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    The Ancient Wisdom, or Perennial Philosophy

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    Extant
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    The Ancient Wisdom, or Perennial Philosophy

    Post by Extant on Tue May 05, 2009 11:52 pm

    Found this on the Thunderbolts Forum: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]:

    Right, here we go. What follows is my interpretation of the body of knowledge which I call the Ancient Wisdom. This is also known as the Perennial Philosophy, the Sacred Science and other names. The most obvious parallel, in terms of what is around today, would be the religion of India. For the record, I am not advocating or promoting any religion. I treat all this as a mental exercise or mind-game. At no point in this will there feature a big old boy with a beard sat on a cloud or mountain. In an effort to keep this as short as possible I am going to concentrate my efforts on the physical universe, rather than the Universe proper.
    As I've already said, one doesn't have to believe any of this oneself but one must accept that this is what the ancients believed if one is to make sense of not just mythology but also ancient philosophy and religion. A useful metaphor at this point is the way cells divide. When a cell splits into two, the original cell is unchanged, i.e. it is not half a cell. Another useful model is to think in terms of spheres within spheres or circles within circles. At the root of everything is a concept known as The All. (See also Aristotle's Unmoved Mover, nirguna Brahman (Hindu), No-Thing (Daoist), All-Father (Nordic), etc). The All is considered ineffable, that is it cannot be described. Any attempt to describe it results in a description of a part of it or one of its aspects etc.
    It is called The All because it is all there is. There is nothing exterior to it. Nothing came before it and nothing will come after it (because there was no before and there will be no after). It is, to the Greek way of thinking, Perfect because it lacks nothing and has nothing in excess. Nothing can detract from it and nothing can add to it (e.g. prayers or blasphemy). For whatever reason, The All decided to get creative. Its first step was to think through its idea. The All being the All, it thought through everything down to the last detail and possibility. In philosphical terms this means that not only has the past happened but also the present and the future have already happened. This has implications for the concept of free will. (Think of Tesla designing motors in his head and then building them without any intervening drawing or calculation stage). After this The All exercised its Will and issued the Word and the Universe came into being. (This is the level of e.g.Kaos and Phanes or the Dao and One or the darkness and 'let there be light' of the Abrahamic traditions. These are all conceptually speaking, neg and pos, female and male, zero and one, potential and realisation, Water and Fire). The Word is the AUM of the Hindus, the Logos of Heraclitus and the NT, and Ananke (necessity) of the Greeks. (This is the Word of The All so it cannot be circumvented, ignored, thwarted or otherwise disobeyed). The Universe exists within The All and is made of The All but is not all of The All. 'The All is in all; and all is in the All'. (and all that). I will now skip a few steps and move to the creation of our physical universe. I'll base this on the Greek version as it is probably the most familiar mythology.

    The first cell or sphere is Ouranos. Ouranos is the boundary of the physical universe, that is to say, that beyond Ouranos lies the Universe proper. Ouranos is the firmament of the Bible. The separating of the waters of heaven from the waters of Earth refers to this. In practical terms this is the area of space enclosed by the circle of the zodiac. Formed at the same time as Ouranos, Gaia (or Ge) represents the centre of the circle (or the nucleus of the cell). This is Earth and this is the centre of the universe. Ouranos and Gaia produce 'children'- the first generation of Titans (the straining gods). Earth's shpere includes the Moon. These twelve Titans double up to form six pairs. Each pair represents the +/-, male/female aspect of a particular concept (for want of a better word). Think Yin and Yang. Each is associated with a constellation and a planet. The next sphere is formed by Kronos and Rhea. Kronos providing the circumference and Rhea is the centre (Earth). This is essentially the solar system. And the next by Zeus and Hera with Zeus as circumference and Hera the centre. (Twelve Olympians split into pairs). You will have noticed that the spheres are getting smaller and closer to the Earth. This is because of what lives on the Earth - Man.

    Now, as a slight aside, the ancients viewed the sphere enclosing the Earth and Moon as the boundary between the mortal and immortal worlds or realms. And, as I've already mentioned, the sphere formed by Ouranos marked the boundary between the physical universe and the Universe. This (IMO) makes the area between these two boundaries the Underworld. This may not sound right but hopefully it will sound better once I have replied to the question of the Descent of Inanna and some other things.

