On knowledge, wisdom, mind, and the gods.

[24 July 2020] There are told many understandings in regards to the metaphysics of reality, some we find to be more compliant with truth than others, and from the philosophical discourse of metaphysics are attempts to deduce our picture of what is authentically real.

It is sometimes maybe thought to be the ugly side of philosophy and theology, the more boring topic that appears to neglect the substantial concerns of religion. However, it is from the human’s faculty of rationality that we derive our animal’s demarcation from the rest of the animal genus. Plotinus named the human the ‘rational-principle’, the midpoint between sense-principle of animals and the intellectual-principle of soul. It is a composite of the sense and intellectual; we refer to the animals with regards to sense because their knowing of the world is derived from how their senses report it, and they are governed by this alone.

Alternatively, if we were to speak of a being that is solely intellectual-principle, we speak of something that attains knowledge as it truly is – this we might call wisdom – and apprehends it without a need of sensible experience. You could think of consciousness being an example of something we possess by manner of the intellectual-principle as we have a certain intimate absolute knowing of it and what it is without deriving that knowing from our bodily senses. Of course, I don’t speak of us having an analytical knowing of consciousness – this is something that appeals to the world – but rather the intimate and intuitive knowing of it that comprehends its essence without the need for recourse to a crude analytical explanation.

Now the distinction between the sense animal and the rational animal (as we can’t solely deduce our participation in the intellectual by robbing the dog of its own possible experience of consciousness) is made clearer by fact of our capacity for reason, and it is by reason we can deduce the reality of something before experiencing it with our senses.

What has us fall short of being truly of the intellectual-principle is our unfortunate initial reliance upon the senses prior to apprehending a thing intellectually. In other words, while we might deduce the reality of something without having actually experienced it directly with our senses, we nonetheless rely upon our senses to first derive an image from the world (using image broadly to include all senses) before we can begin to deduce the reality the image reflects.

Gods, who are beings who participate solely in the intellectual, are unlike the human in that they grasp the full knowledge of something without having ever interacted with it, sensed it, or directly experienced it. You could say that their knowing of everything is due to their “method” of thinking; the very act of thinking for a god is the actual knowledge itself. Humans must collect images/information from the world so that it can create a composite of thought, that being ideas that are composed on the one side of the images we’ve derived from our senses and on the other the conclusions we draw from them.

To try and understand how a god ‘thinks’, first we must break the compound ideas of humans that are constructed of two substances and remove the sense-images. We are left with nothing but a pure conclusion, a kind of intellect regarding reality. But since gods deduce reality from reality itself and not from images of reality via sense like ourselves, the intellect they apprehend by the conclusion that is free of images is perfectly reflective of reality itself. The act of thinking about something for a god then is effectively synonymous with the information of the thing itself because all information that is held by a thing is simultaneously possessed within the intellect of a god, and both information is perfectly interchangeable and pertain to the same real thing.

In this sense, we can gain some slight understanding towards the omniscience of gods and their apprehension of the cosmic motions, and more especially how the work of gods is entirely intuitive to them, and that they exert no strenuous energy dragging the cosmos into motion and nor is there any great consultation between them trying to barter cooperation between the many godly forces at work. Instead, the gods preside over a perfect harmony, knowing wholly the works of one another and being one with knowledge itself. It is in this sense that we say, “the gods are wisdom”; to distinguish wisdom from the gods would be like trying to distinguish whiteness from the colour white. Whiteness is as much white as white is whiteness.

So what then is there for us to do?

It is for us to desire to lift ourselves up and out of the rational-principle, to abandon the humanlike and to become the godlike. To intimately merge ourselves with the essence of wisdom, to attain truth as it is without any couplement of images. We find the truth of reality doesn’t reside among the images presented to us from the outside, but rather reality is found by drawing inwards and finding the quiet within the inside.

To master the overcoming of humanness is to attain more of the god-life, to hold within ourselves a more whole wisdom untainted by images and ideas. To be, in other words, truly knowing without information. To be of the authentic-self, the soul as it was nestled amongst wisdom and retaining within itself godhood.

And now, to be true to what I say, you must forget all of this as I have said it, but retain it as you know it.