Four Prisms of the Eye of Consciousness: The Eye of Value, the Eye of Contemplation, the Eye of the Spirit, and the Eye of the Heart

The Eye of Value is a term coined and shared by Dr. Gafni in multiple oral teaching over many years and in this more formal essay from 2018. This early draft was drawn from the forthcoming volumes of The Universe: A Love Story—First Meditations on CosmoErotic Humanism in Response to the Meta-Crisis by Dr. Marc Gafni. A more expanded version will also appear in forthcoming work by Gafni, Stein, and Wilber under the moniker of David J. Temple.

The essay was edited and prepared for publication by Kerstin Tuschik. We welcome substantive feedback as we prepare a more advanced version of this essay.

Download a PDF of the Essay

The Empiricism of Love: The Three Eyes of Knowing—The Three Eyes of Eros—The Three Forms of Gnosis—The Three Eyes That Are One

How do we know that Love is Real?

Not because of faith or dogma.

Rather, we know Love is real because the depth of our direct felt experience of Love tells us it is so. Our experience of Eros generates gnosis. That Love is real, and not a social construction, a fiction, or a figment of our imagination, is, like all good science, an empirical truth. This is, in fact, how all true knowledge in every field of inquiry is obtained.

Knowing through experience, however, is precisely the opposite of dogma. Knowing through experience is what we call empiricism. And knowing that Love is real—in fact more real than anything else, as the intrinsic value of Cosmos it is—is what William James correctly called Radical Empiricism.

Indeed, all of science, as opposed to organized religion, is based on the authority of direct validated experience. This is true both in the exterior science and what we have called the interior sciences. Indeed, in exterior and interior sciences, there are three ways to unfurnish our eyes—or what have been called the Three Eyes of Knowing. In fact, these Three Eyes are three distinct forms of the Anthro-Ontological Method.

In CosmoErotic Humanism, we refer to them as the Eye of the Senses, the Eye of the Mind, and the Eye of Consciousness.

The Eye of Consciousness is also known by at least four other names: the Eye of Value, the Eye of the Heart, the Eye of the Spirit, or the Eye of Contemplation.

It is this last set of eyes, by all of their names, which discloses Love’s Ultimate Reality, which is Love’s Knowledge, which is Love’s Value.

But we will see, as consciousness evolves, these very distinct eyes begin to come together, and we realize that, at the higher levels of consciousness, they inseparably inter-animate each other.

Each of these eyes illuminates a different dimension of Reality.

Each one is the province of particular dimensions of knowledge.

At higher levels of consciousness—what is sometimes called, in the interior sciences, nondual realization—the different dimensions, perceived by the different eyes inter-animate, pointing towards a larger Seamless Field of Eros.

Each of the Three Eyes goes by different names.

The Three Eyes Are:

The Eye of the Senses or the Eye of the Flesh.

The Eye of the Mind or the Eye of Reason.

The Eye of Consciousness, alternatively known as the Eye of Value, the Eye of the Heart, the Eye of the Spirit, or the Eye of Contemplation. [These names, however, are not quite synonyms. Rather, each implicitly implies a different quality of the Eye of Value. As such, we will occasionally use all of the names together with the lead name(s) being written first and the other names in brackets next to it.]

The Eye of the Senses [Eye of the Flesh] is generally referred to as empiricism. This eye is what is classically called empirical knowledge. But, as we shall see, it is referring to a very narrow strain of empiricism.

The Eye of the Mind [Eye of Reason] is generally known as rationalism, while the Eye of Consciousness [alternatively the Eye of the Spirit, the Eye of Contemplation, the Eye of the Heart, or the Eye of Value] is generally known as mysticism.

But it would be more accurate to say that all of the eyes are forms of science, what we refer to, in CosmoErotic Humanism, as exterior and interior sciences. All Three Eyes are forms of empiricism.

The Eye of the Senses deploys sensory empiricism.

The Eye of the Mind deploys mental empiricism.

And the Eye of Consciousness, or the Eye of the Spirit, or the Eye of the Heart, or the Eye of Value, deploys what we might call value empiricism or amorous empiricism or spiritual empiricism.

The third Eye, by its various names, is no less empirical:

The Eye of the Spirit might be called spiritual empiricism, the Eye of Contemplation might be called contemplative empiricism, the Eye of Value implies a form of values empiricism, while the Eye of the Heart evokes feeling empiricism or, the same things said differently, an empiricism of pathos.

The Three Eyes: A Deeper Cut

The Eye of the Senses or the Eye of the Flesh

The first eye is the Eye of the Flesh, or the Eye of the Senses, which engages the physical domains of Reality. This form of sensory empiricism deploys the five senses of the human body, as well as amplified forms of those senses ranging from the Hubble telescope to an FMRI scanner developing brain pattern images to the most advanced forms of underwater or outer space photographic systems.

The name Eye of the Senses points towards the sensemaking capacity of this eye, but particularly—at least at the surface level of this eye—in terms of what are called the five physical senses as well as their amplifications through all forms of technology.

The name Eye of the Flesh emphasizes the sense of physicality, the flesh of this eye.

The Eye of the Mind or the Eye of Reason

The second eye, the Eye of the Mind, or the Eye of Reason, engages not the physical but the logical, the mathematical, and the reasonable. It is not sensory but rational or mental empiricism.

The mind is a broader term involving multiple capacities of the mind.

Reasoning points to the faculty, for which the mind is most well known in western civilization, the inductive and, particularly, the deductive process of reasoning.

In many accounts of western enlightenment thinkers, the Eye of the Mind includes not only scientific reasoning. Moral reasoning, politics, and governance would also be the realm of the Eye of Reason or the Eye of the Mind.

The Hubble telescope, which deploys mathematics and logic, is more accurately described as deploying both, the realm of the Eye of the Mind and the Eye of the Senses.

The Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind perceive that which is measurable.

The evolution of modernity itself is the evolution of the Eye of the Mind and the Eye of the Senses, which translated into the evolution of ever-more sophisticated methods of measurement.

Whether it was Kepler’s measurement of motion or Newton’s measurement of force, modernity was defined by the move from Aristotle’s premodern scientific classification to modern scientific measurement. The great goods and dignities of modernity, such as they are, are deeply connected to measurement.

Modernity’s Unintentional Degradation of the Two Sacred Eyes

Both, the Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind, at least in their surface expressions, may be understood to be data driven. The Eye of the Senses generates sensory data, while the Eye of the Mind generates mental data. Both, the Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind involve the measurable world, and indeed, the act of measurement in ever-more sophisticated forms, as one of their primary endeavors.

This is the religious worldview, expressed by what Alfred North Whitehead famously called scientific materialism,[1] the view of a dead universe.

There are two versions of this view: the atomistic view and the systems view.

In the first, the universe is seen as mechanized, atomized parts, in which each part is fundamentally independent and must be understood and studied as such.

In the second view, already popular in western enlightenment circles, and crystallized in many standard readings of systems theory and its offshoots, the universe is still conceived of as a dead universe, but this time, the parts are seen, more accurately, not merely in their atomized monadic dimensions but as a system of system of interconnectivities.[2]

But often, these very same thinkers describe Reality as a system of interconnected its. That, however, is the result of viewing the Eyes of the Senses and the Mind as utterly dissociated from the Eye of Consciousness, [alternatively the Eye of Value, the Eye of the Spirit, the Eye of the Heart, and the Eye of Contemplation.]

Let’s briefly unpack this, only as is necessary for our immediate point here, which will be the desired and necessary inter-inclusion of all the Eyes in order to yield any sort of accurate picture or experience of Reality—and particularly to know love is real and the foundational Reality of Cosmos.

The Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind take their full seat at the table of culture only in modernity.[3]

This moment itself is a great evolutionary leap. When they take their seat at the table, these two Eyes are necessarily—as is the nature of the dialectic of history that Hegel was later to point towards—in adolescent rebellion against the power-distorted forms of the Spirit that had in premodernity blinded the Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind—telling, for example, Galileo’s eyes what they were permitted to see through his telescope. These degraded forms of the Eye of Consciousness [or the Eye of the Spirit, the Eye of Contemplation, the Eye of the Heart, or the Eye of Value] were distorted by the ethnocentric prism, through which they forced to always look—the prism became inseparable from the Eye, and the eye was enslaved in slavish devotion to the various ecclesial and political powers of the day.

One of the key moves of modernity, which Max Weber followed by Habermas and others already point towards, is the differentiation of value spheres.[4]

This was the great evolutionary leap of modernity that allowed evolution to burst forth by liberating the deployment of the Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind from the distorted forms of the Eye of Consciousness—namely the dogmatic belief structures of institutional religion which were aligned with the political power structures of governance—the church in all of its degraded forms. But the values spheres with their respective eyes, as Habermas points out, were not only differentiated but disassociated.[5]

In their understandable eagerness to liberate their vision from the distorting prism of religion and politics, the two Eyes—the Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind—blinded themselves to the Real. They adopted a narrow empiricism, instead of what William James was later to call a radical empiricism. Their narrow empiricism focused their view only on atomized mechanical laws or on the system of interconnected its—dead mechanized or holistic parts and the laws that governed them. In other words, even as the western enlightenment began to eschew the notion of mechanized atomistic parts in the favor of interconnected holistic systems, it still spoke in covert or overt reductionist materialistic terms of systems without Eros or telos.

What we call the Telerotic Universe was ignored or even denied.

Telos was thrown out of science[6] because of the understandable traumatized collective memory of the churches in their various guises claiming telos as truth but then hijacking telos to mean their particular triumph and domination as the teleological end of history. This telos was then deployed to justify all the degraded egoic power games of the collective local, ethnocentric ego, which was almost always laced with cruelty and barbarism, all in the name of fulfilling the Divine Telos of history—which meant their own triumph.

In other words, just as the ego-self hijacks the intuition of Eternity for the immortality of a particular body self, so too, the intuition of telos in history was hijacked for fundamentalist religious ends, which themselves often covered up—as the philosopher Foucault reminded us—the most base of corrupted power drives.

As a result, telos was disqualified. And the system was viewed—as noted above—as a flatland system of inter-connected its. Interiors were ignored. As Lewis Mumford famously wrote: The universe was disqualified.

On the one hand, this generated an explosion of technologies, both in terms of the Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind [science, math, moral reasoning, third-person perspective].

The Eye of Consciousness [and its expression as the Eye of Value, the Spirit, Contemplation, and the Heart] was exiled. Even as these Eyes were also implicit or what the enlightenment theorist called self-evident, for example, the self-evident nature of human rights, assumed in the founding documents of American democracy:

“We find these truths to be self-evident.”

The implicit deployment of the Eye of Consciousness [Eye of Value, Eye of the Spirit, Eye of the Heart, Eye of Contemplation] was expressed as, what we have called in other writings, the common-sense sacred axioms of modernity. These axioms all assumed value implicitly as the foundational superstructure of daily life, but without explicitly claiming it—without articulating a compelling theory of value—and even when such a claim went against the dominant deconstruction of value that already took place in modernity, with postmodernity just being a slightly more explicit and virulent form of the same.

But in the heady intoxicating days when modern technology-based science exploded into reality, there was little time to clarify what seemed [wrongly] to be side issues. The social capital of premodernity’s assumption of value still had so much currency that it was impossible to truly imagine a world in which intrinsic value had truly collapsed as the foundational ideation of society.

The power of the Eye of the Mind, as applied to exterior power and profit-generating technologies, evolved so rapidly with such self-evident intensity, that the Eye of Consciousness [alternatively known as the Eye of Value, the Eye of the Spirit, the Eye of Contemplation, and the Eye of the Heart] in its potentially clarified forms ceased its evolution, at least in the public commons.

Again, it is not that there was no value at all. Rather, value was assumed, caricatured, and dismissed—with all three of these relationships to value living side by side—being enacted in the very heart of public culture and people’s personal lives. Indeed, as we just noted above and have discussed elsewhere in the writings of CosmoErotic Humanism, modernity solved the problem by implicating the common-sense sacred axioms of value. These included axioms like some measure of free will, Love is real, goodness, truth, and beauty are real, all part of the axiom that value itself was real.

The common-sense sacred axioms of value were foundational assumptions, even as the rebellion against premodern conceptions of value was in full swing. Value was assumed, even when it was contradicted by the value theories of the dominant strain of modernity itself, from David Hume onwards. One can draw a line of thinkers running from Hobbes to David Hume, all the way through the 19th-century materialists, Neo-Darwinists, logical positivists, existentialists, right into postmodernism, which caricatures and then savages value—ultimately disdainfully dismiss it as being not real. In this postmodern reading that has now suffused mainstream thought forms, Love is a not real in any classical ontological or metaphysical sense: Indeed, Love, and value itself, is dismissed either, as the educator Peter Greer assumed,[7] as a psychological fiction, or as Harari wrote, a social construction of reality.

The Eye of Consciousness [The Eye of Value, Eye of the Heart, the Eye of the Spirit, and the Eye of Contemplation].

The third Eye, which in our writing on CosmoErotic Humanism we have called the Eye of Consciousness. The Eye of Consciousness is trans-mental, trans-data and trans-natural.

But as we have already noted, this third Eye is no less empirical than the first two Eyes. The Eye of the Senses disclose sensory empiricism, while the Eye of the Mind discloses a form of mental or intellectual empiricism.

The Eye of Consciousness, Value, Spirit, Heart, and Contemplation deploys empirical methods and discloses empirical information about our very own true nature and some fragrance of the nature of Reality. We will return to this important point below.

The Eye of Value—as one expression of the Eye of Consciousness—does exactly what its name implies. It discerns value. The Eye of Value discerns goodness, truth, and beauty as values. The Eye of Value is not about measurement. Quite the opposite. The Eye of Value attributes value to that which measurement does not value. The Eye of Value discerns the immeasurable or and values the invaluable. The invaluable discloses as the priceless dimensions of Reality, that which transcends commodification and refuses to be the object of measurement of the kind imposed by the limited perception of the Eye of the Senses and the Eye of Reason.

The Eye of the Senses might establish facts, but the establishment of a fact as a value, the value of truth, is an expression of the Eye of Value. The Eye of the Senses might see beauty or elegance, but the declaration of elegance or beauty as values requires the Eye of Value. Love, loyalty, integrity, wisdom, joy, creativity, transformation, honesty, commitment, curiosity, nobility, forgiveness, virtue, kindness, heroism, and excellence are all discernments of the Eye of Value. In this sense, the Eye of Value opens a domain, which by themselves, the Eye of Reason and the Eye of the Senses cannot open. The Eye of Value speaks not only to what is but to what ought to be. It is the Eye of Value that shapes our longing.

This is not the realm of classical scientific paradigms, at least not in the realm of any of the exterior sciences. Quantum physics, systems theory, complexity theory, or chaos theory by themselves—even the most complex mathematics do not in and of themselves—open us up to the experience of the Eye of Value. All of these, at least in their surface structures, may be, and have been, by what Whitehead called the dominant view of scientific materialism, in the domain of its.

But even virtually all the new paradigms, offered in various forms of holistic thinking, leave out this third Eye. This Eye is also known, as we have noted, as the Eye of the Spirit, the Eye of the Heart, or the Eye of Contemplation. We use the name Eye of Consciousness to summarize all four expressions of this Eye, which are overlapping and related but not the same. This is because this Eye in all four of its expressions is known through an entire range of spiritual practices, which give access to different dimensions of this Eye. Those practices include ecstatic dances, chant and music, embodied practices, sacred text study practices [Lectio Divina in Christianity or Talmud and Torah in Hebrew wisdom are but two examples].

To cite but one example from the above, one text reads of the prophet who says to his lad: “Take for me a player of music, and when he plays the music, the hand of God descended on him.”[8] The Hebrew text for when the player of music [the minstrel] plays music is Ke-Nagen Ha-Menagen. Menagen is the minstrel or player of music, and Ke-Nagen means when he plays. But in the formal reading of the Hebrew, it might also be read as when the player of music becomes the music, then, the hand of the Divine descends on him. The Eros of the music generates the gnosis of the Divine Word, the hand of the divine, the prophecy of Elisha in this text.[9]

This is an experience that lives in every human being; indeed, for the interior sciences, every human being participates in prophecy.[10] But prophecy in the sense of the interior sciences of the Hebrew wisdom texts, is not necessarily a teller of the future, rather, it is one who has access to the inner gnosis of Cosmos, the melody and even the word—however it is spoken or heard of the Divine—namely through the Eye of the Spirit.

It is in that precise sense that music and song are one example among so very many of a practice that opens the Eye of the Spirit.

The Eye of the Spirit is inter-included with the Eye of Value, for the disclosures of the Eye of the Spirit are anthro-ontologically experienced—through a direct experience of our own clarified interiors—as having irreducible intrinsic value.

But let’s now turn to the third name for this third Eye—the Eye of Contemplation. The first thing that we need to again remind ourselves of is that all of the versions of this Eye, including its expression as the Eye of Contemplation, are—like the Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind—empirical at their very core. By empirical, we mean that they are not dogmatic, or faith-based, in the sense of belief, or not supported by evidence, but rather they are expressions of science—both of the interior and exterior sciences.

Sensory empiricism is the world of the embodied physical world; mental empiricism includes logic, mathematics, moral reasoning, governance, social theory, and hermeneutics; and value empiricism, disclosed by the Eye of Value, the Eye of Contemplation, the Eye of the Spirit, and the Eye of the Heart—all expressions of the same Eye of Consciousness—emerges from the direct experience of Reality and especially as Reality as value.

This is all part of what we might refer to as radical empiricism.[11] Indeed, radical empiricism, the basing of truth claims on the depth of human experience, is closely related to what we have termed earlier Anthro-Ontology. Radical empiricism is, of course, very different than the truncated version of what passes for empiricism in general culture, which indeed exiles the empirical to what we have called sensory empiricism.

This is a tragic mistake and is based not on authentic empiricism—radical empiricism—but rather, on a kind of politics of the real. By this, we mean the dogmatic attempt animated by an almost religious fervor that is animating mainstream reductive materialism, which refuses to even entertain the empirical possibility that there is intrinsic value in Cosmos that is not a product of human fiction or arbitrary social construction.

Authentic empiricism, or what we alluded to above as radical empiricism, refers to gnosis, or empirical knowledge, that is grounded in experience—human experience—Anthro-Ontology. But it would be absurd to limit our definition of experience, from which gnosis is born, to the surface form of sensory empiricism. It would mean that we had to derive truth, goodness, and beauty from an impoverished empiricism, which drew only from the most superficial forms of flat sensory empiricism.

Rather, radical empiricism—Anthro-Ontology—derives truth from experience-generated evidence.

Let’s look particularly at the Eye of Contemplation, which is a key component of the empiricism that drives the interior sciences. In its anthro-ontological, empirical sense, it is not that different from the Eye of the Mind. Mathematics is invisible to the eye, at least to the Eye of the Flesh, but it is made visible by the inner Eye of the Mind. Indeed, the values in a mathematics equation—disclosed by the Eye of the Mind—discloses dazzling beauty, which appears as intrinsic value patterns—First Principles and First Values of Cosmos itself. These patterns appear in the first person of the mathematician, or the scientist who uses mathematics as a language, who participates in the field of mathematics that is, like all languages including music and dance, intrinsic to and an expression of Cosmos.

In this sense, we pointed out already that it would be mistaken, as is generally done, to identify the Eye of the Mind only with third-person perception. Mathematics is rather both, a third-person disclosure of the abstract field of pure mathematics, or the concrete field of applied mathematics, and a first-person experience of the mathematician. And in the most subtle, sensitive, speculative of mathematicians, mathematics shows up in the second person as well. Think, for example, of the remark Prof. Littlewood is reported to have made to the famous Prof. Hardy about Ramanujan, the young Indian mathematics prodigy that Hardy had invited to Cambridge. “Every positive integer,” said Littlewood, “is one of Ramanujan’s personal friends.”[12]

In Anthro-Ontology, expressed as radical empiricism, inner human experience discloses the value patterns of the Cosmos. Stated simply, human science works only because we are cosmic humans. In other words, the patterns of Cosmos, the First Principles and First Values of Cosmos, live within us. And this is true for the classical sciences, the value equations of mathematics that are seen through the inner eye, and for the value equations of the interior sciences that are similarly seen through the Eye of Consciousness [the Eye of Value, the Eye of the Heart, the Eye of Contemplation, and the Eye of the Spirit].

Habermas and many other theorists, such as Thomas Kuhn, Karl Popper, and the classical empiricists—all expressions of contemporary epistemological theory—were reaching for a clear understanding of what it means to know.[13]

The core of the theory is that true knowledge, or what we have referred to as gnosis, requires three fundamental strands.

First, gnosis must be falsifiable. Otherwise, it is dogma in disguise.

Second, gnosis must be empirical, that is to say, rooted in the illumination of direct experience.

Third, as Thomas Kuhn points out, gnosis is not just there; it must be elicited from Reality through what Kuhn calls injunction. An injunction is an experiment or a tool or practice which elicits gnosis.

This applies to all forms of knowledge.

