Plotinus Class May 27, 1983

FRIDAY, 05/27/83

Editor comments are in square brackets.

[TAPE 1, SIDE 1]

AD: If you remember, we spoke about the Soul, we were trying to face the soul the way it was spoken of in a transcendental way in the One and flowing from there to the Universal Soul, and that life from the Universal Soul flowed on, so to speak, into the royal intellect or the intellectual side of the soul which is concerned with the fundamental groundplan of the cosmos. And STILL going on, [inaudible] the individual planetary, star souls or cosmic souls, which then, as we said, elaborated that ground plan and each cosmic soul articulated and collaborated its own version of that world idea that it was working on. And still, the life essence that flowed through also flows through these individual planetary souls and cosmic souls and keeps on flowing right down into the individual souls, because they too are units of life or consciousness and each one of them also has its own version of the World Idea. So the continuity or rivers of life that flow from the source run all the way down even into the least creatures. Then we spoke about the fact that each creature lives its life by soul entire; and of course this is to understand that when Plotinus said that soul was one and many, this was intuitive knowledge; you won't be able to grasp it with the intellect. The response should come from the inner being to try to understand what that means to say that the soul is one and many. Then we would have to go on and recognize that in so far that each soul, and it doesn't matter which soul you're referring to, insofar that each soul is a unit of life and that it is going to evolve from a germinal condition and try to manifest more and more of the World Idea, that there would be a corresponding evolution of that individual soul; and the life would just flow on and on. And so the intellect can't understand how the soul can be one and many and that the definition was to emphasize one to the detriment of the other, it would be to defy and deny the intuitive knowledge that Plotinus was giving us when he said that the soul was one and many. THe contemporary mentality is really in many ways absurd because of its tendency to reduce everything to the simplest, as though it knows what the simplest is. Take the example of the Notre Dame cathedral when you look at it and say, "that's a good pile of rocks.'' That's the most irrelevant thing about it. . . .

Let's go back to the notion of the twin soul, what we did last week. This part is extremely important, because we're doing the work on PB's notes and this will help us understand PB's notes. They're very difficult. I've got this quote which I'll read at the end of class.

[AD begins reading his paper, "Third Phase of Soul". He originally read an early version of the paper, which was revised after this class. For the sake of the editor's sanity, and to reduce the possibility of misunderstanding, the revised version is used below.]

"This third phase of the soul, which we may call Overself or celestial Mercurius, needs to be thoroughly understood and explained, and its functioning amplified by illustrating its relation to a body which is part of the cosmos and, therefore, the World Idea. It is a spark from that soul in the Nous, an individual unit of life and consciousness and a perpetually evolving offspring, which receives or manifests the World Idea and projects it forth as its pure idea. This evolving World Idea that it unfolds leads it through an indefinite development and ultimately forces the vehicles it operates through to qualitatively resemble its highest phase through the practice of the "imitation of God" or the philosophic disciplines, including yoga. (I.6.9, V.3.9)

"Without understanding the fundamental nature of this eternal twin, the theories of reincarnation and karma become hopelessly muddled. Some contemporary writers' precise understanding of the philosophic doctrines falters here. Their criticism of a misunderstood theory of reincarnation is not of service to philosophic students, and may even have serious consequences for themselves and their followers. Their intense and overwhelming aspiration to explain everything by reducing it to the non-dual is an admirable display of devotion, but it is not the balanced view required by philosophy, for it leaves certain very important and practical matters unexplained and unexplainable. The fact remains--and no words can abolish the situation--that our identification with our ego includes a meaning that cannot be whisked away at the stroke of a pen. Yet, they have not properly inquired into the value and significance of the ego.

"Obviously, the interval between the Self or Atma (Soul) and its representative, the ego, is a no-man's land, and it is very noticeably left unexplained in many texts. Why contemplative "Nature" put so much travail into producing the necessary vehicles by which the Mercurial phase may evolve, is one of those questions which, if left unanswered, will forever rankle in our mind. It must be squarely faced. There are various views on this subject scattered throughout the ancient and modern writings, and we have attempted to bring them together in a coherent and organized fashion to help us in our understanding of reincarnation, metempsychosis, the meaning and value of the ego, and how these fit into the metaphysical scheme.

"As we previously pointed out, the ancients conceived the Soul as tripartite, but it can just as easily be conceived of as dual. The higher Cognitive Isness or Principle of Awareness and its intelligence (cit-sakti) cannot directly experience the sensible world, and therefore acts through the lower phase, or Mercurius, within which the manifestation of the World Idea will take place. This lower phase may be referred to as the function of manifestness, or asmita (I-ness) in Yoga terminology, which "descends" completely into the realms of manifestation (by a process that will be described later), into the womb of the world, called by the Buddhists the Tathagatagarbha where Buddhas are born.

"This germ from the higher soul will evolve or gestate through indeterminable time concomitantly with the Idea of the World. This World Idea is fabricated and organized by the Universal Soul and Cosmic Soul, and projected by and through the individual Soul as its thought. The perpetual unfoldment and development of the World Idea is irreversible in its direction and therefore guarantees the evolution of that individual Soul. The evolving "double" of the soul, which is included as part of the World Idea, is often spoken of as the "second soul." Through its function of manifestness, this soul projects its image of the Intellectual Cosmos, which is given to it from within. Its experience of that Cosmos is the modification of its own functioning, referred to as the World Idea, or the world as thought, or in Hinduism as Citta Vrittis. This projection encompasses the entire manifest universe for an individual soul, [The Archetypal or Intellectual Idea of the Universe is manifested through the secondary phase of the Soul,] which will project it within itself by continuously transforming itself. This projected universe will include the necessary sheaths with which the soul will identify and through which it will operate.

"The very function of manifestness or asmita is also the means by which the individual soul takes itself, at any level, to be part of the cosmos. These mental modes are instantiating or imaging the Ideas as various grades of thought, and all these are manifest to, and appear within, the Mercurial phase of soul. In the Vedantic classification these grades are called the Annomaya, Pranomaya, Manomaya, Vijnanamaya, and Anandamaya Kosas. The Platonic equivalents are the Shelly, Moonlike, Sunlike, Noeron and Augoiedes (??unreadable insert). The imaged cosmos itself provides a framework within which we can locate these vehicles. We have tabulated and correlated these classifications within the chart in an attempt to pictoralize somewhat the concept of man as the ancients conceived him.

