Thursday, September 12, 2013

New Illumination

There is a marked cyclical nature to the stages of Level 1 (of Band 3).

So positive (conscious) expressions of development are followed by their more negative (unconscious) counterparts!

This implies that the negative supersensory stage (that we have been dealing with) will then be followed by a new positive stage of spiritual illumination.

And indeed this is precisely what happens!

To put it in some context we saw how the concrete level (at Band 2) - relating to specific phenomena - was followed by a formal level relating to more general universal appreciation of relationships.

It is somewhat similar here at Band 3, where the concrete stages of holistic understanding in terms of  specific sense-based phenomena, are later followed by a deeper form of holistic understanding with respect to the more generalised universal appreciation of its overall nature.

However whereas concrete and formal aspects are clearly separated at Band 2, in terms of their specialised development relating to distinct levels, relatively, there is substantial more overlap at Band 3 (Level 1).
Also, whereas the linear levels of Band 2 are explicitly characterised by the merely positive (conscious) direction of experience, with respect to the circular level (i.e. Level 1) of Band 3 we need to distinguish carefully as between both the positive (conscious) and negative (unconscious) aspects of each stage.

Also, spiritual, cognitive and affective aspects tend to have unique manifestations at the more advanced stages. 

In holistic mathematical terms, this again implies that whereas all the linear stages are defined in a 1-dimensional manner, the circular stages are now defined in 2-dimensional terms (allowing for the explicit identification of both external and internal aspects of experience in dynamic relationship with each other).

Once again St. John refers to the negative (unconscious) stage of supersensory development as “the passive night of the senses”. This entails that substantial erosion of concrete symbols (serving both an analytic and holistic purpose), enable the unconscious within, to undergo profound spiritual development.

Therefore again, like a hidden underground well, it fills up (in an unseen manner) with the pure light of spirit.

Now while the cleansing of sense phenomena takes place, one will remain in psychological darkness, as the process runs its course, a much greater degree of acceptance and inner peace will be experienced.

Then when sufficient work has ensued - unique for each individual depending on personality and motivation - again a switch will take place in a conscious external direction.

Because of the more profound nature of unconscious spiritual development preceding, this will then be associated with a new outpouring of spiritual light of a much more intense nature.

Evelyn Underhill, reflecting the traditional Christian treatment of these stages, uses the following terminology.

She refers to the initial stage of (positive) super-sensory development as “The Awakening of Self” and then its negative counterpart as the “The Purgation of Self”. Then the latest (positive) stage of supra-rational development she refers to as “The Illumination of Self”.

Basically, this stage represents the formal equivalent (of Band 3) with respect to circular holistic, just as the corresponding formal equivalent (of Band 2) represents linear analytic type understanding.  

Again, the onset of the stage can be accompanied by a peak form of spiritual illumination.

I remember vividly in my case, sitting in the college library (in March, 1969) when it seemed as if the whole physical world had momentarily melted to be united with my inner self. And in that moment, I understood clearly that the customary dualistic divisions that we make as between psychological and physical reality are ultimately without any foundation.

Likewise I realised in that same experience that my future vocation in life, as it were, would be to develop a new form of holistic science (with physical and psychological aspects seen as complementary).


Though again traditional mystical accounts concentrate largely on the direct spiritual aspects of the stage, in a new found relationship of the disciple with God, my own attention quickly changed to the enormous intellectual implications of such intuitively inspired holistic understanding.

I was studying Economics at the time and right away could see that this would lead to a new vision of the true nature of economic activity, which I quickly began to map out in my notebooks.

For example from the very beginning of my studies, I found the notion of the market mechanism to be highly reduced.

So equilibrium in the market is misleadingly portrayed in conventional terms as arising from impersonal market forces.

However in dynamic terms this is really a sham, as market forces necessarily reflect the decisions of human beings (which can have deep moral consequences).

Thus, from this more balanced dynamic perspective, equilibrium in a market always reflects the interaction of both objective (impersonal) and subjective (personal) aspects.

Therefore true equilibrium in any market requires a correct balance as between both aspects. In this way, important ethical notions such as justice and equality become an integral aspect of the understanding of market behaviour.


