The Monistic Theory

by Nhân Tử Nguyễn Văn Thọ

TOC | Preface | Chapters: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10 11 12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19

Chapter 1

The Monistic Theory


The Oriental Monistic Theory, with its counterpart, the Western Emanation Theory, can be considered as a perennial philosophy. It is truly the connecting link between religions and philosophies of East and West, serving as foundation to Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism as well as to many Western occult societies and esoteric schools such as Kabbalah, Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, Alchemy and Theosophy. It can be found complete or incomplete in the writings of past and present mystics of all religions. Narrated in diverse mythologies, it was conveyed in symbols and monuments of past civilizations, suggested in numerology, veiled under allegories and metaphors of diverse literatures.

Though discovered independently, by different peoples living in different geographical, historical, cultural and linguistic contexts, it presents itself majestically identical and unchanged through time and space, as the main tradition of humanity, and as the universal, perennial and unadulterated truth, void of biases and distortions.

An earnest study of this theory will enlighten us about theogony, cosmogony, man's nature and destiny, and the meaning of the universe and human life.

The main features of the Monistic Theory can be presented as follows:

This world is not created "ex nihilo", but emanates from one Principle, from one Essence. In other words, this word proceeds from One Principle, by emanation and by division. This Principle has two aspects:

1. The non-manifest aspect: (The "before the world appearance aspect"), or "Xian tian" (Tiên Thiên), according to Oriental philosophers).

The Principle was then indifferentiated, homogenous, ineffable, infinite. It was then designated under various names: Wu-Ji (Vô Cực), Sunyata, Bhutatathata, the Universal Substance, Parabraham, En-Sof (AinSoph), Nothing, the Void, the Primordial Chaos - not in the sense of disorder, but in the sense of the Cosmic Energy not yet manifested in the myriad of beings.

2. The manifest aspect: (The "after the world appearance aspect") or "Hou tian" (Hậu Thiên), according to Oriental philosophers.)

From this Principle, made manifest, proceeded everything by successive emanations, and division.

After this 'so-called' creation, the Principle, the One, was veiled by the multiplicity of phenomena; but It was and is always pervasive, omnipresent.

It is then designated under various names: It was called Substance, or Natura Naturans by Spinoza, 'Élan Vital' by Bergson, Logos by Heraclitus, Nous by Plotinus, Apeiron by Anaximander, Tai-Ji (Thái Cực) by theYi-Ching (Dịch Kinh), Tagatha or Butatathata (Zhen Ru, Chân Như) by Buddhists, The Tao by Taoists, the Over Soul, the Cosmic Mind, the World Stuff, the Neutral Stuff, the Self, the Ultimate Reality, the True Self, the Supra-Essence, the All- Pervasive, the Mysterium tremendum and fascinosum, the Summum Bonum, the Coincidentia Oppositorum, the Godhead by Western philosophers and mystics, God, Brahman, Atman, Osiris, Ammon-Ra, Ahura-Mazda, Jehovah, Zeus, Jupiter,Allah, etc. As Pitirim A. Sorokin pointed out, these names and the visible symbols of the mainly invisible Ultimate Reality or of the Supreme Value are but a mere"finger pointing at it", in no way identical with it. Nor can any of these names or symbols claim monopolistic privilege of being the true name or symbol of the true Reality-Value. They are not God's own names but our human terms superimposed upon the Ultimate Reality, each term coined in accordance with the linguistic, social, cultural and personal properties of a respective social group or person. [1]

Two aspects of the world

The monistic theory sustains that the world is a whole which has two aspects:

The Eternal aspect (Sub specie aeternitatis). This aspect shows the One, the Essence, the Unchanginess, the Eternal, the Immortal.

The Temporal aspect (Sub specie temporis). This aspect shows the Multiple, the Differentiated, the Phenomenal, the Ever-changing, the Temporal, the Transient and the Mortal.

As the One is above all the opposites, all the polar diversities, it is the Absolute, the Imperishable, the Immortal, the Eternal.

As for the myriad external forms of this One, they are only transitory modes of this Principle, subject to the rhythmical law of appearance and disappearance, of birth and death. Oriental philosophers assert that everything that has names, forms, colors is transitory and perishable.

