Nicholas on Cogito

April 4th, 2011

A diagram by J. W. Nicholas, from an appendix of his 1977 Psience (see previous post).

Cogito means ‘I think,’ but I interpret Descartes’s famous dictum as a contraction of, ‘I think about the I which thinks, therefore I am.’ Thinking requires an object. To think at all, one must think about something. The mystal no-mind is not achieved by suspending mental process but by eliminating mental content. The cogitating Descartes thought about thinking in a way that proved his existence as a thinker. I believe he thought about the I which thinks.

“Philosophers know the syllogistic conjunction ergo/therefore requires two premises to balance a conclusion, but Descarte presented only one premise—‘I think.’ His statement either fails as logic or transcends logic. I believe it transcends.

“The view that all knowledge is logically derivable gets one into a limitless proliferation of prior premises, an infinite regress, a reverse martingale, unacceptable to the practical cogitator. We need some premises that are not prior conclusions, or there will be no base on which to build the logical structure. I judge Descartes’s sum/I-am to be one such fundamental premise, needing no antecedent. As Ouroboros swallows his tails, so:” (p65)

Two diagrams from J. W. Nicholas’ 1977 Psience: A General Theory of Existence.

Self-realization of the universe (p59)*. Click for larger version.

“Psience posits four frames of reference [as shown in the figure above], two real and two imaginary. (If it were not for mathematical convention, these might be called the material and immaterial.) One real and one imaginary frame of reference are linear; I call them spaces; their dimensions are of interval. The other two frames are non-linear; I call them fields; their dimensions are of regular recurrence, here called frequence” (p13).

“The real and imaginary frames are formally orthogonal… Thought, spirit, the immaterial or massless in general exist as recurrent pattern in the imaginary field. The imaginary pattern induces its realization in the real field, which is reflected in turn in the real space. Symbols existing in the real field have a magical power to affect the phenomenal world, or real space, in a manner that recalls the power the three-dimensional beings to produce miracles in Flatland. The geometric inversion of linearity is held to be a closed loop, that is, a regular recurrence; induction between imaginary and real fields takes places between closed loops, as with electric current and magnetic flux. The real field (and perhaps also the real space) has more than three dimensions; the imaginary field and space have unlimited dimensions.” (p15).

“As the unlimited dimensionality of temporal interval is disclosed by the statistical independence of different relative likelihoods, so the unlimited dimensionality of temporal frequence is disclosed by the harmonies of recurrent pattern. Though the pattern is imaginary, it may still be useful. For example, we could define the structure of a chord in such a schema without reference to the key in which the chord were played… what Globus (1976) called ‘relatedness per se’. Such a pattern is perpetual rather than eternal, qualitative rather than quantitative, imaginary rather than material. It is defined by its own harmonies” (p27).

Outward and inward departures from Origin (p39).

“…As the point of access to 3d space, τ space, r field, or ψ field, Origin displays four respective facets: Here/Now/Everywhere/Always. [The figure above] depicts outward departures from Here and Now, inward departures from Everywhere and Always. Unlike Here and Now, which serve as zero points for quantification, Always and Everywhere confound and nullify all measurements. Qualitative rather than quantitative, the ψ and r fields disallow direct measurements but still provide a frame of reference in which to consider relatedness per se” (p38).

“Psience proposes an inductive coupling between the orthogonal ψ and s fields—between the domain of imaginary, immaterial pattern and the domain of its symbolic representation. What is symbolically represented is relatedness per se. We can label the two arcs of this interactive feedback loop ‘expression’ and ‘communication’ [as figured above] (p58)”.

Hence “creation is the self-realization in the real field of relatedness per se in the imaginary field” (p62).

* I believe the top figure mislabels linear to the left of u-space, implying that both u-space and s-field are linear, whereas it is u-space and τ-space that are linear (as dimensions of interval). Perhaps a correct label would be spatial, as opposed to temporal, though this blurs the denomination of dimensions of interval as -spaces.

The Lüscher Color Test

December 22nd, 2010

The eight color cards of Max Lüscher‘s Quick Color Test, from his 1969 The Lüscher Color Test.

