations are sometimes ordered (or arranged in a pattern) before they have become conscious to us. The 18th century German mathematician Karl Friedrich Gauss gives an example of an experience of such an unconscious order of ideas: he says that he found a certain rule in the theory of numbers, “not by painstaking research, but by the Grace of God, so to speak. The riddle solved itself as lightning strikes, and I myself could not tell or show the connection between what I knew before, what I last used to experiment with, and what produced the final success.”

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Keeping in mind that for Harold, the Father dwells in the unconscious, and that Jesus “can only do what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son does also,” and “My Father is working until this hour, and I am also working,” and one can clearly see that Jesus is receiving his mathematical revelations from his unconscious, or Father. But is this the only explanation for his mathematical genius? We will look at other possibilities in our next installment. Until then, peace.

Triad or Tetrad?

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Difference emphases on either the three or the four can be found within varying cultures, the beginnings of which are lost in the sands of time.

Although scientists move away from the quantitative view toward the qualitative view and acknowledge the validity of both positions, the dilemma of three and four is by no means resolved – its beginning is lost in antiquity and its end is not yet in sight. As to its beginning, Jung says that number helps more than anything else to bring order into “the chaos of appearances…primitive patterns of order are mostly triads or tetrads,” and he points to I Ching, Book of Changes:

“…the experimental basis of classical Chinese philosophy…one of the oldest known methods for grasping a situation as a whole and thus placing the details against a cosmic background – the interplay of Yin and Yang… there is also a Western method of very ancient origin which is based on the same general principle as the I Ching, the only difference being that in the West this principle is not triadic but, significantly enough, tetradic…”

He refers also to the alchemists’ tackling of the problem of three and four, seeing the dilemma stated in the story that serves as a setting for the Timeaus and extending all the way to the “Cabiri scene in Faust, Part II…recognized by a sixteenth-century alchemist, Gerhard Dorn, as the decision between the Christian Trinity and the serpens quadricornutus, the four-horned serpent who is the Devil.”

Of course western religion and culture has been based on the tension between the three and the four, both being primary factors in the Holy Scriptures. The four is stated outright: YHVH, even translated into English as a four-letter word, LORD. The three is implied in the three visitors to Abrahm, the Christian Trinity, etc. Returning to alchemy’s approach of the problem, Preston Harold says:

Wolfgang Pauli discusses the controversy between Johannes Kepler, discoverer of the three famous laws of planetary motion, and Robert Fludd, in his day a famous alchemist and Rosicrucian. Pauli says that Kepler’s ideas “represent a remarkable intermediary stage between the earlier, magical-symbolical and the modern, quantitive-mathematical descriptions of nature,” indicating a way of thinking that produced the natural science which today is called classical. Kepler, a devotee of Euclid’s geometry, insisted upon strict mathematical methods of proof. His premise was that “Mathematical reasoning is ‘inborn in the human soul’…” His is a trinity-concept, his symbol “contains no hint of the number four or quaternity.” Fludd, however, was a mystic with great aversion to all quantitative mensuration: “It is significant for the psychological contrast between Kepler and Fludd that for Fludd the number four has a special symbolical character, which, as we have seen, is not true of Kepler.” Fludd drew his inspiration from Moses, and he brilliantly defends his stand on the nature of the soul. Kepler, however, appears to best him in all scientific argument until one realizes that Kepler considered the quantitative relations of the parts to be essential while Fludd considered the qualitative indivisibility of the whole. Pauli says, “modern quantum physics again stresses the factor of the disturbance of phenomena through measurement,” as Fludd (and Goethe) insisted upon. He concludes that the only acceptable point of view appears to be one that recognizes both the quantitative and the qualitative, “the physical and the psychical” as compatible, embracing them simultaneously.

This attitude eases the argument, but it does not resolve the dilemma of three and four, as may be seen in a mathematician’s explanation of continua.

We will explore this mathematical explanation in our next post. Until then, peace.

