Giles Fraser on Non-Duality
There is a fascinating idea in the remarkable 13th-century Kabbalist text known as the Zohar. Moral evil, the author writes, is “always either something that becomes separated or isolated, or something that enters into a relation for which it is not made”.
Giles Fraser has written an engaging piece in today’s Guardian on the issue of greed (or “evil” more generally) that brings to mind what I’ve taken to calling “Khayyam’s Caution” after the Persian poet Omar Khayyam — “only a hair separates the false from the true”.
I’m particularly struck, in the extract I’ve quoted above, by the Kabbalist’s definition of evil as “always either something that becomes separated or isolated, or something that enters into a relation for which it is not made“. Interestingly, that definition comes very close to what Jean Gebser has described, too, as the state of “deficient rationality”, or what Seth also suggested in saying that ego consciousness has become separated or isolated from its roots, as examined two postings ago, “Ego consciousness must now be familiarized with its roots, or it will turn into something else.” My fear being that it will be something more akin to the Borg of Star Trek lore.
In the last post, I discussed “the loss of vital centre” as a theme in much recent literature. This is another aspect of “the vital centre” or “roots” — it is the place of non-duality, where Being is not divided against itself dichotomously as Jekyll and Hyde were divided. The roots or vital centre is place of the unity of opposites or “coincidentia oppositorum” — the co-incidence of opposites.
To the divided and disintegrate psyche, all existence appears as something divided against itself in seemingly perpetual conflict. So convinced is the mind that existence is a perpetual clash and conflict of opposites that human beings have structured their institutions and societies to reflect this — which is but their own divided and dichotomous nature reconstructed on a mass scale. It is the world constructed by a mind that has become compartmentalised, and which thinks only in dualisms.
But we are reminded by Seth, by Gebser, by William Blake, by Rumi, by Nicholas of Cusa (On Learned Ignorance), by Omar Khayyam, amongst others, that beneath and behind the appearances or “camouflage” universe, the unity of opposites prevails and Being is not divided against itself in this way.