Thursday, 26 March 2015

The physical philosophers: Diogenes of Apollonia.

The last of materialistic and monistic philosophers of ancient Ionia, Diogenes of Apollonia, around the years 440-430 BC, also went right down the same path as his predecessors and held, openly and explicitly, that the air is the 'beginning' of all things.
Just some fragments of the writings of this philosopher, belonging to his work 'On the Nature', are preserved, which were collected by Simplicius. But if we listen to different quotations, he seems to have written several more books, one 'Against the Sophists', one 'On meteorology', and one on medicine that he would have entitled 'On the Nature of Man', which Galen would referred when he said that Diogenes had compiled diseases and their causes and remedies in a treaty. Everything indicates that Diogenes of Apollonia was a doctor by profession and would have published, indeed, this medical treatise in which their notions about the origin of diseases would appear related, surely, with the ideas of his general theory, which ones have been preserved and we'll see here.

Diogenes thought the world and its parts were ordered in the best way possible by the intervention of a divine intelligence that would be present in originating substance that is air. By the provisions of this 'air intelligence' the world is not a chaos but a real cosmos, where everything is distributed according to some regularities, like the seasons, day-night cycles, weather variations...
The essential substance the whole of reality is air, said Diogenes, for the obvious reason that living beings if they can live is by breathing air. The air is 'soul' understood as vital principle (which gives life), as deduced from the fact that life leaves the body when breath leaves.
This idea was already in some uses of 'zimós' and 'psijé' of Homer, who Diogenes praised (claimed Filodemo) because "he told on the divine not poetic but truthfully and claimed that Zeus himself is the air explicitly".
Diogenes relates both outdoors air and the air contained in the body, in the vein of Anaximenes, and relates the term 'pneuma', which means soul or spirit, as a synonym for breath and wind. Air is the giver of life, thus becomes God, because if it gives life it has absolute power on everything, on all the phenomena of human existence. It is infinite, eternal and immortal, it is not subject to time limits of life of any body, it does not perish with it (on the contrary, is it that gives and removes life) and it extends everywhere.
The air is responsible for the regularities and irregularities of the cosmos, and also of the human psyche. Not that the air contains intelligence, but it is intelligence because it is what orders and disposes the mind and the entire cosmos, it really is the intellectual soul, is what has knowledge. "The air is great and powerful, eternal and immortal and knowing many things" (Simplicius, Physics 153, 20).

One of the reasons that prompted Diogenes conceive the air as the principle of all things and as 'god' was, as mentioned in the case of Anaximenes, the fact that the air is so subtle substance that eludes the senses and seems intangible or incorporeal. Another reason, also commented, is its omnipresence: "the air rises to the top and down to the lowest and fills all the spaces." Incorporeality and omnipresence are two attributes of the apparent 'metaphysical' or 'divinity' of air, but actually, paradoxically, they are just a pure physical phenomenon of nature.
One difference with Anaximenes lies in the fact that, to Diogenes, changes that would explain the phenomena of nature are not confined to the rarefaction or condensation of air, but also another factor involved is its temperature. To Diogenes, the distinctive feature of divinity and humanity is heat, in complicity with the ideas of Heraclitus on the 'igneous ether'. To Diogenes of Apollonia intelligence is hot air, warmer than the atmosphere although not quite as the ether that surrounds the sun.
The temperature of air producer of intelligence, what Diogenes says is very interesting, would register continuous slight temporary modifications which may explain, in turn, the numerous and unpredictable variations that occur in time in our perception, our thinking and our psyche in general.
A moderate heat would be the distinctive feature of air-soul or 'pneuma', which would explain, according to this wise, fluctuating changes in mental states and acts, from the most subtle variations of thought and perception to the most extreme states of sleep and death, which also correspond to extreme changes of 'pneuma': "Diogenes says that if the blood, spread throughout the body, fills the veins and pushes containing air toward chest and bottom belly, sleep occurs and the central part of the body is heated, but if all the air goes out of the veins, death occurs" (Aetius, V 24, 3).
Clearly Diogenes of Apollonia thought as a physician and led theses of Anaxímenes to the field of physiology. He did not maintain outside the body but he entered to explaining how the air acts in the body to produce the phenomena of soul. The universal air gets into the body by breathing and flows, driven by the blood of the veins of the body, to the brain, which acts as an interpreter of fluctuations or 'logos' of this universal air.
The air inside our body partakes of the 'divinity', is part of it, by transmiting the universal to our personal soul. Our thinking becomes a kind of organ sensitive to fluctuations ('logos') of air. The ethereal element extends throughout the universe and also acts on the bodily 'pneuma' of each person by the action of breathing and blood circulation. Accordingly, changes in our mental and cerebral activity are due to variations in atmospheric air (in terms of temperature, density...) from the outside world but the body 'interpreted' by its natural functioning creating one cerebral and mental 'logos', internal and subjective.

The seat of soul is the brain. The brain is the organ that interprets changes in air, it is which intellects. The brain is the instrument that uses air to think. The (other) sensory organs are subordinated to this main organ that produces the act of understanding. The brain 'resonates' with certain variations of air that give it a 'logos', as ear resonates under certain frequencies to offer sounds and sonorous languages. Outside air 'feeds' the soul and comes first to the brain and stays there; the remainder spreads throughout the body through blood vessels and engages, thus, the whole body in insights and emotions. Whole body, but especially the brain, 'vibrates' with air.
Diogenes maintains that, when a large amount of air is mixed with the blood and lightens it according to its less heavy nature, and penetrates, subtilized, whole body, pleasure originates; and when air is present against its lightweight nature, by action of moisture, and does not mix to be weighed, blood clots, weakens, it becomes denser and hence arises displeasure and pain. Similarly moods, such as trust and its opponents distrust and shame, and health and its contrary illness, originate, says Diogenes.
What is the thought itself is caused by the pure, dry and hot air, as all wet emanation inhibits intelligence. This is the reason, he argues, because the thought appears diminished in sleep, in drunkenness and satiety, because in them the air is concentrated in the belly and it become dirty by elements that are there, he says.
Another proof that moisture removes intelligence is indicated from that other living beings are inferior in intelligence to man because they breathe the air closest to earth, which is wetter and impure, he says. (The birds breathe fresh air, true, but he argues that they have a similar to fish constitution, because its flesh is solid and air does not penetrate completely but is detained around the the abdomen... and understands that plants are totally deprived of intelligence for the simple fact that have no air in.)
To Diogenes intelligence is the same as the vital intensity. This is very interesting. There are different degrees of intelligence and different degrees of vital intensity corresponding to the first. These quantitative differences in intelligence and vitality would be originated from, according to him, besides the properties of the surrounding air, the permeation of air into the body. The least, plants, then fish and birds, have a low degree of vitality and intelligence, it is assumed, by low penetration and diffusion of air inside.
The human being is the one with a higher degree of intelligence and vitality, because he absorbs and disseminates a lot of air into his body, it is understood; but he is also highly variable from one moment to another, there is nothing static in him, quite the contrary. There are times when people live life intensely, when everything flows so fast and absorbent, which are those moments that we have a deeper and more vivid thinking. At other times the opposite happens, we are unable to mentally prepare anything and understanding of things is absent, and our existence is drab and boring. In these times, unlike the first, the degree of our vital intensity is low, such as our intelligence. And this changes would obey to changes in qualities of air and / or in our way of breathing. Intelligence (thought) is so unstable and volatile as the element that generates it...
The thought or intelligence, for the philosopher of Apollonia, is nothing 'superior' emerging from elementary 'lower' activities but is at the same level as sleep, senses, pleasure and pain, feelings, health... All are 'sensations' produced by the air. Everything is at the same level. The outside air comes into contact and mixes (or simply waves) with the air inside the sensory organs and the brain, through the veins or blood vessels.

To Diogenes insights come from air, which takes over the whole body through veins and blood, especially in those propositions in which the veins itselves provide an "adequate anatomy" (Simplicius, Physics 153, 13). The thought, the intellectual soul, is generated by the correspondence between the air and the arrangement of our veins and our brain. The clarity of perception and intellect of a particular proposition depends on the subtlety of air that diffuses into our body, and on the finesse and the straightness of the channels through which spreads: on the resultant of the specific anatomy of involved veins.
When air is mixed with the blood and is permeated in the brain and the whole body, the feeling of pleasure and vivid thought arises. Thought depends on the purity and dryness of air and, as pleasure, arises when air is mixed with blood, subtilizes it, and spreads throughout the body through the vascular network. Thought and pleasure are very similar things in reality. Think the world in an understandable way, understand it (intellective knowing), is a powerful form of pleasure. So, intelligence, thinking, vital intensity and pleasure are totally united in Diogenes. Vitality, enjoyment, insight, understanding, thought, reason... are interrelated in its own essence if they are not the same thing. Many philosophers have intuited that the understanding of the world is the greatest pleasure to which man can aspire, but have failed to explain the reason. Diogenes of Apollonia, the physical, the forgotten, did.

Cappelletti, A. J. Los fragmentos de Diógenes de Apolonia. Tiempo Nuevo, Caracas, 1975.
Cappelletti, A. J. Mitología y filosofía: los presocráticos. Cincel, Madrid, 1987.
Cicerón, M. T. Sobre la naturaleza de los dioses. UNAM, México, 1986.
Fernández Cepedal, J. M. Los filósofos presocráticos. Proyecto Filosofía en español,
Conde, F. Filósofos presocráticos. Página sobre filosofía,
González, C. Historia de la filosofía. 2 ª ed., Madrid, 1886. Edición digital Proyecto Filosofía en español,

Saturday, 21 March 2015

The physical philosophers: Democritus.

Not far from the line of Heraclitus, Democritus, about 460 BC, extended the psychology of atomism of his predecessor Leucippus and taught that the human soul was a substance composed of very subtle and spherical atoms, as those of fire, and it was precisely because of their subtleness and sphericity that these atoms contribued to perpetual motion and heat of both the fire and the human soul.
The soul, to Democritus, is a very subtle and volatile element that exists within the body (made of much more inert and gross material). This volatile soul spreads and penetrates all parts of body tissues and produces the different organs and limbs own vital functions... The thought, consciousness and sensation, particularly, would be the result of a form of variable combination of these ethereal and spherical atoms. The unstable combinations of these would be the source of psychic manifestations and their fluctuations over time.
The atoms of the soul have a continuous circular motion which says Democritus is sustained by the inspiration and expiration of air. Breathing, therefore, is the essential process of life and of the psychic manifestations that occur over time. These are, again, breathing and air.

What the philosopher of Abdera called spirit is not a supreme creative force in the world, or anything supernatural or metaphysical, not even a principle of nature 'superior' to mechanical motion. It is not, in fact, an essentially different force from mechanical movement. What we call 'spirit', like 'soul', is just a more subtle material (air) compared to other grosser and solid (the body) or, if preferred, is the phenomenon resulting from the properties of these finer and subtler air atoms we breathe in their action on our body atoms.
Also, gods, whose existence he admits, are for Democritus basically the same: spirits, beings like the soul in its origin and composition, with no other difference with soul than having a more durable arrangement of their atoms, a longer life, but this is the only respect in which gods and spirits are superior to men and their soul. Gods are also mortal and subjected, like us, to the supreme law of fate, the only constant, ie the law of eternal, the necessary and universal motion of atoms, the unfailing flow of organization and disorganization of matter. Gods, spirits, soul, mind, consciousness, sensation, thought... are essentially the same: they are the similar phenomena resulting from the action of air in our body through breathing.

