• Awakening Soul

Turning Our Fate into Freedom: Polar Forces (Part I)

I have explored our modern crisis of meaning from various angles in recent essays. We investigated the phenomena of mechanization, spatial idolization, counter-initiation, cosmic ‘flattenization’, and infernally looping abstraction. The key topic in this exploration was the modern abstraction away from our living experience of the world content. That is the force which over-materializes our soul (desires, feelings, perceptions) and spirit (thinking). It is our thinking activity which makes our ideas - our vital experiences - more transparent to us and, therefore, guards against our becoming their playthings; our becoming possessed by them. When we permeate the forms of Nature with living thoughts, they are given a new vitality of meaning. These realities of the Soul-Spirit are not accounted for in the least by mainstream philosophy and science. In our personal experience, we also insist these inner activities are mere accretions to our existence; "subjective" feelings and concepts added on top of the more 'reliable' world of physical perceptions. Our prolonged descent into the physical sense-world stalls the intellectual soul from maturing within us. As our inner experience devolves, the outer world reflects this fragmented spiritual reality back to us in the form of environmental, financial, political, and social strife. The intellectual ego constantly craves to teach instead of learn, but Life itself demands the opposite for adaptation and evolution.

There is another force which can be maladaptive like the force of over-materialization, but is seldom noticed. It is harder to notice because it will often manifest with visions of the higher spiritual worlds, perhaps in the language of "consciousness", "pure awareness", and "mystical union" with the Divine. Perhaps even with high resolution on the spiritual depth structure. Nevertheless, it shares certain telling characteristics with the over-materializing force. Most notably, it denies the importance of our qualitative Thinking organism which must evolve within and through us. It also assumes an entirely unwarranted completeness in knowledge of the current rational intellect. Instead of becoming obsessed with maintaining the fixed perceptions and categories of the 'past' - gender, race, ethnicity, natural and cultural institutions of all sort - it longs for the eternal meaning which has yet to manifest from the 'future', often expressed in the language of "equality", "liberty", and "justice". We are speaking here about the force of over-spiritualization. It is the force which tempts man to grasp for eternal spiritual wisdom, freedom, and glory well beyond what he has currently earned by way of gradual understanding. In Western spiritual tradition, this force has been associated with Lucifer, the 'light-bearer' who fell from grace in his attempt to assume God's throne and rule over mankind. We must always approach these considerations without judgment or prejudice. In the absence of the ancient spiritualizing impulse, associated with the serpent in Eden and recounted in the mythology of all cultures, we would have never developed the capacity to know 'good' and 'evil'; we would never have gained the potential of becoming free agencies within the Cosmos. Instead, we would have remained like instinctive spiritual infants, passively allowing the imaginations, inspirations, and intuitions of other beings to guide our every thought, feeling, desire, and action within the Cosmic organism. Without the materializing impulse, on the other hand, our precise and scientific thought-life would not have developed in the modern age. We could then never thoughtfully chart a course back into the spiritual realms with the force of a genuine moral agency. So, the story of these two forces is very nuanced and we should resist the temptation to oversimply them for our own limited understanding. It is the story of each individual's integral journey through many liftimes. We don't need to destroy these forces, but to redeem them from their current disharmony. Redemption in this thoughtful manner becomes the archetypal path to transparency and freedom. "If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn It has become clear in recent centuries and decades that these forces are not at all harmonized. Western culture has polarized into one or the other force and oscillates chaotically between the two or passively drifts through the doldrums, forgetting it is perpetually in the calm before the storms. God's deliverance of the Hebrews from the desert of meaning is echoed in our present day, except now all individuals participate regardless of their outward characteristics. The serpent's temptation into self-knowledge is echoed by the machine's temptation into unconsciousness. The 'waters' of the body and the spirit have parted as our soul journeys towards the 'promised land' of spiritual freedom. In the late 17th to mid-19th centuries, the polarized waters came crashing down upon us in the forms of rationalism and materialism (disharmonious materializing force), as well as religious fundamentalism and mysticism (disharmonious spiritualizing force). Between the late 19th century to the present day, they have morphed into the more extreme forms of nihilism (material) and totalitarianism (spiritual). The chasm has grown so wide that we feel those representing the opposite pole exist in a different reality than we do. What the Eastern geographic pole has traditionally considered "Maya", i.e., the illusory appearances of the sense-world, the Western pole has considered concrete "reality". These are not hard categories, because most cultures and worldviews live within both polarized extremes and their relations are also evolving. The path through polarized abstraction is concrete transparency. We take what is normally viewed from afar, and feels external to our being, and make it more immanent to our first-person experience. Try to sense the rhythm of the spiritual-material polar forces as they play off one other. We make a descending movement into the physical sense-world upon awakening. Then, we reflect into an ascending phase back to the domain of spiritual meaning. The descending phase is mostly subconscious (instinctual), as we stumble towards the bathroom still half asleep, and the ascending phase is mostly conscious (self-aware). There are rhythms within rhythms, nested over the varying durations of our experience, i.e., minutes, hours, days, etc. It is easiest to discern the rhythm occurring within larger durations, like the descent from the lofty philosophy of the ancient Greece to the militarized precision of the Roman Empire; from the heights of medieval mystical theology to the depths of rationalism and scientism. Our understanding of these larger rhythms is very abstracted from their underlying meaning. They feel external to our own being. Our understanding of the daily rhythmic experiences, such as the movement from sleeping and dreaming into waking, is more inwardly connected to us, but relatively difficult to discern or remember in detailed structure. This polar durational dynamic naturally marries our abstract ideas with our concrete perceptions. The bottom-up perceptions of concrete experience meet the top-down meanings of archetypal ideations.