“In the beginning man’s life was dictated by two factors beyond his control: night and day, darkness and light. Night brought about an environment in which action had to cease, so man repaired to his cave, wrapped himself in his furs and went to sleep, or else he climbed a tree and made himself as comfortable as he could while awaiting the coming of dawn. Day brought an environment in which action was possible, so he set forth once more to replenish his store and forage or hunt for his food. Night brought passivity, quiescence and a general slowing down of metabolic and glandular activity; day brought with it the possibility of action, an increase in the metabolic rate and greater glandular secretion, thus providing him with both energy and incentive. The colors associated with these two environments are the dark-blue of the night sky and the bright yellow of daylight.

“Dark-blue is therefore the color of quiet and passivity, bright yellow the color of hope and activity, but because these colors represent the night and day environments, they are factors which control man rather than elements he can control; they are therefore described as ‘heteronomous’ colors—that is, colors which regulate from outside. Night (dark-blue) compelled activity to cease and enforced quiescence; day (bright yellow) allowed activity to take place but did not compel it.

“To primitive man, activity as a rule took one of two forms—either he was hunting and attacking, or he was being hunted and defending himself against attack: activity directed towards conquest and acquisition or activity directed towards self-preservation. The outgoing actions of attack and conquest are universally represented by the color red; self-preservation by its complement, green.

“Since his actions, whether of attack (red) or defense (green) were at least under his control, these factors and colors are described as ‘autonomous,’ or self-regulating. On the other hand, attack being an acquisitive and outgoing action is considered to be ‘active,’ while defense, being concerned only with self-preservation, is considered to be ‘passive'” (p11-12).

The four basic colors of the Eight-color Panel of the Quick Test.

These four colors—blue, yellow, red, and green—“are ‘psychological primaries’ and constitute what are called the four ‘basic colors’ of the test. In the Eight-color Panel of the Quick Test there are… four more. These ‘auxiliary colors’ are: violet, which is a mixture of red and blue; brown, which is a mixture of yellow-red and black; a neutral gray, containing no color at all and therefore free from any affective influence, while its intensity places it halfway between light and dark so that it gives rise to no anabolic nor catabolic effect—it is psychologically and physiologically neutral; and finally, black, which is a denial of color altogether” (p19).

The four auxiliary colors of the Eight-color Panel of the Quick Test.

“In the Lüscher Color Test, the ‘structure’ of a color is constant; it is defined as the ‘objective meaning’ of that color and remains the same for everyone—dark-blue, for instance, means ‘peace and quiet’ regardless of whether one likes or dislikes it. The ‘function,’ on the other hand, is the ‘subjective attitude towards the color’ and it is this which varies from person to person, and it is the ‘function’ on which the test interpretations are based. One person may like a particular color, another may find the same color boring, a third may be indifferent to it, while a fourth may find it definitely distasteful.

“In the test the person being tested (or testing himself) selects the colors in descending order of preference; the color he likes best and places in the first position is thus the one for which he has the greatest sympathy; that which he chooses last and places in the eighth position is the one for which he has the greatest antipathy (or least sympathy). By observing where in the row a color occurs, we can determine what ‘function’ the particular color represents, since the subjective attitude towards the various colors varies from greatest to least sympathy” (p20).

“Bearing in mind that it is necessary to group color selections correctly [as described in the book]… the following attitudes or ‘functions’ can be generally established… [The 1st position] represents a ‘turning towards’… [and] shows the essential method, the modus operandi, of the person choosing it, the means by which he turns to or adopts to enable him to achieve his objective. For example, with dark-blue in this position the modus operandi would be ‘calmness’… [The 2nd position] shows what the objective actually is. With dark-blue in this position, for instance, the goal for which he is striving is ‘peace and quiet’… [The 3rd & 4th positions] show the ‘actual state of affairs,’ the situation in which he actually feels himself to be, or the manner in which his existing circumstances require him to act. Dark-blue in these positions would show that he feels he is in a peaceful situation or in one in which it necessary for him to act calmly… [The 5th & 6th positions] show that [the colors’] special qualities are neither being rejected, nor are they especially appropriate to the existing state of affairs, but are being held in reserve… Dark-blue in one of these positions shows that ‘peace’ has been suspended… [The 7th & 8th positions] represent a ‘turning away from.’ Colors which are rejected as unsympathetic represent a particular need which there is some special reason for inhibiting, since not to do so would be disadvantageous… With dark-blue in one of these positions, for example, the need for peace has to remain unsatisfied because—due to unfavorable circumstances—every relaxation, every surrender, every attempt to bring about closer more harmonious relationships would have unsatisfactory consequences” (p21-22).

