The Knowledge of Good and Evil
Male and female are opposite attributes of origin that complement each other and result in our conception of wholeness. In everyday usage the words male and female most often refer to gender categories in which human beings appear. We may associate certain characteristics with the terms male and female from our conclusions about the masculine and feminine natures that we observe in people.
From a spiritually mental standpoint, male and female represent groupings of spiritual qualities. Since each individual is identified by infinite creative principle as its self-expression, the qualities and prerogatives of all the spiritual aspects of infinity, both female and male, are available to each individual. Because of the limitation of human conception, that says a coin in the air may have two sides but can only land heads or tails, the completeness of individual identity is manifested humanly, in a limited way, by individuals generally showing forth physically either the characteristics of male or female.
The wholeness of the infinite idea makes it natural for every individual to experience the oneness of the male and female. This provides the impetus for close relationships between males and females, for the realization of completeness and satisfaction in individual identity, and for social progress that increasingly recognizes the natural equality among individuals of all genders.
Because individual identity is at its core a likeness of the spiritually creative mind, each individual's spiritual identity includes all the qualities of male and female. This spiritual fact is increasingly experienced as humanity grows in its apprehension of spiritual identity.
To say that gender is an infinite idea and that there is one infinite gender is not to imply that we should all become androgynous. Such a conclusion would be a good example of the strained consequences of using human reasoning to directly implement infinite ideas. The male and female qualities of the infinite are inherent in the spiritual identity of every individual woman and man.
We have observed that male and female are required to be present for conception of wholeness and that they have to do with spiritual qualities. What is it about male and female that relate to their value in conception of wholeness? How are concepts about male and female related to spiritual principles? Do the distinctions of male and female exist in the spiritual realm and in the infinite? Is there any infinite basis for issues that relate to males and females as they appear on the human scene?
An understanding of the infinite idea of male and female builds on ideas from the last chapter, on knowledge of what is infinitely true and knowledge of what is infinitely not. The principle of pure infinite spiritual goodness enables us to imagine all the good things that are true. Our knowledge of the infinite nothingness of evil addresses all the things that are rightly apprehended only as nothing.
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There are normal everyday words that, when we try to define them, our first inclination is to describe what they are not. Can you think of some words like that? I call these "not-words," because their job is to describe something that is not something. For example, consider the word "peace." How would you define it? Is peace the absence of war? Take a few seconds and define peace for yourself. At first you may find yourself saying what peace is not or using other not-words, like calm, quiet, or tranquility, to describe peace. It may take a while to get to the point where you can make a positive statement about what peace is. Is quiet the absence of noise? Is grace the absence of coarseness? Consider these other not-words: soft, gentle, tender, serene, innocent, and pure. It is not important whether any particular word is a not-word or not. It is only important to be aware that there are some very important ideas whose positive aspect to our thought is primarily as the absence of something.
Not-words illustrate a principle. Let it be called the principle of the paradoxical negative. This principle says that something that is primarily the absence of something can, by virtue of that fact, be very lovely. We might also call this the principle of the sweet nothing.
We could have used such a word in the previous chapter when we were about to enter the dark room (which really didn't have any snakes in it). Imagine that, having had reason to be on the lookout for reptiles, you were given additional information about what was in the room in a word that meant no-snakes, a word that meant there were absolutely, positively no snakes in the room, nor could there ever be. Some word. It would be a sweet comfort to have the assurance provided by such a word, to have specific information about what was permanently not there.
Considering some fine points of practice, if we are trying to overcome a phase of evil appearing to us at level three, we are often helped to arrive at our goal of wholeness by denying, or overcoming by argument, what might appear as evil suggestions or erroneous beliefs. When encountering evils through the lens of level four beliefs, we dwell on the allness and infinity of goodness and feel little need to deny evil beliefs, because at this level they have no mental aspect as something. To deny evil assertively at level four is to box with a shadow. When we are in this frame of mind, denying human beliefs of error will not provide the symmetry we need to arrive at wholeness. The infinity of good is our seed, and because of our need for soil, our need to define what is not, we will be on the lookout for an affirmative negative. When we say no to a limited belief at level four, it leaves us with a human sense of nothingness defined. This is fine for level three, where it makes sense to make nothing of false beliefs, but such denials have no effect when errors are already seen to be nothing. At level four, we can best deal with our enemies by loving them and letting them be infinite.
