This article takes a closer look at four recent approaches to reality:
a. The axiomatic method, or the departure from undeniable principals.
b. The dialectical method, which assumes recurring movement of opposites.
c. The story-telling or ‘narrative’ method.
d. The enduristic ‘method’, actually not a method, but a post-narrative approach.
In reality, these methods can intertwine and reinforce each other and the best example of this is probably ‘The Alchemical Wedding of Christian Rosycross.’
At the beginning of the seventeenth century, the approach to reality or pure nature was connected to ‘the undeniable basic tenets’ of Rosicrucians, a method based on axioms, an axiomatic ‘method’. Spinoza, in the same century, also used the axiomatic approach in his main work the ‘Ethica’, and before him Euclid, for example, already followed that method.
The axiomatic, mathematical method seemed to reach its limits in the comprehension of the mass man (‘De Dijn’, ‘De andere Spinoza’ ) when reality was experienced in its dialectical capacity at the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth century: reality turned out to be completely subordinate to dialectics and therefore dialectics even seemed to BE reality. A philosopher like Hegel seemed to go crazy on this dialectical approach to reality – the dialectical method. That is obvious, because the boundary of dialectics seemed to be absolute, that is to say inescapable. For a long time, the dialectical method remained dominant; ideologies were founded on it and systems were built on it.
The story at the centre
In the twentieth century, however, there was a growing awareness that the essence of reality could not be approached, let alone attained or made conscious with either the axiomatic method or the dialectical method. The insight became stronger and stronger (increased) that a ‘good’ story could come much closer to reality, as we have come to appreciate the novel for a long time. In a good story you can ‘live’ it was said. This is called the narrative approach to reality, and it is currently wildly popular in science, art, and religion.
Towards an enduristic way of life
At the same time as that popularity, some also began to see that every narrative document is ego-bound. The experience of reality, that blossoms from it, tells a personal story that is not free of subjective bonds. The film ‘The Matrix‘ makes these bonds very explicit, they rule in an intense way over the entire human life wave, unless… Unless we dare to step out of the story, dare to let go of the ego-bondage. We let our autonomous and divine core take up space again. You could call this the enduristic method: the approach to reality that can set in motion a process in which innovative and creative energy is used autonomously, which eliminates the need to get a grip on that reality: You are already in the middle of it and the joy about it is enough.
The axiomatic method from the undeniable basics
Surely it would be great if you had fixed basic principles from which you can live your life in a spiritual sense, so that you do not have to doubt in any way the truth and reality of those basic principles. It would be even better if you could offer those axioms to your fellow human beings, so that they too can lead a meaningful life. That was the noble intention of Rosicrucians in the story of the Fama Fraternitatis and it is known that this offering has not been found to be very well received: because of position, power and prestige, these treasures were not accepted. Knowledge and wisdom were selected only if they were harmless for one’s own position in the world: if it could undermine that position, then accepting the basics of the Rosicrucians was not necessary or desirable. On the contrary, it was not the undeniable of basic tenets that was valued and made standard, but the ability to doubt! The possibility of doubting was seen as ultimate human potential (Descartes) and considered as a starting point for human development in a mental sense. Thus ‘the abyss of doubt’ opened up and this would accompany the independence of Western thought for a long time which could have a paralyzing effect on liberating action. But not on Spinoza!
Spinoza’s Ethica also works from basic principles
From clear and plausible axioms, Spinoza managed to build such an ingenious web of valid reasoning, that a jewel of wisdom for the adult human consciousness was shining in his ‘Ethics’. Without room for doubt, but with room for the spirit of reason. Reason that has its basis in the pure desire of the heart; reason that also far exceeded the then prevailing primitive images of God and beliefs. While the Rosicrucians experienced that the prevailing scientific order and power rejected the tenets, Spinoza found that stern preachers of the faith rejected his lofty tenets as blasphemous.
Spinoza’s reasonable ethic is not to be guided by passions, because these are not based on insights but are merely reflections of external influences. They make us unfree. To the extent that we, as reasonable-thinking beings, produce our thoughts, those thoughts are also free.
According to Spinoza, a reasonable thinking being is someone who is free from the pursuit of money, power and prestige. In addition to the rejection by strict dogmatic religious people, it was also this ‘demand’ of Spinoza, the renunciation of striving for wealth, power and prestige, that was not socially accepted. Just then there was a lot of appreciation in the Republic of the Netherlands for the expansion of wealth, power and prestige. The ‘merchant’ and the ‘vicar’ therefore did not agree with the meaning of the ‘Ethica’ – as far as it became public and could be known – and thus rejected Spinoza’s lofty axiomatic approach to reality. Actually, not much has changed in three centuries, because even now, despite the unmistakable philosophical appreciation for Spinoza, the merchant and the pastor still reject the content of Spinoza’s ‘Ethica’ as a guideline for the mind with corresponding objections.
The dialectical method of approaching reality
The instability of reality was a reason for the Greek philosopher Heracleitos to proclaim his famous one-liners:
One cannot step into the same river twice
Everything flows (Panta rhei).
