Soul Double Nature PDF Print E-mail
Written by Avery Solomon   

Astronoesis and comments from Anthony: indivisible and divisible; transcendent and emanating

Plotinus points out that there is a part of the soul that remains in the Nous (Divine Mind), but it emanates a reflex of itself, a principle of intellectual Being that is similar to itself. It is this unit soul, the God within us, that may be referred to as our soul, our ultimate individuality, and the true knower within us. It is "man made in the image of God."

Anthony Damiani, Astronoesis, p. 177


This unit of Being-Life-Consciousness goes forth, "formed from the undivided essence and the essence divided among bodies."  (Plotinus  4.1.1)   Astronoesis, p. 173:

We may refer to this as the individual soul or mind, …the combination of the mind or soul with the World-Idea, is our absolute individuality or Overself.    Astronoesis, p. 173:


Anthony comments 

Each unit soul has an inviolable sanctity, in the sense that it is an image of God. But that it can be individuated and determined and fulfill a certain potential which is in the Mind of God, I think is a concept which is extraordinarily beautiful. . . . Here you could almost think of what Hegel referred to as the "concrete universal": each individual soul insofar that it is itself, and also that which it has become or is becoming all the time. (class, 1/6/84)

 Soul has a paradoxical dual nature. On the one hand, we speak about the transcendent aspect of Soul as abiding in serene tranquillity, an undifferentiated consciousness. On the other hand, we say this consciousness has the power to project from itself a unit of life, or a stream of life which can be included in the world circuit and experience the World-Idea. . . . class 3/9/84

So, in order to know something about the Nous, the World-Idea, this transcendent being which is our I AM sends its offspring into the World-Idea, to evolve along with it. . . . We must think of this power in the sense of a continuous stream of life, a germinal intelligence or a germ of life from itself to that part of itself which is going to traverse all the kingdoms of nature. . . . Soul projects from itself a unit or a stream of life which reaches all the way down to earth, starts out as an amoeba and goes through all the various kingdoms of nature. . . . When it reaches the human level, that means it's entered the reasoning phase. . . .  3/9/84
    In order for this transcendent being that our soul is, to have experience of the world, it emanates part of itself into that world. We call that part the ego. And it goes through all the kingdoms of nature. But in doing so, it is discovering and finding out something about the World-Idea. . . . This unit of life is continuous and consequently can be referred to as a karmic continuity. . . .  3/9/84

…That traversing through the realms of nature develops and unfolds that individual consciousness, brings it out more and more. In other words, the very experience of the world forces the consciousness of an individual to evolve, the faculties to get developed. . . . The richness, variety, and incomprehensibility of the World-Idea will satisfy individuals at every level. There's a deepening, an inwardization, a widening, a comprehension of the World-Idea. . . .  3/9/84

Isn't it paradoxical and almost uroboric when we conceive of this? On the one hand, the Nous is within the soul and we are speaking of the soul as this transcendent being. On the other hand, this transcendent being has to emanate a part of itself, get involved in the World-Idea, penetrate into the depths of the World-Idea, so that it can develop prajna consciousness, penetrate into the void intelligence of the Nous, and come to a self-recognition within itself. . . .  3/9/84

Soul as a Double Knower

Based on the double nature of Soul, Anthony speaks of the unit soul as a double knower.  He uses the terms "insight " (as used by PB) and "understanding" as synonyms for Plotinus' two kinds of knowing.

For Plotinus the unit soul or mind was a double knower. That is, it had self-cognition, undifferentiated being-consciousness, which included cognition of its source or origin. The lower knower or secondary phase that is the faculty of understanding and reasoning would evolve by its journey through the cosmic circuit which provided the circumstances, situations, and events that would educe its potential and make it actual through experience. Astronoesis, p. 232

Anthony Comments:

When there is that awareness that is knowing, and it knows its own Selfhood, then we say insight. . . . When we say that it is not aware of its own Selfhood but only knows the external--whether that external is the ideas or the rational processes or perception of the sensible world--then we say that it is the faculty of understanding or the reasoning faculty or the reasoning soul. . . . One faculty can be referred to as the higher knower and the other as the lower knower. (transcript, 6/29/83)

Insight gives you the actual recognition . . . the mystical perception . . . that the perceiver and what is perceived have for their substratum consciousness. But intuition is reasoning upon objects . . . understanding of the reason-principles. With these two faculties you could find within yourself those attributes which are reflections from the Intellectual-Principle. (, 7/6/83)

One is Self-knowing and the other is other-knowing. Knowing-knowing and knowing-the-other. . . . They are not meant as a hierarchy. It's better to think of them as two aspects of the soul (I AM). (transcript, 7/6/83)

…When we speak about the double knower, [including the most exalted states of mystical philosophic insight] we're not dividing the knower: We're speaking about two different aspects of one and the same I AM. (transcript, 12/7/83)

Knowing, Willing, Feeling and Insight

Intuition, reasoning, understanding are being used in the same way by different authors as the faculty of the reasoning soul by which it understands, interacts with the World-Idea (which soul has manifested). At the most basic level, intuition is modalized as absolute Knowing, Willing, and Feeling. They all operate silently. (7/20/83)

Feeling developed to the utmost (or willing or knowing) will become intuitive. It won’t then operate as we know it in the discursive intellect.
When you have a real intuition, knowing some idea, a real aesthetic perception or appreciation, it will be silent, calm. This is what Plotinus refers to as reasoning about the objects, or the reasoning faculty in the soul, which is an image of the Intellectual-Principle, having the ideas unrolled and separate. Intuition does not apply to Mind itself, but arises in the soul’s relation to the World-Idea. 7/20/83)

That phase of the soul which seeks embodiment… is the phase which must develop this understanding.  This reembodying soul is a witness of experience, is the Overself as associated with the states and processes of manifestation. 

Anthony Damiani, Living Wisdom pl 259-260    

For the sage, there can be direct perception of the substratum reality as well as the operation of the understanding simultaneously, at any of the levels of ideation. In order to know anything about the contents of the World-Idea, or in order to articulate and formulate what insight delivers, the sage too will need to use understanding. So they’re [knowing, willing, and feeling] going to be needed as well as insight.

…Three levels of understanding the World-Idea are referred to as Intellection (intuition at its heights), reasoning, and sense. Correspondingly, the perceiving subject at these three levels is termed the spiritual subjectivity, psychical subjectivity, and bodily subjectivity. (7/6/83)

Now the combination of these two--the experience of one's center of being and the experience of one as just being--is what Plotinus referred to as the "We." (transcript, 2/15/84)