Lüscher’s text further explains the choice and meaning of the eight colors of the test and the structural meanings of their pairwise combinations, and gives interpretation tables for all functional groupings of the colors in all possible positions, describing their associated anxieties, compensations, conflicts, and prognoses.

An Aspect of Divine Energy

December 11th, 2010

A ca. 1970s painting by Sam Francis reproduced in his collection of writings, Saturated Blue (n.p.).

Writes Francis:

Color may extend forever
expand forever
drift forever
stand still forever
as time may stand
still extend expand
and drift forever
and is indefinite relationship

forever is a limit
for space and time
color represents an aspect of divine energy
and in human terms
is measured in relation to desire

Three diagrams from Nahum Stiskin’s 1972 The Looking-Glass God.

“The principle of dualistic monism is based on the intuition common to all men that things, phenomena, and beings are in a dynamic state of change and that life is process. Plants, men, and ideas all bloom in their season and wither in their season. Day changes into night, and night returns to day; the seasons run their course; Time, the enumeration of this change, stops for no man. In daily life we find no constant.

“The course of this change, however, is not erratic. We find ourselves living in a world of extremes. From midnight to midday, from the heat of summer to the cold of winter, from joy to sadness, all movement is along a continuum from one extreme to its opposite. Judging from our experience, we deduce that the universe is constructed on a plan of polarity: beginning and end, male and female, expansion and contraction, ascent and descent, life and death. Process occurs as movement between these poles of the universe.

“Although at first view nature’s poles present themselves as opposite and mutually antagonistic, on closer inspection we realize that they are complimentary; one cannot exist with the other… If movement in either direction were to stop, life would cease… The universe and our knowledge of it are therefore constituted of the endless to-and-fro movement of life from any pole to its complimentary opposite…

“Let us devise a practical language to use in discussing the structure and inner workings of polarity within the universe… that of yin and yang, derived from ancient China. But this is not to say we are simply expropriating that ancient philosophy as it was defined and used by Fu Hsi some five thousand years ago. We can and must redefine this terminology in such a way that modern man can make rational sense of it. This ancient principle of relativity is not a mysticism but a paradoxical logic of the universe.

“We shall designate as yin all phenomena, beings, and things that are dominated by centrifugal force, and as yang those dominated by centripetal force. Centrifugality can be most easily imagined as the tendency to move from a center toward a periphery; centripetality is movement from a periphery toward a center” (p20-21).

Yang centripetality and yin centrifugality (p21).

“Using our newly defined principle, we will categorize density as a yang phenomenon in comparison to expansive airiness, which we shall consider a yin phenomenon. By extension, a proton, having weight and density, will be classified as yang in comparison to an electron, which, having relatively little weight and density, will be classified as yin. Movement away from the center of the earth would express the yin tendency; movement toward the center, the yang. Verticality with reference to the earth may be considered an expression of yinness, horizontality an expression of yangness. Based on this latter concept, colors may be classified as a series of changes along the continuum from red to violet. Red describes an electromagnetic wave of low amplitude and frequency that may be said to be dominated by centripetal force. Violet describes a wave of much higher amplitude and frequency and, in comparison, may be said to be dominated by centrifugal force [see the figure below]. Heat and light are ‘centered’ phenomena: their existence presupposes a point of concentration in space and thus may be said to be yang. Cold and darkness are ‘dispersed’ phenomena: they originate at a peripheral nowhere and permeate space, and therefore may be said to be yin. Fire is yang; water, its antagonist, is yin. Shapes, too, may be classified. Shapes like △ contain their greatest bulk toward the bottom. Their movement is downward, and they are thus dominated by the yang tendency. Shapes like ▽ express a centrifugal movement upward and are dominated by the yin” (p21-22).