"The Mercurius phase of soul as the pure form of manifestness, that is, Universal Consciousness as our "I AM," is first identified with the highest reaches of heaven. There resides the intelligence of the cosmos in its pure (sattvic) aspect, called the Reason Principles or Ideas variously combined to form the universe. Here the Mercurius assumes substantiality as the pure joy of existence called the Anandamaya Kosa, or the Robe of Glory. However, the principle of pure light can also be considered a priori, that is, before it manifests a cosmos. Through the function of manifesting the soul takes itself to be embodied in the reason principles. The I takes itself to be this mind, the self-affirming certitude of "I am the World Idea." At this level, the I or asmita is the substratum or basis for the differentiation of the appearances within itself, i.e., the lower principles which evolve from Reason. The soul that still has its wings is associated with a vestment of luminous reason principles that form the "Robe of Glory" or augoiedes, the radiant body, and may truthfully say, "The World is my Idea." For here, the intelligence of the stars is the locus for the soul's first association with the cosmos, and it is infused there with the intelligible form of the cosmos, or World Idea. Within the realm of manifestation, this Universal Consciousness is the higher knower in us.

"At the station of Reason and its act, that is, the clear shining of the intelligence which contains the Ideas for the formation of the world, the highest phase of the Mercurial soul is in harmony with the operation of the Cosmic Soul and Universal Soul in unfolding the World Idea for itself. The ray of soul in its universality, dressed with its robe of reason principles, participates in the spiritual powers of absolute knowing, willing, and feeling, through which it modalizes or particularizes itself as this individual soul at the level of Vijnanamaya Kosa or the Noeron body. This nous or intelligence of the cosmos as manifested through an individual soul includes that particular soul's role in the World Idea, and constitutes its spiritual knowledge. Consequently, the soul functioning at this level of intelligence is a spiritual gnosis that includes the spontaneous knowledge and activity of the next level, the planetary spheres or the Manomaya Kosa. This self-knowing within the soul through the modes of knowing, willing and feeling is symbolized in the cosmology/astrology by the three trans-Saturnian functions of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, the absolute powers of knowing, feeling and willing, respectively.

"As we have said, the "I principle" or Asmita identified with the Vijnanamaya Kosa includes the knowledge of the lower realms. It is that power to know by which the Ideas are variously combined to form the World Idea for an individual soul. This latter is received by the functioning of the Manomaya Kosa or the mind. This is the realm of the Cosmokrators, being the powers of the Cosmic Soul, symbolized by the sensible sun and the planets, (insert--looks like "?WM") elaborating the sublunary worlds. The individual soul conjoined to the Cosmic Soul participates in the functioning of its powers. The soul or mind receives the World Idea, or rather, intuits it and at the level of vijnana makes a representation of it for itself. Inherent in this production is the intellectual nature of mind, including the fabricative and gnostic powers of the Soul that simultaneously imbues its representations with significance.

"In order to understand the soul's manifesting the world idea, it is necessary to describe the activity of the Cosmic Soul at this level. The mind of the Cosmic Soul is receiving the World Idea, and with its powers or representative faculty organizes the earth's memory accordingly. This organization is the given content of the world of sense or the subtle image of the world, which is still prior to our reflective consciousness. This imaginal essence or the earth's memory then becomes the medium through which that prior mind can become reflectively aware of its prior unconscious activity. At this level of our unconscious mental functioning, the World Idea is being incessantly instantiated and transmitted. That is, the soul's image-making faculty is constantly recreating the World Idea. This subtle recreated image of the World Idea is not optical, but rather an abstract schema or synthesis, and is prior to our an alogical whole which nonetheless contains all the features that will later on become available to us through our murky reflective self-consciousness. The mind's prior activity of organizing the "matter," or more precisely, the earth's memory or the elements, into clusters of sensations which constitute the functional images that become the phenomenal subject and object of our knowledge, is our actual empirical experience. These clusters of sensations or the organization of the earth's memories into a functional image, is the medium through which the Soul or mind incarnates and therein ultimately becomes self-reflectively aware of its prior activity.

"The functioning of the psychosomatic organism, which is, as we have said, an organization of the earth's imagination, may be referred to as imitative being. Here are located the presuppositions or basic attitudes that will be included in the manifesting of an individual's mental powers. Here and only here, within the organization of the memory or imaginal essence which is the depositing of mankind's life, may we speak of Jung's archetypes as the pre-condition for an individual psychological experience, and say that philosophy is but a mouthing of these archetypes.

"The sublunary system of tropes or life traces has been organized by the planetary spheres have organized into a variety of species and their environment, in conformity to the World Idea, as far as this is possible. This imaginal realm of the earth's dragonic belt constitutes the Moonlike and Shelly bodies, the lowest vehicles of the soul's experience. That our mind is really cosmic in extent is obscured in this final identification with the lowest (imaginal) sheath(s?), and the apparent bifurcation of the soul into an empirical subject and a phenomenal object occurs here. A simplified picture of the vast cosmological presuppositions must be delineated in order for us to be able to understand our sensible experience. It is approximately in this way that the ancients conceived what conditions were necessary for the arisal of knowledge. The entire panorama of the sensible world which was fabricated by the Gods was a necessary prerequisite--the stage upon which the actors made their entrances and exits.

"Thus, the entire manifested world can be conceived of as a huge thought projected forth from each individual soul. Within this whole we may conceive of a hierarchy of levels, each level distinguished from the whole and from one another. The highest level is Life Intellectual, or the Soul as embodying Reason Principles. Among the lowest is the vegetative life, a life dim and obscure, that is, the Soul manifesting through the Kingdom of Nature. The laws that apply to one level are different from those of another, and all the various levels can be considered as compressed and operatively represented within a single entity, the microcosm, which is a miniature cosmos. (IV-3-17) Thus, we are to remember that all of these levels, (word?) included, we are situated within thought--mind's functioning. The Mercurial phase of individual soul may be thought of as associated or identified with the lowest of Nature's kingdom and gradually rising through the hierarchy, consequently assimilating a knowledge of the reason principles from each level. We can also start at the other pole, much more in line with our contemporary modes of thinking.

