One must never confuse intelligence with what is merely cleverness or cunning. Most of what pretends to be measurement of intelligence (IQ scores and so on) does not, and cannot, measure intelligence. And it is a sorry society — a decadent society that is certainly headed for a fall — that comes to confuse intelligence with cleverness or cunning; or, that comes to confuse reason with mere rationalisation or ratiocination.

In effect, what William Blake calls “fourfold vision” is the same as intelligence. It is not an attribute of intelligence. It is the fullness of the intelligence. When Blake speaks of “the Intellect”, he means by that far more than what presently passes as “intellect”, which he refers to rather as “single vision & Newtons sleep”.

“The weak in courage are strong in cunning” is one of Blake’s Proverbs of Hell. One might append to that, as a corollary, that “the weak in reason are strong in cunning” as well, which is certainly characteristic of our decrepit political culture at “the end of history”. The manner in which intelligence is defined — very reductively, very narrowly — has implications for pedagogy and therefore for procreation and generation; for the production and reproduction of certain human types.

If, in the last post, I mentioned Huxley’s Brave New World as a prescient novel, it is in this context of the reduction of intelligence that it has its most significant relevance and finds its mark. In general, one can say that every dystopian novel speaks to the debasement of some aspect of the fullness of intelligence.

It has become even fashionable, of late, to speak of “emotional intelligence” as if it were a novel discovery and the revelation of some new faculty distinct and functioning apart from rationality (that is, the mental-rational structure of consciousness or the perspectival). It is only an indicator of how debased our understanding of intelligence and intellect has become that one has to “discover” what is really the intuitive as a potential new faculty.

Now I a fourfold vision see,
And a fourfold vision is given to me:
‘Tis fourfold in my supreme delight
And threefold in soft Beulah’s night
And twofold always, may God us keep
From single vision and Newtons sleep!

Why is this famous statement so profound, even to the point where those who don’t really grasp it nonetheless feel drawn to it in some way, like a mysterious map to a hidden pirate treasure. In fact, Blake did draw a map of the fourfold vision,

William Blake -- the Fourfold Vision

William Blake — the Fourfold Vision

The “fourfold vision” is a map of the fullness of the intelligence, and the fullness of the intelligence is what we call “the integral consciousness”.

There is nothing “mystical” or “occult” about Blake’s fourfold vision. That is a judgement made from the perspective of “single vision” or from within the narrow “pyramid of perception” as was discussed earlier.  The meaning of the fourfold vision is plain as day, and it is the fullness of the intelligence. That is also the subject of another one of Blake’s Proverbs of Hell

The head Sublime, the heart Pathos, the genitals Beauty, the hands & feet Proportion.

That is also a map of the fourfold intelligence — as the ethical, the aesthetical, the intuitive, and the rational in its four expressions. They are like the petals of a flower. That these are not “mystical” truths but the very “shape” of the fullness of intelligence is confirmed by what the psychologist Carl Jung referred to as the four “psychological types”, but which, as types, are biases or over-specialisations of but one or two aspects of the fullness of intelligence,

Jung's four psychological functionsThe fullness of the intelligence does not lie in any one direction, bias or accent of this cruciform structuring of the fourfold human, which forms a mandala when balanced. Intelligence is only manifested in the full relation between them — as an integrality or a holon.  Blake’s “fall of man” was the dis-integration of the primal intelligence  into four separate functions or “Zoas” — a loss of balance and equilibrium — each pulling in opposed and conflicting directions.  The fracturing and fragmentation of intelligence.

In effect, then, history is not something arbitrary or random, but the continuous conflict and struggle of the four psychic functions or “Zoas” for dominion, or the record of their revolts against their suppression or repression. It isn’t a coincidence that the four psychic functions, and the four Zoas, are four “intelligences” of the fourfold self, or that they correspond somewhat to the four “civilisational types” described by Jean Gebser in his Ever-Present Origin — the archaic, the magical, the mythical, and the mental-rational.

It is, likewise, not a coincidence that the Greeks conceived of the “four ages of man” as golden, silver, bronze, and iron; or that these corresponded to the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water (not necessarily in that order), and that earth, air, fire, and water corresponded equally to the four bodily systems involved in homeostasis — metabolic, respiratory, nervous, and circulatory systems. At various times in history, the human has associated the “soul” or “spirit” with one or another of these elements or biological systems, and depending upon which system was believed to be the “seat of the soul” you got, correspondingly, vitalism (blood), animism (joints), spiritualism (breath, as spiritus or pneuma) or mentalism (mind or nous).