The following diagram best illustrates these two aspects, or realms, or kingdoms:

The Temporal Realm and The Eternal Realm

The Inner Circle or Circle #1 stands for The One, the Ineffable, the Eternal, the Immortal (The Kingdom of God; God; Logos; the Apeiron, the Essence of the World, etc.)

The Outer or the Circle #2 represents the Multiple, the Mortal and the Phenomenal Realm.

If one can reach the Circle #1, one is then saved, or attain one's Atonement (At-one-ment), or Nirvana.

The Circle #2 is limited on one side by the Spirit, and on the other side by the Matter. There is a double movement in this circle. If we go out, it is called Extroversion, or Fall, or materialization; the result of it is Death. If we go in, it is called Conversion, Introversion, Ascent, Spiritualisation, Regeneration or Resurrection. The result of it is Life, or Immortal life.

The first kingdom, being the kernel of everything, is unchangeable, but moves and steers everything in the phenomenal realm.

The second kingdom is the kingdom of the phenomenal world, conditioned by space and time, characterized by incessant changes, by a perpetual flux and reflux, by Evolution (egress from the Principle) and by Involution (Regress to the Principle). The Evolution or the Extroversion process departs from Spirit to Matter, while the Involution or Introversion process begins from Matter to end in Spirit and in the Principle. In other words, we can trace the movement of Spirit, from Being to Matter and from Matter to Being. The former is called Incarnation, Fall, Humanization, Materialization, while the latter can be termed as ascent, spiritualisation, divinization. In between the two opposite movements are located death and resurrection or regeneration.

To use the words of the Revelation, we can say that this world changes from Alpha to Omega by cyclical transformations. Thus all the phenomenal changes are intended to realize Perfection. This inevitable movement of the world toward Perfection is termed by some philosophers, such as Samuel Alexander, as the process-God or Deity. Actually, God does not possess the quality of Deity but is the universe as tending to that quality. Only in this sense of attaining towards Deity can there be an infinite actual God. Mystics and seers of all religions conceive nature under a double aspect: God, Substance, Natura naturans - Nature begetting -, Essence, Noumenon, on one hand, and Natura naturata - Nature begotten - the materials and contents of nature, phenomena, incidents, myriad external forms, on the other hand.

The division of the universe into essence and incidents, essence and phenomena helps us to confirm that the active and vital process, that the Essence is God, while the passive product of this process, the whole external world, is only transient manifestations of God.

Substance and modes; the eternal order and the temporal order; active nature and passive nature; God and the world; all these are coincident and synonymous dichotomies. The Noumenon is one, while the phenomena are multiple.

Immanence of God

This dichotomy of God as Essence and the world as manifestations help us conceive God rather as Being, but not as a Being; impersonal rather than personal; immanent rather than transcendent. It is worthy to note that, according to the main tradition of Christian thought, God is also immanent. Augustine held that the light of God's presence in the human mind enables it to recognize eternal truth. Aquinas, while rejecting the Augustine theory of illumination, affirmed God's omnipresence unambiguously, "God is in all things, not, indeed, as part of their essence, or as a quality, but in a manner that an efficient cause is present to that on which it acts. Hence, God is in all things, and intimately" (Summa Theologiae I.a, 8,1). Similarly, the mystics affirm that the transcendent God is present (even when unrecognized) at the "ground" or "apex" of the soul [2].

Saint John of the Cross sustains that God is present is substance in all soul, be they the greatest sinners [3].

Spinoza identified God's substance either partly or wholly with the world. A modern theologian, Paul Tillich, while speaking of God "existentially" as the transcendent Object of our "Ultimate Concern", also held that we could not know God without "participating" in him [4].

