A Cosmic Initiation: Adeptus Exemptus
In his THE TRUE AND INVISIBLE ROSICRUCIAN ORDER, Paul Foster Case notes that "as we do advance nearer the goal of human evolution, that our field of awareness expands, and the senses, which now respond to nothing but the grosser forms of stimuli, begin to record the 'metaphysical' counterparts of ordinary seeing, hearing, etc."
Case specified that esoteric metaphysics is grounded on *direct sensory experience,* transcending the limitations of physical sensation.
Case is referring to "ecsomatic" experience--which applies where objects of perception appeared organized in such a way that the observer seems to observe from a point of view not coincident with an individual physical body.
I think Case is alluding to what is known as "Cosmic Consciousness." To continue with Case, "It appears that the work of the Exempt Adept has to do with outpouring of the higher intelligences. The medium by which these powers are communicated to those who are the recipients of this spiritual bounty is a subtle emanation from the Cosmic Self."
Hegel, in the PHENOMENOLOGY OF SPIRIT, seems to address some of Case's points. For Hegel, I think, there is a transformative process that eventually leads to pure (cosmic) consciousness. There are three steps, according to Hegel:
[Step 1] "The first is the world of reality or of its self alienation;
[Step 2] but the other is that which Spirit, rising above the first, constructs for itself in the Aether of pure consciousness. This second world, standing in antithesis to that alienation, is for that very reason not free from it; and
[Step 3] pure consciousness is the element into which Spirit raises itself, but it is not only the element of Faith, but equally of the *Notion.*"
Now I will specifically discuss Hegel's second and third steps-- as he proceeds to define these levels, the process of movement within these steps, and from one step to the next.
[Step 2]: "What, in relation to the singular *individual,* appears as his culture, is the essential moment of the *substance* itself, viz. the immediate passage of the [mere] thought-form of its universality into actuality or, culture is the simple soul of the substance by means of which, what is *implicit* in the substance, acquires an *acknowledged real existence.* The process in which the individuality molds itself by culture is, therefore, at the same time i.e. the development of the actual world."
Proceeding, "Although this world has come into being through individuality, it is for self-consciousness immediately an alienated world which has the form of a fixed and solid reality over against it. But at the same time, certain that this world is its substance, it sets about making its own. It gains this power over it through culture which looked at from this aspect, has the appearance of self-consciousness making itself conform to reality, and doing so to the extent that the energy of its original character and talent permits."
Hegel continues: "What appears here as the power and authority of the individual exercised over the substance, which is thereby superseded, is the same thing as the actualization of the substance. For the power of the individual consists in conforming itself to that substance, i.e. in externalizing its own self and thus establishing itself as substance that has an objective existence. [Thus] its culture and its own actuality are, therefore, the actualization of the substance itself."
Moving on, "The self knows itself as actual only as a *transcended* self. Therefore, it is not constituted by the unity of *consciousness* of itself and the object; on the contrary, the object is, for the self, its negative. Thus, by means of the self as soul of the process, substance is so molded and developed in its moments that one opposite stirs the other into life; each by its alienation from the other gives it an existence and equally receives from it an existence of its own."
"At the same time, each moment possesses its own specific nature as something unchallengeably valid and a firm reality *vis-a-vis* the other. Thinking fixes this difference in the most general way by the absolute antithesis of *good* and *bad* which, shunning each other, cannot in any way become one and the same."
Hegel notes that "The soul of this fixed being, however, is the immediate transition into its opposite; existence is really the perversion of every determinateness into its opposite, and it is only this alienation that is the essential nature and support of the whole. We have now to consider this process in which the moments are stirred into life and given an existence of their own; the alienation will alienate itself, and the whole will, through this alienation, return into its Notion."
I think Hegel sometimes refers to [Step 2] as the "noble consciousness." He proceeds: "While, therefore, the noble consciousness behaves as if it were *conforming* to the universal power, the truth about it is rather that in its service it retains its own being-for-self, and that in the genuine renunciation of its own personality, it actually sets aside and rends in pieces the universal Substance."
But Hegel begins to move into an "intermediate" terriroty, which moves eventually from [Step 2] to [Step 3]: "This self-consciousness which rebels against this rejection of itself is *eo ipso* absolutely self-identical in its absolute disruption, the pure meditation of pure self-consciousness with itself. It is the sameness of the identical judgement in which one and the same personality is both subject and predicate."