The continuum from yang red to yin violet (p22).

“If, then, the operation of yin and yang is at the core of nature, what fundamental shape will all entities and processes share? A symbolic representation of the principle of dualistic monism would have to fulfill the following seven requirements: first, it must display a polar structure of the relative world by indicating such things as beginning and end, above and below, periphery and center; second, it must link the two poles of existence indissolubly by showing them to be but the two complementary ends of one continuum; third, it must indicate the stages of change; fourth, it must show the variations of yin and yang within each stage; fifth, it must indicate the change of velocity within the process of change itself; sixth, it must demonstrate the potentiality for simultaneous movement in opposite directions between any two antagonistic poles; and seventh, it must indicate the original source of evolution and show that all evolved entities ultimately return to that source. In so doing, it must reveal the connectedness of the absolute and relative worlds, thereby demonstrating that all dualities are only modifications of an originally unified essence” (p28).

The logarithmic spiral (p29).

“The only pictorial symbol that can fulfill all seven conditions is the logarithmic spiral and its three-dimensional analogue, the helix. The spiral is a two-dimensional structure; the helix is its three-dimensional extension into space. The coils that curve along the ordinary screw exemplify helical structure. Thus, [the figure above] may be viewed in depth, with the periphery near to and the center far from the eye.

“We see in [this figure] that the polarities of both beginning-end and above-below are clearly expressed. We further note that in a logarithmic spiral the center is dense compared to the expanded periphery. The movement from beginning to end within any process follows the line of the spiral from periphery to center. The coils are thus the continuum. All things, phenomena, and beings begin at the periphery and move toward the center.

“The spiral may be portrayed with six or seven coils; each represents either a different stage from inception to conclusion of a process or different elements in the structure of an entity. Analysis into seven or eight parts is usually sufficient for an adequate explanation of the structures and processes within nature… By drawing a line through the spiral and dividing it in half, we see the variation of yin and yang within each stage.

“Since the distance between coils decreases logarithmically, it requires less time to travel from points C to D than from points A to B. This is equivalent to saying that processes speed up toward their conclusion or, in terms of entities, that density is a characteristic of center.

“If we take the empty space between the spiral’s coils to constitute another spiral—this one originating at the center and moving toward the periphery—we shall have indicated the simultaneity of antagonistic tendencies. We shall have also shown the dialectical identity of beginning and end, for the end point of one spiral is the origin of the other.

“Finally, the empty space surrounding and leading into the spiral may be conceived to be the invisible, infinite sea of energy. The world of polarity splits into being at the first point along the periphery of the coil and returns to its origin along the inner spiral” (p28-30).

Existence in a Beyond of Color

November 6th, 2010

Three paintings by Josef Albers from his series Homage to the Square, exhibited in 2009 at the Casa Luis Barragán and cataloged in Homage to the Square.

Homage to the Square, 1964 (p30). Click for larger version.

“Rainer Maria Rilke wrote of Cézanne’s work: ‘As if these colors could heal one of indecision once and for all. The good conscience of these reds, these blues, their simple truthfulness, it educates you; and if you stand beneath them as acceptingly as possible, it’s as if they were doing something for you’. This is the role that Josef Albers (for whom the discovery of Cézanne, in 1908, had been a pivotal moment of his life) gave to his color and that the square format facilitated.

“Rilke wrote about Cézanne’s ‘labor which no longer knew any preferences or biases or fastidious predilections, whose minutest component had been tested on the scales of an infinitely responsive conscience’. This, too, was how Albers approached color: utterly humbly, without judgment, only with a notion of awareness and service. He wanted to be the vehicle to allow color to perform. He was reverential, and tried to remove his self, and the concerns of the human ego, in order to achieve his task. Living simply, working tirelessly… Albers was like a member of an ascetic religious order—bent on delivering the message of the quiet majesty and infinite capability of color” (p8-9).

Homage to the Square, 1969 (p38). Click for larger version.