When the spiritual-material polar forces are in rhythmic harmony, like the nuclear (spiritual), electromagnetic (soulful), and gravitational (material) forces, the 'nucleus' of our "I" remains stable and picks up enriched moral qualities along our spiral upwards to spiritual freedom. Wisdom permeates all the manifold layers of our knowing pursuits. She can use my thinking-organism to make her existence in the rest of my organism more transparent. My thinking perceives how my feeling-and-willing organism also unfolds according to this rhythmic movement every day. When I use my two lungs to breathe in, the coldness of perceptions is inhaled within me, and when I use them to breathe out, the warmth of meaning is exhaled back into the world. We passively receive something from Nature and actively give it back to her in transfigured form. When I want my body to move forward in the world, I alternate one leg and one foot in front of the others to walk. I swing my arms in alternation when I take my morning stroll. My two eyes and my two ears, which have a cross-reflected relationship with the two hemispheres of my brain, engage the world so I can 'triangulate' the rich meaning around me with perceptive depth. In this manner, every sacrificial descent from meaning into the world of sense-perceptions provides an opportunity for ascent back into more enriched meaning through the power of our own qualitative thinking activity. Let's now consider what is really objectionable in some of the polarized worldviews mentioned above. It is the force of compulsion that they exert on our thinking-organism. We often refer to their manifestations as "ideologies" because they have frozen solid into unshakeable dogma. When we interact with them, as expressed through human personalities, we feel confronted by an agency possessed by a foreign power. There is an undercurrent of mechanized thinking, where one thought leads to another and another out of strict necessity. We can almost predict how this ideology will respond to every question we ask of it and every argument we make to it. In other words, the individual manifesting the polarized worldview is acting under duress; he thinks entirely subconsciously and only perceives the end result as a thought-widget cranked out by his thinking machinery. He only perceives the splatter of thought-droplets after the thinking-flow has moved through and left the hose. What if this fact was true for all individuals, including us? Then it becomes clear that what really makes a difference is not how many thought-widgets we have accumulated by superficially reading philosophers or studying modern scientific theories, but how aware we are of our own subconscious thinking limitations. What forces are in possession of our own thinking? Imagine we are two-dimensional beings, beholding conscious phenomena - shapes, sizes, etc. - on a flat plane. The only shapes we can discern are one-dimensional lines and zero-dimensional points. We observe a curious point who manages to leave our plane existence for the third dimension, becoming super-sensible from our two-dimensional perspective. Many years later, the Point reappears in our plane universe. We are stunned! The Point has manifested from Divine realms to speak to us of its journey within the higher worlds. These tales of the Point are encoded into the bits of our two-dimensional plane for posterity. Many more years pass and our plane descendents begin to mock our tales. "There is no higher-dimensional world", they say, "you silly old people have fantasized these journeys of the Point". They continue, "our modern inquiries reveal that these points are 'virtual particles' which disappear and reappear continuously to and from the plane's quantum void." Adding insult to injury, they conclude, "our plane-ancestors invented higher worlds to fill the gap in their own knowledge of disappearing and reappearing points, but now we have explained this dynamic away". The triumphal return of the Divine Point has apparently been demystified. It went from a "miracle of God" to the "cosmic singularity", the "abiogenesis of single-celled organisms" from an "entropic soup", and the "emergence" of sentient life.