Cappelletti, A. J. Los fragmentos de Diógenes de Apolonia. Tiempo Nuevo, Caracas, 1975.
Cappelletti, A. J. Mitología y filosofía: los presocráticos. Cincel, Madrid, 1987.
Cicerón, M. T. Sobre la naturaleza de los dioses. UNAM, México, 1986.
Fernández Cepedal, J. M. Los filósofos presocráticos. Proyecto Filosofía en español,
Conde, F. Filósofos presocráticos. Página sobre filosofía,
González, C. Historia de la filosofía. 2 ª ed, Madrid, 1886. Edición digital Proyecto Filosofía en español,

Thursday, 12 March 2015

The physical philosophers: Heraclitus.

Although this conception of the soul belonged to an ancient tradition expressed already in Orphism, the thesis of Anaximenes that conceived air as the physical substrate of the human soul was considered the first theory of antiquity on the human psyche in science and philosophy.
A similar version is that of Heraclitus, who maintained, around the year 500 BC, that soul was composed of 'igneous ether' (no simple air) and it was this 'igneous ether' what filled the soul and also all the sky. Sky and soul were, for this philosopher, a single matter, a matter that was psychic and celestial at a time. Then the soul of human and the universe, made of the same, behave according to very similar principles.

For Heraclitus 'logos' of the world is produced by the 'igneous ether' or 'fire'. According to him, in nature there is opposition and continuous confrontation between opposing elements, but there is also an underlying order in the becoming of things, though not always it is quite obvious to us. The world, due to 'logos of igneous ether', is a kosmos and not chaos; the 'fire' is the natural process that sorts and organizes everything, says the philosopher.
Human life must adapt to this natural order of becoming things, to this resulting 'logos', by wisdom. Since this is the 'logos' which governs the world, true knowledge can not consist in anything else than its understanding, and there can be no greater motivation and satisfaction that progress oneself in this regard and get positively accommodated to becoming reality.
Reason and 'logos of igneous ether' are the same, because the universe is arranged according to a plan that makes all things, seemingly different, keep organized and really be one, which the human intellect intended to capture continuously and instinctively. The 'logos' is what explains the existence of such a consistency that allows things, in plural and even contrary appearance, be actually linked in a coherent complex, human themselves are also a part of which.

For Heraclitus everything is constantly changing, everything flows, according to an order, yes, but which is not explicit but is veiled: "Some even say no that some things move and some not, but all are in constant motion, although this fact is beyond our sensory perception" (Aristotle, Physics 3 253 b 9).
"Different waters flow over those entering the same rivers. Spread and meet... meet and separate... they are coming and going." (fr 12 Arius Didymus, ap Eusebium, PE, XV 20;. fr 91 Plutarch, E 18, 392 B). Everything flows, but the senses usually inform us of plural and superficial manifestations of the varying things misleadingly: "Bad witnesses are the eyes and ears for men who do not understand their language." (fr 107, Sextus Empiricus, Adversus Mathematicos VII 126). Understanding is what captures the 'logos', what everything have in common, the order that is in the evolution of kosmos, behind the sensible.
Not everybody come to grasp the world order, only somebody. Heraclitus calls barbarians ("barbarian souls") to those who are not able to understand and interpret adequately the language of the senses and are deluded by the superficial manifestations thereof. "...Must be followed what is common, but although the Logos is common most people live as having a particular intelligence" (fr 2 Sextus Empiricus, Adv math VII 133). Thus, there is a unique order-logos-language common to all people, a single intelligence which is not specific but all-encompassing, one true understanding that unifies all, that is not made of simple ideas created by the individuals, but it is the actual constituent of things, the primary cosmic element (the 'fire'), which is the world's intelligence while human intelligence.

Intelligence is not individual, but coincides with the "intelligence of the world ', with the understanding and apprehension of 'universal logos'. People is intelligent if is able to understand the worldly order, if his mind is able to apprehend and reflect simply the actual order of the world as it is given, that is, the natural relations of things, which is common to all things. Therefore, men can not have private, individual, personal intelligences, because there is only one common intelligence ('logos') to all nature and to all people, corresponding to the 'igneous ether' that 'moves' everything .
Human reason has to be a derivation of universal reason, a kind of organ of perception of universal logos, superior to all others senses, which, unlike them, does not deceive us continuously, quite the contrary. This is the 'sense of reason' which orders for us all elements of the universe. Traditional bodily senses only perceive things that happen and vary constantly, they are not able to perceive what is invariable behind the apparent, that is, the truth and the reason.
All science being guided exclusively by the sensory is necessarily false. Only through higher sense which is the human reason people can perceive the true, the eternal and permanent in perpetual flow of things, which does not change, which is the logos itself, the process of change itself.
For Heraclitus fire is the constant source of change processes. The logos of 'fire' is the order and the extent of continuous change imposed by the evolution of everything that happens in nature, with its regularities and irregularities. The 'fire' controls the matter, all matter in the cosmos, the strongest and the most ethereal, everything that exists, also the soul.
We must understand that we recognize the 'fire' as a highly dynamic process of ethereal element that the air is, which Anaximenes referred to as the constituent of the universe and the soul, as discussed in a previous post. The fire, in fact, is very hot air or 'igneous ether'. Indeed instead of the term "fire" Heraclitus often used "igneous ether", referring to the warm and subtle air flowing into the upper region of the sky (which, according to tradition, is identified with God and with the soul):
"The ancients assigned sky and upper region to the gods because they believed it was the only immortal area." (Aristotle, De Caelo B 1, 284 to 11.)
"Ether received their souls and earth their bodies ." (Inscription Graecae Y 945, 6; Athens, V century before Christ.)
"What we call hot seems to be immortal, what apprehends all things, what heareth, sees and knows all things, both present and future. His most part, then, when everything came into confusion, went toward superior revolution and I think is what the ancients called ether." (Hippocrates, De carnibus 2.)

Heraclitus thinks that the future of all beings on earth, especially man but also institutions that man has created, is intimately linked to the natural world surrounding and that is inevitably affected by the movements of hot ether that comes from the upper regions of the sky. What man created or participated is sensitive to human behavior and to mood and the 'igneous ether' variations, in a natural way. And he affirms that wisdom consists precisely in being aware of this fact, to understand how the entire world operates (although he admits that the unique thing that can achieve this goal in an absolute way is God, because the logos of the ether is a manifestation of God, or God Himself, and He is the one that is contained and fully understands himself). God is the absolute wisdom. Man and human institutions can not be understood outside the natural world (or God, therefore) but all things, even those that are a creation of man, indeed, are natural and are governed by the same laws of logos or common intelligence.

For Heraclitus the soul is the igneous ether governing body and mind of men. The human mind has a direct relationship with the soul-ether, such for Anaximenes had in the soul-air. Comes to be basically the same. The soul like ether or air has a "unattainable limits", moves dynamically throughout the universe, enters everywhere, penetrates all things and moves freely through all parts of body, and does so "according to its needs”.
The action of ether or air expands and acts on everything, but remains veiled to our conscious understanding; it has its own internal 'needs' that are so deep in some aspects that are not intelligible to us: "You do not get to find the limits of the soul in your way, not even through all the ways: as profound dimension it has." (Fr 45, Diogenes Laertius, IX 7.)
Different authors made their own interpretations of how empirically happens physical 'contact' of soul-ether with the logos of fire. Sextus says that, according to Heraclitus, we simply inhale the logos of igneous ether with air, which gives us the intelligence and place order and organizes what the senses capture; and that during sleep, he adds, the contact of the soul with the igneous logos remains exclusively through breathing, in a primary mode, being the senses 'closed'. Breathing this divine reason (logos) we become intelligent. We forget worldly things while we sleep, but we recover our senses again when awaken, he says. Being the channels of perception closed during sleep, our mind is separated from its links with the surrounding, retaining its unique linkage through breathing, like a kind of 'root' (Sextus Empiricus, Adv math VII 129). He adds that, while we sleep, not being so intense inhalation as when one is awake, the soul would be in an intermediate state between life and death, which is what characterizes sleep, apart from the separation of the senses.
Chalcidius, meanwhile, attributes to Heraclitus the consideration that the soul would only contact with cosmic reason precisely during sleep, being free of the senses and their interruptions, in a Platonic type of interpretation.
According Aetius souls are fed by internal and external exhalations: Internal ones come from the blood and other body fluids, while external would be those that are absorbed through the breath...
Breathing is the common denominator of Heraclitus and Anaxímenes: We breathe air, pneuma, the breath. The action of 'igneous ether', even if it comes from outside sky, reaches us in contact with air, enters our minds by breathing, and is through breathing that preserves, develops and renews our soul; as conserves, develops and renews 'the spirits and gods' that populate the world, because they are, in fact, the same that our psyche: they live there.

Cappelletti, A. J. Los fragmentos de Diógenes de Apolonia. Tiempo Nuevo, Caracas, 1975.
Cappelletti, A. J. Mitología y filosofía: los presocráticos. Cincel, Madrid, 1987.
Cicerón, M. T. Sobre la naturaleza de los dioses. UNAM, México, 1986.
Fernández Cepedal, J. M. Los filósofos presocráticos. Proyecto Filosofía en español,
Conde, F. Filósofos presocráticos. Página sobre filosofía,
González, C. Historia de la filosofía. 2 ª ed, Madrid, 1886. Edición digital Proyecto Filosofía en español,

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

The physical philosophers: Anaximenes.

The work of the pre-Socratic Ionian philosophers often has been interpreted, over centuries, in a simplistic way throught the prism of a modern reductionist materialism that actually has little to do with the original approach of these ancient thinkers. It has been done, many times, a naive reading of their thesis on the elements of earth, water, air and fire as creative principles of the universe. A classical naturalist aproach considered these authors the remote initiators of the natural sciences, which visions and solutions becamed logically obsolete. These called physical philosophers have made contributions of great merit to geography, astronomy, meteorology, mathematics and biology, certainly, but their production is not limited, in my opinion, to the conventional interpretation throught the prism of current science, as their purpose was not that of making a science detached from the whole of man and his daily experiences. Do not be fooled, they were philosophers in the broadest sense and not 'physical' or scientists who provide some sort of technical solution as we understand now. Their goals were far-reaching.
Angel Cappelletti (1987, 59) points out in this regard that study of each of the pre-Socratic philosophers separately, and an overview of them, impels precisely to break schematic and restrictive conceptualizations of their work and look for something much more fundamental and intuitive: "... what compels us to see in them a true philosophical school are especially common problems centered on the idea of 'physis' and the shared worldview derived from an original intuition. A single, eternal, infinite and active reality which is at once matter, life and spirit, from which all things arise and return, and all are made of it, and by which all become what they are, that is the core of such a worldview ".

As Cappelletti says, these thinkers had a clear universal orientation and wondered for the principle ('arche') or origin of reality, of the whole reality. Their thought concerns the investigation of the origin of reality and being, poses an ontology, seeks a unifying principle, a common element to suggest that all is essentially the same. This concern converges in all cases in humans because despite the apparent subject of investigation is physical or a foreign to person matter, these thinkers assume that all natural phenomena arises from human experience or manifests in it. Thus, natural phenomena, the physical and material world, converges with the phenomena of perception, thought, consciousness (the phenomena of the soul and spirit). There is only one fundamental reality that is at once matter and spirit, which is life, by which all things exist and are what they are. Man, nature and being are either the same single reality, which works by unique (and eternal, infinite and active) principles.

