Rosicrucian Writings Online
THOUGHT OF THE MONTH
ONE PLUS ONE EQUALS ONE
By THE IMPERATOR
[H. Spencer Lewis]
[From The Rosicrucian Digest October 1937]
IN THE mystical science of numbers we find that some of the common mathematical conceptions are confusing and contradictory. We have been taught in the schools of the material world that one plus one equals two. In the world of mystical realities, however, there is no such thing as a single element or quality manifesting itself as an entity.
There can be no mystical realization or Cosmic realization of anything except it has the duality of nature or duality of elements. Any single and individualistic quality or element of nature is incomplete in itself as far as a mystical, spiritual or Cosmic comprehension of it is concerned. Any such elemental quality is either negative or positive in potentiality and is incomplete in itself. It is only when the one element of negative potentiality and its complementary element of positive potentiality are united as two incomplete parts of the one, that we have a manifestation that is Cosmically and psychically complete.
Throughout the whole realm of mystical and Cosmic realization, the one incomplete potentiality or quality or nature is ever seeking its complementary companion. We should not think of these two companions as two halves that make a complete whole. There is no such thing in the mystical world or the Cosmic world as a half a quality or a half of a fundamental principle. Nor is there any such thing as a simple monad, capable of manifesting itself either objectively or psychically as a perfect and complete thing. Mystically, we may apprehend or probably comprehend the existence of a simple single element. But when we do apprehend this simple element we are aware of the fact that its whole existence is made understandable to us only by its restless nature and its constant search for a companion or an unlike element which it seeks to attract to itself as it is being attracted by the other element. In other words, we can only comprehend the incompleteness yet attracting power of a simple element. Its very incompleteness and its restlessness are the only qualities that make it comprehensible to us in a mystical or Cosmic sense. And with this comprehension comes the inner realization that either we must seek for and find the missing companion or wait until the two companions find each other and form a unit in order that we may objectively or materially and completely recognize the one plus one as a unit.
As an analogy, we may think of the electric current divided into negative and positive qualities, each of which is incomplete, and which make no real manifestation until they are united in their action and in their companion qualities and dual functionings. We may examine the two electric wires that are connected with an electric lamp or an electric motor or electric device of any kind and separating the two wires we may handle either one of them with absolute safety and discover nothing flowing through them or from them that would indicate a power or an energy or a vibration that would manifest electricity as a complete thing or unit. While we comprehend the elemental existence of the negative and positive power resident in each one of those wires, still we cannot rightly say that either one of them constitutes electricity or is capable of self-manifestation. In fact, our comprehension of the nature or existence of one or the other of those two wires is solely because of our knowledge and realization that each of them must have an unlike companion in order to manifest. Therefore, when the two unlike natures are brought together, as in the filament of an electric lamp or in the field of an electric motor, there is an instant manifestation, not of the individual simple elements of either one, but the blending of the two incomplete natures. This gives us an excellent example of one plus one equalling one--the final one or ultimate one being electricity.
This is true synthetically in chemistry and in all of the physical phenomena of life. It is even true in the social and biological world. It is this principle that is the basis of the doctrine of so-called affinities. In a purely psychic and spiritual sense, neither a man nor a woman is complete without the opposite polarity and the opposite spiritual, psychic and sex nature. It was in this sense that the earliest mystics and philosophers looked upon marriage as a holy union when Cosmically and spiritually sponsored, and as resulting in the existence of one perfect being. This idea was later developed and expressed in the idea that in a true marriage the man and wife were one, and not two individual entities. It was this thought that made popular, in a much abused interpretation, the thought that every individual--man or woman--had a fundamental soul mate which was seeking its psychic and spiritual companion, and that until two such soul mates united in spiritual as well as physical and material marriage, there could be no real marriage and no social or biological success.
In the ancient charts of philosophical and mystical principles, number one represented a dot or a point from which something started, but which was incomplete and never ending in its search until it associated itself by natural law and natural attraction and affinity with its logical companion. The dot or point, therefore, in all mystical systems of numbers and symbolism, represented the beginning of all things. For this reason many of the ancient philosophers symbolized God by the single point, inasmuch as God could be the only thing of a single or simple element that was self-manifesting, inasmuch as God was capable of manifesting Himself through us, we being the second point. In this wise, the very ancient doctrine and spiritual principle that man was made in the image of God was developed, because man, in order to sense God or realize the manifestation of God, had to have or possess in his simple nature the unlike nature of God, which would seek association with God, and which God would seek to attract to His own nature, and thus by the blending of the two make the One manifest. According to this ancient mystical doctrine, which is still a very excellent spiritual doctrine, man was incomplete and incapable of manifesting his real nature or comprehending it until he found God and was "at one" with God.
