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The Art of Saying and not Saying
Compendium on the esotericism of Silence and Word
Before starting this compendium, it is necessary to agree on some aspects of the use of the word that, without reaching the excesses of sophism, we can divide into four big orders:
Talking (just) for the sake of it … the profane use of the word.
Verbosity and discursive dialectic are the flatus vocis ; that is the aspect of the sound that tends to ephemeralness. This “light talking” is the vocalization of appearance, careless neither of the substance nor of the consequences of one's own saying.
Talking to announce … the exoterical use of the word.
It uses sciolism, even an encyclopedic one, to erect totems for cultures which are packed with ideologies often of opposite tendencies, so that from the different paradigms originate inalienable conflicts.
Another exoterical aspect is the one used in political, artistic and religious psychodramatic representations, based on the bewitching or the vehement use of the word.
Talking to transmit … the most advanced level of talking.
It starts from the transfer of the highest scientific and metaphysical properties up to the initiatory charisma , based on the transmission of psychic impressions, that is on the use of mental images.
This is the most interesting aspect for the adept. The idea, clearly transmitted by the word, catalyzes the conscience of the listener (see akoustikoi), impresses his mental substance and creates new forms of thought (see world of the ideas).
The intensity of the thought affects the vibration of the word and if this is strong enough the image-thought transmitted will preserve the characteristics of the living idea. We must remember that the occult education is a method that uses the transmission of living ideas. As we will see, the occult education is not about “secret postulates”, but the effect of the psychic impression that is transmitted through the “sound of the word”. In actual fact, the occult education can act as a first intellectual illumination ( not spiritual ). It is generated by the power of the sound and not only the power of the word ( sonorous vibrations ), that reaches the conscience of the listener, originating new ideas through an electromagnetic phenomenon of sonorous images similar to what happens in the case of electrolysis (see the interaction between neurons, set off by the sonorous impression, and the cell mass of the two cerebral lobes, like it happens between cathode and anode).
The initiatory transmission of the Word , then, becomes power. Especially if the sonorous emission ( sacred vocalizations ) is connected to the energy of a ritual Eggregore.
Being silent …has several aspects that are not always of consequence to each other.
Being silent can mean to hide, to lie, but on the opposite, secretare (to keep secret, note of the Translator ) means to preserve and to defend. Being silent also means to imply a thought among peers in order to protect it from the general curiosity. In the occult education the silence is a subtle element of psychological pressure that the Initiate uses to “force” the neophyte to the research; in this way he stimulates him to take his first responsibilities towards himself and his work. Or it can be another subtle way of pushing him to an independent decision, in order to show his ability or value.
Every archetype “exists” in its own unchangeable dimension (see Platonic hyper-uranium) that the observer can only perceive if he adapts his mind to the primigenial form of the archetypical idea (i.e. only through his own spiritual mind the observer will conceive the principle of a spiritual idea). If the contact between “observer” and the “observed idea” occurs on the plane of principle (metaphysical habitat), there won't be any distortion in the “light” of this idea and false reflections on the thought of the observer won't be created (see illusion).
Sometimes the ideas are observed only from the bottom upwards, that is their image is attracted and brought down in the material substance of the physical mind (see reflecting ether). In this case the two substances are mixed in the contact and the archetypical idea undergoes important transformations. By losing most of its limpidity, the archetypical idea goes from a natural situation of multidimensionality (see) to the two-dimensional representation of a physical idea (material image). Even in the two-dimensional representations, though, the idea can suffer further reductions, this time due to the personal limits of the observer.
In these terms the uniqueness of the idea ends up in a multiplicity of arguments, all different, that will dissolve its original meanings into a cloud of interpretations.
The different ability to conceive is placed on an ideal scale of 4 levels. Actually, it is probably more appropriate to call them differences of level which, according to the individual sensitivity, indicate the ability to conceive single fragments of a thought or the whole idea.
From these differences of level originates the classification of the rational-exoterical, intellectual-exoterical, intellectual-esoterical and spiritual-initiatory aspects. They indicate the difference in the perception of an Idea or a Principle. In order to follow this different attitude to perceive the same concept, the “initiatory corpus” has been divided into two classes. Obeying to the rule that the idea follows the Principle, a class is dedicated to the minor Mysteries that develop the physical vision of the Idea and another is dedicated to the major Mysteries that prepare the metaphysical vision of the Principle.
