Dear Mr B.,
Your question no. 1: “What does the word ‘cosmos’ refer to in the teaching: is it just a galaxy…, or the universe in its entirety?”
The word “cosmos” does not refer to the universe in its entirety, but to an infinitesimal portion thereof, namely a globe in primordial matter, a globe composed of primordial atoms (monads) and compositions of primordial atoms. Such a cosmos is in physical respect what astronomers call a “galaxy”. Thus cosmoses are spoken of in the plural. This is apparent also in sayings by pre-Sokratean philosophers, who were strongly influenced by the Pythagorean school. They talked about kosmoi, plural of kosmos.
I refer you specifically to:
The Knowledge of Reality (KofR) : 1.5.2, 1.37.5, 5.4.17, 5.36.2
The Philosopher’s Stone (PhS): 2.43.4
Knowledge of Life Two: 6.6.4
Knowledge of Life Three: 17.2.4
Also my book The Explanation: 3.7.3
You are right in assuming a galaxy to be a gigantic collective being.
Your question no. 2: “I have difficulty understanding how the universe came into being.”
If the word “universe” is taken in the hylozoic sense, that is, meaning the same as unlimited primordial matter, then the answer is: it never came into being, and it will never go out of being, or cease to exist. It is infinite in time and space. I refer you to KofR 1.5.1
If you mean “cosmos”, then this is the work-product of monads who reached the highest stage of consciousness development (the highest cosmic world) in an earlier cosmos: KofR 1.37.5
In the universe, monads are constantly coming into being and are constantly going out of being, having achieved their purpose; and cosmoses are constantly being built and are constantly being dismantled, also having achieved their purpose. Since the universe is infinite in space, the number of monads and cosmoses now existing is infinite. And since the universe is infinite in time, this process – the coming into being and the cessation of monads, and the building and dismantling of cosmoses – has always been going on. Consequently, there never was a first cosmos, or a first monad.
Small wonder that you have difficulty understanding this. Your mind is finite, as is mine. We just fool ourselves if we believe we understand it.
What we should try to understand, though; and, once having understood, never forget, is this: esoterics is in all essence a discipline for second selves, thus actually not intended for human beings in their ordinary state of consciousness. This implies that there are very many issues in it that we cannot even touch upon in our present state of consciousness. The “double infinitity” of the universe is an instance of this. Double infinity on account of its being infinite in both space and time; or, expressed in a logically more cogent form: beyond space and time; our concepts of space and time having a meaning only in reference to the cosmos.
Nevertheless, you might find some further clarification of the problem of the origin of manifestation, the problem of a “first cosmos”, etc., in the paper The Origin of Manifestation recently posted on my website, www.hylozoik.se, English Section, under the heading ESOTERIC COSMOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY.
You refer to the teaching of the Kybalion when asking about God, the universe as being a separate mental projection from the mind of God, etc. Please note that this is not the manner in which questions are normally put under an esoteric discipline. You turn to me as an outer representative of an inner school, in this case the Pythagorean, or hylozoic, school, to have answers to some of your questions. However, those should be questions arising when studying the teaching of this school, not those of other schools. I am quite prepared to try and answer your questions as long as they have to do with our teaching. Why? Because this is essentially a matter of obeying certain laws and principles having to do with unity, diversity, freedom, and responsibility. Unity: service is a duty, especially towards those who are dependent on us alone. Diversity: different schools exist catering to different needs of different pupils. Freedom: as soon as a pupil feels he is not satisfied with the teaching given by the school of his choosing, he is free to leave, and to seek another school. But then his teacher, too, enjoys the corresponding freedom: to discontinue his teaching and service to that pupil. Responsibility: just another aspect of this; teachers of any one school assume the responsibility of disabusing their pupils of misunderstandings, fictions, and illusions that inevitably arise in them as they study the school’s teaching (not on account of any inherent error in the teaching, but on account of the great difficulties involved in conveying the teaching to unprepared intellects; and the necessary preparation takes a long time, and is moreover often not conscientiously internalized by the pupil). However, they assume no responsibility for dispelling misunderstandings, fictions, and illusions that arise in pupils as they study the teachings of other schools.
