Thursday, November 15, 2018

Organic Compassion



Tomorrow is my 37th anniversary of sobriety. 

So, let's take a break from examining Metaphysical Humanism.

In Gurdjieff’s Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson, two of the essential conceptual components of inner life we encounter are intentional suffering and remorse of conscience. 
These two concepts are inextricably linked to one another; yet the first is individual and personal, and the second is proto-cosmic.

The distinction is as follows. Remorse of conscience arises, according to Gurdjieff, from the actual particles of God—”His Endlessness”— which penetrate the entire universe. As such, they’re a key part of the essential tissue from which reality is made; and it calls us to a mystery about reality itself: why should it be sorrowful at all? This question is emotionally deep, and does not submit so easily to intellectual analysis; yet the sensory and emotive capacities of the human organism allow us an access to this through experience, rather than hypothesis or conjecture.

If anything, this access only deepens the mystery; we can participate, but it is much more difficult to explain.
This is where the question of intentional suffering comes in. What is it?
Our theories on the matter turn out to be relatively useless. Understanding is primarily gained by intuitively, instinctively engaging in intentional suffering and beginning thereby to comprehend the reason that the tissue of the universe is composed, at its heart, of an infinite sorrow. That infinite sorrow becomes much more personal when intentional suffering is engaged in.
Now, it's true, on the surface of things folks may differ in opinion about what intentional suffering consists of. This is because there are internal and external explanations of this term; and of the two, the external one is relatively worthless, because everything in regards to suffering that takes place externally take place on this level, that is, within the physical realm that we exist in: material reality. 
Inner intentional suffering, however, belongs to the metaphysical realm, the realm of the soul. This is a realm that exists within the material but remains, in many ways, forever untouched by it; and our experiences within it, which are created not just by our thought about it, but our sensation and feeling of it, are what truly matter to us from a spiritual point of view.
What, then, of exactly the aim of these two different understandings? 
Why should we care about  remorse of conscience? 
Why care about intentional suffering?
Both of these faculties, as they develop, lead slowly in the direction of what I would call organic compassion.
Organic compassion is quite different than the external compassion which I typically manufacture for myself in one way or another. In point of fact, my external compassionate features are weak. 
The motive force beyond ordinary compassionate action is not invalid; it is simply external, more superficial.  And I think we can all see how that works in ourselves. We want to have compassion. We think about it. Compassion is a philosophically and religiously correct attitude, I want to "cultivate" it.

Allow me to point out that it’s possible to conform to all of the forms and requirements of the outward action of compassion without actually being compassionate. There is an inner level of emotional investment to compassion that involves suffering.
Swedenborg talked about this when he spoke about how human beings outwardly manage to conform to everything that is required of them, because it’s the way things "ought" to be done—while in our hearts we actually yearn for more selfish (and perhaps even cruel) forms of action in relationship. 
Every human being is a balancing act in this regard; yet if we don't see our impulses (that is, our selfish impulses) for what they are, we never bring them into question; and this allows us to exercise what appears to be compassion while actually not feeling compassionate at all inwardly. We follow the form; but when the going gets tough, it becomes selective; and true organic compassion isn’t selective.
This dilemma explains the endless instances of humanity, of all of us, where we believe in how deeply compassionate we are right up until the moment it doesn't actually suit us anymore. At that moment it’s thrown out the window, the middle finger comes out.
In order for compassion to be genuine, it has to be molecular. That is to say, it has to be built not just on my moral ideas, philosophies, theories, and attitudes towards compassion – everything society and other people have "bought" me: it has to be deeply learned, within the tissue of the body itself, from a sensational and emotional point of view. Both my molecular structure and my feelings must begin to understand what compassion are.
To some extent, this is the whole point of why Gurdjieff introduced the ideas of remorse of conscience and intentional suffering. They are the forces through which organic compassion can begin to grow into our Being. 

And that has something to do with the cosmological structures we are a product of, which are under discussion in the posts on Metaphysical Humanism.