It is taught that the esoterical aspect of saying starts from “not saying”
Like any other initiatory concept, the Rule of Silence as well shouldn't be considered a concept for itself, because the consequence would be a defective and misleading thought, typical of the exoterical method. Through the esoterical research, on the other hand, any Precept will be considered as a part of a major paradigm with bigger implications; these will lead to conclusions which are different than those originated by considering it in its “individuality”. This is why we should develop this subject through many paragraphs.
From this point of view even an apparently simple subject like saying or not saying can range to the limits of the “sacred” ( sacrum facere ).
Let's start from the assumption that verbalizing an idea (the psychic precipitation of the idea that occurs through the word), corresponds to the incarnation of the idea itself. The ability to “animate” the Ideas of superior character (see archetype) is typical of the initiatory use of the word.
Only the man who knows and can keep the right relation between the value of the idea and the quality of the words used to communicate it (see vibration and energetic modulation) can animate an idea. Therefore Saying or not Saying is not only dialectic ability any more, but a powerful instrument available to the Initiate.
The theorem from which the principle of the Words of Power originates
The Word of Power and the sacred Word, although with different goals, are both made re-sound by the Initiate, whether he is an initiator or an officiant. Among the main aims of the Word of Power there is the “transmission of the idea” (the initiatory secret) through which the initiator impresses the conscience of the neophyte in the moment of the initiatory recognition. The sacred Word is inborn in its invocative-evocative use in the ceremonial theurgy.
The mysterial procedure is the tangible realization of the Ceremonials deriving from the tradition of the (Mediterranean) Ancient Mysteries. Public and exoterical ceremonials have only represented them in a symbolical manner because they are based on the formal appearance rather than the essence of the Initiator or the Officiant.
Assonance between the rhythms of Sound and the cycles of Light
In order to understand the power of the word we must start from the assumption that this is not only the materialization of an Idea, but it is also a sound , whose vibrations can impress mind and conscience of the living being.
The complementarity of sound and word (see the term to modulate ) leads to a sequence that can be summed up as: emission-pause-emission-silence . Although the silence appears as the last it must not be considered a minor element. Silence is rather an absence of sound that can resound, so much that it becomes more eloquent, more able to take imperative, explosive and allusive features than any discourse.
The aspects that accompany the sequence of emission-pause-emission-silence (see the terms sinusoid and sinusoidal sonorous wave) are related to the cycles-cadences and rhythms that make every sonorous structure (see the Sonorous Figures) and not only that.
The rhythms of sound and the tones of the word are related to the system of cycles-cadences and rhythms that determine the motion of the solar system, the planetary proceeding and the vital rhythms of every living being (see circadian cycles).
The rhythms of solar light are the cyclic calendars represented in the Great Book of Nature (see article). It would be restrictive to consider the sequence emission, pause, emission and silence only as a musical rule or a principle of the discursive art , because this kind of sequence tone-interval-tone (see interval of Octave) is the base of the principles of the sonorous Harmonic (Pythagoras).
Therefore the interval (the silence, mental as well) is the threshold of a space still unexpressed. The interval between two emissions defines a “cleft” in space and time that joins the physical dimension to the dimension of the non-manifested infinite, in which everything is still possible. But perhaps at this point the subject is becoming too technical for the aims of this compendium.
Destroy to Liberate
The sound of the word (vibration and tone) is a creative aspect of conscience.
The strength of the word , with the help of an evolved mind, can generate dynamic phenomena that can be either creative or destructive.
A creative example of the use of the word can be deduced by the method so-called « mouth-ear ». It means the ability to transmit an Idea of Synthesis , intellectual or spiritual, within a conscience that is still obscure; to impress it with thoughts having complete and definite forms. This kind of education is a first form of illumination that occurs between Master and Disciple.
According to the same principle we can express the destructive aspect of the word and we must not think that «mouth-ear» is only a symbolical expression. Its most common use is to dissolve in the same obscure conscience the models of thought psychologically defective or simply corrupt.
Here is the nature of the occult education (1). It is so called because it doesn't use strictly physical instruments and it prefers to use the sound of the word to transmit mental ideograms. Through this method (mouth-ear) an advanced Initiate is able to “destroy” the illusory forms in a mind that is not used to discriminate yet. He will free it from the wrong, misleading, subduing and deceptive forms of thought that occupy it.
To use a pictorial language we could say that occult education frees the mind: «…just as the light drives the darkness away and the wind dissolves fog and miasmas».
The Rule of Silence
In opposition to the opinion of many people, this Rule is not addressed to the Initiate, who doesn't need any warnings to conform to a just and balanced behavior. The Postulant, rather, should be recommended to: listen, gather, analyze, assimilate, become… and then talk.
