"René Schwaller de Lubicz (18871961) is known to English readers
primarily for his work in uncovering the spiritual and cosmological
insights of ancient Egypt. In books like Esotericism and Symbol, The
Temple in Man, Symbol and the Symbolic, The Egyptian Miracle, and
the monumental The Temple of Man--whose long awaited English
translation has finally appeared--Schwaller de Lubicz argued, among
other things, that Egyptian civilization is much older than orthodox
Egyptologists suggest, a claim receiving renewed interest through
the recent work of Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval."
"The Egyptian revealed a deep and
stunning clairvoyance that could be awakened out of the sentient
soul and foreshadow and explore the vast kingdoms of the Astral
world. Here Schwaller de Lubicz can easily inform us and help us
pick up the ancient thread. The contents of the Sentient Soul and
the future I AM were transmuted to science in the Egyptian mystery
"...Schwaller came under the influence of the new physics of Albert
Einstein and Max Planck. Like many people today, Schwaller believed
that the strange world of quantum physics and relativity opened the
door to a universe more in line with the cosmologies of the
ancients, and less compatible with the Newtonian clockwork world of
the nineteenth century. He was especially stimulated by the idea of
complementarity, developed by the Danish physicist, Niels Bohr, and
the uncertainty principle of Werner Heisenberg.
Bohr sought to end the debate over the nature of light--whether it
was best described as a wave or as a particle--by opting for a
position that would see it as both. Heisenberg's "uncertainty"--
which caused Einstein to retort famously that "God does not play
dice with the universe"--argued that we cannot know both the
position and the speed of an elementary particle: pinpointing one
obscures the other.
Schwaller would agree with Einstein about God's attitude toward
gambling. But he appreciated that complementarity and uncertainty
demand a stretch of our minds beyond the "either/or" of syllogistic
logic, to an understanding of how reality works. Complementarity and
uncertainty ask us to hold mutually exclusive ideas together--the
basic idea behind a Zen koan. The result, Schwaller knew, can be an
illogical but illuminating insight.
This "simultaneity of opposite states" plays a great part in
Schwaller's understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphics. It
characterizes what he calls symbolique, a way of holding together
the object of sense perception and the content of inner knowing, in
a kind of creative polarity. When the Egyptians saw the hieroglyph
of a bird, he argued, they knew it was a sign for the actual,
individual creature, but they also knew it was a symbol of
the "cosmic function" that the creature exemplified--flight--as well
as all the myriad characteristics associated with it. Hieroglyphics
did not merely designate; they evoked. As he wrote in Symbol and the
Symbolic (40), "the observation of a simultaneity of mutually
contradictory states . . . demonstrates the existence of two forms
of intelligence"--an idea the early twentieth century philosopher
Alfred North Whitehead would discuss, with many similarities to
Schwaller's thought, in his book, Symbolism, Its Meaning and Effect
Our rational, scientific intelligence is of the mind and the senses.
The other form of intelligence, whose most total expression
Schwaller eventually located in the civilization of ancient Egypt,
is of "the heart." This search for the "intelligence of the heart"
became Schwaller's life work."