Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Point of It All

As mentioned a few posts back, I'm just trying to clear my spindle, in this case, Schuon's first and rather more challenging book, Primordial Meditation. What follows may or may not make sense. I'm just interfacing with the book and trying to make sense of it.

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.


julie said...

As an aside or maybe above, I would say that 0 is to Father as 1 is to Son.

Ah ha! The real secret of binary code.

julie said...

Incidentally, while that may sound funny I was being perfectly serious.

Cond0011 said...

"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. "

Too bad you were not my 7th grade math teacher, B0b, as he failed to convince me that '0' was not a number (yea... I got it wrong on a math test and I tried to argue with him to no avail... ).

I think you've put that long standing disagreement between Me and Mr. Reeves to rest. Thanks. :D

Cond0011 said...

Of course if he had said what you said, I would have stared at him like he had two heads and then proceeded to wander aimlessly off, bumping into walls as I departed. ;)

Gagdad Bob said...

One is a quality too -- unity -- as is two -- duality -- and three -- synthesis.

Seems that all the primary numbers have some mystical connotation.

Cond0011 said...

"Seems that all the primary numbers have some mystical connotation."

Who would have thought a purely logical/reasonable construct would have a mystical ground? Surely not an atheist. :)

Thus is the circle complete.

imgs . xkcd . com/comics/purity.png

By the way, the Roman Numerical System has no concept of zero...

Cond0011 said...

Me-thinks "Mr. Xkcd" needs to alter his cartoon juat a wee bit, don't you think?

Gagdad Bob said...

No post today, so call it an open thread.

Rick said...

Suggested topic:

Transcendental Meditation

I signed-up for the course about 2 1/2 months ago (see: TM.org).
I think I see positive results. I "do it" through the lens of Christianity, with prayer and so forth (not a requirement). I don't really see any conflicts - in fact, it's enriched my understanding of Christianity. Also, the Maharishi had some nice things to say about Christ (see youtoob video) which was refreshing. I'm going to continue.

If you don't already know, you might be surprised who has been doing it for 40 years.

Any other raccoons in on this?
Extra points if you can guess who gave me the idea (it wasn't Bob) -- hint -- it was the guy who has been doing it for 40 years.

neal said...

The Romans used seven letters for hexadecimal properties. Base twelve for fractions.

Make of that what you will. Tens when needed. Twelves when sliced. Not like that would be happening in the colonies.

John Lien said...

"As an aside or maybe above, I would say that 0 is to Father as 1 is to Son."

Yes! I like it. This post is yet more well timed explanation as I slog through and pretend to understand Cosmic Liturgy.


Rick, Fr. Stephen? Just a WAG given what I think I know about you and Fr. Stephen.

Rick said...

John -- that's a surprising guess. But actually, I ran across a Jerry Seinfeld youtoob. There are a few videos of him going on about it. Also, Howard Stern has done it too for about as long.

Has Fr. Stephen mentioned TM?

Rick said...

Jerry and Howard about TM

Rick said...

Maharishi on the teachings of Christ

John Lien said...

Who is this Seinfeld fellow you mention? I guess I need to get out more. :^)
Naw, Fr. Stephen never mentioned TM but he comes across as an evolved hippie -and I mean that as a compliment.

Rick said...

LOL - he was on Carson a few times :-)