zero and null: unmanifest vs no such thing
Jan 26, 1994 08:36 AM
Following are some comments to your reply. Some differences are due to
approaching the problem with a different theosophical model, other
differences may be due to semantics.
Please excuse the writing style. I try to write in a way that will
allow me to cut and paste and recycle the text at some future point
with minimal rewriting...
When talking about the number *zero,* we really need to distinguish
it from *null*. This is required in mathematics, and probably in
the corresponding philosophy that we can derive from it.
With zero, we have something, an object or unit, and zero is its
attribute. The object is present in a sense, it has its place in the
scheme of things, but at the moment is unmanifest.
On the other hand, with null, we are talking about *no object*. It
is not that an object has for the moment taken itself out of
manifestation, but rather there is and never will be such an object.
Consider a person in the after-death states. When that person reaches
the point where all the principles have been dropped, and he has
entered into *non-being*, even if but for a moment, we can still say
that there is such a person. He has an attribute of zero, but he still
has a continunity of experience, even though being unmanifest.
When we describe that person's presence in the world, we would use
the number *zero.* But this is different than null. The term *null*
would refer to the absence of any person--in or out of
manifestation. With *null,* we're saying that there are no beings,
regardless of the current qualities of those beings, regardless of
those beings having coming into existence or not.
We need to make the same distinction between uses of the term *exists*
as we do between zero and null. When we say that something does not
exist, we could mean that there is such a thing, but for the moment
it is out of manifestation. Or, on the other hand, we could mean that
there is no such thing, regardless of state.
We could say that a dear friend, dead for several years, does not exist
physically. That friend, though, is an eternal Monad, and has and
always will be. Saying that the friend does not exist refers to his
current state of *non-existence*. This is different than saying that a
purple cat does not exist, because there is no such creature, except in
our imagination. (Even then, though, we've given limited birth to the
purple cat, by our very thought of it.)
Talking about an abstract mathematical concept like that of a triangle,
we would say that it does not exist, using the first sense, the sense
that it is true, valid, and eternal, that it endures in a high,
almost-unreachable unmanifest state.
This is the nature of mathematics itself. I'd agree that the laws of
mathematics have a permanence which transcend the universe itself,
and in deed, transcend any and all universes.
Mathematics is a fundamental, underlying reality that prevades all
that exists and all that can exist. It even reaches above and beyond
existence, and affects our Auric Egg, our karmic storehouse. There is
a sense of quantity, of ordering, of process subject to time that
reaches into *non-being,* affecting that part of us which grows,
evolves, and changes over time, that part of us which persists even
when we drop our seven principles and cease to exist.
Mathematics reaches above thought. It is not our thoughts of it. It
affects, orders, structures, and applies to parts of ourself far deeper
than Manas. We can have thoughts about the fundamental realities of
life. Sometimes those thoughts take on a mathematical expression, but
the thoughts aren't the fundamental realities themselves.
The value of *pi*, or the fact that 1 + 1 = 2 is independent of
culture *and of thought.* It holds true regardless of there being a
person to think about it. It prevades existence, reaching deeply into
the non-existing, deeply into non-being, and finds its home in the
Timeless, the Eternal, the Unchanging aspect of life, the principle
of consciousness that is above time, but in relation to the world.
Now can we say that mathematics is more *real* than thought, than
feeling, than the physical? Not really. We can't simply assume that
in terms of principles or planes, that "upward is better." We don't
have an endless series of planes, going 6, 7, 8, ..., 10,002, 10,003,
etc., without end. The principles of consciousness are well-defined,
and there are a certain number of them. We develop them, and upon
completion, we go on to another, higher plane, to experience their
development again, in a different manner. They are the notes on a
musical scale, and we master one musical instrument after another ...
The feeling of reality that we get in going into our higher principles,
in moving away from the lower, is artificial, a maya. For all aspects
of consciousness are real, and it is only our misperception, our
incorrect appreciation of them that leads us to experience a sense of
unreality. The nature of each principle is different, the physical
is different from the feelings or mind, but all are essential parts
of the experience of life.
One thousand, one million, one billion years from now, we'll still be
experiencing life with full consciousness, there is never a time when
we eternally leave behind some quality of the experience of life, we
never eternally give up a principle of consciousness, never to be
taken up again.
There is another sense of *reality,* one that is independent of what
plane we are on, and independent of which of our seven principles we are
active in. It can be experienced regardless of our evolutionary
standing. It is everpresent, prevasive, and unchanging.
This reality is independent of who we are, of what we would be, of
our nature, as apart from others. It makes no qualification on who or
what we are. It is unmoved, untouched by our evolutionary goals, nor
by our current evolutinary standing or existence in the world. It is
the highest consciousness that is attainable, the very deepest that we
can go into *non-being*, and is our Paramatman.
When we talk about non-being, about that part of us that persists,
when we no longer exist, we are still talking about a certain type of
consciousness, or rather certain types of consciousness. And those
qualities of consciousness are always present, even when we are
manifest, even when we take on our seven principles and exist in a
world. These highest principles of conscousness, our highest triad,
principles eight, nine, and ten, represent a certain experience of
life, and they are a part of us. We choose to be unaware of them,
but they are a part of our consciousness, and part of the very fabric
of our being!
We are rooted in Reality, and experience it, and it prevades everything.
Let us give it the attention that it deserves. It is as important a
part of our experience of life as the mind, as the feelings, as the
proper care of the body. Let us give it it's due respect in our
constitution, and enjoy what it brings to our experience of life!
Eldon Tucker (email@example.com)
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