Correspondingly, the four principal styles of grammatical speech as dramatics, lyrics, epics, or analytics (and thus as politics, art, religion, and science/philosophy). Grammatical, articulating speech, therefore, is also a mandala and that’s what distinguishes it from the grunts, mewling, chirping, howling and bellowing of the animals. Speech forms a mandala. Articulation is integration.

Now, this is the symbolism of “Christ on the Cross”. The crucifix isn’t really a religious symbol, per se. The cross is a universal symbol, and it is the human form. “Christ on the Cross” (and the four evangelists — Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John) is the symbol of man stretched out on the cross of time and space (time as past and future, space as inner and outer), but also as suffering a conflict between thinking, feeling, sensate, and intuitive aspects of his being. This is what the crucifix represents. “Christ” himself is the perfected intelligence, which is the quintessence or “fifth” as the binding consciousness. In other crucial or cruciform symbols (mandalas) the four arms of the cross or the four evangelists are represented as “Guardians of the Four Directions” or as the cardinal points of reality — North, South, East, and West, which are not geographical points of reference but “spiritual” ones, such as you find in the Sioux Sacred Hoop below,

Sacred Hoop Symbol

Sacred Hoop Symbol

This, too, is the image of the human form as fourfold being, as mandala (and you will note how it resembles the nimbus around the head of Christ or the saints). And the Sioux have a wonderful, very profound and illuminating saying in connection with the Sacred Hoop, when a man or woman “speaks from the centre of the voice”. That’s a peculiar saying, but perfect for an orally-attuned intelligence in which the spoken word is dominant. To “speak from the centre of the voice” is to speak from the very centre or core of the Sacred Hoop for, as they say, “the Sacred Hoop is in language”. To speak from the centre of the voice is to articulate, and to articulate is to draw into the sacred hoop the powers of North, South, East, and West so that they are present, Here and Now. Then the Hoop is perfected or complete. This “voice” is, of course, the very thing that was called “Logos” and came to be associated with Christ as “the Word”.  The Logos is the root or, if you prefer, the “vital centre”. And the rays of the cross are not just the axes of space and time — the cosmos — but the perfected, articulated, integrated intelligence, and this integral intelligence is what Blake calls “Albion” who is the quintessence or “fifth” when the four Zoas come to remembrance of themselves and their original unity.

“Re-membrance” or re-collection is a re-integration from a state of dis-memberment. “The Resurrection” is a re-membrance after a condition of dis-memberment. That is what it means. And that is also what it means “to speak from the centre of the voice”.

Dis-memberment is the condition we are in now. Dis-memberment is dis-integration, and dis-integration is loss of integrity or loss of “the whole”. This condition pertains to the situation of the intelligence — that it is unfulfilled, and in a state that Blake has described as “single vision”.

For Blake, true intelligence is not the mind. It is thinking, feeling, intuition, and sensation acting in concert. And what is presently called “intelligence” or “intellect” he rejects as stupor and as only “the mind-forg’d manacles” of single vision.

Perhaps this short discourse on intelligence and the fourfold vision might help you to understand why he feels that way.



15 responses to “Intelligence”

  1. zeewater says :

    Dear Scott,
    I’d like to let you know how much I appreciate your blogs. Always full of skillful observation, wisdom and wit. Like the longsworde Excalibur shining in the light of the early morning. Pity you only have 60 followers. I sometimes send mails with links to your blogs. Just one thing: Gebser says that the integral consciousness is not accessible through clairvoyant view. But Blake clearly was a visionary. So he was able to ‘see’ (perhaps in the way of the writer of the Apocalypse) what potential lies ahead. Somehow this seems like a ‘Dynamax’ view of things… So there may be a platform inside us from which we can jump into the integral dimension, if such a thing exists at all. Care to put you sword into this? Jan

    • Scott Preston says :

      So there may be a platform inside us from which we can jump into the integral dimension, if such a thing exists at all.