    Man is not a creature of Earth. Humans are but Man is not ('I am a child of Earth and the Starry Heavens; my home is on Earth but my race is of Heaven' as the Orphics had it). That which the ancients call Man was created way back and is essentially no different form a Titan or god (we are another differentiation of the One). Think: 'All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players...'. The other 'gods' then are just the sound and lighting crews, stage-hands etc. Anyway, for whatever reason we are down here, voluntarily, to do something. This is what the biblical story of the eating of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the subsequent 'Fall' is about, except that it was a descent rather than a fall. There is no judgement or punishment involved anywhere in the Universe. Who would judge what? All is The All. We arrived as androgynes but eventually split into male and female as a result of the Principle of Polarity which holds sway in the physical realm. This is why there are two versions of the creation of Adam and Eve in the OT. There is also a Greek story of Zeus splitting in two the predecessors of humans (lovely little story, so Greek). It is also what the story of Pandora is about.

    We arrived here during the Golden Age or Krita Yuga. We were the 'gods who walked the Earth', and all that. During the course of the subsequent Treta, Dwapari and Kali Yugas, (Silver, Bronze and Iron Ages) we have become more dense, solid, material, physical and less god-like. So here we are stuck here wearing our Earth-suit.
    An aside about Time. Time is cyclical. Everything operates to the same four phases. But, because of the Principle of Polarity we have a descending and an ascending cycle giving eight phases (an octave). At the moment we are somewhere around the juncture of the fourth and fifth phases. In other words the juncture of the descending and the ascending cycles. According to the Maya we are due to enter the age of a new Sun (2012CE); to Sri Yukteshwar we have moved into Dwapari Yuga (1699CE); according to the Egyptians, via Schwaller, the Age of Aquarius will begin in 2100CE. The dates differ because different things in the heavens are being measured. This will obviously affect all of mankind collectively. On an individual basis the way out is through what has been variously named Gnosis, Enlightenment, Illumination etc. The wherewithal to achieve this is tucked away inside every human. (Know Thyself and the Kingdom of Heaven is within etc). This subject provides one of the major themes of mythology. There is one hell of a lot of psychology in myth, which is not that surprising given that 'All is Mind; the Universe is mental'.

    That's about it. I could go into a lot more detail but that is the basics of the ancient belief system. It can be found in all the world's mythologies, all the major world religions, and ancient philosophy. It is also to be found in the esoteric aspects the religions such as Sufism and Qabala, the various esoteric schools such as Hermeticism and Alchemy (both of these run, unbroken, from ancient to modern times). It forms the basis of the Freemasonry and the other 'secret societies'. It is virtually everywhere in some way, shape or form.

    I'll be questioning this guy on his take here once I've read the entire thread.
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    Re: The Ancient Wisdom, or Perennial Philosophy

    Post by Lucid Memes on Fri May 08, 2009 2:40 am

    Winston_Smith wrote:
    Right, here we go. What follows is my interpretation of the body of knowledge which I call the Ancient Wisdom. This is also known as the Perennial Philosophy, the Sacred Science and other names. The most obvious parallel, in terms of what is around today, would be the religion of India. For the record, I am not advocating or promoting any religion. I treat all this as a mental exercise or mind-game. At no point in this will there feature a big old boy with a beard sat on a cloud or mountain. In an effort to keep this as short as possible I am going to concentrate my efforts on the physical universe, rather than the Universe proper.
    As I've already said, one doesn't have to believe any of this oneself but one must accept that this is what the ancients believed if one is to make sense of not just mythology but also ancient philosophy and religion. A useful metaphor at this point is the way cells divide. When a cell splits into two, the original cell is unchanged, i.e. it is not half a cell. Another useful model is to think in terms of spheres within spheres or circles within circles. At the root of everything is a concept known as The All. (See also Aristotle's Unmoved Mover, nirguna Brahman (Hindu), No-Thing (Daoist), All-Father (Nordic), etc). The All is considered ineffable, that is it cannot be described. Any attempt to describe it results in a description of a part of it or one of its aspects etc.
    It is called The All because it is all there is. There is nothing exterior to it. Nothing came before it and nothing will come after it (because there was no before and there will be no after). It is, to the Greek way of thinking, Perfect because it lacks nothing and has nothing in excess. Nothing can detract from it and nothing can add to it (e.g. prayers or blasphemy). For whatever reason, The All decided to get creative. Its first step was to think through its idea. The All being the All, it thought through everything down to the last detail and possibility. In philosphical terms this means that not only has the past happened but also the present and the future have already happened. This has implications for the concept of free will. (Think of Tesla designing motors in his head and then building them without any intervening drawing or calculation stage). After this The All exercised its Will and issued the Word and the Universe came into being. (This is the level of e.g.Kaos and Phanes or the Dao and One or the darkness and 'let there be light' of the Abrahamic traditions. These are all conceptually speaking, neg and pos, female and male, zero and one, potential and realisation, Water and Fire). The Word is the AUM of the Hindus, the Logos of Heraclitus and the NT, and Ananke (necessity) of the Greeks. (This is the Word of The All so it cannot be circumvented, ignored, thwarted or otherwise disobeyed). The Universe exists within The All and is made of The All but is not all of The All. 'The All is in all; and all is in the All'. (and all that).