When it comes to our inner world of four-dimensional processes (3-D mental objects transforming in time), we now assume there are lines and points - desires, feelings, and thoughts - which actually disappear and reappear by their very nature. The rational intellect declares that it is silly superstition to suppose these thought-points travel in super-sensible realms when we cannot perceive them. It says our thought-points are virtual particles appearing, disappearing, and reappearing, and we accept that unquestionably as a viable scientific explanation for their existence within our experience. It is simply assumed by most, subconsciously, that these thought-experiences have been demystified. Yet, our unprejudiced logical reasoning demands a more coherent explanation from us. It demands we take notice of how physical objects do not simply disappear when they are obstructed from our view and the same must hold true for mental objects. There must be an entire super-sensible path these thought-points traverse before we perceive their final destination as concepts in our inner experience. Tracing back the normal thinking-flow with higher Thinking, then, is revealing the subconscious forces which structure our normal thoughts, feelings, and desires. We must only resist the temptation to ignore or cease our own logical reasoning out of egoic pride and convenience. To begin this reasoning, we will try to understand the nature of the polar forces through which all experience manifests. When we artificially separate the polarity into a duality, we then insist on "balancing" them instead of harmonizing them. It becomes a matter of reducing one to the other or increasing one at the expense of the other. The intellect naturally perceives the world as a zero-sum game in this manner. It cannot imagine too clearly a world of meaningful abundance where both poles are actively engaged by us in a harmonious spiral upwards. To aid our intellectual understanding of this polar relation, we will look at simple dimensional geometry. These "dimensions" should be understood in their ideal essence. Our spatial dimensions point to the degrees of freedom acquired by our Thinking organism as it evolves. It also reveals the fundamental asymmetry of cognitive evolution, i.e. the higher-dimensional (more evolved) forms can only understand the lower and not the other way around. However, these degrees of freedom have become abstracted to a dim shadow of their actual essence in our current polarized stage. This analogical reasoning through mathematical symbols will hopefully help us make the shadows less dim, giving them some new life through our thinking. The simplest dimension we can imagine with the intellect is the zero-dimension of a single point. We can imagine the Primal Polarity as embedded within a 'point' which radiates light; the primordial Cosmic seed. All scientific and religious worldviews begin with this 'Point' under one label or another - God, Spirit, Ego, Idea, Will, Singularity, Nothingness, Void, etc. The most tricky thing for the intellect is to understand that we are viewing the Point from the material pole, so we are looking at the perceptual reflection of this Point and its core meaning. Perhaps the easiest way to reason this conclusion out is by considering the nature of symbols. At some point in human history, there was an idea which manifested with the meaning, "people operating motor vehicles will be more safe if they are given guidelines on how to navigate the highways." That rule gave birth to all manner of highway signs which suggest drivers remain at certain speed limits, stop at certain intersections, yield to others at certain locations, etc. All of these images with shapes and colors on the highways are meant to point us back towards the more unified meaning of the original Idea, "safe driving". They are perceptual reflections of the various meanings embedded within that Idea. That must be true of all forms in human culture and in Nature as well, regardless of whether they naturally evolved, were "divinely created", or both.