Yet--"this identical judgement is at the same time the infinite judgement; for this personality is absolutely directed, and subject and predicate are utterly indifferent, immediate beings which have nothing to do with one another, which have no necessary unity, so much so that each is the power of a separate independent personality."
Continuing, "The being-for-self [of this consciousness] has its own being-for-self for object as an out-and-out 'other;' and yet, at the same time directly as its own self--itself an 'other;' not as if this had a different content, for the content is the same self in the form of an absolute antithesis and a completely indifferent existence of its own. Here, then, we have the Spirit of this real world of culture. Spirit that is *conscious* of itself in its truth and in its Notion."
Now Hegel moves into [Step 3]: "The universal power, which is the *Substance,* when it acquires a spiritual nature of its own through the principle of individuality, receives its own self merely as a name, and though it is the *actuality* of power, is really the powerless being that sacrifices its own self. But this expendable, self-less being, or the self that become a Thing, is rather the return of that being into itself; it is being-for-self that is explicitly for itself, the concrete existence of Spirit."
Hegel stresses that "True Spirit...is just this unity of the absolutely separate moments, and, indeed, it is just through the free actuality of these selfless extremes that, as their middle term, it achieves a concrete existence."
Now let's articulate Hegel's summary of *pure consciousness* of Absolute Being--as it is expressed in the PHENOMENOLOGY OF SPIRIT.
"This *pure consciousness* of absolute Being is an *alienated* consciousness." What we need to do is to look more closely at the specific nature of that which is Other, and we must consider it only in this connection. To begin with, this pure consciousness seems to have over against it only the *world of actuality;* but yet it seems a flight from this world and therefore has the character of an *antithesis* to it.
Thus pure consciousness is therefore--in its own self--alienated from itself. And as Hegel says, "At the same time, the other aspect has already come to view. Pure consciousness, namely, is reflection out of the world of culture in such a way that the Substance of that world, and also the 'masses' or groups into which it is articulated, are shown to be what they are in themselves, *spiritual* essentialities, absolutely restless processes or determinations which are directly cancelled in their opposite."
Continuing, "Their essence, simple consciousness, is thus the simplicity of *absolute difference* which is at once no different. Consequently, it is pure *being-for-self,* not as this *single* self but as the immanently *universal* self in the form of a restless process which attacks and pervades the passive essence of the matter in hand."
Hegel now seems to be moving towards that consummation which is considered by some to be Cosmic Consciousness. "Forced back into itself out of the essenceless, merely dissolving world, Spirit...is an undivided unity...But, coming generally under the determinateness of *alienation* these two moments fall apart into a dual consciousness. From one whole Spirit comes two opposite world views: The objective and the subject. Each of these has many stages, but there are two basic world views. The former is *pure insight* as the spiritual *process* which focuses itself in *self-consciousness.*"
And, "The *immediacy,* however, so far as *thought* enters into consciousness, or pure consciousness enters into self-consciousness, acquires the significance of an objective *being* which lies beyond the consciousness of the self. It is through this significance which the immediacy and the simplicity of *pure* thought obtains in *consciousness,* that the essence of faith is no longer a [pure] thought, but is reduced to the level of something imagined, and becomes a supersensible world which is essentially an *other* in relation to self-consciousness."
Finally: "only the self is really the object of the self, or the object only has truth so far as it has the form of the self." So "This self, *qua* a pure self-identical knowing, is the *absolute universal,* so that just this knowing, as its *own* knowing, as conviction, is *duty.* Duty is no longer the universal that stands over against the self; on the contrary, it is known to have no validity when thus separated. It is now the law that exists for the sake of the self, not the self that exists for the sake of the law."
I have employed LOTS of Hegel in support of this grade of Adeptus Exemptus--and a little from Case in his THE TRUE AND INVISIBLE ROSICRUCIAN ORDER. Both infer there is such a reality of attaining universality, Cosmic Consciousness.
But I have a very practical question--how does one come into Cosmic Consciousness? Hegel infers that it is a process. Yet I have also heard that one can be catapulted into Cosmic Consciousness--regardless of age, preparation, or circumstance. This special experience oft comes unexpectedly!