The German philosopher Hegel rediscovered this non-perpetuation and constant flow as part of a so-called dialectic: thesis-antithesis-synthesis-new antisynthesis-again new synthesis, ad infinitum, endlessly. Simply put: everything is (potentially present) in its opposite and each particle is the smallest part of its opposite (cf. yin-yang symbol). In the romantic dialectical conception, it is a spiral course, like an infinite dance in three-quarter measure. When you become aware of that process, you understand reality.
The question is what you do with that concept and whether consideration is sufficient to come to responsible action. Marx wanted to place the concept of dialectics in an active framework, in which dialectical and historical materialism reinforced each other, aiming at the revolutionary liberation of the working class. However, the systems created politically and socially by this dialectical materialism have done more violence to reality than to bring enlightenment to any liberated class.
Limits of dialectics for our consciousness
Nevertheless, the dialectical method has taken a huge flight scientifically and culturally, because dialectics is recognizable in the temporal world in each of the two sectors. Many cultures cherish the idea of the existence of a unity of opposites, although this unity is not sustainable in reality.
Is it conceivable to be relieved of the compulsion of dialectics? Is it not, as Jacob Boehme points out, that the entire universe in the limited temporal dimension has no choice but to reveal itself dialectically? Even in the “higher” fields of astral life? Imbued with the dialectical laws in our reality, we also discovered that we could not approach our own essence by applying the method to our thinking, feeling and acting. The context quickly slips through the fingers like loose sand.
Boundaries of (non-)fiction
A dialectical context is connected to the sphere of matter, but our consciousness cannot rise above it: We cannot ascend by tightly grasping the material world, by keeping our focus on matter. We must seek content in the freer context in which there is room for our essence in its non-dialectical dimension. A story whereat our soul can be nourished. A story that moves and lifts us up. Moreover, a story that offers support to our consciousness. All constructions via the axiomatic and dialectical method seem fictitious and finite and sooner or later they dissolve, do not last. But a story relevant in this temporal reality can stimulate, be unifying, after the great ideological stories have been shipwrecked in time.
The narrative reality
Is it possible to ‘tell’ reality? Is it possible to cast the great all-encompassing reality in all its dimensions in a story that claims universal interpretation, to cross-cultural meaning? The existence and especially the continuity of myths, sayings and sagas, spanning many centuries, makes it clear that it seems quite possible to tell a meaningful story, but only if the author is fully open to what wants to reveal itself through him. Because as soon as reality is told, described, filmed, the shaping begins and that turns every fact into a bit of fiction. Telling literal reality seems impossible. That doesn’t mean the story isn’t right. But that every story is a construction, not a one-to-one representation of the truth, as the first verse of Daodejing tells us:
Dao that can be said is not the eternal Dao; the name that can be called is not the eternal name.
The big question is whether and when a story will come to life, that is, connects with our human existence in a nourishing sense. And that depends on the narrator who has to derive his story from something, from his own experiences and memories. Only when we start to consider and interpret them our lives can begin; only when we reflect meaning can take place.
The arsenal of lived experiences and memories can serve as a tool to shape the story, provided that the narrator does not interfere in the course of the story. It can be very tempting to come up with sidetracks and write down all kinds of loose sentences that he wants in it, but a truly inspired story writes itself, otherwise it will indeed become a construction. If that succeeds, that story can come to life, that is connect with our human existence in a nourishing sense.
The alchemical wedding of CRC
For example, ‘The Alchemical Wedding of Christian Rosycross’ is set up in incomparable ambiguity and a great wealth of consciousness experiences in multiple dimensions of reality. It is important to recognize the story of CRC in our own state of consciousness, to find out where we ‘live’ in that story, where we ‘live’ in that journey of discovery. To discover that the story is fiction and yet resonates in our reality.
There are more examples of such stories, such as the animated film “The red Turtle,” in which a turtle really turns into a woman and changes back again when the main character’s life is ended. And also the prints of Escher, who often ‘makes’ impossible spatial images reality. More and more it becomes clear what the power of stories can be, especially that they can bring life to our existence plagued by spiritual flattening. That is the reason why art, religion and science embrace the narrative approach.
The self-reference in every work of art
It is known from the philosophy of science that every artistic expression – including the story – tells something about the artist, in fact forms a reference to that artist. Each story would therefore be a self-reference, a self-reference of the writer, even if it is not an autobiographical story. The writer can become aware that he has made things up in reality himself.
A Dutch writer recently remarked: ‘Making things up to describe reality is one thing. But describing reality without making things up is also there.’ This may open a universal channel that appeals to the positive inspiration, perhaps similar to the muses. Gnostic forces that make themselves known through the artist. If a writer realizes that it is his self that limits reality, if he occasionally catches a glimpse of the “great” reality of the universal, of the universe in all dimensions, his course of consciousness will show an increasing awareness of insignificance. And modesty. Because it’s an overwhelming experience.
This is how Lao Zi speaks in chapter 20 of the Daodejing:
… I alone am calm and unmoved.
I am like a new-born babe who has not yet smiled.
How I wander free and without limitation.
Common people have abundance; I am like one who has lost everything.
