Stephen Hawking, atheism and faith


There are 3 ‘primary’ colours; red, blue, yellow. There are 4 ‘natural’ colours; red, blue, yellow green : fire, water, air, earth.

We have 3 sets of colour receptors; black and white, blue and yellow and red and green. These three combine to give hundreds of possible hues like purple and magenta.

Within the eye the retina has two types of light sensitive cells called rods and cones. Cones absorb red blue and yellow but do not work well in detecting colour in low light. Rods have ‘sacrificed’ colour reception to work as ‘night vision’ and detect black and white.

Signals travel from the retina along the optic nerves to the visual cortex for sorting and sending to the three relevant parts of the brain to analyse the signals in respect to three qualities; movement, colour, distance. These three parts of the brain send their processed information back to the visual cortex where it integrates the information.

Light – singularity, passes through two types of receptors to make three dimensions of colour, in a duality (or polarity) black / white, blue / yellow, red green, to process through the visual cortex to three parts of the brain and back again to make it possible to observe the four ‘natural colours’ and their combinations.

The four psychological truths.
1. Stick to reality – Review the internal map. We all make our own internal map of how we make sense of the external environment. The external environment can change, sometimes greatly or very fast. We need to review our maps to make sure they serve us with the outside reality or we follow an old or irrelevant system to what we need to know, do or should be learning. (Fire. This is a form of projection as in extend Ki {see below}, but one has to make sure their projected reality, or understanding of reality is in tune with outward reality.)
2. Delay gratification. Sublimation of desire (water - feelings). Hold off a bit, instant gratification sets up an unhealthy programme that can lead to addictive behaviours. In experiments children were given a choice; have all the sweets on that plate soon or have the one sweet on that other plate now. The children that could not wait exhibited more psychological dysfunction than the others.
3. Withholding truth. (Air, mind, communication.) Modification of our own truth in communication to the level that the other is able to handle. Not to do this can cause trouble with the self and socially. (E.g. It might not be appropriate, YET, to tell little Johnny that there is no Santa, even though it is a ‘truth’.)
4. Combine and balance the above.

The 3 Gunas.

This Vedic principle is an example of the primary triangle. In Samkhya philosophy, there are three major Gunas that serve as the fundamental operating principles or 'tendencies' of prakṛti (universal nature) which are called: sattva guṇa, rajas guṇa, and tamas guṇa. The three primary Gunas are generally accepted to be associated with creation (rajas), preservation (sattva), and destruction (tamas).

Beyond these forces or their influence or balanced within them lies a ‘supernal consciousness, depending on the tradition; Brahma, Krishna, etc. “The World deluded by these Three Gunas does not know Me: Who is beyond these Gunas and imperishable.” Who is this ‘Me’?

Here we have another three implying a fourth, this time , ‘above’ (as opposed to ‘below’, a pendant or result, i.e. 4, balance all three above or bring into manifestation, bring together back to a unity that has grown from the process of splitting the one into two / three).

A good example is the dialogue from the first part of The Rite of Jupiter (a series of planetary / mythic dramatic rituals). There are three central characters representing the Gunas and a central character; Centrum in Centri Trigono (C.I.C.T.) – the one in the centre of the triangle.
“The Temple represents the Wheel of Fortune of the Tarot. At its axle is the Altar on which sits C.I.C.T. On the rim, S. at East spoke, H. at North-West, T. at South-West.”
Here are the three principles. The Gunas with the “me who is beyond these Gunas” in the middle, on the Great Wheel. At one stage the ‘self beyond the Gunas’ addresses the ‘others’;
C.I.C.T. “Feeling, and thought, and ecstasy
Are but the cerements of Me.
Thrown off like planets from the Sun
Ye are but satellites of the One.
But should your revolution stop
Ye would inevitably drop
Headlong within the central Soul,
And all the parts become the Whole.
Sloth and activity and peace,” (as the three ‘gunas are referred to here)
“When will ye learn that ye must cease?
TYPHON. How should I cease from lethargy?
HERMANUBIS. How should I quench activity?
SPHINX. How should I give up ecstasy?
C.I.C.T. What shines upon your foreheads?
S.H.T. (together). The Eye within the Triangle.
C.I.C.T. What burns upon your breasts?
S.H.T. (together). The Rosy Cross.
C.I.C.T. Brethren of the Rosy Cross! Aspirants to the Silver Star! Not until these are ended can ye come to the centre of the wheel.”