By reading the Rule, we understand that it doesn't only mean «to be silent» but also to learn to «observe and reflect», silencing the impulses of the mind that are still under the instincts of the inferior nature.
Silence is also synonym of modesty. The modesty of the man who knows is not an exterior attitude but only an interior condition. It means to be conscious that even knowing a lot we will never know enough. Therefore the modesty is not in saying that we don't know, but in knowing that we will never know enough. Freemasonry reminds its most inexperienced members that in Freemasonry the only certain degree is that of Apprentice.
In the western tradition as well the first rule of the Akoustikoi was the rule of silence. Akoustikoi means listener, the neophyte that in the Pythagorean School kept absolutely silent, in order to develop the ability of penetrating the mystery through the inner observation. To this we can add the continuous learning without teaching anyone anything. The task of teaching was entrusted to the Epopts , who had already passed the levels of Mathematikoi and Phisikoi.
The recognition of the status of Epopts was granted to those «whose eyes are open».
Plato used to teach that «by concentrating on the observation of (one's own) solar plexus one could reach the consciousness of the universe» (2) . This statement makes us think.
It is clearer at this point how the «art of saying and not saying» is not the common talking, the dialectic, the rhetoric and not even the most evolved ars oratoria.
Although they are all linked by the presence of words, their use is directed to aims which are different from the initiatory procedure.
Use of the Silence
We have said that the sound of the word determines a power and defines a ritual sacredness.
There is also something closer to the normal conditions of being. It is the ethical aspect of the word.
The ethical aspect is never to say anything that might make an aspirant give up his best propositions. We often forget that educating doesn't mean only encouraging, but also correcting. Letting the most experienced people correct us is part of the common sense necessary to grow up, even in the most advanced levels.
Talking about “not saying”, we must also remember the silence-dissent , necessary to avoid giving too much emphasis to people who spout nonsense. An old aphorism says that: “a bad disciple is the one that, just after learning a new notion, runs and shouts it out at every corner of the market.”
Judgment is the pointer of the Scale
Every teacher knows that his help will be offered only at the right time.
Not too early or else what he has to offer will be left to soak into incomprehension.
Not too late or else his help will not have any use.
Therefore the choice of the moment is the most important aspect for the value of the support that one wants to give. The right time will be the moment when the aspirant is able to understand not what he wants but what he really needs. He will demonstrate it by asking, even in a modest form, a series of sensible questions. Therefore only the balance of well put questions will give the sign that the disciple is ready. This means: when the disciple is ready the Master appears.
The disciple can be informed of a part of a mysterial teaching on condition that this is really necessary for his progress . It can never be done only to satisfy his curiosity. Therefore the esoterical aspect of saying (unveil, open, communicate and transmit) or not saying (waiting for the right time of maturation) is enclosed into the terms of right time and right proportion. This brings us back to the symbol of the Scale. Balance and caution are represented in it.
The balance, in our case, will be to “give not too much, not too early”, waiting in silence and observing the initiatives that the postulant will take. This doesn't mean that he can't be stimulated in every possible form.
A particular kind of union between balance and caution is to understand what the word Re-veils. But this can have several meanings. The least known is that the word re-veils the meaning, that is it veils it twice, up to make it completely unperceivable; and the esoterical research is necessary to discover it again. The re-velation, as for “unveiling” an idea, can have beneficial effects when what is revealed is just; if, as it often happens, it is wrong or the resulting idea is deformed, the meaning can be a lie or even worse it can take a malefic form. Here is the importance of knowing exactly what we are saying and the caution of transmitting initiatory principles only to who is then able to preserve them in the proper form.
A similar example of caution can be found in the Password of the Mason that answers to the first question: .. you say the first word and I will tell you the second ... and so on. How not to agree with who, before opening himself, waits to see who is he dealing with and, most of all, if it is right to do so.
The Power of the Word is proportional to the Will of the Thinker.
The word evokes mental images therefore there's nothing more esoterical than building images to offer to the mind of the postulants. This raises the wind of inspiration in them.
The wind of inspiration , then, can derive not only from the spiritual afflatus, but also from the voice of the man who can let the disciple see the unimaginable. If the unimagined is made visible, the occult education of the disciple will quickly progress as much as the strength of those images.
It is written in an ancient Commentary:
« Sound, light, vibration and form be blended and joined: the work is one. It proceeds according to the law and nothing can stop it. The man takes a deep breath. He concentrates his strength and emits the power of a form-thought.»
In this rule we find the terms for the constitution of a ritual Eggregore.