      Thanks for the comment. As you seem to be familiar with your Gebser, you’ll recognise his own “jump” or “leap” as the meaning of the original German title of Ever-Present OriginUrsprung und Gegenwart. “Der Sprung” is “origin” as “leap”, “jump”, “spring” or “surge” (or “irruption” as Gebser also puts it). It is something that happens suddenly and is modeled upon his own experience as a child when he forced his way through his fear and “lept” off the springboard of a swimming pool. Enlightenment comes in the oddest of ways — “like a thief in the night”, as is said. Harold Waldwin Percival had his merely stepping off a curb on 5th Ave in New York. And of course, there is Castaneda and his famous “leap into the abyss”. His teacher, don Juan, described it as “a somersault into the unknown”. Others, nonetheless, have experienced it in other ways But for Gebser, it was always associated with a “leap”, and he saw in the quantum “leap” the corresponding pattern of his own transformative “leap of faith”. So this sense of “leap” becomes for him an index into the general transformation of consciousness and civilisation (and, of course, the anxiety that often attends the preparation for this leap. Gebser wrote quite a bit on the meaning of this anxiety or modern Angst). So, if there is a “platform” per say, it is this Angst itself. In a very real sense, the “platform” is the sense of there being no platform at all, no “ground of being” to cling to.

      You know the old Kristofferson song “Me and Bobby McGee” with its line “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose”. That line really offends some people because it runs smack dab against our society’s bourgeois values in the culture of acquisitive individualism and the supremacy of private property. It’s sense of propriety is rooted in property — (in “having” rather than “being”). But “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose” is quite profound in meaning. It’s what Jesus and Buddha taught, after all. It’s what Rumi speaks of as “emptiness”. So this “nothing left to lose” is the “platform” — the sense of being nothing or having nothing. Only an empty cup can be filled. Only, that “emptiness” is also the cause of deep anxiety. But, as you apparently know from Gebser, “anxiety” is something Gebser understands as a birthing process, so our proper response to this sense of anxiety or Angst is quite crucial, because it is also the root of the reactionary, and the reactionary response is the inadequate or undesirable response, being what Gebser would call “deficient” response. This is one reason he rejects Rene Guenon’s exaggerated “traditionalism” while accepting his critique of modernity as valid. Gebser, too, was counter-reactionary in his views, and, of course, he was hunted by the fascists.

      Let’s explore this a little further, because it is most important, most vital, for our individual and social life.

      The “platform” is really our response to the great challenge — the great question or test — that our existence places before us. That great question or test is what people today refer to as “existential threat” which, of course, arouses anxiety or Angst. Rosenstock-Huessy likens this situation to the question God puts to Man in the Bible: “Who art thou, Man, that I should care for thee?” The question forces a crisis or crucial situation, a crossroads, and such places are places of great anxiety. The question forces the human to self-consciousness, this fumbling towards self-consciousness brings anxiety, and this anxiety demands a response. All this is involved in the sense of “existential threat”. It is our responses that come to define us, and that arise as justifications or rationalisations.

      Anxiety and crisis are thus both closely related conditions, and our responses may be reactionary or revolutionary. Gebser’s terms for this response are “deficient” or “efficient”. Rosenstock-Huessy (or E.F. Schumacher) uses the terms “adequate” or “inadequate”. Buddhism uses the terms “skillful” or “unskillful”, and so on. In this situation, too, one recognises also what Castaneda’s don Juan calls our “first enemy of the man of knowledge” — fear, or anxiety. This is the rule of life. Most people do not make it past the first enemy. Those who persevere (as Gebser did on his springboard) we say “rise to the occasion”. So, it’s a question of our responses whether we are responsible or irresponsible.

      So, the reactionary or the revolutionary moods are in the nature of responses to the same sense of Angst, and these responses may be defective or effective. One can accept reactionary critique as valid while completely rejecting reactionary response, you see. People very often confuse these two things, but they are distinct. One can accept Marx’s critique of capital without necessarily accepting Marxist response, and so on. But this distinction between crisis and response or critique and responsibility is what distinguishes Gebser and Rosenstock-Huessy as “counter-reactionary”.

      Ancient myths are full of stories of the past trying to prevent the future from being born, or of old growth suffocating new growth. These myths are just prefigurations of what we call, today, “reactionary” and “revolutionary”. Death and birth are both fearsome things, but any crisis is the conjunction of them both. What tips the scale in favour of one process or another is our response to the anxiety which this crossroads/crisis inevitably brings.

