Posts Tagged Chaos

The key to Alchemy – The Trinities

When I were younger I started on Alchemy a few times, but always stopped again by reason of their weird vocabulary, but It’s a question about finding the key.

When studying a new religion, philosophy, or esoteric tradition, always look for the trinities, the three Logoi or their principles, and when you have found them, the rest opens up.

This trinity represents the earthly powers Lucifer, Ahriman, and Christ, but also as the Father, the Mother, and the Son;  masculine, feminine, and love;  Yang, Yin, and Tao;  Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu;  Rajas, Tamas, and Sattva;  Pingala, Ida, and Sushumna;  Sun, Moon, and Earth;  Chaos, Order, and Life;  Energy, Substance, and Consciousness;  right, left, and center cross at Golgotha;  right, left, and center pillar of Kabbalah; and  the three soul elements: sentient soul (Orektikon, nephesch), mind and heart soul (Kinetikon, ruach), and consciousness or spirit soul (Dianoetikon, n’schamah).

See, among other, Serpents of the Kundalini Fire

Paracelsus in “The life of Philippus Theophrastus Bombast of Hohenheim…” by Franz Hartmann

The Bible tells us that Man is made out of nothing; that is to say, his spirit, the real man, is from God, who is not a thing, but the eternal reality; but he is made into three somethings or substances, and these three constitute the whole of Man: they are himself, and he is they, and from them he receives all that is good or evil for him. Every state in which man can possibly enter is determined by number, measure, and weight. The “Three Substances” are the three forms or modes of action in which the universal primordial Will is manifesting itself throughout Nature, for all things are a Trinity in a Unity. The “Salt” represents the principle of corporification, the astringent or contractive and solidifying quality, or, in other words, the body; the “Sulphur” represents the expansive power — the centrifugal force, in contradistinction to the centripetal motion of the first quality — it is that which “burns,” i.e., the soul or light in all things; and the “Mercury” is the Life, i.e. that principle or form of will which manifests itself as life, or consciousness and sensation. Each of these forms of will is an individual power; nevertheless they are substantial, for “matter” and “force” are one, and originate from the same cause. The three substances, held together in harmonious proportions, constitute health; their disharmony constitutes disease, and their disruption death.

Salt is of course Yin, the solidifying, the calcifying, Gravity, and Sulphur is Yang, light or warms, negative Gravity, and Mercury is the equilibrium between these two, a liquid metal.

The trinity in Alchemy, based on Jacop Boehme and Paracelsus, are Sulphur, Salt, and Mercury, but in Anthroposophic medicine both Sulphur and Phosphorus are used interchangeable together with Salt and Mercury, with the same general description, except that Phosphorus connects to the Ego and Sulphur connects to the Astral body.

In Spiritual Science and Medicine (VI) by Rudolf Steiner (GA 112)

We should recognise that all that we divide and separate on earth, both in our thoughts and in our actions, in nature is actually united in some way or another. In our thoughts we separate what is subject to gravity, and therefore tends to salt formation, from that which bears the light and is therefore akin to the workings of light; and we separate both these categories from what is contained in the state of equilibrium between the two.But in nature there are no such absolute divisions. All these ways of working are connected one with another, adjusted to one another, so that they form highly intricate constructions, and one of these intricate structural systems is shown in the lustre of the metal gold; for it is through gold that the spiritual realm looks, as it were, right into the external world….

Thus it is most important to notice how in old writings all these primary principles, salt, mercury and phosphorus, were seen to be in every substance in different combinations, and to note the diligence with which it was sought to liberate and extract these three principles from a given substance.

In Spiritual Science and Medicine (V)

Ancient atavistic knowledge was indeed not without justification in calling phosphorus the Light-bearer. Men saw that phosphorus does carry and contain that imponderable light. What salt repels and holds at bay, phosphorus carries within it. Thus the substances at the opposite pole from salt, are those that appropriate, so to speak, the imponderable entities — principally light, but also others, for instance, warmth —and interiorise them, making them their inner properties….

