Thursday, December 13, 2012

Self Propagation of the Absolute

“The Augustinian idea that the good tends by its very nature to communicate itself, is at bottom Platonic: this idea is self evident since, according to Plato, the Absolute is by definition the “Sovereign Good”, the Agathón (αγαθών), and is to say “Good” is to say Radiation or Manifestation. And that is why in Islam the second name of God is the “infinitely merciful”, Rahman; it is in its virtue of Rahmah that God created the world, He who “was a hidden treasure” and who “wished to be known”, according to a hadith. …” …………Frithjof Schuon

In his book “Survey of Metaphysics and Esotericism”  in the chapter “Creation as a Divine Quality” the above passage occurs. When reading this passage, it touched me because what has been intuitively understood by many mystics and sages prior to the information age, today we can take a mental journey to pry open the deep truth brought out in these words. Let us first analyse from where the various elements of these metaphysical and esoteric thoughts evolve.

Plato represents the inward arena, subjective extrapolation, synthesis and reintegration, he would have been influenced both early thinkers as well as by intuitive intellection. The linkage between the Absolute, Sovereign Good and Manifestation though Platonic in nature it could have been derived from earlier postulates derived from Pythagoreanism and also the Egyptian tradition originating in the wisdom of Thoth which would have survived in alchemy. This link has been extrapolated into the future through various philosophers and theologians in various spiritual traditions.

The link between Plato and Islam is very apparent in the perception of early Sufi saints and mystics.
Abdul Karim Jili had a vision of him “filling the whole of space with light”; also, that the disciples of Rumi see in Plato (Sayyid-na Aflatun) a kind of prophet. Moslem authors in general see in him an eminent master of music, like Orpheus charming wild beasts with his lute in virgin nature whither he had withdrawn after a disagreement with Aristotle, which is full of meaning. It may be added that Plato, like Socrates and Pythagoras, was the providential spokesman of Orphism. Some Sufis consider Plato and other Greeks to be prophets.

Similarly Christian mystics and thinkers, starting from St. Augustine to Meister Eckhart had a great influence by Plato’s philosophy and theology.
Neo-Platonism was a major influence on Christian theology throughout Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages in the West notably due to St. Augustine of Hippo, who was influenced by the early Neo-Platonist Plotinus and Porphyry, and the works of the Christian writer Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite, who was influenced by later Neo-Platonist, such as Proclus and Damascius.
It should be noted that Meister Eckhart called Plato “the great priest”.
In the twentieth century, Rudolf Steiner’s  Spiritual science under the brand of Anthroposophy had Neo-platonic fabric.

The idea here in this short article is to see the continuous chain of thought that culminates in Frithjof Schuon’s statement quoted above. Sovereign or Absolute good is the that which has no qualifiable attributes as any assignment of attribute leads to duality. If manifestation consists, at the most fundamental level, a primal entity then this entity has to be non-dual in nature. This is what we are discovering in Quantum physics. The phenomenon of Entanglement necessitates removal of all restrictions imposed by space-time and both special and general theory of relativity. Hence, in no less term than consciousness, many leading physicists define the basic ‘ground of being’ of all manifestations.
The Divine consciousness being devoid of all dualities is the Absolute Good from which all manifestations evolve.

In the words of David Bohm, the pioneering Quantum Physicist:
“In the enfolded [or implicate] order, space and time are no longer the dominant factors determining the relationships of dependence or independence of different elements. Rather, an entirely different sort of basic connection of elements is possible, from which our ordinary notions of space and time, along with those of separately existent material particles, are abstracted as forms derived from the deeper order. These ordinary notions in fact appear in what is called the "explicate" or "unfolded" order, which is a special and distinguished form contained within the general totality of all the implicate orders.”  (Bohm, 1980)

Love to you all


  1. How great is the truth that "good by itself tends to communicate!" good one by St.Augustine