Seers and mystics of all time, realizing that God is pervasive, and omnipresent, stress upon universal love, universal respect, universal cooperation. Their vision of God's immanence in man and things is now shared and corroborated by the Liberal Protestant's viewpoint. The later proclaim that there is no radical discontinuity, but rather basic continuity or even unity of God with the world; the nature and daily life, as such, are full of miracles; that man is dignified, good, sacred, and infinitely valuable. John Dillinberger and Claude Welch wrote in Protestant Christianity: "One major tenet of the liberal view of God, perhaps the most important, has already been suggested: the immanence of God. The Romantics stress on the inner divine spirit; Schleiermacher's conception of the identity of the working of God with the laws of nature; Hegel's philosophy of history and nature as the manifestation of the life of the universal Spirit; the theory of evolution - all these served to focus attention on the presence and working of God within the world rather than upon it. This was not a novel idea; early Christian thought had strongly emphasized the universal presence of the divine Word in the world process, and the doctrine of God's omnipresence had been consistently affirmed by Christian interpreters. But the older conception had almost uniformly taken for granted a radical distinction between the infinite, perfect and immutable God and the finite and corruptible world. This distinction was now being severely modified. The new interpretations began not with radical discontinuity, but with the assumption of a basic continuity, or even unity, of God with the world. Liberalism was more conscious of the nearness and "availability" of God than of the transcendence and holiness of God. This did not mean that God and the world are identical, but it did mean that God is somehow, in varying degree, present everywhere in creation, as well as active upon it. "The meaning of the doctrine of immanence can be seen most clearly in the understanding of the way in which God works in the world. God is not one who existing wholly apart from the world, acts only occasionally or interrupts the natural order in effecting his will. His providence is the guidance of the whole process by his presence within all the processes of nature. "If God appears periodically, he disappears periodically. If he comes upon the scene at special crises, he is absent from the scene in the intervals. Whether is all-God or occasional God the nobler theory? Positively, the idea of an immanent God, which is the God of evolution, is infinitely grander than the occasional worker who is the God of an old theology". The notion of a God who must break into the world process in order to act is not only discredited by science, but it is a less worthy conception than one which sees the whole natural order as the working of God. [5]

It is worthy to note that since the adoption of evolutionary categories in religious thinking, there was an increased emphasis on the "immanence" of God, that is, on the working of God within natural processes rather than by miraculous interruptions of the natural order. As one writer put it in a very influential book, LUX MUNDI, published in England, in 1889:

"The one absolutely impossible conception of God in the present day is that which represents him as an occasional visitor. Science had pushed the Deists' God farther and farther away, and at the moment when it seemed as if he would be thrust out altogether, Darwinism appeared and, under the guise of a foe, did the work of a friend. It has conferred upon philosophy and religion an inestimable benefit by showing us that we must choose between two alternatives: Either God is everywhere present in nature, or he is nowhere. He cannot be here and not there. It seems as if in the providence of God, the mission of modern science was to bring home to our un-metaphysical ways of thinking the great truth of the divine immanence in creation, which is no less essential to the Christian idea of God than to a philosophical view of nature. "[6]

For Plotinus, and his disciples as well as for the adepts of the Kabbalah, God is the immanent cause and the essential origin of all that constitute beings and things. All are in Him, all emanate from him and return to Him. He is everywhere and nowhere. He is everywhere, because all beings are in Him and by Him. He is nowhere, because He is not contained in any particular being, not in the sum of beings. He exists in fact above being that implies only one of his manifestations. He is above intelligence which though emanating from Him, cannot catch Him. Though people call Him the One or the First, it would be more adequate to give him no name, because there is none that can express his essence. He is the Ineffable and the Unknown. [7]

Impersonality of God

We see that mystics and philosophers never identify God with the world, but clearly specify that God is the essence of the world, while the later is His manifestations. The monists and emanationists sustain that God being infinite, cannot be limited to a Person; being all-pervasive, cannot be enthroned in some Paradise; being perfect, cannot be separated from all other things. If we can find something different from God, He will be then imperfect, because He will lack "this something" different from Him.

In fact, for many monists, the sole reality is the impersonal Absolute. Personal concepts of the Absolute belong to the sphere of illusion (Maya). They are forms under which the One appears to tutored minds. A personal God is but an aspect, an appearance of the Absolute. Cicero told us that "the gods are not everlasting but are born and perish at long intervals of time, and that they are worlds, countless in numbers". [8]

Divine Nature of Man

The emanation theory sustains that as God is the inner being of everything, He must be the Kernel of everything, and especially of every human being.