"When this I-ness is inserted into an animal body which has gone through a phylogenetic and ontogenetic development, the inherent functioning and vitality of the organism is initially (unreadable phrase--check original). This state corresponds to the man of flesh and blood, the separative ego that regards the world as completely other and which must be the source of satisfaction to its own desires, a whirlwind of never-ending activity. This egoistic position gives rise to a realistic epistemology and a geocentric world view. However, constantly intruding into the natural man is the functioning of the Cosmic and higher individual mind, indicated by the motion of the Chaldean planets--altering, modifying, transforming that matrix of tendencies despite the claims of inertia due to the psychosomatic organism. Ultimately, a sufficient deposit of the higher mind's functioning orientates that individual soul towards a more rational or heliocentric position. Thus, we are retelling an ancient view about the mystery of man, which started with Orpheus and continued through philosophic mythology that culminated in the Enneads.

"If we conceive of the Mother Earth as a goddess within whose domain has transpired the manifestation of innumerable species of life, their immediate origin would be her body itself. This body will contain the necessary ingredients for the building up of the two lowest sheaths, what are referred to as the Shelly and Moonlike bodies. This "material" has been recycled innumerable times; it therefore has certain tendencies or proclivities which are indications of past functioning and which may be referred to as the tropes. The combination of the Great Elements into organized living bodies includes these selected responses or tendencies that manifest themselves in the body's functioning. Or, in other words, within this mysterious imaginal essence is retained traces of its functioning after the dissolution of the entity, and the totality of these traces constitutes the memory of the earth. This beginningless ontogenetic and phylogenetic development is the source from which and within which the bodies of all living creatures are produced and live.

"This indefinite and indeterminable storehouse of images, this seething cauldron of innumerable disembodied functionings, is the material of the soul's fabricative activity and is suggestive of the nature of the Dragon. The Moonlike and Shelly bodies of living creatures are an embodiment of it, and their activity is refunded into this "subconscious." The Dragon lives and breathes through the individual organisms, and not only is it constitutive of the physiological functioning of the organisms, but also of the significance attributed to that functioning which is understood later on when the reasoning of the soul judges it. This is the lowest vehicle which is supplied to a soul with which it will acquire a rudimentary understanding of the sensible world. The soul as an inhabitant of such a body is becoming acquainted with the traces of the intelligence of the Ideas which have been left behind as part of the earth's memory. It is these traces (of the Ideas) which give rise to images, each (non-optical) image (unreadable insert?) constitutes a matrix of disembodied tendencies that have been misnamed "archetypes." (question mark in right margin) Imperceptible in themselves, these traces can nevertheless be inferred through reflection on their activity by the soul's gnostic powers when it reaches the level of reflective conscious judgement. These contents have become the environment or the idea of the world for that individual soul inhabiting that individual body, and within it the presence of the soul within the World Idea is indicated as well. What we witness here is the presence in the imaginal essence of the intelligence of the Ideas as tropes (samskaras) and the powers of the soul or the functioning of the soul as represented by the categories of the imagination. Under these conditions, the soul perceives images in water--the shadows or phantoms in the cave. The soul as wrapped in a cocoon of oblivion, i.e., the body, is as yet unable and unwilling to investigate into the mystery of the nature of man.

"A selection or specific combination of the totality of the Zodiacal(?) degrees and their portrayal by the functioning of the categories of the imagination will constitute a specific psychosomatic individuality, which will provide the soul with a body to which its karma entitles it. Only after this acquisition by the soul, which can then operate through this body, can we speak of the phenomenalization of the primary image; that is, the operation of reflective judgement on and through the functioning of this entity. This entity is mortal; there is no reincarnation for it. This point must be understood in order to prevent an animistic conception of reincarnation. The ongoing continuity of the individual soul's karma, that is, its next psychosomatic organism, is provided by the cosmic circuit. However the continuity of karma, which a succession of bodies provides, refers to the self-identical "I AM" or individual consciousness.

"A thoughtful consideration of the natal horoscope--our cosmic identity--suggests the particularity of the individual soul's status, which is a description rather than an explanation. At the moment of birth, all the geometrical and arithmetical relationships are precisely indicated, and announce the nature of this imitative being which participates in the functioning of these soul powers. Insofar as the functioning of the Cosmic Soul, to which is conjoined the individual soul, is operative, it will create the necessary organs in the imaginal essence to manifest that function. Thus, something of the intellectual nature of the soul's powers is transmitted or left behind as a trace in that entity or adventitious unity. The reduplication of these soul powers within the organized imaginal essence serves as the ground of our psychological experience. We will try to illustrate this description a little further on.

"A preliminary inquiry into the nature of the all-encircling Zodiacal degrees will require extended investigation and research. For now, we are simply suggesting that they represent an intrusion of the intellectual, of the Ideas flowing into our world in the peculiar way described previously. Each of these degrees is often symbolized by an image of multivalent significances, which includes the formative sources of Archetypal Ideas and the presuppositions of the genera and species of all life. Thus, we have the intellectual mind of the Cosmic Soul or its power to know the Ideas in the Archetypal realm. Through its functioning, which is both gnostic and fabricative, it organizes the earth's memories into a world picture, which is an alogical whole that includes adventitious unities whose very organization brings about the experience of a phenomenal subject and object.

"We are gradually approaching an understanding of how the ego is a thought made of memories, the stuff of dreams, yet nonetheless reflects macrocosmic principles. The totality of the memories of the earth may be referred to as our subconscious, which is a vast intelligence. The specificity of the individual ego refers to the significances attached to the functioning of its tropes. This ego will be used as a vehicle by an individual soul, whose knowledge and consciousness, or in other words, its "I AM," will be unfolded through the resulting interaction.