We either read the literature, learn physics, do the chemistry experiment, run the numbers in the mathematics equation, look through the telescope, or do spiritual exercises or practices. All of these are forms of injunctions that directly lead to gnosis.

G. Spencer Brown echoes this element of injunction as a vital strand in all gnosis in his, now classic, Laws of Form:

“The primary form of mathematical communication is not description, but injunction. In this respect it is comparable to a practical art forms like cookery, in which the taste of a cake, although literally indescribable, can be conveyed to the reader in the form of a set of injunctions called a recipe. … Even natural science [the Eye of the Senses] appears to be dependent on injunctions…such as ‘look down that microscope.’”[14]

This is an injunction that leads to an illumination. [And then] the “men of science” according to Brown “describe it to each other…discuss among themselves” [thus creating Popper’s possibility of falsifiability].

In other words, an injunction is performed that generates the knowledge, illumination, or gnosis of the Eye of the Mind, which is checked for falsifiability, meaning we talk to others, and they perform the same or similar experiment to see if they elicit the same result. That is, of course, the formal and informal peer review process that takes place both in interior and exterior sciences, that checks the validity of the text results.

And as Jürgen Habermas has already pointed, in each domain, there is a different Eye that engages in the experiment—and there are different validity tests to check the results of the different forms of experiments. For example, the inner eye of mathematics performs one form of injunction [experiment] in the mathematical process with its appropriate validity tests and the inner Eye of Contemplation performs a different kind of injunction [experiment] and has its own distinct validity test.

The gnosis of the Eye of Consciousness [the Eye of Contemplation, the Eye of the Heart, the Eye of the Spirit, or the Eye of Value]: Love is Real.

Mathematics, for example, is not performing an injunction to see if Love is real—that is to say, a real and intrinsic value of the universe that lives inside of all human beings, who themselves are the universe in person in a unique form.

The exterior sciences are not doing an injunction to find out if Evolution: The Love Story of the Universe is a real plotline of Reality or if it is just what postmodernity calls a fiction, a figment of our imagination, or a social construction of reality.[15]

Rather, exterior science is generally doing an experiment to understand something of the cause-and-effect operations of Cosmos, as understood on the subatomic, atomic, molecular, or cellular level, understanding how the four forces operate and interact with each other, and the like. The nature of the exterior sciences is to look for antecedent material causes and their effects and interrelationships. All of this is done by the Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind, and it discloses important and real, if limited information about the exterior cosmos.

Imagine watching a couple act and talk, in order to determine their future trajectory and the present laws that govern their reality, without being able to feel the nature and quality of the love between them or to understand the meaning of their words. That is precisely the nature of the Eye of the Mind and the Eye of the Senses. Both of them witness a small fraction—a sensory patch—of a much wider and deeper Reality. But they refuse to open up their wider and deeper sensemaking capacity, because they dogmatically declare that there is nothing else that can be seen or felt. And with that dogmatic declaration of reductive—not scientific but scientistic—anti-empirical materialism, the Eye of Consciousness [in its four expressions as the Eye of Contemplation, the Eye of the Heart, the Eye of the Spirit, and the Eye of Value] is savagely blinded.

With that in mind, we now turn to the Eye of Consciousness [Contemplation, Heart, Spirit, and Value] to at least see Reality for a moment through these Eyes that are core to our own deepest nature and identity. Before we turn directly to them, one final note is in order, to which we will return briefly below.

The Experimental Injunction of the Eye of Consciousness and Its Conclusion: Love Is Not Only Real, Love Is More Real Than Anything Else

Simply to locate ourselves, let’s remind ourselves once more that all of the Eyes generate what the philosopher Jürgen Habermas calls valid forms of knowledge, each with their own injunctions, and each with their own validity tests.

The Eye of the Senses generates sensory data. This data can classically only be accessed through the five senses and their various technologies of amplification.

The Eye of the Mind cannot classically access the data available to the Eye of the Senses.  The Eye of the Mind generates mind data, or what is called mental data, that cannot be accessed by the Eye of the Mind.

The Eye of Consciousness [Eye of Contemplation, Eye of the Spirit, Eye of Value, Eye of the Heart] generates an entirely new quality of data that cannot be accessed by the other two. This is the data of value. The primary injunction of this Eye is consciousness accessed through contemplation itself.

The Injunction Opens the Field of Eros: Eros Generates Gnosis

Contemplation is the very opposite of dogma. For the Eye of Contemplation deploys all the three steps of empirical sensemaking.

First, there is an injunction—contemplation itself.

Second, the Eye of Contemplation yields data—a new illumination—insight. The data generated, however, are about the very quality of Self and Reality.

What the Eye of Contemplation yields about Reality, as described in different words and forms by countless practitioners of contemplative practices in different traditions throughout the ages, is that:

  • Love is Real—ontologically Real.
  • That Love, or Eros, is a Real Value—in other words, Love is infinitely valuable, even as it is priceless and immeasurable.
  • Meaning: Love, or Eros, is not a mere fiction, a figment of our imagination, or a social construction of Reality.
  • Rather, the ultimately Real Value of Love—Eros—is structural to Reality; in other words, Love—or Eros—is the directly felt and lived knowing of the Universe: A Love Story—the amorous Cosmos.
  • The human being participates in the Field of Eros—the human lives in the Field of Eros, and the Field of Eros lives in the human being.
  • At the most advanced level, the human being affects the Field of Eros.
  • As such, whoever has the capacity to perform the injunctions—the experiments of contemplation—over sufficient time with sufficient depth and commitment—who is not pre-conditioned to be blinded—will experience some level of direct access to the ultimate Reality of Love—Eros.
  • Quite literally, Reality is Eros.

All three dimensions necessary for valid knowing are present that we described above:

  • Injunction
  • Gnosis
  • Falsifiability

The injunction itself generates direct access to the Field of Eros.

The Field of Eros itself generates gnosis.

The gnosis, generated by the Field of Eros, is Eros itself.

Particularly, the injunction—in this case the practice of contemplation—yields gnosis. The gnosis that Reality is a Love Story, that Love, or Eros, is real, that Eros, or Love, is an ultimate value, and—again—that the human being participates and therefore affects—even shapes—the Field.

Or said somewhat differently: The Universe: A Love Story or Evolution: The Love Story of the Universe.

And, of course, but another word for Eros is Evolutionary Love.

The Early Ontologies of the Universe: A Love Story—The Eye of Contemplation

The section that we just concluded a few pages ago—the early ontologies of the Universe: A Love Story is not a recording of a religious dogma. Quite the opposite, it is an expression of the realization of the interior sciences. The realization that is demonstrated as threading its way through the esoteric interior sciences is precisely the Universe: A Love Story.

That realization is not a declaration, or a doctrine, or a dogma; rather, it is the illumination or insight born of the Eye of Contemplation.

However, this realization is not limited to one narrow group claiming that it is the chosen people of God, that God’s Love rests exclusively or primarily with them, and that they, therefore, have the right to act in ways which are the opposite of what their own ethos and law calls loving, to those outside their tribe or nation.

That is, in fact, how the realization of the Universe: A Love Story was hijacked by the dominant ethnocentric center of gravity of all of the great religions.

But beneath these public dogmas and doctrinal declarations, the surface structure of the religions, there is a set of depth structures, that are, in one way or another, shared by the esoteric interior sciences.[16]

Indeed, the greatest masters of all of the esoteric interior sciences, including Hebrew Wisdom, Indian, Sufi, Taoist, Christian, and multiple other interior science traditions, who were very possibly the most subtle, sensitive, speculative minds ever known to humankind, all activated—opened—the Eye of Contemplation.

None of them knew each other directly, and from a modern perspective, there was little indirect contact as well. To say that vast distances, danger, and primitive forms of travel, as well as ethnocentric hostilities, prevented the free flow of gnosis, would be to major in understatement. In each of these traditions, there was a group of esoteric masters who took to the mountains, the deserts, the caves, to be able to engage in the full intensification of experience required to open the Eye of Contemplation.

And, as noted above, they all came to the same conclusion. Let’s look briefly at three examples.

Because the central focus of our pointing towards the early ontologies of the Universe: A Love Story in the earlier conversation was the Hebrew tradition, let’s briefly turn our attention back to that tradition to see the result of the Eye of Contemplation. The Talmud tells of Shimon Bar Yochai and his son and primary student Elazar who spent twelve years in a cave:[17]

“They went into the field and hid themselves in a cave so no man knew what had become of them…They took off their clothes and sat up to their necks in sand. The whole day they studied torah. And when the time for prayer came, they put on their clothes and prayed…and then they put them off and again… dug themselves into the sand…thus they spent twelve years in the cave.”

The cave is clearly a place of intensified experience, where R. Shimon Bar Yochai and his Son Elazar are engaged in opening up the Eye of Contemplation to the nth degree, as they contemplate the nature of their own selves and Reality itself.[18] The same R. Shimon Bar Yochai [and his son Elazar] are the prime movers in the group of realizers who source one of the greatest interior science texts—recording the fruits of the Eye of Contemplation—ever written, the Zohar.

As scholar Yehuda Liebes points out in a seminal monograph, “Zohar and Eros” in Alpayim 9 (1994), the word Zohar, which might be formally translated to English as something like radiance, is actually much closer to Eros.

The Eye of Contemplation is opened in the esoteric band of realizers that are the backbone of the Hebrew interior sciences. What the Eye of Contemplation discloses is precisely and potently that Reality is Eros—a Field of Eros or Love—called in the texts a Field of Holy Apples, among other names, and that—stunningly—realized human beings have the capacity to participate and shape that Field of Eros through what we have called Conscious Evolution.

This realization is the pivotal transition that we have called the emergence of the New Human and the New Humanity—the evolutionary leap in intimacy into Evolutionary Intimacy itself—the ultimate pivot from Homo sapiens to Homo amor.

In, what many initiates and scholars consider to be the penultimate section of the Zohar, the Idra Rabba,[19]  the same Shimon Bar Yochai and his son Elazar are the central figures. Here he shared the illumination born of the contemplation in the cave.

R. Shimon rejoiced, and said,

“I have heard your sound: I am afraid (Habakkuk 3:2). There it was fitting to be afraid; for us the matter depends on love, as it is written: Love your Neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:8), You shall love YHVH your God (Deuteronomy 6:5), and it is written I have loved you, says YHVH (Malachi 1:2).”[20]

In the old consciousness, it was fitting to be afraid. Fear, or better translated as, what Rudolf Otto called, creature consciousness, is central to spiritual realization.

This consciousness reflects the general theocentric character of virtually all of the world religions in their public teachings.

But Shimon Bar Yochai is here revealing the esoteric truth of the interior sciences emergent from the direct access to the Eye of Contemplation.

For us,” who have experienced the inner nature of Self and Reality, “the matter depends on love.”

And for Shimon Bar Yochai and his successors, the nature of this Eros, that is the very superstructure of Reality and human identity, is the messianic realization, which ultimately cannot be limited to an elite band of realizers.[21] Rather, it is an enlightenment which must be democratized and ultimately universalized,[22] as the bedrock principle of all politics, economics, and governance.

Echoing Idra scholars Liebes and Hellner-Eshed, we can accurately recapitulate the essential realization of the Universe: A Love Story, disclosed—by Bar Yochai and his band of initiates—through the Eye of Contemplation, which is at the heart of the Idra.

Here, our language is love. We love each other. We love God. God loves us.

And that One Love, One Eros is the vessel to evolve the pattern of intimacy within the Divine. In essence, for the interior sciences, God, or Reality in its inter-included Infinite and finite expressions, is a configuration of intimacy. The deepening of that intimacy, or Eros, is the purpose of Reality.

The verses cited in the Zohar talk about love between people, love between the human and the Divine, and finally between the Divine and the human. The point of the Zohar, eminent interior scientist of the renaissance, Moshe Cordevero, Isaac Luria’s teacher for a time, notes in his explanation of the Zoharic passage, the reason that all the verses are cited, is to disclose that there is no ultimate distinction between these loves. They are not, in his language, separate matters, but rather are all part of the One Evolving Eros, which is the structure of Cosmos.[23]

The core of this realization is something like, Infinity needs the love of finitude in order to fulfill its essential nature.

Or said in more classically—and starkly—and shockingly—bold humanistic religious terms: God needs us. God needs our love. God needs our love between each other and our love of value—that is to say our love of Love itself.

Infinity participates in finitude—an expression of itself—which heals Infinity, which causes its evolution.

This is the great process of tikkun. Tikkun, in the Zohar, implies Eros, the erotic healing of Reality through Eros.

It is the Eye of Contemplation that opens the portal of Eros, which itself discloses this great gnosis, a Reality in which our stories—quietly literally our Love Stories—are chapter and verse in the Universe: A Love Story—Evolution: The Love Story of the Universe.

The Eye of Contemplation in Vedanta

The Eye of Contemplation, as we already noted, appears in various forms in all of the mystery schools of the great traditions, which were the sources of their interior sciences. We referred earlier to the realization of the Universe: A Love Story in the Indian traditions.

Particularly, we referred to Kashmir Shaivism, which itself was one expression of the much larger interior science of the Indian Veda, which is often referred to as Vedanta. Here, like in what the Zohar calls the Chevraya, the band of companions that sources the Zohar,[24] the Eye of Contemplation is centered in a group of initiates, Brahman sages, to go to the forest. They go to contemplate the nature of Reality and produce the Upanishads, which are the core of the interior science of esoteric Vedanta. One of the core texts is the Bhagavad Gita, in which the central character is the Infinite disclosed into Reality as Krishna, who is the embodiment of the Universe: A Love Story.

The core data, disclosed by the contemplative empiricism of these masters, who spent their lifetimes enacting injunctions of practice—experiments of the interior sciences—to open the Eye of Contemplation, discloses Sat Chit Ananda. As we unpacked above, Sat means something like Being. Chit means something like the English word Consciousness. Ananda means something like how we are deploying the term Eros.

The essence: The inside of Sat is Chit, and the inside of Chit is Ananda.


The Inside of Being is Consciousness, and the inside of Consciousness is Eros.

In other words, the Inside of the Inside of Reality, which animates and drives Reality—the motive of Reality—is Eros.

This is the data disclosed by the Eye of Contemplation.

In the Hebrew wisdom tradition, for example, in the Zohar, the place where Eros is similarly disclosed to be the superstructure of Reality is the Holy of Holies—known precisely as the Inside of the Inside.[25]

The Eye of Contemplation and the Eye of Value in Zen: Zazen and Koan

The Eye of Contemplation and the Eye of Value appear in Zen in a somewhat different form. Both, however, yield the gnosis of Eros, of Love, as the way. The initiate has two major paths. The first is sitting in Zazen, classic sitting meditation, which is the classic meditative injunction to open the Eye of Contemplation. At this point, there is a cumulative weight of data that the Eye of Contemplation opens up the initiate to compassion, Eros, or Love, not just as a social construction of reality, but as the very nature of Reality. This is what Zen terms the Buddha Nature of Reality. Buddha Nature is Buddha Compassion.[26]

In this writing, however, we would like to briefly focus on the second form of this Eye in Buddhism—the Eye of Value—which is opened in Koan practice.

In the second form, the Eye of Value, the student responds to a Koan, a riddle-like question—which makes no apparent sense but is probing the student’s knowledge of the nature of Self and the nature of Reality. Sometimes, the teacher would present the student with a Koan question, and at other times, the teacher would answer a student’s inquiry with a Koan answer. The Koan opens the Eye of Value.

For example, a great teacher called Ummon.

Said Ummon to his disciples,

I do not ask you to say anything about before the fifteenth of the month but say something about after the fifteenth day of the month.

Because no monk could reply, Ummon modeled the correct answer to such a Koan and said,

Every day is a good day.

Ummon is not answering a question but responding as Value to the Koan. In this response, he opens the Eye of Value of the monks not cognitively but by being the good day, the value implicit in the good day, allowing the reality of goodness to be tasted directly, and realization is immediately achieved by the inquiring monk.

In a second Koan story about Ummon, the following is related.

Monk: What is the one road of Ummon?

Ummon: Personal Experience!

Monk: What is the way?

Ummon: Go!

Monk: What is the road? Where is the Way?

Ummon: Begin walking it.

Here again Ummon responses to the Koan are not answers to a question but immediately available lived realizations of the Eye of Value. Personal experience, Go, and Begin walking it are Value themselves. They are non-conceptual; they do not emerge out of the Eye of the Mind or the Eye of the Senses. They are the immediate insights of the Eye of Value.

The student is asking a question about the meaning of life? Or about the quality of or who to obtain Buddha Nature—enlightenment?

The masters answer not with a conceptual or cognitive frame or an intellectual discernment but rather, with an immediate embodiment of value.

In other words, Ummon is being his Buddha Nature in response to the Koan.

And when Ummon asks a Koan to his students, he wants a response in which the student demonstrates with direct simplicity their own Buddha Nature, meaning their own intrinsic Value.

This is a demonstration of the students’ incarnational experience of Buddha Nature. This is not the Eye of the Mind or the Eye of the Senses, in the sense of the cognition of separate self, but the Eye of Value, which is a direct, unmediated experiential expression of Buddhahood—Anthro-Ontology pure and simple.

To get this realization, the student must open the Eye of Consciousness—the Eye of Value, the Eye of Contemplation, the Eye of the Spirit, and the Eye of the Heart. Once the Eye of Consciousness, [Value, Contemplation, Heart, Spirit) is opened—the injunction—then, the knowledge it discloses—illumination—is self-evident, and falsifiable—i.e., it can be replicated by others who do the same injunction.

In the language of Zen, the illumination might be articulated,

The Flower is Red.

The Rain beats on the roof of the monastery.

Infinite intrinsic value is always already immediately present.

What Zen is not merely saying but anthro-ontologically being is a direct experience of value, opened up through the eye of Zazen, the Eye of Contemplation, the Eye of Value, the Eye of the Heart, the Eye of the Spirit.

Although this is not the language of Zen, we might fairly say that the Koan discloses that Love is real.

Value and Love, in the Zen teaching, are virtually interchangeable.

There were, however, some Zen masters who spoke directly of Love in their Koan-like pronouncement.

Here is Ikkyu:

Rinzai’s disciples never got the Zen message.

But I, the blind donkey, know the truth.

Love play,

can make you immortal.

The autumn breeze of a single night of sexing

is better than a hundred thousand years of sterile sitting meditation.

Or in another passage from Ikkyu:

I’m with a young beauty,

sporting in deep love play,

in the holy whorehouse.

We sit in the pavilion.

A pleasure girl and this Zen monk, enraptured by hugs and kisses.

I certainly don’t feel like I’m burning in hell.

Or Ikkyu again:

Enter the place of a courtesan of love

and great wisdom will explode upon you.

Manjushri should have let Ananda enjoy himself in the courtesan’s home

Now he will never know the joys or wisdom of elegant love play.

Ikkyu is, of course, not entirely dissimilar to the Song of Solomon from the Interior sciences of Hebrew wisdom:

Kiss me with the deep lustful kisses of your mouth,

For your mouth and its kiss is more delightful to me than the best of wine.

…Your breasts are like two fawns,

I yearn for them,

The twin fawns of a gazelle that plays among the lilies.

The Song of Songs, the most sacred book of the cannon, is the meditation which, as we saw in our earlier conversation, generates apotheosis—the realization that the human being is God—or said perhaps more clearly, that the human being participates in the Divine Field of Eros. The reason love play is chosen by the Zen Master and the ancient King Solomon[27] is because for both it is the place of Lishma—that which is done for its own sake—where the question of the meaning or value of life falls away, not because it has been answered but because it is self-evident.

The Eye of Contemplation Leads to the Revelation of the Universe: A Love Story

It is crucial to remember what we have already implied clearly that the Eye of Contemplation leads to the realization of Love—or what have been called Eros—as the foundational principle of Cosmos. Contemplation might happen through Zazen, Koan practices, Hebrew wisdom meditations, reading the Song of Songs,[28] or the classical practices of Vedanta, which describe what might be translated into English as a kind of Brahmic splendor.

Richard Maurice Bucke writes in third person as was typical of many 19th-century writers in these kinds of matters:

Into his brain streamed one momentary lightning-flash of the Brahmic Splendor which has ever since lightened his life; upon his heart fell one drop of Brahmic Bliss, leaving thenceforward for always an aftertaste of heaven.[29]

Here is the full citation from Cosmic Consciousness:

It was in the early spring, at the beginning of his thirty-sixth year. He and two friends had spent the evening reading Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Browning, and especially Whitman. They parted at midnight, and he had a long drive in a hansom (it was in an English city). His mind, deeply under the influence of the ideas, images and emotions called up by the reading and talk of the evening, was calm and peaceful. He was in a state of quiet, almost passive enjoyment.

[All of this can be taken as a form of the Eye of Contemplation, different from Zazen but not so different from the study of sacred text in the Batei Midrash, the study halls of Hebrew wisdom. The core is the next part of the piece.]