Every human being has then a divine nature, and is "consubstantial" with God, even though he ignores it. The main function of every religion is to show man his ultimate and sublime identity.

Corollaries of the theory of God's immanence

Monists and emanationists draw from the theory of God's immanence many corollaries.

1). As we see, monists can call the Principle God, but they stress upon an impersonal God rather than an anthropomorphic God.

While common people and religionists conceive God as a suffering, a changing, a jealous and vengeful Deity who has face and arms, back and feet, who repents from his acts, gets easily into tantrums, but can be appeased by the smoke of holocausts (Gen. 8, 20-21. Job 40,9. Ps. 17,36. Ps. 88, 14. Ex. 3,6. 33,13. 33,23. Luke 1,75), who can bargain with Abraham (Gen. 18, 22-33), wrestle with Jacob (Gen. 33, 25-33), talk face to face with Jacob and Moses (Gen. 33, 25-33. Ex. 33, 11), emanationists conceived God as omnipotent, omnipresent, ineffable.

While religionists try to limit God to an individualistic or personal deity, a supra-King upstairs, majestic in his throne, surrounded by a host of angels and saints, emanationists always point out that God must be all and in-all, all pervasive and immanent. They consider as contradictory when one speaks of an unlimited and infinite God and at the same time limits him spatially and conceptually.

2). The theory of immanence entails that all beings participate to the divine nature. If God is the ground of all that there are, then it ill behooves man to speak slightly of the world of created things. In the emanationists context, God did not create the world out of nothing, but from himself. If God created the world out of his substance, it would not be hard to infer that nature is sacred, being the outer garment of the Over-Soul. Things in the universe, being part of the Whole, operate then in a pre-established harmonious fashion to the welfare and to the conservation of the Whole. There is harmony not only between musical notes, but also between environment and living things, between men and men, and between celestial spheres. This harmony, according to contexts, is termed as accord, cooperation, synergy or symbiosis. . .

3). Similarly, God is also immanent in every man. All emanationists and monists, from East to West, from ancient to modern time, are united in the central belief that the inner, or real self of man, is divine. Each has his spark of divinity. thus they dissented from the common Christian view that man is a creature of God, created in his image, but not sharing his divine nature. It is then logical to say that man is in fact consubstantial with God, is an incarnated Logos, even though he ignores it. Paul call this thesis The Mystery of the Gospel that he aimed to convey to the world. This great mystery can be defined in three words: Christ in You (Ro. 8, 7-11), Christ to be understood as the eternal and all pervasive Logos, but not as the historical Jesus, even though he was one of its spectacular incarnations.

Exactly, because of this Christ's seed, Paul could sustain that we can be developed up to the perfection to reach effectively the stature of Christ, "in this way, we are all to come to unity in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God until we become the perfect Man, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself" (Ep. 4, 13).

4). Based on the belief of the divine nature of man, monists and emanationists profess the unity of all human beings, universal brotherhood and universal respect and love. Being divine by nature, man is sacred and dignified. His depravity is apparent and due only to personal ignorance and to misleading influences of societies. In every man, there are two personalities: Personality No 1, or Natural man, or Essential Man, or Ideal man; Personality No 2, or Cultural Man, molded by creeds and institutions of his social environment, or Existential Man, or Actual Man. Personality No 2, by trials and errors, is always tending to Personality No 1. As Personality No 1, Man is born free; as Personality No 2, Man is everywhere in chains!

The Gospels stress that the Kingdom of God is at hand: If understood as spiritual realization, or as God's realization, the Kingdom of God should be found within us. If understood as happy and peaceful coexistence, it should be found in universal love and universal cooperation, in scientific and wise management and exploitation of the physical and natural environment and resources. . .

The doctrines of the Fall and of an inherited guilt for original sin, were rejected in favor of an appreciation of the natural goodness of man. It is worthy to note that even after the eating of the famous 'apple" by Adams and Eve, man did not fall, but rather did ascent to a divine status as solemnly stated by God himself in Genesis: "And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil. . . " (Gen. 3, 22).

