Nov 28, 2012

The Fourfold Youniverse, pt. 1

"1 In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."

So begins the most well-known version of the Bible in English, the King James Bible. We see here an example of how we often take the elders' wisdom for granted: the same idea that we see in Genesis can be found in countless sources, Aristotle being one of the more prominent. Namely, that all things are made up of the four elements: Fire, Earth, Air and Water.

Now, the concretistic (i.e. 'earthy') reader will no doubt point out that things are a lot more complicated than the number 4 allows for. The instinctive ('fiery') reader, however, will see that sometimes simplifying can be a source of understanding as well.

Let's back up then. The most underlying (that is, non-reducible) distinction occurs between the positive and negative polarities. To reduce that polarity would be to return to the state of Oneness from which we began. We can assume, however, that things began in Unity, and this is where the common 'believer' will begin to get lost, because they still see this Unity as something separate from themselves, oblivious to the paradox that is the separation of Man and God. This is why I will generally abstain from using the term 'God', though I have no problem with it whatsoever.

So if the beginning came with the first division into polarities, these polarities must have come from an irreducible Unity (i.e. positive and negative, rather than 'or'). This Unity was all that there was. There was only one thing which it was not, which was exactly not being a Unity. This Unity then began to divide so that it could experience what it would be like not to be All, for there to be separation. So the Unity sacrificed itself to become all that is not One - and this is where we conscious beings come in. But that comes about later.

The first division, then, is between + and -. The former implies movement while the latter implies stability. Indeed, in the poles of a magnet, the electromagnetic field flows from the positive to the negative. However, something cannot be both mobile and stable at the same time. This can be found in Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, where you can measure either the position (-) or the speed (+) of a given particle, but not both at the same time. Likewise, an electron, for instance, can only be taken as either a particle (-) or a wave (+), never both at the same time. Back to Genesis: "3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day."

The paradox here is that this dynamic leads to a kind of stability in and of itself. This would require then a division of these two basic elements into four, and it is here that we leave positive and negative and head towards the four elements. In order for Unity to become non-Unity, there must be separation. This separation is then realised through the positive polarity (movement) and the negative (stability). In many creation myths, the first elements to be introduced are Air and Earth (Heaven and Earth, Gaia and Ouranos*, etc...). They are the elements that imply a separation, so this works out.

We have then Air (+) and Earth (-). For there to exist separation, then, these two elements are required: this original essence becomes matter (Earth); however, this is not enough, as all is still connected, which leads us to the appearance of space (Air). Back at the ranch of the Bible, we have in Genesis: "6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. [...]8 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so." [replace 'waters' with 'unity' here to get the picture]. But if all we have are space and matter, we come back to a natural stability. This requires the injection of two more factors.

It's not hard to imagine, then, Fire bringing a little energy to this system. The introduction of a chaotic element will certainly bring dynamism into the equation - chao ex ordo (the chaos out of the order). Fire itself, though, is clearly not enough - while most people see the value of a little chaos, no one wants to live in eternal chaos. We have to add the dichotomic element then, representing ordo ex chao (or chao ad ordo): Water.

Since we started out with space and matter, we will end up with the elements that bring some objective dynamism to the whole picture: energy and time. When Aristotle, then, said that everything is made up of the four elements, he was right: is there anything other than space, time, matter and energy? (The priest or psychologist will be quick to point out the anima - the soul, or consciousness - but we will see that this Fifth Element is simply another octave of Fire.)

If time is the fourth dimension of space, then it probably makes sense to consider energy as being simply the fourth dimension of matter. However, going down that direction seems like a bit too much navel-gazing. Let us come back to the beginning once more then. First, we have Earth and Air. It makes no sense, though, to be eternally separate, as it would defeat the entire purpose of separation in the first place. So there comes an element that will try to bring this separation back into Unity: Fire. The second law of thermodynamics makes this pretty clear: all matter will be reduced, eventually, back to pure energy. This leads to the introduction of the last element, which comes to balance Fire: Water, that is, time. Time is what allows all experiences to be actually experienced, rather than be immediately brought down to Unity. It is quite necessary, actually: we need to be able to see the order that lies in the fiery chaos to be able to truly become One again.

"Okay, that's all well and good, but if all the stuff that exists comes from Unity, it is still, after all, Unity, no?" Indeed, and that's where the Wild Card comes in: consciousness/Love. For Unity to become non-Unity, it must sacrifice its will. The will of the Unity can only be found in that initial moment, shaping everything that comes after, but what is done with this is not up to it anymore. And here come the point where the theologian will switch off: the Unity - God - does not, in fact, have free will in this manifest world. It was sacrificed for multiple free wills. That does not mean to say that the Unity knows not all - it knows all the potentials, for it created those potentials, but it does not know exactly how it will play out.