The Power of a Seed

How does a sage from a past civilization which hasn’t developed advanced mathematical equations and concepts describe unseen reality? How does one communicate simultaneous truths which on the surface contradict one another but beneath the surface depend each upon the other? Preston Harold asks:

How could the ancient describe the measure of the random element – spreading, increasing? The concept of entropy is enfolded in a mathematical formula, and mathematics may be thought of as the language of size. Descriptions which fit the incomparable size of entropy’s shoe, as well as the nature of it’s measure, and its significance, are found in Jesus’ words pertaining to the reign of God, the realm of heaven, the coming of the kingdom. He likened its “smallness” and its “largeness” to a mustard seed – “less than any seed on earth,” which grows “larger than any plant.” He invoked the working of the reign of God with the shuffling, spreading, and action of energy throughout the whole… He said, it is “like dough…buried in three pecks of flour, till all of it was leavened.” Jesus said this working is begun: the seed is sown, the dough is buried. And the kingdom of God, which involves the concept of the end of the world, will come – just as the physicists envision the heat death of the universe when nature’s supreme law is fulfilled.

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One must remember here, though, that in order for there to be increase of the seed or leaven, that death is a necessary factor. “Unless a seed falls into the earth and dies it remains alone, but if it dies it bears much fruit.” –John 12:24 Which leads me to ponder that if the earth and universe are on their way to heat death, what is the mission of the planet earth? Why do we exist at all?

In a letter to the Anthroposophical Society in January 1925, Rudolf Steiner asks just such a question. I will quote the letter at length…

The question must arise: What is the significance of the earthly realm for the macrocosm (universe)?… In the far distant past, the macrocosm so lives that there ceases to be any question of “calculating” the manifestations of its life. Out of this living condition man is then brought forth as a separate being, while the macrocosm enters more and more into the “calculable” sphere. But in this it undergoes a slow process of death… In the present cosmic time, a dead macrocosm is existing…we have grown accustomed to focus our attention on the spacial magnitude of the Universe, and to look on the earth as a speck of dust, insignificant compared to the great universe of physical space. Hence it will seem strange, to begin with, when spiritual vision unfolds the true cosmic significance of this so-called “speck of dust.”

Consider the world of plants… In spring and summer, forces of growth show themselves in plant life. In the growing, sprouting process, the seer’s consciousness perceives not only what brings forth the abundant blessing of the plant life for the given year, but a surplus of germinating force. The plants contain more germinating force than they expend upon the growth of foliage, flower and fruit. This surplus of germinating force flows out into the extra-earthly macrocosm… Now in the same manner a surplus of force streams out from the mineral kingdom… Likewise there are forces proceeding from the animal nature…It is thus the spirit-seeking consciousness beholds the essence of the earthly realm, which stands as a new, life-kindling element within the dead and dying macrocosm

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The life of all this earthly realm becomes clear and transparent when we feel at its foundation the germ of a new Universe. Every single plant and stone appears in a new light to the soul of man when he becomes aware that each of these beings is contributing by its life and by its form to this great fact: that the Earth in its unity is an embryo – the seed of a macrocosm newly arising into life.

So according to Steiner, the earth itself is a seed for a whole new universe. That’s a pretty great thought for sure, and makes one deeply contemplate the power contained within a seed.  What thoughts does this kindle in you? Until next time, peace.

THE PROBLEM, THE OBJECTIVE, THE CRUCIAL QUESTIONS – Part 3

It’s time for the last of our 3 foci, “the objective.”