We begin by noting the proposal of one of the initiators, Anaximenes, that the principle of all is air (single reality), an element that is unmeasurable (infinite reality), which precedes all things (eternal reality) and it is also the generator of all things (active reality). In its process of mutation, the air generates the other elements and these are also dissolved in it in their corruption, says Anaximenes. It is the first rise of both material things as mental and spiritual. We can say that the air is God. "Anaximenes established that the air is God, and that it is engendered, immense and infinite, and is always moving" Cicero collected in 'The nature of gods'. Matter, soul and God are manifestations of a single principle or reality.
Tradition places Anaximenes (acme around 546 BC) as a disciple of Thales and colleague and successor of Anaximander. Theophrastus said about him: "The Milesian Anaximenes, son of Eurístrato and colleague of Anaximander, said, as the first, that the underlying nature is infinite, but not undetermined, as Anaximander, but determined, and called it air; Anaximenes differentiates into the particular substances by rarefaction and condensation. By becoming more subtle becomes fire, more condensed becomes wind, then cloud, further condensed water, earth and stone. The other things are produced therefrom. Conceives also eternal its movement by which also generates change." (Simplicio, Physics, 24, 25-26)
Anaximenes sets as 'arche' the air, which is an invisible and infinite principle like the 'apeiron' of Anaximander, but the air of Anaximenes, as the water of Thales, is actually a precise and specific principle, has a physical and concrete existence. (In fact, philosophy of Anaximenes is generally understood as an attempt of synthesis between Thales and Anaximander: the air as 'arche' replaces the water of Thales, but also incorporates properties of undetermined 'apeiron' of Anaximander, as is infinity.)

Why chooses Anaximenes air as 'arche' and not fire, earth or water? Fernandez Cepedal notes that Anaximenes found in the air some empirical properties exercising better than the other elements functions of 'arche'. The air would be better than water the adequate material for the 'logos' of transformations of elements, throught its processes of rarefaction and condensation, because it would manifest very diversely becoming more subtle or, conversely, more condensed: becoming more subtle and slight increases its volume and temperature and is to become something like fire or fire itself. When condenses, on the contrary, decreases in volume and temperature and becomes something colder and stronger as water and earth, according Anaximenes. Are quantitative changes, the increase or decrease in density, what generates resulting qualitative differences. The same applies to the opposites hot and cold which Anaximander extracted forcedly from the 'apeiron' and that Anaximenes says that occur naturally from these same quantitative changes of condensation - rarefaction. "What is compressed and condensed is cold, and the rare and lax is hot" Plutarch says (De primo frigido, 7, 947 F).
This is a parsimonious theory because the whole comes simply from a single element which varies quantitatively. Then there is the special and interesting property of invisibility of air. As Hippolytus (Refutatio. Y 7, 3) says the air "when it is perfect is imperceptible to the eye". The air is infinite and determined, but the determination of the air is much more 'abstract', as it is imperceptible to the senses, than water, because it is invisible (like the 'apeiron'). So much so that the air is usually confused with emptiness (the existence of air as a matter actually was not demonstrated until the time of Empedocles and Anaxagoras).
The invisible air is infinite and "includes the entire cosmos" (Aetius, I 3, 4) because the air is empirically imperceptible and seems limitless and occupy a vast region of the world ('whole') and penetrate everything. Omnipresence of the invisible air is much greater than that of water, is almost complete. It is the perfect 'arche'.
Air is a very subtle element in motion and change, of which we are unaware precisely because of its great subtlety and lightness (plus invisibility), that being omnipresent and touching all the other elements and created things must be affected by or be involved in the continuous movement and changing of the 'whole'. It is not unreasonable to think, therefore, that the air must be the first cause, the dynamic principle that generates the rest of nature, hidden from our senses, which has therefore 'divine' character. "Anaximenes says that the air is God" Aetius and Cicero agree in affirming regarding our philosopher. Categorically.

We have seen elsewhere the explicit identification of air with the divinity that did Orphism, that the gods themselves are originated from air or are made of air, literally. Saint Augustine also makes an interpretation of Anaximenes in this sense when he writes "... Anaxímenes attributed all the causes of things to infinite air and did not deny the gods nor was silent about them, he did not believe, however, that the air was produced by them, but they themselves were born from the air" (City of God, VIII, II).
The 'divine' nature of air is related to the idea that the power of this element extends everywhere and penetrates everything, especially the bodies of human and animals, by carnal and 'solid' they seem. Thus the divinity of outside air, when it enters the body, becomes lifeblood, the soul is the air itself and its properties are the air ones. Thus we can say that soul is breath. Within us is soul and outside is air while spirit or divinity. The soul is the action of air in each individual person, and the spirit or divinity is the action of universal air on humanity.

The air is related to divinity and soul at least from Orpheus and Homer. "As our soul being air unifies us, so the breath (pneuma) or air covers the entire cosmos" (Aetius, I 3, 4). Our soul is air, Anaximenes says, specifically is the inside air that holds us united, and he says, is the same air that covers and bindeth the whole universe. He identifies cosmic air with 'pneuma', which in Greek meant air or breath while soul, just as the term 'psyche'. He considers the air as our soul and as the breath of the world ('the spirit of the world').
The 'aither' acts in the universe as the 'pneuma' in the body. Similarly the 'pneuma' (air-soul) penetrates and remains attached the body, giving life and governing it, the 'aither' (air-spirit) penetrates and remains attached the universe, giving animation and governing it. There are no boundaries between our body and other material objects. All is one. The Milesians regarded the universe as a living being, a kind of huge body. The soul and life are not generated individually from the body, but it receives them from air-spirit of the universe, which is 'God'.

Cappelletti, A. J. Los fragmentos de Diógenes de Apolonia. Tiempo Nuevo, Caracas, 1975.
Cappelletti, A. J. Mitología y filosofía: los presocráticos. Cincel, Madrid, 1987.
Cicerón, M. T. Sobre la naturaleza de los dioses. UNAM, México, 1986.
Fernández Cepedal, J. M. Los filósofos presocráticos. Proyecto Filosofía en español,, 2000.
Conde, F. Filósofos presocráticos. Página sobre filosofía,
González, C. Historia de la filosofía. 2 ª ed., Madrid, 1886. Edición digital Proyecto Filosofía en español,, 2002.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Ibn Arabi, the linker of wisdoms (II).

To Ibn Arabi everything is imagination, we live in a world of imagination, the physical world is alien to our conscience, as is the true reality (truth, God), and our 'personal reality' is purely mental. We move in a psychological world, the world of names that we put to things, not in the world of things in themselves.
"You have to know that you are imagination, and that everything you perceive and you say 'this is not me' is (also) imagination. Our personal reality in its totality is an imagination within imagination. In contrast, true reality, truth, is God seen in its essence and in its being, not from the point of view of its names."

"God is as light that a glass veiles to look and dyes its own color: colorless itself, it is presented with colored to illustrate what is your reality when compared with your Lord. If you say that light is green because the glass is this color, you tell the truth and senses testify on your behalf. If you say it's not green nor has any color, following which tells you common sense, you are also telling the truth and thus give witness evidence of a healthy intellect." Glass is the person and his skills and conditioning. Everyone stains with his personal experience the pure light of intellect. A opaque glass and personality gives an intense color that stains everything, offers a monochromatic way of seeing the world. A more transparent glass and personality is brighter and shows better the forms of the world in its diversity of tones, better reveals the reality and the 'forms' of God, the manifestation of God in the intellect is higher.

This God that is pure intelligence (that is 'the truth') comes from sky, says Arabi, but is with us wherever we are, because we are its manifestation. It is our essence, our intelligence. It is what directs and governs the universe we perceive. "He descends to the sky of this lower world. It is in sky, on earth, is with us wherever we are, and lets us know that it is our own essence, while being limited beings. (...) The universe is his form and he is the spirit of the universe, who governs."

"He is the complete being,
and is the only one.
My being is by his being,
so I say 'he is fed'.
My existence is his food,
while we are fed by him."

This divine unity of God with intelligence, of intellect with the universe, far from being static is dynamic, moves, fluctuates continually, 'breathes'. Is a 'pressure' or blow producing diversity and variability in the 'forms' or ideas, that is, causes mental life:
"To end this oppression 'inherent in the divine unity, as the essence of things, He has breathed'. He himself has attributed the breaths to infinitely merciful, because he is who gives mercy to divine attributes of those seeking to manifest the forms of the world, which we say they are outside of God because he is outside, as is inside."
"God moves in the forms."
"(God) gives life to the forms in the breath..."
God is expressed in the intellect, is the breath or blow that breathes life to attributes that names express and ideas ('forms') manifest. It is a 'breathing' dynamic relationship between information and life.

God is so great that no religion explains enough, nor any creed is better than others, because all are far to make it understandable actually. The understanding of God is such a immense phenomenon that no science and no creed achieved and, in trying to explain, just distort reality. "Be careful not to join a particular creed denying the rest, because you will lose immense good. Even more: you will lose the science of truth as it is. Let your soul be the substance of the forms of all faiths, because God is too great and too vast to be contained in a creed excluding the others."
Religions often confuse causes with effects, a matter in which science is more careful, fortunately. It is true that God is expressed in the heart of the people in the form of mercy, as religions say, maintains Arabi, but God is not mercy, should not be confused with it. The heart may contain mercy but God is much greater than content of heart at a certain moment. God is the agent, not the result, is the origin of the action that happens in the hearts of people, not a result of this action.

Arabi says in chapter 12. "Know that the heart comes from the mercy of God, but is greater than it, because contains God, while his mercy does not contain it. At least that's the interpretation that involves vulgar language, which states that God is the agent and not the object of mercy, and that this may not apply."
God manifests in the hearts of people through a blow or breath. God 'breathes' in our hearts. Arabi does not describe the scientific mechanism of this action, he just notifies it repeatedly throughout the book. At the beginning of this chapter, for example, he writes: "God has been described as the owner of breath..." "The first aspect that has awarded a consolation through his breath, attributed to the infinitely merciful, is precisely the divine lordship."
God is not a creature but is the phenomenon that is the manifestation of 'the forms' of the world in our hearts and minds through the 'blow'. Somehow God corresponds to the organization of our psyche (and its limitations). God, as our psyche, reveals the world, because it takes all 'forms' of the world, unifies all that is thinkable or imaginable. All 'forms' are part of God. God unifies everything (the Whole) in the unique concept of God (the One). Since God is all, when it is perceived, we can not perceive anything else, because there is nothing else to perceive (nothing is more than the whole, nor there is more world than all the world). "You must also know that the Most High God, as mentioned in the Sahih, changes forms in its manifestation, and when the heart retains it, does not retain with him any creature. The meaning of this is that the heart, when looks God at the moment it appears, can not look at anything else." ...If you perceive the Whole you can not perceive anything else, you perceive the One. If you perceive God's reasons, what other reasons might strike your attention? If you conceive how the world truly works what else may interest to you? suggests Arabi.

Our heart and our psyche reproduce the different 'forms' (ideas) of the world in which God manifests. "While God differs in its manifestation in forms, the heart expands and shrinks necessarily to the measure of the form in which the divine manifestation operates, but not over at all. On the contrary, has exactly its size and shape ('form'). Round if the bezel is round, square, hexagonal, octagonal, etc. if the bezel have any of these forms. Its location on the ring has no other 'form' than that which is like it."
But this is a veiled way. The soul of people includes only the idea of God in their personal profession of faith. The God we see is the God in whom we believe ('the God of beliefs'). The real action of God is invisible to our consciousness because it is the action of our own consciousness.
God's movements are the same as the movements of our soul, so we did not detect any external movement ourselves. They are invisible to us.
Arabi explains: "God is manifested in two ways: one invisible and one visible. According to the invisible manifestation, God gives the heart predisposition, and this is the essential manifestation the nature of which is the mystery, is the essence. When the heart has acquired this predisposition, God manifests visibly to it: the heart sees it and then it appears in the form in which it has manifested. 'God' lifts the veil that separates it from the server, so that he sees in the form of his profession of faith. (...) The eye just can see the 'God of beliefs'."