    I don't agree with the author's premise that the spheres (or the firmament) has anything to do with the modern understanding of cellular division. Part of me likes to toy with the idea of advanced ancient science, but every now and then, you run into bumps in the road that make you consider otherwise.

    For example. Ancient man had no idea of general relativity or gravity...they had no clue as to why they saw planets that were invisibly suspended in space and revolving around the earth. We know now this because of gravity...but the ancients had to explain it by creating the concept of "the firmament." That the celestial bodies were in a glass like sphere that held the planet in place as they spun around. I made this gif for a visual example.

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    Winston_Smith wrote:
    I will now skip a few steps and move to the creation of our physical universe. I'll base this on the Greek version as it is probably the most familiar mythology.

    The first cell or sphere is Ouranos. Ouranos is the boundary of the physical universe, that is to say, that beyond Ouranos lies the Universe proper. Ouranos is the firmament of the Bible. The separating of the waters of heaven from the waters of Earth refers to this. In practical terms this is the area of space enclosed by the circle of the zodiac. Formed at the same time as Ouranos, Gaia (or Ge) represents the centre of the circle (or the nucleus of the cell). This is Earth and this is the centre of the universe. Ouranos and Gaia produce 'children'- the first generation of Titans (the straining gods). Earth's shpere includes the Moon. These twelve Titans double up to form six pairs. Each pair represents the +/-, male/female aspect of a particular concept (for want of a better word). Think Yin and Yang. Each is associated with a constellation and a planet. The next sphere is formed by Kronos and Rhea. Kronos providing the circumference and Rhea is the centre (Earth). This is essentially the solar system. And the next by Zeus and Hera with Zeus as circumference and Hera the centre. (Twelve Olympians split into pairs). You will have noticed that the spheres are getting smaller and closer to the Earth. This is because of what lives on the Earth - Man.

    Thank for posting this Winston. I was not aware of the concept that "Ouranos is the firmament of the Bible"...this put a lot of things together in my mind that I had previously not understood

    Winston_Smith wrote:
    Now, as a slight aside, the ancients viewed the sphere enclosing the Earth and Moon as the boundary between the mortal and immortal worlds or realms. And, as I've already mentioned, the sphere formed by Ouranos marked the boundary between the physical universe and the Universe. This (IMO) makes the area between these two boundaries the Underworld. This may not sound right but hopefully it will sound better once I have replied to the question of the Descent of Inanna and some other things.

    Man is not a creature of Earth. Humans are but Man is not ('I am a child of Earth and the Starry Heavens; my home is on Earth but my race is of Heaven' as the Orphics had it). That which the ancients call Man was created way back and is essentially no different form a Titan or god (we are another differentiation of the One). Think: 'All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players...'. The other 'gods' then are just the sound and lighting crews, stage-hands etc. Anyway, for whatever reason we are down here, voluntarily, to do something. This is what the biblical story of the eating of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the subsequent 'Fall' is about, except that it was a descent rather than a fall. There is no judgement or punishment involved anywhere in the Universe. Who would judge what? All is The All. We arrived as androgynes but eventually split into male and female as a result of the Principle of Polarity which holds sway in the physical realm. This is why there are two versions of the creation of Adam and Eve in the OT. There is also a Greek story of Zeus splitting in two the predecessors of humans (lovely little story, so Greek). It is also what the story of Pandora is about.

