Diaphaneity: Unfolding the Wings of Perception

“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.” — William Blake

“Purify your eyes, and see the pure world. Your life will fill with radiant forms.” — Rumi

“The mystery, or the secret, of the sorcerers’ explanation is that it deals with unfolding the wings of perception. The nagual by itself is of no use, it has to be tempered by the tonal. The sorcerers’ secret in using the nagual is in our perception.” — don Juan to Carlos Castaneda, Tales of Power.

In his book The Ever-Present Origin, Jean Gebser describes the new (integral) consciousness as being chiefly characterised by “diaphaneity” or “the transparency of the world”. The citations above are other attestations to the fundamental reality of the “diaphainon” (as Gebser names it) that is the core of the new consciousness and that which makes transparency or diaphaneity of perception possible and effective. As we have mentioned frequently in the past, in William Blake this diaphainon is named “Albion”, which is the vital centre of his “fourfold vision” and his “four Zoas” of “Albion divided fourfold”. Thus Blake’s conception of the essential human form is that it is an energetic entity structured as a Tetramorph, symbolised in the mandala. This understanding is quite common among those who have attained to insight. In other words, the physical form is only a concretisation or physicalisation or manifestation of the energetic form.

William Blake — the Fourfold Vision or the quadrilateral
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Blake: “Opposition is True Friendship”

Against “Easy Street”.

We should perhaps discuss something about Nietzsche’s philosophy which, like so much else, is often misconstrued and misunderstood, and that is what he called “the will to power” as a general operative principle active in the universe as a whole. And against the will to power he set what he called “miserable ease” or “wretched ease” — that is to say, life lived without resistances and challenges to be overcome and transcended. The will to power is the expression of life’s innate vitality, but it does form something of a paradox.

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Beyond the Res Cogitans

Huike said to Bodhidharma, “My mind is anxious. Please pacify it.”
Bodhidharma replied, “Bring me your mind, and I will pacify it.”
Huike said, “Although I’ve sought it, I cannot find it.”
“There,” Bodhidharma replied, “I have pacified it for you.”

It is often very difficult for Westerners, especially, to understand the meaning of this parable. Generations of conditioning has inculcated the belief that the res cogitans is fundamental to who and what we are — that is “the thinking thing”. “I think, therefore I am”, pronounced Descartes, and divided being into incommensurate domains of the res cogitans and the res extensa — the subject which thinks and the objective realm that it thinks about, the realm of extension, of space and motion. Cogito ergo sum — I am because I think.

This formula (called “metaphysical dualism”) has generated all sorts of problems for the modern mind, which are not really problems at all — problems of the incommensurability of mind and matter, of the dichotomisation or bifurcation of subjective and objective reality, succinctly expresed in Kipling’s “East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet”. Reality divided between mysticism and logic, the spiritual and the material, idealism of Hegel and the materialism of Marx until it has become all a muddle — what Buddhism refers to as “vexations”.

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