According to these two modes of manifestation of God (invisible and visible), there are two ways of believing in God: God as agent and God as idea. "This differentiation of creeds is clear. Who conditions to God (with their beliefs) recognizes it when it is manifested in this conditioning, but unknowns it in any other way. But the one who declares it absolute and unconditional will never unknown it, but he recognizes all forms under which it diversifies. He gives the measure of the form in which it has manifested to him, indefinitely, because the forms of divine manifestation are limitless."
The 'forms' of God, 'knowledge' of the phenomena of the world, have no limit, never finish and we always want to achieve more (God as knowledge agent). The same happens with the knowledge of God (God as the object of knowledge). "Knowledge of God, like all knowledge, has not, for the Gnostic, any limit where to finish. On the contrary, even being a Gnostic, he claims at anytime to increase this science. 'Lord increase my science! Lord increase my science! Lord increase my science!' says the Quran (20, 114)."
The intellect alone tends to simplify and unify, reduces reality to make it affordable to our preconceived ideas and creates an illusion of control, distorts reality. The intellect works to turn everything into an object of knowledge. The divinity and forms of the world are, on the contrary, infinite and therefore unpredictable to our knowledge. It is the heart, then, what is responsible for managing our knowledge of the infinite forms of the world and to keep our intellect open to the world. The call of God is to those with heart, not to those with intelligence alone. "The intellect conditions and reduces the manifestation (of God and the world) to a single qualification, which is contrary to the true reality. This is not a call for those who have understanding, who profess beliefs, for those who declare unbelievers and damn each others." Arabi said.
And continues. "The professed divinity by one has no power over professed by the other. Who abides by a creed defends his conception of divinity and rejects any other, but what contains his creed is of no help and remains with no effect, and has no effect on the creed of whom oppose. Similarly, the opponent should not expect any help from the divinity present in his own creed: has no defenders. God has denied that the deities of beliefs can serve any help when considered separately. What gets help is the Synthesis, and what helps is the Synthesis..."
"So the Quran says 'there is a call for which provided with heart' (50, 37), because the heart acquires knowledge of God's changes in essential forms, because of the changes taking place in the apparent forms. It is from 'self' (the person) as knows in 'Self' (the deity), because himself (the person) is the Essence of God."

Beyond what you think or believe, the reality is what it is. Beyond the idea of God that everyone has (as an object of knowledge) God exists and acts in 'our hearts' and exists and operates completely independently of the contents of these thoughts, but not of the act of thinking itself, which is something very different. God works in our soul changes and diversification and changes in our thoughts, acts in our mind that 'produces' different thoughts in time. "Nothing can exist in the universe that is different from the essence of God: He is the gnostic, who knows, which is recognized in such a way, and he is also the one who is not, who does not know, which is not recognized in such other form. Here is what is given to who knows God through the manifestation and contemplation of synthetic Being. His words 'to who is provided with a heart' allude to who is diversified in changes."
God acts in the 'professions of faith' of all people, it is manifested in them as very different they are, precisely because they are a result of the actions of varying thought, in which the true divinity expresses diversely. All faiths are a manifestation of God and, for this reason, there are none better than others, while all are incomplete for the same reason.

"This science is especially attributed to Shu'ayb (Jethro) on the occasion of 'movement in all directions', whose ramifications are innumerable. Every profession is one, and they are all ramifications.
(...) When the veil will be lifted, everyone will know a revelation according to his creed. It may be, however, that revelation will differ in respect to the divine decision, according to his words: 'And will show them from God what they had not anticipated'.
(...) As Essence, some servers declare in their professions of faith that God is in one way or another. When the veil will be gone, they will see the true form of his creed. What they had gotten linked thus will be disconnected. The creed will disappear and will give rise to a science obtained by direct contemplation. When the look will become penetrating never again will be weak. The diversity of manifestations in the forms then will make these servers see to appear that which differ from their creed, because the manifestations of God never repeat, so that the verse: 'will appear from God what they did not anticipate', is also verified about it."
"This constant progression is one of the strangest things that man has no consciousness of it due to his subtle and light veil and false similarity of the successive forms. Indeed, the common man is not aware of the permanent manifestation of God that ensures the renewal of creation at every instant. This appears, for example, in the words of the Most High... 'when a similar form will be given to they' (Quran 2, 25). However, one is not the other. For the Gnostic who knows they are similar, two similar things are necessarily different.
(...) How beautiful is what God Almighty has said about the world and its transformations at each breath! It is in a new creation within the unique Self. He said about some people (and this applies to most of the world): 'are in the confusion of the fact of a new creation' (Quran 50, 15), so that they are unaware of the renewal of existence at every breath .
(...) They ignore that the whole world is nothing but a gathering of accidents and that, consequently, is constantly changing, as the accident can not exist by itself in two successive instants.
(...) We should conclude, from what they say, that what can not subsist on two successive instants exists in two successive instants and even more, and what can not subsist by itself has become what can subsist by itself. They are unaware its contradictions. Really they are those 'who are in the confusion of the fact of a new creation'.
(...) Those who reach the intuitive revelation, they see that God manifests itself in every breath, and that divine manifestations are never repeated. They see by direct contemplation that all manifestation brings a new creation, and that disappears another. This disappearance is the extinction of the previous when the (new) manifestation of God occurs, and permanence refers to what offers this new manifestation. Understand this."

The world is renewed every breath, and every breath is different, as is different every idea and every thought. Never repeated exactly, nor the ideas or breaths. The diversity of ideas in our consciousness comes from the diversity of breaths ('the breath of God') behind each of them.

Ibn Arabi: Los engarces de las sabidurías. Traducción, edición y notas de Andrés Guijarro. Edaf. Madrid. 2009.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Ibn Arabi, the linker of wisdoms (I).

Ibn Arabi, at the beginning of The Bezels of Wisdom, explains that in a dream he had in Damascus in 627 the Sent of God appeared him and commissioned him to transmit to humankind the content of this book.
He did so, he says, "with great care not to add or take anything away from the words of the Most High, who requested to grace to take a transcendent inspiration and spiritual blow from inside his soul to preserve everything his fingers write, his tongue express and his heart keep" so that he was, as good Sufi, truly "a simple interpreter, and not someone who decides".

The goal of the book is very high, it is to articulate and 'set' the speeches of the great masters, they would seemingly different ways but share the main lines of a single underlying structure, the lace which will be revealed to him directly by divinity.
God is so great, explains in the first chapter, dedicated to the verb of Adam, that you can not perceive in his entirety. It is incomprehensible in itself. We need some kind of 'receptacle' or 'vessel' that contains or reflects some discrete action item to understand and conceive God.
God is not to be confused with nature, he says, because nature alone, but is immense and created by God, has no spirit. There must be, added to nature, "vessels of insufflation or breath of the spirit" to speak of divinity. It is our mind the vessel of God; and our ideas or thoughts, that shape mind, are the vessels, in plural, of 'angels' or 'spirits' of God. To each notion or idea corresponds a 'form', and the energy that generates and gives life to it is called 'angel' or 'spirit'. The 'forms' of the universe are the ideas, the contents that take the spirits in our minds.

Our being is humankind and yet is the representative of God” says Arabi.
There is a manifestation of God in all of creation. He is outside of everything that is understood and, in turn, is the interior which understands, but is beyond the comprehension of itself (discussed in Chapter 3, dedicated to the verb of Noah). Human and God are linked in a very intimate way. The knowledge of God is attached to self-knowledge. “The one who knows himself knows his Lord”, the prophet said, collects Arabi. Or as the Quran says and that also includes: "We will show them our signs in the horizons (outside) and in their own souls (interior) until it becomes apparent to them that He is God".
He notes: "You are the form of God and God is your spirit. The definition of man includes what is outside and inside: if the spirit ceases to govern the form, what remains of this is not a man, although it is said of it that is the shape of a man, only designates the name 'man' metaphorically, not according to true reality”.

God is our intelligence and understanding, is the highest of the human soul, what Noah says the sky will pour over men abundantly, that is not the literal rain or a flood, interprets Arabi, but grace and wealth God, the great gift that He sends us, is "that we can see our own form in Him". He adds, "because the one who imagines that he sees Him (as separate from the human) has no knowledge. The Gnostic is the one who knows that who he sees is himself; this is what differentiates ignorant and wise persons”.
"God does not open the vision of all beings that are part of the world to let them see reality as it is; some have science, while others are ignorant, simply. God has not willed, has not led us all", he writes in chapter 5, referring to Abraham.
It is indeed a very elusive knowledge because "science has no effect on its object, which is you and your passenger states. On the contrary, it is the object (mind) that has an effect on it (science) and which communicates what belongs to it. It is thought that leads to science. The 'divine discourse' takes into account the understanding of those it directs to, adapts to his reason and it is expressed in them".
Science and divinity are individually expressed in understanding and intelligence of each one. It is difficult to conceive it therefore beyond the speech of each one reason. Such a nature that unifies our inner world with the outside world, is beyond our understanding. “Our intellect can not understand all this by way of rational speculation. Such understanding occurs only through a divine intuition that allows to know the origin of the forms of the universe, which are the vessels of spirits that govern them". Just a few of us get to experience this intuition.
However, there is no person who has not a spiritual dimension and not subject to the divine science, says the Quran. Everyone has their own reality. "By your personal existence you manifest a reality yet. Even if you keep your reality belongs to God and not to you, also the divine reality belongs to you. Being endowed with current reality is you. Despite the reality is operated by God, returns to Him when acting on you. Only you deserve praise, only you deserve censure. Are you who its nourishment is, and is He who your nourishment is: your own determination determines him. Just that you are who is subjected to the law, and He is who subjects you”.

At the end of the fifth chapter is expressed in these verses:

"We are for Him, as shown
our tests, and we are for us.
He does not own more than my Being.
We are in Him and we are for us.
I have two faces: Me and Him.
There is no I in me.
But me is where it manifests:
we are to Him a vessel."

Arabi said in the ninth, based on the verb of Joseph, that our world is "the world of imagination," that is, that our world is purely mental. We have no access, he says, to strictly real world, to nature itself, which is inert and soulless, foreign to our understanding and our lives. For the existence of world to us our mind must perceive it. The divine is precisely our mind, not the real world. Our mind is the vessel that receives the 'permanent divine manifestation'. It is our intelligence that orders the nature and which manifests divinity in this ordering action. It is what creates the 'logos'.
Our mind has 'angels' or receives 'angels', Arabi writes. The 'angels' are, according to him, the constituent parts and faculties of the universe, while they are the mental and sensorial faculties of human, sorted in some 'divine' hierarchy, ranging from the apperception of absolute truth nearest God (the intellect) to empirical or sensory reality farthest from higher faculties and divinity. Our intellect is 'divine' as it perceives God and it is provided by a breath of God.
We live in a purely mental world. Arabi notes what the messenger of God said to Aisha: "Truly, men sleep, and when they die, wake up". We live entirely in the imagination and dream... We live in the world of imagination. Namely we do not imagine reality but possibilities, which we believe may be real, but they are not reallity, be care! They are just thoughts!
Our lives and experiences need to be interpreted, require proper and intelligent interpretation not to lose ourselves in the fantasies of our personal lives, more or less distant from the divine speech of intelligence.
We must accept, above all, according Arabi, that "we don't know of the world more than we know of its shadows, and we ignore of God what is ignored of divine personality that produces this shadow on the origin of all others. While the world is a shadow that belongs to God, it is known; but as long as you ignore what shadow contains of the true 'form' (idea) of the person who produces it, God is ignored yet. That's why we say we know God at one aspect and ignore at another".
"The world is illusory because it is devoid of true reality itself. We live in a world of imagination, because we imagine that the world is an independent and superimposed reality outside God, when it is not. We don't see that the shadow, in the sensitive domain, holds the person who produces it, and it is impossible to separate of it, because it is impossible to separate something of himself."
And resolves: "Learn to recognize your being, who you are. What is your true being, what is your affinity with God, why you are God and why you are the world”.