Our experience and reasoning reveals that the images we perceive in the world around us are always reflections of meaning, rather than 'things-in-themselves'. Therefore, we will reflect the structure and quality of the Cosmic light-seed to gain a sense of how it would appear to us from the material pole. This reflection from a point radiating light outwards yields a sphere radiating darkness inwards through time. The zero-dimensional Light-seed, then, is the source of that perceptual reflection we know as the entire 4-D visible Universe, with its 'dark matter' and 'dark energy' expanding infinitely into pitch black regions of space through time. Although that is easy to imagine visually, since we perceive it every night, the image gives us little in way of concrete meaning. We perceive the meaning of "great Cosmic expanse", perhaps tinged with a sense of the Divine, but all meaning beyond that broad resolution is obscured from the intellect's vision. So we will gradually ascend through the evolved dimensions to where we are now. It is important to really try and experience these transformations from our first-person perspective and sense our own 'thinking-gestures' expanding into more degrees of freedom as we move into the higher dimensions. These dimensions are analogous to the perceptible realms we know as the mineral, plant, animal, and human kingdoms. A point which gains freedom to move in the first-dimension, left and right, then places our perspective on a line. Keep in mind, there is an added complication here - each polar force has an inward-outward polarity of its own. The red and blue forces are each working towards infinity outwards and also from infinity towards the center. So, in this simple one-dimensional analogy, there are already four polar forces at work. In ancient mythology and philosophy, these forces were known as Fire, Air, Water, and Earth; the first two associate with the materializing force and the latter two with spiritualizing force. They can also be seen as the higher spiritual counterparts of the lower physical forces we currently perceive as the nuclear, electrictic, magnetic, and gravitational forces. We are going to leave that aside for now and return to its implications at a higher stage. At the broadest temporal resolution, we can observe how the material force moves towards differentiation of the dimensions, forces, and shapes as we go to higher numbers (1-4 dimensions, 2-16 forces). The spiritual force will then reintegrate these dimensions, forces, and shapes without obscuring the thinking-freedom gained through the differentiation. The only reason we can identify these forces and speak of them is because they are logical in their essence. This simple fact is often lost on us because our logical thinking runs imperceptibly in the background. It sacrificially focuses all of its energy on the object of its thinking - the dimensions and polar forces in this case - while adopting a meek and humble attitude for itself. So we should make every effort to remember that the forces are not external and amorphous 'fields' without lawful structure, but function according to a higher-order logic which then precipitates into our first-person experience as the spiritualizing and materializing forces. We have already crossed the lowest stage of differentiation and, therefore, we are the most abstracted from the living polar dynamic. The various interrelations between forces have become so complex in our experience that we perceive very little of the connections between them. Most of those have become super-sensible for us. That is the reason why the hard subject/object dualism emerged in recent centuries - our intellectual vision can only understand the world content as things external to its own activity. Our polar investigation should help us to recover some participatory perception if we approach it precisely with that intention. To understand the critical difference between duality and polarity, we will first consider how the former relates to this two-dimensional perspective, which represents the abstract intellect. We redeem the abstract forces by understanding them deeply and we understand them via analogical comparison. We will label two points "A" and "B" on our line-perspective with the colors red and blue, respectively, for the over-spiritualizing and over-materializing forces working within our perspective. The default dualism conceives of these forces as a duality, i.e., mutually exclusive forces, so we would add a point "C" in the middle to represent our perspective on the line. We then say, when the materialization force prevails, we move to the left on the line and, when the spiritualization force prevails, we move back to the right. A move towards one force only comes at the expense of the other. We are now playing our intellect’s zero-sum game only so we can work towards its redemption through our logical reasoning activity. We are making its functioning within us more transparent than opaque.

Immediately we can sense how a "balancing" of the forces on the line would mean we remain absolutely still, because the forces are always canceling each other out. Naturally, when what is fundamentally unified is torn asunder into two, we can only expect our reasoning to be siphoned and pooled towards one pole or the other. Our conclusions will then hold an inverse relationship to Reality itself. This dynamic is what we call "psychological projection" - we attribute to Reality itself what is really our own localized dualistic deficiency. We say perception absolutely comes before meaning, for example, because we are first conscious of perceiving objects and only later conscious of their meaning. In philosophy, this dynamic is known as "naive realism". Modern dogmas such as this one form the foundations for entire worldviews and manifest simply because the intellect thinks dualistically from the outset. At the core of this phenomenon is the intellectual ego's lack of humility - it refuses to admit that it doesn't yet know what the polar relation is, let alone how to go about "balancing" it. The path forward for the intellect, then, is always to seek greater understanding of itself via sound reasoning. How can we travel from point B to point A without diminishing either pole, i.e., when we maintain the integrity of the two poles as complementary rather than exclusionary forces? With polarities, we are really speaking of forces with infinite magnitude. They are not bounded on one end or the other by 'points', but rather they arrive from and move towards infinity. So we must imagine a way in which points along the left half of the line and the right half of the line, which are extended out infinitely in magnitude, still manage to coincide with each other in our concrete experience. Our one-dimensional line-perspective must become free to move along the two-dimensional up-down plane to form a circle. That is an image of gaining greater understanding via thinking-degrees of freedom. Now we can move up and down with our thought in addition to moving right and left. Try to sense concretely here how, not only are our perceptions of the geometric forms allowed this new degree of freedom, but our meaningful thoughts are participating in it as well. We are now perceiving in thought the analogies which marry the quantitative with the qualitative; matter with spirit. These mathematical systems actually developed within us as a means for the Spirit to conceive of its own evolution. Visually, we can conceive of this movement into two dimensions by curving various segments of the lines to form circles which connect points along the materialization spectrum with points along the spiritualization spectrum.