      Perhaps that answers one part of the issue.

      Just one thing: Gebser says that the integral consciousness is not accessible through clairvoyant view. But Blake clearly was a visionary.

      Both men possessed what Blake would call “the spirit of prophecy”, but in terms of the integral consciousness itself, it is opaque to itself. All consciousness is opaque to itself, and can know itself only through its effects or creations in the “mirror of the world”, as it were. “Darkness is His pavilion” is a line I once read in a poem, and it is quite true. “Darkness is your candle” as Rumi put it. Marshall McLuhan (who was, reputedly, influenced by Gebser) insisted that new consciousness environments were always invisible as the old consciousness structure or mental environment became more visible in its artifacts. Awareness can never become an object for itself. That would involve an infinite regress. What Gebser calls “the ever-present origin” cannot become an object for consciousness, for it is the source of consciousness itself. This is what Buddhists call “the unoriginated, the unconditioned”, and it is not knowable in the objective sense. “Integral consciousness” is thus a bit of a misnomer. It should really be called “integrating consciousness” to emphasise that it is known through its acts or intents, through its projections which become its “objects”.

  2. says :

    THANK you for this extensive answer and, well, teaching! Your elaboration on angst reminds me of the way Rudolf Steiner expresses inner growth or enlightenment. He says that any soul on its path to awakening will meet 2 guardians: one is Fear, who will stop him/her from proceeding if one isn’t ready to face it, the other is the Christ, who will ask if you are ready to be initiated. I remember from reading Castaneda 35 years ago that I was deeply moved by the solemn openness of Don Juan, and I remember some of the visions, some of which were indeed very frightening (the ‘man’ with the lace for instance).
    The funny thing with clear-anything is that occasionally something like ‘revelation’ can take place (although place is not the correct word). Insight can be achieved that transcends one’s own scope, and suddenly a new dimension opens up. It may close again later when the brain cannot grasp the profoundness of the experience, but for a moment the vision is there, the knowledge, the glimpse of consciousness. These may lead the way to further ‘research’ if possible, but will always leave traces of wisdom that trickles down through openings from which the scent of that new dimension will keep reminding you of what was experienced.
    I have been trying to really grasp Gebser’s view on consciousness and read Ursprung und Gegenwart. (I am Dutch, and read German). I was touched by his language analysis and his endless search of clues for the phases of consciousness he found. When I came to the stage where he described the Integral consciousness I had the feeling he had stranded on a beach after a miraculous escape and couldn’t express what was on the tip of his tongue. Ever since I probe the skies with my inner antennae to find the right constellation of fact, vision, circumstance and language to suddenly find this Integral. Integrating, as you say is helpful because it makes the whole scene more alive, active, awake. I was disappointed with Wilber’s’ views on the Integral bacause who was -so to speak- flattening the Image through his very rational analysis. It must be other than that. I became more and more fascinated with the works of Bucky Fuller, and he really had a hunch. Closer comes John Cage, the composer, who knew Fuller well, as he organized ‘chance’ to create the possibility for the Original to emerge within Art. I have the feeling you are sort of haunting the Integral too in your fascination of the works of Blake, or perhaps Rilke. In Dutch there is this poet, Bert Schierbeek, who deconstructed language (this was in 1950-52) to such an extend that he touched upon the Integral: he bombarded the reader with so much structural meaning, haphazardly and quite cubistically glued together that within the frightful chaos emerging from that a silence arises, a silence that in a way whispers promise and the unbearable presence of something quite fresh and raw… perhaps Origin?

    • Scott Preston says :

      I didn’t know that about Steiner. But then, it has been some time since I’ve attempted to read anything by him. I have to admit, I often struggle with Steiner’s presentation.

      …but will always leave traces of wisdom that trickles down through openings from which the scent of that new dimension will keep reminding you of what was experienced.

      Ah, you must be a Sufi… even without knowing it, perhaps. You and our resident Sufi Abdulmonem both rely on scent as their organ of knowing.

      …where he [Gebser] described the Integral consciousness I had the feeling he had stranded on a beach after a miraculous escape and couldn’t express what was on the tip of his tongue.