Ibn Arabi: Los engarces de las sabidurías. Traducción, edición y notas de Andrés Guijarro. Edaf. Madrid. 2009.

Monday, 27 October 2014

The air 'abducts' mind. Allegory.

The Abduction of Psyche by William-Adolphe Bouguereau.

Abduction of Psyche by Zephyrus. Allegory of the abduction of psyche (mind, soul) by the wind. According to Greek mythology Zephyrus was one of the four gods of air, which corresponds to west wind.

Son of Astraeus and Eos, was considered the most mild and gentle wind. According to myth, he served Eros abducting Psyche and taking her to his cave. The wind literally abducts the psyche and leaves it to love and desire (Eros).

The 'psyche', according to the etymology of the word, is already itself a 'breath of air'. It is the breath that gives us life, but especially gives us the soul and understanding.

...So our soul and our mind, ethereal themselves, are completely at the mercy of 'air'.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

The natural God and soul of Eckhart

God works in two wonderful ways that look very different one from the other. It works 'physically' with the sky, the stars, the moon and the sun. And at the same time, it makes 'great things' with our soul, 'spiritually'.
God, according to Eckhart, is the 'power of heaven', a kind of force that flows from the air. God has this power of heaven, that is physical and operates with the stars, but at the same time, surprisingly, acts on the soul and 'spiritually'. God acts on our soul the same way as it does on the stars and stuff, that is, as a physical force. Thus, our soul would be 'spiritual', indeed, but more in the sense of being of a spirit or etheric matter (from the sky) rather than in a metaphysical sense.
God must not be sought beyond the natural and physical world, since it in reality is a force that acts by nature on man and other creatures. And what we call the human 'soul', that of man on what this force acts, must be a result from the same or a very similar nature.
Everything that exists belong to the realm of the natural. Also the human soul and God. So much so man would not have any preference over other creatures in the 'divine' action, even invoking, revering and praying to God. God, angels, spirit... act on all that is corporeal, with no difference whether a person or a fly or anything.
We and the flies can only suffer or enjoy the reality of nature, the natural order of things, the 'logos', 'truth' as is given to us, 'God' as is given to us. Our thoughts, our desires, etc. do not add or remove anything to reality or truth themselves. Therefore, we should not alter what is given but only seek and discover it, understands Eckhart. Our desire must not create any reason unrelated to nature, as must not create any God unrelated to nature. Both (caution!) would just be pure fantasy.

The order of nature / God is eternal. It has always existed. It /He is the creator and director of the world. Creates both governing. It rules while creating. Now it creates, and have always created. It is immutable, nothing affects him. It is impeccable and implacable. If nothing affects it, least they do the intentions and actions of men and creatures. He/it is nature, eternal, immutable, implacable. It is the becoming of nature. Therefore the wishes and prayers of men will not affect it.
The only valid form of 'prayer' is the approach to nature itself, looking to capture it and make us like it, by the abdication of human artificial occupations, created by the fantasy of men, maintains Eckhart.
We should assimilate once that God acts throught pure, ineffable way, although we only realize a 'glare' of his hidden action. God acts like a little 'spark' that goes unnoticed. God is the 'logos' of nature that produces the 'logos' of our minds, but we do not catch it because we are no able to isolate its actions from our thoughts.

The sky is the place of all things or what gives rise to all things that we can understand, and meet the order and places them in the physical world and in our understanding. The entire universe is ordered by a hierarchy from the ethereal to the solid.
All nature and all that our mind can conceive is in the sky or under the sky, according to an order, on different levels. Some things are lower and corporeal, and other higher and spiritual. Each level of the order of the world is subordinated to the higher levels, but it's just 'touched' or 'illuminated' by the next higher level, as in a chain.
God does not act directly on the lower things, corporeal and temporal things, in which soul does not shine its natural light. God only acts from eternity, on the highest part of the soul which is 'spirit', through the sky. Corporeal and temporal things receive their being of the human soul and the human soul, in turn, receives its true being of God through the angels of heaven, as in a chain.
The soul, in its highest part, binds strongly to God through the sky and celestial entities that are angels. The soul enters into him, and he acts on it, transforms it. Heaven / sky, in its highest part, and God are the same. Heaven / sky, in its highest part, does not take place, because it's Everything, all-encompassing, but for the 'decay', in the lower parts, it is location of corporeal things.
The more rough, solid, 'corporeal', is one thing, it is below, more earthly and far from God. It is more sensorial and individual.
The more subtle and 'ethereal' is, more similar to God it is, more vigorous and intellectual, because it covers and literally contains things that are rougher and solid that are below, and thus it encompasses and relates them.

The sky is all encompassing and, for this reason, has the capability to influence everything. It is unique, universal, infinite. So has the greatest power. God must necessarily be the sky or something in the sky.
Other ethereal beings from heaven, besides God, as we see, are the angels, which act as a bridge between the highest sky (God) and our soul, in turn intertwined with our earthly body, and is in this sense that states that the angels act as 'messengers of God' in our mind.
What capture our earthly senses (more or less solid matter) simultaneously is assimilated to what is infused 'spiritually' to us from the more ethereal (God, angels, soul). Otherwise, it lefts unattended in isolated bodily sensitivity, with no knowledge. It is not a mental phenomenon.
In our knowledge and understanding only comes a reduction (a "stamping") that engage the senses. Everything else (the interpretation, meaning...) is provided by soul and spirit, God, not senses.
The intellect and will, which are the highest part of the soul, touch the nature of angels and becomes an image of God. Our will and our intellect 'gather light from the angels, and with it the divine light', they conform the light of our mind.
Eckhart says, even, that the will is so free that is not affected by anything that capture our senses, since 'operates his work from their own freedom'. That is, our will is actually out of our control and we are unpredictable ourselves from our individuality. We are wrong when we try to understand and anticipate what we want and what guides our actions from our individual sensory referents. The will flies free, it does not depend on us as individuals. It depends on something else much higher, open and sharing than 'us', as the 'spirit' of the sky.
On the contrary, understanding itself has involvement of corporeal things, recognizes Eckhart. That is, our ability to understand and know things is affected, as is evident to us, by our sensory experience. But this involvement occurs only in a certain part of the understanding, in a 'look down' on that knowledge receives the image of corporeal things. Not so in the 'high' of the understanding (the 'background' or 'spark' of the soul), which does not get nearly what senses lead.
The activity of the senses does not give the soul the 'light' of knowledge, but only prepares it to collect the 'light' or knowledge of 'angel from skies' and God, which is where emanates the pure understanding (the ability or action of understanding). The sensory world is the backdrop or context on which the understanding is manifested, but not the understanding itself. The sensory world provides the motive, the object, but actually is involved in a very superficial way in the activity of reasoning and understanding itself.
Eckhart strives to clarify the nature of this power of the soul that is the understanding and comes to conclude, surprisingly, that it would be a kind of sense or sensory organ, unlike the five classic senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell) but ultimately a sense. The highest part of the soul is not anything individual nor elaborate nor complex nor mysterious (nor metaphysical) emanating from man, he says. It does not emanate from the individual, on the contrary, the understanding would be reduced to sensitive capture of natural (physical) emanation coming out, from skies. Understanding, the sense that orders and gives meaning to the things of the world and the life, is the sensitive to 'God' sense. (And 'God' is nothing supernatural but is some form of energy or stimulus from the sky that simply excites this sense of understanding.)
The soul has two looks, we saw: one to the sensory world and the body, the other directly to God. This look to God and the reception of the divine 'force' may well not be conscious, says Eckhart, because the soul isn't 'at home' but is in God's territory. It emanates from God and man has no power in this birth. It is the eternal continuum of birth of what Eckhart called the 'son', the spirit. It is the pure understanding, which is so sublime that nothing can enter or be there, just God in its naked nature. It is the understanding activity itself, not its object. Then there is no place for any form of thought or judgment, which are added from us, projections to our sensory world. The pure understanding comes from God and only of God depends, it is not contaminated by the contents of personal experiences.
The understanding is before thinking. Truth exists before I discover it. My concrete thinking does not create truth, only discovers it. The truth and understanding exist outside of us (and is carried by 'angels' of the sky). Thought is what understanding affects to me.
Moreover, as John believes (as quoted Eckhart) words can not name the soul because the soul is precisely what generates the words. What the soul is in itself can not become the subject of thoughts, at least in its highest part. When they do, words name it referring to low, earthly, depending on the body's senses things, and the true meaning of soul vanishes.
Nothing goes so much far from itself than the soul in 'its upper part', says our philosopher. In a very large extent 'the upper part' of the soul is outside the body and earthly powers, but is seated in them. God is everywhere. But everywhere is still within our soul. God creates the world within our soul. So, interestingly, the deeper it is, the more outside. And the outside, more inside. The spirit emanates and yet remains within our soul. Because the highest part of our soul, spirit and God are the same 'power'. This is what happens with the words, with reason and with everything that we perceive and understand. God is infinite and eternal. Throughout eternity God has always done the same. God now creates the will and reason in the soul of man, and has always created them in the past and will create in the future.
And the philosopher insists that to be mentally empty of fantasies and ideas from the sensory transforms nature, as transforms the physical vacuum, that operates miracles as the water rises up. He talk of spirits as material, ethereal, elements, which necessarily occupy a space, and of the need of the physical vacuum to host them. And thus concluded to be 'poor in spirit', which is the same as 'being empty' of preconceived ideas, empirically means being susceptible to apprehend or to accommodate any sort of spirit, God being the supreme spirit. 'Blessed are the poor in spirit' so.

The sky acts on the soul and all created things, the way it does on the water, for example, in the case of tides. Everything tends naturally towards the sky, which is the origin of the acts of the divine-natural order: it is 'the power of heaven / sky'. The soul flows into the sky, that's where it comes from, similarly as it does to fire.
The sky totally spills on the ground in fertilizing way. Heaven / sky, in its entirety, engenders all earthly and bodily life.
The earth is the farthest thing from heaven, but inevitably is surrounded by it and is 'pushed' by it. The sky 'pushes its force' on earth (and all that is earthly) and thus 'makes it fruitful'.
Earth nor anything created, neither man, can escape from the influence of the sky. The sky is always flowing and printing its strength, and this fact does not depend on the will or desire of anyone, says Eckhart. Although do not fool yourself thinking you can run away from God, whatever you do, he / it acts on you. Like it or not, asleep or awake, God does eternally what is its own. God is the force that flows from heaven / the sky, is 'the power of skies'.

* * *

Eckhart. Obras alemanas. Tratados y sermones. Edhasa, Barcelona, 1983.

'Ahora diremos que Dios cuando es 'Dios', no es la meta perfecta de la criatura. Porque tan elevado rango de ser lo ocupa (también) la criatura más humilde en Dios. Y si sucediera que una mosca tuviera entendimiento y buscase racionalmente el abismo eterno del ser divino, del que ha provenido, diríamos que Dios, por más que fuera 'Dios', no podría satisfacer ni contentar esta mosca. Por eso le pedimos a Dios que nos desposeamos de 'Dios' y aprehendamos la Verdad, disfrutándola eternamente allí donde los ángeles supremos y la mosca y el alma son iguales, allí donde yo estaba y quería (ser) lo que era y era lo que quería (ser). Por lo tanto decimos: Si el hombre debe ser pobre en voluntad, tiene que querer y desear tan poco como quería y deseaba cuando no era. Y de esta manera es pobre el hombre que no desea.'
(Sermón LII.)