As Dante rather casually reminds his readers in the Purgatorio, that man is God's man; -homo Dei- may be literally read in his face: it was generally agreed that the eyes make two Os, the eyebrows combined with the nose spell out the M, and since H is an aspirate, this gives us man-HOMO. Then the ear can be seen as a D, the nostrils and the mouth spell out respectively, an E and an I: DEI. [9]

5). Religion, must also be re-defined: Instead of being a servile adulation, and cult, a bargain for a heavenly passport, it is rather the immediate apprehension of the Infinite in the finite, of the unity in the diversity:

"The contemplation of the pious is the immediate consciousness of the universal existence of all finite things, in and through the Infinite, and of all temporal things in and through the Eternal. Religion is to seek this and find it in all that lives and moves, in all growth and change, in all doing and suffering. It is to have life and to know life in immediate feeling, only as such an existence in the Infinite and Eternal. Where this is found, religion is satisfied, where it hides itself, there is for her unrest and anguish, extremity and death. Wherefore it is a life in the infinite nature of the Whole, in the One and in the All, in God, having and possessing all things in God, and God in all. In itself it is an affection, a revelation of the Infinite in the finite, God being seen in it and it in God. " [10]

We can also define religion as a means of ultimate transformation. "Religion is a set of symbols, words, acts, and social groupings which has this thrust toward ultimate, unconditioned transformation of self and/or the world. It does not aim for mere reforms, though these may be part of the path, but for a total, exhaustive change which leaves not the slightest margin for more. Religion is the means of movement between the two poles, the conditioned and profane, and the ultimate or sacred, or unconditioned. It is the individual's attempt to create in and around himself the sacred. " [11]

We can add here M. F. Ashley Montagu's definition of religion. He wrote, "I like to think of religion as man's attempt to penetrate the mystery of life and man's own relatedness to all things, to the world stuff which unites all things in the community and commonality of being. The religious attitude is that in which the person, with reverence, respect and humility, accepting the fundamental unity of all things, asks question of the world in which he lives which are calculated to show how they came to exhibit their infinitely interesting present differences. . . it is the recognition of his own ignorance, and the combination of what used to be called "being in tune with the infinite". [12]

According to emanationists or monists, true religion should be aimed to the divinization of man. The final human status referred to in all mystical or alchemical literature is the glorious metamorphosis of man into God, may it be called Atonement (At-one-ment = to be one with God), union with God, Nirvana, Moksa, Liberation, Return to the Origin). This refrain is repeated by Jesus in his famous prayer to God, prior to his arrest: "That they all may be One as thou Father art in me, and I in Thee, that they also be One in us. . . (John 17, 21).

Chinese people honored their great mystics and saints by calling them Zi (TỬ) ; the man who has realized (Liao, LIỄU) the One (Yi, NHẤT). The letter Zi (TỬ) is composed of two letters: Liao, LIỄU= having realized, and Yi, NHẤT = The One). Among these few Elected, some are very popular: Lao-Zi (Lão Tử), Confucius (Kong-Zi, Khổng Tử), Zhuang-Zi (Trang Tử).

So man can become God, so man can sit on the throne of God. This seemingly blasphemous assertion is, by far, not a satanic cry of rebellion against God, but is the solemn declaration of God, in Genesis, and of Christ in Revelation about human right: ". . . and the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil" (Gen. 3, 22). "To him, that overcometh, will I grant to sit with me in my throne even as I also overcome and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3, 21)

Similarly, the world, according to Paul, is so created that it tends also to make out of us, Sons of God. "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the Sons of God. . . " (Ro 8, 18-19).

6). The doctrine of immanence involved the breaching of the traditional distinction between natural and supernatural. And this meant a profound change in the attitude toward miracles. Since the divine is present in all nature, there are no miracles in the sense of divine intrusions into natural order. In another sense, everything can be said to be a miracle. . . [13].

The silent movements of myriad stars, the blossoming of flowers, the migrations of birds, the birth of a baby, the composition of the air, are greater miracles than a summoning to a paralytic to walk. Knowledge is power. Man, now endowed with scientific and technical power, is performing daily miracles: Telephone, television, aircraft, submarines, organ transplants are out of reach of the understanding and imagination of our ancestors. Miraculous healing can be performed by proper concentration and canalization of magnetic and electromagnetic forces in men - individuals or groups - or in some sites of nature.

