A Cosmic Initiation: Philosophus
In his THE TRUE AND INVISIBLE ROSICRUCIAN ORDER Case presents no less than six doctrines for the grade of Philosophus. Because there seems an obvious flow, I'll list them at the outset of this grade:
1.) "Death: the dissolution of form is a fundamental tendency of the Cosmic process. All things change. All conditions pass away. No form ever remains fixed. Existence is a stream, a series of waves, an eternal movement."
2.) "The Cosmic process is a meditation. The Life Power is conscious energy, flowing through a succession of forms related to a particular object. Each cycle of the Life Power's self-expression has some definitive objective, and from the beginning of a cycle to its completion, there is no moment in which that objective is forgotten or otherwise obscured."
3.) "The Life Power is perfectly successful at every stage of the Cosmic process. All appearances of failure are illusive. The One identity is the victor before ever the battle is joined."
4.) "Temperance: Every human being is under the direct guidance of the One Identity. Every personal action is a special and particular expression of that One Identity's overshadowing activity. Knowledge of this is the secret of the perfect freedom of the truly wise."
5.) "The World: All form is a limitation of the infinite energy of the Life Power. The primary cause of limitation is the image-making power of the Universal Mind. Every act of human imagination is really a particular expression, through a personal center, of this image-making power. Hence, human imagination is, in kind though not in degree, the same as the Imagination that forms the Universe."
6.) "Human personality is a synthesis of all cosmic processes. Man summarizes all that precedes him and is the point of departure for the manifestation of a New Creature. The natural man is the seed of the spiritual man."
Alas--now to the subject of death. Case notes that we have to accept "the fact [that] physical death is a recurrent phenomenon of our experience." Religions offer hope of an afterlife, which always possesses a "type of doubt." But! Case stresses that Rosicrucian teaching specifically declares that man may have "definite first-hand knowledge that his conscious existence is not limited to life in a physical body."
He proceeds: First, this teaching "bids us to learn that the natural processes are not inimical to man," and to "learn to think of physical dissolution as being a process that has positive advantages for the race and the individual."
Secondly, Case mentions that people who have had out-of-body experiences (OBE) know that the personality can exist outside the physical vehicle. "For such persons, the sting of death is removed."
Now lets look at Hegel and his PHENOMENOLOGY OF SPIRIT, and see what he has to say about the issue of death. From what I can initially tell, Hegel considers that death is *pure being.* The individual attains universality via death. As he notes, "the illusory appearance that the death of the individual results from a *conscious* action on the part of Nature may be dispelled, and the truth established [in that] What Nature did in the individual is that aspect in which his development into a universal is exhibited as the movement of an [immediate] existent."
Proceeding with Hegel: "Death is the fulfillment and the supreme *work* which the individual as such undertakes on its behalf...destruction is necessary. Through this it comes about that the *dead,* the universal *being* becomes a being that has returned into itself, a being-for-self, or, the powerless, simply isolated individual has been raised to universal individuality."
I see a difference between Case and Hegel. Case, focusing on the OBE, implies that we still maintain our personal identity-- whereas Hegel suggests that we rise to an universal identity and merge back into Universal Being upon death, actually having never really been separate at any time.
Now I would like to elaborate further what I think I am understanding about death. First Spirit is both Mind and Body-- it is all that we know and are. It is not only Nature, but also Art, Science, Philosophy, Technology. And it is in a constant state of becoming *more and more.*
As to who we are--I seem to be arriving towards the conclusion that we, as cognizant, (seemingly) individual personalities are actually aspects (or expressions) of the One Identity. We are the *cells* of the Universal Being. And like our own cells, we do our designed duty and upon natural maturity we die.
It seems a nice analogy, this cellular analogy. Yet--our own microscopic cells eventually cannot replenish and thus as a separate identity we die. But what Hegel seems to be saying is that the Greater Being is eternal, and we as aspects simply are part of the natural process of its Life. It seems we are *expendable* as individuals. Or so it seems upon first observation.
But No! Hegel says that upon death we enter into pure being, into the universality of the Spirit. He seems to be saying that we are *not lost,* but rather are once again reintegrated into the Greater Being--yet not losing our personal integrity.
I think what Hegel has been trying to teach is an *attitude.* It's an attitude that I must raise my level of thinking about my identity. Rather than identifying as my small self-identity, I must somehow learn to identify as an expression of Spirit. I must learn to think of my being Spirit. I must learn to think of my body as all of the great galactic skin of the Universe.
A speculative question: I wonder if truly the case that we retain our personal identity--are we recycled into the physical plane to once again (and continually) to carry out our respective duties as aspects of this Whole? Or could there be different, greater dimensions where we head? I have to wonder about the issue of re-manifestation.
Paul Foster Case, in his THE TRUE AND INVISIBLE ROSICRUCIAN ORDER, stresses that the Philosophus "is the path of body consciousness..." To harken back, he says that the "Zelator learns that every function of the body is under the immediate control of the subconsciousness...it is Corporeal Intelligence...that shapes bodies."
