When understanding the origins of human knowledge, we tend not to look into the everyday aspects of life such as the calendar, our numbering systems and how these could have developed. However, these components of everyday life hold surprising clues to the past.
An example is the seven day week which we all slavishly follow today. It has been said that seven makes a good number of days for a week and this convenience argument often given for the existence of weeks.
Having a week allows one to know what day of the week it is for the purposes of markets and religious observances. It is an informal method of counting based on names rather than numbers. Beyond this however, a useful week length should fit well with the organisation of the year (i.e. the Sun), or the month (i.e. the Moon) or other significant celestial or seasonal cycle. But the seven day week does not fit in with the Sun and the Moon.
How can an immortal god die? Especially Zeus who was not just a god but head of the Olympians, a new breed of gods that had replaced the Titans and their “despotic” ruler, Chronos. A Rome holding to Zeus/Jupiter perhaps rejected the Cretan tradition of the god’s death with the well-broadcast adage “All Cretans are liars”.
But we all should
know that mythology uses contradictory, or at least inconsistent, versions
of the same story, to express alternative perspectives and to transmit more
knowledge in the process, rather than “a lie”.
of the death of Zeus is that the story emerges exactly from that point in time
and cultural transformation in which Zeus is also born and at that time it was
familiar for a vegetative god, representing nature blooming in spring and dying
in autumn, to die and be re-born within the immortality of the eternal round of
the year or yearly daemon.
There were other
norms too, including the birth of men and their world of form, out of the Earth
and from within The Cave, as a natural sacred space created by the Mother or
earth goddess. Directly symbolic of her womb, form emerges as shapes in
formation like dreams, travelling towards the definite order found on the
The numerical foundations of the “earth mysteries” were nominally present in the medieval doctrine of the four numerical arts, the Quadrivium of sacred numbers, geometry, musical harmony and astronomy. However, these foundations need to be applied to something real which is: the numerical nature of the world seen from being alive upon it. This application gives a completely different set of results to modern science where, instead, numbers are being employed for measurements and calculations (using the physical laws discovered after the medieval period came to an end.)
The ancient mysteries treated numbers as having characteristics seen to be active within the world.
In applying these numerical arts, one comes into contact with mysteries in the form of ancient monuments, art and literary works, these containing the clues required for developing, in oneself, a kind of skill. This skill can mature into being able to recover information in the most unlikely circumstances because something apparently other to oneself is active within you: a developed sense. This I call the autonomous nature of the mysteries, which is essential when going beyond what is simply data in books, monuments, etc. I believe it is mistaken to call such mystery work historical since it is actually happening in the present moment to create something new, whilst appearing to reference data from the past. Historical data provides the necessary starting points for a new work of reconstructing the mysteries within oneself.
written October 2014 and published in DuVersity Magazine
In order to think about the cosmic world one has to recognize that it is more than the world of life found on the earth and the living world, or biosphere, is most probably a result of how the cosmic world organised evolution on the earth.
Published in DuVersity Online Magazine “Views” May 2014
John G. Bennett received a very unusual teaching from G.I. Gurdjieff, his early teacher, and from an early student of these ideas, P.D. Ouspensky, who acted as mentor during Bennett’s early development of the ideas then seen in his Dramatic Universe and other books.
The classic form of Gurdjieff’s ideas (c.1916-8) were fortunately reconstructed from student notes from lectures and eventually piblished in Ouspensky’s 1950 book In Search of the Miraculous. What emerged was a vision of everything that existed and how this Whole structure we call the Universe was layered into systems of differing size and how each of these scales of structure had its own type of operation including an intelligence which enables it to do things within its own world and organise its environment.
The commonly held idea of the universe, defined by our scientists, corresponds with structures of distinctive scale, such as galaxies, stars, planets, the Earth’s biosphere and planetary moons. In contrast, human kind used to attribute intelligence and being to celestial objects yet today, there is almost no scientific tolerance for large scale structures having an innate intelligence or being.
Yet it is hard not to attribute an intelligence within large cosmic structures when confronted with the fortuitous structure of the universe in producing life, and life with a degree of intelligence such as ourselves. Also, one has to ask: Why do these structures exist if not to create the conditions within which, at least, human beings can live in such a beautiful and benign environment as our biosphere?