This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
An Introduction to the Creative Imagination
Eric L. Bisbocci
Translation Copyright © 2001 Eric L. Bisbocci All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publisher except for brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and articles. Published by Lindisfarne Books P.O. Box 799, Great Barrington, MA 01230 www.lindisfarne.org ISBN: 0-9701097-6-8
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Scaligero, Massimo. [Luce. English.] La luce=(The light): an introduction to the creative imagination / Massimo Scaligero; translated by Eric L. Bisbocci. p. cm. ISBN 0-9701097-6-8 1. Light body (Occultism) I. Title: Light BF1442.L53 S3313 2001 133.8—dc 21 2001023396
Designed by Studio 31, inc. www.studio31.com
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Printed in the U.S.A.
Table of Contents
Translator’s Note 7 9 19 28
I. Darkness: The Leaven of Light II. Thinking: The Light of the Earth III. Forces of Opposition: Mediums IV. Metaphysical Warmth V. The Life of Light: Freedom VI. Sense-free Thinking 64 38
VII. Meditation as a Path to Creative Imagination VIII. Il Pensiero Pensante (The “Activity of Thinking”) IX. Dialectics and Spiritual Science X. The Magical Will: The “Void” XI. The Threshold 140 152 95 115
XII. The Resurrection of Light Notes 158
The translation of this work presented a number of difﬁculties, the most challenging of which was how to render the term pensiero pensante. Coined by Giovanni Gentile, the founder of actualism, pensiero pensante is usually translated as either the “activity of thinking,” as has been done in this work, or “thinking thought” (i.e., thought that thinks), which is confusing because it tends to presuppose a subject other than thought itself. The expression “activity of thinking,” on the other hand, lacks speciﬁcity. Therefore, a few words of explanation are offered here in an attempt to make it more intelligible for the reader. As Scaligero intimates in Trattato del Pensiero Vivente (p. 11), the pensiero pensante is not reﬂected thought but thinking “riﬂettentesi,” that is, “in the act of reﬂecting itself.” It is, in fact, what he refers to as the “dynamic moment” of reﬂectivity (Trattato. . . , p. 13). This pensiero pensante is continually at the point of leaving reﬂectivity, but does not. Hence the light or “pure dynamis” of thinking goes unexperienced. “Gentile’s pensiero pensante,” says Scaligero, “is not living thinking, but rather the intuition of the dynamic moment of reﬂectivity; it is not pure thinking, for it is thinking which is not conceived outside its activity through an object. The path of thinking proposed by spiritual science conversely has as its aim the experience of thinking in itself, insofar as it is pure dynamis, that is, independent of the object.” (Dallo Yoga ai Rosacroce, p. 125). Scaligero refers to living thinking as “the substance of pure ideas, to whose light the human being unknowingly tends with thinking and existing, for it is in itself the dynamis of thinking and existing, life. . . ” (Trattato, p.
16-17). Whereas the pensiero pensante which can “resurrect reﬂected thought from abstraction, by reactivating the dynamic moment of reﬂectivity, is still not. . . the inner life. . . . ” “This life is indeed present in the pensiero pensante, but it continually disappears” (Trattato. . . , p. 19). Only “if it realizes the continuity of its independence from a theme” can the pensiero pensante become living. (Trattato. . . , p. 16). Says Scaligero, “there can rise, as thought, the force which precedes its producing, i.e., the pensiero pensante but outside reflectivity. . . . ” Its object becomes the process of reﬂecting itself, which “therefore bears the life that previously annihilated itself in the thinking act, and for which this act has never been able to avoid being the fall of thinking into physicality, i.e., into dialecticism and into rhetoric.” (Trattato. . . , p. 14). In order to cognize this pensiero pensante, we must perceive its life. (Trattato. . . , p. 14). Connected to this is Scaligero’s use of the lone word pensante, which can itself be translated in several ways, one of which is the adjective “thinking,” as in “la coscienza pensante” (the thinking consciousness). Other ways are thinking “in the act” as in “in the act of reﬂecting itself,” or simply “that (which) thinks,” both of which the reader, again, must continually remember are in speciﬁc reference to that “dynamic moment” of reﬂectivity in which the light of thinking, in the act of reﬂecting itself by way of an object, ﬂashes in its dying out as dialectics.