'Por encima de la luz se encuentra la gracia; esta no entra nunca en el entendimiento ni en la voluntad. Si la gracia tuviera que entrar en el entendimiento, entonces el entendimiento y la voluntad deberían llegar más allá de sí mismos. Tal cosa no puede ser, porque la voluntad es tan noble en sí misma que no se la puede llenar sino con el amor divino. El amor divino opera obras muy grandes. Mas, por encima hay todavía una parte que es el entendimiento: éste es tan noble en sí mismo que no puede ser perfeccionado sino por la verdad divina. Por eso dice un maestro [Augustinus, De trin., XIV c. 8 n. 11.]: hay una cosa muy secreta que se encuentra por encima, eso es la cabeza del alma. Allí se realiza la verdadera unión entre Dios y el alma. La gracia no ha operado nunca ninguna obra, pero sí emana en el ejercicio de una virtud. La gracia no conduce nunca a la unión en una obra. La gracia es un in-habitar y un co-habitar del alma con Dios. Para ello es demasiado bajo todo lo que alguna vez se haya podido decir obra, ya sea exterior, ya sea interior.'
(Sermón XLIII.)

'Cuando predico suelo hablar del desprendimiento y de que el hombre se libre de sí mismo y de todas las cosas. En segundo término (suelo decir) que uno debe ser informado de nuevo en el bien simple que es Dios. En tercer término, que uno recuerde la gran nobleza que Dios ha puesto en el alma porque el hombre, gracias a ella, llegue hasta Dios de manera milagrosa. En cuarto término (me refiero) a la pureza de la naturaleza divina... el resplandor que hay en la naturaleza divina, es cosa inefable. Dios es un Verbo, un Verbo no enunciado.'
(Sermón LIII.)

'Lo que debe existir (junto) con muchas cosas, necesariamente debe encontrarse arriba. Lo que produce el fuego, debe estar, necesariamente, por encima de lo que enciende, como el cielo y el sol. Nuestros maestros más insignes opinan que el cielo es el lugar de todas las cosas y, sin embargo, (él mismo) no tiene lugar, ningún lugar natural, y da lugar a todas las cosas. Mi alma es indivisa y, sin embargo, se encuentra del todo en cada uno de los miembros. Donde ve mi ojo, no siente mi oído; donde siente mi oído, no ve mi ojo. Lo que yo veo o siento físicamente, se me infunde espiritualmente. Mi ojo recibe el color con la luz, pero éste no entra en el alma porque lo que entra en el alma es una reducción (del color). Todo lo que reciben los sentidos exteriores, para que sea introducido espiritualmente, viene de arriba, de parte del ángel: éste la estampa en la parte superior del alma. Ahora bien, nuestros maestros afirman [Thomas, S. theol. II II q. 185 a. 3 ad 3.]: Lo que se encuentra arriba, ordena y ubica lo inferior.'
(Sermón XXXV.)

'Dice un maestro que el cielo recibe inmediatamente de Dios. Otro maestro dice que no es así: porque Dios es un espíritu y una luz pura, por lo que lo que debe recibir inmediatamente de Dios, debe ser, por necesidad, un espíritu y una luz pura. Dice un maestro: Es imposible que algo corpóreo sea susceptible del primer efluvio violento allí donde emana Dios, si no es una luz o un espíritu puro. El cielo se encuentra por encima del tiempo y es la causa del tiempo. Un maestro dice que el cielo, en su naturaleza, es tan noble que no puede degradarse a ser la causa del tiempo. En su naturaleza no puede ser causa del tiempo; (pero), en su trayectoria es la causa del tiempo, es decir, en la deserción (de la naturaleza) del cielo, (más) él mismo es atemporal. Mi color no es mi naturaleza, sino que es una deserción de mi naturaleza, y nuestra alma se encuentra muy por encima y «está oculta en Dios». Entonces no digo sólo: por encima del tiempo, sino «oculta en Dios». Es esto lo que significa el cielo? Todo lo que es corpóreo es una deserción y un azar y un rebajamiento. El rey David dice: «Ante la vista de Dios, mil años son como un día que ha pasado» (Salmo 89, 4); porque todo lo que es futuro y todo lo que ha pasado se encuentra todo allí en un solo «ahora».'
(Sermón XXXV.)

«El patriarca Jacob llegó a un lugar y al atardecer, cuando el sol se había puesto, quiso descansar (Cfr. Gén. 28, 10 s.). Se dice: en un lugar, sin nombrarlo. El lugar es Dios. Dios no tiene nombre propio y es un lugar y una ubicación de todas las cosas y es el lugar natural de todas las criaturas. El cielo en su (parte) más elevada y pura, no tiene lugar, sino que, en su decadencia, en su efecto, es lugar y ubicación de todas las cosas corpóreas que se encuentran por debajo de él. Y el fuego es (el) lugar del aire y el aire es (el) lugar del agua y de la tierra. Lugar es lo que me rodea, en el medio de lo que estoy. Así el aire rodea la tierra y el agua. Cuanto más sutil es una cosa, tanto más vigorosa es, por lo que es capaz de obrar dentro de las cosas que son más toscas y se encuentran por debajo de ella. La tierra (= el elemento) no es capaz de ser lugar en el sentido propio, porque es demasiado tosca y es también el más bajo de los elementos. El agua, en parte, es lugar, por ser más sutil es más vigorosa. Cuanto más vigoroso y sutil es el elemento, tanto más se presta para ser ubicación y lugar de otro. Así el cielo es (el) lugar de todas las cosas corpóreas y él mismo no tiene lugar que sea físico, más aún: su lugar y su orden y su ubicación lo constituye el ángel más bajo, y así siempre hacia arriba; cada ángel, que es más noble, se constituye en lugar y ubicación y medida de otro, y el ángel supremo se constituye en lugar y ubicación y medida de todos los otros ángeles que se encuentran por debajo de él, y él mismo no tiene lugar ni medida. Pero Dios tiene su medida (la del ángel) y es su lugar y el ángel es espíritu puro. Pero Dios no es espíritu, según las palabras de San Gregorio quien dice que todas las palabras que enunciamos acerca de Dios, son un balbuceo sobre Dios. Por eso dice (la Escritura): «Llegó a un lugar». El lugar es Dios que da su ubicación y orden a todas las cosas. He dicho algunas veces: Lo mínimo de Dios llena todas las criaturas y en eso viven y crecen y reverdecen, y lo máximo de Él no se encuentra en ninguna parte. Mientras el alma se encuentra en alguna parte, no está en lo máximo de Dios, que no se encuentra en ninguna parte.
(Sermón XXXVI b.)

'Ahora bien, él dice: «quiso descansar en el lugar». Toda la riqueza y pobreza y bienaventuranza radican en la voluntad. La voluntad es tan libre y tan noble que no recibe (ningún impulso) de las cosas corpóreas, sino que opera su obra por su propia libertad. El entendimiento, ciertamente, recibe (la influencia) de las cosas corpóreas, en este aspecto la voluntad es más noble, pero sucede en cierta parte del entendimiento, en un mirar hacia abajo y en una bajada, que este conocimiento recibe la imagen de las cosas corpóreas. Mas, en la (parte) suprema, el entendimiento obra sin agregado de las cosas corpóreas. Dice un gran maestro: Todo lo que es llevado a los sentidos, no llega al alma ni a la potencia suprema del alma. Dice San Agustín, y también lo dice Platón, un maestro pagano, que el alma tiene en sí misma, por naturaleza, todo el saber, por lo que no hace falta que arrastre el saber hacia dentro, sino que mediante el estudio del saber externo, se revela el saber que, por naturaleza, se encuentra escondido en el alma. Es como (sucede con) un médico que, si bien me limpia el ojo y quita el obstáculo que me impide ver, no otorga la vista. La potencia del alma que obra en el ojo por naturaleza, sólo ella presta la vista en el ojo, una vez sacado el impedimento. Del mismo modo, no le da luz al alma todo lo que como imágenes y formas es ofrecido a los sentidos, sino que únicamente prepara y purifica el alma para que, en su parte más elevada, pueda recoger puramente la luz del ángel, y junto con ella la luz divina.'
(Sermón XXXVI b.)

'...Ciertas potencias del alma perciben desde fuera, como hace el ojo: por más finamente que perciba y elimine lo más basto, toma, sin embargo, alguna cosa desde fuera que ha puesto sus miras en el aquí y en el ahora. El conocimiento y el entendimiento, sin embargo, lo tocan todo y recogen lo que no hay ni aquí ni ahora; en esta dimensión (el entendimiento) toca la naturaleza angelical. Pero sin embargo, recibe de los sentidos; de lo que los sentidos aportan desde fuera, recibe el entendimiento. La voluntad no hace tal cosa. En este punto la voluntad es más noble que el entendimiento. (La) voluntad no quita nada de ninguna parte que no sea el puro conocimiento donde no existe ni el aquí ni el ahora. Dios quiere decir: Por más elevada y pura que sea la voluntad, ella debe ascender más.'
(Sermón XXI.)

'¿Por qué dijo Nuestro Señor: "Tienes razón "? Él quiere decir: Los cinco maridos son los cinco sentidos; te poseyeron en tu juventud a su completa voluntad. Ahora, a tu edad madura, tienes uno que no es tuyo: es el entendimiento al que no obedeces». Cuando este «marido» está muerto, las cosas andan mal. El hecho de que el alma se separe del cuerpo causa gran dolor, pero que Dios se separe del alma, causa mucho más. Así como el alma le da vida al cuerpo, así Dios le da vida al alma. De la misma manera que el alma se derrama por todos los miembros, Dios introduce fluyendo en todas las potencias del alma y las atraviesa en forma tal que ellas continúan derramándolo (a Dios) con bondad y amor sobre todo lo que se encuentra cerca de ellas, para que todo esto lo perciba.'
(Sermón XXXVII.)

'Al principio, cuando la palabra es recibida por mi entendimiento, ella es tan pura y sutil que es una palabra verdadera antes de ser configurada en mi pensamiento. En tercera (instancia) es pronunciada exteriormente por la boca y luego no es sinó una manifestación de la palabra interior. Así también, la palabra eterna es pronunciada interiormente en el corazón del alma, en lo más íntimo, en lo más acendrado, en la cabeza del alma, de la que hablé el otro día, (es decir) en el entendimiento: allí dentro se realiza el nacimiento. Quien no tuviera nada fuera de una idea plena y una esperanza de que así fuera, tendría ganas de saber cómo se realiza este nacimiento y qué es lo que ayuda para que tenga lugar.'
(Sermón XXXVIII.)

'Los maestros escriben que sería inverosímil si se afirmara cuál es la extensión del cielo (pero) la menor potencia que se encuentra en mi alma es más extensa que el extenso cielo, por ni siquiera hablar del entendimiento que es extenso sin extensión. En la cabeza del alma, (es decir) en el entendimiento, me encuentro tan cerca del lugar (que se encuentra) a más de mil millas más allá del mar, como del lugar que ocupo ahora. En esta extensión y en esa riqueza de Dios conoce el alma, allí nada se le escapa y allí ya no espera nada. «El ángel fue enviado.» Dicen los maestros (Thomas, S. theol. Y q. 50 a. 3 ad 1.) que la cantidad de ángeles constituye un número más allá de todo número. Su cantidad es tan grande que ningún número no los puede incluir, tampoco es posible imaginar su número. Para quien fuera capaz de concebir (la) diferenciación sin número y sin cantidad, cien sería lo mismo que uno. Aunque hubiera cien personas en la divinidad: aquel que supiera distinguir sin número ni cantidad, no conocería más que un solo Dios. La gente incrédula y algunas personas cristianas iletradas se sorprenden de esto, incluso algunos frailes saben sobre eso tan poco como una piedra: entienden por tres, tres vacas o tres piedras. Pero quién sabe concebir la diferenciación en Dios sin número ni cantidad, éste conoce que tres personas son un solo Dios.'
(Sermón XXXVIII.)