From this very simple doctrine, we really have the foundation of the true religion. Just as God is incomplete in our comprehension and understanding as an entity, until His nature blends with our own and we are attuned with Him, so man is incomplete and is not comprehensible to himself nor understandable to himself until he blends with the nature of God and a perfect manifestation of that blending is in man and expresses itself through man. A further development of this theological principle, that was for many centuries a secret mystical idea among the mystic philosophers, was the idea that there is an inherent natural Cosmic spiritual law operating in man which tends to make him ever seek for and search for that something of an opposite nature to his own which he apprehends or comprehends as being the missing half of his existence. And even this idea is crudely expressed by calling the missing quality a missing half, because, as I have said, we cannot comprehend a half of an element or nature.
The idea also developed from this secret teaching that God, when discovered or found by man, would prove to be in nature, and qualities, the very opposite of the nature and qualities of man. Therefore, the mystical doctrine was adopted that the best description or comprehension of God was that He was everything that man was not. Since man was mortal in his worldly existence and manifestation, God must be immortal in His spiritual nature and manifestation. Likewise, since man had form and limitations to that form, and was concrete and definite, God was indefinite and without form and abstract in a worldly and physical sense. Furthermore, since man was incapable of being everywhere and incapable of being powerful in every sense, God must be omnipresent and omnipotent. And since man is naturally cruel, envious, jealous, unmerciful and selfish, God must be the very opposite of all of those qualities. It was abhorrent to these early mystics to think of God as expressing wrath or anger or peevishness, jealousy, preference, bias, prejudice or any of the other qualities that man was capable of expressing. The fact that man was capable of expressing those qualities proved that God was incapable of expressing them, for God must possess and express and have in his nature only those qualities that are opposite to those expressed or possessed by man.
The fact that man gradually sought to express love, and had to wilfully and deliberately overcome his other passions and qualities in order to be kind or merciful or loving, proved two things: That man did not naturally possess these qualities, otherwise he would not have to deliberately try to develop them, and, secondly, that it was his natural and spiritual urge to find these opposite qualities in the missing part of his nature--the God part--that made him try to express these qualities; for it was his gradual attunement or sympathetic blending with God that gradually developed these idealistic qualities in his nature to modify and neutralize the other qualities which he seemed to express so easily and without a battle within himself.
Certainly this very ancient doctrine of a theological as well as a mystical and Cosmic nature really constitutes the fundamental of the mystical teachings of today as understood by the Rosicrucians and by those who have developed an inner understanding of fundamental universal laws through natural attunement with God and the universe.
There is one other point to this very old mystical philosophy of numbers that is also interesting. It is best expressed in the words, "One plus two equals all." Here we have the fundamental basis for the doctrine of the trinity. In our modern symbolism this idea is very crudely but briefly expressed by the statement that "the triangle represents perfection or perfect manifestation." Just as it requires one plus one, or a duality of natures, to make a manifestation of the separate natures of all things, so it is necessary for a third point to be added to the duality to bring about a degree of perfection which embraces all that there is. Our students in the higher degrees will understand this thought for it has been developed in the lectures and monographs to a very comprehensible degree. But the triangle does not represent a trinity in the sense of three beings, as is so universally believed by those who have accepted the more or less modern theological interpretation of it. The divine trinity or Cosmic trinity is not a thing that is composed of three entities, all of which are so blended that they appear to be one. We often hear the very erroneous and puzzling statement that the Godhead is three in one, or three Gods in one. There cannot be three Gods, no matter how philosophically we may attempt to blend them into one God. The trinity represents "All in All" or perfection of manifestation.
When this old secret idea of the mystics was finally adopted by the early Christian Church, and later taken out of its mystic setting in the hearts and minds of the secret inner circle of the Church and given in a symbolical and philosophical form to the outer circle or outer congregation of Christianity, its real meaning was changed or modified to meet the comprehension of the undeveloped and unmystical minds of the public. From that time until this day, although the "symbol of the trinity" has been adopted and reverenced as the most sacred symbol and principle of religion, its real significance and its real representation of a great law has remained only with the mystics. To the mystics, Jesus the Christ represented the sacred trinity, and so did God, but not in the sense that Jesus the Christ and God together were parts of that trinity.
I cannot be more explicit in regard to this transcendental and sublime idea in a public article in a magazine of this kind that reaches those who are not initiates. But I believe that there are many thousands of readers of this magazine who may get from my statements a faint glimmer of the very magnificent and beautiful ideas that are involved in these two great thoughts: "One plus one equals one; and one plus two equals all."
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