A Cosmic Initiation: Adeptus Minor
For Paul Foster Case the first doctrine for the Adeptus Minor is that "The world every man lives in is the world he forms by his mental imagery. The better he images, the better the world. *Better* in this instance means *more truly agreeing with the fundamental imagery of the Universal Mind.*" And..."to image truly, one must first overthrow erroneous conceptions..."
Now what Case is pointing toward, in his THE TRUE AND INVISIBLE ROSICRUCIAN ORDER, is the comprehension of Natural Law(s). He puts his focus in an evolutionary context. First, "the world of appearances is not in itself a world of deception. The delusions arise from our own tendency to take things at their face value."
Furthermore, "the world of appearances excites attention-- wherever we look there is something to challenge us, something to puzzle, some riddle to read, some problem to solve."
The issue here is one of "worldviews." How we look at ourselves, how we look at the Other--Natural Creation. The issue is how we explain the *data* of the world, how we comprehend ourselves and our role in the world.
Case notes that "as man progresses, he comes to learn, little by little, that the forces of nature will work with him, when he learns their laws and obeys these laws..."
Historically, the ancient Greeks gave us an object lesson in this required evolutionary process of coming to greater consciousness. So I shall move to the Greeks in working through the grade of Adeptus Minor.
In this upcoming "Greek" section, I shall be quoting from Robert L. Brumbaugh of Yale University. Essentially, Brumbaugh illustrates Case's issue of how we perceive appearances quite nicely in several overview paragraphs on the accomplishments of the Pre-Socratic Philosophers.
Brumbaugh begins: "In the early Greek world mythology was still the only method available either to record history or explain nature...This is an anthropomorphic world in which many compartmentalized gods are causes, with no natural law and little predictable order. In such a world one must be satisfied with a mythical explanation that takes the form of an aesthetically plausible story."
The Pre-Socratics, as Brumbaugh observes, "sought insight into something beyond the ordinary world of touch and sight... [they thought] that what things really are can be discovered by Man's REASON."
I think that the shift from a mythopoetic worldview to using Reason in respect to Nature *is* the core issue underlying the Grade of Adeptus Minor. So, what does Hegel have to say about this core issue?
From his PHENOMENOLOGY OF SPIRIT we hear Hegel declaring that "Reason is the certainity of consciousness that it is all reality." Hegel continues: "Reason appeals to the self- consciousness of each and every consciousness. *I am I,* my object and my essence is *I*; and no one will deny Reason this truth. But in basing itself on this appeal, Reason sanctions the truth of the other certainity, viz. that there is for me an other; the an other *I* is object and essence for me."
Now Hegel is moving from the subjective to the objective-- and it is the relationship of objective reasoning and the perception of Nature which is of interest here. Let's see where Hegel heads.
Hegel seems to have it right about objective reasoning. He puts it thus: "Not until Reason comes on the scene as a *reflection* from this opposite certainty does its affirmation about itself present itself not merely as a certainity and an assertion, but as truth; and not merely alongside other truths but as the sole truth."
Reflective Reasoning is the road towards the discoveries of Natural Law(s). Now to the details. Hegel states that "Reason sets to work to *know* the truth, to find in the form of a Notion that which, for 'meaning' and 'perceiving' is a Thing: i.e., it seeks to possess in thinghood the consciousness only of itself." Proceeding, "Reason now has, therefore, a universal *interest* in the world, because it is certain of its presence in the world, or that the world present to it is RATIONAL. It seeks its 'other,' knowing that therein it possesses nothing else but itself: it seeks only its own infinitude."
For Hegel, "WHAT IS PERCEIVED SHOULD AT LEAST HAVE THE SIGNIFICANCE OF A *UNIVERSAL* NOT OF A *SENSUOUS PARTICULAR.*"
Reflective Reasoning stirs-up a restlessness, an ever greater need to know. And as Hegel promises, "this restless, insatiable instinct can never run out of material; to discover a new genus of major importance, or even a new planet which... possesses the nature of a universal."
But history has shown us, as Hegel observes, "reflective reasoning at the discoverer's heights is still the lot of only a lucky few." Regardless, Reflective Reasoning has been well-launched. Brumbaugh rightly gives credit: "Thanks to the world of the Ionian and Italian pioneers, the natural world and the abstract world of form were no longer hidden beneath a fog of tradition, waiting to be glimpsed for the first time. Bit by bit, new breaks with custom and new moments of vivid insight had illuminated this unknown domain, as science, mathematics, astronomy, technology, formal logic were discovered."