I refer you to KofR 1.42.5
What do you mean by “God”? An infinite being, separated from the cosmos or even the universe? Hylozoics recognizes no such idea. Why not? Because it is logically superfluous and factually unproven. There are only three factors in the universe: primordial matter, primordial force (dynamis), and monads made out of primordial matter by the action of dynamis. Everything else in existence is explained from these three. “The monads are the sole content of the cosmos” – KofR 1.12.1 Only primordial matter and primordial force are infinite in space and time. But they are no beings, have no actual consciousness. Primordial force is eternally blind. Primordial matter has only potential consciousness. Consciousness is actualized in monads only, and monads are finite beings, finite in time and space. The consciousness of the monads develops eventually, running through all the stages, all the kingdoms, and finally attains cosmic omniscience and omnipotence. Monads who have reached the acme of cosmic consciousness and will may be called divine beings, or gods, and we Pythagoreans do so. They are immortal, if they so desire.
Please note that even the highest evolved beings of the cosmos are monads who have run through the entire course of evolution and, before that, of involution. They, too, were once newly made monads with only the potentiality of consciousness. So whatever “gods” we will name, calling them ruler of our planet, ruler of our solar system, ruler of a configuration of seven, ten, or twelve solar systems, ruler of even greater intra-cosmic systems, and finally that collective of monads who rules our entire cosmos – all these are monads who have run through all the lower stages, including our own present one, and all those lower than our present one. We are all elder or younger brothers in the evolution. Even the highest cosmic beings are products of ongoing evolution.
If it were not like this, it would be meaningless to say that the monad is divine in essence. It is illogical to posit an infinite “God” separate from the universe, the creation of his thought, and at the same time to say that the finite monads composing his creation are divine in essence. The monads composing this cosmos of ours, regardless of the kingdom they have attained, are united with the cosmos, not separate from it.
On the other hand, it is correct to say that the most evolved monads of the solar system – the solar ruler and the monads next to the ruler, those composing the solar systemic government – direct the process of manifestation within the solar system through their ideas, which are ideas of the cosmic causal-mental world (29–35), not to be confused with the systemic causal-mental world (47). I refer you to The Philosopher’s Stone, chapter 2.58.
But, once again, even these monads of enormously high development (29-selves) are still elder brothers in evolution, not infinite gods eternally separate from creation in the manner of thinking of Jewish, Christian, and Moslem theologians.
I now move on to your questions about laws: “Who initially formulated those laws? If there are laws then surely there is a law maker?”
Two quite different ideas must be clearly distinguished and separated here: formulation of laws and making of laws. Pythagoras, for instance, formulated several important mathematical laws. But he did not make them. Formulation here means the verbalization of observations of objective reality. The objective reality being observed has its various modes of existence. Long and keen observation convinces us there is a constancy, an immutability in some of these modes of existence. That is law. Laws of nature are simply constant modes of existence of matter and motion. As the monads have their potential consciousness actualized and it develops more and more, they eventually learn how to adapt their activity to these laws which they discover and so grow increasingly competent in mastering their lives to their utmost satisfaction. They eventually discover also that there are corresponding immutable modes of existence not only in the matter and motion aspects, but in the consciousness aspect as well. Then they have embarked upon the long voyage of learning, understanding, and applying laws of life, in contradistinction to laws of nature. The highest evolved monads of the cosmos are the perfect masters of all the laws of life of their cosmos – they express those laws, those constant modes of existence, in their lives. But they did not make them.
I refer you here to PhS 3.2, and my book The Explanation, chapters 7.1-7.5 (the version of the text found on www.hylozoik.se is preferable to that found on www.laurency.com. I also recommend you to study the commentaries on 7.1-7.5.
You also ask for advice on some personal matters. I am rather loath to give such advice, except in very general terms. But since you ask, please receive the following.