'Al cuerpo humano le corresponde el elemento más bajo, el elemento sólido, la tierra. Sobre este elemento actúan todos los demás elementos, más elevados (el líquido, el aéreo, el ígneo, los ángeles y Dios, por este orden). El cuerpo está completamente rodeado por el cielo y recibe todo el influjo del cielo. Todo lo que obra y derrama el cielo es recibido por el cuerpo.«Homo», «el hombre», tiene el sentido de «el que está hecho de tierra», y significa «humildad». La tierra es el elemento más bajo y yace en medio y está rodeada completamente por el cielo y recibe en todo el influjo del cielo. Todo lo que obra y vierte el cielo, es recibido en medio del fondo de la tierra.'
(Sermón XLIV.)

'Dice un maestro: Todas las cosas iguales se estiman recíprocamente y se unen unas con otras, y todas las cosas desiguales se repelen y se odian unas a otras. Y ahora dice un maestro que no hay nada tan desigual entre sí como el cielo y la tierra. La tierra ha experimentado en su naturaleza que está alejada del cielo y (que le es) desigual. Por eso huyó de él hasta el lugar más bajo y por eso la tierra es inmóvil para no aproximarse al cielo. Éste, en su naturaleza, notó que la tierra huyera de él ocupando el puesto más bajo. Por lo tanto se vierte totalmente, de manera fecundante, sobre la tierra, y los maestros opinan que el cielo ancho y extenso no se reserva ni la anchura de la punta de una aguja, sino que engendra a sí mismo sin restricciones, y de manera fecundante, en la tierra. Debido a esto se dice que la tierra es la criatura más fértil entre todas las cosas sujetas al tiempo.'
(Sermón XLVIII.)

'El ángel tiene nivel también muy alto: los más distinguidos de los maestros dicen (Thomas, S. theol I q. 11 a. 3; y Albertus Magnus, De Caelestis Hierarchi c. 5 § 7.) que cada ángel posee una naturaleza entera . Es como si hubiera un hombre que tuviera todo lo que todos los hombres juntos han poseído alguna vez, lo que poseen ahora y lo que deberán poseer en cualquier momento, en lo que a poder y sabiduría en todas las cosas se refiere, esto sería un milagro y, sin embargo, él no sería más que un hombre, porque este hombre tendría todo lo que tienen todos los hombres y, sin embargo, se encontraría lejos de los ángeles. Así pues, cualquier ángel tiene una naturaleza entera y se encuentra separado de otro, como un animal de otro que es de diferente especie. Dios es rico en esta cantidad de ángeles, y quien llega a conocer este hecho, conoce el reino de Dios. Ella (= la cantidad de ángeles) representa el reino de Dios, así como un señor es representado por la cantidad de sus caballeros. Por eso se dice: «Un señor-Dios de los ejércitos» (Isaías 1, 24 et passim). Toda esta cantidad de ángeles, por sublimes que sean, colaboran y ayudan para que Dios nazca en el alma, es decir: sienten placer y alegría y deleite por el nacimiento; (mas) no obran nada. Allí no hay ninguna obra de las criaturas, ya que Dios opera, Él solo, el nacimiento: en este aspecto les corresponde (sólo) una obra servil a los ángeles. Todo lo que coopera, constituye una obra servil.'
(Sermón XXXVIII.)

'La obra que el ángel opera en Dios (= la obra servil) es tan sublime que nunca maestro o intelecto algunos podrían llegar a comprenderla. Pero, de esta obra cae una astilla-como cae una astilla de una viga que se desbasta (es decir) un resplandor, lo que sucede allí donde el ángel con su parte más baja toca el cielo, por eso reverdece y florece y vive todo lo que hay en este mundo.'
(Sermón XXXVIII.)

'Hay una potencia en el alma (el entendimiento supremo) y no sólo una potencia sino: (una) esencia y no sólo (una) esencia, sino algo que desliga de la esencia... eso es tan puro y tan elevado y tan noble en sí mismo que ninguna criatura no puede entrar sino sólo Dios que vive allí. Ah sí, (lo digo) con plena verdad: Dios mismo no puede entrar tampoco en tanto tiene forma de ser, ni en tanto es sabio, ni en tanto es bueno, ni en tanto es rico. Ah sí, Dios no puede entrar allí con ninguna forma (de ser). Dios puede entrar allí sólo con su desnuda naturaleza divina.'
(Sermón XLII.)

'El entendimiento es el 'marido' de los ángeles dentro del alma, es de la misma naturaleza que los ángeles. Es la parte de los ángeles que está dentro del alma. Coexiste y está comprendido en la naturaleza de los ángeles.... El Espíritu Santo; Este se brinda sólo allí donde se vive con el entendimiento. El entendimiento es la parte suprema del alma donde, junto con los ángeles, tiene una coexistencia y un estar-comprendido en la naturaleza angelical. A la naturaleza angelical no la toca ningún tiempo, lo mismo sucede con el entendimiento que es el «marido» dentro del alma, no lo toca ningún tiempo.'
(Sermón XLIII)

'Dicen los maestros que ninguna criatura no tiene tanto «asentamiento» en sí misma como lo tienen el cuerpo y el alma, y eso que nada sale tanto de sí mismo como el alma en su parte superior.'
(Sermón XIII a.)
'Si nos mantenemos libres de las cosas que se encuentran fuera de nosotros, Dios nos quiere dar, en cambio, todo lo que hay en el cielo y el cielo mismo con todo su poder, ah sí, y todo lo que de él alguna vez ha emanado y lo que tienen todos los ángeles y santos para que sea tan nuestro como es de ellos, e incluso más de lo que me pertenece cualquier cosa.'
(Pláticas instructivas. 23. De las obras interiores y exteriores.)

Dicen los maestros (Cfr. Aristóteles, Physica c. 1, 208 a.) Que inmediatamente por debajo del cielo hay un fuego muy extenso el calor del cual es muy fuerte y, sin embargo, no toca para nada el cielo. Ahora bien, se dice en un escrito (Augustinus, De quantitate animae c. 5 n. 9.) que lo más bajo del alma es más noble que lo más alto del cielo. Pero entonces, ¿cómo puede atreverse un hombre a decir que es un hombre celestial y tiene su corazón en el cielo, cuando cosas tan ínfimas aun pueden afligirle y causarle pena?
(El libro de la consolación divina. Consolación 2.)

'Ningún recipiente puede llevar por sí mismo dos clases de bebida. Si debe contener vino, hay que verter necesariamente el agua, el recipiente debe estar vacío y limpio. Por eso: si tienes que recibir divina alegría y a Dios mismo, debes verter necesariamente las criaturas. Dice San Agustín (Augustinus, En. 2 en Ps. 30 Sermo 3 n. 11.): «Vierte para que seas llenado. Aprende a no amar para que aprendas a amar. Apártate para que seas acercado». En resumen: Todo lo que debe tomar y ser capaz de recibir, debe estar vacío. Dicen los maestros (Aristóteles, De anima II, t. 71.): Si el ojo cuando ve contuviera algún color, no percibiría ni el color que contenía ni otro que no contenía, pero al carecer de todos los colores, conoce todos los colores. La pared tiene color y por eso no conoce ni su propio color ni ningún otro, y el color no le da placer, y el oro o el esmalte no le atraen más que el color del carbón. El ojo no contiene (color) y, sin embargo, lo tiene en el sentido más verdadero, ya que lo conoce con placer y deleite y alegría. Y cuanto más perfectas y puras son las potencias del alma, tanto más perfecta y completamente recogen lo que aprehenden y tanto más reciben y sienten mayor deleite, y se unen tanto más con lo que recogen (y) esto hasta el punto que la potencia suprema del alma, que está desembarazada de todas las cosas y no tiene nada en común con ninguna cosa, recibe nada menos que a Dios mismo en la extensión y plenitud de su ser. Y los maestros [Cfr.. Thomas, S. theol. III q. 3 a. 2 ad4, q. 3 a. 4 y 5.] demuestran que, en cuanto a placer y deleite, nada se puede comparar a esta unión y este traspaso (de lo divino) y este deleite. Por eso dice Nuestro Señor (y es) muy notable: «Bienaventurados son los pobres en espíritu» (Mateo 5,3). Es pobre quien no tiene nada. «Pobre en espíritu» quiere decir: así como el ojo es pobre y falto de color, siendo susceptible de (ver) todos los colores, así el pobre en espíritu es susceptible de aprehender toda clase de espíritu, y el espíritu de todos los espíritus es Dios. El amor, la alegría y la paz son fruto del espíritu. Estar desnudo, ser pobre, no tener nada, encontrarse vacío, (todo ello) transforma la naturaleza: (el) vacío hace que el agua suba por la montaña y (opera) otros muchos milagros de los que ahora no es momento de hablar.'

(El libro de la consolación divina. Consolación 2.)

'Si el hombre fuera capaz y estuviera en condiciones de vaciar una copa por completo y de mantenerla vacía de todo lo que puede llenarla, incluso el aire, la copa, sin lugar a dudas, renegaría de su entera naturaleza, olvidándola, y (el) vacío la llevaría hacia arriba en el cielo. Del mismo modo, el estado de desnudez, pobreza y vacío respecto a todas las criaturas, eleva el alma hacia Dios. Resulta también que la igualdad y el calor levantan hacia arriba. La igualdad se atribuye, en la divinidad, al Hijo, el calor y el amor al Espíritu Santo. Ahora bien, dice Salomón que todas las aguas, es decir, todas las criaturas vuelven a fluir y a correr hacia su origen (Ecl. 1,7). Por eso es necesariamente verdad lo que acabo de decir: La igualdad y el amor ardiente elevan hacia arriba y guían y llevan el alma hasta el primer origen del Uno que es «Padre» de «todos», en el cielo y la tierra (Cfr. Efesios 4,6). Así digo, pues, que (la) igualdad nacida del Uno tira del alma hasta Dios tal como Él es el Uno en su unión escondida, pues eso es lo que significa Uno. Para ello disponemos de un símbolo evidente (offenbâr angesiht): cuando el fuego material enciende la leña, una chispa obtiene naturaleza ígnea y se iguala al fuego puro que está aferrado inmediatamente al lado inferior del cielo. Enseguida se olvida y se deshace del padre y la madre, del hermano y la hermana en esta tierra y sube corriendo hacia el padre celestial. El padre de la chispa en esta tierra es el fuego, su madre es la leña, su hermano y su hermana son las otras chispas, a esas no las espera la primera chispa. Sube apurada hacia su padre legítimo que es el cielo; pues, quien conoce la verdad, sabe muy bien que el fuego, como fuego, no es el padre verdadero, legítimo de la chispa. El padre verdadero, legítimo de la chispa y de todo el ígneo es el cielo. Además hay que notar muy bien que esta chispa no sólo abandona y olvida a su padre y a su madre, a su hermano y a su hermana en esta tierra, sino que se abandona y se olvida y se deshace también de sí misma (movida) por el amor para llegar a su padre legítimo, el cielo, ya que necesariamente ha de apagarse en el aire frío; sin embargo, quiere dar testimonio del amor natural que tiene a su legítimo padre celestial.'

