The blazing one

When a thing has life, our experience is that, somehow, in being with this thing, or in looking at it, we catch a glimpse of something luminous in it, of a deeper more significant domain or realm beyond. Some reality, more pure and more fundamental than the one we are used to in our everyday world. I can say the same thing in another way by saying that in a very beautiful tile, or in the fragmentary Parthenon, as I gaze at it, I feel clearly as though I am looking through at heaven. Of course, this expression may seem far-fetched or romantic. However, in the conception I am describing, this should be understood as a literal and structural feature of material reality, not as a metaphor.

If there is indeed an all-embracing single plenum of which we are catching glimpses, whether we call it “I” of “self” or heaven, it is reasonable to ask, What is the structure of this domain? Could it, for example, ever be given a coherent mathematical description? The answer is that it could not, in principle, for a very simple and fundamental reason. Of necessity, those things which we describe as mathematical structures — insofar as we can describe them as structures — are not truly one. They are — in our description — multiples. They are, necessarily, made up of various elements with relationship between them. We have to use these elements in our descriptions, because it is only through using elements and relationships that we can describe the structure. But what is achieved in an actual thing when wholeness occurs? It is not some multiple phenomenon of interacting structures but actual unity. That means “meltedness”, “one-ness”. This actual unity cannot be described as a structure. Yet it is this actual unity which is the source of life in the things we admire, and the goal of all our efforts when we make a building or a work of art.

Instead of calling it “I” or “self”, I may also assert that what is in this deeper domain is pure unity. I assert that this domain exists as a real thing; that it is parallel to the material world, but that it is inherently incapable of having structure, because it is pure “one”. But it is occasionally visible. At least it is potentially visible, some of the time, under some special circumstances. It becomes visible when the structure of a strong field of centers gently raises the lid, lifts the veil, and through the partial opening, we see, or sense, the glow of the Blazing One beyond.

What I am saying, then, is that this pure “one”, which may be like a blazing furnace or intense light, is partially available to our inspection.

When I see the beautiful tile, or walk into the beautiful building, it is as if I just lift up the corner of the flap and temporarily see into that blazing “one”. It looks like heaven. The idea, then, is that every part of our ordinary world, if it is given the right structure, will lift the flap or open the door, and give us a glimpse into that domain.

That is what happens when we are in the presence of a work of art, to the extent it has true living structure.

(Pages 149-150)

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