Jesus said to them:
“If you two become one, and if you turn the inner into the outer, and the outer into the inner, making the upper the lower, if the male and the female become one, if the male ceases to be male and the female ceases to be female, if you look at the world with the same eyes and leave the same footprints on the earth, then you will enter the kingdom of God.”
The Gospel of Thomas, log. 22
We are forced to turn to a somewhat difficult topic, the topic of polarity, because this is an important prerequisite for understanding the entire book. Talking about polarity is never superfluous, because it is the central problem of being.
By saying “I”, a person separates himself from everything that he perceives as “not I”, that is, “They”. Thus, he automatically becomes a prisoner of the polarity. The ” I “connects it with the world of opposites, which is divided not only into “I” and “not I”, but also into internal and external, male and female, right and wrong, etc. The ego of a person does not give him the opportunity in any form to perceive, realize or imagine the one and complete. Consciousness decomposes everything into pairs of opposites, which, under the appropriate conditions, begin to be perceived as conflicts. They force us to make distinctions and make decisions. The mind is constantly engaged in breaking down reality into smaller and smaller details and making distinctions between them. For absolute health, it is necessary that nothing is missing. Therefore, by saying ” yes ” to something, and “no” to something opposite (that is, excluding something), we thereby consolidate our ill health. You can use an even more precise formulation: illness is a polarity, and recovery is overcoming it.
Behind the opposites that seem incompatible to us, there is a unity, Something in which they do not differ. This area of being is called the Cosmos, which encompasses everything, so there can be nothing outside of the Cosmos, outside of this unity. In unity there is no change, no transition, no development, because it exists outside of time and space. The universal unity is in eternal rest, this Being is pure, it is formless and inactive. It may have struck you that all statements concerning unity contain negation: out of time, out of space, without change, without borders.
Any statement without negation concerns our divided world and cannot refer to unity. From this point of view, for our consciousness consisting of only opposites, unity is Nothing. This formulation is actually absolutely correct, but it often causes negative associations in people. Westerners are particularly disappointed when they learn that, for example, nirvana (the ideal state of consciousness in Eastern philosophy) means “nothing” (literally, “to extinguish”). The” I “of a person always strives to have something that is outside of it, and reacts badly to the need to” fade away “in order to become”one with something whole”. In the unity of the cosmos, Everything and Nothing coincide. Nothing renounces form and self-expression, thus losing its polarity. The Basis Of Being Is Nothing. It is the only thing that really exists, without beginning and without end, from Eternity to Eternity.
Unity can be referred to, but it is difficult to imagine, if you do not develop the ability to overcome the polarity of consciousness at least for a short time by special exercises, using the technique of meditation. It is impossible to describe it in words, and it does not lend itself to mental analysis, because such a prerequisite as the presence of opposites is necessary for our thinking. Cognition is unthinkable without polarity, without division into subject and object, into the knower and the known. In unity there is no knowledge, there is only Being, in it all aspirations and desires are extinguished, movement is extinguished, because there is nothing external to which one can reach. This is an ancient paradox, according to which only Nothing can be complete.
Our consciousness is polar, and it is this consciousness that gives polarity to the world in order to make it accessible to our understanding.
The laws of polarity can be considered on a specific example of breathing. It gives us the first experience of polarity. Inhale and exhale constantly, in a certain rhythm, replace each other. Rhythm is a constant change of two poles, the main pattern of life itself. Physics says that any process can be reduced to an oscillation. By destroying the rhythm, we destroy life itself. If you don’t exhale, you can’t inhale. The inhaled flow exists at the expense of the exhaled flow.
Nothing can exist without its opposite, one pole is possible only in the presence of the other. Another elementary example is electricity. It is formed due to the voltage that occurs between the two poles. Remove one of the poles, and there will be no electricity.
Pay attention to an old, well-known image. It perfectly illustrates what the polarity is: foreground-background, or even more specifically: faces-vase. What you will see depends on what color you will perceive as the background, black or white. If you choose a black field as the background, the white one automatically comes forward and you can see the vase. But the perception changes as soon as you take a white field as a background. Two black profiles appear in the foreground. This is an optical joke that clearly demonstrates what happens to us when the angle of perception changes. Both elements (faces and vase) are equal, but require the observer to decide “either – or”. We see either the vase or the faces. To perceive both aspects simultaneously is impossible, or at least very difficult.
This focus is a good bridge for understanding the polarity. The black field depends on the white one, and vice versa. If you remove one of the poles (whether black or white), then both aspects will disappear, and with them the whole picture. The black exists at the expense of the white, the foreground at the expense of the back, just as the inhalation exists at the expense of the exhalation, or the positive pole of electricity at the expense of the negative. Such a high level of interdependence of opposites suggests that behind the polarity there is a unity that we are not able to perceive in its simultaneity, and therefore we are forced to consider its poles separately.
It is here that Time is born – the eternal deceiver that exists only because of the polarity of our consciousness.
So polarities are nothing but two aspects of the same real unity. We cannot consider them simultaneously, and it depends only on ourselves which side of the coin we want to see.
But opposites are unthinkable without each other. An example of this is the nature of the light beam, about which there were once two seemingly mutually exclusive points of view. One of them was based on the wave theory, the other – on the corpuscular theory. If light consists of waves, then it cannot consist of particles, and vice versa. Either – or. But now we know that this is wrong: light is both a wave and a stream of atoms. Or, to put it another way, it’s not just a wave and not just a stream of atoms. Light is represented in its unity and is inaccessible to the polar consciousness of man.