All at once, without warning of any kind, he found himself wrapped around as it were by a flame-colored cloud. For an instant he thought of fire, some sudden conflagration in the great city; the next, he knew that the light was within himself. Directly afterwards came upon him a sense of exultation, of immense joyousness accompanied or immediately followed by an intellectual illumination quite impossible to describe. Into his brain streamed one momentary lightning-flash of the Brahmic Splendor which has ever since lightened his life; upon his heart fell one drop of Brahmic Bliss, leaving thenceforward for always an aftertaste of heaven. Among other things he did not come to believe, he saw and knew that the Cosmos is not dead matter but a living Presence, that the soul of man is immortal, that the universe is so built and ordered that without any peradventure all things work together for the good of each and all, that the foundation principle of the world is what we call love and that the happiness of every one is in the long run absolutely certain. He claims he learned more within the few seconds during which the illumination lasted than in previous months or even years of study, and that he learned much that no study could ever have taught.

The illumination itself continued not more than a few moments, but its effects proved ineffaceable; it was impossible for him ever to forget what he at that time saw and knew, neither did he, or could he, ever doubt the truth of what was then presented to his mind. There was no return, that night or at any other time, of the experience. He subsequently wrote a book (28a.) in which he sought to embody the teaching of the illumination. Some who read it thought very highly of it, but (as was to be expected for many reasons) it had little circulation.

Bucke is, of course, not alone. If one reads carefully The Perennial Philosophy, whose focus was opening the Eye of Contemplation, one cannot help but notice, as indeed Aldous Huxley did in his book by that name, and in what he called his Minimum Working Hypothesis,[30] that the opening of the Eye of Contemplation always generates the gnosis that Love is real and that there is a Tao, an intrinsic way, that requires persons to care for and love each other, as an expression of that Tao, the intrinsic nature of Reality itself.

Even in the more formal precincts of transcendental meditation, studied by tools of modern science, the Eye of Contemplation opens up what has been called a fourth state of consciousness, which is, in effect, the realization of the Universe: A Love Story and our participation in the drama.

One of the very first studies of this nature was published by R. K. Wallace, followed by dozens more,[31] which pointed towards meditation as being a fourth state of consciousness. Like the other classic states of consciousness already deeply recognized in Vedantic literature—waking, dreaming, and sleeping—this fourth state was found to have unique signature patterns in terms of what we might call the configurations of intimacy that appear in science as brain waves. As the leading integral theorist summarized Wallace’s results, “an expanded sense of self, consciousness, compassion, love, care, responsibility, and concern[32] are the demarcating characteristics of this fourth state of consciousness.

The same results, integrating the data from forty more years of careful experimentation and tracing, are collected by Richard Davidson and Daniel Goleman in their Altered Traits.[33] Their specific focus is to point out that the new forms of connectivity, kindness, and love that are generated by the Eye of Contemplation, like Wallace initially surmised, show up in highly visible form in the neural circuitries of the brain.[34]

In effect, the increases in love, intimacy, and empathy reconfigure the patterns of intimacy, empathy, and love in the neural circuits and brainwaves themselves. Exteriors and interiors mirror each other in Reality—all the way down and all the way up the evolutionary chain in the manifest world.

The Experimental Injunction of the Eye of the Heart [The Eye of Contemplation, Value, Spirit] in Sufism and Hebrew Wisdom and Its Conclusion: Love Is Not Only Real: Love Is More Real than Anything Else: Loving Our Way to Realization

The Eye of the Heart, as is self-evident in our somewhat long heading for this section, is a particular face of the Eye of Consciousness—as is the Eye of Value, the Eye of Contemplation, and the Eye of the Spirit. The Eye of the Heart,[35] a term that is central to Sufism, expresses itself in two major ways.

First, the classic practices of contemplation yield the knowing of the Universe: A Love Story. That dimension of the Eye of the Heart we have already adduced or alluded to above, both in the Hebrew wisdom literature [Shimon Bar Yochai in the cave with his son buried in sand up to their necks for twelve years, for example], as well as in Vedanta, mystical Christianity,[36] Zen, and neuroscience literature.

But there is a second form of the Eye of the Heart, and this is the one that we want to briefly point towards in this short section. There is an early set of talks on CosmoErotic Humanism which is titled Loving Your Way to Enlightenment.[37] The implication of the title is that the injunction in deploying the Eye of the Heart is different than the injunction in deploying the Eye of Contemplation—even though they are fundamentally the same Eye.

This is a somewhat similar but not redundant distinction to the one that we made above regarding the Eye of Value. The core point there is that the injunction in Koan practice is not contemplation. Rather, the injunction is the direct—immediate—anthro-ontological realization of value. That is what we called the Eye of Value.

In a similar fashion, the Eye of the Heart invokes a different injunction than the Eye of Contemplation. [Again, all of the four names of this third Eye—the Eye of Consciousness in its four expressions—the Eye of Contemplation, the Eye of Value, the Eye of the Spirit, and the Eye of the Heart—are difference facets and forms of this third Eye, without which, as we will see, the Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind go partially blind.]

The injunction is no longer to contemplate. The injunction is Love itself. It is in the very practice of Love that the Eye of the Heart is opened; the initiate realizes that Love is real—and not only real—Love, or Eros, is the foundational Reality, which animates, suffuses, and drives everything and everyone.

When I first met our dear friend Ken Wilber, somewhere in 2002, the occasion of our meeting was a cover essay I had written at the time for Tikkun Magazine, entitled “On the Erotic and the Ethical.”[38] The point of the article is that the experience of Eros, as it is structural to Cosmos, itself generates love.

Ken and I spoke, in a beautiful conversation, for quite some hours, with Ken’s focus being the efficacy of Zen practice—and particularly the classical forms of Zen—the Eye of Contemplation—as being generative of enlightenment and ethics, with which I of course concurred.

I also gently shared something of my grandmother, who was without a doubt intimate with the Divine, in a direct and clear way—in a way that might be associated with enlightenment. The Reality of Spirit was absolutely clear to her as was the interconnectivity of the All with the All. But, as I mentioned half-jokingly to Ken, my grandmother has not only never meditated in Zazen or any other form, she had never heard of meditation, would not understand it, or really any other form of the Eye of Contemplation.

My grandmother, who came to Canarsie after the horrors of the holocaust and spoke mostly Yiddish or Polish, did not practice the injunction of contemplation. She practiced—without ever self-consciously calling it that—the injunction of Love, or Eros. You would walk into my grandmother’s apartment, and from the second you walked in, she was utterly in devotion to you. Often, that devotion expressed itself in food, every form of unimaginably great Food that you could possibly imagine.

A thousand restaurants later, I have still to find food that tasted, like Bubbe’s,[39] of the Garden of Eden. For Bubbe, preparing food was a great act of devotional love. Indeed, the primary ingredient of every recipe was Eros itself. I can still see her in the kitchen today, standing over the stove, preparing food for me, my father, my aunt, or my cousins. Her movement in the condition of, what today we would call, flow, where she lived—in the devotional currents of Eros—gave life self-evident value. It was, of course, clear to her—although she would never have said it that way—that Love was the foundational structure of Cosmos. Her practice was Eros, which yielded for her the self-evident gnosis that Eros—Love itself—is an intrinsic and foundational value of Cosmos, in which human beings participate.

The injection—or practice—for Bubbe—was not the Eye of Contemplation but the Eye of the Heart.

That was the Bhakti Yoga of an old Yiddish-speaking Jewish woman in Brooklyn, whose face shone with subtle light, who knew that her story was a love story and that her story was chapter and verse in the Universe: A Love Story.

Love’s knowledge, disclosed by the Eye of the Heart, is that Love is real and a foundational value of Cosmos. The experience of Eros itself leads to gnosis. The anthro-ontological realization that Love is a foundational structure of Cosmos is disclosed in the human sense of only being fully at home in the experience of Being in Love.

The nature of that Love changes through history. In certain cultures, it is love of God, in others, love of country, in others, love of knowledge, in still others, love of family, and in still others, love of the personal beloved. And of course, in particular cultural contexts, some combinations of the above are in various configurations of complementary or dialectical play.

But however we tell the story, our anthro-ontological gnosis gives us a sense of being at home in Cosmos only when we are in love. It is only some form of this Love—in any of these forms—that liberates the contraction of ego.

It is for the same reasons that virtually all songs are love songs, whether that love is about some version of a personal beloved or any of the variants of the beloved that we just adduced.

Naturally, as we have already pointed out above, waking up—or what we might call opening up to the reality of Love as the superstructure of Cosmos—is mediated through one’s level of consciousness, psychological maturity, and political, economic, and social circumstances. It is a given that there are clarified and degraded forms of all of these forms of love.

But the underlying truth is that the Eye of the Heart opens—much more widely than the Eye of Contemplation—the possibility of what we have called the Democratization of Enlightenment. Eros is the ground for a new emergent order of value that can uplevel humanity from Homo sapiens to Homo amor.

It is the practice of Love—the practice of Eros—that opens the Eye of the Heart and leads to a liberation of the contracted ego-self, the beginning of an omni-considerate relation to some larger whole, and the first glimmering of the New Human and the New Humanity.

The Eye of the Heart: The Injunction Is Love—The Realization Is the Universe: A Love Story—The Band of Outrageous Lovers

This practice of Love being the injunction that leads to the illumination of the Universe: A Love Story is core to the interior sciences of the Wisdom of Solomon in the Hebrew wisdom lineages which we invoked above.

The key phrase on which all else flows is:

For Us the Matter Depends on Love.

As we have already noted, by Love, the text does not mean love in the ordinary sense but rather what we have termed Eros—not Love as a mere human sentiment but the Heart of Existence itself.

Another term, almost synonymous with Eros but not redundant, that we have cited above and deployed on other writings on CosmoErotic Humanism, is Outrageous Love.

Outrageous Love has the sense of being outrageous, the sense of an extraordinary state that is not quite of this world, rooted in the Infinite, boundary-breaking in its most sacred and deeply personal forms, while Eros, when taken by itself, sometimes tends towards its third-person sense. In the title of this subsection, we intentionally deployed the term Outrageous Love instead of Eros [Band of Outrageous Lovers] to indicate precisely this Infinitely Personal quality. It is precisely not personal in the limited ego-self or separate-self sense. Rather, it is Infinitely Personal—in the sense of human personhood participating in the Personhood of Cosmos.

Returning to our original phrase above, Outrageous Love is not mere human sentiment but the Heart of Existence itself.

This does not mean, for Shimon Bar Yochai and his companions, and the Solomon lineage they represent, that Eros, in its Outrageous Love sense, does not appear in human form. Quite the opposite.

Rather, this formulation means that Love at the human level needs to be not merely human sentiment—meaning a social construction of reality—or a psychological fiction we call love—but rather, the Heart of Existence itself.

In other words, the Eros—the Outrageous Love—that courses through Cosmos is the very Eros—the very Outrageous Love—that must animate the human experience of loving.

It is precisely in this way that Shimon Bar Yochai interprets the phrase: For us, the matter depends on love.

The Zohar, as elegantly unfolded in the Scholarship of Yehuda Liebes, is sourced not in one person, the historical mythical Shimon Bar Yochai, but rather, as described in the Zohar itself, in the Chevraya—the companions—literally the friends—the small band of masters, including his son, who surround and accompany Shimon Bar Yochai in the great mystical journey.

Liebes describes this Chevraya Kadisha, this holy band of companions as described in the Zohar, as mirrored in the 13th-century kabbalists who collectively authored the Zohar.[40]

This is highly significant. What Shimon Bar Yochai is saying—as we will unfold in a moment[41]—is that to affect the great Tikkun, the great fixing, in which human beings realize their true nature, in which a New Human and a New Humanity emerge, the Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind, which we unpacked earlier are woefully insufficient. But so is the Eye of Contemplation or the Eye of the Spirit by itself. Rather, the Eye of Contemplation must be merged with its other forms, the Eye of Value, the Eye of the Spirit, and the Eye of the Heart.

It is a two-step process.

The first step: The companions must first know that love is the ultimate real value of the Cosmos—meaning, Eros, Outrageous Love, is the ultimate Reality.

The second step:  Shimon Bar Yochai says to the companions, to invoke the New Human, they must become the New Human. And that demands the Eye of the Heart. The injunction that yields the illumination is not meditative contemplation by itself but rather Love. But not Love in an abstract or third-person sense. But rather, Outrageous Love for each other.

The companions are to become Outrageous Lovers of each other. The messianic sense of the Idra Rabba—the great gathering—is clear in the text and has been elegantly unpacked by Liebes. The Idra intends a full Tikkun of Arich Anpin—the Infinitely Patient One—which is a particular expression of Partzuf—literally, a Face of the Divine, in Lurianic parlance.

Simply put that means a tikkun—an evolutionary fixing of the entire Cosmos. Tikkun is a key structure of Luria’s Kabbalah, which is generally translated as healing or fixing and is, as we noted earlier, more accurately understood as evolving.[42]

The Fixing of God is not only the Healing of the Divine but the Evolution of God.

The Evolution of God, which in the language of the lineage can barely be spoken, means that there is more God to come. And more God to come comes in human form. The companions of the Zohar become a holy Band of Outrageous Lovers and effectively affect the great tikkun by loving each other outrageously.

For the Zohar, the evolution of the New Human means—the matter depends on Love—the companions loving each other with the Eros that animated and moves all of Cosmos.

The awakening of this new quality of Divine Love—Eros—identified, in the Idra, also with Chesed—one of the ten Sefirot—the ten Lumanations of the Divine—is the quality of the Messianic Consciousness, as the verse cited in the Idra alludes,

Do not awaken or arouse full love until there is full desire.

The fixing, or what we call, in CosmoErotic Humanism, the emergence of the New Human and the New HumanityHomo sapiens becoming Homo amor—the Universe: A Love Story in person—happens primarily through the formation of a Band of Outrageous Lovers who love each other—madly—outrageously.

Here are three texts from the Zohar, allusively in this regard.

The first:

When the companions came before R. Shimon, he saw a sign in their faces [that there was love among them], and he said: Come my holy children, come beloved of the King, come my cherished who love one another. For as R. Abba once said: All those companions who do not love one another pass from the world before their time. All the companions in the days of R. Shimon loved one another in soul and spirit. That is why [the secrets of the Torah] were disclosed in R. Shimon’s generation’s period. As R. Shimon was wont to say, all the companions who do not love one another divert from the straight path, and cause blemish to the Torah, for the Torah is love, brotherhood and truth. Abraham loves Isaac and Isaac loves Abraham, and they embrace one another – and they hold Jacob in love and brotherhood, giving their spirit to one another [i.e., via kiss]. The companions must follow this example and not blemish [the Torah].[43]

Especially important, writes Hayyim Vital, was…

…the love of companions who study Torah together; each of them must regard himself as though he were one part of the body of the group of his companions, especially if he has the knowledge and the understanding to know his fellow’s soul… And my teacher cautioned me greatly about the need for love to prevail among the companions in our group…[44]

For each are the “the bodily parts of the matron.”[45]

Each is part of the Divine Body of Eros.

For the Zohar, Reality is Eros,[46] and the Eros—the Outrageous Love between the holy Band of Outrageous Lovers—is what both sustains and, most significantly, evolves Cosmos.

The core expression of that evolution is the Evolution of Love which evokes the New Human and the New Humanity—the Universe: A Love Story in person.

In the Zohar’s reading, “God’s love of human beings and the human love of God are derived from the first love”—Outrageous Love between human beings. The phrase derived is not homiletic but scholarly.[47]

This is precisely the mystery of Homo amor. In this very precise sense, it is the evolution of new qualities of Love—the move from ordinary love to Outrageous Love—expressed emergently between human beings—in other words, the emergence of Homo amor—messianic consciousness—which then evolves Divine Love itself. This is the evolution described in the earlier passage in the Zohar we adduced above—which describes and cites texts for three forms of Love[48]—where the new form of human Love between the Band of Outrageous Lovers evolves all other forms of Love—Infinity’s Love of finitude and finitude’s Love of the Infinite.[49]

A third source:[50]

And you companions that are here, as you have loved before, do not part yourselves from one another from now on until the Holy One, blessed be He, be glad with you and call peace upon you, and may there be peace in the world on your account, as it is written, “For my brethren and companions’ sake, I will now say peace be with you.”[51]

Sufi Evocations of the Eye of the Heart as Personal Love

In a distinct but not entirely dissimilar fashion, the interior scientists of Persia enthrall the west today because they speak of opening the Eye of the Heart through the injunction of loving.

We turn for a moment to some brief passages from Rumi[52] and Hafiz.[53]


The light which shines in the eye is really the light of the heart. The light which fills the heart is the light of God, which is pure and separate from the light of intellect and sense.


Close your eyes, fall in Love, stay there.


Look at Love with the eyes of your Heart.


I am bewildered by the magnificence of your beauty; and wish to see you with a hundred eyes . . . I am in the house of mercy, and my heart is a place of prayer.

Or the poems of Sufi interior scientist of Eros, Hafiz.

With That Moon Language[54]

Admit something: Everyone you see, you say to

them, “Love me.”

Of course you do not do this out loud, otherwise,

someone would call the cops.

Still, though, think about this, This great pull in us

to connect.

Why not become the one who lives with a full

moon in each eye that is always saying,

with that sweet moon language, what every other

eye in the world is dying to hear?

Or a second poem from Hafiz, also translated by Daniel Ladinsky:

What happens when your soul

Begins to awaken

Your eyes and your heart

And the cells of your body

To the great Journey of Love?

First there is wonderful laughter

And probably precious tears

And a hundred sweet promises

And those heroic vows no one can ever keep.

But still God is delighted and amused

You once tried to be a saint.

What happens when your soul

Begins to awake

To our deep need to love

And serve the Friend?

O the Beloved will send you

One of His wonderful, wild companions

Like Hafiz.

In this relatively random collection of Rumi and Hafiz material, we see both elements at play. First, we see the Eye of the Heart in bold form, and second, we see that the act of loving itself, but not just ordinary love of family members and the like, but Outrageous Love, opens the Eye of the Heart.

As in the sages of the Idra, holders of the Wisdom of Solomon, Eros opens the portal of Eros, the Eye of the Heart, which generates enlightenment—illumination—and new gnosis that animates the New Human and the New Humanity.[55] This is the core of the Wisdom of Solomon.

The text that describes the Divine Granting of wisdom to Solomon—God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight—is followed, as we have noted,[56] by the story of the two harlots who each claim to be the mother of the same baby.

As we noted,[57] this is a legal question in a system in which law and its formal procedures and precedents is the key container of the Divine Will. But Solomon ignores these structures of evidence and precedents and instead evokes the love of the mother as the guiding principle. Solomon declares, if the reader remembers the story, let the baby be cut in half and each woman will receive half… The real mother immediately screams and protests and says, rather give the baby to her. This disclosure of love forms the law.

This is the essence of the Wisdom of Solomon.

This Eros, or Outrageous Love, by its very nature sweeps aside what we have called rivalrous conflict governed by win/lose metrics—which itself is a primary generator function of existential risk—as the core story in which humanity lives. This is the story of Homo sapiens.

Solomon is the early ontology of the emergence of Homo amor. This is precisely not our current success story—rivalrous conflict governed by win/lose metrics—in which all is measured based on who wins and who loses.

Rather, the Eye of the Heart discloses the immeasurable, and rivalrous conflict as the core structure of Reality dissolves in the larger intimacies of the amorous Cosmos, which are now—with the emergence of Homo amor—the governing principles of the New Human and the New Humanity.

Critiques of the Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind

The issue, however, is not the Eye of the Senses or the Eye of the Mind. They are not on trial, and the attempt of so many contemporary writers to indict the productions of Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind—and with them, the two Eyes that produced them—is, at best, ill-conceived and, at worst, highly destructive.

One of the most prominent of this kind of implicit critiques is found in the new-age bestseller The Power of Now, which focuses on the pathology of the Eyes of the Mind and the Senses with their focus on the past and future which ignore—so goes the story—the Power of Now.[58] Indeed, there is an entire industry of new-age thought, strange amalgamations of postmodernism and Buddhist fundamentalist religious thought, which all savage the Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind as generative of all that is degrading and devastating to the depth of presence that is required to capacitate the survival of humanity and the ecosystems of life.

Of course, The Power of Now, and other works like it, blithely ignores the fact that it took hundreds of millions of years of evolution to generate the neocortex with its capacity to step out of the Now and imagine past and future.

That said, the critique of the Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind that underlies this cacophony of voices is not at all incorrect. To reify the correctness of their point—at least in pointing out the crippling limitations of the Eye of the Mind and the Eye of the Spirit—we will illustrate by harking back for a moment to the distinction we made above between two schools of modernity.

The first school, or worldview, understands the world as atomistic and mechanistic, and hence fractured and fragmented, hopelessly divided against itself, all of which exploded, on the human level, in the success story of rivalrous conflict governed by win/lose metrics. This is said to be the Newtonian/Cartesian view of the manifest world, which itself is only partially correct as both Newton and Descartes actually believed in a much more paradoxical view of Reality. But that is for another time.

