[gthomas] THE NUMBER FIVE
THE NUMBER FIVEFor Jung, the ideal form of consciousness was a quaternity. In _Alchemical Studies_ he makes note of how when Paracelsus replaced the four elements with the three Principles--mercury, salt and sulfur--it was due to inner psychological motives. Even the Trinity he eventually turned into a Quaternity, adding Mary in _Mysterium Coniunctionis_." Jung saw alchemy as "a 2.000 year long Rorschach test on which the contents of the collective unconscious were displayed," though often it is his _own_ unconscious being displayed. Jung's comments on number symbolism are fairly astute so I brought them up in spite of veering off topic. Like Jung, I do believe there is a collective unconscious encoded in the genotype by the same type of selection processes which encode instincts. You can check out my essay on the sociobiology of religion and Stevan Davies response in the archives.
Trained in Jung myself, the symbolic representation of things such as numbers indicates the archetype, the inherent governing principle. Why are there four directions and not five? In fact there are four directions plus one more, which is not stated therefore unconscious, and that is center. Without center there could be no four directions moving out. So symbolic representations are used to indicate governing principles of existence. Our larger question can be, why use symbolic representations in spiritual texts? Is it to obscure meaning or to reveal it or to be a container for many levels of meaning or to be a container to project into whatever we want to of our own psyches and symbol systems. Five is a more whole number to me than four because it has the implied fifth as center or source which makes the configuration four a dynamic process whereas four is complete but static. So this representation of the five trees can be seen as a symbolic statement of a universal principle or archetype. We ask, how does the symbol represent a function? Turn symbol into function, can be the practice.
> Love is the doorway to enlightenment.Enlightenment unlocks the doorway to love. Before that, when the doorway is closed a greater love is not possible. Love requires consciousness to ground it in the real world. Consciousness requires love to give it relatedness and warmth. Consciousness without love can kill. Love without consciousness falters and dies.