Here then you have, in external nature, two states which are polar to one another; that which acts in a saline manner and that which acts in a phosphoric manner. And between them, there is a third group: that which acts Mercurially. Just as man is a threefold being, a creature with nerves and senses, with a circulatory system, and with metabolism; and as circulation is the bridge linking nerves and senses to the metabolic functions: so also there is a mediatory function in external nature. It comprises everything that possesses, to a great degree, neither the saline character nor the character of interiorising the imponderables, but — so to speak — holds the equipoise between these two, by manifesting in the form of drops. …. You will find accordingly, that these mercurial substances are mainly linked up with all that is calculated to bring about a  the activities for which phosphorous and saline substances are best qualified.

In Spiritual Science and Medicine (IV)

This should be an elementary piece of knowledge familiar to all; everything on our earth that is globular in form, whether within or external to the human frame, is the result of the interplay of two forces, one urging towards life, the other drawing life away….

…But the salt-process belongs to the region that I am now outlining, just as the sulphur process belongs to the region previously described.

Man has an inherent tendency to mineralisation [Salt]; just as the forces fundamental to the development of our internal flora and fauna can get “out of hand [Sulphur],” so also can the mineralising tendency.

In Anthroposophical Spiritual Science and Medical Therapy (II) by Rudolf Steiner (GA 313)

Small doses of phosphorus and sulfur have the effect of throwing out the astral body, which has stablished itself too strongly in the physical and etheric bodies. Sulfur works more on the astral body, phosphorus more on the ego. The ego, however, because it organizes the astral body throughout, actually acts in concert with it.

In Salt, Mercury, Sulphur by Rudolf Steiner (GA 220)

In olden times men did not use the abstract word think to express something that arose in the mind as a picture. When a real knower spoke about ‘thinking’ he spoke of the salt-process just described. Nor did he speak in an abstract way of the ‘will’ but of the astral forces laying hold of the airy element in man, of the sulphur-process from which the will is born. Willing was a process of concrete reality and it was said that the adjustment between the two — for they are opposite processes — was brought about by the mercury-process, by that which is fluid and yet has form, which swings to and fro from the etheric nature to the astral nature, from the fluidic to the aeriform.

Kamalas Garden

Litterature

Alchemy: The Evolution of the Mysteries by Rudolf Steiner.

More on alchemy
My album on Alchemy

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Chaos or Order? No, Life!

We see everything in opposites,

Right or WrongChaos or OrderGood or BadYin or YangHot or Cold, …

But,
There is more to it than that.

We all talk about Order fighting Chaos, and most of us see ourselves fighting Chaos on the side of Order. But thats not how the universe is, and that is the reason why so many of our struggles go wrong.

Man is always struggling on one or the other side,
instead of finding the middle way.

odinstriangle1

Lets take a simple example: The Sun is the most Chaotic we know and the Moon is the most ordered we have, nearby. A Black Hole is of course more ordered, but our moon is just up there. The Sun and The Moon are two opposites, and we would not like to live on any of them, one too hot and the other too cold, so we live on Earth, somewhere in between those two extremes, alive in Equilibrium. Seen from that point of view, both the Sun and the Moon is deadly Bad, while the Earth is Good for living.

I define the Equilibrium as the midpoint between chaos and order, and in this context it is Life (I prefer the vocabulary of chaos theory for that of thermodynamics.)

The more ordered or dead the universe is, the higher entropy of the universe following the Second Law of Thermodynamics. With time the entropy will increase until the absolute death of the universe. So, with Entropy, big is Bad!

Following the Second Law life depends on the difference between Warm and Cold:

Since any thermodynamic engine requires such a temperature difference, it follows that no useful work can be derived from an isolated system with maximum entropy; there must always be an external energy source and a cold sink.

Its interesting that our universe have suns and planets, and life on at least one planet, contrary to the Second Law. The life on Earth has been build against all odds, decreasing the local entropy constantly, since the Big Bang.