So I guess we will have to examine this issue of Cosmic Consciousness more deeply.
The Adeptus Exemptus, from Case's perspective, is a "working into" the realization that Cosmic Consciousness can be a reality. The student, however, seems required to make--or begin to make--a mental shift. Alan Watts proves helpful, especially in discussing this issue in his work: THE BOOK.
Right off Watts exclaims that "We suffer from a hallucination, from a false and distored sensation of our own existence as living organizations. Most of us have the sensation that 'I myself' is a separate center of feeling and action, living inside and bounded by the physical body...a center which 'confronts' an 'external' world of people and things, making contact through the senses with a universe both alien and strange."
Watts proceeds in that "The sensation of an 'I' as a lonely and isolated center of being is so powerful and commonsensical, and so fundamental to our modes of speech and thought, to our laws and social institutions, that we cannot experience selfhood except as something superficial in the scheme of the universe."
But, then, suddenly, Watts come forth declaring "we are so wrong! The secret...is that the Ultimate Ground of being is 'you.' Also, the world is our body." Watts notes that "We have lacked the real humility of recognizing that we are members of the biosphere, the 'harmony of contained conflicts' in which we cannot exist at all without the cooperation of plants, insects, fish, cattle, and bacteria. In the same measure, we have lacked the proper self-respect of recognizing that I, the individual organism, am a structure of fabulous ingenuity that it calls the whole universe into being."
What is our problem? Why do we persist in ego-illusion? Watts believes that "There are two ignored factors which can very well come into our own awareness, and our ignorance of them is the mainstay of the ego-illusion and of the failure to know that we are each the One Self in disguise."
The first factor "is not realizing that so-called opposities, such as light and darkness, sound and silence, solid and space, on and off, inside and outside, appearing and disappearing, cause and effect, are poles or aspects of the same thing."
And the second factor, which closely relates, "we are so absorbed in conscious attention, so convinced that this narrowed kind of perception is not only the real way of seeing the world, but also the very basic sensation of oneself as a conscious being, that we are fully hypnotized by its disjointed vision of the universe."
In other words, we do not properly understand the "Game of Black-and-White, the universal game of up/down, on/off, solid/space, and each/all...whereby one sees that all explicit opposites are implicit opposites--correlative in the sense that they 'growith' each other and cannot exist apart."
Hegel puts it another way: "The genuinely universal and pure relation of knowing would be a relation to something not containing an *antithesis,* a relation to itself; but *action,* in virtue of the antithesis it essentially contains, is related to a negative of consciousness, to a reality possessing *intrinsic* being. Contrasted with the simplicity of pure consciousness, with the absolute *other* or *implicit* manifoldness, this reality is a plurality of circumstances which breaks up and spreads out endlessly in all directions..."
As for Case, he says that "The Exempt Adept must identify himself with the One Will. The perception of the real nature of Will identifies it with the Original Energy from which all things proceed...An adept needs to dig down deep into the recesses of his own intermost nature. There he finds an unfailing source of the Water of Life, the fluidic energy that can mold itself through mental imagery into any conceivable form. The adept than looks upon himself as being merely a channel through which this energy is carried out into external expression."
But Case's description swims in the mystical in suggesting that we need to lose oneself as a "channel." This approach would *not* seem to match Watt's approach.
Watts is adamant about mystically, aesthetically attempting to control or lose one's ego. He pronounces: "Don't try to get rid of the ego-sensation...getting rid of one's ego is the last resort of invincible egoism!...This is why I am not overly enthusiastic about the various 'spiritual exercises' in meditation or yoga...For when practiced *in order* to 'get' some kind of spiritual illumination or awakening, they strengthen the fallacy that the ego can toss itself away by a tug at its own bootstraps."
So how do we go about coming to a greater understanding of the reality of ourselves? In his THE BOOK, Watts alludes to this understanding: "when the line between myself and what happens to me is dissolved and there is no stronghold left for an ego even as a passive witness, I find myself not *in* a world but *as* a world which is neither compulsive nor capricious. What happens is neither automatic nor arbitrary: IT JUST HAPPENS."