Commentary is needed for this grade of Adeptus Minor. So let's start with Case. In his THE TRUE AND INVISIBLE ROSICRUCIAN ORDER, Case notes that "The One Reality is the source over every mode of power, the origin of every force known and unknown. It is also the source of whatever has been known in past ages, of all knowledge existing now, and of all knowledge destined to be brought to light in the future. For it is the *something* that takes form eternally in every manifestation of power and in every expression of knowledge."
In the PHENOMENOLOGY OF SPIRIT Hegel wonders that such an effort at such a height is for the few--at least at this particular point of our evolution.
Why? Perhaps an applicable anser can be given by mathematical physicist Frank Tipler, who in his recent book THE PHYSICS OF IMMORTALITY, talked about early American Deism: "Deism is currently moribund...in spite of the fact that it was supported by the leading intellects of the American Revolution. Deism had disappeared from American intellectual life by 1810...So what killed Deism? It was a rational religion, based on the best science of the day, Newtonian cosmology...But it could not compete with a Christianity based on revelation, not reason. Why not?"
Tipler continues, "I believe Deism died because the physics upon which it was based was simply too *impersonal.* Newtonian mechanics pictured the universe as a vast perfect clocklike machine...Because it was so perfect, the Builder had to be all-powerful and perfect...God ceased to be a loving Father and became instead an absentee landlord... [whereas] the one thing religion by revelation never lost was belief in a personal God...A personal God, and only a personal God, can CARE."
Back to the question: Why so few?
In the world in which I live, amongst my family and friends, even within myself, I see the *mythopoetic mind* lurking not far in the background of our lives. And I think Tipler's Deism remarks ring true. We desparately need a God, a Parent, who *cares.* This terrible need is written deeply into our souls. This terrible need seemingly precludes the advancement of Reflective Reasoning.
But am I really correct about this? Or, rather, should we be considering *evolution*? Perhaps we must consider that the evolutionary process of Reason is long and wearisome, a process that demands a certain patience.
Yet my questions, albeit limited because they are immediate rather than far-reaching, contain a certain validity. As to why not much headway, I do perceive this as a matter of evolutionary development.
Why are so many people stuck in the old mindset, why do so many institutions that rule this world continue to propagate this old mindset in the face of knowledge discovered by Reflective Reasoning?
Than again--who said that everybody has to evolve to the highest levels? Yet I remain troubled, particularly in the sense that the less evolved *do* hold back the wisdom and pearls of Reflective Reasoning--and thus preclude from coming to know the Universal.
Sometimes it seems almost like a war, a war between two conflicting worldviews: Reason and the mythopoetic. As for myself, I can only hope the mythopoetic will be incorporated-- not destroyed--and understood by Reason.
Continuing, Case notes that "The One Reality is the source of every mode of power, the origin of every force known and unknown. It is also the source of whatever has been known before in past ages, of all knowledge, now and destined to be brought to light in the future. For it is the *something* that takes form eternally in every manifestation of power and in every expression of knowledge."
Now how can we know such a thing? Mainly human consciousness, or as Case puts it, "The human aspect of the One Reality is the master and administrator of the laws and forces of all the other aspects of that same Reality." (Thus far, only on this planet. :-)
Well, let's see how this works using the Pre-Socratics as an early backdrop. Once again using Robert L. Brumbaugh of Yale as my source, we can see that the Pre-Socratics were the first minds in the West to begin to rise out of the primordial mythopoetic perspective of the world. More specifically, I shall examine the Pre-Socratic consideration of the Cosmos via categories--such as the Composition of the Cosmos, the Power of the Cosmos, and the Cosmic Mind.
The Composition of the Cosmos: At the earliest, Thales conceptually held that matter existed in a fluid state (actually more than just water). He believed that "fluid matter" was in some degree alive; and change and action in nature were partially explained by this aliveness. The important point here is that Thales had assumed that there is enough *system* among the infinite variety of things in the world to permit some single answer.
Following Thales, Anaximenes put forth that the basic stuff of the world is neither water nor the boundless, but rather air. He likely chose the term "air," because at that time it conveyed the idea of "breath," the "soul" that animated man and animals.
Pythagoras held that all things are numbers. His study of the mathematical ratios of musical scales and planets led him to believe that the quantitative laws of nature could be found in all subject matter.
Democritus' atomic theory considered: 1.) that matter comes in separate small particles which are uncuttable (atoma-- "unable to cut"); 2.) that an empty space exists in which these particles move; 3.) that the atoms differ only in shape and volume; and 4.) that all change is the result of transfer by momentum by the moving atoms and such transfer can occur only by contact.