    We arrived here during the Golden Age or Krita Yuga. We were the 'gods who walked the Earth', and all that. During the course of the subsequent Treta, Dwapari and Kali Yugas, (Silver, Bronze and Iron Ages) we have become more dense, solid, material, physical and less god-like. So here we are stuck here wearing our Earth-suit.

    [...]
    That's about it. I could go into a lot more detail but that is the basics of the ancient belief system. It can be found in all the world's mythologies, all the major world religions, and ancient philosophy. It is also to be found in the esoteric aspects the religions such as Sufism and Qabala, the various esoteric schools such as Hermeticism and Alchemy (both of these run, unbroken, from ancient to modern times). It forms the basis of the Freemasonry and the other 'secret societies'. It is virtually everywhere in some way, shape or form.

    Interesting perspective that Earth sphere is the underworld.

    This is an ancient gnostic cosmological meme that is also found in older religions.

    The basic premise of the meme is the idea that the purity of reality is a spiritual perfection...and that matter is a crude mistake. The material world is on the lowest level of a cosmological hierarchy that places the intangible spirit as the highest realm in the universe. All the lower realms are nothing but denser and denser emanations from perfection, down the lowest and heaviest realm...the earth.

    The ancients had a general contempt for matter. An example is the Egyptian's idea that the earth is hell and life on this planet is really existence as a dead soul...or better yet, matter is nothing but a prison for the soul...and the after life is your original state of glory. And to get back to it, your soul must be light. If the soul to too heavy (too materially dense) then it would not be allowed to move onto the afterlife's higher plane. Instead you'd be reincarnated here again on earth, tasked to toil in servitude.

    Kabbalah is almost the same thing for it derived from Platonic, Persian, and Egyptian ideals with similar cosmologies. Kubrick's 2001 A Space Odessey was all about reaching the higher levels of the Kabbalistic Sephirot. To go beyond the spheres and reach the a perfected state. The perfected state is not material. That's why in Arthur C. Clarke's 2010...Bowman has turned into a being of light.

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    This philosophy includes that everything is united at the source where everything originally came from and will return to (the Great Work is towards perfection)...so polar opposites are unified at the singularity. So for humans, perfection is a correction from the fall an unification of the original androgyny where polar opposites were once unified.

    There is a kind of elegance to this, but their is a dark side to it of course. The secret societies that run have been running the show (probably for millenniums) are working to become like "gods". Their hatred of matter (i.e. the world) is the reason why nature needs to be conquered. The created a system to encapsulate the world so that they can transformed it and the people living with on it, into perfectionist ideal they created in their own minds. Because modern conditions suck (largely influenced by TPTB of course) people romanticize the past and imagine they knew more back then, than we do now. IMO, it's probably not true...it's an interesting philosophy, but it comes from a time when people had limited understanding of how things work in this universe.


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    Re: The Ancient Wisdom, or Perennial Philosophy

    Post by Extant on Fri May 08, 2009 8:55 am

    I do find the author (Gray Cloud) to have a good grasp of ancient philosophy and mythology. The thread that he posted in is a worthwile conversation to read.

    I thought this would have more caught your eye from his post:

    Man is not a creature of Earth. Humans are but Man is not ('I am a child of Earth and the Starry Heavens; my home is on Earth but my race is of Heaven' as the Orphics had it). That which the ancients call Man was created way back and is essentially no different form a Titan or god (we are another differentiation of the One). Think: 'All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players...'. The other 'gods' then are just the sound and lighting crews, stage-hands etc. Anyway, for whatever reason we are down here, voluntarily, to do something. This is what the biblical story of the eating of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the subsequent 'Fall' is about, except that it was a descent rather than a fall. There is no judgement or punishment involved anywhere in the Universe. Who would judge what? All is The All. We arrived as androgynes but eventually split into male and female as a result of the Principle of Polarity which holds sway in the physical realm. This is why there are two versions of the creation of Adam and Eve in the OT. There is also a Greek story of Zeus splitting in two the predecessors of humans (lovely little story, so Greek). It is also what the story of Pandora is about.

    Those two statements interest me most of all in the entire post.
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    Re: The Ancient Wisdom, or Perennial Philosophy

    Post by Justinfinity on Fri May 08, 2009 10:58 am

    I want to add Tolkien's interpretation of TPTB and the creation of the physical world. This is from Wikipedia, regarding Melkor who was the first dark lord who Sauron was a lieutenant of, who first introduced evil:

    Before the creation of Arda (The World), Melkor was the most powerful of the Ainur. He contended with Eru (God), via the Music of the Ainur. Melkor was jealous of Eru, and wanted to create and rule other wills himself. He spent a long time looking for the Secret Fire (the “Flame Imperishable”).

