Union with the Fire
Q: Is there a difference between East and West?! History and philosophy led Western peoples through cultural processes different from the Eastern ones, such as Illuminism. The thought is an expression of what we are.
A: This thought represents the gist of common feelings. I don’t have any answers regarding the feeling of separation, because a long time ago I abandoned any identification with a particular culture. I could imagine what other ‘myselves’ might reply.
The mystic would say that Man is one and he is made by God, whilst cultures are human conventions.
The philosopher would say that cultural differences divide the humankind rather than unite it, therefore we must overcome them.
The scientist would say that the best possible culture is where man is not at the center of the universe, but the touchstone for the identification of the universe.
The psychologist would say that thinking is not the expression of what we are, but the expression of what we think we are or the society wants us to be.
The interpreter would say that a concept doesn’t get any better or worse if it is said in another language.
The Mason would say that it is better to look for the truth in universal principles, rather than in jingoist cultures.
The hermeticist would say that fire enlightens the initiate, not his culture.
The musician would say that, despite changing the instrument, the musical rules stay the same.
The traveler would say that there are many paths on the mountain, but on the top there is only the top.
The easterner would say that cultural differences belong to the worlds of ‘non-self’ (appearance), whilst the union with everything (universality) is in the essence of the ‘(true) Self’ (the spirit). Differences are like shadows dispersed by the light.
The westerner would say that some inner processes lead to a change that makes (each) initiate the ring of a universal chain, without time (principle of spiritual equality).
The child would say that it doesn’t matter where or how you start a fire, as long as you can do it.
Honestly, I wouldn’t choose any of these answers. Even less «to each his path!». I would say that it is nice to accept some challenges, such as representing two systems of (mental) illumination.
I feel confident that I know both methods. I can assure you that ‘light the inner fires’ is not only a metaphor, but a reachable goal. For example, by teaching the techniques to ‘practice the V.I.T.R.I.O.L.’, to men and women from different cultures and different continents, the results matched. I wasn’t surprised about it, because the archetypes of humanity (archetypical ideas) are the same for all the people belonging to it, and they are what we work on.
Much depends on the ‘non-reticence’ to changes. It is important not to feel too attached to the small boa of convictions and to accept the idea that at the beginning we are ignorant, because we don’t know much about the ‘inner spaces’. Apart from these, I don’t think there are any unsurpassable obstacles. Fear can be unsurpassable; such as being afraid of the inner spaces we have to face. The task of becoming the speleologist of oneself doesn’t appeal to everyone.
By Athos A. Altomonte