The new worldview that is said to respond to this first school is that of quantum physics, the new sciences, coupled with systems theory and its more mathematical offshoots—complexity and chaos theories. This worldview is said to show—and indeed they do—that world is not atomized bits, bytes, and parts, but rather, an inextricably enmeshed web of relationships—what is often called the web of life. Books by this name mesh with books by names like Quantum Self and chapters on Quantum Society, which are taken together to be part of what is often called the new paradigm, which is taken to generate this new self and new society.

The conclusion of this line of thinking is that science—exterior science in the form of the Eye of the Mind—will by itself usher in the New Human and the New Humanity that is necessary to respond to existential and catastrophic risk. And then, everyone is somewhat shocked and then depressed—a depression that turns to a studied indifference when none of the results of the new paradigm actually materialize. But in fact, a scientist can think they understand systems theory, and its offshoots complexity and chaos theory, perfectly well without having engaged any practices to open the Eye of Consciousness [in any of its expressions as the Eye of Value, the Eye of the Spirit, the Eye of Contemplation, or the Eye of the Heart].

When these two Eyes of the Mind and the Senses are split off from the Eye of Consciousness, [the Eye of the Spirit, the Eye of the Heart, the Eye of Contemplation, the Eye of Value]—which we have unfolded above—these two Eyes can mistakenly be viewed in mechanistic terms, as indeed they often are, as generating a reality that is dead.

This is then coupled with a presentation in culture of very limited views of those Eyes [the Eye of the Senses and Eye of the Mind] in terms of their surface expressions, while ignoring the deeper visionary capacity of their depth expressions. We will turn to examples of their depth expressions below.

The issue then is not per se the limitations of the Eyes of the Mind and the Senses. These limitations, at least in their surface expressions, are of course real. Complexity theory can easily be misunderstood as a system of interconnected its. That is indeed the weakness of the new paradigm thinking. But complexity theory can only be misunderstood in this reductionist and deadening matter, when it is split off from the Eye of Consciousness [the Eye of Value, the Eye of the Spirit, the Eye of the Heart, and the Eye of Contemplation].

And indeed, for many modern scientists, there is a virtually impenetrable Chinese Wall between these Eyes, and that is, if the scientist recognizes the interior Eyes at all as empirically valid. This splitting off of the Eyes is only expressed in terms of the dogmatic sciences claiming that only the Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind are empirically valid, when in fact, the Eye of Consciousness [Contemplation, Value, Spirit, Heart] generates data—no less than the Eyes of the Senses and the Mind.

The data, however, is of different nature. It is the data of contemplation, the heart, spirit, and value, generated by the empirical methods of experimentation and subject to the unique validity tests of these different expressions of the Eye of Consciousness, as we pointed towards above.

But this split also expresses itself in the interior split within the scientist—the split from his or her own curiosity, her own love of gnosis, her own Eros, her own passionate pursuit of goodness, truth, and beauty, her own attunement to the truths of mathematics, and so much more. All of this is dismissed as merely subjective and split off the ostensibly objective reality of the exterior world. But of course, as we have already pointed towards above, this is an arbitrary split, limiting empiricism to narrow confines, not for scientific reasons, but as a colonizing power move in the politics of the real.

In truth, not only do we need all three Eyes, but all three Eyes are interdigitated—inter-included—in each other. Thus—and this is our additional point at this juncture—once the Eye of Consciousness [Eye of the Heart, Eye of Value, Eye of Contemplation, Eye of the Spirit] is open, then it opens its unique expression in the Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind.

The image below makes the inter-inclusion clear:[59]

Let’s briefly unpack this, only as is necessary for our immediate point here, which will be the desired and necessary inter-inclusion of all the Eyes, in order to yield any sort of accurate picture, or experience, of Reality—and particularly to know, through all of the Eyes, that Love is real and the foundational Reality of Cosmos.

In a world that is whole, not fragmented and fractured at its very core, we realize the self-evident ontic truth, that all three Eyes are expressions of the same One Faculty of human perception. They are, if you will, an ontological trinity that cannot be split.

Each eye is distinct. Each Eye must be granted its place. And yet, they all must and do inform each other. We will offer several self-evident examples of this crucial point.

First, the Eye of the Mind and mathematics.

Mathematics & The Eye of the Mind

Mathematics itself, as we have alluded to in the main body of the text, is, in some sense, both a servant to the classic exterior sciences, performed in mathematical value equations, and an interior science, that is, an expression of the perceptions of the inward eye. Mathematics works—or what has been called the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences[60]—for the same reasons that, as we pointed towards above, the rest of science works. Human science works because we are cosmic humans. Mathematics and the laws of science live inside of us or else we could not articulate them.

The scientist can span the Cosmos in his mathematics because, in some very real sense, the span of the Cosmos lives in her. Mathematics—like poetry or music—discloses intimate patterns of Reality, interior landscapes of often virtually unbearable beauty and truth. These patterns map on to the structure of the world disclosed by the Eye of the Senses. The speed of falling objects, the trajectory of a space shuttle, and the movement of the planets, for example, are best expressed in the language of mathematics—in mathematical formulas that give an explanation to the actual measured results of experiments and can even predict outcomes that have never been measured before. In other words, these intimate interior patterns are embedded in manifest Cosmos itself and mirrored in our own interiors. They cannot be seen with the Eye of the Flesh—the senses [for example, Boolean algebra[61]]—but they govern the world of the senses.

And yet, modernity has amply demonstrated that it is entirely possible to be a Nobel-prize-level expert in muons and mathematics—think Steven Weinberg, for example—and yet, to reduce the Cosmos to being lifeless and passionless. The self-evident absurdity of this is lost on the scientist—after all, the scientist making the claim is himself filled with life, passion, and value—and the scientist is an expression of the universe itself. The scientist not only lives in the universe, but the universe lives in him. For the scientist, to make such a claim is to make an utterly pathological split between the scientist and the universe. And indeed, such pathologies are an expression of the root cause of existential risk—the global intimacy disorder. The split is often healed—by what the interior sciences call a tikkun—when the scientist herself has an experience of the Eye of Consciousness—either through intentional practice or as a spontaneous gift of Cosmos.

This opening of the Eye of Consciousness in the scientists has been described in an important branch of literature on what philosopher Jeffrey Kripal called The Flip, in a book by that name, in which one chapter is devoted to the experience of several flipped scientists.[62]

Although Kripal does not deploy our nomenclature of distinction between the multiple Eyes, he is talking about the same epistemological issues. He tells of scientists who were highly trained in the Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind—who were dogmatically committed to the assumptions of reductive materialism. Said simply, they had no access to the Eye of Consciousness [the Eye of Value, the Eye of the Spirit, the Eye of the Heart, or the Eye of Contemplation]. But for figures like the eminent British logical positivist [and materialist] A. J. Ayer, spontaneous experiences—in his case a near-death experience—shook his worldview. He wrote not long after the following:

“On the face of it these experiences…are rather strong evidence that death does not put an end to consciousness.”[63]

Barbara Ehrenreich is another example of a scientist [a highly trained cell biologist and later science journalist] who grows up in the several generations of a family in which militant materialism is the axiomatic family creed, which she takes as her own. At age seventeen, she has an experience that opens the Eye of Consciousness.

For some, the experience of consciousness appears as radical aliveness, and for others, it appears as radical Love. The two are often—as we know anthro-ontologically from our own experience—virtually inseparable. John Pierrakos, a student of Wilhelm Reich, and founder of Core Energetics—a form of somatic psychology that is based on extensive clinical empirical data—affirms that “at their center people are a pulsating core of energy that is love…When people are in touch with their CORE they love themselves and their fellow creatures.”[64]

In Ehrenreich’s account, both elements, the aliveness of energy and relational love, are both present.

Ehrenreich is in a state of physical stress and exhaustion as a result of skiing coupled with sleep and food deprivation, a state not entirely dissimilar than those intentionally invoked to open the Eye of the Spirit in vision quest ceremonies of native populations world over. And this is what happened:

…the world flamed into life … this blazing everywhere. Something poured into me and I poured into it. This was not the passive beatific merger with “the All,” as promised by Eastern mystics.[65] It was a furious encounter with a living substance coming at me through all things at once…

Nothing could contain it. Everywhere, “inside” and out, the only condition was overflow.[66]

Notice the sense of intimate ecstatic loving:

“Something poured into me and I poured into it.”

Here, as is often the case in direct experience of the Real, the personal and ostensibly impersonal, the ostensibly inanimate and the animate are not ultimately separate. The something Ehrenreich describes evokes both a third-person what and a second-person who. Reality discloses as sentience all the way up and all the way down, itself a core data point of many interior sciences, as we have discussed in early writings on CosmoErotic Humanism.[67]

The core quality described is, of course, the radical aliveness and the dynamic quality of being and its constant becoming. Remember, in this context, our Eros equation, which we adduced briefly above,

Eros = the experience of radical aliveness, seeking—desiring—moving towards—ever-deeper contact and ever-greater wholeness.

A final example of a reductionist scientist who opens the Eye of Consciousness—this time with specific emphasis on the Eye of the Heart—is the thoroughly documented story of Dr.  Eben Alexander. Alexander, a Harvard Medical school professor and staunch reductionist materialist, falls into a full coma for seven days, due to an intense health crisis. He describes his experience as ultimately real.

In his words,[68]

The place I went was real. Real in a way that makes the life we’re living here and now completely dreamlike by comparison.

which causes him to

value life the life I’m living now…more than I ever did before…because I now see it in its true context.

Alexander’s opening of the Eye of Consciousness is mediated, in large part, through the prism of the Eye of the Heart. Here are some of his descriptions:

I was encountering the reality of a world of consciousness that existed completely free of the limitations of my physical brain…under the gaze of a God who loves and cares about each one of us and about where the universe and all the beings within it are ultimately going…there is not one universe but many, in fact—far more than I could conceive—but that love lay at the center of them all.

He sees through the Eye of the Heart that the foundation of Reality is love

…beyond all of the different types of love we have down here on earth. It was something higher, holding all of those other kinds of love within itself, while at the same time being more genuine and pure than all of them.

It communicated the truth of

You are loved and cherished dearly, forever.

The energy of aliveness and love intertext here, as in Ehrenreich’s and many other descriptions of the Eye of Consciousness. Alexander experiences

an explosion of light, color, love, and beauty that blew through me like a crashing wave.

In all of these images, the Eye of Consciousness does not contradict but rather perfectly meshes and synergizes with the Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind. But at the same time, there is a tikkun, an evolutionary healing, of the fracture between the often disassociated dimensions of Real.

And, as we have pointed out through the writings of CosmoErotic Humanism, it is this disassociation that generates the failed stories of modernity and postmodernity—Success 2.0—rivalrous conflict governed by win/lose metrics—which itself generate the fragile complicated systems, extraction models, exponential growth curves, and multipolar traps that are—as we have shown in the section of this Monograph called “What Is the Meta-Crisis?” —direct cause for catastrophic and existential risk.

It is therefore only the re-weaving of the disassociated fabric of the Real—through integrating the data of all of the forms of the Eye of Consciousness—that will generate a New Story of Value rooted in First Principles and First Values, which in turn generates the New Human and the New Humanity—the move from Homo sapiens to Homo amor—that can effectively respond to the existential challenges in this time between worlds.

The Reweaving of the Dissociated Strands of the Real: Integrating the Three Eyes

In this sense, as we will note below the Eye of the Mind, when animated appropriately—with differentiation and not disassociation from the Eye of Consciousness [the Eye of the Spirit, Contemplation, Value, the Heart]—turns out not to be reductive materialist but rather an expression of the Intimate Universe.

Mathematics by itself may be dogmatically interpreted in reductionist terms only when the Eye of Consciousness is either closed or denied in its entirety.

A startling model of the interweaving of the Eye of the Mind and the Eye of Consciousness in mathematics is Ramanujan, whom we already cited above. In his example, we see not only an example of the Eye of Consciousness—the Eye of the Heart and the Eye of Value—as vivifying the interior consciousness that is mathematics but also as serving as a source for mathematical intuition.

Intuition in science is, of course, the fairy dust of science, which is generally left unexplained, as if calling it intuition had already accounted for the fact that is self-evidently not explicable in reductionist materialist terms.

The great mathematician Alan Turing, considered the father of the computer—the first simple models of which were originally called automatic or computing machines by Turing and later Turing machines[69]—writing after World War II, when the materialist paradigm of science was absolute dogma, remarks,

These disturbing phenomena seem to deny our all of our usual scientific ideas. How we should like to discredit them! Unfortunately, the statistical evidence…is overwhelming. It is very difficult to rearrange one’s idea to fit these new facts in.[70]

With that in mind, we turn from Turing to his fellow mathematician whose lives briefly overlapped in England, Ramanujan:[71]

On 16 January 1913, Srinivasa Ramanujan, an unknown Indian petty clerk from Madras, sent nine pages of mathematics to the esteemed mathematician of Trinity College, Cambridge, Prof. G.H. Hardy. Previous attempts to share his work with British academics had failed…Even the esteemed mathematician G.H. Hardy of Cambridge first suspected that these nine pages of notation could be a fraud.

Yet, perusing the document, Hardy became intrigued. He recognized some of the Indian’s formulae, but others “seemed scarcely possible to believe.” Some of the formulas were already known, but after seeing Ramanujan’s theorems on continued fractions on the last page of the manuscripts, Hardy commented that he “had never seen anything in the least like them before.” He conjectured that Ramanujan’s theorems “must be true, because, if they were not true, no one would have the imagination to invent them.” What ensued was the discovery of one of the greatest mathematicians, and some of the highest impact pure mathematics of the last century. The collaboration that followed between Hardy, Littlewood and Ramanujan would continue until Ramanujan’s premature death at age 32.

…the nature of Ramanujan’s mathematical genius, and how he himself perceived it, [is not well] explored. Hardy called it some kind of deep ‘intuition,’ but Ramanujan openly stated that he received the mathematical inspiration and sometimes whole formulas, through contacting the Hindu Goddess Namagiri while dreaming.

Ramanujan was an observant Hindu, adept at dream interpretation and astrology. Growing up, he learned to worship Namagiri, the Hindy Goddess of creativity. He often understood mathematics and spirituality as one. He felt, for example, that zero represented Absolute Reality, and that infinity represented the many manifestations of that Reality.

Famously he is reported to have said:

“An equation for me has no meaning unless it expresses a thought of God.”

Ramanujan was the first Indian professor to become a Fellow at Cambridge University. Hardy said: “He combined a power of generalization, a feeling for form, and a capacity for rapid modification of his hypotheses, that were often really startling, and made him, in his own peculiar field, without a rival in his day. The limitations of his knowledge were as startling as its profundity. Here was a man who could work out modular equations and theorems… to orders unheard of, whose mastery of continued fractions was… beyond that of any mathematician in the world, who had found for himself the functional equation of the zeta function and the dominant terms of many of the most famous problems in the analytic theory of numbers; and yet he had never heard of a doubly periodic function or of Cauchy’s theorem, and had indeed but the vaguest idea of what a function of a complex variable was…”

As for his place in the world of Mathematics, Paul Erdös of Israel’s Technion passed on Hardy’s personal ratings of mathematicians. Suppose that we rate mathematicians on the basis of pure talent on a scale from 0 to 100, Hardy gave himself a score of 25, J.E. Littlewood 30, David Hilbert 80 and Ramanujan 100.

When he returned to India, Ramanujan was again gravely ill. From his death bed, he continued to write notes from revelations in dreams, which he believed were gifts from the Hindu Goddess. In a last letter to Hardy, Ramanujan shared his latest insights. The letter described several new functions that behaved differently from known theta functions, or modular forms, and yet closely mimicked them. Ramanujan conjectured that his ‘mock’ modular forms corresponded to the ordinary modular forms earlier identified by Carl Jacobi, and that both would wind up with similar outputs for roots of 1.

No one at the time understood what Ramanujan was talking about. “It wasn’t until 2002, through the work of Sander Zwegers, that we had a description of the functions that Ramanujan was writing about in 1920,” said Emory mathematician Ken Ono.

Building on that description, Ono and his colleagues went a step further. They drew on modern mathematical tools that had not been developed before Ramanujan’s death to prove that a mock modular form could be computed just as Ramanujan predicted. They found that while the outputs of a mock modular form shoot off into enormous numbers, the corresponding ordinary modular form expands at close to the same rate. So when you add up the two outputs or, in some cases, subtract them from one another, the result is a relatively small number, such as four, in the simplest case.

“We proved that Ramanujan was right,” Ono says. “We found the formula explaining one of the visions that he believed came from his Goddess… No one was talking about black holes back in the 1920s when Ramanujan first came up with mock modular forms, and yet, his work may unlock secrets about them.”

It is, of course, self-evidently obvious that a great mathematician can be an avowed materialist. Indeed, such was the case with Hardy and Ramanujan’s colleague at Cambridge, at the time, Bertrand Russell. Russell writes Principia Mathematica [72] with Alfred North Whitehead, who himself is a key proponent of the Eye of the Heart, what Whitehead would have called the Eye of Eros, which explains the myth of scientific materialism. Russell, however, is himself a wonderful example of what Abraham Kook called heresy which is faith.

Russell rebels against what Kook calls small conceptions of the Infinite[73] of the kind that dominated culture for the entire millennium preceding Russell and against which he, together with much of culture, had appropriately rebelled. And indeed, Russell himself understood that he could not explain his own inner knowing to himself without at least the Eye of Value.

He remarks:

I find myself incapable of believing that all that is wrong with wanton cruelty is that I do not like it.[74]

Russell understands the need for the Eye of Value that discloses intrinsic value in Cosmos beyond personal preference.

We think that theoretical physics, with its extensive usage of mathematics, has nothing to say about our place in the universe. But that is, of course, intuitively absurd. It is not that physics, in the language of mathematics, has nothing to say on this. Mathematical equations of physics might disclose extremely important information about the precise and elegant functioning of the human being within the larger system of the universe.

One version of this scientific mathematical disclosure, for example, is called the anthropic principle, in both its weak and strong forms.

The anthropic principle, in an oversimplified word, is the precise finetuning of the Cosmos—some sixty constants in the universe, which are statistically impossible to be random, without which life would have been impossible on our planet.[75]

For example, if multiple conditions affecting the expansion of the universe had varied for more than one hundred millionth of one percent right after the Big Bang, life would not exist. If the force that holds together the nucleus of an atom, the strong nuclear interaction, was even slightly changed, there would be no long-burning stars that have the capacity to support life.

There are myriad other examples, one after the other, which point to the intelligent mystery of Cosmos, in which our very existence is sourced anew in every second.

We will return to the deployment and mis-deployment of the anthropic principles in later writings. For now, suffice to say that the principle with which we began our conversation above applies:

Eros generates the gnosis.

Opening the Eye of the Mind and the Eye of Consciousness takes the empirical sensory capacity of the human being who is performing the injunctions, doing the exploration, deeper into the Field of Eros, which itself generates deeper and wider gnosis.

The Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind Animated by the Inter-Included Eye of Consciousness

A similar inter-inclusion of the Eye of the Mind with the Eye of Consciousness [Eye of the Heart, Spirit, Value, Contemplation] takes place in regard to systems theory and its more mathematical daughters, complexity theory and chaos theory.

From the dogmatic perspective of materialism,[76] complexity theory discloses the emergence of what Prigogine & Stengers have called Order Out of Chaos, in a book by that name,[77] as well as how self-organization creates patterns of coherence as if following a—not externally imposed design but inherent—design, which, as we will show, implies LoveIntelligence moving towards ever-deeper and wider forms of intimacy and aliveness. Indeed, from the integrated perspective of the Eye of the Senses, the Eye of the Mind, and the Eye of Consciousness, the “hills are alive with the sound of music”—or the sound of Eros.

In other words, complexity theory, for example, when seen from the depth perspective of the integrated Eyes, discloses itself as a kind of mathematics of intimacy. As it is highly relevant here, we briefly adduce CosmoErotic Humanism’s intimacy equation,[78] which we shall briefly unpack below and even more extensively in a foundational work on CosmoErotic Humanism focused on and entitled The Tenets of Intimacy.[79]

Intimacy = Shared Identity in the Context of (Relative) Otherness x Mutuality of Recognition x Mutuality of Pathos x Mutuality of Value x Mutuality of Purpose

This is an equation of the interior sciences, which is well tracked by its exterior correlate, complexity theory. From this perspective, the Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind—re-animated by the Eye of Consciousness in all of its forms—directly disclose Evolution: The Love Story of the Universe and the Universe: A Love Story.

All three Eyes are inter-included and mutually animate each other.

The Eye of the Senses Becomes the Eye of Consciousness [The Eye of the Heart, Contemplation, Spirit, & Value]

In the same sense that there is but One Heart of Cosmos, there is, in the end, only One Eye. As we pointed towards above, in the core substrate of Reality, all of the Eyes are part of the same One Eye, because the Reality that each of them sees, of which they themselves are an expression, is part of—participates in—the same One Field of the One Reality.

Indeed, that is the appropriate premise of all exterior and interior sciences, each with their own empirical methods of discerning Reality, which are all part of what William James wonderfully called Radical Empiricism, to which we referred above.