Case continues--that it is "only when the [Theoricus] has learned to make clear, specific patterns of what he may expect in the future that he really begins to modify his body so that its chemistry and organization are such that he can grasp the Rosicrucian philosophy."
Well, as for modifying one's body, I can only reasonably presume diet, exercise, and the maintenance of one's health are quite enough. Perhaps, too, we could look to how we treat our moods in relation to our immune system. But, enough diversion. :)
Back to the Philosophus! Case stresses that "Personality...is merely an agency through which the natural process of an unbroken flow of knowledge in a particular object finds expression. From this point of view human personality is an instrument that Nature herself has devised and perfected."
Let's see what Hegel has to say: "The organism appears to the observing consciousness as a relation of two *fixed* moments in the form of *immediate* being...if an antithesis whose two sides, on the one hand, appear to be given to it in observation, and on the other hand, as regards their content, express the antithesis of organic 'Notion of End' and actuality..." Ultimately, "their relation produces the law that the *outer is the expression of the inner.*"
So in his PHENOMENOLOGY OF SPIRIT, Hegel continues: "The inner as such must have an outer being and a shape, just as much as the outer as such." And "the inner is the *simple,* unitary soul, the pure Notion or End or the universal, and therefore appears in its *being* as the *action* or *movement* of the vanishing actuality; whereas the outer, opposed to that existent inner, subsists in the quiescent being of the organism."
In conclusion, Hegel summarily states that "the fact is that each aspect of the organism is in its own self just this: to be a simple universality in which all determinations are dissolved, to be the movement of this process."
Continuing with the issue of Corporeal Intelligence, Hegel provides a warning that it can take a *wrong turn*: "Instead of the heavenly-seeming Spirit of the universality of knowledge and action in which the feeling and enjoyment of the individual are stilled, there has entered into it the Spirit of the earth, for which true actuality is merely that being which is the actuality of the [human] *individual* consciousness [in this lifetime]."
When truly living the life of Spirit, Hegel says that "It plunges therefore into life and indulges to the full the pure individuality in which it appears." And "its action is only in one respect an action of *desire*...it attains therefore to the enjoyment of *pleasure*...it comprehends itself as this particular individual who exists *for himself*...it, however, as yet [is] the POOREST form of self-realizing Spirit."
It looks to be that Hegel is expressing that it not mainly an acceptance or a rejection of pleasure--but, rather, we should not seek our salvation in pleasure. There is more beyond this.
Both Case and Hegel make it quite clear that the Person is the "Agency for the One Life." Hegel even goes so far as to coin the Law that the "outer is the expression of the inner." Hegel is not as harsh as Case, but they both intimate that the more clearly a person recognizes and lives out the Universal--than there will be a flow of good results in that person's life.
I can only presume, in evolutionary terms, that we must not only constantly develop our Corporeal Intelligence to become more and more aware that we are expressions of the Universal-- but, we must also build-up our bodily vehicles to become better, more strong, more healthy.
Now to Case's idea that "The Natural Man is the seed of the Spiritual Man." This implies a potential unfolding into something else--but at this grade of Philosophus we are only just becoming aware of this new possibility. As Case says, "All that has been attained in the Grade of Philosophus is an *intellectual* grasp beyond the average...He has a better understanding of the meaning of human existence. He might be compared to a man who has learned to read an architect's plans. *The house is yet to be built.*"
So let's hire Hegel as our carpenter: "What necessity truly is in self-consciousness, it is for this new form of self- consciousness, in which it knows its own self to be the principle of necessity. It knows that it has the universal of law *immediately* within itself, and because the law is *immediately* present in the being-for *self* of consciousness, it is called the *law* of the *heart.*"
"The law, which is immediately self-consciousness's own law, is the *End* which self-consciousness proceeds to realize...The individual [must] *carry out* the law of his heart. For in its realization it receives the form of an affirmative *being,* and is now a *universal* power."
"Consequently, what the individual brings into being through the realization of this law, is not *his* law...by his act, he places himself in, or rather posits himself as, the universal element of existent reality, and his act is supposed to have, even according to his own interpretation, the value of a universal ordinance...he has *freed* himself from himself; he goes on growing *qua* universally."
Hegel stresses that a person who can begin to bend positively to this law of the heart "knows that [he] must sacrifice the individuality of consciousness--this shape of consciousness is Virtue." But, alas, "Humanity which is bound by this law does not [often] live in the blessed unity of the law with the heart; but either lives in their cruel separation and in suffering, or at least dispenses with the enjoyment *of itself* in obeying the law, and lacks the consciousness of its own excellence in *transgressing* it."
The message I get over and over in the Philosophus grade is that we must begin to move from just a position of just intellectual awareness of our being as an expression of the Cosmic Order--but rather we need to move into an *attitude* towards living this newly discovered Reality.
Case implies that we must be open to the guidance of the One Reality--so does Hegel. This reminds me of the oft-heard phrase that "we must be open to the Holy Spirit." We must be open to the clear, still voice dwelling in our heart. Case and Hegel are saying the same thing. However, I should think a "special word" accompanies this process: "Discernment."
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