I’ve been reading a lot of very interesting books relating to philosophy lately. I’ve been going down the rabbit hole of tracing back through the books that inspired the books I’ve been reading, and expanding my own knowledge of the related subjects by reading through their bibliography.
I wanted to share a little portion of a particular concept that’s grabbed my attention several times recently. It’s the concept of being.
What is it to be alive?
How do we live a ‘good’ life as the great philosophers describe it?
A lot of my recent readings had talked about this idea that we must be pure at all times to achieve an enlightened state. But those kinds of materials really stray away from what makes life possible in its truest sense; what makes it possible to experience this thing we call life at all.
Carl Jung said, “Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.”
Another way to imagine the concept is, how could we measure light without darkness? Were the light unrepelled by shadow, there would be no visible forms.
One does not exist without the other. It loses its meaning as Jung said. It is an equilibrium that allows all of this around us to exist at all.
But, if all was to be in a perfect equilibrium, perfectly balanced, the opposites themselves would cancel each other and cease to exist. So there has to be a third part that exists as a part of them both. That ‘part’ is choice; it is intelligence itself. The balance is then forever juggled by the fool who is not aware that every action he makes plays a small, but tremendous part in the play of living things; of time itself.
I wanted to share a passage from a gnostic that puts the concept of Lucifer in a context that connects it more to the original meaning of the name (Lucifer meaning light-bringer). When we think about the idea of the existence of evil, it does not mean that we have to choose evil, it is that without the choice, there is nothingness.
“Self-conscious truth is living thought. Truth is thought as it is in itself, and formulated thought is speech. When Eternal Thought desired a form, it said: ‘Let there be light.’ Now, this Thought which speaks is the Word, and the Word said:
‘Let there be light,’ because the Word itself is the light of minds. The untreated light, which is the Divine Word, shines because it desires to be seen. When it says:
‘Let there be light!’ it ordains that eyes shall open; it creates intelligences. When God said: ‘Let there be light!’ Intelligence was made, and the light appeared.
Now, the Intelligence which God diffused by the breath of His mouth, like a star given off from the sun, took the form of a splendid angel, who was saluted by heaven under the name of Lucifer. Intelligence awakened, and comprehended its nature completely by the understanding of that utterance of the Divine Word: ‘Let there be light!’ It felt itself to be free because God had called it into being, and, raising up its head, with both wings extended, it replied: ‘I will not be slavery.’
‘Then shalt thou be suffering,’ said the Untreated Voice. ‘I will be liberty,’ replied the light. ‘Pride will seduce thee,’ said the Supreme Voice, ‘and thou wilt bring forth death.’ ‘I needs must strive with death to conquer life,’ again responded the created light. Thereupon God loosed from His bosom the shining cord which restrained the superb angel, and beholding him plunge through the night, which he furrowed with glory, He loved the offspring of His thought, and said with an ineffable smile: ‘How beautiful was the light!’
“God has not created suffering; intelligence has accepted it to be free. And suffering has been the condition imposed upon freedom of being by Him who alone cannot err, because He is infinite. For the essence of intelligence is judgement, and the essence of judgement is liberty. The eye does not really possess light except by the faculty of closing or opening. Were it forced to be always open, it would be the slave and victim of the light, and would cease to see in order to escape the torment. Thus, created Intelligence is not happy in affirming God, except by its liberty to deny Him. Now, the Intelligence which denies, invariably affirms something, since it is asserting its liberty. It is for this reason that blasphemy glorifies God and that hell was indispensable to the happiness of heaven. Were the light unrepelled by shadow, there would be no visible forms. If the first angels had not encountered the depths of darkness, the child-birth of God would have been incomplete, and there could have been no separation between the created and essential light. Never would Intelligence have known the goodness of God if it had never lost Him. Never would God’s infinite love have shone forth in the joys of His mercy had the prodigal Son of Heaven remained in the House of His Father.
When all was light, there was light nowhere; it filled the breast of God, who was labouring to bring it forth. And when He said: ‘Let there be light!’ He permitted the darkness to repel the light, and the universe issued from chaos. The negation of the angel who at birth refused slavery constituted the equilibrium of the world, and the motion of the spheres commenced. The infinite distances admired this love of liberty, which was vast enough to fill the void of eternal night and strong enough to bear the hatred of God. But God could hate not the noblest of His children, and He proved him by His wrath only to confirm him in His power. So also the Word of God Himself, as if jealous of Lucifer, willed to come down from heaven and pass triumphantly through the shadows of hell. He willed to be proscribed and condemned; He premeditated that terrible hour when He should cry, in the throes of His agony: ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’
As the star of the morning goes before the sun, the rebellion of Lucifer announced to new-born Nature the coming incarnation of God. Possibly Lucifer, in his fall through night, carried with him a rain of suns and stars by the attraction of his glory. Possibly our sun is a demon among the stars, as Lucifer is a star among the angels. Doubtless it is for this reason that it lights so calmly the horrible anguish of humanity and the long agony of earth -because it is free in its solitude and possesses its light.”2
Without the heel of Archangel Michael, Lucifer would have continued upwards to the throne of God, and without the head of Lucifer, Michael would have continued his descent into the abyss. This allegory explains the equilibrium between the two, for being to exist, they are set against each other, constantly in friction to create motion. It is not a perfect, peaceful balance but a battle of wills—one set against the other in challenge. Both exist as a part of you. This ‘battle of wills’ is your liberty. It is the foundation of your ‘free will’.
God has not created suffering; intelligence has accepted it to be free.
For the essence of intelligence is judgement, and the essence of judgement is liberty (or free will).
So do not fret in moments of darkness or despair, for is a part of the natural cycle. The sun may linger a little while longer at some parts of the year, but it always sets. Just as it may remain dormant at other times, but it always returns to spark light and life in our lives. It is an essential part of life to pass through the ebb and flow of light and darkness. It is essential to time itself; to experience and to know the meaning of joy is to understand both sides of the coin. One illuminated by the light, the other cloaked in darkness. But seek spring and seek daybreak.
When you are experiencing winter, seek spring. The benefit you have as a living being, is that divinely bestowed free will. Your happiness is not at the liberty of the sun’s movements as the daybreak is.
You, as your own mini-universe, as a microcosmic marvel, have the power to control your own universe. Just as the supreme being controls the one we exist in. We may require light and dark in order to ‘be’ but we are not at their mercy. We are great beings in ourselves that can overpower one with the other. Choose light over dark.
When the darkness creeps in, be grateful that its recognition allows you to comprehend the light, and to shine your own to penetrate through the depths of winter, and to bloom in your own spring of joy and happiness. Share it with others, let them see your light shine, and help it to obliterate their darkness.
- Ed. William McGuire & R.F.C. Hull, C.G.Jung Speaking: Interviews and Encounters, Princeton University Press, ISBN: 0691098948
- Manly P. Hall, Secret Teachings of All Ages, Tarcherperigree, ISBN: 1585422509