Misuse of Resources

Today we are increasing the entropy here on Earth with an alarmingly high rate. Our use of the resources of Earth and our destruction of nature is increasing the entropy and destroying our chances for survival in the long run, removing natures possibilities to decrease the entropy while trying to keep the equilibrium.

In Scientific American there is an intelligent article “Does Nature Break the Second Law of Thermodynamics?” about Thermodynamics and local self-organization.

As we normally think in dualities, we have problems defining equilibrium. If we take Thermodynamics as an example, they define equilibrium in the one extreme where entropy is highest, where the universe is dead. In Chaos-theory equilibrium lies somewhere between chaos and order.

odinstriangle1

From “The Middle Way” by Radha Burnier:

Sir Martin Rees, the eminent scientist who is the British Astronomer Royal, states in his book Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe, that there is this kind of equilibrium or balance in the cosmos itself. According to him, these six numbers, which are either very, very small or very large, represent various forces in the universe, but all those forces exist in a state of equilibrium. It is very similar to the Eastern idea that there are three gunas or three kinds of forces working throughout manifestation. When they are in a state of equilibrium, it is called spiritual sattva or truth. Sir Martin Rees mentions that through the ages, the force of gravity has been in a state of fine balance with the force of expansion. If the force of gravity were too great, the universe would collapse into nothing. If the force of expansion were too great, the universe would expand away into nothingness.

In Christianity we talk about following the Golden Middle way, staying away from the sides, and the Indians talk about Dharma, the way to follow. In Kabbalah the Pillars at the sides are the opposites, Order to the left and Chaos and energy to the right, and the middle pillar is the equilibrium, Life. In the crosses on Golgotha we have Christ in the middle symbolizing life, Love.

Here a description of The Second Law of Thermodynamics without Entropy, very instructive.

Literature

Ilya Prigogine

Ilya Prigogine

From WikiPedia

Prigogine is known best due to his definition of dissipative structures and their role in thermodynamic systems far from equilibrium, a discovery that won him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1977.

Dissipative structures theory

Dissipative structure theory led to pioneering research in self-organizing systems, as well as philosophic inquiries into the formation of complexity on biological entities and the quest for a creative and irreversible role of time in the natural sciences.

His work is seen by many as a bridge between natural sciences and social sciences. With professor Robert Herman he also developed the basis of the two fluid model, a traffic model for urban networks, using Bose-Einstein Condensation theory in traffic engineering.

Other Work

In his later years, his work concentrated on the mathematical role of determinism in nonlinear systems on both the classical and quantum level. He proposed the use of a rigged Hilbert space in quantum mechanics as one possible method of achieving irreversibility in quantum systems. He also co-authored several books with Isabelle Stengers, including End of Certainty and the classical book La Nouvelle Alliance (The New Alliance).

The End of Certainty

In his 1997 book, The End of Certainty, Prigogine contends that determinism is no longer a viable scientific belief. “The more we know about our universe, the more difficult it becomes to believe in determinism.” This is a major departure from the approach of Newton, Einstein and Schrödinger, all of whom expressed their theories in terms of deterministic equations. According to Prigogine, determinism loses its explanatory power in the face of irreversibility and instability.

….

In deterministic physics, all processes are time-reversible, meaning that they can proceed backward as well as forward through time. As Prigogine explains, determinism is fundamentally a denial of the arrow of time. With no arrow of time, there is no longer a privileged moment known as the “present,” which follows a determined “past” and precedes an undetermined “future.” All of time is simply given, with the future as determined as the past. With irreversibility, the arrow of time is reintroduced to physics. Prigogine notes numerous examples of irreversibility, including diffusion, radioactive decay, solar radiation, weather and the emergence and evolution of life. Like weather systems, organisms are unstable systems existing far from thermodynamic equilibrium. Instability resists standard deterministic explanation. Instead, due to sensitivity to initial conditions, unstable systems can only be explained statistically, that is, in terms of probability.

The Golden Triangle and the Fibonacci Spiral

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