The failure to recognize the One Heart of Reality was indeed the crippling flaw of key premodern and modern worldviews, at least in the exoteric religions and their dogmas, as well as in the mainstreams of scientistic dogmas, which themselves were, of course, appropriately rebelling against earlier religious dogmas.

As we have already alluded to, when one engages a deeper read of Reality, and at higher levels of consciousness, both in terms of waking up and growing up, the One Field of Reality begins to disclose itself.

Indeed, any one of the three Eyes themselves, when their doors of perception are fully cleansed, opens to the Infinite.

It was in that sense that the poet William Blake wrote,

If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things, thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.[80]

It is in this light that Blake’s famous lines in his early Notebook poems must be understood.

Love to faults is always blind

Always to joy inclin’d

Lawless, wing’d and unconfin’d

And breaks the chain from every mind

Love breaks the barriers of the surface expressions of the Eye of the Mind, sees beyond the narrow cavern of the surface personality, which is lost in rivalrous conflict governed by win/lose metrics and focuses on the inevitable faults that are an inextricable part of being human. Instead, it transcends the laws of separation and invites the angelic beings winged and unconfined that discern the joy at the heart of existence.

Or, as Dickinson was to say it a hundred years later,

Not “Revelation”—‘tis—that waits,

But our unfurnished eyes—

One of the places where we see most subtly but beautifully the interpenetration of all of the three Eyes, all disclosing that Eros, or Love, is real, and that it lies at the heart of existence, is music itself.

It was Aldous Huxley who reminded us that music discloses “the blessedness that is at the heart of things.[81]

And of course—and so it has been from the beginning of time—the preponderance of music, its rhythms, melodies, and lyrics speak about love. It may be personal love or its loss, it may love of spirit, of nature, of country, or their loss. But it is always love, its agonies and ecstasies, its devotions and demands, its rapture and ravaging, that is at the center of music. Music is love songs in all of their myriad forms.

And music itself may said to be the inner form of mathematics.

The avowedly anti-materialist, transcendentalist, and a close colleague of them all, Margaret Fuller echoed the pre-Socratic Pythagoreans when she wrote,

“all truth is comprised of music and mathematics.”[82]

But music itself does not exist before the manifest world of matter emerges. For sound itself is made of sound waves, which is energy moving through a medium such as air, water or any other liquid or solid matter.

And yet, there have been earlier waves in the Universe that were an expression of one of the early forms of matter, gravitational waves. Gravitational waves were disclosed by Einstein’s mathematics, which we have only recently been able to detect, through the most wondrous expression of the Eye of the Mind.[83]

As Michael Greshko from the National Geographic wrote in an article in March 2019:[84]

Gravitational waves are distortions in the fabric of space and time caused by the movement of massive objects, like sound waves in air or the ripples made on a pond’s surface when someone throws a rock in the water. But unlike sound waves pond ripples, which spread out through a medium like water, gravitational waves are vibrations in spacetime itself, which means they move just fine through the vacuum of space. And unlike the gentle drop of a stone in a pond, the events that trigger gravitational waves are among the most powerful in the universe.

We can hear gravitational waves, in the same sense that sound waves travel through water, or seismic waves move through the earth. The difference is that sound waves vibrate through a medium, like water or soil. For gravitational waves, spacetime is the medium. It just takes the right instrument to hear them.

Detecting gravitational waves on Earth was a challenge that took roughly a century to complete, since the ones that wash through the planet are incredibly tiny.

The analogy that some physicists use is that gravitational waves let us “hear the universe.” To be clear, sound and gravitational waves are very different things. But by watching events play out in the universe at different wavelengths of light, while also watching out for the vibrations of gravitational waves, we can embark on what’s known as multi-messenger astronomy.

In a few decades’ time, we’ll be able to hear the universe as never before, from the deep rumble of merging supermassive black holes to the zippy chirps of colliding neutron stars. The universe is full of light; now we know it’s also full of music.

And music is, of course, also an expression of time, which, as Einstein’s theory of relativity, rooted and expressed in the language of mathematics, disclosed, is not separate from space, hence the realization that we live in and are composed of the spacetime continuum.

As Natalie Hodges has written, music is made not of notes of sound, but rather of what sound is at its core—atoms of time. When the single point of the singularity stretches itself out in a line, time is birthed into Reality. Within that line of continuity, moments distinguish themselves. Chords and harmonies, rhythm and melody are born.

Once we realize that music is the stuff of time, and that we ourselves are made of time, we further realize that we are made of music.[85]

And of course, Blake’s portrayal of human beings making music in his Book of Job painting, depicts Job and his family, when their fortune has been restored, and they have encountered God in the whirlwind—something of the mystery has been disclosed, and they understand that love stands at the center of the mystery.

In the pivotal verse in Job,

God restored the prosperity of Job when he prayed for his neighbors

the word for friend is the same Hebrew word that is deployed in the classic text,

love your neighbor as yourself.

It is in the moment of love—empathos—that Job is restored to his true nature.

Blake expresses this moment by showing each of them with a musical instrument in their hand. Together, they open the Eye of Consciousness, mediated through the Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind, all of which together are forms of music. God speaks to Job, in the book, from out of the whirlwind.

Most of the Book of Job until this juncture is man’s question to God. In chapter thirty-eight, we find the response: God’s question to man.

Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation

Tell me if you understand,

Who marked off its dimensions?

Surely you know

On what were its footings

Or who laid its cornerstone

While the morning stars sang together

And all the angels shouted for joy.

For the interior sciences of the Book of Job, and for Blake, love and joy are the foundations of Reality. In many of the interior sciences, from Hebrew wisdom to Whitehead, joy—in the sense of the intrinsic joy of Cosmos—is virtually synonymous with Eros.[86]

The book does not deal in theo-logic or painful theodicies that seek to justify the Divine or to make sense of the horror of evil. Rather, the book affirms that the Universe: A Love Story is the nature of Cosmos, even as the mystery is never ultimately overcome. It is not by accident that Terrance Mallick’s epic film, The Tree of Life, is a commentary on this verse, which appears on the screen at the outset, and that the film, rather than answer the questions, invokes music, time and again, that points to the mysterious love that animates the all.

It is for this very same reason that, when humanity desired to reach for Cosmos, it sent into space not words but music. The music was carried on, what was called the Golden record, in 1977, aboard the space shuttle, voyager.[87] The Golden record is perhaps humanity’s most daring act of Eros—an expression of humanity’s desire to make contact with the One Heart of Cosmos, in all its living forms in the universe—in the most potent way that we know—through music.

A beautiful young woman, Clemency Burton Hill, creative director of the oldest public radio station for classical music, suffered a disastrous brain hemorrhage. Before the tragedy, she had written of Bach as the “music that contains everything”—she experienced his violin solo in E major, as apparently “rearranging the molecules around me.”[88] In her tragedy, she lost, for a time, her contact with Bach. But gradually she came to realizes that Bach is, in her words, the “existential soundtrack to aliveness itself” and that to “recover Bach in me” is the only way to ever be made whole again.[89]

It is little known that Albert Schweitzer, the Nobel Laureate Humanitarian who inspired early environmentalist Rachel Carson, located his own center in Bach. Indeed, a piano goes with him to his work in Africa and remains with him in the jungle for years. Schweitzer, who had much to do with the revival of Bach, who had fallen on hard times, with the supercomputer mathematical genius quality of his work obscuring for some its unbearable depth.

Schweitzer speaks of two kinds of artist, the first who is a law unto themselves, who uses art to expresses their own personhood, while the second group moves beyond first-level personhood, not to the impersonal, but to what he calls the superpersonal.[90] These artists not only hold the larger Field in their being, as indeed all beings do, but they are able to transmit that Field in their art, giving us direct access to the inner superstructure of Reality.

This second kind of artist is, for Schweitzer, intimate with the interior Face of the Cosmos. The art of this second kind of artist, who is beyond the personal, but instead of merging with the impersonal becomes superpersonal—channeling the intimate depth of “what he already finds in existence, …to express it definitively, in unique perfection” through his or her person.[91]

Clemency Burton Hill understands that the greatness of Bach lies precisely in the place that music, which is mathematics, become intimacy:[92]

“The essence of what makes Bach the greatest eludes words…People often describe Bach as ‘mathematical’ because of the complex intricate patterns in his music… [that articulate] intense joy but also wild grief… there has never been a composer or songwriter more attuned to the vagaries of the human heart…”
…which are the structure of Cosmos itself.

But what we have tried to point towards above is that, although music opens the Eye of Consciousness, it participates directly in the material word. Sound is an expression of the manifest, sound waves moving through matter and atoms of time.

The poet Ronald Johnson, steeped in the sciences, was not wrong when he wrote,

Sound is Sea: pattern lapping pattern…Matter delights in music and became Bach.”[93]

This principle of non-alienation, indeed of intercluded union between the three Eyes was often missed in the medieval presentations of the three Eyes and in their recapitulations in modernity. In the medieval period, that alienation between the three Eyes was rooted in the fundamental picture of Reality as being what Arthur Lovejoy in a book by that name famously described as The Great Chain of Being.[94]

The general direction of the chain moved from matter to life to mind to soul to spirit. Matter is the physiosphere, the realm of the ostensibly inanimate; life is the biosphere, mind is, what Jesuit Paleontologist Teilhard de Chardin called, the noosphere; soul is the individuated expression of interior spirit; and spirit itself is the Ground and Field of Spirit in all of its expressions, which suffuses everything, everyone, and everywhere.

The weakness of this medieval picture was that it viewed matter as being at the bottom of this hierarchy and soul and spirit on top.

Modernity, however, has quite clearly disclosed that this is not the case. For example, we are deeply aware of expressions of love in the physical substrates of dopamine and other neurochemicals. We now can trace at least some of the neuroscience that maps the experiences of awe and wonder induced by chemical substances such as MDMA. It is clear, however, to everyone but a dogmatic materialist, that love, awe, and wonder are not reducible to their chemical expressions.

Rather, we understand that the core vision of the great chain of being needs to be evolved with the realization of what we call, in CosmoErotic Humanism, pan-interiority, which simply means—echoing the interior sciences of the Hebrew wisdom and Kashmir Shaivism, expressed as well in polymaths like James Mark Baldwin, Charles Sanders Peirce, and Alfred North Whitehead—Reality is interiors and exteriors all the way up and all the way down.

All of Reality, to one degree or another, contains a degree of Eros—or of what has been called interior experience. Every exterior has some level of interior, and every interior incarnates in some form of exterior.

Love is an interior quality of Cosmos, which expresses itself in unique configurations of intimacy—e.g., in what we call chemistry between various elementary particles, atoms, molecules, and macromolecules. This is critical, however, because it implicitly reminds us that there is only One Reality. There are not, as the dualists suggest—both medieval and modern (17th-century European dualists, for example)—two absolute, ultimately distinct, realities, one material and the other interior, with the spiritual being one form of interior experience,[95] each with its own Eye, or Eyes,[96] to discern its nature.

There are, however, the appearances of exteriors and interiors that are in many ways distinct from each other, but only in their appeared, not in their ultimate nature.

Rather, the world is ultimately one, as seen from what has sometimes been called nondual monism.[97] While Reality discloses itself as interiors and exteriors, there is an underlying fabric of Reality—a unified Field of Eros.

Thus, for example, music is waves of sound and atoms of time—time itself is part of the spacetime continuum, an expression of the world of matter, and yet, music arouses interiors in the most wondrous of ways. In other words, at their deeper levels, as we noted above, just like Reality itself is inter-included and interanimating exteriors and interiors, so naturally, the Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind interanimate and inter-include with the Eye of Consciousness in all of its expressions (the Eye of Value, Heart, Contemplation, and Spirit).

This sense of inter-inclusion and interanimation is already present in the more advanced of the premodern interior sciences that did not adhere to a rigorous vision of the great chain of being with matter on the bottom and soul and spirit on top. For example, a text, often cited in the interior sciences of Kabbalah and Hassidism, reads,

Through my flesh I vision God[98]

or alternatively,

Through my body I vision God.

Here, the Eye of the Senses—alternatively called the Eye of the Flesh—when carried through to its depth expressions, becomes the Eye of Consciousness. This understanding of the body, as being infused with interiority itself, both animates the interior sciences and the frontiers of the exterior sciences.

One has to but read the work of James Shapiro and the lineage that precedes him [think biologist Lynn Margulis] on natural genetic engineering, to access a clear sense of the living intelligence and will of cells.[99]

Cells are clearly more than mechanical programs. That ship has long sailed for anyone following the advances in molecular biology over the last two decades.

At the same time, obviously, there are sharp distinctions between the nature of will and consciousness in human beings and the cells that constitute them.

Cells create larger unions of mutuality, union, recognition, and embrace that become larger wholes—multicellular organisms. That is the erotic trajectory of evolution.

And, as we noted in our writings on First Principles and First Values, there is self-evidently discontinuity between matter, life, and mind, even as there is also continuity.

The key point, however, is that cells, as Lynn Margulis, Shapiro, Stuart Kauffman, Richard Feynman, and others point out, and human beings, who are not only formally constituted by cells, participate in the same field of will and consciousness as cells.

Moreover, the absolute boundary between the animate and inanimate is, as we point towards implicitly through the CosmoErotic Humanism volumes, is increasingly tenuous, as we realize the self-organizing and self-actualizing quality of the subatomic world.

Indeed, Reality is Eros implies sentience—or interiority—all the way down and all the way up the evolutionary chain. Kauffman, Feynman, and Whitehead join the interior sciences of many major traditions in asserting that the same is true at the level of what is ostensibly called matter.[100] One expression of this core notion in the interior sciences, stepped up one level, is captured in the epigram,

Greater is the source of the vessels than the source of the light.

Generally, in the word of spirit, the vessels are understood as holding the light, which is of a higher substance and quality. In the human dimension, the body is generally identified as the vessel, with the soul, or spirit, or interiors, being the light—as in the famous epigram, the body is the temple of the soul.

That is precisely what is turned on its head in the epigram of the interior sciences,

Greater is the source of the vessels than the source of the light.

In the interior science of Luria, in which this epigram is sourced, the vessels themselves are a form of congealed light—light that drives from a higher gradation of Spirit than what is generally considered to be associated with Spirit in this world. In this precise and potent sense, the world of the vessel—the body—is animated by, and indeed suffused with, interiors that are more subtle and refined than the ostensibly spiritual.

In one text of the interior sciences, there is a discussion of the biblical story of the binding of Isaac. The God voice, after seemingly telling Abraham to sacrifice his son to God as an offering on Mount Moriah, is countermanded by a second God voice,

An Angel called to him, saying, Do not stretch forth your arm against the boy, do not harm him in any way.

Hasidic writer and interior scientist, Elimelech of Lishensk, commenting on this text, writes audaciously in late 18th century that the God voice calling to him is actually Abraham’s body—particularly his arm—which knew that sacrificing Isaac was not the Divine Will.

Through my body I vision God.

It is in this precise sense we say in other writing of CosmoErotic Humanism that sex is love in the body. Sex, an expression of the sense of touch, often coupled with the other four senses—the Eye of the Senses—in its depth expression, opens the Eye of the Heart.

It is not just that sex generates dopamine, neurochemicals of connection. Rather, that is the exterior expression of an interior, the love that courses through the body and in between bodies. Similarly, sex, which is engaging the Eye of the Senses, might also open the Eye of Contemplation. We discuss this at length in our writings in CosmoErotic Humanism on the Seven Levels of Sexing and Eros, particularly in Level Five, which is called Mystical Sexing.

Sexing, engaging the Eye of the Senses, also opens the Eye of Value. We dedicated a chapter in A Return to Eros to the realization in sexing that the bill of rights is encrypted in the body sacred. The experience of touch and the other senses in sexing convey the infinite value of the body quivering with Pleasure for which it was self-evidently designed. We understand in our very bodies the dignity of devotion and gifting the beloved with Pleasure and the great sin when the body is violated by intentionally inflicted wanton pain.

John Pierrakos, a student of Wilhelm Reich, and founder of Core Energetics—a form of somatic psychology that is based on extensive clinical empirical data—affirms that “at their center people are a pulsating core of energy that is love…When people are in touch with their CORE they love themselves and their fellow creatures.”[101]

What is critical about core energetics is that it is based on extensive empirical data, which suggests that human beings seek the expansion of consciousness, or the life force, and that the life force lives in the very form of the body. The body is understood by Reich and Pierrakos to enflesh our interiors. Pierrakos’s core energetics works with five levels, the physical body, feeling, mind and thought, will, and spirit. But his key clinical finding is that the five are utterly inter-included, that is to say, you can get to all of them through any of them. The Eye of Consciousness, the Eye of the Mind, and the Eye of the Senses are part of the same visual apparatus, and each Eye when, opened in depth, leads to the opening of the other Eyes.

In many systems of the interior sciences, originating with the several-hundred-word Sefer Yetzirah: The Book of Creation, which dates back some two thousand years, all the way through to the contemporary theosophist Rudolf Steiner (with echoes in Howard Gardner), there is reference to not five but twelve human senses, or what Howard Gardner, in his studies on human cognition, called multiple intelligences.

The key is, as has already been noted by commentary on The Book of Creation, that all of the twelve senses, which include expressions of all three Eyes, are intercluded with each other. Each sense, when sufficiently developed, alludes to the same perception visualized by the others.

In Kashmir Shaivism and other forms of Indian Vedanta, there is extensive interior science on what are called the three bodies: the gross—or classically physical—the subtle, and the casual bodies.

These are respectively referred to as the food sheath (the gross body—or our ordinary waking state—the classically physical realms), the mental sheath (the subtle body—think not only of mind, but of the dream state, visionary imagination, and multiple forms of subtle feeling states), and the bliss or love sheath (the causal body, which sees most directly consciousness and Eros).

The key is that all three bodies and their perceptive faculties are inter-included with each other.

These distinctions, of course, are roughly congruent, but not isomorphic, with the Eye of the Senses, the Eye of the Mind, and the Eye of Consciousness. All of them together disclose Eros, Love, and Love as the most real—foundational—superstructure, which both animates Cosmos and towards which Cosmos reaches.

But one more example:

Attachment theory tells us that a child, even if well-nourished physically and well-educated mentally, if not held in the gaze of love, and if not seeing Reality through the gaze of love, suffers fundamental life collapse of myriad forms.[102]

The Eyes cannot be ultimately split from each other.

In another expression of the principles of the inter-included Eyes, we note that even when we are discussing the Eye of the Mind, there is no way to bypass the Eye of Value and the Eye of the Heart. For example, rational moral reasoning makes no real sense without the Eye of Value—the axiomatic knowing that some choices, courses of actions, and outcomes are more good, true, and beautiful than others. Or said differently, they generate more value than the alternatives. Even more foundationally, without the Eye of Value, we cannot discern goodness as an intrinsic quality of Reality.

But the Eye of Value itself must be joined with the Eye of the Mind. The Eye of Value, deployed by modernity, needed to be coupled with a particular quality of modernity—the Eye of the Mind—namely the third-person perspective, in order to liberate humanity from slavery, discern the truth of universal human rights, and birth the beginnings of suffrage, and equal rights and opportunities for women in general, who, until that point, were denied the most elementary of what we now consider to be elemental human rights.

Recapitulation: The Necessary Intimacy Between the Three Eyes in All Three Persons—One Vision, One Eros

The three Eyes are always at play together, they can’t live by themselves. In fact, in order to see Reality clearly, the Eyes need to see each other. And all three Eyes operate in first, second, and third person.

We have already discussed above, and will return to again below, the classic expressions of Eros in all three persons.

In first person, Eros moves through me—I am an Outrageous Lover.

In second person, Eros lives between us.

And in third person, Eros is the force that animates and evolves Reality, both personally, collectively, and cosmically.

And of course, the Eye of the Mind also appears in all three persons.

The Eros and curiosity of the scientist is a first-person expression.

The focusing of that Love on Reality, the community of science and its peer review, and both its collaborative and competitive processes, are second-person expressions.

And finally, the force of the scientific endeavor, seeking to unlock the mystery of the Cosmos, is larger than any one or group of scientists, it is a third-person force.

The Eye of the Senses also dances in all three persons.

It lives in us as first-person vision, touch, and all of the rest of the senses. These same senses connect us to each other, wildly deepening the second-person space in-between us, even as they also disclose the nature of Reality from a third-person perspective.

All these three Eyes in all three persons are expressions of the core faculty of Eros.

For remember that, as we have discussed above[103] and in other writings of CosmoErotic Humanism,[104] Love itself is a perception, at its core. Eros generates gnosis.

So, we might even say that these three Eyes must be in love with each other in order for a human being to even begin to know something of the fragrance of Reality. When we cross-train all three Eyes, they inform each other to access value—to access the intimacy, goodness, truth, and beauty that animate the Cosmos—and to arouse the moral outrage necessary to activate our political and moral will when these values are violated.

To recapitulate:

Modernity differentiated between the three Eyes. That was modernity’s brilliant evolutionary leap.