Infinite negatives may be our penultimate spiritual tools for negative knowing, our affirmative negative, a way of knowing what is not. We considered, in the previous chapter, the usefulness of negative knowing and the possible value of negative abstract thought modeling, the need to have words that would be actively inconceivable to our minds. That is what knowledge of infinite evil is. It is a way to be affirmative about the negative, to affirm what cannot happen. Infinite words of goodness fill our thoughts with the promise of wonderful things. The knowledge of infinite evil gives us certainty of its nothingness, a kind of certainty of all the things that cannot be.
As was mentioned earlier, an event with infinite uncertainty is not going to happen. A problem that is infinitely latent will be asleep forever. Things in infinite disorder will be so incapable of coming together as to be forever abstractions. Infinite limitation is total prevention. Infinite evil provides the ultimate not-words.
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The infinity of good is one, and the infinity of evil is one too, but that one is a zero. Before the real one becomes wholly conceivable, a zero is first needed as a place holder. After the one appears, the zero exists as an abstraction that says an empty place for the one preceded the one itself. In this sense, place can be a not-word, if by place one means room to put something. If you were about to conceive a certain amount of stuff, you would first need to have a place where at least that amount of stuff was missing.
When we were considering the salt shaker from the viewpoint of the infinitely minded thinker, our apprehension of what the shaker was full of and what it was empty of existed simultaneously. A glass full of water consists of two parts, an empty glass and a certain volume of water. Since water takes the shape of its container, without the container, the water would have no form and would dribble off on the floor. A limitation on the water would be its containment, a physical barrier that said "stop" to the water's tendency to have no shape. One could say that every full container consists of an empty container with an equal amount of stuff fitting in it. One could say that everything that completely fills something fits in something that is otherwise completely empty.
Astronomers have had difficulty defining an infinite universe because they lacked an infinite empty place in which to put it. It is the same with the infinite idea. If you are to turn on an infinite light, you must first find an infinite dark place. If there is a little candle somewhere in the expanse of endless darkness, its lone presence will preclude your light from being all the light there is.
If we picture the combination of infinite light and darkness as light zipping through endless empty space, this is a level four thought picture. Infinite spiritual light doesn't zip through space; it already fills space. With infinite light shining in infinite darkness, the darkness is insensible, although it might exist theoretically to define a place for the light.
Having defined evil, in the last chapter, as that which is not, could we not imagine infinite evil as an infinite empty space? In fact, like the astronomers looking for a place to put the universe, wouldn't we like to find a nice clean infinite empty space within which to conceive our infinite idea? Could not infinite evil be used as a theoretical abstraction to define across all dimensions an infinite opposite of good, to define that which is inconceivable to us, fathomless forever empty space? While empty space is inconceivable to infinite good, it is clear that infinite empty space is necessary within which to have our conception.
We must eventually define a place where all things are inconceivable, to successfully envision our waiting idea of the infinite spiritual principle. Maybe when we get it all sorted out, when evil no longer assaults our sensibilities, when it has vanished into sweet nothingness, we will find out what the word is for. Maybe part of our problem has been that, while we have recognized the value of good seed, we haven't sufficiently appreciated our need for good soil. You may remember, from the parable in another book, that the distinguishing element was not the quality of the seed, but of the soil.
At the level of infinity, with evil as the ultimate not-word, we find we can love the abstraction of infinite evil as it defines the soft dark void where nothing is. We can love a fleeting sense of infinite evil, perhaps just long enough to kiss it good-bye. This makes a pure place for the infinite idea to be born.
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Beyond the idea of place, we need to define the idea of time. Having an infinite universe to enjoy will be of no value to us if we have no time in which to enjoy it. The infinite negative must represent the negative of time as well as place, to be a time and place for us. We must have an infinite place and an infinite time in which to experience infinity. In the case of time, one manifestation of human limitation is delay, and now we can have infinite delay. To have time enough for everything, perhaps we must begin with infinite time defined for nothing at all.
If you had a full warehouse load of stuff, and you wanted to put it in my warehouse for a while, I might say my warehouse would be completely empty next week. But I might also say it would have to be empty again six months later. This could possibly suit your schedule. But if you called up and needed a place for the idea of infinity, you would need a place that was not only completely empty, but one that had been empty for some time back and one for which there were no immediate plans. It would have to be empty for infinite time - from always, now, and forever. Simply empty.
Only upon finding that the infinitely empty place was available for an infinitely empty time could your conception of the infinite idea be feasible. Otherwise, your infinite idea might hit the walls or limits of past or future time. This is all the limitation it takes to constrain an infinite word, to bring it to a finite, limited conception.
