A concept is a construction, a development in the mind composed of connected experiences or perceptions and associated vocabulary. These connected pieces, like tinker toys, may be quiet simple or very elaborate. And like tinker toys, there are a many relatively right ways to fit the pieces together, many ways to map the parts and their relationships.
Our conceptual constructions may be too simplistic and undeveloped or they may be too complex, unwieldy and divorced from observation. The reason is that our experiences and thoughts about particular concepts are limited and we may not have done much to correct that, having not found the inspiration to do so.
Let’s think and play a bit with geometry, proceeding from the most simple.
Geometry begins with a point. It is a focus and in way the most illusive, being abstract and without dimension. We might think of the point as unmanifested potentially. And we might say that, being without visible aspects, it is unity, or the source of unity, and that it is the beginning point or cause from which everything flows. Since it is origin, it is an apt symbol of spirit.
A ray, extended from the point yields a line. This first radiation has a terminus. Let us call this terminus dense matter or effect, or that which is most remote from the origin. So, from potentiality (spirit) comes radiance, relationship, and relativity.
The simple line itself yields three entities: the origin (spirit), the terminus (dense matter), and all relativity in between. The line is also a unity in polarity, and is essentially one, a single line.
If we extend an infinite number of co-equal rays from our central point, the collective end points of these rays describe a circle, or if we add another dimension, a sphere. Perhaps we may take this as symbol of all possibilities, of all that radiates from the Alpha point or cause.
But, returning to the simple, we have three: point, endpoint, and the relation between. Relations are part of knowing. Consciousness means “to know,” and the simplest form of knowing is that of the relation between two entities. So let’s call this relational middle ground “consciousness.” So in our play with the line symbol, we have:
- Point, line, endpoint
- Cause, relativity, effect
- Spirit, consciousness, matter
Apart from the line, the simplest regular geometric representation of trinity is the triangle, and the next simplest such form is the square. The triangle gives us three points and the square gives us four points, and we might picture these two figures as a basic duality, analogous to the start and endpoint of our line. These two simple figures, the triangle and square, give us an added dimension in that their combination (3 + 4) yields seven entities.
It’s an entertaining thought that “a square” is a person regarded as dull, rigidly conventional, and in another sense a square suggest something block-like, solid, or sturdy. We might take the square, externally considered, as a symbol of spiritless personality. We can then, easily see the square as correspondent with matter. The triangle or trinity principle stands behind the square as spirit, and one often finds the triangle as the symbol of deity or of the higher self.
There are many alternative symbol systems that have some value. In thinking with and about symbols, it is not so important to derive a fixed or rigid system (which would be a uninspired personality thing to do), but it’s important that we think and strive to get at the meaning of things in the most simple and clear terms.
To be without love is to be without spirit. Heartlessness and selfishness conspire with a materialism that measures human life by time and limitation. But love is resonant with the sense of the timeless spiritual—it is the extrasensory eye that views the hidden life and special being of life beyond time.
Naturally, the realization of timeless love has profound effects on how we experience and relate to others. The famous researcher in extra-sensory perception, Dr. J. B. Rhine, wrote:
“Our treatment of people obviously depends on what we think they are. The more we think of our fellowmen as deterministic physical systems, robots, machines, brains–the more heartlessly and selfishly we can allow ourselves to deal with them… On the other hand, the more we appreciate their mental life as unique… more original and creative than mere space-time mass relations of matter, the more we are interested in them as individuals and the more we tend to respect them and consider their viewpoints and feelings.”