      Quite likely. There are certain things in Gebser that I find dubious, particularly the second part of Ursprung und Gegenwart dealing with manifestations of the aperspectival. If it weren’t for Blake’s and Rosenstock-Huessy’s own verifications (in their own way), I probably wouldn’t credit Gebser’s second part. It’s the weakest part of his thesis.

      And, yes, nobody I know who knows Gebser credits Wilber’s take on him. I don’t bother with Wilber.

      I just looked up Schierbeek, but don’t see anything published in translation. Sounded interesting, though. My neighbour here is Dutch, so I’ll ask her about him, as she’s quite educated, but moving to Germany shortly to take up a position there.

      “Integrating consciousness” is perhaps preferable to “integral consciousness”. As integrating consciousness, it would concord, as it were, with Rosenstock-Huessy’s programme for social science — “synchronisation of antagonistic distemporaries”, which highlights (like Gebser) the issue of time, times, and timing. In that sense, integrating consciousness is peace-making consciousness. Rosenstock-Huessy’s project for a “universal history” suitable for the global era was his attempt at applied integral consciousness, one might say. And it’s pretty much what I try to carry on in The Chrysalis.

      • Scott Preston says :

        By the way, and this might interest you and other readers of this blog, a man named Richard Moss once wrote a book called The Mandala of Being, and I thought it was quite good. There were echoes there for Gebser integral consciousness and Rosenstock-Huessy’s “cross of reality”.

        He has a video on the net which briefly discusses the concept in the book, and it can be viewed at

        Now, here’s the rub with that. While Moss has seemingly recognised the mandala like nature of the human and what we call “reality”, he focusses rather on the centre as “the Now” or the Present as being the only real — past and future, inner and outer are simply “stories” we tell ourselves.

        That’s not quite the same thing as what Gebser or Rosenstock-Huessy is teaching. They wouldn’t disagree with Moss on the reality of the present (in fact, Moss calls it “origin”), but by “integration” (Gebser) or “synchronisation and coordination” (Rosenstock) the idea of “presence” is to bring all past and future, all inner and outer into Presence rather than leave them outside Presence. That’s the key to the meaning of Gebser’s “integral”, otherwise, Moss is quite in tune with Gebser — Now is Origin.

  3. abdulmonem says :

    These are two of the best comments I read on Chrysalis, in the way of walk not of talk. I am also fascinated by your responses on the different queries. I thank you for the mention. I fully agree that when there is a sincere human preparation. there is always a divine opening. A principle well enacted itself through out history. Mohammad after his cave preparation, received the divine opening in the form of a call to read. The basic divine message that denoted and connoted the human path toward the disclosure of the truth, the origin of everything. No wonder to see this obsession with reading and pondering is so rampant in our time in order to respond to our insatiable yearning for knowing the truth after the divine call for humanity to read. The divine call to read that was transferred by the Jewish from Spain to the west deprived of its divine origin, thus derailing and perverting the path of the so-called western civilization, that where built as it is well-known on exploitation, robbery, killing, oppression and injustice. A tree that exudes its rotten smell in our own present time in the form of the existential threat you have mentioned. Please do not misunderstand me, this diagnosis is not mine but of those of the west who come to realize the atrocities. A civilization that becomes devoid of empathy and love. The platform is to prepare yourself honestly and the delivery will come. It is an internal journey. the Sheikh who was contacted by Al-Bastami in his search for god, was told that he had left him at Bastam, meaning that the search is in the inside where ever you are. God is the freedom, the human catch and when he catch it nothing is there to lose. The human is a cup to be filled by the divine. Crises provide us with the energy to leap, to activate our internal antennae to find the vision and language that help us to understand the whole, the truth that encompasses the beginning and the end, the hidden and the revealed. Self-initiation is a must and he who does not activate his inner teacher, all external teachers of the world will not help.

    • Scott Preston says :

      A civilization that becomes devoid of empathy and love.

      There, I think, you’ve hit the nail on the head, Abdulmonem. That is precisely the issue of the problem of narcissism. The reason why the great teachers taught love, empathy, compassion is that it is the corrective to narcissism. It is self-overcoming. And if you read the piece on babies and the selfish which I linked to in the next post (on hybris), you will see the problem our institutional structures have created for us. “Love”, “compassion”, “empathy” are just three ways of saying the same thing.