That atoms in this theory are in fact, according to Brumbaugh, small chunks of the "One Being" of Parmenides and each one has the properties of indivisibility, homogenity, and qualitative neutrality.
As for Anaxagoras, he developed the view that matter is a continuum--giving both space and time the property of infinite divisibility. The world is made of a single "stuff" and there can be no change. Also somewhat reminiscent of our contemporary "holographic" perspective, Anaxagoras believed that in everything there is a part of everything.
The Power of the Cosmos: What is the vital force behind our Cosmic Entity, what keeps it alive and moving? For Heraclitus the world is like a restless *fire.* It is a living fire that supplies the driving force of the Universe in endless change. This fire imagery is nothing less than ENERGY!
Anaxagoras steps up this Power. For him it is *Nous* (Reason or Mind). Now what does he mean by this?
The Cosmic Mind: For Anaxagoras there was a Mind that remained "unmixed and pure," that saw and knew all things, and this Mind originally had set the Universe in motion and continues to power it. Anaxagoras believed that all things had some share of this Cosmic Mind--and Man, in particular, had a large share.
The Greek Pre-Socratics laid the foundation for Western philosophy. Indeed, perhaps they also introduced the idea of the dialectic too.
The Dialectic Process of the Cosmos: In Anaxamenes' Law of Nature, he notes that one contrary tends to develop excessively, crowding out its opposites--but "justice" sets it back, penalizing it for its encroachment. But as time passes, the opposite that had been losing out grows strong and oversteps in its turn, and must "according to the measure of time" be set back within its own proper bounds.
As for Heraclitus, all things flow--but "strife is the father and lord of all." Opposition unites. All things are changed for fire and fire for all things. From tension comes concord. And yet, from the purposeless cyclic flow of time, there does result *logos*--a formula, word, ratio, cosmic order.
Not yet dialectic, but leaning in that direction, Anaxagoras claims that the world is made up of *opposite* qualities, such as hot and cold or moist and dry.
Now what we see gushing forth from the Pre-Socratics is a *map,* a new mental map or imagery of the world. Now how did they, how can we, get a grip on this new map? Mainly through Reason.
"Being that is," according to Parmenides, can be grasped by Reason, perhaps supplanted with a kind of intellectual intuition; but it cannot be observed in our common-sense world or expressed in ordinary language.
Striking out from this point, the Pre-Socratics began to recognize the mental tools necessary to grab hold of their new mental map--a new imagery of the world: ABSTRACT THINKING and LOGIC employing *models,* *laws,* and *consistency.*
Abstract Thinking: Through the development of pure mathematics, Pythagoras pointed to the discovery that numbers, figures, and relations have a kind of reality of their own.
Via mathematical abstractions Pythagoreans found that they could think about shapes in the same way. Instead of thinking of particular pieces of land that were triangular in shape, they could think about *triangularity,* about any triangle, or any right triangle.
Logic: From Democritus' atomic theory it was discovered that the theory itself had methods and logical rules of its own. The way to understand a subject matter, it assures us, is to analyze every subject matter into its least parts and to their pattern or combination.
As for *models,* Anaximander introduced models into his study of astronomy and geography. This was a crucial step in the development of science.
And for *laws,* Pythogoras' numbers theory presumed the law of nature--and he further expected such laws to have the simplicity of those governing music.
Finally *consistency.* Parmenides hit upon a most important principle. Once it is recognized that only consistent entities can exist, the truth of generalizations can be tested by examining their consistency. Not only in mathematics, but throughout Nature--in philosophy, physics, everywhere--it become possible to show simply by examining their logical consequences that some generalizations could not be true. (Being cannot tolerate anything internally contradictory.)
The Pre-Socratics were the Pioneers of Reason--a Reason coming to terms with the Cosmos. Now let us look to Hegel. What does he say about Reason grasping the Cosmos?
In the PHENOMENOLOGY OF SPIRIT Hegel attends to Reason grasping the Cosmos in an evolutionary style. To begin: "While at first it is only dimly aware of its presence in the actual world, or only knows quite simply that this world is its own, it strides forward in this belief to a general appropriation of its own assured possessions, and plants the symbol of its sovereignty on every height and in every depth. But this...is not the ultimate interest; the joy of this general appropriation finds still in its possessions the alien 'other' which abstract Reason does not contain within itself."