7). The theory of immanence equates God's will with the eternal laws that govern all movements and all changes in all planes of the world. To abide by natural laws is then to abide by God's will. While natural laws are eternal and immutable, conventional and human laws are characterized as being created by men, institutions, councils or churches, as dependent on space and time; having a beginning and an end, limited to some geographic area or to some cultural groups. Eternal laws or natural laws emancipate men; human laws enslave man.

8). The problem of evil is solved by emanationists in a way very different from the common view. First, they acknowledge that good and evil come from the same source: The Principle. This view is shared by the Old Testament: "Good or evil, life or death, poverty and wealth, all comes from the Lord" (Ec. 11, 14).

Secondly, things and events, per se, are neutral. They are considered as good or bad by affected agents. The action of an object may vary to the point of contradiction with the varieties of the object on which it acts. "Sea water is the purest and most disgusting; it is drinkable and wholesome for fish, undrinkable and noxious for men. " [14]

Besides, many so-called evils are due only to our ignorance, our maladjustment to situations, our lack of cooperation, our malice or egoism. Therefore, these evils can be overcome by science, technology, cooperation. This ancient view of the Yi Jing (Dịch Kinh) is now shared by scientists. The anthropologist M. F. Asley Montagu asserts: "The ground for my belief in the reality and the unity of the cosmos are scientific and they are simple. As a scientist who has been especially interested in the origin and development of human nature I have been concerned with the study of living things from the simplest to the most complex. The conclusion to which I have been led as a consequence is that the cosmos which, in microcosm one sees in the living organism, is a harmonic one, and all the evidence, so far as I am able to read such of it as is available, indicates that the macrocosmos is a harmonic one too. This belief is not an act of faith, but a reasoned conclusion from the evidence. I see that even the particles that constitute the nucleus of the atom function in harmonic relation to each other. I see that single celled organisms are mutually attracted to each other. I see that the cells which comprise the multicellular organism are in continuous cooperation with each other. And I see that all living things are preserved by cooperation and destroyed by disoperation. Through the whole realm of animated nature life exhibits increasingly more complex and higher levels of integration at the cooperative level, culminating in man - unquestionably, in some of his present cultural forms, the most destructive creature of the face of the earth, the creature that possesses the highest capacities for cooperation! Original sin, the innate depravity of humanity and brattishness of human nature, and all similar doctrines are nothing but unhappy guesses calculated to explain the disordered of evil conduct of some human beings.

I now understand as a scientist, and can explain to others, the causes of human disoperative behavior - and it has nothing to do with "original sin" or innate depravity. On the other hand, it has everything to do with the fact that human beings are not innately disoperative but that they are caused - some of them - to behave disoperatively by other human beings. . . Meanwhile, I make the point that man does not stand alone against the cosmos, but rather that the cosmos is an environmental necessity of man without which he could not for a moment exist, and that he is, in fact, a product of the cosmos. [15]

Before using the tenets of various creeds and philosophical schools of East and West to uphold the Monistic Theory, let us have again a global view of the Theory with some more salient characteristics.

First of all, prior to the existence of the world, the Essence is the Absolute One. It was then called the Void, the Ein-Sof, Sunyata, Bhutatatatha, Wu Ji (Vô Cực), or symbolized by the 1, or by the metaphysical Zero: 0.

At the beginning of the world, the Absolute one begets the "Polarized One", containing in itself all the potential opposites: Yin and Yang, Spirit and Matter. It was then called Tai Ji (Thái Cực), Logos, Kether etc. and symbolized by various devices such as:

1) A Circle with a Point in the Center. The Point stands for the Logos; The Circle stands for the World.

2) The Tai Ji symbol: Encompassing Yin and Yang.

The Tai Ji Symbol

3) A Rebis figure (Re = Res = Thing. Bis = Dual)

The Re-Bis 

4) An Androgyne figure (Andro = Male; Gyne = Female; both constitute an hermaphrodite figure).

