The Point of It All
In a blatant act of anticipatory plagiarism, Schuon wrote -- somewhere between 1928 and 1932 -- that 0 (zero) is, "in the numerical domain, an image of ultimate, highest, pure Reality, of the completely undeterminable Divine, nameable only inadequately through negation."
Its first determination must be 1, and then from there, everything is just multiples of 0 and 1: "[F]rom the number one a quantitative infinity is generated which is only an unfolding... of the inexhaustibility contained in the number zero..."
As an aside or maybe above, I would say that 0 is to Father as 1 is to Son.
Zero must be a quality, since no quantity can fill it; even an infinite series of ones "stands in no comparable relationship to zero and can only symbolize its awesome void by unlimited quantity, without ever being able to fill it..." It's analogous to pi, which "goes on forever" without quite completing its round trip, 〇.
As one is to zero, so are we. In other words, we are determined, whereas zero -- like God -- is not. Thus, "all existent things are no match for for those which are non-existent" (for God is prior to existence).
Nor can all the things of this world actualize or exhaust its possibilities: 〇 is inexhaustible, but it is the source and ground of everything else.
Therefore, although we are one -- a determination -- it is as if our feet and head are in infinity. We are, as it were, "knots" in the infinite. Or, finitude is a knot made of eternity. Schematically, it must look like this:
That's man in a knotshall.
Symbolically, we could say it is ∞(¶)∞. (¶) -- the psychic being, nous, or divine intellect -- abides between two slabs of eternity. But as it metabolizes the infinite, it starts to look more like ∞ʘ∞. It puts on a little ontological weight and existential heft in between.
Now, when two or more are gathered in Tʘʘts' name, we have ʘʘ, or a Raccʘʘn lodge.
The imponderable journey from zero to one -- or from infinite to determination -- is from potential to actualization. The latter signifies "nothing but a transposition and inversion of the highest Non-Being," now determined by Being.
Here again, from a slightly different angle, I suppose we could say that one is to zero as Being is to Non-Being (or Beyond-Being).
Or, in Eckhart's terms, 1:0 as God:Godhead. To even say "God" is to already reduce his Zero-ness to a kind of One-ness. It's the difference between the cataphatic God -- the God of whom we may speak -- and the apophatic Godhead, about whom we can only unsay and unknow and unblog.
"It is impossible to understand ultimate, absolute, all-surpassing Reality"; rather, "we know of It by knowing nothing, we name It because we must limit It in order to be able to grasp It intellectually." Thus, "comprehensibility and limitation are one and the same to human reason" -- i.e., reducing 0 to 1.
We've discussed in the past how we can only know anything about an object precisely because we cannot know everything about it. In other words, the Everything -- 0 -- must be prior to the Anything it actualizes -- 1.
But man is all about elevating this or that any-thing to the Great Everything. Most men "inhabit only one fragment of the soul," which is in turn "receptive to repercussions from the perceptible world..."
Indeed, this is how a (more or less fallen) world comes into being, and even how a fallen being comes into being. In other words, such a one is a creature of the horizontal environment instead of the vertical.
In the higher sense -- i.e., (¶) -- "man is connected through the Spirit with the Reality that corresponds to It... by actually being a presence of Reality or Being in man..."
What this means is that the higher self must receive its repercussions -- or reVerb-Orations -- from a higher world, such that we literally talk to the beat of a different nonlocal percussionist.
Even the simplest thing is a center which must partake of the Center in order to exist at all. Thus, anything is an echo, however distant, of Celestial Central. You could say that everything and everybody has a point -- • -- unless we reject God and render ourselves pointless.
I think too that the point of the point is that it is actually an axis that spans the worlds, and which man uniquely inhabits. If it weren't for this vertical axis we would be like planets with no sun, just wandering about randomly. But a circular orbit is really defined by the axis between gravitational centers.
There are also false centers, which goes to what was said above about our center being reinforced by an external environment, which is ultimately an exteriorization or crystallization of our own fragmented self.
Such a man is "nourished by delusion" -- instead of O -- until he reaches its limits in, say, an absurd scientism. The latter is a hell precisely because its practitioner has succeeded in containing what can only contain him, and thereby committing cosmic cluelesside.