"The individual soul as embodied becomes more conscious by and through the process of combining in innumerable ways the significances or meanings attached to the tropes. It thereby creates the necessary concepts by which it can understand or reflectively judge that which the intellectual part of his mind has created. The soul's knowledge becomes scientific when there is a conformity of these concepts with the prior activity of the intuitive mind. Thus, the mind is trying to understand through the psychosomatic organism that its prior activity has created.

"What must be recognized is that this activity of reflective thought is within the Dragon. We combine the meanings and significances which are attached to the tropes and manipulate them, creating concepts of understanding to grasp the object. The compulsiveness of these significances can and does predetermine our understanding to such an extent that the meanings are actually the presuppositions of our psychological experience and understanding. Insofar as the ego is constituted by these presuppositions and its life is a gesture or manifestation of them, it is difficult to see how we can arrive at the formulation of a doctrine of Truth.

"It is at this point that the full import of being in a cul-de-sac arises. The way out is shown to us in the Platonic teachings that attempt to disentangle the reason principles or ideas which the images embody. This process requires that the soul purify itself through isolation. The great philosophic thinkers pierce through the images to the reason principles directly. This is intelligible intuition without the use of any intermediaries. This intuition is not of a conceptual nature and does not rely on the language of the Dragon. Those who are not free from the compulsive intensity of the images do not have access to intelligible truth.

"The rich storehouse of information that the horoscope contains can be a source of spiritual and metaphysical knowledge that could inspire and enrich our lives, for in this mysterious way the transcendental is included or is immanent in the empirical (and not embodied in footnotes). Perhaps in delineating the charts of well-known writers whose lives are well-documented, we could, through a postmortem astrological analysis, illustrate something of what is meant by the famous dictums that, "We do not have ideas, rather they have us"--or--"What superior beings think, we must perceive."

"To recapitulate: in the degree symbolism there is inextricably buried a hierarchy of meanings, that is, significances that are attached to the functioning of the tropes. At the moment of birth, the planets are conjunct with certain degrees, and an aspectual relationship arises between all the planets and the degrees they conjunct. Thus, at the very origin at birth, the entity is already endowed with meanings that will be manifest in the course of the person's life. The cosmokrators, powers of the Cosmic Soul to which our mind is conjoined, have organized the tropes into a body of imagination. The psychosomatic entity has seven ways of functioning and four ways of knowing. Within the Dragon, each category of the imagination bears the impress of the corresponding cosmokrator which results in the different ways this entity of imagination can function and know. By "body" we mean the grouping together of these tropes, and by "psyche" we mean the functioning of the categories of the imagination. This is the psychosomatic organism that is imitative being and includes within itself traces of the Ideas. In the chart, a planet conjunct a degree indicates, on the one hand, how that function which is represented by the organ or category of imagination is influenced by the trope, and on the other hand, how that planet will manifest the significances within the trope.

"It can be shown that the understanding of a given entity, in all cases except the man liberated from his ego, can be traced back to these ideas which the categories of the imagination have manifested. It can also be shown that a deeper understanding accrues when the natal chart makes certain aspects with the planets by transit. It can further be demonstrated that a vastly superior and universal consciousness is transmitted through an individual soul that has particularized itself within the system of tropes that represents an individual entity.

"As we continue retracing our steps on the upward path of that part of the Soul which is said to be divisible among bodies, we can further our understanding by pointing out the relationship that exists between the transiting Chaldean planets and the natal chart. This relationship indicates how that individual's greater mind is attempting to become aware of itself in the reflecting medium that the psychosomatic organism supplies. The Soul must come to an understanding of itself through this organism with its phylogenetic and ontogenetic background, but nonetheless to which it is heir. The Soul's task in each incarnation is to erase the interferences and distortions that intervene between the subtle image produced by the greater mind's functioning and its reflection in that empirical subject which is its vehicle, until finally the ego is subservient to the God within."

[End of paper]

I'm going to attach this quote from PB:

[TAPE 1, SIDE 2]

PB: "What is the use, ask many questioners, of first, an evolution of the human soul which merely brings it back to the same point where it started and second, of developing a selfhood through the long cycles of evolution only to have it merged or dissolved in the end into the unselfed Absolute? Is not the whole scheme absurdly useless? The answer is that if this were really the case, the criticism passed would be quite a fair one. But it is not the case. The unit of life emanated from the Overself begins with the merest glimmer of consciousness, appearing on our plane as a protozoic cell. It evolves eventually into the fullest human consciousness, including the intellectual and spiritual. It does not finish as it began; on the contrary, there is a grand purpose behind all its travail. There is thus a wide gulf between its original state and its final one. The second point is more difficult to clear up, but it may be plainly affirmed that man's individuality survives even in the divinest state accessible to him. There it becomes the same in quality but not identical in essence. The most intimate mental and physical experiences of human love cast a little light for our comprehension of this mystery. The misunderstanding which leads to these questions arises chiefly because of the error which believes that it is the divine soul which goes through all this pilgrimage by reincarnating in a series of earthly forms. The true teaching about reincarnation is not that the divine soul enters into the captivity and ignorance of the flesh again and again but that something emanated from the soul, that is, a unit of life that eventually develops into the personal ego, does so. The Overself contains this reincarnating ego within itself but does not itself reincarnate. It is the parent; the ego is only its offspring. The long and tremendous evolution through which the unit of life passes from its primitive cellular existence to its matured human one is a genuine evolution of its consciousness. Whoever believes that the process first plunges a soul down from the heights into a body or forces Spirit to lose itself in Matter, and then leaves it no alternative but to climb all the way back to the lost summit again, believes wrongly. The Overself never descends or climbs, never loses its own sublime consciousness. What really does this is something that emanates from it and that consequently holds its capacity and power in latency, something which is finited out of the Overself's infinitude and becomes first, the simple unit of life and later, the complex human ego. It is not the Overself that suffers and struggles during this long unfoldment but its child, the ego. It is not the Overself that slowly expands its intelligence and consciousness, but the ego. It is not the Overself that gets deluded by ignorance and passion, by selfishness and extroversion, but the ego.