The Androgyne 

5) By the number 5. (5 being composed of 2, an even number representing the Yin, and of 3, an odd number, representing the Yang).

6) By the number 15 [15 being composed of 6 = Yin, and 9 = Yang. The 6 and the 9 are used in the Yi Jing (Dịch Kinh) to represent the Earth and Heaven, the broken line (Yin) and the unbroken line (Yang) ].

The Absolute One begets the world by Emanation and Division. Emanation means irradiation, or emission of its own light or substance. Division is self-explaining: 1, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64, 1/128, 1/n, 1/ The emanation or division cannot be indefinite, cannot be without end. At some stage of the process, there is a turning point, a changing of direction, a process of regress or absorption...Therefore, after the emanation period, succeeds the absorption or reintegration period. The whole process of emission and absorption is called: The Cyclical Change by the Yi Jing; the Samsara by Hindus and Buddhists; The Ouroboros by Western esoteric schools.

If we represent the beginning of this process by Alpha, and the end of the process by Omega, we can easily realize that ω = α. The whole process is divine, because we read in the Revelation; "I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, said the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." (Re 1:8)

The philosophy of emanation merges into religion and mysticism if we change the term Essence into God, Tao, Sunyata, or Bhutatatatha.

The emanation theory is linked with these theories: Pantheism, if it means that God is present in everything, but not everything is God; God's immanence in the world; Metempsychosis; Reminiscence of Plato; the final At-One-ment: Union with God, Nirvana.

The idea of the world first emanating from the One, and subsequently reabsorbed by it, can be pictured by a cycle of change:

The Cycle of Change

This simple schema not only sums up the monistic theory by showing the world originating from the Principle (The Alpha), and ending in the Principle (The Omega) through a process of cyclical change (evolution-involution; egress- regress; flux-reflux; extroversion-introversion; expire-inspire; day of Brahma- night of Brahma; divergence-convergence; emanation-resorption; dispersion- reintegration etc. .), but it can also give a better view on human nature and destiny, as well as on cosmogony. It is worthy to note that many scientists begin to accept this cyclical theory of the universe.

New York Time, science essayist Malcolm W. Brown wrote: "Two rival theories about the ultimate fate of the universe are running neck and neck just now. The excitement of the race has spurred astronomers, mathematicians, particle physicists, chemists and theorists to search their specialties for clues that might contribute something to the outcome. The question is whether the universe is "open" and will continue for ever its present apparent expansion, or whether it is "closed", destined one day to stop expanding and fall back on itself, to be then reborn. If the universe is "open" and ever expanding, then, of course, the energy needed to sustain life would eventually become so dispersed as to be unusable, and everything would die".

"Some scientists", Brown says, "develop personal preferences for one kind of Gotterdammerung or another. There are those who would prefer an open, one-shot universe, considering it to be consistent with the Biblical Scripture. Some would prefer a closed, oscillating universe esthetically akin to the Hindu wheel of death and rebirth. " (February 10, 1981)

"These scientists, writes the New Yorker, "are coming around to the view that the universe has a heart beat. The cosmos expands and contracts much as a heart does, bringing to life a succession of universes with each lub-dub. "The magazine comments: We congratulate science on finally beginning to discover its true identity, as an agency for corroborating ancient wisdom. Long before the Christian era, and even before Homer, the people of India had arrived at (such a) cosmogony. " (July 17. 1965) [16]

One of the scientist interviewed, Jeremiah Ostriker, who recently won the American Astronomical Society's Warner Prize, stated: "There are a lot of similarities between the mystic view of the world, and of Einstein's. I don't know whether it's coincidental that currently the best cosmology is the "big bang" cosmology and that the best potential rival is a cyclic one, which is more like the Einstein's view. I am intrigued, I suspect that I could learn a lot from thinking and talking about it." Dr. Wheeler added, "One has to be very humble in the face of people who have dealt with these eternal issues over so many generations." The other Princeton scientists interviewed agreed in principle with Dr. Wheeler's views. Several years later, the New York Times quotes one of them, Dr. Robert H. Dicke, as suggesting "a model of successive universes reincarnating themselves in changing forms "almost suggestive of Hindu beliefs." (March 12, 1978).

