Archetypes
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Archetypes

Elémire Zolla

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eBook - ePub

Archetypes

Elémire Zolla

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Über dieses Buch

Man is dominated by his archetypes; they mould not only his history but his dreams. But how are we to define and evaluate them? Is it perhaps possible for us to relate more creatively to them?

Originally published in 1981, these are some of the questions raised by this title. To answer them the author gathered together a vast amount of material drawn from Eastern and Western traditions, from science, literature, art and poetry. The answers he puts forward are often highly original and will surely challenge many of our most cherished patterns of thought.

There emerges from this book what can only be described as a global metaphysical system, yet the author's language is not that of an ordinary metaphysical treatise, and what he writes offered new challenge and hope to those suffering from the despair and cynicism engendered by a great deal in modern society at the time. Zolla does not, however, advocate a return to earlier historical patterns, nor is he proposing a new Utopia, but rather offers us a brilliant series of lessons in the art of centring. In the words of Bernard Wall, writing in the Times Literary Supplement, Zolla's 'deep, polymathic probing of the terms of human existence makes it sensible to compare him with Simone Weil, while some of his conclusions about ultimate mysteries – expressed in signs, symbols and sacraments, the sense of which we have lost – will make us think of the later T. S. Eliot'.

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Information

Verlag
Routledge
Jahr
2015
ISBN
9781317415725

II Archetypes

DOI: 10.4324/9781315686639-2

8 Numbers as archetypes

Metaphysical experience realises infinite oneness. Oneness reflects, mirrors itself, and by so coming back to itself avers its oneness as a new One, which is two, and so on, progressively becoming all further numbers. Each number is a return to oneness: being a unit, it is a homecoming of One. It would not exist if it were not a manifestation, a type of oneness. In the production of numbers as with the lever, elevations are due to downward pressures. This backward-running, crab-like genesis of numbers haunted Emily Dickinson; she felt that it concealed a lesson in the essence of life, the great ancient lesson: that true totality or infinity is Oneness undivided, unmultiplied, and that all twoness or multiplicity is delusion and falsity. In moments of ultimate finality we are alone: all One. Within One everything is every other thing, symmetry is absolute, consciousness as binary, contrastive logic disappears. On One consciousness may only border, as a marginal consciousness on the point of melting into the unconscious. In the Mahâbhârata (XII) the paradox comes often to the fore: in samâdhi, one hears not, smells not, tastes not, sees not, perceives no touch, one’s mind forms no resolve, desires nothing – one is like a stick, a stump, a stone, a flame in a windless place. No consciousness is left, in the sense that no duality subsists. One passage says that ‘unity results only when one is not conscious with consciousness’. There exists an awareness paradoxically without consciousness, in the characterless, non-dual unity as ‘seen by the substance of consciousness, by the light of the mind’, as though by the remembrance of unification in the unity of Oneness. One is literally absorbing. Emily dared express the experience of it:
One and One – are One.
Two – be finished using.
Well enough for schools
But for minor choosing –
Life – just – or Death
Or the Everlasting.
More – would be too vast
For the Soul’s comprising.
(Incidentally, the detail will add depth to the poem_ in the first version, instead of ‘minor’ she wrote ‘inner’, and instead of ‘more’, ‘two’.)
Among numbers some are more One-like, more life-or-death-or everlastingness-like, Emily would say, than others; and they have the property of unifying, ordering the other numbers into sets, which make it possible to calculate and assort vast amounts of them. One-like numbers are the units of measure, the archetypes. Ten, the archetype of decimalisation, is the most known, and, among Pythagoreans, revered.
In One all numbers, infinite new ones, are potentially comprised. In an archetypal number such as ten not all numbers, but an infinity of tens are latent. Between oneness – absolute infinity – and finite numbers, the relative infinities or archetypes mediate.
In geometry, angles, being relative infinities of space, mediate between the point, in which all of space is latent, and finite geometrical figures. Monads, which are a qualified infinity of time, the time of a person in its uniqueness, mediate between the instant, in which all time is latent, and finite chunks of history, periods of time.
Fields of energy, which structure a relative infinity of movements, mediate between force, which contains the infinite potential movements, and particular movements defined by a given speed and vector.
In languages modifiers, which establish modes, time, and case, mediate between the infinitive of being – ‘to be’ – and single words.