“Rilke said that Cézanne’s approach ‘so incorruptibly reduced a reality to its color content that it resumed a new existence in a beyond of color, without any previous memories’. That ‘beyond of color’, another universe devoid of history or personal association or individual memory; this what Albers’s Homages make possible. These paintings are icons for meditation, offerings for both repose and excitement, for the calm of ethereal nothingness and the thrill of a vibrant symphony. They are the ‘visual resting places’ that the art historian Wilhelm Worringer… advocated as the goal of abstraction” (p9).

Homage to the Square, 1969 (p40). Click for larger version.

“Albers asked of his audience only that they use their eyes and be prepared to devote time to truly see the visual delights, debates, and enigmas that he set before them” (p13).

The Double-Triadic Hexagram

September 30th, 2010

Eight glyphs from Barbara Walker‘s The I Ching of the Goddess whose sequence derives the hexagram.

Figure 1 (p17).

“The original triangle stood for the Goddess’s trinity of Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer, she of a thousand names, such as Maya the birth-giving Virgin, Durga the preserving Mother, and Kali Ma the death-dealing Crone. Her primary symbol was a downward-pointing triangle, the Yoni Yantra, sometimes called Kali Yantra. This represented a vulva (Sanskrit yoni), and femaleness in general: by extension, a womb, motherhood, female sexuality, the life spirit embodied in menstrual blood, or the world-activating power of the Goddess herself. The same symbol stood for ‘woman’ and ‘Goddess’ among ancient Egyptians, pre-Hellenic Greeks, Tantric Buddhists, and the gypsies who migrated westward from Hindustan. The primordial female triangle became a male-female hexagram by eight stages, graphically represented as follows.

“At first there was only the Goddess alone, containing within herself all the elements in a fluid, unformed state (Fig. 1)” (p16-17).

Figure 2 (p17).

“With the passage of ages and by her will, eventually a spark of life was formed within her core, represented by a dot (Fig. 2). Tantric sages called this spark the bindu, and one of the Goddess’s titles was Bindumati, Mother of the Bindu. Among Cabalists it became Bina, the Womb of Earth” (p17).

Figure 3 (p17).

“The bindu grew and slowly became a separate being within the Mother (Fig. 3), though it still lay wholly inside her borders. At this early stage of the divine creation, the sages said, darkness (the god) was still enveloped in a greater Darkness (his Mother). The god was still one with the author of his being, Maha-Kali, the Great Power” (p17).

Figure 4 (p17).

“At the fourth stage, the god was born. Represented by an upward-pointing triangle—which often symbolized the masculine principle of fire—the god broke through the boundaries of the primordial maternal triangle (Fig. 4). Here, at the moment of ‘birth,’ the idea of the male deity was conveyed by three solid lines, while that of the female deity became three broken lines. Thus was the design taken apart, and its components utilized as trigrams and hexagrams in the I Ching” (p17).

Figure 5 (p19).

“In allowing her boundaries to be penetrated from within by an emerging Other, the Goddess demonstrated her true creativity. She became the universal Mother. This crucial moment of birth was synonymous with creation, according to the ancient concept. This was the moment when the Goddess (not the emerging God) said, ‘Let there be light,’ because the eyes of her newborn first perceived the light of existence, as he himself might become the light of fire or the sun. In the classical world, the Goddess had names like Juno Lucina or Diana Lucifera, the Bringer of Light. From her the biblical Yahweh copied his Fiat lux.

“The god’s birth was celebrated each year at midwinter. The nocturnal festival was known as the Night of the Mother to pre-Christian Britons, which may explain why Christmas Eve (the time of the actual birth) carried even more significance in Old England than Christmas Day. In Alexandria, the god’s birth was hailed by joyful shouts: ‘The Virgin (Kore) has given birth! The light grows!’ The naked image of the divine birth-giving Virgin was decorated with gold stars and carried seven times around the temple.

“Just as, in pagan belief, creation was a birth, so every birth was a new creation. Each year the Aeon or year-god was reborn from the eternally virgin, eternally maternal Goddess. Thus, at the mystic point of creation itself, the graphic symbol of the Mother became three broken lines, while that of her son-spouse was three solid lines.

