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The Dramaturgic Paradigm - the Dialectic of Light and Dark

The Gradation of Light and Darkness

Emanationist cosmology posits a kind of spectrum or gradation, with one pole being Pure Being, Spirit, God, Light (metaphorically speaking), Superconsciousness, etc, and the other pole being Matter, Non-being, Darkness (metaphorically speaking), Non-consciousness, and so on

What this means is that the further "down" one goes, the more the Light became diluted by the Darkness, and the less Potent it is.  This is why Plotinus, and the Lurianic and Post-Lurianic Kabbalists, speak of the Higher Worlds as being realms of pure Light and Truth, but the Lower ones as being progressively more negative.  This ontological sequence can be represented as follows:

Totally "Spirit" or Light

"Matter" or Dark
Divine - Manifest Godhead 
Archangelic - Higher Revelations
Spiritual - Angelic 
Psychic - Astral
Physical - Mundane
Sub-physical - Inconscient

The ontological gradation

All the higher worlds are spiritual worlds, of vary-ing degrees of purity.  Only in the lower worlds, the Astral/Psychic, Physical, and Sub- or Intra-Physical, the Darkness or Matter predominates totally over the Light

So at its respective extremes, this spectrum has two primordial principles, one of Light and one of Darkness.  The Darkness either pre-exists along with the Light (e.g. Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism,  Catharism) or comes about as the result of a pre-creation "Fall" or Crisis (Hellenistic Gnosticism, Lurianic Kabbalah, Theon's occultism)

Dualistic cosmologies, such as Hellenistic Gnosticism, Manichaeism, Catharism, and Lurianic and Sabbatean Kabbalah, distinguish between the transcendent world of Light and Spiritual Being, and the inferior world of matter

This lower world contains trapped within it sparks or particles of Divine Light.  According to Hellenistic Gnosticism, the Light is Captured by the Darkness, the result being a Mixture which was  neither pure Light nor pure Darkness.  Hellenistic Gnosticism, Manichaeism, and Lurianic and Sabbatean Kabbalah are all concerned with freeing these trapped Sparks of Light, so that the Darkness (the Ahrimanic world or Klippot),  which was sustained by the Sparks of Light, ceases to be

More profound is the idea that the Light descended  deliberately into the Darkness (e.g. the Anthropos or "Pimordial Human" of Manichaeism, and the Supreme Mother of Sri Aurobindo [Savitri]), consenting to Incarnate, in  order to Transform and Transmute the Fallen nature  from within.  As a result of this Supreme Act of  Self-Sacrifice, the Soul, the indwelling Divine Individuality or Higher Self, came about

The idea of a Divine Descent into matter explains another strange occult fact: that the physical world is not as unpleasant a place as the lower psychic (or "lower astral") worlds.  Although some occult and especially spiritualist teachings claim that this material world is the most horrible and inferior place of all, this is simply not so.  Quite apart from the obvious beauty that this physical world does contain (who is not by moved the beauty of a sunset, of a butterfly?), which the anti-worldly esotericists like to ignore or deny; the very fact that the idea of "hell" and of  "metaphysical evil" are so universally accepted indicates that there must be other worlds or realms of existence that are far more negative, more "nightmarish", or more ugly, than this one

But why is this so?  If the various levels of being constitute a spectrum from Darkness to Light, why is the physical world more beautiful than (and conversely not as ugly as) the lower psychic  worlds?

The answer is that due to the Original Incarnation of the Divine Principle in the very centre of the lower worlds - in the dense regions of Gross Matter - there is a preponderance of Light.  It is for this reason that the physical and etheric worlds are actually very positive, rather than being negative like the so-called "lower astral" worlds.  For it is only here, in the physical world, according to many spiritual teachings, that spiritual development and spiritual evolution can take place, and salvation can be attained.

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page by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 21 April 1999