The primal, creative notion or emanation of Oneness is a self-mirroring, which is both an intellectual reflection and a purposive action. It is the primal force and the original identity since it is identity-giving. All movements derive from the impulsion of the primal force, all thoughts are reflections of the original act of self-reflection. The usual definition of a person is: a synthesis of intellect and will, of reflection and action. So it seems correct to call the first motion of Oneness the Knower – to consider it a person. Self-knowledge on the part of Oneness means that Oneness divides into Oneness as the Known and Oneness as the Knower. The Known is all, infinite being. The Knower is all knowledge and can therefore be styled ‘Cosmic Intellect’ or ‘Active Intellect’ or ‘the Word’. The Known and the Knower involve a homecoming of both to unity as such: the Known and the Knower unite in the knowing. The homecoming to unity answers the definition of bliss. Vedânta speaks of the primal triad of being, knowledge and bliss.
These archaic thoughts may seem funny, but only by accepting them does one gain a metaphysical standing above the round of days. A sage remarked that nobody knows God – the Absolute – any more since nobody will stoop low enough. Low enough to detect the distinction between the primary motion of Oneness, which creates the first triad, and the next move, which is latent in the first, whereby oneness, coming back to itself, revolving spirally on itself, forms a new One. This new One is a relative oneness, since it subsists only by virtue of its relation to the triad; and is also a second One: two. One should stoop low enough to see the prime symbol of this metaphysical truth in the primal unity of mother and child, with the bond of air, breath-spirit and/or the nipple to make a triad, which will develop in the second oneness, the child, who first realises (the loss of) the nursing couple and next notices itself as a second One.
The Knower is originally the realisation of symmetry in oneness; next He becomes a two and more, multiplying-dividing both Himself into Knowers and the Known into things, descending to computations of numbers, measurements of forms, reckonings of time, calculations of velocities and vectors. Originally the Knower is all-knowing. We can try to realise this premise, if not by identifying with it, then by considering approximations to it, such as the illuminations of prophets or of poets like Valmiki, who grasped the whole of the Ramayana in a flash. Or we may realise it by returning to the prime symbol of the child who knows all that need be known, being one with the mother.
The Knower, in his scattering of himself into multiplicity, multiplies the Known whose reflections He is. He is apparently split into myriad reflections of Himself, which illuminate and tip off the workings of brains, of human machines. The presence, the ray, the force of the Knower is manifested, betrayed in infinite bodies. Relay and betray come from the same Latin root; tradition and betrayal are inseparable twins. Sheer, faultless thought, the precise measurement, is the Knower made manifest, relayed: his Word. The human being plays host to Him, but beyond this it should not venture. All it can do on its own is make blunders, betray.
The descent into multiplicity is possible only through mediators standing between the Knower and the multitude of numbers-numbering-numbered-things, since only through the mediation of relative infinities – archetypes, units of measure – can the absolute condescend to the finite. They are the preconditions of all numeration and limitation, and cannot therefore be found by means of calculation or accord to rigid definitions. Being specifiers they cannot be specified. The intuition of archetypes mirrors metaphysical experience and thereby coincides with it, but insofar as the intuition of the archetypes is not the experience mirrored, but the act of mirroring, it is distinct, separate and fragmented, unmetaphysical. Standard numbers – archetypes – mirror numbers because they unify sets of ordinary numbers; but whereas one multiplied by one makes one – because one does not contain multiplicity – units of measure are subject to multiplication, because they contain multiplicity, ambiguity, relativity.
A number becomes a standard or archetype by symbolising, standing for unity; but the reason why this holds good is not logically cogent and analysable, since cogency resulting from analysis is a type of computation effected by the use of a standard or archetype. The only type of ‘reason’ that can be given for adopting an archetype – a reason-giver – is a feeling of analogical fitness akin to taste, sympathy, discretion.
Going back once more to the seed-plot of symbols, which is the primal stage of a child’s growth, the archetypes come into play as soon as the mother communicates to the child the right measure of absorption, circulation and expulsion – the old triad of being, knowing and bliss back again. The mother passes on the archetypes especially in those moments in which the prior unity of mother and child as nursing couple is most warmly and closely evoked. Plato drew attention to the philosophical import of lullabies, and derived all healing procedures from them. One may add that they contain the whole range of the possible attitudes towards the archetypes in the form of distinct rhythms: the trend to multiplicity in the iambics ᑌ-, ᑌ-, which the mother uses to imitate the dispersal, the multiplicity, the torment of the child; she has thereby insinuated herself into its rhythmic web, after which she brings into play the archetype of the return to unity, slowing down, softening into trochees and dactyls -ᑌ, -ᑌᑌ. The child’s pulses, caught in the net of counter-imitation, follow the lead, and the mother can now bring into play a third stance: restful unification, slumber and ecstasy mirrored in stately, booming anapests ᑌᑌ-, ᑌᑌ-.