“Male and female triangles, one separated, came together again in a very ancient figure that later rounded off to the mathematical symbol of infinity in so-called Arabic numerals, which were actually Hindu in origin. The two tangential circles or teardrop shapes of this sign meant the same as two tangential triangles: the two sexes in contact (Fig. 5). The female triangle above now took on the aspect of a nourishing breast, while the male received her nourishment.

“This was also taken as a sexual sign, in unconscious but nevertheless real recognition of the connection between adult sexuality and bond between mother and infant. According to Tantric symbolism, the female triangle was placed above the male, who then assumed all forms of relationship with her: offspring, twin, spouse, and eventually sacrificial victim, as he became the eternally dying-and-reborn god, similar to Osiris, Attis, Dionysus, Adonis, Orpheus, Yama, and so on. Therefore Tantric yogis and their shaktis (priestesses) favored female-superior sexual positions, which Vedic and Confucian patriarchs condemned because of their association with the Old Religion that they wanted to erase. Though this style of lovemaking was instituted by Shiva as Universal God and the original ‘daughters of the sages’ (shaktis), patriarchal Brahman priests insisted that it was a perversion” (p17-18).

Figure 6 (p19).

“However, Tantric yogis continued to hold that sexual union in true love was an intimation of divinity, giving the partners a sense of merging ‘like pouring of water into water’ (Fig. 6). Similarly in Egypt, the Goddess and her god were represented by vessels of water, their conjunction by a combination of the two waters, as in the sacred talisman known as menat. In the Middle East, a sacrificial god was preceded by a vessel of water in procession to his place of execution, a tradition that was followed even in the story of Jesus (Mark 14:13). Like Shiva, the Christian God also was born of the same Mother on whom, as a divine spouse, he begot himself” (p18-19).

Figure 7 (p19).

“By penetrating each other to the farthest boundary, god and Goddess formed between them the ancient Tantric symbol of the world and also the yoni: a diamond (Fig. 7), flanked by four new triangles that were assimilated to the elements, the four directions, the four corners of the earth (when the earth was supposed to be square), the four winds, the four divisions of the zodiac, the four Sons of Horus, or the Norsemen’s related spirits of north, east, south, and west that upheld the heavens. Sometimes this symbol represented a family or clan. All these ideas could be expressed in a simple glyph of six lines” (p19).

Figure 8 (p19).

“Finally, the ultimate interpenetration was shown by the full hexagram (Fig. 8). Male and female principles extended even beyond each other’s boundaries, becoming ‘one’ in sixfold symmetry. This was the union proposed by cabalists as well as Tantric sages: the symbol of eternal conception and re-creation. This was the hidden reason for the rabbinic traditions claiming that the Ark of the Covenant contained male and female images sexually joined, ‘in the form of a hexagram,’ and that the triple six of Solomon’s golden talents (1 Kings 10:14) represented the king’s sexual union with his goddess, who gave him his great wisdom.

“This explains also the early Christian’s horror of the sixfold symbol of Aphrodite, similarly united with Hermes as the first ‘hermaphrodite,’ and their insistence that three sixes made a devilish number (666) and six was the ‘number of sin.’ However, such sexual joining was envisioned for the male-female Primal Androgyne common to ancient India, Persia, Greece, and Rome. Even Jewish patriarchs declared that Adam and Eve were androgynously united in one body until God separated them.

“The ultimate absorption of the god into the Yoni Yantra (Goddess) was his immolation, usually conceived as a voluntary sacrifice of his life for salvation of the earthly world, which needed the life-force inherent in divine blood. As Kali the Destroyer, the Goddess devoured her consort and returned to the original solitary female form of the Yantra (Fig. 1). Thus the cycles of creation and destruction were carried on throughout the life of universe” (p19-20).

Rothko’s Seagram Murals

July 19th, 2010

The seven of Mark Rothko’s Seagram Murals on exhibition at the Kawamura Memorial Museum of Art, reproduced in the museum’s 2009 Mark Rothko. My notes below, having recently visited.

Moving counter-clockwise from the entrance of the dedicated Rothko Room, these paintings seem to manifest a sequence of transcendental frictions.

Untitled, 1958 (p87). Click for larger version.

