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Rene' Schwaller de Lubixz And The Intelligence of the Heart

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Author Topic: Rene' Schwaller de Lubixz And The Intelligence of the Heart  (Read 1122 times)
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« on: November 12, 2007, 06:37:12 pm »

Science and Theosophy

Along with Matisse and Bergson, Schwaller came under the influence of the new physics of Albert Einstein and Max Planck. Like many people today, Schwaller believed that the strange world of quantum physics and relativity opened the door to a universe more in line with the cosmologies of the ancients, and less compatible with the Newtonian clockwork world of the nineteenth century. He was especially stimulated by the idea of complementarity, developed by the Danish physicist, Niels Bohr, and the uncertainty principle of Werner Heisenberg.

Bohr sought to end the debate over the nature of light--whether it was best described as a wave or as a particle--by opting for a position that would see it as both. Heisenberg's "uncertainty"--which caused Einstein to retort famously that "God does not play dice with the universe"--argued that we cannot know both the position and the speed of an elementary particle: pinpointing one obscures the other.

Schwaller would agree with Einstein about God's attitude toward gambling. But he appreciated that complementarity and uncertainty demand a stretch of our minds beyond the "either/or" of syllogistic logic, to an understanding of how reality works. Complementarity and uncertainty ask us to hold mutually exclusive ideas together--the basic idea behind a Zen koan. The result, Schwaller knew, can be an illogical but illuminating insight.

This "simultaneity of opposite states" plays a great part in Schwaller's understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphics. It characterizes what he calls symbolique, a way of holding together the object of sense perception and the content of inner knowing, in a kind of creative polarity. When the Egyptians saw the hieroglyph of a bird, he argued, they knew it was a sign for the actual, individual creature, but they also knew it was a symbol of the "cosmic function" that the creature exemplified--flight--as well as all the myriad characteristics associated with it. Hieroglyphics did not merely designate; they evoked. As he wrote in Symbol and the Symbolic (40), "the observation of a simultaneity of mutually contradictory states . . . demonstrates the existence of two forms of intelligence"--an idea the early twentieth century philosopher Alfred North Whitehead would discuss, with many similarities to Schwaller's thought, in his book, Symbolism, Its Meaning and Effect (1927).

Our rational, scientific intelligence is of the mind and the senses. The other form of intelligence, whose most total expression Schwaller eventually located in the civilization of ancient Egypt, is of "the heart." This search for the "intelligence of the heart" became Schwaller's life work.

Schwaller believed that the appearance of the new physics indicated humanity was moving toward a massive shift in awareness, an idea he shared with his near contemporary Jean Gebser. He related this shift to the precession of the equinoxes and the coming Age of Aquarius. But he also believed that science alone couldn't provide the deepest insights into the true character of the world. For this, he argued, a new kind of consciousness is necessary.

He sought signs of this new consciousness among less mainstream thinkers. In 19131914, Schwaller was active in French Theosophical groups and, one suspects, in occult circles in Paris in general. He read widely in Madame Blavatsky and other occult thinkers, and published a series of articles on the philosophy of science in Le Theosophe. Soon after, in 1917, at the age of thirty, he published his first book, A Study of Numbers, a Pythagorean essay on the metaphysical meaning of mathematics.

That book's central idea is at the heart of Schwaller's thought: the inexplicable splitting--or "scission," as he called it--of the unmanifest One, the Absolute, into the many--a question that, in a less mystical manner, occupies many leading cosmologists today.

For Schwaller this "irrational" eruption of absolute unity into the world of space and time is the central mystery of existence, the primal secret that will forever elude the simplifying grasp of the purely cerebral mind. Our rational mind is unable to grasp the central mystery, he argues, because our "sensory organization clearly seems to be imperfect." This condition can only be alleviated through a "perfecting of consciousness," something, he would later argue, the ancient Egyptians knew all about. "I earnestly anticipate the time when an enlightened being will be able to bring the world proof of the mystery of the beginning," he wrote in Sacred Science.
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Your mind understands what you have been taught; your heart what is true.

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