The Two Poles of All Manifestation

And the ultimate aim of epistemology, according to perennial intellectual and spiritual traditions, is knowledge of the divine attributes and essence. Also, given that the “suspension of belief” would equate a human being to a plant or a rock, it follows that logic is also joined at the hip with faith, along with knowledge. Thus, there is a nexus between logic, knowledge, and faith which we must eventually reckon with. 

In modern scientific terms, we deem the attributes and essence of the perennial intellectual and spiritual traditions as “qualities and substance.” In turn, there are qualities which are not “qualities in general” to borrow from J.M.E. McTaggart. In essence, and as McTaggart suggested, existence “belongs to real substances, real events, and their characteristics, but not to characteristics in general, nor to propositions, should characteristics in general and propositions be real.” 

And of all the attributes, characteristics, and qualities which concern us the most in intellectual and spiritual life is the attribute, characteristic, or quality of dreaming and imagination. Aristotle considered dreaming and imagination to be neither of the intellect nor of sensory perception. Rather, Aristotle perceived dreams and imagination as amounting to “images” which are “impressed” upon the sense of the individual, and these “images” are entirely different than sensory perceptions.

Imagination is associated with “divination and prophecy” in perennial traditions, and imagination assumes a place in the apex or the peak of the “hierarchy of faculties” alongside reason in the human intellect, with the intellect serving as this apex or peak of human faculties. And of the attributes, characteristics, or qualities which define the intellect, it is “supreme intelligence” and “unbounded love” which constitute the human intellect. Hence, intellect and reason are driven by a divine intelligence and love which is largely unexplainable, and they are instilled into the human being through a free act of divine grace and divine will. 

Why dreaming and imagination assume supremacy in intellectual and spiritual life is because what is presented to sensory perception cannot be guaranteed as real, hence the concept or notion of “Cartesian doubt” or “Cartesian introspection” as Hannah Arendt noted. As a result, dreams and imagination are considered real because while dreaming and imagining, man is not “sensible of his body” as has been noted. In turn, love is a sublimation of what would otherwise be a bodily and mere reproductive function, namely, sex. And in a sense “consciousness of bodily organs” can lead them to stop working, hence the existence and the role of dreaming and imagination in our lives. 

In short, dreaming and imagination constitute the reality of the inner self, and it is the inner self which is the real and true self. It is the real and true inner self which then seeks to carve a place for itself in conscious life through dreaming and imagination, and in reality, the real and true inner self encompasses the conscious and external self, as Freud argued. Ultimately, what manifests individual consciousness and what manifests the universe are exactly one and the same, namely, the attributes and essence of the “Absolute” or the “Supreme Intellect.” 

As a result, if there is a “primordial unity” between the individual intellect and the supreme intellect, then dreaming and imagination can be taken as real and true rather than a delusion or illusion, given that the “essence and substance” of both types of intellect make up “the two poles of all manifestation” to borrow from René Guénon. 

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