Brightly corporeal, the first painting’s frame conveys the physicality of unattended reality, while narrow ways provide an impetus to attendance.

Sketch for “Mural No.1”, 1958 (p89). Click for larger version.

Transcendental journey underway, the second painting unveils a horizon full of indistinct pattern as new eyes adjust to peering into depths.

Untitled, 1959 (p100-101, above from postcard).

Yet on approach, the third painting’s frame, darkest in the series, highlights sinister details, and our transcendent purpose is fearful and confused.

Mural, Section 1, 1959 (p98-99, above from postcard).

Attention is compelled inward as the fourth painting flatly reflects our judgment, a boundary between attendance of the world and ourselves.

Sketch for “Mural No.4”, 1958 (p90-91, above from postcard).

The fifth painting presents choice behind a living, ascending frame that is the consequence of reflection; the horror of the third painting recedes.

Mural Sketch, 1959 (p96). Click for larger version.

Painting six reveals the futility of many worlds as the colors of the frame and way begin to blur; in the lower left paint flows upwards.

Mural Sketch, 1958 (p88). Click for larger version.

The only blue in the series, iridescent and supernatural, paints the instrument of transcendence and frames realization; yet the way retains its color, and one is still, in the final painting, approaching.

A diagram from Odhams Press’s 1955 The Wonderful Story of You: How Your Body Works, How Your Mind Works.


Mind a mere by-product of body


Body a mere precipitate or condensation of mind


Mind and body on parallel lines, but no connection between them whatever


Mind and body two aspects of the same reality


Body alone exists. Consciousness is merely a physiological process


Mental processes alone exist


The view of Common Sense. Mind and body both exist and act and react one with the other

“Obviously mind and body influence each other to a very great extent, and many theories have been put forward to explain how they are related. Some of the most important of these theories are illustrated in diagram form above” (p197).

Various Forms in Play

June 23rd, 2010

A diagram from Rawson’s The Art of Tantra (see previous post) delineating “the essential process… whereby man’s world of reality is developed… as it is conceived in the… Sankhya philosophy of Tantra” (p181).

“Sankhya Tattva diagram, illustrating the manifestation processes of creation” (p182), cf. earlier post on the three gunas. Click for larger version.

“Many Hindu Tantrik images represent the first division of the creative urge into male and female, white and red… Without the division there can be no love, no activity or field of action, no puja can be made… Since the time of the oldest Upanisads, subject and object have been called ‘I’ and ‘This’… equated with male and female, Siva and Sakti, male and female dancer…

“The lower levels of the Sankhya diagram define all the various sub-functions and categories through which the original flow of Being-energy is channelled and subdivided to make up the experienced world of forms and time. It is, in fact, a full phenomenological ‘synthetic a priori‘ system, and it matches the pattern of the subtle body remarkably… An important point has always to be remembered. In every experience of every objective ‘This’ by every experiencer the female quantifier is absolutely necessary; but so too is the male reservoir of energy, which supplies the ‘Being’ from the side of the objective, the unitary consciousness of self from the side of the experiencer. Within every yoni, every active world-as-woman, is buried the lingam, the phallus, without which there would be no energy to inflate her pattern. To a primary male spark of Being (Prakasa) the Goddess offers Herself as the ‘Pure Mirror in which He reflects Himself’ (Vimarsa). There are innumerable icons in India which represent the Divine Pair either as a male and a female, He with erect organ, She holding a mirror, or as a single double-sexed being, divided down the centre, the right half male, again with an erect organ, the left half female.

“Philosophy, however, must not be allowed to delude itself with its own constructions. Whilst it may theoretically assume an original spark within the reflection, the moment it seeks to attribute to that spark any character or form it falls into delusion. For: ‘Whatever power anything possesses, that is Goddess… Into the hollows of her hair-pores millions of cosmic eggs constantly disappear… She grants the desires of sadhakas by assuming various forms in play.’ But ‘She who is absolute Being, Bliss, and Consciousness may be thought of as female, male or pure [neuter] Brahman; in reality she is none of these.’ Even these are simply forms She assumes to make sadhana possible” (p181-183).