I had also become deeply interested in philosophy and now became hugely attracted to the holistic systematic approach, especially as outlined in Hegel.

I can well recall the happiest moments as attending the lectures of a wonderful Jesuit priest in UCD, Fr. Fergal O’Connor who devoted an entire year to the philosophy of Hegel.

So in many ways, Hegel’s philosophy in his use of the dialectic, employed the formal intellectual use of 2-dimensional understanding (based on the dynamic complementarity of opposite poles).

This coincided with a new found interest in the Eastern mystical traditions, esp. Taoism (which most explicitly resembled my own emerging approach).

However on the critical side, I found Hegel an extremely poor communicator and had really little time for his obtuse academic form of expression.

Also as time went on I became increasingly critical of his attempt to elevate philosophy over religion. So in the end I would have found Hegel’s philosophy exemplified all the signs of intellectual attachment to mere symbols, whereas rightly understood I felt that such understanding should represent but a stage that would pass on to purer type of contemplative experience (without symbols).

Also I found Kierkegaard’s criticism of Hegel’s philosophy to be well taken in that his attempt to portray objective universal tendencies with respect to the unfolding of nations, tended to downplay the unique subjective significance of each individual’s personal history.

So for me the truly important dialectic related to this problem of part and whole i.e. in successfully reconciling the universal (in impersonal collective terms) with the individual (in a personal unique fashion).

And ultimately this cannot be achieved through philosophy as such (regardless of how enlightened it may appear)!

I was also deeply interested in physics. Earlier I had already begum to appreciate that the relative nature of space and time applied to both its physical (as externally understood) and its psychological aspects (as internally experienced).

So for me the task already related to how to successfully marry both aspects (which I suspected had profound implications for Einstein’s Theory of Relativity).

However now following this experience of peak intuitive illumination, I realised that ultimately every physical notion would have to be redefined in the light of an inherent dynamic interplay as between physical and psychological aspects.

Most of all, I could see that from this new holistic perspective, the fundamental nature of Mathematics would change.

Though the degree of holistic intuition was not sufficient to see clearly enough yet into the precise nature of this change, I had already started working on a dynamic treatment of the number system (which ultimately was to be of great value in deciphering for me the true nature of the Riemann Hypothesis).


Following this initial peak experience of illumination, an intense period of intellectual activity took place over many months that was inspired by continual flashes of new insight (freely given).

Indeed this highlights a key difference as between rational understanding of an analytic and intuitive understanding of a holistic nature respectively.

The former unfolds in linear sequential fashion entailing conscious intervention of an active kind; the latter unfolds in a circular simultaneous manner through unconscious intervention of a passive kind.

Therefore true holistic understanding, which is inseparable from an integral appreciation of reality requires a substantial amount of unconscious development.

However in our culture, psychological development largely plateaus with the 2nd band, where specialisation of conscious analytic ability takes place.

Little appreciation therefore exists that beyond the 2nd band are two further bands relating to the gradual development (and specialisation) of holistic understanding and then finally several bands for the comprehensive integration of both types of specialised understanding.

I am acutely aware therefore of the difficulties of adequately communicating these insights to an audience whose views of science may well be conditioned by the belief that it is synonymous with the analytic understanding of the 2nd band.

However just like there are further bands on the electromagnetic spectrum beyond that of natural light, equally there are further bands on the psychological spectrum beyond that of natural intuition (that guides our current notions of acceptable science).

I have not spoken much about the affective aspect of this stage.

Though the main focus of my (positive) development at this time was of a cognitive intellectual nature, there was also a memorable affective aspect.

This was experienced in the form of pure moments of spiritual joy that would well up inside (without any obvious phenomenal triggers).

These were repeated for just a short period and in a manner that has never since been replicated in my experience. So once again this testifies to the unique nature of each stage!

Unfortunately in such circumstances, one is encouraged to believe that the good times have come to last. Little does one realise at the time that far greater difficulties yet lie down the road.

However even the faint memory of such moments can help to remind one in the midst of even greater darkness, that somewhere there is still light (which once was emotionally and intellectually experienced in a unique fashion by the self).

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