Psycho-terapy might be a good idea of an occupation and field of service, though I positively warn you against psycho-analysis. In my experience it is excellent to combine psychological counseling with esoteric study and complementary medicine, such as chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, reflex-zone therapy, etc. Why? Because in my experience the majority of people seeking help for bodily ailments actually suffer more from their psychological problems, relationship problems, etc. They come to you for their back-pain, they say, but what is troubling them are psychological problems, domestic problems. And quite a few of them may find a long-term solution to their problems by learning there is a meaning of their life waiting for them, that they can rise and step out of the dustbin of materialism, physicalism, and there’s-no-point-in-living-ism.
Then you ask what advice I would give to anyone who is earnest about developing his consciousness. You ask: Is it a case that our good intentions will simply lead to a great deal of harm because of our lack of development? It certainly is. In order to be able to act more in accord with the laws of life we need to increase our knowledge and improve our being. It is not sufficient to do just the one and forget about the other. Why not? Because ignorance may be cured by acquiring more knowledge, but stupidity will not be cured with knowledge, only with consciousness. So consciousness has to be developed as well. And the most efficient lever to be used in that work is: attention. Simply paying more and better attention to whatever you do or undergo will yield astonishing results.
There are quality degrees of attention:
Attention of the lowest quality is mechanical or non-existent attention. Also called lack of concentration. This is useful sometimes, for example, when driving a car you cannot be attentive to all your movements or decisions (changing gears, braking, accelerating), since this would impair your swiftness in executing them and turn you into a traffic danger. However, mechanical attention in emotional and mental centres is positively harmful to higher development.
Attention of the second degree of quality is manifested in attraction or fascination, for instance being caught by a TV film. This is concentration, but generated from without, not from within, hence happens without effort and can go on endlessly. Children are adepts at this as soon as they learn to watch TV. Needless to say, attention of this quality degree, too, is not up to much when it comes to consciousness development.
Hence, only the third and fourth quality degrees of attention are profitable for consciousness development. The third degree is directed attention, meaning attention you direct yourself from within yourself, for instance when concentrating on some difficult job, artistic creation*, or reading some difficult text. This requires effort all the time, and when effort slackens, attention drops to a lower quality level.
(Of course real artistic creation is meant here, such as requires genuine and rare skill, not the “works” of modern so-called art.)
The fourth degree is the third degree plus self-awareness, self-consciousness. This is the highest quality degree, is actually the lowest kind of causal consciousness.
In the fourth quality degree, it is impossible to have such negative emotions as anger, resentment, hatred, fear, vengefulness, bitterness, self-pity, etc. On the contrary, it is generally accompanied by a sense of inner peace, calm, serenity, control of oneself, optimism.
So, the more often you are able to reach the third degree, and from there to move on to the fourth degree, the better. And the longer you can stay in it, the better.
The achievement the fourth degree by dint of intentional effort is called self-remembrance. For consciousness work on oneself to have any effect at all over time, one should self-remember many times a day. Start with the programme of promising yourself to do it three times a day. If you miss this goal, do not lower it, but raise it instead to five times a day, and simply work harder at it.
To reduce stupidity in your life, never make important decisions except in the fourth degree of attention. Postpone important decisions until you are in a better consciousness state. Try always to remember that there are better states. Why? Because it is an unchanging characteristic of worse states that, when in them, you do not even remember that better states exist.
Write down your next goal in life as for consciousness development. Describe it in concrete detail. Revise it now and then, to make it more and more realistic, concrete, down to earth. Write it down on a piece of paper. Carry that piece of paper always on you, in your wallet or whatever. Look at that piece of paper every day. Make it your “god”.
It is very good that you are in contact with Augoeides sometimes. You can reach him from the fourth degree.
Since you demonstrate a particular interest in the teaching on Augoeides, please receive an attached word text which is the recent revision of my translation of section Eight of The Way of Man. I sense the need of revising my translations every ten years or so.
Please note this distinction: “Augoeides” is the form used in the singular, “the Augoeides” is the form used in the plural. In the Swedish original, the singular and plural of this word are always clearly distinguishable. For the English translation I had to have recourse to this means.
I refer you to my book The Explanation, section Nine for some further advice and instruction on consciousness development.
Also on my website www.veidos.se, English section, you will find further instructive material.
Posted on the Internet on November 24, 2010.