Warmly,

Lee







Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Inherent Wave of Being—a Treatise on Metaphysical Humanism, part XVII- God's Fourth Way




Students of Gurdjieff’s Fourth Way will, if they think about this for a few moments, see the very clear analogy between the three forces of Love, Intellect, and Matter, the idea that they produce existence as we know it, and the concept of a “Fourth Way.” The Holy Trinity, acting in perfect concert in its manifestation as Love, Intellect, and Matter, produces the universe as a “Fourth Way” for the manifestation of God — a way in life, that is to say, a way of existing and being. 
The relationship is not a coincidence. Think about it carefully, because what it tells us is that the entire universe is God’s Fourth Way
We are participants, in other words, in God’s own search for Being.
Of course the idea that the universe is a vehicle for the self-disclosure of God is hardly a new one. It is, in fact, ancient; yet understanding it from the perspective of Gurdjieff’s Fourth Way, a way of self disclosure that combines the three major aspects of self in a harmonious effort that produces a “superior” entity consisting of the three ways, is new. Another compelling aspect of this reasoning is that it conforms to the emergent properties of the material universe and all of its manifestations. Gurdjieff’s Fourth Way is, in its own right, an emergent entity, even though it has not been recognized or referred to as such until now.
 When we refer to the Fourth Way as an emergent entity, what we mean is that the collective action of its constituent parts produce a more sophisticated, more intelligent, and more empowered agency of Being than any one of the constituent parts can be said to produce when it operates on its own. The Fourth Way is, furthermore, emphatically defined as a way in life, that is, a method of investigation and self-disclosure (whether of our own self or a higher one) that is undertaken at the same time one fulfills one’s day to day responsibilities. It does not replace ordinary responsibilities; and it does not require a cloistered existence, withdrawn from engagement, in order achieve its ends. Rather it relies on the engagement itself to produce the material necessary for self discovery and self-disclosure.
 Think on this as we move forward.

Warmly,


Lee







Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Friday, November 9, 2018

The Inherent Wave of Being—a Treatise on Metaphysical Humanism, part XVI—The Law of Matter (Physical Existence)



 While this law seems to be the most important law to mechanistic rationalism, it is actually the third and least important law, whose very existence itself depends on the action of the first two laws.
This is because without divine love (emotion) and divine intellect (mind, or intelligence) there can be no physical existence. Matter only begins to exist once love has emanated the force (energy, or quanta) necessary for its aggregation and mind has organized it through perceptive relationship (which distinguishes between wave and particle functions.) The existence of force and its organization into material give birth to the third law, which is physical existence itself.
Although he put it in somewhat different terms, Swedenborg argued extensively that physical existence is an inferior entity, and this is the reason why. It is a consequent, not originating, law of creation. The perception of it as the originating law, which is the norm in today’s world, is fundamentally incorrect because it leaves out the forces that both bring the law into existence and allow it to be perceived.

Metaphysical humanism perceives law of matter and physical existence as a subordinate law.  Invoked alone and left to its own devices, this law creates a world much like the world of Plato’s prisoner, or the world of Maya (illusion) as perceived by Hindus and Buddhists. It is a world of appearances that has been stripped of the essential meaning imparted by love and wisdom. Although this world has the potential to manifest with nearly unbelievable power, it is completely stripped of meaning and becomes a mindless, purposeless creation.

Presuming this were actually the case leads us to some interesting speculation. Why does mindfulness and purpose exist, if the universe is mindless and purposeless? Can raw accident impart properties to matter by random strokes of luck, so as to produce the complexities of life, of cellular structures? Everything that we see and understand with our own perception and intelligence tells us that this is not so. Matter cannot even be a matter unless there is an agency and an intelligence to perceive it as matter. Without intelligence, nothing can be perceived, and no matter how solid and material the universe is, it ceases to exist. 

Yet matter does exist. It exists because of the functions of the other two laws that act in conjunction with it to create a whole universe. 


 This whole universe which is created by the action of love, intellect, and physical matter gives birth to a fourth entity, existence, which is then subject to a further set of laws.

Warmly,

Lee





Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Inherent Wave of Being—a Treatise on Metaphysical Humanism, part XV—The Law of Intellect (Mind)




 The law of intellect rules the property of discernment within all of the universes in the multiverse. It is what allows materiality to discriminate and differentiate; and this is the point upon which perception itself is predicated. Without intelligence, there can be no perception; and without perception there is no Being, because Being relies upon perception. What is not perceived cannot Be; what does not perceive can equally not Be. Hence we have a situation in which Being itself, which is demonstrably in existence and which we participate in,  cannot exist without the law of intellect.  One might arguably have matter alone which “somehow” existed in the absence of being, but once again, without an agent to perceive it, even the idea of existence is absent. So the law of intellect is essential to the existence of the universe and of the action of both Being— the material existence of what is and agency – the action of wish and caring.