Darkness: The Leaven of Light
The light by which we see things is only a symbol. At the point of seeing the light, we lose it. Our loss of the light is what we see as light. The light we think we see is the light that has annihilated itself so that we can see. We are always at the point of seeing the light. Therefore we see things. We are unable to see the light, because we look at things through the dying of the light. We cannot perceive the light, because we think we are seeing things, and we see only things because they are clothed in the light that we do not see. We see forms and colors and think that we are seeing things. But we see only the appearances of things — by means of the light that annihilates itself in us. Light is the secret being of things and entities. The essential matter of things is light. But the essential matter, the spiritual matrix of all that appears, is not the matter that appears to us. The matter that appears to us is fallen light: the corpse of the light. It is the stratiﬁcation of fallen light. Therefore, matter is darkness, the darkness dominated everywhere — except in the human soul — by the light. In matter, light encounters the levels of its fall. At each point, it gives itself up and extinguishes itself — in order to resurrect what fell.
Things illumined by the light of the sun are things at the point of lighting up again by means of the original light. But the light reﬂected by the world is born as light so that the human eye can see. It is born in order to die out. It continually dies out. Yet it is reborn each time. We must orient ourselves toward this birth, because it occurs in the center of our soul — in essential thinking, in non-dialectical thought, in pure perceiving.
When we are looking at things such as minerals, plants, and living beings, we are always looking at the light; but we do not see the light. Rather, we see the darkness into which the light disappears. The darkness that absorbs the light, the darkness into which the light disappears, is no longer darkness. It is the play of light within the soul, which, in the eye, grasps the colors and forms of the world, the structure of being. Not only colors, but also the world’s forms are the play of light in darkness. Any form of thing or being is matter that tends to rise again as light. It offers itself as an idea that is beyond our ability to grasp as such, for any idea we have is only an abstraction. We do not know how to grasp it as it arises — alive. Things, the world, and entities appear because they clothe themselves in light. But this clothing is the encounter of soul-light with the light of matter by means of the eye. It is the reconstitution of the original light, as an act of consciousness. And yet we are unaware of the presence of the principle of light. Because we do not live in the I, but in the soul, we
Darkness: The Leaven of Light
continually appeal to the I without being it. We have its light, but only as reﬂected light. We ourselves are the very source of the light; in reﬂection, we lose its life.
Our seeing is always a seeing of the light. All of the world’s being that reaches us through our eyes is a resurrection of the light. It is a continuing moment of the light’s resurrection — by which we see forms and colors. But not the light. We do not meet this resurrection directly with the light of our willing but, rather, through the mediation of the senses, in which the light of willing is inverted. We meet it with the movement of nature, through which this resurrection takes the forms of sensation, of representation. This is always the dying out of the light. Each time the light is at the point of resurrecting, it dies out. It dies out as the light of the world. The I should be so awake as an individual I, that it no longer needs such a death to exist. It should perceive death, so as to intuit the life which it loses. Everything that dies has the force of dying: dying is not the annihilation of that force. Dying can only occur as a consequence of the differentiated expression of the force — for the subject that experiences it. Annihilation is not a dying, but only a transition of that which, in a particularized state, cannot fully manifest itself. Thus, its being is actualized by its movement away from that condition, by freeing itself from that particularized state. But only a subject, an I, can complete this work. Annihilation apart from such a subject is meaningless. It is the path to “emptiness” and to silence: to the nulliﬁcation of all that impedes the light’s movement.
Thus, dying is always a hidden ﬂow of life. Forgetting that it bears the principle of life within itself, the I blindly fears death. To cognize itself — to cognize that which does not die as something real — the I must cognize the death of the “unreal,” to which it has bound itself in the soul.
