The eyes, two small spotlights
To make contact with another person, the first thing I often look for is the gaze. I try to read their face. Since many people, due to the Corona pandemic, hide their face under a mask, often only the eyes remain for contact. Eyes can’t hide as much as facial expressions. Contact through the eyes is more direct, honest, and open. In general, the face plays a big role when it comes to perceiving each other, communicating something, or focusing attention.
Eyes are very special. They cannot hide anything. They are the special point of attraction of our face for others and for us they are the windows through which we look outwards to take things in and at the same time illuminate the world around us as if with two small “spotlights”. Their alertness is often the starting point for experiences.
When the eyes look inwards
And the eyes can do more. They can be closed to look inside. There are other worlds there that we sometimes wander through happily, anxiously, sadly, or sometimes very longingly. Eyes have to do with perception. Perception creates connection, from which movement and dynamics arise, the beginning of every creative activity.
Looked at more deeply, human beings live in many worlds, and each holds its own reality. These worlds are not always beautiful. Sometimes one enters them longingly seeking, wandering through them like rooms in a great house. Something, deeply rooted within, drives one forward. Then again, one tries to escape these worlds to build better ones. This is the stuff of films and books.
New worlds, appearance or reality
At the beginning of the seventies, the film Welt am Draht by the German film maker Rainer Werner Fassbinder was released. The main character, who develops a virtual world in a computer, slowly realises that he himself is only part of a virtual world. Friends and colleagues think he is crazy, but unswervingly he collects circumstantial evidence for his thesis and finally meets a woman who acts as a link to the real world and confirms all his suspicions. It is part of a love story that he finally transfers his consciousness to his original creator with her help and thus escapes from the artificial world. But he must die in his original world to do so.
There are many indications in science, religion and art that our world is an absolute reality for us only as long as we firmly believe in it. In the book Sofie’s World by Jostein Gaarder, Sofie learns that she is only the protagonist in an author’s story. Sofie has to free herself from the author’s book by reversing the story and entering the world of ideas as Sophia, wisdom, as an eternal form. This is about the fundamental questions of humanity: “Who am I?” and “What is this world I live in?”
The search for the origin
Such themes have a great fascination, for we carry within us the knowledge of our existence in illusory worlds and the search for truth. Myths and creation stories show in an impressive way how diverse this search can be. What they have in common is that they give man an idea of his origin.
The creation stories show that the origin has many faces, which vary greatly depending on the people and culture.
In the Apocryphon of John, a Gnostic scripture found near the Egyptian city of Nag Hammadi in 1945, one can find the origin and development of creation described as an interplay of three “faces of God”. In the face of the “unnameable”, the idea of a human being develops who is created in the image of God. In the second face, a creative space of realisation develops, in which all the dynamics and movement come into being that make the ideas and thoughts of the first face recognisable. Finally, in the third face, the polarity of light and darkness is formed, in which the development of a human being in the image of God becomes possible through experience.
Potential, dynamics and experience
The “face of ideas” looks with closed eyes. It is unnameable because there is no one greater who could give it a name. It is unknowable because no one reaches deep enough to see its essence. Physics speaks of pure potentiality, some religious directions simply of “nothingness”. It shows no dynamism, no movement and no activity.
The second face, that of realisation, arises from the first; it is pure light, a light of supreme beauty. This face is made of pure love, and it generates dynamism from potentiality of the first face, in honour of Him, the Highest. They look at each other: he, the first, is the idea, the second makes himself his thought. This is how cognition, imperishability, eternal life and truth come into being. In this way, an immortal “eon” unfolds from the second face in close coordination with the first, giving life to further eons and peoples.
With this, however, the image is not yet completely created. For with the creation through the light of the second face, darkness also developed, which was not a component of the first face. By giving this darkness being and life, the third face comes into being, a creation that is no longer a component of the first face. The third creation lives from the light of and leads to darkening of the second.
The third face creates a world that no longer knows the whole of creation, but still carries the first and second faces within it as an inkling. The third face brings forth life that can meet the gaze of the first and second faces, as an unconscious power it carries them in its being. In a world of experience, life matures into knowledge, wisdom and love. Finally, the conscious vision of the first and second faces produces a human being, a double being who belongs to several worlds, who knows the whole of creation. Through experience he becomes aware of the dark side of creation, through maturation of the light side. This human being develops into the likeness of God, he thus returns to the whole of creation.
From a cave dweller to the image of God
Just as the second face opened its “eyes” according to its rhythm and looked into the world of the third face, so there, as a reaction to this, high culture follows high culture, in which human beings develop who can live in the whole of creation. Under their gaze, they first realize that they are only “cave dwellers”. They begin to ask, “Who am I?”, “Where do I come from?” Questions and realisation lead to the power of the second face circulating within them, creating a new mind-soul body that the third face must eventually release. What begins with questions ends in a body of wisdom and love. With this, transformed people finally enter a “new world” in which knowledge of all three faces becomes a matter of course.