Marco is suggesting a difference, and I don’t believe I know the Aurobindo version well enough to comment, except to say that my hunch is that as long as the triple logic of Absolute Spirit, and relative involution/evolution is kept, then they won’t be very different. Glad to hear you are finding more clarity!
Yes, I see those maps, models and visual representations as learning tools, each one with their limited use but still having a great use in making the information more relatable - something to stick the information on to.
Thanks, thats a great link on Aurobindos view of Invo- and Evolution
Just on a Sidenote:
The BigBang - That Word doesnt make any sense because we know it wasn’t very big. I learned it was an infinitly small contraction of a singularity - thats not big. And there was no Bang, because in order for soundwaves to travel there needs to be an atmosphere - giving that it was most likely silent. So something like small silence would be maybe more suitable.
Thanks for the links … they’re always more helpful than just verbal references, especially since everybody reading TLD probably has more than enough on their hands already.
As a follow-up, especially for our more visually oriented fellow searchers, these links to animations regarding these “27 lines” showed up in my in-box yesterday:
The latter is interesting since you can pan in and out and click and drag the image through 3D space.
A naive question but here goes: when I read Wilber back in the 90s I recall thinking: This is Hegel all over again. Is there anything to this? At the time I had no contact with actual Wilberians, so I didn’t know anyone who could answer the question. If it is Hegel all over again, how does a Wilberian address the problems in Hegel? Any thoughts about contemporary neo-Hegelians like Brandom, McDowell, Pippin?
The Big Bang is a metaphor, which to me, says a lot about the adolescent males who probably produced that notion. It could just as easily have been called the Big Light. Not as sexy? Not enough noise? And the verdict isn’t in yet about what any of these metaphors mean. I imagine that there have been and will continue to be other metaphors that will emerge out of the Womb of Time. A hundred years from now will they still be calling it The Big Bang?
There more I ponder the involution-evolution question, the more quizzical I feel and paradoxical it becomes, and the simple ascent/descent narrative makes less and less sense.
Follow Wilber’s words (which paraphrase Aurobindo, as well) and think about this with me.
So first, there is pure Spirit, omnipresent, and yet, ‘up there,’ above everything else, since, through involution, it has to ‘descend’ and enfold itself—from spirit to soul to mind to life to matter, THEN the so-called ‘Big Bang’ (birth of the universe) can occur and the process reverses itself.
From the very first step, it doesn’t make sense, since we are presupposing a spatial orientation in a state (pure, pre-involved Spirit) which is without time and space. But then what happens next—evolution ‘back up’—makes it make even less sense.
But what if, before humans, were apes and angels? If involution precedes evolution, then we would have had angels at the level of soul, before spirit descended into mind and matter. There would be nothing retro-Romantic about it, in the pejorative sense Ken uses this label. Eden would, in fact, still be ‘higher’ than us, if involution precedes evolution; the return would be an ascent, up TO an Eden that existed before the universe was born.
Now consider Mirra Alfassa’s words (my emphasis):
So what if our starting points and directionality were something other than the higher/lower, descending/ascending, Big Banging, up-down, yo-yo narrative? What if our paths moved along different topologies, perhaps spherical (where all sides are simultaneous) or even stranger shapes, such as might be found here:
Mirra Alfassa again, on (necessarily) linear expression vs. non-linear (spherical) thinking:
Which is I think the poverty of any ‘systemic’ philosophy. We need curves, loops, quantum states, and much subtler poetry to describe the world.
It’s funny you say this, because I’ve often thought that Wilber is literally the reincarnation of Hegel…just like Steiner thought he was reincarnating Goethe. I think some Wilberians don’t really see the problems in Hegel. But Wilber is much more fun to read than Hegel, in my experience! Moreover, he emphasizes personal spiritual practice (individual development) in a way that’s not found in Hegel to my knowledge. He is obviously much more contemporary in his attitudes and aesthetics, too.
The above I believe begins to answer your beautiful question, Ariadne:
But I would have to actually write the poetry to expand on it! We could also study Aurobindo’s The Future Poetry, though it was written some time ago.
As for a future Future Poetry, I am both betting on, and a little terrified of, this:
And…funny you say this, because awhile back in 2005 I watched a video in which he was responding to being the reincarnation of Aurobindo! This was the sole reason why I dug into Aurobindo’s works. I couldn’t find the video online, though.
