I have talked about the way geometric forms manifest in spiritual work in an indirect fashion, but now I am going to talk about it more directly. Rather than observe the way in which such manifestations can be explored outside of the spiritual work, I am going to explore it from within the spiritual work. The subject of this little foray is going to be the cone.
Before focusing on the spiritual aspect of the cone, I do want to highlight how important it is to the composition of our visible world, to modernity itself. The mathematical consideration of it shapes the development of calculus and calculus shapes the course of modern science. The cone projects itself into many, many corners of our world. Its spiritual aspects are no less impressive.
Considered as a spiritual image, the cone is itself an image of the connection of the visible and invisible world. At its tip, the cone is defined by two extremes, a point and a circular base, between which its surface is defined. The further from the point you examine the cone, the wider its base. In theory, the cone can be extended to infinity, with an infinitely large base. Still, at its root, it remains a single point.
Mathematically, a point is all but non-existent in geometric terms. A point marks the precise point at which dimensionality becomes possible, but it doesn’t itself partake of it. One dimension only becomes possible when a second point is given, two dimension with third point outside of the line defined by two points, and three dimensions with a fourth point outside of the plane defined by three points.
Spiritually, we can contemplate the relationship of point and cone from a different perspective. The point of the cone defines a spiritual reality while the base of the cone defines its visible and material expression. In the material world, this takes on a circular quality. The tip of the cone casts a shadow that becomes the center of a circle. In turn, that circle defines a space between the spiritual reality and the material manifestation such that the circle itself, center to circumference, is nothing but a shadow of the point.
As we ascend in contemplation toward the point, we come to visualize the circle becoming increasingly smaller, less complex, as it approaches the point. Each of those smaller circles, in turn, cast a shadow on the circle in material-visible manifestation, such that it becomes extraordinarily difficult to determine whether we are progressing toward the point of the cone or just inscribing approximations of the ascent within the original circle of material manifestation.
There is also an important question. Can we, by working to discern and create spiritually-inflected patterns in the material world acquire a deeper understanding of the spiritual reality and ascend toward it or are we merely entangling ourselves more deeply in the material reality and losing sight of deeper spiritual realities?
This little puzzle casts a big shadow on the history of spiritual work. Look back to folks like Iamblichus and Plotinus, and you see this big debate about the role of theurgy, of ritual and ceremony with its very material manifestations. There’s an even more poignant expression of it. Are we really ascending toward spiritual realities through contemplation, or just finding tighter concentric circles within the material? Is revelation truly spiritual, or just a more constrained material circle?
A funny thing happens as we are on our way to discuss this in the forum, though. The shadow that the point casts in the realm of spiritual manifestation? Well, it’s actually no different than the point at the tip of the cone. Whether we think that we are ascending toward some higher spiritual reality atop the cone, or moving inward toward the point in the circle’s center, we are engaged with the point.
And suddenly the world is full of points.