Hegel continues that "While this searching and describing seems to be concerned only with things, we see that in fact it does not run away into sense-perception. On the contrary, what enables things to be intelligently apprehended is more important to it than the rest of the complex of sensuous properties."
And, "The Observer remains unsullied!...[in that] the Notion rises above the dispersion of the sensuous and cognition thus makes it clear that it is just as essentially concerned with its own self as with things."
How? "On the one hand, the *differentiae* enable cognition to distinguish one thing from another; but, on the other hand, it is not the unessential aspect of things that has to be known, but that characteristic whereby the things themselves *break loose* from the general continuity of being as such, *separate* themselves from others and are explicitly *for themselves.*"
Differentiation--this is a CRUCIAL evolutionary point, according to Hegel. We must *realize* that although "the Notion displays itself in the form of thinghood and sensuous being...it does not on that account lose its nature, nor relapse into an inert substance or an indifferent succession."
There is always the Observer, the Self, in this swirl of Existence.
Now let us return to Paul Foster Case--from THE TRUE AND INVISIBLE ROSICRUCIAN ORDER, in which he expounds that "As man progresses, he comes to learn, little by little, that the forces of nature will work with him when he learns their laws and obeys these laws."
All good and fine--it is just a matter of coming to understand exactly what are the Laws of Nature! Happily, Plato presents some suggestions.
First, according to J.V. Luce of Trinty College, Dublin, "to Plato's mind nothing could be more real and important than ideal beauty and absolute goodness. Such objects became for him the focus of knowledge and the substance of permanently valid truth. He saw in them the great controlling patterns that lie behind the changing face of the visible world, and he called such patterns *ideas,* adopting as part of his terminology the Greek word *idea* which basically means *form.*"
Luce proceeds, "A Platonic Form (idea) is not a thought in someone's mind but something that exists per se as an immutable part of the structure of reality." Plato's world of Forms, then, is "constituted by ideal objects or patterns, such as Beauty, Equality, Circularity, Health, and Justice. The Forms are invisible and intangible, and can only be apprehended by the mind after suitable preparation and training."
These Forms "exist externally, with a transcendent nature that sets them apart from our world, but by a process of *creation,* the visible world has been modelled after them, and their essential qualities are different down into the particular things that we teach and see."
Luce concludes that "reality is concentrated in the invisible world of Forms, which are *more real* than the fleeting and insubstantial particulars in the visible world. But the particulars are not viewed as totally unreal. They share to some extent in reality in so far as Forms are present in them. There are degrees of reality also within the visible world, with shadows and reflections rating as less real than solid objects like plants and animals."
This suggestion of *degrees* of reality leads us into Plato's system of reality. And, fortunately, Robert Brumbaugh of Yale built upon Plato's original diagram:
---------------------------------------------------- PLATO'S SYSTEM OF KNOWING REALITY
*Stories, Poems, Paintings-->Eikosia (Guessing or Telling Myths)-->Fictions, Shadows and Reflections-->Stories of gods as causes; a feeling of cyclic cosmic flow--> IMAGINATION-->
*Techniques-->Pistis (Knowing How)-->Physical Objects; human conventions-->PRAGMATISM-->
*Hypothesis-->Dianoic (Knowing That-->Abstractions and Structures-->Mathematical Forms; more general logical forms-->UNDERSTANDING-->
*Tested Theory-->Noesis (Knowing Why)-->Systems, Ideals-->Ideas as cause and realities; Nature as a single ordered system--> The Form of the Good-->The Good as a single ideal and ordering principle-->Reason --------------------------------------------------
Considering Plato's hierarchy, Brumbaugh makes an interesting observation: "Theory-building comes naturally to a human mind. We *know* more clearly when we find some general rule or class, of which the many items we want to understand are special cases or instances. We go ahead, building abstract theories, with the blithe assumption that *simple* theories, consistent ones, *comprehensive* ones will explain the natural world. This is a large assumption, since that natural world is quite independent of our own psychological peculiarities and preferences. Yet, the kind of explanation that we *like* best is also the kind that has the most predictive value when applied to nature." Thus, IT TURNS OUT THAT WE ARE RIGHT."
Brumbaugh continues, "Plato thought that the reason for our ability to know the outer world is that the same *simplicity* and *order* that pleases us in our ideas are found in the objective world."
In summary, Brumbaugh caps Plato with an astounding statement: "In the way our ideas relate to the world... both the world of nature and the world of form...is the first piece of evidence that there is a *single order cosmos,* in which idea and object, form and process, value and fact, are related to each other."