This discussion of space and time is in a way metaphorical. Concepts at the center of issues of infinity are not actually space and time as we comprehend them in the human dimension. They have something to do with the infinite spiritual ideas of space and time, but those are probably not like what we think they are. It is as if there is an anteroom before space-time and before words themselves. It is not defined in space, in time, or in finite language. This is the place in pure mind where infinite reality and infinite unreality exist as one in pure abstract identity. It is there that the pure infinite essence of the word dwells before it is defined.
We are talking in terms of space and time because that is the best way to draw familiar conclusions about these abstractions. The concepts of space and time are meant to suggest a theoretical realm in which negative knowing establishes mental space, a place in logic, a logical possibility or impossibility, within whose context the infinite idea is conceived.
Since infinite good exists as an idea and fills all space, infinite evil (infinite empty space) must exist concurrently and simultaneously, like the infinitely minded view of the salt shaker. The lighted room I am sitting in could be said to contain light and darkness simultaneously, if you define darkness as simply the absence of light. If you define darkness as a sense of the absence of light, you could only say it was dark if I had simultaneously a sense that it was light and a sense that the light existed in a dark place. I could only feel a sense of darkness in a lighted room if I were in a whimsical mood, appreciating an abstraction that was practically absurd. One does not actually sense the darkness in a lighted room; it is just a mental wisp. My only sense that the light exists in a dark place is a logical awareness of that abstract idea.
The darkness that was in the room before the light went on is, in an abstract sort of way, still present when the light is on. The darkness simply becomes insensible when the light arrives. It was nothing to start with and it does not change.
In an everyday sense, of course, the idea that light and darkness coexist wherever there is light is nonsense. It is a pointless distinction. But if we translate this idea out of the metaphorical use of light and darkness into the words, ideas, and facts of infinite good and evil, it becomes important. This distinction, far from being trivial, may hint at the oneness of infinite being and not-being.
When we sense darkness, it says two things: we have a sensitivity to a dimension defined by the presence and intensity of light, and our current reading on that scale is zero - there is no light there. Although we are quick to be aware of things that are present, the concept of something's absence is more subtle. It takes longer to appreciate the concept of not-knowing than of knowing.
It takes more mental acuity to apprehend the nature of darkness as sensible non-stuff than of light as sensible stuff, perhaps for the same reason that the concept "zero" was the last of the numbers to be discovered. People knew when they had three peaches or four peaches, but when they were out of peaches, it took centuries for them to realize that they had zero peaches.
If you do not have zero peaches and I give you one peach, you do not have only one peach. This is important at the level of infinity where the most useful denominations are one and zero. As in the field of mathematics, so in the field of spiritual thinking, the concept of nothing is much more subtle than the concept of something. It seems we have been ignorant of the value of nothing for the longest time.
Remembering the tomato seeds from before, we wanted to plant seeds but were helpless to deal with possible weeds, except to wait until they came up and pull them out. Now we can see that knowledge of infinite evil, which is knowledge of its nothingness, can prevent bad seeds latent in the soil, blowing seeds, and seeds planted by others at night. Understanding infinite nothingness helps us define good soil, where our infinite idea is conceivable, and bad soil, where all our dark words are inconceivable and come to naught.
Infinite evil defines the time and place where everything is not, which exists in perfect union with the infinity of good that defines everything that can ever be. It is the same at the standpoint of infinity with good and evil, real and unreal, peace and war, right and wrong, ad infinitum. At the standpoint of infinity, each two work together, one defining a home for the other, a safe place where no untoward thing can intrude, a place and time where infinite self-creative goodness manifests its infinitude. It is an infinite empty place and time in spiritual logic and in all dimensions, at-one with the one creating reality and at-one with the reality created within. It is one infinite knowledge, one infinite I.
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A while back, we considered the mathematical concept of different sizes of infinity. You may recall that aleph-zero and aleph-one are the infinity of integers and the infinity of real numbers, respectively, and that the second is bigger than the first, albeit they are both immeasurable. In another chapter, we worked out a thinking process based on a principle of pure infinite spiritual goodness. Given the qualifications we made, our statements about the totality of good are still valid. There is no evil in the infinity of conscious goodness. Viewed separately, infinite good and infinite abstract evil are transfinites, like our alephs. As long as infinity has a modifier, it is to that extent a transfinite. Infinite good, infinite evil, infinite ice cream, infinite bowling balls, infinite earthquakes, are all transfinite sets. They are the infinity of whatever they are modified by, and their modifiers determine the extent to which other infinities are included in them. The infinity of ice cream covers all flavors, but the infinity of ice cream is smaller than the infinity of desserts, which includes it. Infinity itself includes everything. There is only one infinity.