    Unlike his fellow Ainu Aulë, Melkor was too proud to admit that his creations were simply discoveries wholly made possible by, and therefore “belonging” to, Eru. Instead, Melkor aspired to the level of Eru, the true Creator of all possibilities.

    During the Great Music of the Ainur, Melkor attempted to alter the Music and introduced what he believed to be elements purely of his own design. As part of these efforts, he drew many weaker-willed Ainur to him — creating a counter to Eru’s main theme. Ironically, these attempts did not truly subvert the Music, but only elaborated Eru’s original intentions: the Music of Eru took on depth and beauty precisely because of the strife and sadness Melkor’s disharmonies (and their rectification) introduced.

    Since the Great Music of the Ainur stood as template for all of history and all of material creation in the Middle-earth cycle (it was first sung before Time, and then the universe was made in its image), there was an aspect of everything in Middle-earth that came of Melkor’s meddling – everything had been "corrupted."

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    This is regarding the creation of Sauron and of the physical world Ea:


    The cosmological myth prefixed to the The Silmarillion explains how Eru (God), “the One”, initiated His creation by bringing into being innumerable spirits, “the offspring of his thought”, that were with Him before anything else had been made. The being later known as Sauron thus originated as an “immortal (angelic) spirit.”[2] In his origin, Sauron therefore perceived the Creator directly. As Tolkien noted: “Sauron could not, of course, be a ‘sincere’ atheist. Though one of the minor spirits created before the world, he knew Eru, according to his measure.”[3]

    In the terminology of Tolkien's invented language of Quenya, these angelic spirits were called Ainur (sg. Ainu). Those who entered the physical world were called Valar (sg. Vala), especially the most powerful ones. The (relatively) lesser beings of the same race, of whom Sauron was one, were called Maiar (sg. Maia). In Tolkien's letters, the author noted that Sauron “was of course a 'divine' person (in the terms of this mythology; a lesser member of the race of Valar)”.[4] Though less mighty than the chief Valar, he was more powerful than many of his fellow Maiar; Tolkien noted that he was of a "far higher order" than the Maiar who later came to Middle-earth as the Wizards Gandalf and Saruman.[5] As created by Eru, the Ainur were all good and uncorrupt, as Elrond stated in The Lord of the Rings: “Nothing is evil in the beginning. Even Sauron was not so.”[6]

    Rebellion originated with the Vala Melkor (Morgoth). According to a story meant as a parable of events beyond elvish comprehension,[7] Eru let His spirit-children perform a great Music, the Music of the Ainur (Ainulindalë), developing a Theme revealed by Eru Himself. For a while the cosmic choir made wondrous music, but then Melkor tried to increase his own glory by weaving into his song thoughts and ideas that were not in accordance with the original Theme. “Straightway discord arose around him, and many that sang nigh him grew despondent ... but some began to attune their music to his rather than to the thought which they had at first.”[8]

    The Discord of Melkor would have dire consequences, for this singing was the very Song of Creation, a kind of template for the world to be: “The evils of the world were not at first in the great Theme, but entered with the discords of Melkor.”[9] However, “Sauron was not a beginner of discord; and he probably knew more of the Music than did Melkor, whose mind had always been filled with his own plans and devices."[10] Apparently Sauron was not even one of the spirits that immediately began to attune their music to that of Melkor, since it is elsewhere noted that his fall occurred later (see below).

    Soon it was as if the discords of Melkor were at war with the themes of Eru – the cosmic Music now representing a conflict of good and evil. Finally, abruptly, Eru brought the Song of Creation to an end. To show the spirits, faithful or otherwise, what they had done, Eru gave independent being to the now-marred Music. This resulted in the manifestation of the material World, Eä, where the drama of good and evil would play out and be resolved. Eru allowed the spirits who so wished to enter into the new world of Eä and follow its history from inside. Many did so, Sauron among them. By granting free will to enter into Eä, Eru allowed great evil, as well as great good.

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    Tolkien definitely has done his homework, because there are some extremely close correlations. This is a great thread. Smile

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    Re: The Ancient Wisdom, or Perennial Philosophy

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