Only what does not die can oppose death. Death gives life its meaning. It can be cognized only by what has a conscious life. The principle of life can experience itself only through death, insofar as it perceives itself on this side of what dies and, therefore, cognizes death without dying. On Earth, only the human I can experience death. We must experience death in order to experience the forces of life, in order to discover the life which we do not perceive during our existence, but which we know only by its earthly effects. We must experience death in order to understand that what dies is not us but, rather, the bearer of our undying being. We must pass through the darkness, carrying ourselves beyond the whole of darkness, in order to cognize the light. During life, our only experience of that light is what is reﬂected to us by darkness. Initiation proceeds through a series of death moments, beyond which the initiate rises again. Life processes cease to serve as supports to consciousness and this, in turn, resists the tendency to precipitate into nothingness by drawing forces of life from the incorporeal — from the I, which it is every day and without which it would not be.
Darkness: The Leaven of Light
All of our suffering is just this: our failure to see the light, though we know that the light illumines the world. It is the unseen light. We do not see the light, but we know that it illumines the world, or else we would not see the things, forms, and colors of the earth. We think that we see the light. We are unaware that we do not see it. We do not know that our suffering is precisely our failure to see the light while believing that, when we look at the world, we do see it. In reality, we imagine it. We think it. We suppose it. We see the sun’s light only in its guise of brightness and heat. We do not truly see it as light. In truth, light is idea: pure image. It is the image of an essence which surfaces in the soul each time our gaze perceives illuminated things. To the degree that our senses gather the dying out of the light, there arises in the soul the image of the light, which is the light at the very point of giving itself up. We do not live the life of the soul, but only participate in the sensation and dialectical consciousness of such a life. We do not notice the lighting up of the light in our souls. We stop at the reflection, at the moment of the world’s appearing, and we imbue this reﬂection with the power of reality. In translating the light’s reﬂection in the world into something of real value, in converting the sensory reﬂection of the light into thought, we oppose the life of the light. We operate according to darkness. We only experience light by opposing darkness to it. The opposition of darkness to light is the sense world — which we take to be real.
Without the opposition of darkness, the light could not give rise to colors. Colors are born for the human being whose essence is the unseen light, because human consciousness has darkness as its bearer. Colors are not variations or aspects or fractions of the light. They arise from the light’s encounter with darkness, and from our presence at this encounter. The relationship between light and darkness takes place in the human soul. Without the support of darkness, we would have neither the light of day, nor anything illumined by the sun’s glow. Light, penetrating into earthly darkness, and into the sensory sphere, renders day visible to our eyes. We do not know how to gather the invisible force of light. If we did, we would perceive in ourselves the wisdom from which light emanates. We have yet to form, within ourselves, the organ of perception for light. The light we think we see is only the symbol of the living light. It is in fact the light that dies out. This is the light that dies out into darkness, because it can reach us only in the sphere of darkness. We must perceive the light’s sensory manifestations, in which the light extinguishes itself, in order to reascend to the light’s image — the living image that is the fabric of light. In reality, we do not perceive light, but only darkness, or the darkness that absorbs the light. We see darkness in various forms thanks to the light’s forces, but we do not cognize these forces. We do not see the light. If we did see it, we would be able to penetrate the darkness. For there is no darkness standing in opposition to the light apart from the way we happen to perceive and represent it.
Darkness: The Leaven of Light
What impresses itself on our souls as sensation is only the form of the world’s dark element. To be known, it demands that we bind and extinguish the light to various degrees. The initial cognition that occurs, as a consequence of the extinguishing of the light, is not light, but only its image or reﬂection: dialectics. Such a dialectical process has the virtue of passively shaping itself according to the play of darkness — but it cannot penetrate the darkness. Reﬂection belongs to the force ﬁeld of darkness — as an imitation of the light, operating in the world by the light’s own force of necessity. The shining of the light, as it becomes life, means that the soul’s ordinary movement, or reﬂected knowledge, is reversed or overturned and that the reﬂection is reabsorbed. For the reﬂection is always darkness clutching at the light: dialectical movement. It is only in the human soul that this movement clutches at the light, through the soul’s echo of ordinary sense experience. Outside the human being, light pursues and dominates darkness. We must open up to this movement. Our opening up is already the light’s own movement. It is the intuitive movement of thinking — prior to words — in which the principle of the light operates. This is the I which we are — without being aware of who we are.