This is why the concept of prayer is so misunderstood. Many people, when praying, expect God to intercede on their behalf - but how can something with no will make a decision? They fail to realise that they themselves are the manifestation of free will! And this is where the idea of God being within us begins to make sense: God is not an old man in the sky (nor a devil under the earth, I might add) - you are simply a fractal of the Unity. Have you ever thought about why it's called the YOUniverse?

The famous comparison between a neural network and a model of the universe...hint, hint

Let's go back to physics a little bit. Heisenberg's principle states that something can be either a particle or a wave. A wave is a series of potentials within a certain fixed parameter. A particle is simply a given position in this wave of potentials. But what, then, determines whether it will be a wave or a particle? If we recall the idea of wavefunction collapse, the answer is easy: observation, that is, consciousness. The Universe without consciousness would simply be an infinite series of potentials - which is Unity.

Consciousness itself, though, is a unity (lower-case 'u'), which gives it a flavour of Fire. After all, although all the atoms in your body are different after 7 years, you still remain quintessentially 'you'. We see here the importance of the pyramid structure: the base gives us the four elements, while the capstone gives us an objective viewpoint from which to navigate those four elements. The pyramids in Egypt, for one, used to have a golden capstone, and it doesn't take much research to find the connection between gold and consciousness** (i.e. the sign of Leo).

A digital rendering of the Giza pyramid in ancient times
The four elements can also be found (well, everywhere, but...) in the four functions of the mind as exposed by Jung:
- intuition (fire): the desire to bring things back to Oneness, innate knowledge, desire, energy, chaos (absolute chaos can be seen as a unity), consciousness;
- sensation (earth): the material world, physical limitations, registering phenomena;
- thinking (air): rationality, putting things apart (i.e.: putting 'space' between things), abstract processes;
- feeling (water): seeing unity in the chaos, connecting the different times, value, unconsciousness;

Fire and Earth are the irrational, extraverted functions of the mind: fire wants to go back to Unity (a Unity which cannot be rationalised), while Earth depends on input from outside. That leaves Air and Water as the rational, intraverted functions: after all, thinking and feeling exist inside ourselves. A good example to make this more clear is the difference between Freud and Jung: while both were psychologists (that is, both started from Water, seeking to find coherence in the chaos of the psyche), Freud favoured his earthy aspect (seeking to establish a 'psychological science') while Jung favoured his fiery aspect (while not seeking to establish a 'psychological religion', it can be argued that he did just that). This bridges us from the inside world of the mind to the outside world of human thought.

The most telling dichotomy in this world is probably that between 'science' and 'religion'. One can see no shortage of disputes between both, which is actually quite funny, given that they are the irrational functions (i.e. they depend on 'outside' sources, as it were) of the mind - it is quite easy to see how scientists' attitude can be 'religious', and how theologians' attitudes can be a bit too 'scientific'. This problem is easily enough solved with the auxiliary functions of philosophy (which will give a sense of ethics to either) and psychology (which will allow them to distinguish between 'good' and 'evil', two terms that are quite problematic, but a bit unavoidable). We have the schema then:

Now, I understand that this can be highly confusing, and that there is a number of potential objections to my line of thinking. However, the idea here is not to convince the reader with mathematical proof, but simply to leave some bread crumbs that lead down to the rabbit hole. In the next installment of the series, we'll take a look at how this dynamic affects the planets and signs in astrology, and further on I will propose a new system of exaltation that fits this new perspective.

Meanwhile, I certainly do not claim to have final knowledge of anything (there is no such thing in the human world), and I invite any physicists, theologians, philosophers and psychologists to let me know if I have made any egregious mistakes (especially the physicists - though it will be hard to convince them to discuss the immaterial), and all others to tip in with their thoughts. Hopefully, this dissertation will light a fire (or plant a seed, if you prefer) in the reader's mind, and lead all of this back to Oneness. In the meantime, be sure to check out my discussion on the three qualities, which will allow us to break down each of elements into three, giving us the twelve signs of the zodiac.

Finally, none of this would have been possible without the contributions of Freud Astrology - I am eternally in debt. Be sure to check it out if any of this arouses your interest!

* It is interesting to note that Gaia and Ouranos had twelve children (six male, six female) - bringing us easily towards the zodiac.

** This is why the 'invaders' of Ancient Astronaut mythology are said to come here after gold: they are not looking to take our physical gold (which is plentiful in the Universe), but our consciousnesses and our ability to make choices - this will be explored in further detail in my analysis of Cowboys vs. Aliens.