Animal Instinct Transformed

If animals are seen as rational (in a Darwinian sense) in contrast to man’s irrationality, it is because they have adapted perfectly to their surroundings, therefore aiding in their survival.  But in ancient Egypt, animals were seen as rational because their forms were perfect representations of their cosmic functions.  An animal’s joy was made complete in fulfilling its instinct; a cow chewing its cud, a cat toying with it’s prey, a horse galloping freely across the plain. 

In her few but penetrating works, the French Egyptologist Isha Schwaller de Lubicz has noted the role animals represented in Pharaonic theology as Neters.  Pharaonic theology was Imageconcerned with man becoming a “king,” one who assumes complete control over his lower nature.  The animals represented specific functions and instincts incarnate within mankind.  In her “Journey Into the Light” she states:

The forces of instinct are the expression of essential functions (cosmic functions).  Incarnated in animals they are neither good nor bad, but inherent to their nature.  Within each species they operate accordingly.  Only man has the power – and therefore the responsibility – to control the extent to which he comes under their influence.

In her novel, “Her-Bak,” Schwaller de Lubicz explains how the process of transformation of animal instincts within the human being takes place:

The animal in which (it’s) characteristics are incarnate to such perfection is therefore more than an image: it is the living symbol of the Neter (function)…. As for the cult of veneration which we pay the sacred animals, it is rendered to them as to earthly expressions of a cosmic functional property…. (An aspect of animal worship) serves to educate man toward becoming conscious of the universal functions incarnated through each of those “species…”

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I am reminded here of why it was given to Adam to name the animals.  This was a process of personal inventory of the functions he observed within himself.  He was able to “name” the animals because they represented instincts that dwelt within his very nature.  Schwaller de Lubicz continues…

You will still have to acquire knowledge of the structure of the human being before you can really interpret the… object of the animal cults; for this object is the development in man of the ideas, and later the consciousness of natural functions, so as to teach him the path of their total Consciousness, of which he will finally have to become aware within himself.

The more a man is still an animal, the more useful it is to him to relate himself to the ‘functional type’ corresponding to his own nature.  As his superior Consciousness progresses, it makes him more and more independent of the inferior states and their influences, and finally he will have to acquire complete domination over them.  The human elite (those who would endure suffering in the pursuit of wisdom) discerns this progress in the transformation of animal cults, when man seeks to replace them by human images until he at last arrives at the idea of the Spirit without images or formulas.

There was one who spoke openly about worshiping without images or formulas:

“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” –John 4:24

Until next time, peace…

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In Spite of Rationality

The existence of mankind, when looked upon from a Darwinian viewpoint, makes no rational sense.  Preston Harold ruminates that

Darwin considered natural selection to be the most important factor in organic evolution.  This is a natural process that tends to cause the survival of the fittest, of those forms of animals and plants best Imageadjusted to the conditions under which they live, and the extinction of poorly adapted forms…. If this be true, one is likely to assume offhand that rational interventions led man to the pinnacle of animal life.  But to the contrary, irrationality marks the course of his triumphant evolutionary trek. 

“How so?” you ask. “That isn’t a very rational statement to make because, hey, we’re rational and, well, here we are!”  Not so fast…

A rational evolutionary path led to creatures that grow clothing upon their bodies; only an irrational course could lead to nakedness and a body that cannot increase the density of hair covering according to climactic requirements.  A rational course would not lead to retention of certain embryonic features into adult life; only an irrational course would lead to such imbalance between the development of body versus brain as man displays… These and many other irrational turns mark the evolutionary course in man.

On the other hand, animal life is where we find rationality making its mark.  Harold observes:

All other animal life behaves rationally and thus animals are predictable, will serve to confirm elegant theories.  Man will not.  He bedamns his irrationality – and yet the power, the freedom, to behave irrationally for no good reason may be the secret of his dominion over the animal world.  Man’s irrationality may free him from bondage to conditioned responses; it may prevent his automatically reacting to immediate needs and obvious force, thus preventing in him the limiting biological overspecialization seen in all other species.  Aberration marks the turning points along his course.

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In our next post we will reflect on the differences in animal and man in light of the understanding of ancient Egypt.  Until then, peace…