      There is a great deal more talk today about just this issue of “empathy” and “the culture of narcissism”. Rifkin writes of “the Empathic Civilisation”. Gary Olson (who is a sometime visitor to The Chyrsalis) writes of “Empathy Imperiled”, and so on. And as that research article on babies intriguingly shows, we are not born narcissistic beings. We are born empathetic beings, but are perverted and distorted by our upbringing. “Education”, such as it is, is often our ruin, as Rosenstock also expressed it.

      It isn’t a total disaster… yet, anyway. It could be worse, and maybe it will get worse still before it gets better. But, manifestations of the empathetic — those are probably the hints towards the emergent integral. Gebser writes seriously about “telepathy”, but empathy is really what underlies this notion of telepathy. Telepathy is not possible without empathy as its foundation.

      Issues like “The Closing of the American Mind” (Bloom) or Blake’s human who has locked himself up in the cave of his skull behind the wall of the physical senses — these are issues of the problem or narcissism and its corrective in empathy. When we speak of the need for an “open society” or “radical openness” to others, to the future, to the world, etc — what this “openness” alludes to is empathy. In fact, what people call “cosmic consciousness” should really be called “empathetic consciousness”. Rumi’s poem “Say I am You” is the perfect expression of empathetic consciousness (which we may also call “integral” or integrating equally)

      I am dust particles in sunlight.
      I am the round sun.

      To the bits of dust I say, Stay.
      To the sun, Keep moving.

      I am morning mist,
      and the breathing of evening.
      I am wind in the top of a grove,
      and surf on the cliff.

      Mast, rudder, helmsman, and keel,
      I am also the coral reef they founder on.

      I am a tree with a trained parrot in its branches.
      Silence, thought, and voice.

      The musical air coming through a flute,
      a spark of stone, a flickering in metal.
      Both candle and the moth crazy around it.
      Rose, and the nightingale lost in the fragrance.

      I am all orders of being, the circling galaxy,
      the evolutionary intelligence, the lift, and the falling away.

      What is, and what isn’t.

      You who know, Jelaluddin,
      You the one in all, say who I am.
      Say I am you.

      That is perfected empathetic consciousness. To dismiss it all as “mystical” or “occult” is just the withdrawl and retreat from empathy into the enclosure of the Selfhood — which is Plato’s Cave and Blake’s cavern.

      The “open society” cannot exist without empathy.

      So, one could say that the “double-movement” Gebser finds in our time is simultaneously a dynamic towards enclosure (narcissism, reaction, nativism, etc) along with a dynamic towards disclosure (the empathetic, the radically open, the apocalyptical or “transparency”). This is, I believe, the tension that currently grips much of the Modern world — on the one hand, a further retreat from empathy into the Selfhood being countered by an expansion of the empathetic. Gebser’s retreat into the Selfhood and away from the empathetic or integral he calls “perspectivism” of the point of view consciousness, while the “aperspectival” consciousness is really, at root, the empathetic consciousness — that is, our ability to identify with each other, our ability to identify with the life process as a whole, and ultimately, to know ourselves as the cosmos itself.

      Empathy is the key that opens the doors to the Kingdom of Heaven. When it is said “God is love” it means empathy.

      Self-initiation is a must and he who does not activate his inner teacher, all external teachers of the world will not help.

      Yes indeed. We do not seek teachers to teach us. We seek teachers to help us confirm what we already know. We seek teachers to give our knowing a shape.

      • Scott Preston says :

        You who know, Jelaluddin,
        You the one in all, say who I am.
        Say I am you.

        Let’s hover over this verse from Rumi’s poem for a moment. It is actually quite rich.

        “You the one in all” is, of course, referring to God. “You the one in all” is the same as Seth’s “All That Is”. Rumi also knows himself as this “one in all”. It is precisely because he knows himself as this “one in all” that he knows himself equally as all these other beings.

        So, this poem is about what people call “cosmic consciousness”. Rumi knows his true self as identical with God, and also as identical with the cosmos in all its parts and manifestations, as did al-Halaj when he declared “I am Truth!”. This is what we would call perfect empathy, and this is the real meaning of compassion. Compassion is not pity, nor is empathy pity. Pity is an obstacle, rather. Or we could say, pity is an imperfect or deficient realisation of empathy.