And this is precisely why Gebser emphasizes that all spatial metaphors are indicative of the mental, but most likely (these days) the rational consciousness structure at work, certainly not the integral. If you have to express it spatially, you haven’t got it, to my way of thinking. Practically all our “before/after”, “higher/lower”, “involving/evolving” presuppose latter-is-(somehow or in some way)-“better”. I couldn’t agree with you more, @madrush, it simply doesn’t make sense.
We are fairly well “locked in” to 3D space. I get intuitions of 4D, at times, but nothing that I find very communicable, at any rate. While these animations are helpful, do they really enable us to visualize a 4D (or even 5D) space? I can’t do it. Areyeh Kaplan in his translation and commentary on the Sepher Yetzirah says that the text is describing a 5D space. I’ve been reading that book for years and still can’t see it. Maybe one of you brighter bulbs can illuminate the way to do that. And when a mathematician writes down a formula allegedly describing that larger-numbered-dimensional space, I don’t see it either, I see squiggles on a page (or whiteboard or screen or whatever) that don’t make any sense to me. Does the mathematician see what the formula describes? And if they do, what about the rest of us?
Having said all this, it’s not like I don’t think or believe that these dimensional realities exist. I believe they do, and by “exist” I mean “manifest in some experiential reality”, I think. In other words, they are accessible, but not by means and modes of experience that we are used to (and taught from childhood on to rely upon … they work wonderfully well in 3D, they’re a bust beyond that).
This is, I also believe, what Stan Tenen is trying to tell us, at least in part: if the Hebrew letters represent the 27-lines of whatever, maybe what we really need to be doing in gesticulating, or even dancing, the Torah. Maybe (since these letter combinations define musical notes and relationships as well), we could sing it, or orchestrate it and hear it. OK, the animations aren’t doing it for me visually, but maybe I’m just visually challenged. Said differently, I believe we can access the reality of these dimensions but we’re not going to do it with “just” our brains.
Which brings me to a possible alternative. Maybe first there is pure Spirit (or whatever) but it’s no-where, nor need it be. It doesn’t descend nor enfold, it simply manifests in ever-denser density; it contracts, condenses, and then shifts in its mode of manifestation becoming ever less dense (not necessarily abstract), but enriched by all that It has experienced through its modes of manifestation. It obviously isn’t going “back” to anything because It is always “where” It always was and will be.
This may be what Young is trying to express with his7-stage model. He expresses it in terms of restraint and freedom; there are a lot of less effective ways of talking about it, but to do this he needs, just a little bit of time. So time may be nothing other than what Einstein thought it was: whatever is needed to keep everything from happening at once. It’s not dimensional in that sense, it’s merely an enabler.
But if you really want some fun, read Hegel in German where you can sometimes wait pages for the verbs! (One of the most frustrating aspect of German grammar, for my non-German-speaking friends, is the fact that when you use a relative pronoun (like the “that” that I just used), it forces all the verbs to the end of the clause … and that end can be far, far away, at least as far as Herr Hegel is concerned.
Poetry may be a way … and as I mentioned above, so could be music or dance (rhythmic movement/traversing), in other words, art in its truest sense could be precisely what we need to make sense, of it all. I’m pretty convinced that you can’t just think your way there.
I have trouble with 5D, but 4D is manageable. I’ve always liked the “tesseract” idea - “folding” cubes through a fourth dimension to make a fourth dimensional cube. I can’t visualize it directly, but I can imagine it as a kind of “attending” or “mindfulness”. Like the Klein bottle, which is also really a 4D structure. For 5D, I have no clear idea how to access it even via mindfulness, however.
Technically, only part of your answer is correct, @justcallmetony. While as the others have acknowledged, the “Bang” part is more for its explosive nature than its sound, although sound requires a material substrate, that substrate doesn’t have to be an atmosphere. The collisions of shock waves with sometimes extremely rarefied patches of interstellar medium is still considered to be a “sound” phenomenon, even though we may be talking about 1 particle per cubic meter of space! Sound, in this sense, is everywhere in the universe… As for the singularity, yes it is infinitesimally small, but the Big refers to what came out of it, and by anyone’s definition, that is big. I know I am quibbling, and I appreciate the poetics of your comment, but the science of “Big Bang” appears to me to be not so crazy as you suggest…
You’ve said so much here! And I want to respond to all of it, but that’s obviously not going to work. So maybe I’ll start with your final point first: your expressed fear of this: " “it is only if you are able to out of all limits that you can meet the total Divine as (S/He) is. And this capacity for contact is perhaps what constitutes the true hierarchy of beings…” (quoted from Don). I agree it’s a fearful possibility, because for one thing we so often seem to have very to do with our “capacity” levels which change continually, and usually feel about as choosable as weather. At least that’s my experience. Now and then, I preceive real choices and “I” am able to “seem” to make them, but that “I” is also always changing and/or multi-faceted, and is not experienced as a reified unity. Therefore our place on the capacity-for-contact hierarchy seems not entirely in our hands, so to speak. And if it’s not, whose hands?