Copernicus was free to revision the heavens and their relationship to the earth in accordance with the instrumentations of the Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind, and to liberate that vision from the distorted versions of the Eye of the Spirit that was the church.

At the same time, the moral philosophers of the western enlightenment were liberated to view human beings from a more objective, third-person perspective, from which their fundamental equality gradually dawned. The egocentric distortions of the Eye of the Spirit gave way to the moral reasoning of the Eye of the Mind—implicitly infused with the ontological dignity of traditional Eye of Value but freed of its distorted perceptions.

The Eye of the Spirit itself evolved—at least to some real extent—as it moved gradually from an ethnocentric—at least for some significant part of humanity—to a worldcentric prism. The result was, as we have already noted, the explosion of science-based technologies, which in turn caused an eruption of life—from half a billion to nearly eight billion people—social mobility, the freeing of slaves, democracy, universal human rights, the emergence of women’s rights—all part of the great dignities of modernity.

But instead of only differentiating the Eyes, modernity disassociated them. The Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind were disassociated from the Eye of Consciousness in all of its forms—the Eye of Value, the Eye of the Heart, the Eye of Contemplation, and the noble forms of the Eye of the Spirit.

Interior scientist Abraham Kook describes some dimension of this disassociation and its impact:[105]

One of the great afflictions in Man’s spiritual world

is that every discipline of knowledge or of emotion

blocks his view of every other discipline

and because of this, most people are left incomplete, one-dimensional,

their deficiencies ever-multiplying.

In other words, people pour their energy and perceptive faculties to cultivate the gnosis that will facilitate the skills and expertise necessary to self-commodify and then succeed in the Success 2.0 Story.

This creates an incomplete one-dimensional human whose deficiencies are ever-multiplying.

This generates, in turn, an internal antagonism within a human being towards sources of gnosis and value that do not serve his self-commodification story.

The darkening that each discipline casts upon the next

also causes a person to relate with antagonism

to the discipline that is not his own,

that is hidden from him,

distant in its categories.

Kook understands the future of humanity depends on overcoming this disassociation. He continues:

This deficiency cannot persist.

Humanity’s true future is on its way,

in which humanity will develop to such a powerful spiritual state

that not only will one discipline not conceal another,

but there will be visible from every science and from every feeling

the whole ocean of rational knowing and the entire emotional deep.

To affect a tikkun, an evolutionary leap, in which a New Humanity emerges, we must overcome these disassociations to be able to see clearly and affirm the ontological dignity of all dimensions of Reality.

All of the human Eyes, all the epistemological vectors, must be opened until we see clearly that each detail is saturated with the all—in other words, the Universe: A Love Story.

Kook continues:

For this is the nature of true reality:

it is impossible for any spiritual phenomenon to stand alone;

on the contrary, each detail is saturated with the all.

It is only blockage of the heart

that prevents us from seeing the particulars—of any content

as permeated with all spiritual existence.

but with the rising of Man his eyes will be opened to see what is truly there.

“Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unblocked

and the earth will be full of knowledge of God as waters covers the sea.”

In another passage Kook unpacks the collapse of healthy shame—itself an expression of the collapse of value—as rooted in the disassociation between different capacities and dimensions of Reality.

The shameless behavior of the Era of the Messiah’s Approach comes because the world is already ready

to claim the explanation

of how all particular details weave together into the All;

and no detail unconnected with cosmic magnificence allows the mind ease…

Kook is calling for a new life model of Reality—of Reality in which the One Eros that suffuses every detail—that connects, for example, human Eros with Cosmic Eros, that roots our experience in the larger Field of First Values and First Principles. He calls this the era of the Messiah’s ApproachMessiah being a code word, in this lineage, for the emergence of a New Human and a New Humanity—a new life model.

Again, this is what we have called Homo amor, Conscious Evolution, the personal and collective embodiment of Evolution: The Love Story of the Universe.

Kook continues:

this demands for a life model

in which all the details can be understood

through the meaning of the All,

…[but] the carving out of the path towards this understanding

has not yet come;

and it is because of this that the terrible destruction happens.

To prevent the terrible destruction, the description of Armageddon, which humanity intuited already in ancient times, and which now self-discloses as catastrophic and even existential risk scenarios, we require evolutionary transformation, what Kook calls the highest healing force.

And we must use the highest healing force,

which is the strengthening of the spiritual aptitude

until the way of understanding and imagining

the interconnectedness

of all matters and…deeds

with the highest universal principle

will be something expressible and understandable

in a manner resonant with the feelings of the ordinary souls

And then will the energy of spiritual life

in deed and thought

resurge to shine forth in the world

and the universal return will begin to yield its fruit.

The core universal is a shared grammar of value. And the core value—as we articulate in the texts of CosmoErotic Humanism—is the foundational First Principle and First Value of Eros itself. It is the disqualification of the interior Reality of Eros, the gnosis disclosed by the Eye of Consciousness, perceiving in unison with the Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind, that prevented the further evolution of the interior sciences of modernity.

Not only were the capacities of human knowing disassociated from each other—the gnosis of the Eye of Consciousness was disqualified—which is, again, Lewis Mumford’s disqualification of the universe. That which was not measurable, quantifiable, and supportive of the new 2.0 Success Story, was considered to be not real.

The real was the measurable scientific breakthrough that could be deployed for the sake of ever-more success in the new rivalrous conflict of all against all—rivalrous conflict governed by the win/lose metrics.[106]

The alternative voices and lineages, that we will allude to below, that integrated the gnosis of all three Eyes—the Eyes of the Senses and the Mind together with the Eye of Consciousness—and, each in their own way, began to point towards the Universe: A Love Story—were marginalized by the new politics and economics of the real.

The real was colonized by the measurable and the commodifiable in the service of personal and collective human success—measured by the metrics of achievement in the game-theoretic dynamic of what we called in other writings[107] Success 2.0—again rivalrous conflict governed by win/lose metrics—as the subtle superstructure of virtually all human interactions.

The Love Story of Reality, of course, could not be denied altogether. And so, it was exiled to the romantic love story between human beings. But that story disassociated the human being from the larger Field of Eros. Instead of realizing that, indeed, human love participates in the Evolutionary Love, the Outrageous Love, the Eros, that animates all of Reality, human love was instead alienated from that larger Field.

The Eros of Outrageous Love became ordinary, love became, as Harari and Greer expressed it, echoing the academic assumptions of the postmodern zeitgeist, a fiction, a figment of our imagination, but a social construction of reality. Even as our hearts and bodies—the depth of our anthro-ontological gnosis—knew this to be a lie.

And so, we extracted and consumed and developed and commodified and rivaled in exponentialized frenzies of pseudo-eros, until this gorging on pseudo-eros brought us to the brink of catastrophic and existential risk, all to cover up the gaping hole in the One Heart of the Cosmos.

The Eye of Contemplation, The Eye of Value, The Eye of the Spirit, and the Eye of the Heart Collectively Transcend Kant

It is the entering into the Field of Eros that generates gnosis.

That is the core truth of Reality, realized by the sages of the interior sciences who achieved extraordinary states that disclosed Reality and knew Reality by her true Names. They knew that Love is ultimately Real, and that Eros is the plotline of Cosmos. And they realized that gnosis by affirming the Eros between the three Eyes themselves.

The Eyes did not fuse. The differentiation between them, afforded by modernity, was a crucial evolutionary leap, but from that place of differentiation, they did not turn their backs on each other but rather turned face to face and raised their Eyes together to articulate a vision of the Real.

To say that Love, or Eros, is not real—the foundational value of Cosmos—would mean to dismiss all of the three Eyes, to deny their Love, which generates their unique synergy, which is infinitely greater, clearer, more accurate, than the sum of their fragmented views.

In denial, we are left with no vision of self or nature that is equal to our inconsolable longing for the great Love Story that is our true nature and be left only with an impoverished stare, that can see only flatlands—a deadened perception of a dead universe. This is the crooked road that, despite his best intentions, Immanuel Kant, with his claim that we could know only phenomena but never noumena, led us down.

The Eye of Contemplation, the Eye of the Heart, the Eye of Value, and the Eye of the Spirit, in all of their myriad disguises, from Zen Buddhism, to Hebrew Wisdom, to Indian Vedanta, to Mystical Christianity, when erotically woven together with the Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind, are a direct response to Immanuel Kant and the western traditions, which, at least in some profound sense, rejected as a structural impossibility our capacity to access intrinsic spiritual gnosis—real knowing of intrinsic value.

Kant lived at the crossroads of traditional religion and what we would call the modern world and its momentous advances which took place through the epistemologies of the Eye of the Mind and the Eye of the Senses. Kant claimed that we cannot know noumena, real things or essence, but that we can only know phenomena, and that phenomena are mediated through structures of our mind but are not reflective of Reality itself.

Kant, who is correctly regarded as one the greatest of the enlightenment philosophers and an early proponent of individual rights, distinguished between the world we can know and the world we cannot know.

The first he called the phenomenal world, which is made up of the world we can observe, sense, and think about through the rational apparatus of our minds—the Eyes of the Senses and the Mind.

But he realized that there was no way to rationally know where the everyday phenomenal world came from—what had brought it into being, what keeps it afloat, or where it is going. These questions are about what he called the noumenal world, which our minds cannot comprehend rationally.

By relegating the ultimate to the noumenon—which he called the thing in itself (German: das Ding an sich)—to the realm beyond our minds, Kant thought he could focus humankind instead on what he thought were the universal moral truths of reason, which he ascribed to the Eye of the Mind, which, though limited, would bring us to the only kind of truth we could know.

Moral reasoning, said Kant, could only be done through the mediating role of our structure of mind. And by the mind Kant meant the Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind. But he, like many in his time, caught in their rebellion against the medieval Eye of the Spirit that was the hallmark of premodernity, ignored the implicit need for the Eye of Value to establish any sort of universal moral truth. And the Eye of Value is a subset of the Eye of Consciousness.

Opening Up to the Luminous Love Light of the One

It is the Eye of Consciousness, expressed in the Eye of Value, Contemplation, Heart, and Spirit, which senses the truly Real, even as it is in devotion to the mystery that cannot be known.

It is the Eye of Consciousness in all of her disguises which opens us up to the Eros of Cosmos—which awakens us to the Luminous Love Light of the One.[108] This, in turn, generates the gnosis of the Real—for example, to the knowing that Love, or Eros, itself is real—a real intrinsic value of Cosmos and not a fiction, figment of imagination, or mere social construction.

But that does not mean that how love appears is not in part socially constructed. Of course, it is. Love is real. And the way love expresses itself is refracted through the prism of our psychological maturity, our structure stage or level of developmental consciousness, as well as our economic, political, religious, and social circumstances. That means, for example, that the Evolution of Love demands the evolution of consciousness.

The Evolution of Love requires growing up. And growing up has at least three distinct expressions.

First, growing up means knowing ourselves, integrating our shadows, and working with the knots of human contraction and fear that blind us to Reality. That is what we referred to above, echoing pioneering thinker John Welwood, as phycological maturity.

But growing up also means the evolution to ever-deeper, wider—and yes—higher levels of human consciousness, with each level including and transcending the best of the previous levels.

Particularly in the moral line of human development, this means the expansion of our circle of love and intimacy, from egocentric to ethnocentric to worldcentric to cosmocentric intimacy.

In other words, the Evolution of Love requires the expanding of our circles of love to include all of life and the planet itself in all of its dimensions.

This is the journey of the Evolution of Love that we saw unpacked in the vision of interior scientist Abraham Kook.

And finally, the Evolution of Love requires the growing up of human beings as well in terms of the creation of the most good, true, and beautiful social, economic, and political conditions for every human being on the planet.

The Evolution of Love makes compelling sense as the highest ideal of human existence because love is real. And not only is love real but it is the foundational superstructure of Cosmos in which we participate.

We know this to be empirically true in the most radical way. Our radical empiricism brings together the sensory empiricism of the Eye of the Senses, the mental empiricism of the Eye of the Mind, the multiple empiricisms of the Eye of Consciousness—the Eye of Contemplation, the Eye of the Heart, the Eye of Value, and the Eye of the Spirit.

First, Second, and Third Person as Principles of Anthro-Ontology: Anthro-Ontology vs. Medieval and Modern Reason

Eros births gnosis, and particularly the gnosis of value is the credo of Anthro-Ontology that we explored above. Anthro-Ontology, however, should not be sloppily confused with the overreaching claims of some of the medieval schoolmen—for example, that reason has the capacity to dispel the mystery.

First, Anthro-Ontology emerges from the most clarified interiors, not only of reason but of heart, body, and mind. In other words, Anthro-Ontology emerges from the synergized vision of all three Eyes—the Eye of the Senses, the Eye of the Mind, and the Eye of Consciousness.

Second, even when deploying this fuller anthro-ontological vision, the mystery is never dispelled. Certainty and uncertainty dance together. Knowing and unknowing are both faces of spirit. Indeed, the dialectical relationship between certainty and uncertainty is itself an evolving First Principle and First Value of Cosmos.

We live in the paradox of wisdom and mystery in our relationship to the Ultimate Beloved, much like we live in paradoxical relationship to the personal beloved. This paradox is inherent to the nature of Love itself in the manifest realm.[109]

Love is not allurement but, as we have written elsewhere, Love is the precise dialectical dance between what we alternatively refer to as autonomy and allurement, or autonomy and communion, or, in the more formal language of the sciences mapping exteriors, attraction and repulsion.

Intimacy is the exact space of union formed by the paradox inherent in the opposing desires of every being—the desire for absorption and for individuation.

The core realization of the Anthro-Ontological Method is, as we will reiterate below, simply this:

Not only do we live in an Intimate Universe, but the Intimate Universe also lives in us.

From Being itself to elementary particles from the moment of the Big Bang, from quarks to atoms to organelles to cells, all of the universe literally lives in us.

Moreover, Anthro-Ontology as we have unpacked in other writings,[110] and alluded to briefly above, is radically distinct from natural law and perennial philosophy. Anthro-Ontology does not first turn to nature to derive information, in the sense that, for example, the medieval Christian scholar Aquinas claimed that natural law forbids contraception. This is called the naturalistic fallacy, the claim that, because nature is a certain way, we ought to behave that way, as well.

Two other illustrative examples:

Tigers eat meat, so vegetarianism must be wrong.

Or Social Darwinism’s rejection of the moral obligation to care for the vulnerable because nature does not do so.

Rather, as we implicitly noted above, Anthro-Ontology turns to interior nature. Anthro-Ontology discloses a set of inherent, yet evolving First Values and First Principles of Cosmos, which are first located within human interiors across space and time; their evolutionary deepening and development is carefully discerned; and only then, we turn to locate their originating form in Cosmos, either in the biosphere, in prehuman life, or as far down the evolutionary chain as the world of matter.[111]

Once we locate an anthro-ontological principle through our own universal interiors, we turn to the perspective of the exterior sciences for fragrances of that same principle—we live in an Intimate Universe, and the Intimate Universe lives in us.

To name but a few of the exterior sciences, we might turn to, to validate this core anthro-ontological principle: quantum physics, biochemistry, molecular biology, and evolutionary science, coupled with systems theory, and then later, complexity and chaos theory—all expressions of the Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind. And, the holographic universe, constituted from what David Bohm called in-formation, lives in us, even as we live in it.

But this gnosiswe live in an Intimate Universe, and the Intimate Universe lives in us—is also validated with the methods of the interior sciences—the Eye of Consciousness. The core realization of enlightenment in all of the great traditions includes the interior realization that we are not only seamless with the rest of Reality, but in some genuine sense, the indivisible Infinite is located in every one of us, individually.

Thus, from both, the perspectives of interior and exterior science, access to our own clarified interiors discloses not just personal or collective phenomenology, it also contains rumors of angels—intimations of ontology.

Or said more precisely, phenomenology itself, when traced to its clarified root, is ontology.

Of course, as implied briefly above, and in more depth in Appendix C, Anthro-Ontology does not only live in one’s own interiors. The same interior experience, Eros, or Love, for example, must appear universally, across both, space (e.g., in different cultures) and time (across different periods of history), to be validated as anthro-ontologically true.

Love will appear in different and even contradictory surface structures of behavior across space in time to be sure. But underneath all of the distinctions, there is a core depth structure, a common experience, which includes shared pathos and care, that transcends time and place.

Once we establish a universal in the human realm, we then trace it back to the world of non-human life, the biosphere, and even earlier to the world of matter, the physiosphere.

Of course, the experience of love will differ dramatically at the level of matter, life, and the depths of the self-reflective human mind. There is self-evidently dramatic discontinuity between these realms in the matter of Eros, or Love, but there is also continuity. Often, there are distinct words that describe love’s operations in the different levels of Reality. At the atomic level, we might call the movement of Eros allurement and autonomy, or even more fundamentally, attraction and repulsion, while at the human level, words like love, or autonomy and communion, might resonate more with our interior senses. But the key anthro-ontological realization is that Love is not a social construction of reality. Love is a value of Cosmos, much like the values in a mathematics equation. Both are known to us anthro-ontologically.

The mysteries are within us.

It is in this anthro-ontological sense that we ground the universal vision we articulate in this writings, in regard to the Intimate Universe or what we have called Evolution: The Love Story of the Universe.

This is a Love Story grounded in the intimations of the classical sciences and validated in the intimate gnosis of the interior sciences—Anthro-Ontology.

The Evolution of First, Second, and Third Person of Eros

Each of these perspectives that we unpacked above, first, second, and third person, and particularly Eros in first, second, and third person, evolves. I, We, and It, all evolve along a clear evolutionary trajectory from matter to life to the self-reflective human mind. Or, to use Teilhard de Chardin’s nomenclature, from the physiosphere to the biosphere to the noosphere—the lifeworld of the self-reflective and self-representing mind.

Eros, Love, intimacy, and desire, therefore, can be said to express themselves in all these dimensions.

Eros is a first-person experience of radical aliveness expressed both as being and becoming. And while an elementary particle, or another so-called inanimate object, that is technically not considered to be alive, will experience this radical aliveness than we, as humans, we are saying here that every exterior structure also has an interior first-person experience.

Eros is the third-person creative force of Cosmos, which can be traced all the way down to the Big Bang and all the way up to the lifeforce in us humans.

And Eros is the second-person relationship that lives in the space in-between all parts of Reality’s Ultimate Wholeness—from elementary particles that form an atom all the way up to human beings who form a community.


[1] See Whitehead’s Critique of Scientific Materialism, e.g., in his Science and the Modern World, New York: The Macmillan Company, 1925, New York: The Free Press, 1967.

[2] On the two core views, pre systems theory and systems theory, see Ervin Laszlo’s first chapter in his classic Introduction to Philosophy: Toward a New Paradigm of Contemporary Thought (Gordon and Breach, 1972). Laszlo’s work is heavily presenced in Wilber’s Sex, Ecology and Spirituality, chapter two, which is based explicitly—at least in large part—on Laszlo’s later work, particularly, Laszlo, E. (1987), Evolution: The Grand Synthesis, New Science Library/Shambhala Publications. Wilber then goes on to critique what we call, in CosmoErotic Humanism, the systems view theory of western enlightenment, which Wilber accurately and poetically portrays as describing Reality as a flatland system of interconnected its. Wilber criticizes Laszlo’s Work in this regard as well. However, Laszlo has evolved his thinking in this regard in later works and in recent private conversations and correspondences fully aligned with our view of Evolution: The Love Story of the Universe. We intend a short publication with Ervin integrating his systems view into our Evolution: The Love Story of the Universe. We began part of that integration in the Laszlo Science Boxes that appear throughout the text. CosmoErotic Humanism aligns with Integral Theory’s reading of many of the western enlightenment theorists. However, in CosmoErotic Humanism, we also point towards a second set of enlightenment theorists—Comenius, for example—who understand Reality as both interconnected and alive—a living universe. On these two basic views of modernity, see David J. Temple, First Principles & First Values: Forty-Two Propositions on CosmoErotic Humanism, The Meta-Crisis, and the World to Come (2024), and the fuller conversation in David J. Temple, First Principles and First Values: Towards an Evolving Perennialism: Introducing the Anthro-Ontological Method (2024). We are co-authoring this second book with Ken Wilber, who is fully aligned with us in terms of these two basic characterizations of Reality—the living universe and the dead universe of interconnected its—that appear in the western enlightenment theorists of modernity. On Comenius, see Zachary Stein’s essay “Education Must Make History Again: Remembering Comenius in a Time Between Worlds” Jan. 2022,

[3] Although in both, the east and west, there were times when they were flourishing with relative independence earlier in history—think of historical  moments in Athens and Alexandria in the west and the early histories of China and India in the east—but the independent sciences, driven by the Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind were always, ultimately, brought to heel by the Eye of the Spirit, which was hijacked by the various  forms of dogmatic belief structures of institutional religion, which were aligned with the political power structures of governance. On the nonlinearity of historical sequences in general, see Graeber, David and Wengrow, David, 2021, The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity, New York, Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

[4] On Max Weber and the Differentiation of Value Spheres, see Weber, Max (2004), “Zwischenbetrachtung: Theorie der Stufen und Richtungen religiöser Weltablehnung” (1916)—translated into English as “Intermediate Reflection on the Economic Ethics of the World Religions,” Whimster, S (ed.), The Essential Weber: A Reader, London: Routledge, 215–244. In this essay, Weber introduced the idea that, throughout history, social life has become separated into various spheres of life: economic, political, aesthetic, erotic, intellectual. He also introduces two terms: value spheres (Wertsphären) and life orders (Lebensordnungen). Habermas picks up on this theme of the differentiation of value spheres in his Theory of Communicative Action, Translated by Thomas A. McCarthy, Volume One (1984) and Volume Two (1987), Boston, Mass.: Beacon Press, (Theorie des kommunikativen Handelns, 1981), and in The Philosophical Discourses of Modernity: Twelve Lectures, Translated by Frederick Lawrence. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1987, (Der Philosophische Diskurs der Moderne: Zwölf Vorlesungen, 1985), which are two core texts for Habermas. His vision is to keep them differentiated in important ways, but, instead of allowing them to become dissociated, to reanimate and reunite them. That is precisely the nature of our work on value, which, in this sense, aligns deeply with Habermas. Habermas understood that this is the next step beyond modernity [in which he included what we would call postmodernity]. It is important, however, to understand that his version of what we are referring to as the Eye of Value would refer to things like ethics and morality, absent a translogical, transpersonal spirituality. In this sense, Habermas misses the dimensions of the Third Eye, the Eye of Value, which are evoked when it is referred to as the Eye of the Spirit or the Eye of Contemplation. It is only in his later work that he beings to accept that the Eye of Value includes a certain kind of genuine transpersonal spiritual dimension. This shows up in two books. The first is Religion and Rationality: Essays on Reason, God and Modernity, edited by Eduardo Mendieta, MIT Press, 2002. The second is Between Naturalism and Religion: Philosophical Essays (2008)—Zwischen Naturalismus u. Religion: Philosophische Aufsätze (Frankfurt 2005).

