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The Nature of Reality


The Quaternity

the fundamental unit of manifestation

 
full yang
 
yang of yin
transcendent centre
yin of yang
 
full yin
 

I propose here that Consciousness, in manifesting, takes on a four-fold structure, which Jung refers to as the Quaternity, with the Centre being the transcedent Origin (which contains within itself an even more transcendent origin - hence the dot in the middle). Four Archetypes designate the four fundamental units of manifestation.  These are drawn here according to the convention of the I Ching of representing the positive polarity ("yang") by an unbroken line, and the negative polarity ("yin") by a brokn line.  I suggest that rather than the four-fold being derived from the two-fold (yin yang, Shiva-Shakti) polarity, the two-fold dichotomy is a  special case of the four-fold quaternity, and that the original manifestation of the Absolute Reality was as four principle archetypes.

This hypothesis is based on the universality of the quaternity as the primary paradigm of cosmology and cosmogony.  Some correspondences are indicated by the following two tables, the first of which gives a few examples from selected esoteric teachings, and the second from science and contemporary psychology.


Esotericism:


quaternity
based on I Ching bi-grams
European (Greek, Celtic, & Hermetic)
elements
Indian elements
(tattwas)
Chinese "elements"
Tathagata Buddhas 
(Vajrayana)
Kabbalah
Anthroposophy
Etheric Formative forces
Sri Aurobindo-
four emanations of the Supreme Mother
type of arrangement:
mandala
emanation
mandala
mandala (+emanation)
Emanation
(+mandala)
mandala (+emanation)
mandala
transcendent centre
Spirit (Ether, 
centre)
Space (Akasha)
Earth
Vairocana
Tetra- gammaton
En Sof
n/a
Mahashakti
full yang
Fire
Air
Metal
Akshobya
yod
Atzilut
Warmth ether
(centrifugal)
Maheshwari
yang of yin
Water
Fire
Wood
Ratna- sambhava
he
Beriah
Light ether
(centrifugal)
Mahalakshmi
yin of yang
Air
Water
Fire
Amitabha
vau
Yetzirah
Chemical ether
(centripedal)
Mahakali
full yin
Earth
Earth
Water
Amoghasiddhi
final he
Asiyah
Life ether
(centripedal)
Mahasaraswati

modern psychology and science:

quaternity
state of matter 
Jungian psychology (and equivalents)
physical force
DNA codon
 Theory of Process (Arthur Young)
transcendent centre
?
ego 
(consciousness)
unified field?
n/a
 n/a
full yang
plasma
Intuition
strong nuclear
Guanine
 I Purpose
(goal)
yang of yin
liquid
Feeling
electromagnetic
Cytosine
 II Substance
(movement)
yin of yang
gas
Thinking
weak nuclear
Adenine
 III Form
(focus on centre)
full yin
solid
Sensation
gravitational
Thymine
 IV Combination

There are a few discrepencies, which increase the futrther into the minutae of symbolism one goes.  But on the whole it comes together quite well


Some Notes

Regarding the sequence of the first four numbers, here are some notes I drew up in 1992/93 on this subject. Click on the image for a larger (possibly more readable) version


The Quaternity - speculative metaphysical notes - click here for larger image


The first three numbers and the Godhead - speculative metaphysical notes - click here for larger image


The Quaternity - more speculative metaphysical notes - click here for larger image


Finally, having said (and written up) all this, I might add as a post-script, regarding this hypothesis, that choice of the number four, rather than three, five, seven, ten, or any other number probably represents an arbitrary quirk of my personality.  Numerologically fours feature highly in my life, so I am probably doing nothing but reflecting my own self in this metaphysic; just as Blavatsky reflected herself in the number seven, the Chinese Taoists in the numbers two and five, and so on.

So there, you don't have to take anything seriously  ;-)

(and be wary of anyone who propounds any doctrine with too much seriousness!)


The Tetrakys, and more diagrams


| Speculating on the nature of reality | A Fractal Map of Reality | The Nature of the All | The Temporal Manifestation | Process | The Tetrakys | Realities | The Absolute Reality | Absolute and Relative Realities | Speculating on the nature of reality


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text by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 22 March 1999, last modified 6 May 2004