The belief in the merger of the ego held by some Hindu sects or in its annihilation held by some Buddhist ones, is unphilosophical. The "I'' differentiated itself out of the infinite ocean of Mind into a distinct individuality after a long development through the diverse kingdoms of Nature. Having thus arrived at consciousness of what it is, having travelled the spiral of growth from germ to man, the result of all this effort is certainly not gained only to be thrown away.

Were this to happen then the entire history of the human race would be a meaningless one, its entire travail a resultless one, its entire aspiration a valueless one. If evolution were merely the complementary return journey of an involutionary process, if the evolving entity arrived only at its starting point for all its pains, then the whole plan would be a senseless one. If the journey of man consisted of nothing more than treading a circle from the time of his emergence from the Divine Essence to the time of his mergence back into it, it would be a vain and useless activity. It would be a stupendous adventure but also a stupid one. There is something more than that in his movement. Except in the speculations of certain theorists, it simply does not happen.

The self-consciousness thus developed will not be dissolved, extinguished, or re-absorbed into the Whole again, leaving not a trace behind. Rather will it begin a new spiral of evolution towards higher altitudes of consciousness and diviner levels of being, in which it will co-operate as harmoniously with the universal existence as formerly it collided against it. It will not separate its own good from the general good. Here is part of the answer to this question: What are the ultimate reasons for human wanderings through the world-process? That life matters, that the universe possesses meaning, and that the evolutionary agonies are leading to something worthwhile--these are beliefs we are entitled to hold. If the cosmos is a wheel which turns and turns endlessly, it does not turn aimlessly. Evolution does not return us to the starting point as we were. The ascent is not a circle but a spiral.

Evolution presupposes that its own possibility has always been latent within the evolving entities. Hence the highest form is hidden away in the lowest one. There is development from the blindly instinctive life of animals to the consciously thinking life of man. The blind instinctive struggles of the plant to sustain itself are displaced in the evolutionary process by the intelligent self-conscious efforts of the man. Nor does this ascent end in the Vedantic merger or the Buddhistic annihilation. It could not, for it is a development of the individuality. Everywhere we find that evolution produces variety. There are myriads of individual entities, but each possesses some quality of uniqueness which distinguishes it from all others. Life may be one but its multitudinous expressions do differ, as though difference were inherent in such expression.

Evolution as mentalistically defined by philosophy is not quite the same as evolution as materialistically defined by Darwin. With us it is simply the mode of striving, through rhythmic rise and fall, for an ever fuller expansion of the individual unit's consciousness. However, the ego already possesses all such possibilities latently. Consequently the whole process, although apparently an ascending one, is really an unfolding one.'' [26:4.257 & Perspectives]

[Quote read twice.]

BS: Would you repeat one line for me please . . . Would you mind repeating one or two lines, about how the "I'' gets ferreted out from the infinite diversity--?

AD: Finited out of the ultimate--excuse me. The individual I is finited or finitized out of the universal consciousness.

BS: There was a reference to the diversity of nature.

PB: "The "I'' differentiated itself . . . diverse kingdoms of nature.''

BS: . . . ferreted out . . .

AD: Not ferreted out, it's FINITED out.

BS: Not that one.

AD: Remember--I think Randy did this picture with the--(sounds like diagram being drawn)--and he pointed out that there was this germ which descended, started out in the sublunary realm, and kept growing [inaudible] until it reached its--light, this pure light or the pure principle of Asmita, and then that contact became available to it. It could even merge in that, but then when it came out, there were those continuing worlds. Then that would take us into the 11th House where you have, so to speak, seven different levels or degrees of existence; where each one has its own kind of epistemology, its own kind of ontology. It would be enough to drive anyone up a wall. But it certainly isn't the simple explanation that they want to give us, in orthodox religious traditions. But what was the other one?

RG: [inaudible]

AD: [inaudible]

St: [inaudible]

MB: Anthony, would you equate PB's notion of ego here with Asmita?

[And more inaudible student comments & questions.]

AD: Yes. [inaudible]

MB: You would? Because it seemed that the other night we spoke about the Asmita principle--we talked about it as not undergoing [inaudible], was not descending, it's the principle of manifestation but not manifested. [inaudible] And yet the way PB talks about the developing ego principle, it sounded more [inaudible] undeveloped.

AD: Again, you have to keep in mind the distinction that I made. That was that the essence of life always remains undisturbedly essence of life. The Ideas or the component factors, in other words, what's added to it--the World Idea--that goes on evolving; but that essence of life, that unit of life, is always self-identical with itself.

[Inaudible student comments--about 1 minute]

MB et al: I don't understand . . .

AD: Let's go back to what we said--remember--when we were trying to define it [inaudible]. But we spoke of it as a principle of self-motion, self-motivated (Q: `self-motivating' in KD version; HP thinks that `self-motion' should be deleted as Anthony appears to be correcting himself); and we could say that of the highest level down to the lowest level. That is always self-identical with itself; that essence is always what it is. Now there's a second part that we must keep in mind and that is the evolving World Idea which it carries within itself. This World Idea--as we said in the paper--has direction, it is going someplace; it'll always go in a certain direction. Now, as this evolving and developing World Idea is WITHIN this unit of life, the unit of life doesn't alter its nature. What is brought out, so to speak, is the intelligence through which it functions, but that essence of life is always self-identical.

PC: Is it always self-aware?

AD: No, not if we start at the bottom. If we start at the bottom the way PB does, then self-awareness is so germinal, you might say, that it's hardly available. On the other hand, if we start at the top, the Platonists starting from the top, then they speak about it as--when it descends it loses this self-awareness until finally it is utterly obscured.

St (VM?/RG?/SS?): Would you go over once again the intelligence that's brought out in the soul?