[5] Ibid.

[6] See philosopher of science Howard Bloom’s discussion of the exile of telos from Reality by the dogmas of modern science, particularly around Ludwig Büchner’s publication of Force and Matter: Empirico-Philosophical Studies, Intelligibly Rendered, an English translation (Trubner, 1864) of Kraft und Stoff: Empirisch-naturphilosophische Studien in allgemein-verständlicher Darstellung (Meidinger,1855), Edited and translated by J. Frederick Collingwood, some one hundred and twenty-eight years after Newton and his subsequent firing from the university. It is worth mentioning that Bloom writes of telos from a purely scientific perspective—as an inherent structure of Cosmos itself unconnected with any sort of exteriorized religious impulse or God who is purely external to Cosmos. Hence the title of the book, The God Problem: How a Godless Cosmos Creates, (Prometheus, 2016). Bloom, who is a dear friend and a senior fellow at our Center for World Philosophy and Religion, identifies as a stone-cold atheist, but what he actually means by that is a rebellion against the premodern vision of Spirit, which still dominates much of the globe. If everyone was a stone-cold atheist of the Bloomian type, then, religions could comfortably retire.

[7] The educator we cited above from Kathy Brownback.

[8] Kings Two, Chapter Three, Verse Fifteen.

[9] This reading of the text is offered by the great 19th-century interior scientist Schneur Zalman of Liadi in a text of his that I read many years ago. His major works are not in my library at this time, so, I am unable to locate the precise reference.

[10] This reading is core to Maimonides and to many other classic interior scientists of the Hebrew wisdom tradition. See Maimonides, Guide for the Perplexed. For some of the core sources in Maimonides on prophecy, see for example, R. Eli Hadad in his short essay “Prophecy,” which focuses on Maimonides:  . This reading of prophecy in Maimonides as being both a possibility and legitimate aspirational commandant for every human being is unpacked in numerous texts of Maimonides greatest interpreter Joseph Soloveitchik. For an annotated bibliography of Soloveitchik, see DAAT—A Journal of Jewish Philosophy & Kabbalah, Department of Jewish Philosophy, Bar-Ilan University. The notion of prophecy being accessible in various forms to every man [and woman] also runs as a theme through Abraham Kook’s writings. This theme is readily apparent to any careful reader of Kook, and I (Marc) have pointed this out in myriad passages to my students over the years. Kook himself emerges directly from Maimonides in this regard. See, in regard to Kook and prophecy, two key sources in scholarship: One is Eliezer Schwied, Neviiim le-Amam u-le-Enoshut: Nevuah u-Nevim be-Hagut Ha-Yehudit shel Ha-Meach Ha-Esrim, Prophets for their Nation and Humanity: Prophecy and Prophets in 20th century Hebrew Philosophy, Jerusalem, Hebrew University, Magnes Press, 1999, pp. 190-214. The other is the doctoral dissertation of Avinoam Rosenak, The Philosophy of Halacha in the Thought of Rabbi Abraham HaCohen Kook (Hebrew) Hebrew University, 1997, and in brief, Avinoam Rosenak, (2004), “The Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmud in Rabbi Kook’s Conception of ‘the Prophetic Torah of Eretz Israel’” (Hebrew), A. Ravitzky (ed.), The Land of Israel in 20th century Jewish Thought, Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi, Jerusalem, pp. 26-70.)

[11] On radical empiricism, see William James, Essays in Radical Empiricism (1912), a collection of essays edited and published posthumously by his colleague and biographer Ralph Barton Perry in 1912, Dover Publications 2003. See also, The Works of William James: Essays in Radical Empiricism, Harvard University Press, 1976, ed. Frederick Burkhardt and Fredson Bowers—this critical edition includes commentary, notes, emendations, and appendices with and English translation of “La Notion de Conscience.”

[12] In G. H. Hardy, Ramanujan: Twelve Lectures on Subjects Suggested by His Life and Work (1940) Ch. 1 “The Indian Mathematician Ramanujan,” p. 12, Hardy writes: “He could  the idiosyncrasies of  in an almost uncanny way. It was  who said that every positive integer was one of Ramanujan’s personal friends. I remember once going to see him when he was ill at . I had ridden in taxi cab number  and remarked that the number seemed to me rather a dull one, and that I hoped it was not an unfavorable omen. ‘No,’ he replied, ‘it is a very interesting number; it is the smallest number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways.’” After this famous anecdote, the number 1729 (= 13 + 123 = 93 + 103) is now known as the Hardy-Ramanujan number.

[13] See, for example, G. Spencer Brown, Laws of Form, 1969, London: Allen & Unwin, Hardcover. Integral Theory has recapitulated this material and sharpened it significantly. See, for example, Ken Wilber, Marriage of Sense and Soul: Integrating Science and Religion, Random House, 1998.

[14] Quoted from Ken Wilber, Marriage of Sense and Soul: Integrating Science and Religion, Random House, 1998.

[15] Mathematics itself, as we have alluded to in the main body of the text, serves in some sense both as a supporter of the classic exterior sciences, performed in mathematical value equations that are able to describe exterior processes in Cosmos from the movement of elementary particles and waves to the flow of money in economics, and itself an interior science, that is, an expression of the perceptions of the inward eye. In this sense, as we will note below, the Eye of the Mind, when animated appropriately—with differentiation and not disassociation from the Eye of Consciousness [Spirit, Contemplation, Value, Heart]—turns out not to be reductive materialist but rather an expression of the Intimate Universe.

[16] It is, of course, true that the surface structures and depth structures got confused in each of the religions. The California transpersonal community, for example, is famous for its postmodern arrogance—which always cites this confusion in the religions to then dismiss all universal trends that emerge out of the shared realizations that bind all the great traditions. But even these ostensible postmodernists, who seem to dismiss all universals, virtually always have a hidden set of universals that they endorse—what Habermas called cryptonormative judgment, e.g., in Jürgen Habermas, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, trans. F. Lawrence (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1987), p. 284. We discuss this key issue in our complete book on Anthro-Ontology and value. Marc Gafni & Zachary Stein with Ken Wilber, First Principles and First Values: Towards an Evolving Perennialism: Introducing the Anthro-Ontological Method. There, I (Marc) share a wonderful correspondence with my friend and colleague Jorge Ferrer. Jorge has set himself up in multiple writings as a fierce demolisher of perennial trends towards discerning universals between the religions. However, as I shared with Jorge, in a letter, that a careful reading of his own writings reveals a distinct set of universals, which paradoxically reveal Jorge, the great scavenger of universal Perennialism, to be a crypto-perennialist, which Jorge graciously acknowledged.

[17] Babylonian Talmud Tractate Shabbat, 33a. The prose English translation is adduced by Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Sabbath, Published August 17th, 2005, by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1951), p. 36.

[18] For readers familiar with this passage: The larger context of the passage in terms of the struggle with Rome, in which Bar Yochai was involved, and the fiery interaction between the Shimon Bar Yochai and Elazar, and between them and the world, upon leaving the cave is crucially important but beyond the scope of this conversation.

[19] On Idra Rabba, see the scholarship of Yehuda Liebes, particularly Studies in the Zohar, translated by Arnold Schwartz, Stephanie Nakache, and Penina Peli, Suny Press, 1993, and in that volume, “The Messiah of the Zohar: On R. Simeon bar Yohai as a Messianic Figure.” Really, however, all of Liebes’s work is seminal in this regard. Liebes is followed by his student Melila Hellner-Eshed, who writes a volume on Idra Rabba itself. Melila Hellner-Eshed, Seekers of the Face: Secrets of the Idra Rabba (The Great Assembly) of the Zohar, Stanford University Press 2021.

[20] Zohar 3:128, trans. Matt, volume 8:323, quoted from Melila Hellner-Eshed, who writes a volume on Idra Rabba itself. Melila Hellner-Eshed, Seekers of the Face: Secrets of the Idra Rabba (The Great Assembly) of the Zohar, Stanford University Press 2021, p. 142 and 164.

[21] See Gafni, “Three Steps Towards the Democratization of Enlightenment,” . See also Gafni, Radical Kabbalah, pp. 152-154, “The Democratization of Enlightenment.” See also Gafni, Your Unique Self, on the same, pp. 21-22, 176-178, 366-367, 379, 387. See also Moshe Idel, Messianic Mystics, Yale University Press, 2000, who, although he does not deploy our term Democratization of Enlightenment, describes well the Hasidic sources that view each person as participating in Komat Mashiach, the stature of the Messiah, pp. 221-223. See also dialogue between Moshe Idel, Marc Gafni, and Ken Wilber, where Gafni introduced to Idel and Wilber the term Democratization of Enlightenment, which both Idel and Gafni saw as central to the interior sciences of Hebrew wisdom.

[22] The need to adopt core categories of the interior sciences and apply them universally beyond their limited ethnocentric context is a core theme of CosmoErotic Humanism. On universalism and particularism in Kabbalistic thought, see, for example, scholars Elliot Wolfson (see, e.g., the essay “Secrecy, Apophasis, and Atheistic Faith in the Teachings of Rav Kook” in Negative Theology as Jewish Modernity, Indiana University Press (2017), pp. 131-160) and Moshe Halamish.

[23] Moshe Cordevero, Or Yakar, The Precious Light, 3:254.

[24] See Liebes, “How the Zohar was Written” in Studies in the Zohar, translated by Arnold Schwartz, Stephanie Nakache, and Penina Peli, Suny Press, 1993.

[25] See for example, Zohar Vol. 3, pp. 296a. This section, known as the Idra Zuta, is an intense description of the Holy of Holies as the locus of the erotic union—which is aroused by human Eros—that takes places in every dimension of Reality—all of Reality being conceived as intra-Divine exciting within the Field of Divine Eros. The Holy of Holies was literally the Inside of the Inside of the Jerusalem Temple. There was an outer courtyard, the inner courtyard called the holy, and the innermost sanctum of the holy—the inside of the inside—was called Holy of Holies. But this sense of being, the lefeni u-lefneim, the Inside of the Inside, refers not primarily to the spatial but to the ontological. The word paniminside—in Hebrew also means face. The Inside of the Inside is the inner Face of the Divine—of Reality—the Divine Face. On face and the penultimate goal of being face to face, see Marc Gafni, “The Journey Towards Face: From Losing Face to Revealing Face—Being Face to Face with God and Self,” See Melila Hellner-Eshed, Seekers of the Face: Secrets of the Idra Rabba (The Great Assembly) of the Zohar, Stanford University Press 2021, particularly pp. 30-61. In the language of the Zohar itself, “…there is no healing in the world until we are gazing face to face.Zohar Volume 3: 292b in the Idra Zuta.

[26] This realization is fundamental to Zen and requires little citation. But we cite one modern work as but an example of this axiom of the Zen Interior sciences: Shamar Rinpoche, Buddha Nature: Our Potential for Wisdom, Compassion, and Happiness, Bird of Paradise Press (2019).

[27] The authorship of the book is subject to debate in both classical and modern scholarly sources. The book is either by Solomon or, in the lineage of Solomon, written by interior scientists who, in their text, overcame the split between science and the mythopoetic, in a deeper ontology that includes both. All true science is poetry, and all true poetry grounds in science.

[28] See for example, Zohar, volume One pp. 98a, which talks of the practice of reading the Songs of Songs as generating radical illumination. For a discussion of this text, see Marc Gafni, “The Law of Tears: Early Ontologies of Non-Dual Humanism: Apotheosis, Value, Love, Tears, Human Autonomy, and the Ontic Identity of Human and Divine Will.” This essay is published in Gafni, The Wisdom of Solomon Matrix of CosmoErotic Humanism: Early Ontologies of the Universe: A Love Story and Evolution: The Love Story of the Universe in the Interior Sciences of Hebrew Wisdom [forthcoming, Waterside Press].

[29] See R. M. Bucke, Cosmic Consciousness: A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind, first published in 1901, 2006, Cosimo, Inc., p. 10. This text was highly influential and was cited in a somewhat different version by William James, the following year in his epic Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature, pp. 302-303, The University of Adelaide Library, 2009, following, as James says, “the privately printed pamphlet which preceded Dr. Bucke’s larger work, and differs verbally a little from the text of the latter.”

[30] See Aldous Huxley, The Perennial Philosophy, Harper & Brothers, 1945, and Huxley’s 1944 essay “The Minimum Working Hypothesis,” published in Vedanta and the West. There, he describes the basic outline of the Perennial Philosophy found in all the mystic branches of the religions of the world, as something like this:
“That there is a Godhead or Ground, which is the unmanifested principle of all manifestation.
That the Ground is transcendent and immanent.
That it is possible for human beings to love, know and, from virtually, to become actually identified with the Ground.
That to achieve this unitive knowledge, to realize this supreme identity, is the final end and purpose of human existence.
That there is a Law or Dharma, which must be obeyed, a Tao or Way, which must be followed, if men are to achieve their final end

[31] See, for example, R. K. Wallace, “Physiological effects of transcendental meditation,” Science, 1970 Vol 167, Issue 3926, pp. 1751-1754, DOI: 10.1126/science.167.3926.1751. See also, R. K. Wallace, The physiological effects of Transcendental Meditation. Los Angeles: Maharishi International University Press, 1970. See also, WALLACE, R. K. TM: Meditation or sleep. Science, 1976, 193, 719-720. See also, Wallace, R. K., & Benson, H. The physiology of meditation. Scientific American, 1972, 226, 84-90.

[32] See Ken Wilber, The Marriage of Sense and Soul: Integrating Science and Religion, Random House, 1998, pp. 198-9.

[33] Richard Davidson and Daniel Goleman, Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Meditation Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body,                 Avery Publishing, 2017.

[34] Also see, for example, “Regulation of the Neural Circuitry of Emotion by Compassion Meditation: Effects of Meditative Expertise”, Antoine Lutz, Julie Brefczynski-Lewis, Tom Johnstone, Richard J. Davidson, 2008, Journal PloS one.

[35] See Yaşar Nuri Öztürk, The Eye of the Heart: An Introduction to Sufism and the Major Tariqats of Anatolia and the Balkans, Redhouse Press, Istanbul First Edition 1988, [Translated by Richard Blakney].

[36] For a view of the Eye of the Heart through the prism of western Christian practice, see our colleague Cynthia Bourgeault, Eye of the Heart: A Spiritual Journey into the Imaginal Realm, Shambala, 2020. In 2011, I [Marc] shared with Cynthia some of the core constructions of this this writing, and particularly the realization of the Divine not merely as the Infinity of Power but as the Infinity of Intimacy, and she lovingly penned a generous approbation to my early work, Your Unique Self, The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment, with Introduction and Afterword by Ken Wilber, Integral Publishers, 2012., where the realization of the Infinity of Intimacy was shared.

[37] The title emerged out of a dialogue between myself [Marc] and two highly practiced teachers of Vedantic meditation, Sally Kempton, formerly Swami Durgananda, and Lama Surya Das. Both of them are highly practiced in the Eye of Contemplation.

[38] Gafni, Marc, “On the Erotic and the Ethical,” Tikkun Magazine, Vol. 18, No. 2, March/April 2003.

[39] Bubbe is a Yiddish word for grandmother.

[40] See Liebes, “How the Zohar Was Written,” pp. 85 -138, in Studies in the Zohar, translated by Arnold Schwartz, Stephanie Nakache, and Penina Peli, Suny Press, 1993.

[41] See ibid, for a more extensive unfolding of this strain in the Zohar.

[42] See our earlier endnote on tikkun.

[43] Zohar, volume two, pp. 190b, in the section known as Idra Rabba. Quoted from Liebes, Studies in the Zohar, translated by Arnold Schwartz, Stephanie Nakache, and Penina Peli, Suny Press, 1993, pp. 37-38.

[44] Quoted from Liebes, Studies in the Zohar, translated by Arnold Schwartz, Stephanie Nakache, and Penina Peli, Suny Press, 1993, pp. 40-41.

[45] Zohar, volume three, p. 231b. Quoted from Liebes, Studies in the Zohar, translated by Arnold Schwartz, Stephanie Nakache, and Penina Peli, Suny Press, 1993, p. 41.

[46] See Liebes, Yehuda, “Zohar and Eros” Alpayim 9 (1994).

[47] This formulation derives from Liebes reading of the Zohar, which parallels my own, and is graciously formulated as such by his student Melila Hellner-Eshed, Seekers of the Face: Secrets of the Idra Rabba (The Great Assembly) of the Zohar, Stanford University Press 2021, p. 167. Thus, the earlier passage in the Zohar, which we cited above, which adduces three texts—in regard to Divine Love for humanity, human Love for God, and Love between humans—is understood in the Idra to audaciously suggest that human Love is the source of both God’s Love for humanity and humanity’s Love for God.

[48] See the passage of the Zohar cited in the section “The Early Ontologies of the Universe: A Love Story—The Eye of Contemplation” above, talking about love between people, love between the human and the Divine, and finally between the Divine and the human.

[49] With some hesitancy about what should be concealed and what should be revealed, I (Marc) pen this footnote.  This notion of a Band of Outrageous Lovers who love each other and evolve a new consciousness, Homo amor, through the quality of Love in the Band, together with the language of Homo amor and Outrageous Love, are all part of what we have called CosmoErotic Humanism. All of this emerged in me, in various forms of what the lineage might call Divine Whisper. I was wholly unaware of these text and sources, as they are unpacked by Liebes. When I encountered these texts, the level of shock, recognition, and almost unbearably poignant joy was and is beyond words.

[50] Zohar, volume three; p. 95. Quoted from Liebes, Studies in the Zohar, translated by Arnold Schwartz, Stephanie Nakache, and Penina Peli, Suny Press, 1993, p. 42.

[51] See Psalms, chapter 22, verse 8. Quoted from Liebes, Studies in the Zohar, translated by Arnold Schwartz, Stephanie Nakache, and Penina Peli, Suny Press, 1993, p. 42.

[52] Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207–1273) descended from a lineage of Islamic jurists, theologians, and mystics. When his father died in 1231, Rumi became head of the madrasah, the spiritual learning community. In 1244, he met Shams Tabriz, who had taken a vow of poverty. Rumi considered their meeting a central event in his life and believed his real poetry began after he had met Shams. In 1248, Shams disappeared. He was either driven away or killed. Rumi’s mourning for the loss of his friend led to the outpouring of more than 40,000 lyric verses. The resulting work, Divan-e Shams-e Tabrizi or The Works of Shams Tabriz, is considered one of the greatest masterpieces of Persian literature. From 1262 till the end of his life in 1273, Rumi dictated a single, six-volume poem to his scribe, Husam Chelebi: Masnavi-ye Ma’navi (Spiritual Verses), which is considered Rumi’s most personal work of spiritual teaching.