These circles are all nested within each other and represent varying durations in which the polarity functions, such as aeons, epochs, centuries, years, seasons, and days, towards both infinitesimal and infinitely long Time-experience. If we keep doing this, connecting down the line towards infinity, eventually we arrive at a circle which is so large that any segment of its circumference is practically indistinguishable from the line. At that scale, if we are on point C when we travel around the circle's circumference, it is the familiar situation of us walking upon the spherical Earth while it feels completely flat in all directions. Eventually, if we continue our living movement (logical reasoning), we walk right around the entire Earth and end up where we started from the opposite direction. That is an analogy for thinking our way into a natural and healthy rhythm of the polar forces in our experience. The blue slices of the circles cannot be reduced to or replaced with the red slices of the circles, otherwise the analogy, like the polar relation, collapses in our own thinking and we lapse into dualism. Instead, we sense how moving along the axis of one pole towards infinity brings our experience to the polar threshold and towards the other pole, as if our thinking-movements are descending from the North to South poles before reascending back to the North pole from the opposite direction. To make this more concrete, let's say the circle represents our experience of temperature, i.e. coldness (blue) and warmth (red). Through the materializing force, we descend from the 'womb' of relatively warm meaning into increasingly colder temperatures until we pass the A-B boundary, at which point we are born and ascend, through the spiritualizing force, into increasingly warmer meaning. Eventually we return to the state of 'temperature' from which we began, but not by retracing our steps. The force of materialization is the precipitation of fluid meaning into fixed perceptions (coldness), while spiritualization is the 'evaporation' of those fixed perceptions back into fluid meaning (warmth). The former is the force of the actualized 'past' (Memory) and the latter is the force of the potential 'future' (Hope). That is why perceptions of the world carry our thought into past experiences, while contemplation of meaning carries our thought into the future possibilities born of those experiences. These forces are always overlapping and interwoven, rhythmically alternating, just as we experience when listening to an uplifting song with beats, notes, and chords which spiral together into harmonious meaning. These dynamics all speak to us of the higher archetypal worlds in which we live subconsciously. We make these worlds more conscious by resonating our thinking-movements with the "frequencies' of archetypal Sound and the 'wavelengths' of archetypal Light, which are super-sensible for the intellect. Now we pause to reflect on the above. Why is it that these spiritual-material analogies work so well? Is it because I am really skilled at making material processes reflect my own spiritual beliefs about the Cosmic structure? Trust me when I say that my imagination is nowhere near that artful. Perhaps I have simply taken them from someone else who threaded together a fanciful narrative about "thinking"? Perhaps. The intellectual ego can (and will) always remain cynical. It can (and has) denied the existence of consciousness itself and no one can give it certainty that it is mistaken. Often, the more reasons the intellect is given to reconsider its position, the more it will dig its heels in to avoid sacrificing its own supremacy. Here is where a modicum of trust in our own thinking-organism goes a very long way. There is no reason for us to distrust our most intimate activity known as Reason. The illustrations and analogies employed above fell into place as I logically reasoned through the inner meanings of the polar dynamic, with the support of many others who reasoned in good faith before me. The Spirit makes its yoke easy and its burden light by making the complex world more transparent to us in this way. We will break our considerations here and explore more of the polar dynamics in the next segment, adding in more concrete illustrations at higher levels of perceptual integration. Don't worry if most of what was written above was not followed. It is a major advance to simply understand our lack of understanding of a topic which deserves to be understood. We then realize there is always more potential for our Thinking-organism to grow into. We will come by plenty more opportunities to participate in this growth if we allow the logical Spirit within to flourish. No degrees of freedom humanity has gained from its scientific and mathematical thinking need be abandoned. The geometric foundations of the Cosmos will not bend to our own will. When we divide polarities into dualities so that things become more convenient for us to comprehend, we are bringing down the spiritual imaginations to where we are instead of ascending to meet them 'halfway'. We are not altering the structure of reality but only hampering our own localized evolution. There will continue to be serious consequences for human civilization if we continue dividing our thinking experience in this way, but the progressive forces of the Spirit will find a way to harmonize those as well. Every polarized descent or ascent into dark waters will be turned into radiant new wine by the cooperating intelligences who far surpass our own. We can all participate in this cooperative effort by remaining open to those intelligences, and aware that they are, in fact, working within and through us for the betterment of the whole Cosmic organism. “No one should deny the danger of the descent, but it can be risked. No one need risk it, but it is certain that someone will. And let those who go down the sunset way do so with open eyes, for it is a sacrifice which daunts even the gods... Yet every descent is followed by an ascent; the vanishing shapes are shaped anew, and a truth is valid in the end only if it suffers change and bears new witness in new images, in new tongues, like a new wine that is put into new bottles.”

- Carl Jung, Symbols of Transformation