A ritual Eggregore , like a common associative eggregore, is a form of thought grown around the aura of a person (see charisma) or for the will of a Group (see spirit of Group). We can find all kinds and quality, especially of an obscure kind, because the individual or Group will is not always of a subtle kind. Indeed, in the most common cases it is the expression of a desire, perhaps not very elevated. Therefore, in good or evil, an Eggregore reflects (only) the characteristics of his maker/s. These are specific qualities of man that hermetism has skillfully related with the value of metals. Starting from the vilest metal , lead, corresponding to the heavy and material body, going to tin and copper, that are alloys therefore with a mix of several conscience elements; silver, symbol of the reflected intelligence, and gold, corresponding to the spiritual conscience.
Indeed we are and we become what we think and an individual eggregore (see guardian Angel or invisible Helper ) or a group one follow the same principle.
If the person or the Group is of a modest caliber the eggregore will be the same. In other words, a form of thought will always be made by energetic elements similar to those of its “generator”. Therefore the fact that an eggregore is a subtle entity doesn't mean that it naturally is of superfine quality. To confirm this there are many esoterical and religious Circles and Temples that have spread forms of passional and astral eggregore.
We need to know this and the true aspects of a ritual Eggregore, in order to distinguish between the passional or exoterical origin of an eggregore. The most important thing is the fact that only a ritual eggregore can put in communication the Officiant with a Major Eggregore, like one of an Ancient Order.
Through an Act of Will the Initiate can join the Power of the Word to the creation of mental images (see visualization), as it is established in the fundaments of the Ars Regia.
If the Initiate adds the Will of the gesture to the Will of the sound that generates vibration, colors, words and images , he will reach the threshold of the High Ritual Magic. It is not magism, but Ars Pontificia , the last step of the Major Mysteries.
The ancient task of the akoustikoi was the same of the modern Apprentice.
Through a deep re-orientation of the concrete mind, the Apprentice must rebuild within himself the order in terms of geometry of thought . This different way of thinking, talking and acting leads to the decline of the instinctual and passional reason, that will be slowly replaced by logic plus, in a later stage, intuitive intelligence and empathy.
By definition, this is the Master-piece of the Apprentice.
When the art of saying will be preceded by the art of thinking, the “cautious” and the “sentient” people will act; they will be introduced to the natural resolution of their own mysteries. Through the last initiation ( Ars Pontificia ) they will be able to reach the condition of pontifex. They will be able to join (their own) Earth to the (inner) Sky.
Athos A. Altomonte
(1) The commonly known education is an activity external to the being, a passage of notions that often takes the characteristics of an imitative phenomenon. The occult education, on the contrary, is an interior phenomenon that uses mental instruments close to intuition. This kind of education is at first guided by an external Instructor, then, through experience, the Initiate himself will be able to stimulate the inner rules, putting himself in “contact” (see royal bridge, antahkarana bridge) with the subtle part of himself (see superior Ego, impersonal Self, soul).
As far as the external Instructor is concerned, he will act towards the disciple like an initiatory speculum: he will reflect his own image, so that he will be conscious of his fears, virtues and faults. The consciousness that originates from observing himself reflected into the Instructor, leads the disciple to intensify the efforts directed in the “right direction”. The process of mutation will be accelerated through continuous settlements of his exterior and interior attitude.
Not only that. The flow of words that the expert conveys to the mind of the disciple has the effect of creating new mental structures that are added inside the same original structure of the listener (see akoustikoi).
This method comes closer to the principle of the revelation that unveils and to the initiatory transmission. The sounds and images produced by the Instructor, in fact, evoke primordial and super-conscious memories in the conscience of the disciple, putting him in contact with parts of himself which were forgotten or yet to be unveiled.
From an old Commentary: « … silence is the land of thought, that covers and hides, but only there, in silence, the yet unknown idea germinates».
To this we can add that: in the silence of emotions the idea emerges; by realizing an idea that can be recognized in the physical mind as well.
This realization is produced by the superior conscience (soul) that, in assonance with the will of the Initiate, originates the inner revelation. How to prepare to this realization is the Major of the initiatory Arcana.
(2) The ancient eastern wisdom has transmitted the cognition of the mutual relations between the interior suns (energetic ganglia) in the occult physiology of the human being.
- relations among the centers above the diaphragm, that is head, heart and throat (that rarely include the center between the eyes).
- among the centers below the diaphragm.
- among the centers joined by the passage of the energetic forces from an inferior center to a superior one through the scapular center (the metaphor of the wings).
- between the energetic pressure of the centers above and below the diaphragm.
- between the sacral center and the throat center.
- between solar plexus and heart.
- between the basal and coronal (of the head) centers).