Later, the ‘Gunas’ argue, C.I.C.T. admonished them;
C.I.C.T. “Irreconcilable, my children, how shall ye partake of the Banquet of Jupiter, or come to the centre of the wheel? For this is the secret of Jupiter, that He who created you is in each of you, yet apart from all; before Him ye are equal, revolving in Time and in Space; but he is unmoved and within.”

Although it appears as a map of three it is describing a process of four (or 3 ‘implies’ 4 – as in the example above). One example is a three sided pyramid that creates an apex or a three sided pyramid and its base. Models of three often include a fourth principle (originating) above or within the triangle (the eye within the triangle symbol) or extending ‘below’ to show an ‘outcome’, e.g. all three elements combine to make earth.

The 4 worlds of Qabbalah.
In Kabbalah (a form of Jewish mysticism) the Tree of Life has four divisions;
Atziluth, Archetypal World – Fire. The term Atzilut is usually translated as "Emanation" - the first emanation out of God's unique and pure Essence, and is therefore the "World" closest to Divinity. This Substance corresponds to Philosophic Fire, ‘living light’. This is the primal spiritual Substance from which all other matter evolves.
Briah, Creative World – Water. Briah translates as "Creation". The function of Briah is to define specific Form and function which begin to occur at this stage.
Yetrizah, Formative World – Air. This is the stage where analysis is applied to matter, and where these qualities are synthesised and formed into archetypal compositions with a view towards various specific applications.
Assiah, Material World – Earth. Assiah is the actual physical universe in which all things live and carry out their functions.

Divisions for the Soul.
The Hermetic Qabbalah also has similar divisions for the soul; the four parts of the soul;
1. Yecidah ("single one") relates to the ultimate unity of the soul in God, as manifest by pure faith, absolute devotion and the continuous readiness to sacrifice one's life for God.
2. Ruach ("spirit") relates to the emotions.
3. Neschamah ("inner soul") relates to the mind and intelligence.
4. Nephesch (Animal soul – ‘creature’ -- the lower soul) relates to behaviour and action.

The 4 DNA letters GACT.
The genome of an organism is inscribed in DNA, or, in the case of some viruses, RNA. The portion of the genome that codes for a protein or an RNA is called a gene. Those genes that code for proteins are composed of tri-nucleotide units called codons, each coding for a single amino acid. Each nucleotide sub-unit consists of a phosphate, a deoxyribose sugar, and one of the four nitrogenous nucleobases; the purine bases adenine (A) and guanine (G), the pyrimidine bases cytosine (C) and thymine (T).

Four Systems in the Body.

FIRE - nervous system WATER circulatory system AIR respiratory system EARTH - muscles, bones, sinews, etc.

If we add a ‘fifth element’ – spirit we can include ‘mind’.

The Four principles of Divine Living (from Buddhism).
Loving kindness, Compassion, Equanimity (balanced mind) and Appreciative Joy (or Sympathetic Joy).

The 4 principles of Aikido.
Briefly, Aikido is known as a non-violent/confrontational martial art that generally uses gentle and fluid movements to contain or control energies that come into one’s sphere of operation. It can work on any level, spiritual, emotional, intellectual or physical.

The four principles of Aikido are; 1, project Ki. 2, concentrate on your one point. 3, ‘empty’ your mind. 4, keep weight underside.

The 4 Male Archetypes.
In ‘King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine’ by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette an extensive use of the 3 / 4 model is utilised. They divide the male psyche into four components; King, Warrior, Magician and Lover.

this system is interesting as it places triangles within triangles;

Each of these is explained with a triangle model and shown in duality. In the ‘mature psyche’ the warrior triangle has warrior at top and sadist and masochist either side of the base; the king has tyrant and weakling; the lover has addict and impotent and the magician has detached manipulator and denying ‘innocent one’.

Within each triangle is another showing the immature self. Unsuccessful development shows attachment to either polarity of the underlying principles. Within the warrior triangle is another with hero at its apex with bully and coward underneath. Within the king the divine child is at the apex with the high chair tyrant and the weakling prince. Within the lover the apex is the oedipal child with the mamma’s boy and the dreamer. Within the magician the apex is the precocious child with the know-it-all trickster and the dummy.
We develop according to four factors; what we ‘bring’ with us in this incarnation, genetic material from parents and ancestors, environmental and social influences and individual choices we make (for whatever reasons).

This system also uses another astrological division of 4; the ascendant, the mid-heaven, the descendant and the I.C. (midnight position).

Four inner ‘planets’ make up the nature of our selves (considered to be the earth and Moon); Mars, Sun, Mercury and Venus and four outer planets represent processes that affect us; Uranus, Jupiter, Neptune and Saturn. [And now Pluto has been ‘conveniently’ removed from the planetary list.]

