With Every Philosophical Or Spiritual Edifice, Ask: What Magical System Is It Implicitly Invoking?

There are thousands of philosophy and theology and New Age spirituality books in hundreds of traditions coming out each year. Many new thinkers pouring new wine into old wineskins. The problem most of these thinkers haven’t wrestled with: what implicit magical system are they inhabiting?

They have not taken the time to erect their own magical system (and as much as I enjoy the Harry Potter stories, I’m not talking about creating a fanciful world erected on the notion that if you say something in Latin impossible things will happen that would delight or frighten a child). In other words, they haven’t created the linguistic and symbolic edifice in which they are instantiating their agenda, whether it is the Four Agreements of Miguel Ruiz or the Sources of the Self of Charles Taylor.

And if you don’t get a handle of the magic your ideas are incorporating implicitly, then you can’t control the forces in which that magic resides. Sometimes these assumptions are amenable to careful observation by the acute mind: hidden structural worldviews, value memes, levels of consciousness, implicit “quadrant” biases (to use a term from Integral theory), and so on.

But the trickiest assumptions are those which only become evident when you get aware of the biases of the linguistic symbolism which constitutes the idea. To see through language, to the other side … wow, what a concept! If only it were so easy.

What is on the other side of language? There are basically three sorts of answers. First, there is nothing, so enjoy the nothingness. We are forever embedded in linguistic constructs which we cannot escape so there’s no point in trying. Wisdom is discovering the emptiness of all concepts and symbols and entering into a “non-symbolic consciousness”. Second, there is nothing, so play with and preserve all linguistic diversity. We are stuck with languages, incomplete and devoid of intrinsic sacred meanings as they are, but we can translate pretty well from one to another, and communicate well enough, so that is that.

Both of those answers have their merits, but they are missing the point. There is something beyond language that is like a rock, but not a rock (to paraphrase a verse from the Canon of Supreme Mystery). It is the subtle energy of the Tao. It is the body of the Logos of the Creator. As Plotinus might have seen it, it is a series of emanations from the One. It is the essential sound wisdom of the Koran and its literary descendants in Sufi mysticism.

Here there are obtuse realities inaccessible to introspection, observation, or even the study of conventional linguistics. Only a structural analysis of linguistic iconism in a cross-cultural perspective is able to produce anything like a sound description of the “magical” patterns of the sounds and letter-shapes that create our worlds of meaning. At the same time, even a gifted phonosemantic researcher is not likely to identify all the patterns that are essential to getting to the other side of language unless she also marries her scholarship with insights from subtle energy research. With this help, you see that stepping off of language is not a plunge into an abyss; it’s skipping stones in a pond, the stones representing units of energy.

On the other side of language, there is the territory of the subtle energies which are deployed for speech production and which are invoked in naming various nouns, verbs, modifiers, and other grammatical parts of speech.  A very wide range of the sound symbolism of the world’s language – I’m guessing at least 80 percent – can be described using the symbols of the Y Ching (Unicode 268A – 268F) and the Taixuan Jing of Yang Xiong (Unicode 1D300 through 1D356). My correlation of these standard symbols to the standard symbols of the International Phonetic Association (with a few minor modifications) is the Lingua-U Alphabet. Even if you learn nothing more of the new language, if you just learn how to describe the language of your preferred ideas in terms of their subtle energy components, you are well on the way to getting to the other side of language.

And THAT is where the magic starts. Only when we understand that we are co-generating reality through our language can we transform reality at the roots. The transformation includes revisiting our spiritual and philosophical beliefs to discard stale language and refresh and engage with new sacred symbolism that has been previously unexplored.

Photo: Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter)

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