AD: The World Idea, by which in every and any unit of life--in each and any and every unit of life is self identical with any and EVERY other unit of life--you could speak of this as one life, but then that would be to reduce everything to universal being; or from our point of view we'll speak about it as many lives. But that means that each and every life insofar that it is a life, is self-identical as far as its own essence is concerned. This doesn't alter. Then, what is it that alters? Well, we said that within that there is the World Idea. This World Idea is a fabrication of the Intellectual gods, because each soul, as we said, has the intellectual cosmos within it; and the intellectual cosmos IS the product of the intellectual gods. They're the ones who put that World Idea together behind the scenes, so to speak. Now, insofar that the World Idea is being manifested through that individual life, then that World Idea is informing that individual life; that is, it's constantly correcting it, encouraging it, or whatever interaction takes place within the life essence and the World Idea which it carries within itself, whatever that interaction is, it's going to bring forth from that life-essence greater and greater understanding. That would be really, so to speak, the higher knower which (it's?/is?) going to evolve in this life-essence. So that as this World Idea evolves, and the understanding that is in that World Idea, brings about this interaction, there is forced out this potential that is already in that life, forces it out, until it is fully realized self-actuating soul.

SS: That's its inner intelligence, which it brings--

AD: [inaudible]

[Comments and repetitions by student/inaudible.]

SS: Which it already has, but it has to be SCHOOLED by the World Idea.

AD: In a way, in a way, when we try to look at the individual in the chart, and you have these ideas surrounding the chart, and we give them a number but, like I said, that's just a metaphor because the possible combination of the ideas is indefinite. Now these ideas ARE what you are manifesting. Or let's put it that way, that these ideas are being manifested as your intelligence, as your understanding. And that the--if it was possible, let's say, to manifest the totality of the intelligence which is in these Ideas, you would be equivalent to the higher knower or the World Mind itself. But in one individual's chart, there's only a selection from these which is the peculiar intelligence of that entity that's evolving, and in the next incarnation more and more, and this keeps going on.

SS: But even all that, wouldn't it be a representation of the intellectual cosmos?

AD: I'm sorry?

SS: All this which is being unfolded in the individual soul through the World Idea, and comes in contact with the various aspects of the World Idea through many incarnations or many contacts on the various symbols or degrees--that would be, in its totality of all the degrees, still a representation of what comes from the intellectual cosmos, the Intellectual-Principle?

AD: No, that would be limiting it. That's not necessarily so, because as we pointed out, there's buried in those tropes a variety of significances or meaning from the highest to the lowest; that is, the highest meaning in the tropes can be brought out from the soul. In other words, it will remind the soul about these ideas. On the other hand, insofar that it's concerned with only physiological functioning, the soul could be buried or lost in the significance of physiological functioning. But the interesting thing here is that--if you noticed--is that if these ideas are being manifested--let's say that their intelligence gets actualized in the life of the individual, this actualized intelligence ultimately becomes what you might say, the Higher Knower. So there is a representation of the higher knower in us all the time, in terms of all the meanings that are available right in the degrees themselves. The whole point I'm making here is that the ideas which are encircling the chart--that's fundamental. That's the most fundamental part of the chart, because that is the higher knower, whether we think of it in embryonic form as tropes in matter, or whether we think of it as triggering off reminiscence in the soul. [inaudible]

MB: What do you mean `the actualized intelligence becomes the higher knower?

AD: If the original archetypal Ideas which, as we said, were the presuppositions of all the genera and species of life, if these Ideas which leave behind these tropes in the matter, and the functioning of these tropes, at least the significances of what the meaning of these tropes are all about, they bring about a reminiscence in the soul of the Ideas prior to what they were when they got embodied in matter. This becomes the Higher Knower in you. In other words, the functioning of the real Ideas in you is the Higher Knower.

MB: When you speak of the Asmita Principle--having something to learn and also being that which manifests . . . there seems to be a continuum between that knower which produces and that knower which becomes out of it, and yet at the same time there seems to be a distinction . . .[all this is hard to hear]

AD: The distinction [seems to?] be that what we're calling the Asmita principle is the lower knower and the ideas that he's becoming acquainted with or that he's manifesting through that functioning is the higher knower.

St: [inaudible]

RC: There was one quote . . .

RG: In that understanding, are the ideas something different than the Overself?

AD: Something different?

RG: Which you can also think of as the Higher Knower?

AD: Well, no, I'm not going that far. I'm not going to make a distinction between universal consciousness, the Overself, and the World Mind. I'm treating them as the same thing. So when I say that the Soul becomes the Higher Knower, I'm not speaking about the Overself as becoming the Higher Knower; what I'm speaking of is the Asmita principle becoming acquainted with the Higher Knower because the Overself IS the same time not only soul but also Intellectual-Principle. And what the Asmita principle is learning to do is to be guided and governed by that principle.

LR: It seems that in the quote of PB he's arguing against the merger of the Asmita into the Saturn-Jupiter thing.

AD: Yes. That will never be merged.

LR: He's arguing [inaudible] the Asmita principle that seems to be the principle that he says continues--

AD: Yes, but that would not stop this evolutionary process which turns the Asmita principle into a more god-like creature, into a superior [inaudible], almost a superman.

LR: . . .

AD: It seems like what--

LR: It seems that what he's arguing for is the Asmita.

AD: Mmhm.

LR: But that never--. He's always the same in essence with the Saturn-Jupiter thing.

AD: Yes.

LR: But it doesn't lose its individuality.

AD: Never. I think that that's something peculiarly Western, more than Eastern, and I would suspect that underneath the misunderstanding that's so rampant in Christian philosophy--basically you know, their glorification of the ego and their immortalization of it--I think underneath that--that's debris--but underneath that they intuited that there IS something in us which is individual. And of course they want to keep bringing back the same ego, which is pretty scary. After 50 years you can get pretty disgusted with it.

LR: Anthony, can I ask you one further question?

AD: Yes.

LR: In the enquiry into the "who'', the "Who am I'' would ultimately reach the Asmita principle, and no further, but that an enquiry into the "what'' might catch the Intellectual-Principle.

RG: If you trace the "who'' deep enough then you get to the Overself per se, the pure subject.

LR: That seems to be the Intellectual-Principle.

RG: Then you're agreeing that you can trace the "who'' to the Intellectual-Principle.

LR: Well, when I say "who'' I'm talking about--

RG: Then you've already defined the answer.

LR: I'm saying [inaudible].