Darkness is not the same as nothingness; it is neither the void nor the absence of light. Rather, it is the force opposed to the light. Matter, deprived of the sun’s light, emanates an
inverse light, which is black light — an invisible darkness that is present even during the day. If darkness were nothingness, we would not see it; we would not perceive its obscurity. Darkness would be invisible to us. Instead, we see this obscurity, which is the obscurity of our own souls, projected onto the world. The darkness of the soul is the soul’s dependence on the body, a dependence that enables it to arise as earthly consciousness. The physical carrier imprints itself on the soul. The soul becomes deprived of the light, and so it lives by means of sensory life, in which it has access only to the extinguishing of the light. The soul is immersed in darkness. It has only the light’s image — the reﬂection, which lacks the power to defeat darkness. Therefore, when it lacks the light of day, the soul sees only darkness — a darkness that emanates from the powers of the earth. But it is because it contains the light that the soul sees darkness as well. We could behold the light at night. For in the very absence of the physical sun and its visible rays, it is possible to experience the presence of the spiritual sun in us. The function of darkness is to stop the visible light — which is not the light, but only its reﬂection. This means opening the threshold to the true light, which is the secret of matter. Nevertheless, what the darkness holds back lets the true light pass through. For we are to become conscious of the light and experience, within ourselves, the light’s movement.
Darkness: The Leaven of Light
Obscurity seen is already darkness illumined. For our experience of seeing is a movement of the light from the depths of the soul. Such light continuously extinguishes itself. But it could not extinguish itself if it were not there, or if it did not ﬂow continuously. For now, the radiation of the light into us is possible only as a dying of the light. It dies out in order to clothe the darkness. This happens only for the human being. Outside the human being, light dominates the darkness and darkness is defeated. The Logos has placed limits on the darkness. In the human soul, the darkness absorbs the light. It makes the play of the light its own. It clothes itself in light. It is only for human beings that light can die into darkness. We who see darkness behold it by means of the forces of light. But we cannot penetrate darkness, because we do not truly possess the light with which we see. We look at the darkness and see it. We do not know why we see it as darkness. The darkness we see before us is a symbol of the darkness of the soul. Nevertheless, the light with which we can behold the darkness rises to us from the soul’s depths. Therefore, by showing the soul’s condition more truly than the light of day, the darkness can sometimes be the object of contemplation and of silence. Contemplation must always proceed through darkness.
Light continually lights up anew. Only in this way can the darkness be seen. We are unaware of this. Our seeing is always the movement of the light, but of the light that lights up where it can only die out. It lives in the same moment that it dies out. It could not live otherwise. It would not give itself to us, if it did not light up in order to extinguish itself. Its ﬂashing forth, in order to die out, is the endless search for the true secret of things, which we pursue through sensations and thought, through enjoyment and suffering: uninterruptedly evoking life, seeking life, and losing it. For every movement is longing — the play of darkness by means of the light. The true secret of things can only be reached by the person who can inwardly enkindle the light that shines without need of reﬂection. For light’s reﬂection comes about through darkness, through the corporeal carrier. It loses its warmth. It lacks the power of life. Darkness is not merely the obscurity of night from which we draw our image of darkness — so that we call what contradicts the light, “darkness.” Rather, by drawing its image from the night’s obscurity, the darkness that we imagine is condensed and solidiﬁed in the material substance of things — in the matter from which the earth is structured. Matter is fallen light — light arrested during its fall from the creative forces of light. When matter is perceived, the light of thought encounters the fallen light. It meets this light because for it, the fallen light, illuminated by the sun, has become visible.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?