The 8 Circuits of Exo-psychology. (Four for the left brain and four for the right brain.)
(Left Brain)

The Three Psychic Divisions of Freud and the Four of Jung.

Id, ego and super-ego are the three parts of the psychic apparatus defined in Sigmund Freud's structural model of the psyche; they are the three theoretical constructs in terms of whose activity and interaction mental life is described. According to this model of the psyche, the id is the set of uncoordinated instinctual trends; the ego is the organized, realistic part; and the super-ego plays the critical and moralizing role.

Jung's concepts of the unconscious differed. Jung saw Freud's theory of the unconscious as incomplete and unnecessarily negative. According to Jung, Freud conceived the unconscious solely as a repository of repressed emotions and desires. Jung agreed with Freud's model of the unconscious, what Jung called the "personal unconscious", but he also proposed the existence of a second, far deeper form of the unconscious underlying the personal one. This was the collective unconscious, where the archetypes themselves resided, represented in mythology by a lake or other body of water, and in some cases a jug or other container.

[Jung's work on himself and his patients convinced him that life has a spiritual purpose beyond material goals. Our main task, he believed, is to discover and fulfil our deep innate potential. Based on his study of Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Gnosticism, Taoism, and other traditions, Jung believed that this journey of transformation, which he called individuation, is at the mystical heart of all religions. It is a journey to meet the self and at the same time to meet the Divine. Unlike Sigmund Freud, Jung thought spiritual experience was essential to our well-being.]

Jung identified four major archetypes, but also believed that there was no limit to the number that may exist.

Vegetative life.
A plant needs four elements plus the ‘fifth element’ to grow; ‘Spirit’– light. Fire – temperature. Water – moisture. Air – CO2 and O2. Earth – ‘growing medium’. Most consist of 5 basic components; seed, fruit (or seed container), flowers (or their equivalent), leaves and stems and roots.

Primary nutrients for good plant growth; N, P & K. Further to this we can construct another triangle of nutrients with N, P & K at one point, secondary nutrients at another ( Ca, S & Mg) and micro-nutrients ( B, Cl, Mn, Fe, Zn, Cu, Mo & Se) at the third.

Four principles for agricultural consideration; cosmic forces, earthly forces, location and type of plant.

In Astrology.
These four elements are often applied to personality to describe temperament.
‘Fire people’ are often spontaneous and impulsive. The Fire signs: (a map of three) Aries, Leo and Sagittarius.
‘Water People’ with are often feeling types and are very sensitive with deep imaginative and emotional traits. Water signs: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces.
‘Air people’ are often quick and animated. They tend to intellectualize. The Air signs: Libra, Aquarius, Gemini.
‘Earth people’ can be quiet and slow but they apply themselves with endurance. The Earth signs: Capricorn, Taurus, Virgo

The map of 3 is also described in another way in astrology. Each of the four elements occurs in three states or qualities, respectively named the cardinal, fixed and mutable. Water is a good example (the substance, not the element), when it is a liquid this would be the cardinal state, when ice, fixed and as a gas, mutable. The placement of planets in cardinal, fixed or mutable signs also reveals basic traits of the personality.

The Four Forces in Physics.
1. The Strong Force - This force binds neutrons and protons together in the cores of atoms. Fire.
2. Weak Force – Radio-active decay. This causes the conversion of a neutron to a proton, an electron and an antineutrino (and other particles). Water – a medium for dissolution and coagulation.
3. Electromagnetic - This acts between electrically charged particles. Electricity, magnetism, and light are all produced by this force and it also has infinite range. Air, particularly its astrological rulership of Mercury which in turn rules things such as electricity and light.
4. Gravity - This force acts between all mass in the universe and it has infinite range. Earth - ‘substance’, mass.

Modern physics attempts to explain every observed physical phenomenon by these fundamental interactions.

Perhaps this gives us some understandings of the interaction within the world of the first three elements and as we see the fourth, Earth, is apart or a pendant to the others?
Also considering that gravitation is the only interaction that acts on all particles having mass; has an infinite range, like electromagnetism but unlike strong and weak interaction; cannot be absorbed, transformed, or shielded against; always attracts and never repels.
[The modern quantum mechanical view of the fundamental forces other than gravity ( 4. and Earth) is that particles of matter do not directly interact with each other, but rather carry a charge, and exchange virtual particles (or information) which are the interaction carriers or force mediators.