Like rhythm, numbers are also choice connoters of archetypes.
Calculations by pairs can mirror the symmetry aspect of Oneness, and therefore also the Knower, the Universal Intellect as the reflection, the Word, or the Mirror. Like all archetypes it is polar, both cohesive (all lines can be said to link their two extreme points) and disruptive (they can be said to separate them). Night is dark, but it lights up the language of the stars, which day blots out.
Bisecting and yoking, coupling, pairing, halving and doubling will not get one too far in calculations; but scores, the typical tally, can prove a valuable unit: fingers and toes together witness to it.
Threefold divisions are instructive because triads imply two extremes, with harmony and/or oddness, the trickster twilight, in between. All geometrical figures are multiple triangles, all colours are a mixture of the three primary ones, the character of a musical key is decided by its third note being major or minor. Man is three-ply, body, soul and spirit, and his disposition depends on his third part, the spirit, being uplifted or drawn down. For greater articulateness, triadists resort to ninefold divisions: Dante explains that Beatrice ‘was a nine’ – something to be hailed three times three – a trinity squared. ‘Nine’ and ‘new’ stem from the same root. After nine months a new creature is born.
Multiplicity or materialisation begins only after Three, as an after-manifestation of Threesomeness. The Knower first reflects the Known as something new and next realises that the ensuing Knowing makes a total of Three-in-One, which is a new One, actually a four. The novelty of the fourth one consists in its being a manifestation of multiplicity as such. Beatrice was a new Three, not a four: she was the perpetual newness, not a circumscribed novelty; a direct embodiment of the Knower, not a multiple, delusive reality. Nine is the sum of any interval between two notes and of the interval resulting from their inversion – which though new and different remains unchanged, either consonant or dissonant, either major or minor. This purport of Nine – sameness in difference – can be heard when a musical interval is inverted to produce a second one; it can be seen in the most holy Hindu diagram, the Shrî Yantra, which is a series of concentric circles at whose centre nine triangles dynamically interpenetrate, five of them upward- and four downward-pointing, with an inversion both of number, from odd to even, and of direction. Their interplay draws the eye one-pointedly to the unchanging, unmarked, and all the more emphasised centre. Nine is the centring of the centre. The square that encloses the whole is fourfold, a Four. The rind around the ninefold core is a foursome. Nine, the Knower, ends in a four. Dynamic unity ends in stabilised, foursquare multiplicity. The Knower is quartered on the cross, appearing as the point that branches out in four perpendicular lines: the two diameters of the circle of manifestation. Four is the homecoming of One and at the same time Oddity itself, matter. There are three primary colours as such, but four pigments in the eye. Sets of fours square things with a sense of definiteness and repose, and sets of eights even more so – as can be seen in the octagonal bases of lingams, or in the lay-outs of baptisteries, and as can be heard in the all-important octave. When the ear hears the eighth note, it recalls the first one, and feels that they are identical and yet different. The eighth interval clinches the archetypal set of notes. Already the fourth interval, which is called subdominant, had charmed the ear, as though announcing the octave. The Egyptians felt that the octave was like the relation of spring to autumn, the squaring of accounts in the circle of the year.
In Japanese four is Yo, which also means ‘the world’; eight is Ya, ‘the house’, which is a reflection of the cosmos.
Doubly eightfold was the liver, the reflection of the cosmos for the Etruscans. Also the Chinese felt that sixteen was the cosmic, four-square number. A pound is felt to be well squared in sixteen ounces.
Five marries divisible two and indivisible three, and like Oneness it cannot be divided; so it was the number of living nature. It recurs in the planetary rhythms of Venus-Morning-star. Since the fifth interval in music is the essence of harmony, the archetypal sense of the Egyptians felt it corresponded to the winter solstice in respect to springtime, when the five-petalled flowers bloom. A tune slides smoothly from one key to the next, if between the keys there is affinity, which means five intervals; all smooth handling, moulding and perceptive feel of objects is based on having them at one’s five fingertips. In the eye the three primary colours are received by four pigments plus the black pupil. A double five is the totality of digits: nature’s abacus. A double five is such a fountainhead of meanings that the decimal system is the archetype of archetypes, unity perfected: it is the sum of the first four num...

Inhaltsverzeichnis

  1. Cover Page
  2. Half Title Page
  3. Title Page
  4. Copyright Page
  5. Title Page01
  6. Copyright Page01
  7. Table of Contents
  8. I Metaphysical Experience
  9. II Archetypes
  10. III Archetypal Politics
  11. IV Archetypal poetry
  12. V The Vision of the Rose