I am an ignorant fool, while the common people are so bright and astute.
How full of sparkling lucidity are they and how dark am I.
I am indeterminate like the sea, I am like driftwood, tossed to and fro by the waves.
Common people have a reason for everything; I alone am foolish.
I am different from the common people, because my heart reveres the Mother who nourishes all things!
(translation E.J. Welz)
The ‘Mother who nourishes all things’ belongs to a ‘higher’ layer in reality, that does not recognize wealth, power and worldly prestige of people and that humbles the narrator. The more he is nourished by the Mother, the greater his spiritual powers, but the greater his spiritual gifts, the greater his modesty. According to tradition, the narrator Lao Zi did not want to tell his story, but eventually put it in writing at the request of a student. The desire to be completely different from others is not an elitist opposition in relation to the common man, for he seems to praise Lao Zi. That desire has nothing to do with the values of this world, you could call it a non-being in the awareness of aquarian values, corresponding to the realization of Christian Rosycross that the highest knowing is to know nothing.
So there are also writers who consider the narrative approach, writing a good (selling) story, as a vain activity, because they do not get rid of the bad sides of their ego. These writers are aware of the inadequacy of the narrative “method” and at the same time desire to honor ‘the Mother who nourishes all things.’ They are, as it were, in an enduristic phase, in which they do not put themselves at the center.
The disappearing reality
Centuries ago, the demythologizing of the fantasy world and the disenchantment of miracles began. Spinoza has played an important role in exposing the belief in miracles and at the same time pointed to the divine nature as a miracle of life. Michael Ende has pointed to the erosion of the inspiring and telling ‘other’ reality that is dissolving: more and more of the ‘magic land’ is disappearing. Paul Biegel has managed to bring back the ‘magic’ of reality in his catchy children’s books, which tell about the specialness of the miracle of life in a surprising way.
The pendulum of current reality swings to the technologically manipulated images and sounds in it, it is called deep fake, It means that through sophisticated techniques it has become possible to make someone say everything that is intended by the manipulator. The manipulation of reality has thus acquired a sophistication that makes it almost impossible to distinguish between what is real and what is not. Because our senses, when looking at a screen, lack the ability to check the production of the images. Outside the screen world, holographic techniques have been able to create a fictional or a faded reality for much longer.
How do we maintain a pure focus?
You may wonder if all this is a bad thing, if consciousness has to go through the maya phase anyway, that is the realization that the sensory perceptible reality is not real, cannot be real. Although confusion may increase, it may be possible to increase the focus on the essence of life, especially in the midst of the many fake facets of our time. A focus that can coincide with a collective field, with a spiritual field of a new reality.
The question is to what extent this orientation can remain pure, that is, how and whether the alignment with the inner source, which can connect our soul with the ‘great’ reality, can continue to take place. After all, reality disappears in the digitalisation of our screen orientation and this will determine our soul more and more in dependence on it.
In 2022 it is palpable how the digital world increasingly extends over all facets of our reality and how society almost entirely agrees with it: a smart grid will become increasingly decisive in a way that ‘the internet of things’ steers our household and can eventually give direction to our consciousness.
Is that a bad thing? Isn’t that mainly very practical and efficient?
Do you still want to drive, to direct yourself?
Or do you accept that a choice for an efficient and practically designed technological cyber society is a logical outcome on the way to the final enlightenment? Artificial intelligence, no matter how cleverly used, can never come anywhere near a reasonable, autonomously deciding human being. For that we have to stand strong and resist many temptations. Because if we are not very alert and supercritical to the current products of artificial intelligence that can develop self-driving algorithms, then this artificial intelligence will take our brains away, as the Scottish professor Andrew Murray warns.
We must learn to manage the development opportunities that arise for the world and humanity through the internet and artificial intelligence, but not at the expense of the potential enlightenment and the son of god that lies hidden in us. Now, of course, real enlightenment starts with the heart and not with the brain, but our autonomous brain does have an important role in it.
The unlimited heart
We have to talk about ‘the mysterious singing’ of that unlimited heart, the fully liberated and unfolded heart that provides its transmuting radiation in the service of the monad and eventually connects to the head for the wedding. An artificially intelligent brain cannot answer the invitation to the wedding because that brain can no longer desire the ‘loved one’. ‘The Mother who nourishes all things’ corresponds to the unlimited heart, but the artificially intelligent brain does not answer that correspondence, the letter from the heart cannot be received. Reality is increasingly disappearing into digitalisation and virtuality, which draws its nourishment primarily from electricity. Electricity generated by human action, aided by technology.
The electric ether however is the innovator of the heart and is not generated by our power plants and other material forms of electricity supply. The ether power for the unlimited heart works on the Christ vibration that can feed us in our pure (astral) orientation. It is important to let that electric ether, which Christ releases in us through Uranus radiation, do its merciful work in time; that is, before the brain has become unusable by the earthly electromagnetic manipulations. Virtual reality attracts us, is trying to make our being fit for purposes of an artificial new world order, through the head.
Instead, let us long for the reality of ‘the Mother who nourishes all things’ and honor that Mother!