[53] Ḥafiẓ, also spelled Ḥafeẓ, or in full, Shams al-Din Muḥammad Ḥafiẓ, (~1325-1389), is considered one of the finest lyric poets of Persia. He received a classical religious education, lectured on Quranic and other theological subjects (Ḥafeẓ means one who has learned the Quran by heart), and wrote commentaries on religious classics. He was also a court poet who, for some time, enjoyed the patronage of some of the rulers. One of the guiding principles of his life was Sufism, the Islamic mystical movement demanding complete devotion to the pursuit of union with the ultimate Reality. His principal verse form—that he brought to a perfection never achieved before or since—was the ghazal, a lyric poem of 6 to 15 couplets linked by unity of subject and symbolism rather than by a logical sequence of ideas. Traditionally, the ghazal had dealt with love and wine. Hafiz used these motifs, associated with ecstasy and freedom from restraint, to express some of the Sufi ideas, giving these subjects a truly new freshness and subtlety. His poetry is characterized by his love for humanity and his ability to universalize his everyday experience and to relate it to the mystic’s unending search for union with God. Ḥafiẓ is most famous for his Divan; partially translated into English by Gertrude Bell, H. Wilberforce Clarke, and others.

[54] “With That Moon Language” is reprinted from Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West, by Daniel Ladinsky. Copyright © 2002 by Daniel Ladinsky. Scholars and critics have pointed out that Ladinsky’s poems not translations or interpretations of Hafiz but originals.

[55] Of course, the ancient mystics don’t refer to it as the New Human and the New Humanity or as Homo amor. Rather, they talk about Messiah or Metatron, as we have briefly pointed to in this Monograph, in the section called “Evolution: The Love Story of the Universe—The Evolution of Intimacy: Evolutionary Intimacy” in Nr. “11. Now We Must Think Together: Messiah, Armageddon, Existential Risk, and Homo Amor.”

[56] See Gafni, Marc, The Wisdom of Solomon Matrix of CosmoErotic Humanism: Early Ontologies of the Universe: A Love Story and Evolution: The Love Story of the Universe in the Interior Sciences of Hebrew Wisdom [forthcoming, Waterside Press].

[57] Ibid.

[58] Tolle, Eckhart, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, Namaste, Vancouver, 1997.

[59] This image is just a placeholder for this early draft.

[60] See Wigner, E. P. (1960). “The unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences,” Communications on Pure and Applied Mathematics. In this article, Wigner observed that a physical theory’s mathematical structure often paves the way to further advances and even empirical predictions in that theory. From the paper: “It is difficult to avoid the impression that a miracle confronts us here, quite comparable in its striking nature to the miracle that the human mind can string a thousand arguments together without getting itself into contradictions, or to the two miracles of the existence of laws of nature and of the human mind’s capacity to divine them.”

[61] In mathematics and mathematical logic, Boolean algebra is the branch of algebra in which the values of the variables are the truth values true and false, usually denoted 1 and 0, respectively. It was introduced by George Boole in his first book The Mathematical Analysis of Logic (1847) and more fully in his An Investigation of the Laws of Thought (1854), Prometheus Books, 2003. The term Boolean algebra was first introduced by Charles Sanders Peirce, who gave the title “A Boolean Algebra with One Constant” to the first chapter of his “The Simplest Mathematics” in 1880—Peirce, Charles S. (1931), Collected Papers, Vol. 3. Harvard University Press, p. 13. Boolean algebra has been fundamental in the development of digital electronics and modern programming languages. It is also used in set theory and statistics.

[62] See Kripal, Jeffrey, “Flipped Scientists,” pp. 54-88, in The Flip: Epiphanies of Mind and the Future of Knowledge, Bellevue Literary Press, 2019.

[63] Ayers writes this right after his near-death experience ( written as an article for The Sunday Telegraph (28th August 1988)). In an article written later, he attenuated this initial claim, seeking apparently to retain his prior stance on such things (A. J. Ayer: Postscript to a Postmortem (15th Oct 1988, Spectator)—). See also Kripal, Jeffrey, “Flipped Scientists,” pp. 60-64, in The Flip: Epiphanies of Mind and the Future of Knowledge, Bellevue Literary Press, 2019.

[64] See John Pierrakos, M.D., Core Energetics: Developing the Capacity to Love and Heal, Life Rhythm Publication, 1987.

[65] Ehrenreich is apparently better versed in science than in Eastern mysticism. Eastern mysticism has many forms of expression including expressions similar to her description. See, for example, Lorin Roche, Radiance Sutras, Sounds True, 2014—first published in 2008—(, which is a poetic rendition of the eastern classic, the Vijnana Bhairava, See also Kashmir Shaivite teacher and practitioner Sally Kempton on the Vijnana Bhairava, Doorways to the Infinite: The Art and Practice of Tantric Meditation, Sounds True, 2014.

[66] Ehrenreich, B. (2014). Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search for the Truth about Everything. New York: Hatchette Book Group, p. 116.

[67] See, for example, Gafni, Marc, Radical Kabbalah Books 1 and 2, Integral Publishers, 2010, which used the term nondual humanism, Volume 1, pp. Iiii-Iix.

[68] Eben Alexander, Proof of Heaven, Simon & Schuster, 2012, pp. 40, 41, 46, 48.

[69] What are now called Turing machines, first described by Alan Turing in 1936–7 as computing machines or automatic machines, are simple abstract computational devices, which were intended to help investigate the extent and limitations of what can be computed. These machines were specifically devised for the computing of real numbers. They were first named Turing machines by Alonzo Church in a review of Turing’s paper (Church 1937). Today, they are considered to be one of the foundational models of computability and (theoretical) computer science.—See, for example, here:

[70] Turing is talking about and in fact giving credence to not only intuition but telepathy. For this citation from Turing, see Turing, M. A. (1950) “Computing Machinery and Intelligence,” Mind, New Series, Vol. 59, No. 236. (Oct.,1950), pp. 433-460—for this quote especially p. 453—. On telepathy and related issues, see also the eminent Whitehead scholar, Griffin, David Ray (1997). Parapsychology, Philosophy, and Spirituality a Postmodern Exploration. SUNY Press.

[71] The section below on Ramanujan is cited from Georgi Y. Johnson, “The Science & Spirituality of Srinivasa Ramanujan,” 2016, at The article first appeared on Science and Nonduality (SAND), “The Secrets of Ramanujan’s Garden,”

[72] Whitehead, Alfred North and Russell, Bertrand, Principia Mathematica, 3 vols., Cambridge University Press, 1910–1913.

[73] See Abraham Kook, Arpelei Tohar, Mists of Purity, p. 46, Jerusalem.

[74] Russell is cited in Germaine Bree, Camus and Sartre, p. 15, Dell Publishing, 1972. For a fuller citation, see Pigden, Charles R., “Bertrand Russell: moral philosopher or unphilosophical moralist?” Published as chapter 15 of Nick Griffin ed. (2004) The Cambridge Companion to Bertrand Russell, Cambridge University Press, pp. 475-506, “’I cannot see how to refute the arguments for the subjectivity of ethical values’ he declared in 1960, ‘but I am incapable of believing that all that is wrong with wanton cruelty is that I don’t like it. … when it comes to the philosophy of moral judgements, I am impelled in two opposite directions and remain perplexed. I have already expressed this perplexity in print, and I should deeply rejoice, if I could find or be shown a way to resolve it, but as yet I remain dissatisfied.’” (Pigden, Charles R. (ed.), Russell on Ethics, London: Routledge, 1999. pp. 165-166.)

[75] See Paul Davies, The Goldilocks Enigma, Allen Lane, 2006. Davies, a superlatively regarded physicist is elegantly responding in The Goldilocks Enigma to challenges posed by Nick Bostrom and others in this regard. A quote from the book, cited from “The Goldilocks Enigma” BBC Two, “So, how come existence? At the end of the day, all the approaches I have discussed are likely to prove unsatisfactory. In fact, in reviewing them they all seem to me to be either ridiculous or hopelessly inadequate: a unique universe which just happens to permit life by a fluke; a stupendous number of alternative parallel universes which exist for no reason; a pre-existing God who is somehow self-explanatory; or a self-creating, self-explaining, self-understanding universe-with observers, entailing backward causation and teleology. Perhaps we have reached a fundamental impasse dictated by the limitations of the human intellect. I began this book by saying that religion was the first great systematic attempt to explain all of existence and that science is the next great attempt. Both religion and science draw their methodology from ancient modes of thought honed by many millennia of evolutionary and cultural pressures. Our minds are the products of genes and memes. Now we are free of Darwinian evolution and able to create our own real and virtual worlds, and our information processing technology can take us to intellectual arenas that no human mind has ever before visited, those age-old questions of existence may evaporate away, exposed as nothing more than the befuddled musings of biological beings trapped in a mental straightjacket inherited from evolutionary happenstance. The whole paraphernalia of gods and laws, of space, time and matter, of purpose and design, rationality and absurdity, meaning and mystery, may yet be swept away and replaced by revelations as yet undreamt of.”

[76] Together with its corresponding philosophy that “has been variously called reductionism, mechanicism or modernism…all phenomena [can be reduced] to movements of independent, material particles governed by deterministic laws.” That dogmatic materialism also holds the promise that understanding these laws more and more fully will eventually lead to “a complete, objective and certain knowledge of past and future.” The central agent of complexity theory, which integrates different approaches—from Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle in quantum physics, chaos theory, systems theory, cybernetics, to theories of self-organization and biological evolution—is “the multi-agent system: a collection of autonomous components whose local interactions give rise to a global order. Agents are intrinsically subjective and uncertain about the consequences of their actions, yet they generally manage to self-organize into an emergent, adaptive system.” Francis Heylighen, Paul Cilliers, Carlos Gershenson, “Complexity and Philosophy,” pp. 18-19,

[77] Prigogine, I. and Stengers, I. 1984. Order Out of Chaos, Bantam Books, New York.

[78] For an early, ten-thousand-word statement of the Tenets of Intimacy, see First Meditations on the Intimate Universe: Global Intimacy Disorder as Cause for Global Action ParalysisA New Universe Story as the Necessary Response to Existential Risk by Dr. Marc Gafni & Barbara Marx Hubbard, Waterside Productions, 2022.

[79] CosmoErotic Humanism—Toward the New Human and the New Humanity: Homo Amor—The Tenets of Intimacy and the Social Miracles, by M. Gafni, Z. Stein, and B. M. Hubbard—in Preparation.

[80] William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: In Full Color, Dover Publications, 1994, first published 1790.

[81] Aldous Huxley, Music at Night and Other Essays, p. 47, Doubleday Doran Amp Company, Inc., 1931.

[82] Margaret Fuller, Papers on Literature and Art, “Lives of the Great Composers,” p. 49, New York: Wiley and Putnam, 1846.

[83] In a 1916 paper on his general theory of relativity, Einstein articulated a vision of ripples in the field of spacetime—gravitational waves—caused by astronomic events. This vision of gravitational waves, which are themselves the stuff of music, were, however, only theoretical for Einstein. It took a hundred years, and the development a wondrous new instrument of the Eye of the Senses and the Eye of the Mind—the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory—aka LIGO—to have the capacity to validate, through the Eye of the Senses, Einstein’s theoretical gravitational waves, which he envisioned through the Eye of the Mind. At the core of the observatory are two gigantic instruments, which took decades to construct, some three thousand kilometers apart, which were able, in Sept. 2015, to detect the rumble of a gravitational wave generated by the collision between two black holes, some billion light years away, 1.3 billion years ago. On this stunning expression of the Eye of the Mind and the Eye of the Senses, see the work of Astrophysicist, Janna Levin, Black Hole Blues: And Other Songs from Outer Space, First ed. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2016.


[85] See Natalie Hodges, Uncommon Measure: A Journey Through Music, Performance, and the Science of Time, First ed. New York: Bellevue Literary Press; 2022.

[86] See Whitehead, ibid. On Joy, see Gafni and Ezrahi, Meditations on Joy in the Interior Science of Hebrew Wisdom (forthcoming).

[87] See Sagan, Carl, Murmurs of Earth: The Voyager Interstellar Record. London; Sydney; Auckland; Toronto: Hodder and Stoughton; 1979.

[88] See Burton-Hill, Clemency, Year of Wonder: Classical Music to Enjoy Day by Day. First U.S. ed. New York NY: Harper an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers; 2018.

[89] See Clemency Burton Hill, BBC, Planet Bach,

[90] See Albert Schweitzer, J.S. Bach, Vol. 1, p. 112, London: Adam & Charles Black; 1923.

[91] Ibid.

[92] See Burton-Hill, Clemency, Year of Wonder: Classical Music to Enjoy Day by Day. First U.S. ed. New York NY: Harper an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers; 2018, p. 42.

[93] Ronald Johnson, Ark, First paperback edition ed. Chicago: Flood Editions; 2014.

[94] Arthur Lovejoy. The Great Chain of Being: A Study of the History of an Idea. Routledge; 2009.

[95] In order to understand the notion of interiority all the way up and all the way down the evolutionary chain, we need to introduce Whitehead’s term prehension. In his own words: “I will adopt the pre-Kantian phraseology, and say that the experience enjoyed by an actual entity is that entity formaliter. By this I mean that the entity, when considered ‘formally,’ is being described in respect to those forms of its constitution whereby it is that individual entity with its own measure of absolute self-realization. Its ‘ideas of things’ are what other things are for it. In the phraseology of these lectures, they are its ‘feelings.’ The actual entity is composite and analysable; and its ‘ideas’ express how, and in what sense, other things are components in its own constitution. Thus the form of its constitution is to be found by an analysis of the Lockian ideas. Locke talks of ‘understanding’ and ‘perception.’ He should have started with a more general neutral term to express the synthetic concrescence whereby the many things of the universe become the one actual entity. Accordingly I have adopted the term ‘prehension,’ to express the activity whereby an actual entity effects its own concretion of other things. The ‘prehension’ of one actual entity by another actual entity is the complete transaction, analysable into the objectification of the former entity as one of the data for the latter, and into the fully clothed feeling whereby the datum is absorbed into the subjective satisfaction—‘clothed’ with the various elements of its ‘subjective form.’”—Whitehead, Alfred North, CHAPTER I FACT AND FORM in Process and Reality (Gifford Lectures Delivered in the University of Edinburgh During the Session 1927-28), Corrected Edition, Edited by David Ray Griffin and Donald W. Sherburne, 2nd Edition 2010.

[96] While the exterior world is discerned by the Eye of the Senses and their extensions (like microscopes and other instruments)—supported by the Eye of the Mind, which, by dogmatic materialists, is only seen as an illusion created by exterior brain processes—the interior world, consisting of prehensions, feelings, mental images and thoughts, as well as subtle and causal realizations, can be discerned by the Eye of the Mind and the Eye of Consciousness with its four expressions (the Eye of the Heart, the Eye of the Spirit, the Eye of Contemplation, and the Eye of Value).

[97] For a good introduction for laymen to nondual monism, or what he calls dual-aspect monism, see Kripal, Jeffrey, The Flip: Epiphanies of Mind and the Future of Knowledge, Bellevue Literary Press, 2019, Chapter 3, “Cosmos and Consciousness,” and relevant bibliography there.

[98] The Book of Job, chapter 19.

[99] Shapiro first laid out his ideas of genetic engineering in 1992, in a paper, Shapiro, James A. (1992). “Natural genetic engineering in evolution” (PDF). Genetica. 86 (1–3): 99–111. Later, he developed them further in both, the primary scientific literature and works directed at wider audiences. See, for example, Shapiro, James A. (2011). Evolution: A View from the 21st Century. FT Press.

[100] Stuart Kauffman, “Physics and Five Problems in the Philosophy of Mind,” July 15, 2009,, (accessed September 30, 2011); Stuart A. Kauffman, “Five Problems in the Philosophy of Mind,”, August 7, 2009, (accessed September 7, 2011); Robert Kane, The Oxford Handbook of Free Will (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011)—quoted from Bloom, Howard, The God Problem, How a Godless Cosmos Creates, (Prometheus, 2016). According to Howard Bloom, “Five Problems in the Philosophy of Mind” is “an essay that appears on one of the most prominent websites for advanced physicists and mathematicians,”

[101] See John Pierrakos, M.D., Core Energetics: Developing the Capacity to Love and Heal, Life Rhythm Publication, 1987.

[102] On attachment theory, see, for example, Daniel P. Brown, David S. Elliott, Attachment Disturbances in Adults: Treatment for Comprehensive Repair. First ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company; 2016.

[103] See the section in this Monograph called “Eros Generates Gnosis: Carnal Knowledge.”

[104] See, for example, Gafni, Marc. Your Unique Self, The Radical Path to Personal Enlightenment, with Introduction and Afterword by Ken Wilber, Integral Publishers, 2012. See also Gafni, Marc and Kincaid, Kristina. A Return to Eros: The Radical Experience of Being Fully Alive. BenBella Books, Inc, 2017.

[105] See Abraham Kook, Orot Ha-Kodesh, The Lights of Holiness 1:22.

[106] Just to make the obvious point: The objection to rivalrous conflict governed by win/lose metrics is not a rejection of healthy competition. It is certainly not a suggestion that we remove the healthy competitional as one factor in the motivational architecture of human beings. There is a dimension of the human psyche, in which we need to measure ourselves against our own Unique Self, and there is a moment in which the play of competition between peers, as well as the healthy competition that drives a marketplace, has a role. But that is not what we are describing as rivalrous conflict governed by win/lose metrics. In Success 2.0, the essential sense of core self-worth of a human being is determined by their success in self-commodifying according to the rules of a marketplace in which intrinsic value is not real. The only recognized value is the contrived definition of success, in accumulating capital or fame, which are generally intimately linked, and the capacity to triumph over others by almost any means possible. It is a zero-sum, Hunger-Games-kind-of scenario, where someone else’s or another group’s success entails my loss. Only hierarchy and status grant one the experience of validation and worth. Anyone who does not have the capacity to succeed in this form of play—in the United States for example—falls out of the social safety net and collapses. Collapse may mean the inability to get insurance to cover one’s own or a family member’s illness. It may mean minimum-wage, starvation wages, which do not allow for education, learning, or the joys of life, like a decent home, or any sort of spacious space for education, creativity, family, parenting, or sexuality. Moreover, there is of course not an equal playing field—in other words, there is no genuine equal opportunity. As Whole Foods founder John P. Mackey has correctly pointed out, most of our current versions of capitalism is crony capitalism, instead of conscious capitalism. What that means essentially is that the current system is rigged by privilege and corruption and is not an open field for healthy competition. All of this is to say that the Success 2.0 Story needs to not be eliminated but upgraded to Success 3.0. Success 3.0 would entail competition as one crucial element of the marketplace, with merit, effort, and creativity, all being significantly rewarded and honored. But it would also create systems to value trust, community, and multiple forms of contribution and service. To give but one gross example: Hardworking second-grade teachers would not make starvation wages while commodity traders, creating absolutely no genuine value, make obscene fortunes disproportionate to effort, creativity, and value.

[107] See, for example, First Meditations on the Intimate UniverseGlobal Intimacy Disorder as Cause for Global Action ParalysisA New Universe Story as the Necessary Response to Existential Risk by Dr. Marc Gafni & Barbara Marx Hubbard, Waterside Productions, 2022, in the section called “Cascading Implications of the Win/Lose Metrics of Identity and its Derivative, the Win/Lose Success Story.”

[108] See the text of a song often sung at Rainbow Spirit Festivals: We Are Opening Up in Sweet Surrender to the Luminous Love Light of the One.

[109] By personal beloved, we refer to the intimate human with whom we interact, even as we refer to the second person of the Divine as the Ultimate Beloved, so elegantly named by Rumi and his school of philosopher poets. The Ultimate Beloved is what we refer to in CosmoErotic Humanism as the Personhood of Cosmos with whom we interact no less than with the personal beloved.

[110] See David J. Temple, First Principles & First Values: Forty-Two Propositions on CosmoErotic Humanism, The Meta-Crisis, and the World to Come (2024), and the fuller conversation in David J. Temple, First Principles and First Values: Towards an Evolving Perennialism: Introducing the Anthro-Ontological Method (2024).

[111] These three qualifications answer most of the objections to natural law and the perennial philosophy. For a more extended unpacking of this crucial points, see Marc Gafni & Zachary Stein with Ken Wilber, First Principles and First Values: Towards an Evolving Perennialism: Introducing the Anthro-Ontological Method (forthcoming).

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Forty-Two Propositions on CosmoErotic Humanism, the Meta-Crisis, and the World to Come

by David J. Temple


First Principles and First Values is the tip of the spear in the fight for a humane future. Establishing frameworks for a new school of thought called CosmoErotic Humanism, the book is built around forty-two propositions that provide new source code for the future of planetary culture.

Like Europe in the early Renaissance, humanity is in a time between worlds, at a time between stories. First Principles and First Values contains blueprints for the bridge needed to cross from this world to the next.

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David J. Temple is a pseudonym created for enabling ongoing collaborative authorship at the Center for World Philosophy and Religion, a leading international think tank whose mission is to address existential risk by articulating a shared universal Story of Value for global intimacy and global coordination. The Center focuses its work on a world philosophy, CosmoErotic Humanism, as the ground for a global vision of value, economics, politics, and spiritual coherence. The two primary authors behind David J. Temple are Marc Gafni and Zak Stein. For different projects specific writers will be named as part of the collaboration. In this volume Ken Wilber joins Dr. Gafni and Dr. Stein.

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