This reminds me of the subtleties of the transference of coded DNA information (via the RNA) into the arrangements of enzymes

(so their natural ‘tendencies’ fold and form into the required structure of the ‘building block’ required to make cellular components … which in turn build ‘cellular micro-machines’ to carry out functions within the cell).

Some theories beyond the Standard Model include a hypothetical fifth force, and the search for such a force is an ongoing line of experimental research in physics. Another reason to look for new forces is the recent discovery that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, giving rise to a need to explain phenomena such as dark matter.

Some have called this Quintessence. In physics, quintessence has been proposed by some physicists to be a fifth fundamental force. Quintessence differs in that it is a dynamic equation that changes over time, unlike the cosmological constant which always stays constant throughout time. It is suggested that quintessence can be either attractive or repulsive, it is thought that quintessence became repulsive about 10 billion years ago (the universe is approximately 14 billion years old).

Some special cases of quintessence are phantom energy, which has a non-standard form of kinetic energy.
From Wikipedia; “Quintessence is dynamic, and generally has a density and equation of state that varies with time. By contrast, a Cosmological Constant is static, with a fixed energy density …”

We could postulate this fifth state is the relation of the ‘element’ spirit and its relationship to the four elements.

This is shown in Western Hermetics as the attribution of the FIVE elements to the pentagram, with spirit being the top point. In this system ‘spirit’ is seen as active or passive; that force that creates the elemental differentiation or that force that maintains elemental essence and identity – the spirit of the element itself.

In 2004, when scientists fit the evolution of dark energy with the cosmological data, they found that the equation of state had possibly crossed the cosmological constant boundary from above to below.

Oh ... and of course ... Tarot 4 suits ... taking the Aces as somewhat separated - as many do - we have ; 3 lots of 3 in each suit 2 3 4 - 5 6 7 - 8 9 10 , that gives us decan placements ... and so on throughout the deck.

And lastly (if you have managed to read this far ) have a look at your fingers ; for of them, each with three parts ...and a nice little 'opposable quintessential' thumb on the side :) .


Wow, thank you for all that Ravenest, you have a very comprehensive and well developed world view there and this post will make a great reference to come back to. :thumbsup:

That was the main thing that struck me with Crowley's book - his interest in absolutely everything and his determination to follow it all up and make it fit together - although not possessing all his background knowledege and experience I was unable to follow that much of it.

Milfoil's point about keeping an open mind is very important - regardless of how much you are able to understand complex philosophies, what makes a real emotional impact is discovering something for yourself, such as with card reading. There is always the question of whether or not to believe something that someone else has told you (faith) but when you try something for yourself and get meaningful and outrageously improbable results then you develop your own certainty.


Ah! Maybe I also need to be sceptical of my own airy speculations. :lightbulb


A bit of both I think;

We obviously need to break out on our own and develop our own world view but I feel any self -skepticism needs to be in the form of holding up one's own view's against objective consensus ... and both to be held up against nature (when one comes to understand that) as a template.

Another reason is that our own formulations may not be as original as we think ... we spend our early life learning and developing (and copying), sometimes unconsciously. Then later we 'figure something out' as part of our world view, and later again, we may discover, or be told ; "Oh ... so you ascribe to Plato's doctrine of forms ? Except you have a few problems there, perhaps you picked up some corrupted forms and misunderstandings of that along the way and mish-mashed that into your 'own' ideas? "

Aside from alternating between getting annoyed at and appreciating that one has a teacher ( :laugh: ) one might eventually go to the source, where it has already been discussed, argued, contended, pulled apart, developed and put back together again. One's own faults at reasonings and mis-understandings are revealed. Then later one can, with further study in more recent developments incorporate them to fine tune ideas and concepts and then go back to the original position and put one's own spin on things.

Airy speculations are fun though :)

" Whence all things flow—
Whence Mankind, Beast; whence Fire, whence Rain and Snow;
Whence Earthquakes are; why the whole Ocean beats
Over his banks and then again retreats;
Whence strength of Herbs, whence Courage, rage of Brutes
All kinds of Stone, of creeping Things, and Fruits

What makes the golden Stars to march so fast?
What makes the Moon sometimes to mask her face.
The Sun also, as if in some disgrace? "


This discussion has been good in provoking me to ask serious questions of my cards. :)

Philosophical speculation for me is represented by the Moon, the book of Genesis, an endless winding path.

Admitting I don't know and just observing - by matching images likening the appearance of a planet to a work of art, seeing its symbolic meaning, and a scientist enjoying a happy old age having discovered many things. :cool3:


Ravenest, thank you for that wonderful essay.