I am getting the hint that there is a Within and Without of this world. Let's see what Hegel has to say. Essentially Hegel picks-up the theme of Plato, basically that our minds can grasp the sensible world correctly because they are of the same essence.
But Hegel adds a new element--mediation! As he puts it, "The inner world, or supersensible beyond, has, however, *come into being*; it *comes from* the world of appearance which has mediated it...The supersensible is therefore *appearance qua appearance.*"
Next I will try to convey Hegel's methodology, but it won't be as easy as Plato's diagram. :-)
For Hegel, "In the dialectic of sense-certainity, Seeing and Hearing have been lost to consciousness; and as perception, consciousness has arrived at thoughts, which it brings together for the first time in the unconditioned universal.
Proceeding in his PHENOMENOLOGY OF SPIRIT, Hegel says that "This unconditioned universal, which is now the true object of consciousness, is still just an *object* for it; consciousness has not yet grasped the Notion of the unconditional as *Notion.*" Thus, "it is essential to distinguish the two: for consciousness, the object has returned unto itself from its relation to an other and has thus become the Notion *in principle*; but, consciousness is not yet *for itself* the Notion, and consequently does not recognize itself in that reflected object."
Continuing, "*For us,* this object has developed through the movement of consciousness in such a way that consciousness is involved in that development, and the reflection is the same on both sides, or, there is only one reflection. But because this unconditioned universal is an object for consciousness, there emerges in it the distinction of form and content, and in the shape of content the moments look like they did when they first presented themselves: on one side, a universal medium of many subsistent 'matters,' and on the other side, a ONE reflected into itself."
Therefore, "Force is...this universal medium in which the moments subsist as 'matters'; or, in other words, Force *has expressed itself,* and what was supposed to be something else soliciting it is really Force itself. It exists, therefore, now as the MEDIUM OF THE UNFOLDED 'MATTERS'. But equally essentially it has the form of the supersession of the subsisting 'matters'; or is essentially a ONE."
Hegel goes on: "Consequently, this *oneness,* since Force is posited as the medium of the 'matters,' is *now* something *other* than Force, which has this its essence outside of itself. But, since Force must of necessity be this oneness which it is not as yet *posited* as being, this 'other' *approaches it,* soliciting it to reflect into itself; in other words, Force supersedes its expression. But in fact Force is *itself* this reflectedness-into-self, or this supersession of the expression. The oneness, in the form in which it appeared, viz, as an 'other,' vanishes; Force is this 'other' itself, is the Force that is driven back into itself."
Hegel seems to be using interaction (or mediation) as the ground for knowing the Real. Plato, I suspect, would agree with Hegel--but he uses a well-defined approach. Hegel does, too, via his different levels of consciousness--but that is for another time.
As for comprehending Reality, Plato most certainly takes a hierarchical approach. His diagram could almost be representative of most consciousness development theories prevalent today. It's almost an anthropology, too--moving up the scale from "mythopoetic mind," to "tool-technique mind," to the "analytic-abstractions mind," to a "synthesis-systems mind," and ultimately to an "ordering- holistic mind."
As for the issue of "mediation," it really moves right into the relationship between subject and object. Plato's hierarchical approach is really the story of the different plateaus of this relationship, but yet it smacks of climbing a ladder rather than grasping, coming to grips close-up with the Other. Plato seems almost cool and impersonal in comparison to Hegel's "coming to know itself as such."
Hegel seems to make much more room for the subjective. Indeed, his predecessor Immanuel Kant says it bluntly: "If there is no ego self [subjective consciousness], there would be no thought. The Universe out there could not be represented."
So there are historic connections. The Pre-Socractics--and particularly Pythagoras--influenced Plato. Their thinking moved the Western Mind out of the mythopoetic mode. They could see the beacon of Reason waving them forward.
Plato inherited their work, their ideas. He, too, placed Reason at the pinnacle of his system of knowing. Borrowing from Pythagorian mathematical forms, he extended his Philosophy of Forms to become the very foundations of the Universe. To repeat Robert Brumbaugh's statement--Plato's philosophy provided evidence that "there is a single order cosmos, in which idea and object, form and process, value and fact, are related to each other."
This *single order cosmos* is a most exciting discovery in the history of Man. Plato did not do it single-handedly, but he built a better philosophical ediface to grasp this Reality.
The connections continue with Kant and Hegel. Mainly there is the ONE REALITY--within and without--relating and grasping, mediating between subject and object, moving towards an ever expanding conscious of "Who it is."
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