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January 13, 2013


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Laura Smith:

There is a via positiva, too. It is the 4 dhyânas. It is by the dhyânas that Siddhartha awakened (became buddha).

I practice Archetypal Dreamwork which, in itself, is a process of discovering and stripping away that which is known and pathological or shadow. Via Negativa reveals the possibility, the unknown of who we are. To strip away is to reveal. But, I don’t believe that this gnostic spiritual practice can be distilled into an affirmation through negation since it is through alchemy that we find the soul. The striping away is only a step towards alchemy in that it more fully reveals that which is of the soul (feelings) through the negation of that which is not. www.insearchofpuella.blogspot.com

Zennist: Never read any Böhme, but I am aware of Hegel's indebtedness to him. Thanks for the quote.

Hegel actually claimed that mystical insight (gnosis?) and speculative philosophy/metaphysics are basically the same thing.

You and Hegel disagree about which of the two is "higher". For you (just like for Buddhism in general, especially Zen), metaphysics is just a description of gnosis, a certain mystical seeing, insight.

But for Hegel the rational, philosophical expression is higher than the mystical, because the mystical lacks the power to express itself rationally. It is confined to "wise silence". While philosophy is able to express through the medium of thought and language.

Basically, he considered his Science of Logic to have accomplished what the mystics never could: put it all into words. Since, for him, nothing is as reliable as syllogisms, logical proofs, deductions, and so on.

In a way, what Hegel tried to do is to make an exact science (out) of mysticism.

The results were seen as sheer madness by some, and pure genius by others. A famous example of his 'mystical logic' at work:

"Consequently, becoming is essence, its reflective movement, is the movement of nothing to nothing, and so back to itself. The transition, or Becoming, sublates itself in its transition: that Other which arises in the course of this transition is not the Not-being of a Being, but the nothingness of a Nothing, and this, to be the negation of a nothing, constitutes Being — Being only is as the movement of Nothing to Nothing, and as such it is Essence; and Essence does not have this movement within it but is this movement, as a being that is itself absolutely illusory, pure negativity, which has nothing without it that could negate it, but negates only its own negativity, which is only in this negation, which latter is only in this negating."

Jure K.:

I am sure Hegel came across this:

"For in the one only substance wherein there is no division there can be no knowledge" (Clavis by Boehme).

You see this in the Awakening of Faith shastra.

Where Buddhism differs in all this, is with the requirement of gnosis. No gnosis, it's metaphysical bullshit.

The thesis-antithesis-synthesis logic can already be found in Fichte.

Hegel is more radical than Fichte: it's not that Spirit creates its opposite to see itself.

But that Spirit is NOTHING but the negation of its opposite.

It can be understood through Hegel's analysis of what he thought as the highest religion, the absolute, revealed religion (Christianity).

In that analysis you can see how Hegel viewed the dynamic of Absolute and Relative.

Before him, Plato, Plotinus, saw the Absolute as transcendent and indifferent to its emanations.

In the pagan religions, God sends his son, or creates a son, there were avatars, embodiments of God. What is new in Christianity?

For Hegel, the new of Christianity is that Christ is not only the son of God, but IS GOD.

Hegel draws this conclusion to the extreme. If Christ is God, then, who or what dies on the cross? The conclusion is fascinating: God Himself died on the cross.

So, for Hegel, it is not only that the Absolute (God, for instance) needs the Relative (the flesh, suffering Christ) just as a 'narcissistic' means of seeing oneself.

But that the Absolute only truly becomes itself ONLY through the absolute identity with the Relative. When it completely falls into the Relative.

In other words, the Absolute only lives through the Relative.

When you once analysed the Awakening of Faith and explained in the blog what's the difference between the "preexistent enlightenment in all beings" and the "final enlightenment", I think that's the same thing.

The Absolute only becomes itself when it's mediated through the Relative. First, it must suffer, fall, endure the negativity of otherness, ignorance, evil, and so on.

(We should bear in mind that in the 18th-19th century Germany, they didn't know a lot about Buddhism. With today's literature I wonder if Hegel's pick for the "absolute religion" would still be Christianity.)

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