        Blake was also equally aware of this fundamental identity of all things — the one in the many. That is his “vision” of the universe in a grain of sand of “eternity in the hour” or “Heaven in a Wild Flower” — of the presence of the eternal and infinite in all beings. This presence of the eternal and the infinite in all beings is, of course, the same as Gebser’s “ever-present origin”.

  4. jan goorissen says :

    Hi Scott,
    Did some research on translations for Bert Schierbeek. Follow the link: Cross Roads (European Writing in Translation : the Netherlands, No 1) (1st American Ed Edition)
    by Bert Schierbeek, Charles Mcgeehan
    Paperback, 181 Pages, Published 1988

    ISBN-10: 0-942668-11-1 / 0942668111
    ISBN-13: 978-0-942668-11-7 / 9780942668117

    He also wrote an essay on Willem de Kooning.

    • Scott Preston says :

      Boy, you’ve got a lot of different ip addresses that need to pass the wordpress censor for some reason.

      Thanks for the reference. I haven’t had a chance yet to ask my Dutch neighbour about Schierbeek, but I’ll be seeing her tomorrow and will inquire then.

  5. LittleBigMan says :

    It seems to me every human quality has a corrupt or deficient side, and cunning appears to be the corruption of genuine intelligence.

    An insightful and enlightening essay coupled with further enlightening and insightful comments. Thank you for creating this wonderful forum.

    • Scott Preston says :

      You can say that every “quality” also has a quantitative aspect. This quantitative (physical) aspect is the shadow of the qualitative. That is in keeping with the wisdom tradition (including Blake) that the physical world is a shadow of the “real” — a metaphor for the real. This is implied in the “veil of Maya” or the idea of the physical universe as a “mirror”. The reflecting pool that Narcissus stared into was the universe itself. Narcissus is Adam. Echo is Eve.

      In some ways, this notion that the physical world is a mirror or shadow (Blake calls Maya, “Ulro”) of the true is the gist of Platonism or neo-Platonism, following Plato’s parable of the Cave. Something about Plato’s parable of the cave resonates with people, even though they might not have a clear understanding why it resonates. In any event, the distinction between “ordinary” or “everyday” reality and that perceived by “heightened awareness” (Gebser calls this “intensified” awareness) is “the same but different”.

      Some years ago, in TDAB, I drew up an inventory of contemporary values as a kind of experiment in Nietzsche’s “transvaluation of values”. In one column I had a list of current values in their quantitiative aspect. In another column, the same values, but represented in their qualitative aspect. Or you might call this a comparison of the physical/material and the spiritual aspect. The result was pretty remarkable.

      For one thing, this comparison of values demonstrates pretty clearly that what we call “ordinary reality” is a construction of the physical senses. But what we call “extraordinary reality” is the same reality but perceived with inner senses or non-phyiscal senses. (or as Blake puts it, seen through the eye, not with the eye). Blake calls this ensemble of inner senses “Imagination”. The “veil of Maya” (Ulro) is the construction of the physical senses, and this is called “Kali Yuga”.

      This is also what Gebser calls “the transparency of the world” — the world perceived with the inner senses, in which the qualitative aspect of the same value is perceived directly and immediately.

      • LittleBigMan says :

        “This quantitative (physical) aspect is the shadow of the qualitative.”

        That’s very concise, clear, and enlightening. Thank you.

        I would love to see the inventory of contemporary values you created back in TDAB, and the comparison between the physical and their spiritual aspects. Of course, I will wait until you find the right occasion for it.

        I also remember a metaphor you used in the context of explaining the path to the integral consciousness as one that casts light on the shadows, which would naturally destroy or eliminate the shadows.

        To identify “quantitative aspect” as a necessary part of the shadow is very revealing and meaningful to me. I am finally beginning to get my head around the “shadow” entity. And there are just too many supporting examples of it – going as far back as I can remember – based on the behavior of the individuals I knew who were drawn to this dark or shadow side of reality. It is a pole of reality I hope I would never be drawn to. Thank you.

  6. Sedicious (@sedicious) says :

    I just happened across something this morning that I thought you might find interesting, if you haven’t seen it before:

    It’s a chapter of a PhD thesis describing the Sumerian foundations of the Genesis myth in terms of a four-fold symmetry.

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