RG: I would argue against that the "who'' can be traced to the pure Overself and if you agree to it being the Intellectual-Principle then--

AD: Just like the "what'' could be traced to the Overself.

RG: Right, either one.

LR: Well, I thought the whole purpose would be to maintain a distinction between the who and the what.

AD: Well, it's only a verbal distinction like we tried to point out; the Saturn-Jupiter in Leo represents the soul in the Intellectual-Principle. And that's it, that's the Higher Knower, whether you think of it in terms of Intellectual-Principle or Universal consciousness or the Overself, they're both; so either approach, the "what'' or the "who,'' will take you there. I think the who is shorter because it's much more intimate and more directly accessible to your introspection.

[Comments by students follow about the who and the what--approximately 4 minutes]

AD: If we start this way, if we take our personal experience here; there's always the feeling of an "I'', and there's always the feeling of not-I: both of these are included, so to speak, in one overall view. There's an "I'' aspect to our experience; there's an "other'' aspect to our experience. What we're saying is that within one and the same experience right here, there's this reference to a subjective principle, and there's also reference to an objective content that is either intimately conjoined with it or is part of it. Whatever way we say-- [Tape 1 ends. What follows is from a non-WG tape.]

AD: There are these two aspects. And I think on the one hand, if we trace this back, we would come to a common root, to a root which is common to both of these; and I think that root soulw be the Saturn, the Overself itself, where distinction between its consciousness and the objective ideation can't be distinguished. They're both spoken of actually in that sense, that they're both void. So they'll both get merged back into that; but as we come out of it, there seems to be a wider and wider distinction being made. It's like the trunk grows and then it starts separating into two branches, and one of them seems to be [furry?]

[TAPE 2, SIDE 1]

AD: . . . the Ideas HAVE to be your experience. So they're both very inter-blended all the time.

St: . . . If this unit of life contains (in potential) all its future unfoldment, then what is it . . . that evolves? Is it the case that what is evolving is not the being or essence of life, but the knowledge or both?

AD: I cannot understand what is meant by the evolution of life. I can't see how life could evolve. Could it become something else?

St: No.

AD: Then what is it that's evolving? If it's not the life principle itself, then what is it that's evolving?

St: The life principle always remains what it is, but its powers and capacities develop.

AD: When we say that, we're speaking about the fact that what's evolving or developing IS the IDEAS.

St: Well, yes, but the center of consciousness which was formerly a protozoa. . .

AD: The consciousness, the life, is NOT the protozoa! Don't identify the life essence with the vehicle through which it is manifesting. Life is not the protozoa or the protoplasm!

St: Read the part about the ego evolving from the protozoa.

PB: "The unit of life emanted from the Overself begins with the merest glimmer of consciousness. . .''

AD: Let's say the merest glimmer of knowledge.

PB: ". . . appearing on our plane as a protozoic cell.''

AD: And what will evolve will be that knowledge. The LIFE hasn't evolved, it hasn't become something else. It still is that life.

St: So if the evolution being spoken of . . . the secondary soul is only an evolution of knowledge and not of being. . .

AD: No. It's not the evolution in being. The unit of life is evolving a KNOWLEDGE. It is NOT evolving into being!

Then if it IS evolving this knowledge, it can evolve into being. Then what are the consequences? That life which is evolving this knowledge, and this knowledge takes it into being then that life must accompany it into being.

St: The life accompanies the knowledge into being? So the transformation of life into being. . .


[There follows general objections, comments, and re-reading of quote, by various students.]

St: In reference to that part of the quote, "the unit of life emanated from the Overself'', that three-fold distinction he's speaking of there, I got confused before when the equation was made between the ego and the principle of manifestness. I think they're distinct. I think this emanating aspect of the Overself is what we were formerly calling the Asmita aspect. The fact that the Overself emanates life--that's the principle of manifestness; and that's the mercurial aspect of the soul. That's different than the ego that has evolved.

AD: I think I follow and it is the point I'm making. If the World Idea or knowledge, a glimmer of knowledge or a whole lot of knowledge, it doesn't matter; but it is the LIFE that is manifesting that World Idea. Consequently, that life that is manifesting the World Idea, if you say that that is growing or evolving, can you think of life getting bigger and bigger?

St: Only the vehicles.

AD: Yes. But we're speaking about that unit of life which we refer to as soul and essence, an immaterial essence. It's not some kind of a thing. Now, if you can imagine that as evolving, getting bigger and bigger, then I would have to agree with that interpretation; but I don't see this life getting bigger and bigger, I see this life manifesting more and more of knowledge, and when it finally manifests the knowledge of the Nous, then IT IS IN THE NOUS WITH ITS KNOWLEDGE.

Look, I've always considered my life as the realm within the manifestation of the World Idea in a very dwarfed condition is taking place. I hope [inaudible] it manifests more and more in the life, MY life, not anyone else's. MY life has to manifest that World Idea more and more. When it does reach that level of knowledge which we consider knowledge of the Nous, then my life has become sanctified. Now there was another part we were discussing which I thought was important. You look at your chart and you know there's these 360 degrees or tropes going around, and you know your natal chart is fixed on certain degrees. We also know that the transiting planets are constantly making aspects to every one of those degrees they're sitting on and making aspects to your natal. Well, that means that inherent within us is this ability to put together such a variety of thoughts that we can come up with concepts. If you look really into this you can see that it's almost inexhaustable, the amount of thoughts you can combine and re-combine in so many different ways that are indefinite and innumerable, that they could produce any concept you want, any hypothesis you want. NOw if that's so, then how would you be able to tell--and you can see how sometimes this is so bewildering because when you're thinking something out you could see that it has so many different ways, and each way seems to be valid, in other words, you create a concept to understand something, and then you can create another concept to understand the same thing, and sometimes you could even have contradictory hypotheses explaining the same phenomenon, it's enough to get you a little upset.

Now the interesting thing about the scientific method was this: that they realized that those concepts were valid which will conform to the object they're trying to get to. But isn't that the same as saying that those concepts only are valid which your unconscious mental functioning has already projected as an object for you. So scientific method really amounts to this: that you have to bring together the necessary thoughts to bring about a certain concept--a concept which, so to speak, is talking about the way IT functioned before you became reflectively aware of it. And if there's conformity with the concept you create and the object's behavior under experimental conditions, then you've got to the truth of the object, but what you really mean is that you got to the truth about the way your unconscious mental activity was operating.