To understand the objective of THE SHINING STRANGER, we will all have to become poets.  But what exactly is a poet?  Of all the definitions I’ve heard, I enjoy Dr. Cornel West’s the most:

The great (Percy) Shelly used to say that ‘poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.’ What did he mean by that?  He wasn’t talking about versifying.  To be a poet in the most profound sense is to have the courage to release your imagination and your empathy…

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True poetry is full of contradictions, paradox, mystery, conundrums, and riddles.  Many people say the Bible cannot be trusted because it contains many contradictions.  Others say “if the Bible says it, it must be so,” and can’t see any meaning beyond the plain sense of the text.  Both sides are barking up the wrong tree.  Harold says…

Dr. Henry A Murray writes that an “important fact not generally acknowledged is…the Bible is poetry, in its best parts, magnificent and edifying poetry….Some devout Christians overlook the fact that the stirring and sustaining power of the Book they live by depends on the wondrous emotive language, the vivid imagery and figures of speech, with which its wisdom is transmitted….If the New Testament…had been written by a modern social scientist in the jargon of his profession, it would have died at birth.”

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As does (George) Santayana, Dr. Murray sees that the playing down of the “crucial import of the Bible’s poetry,” hand in hand with the playing up of its historicity, is the greatest fallacy of Christianity, for thereby the scope of its traffic with and judgement of reality is severely limited.  Poetry does not obscure fact – it presents it in words that act as leaven in the mind to make room for it to house there.  Poetry is dazzling in its completely open and full use of words that have, as John Ciardi puts it: “…far more meanings than anyone thinks about in reading factual prose.  A word is not a meaning but a complex of meanings consisting of all its possibilities: its ability to identify something, the image it releases in making that identification, its sound, its history, its associations-in-context…” (emphases mine)

Plato equated poetry with creation: “All creation or passage of non-being into being is poetry or making.”  Poetry comes from the subconscious, and Harold sees in Jesus the universe’s Poet Laureate…

Jesus spoke poetically, but if His words are true they must be a correct, albeit poetical, description of reality.

Until a man has grasped the full implication of Jesus’ words, “the kingdom of God is within you,” he cannot begin to understand Him.  His every word is predicated upon this revelation.  It is the woking of the inner kingdom He reveals.  If the kingdom of heaven is within, there is no heavenly place of the abode for the “redeemed” to go – the realm of heaven is now an individual state of being, a potential mankind shall in time realize.  It is inward reality as opposed to the outward illusiveness of life (and of matter, which Jesus proclaimed long before the physicists discovered it).

Jesus saw life to be infinite, saw that man’s religions form one-to-one correspondences of truth, and that each man is a one-to-one correspondence with God, truth, life, and with each other man.

Jesus saw the Ten Commandments as classical psychic law.  He realized, however, that quantum psychic law underlies the classical law, and this secondary law governs the inner, real life of the individual – this is the law he enunciated.

In saying that the kingdom of God, an unknown realm, is within each person, Jesus proclaimed the existence of that psychic reality now called the unconscious – revealed its working and power.  He made of Himself a symbol of the Authority within this psychic realm: the vital Self-of-selves abstracted from consciousness for which man yearns – which is unto each his own, “the Lord, your God.”

Jesus strove to heal the breach in man’s thinking upon reality, strove to rejoin the divided physical and spiritual realms, saying, poetically, that the energy which gives life to man is, potentially, in a “stone.”  Identifying Himself and mankind with primordial energy, light, He dramatized and phrased in poetic terms the most important of the secondary laws of physics, enfolding His answer to the question of the universe in the sign positive (+)….whether by design or because he knew how to tap the fount of truth in His unconscious, He presented in drama, symbol, and poetry the underlying physical and psychic laws that are today being revealed.

From these observations Harold derives the objective of THE SHINING STRANGER:

The objective, then,  is not to present one or several new aspects, but rather a whole new concept of Jesus, for, as Albert Schweitzer points out, “What has been passing for Christianity during these nineteen centuries is merely a beginning, full of weaknesses and mistakes, not a full-grown Christianity springing from the spirit of Jesus.”

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One here is reminded of GK Chesterton’s quote: “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.”

Although THE SHINING STRANGER is a difficult work, we will not leave it untried.  I hope we are up to the challenge ahead of us.  Until next time, peace…