Watts seems to say, "stop trying." What seems to happen is Cosmic Consciousness! "When this new sensation of self arises, it is at once exhilirating and a little disconcerting... In immediate contrast to the old feeling, there is indeed a certain passivity to the sensation, as if you were a leaf blown along by the wind, until you realize you are both the leaf and the wind."
Watts declares that "The world outside your skin is just as much you as the world inside: they move together inseparably."
Continuing, "Your body is no longer a corpse which the ego has to animate and lug around. There is a feeling of the ground holding you up, and of the hills lifting you when you climb them. Air breathes itself in and out of your lungs, and instead of looking and listening, light and sound come to you on their own. Eyes see and ears hear as wind blows and water flows. All space becomes your mind. Time carries you along like a river..."
Now what can be the result of this insight, this experience of Cosmic Consciousness? Comprehending that we are points of the Cosmos, Watts believes that we will come to value better the cosmic play...engaging for the love of it. Like music in which we play and swing. I like Watts' quote from St. Gregory Nazianzen: "For the Logos on high plays, stirring the whole Cosmos back and forth, as he wills, into shapes of every kind."
As for morality, Watts is clear. "Do not suppose that this understanding will transform you all at once into a model of virtue...For so long as you manifest yourself in human or animal form, you must eat at the expense of other life and accept the limitations of your particular organism."
But! "Involved as you may be in the conflicts and competitive games of practical life, you will never again be able to indulge in the illusion that the 'offensive other' is all in the wrong... This will give you the priceless ability of being able to contain certain conflicts so that they do not get out-of-hand, of being willing to compromise and adapt, of playing, but playing it cool."
Watts proceeds, "We behold the Self wherever we look, and its image is the universe in its light and in its darkness, in its bodies and in its space." And, "Once you have this you can return to the world of practical affairs with a new spirit. You have seen that the universe is at root a magical illusion and a fabulous game, and that there is no separate 'you' to get something out of it...The only real 'you' is the one that comes and goes, manifests and withdraws itself eternally in and as every conscious being. For 'you' is the universe looking at itself from billions of points of view, points that come and go so that the vision is forever new."
From his PHENOMENOLOGY OF SPIRIT, Hegel has something to add. "The self-certain Spirit rests, *qua* conscience, within itself, and its *real* universality or its duty lies in its pure *conviction* of duty in the sense that there is nothing in it, no specific content is a duty. But action is called for, something must be *determined* by the individual, and the self-certain Spirit in which the in-itself has attained the significance of the self-conscious 'I', knows that it has this determination and content in the immediate *certainty* of itself."
Continuing with this discussion of the self-certain Spirit, Hegel notes that "The self enters into existence *as self;* the self- assured Spirit exists as such for others. Its *immediate* action is not that which has validity and is actual: what is acknowledged is not the *determinate* aspect of the action, not its *intrinsic* being, but solely the self-knowing *self* as such. The element of lasting being is the universal self- consciousness; what enters into this element cannot be the *effect* of the action; the effect cannot endure in it, and acquires no permanence; it is only self-consciousness that is acknowledged and that obtains an actual existence."
Proceeding: "The declaration of this assurance in itself rids the form of its particularity. It thereby acknowledges the *necessary universality of the self.* In calling itself *conscience,* it calls itself pure knowledge of itself and pure abstract willing, i.e., it calls itself a universal knowing and willing which recognizes and acknowledges others, is the same as them...for they are just this pure self-knowing and willing...and which for that reason is also recognized and acknowledged by *them.* In the will of the self that is certain of itself, in this knowledge that the self is essential being, lies the essence of what is right."
At this juncture, in this quest of "realizing" that Cosmic Consciousness is possible, it is time for some commentary.
For many people all this poses a problem. Many, who are learned, have had actually no trouble "intellectually" accepting the position of an undivided Universe, a Cosmic Player that creates and plays in its multiplicity of Being. But for those many who have *not* experienced Cosmic Consciousness, accepting this position only intellectually is a sticking point.
Without a genuine experience of Cosmic Consciousness, a learned, striving adept can only *surmise* what might really be. One can say that my head, my reason, my knowledge concurs that we are Cosmos--but my heart does not yet *know.*
One can intellectually agree with virtually all that Watts has to say. It's easy on the intellectual level. Yet Watts' succinct approach to the experience of Cosmic Consciousness does not totally suffice in comprehending such.
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