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Types of Involution or Descent

Involution means the Descent of Spirit into Matter, specifically of the Infinite Universal Consciousness into finite self-delimited form, although the term could be used in a more limited sense as well.

I would define four different types of Involution, each with their mirror opposite.  That opposite can better be called de-involution or un-involution, as it is not the same as evolution.  Together with abiding in the Supreme and manifesting in embodied form this makes a cycle, the Brahmachakra ("wheel of Brahma") of Hinduism.  This gives the following diagram,


Source
Absolute Reality
Descent
Emanation
Incarnation
Ascent
withdrawal
re-absorption
incarnation
maintenance of the world-process
Change - Transformation - Metamorphosis

So we have at least four pairs of modes of descent/ascent, four variations on the above diagram.

Emanation/Procession and Re-absorption/Withdrawl

This is the central thesis of Neoplatonism and associated metaphysical systems (Middle Platonism, Neopythagoreanism, etc).  It was also adopted, perhaps via Neoplatonism, in Islamic Esotericism and in Kabbalah.  It is also found in the concept of Panchakritya or the Five Acts of Shiva (the Godhead) in Kashmir Shaivism (a slightly similiar (but less specific) three-fold scheme was developed in Neoplatonism) and in Taoism.

Emanation can be represented by the following diagram:


 
Sequence 
Manifestation
A

 
A
A
A
 
B

 
B
B
 
 
C

 
C
 
 
 
D



A generates B but is not diminished thereby.  B likewise generates C and so on.

Re-absorption or withdrawl is of course the reverse.  D is absorbed back into C, C into B, and B into A.




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text content by M.Alan Kazlev
page modified 2 February 2000, last modified 19 July 2009