 In discrimination, intelligence chooses. If we wish to draw an analogy to the collapse of the wave/particle function, which exists as a superimposed state (both wave and particle existing within the same energy state at the same time) at the quantum level, we would say that intellect is the discriminatory property which discerns between the action of particles and the action of waves as the energy packets we call quanta interact with one another. While this is a complex and difficult to understand piece of territory, when we discover the action of intellect on our own level, within human beings, it is much easier to understand, because it always represents discernment and choice — understanding the distinction between various options and having an intention towards one as opposed to another.

 Swedenborg wrote Divine Love and Wisdom because he was trying to indicate the way in which emotion and intellect interact with one another as fundamentally lawful entities which supersede the selection of the material. If one reaches work, one begins to detect what one might call a subtle prejudice against the material, which is always regarded as inferior relative to God’s Presence and the existence of the Kingdom of Heaven. This is because the material alone, taken as a separate entity which exists often for itself, has no inherent or legitimate meaning. Only the action of love and intelligence can impart meaning at all; and because we live in a universe that is made of meanings from the bottom up, it becomes clear enough that love and intelligence, which are supremely divine forces, must be perpetually an action to support any existence at all.

What is important here is to marry Swedenborg’s understanding with the understanding of the law according to Gurdjieff’s perspective and the context of physical law as it relates to modern sciences. One can't properly understand the universe in any sense with only one third of the force of law; and so here, we attempt to redefine universal law to include the other laws necessary to give us a universe with the properties we actually see, which include love and intelligence.

Warmly,

Lee






Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

The Inherent Wave of Being—a Treatise on Metaphysical Humanism, part XIV—The Law of Love (Emotion)


 The fundamental law from which all other laws are derived is the law of Love. It is, essentially, the postulate from which the equation of the universe is wholly derived. 

As I explained in my book Chakras and the Enneagram, the entire universe is constructed first and  foremost by the emanations of God’s Love. When I wrote the book, it was written from my own personal revelation that experience, but it closely mirrors — is in fact identical to – Emmanuel Swedenborg’s observations on the same subject. This was pointed out to me some months after I wrote the book, and after some examination I determined that Swedenborg’s revelations regarding the nature of the cosmos were entirely consistent with my own.

The point here is that everything is made of love. It is the initial motive force for all of existence, and all other laws and properties derived from it. When we look at Divine Love and Wisdom, as they were identified by Swedenborg, we can understand them as a hierarchy with revolving parity. What this means is that in the Kingdom of Heaven, within God’s own Being, Wisdom and Love have equal power; yet because God’s nature is loving before it is wise, love always maintains a supremacy of movement. God is wise because he is loving, and he is loving because he is wise; but the motive force for creation comes from love. In this sense, the creation of the universe is a creation not just by Love but also of Love, because the material nature of the universe is constructed first and foremost from God’s Love.

This means that the universe, like all universes, is a caring and loving universe first, before it has any other properties. The divine fundament represented by the quantum state is actually an energetic field of love which has become completely dispersed into the finest possible energy states. Everything arises from this fundamental background field of energetic love, and the motive force that brings everything together into more and more complex emergent structures is love itself. Love is caring and has a wish for relationship; and so this care and wish for relationship is built from the ground floor up into material existence.

Material itself would not have an affinity for attraction or the ability to form larger material entities and aggregates if it were not for the loving force that causes it to seek relationship. This force has an infinite number of variations and fluctuations, but whereas it exists as a particle from the point of view of the law of matter, it exists as a waveform that moves through the energy field in the sense of the law of love. Thus we see that the law of matter and the law of love are the particle and wave functions of the universe.
Because the material universe emanates from a fundamental ground of love, this property permeates all relationship at every level. The human sensory organism is capable of directly perceiving this property of the universe under the correct state, when sufficient finer elements are concentrated in Being.
 Let us go one step further here in this discussion of the prime law. Love is not, as mechanistic rationalism would have it, a manifestation of algorithms; nor is it derived from them. It is an independent force in its own right, and can neither be manifested nor expressed by algorithm. That is, it is not derived from the counting of numbers, nor is it derived from a set of rules related to numbers. Love is a feeling; it is a form of caring, and caring does not arise from numerical relationships. It is not calculated, but intuitive — it is not of the material, but of the metaphysical.

Warmly,

Lee






Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.