It is immensely interesting that the black holes of spaces, "originally thought to be most 'passive' objects in the universe, now appear to be the most active. "At an international symposium at Cornell University, Dr. Dennis Sciame of Oxford, made the foregoing statement based on five years of analyzing their characteristics. He described this new concept as a "conceptual revolution", to which theorists "are still trying to adjust". Sciame and other scientists at the meeting considered the possibility that the black hole in its final stages radiates out again into space and starts a new cycle going. (New York Times October 12, 1980)

Astronomer Ernest J. Opik states in his book, The Oscillating Universe, "The whole cosmos is performing a giant oscillation. At present, it expands, shoots out of the chaos of the primeval focal point, and while in flight, sheltering the wondrous metamorphoses of life. After many thousands of millions of years, expansion will cease, and the world will collapse into its former focus, the primeval atom, where materiality will melt and disappear, only to rebound and precipitate itself into new expansion, with new metamorphoses and dreams. . ." [17]

The monistic theory is well described by Blavatsky in Isis Unveiled. "The esoteric doctrine teaches, like Buddhism and Brahmanism, and even the Kabala, that the one infinite and unknown Essence, or God, exists from all eternity, and in regular and harmonious successions is either passive or active. In the poetical phraseology of Manu (The ancient Hindu lawgiver), these conditions are called the "day" and the "night" of Brahma. Brahma is either "awake" or "asleep".

Upon inaugurating an active period, an expansion of the Divine Essence, from within outwardly, occurs in obedience to eternal and immutable law, and the phenomenal or visible universe is the ultimate result of the long chain of cosmic forces thus progressively set in motion. In like manner, when the passive condition is resumed, a contraction of the Divine Essence takes place, and the previous work of creation is gradually and progressively undone. The visible universe becomes disintegrated, its material dispersed, and "darkness", solitary and alone, broods once more over the face of the "deep".

To use a metaphor, which will convey the idea still more clearly, an outbreathing of the "unknown essence" produces the world and an inhalation causes it to disappear. This process has been going from all eternity, and our present universe is but one of an infinite series which has no beginning and will have no end. [18]


[1] Cole Editor, This Is My Faith, Harper, 1956, pp. 212-213.

[2] The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, pp. 344-345.

[3] La Montée du Carmel (Les Oeuvres spirituelles du Bienheureux Père Jean de la Croix. Desclée et Brower, pp. 133-134.

[4] The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, pp. 344, 345.

[5] John Dillinberger & Claude Welch, Protestant Christianity, Schreibers, 1954, pp. 217-218.

[6] John Dillenberger & Claude Welch, Protestant Christianity, Schreibers, 1954, pp. 205-206.

[7] Henri Seroya, La Kabbale, Grasset, 1947, p. 59.

[8] Karl Jaspers, The Great Philosophers, Vol. II, Harcourt, Brace and World, 1964, p. 13.

[9] Peter Gay, The Enlightenment; an Interpretation, New York, Alfred Knopf, 1966, p. 241.

[10] John Dillenberger & Claude Welch, Protestant Christianity,Charles Schribner's Sons, New York, 1954, p. 184.

[11] Robert S. Ellwood, Jr., Religious and Spiritual Groups in Modern America, Prentice-Hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1973, p. 7.

[12] Stewart G. Cole Ed., This Is My Faith, Harper and Brothers New York, 1956, p. 178.

[13] John Dillenberger & Claude Welch, Protestant Christianity,Charles Scriber's Sons, New York, 1954, pp. 217-222.

[14] Theodor Gomperz, The Great Thinkers, New York, Humanities Press, 1964, p, 68.

[15] Stewart G. Cole, Ed., This Is My Faith, Harper and Brothers, New York, 1956, pp. 179-180.

[16] Sylvia Cranston and Carey Williams, Reincarnation, A New Horizon in Science, Religion, and Society), New York: Julian Press, 1984, pp. 349-351).

[17] Ibidem, pp. 349-353.

[18] H. P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled, II. pp. 264-265.

TOC | Preface | Chapters: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10 11 12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19