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Part I: Individuation and De-Individuation as sacrifice

This is part one of a five part excerpt from my book on the YiJing and DaoDeJing discussing the process of Ego sacrifice as the fundament of the dynamic between Individuation and De-Individuation.





"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image". If one were to follow the thought of the Eckardian school of Christian mysticism, one might be tempted to take this suggestion literally: The God to whom one prays, the God whom one sees and perceives, is not the God one longs to find: Only in darkness can one see the light of the Divine. Truth - as metaphysical God - lies hidden far from images in what is, not what appears to be. Accordingly, one should seek the revelation of this truth in silence, in darkness. This idea is discussed in-depth in my book on the YiJing and DaoDeJing, culminating in the epilogue in a chapter on “longing" and the relationship between truth and the individual.

This purification - the avoidance of “being possessed" by images - is the essence of the initiation process in primitive cultures that we discussed in the previous part of this book (see Kleinau An Always within a Never): Individuation coincides with the generation of a consciousness that is not obsessed with the mundane things of the world. This idea, of course, has its roots not only in the Christian notion of purification through liturgical atonement, baptism, and prayer for salvation, but extends beyond that to the roots of Judaism and later to early Islam: "When asked about the statements of the m equals, Ibn Hanbal is said to have replied, "Whoever says, 'Sight as my sight, hand as my hand, foot as my foot,' compares God to his creation, and this limits him and speech I do not like" (Williams, 2009, p. 31).

The idea of "original sin" leads to this notion of egofication and the associated idea of a lack of purity. What would the ego be if not a product of consciousness? And then, is not the biblical 'fall' itself nothing but the process of egofication of the originally pure soul? Additionally, the fire placed at the eastern 'gate' of paradise is intriguingly reminiscent of the ritual burning of the physical body to rid the 'spirit' of its worldly sin i.e. its images or ego. Thus, before entering the paradisiacal space, one would have to submit to the power of fire, which the cherub - or in some traditions an archangel - controls with the flaming sword at the gate of paradise. Symbolically, this points to the need to purify oneself before entering the realm of the sacred. This idea is echoed in the sacrificial liturgy of the Catholic Church, in which the community - during the Holy Mass - must first confess its sins before being raised into the body of Christ and finally symbolically offering itself to God (the details of this sacrificial liturgy have been discussed elsewhere, but can also be found in Kramp (1924)).

The realisation of the existence of the substance to be sacrificed comes before the act of sacrifice itself. Individuation, then, must precede de-individuation, which in Eastern traditions is associated with enlightenment: I must realise that I am - as consciousness - in order not to be. The image of the sword closely associated with Christ, the connection with the burning sword is clear in the Logion of the Codex Bizea on Luke, 6.4, where in the Aqocrypha of the Logion God speaks, "He who is near me is near the fire." The corresponding image here is the connection of the opposites with the goal of purification: This assimilation is necessary for the perfection of the self, to actualise the value structure of the society of the individual. It is an expression of the need for synthesis and manifests itself in the ritual and psychological relevance of the number three: the one represents the thesis, in the one the two necessarily arises as antithesis, and the friction between the two will generate a conflict that finds its solution in the three as synthesis.

A characteristic of this trifecta is that the One and the Two have inherent properties that distinguish them and cause the friction that justifies their synthesis, while the number Three is neutral in its totality because it represents the harmony between the two present forces. This need for harmony manifests itself in many contexts, both traditional and contemporary, and its relationship to the process of individuation is discussed elsewhere. The extent of the prevalence of this idea in the human psyche becomes clear when we recall the analyses of cave art from the previous volume of this book: There we saw how the necessity of connecting the two opposites plays a central role in the cosmogony of the archaic mind.

Here, too, the liturgy of Christianity can be found again: Jesus' death on the cross and his rebirth as the "Son of God" - cleansed of the chains of being human - his physical shell (his ego) drowns in the fire at his baptism, which allows him to enter paradise. And isn't the paradise self generally associated with blindness? The non-ego consciousness would then be embodied in Christ, who re-entered paradise by sacrificing his physical body on the cross.

De-individuation is the process of sacrificing the image and entering the non-image that remains: this would then be God-likeness. When I speak of de-individuation, I mean the return to the collective, the numinous as opposed to the profane, which is in relation to the individual that is, to the self-referral, individual. De-individuation is a collective experience. Its exact constitution and also its relation to individuation, as well as its metaphysical relevance, must be discussed elsewhere; here the focus is on its significance for the process of transformation in the two books.

As the book of the 24 philosophers, the Liber xxiv Philosophorum points out, the path of de-individuation to the experience of the highest truth, is a process in which images are sacrificed by the worldly: "When you begin to count, you no longer speak of God" (III) or "God is the darkness in the soul that remains behind after all light" (XXI). In his pursuit of creation - the ordering of the world through the power of the Logos - the individual discriminates and separates. God does not do this in his creation: "God is Spirit who generates a word while maintaining connection" (IV).

This creates a distinction between divine and human creation: while divine creation seems to get along without the separative movement, it is inevitable for human creation. In the Chinese YiJing, this problem is interestingly addressed in that divine creation is possible only in mediation by the individual. As we shall see, the paternal (divine) character Kien requires the help of the filial characters (i.e. humans) to draw from the unknown i.e. the character of the receiving one. This underpins the hypothesis put forward in the previous book (Kleinau, An Always Within a Never) that the divine as a value structure is a product of the movement of individuals between the spheres of heaven and earth. Nonetheless, the experience of creation without the necessity of separation, and thus the experience of perception without separation, remains property of the divine. The divine has thus become the goal of de-individuation. Only in the non-image, the non-consciousness, the non-individual is the perception of the things in themselves therefore of the truth and the being as such possible.

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