The polarity is like a door with “Entrance” written on one side and “Exit”written on the other. The door is the same, but it changes its purpose according to which side you approach it from. For us, at any moment, only one aspect of its existence is relevant. Because of the need to decompose unity into aspects and consider them in turn, time arises.
The simultaneity of being turns into a sequence when the polar consciousness perceives unity. But just as there is Unity behind polarity, so there is Eternity behind time. At the same time, it should be borne in mind that we consider Eternity as the absence of time, and not as a long, never-ending stream of it.
If we turn to the historical grammar of different languages, we can see how consciousness, striving for knowledge, divides the original unity into opposites. The representatives of ancient cultures saw the unity hidden behind the polarity better than we did. (This was pointed out by Sigmund Freud in his work “The Opposite Meaning of Ancient Words”.) The Latin word atus simultaneously means “high” and “deep”. In ancient Greek, pharmacon is both “poison” and”medicine”. The polarity is clearly visible in the English word without (“without”), which has two roots: “with something” and “without something”, although in modern language only one of the meanings has remained relevant. In German, a typical example of the polar meaning of the same-root words are boese (“evil”), bass (“good” – in Old High German), Busse (“repentance”) and buessen (“repent”). Such a linguistic phenomenon, which consists in the fact that previously there was only one word for opposite concepts (for example, “good” and “bad”), clearly demonstrates the commonality hidden behind the polarity (in Russian, a striking example of this is the historically common root in the words end and beginning. – Ed.).
The polarity of consciousness is also subjectively felt due to the constant change of its two states, which have clear differences-sleep and wakefulness. We perceive them as an internal correspondence of the external polarity (day – night). That is why it is so often said about the “day” and “night” consciousness, or about the “day” and” night ” sides of the soul. Closely related to the polarity is the juxtaposition of the supra-conscious and the unconscious. The area of consciousness that manifests itself at night, coming out of our dreams, we perceive as the unconscious. Strictly speaking, this is not a very good word. The prefix “without” means “absence” (cf. immoral, tasteless). But “no-consciousness” is not “no-consciousness” at all. In a dream, another consciousness is activated. And to talk about a consciousness that does not exist is generally meaningless. But why do we identify with the day consciousness?
Since the psychology of deep processes has become quite widespread, we have become accustomed to dividing our consciousness into levels, distinguishing the supra-conscious and distinguishing it from the subconscious and the unconscious.
The division into top and bottom corresponds to the symbolic perception of space, when the sky and light are felt as the upper pole, and the earth and darkness as the lower one. If we represent this model graphically, we get the following figure:
- ” Superconsciousness»
- ” The subconscious»
- ” The Unconscious»
The circle symbolizes the all-encompassing consciousness, which is boundless and eternal. The circle is not a boundary, it symbolizes that consciousness is all-encompassing. A person is limited by his “I”, so there is a subjective, limited superconsciousness. He has no access to the cosmic consciousness – it is unconscious (this level Jung calls the “collective unconscious”). The dividing line between the human Self and the rest of the “sea of consciousness” is not absolute – rather, it can be called a permeable membrane on both sides. This membrane corresponds to the subconscious mind. Here is everything that descends from the superconsciousness (forgotten), and what rises from the unconscious, for example, premonitions, dreams, intuitive sensations, visions.
If a person identifies his personality only with the supra-consciousness, the permeability of the unconscious becomes very low. All the unconscious begins to create fear. If, on the contrary, this permeability is high, then it can lead to the state of the medium. But the state of enlightenment or cosmic consciousness can be achieved only when a person renounces all boundaries, thereby uniting the superconsciousness and the unconscious. This step means the destruction of your own Self. In Christian terminology, it sounds like this: “I (the supra-conscious) and my Father (the unconscious) are one.”
Human consciousness gets its physical expression in the activity of the brain, and the ability to make distinctions and have judgments that are characteristic only for humans is associated with the work of the cerebral cortex.
The polarity of human consciousness is also reflected in the structure of the brain. As you know, the brain consists of two hemispheres connected by the so-called corpus callosum. Once upon a time, medicine tried to combat certain symptoms, such as epilepsy or severe headaches, by making a surgical incision in the corpus callosum to break the connection between the hemispheres.
No matter how cruel such a surgical intervention might seem, there was practically no atrophy: it turned out that the hemispheres are, in fact, two independent brains that are able to function independently. The patients who underwent hemispheric separation were tested. It turned out that the hemispheres are very different from each other. As you know, the nerve pathways are located crosswise, so that the right part of the human body is connected to the left hemisphere, and vice versa. The experiment showed the following. If the test patient is blindfolded and given, say, a corkscrew in his left hand, he will not be able to tell what the object is called, that is, he will not be able to find a verbal match for the object. At the same time, it is not difficult for him to use this corkscrew. The situation changes fundamentally if the corkscrew is given in the right hand: the patient knows perfectly well what the object is called, but is not able to use it.
Like the hands, the ears and eyes are connected to the opposite hemisphere. In one experiment, a patient with divided hemispheres was shown various geometric shapes, then an image of a nude figure was projected into the field of view of the left eye (it was perceived only by the right hemisphere). The patient blushed and giggled, but when asked what she saw, she replied: “Nothing but a ray of light.” At the same time, she continued to giggle. The picture perceived by the right hemisphere caused a certain reaction, which was not formulated either mentally or verbally. If the smell is perceived only by the left side of the nose, then a similar reaction occurs: the patient is not able to determine the nature of the smell. Another patient was shown written words, such as ” football,”with the left eye seeing one part of the word and the right eye seeing the other. The patient read “bol” because the right hemisphere could not analyze the graphic image of “foot”.