St: But, Anthony, can't I say that I'm getting to the truth of the World Idea? You make it sound too subjective for my taste. Why can't you say the true science is an ever-increasing knowledge which conforms to the World Idea?

AD: But the primitive mind or the mind which is conjoined to the cosmic soul and which is fabricating with the cosmic soul the world in which you're going to live, IS necessarily cooperating with the World Idea. It's not going to represent the World Idea in a false way. So when I say it understands its own unconscious mental processes we're saying we understand this unconscious functioning which in interpreting the World Idea. So it isn't just subjective; there's also an element of objectivity; that is, if we took Kant's way of looking at it, for instance, Kant would say there's that faculty of the mind which [conceives or perceives?] the thing-in-itself, that means the World Idea, then fabricates through its representative faculty fabricates the object. Now, if that object is understood correctly it will be according to the way the intuitive mind made a representation of that object. So therefore, scientific truth means that the reflective understanding must create the concepts which necessarily conform to the way the unconscious mind or the undivided mind created that object. But the shattering thing was this: that the ability we have to bring so many thoughts together--when you start thinking of 360 degrees and the 10 planets which can combine them in such a variety of ways--you can see why your head is always full of thoughts, why it's always chattering, that there's no end to it, that it goes on continuously, that if you could pick the right ideas and make a concept you could use that as a claw to grab an object.

St: The concepts the scientific methods ends up with are a response more directly to the question the mind of the scientist proposed to it . . .

AD: I don't think the scientist is looking for exhaustive knowledge.

St: [repeats above comments]

Ad: It seems as though the individual comes up with the question; because the question is brought up in terms of his own experience. But that experience could be the experience of an Einstein where given a certain cultural milieu then that question is forced out certain or later, you could say by the force of circumstances which the World Mind is arranging. But I was thinking in a much simpler way, that each and every one of us when confronted with any kind of difficulty or problem or even no problem, will conjure up a question. And then once we conjure up that question and see its validity then we have to go seek an answer for it. Not only is it that we possess the ability to create concepts, answering concepts, but we also possess the ability to ask questions, which from my point of view I regard as more important. Now this is the thing that I thought was absolutely flabergasting.

St: I'm missing the point of this discussion. That concepts are formulatable and that somehow direct. . .

AD: The point I'm getting at is that we can ask questions.

[Student comments and questions]

AD: Let me put it this way; it is unpicturable to me that a situation could be created where the soul could be inserted and the situation that's created is that thought comes forth.

[Student exclamations and comments]

AD: Look, very simply, how come we're intelligent instead of dummies?

[More student exclamations]

AD: That you could even ASK a question! In other words, that a whole cosmology, the whole of the cosmic circuit is so constructed that it could bring bout and elicit forth from these imitative being questions--any kind, any kind of thought--is a miracle of `n' dimensions.

St: But that's the same argument that people use to establish that there's an Asmita principle, that there is an `I AM' at all.

AD: Look, the Asmita principle could be very well content without [him?]. By definition, life essence.

St: You mean by definition that life essence doesn't have to be intelligent?

AD: No, the point I was making that life in itself is indeterminable. What determines life is Nous or the Ideas; similarly, at a much lower level the same thing is happening. We have a similar situation where life in itself is quite satisfactory--everyone is satisfied with eating, sleeping, procreating, drinking wine and dancing!

[Student comments]

AD: It's just the whole miracle of cosmology is involved to elicit from our souls a response which is going to cause it to grow in intelligence and understanding. And that has such miraculous proportions to me that I feel like going drinking and dancing!

ST: Could this be said a little differently, let's say that the asesthetic continuum that's presented to the soul that the soul in attempting to envision or understand puts forth broken images of that continuum. Now these images are in one sense a product of that mind's functioning and will contain the schematas which will end up unfolding in the conceptual knowledge that put forth the different images, and yet the continuum will provide for a panorama of different envisionings of it.

AD: Yes, that's one half. And the other half is that the individual soul is thrown into that situation. So the whole thing becomes like one huge cosmic miracle.

[Student comments]

AD: Yes, I know this isn't orthodox because all mystics tell you to stop thought immediately and we'll grow spiritually, but going to the side, deviating from the straight path it just dawns on us when we study the cosmology we've been studying, what an immense effort there was infolved to bring about the questioning mind and exhaust the questioning mind into stillness. But before we worry about reaching that stillness is the whole miracle of bringing that mind into this questioning activity. The soul is drawn forth and questions, and that starts this process going.

St: Is that drawn from the Ideas?

AD: Yes, ultimately. If we say our thinking is based on the tropes, it's easy to see our thinking would be very rudimentary and confined to the physiological activity going on; that's all you're interested in, drinking and dancing, right? But with the unfolding of the intelligence of that same entity, then the indications or the ideas which are in those images--the higher meaning of those images is what the soul gets interested in and its lesser meaning is put either aside or just allowed to function in a healthy way but ignored and the deeper meanings of those traces that are in the tropes is what brings to the soul a reminiscence of the Ideas in their native and original purity.

St: Do you think that's inherent in the tropes, that there is that draw?

AD: Absolutely! Absolutely! Otherwise the whole miracle of cosmology becomes meaningless. I don't think, well, it went through all this trouble. I thought it was simply a creation of Maya, magic.

St: Is this one of the reasons why Plotinus was against the Gnostics' view of the world as evil?

AD: Yes. I think also that despite many of the views of the commentators who comment on astro-theology and point out its absurdity because modern astronomy has shown it's different. There are modern commentators who see nothing divine about starry spheres and the hosts in the heavens. I could actually name a half dozen commentators who actually--now follow this carefully--who actually look down upon all that vast panorama; you know, they're only stones floating out in space.

St: Isn't that a logical mistake?

AD: A logical mistake?? I think that's a mistake of irreverance and I think it's a sin against the Holy Ghost.