'(...) Además, hay que saber también que en la naturaleza la impresión y la influencia de la naturaleza suprema y más elevada, le resultan a cualquier persona más deliciosas y agradables que su propia naturaleza y ser. El agua corre, por su propia naturaleza, hacia abajo, hacia el valle y en eso radica también su idiosincrasia. Mas, bajo la impresión e influencia de la luna arriba en el cielo, reniega y se olvida de su propia naturaleza y fluye cuesta arriba hacia la altura y este flujo hacia arriba le resulta más fácil que el flujo hacia abajo.'

(El libro de la consolación divina. Consolación 2.)

'El cielo es más abarcador que todo lo que está por debajo de él, por eso es también más noble. Cuanto más nobles son las cosas, tanto más abarcadoras y universales son.'

(Sermón IV.)

'El alma no debe desistir nunca hasta que tenga el mismo poder de obrar que Dios. Así opera junto con el Padre todas sus obras; coopera simple y sabia y amorosamente.'

(Sermón XXXI.)

'El alma está insertada íntimamente en Dios. O mejor dicho: Dios y alma son lo mismo, no hay diferencia. Así, el alma está mucho más cercana a Dios que al propio cuerpo del hombre.
Ah sí, en el Cuerpo de Nuestro Señor el alma está insertada en Dios tan íntimamente que todos los ángeles, los querubines al igual que los serafines, ya no conocen ni saben encontrar ninguna diferencia entre ambos; ya que dondequiera que toquen a Dios, tocarán el alma, y donde toquen el alma, (tocarán) a Dios. Nunca hubo unión igualmente estrecha, porque el alma se encuentra unida a Dios mucho más estrechamente que el cuerpo al alma, los que constituyen un solo hombre.'
(Pláticas instructivas. 20. Del Cuerpo de Nuestro Señor. Como se le ha de recibir a menudo y de qué manera y con qué devoción.)

'El alma toca Dios con las potencias supremas; debido a esto está formada a (semejanza de) Dios.'
(Sermón XXXII.)

«Jerusalén» significa lo mismo que una altura, según dije en (el convento de) Mergarden. A lo que es en la altura se le dice: Desciende! A lo que está abajo, se le dice: Asciende! Si tú estuvieras abajo y yo estuviera por encima de ti, debería bajar hacia ti. Lo mismo hace Dios; cuando tú te humillas, Dios baja desde arriba y entra en ti. La tierra es la cosa más alejada del cielo y se ha acurrucado en un rincón y está avergonzada y le gustaría huir del hermoso cielo, de un rincón a otro. ¿Cuál sería entonces su casa? Si huye hacia abajo, llega al cielo, si huye hacia arriba, tampoco lo puede eludir, él la empuja hacia un rincón y le imprime su fuerza y la hace fecunda.
(Sermón XIV.)

'Dicen nuestros maestros [Aristóteles, De anima I t. 20.]: El alma se llama fuego por la fuerza y el calor y el brillo que posee. Otros dicen que es una chispa de naturaleza celestial. Los terceros dicen que es una luz. Los cuartos, que es un espíritu. Los quintos, que es un número. No encontramos nada que sea tan puro como el número. Por eso querían darle al alma un nombre que fuera puro. En los ángeles existe el número (se habla de un ángel, de dos ángeles) también en la luz existe el número. Por eso se la designa (al alma) de acuerdo con lo más desnudo y puro y, sin embargo, esto no llega a tocar el fondo del alma. Dios que es sin nombre (no tiene ningún nombre) es inefable y el alma, en su fondo, es igualmente inefable tal como Él es inefable. La palabra que denomina al alma, se refiere al alma cuando se encuentra en la prisión del cuerpo, por lo que opina (San Juan) que el alma, al ser capaz de convertir todavía (en objeto) de su pensamiento lo que ella es en sí misma, se encuentra todavía en su prisión. Allí donde presta aún atención a estas cosas bajas y donde recoge algo en su interior por intermedio de los sentidos, allí se estrecha en seguida; pues (las) palabras no son capaces de dar ningún nombre a ninguna naturaleza que se encuentre por encima de ellas.'
(Sermón XII.)

'Dice un maestro: Así como la vista nada tiene que ver con el canto, ni el oído con el color, así el alma en su naturaleza nada tiene que ver con todo lo que hay en este mundo. Por eso dicen nuestros maestros en ciencias naturales [Aristóteles, De an. Y t. 90] que el cuerpo se encuentra mucho más en el alma que el alma en el cuerpo. Así como la bota contiene el vino antes de que el vino la bota, así el alma contiene el cuerpo antes de que el cuerpo al alma.'
(Sermón XVII.)

'...También (las) palabras tienen gran poder; uno podría obrar milagros con palabras. Todas las palabras deben su poder al Verbo primigenio. También (las) piedras tienen gran poder debido a la igualdad que producen en ellas las estrellas y la fuerza del cielo. Si, pues, al igual es tan poderoso en el igual, el alma ha de despegar a su luz natural hacia lo más elevado y puro y entrar así en la luz angelical, llegando con la luz angelical en la luz divina, y así debe estar parada por entre los tres luces en el cruce de caminos, en las alturas donde se encuentran las luces. Allí habla el Verbo eterno infundiéndole la vida; allí el alma cobra vida y da su respuesta dentro del Verbo.'
(Sermón XVIII.)

'Todo como es ordenado, debe haberse subordinado a lo que está por encima. Todas las criaturas no le gustan a Dios cuando no las ilumina la luz natural del alma, de la que reciben su ser, y cuando la luz del ángel no ilumina la luz del alma y la prepara y dispone para que la luz divina pueda operar en ella, porque Dios no opera en las cosas corpóreas, opera (sólo) en (la) eternidad. Por eso el alma debe ser recogida y elevada y debe ser espíritu. Allí opera Dios, allí todas las obras le gustan a Dios. No hay ninguna obra que nunca le plazca a Dios a menos que se realice allí.'
(Sermón XIX.)

'Por la verdad pura del alma entra más en Dios de lo que (entra) cualquier comida en nosotros, más aún: el alma es transformada en Dios. Y en el alma hay una potencia que va segregando lo más basto y está unida con Dios: ésta es la chispa del alma. Más que la comida con mi cuerpo, mi alma se une con Dios.'
(Sermón XX a.)

'El dueño envió a sus criados (Lucas 14, 17). San Gregorio dice que estos «criados» son la Orden de los Predicadores. Yo hablo de otro criado, que es el ángel. Por lo demás, queremos hablar de un criado, al que ya me he referido varias veces, y que es el entendimiento en la periferia del alma donde toca la naturaleza angelical, siendo una imagen de Dios. Dentro de esta luz, el alma se encuentra unida con los ángeles y (incluso) con aquellos ángeles que han caído en el infierno y los que, sin embargo, han conservado la nobleza de su naturaleza. Allí se encuentra esta chispa, desnuda derecha sin ningún sufrimiento, dentro del ser divino.'
(Sermón XX b.)

'La tierra huye del cielo; si huye hacia abajo, llega desde abajo al cielo, si huye hacia arriba, llega a la parte más baja del cielo. La tierra no puede huir a un lugar tan bajo que el cielo no fluya en ella y le imprima su fuerza y la fecundidad, lo quiera ella o no. Así le sucede también al hombre que cree huir de Dios y, sin embargo, no puede huir de Él; todos los rincones lo revelan. Cree huir de Dios y corre a su seno. Dios engendra en ti a su Hijo unigénito, te guste o te disguste, duermas o estés despierto; Él hace lo propio.'
(Sermón XXII.)

'El profeta se maravilla de dos cosas. En primer lugar, de lo que opera Dios con las estrellas, con la luna y el sol. En segundo lugar, su sorpresa se refiere al alma: que Dios hiciera y siga haciendo cosas tan grandes con ella y por medio de ella, porque hace todo cuanto puede por amor de ella. Hace muchas cosas grandes a causa de ella y se dedica completamente a ella y esto se debe a la grandeza con que fue creada.'
(Sermón XXIV.)

'Nadie puede recibir al Espíritu Santo a no ser que viva por encima del tiempo en (la) eternidad. En las cosas temporales el Espíritu Santo no puede ser ni recibido ni dado. Cuando el hombre se aparta de las cosas temporales y se gira hacia su fuero íntimo, percibe allí una luz celestial que ha venido del cielo. Se encuentra por debajo del cielo y, sin embargo, es del cielo. En esta luz el hombre queda satisfecho, y, sin embargo, ella es (todavía) corpórea; dicen que es materia. Un (trozo de) hierro cuya naturaleza consiste en caer hacia abajo, se levanta hacia arriba en contra de su naturaleza y se aferra a la piedra imán debido a la noble influencia que la piedra ha recibido del cielo. Dondequiera que se dirija la piedra, hasta allí se dirige también el hierro. Lo mismo hace el espíritu: no se contenta así sin embargo con esta luz; va avanzando siempre por el firmamento y penetra a través del cielo hasta llegar al espíritu que hace girar al cielo, y que debido a la rotación del cielo reverdece y se cubre de hojas todo lo que hay en el mundo. Pero el espíritu no está satisfecho si no avanza hasta la cima y la fuente primigenia donde el espíritu tiene su origen.'
(Sermón XXIX.)

'Es muy extraño el hecho de que algo emane y, sin embargo, permanezca dentro. El hecho que la palabra emane y, sin embargo, permanezca dentro, es muy raro, el hecho que todas las criaturas emanen y, sin embargo, permanezcan dentro, es muy raro; lo que Dios ha dado y ha prometido dar, es muy extraño, y es incomprensible e increíble. Y está bien que así sea; pues, si fuera comprensible y creíble, no estaría bien. Dios se encuentra en todas las cosas. Cuanto más está dentro de las cosas, tanto más está fuera de las cosas: cuanto más dentro, tanto más fuera, y cuanto más fuera, tanto más dentro. Ya he dicho varias veces que en este instante Dios crea todo el mundo. Todo lo creado alguna vez por Dios, hace seis mil y más años, cuando hizo el mundo, Dios lo está creando ahora todo junto. Él se encuentra en todas las cosas pero, cuando Dios es divino y Dios es razonable, no se encuentra en ninguna parte con tanta propiedad como en el alma y en el ángel, si quieres, en lo más entrañable del alma y lo más elevado del alma. Y cuando digo: «lo más entrañable» me refiero a lo más elevado, y cuando digo «lo más elevado» me refiero a lo más entrañable del alma. En lo más entrañable y en lo más elevado del alma: allí los concibo a ambos juntos en uno solo. Allí donde nunca entró el tiempo, donde nunca cayó el brillo de una imagen, en lo más entrañable y lo más elevado del alma, crea Dios todo este mundo. Todo lo que creó Dios hace seis mil años, cuando hizo el mundo, y todo lo que Dios tendrá que crear después de mil años (con tal de que el mundo exista durante todo aquel tiempo) lo crea Dios en lo más entrañable y lo más elevado del alma. Todo el pasado y todo el presente y todo el futuro, lo crea Dios en lo más entrañable del alma.'
(Sermón XXX.)

'Dios se esconde en la luz angelical y se cubre con ella esperando continuamente el instante en que pueda arrastrarse hacia fuera para entregarse al alma. He dicho también en otras ocasiones: Si alguien me preguntara qué es lo que hace Dios en el cielo, diría: Engendra a su Hijo y lo engendra completamente nuevo y lozano, y al hacerlo siendo un deleite tal que no hace sino realizar esta obra.'
(Sermón XXXI.)