Spiritual understanding of the reality of goodness and the unreality of evil are flip sides of the same spiritual coin. Like males and females differing in polarity, when knowledge of infinite good and knowledge of infinite evil are together, they fit perfectly. They do not actually come together as two pieces. It is not like trying to fit two halves together. They are one whole spiritual knowledge from the beginning. It is only our human apprehension of them that sees them as two. Their starting point is one whole infinite identity. There is no separation between the infinity of knowing and not-knowing. They are one knowing. One truth. One self-knowledge. They fit together perfectly, and their oneness reveals the wholeness of the infinite idea.
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If we work with the idea of infinite spiritual goodness, logic will preclude us from encountering anything unlike good along the lines of our thinking. If we open our thought to embrace infinity itself, we will encounter contradictions that might seem to rebut or deny the totality of infinite goodness. These contradictions do not come from within but from outside the idea of infinite goodness, and our antidote is simply to let all these things be infinite.
Infinite goodness knows no reality outside itself. Infinity knows there are other words than those of infinite goodness, and for good reasons. The important thing is to learn everything in order. At every level, you will want to be well schooled in goodness before having to face and make nothing of evil. If you ever encounter finite evil appearing to be something, begin with its denial. Seek out infinite spiritual goodness, and let its allness uncover the nothingness of anything unlike good. You will never need to seek out the opposite of good. To be confronted by not-knowing before having spiritual knowing might be a frightening experience. One might be left with a sense of nothing at all. On the other hand, the emerging infinite idea will unearth knowledge of infinite empty places (already filled) through the knowledge of what it is not.
As we comprehend and embody more of good, infinity provides opportunities to put evil into perspective as being illegitimate, powerless, nothingness, empty space, or as the sweet comfort of infinite not-knowing now disappeared from sense. Opportunities appearing in our individual experiences will be seen in the context of our own level of progress. Infinity reveals evil only to make nothing of it. Obviously, one would not want to consent to evil while believing it to be real. Infinite evil is an abstraction of negation, infinite not-knowing, best experienced in the knowledge of its sweet nothingness.
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This chapter has been discussing the male and female aspects of knowledge as they relate to infinite conception and elimination. While religions have historically tried to address the male aspect of the spiritual idea, they have understood little about the female aspect until fairly recently. The discovery that spiritual truth acts as a principle reveals the spiritual idea of fatherhood and motherhood. Revelation of the essential nothingness of evil, first appearing with level three beliefs, ushers into human consciousness the spiritual idea of womanhood with its promised comforts.
The infinite idea of male is relatively easy to comprehend. The male aspect of infinity provides the word and substance of creation. It provides pure word for that which is. The female aspect of infinity defines perfect place and forever time. It gives shape to reality, and defines that which is forever not. The masculine ego is able to provide the essence and words of good. Feminine will and willingness define a safe place, give form to infinite conception, and enforce knowledge of what must be forever missing. In this oneness of seed and soil, we find the wholeness of the infinite idea. The infinite idea includes the simultaneous conception of good accompanied by the experienced inconceivability of its infinite opposite. The knowledge of good fits in the sweet knowledge of evil's nothingness, and they are one. This infinite knowledge of oneness is the true sense of being.
As we remember from paragraphs on the three offices of truth, in an earlier chapter, the offspring of truth is created well and remains well. Inherent in what it is, one can also see what it is not. It is never anything but the perfection that is its original identity. This aspect of the expression of truth, the recognition of what it is not, evidences the mothering and maintaining quality of its forever source. Its inherent quality of goodness of origin is so severe that it mandates its conspicuous forever perfection. This upside-down use of the word severe, to mean something severely good, introduced in that earlier chapter, is an important example of the paradoxical negative.
The idea of truth is seen as truth's likeness. Truth as likeness looks like truth as origin. And truth as origin has inherent in it both what it is - perfect, and what it can never be - anything but perfect. These two are clearly distinct mental impressions, but they are one infinite integral spiritual idea. Unmodified infinity is one, and it speaks to consciousness as the wholeness and oneness of being.
Copyright 1994, Jim Chapman
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