Marco, you responded to me that you’d have to write future poetry to expand on it. And yet…in the present moment of writing or speaking or gesturing poetry, the present is in some sense emerging from both the past and the membrance where present and emerging “future” touch, no? For me, poetry is not composed of words, but through and in spite of words, almost. There is a condition of being in which everything that is done is poetry, and lying on grass and watching stars is poetry, et al. Out of that condition, may come words, but maybe not. So here I have expanded on what a future poetry might be like, without writing any! (Maybe!)
What about an eternally expanding/contracting Sphere?
It seems good to come up with other ways of referring to the birth of our universe. Eg, I am more drawn to small silent openings---- such as a flower opening. The flower can “give birth to” worlds, metaphorically, and those to more worlds. And it’s not sound that is at all troublesome, but rather “bang” as in "bomb-like, that is troublesome!
In some spiritual traditions, Sound as the creator of worlds, not a side-effect, but that sound is noth explosive, it is sustained and beautiful and sacred. Hard to feel all that about Big Bang… Metaphors matter!
The term the “Big Bang” actually covers a range of models of the early universe, some of which are much more like your metaphor of a flower opening than of an explosion. Some researchers believe that there was no singularity per se, that the beginning of the universe happened in softness and the expansion slowly accelerated into its “inflationary stage” which could correspond to the blooming of the flower.
One of the reasons I talked about sound in the broader sense is that I believe the idea that the universe is filled with “sounds” is actually very interesting from an aesthetic perspective. Most of the sounds are small, but if one thinks of nebulae as plants then as the plant unfolds it makes small noises that are themselves interesting. Silence is interesting, but it is not the only way to think of these things. So metaphors matter, and perhaps so do models!
As I return to this after a few days where my mind was elsewhere—and reading this freshly—what occurs to me is that poetry is many things, but one of the things I think a ‘future poetry’ particularly is, or could be, is a kind of sculpting with or in time. Michelangelo famously described his way of doing sculpture as a kind of releasing or liberating of a form inherent in the stone. I think poetry does, or could do, this with forms inherent in the flow of time. Gebser called poetry a ‘history of the dateless’—which I think speaks of the same idea.
However, I believe poetry still has something to do with language. Even though I resonate with this view—
…for me, a poetic experience is not the same thing as poetry as an art form. The poet still has to find (or release or liberate, or perhaps invent) the words. Otherwise the experience is just that, an experience, which anyone could have. But finding the words to somehow keep the experience alive, carry it, communicate it, takes a lot more work.
I really like that image of a membrane where the present and emerging future touch. A membrane is a slimy interface in all the best ways—translucent and opaque, barrier and passageway—quivering with life. Aurobindo often speaks of the various mental and supramental levels as kinds of veils, obscuring the total intensity of Brahman from awareness, but I wonder if we could also conceive of these forms of consciousness as different kinds of membranes—between mind and the world, self and the absolute—not only hiding one from the other, but also allowing varying degrees of transit between them.
Poetic language, as well, creates porous, spheric interfaces and magic circles. It is also organismic.
Love your reply. I don’t often say this straight out but I am a poet who writes word-poems, too, so I did not mean to leave those out, it’s just…there is something below words that gives us those “poetic” words. And yes, it is often hard work to reach down to find them, or to listen deeply and patiently enough for the precise and fluent and fragrant ones that carry experience out of inarticulate mergedness. But…it is also sometimes effortless. Literally!
Your furthering of “membrane”—living Janusonian borders?— is making me smile. A micro-collaboration… through the membrance between human minds?
Metaphors matter indeed. A friend recently suggested “Big Bounce” as a replacement for “Big Bang” to make it cyclical. But. To me, the “Big” is problematical, and so is the choice of nouns, in both cases! As someone, John or Marco, said: big is not how things began, but rather" infinitesimal . And the motion? Bang, Bounce, for me don’t carry the subtle aspects well at all, but obscure them.
Let’s keep listening for alternatives!