View the Golden Figure

This figure provides an initial step for the rational mind  as it becomes disposed to understand the difficult and subtle parts of Raymond's Art. And it is like a prime alphabet, and a visible instrument used by the imagination and intellect to remove that ignorance which negates the human intellect's natural disposition to understand things.
And to address the human intellect as it lies open  like a clear table, where few, if any scientific concepts at all are portrayed, I am making the visible figure shown here, to facilitate initial learning for those who have not known other lofty sciences, and to have it as a single prime object showing  all parts of universal being in united order, for there can be no science of non being.

Note that the Figure shown here is not the true Figure, but is meant to be sublimated (without physically looking at the Figure, and even in its absence) from the imaginary picture that remains of it, up to the intellectual level.  Imagine, from this flat circular Figure, the very greatest spherical body that can naturally exist, like the sky all the way to its outermost surface, as shown in the Figure; by considering it from the center towards the circumference and rising all the way up to the Prime Golden Link, through which the intellect, with the senses and the imagination, perceives this whole world as one single sensible and imaginable being, manifested in glorious order.

And the universe was discovered in this way by all the sages of ancient times, as will be seen, God willing, in many places further on in this book. Now the virtue of eyesight does not reach beyond the starry sky. But the imagination, whose power surpasses all the senses, in the absence of any particular act of the senses, and in the absence of anything presented to the sentient being, can imagine things larger or smaller than what was seen and alter what was seen by the eye into another shape and color. Thus, it can act above the senses, for no particular sense can either enlarge or decrease the Figure, its size, color etc.
And although the eyesight cannot penetrate beyond the starry sky, a greater sky is perceived to exist above and beyond the starry sky, through the virtue of the imagination elevated above the senses. And this is because it perceives an extrasensory, imaginary body above and beyond the starry sky; even though its virtue does not rise above this ultimate sky, for above and beyond its outermost surface there is no more body, nor any physical locality or place containing anything, or contained by anything.

Now the intellect has its real spiritual existence above physical imagination, and so it is truer, more actual, more powerful and far reaching as a human faculty which goes where imagination fails to reach. And as the imagination is immediately subjected to it, it elevates it as much as it can, by producing a fantastic being or chimera and reaching to things that never existed for the senses. But the intellect cannot carry the imagination either into the void or beyond the physical level . And  this is where the virtue of imagination fails, and is overtaken by the intellect, and rightly so, for being spirit, intellect reaches to spiritual being beyond the physical planes.

And whereas through imagination, the intellect reaches to the physical being of nature, and whereas physical nature has less form, less actuality, less nobility and is a lesser being than spiritual being, the intellect reaches spirit and substance in an extrasensory and extra imaginary way, as sense and imagination cannot go beyond the accidents, and extrasensory imagination cannot go beyond the physical senses or beyond the three dimensions of space. The nine accidents beyond which the senses cannot go, are: Quantity, Quality, Relation, Action, Passion, Time, Situation, Habit, Space.

And gold is more precious than any other color, and its substance more precious than any other physical substance, and as the eyesight distinguishes and elects the precious, neat, pure, beautiful and delightful color of gold incomparably above other colors, so does the intellect rise aloft, elevating incomparably above the choice of sense, the separate spiritual substances which dwell above all the heavenly bodies.

And thus the first circle contacted by the intellect, which is of a less pure and neat golden color, represents reality in a comparative way, which is not a true representation, but only meant to facilitate learning about the nature of the rational soul as it dwells in the lowest of the spiritual horizons, where compounded with the body, it is apt to receive the disturbances of human flesh  weighing it down. So the soul is immediately joined to the body, and above it, so that it can be aware of its own lesser nature, and of physical nature as well. And by the same token, the body which is directly in contact with the soul, is the body of heaven, or the astral body, which is a more spiritual, more formal, less compounded and subtler body. And so it is elevated above the visible body, and as a spiritual body it is greater and less compounded, and simpler than the bodies below it. For these reasons it is elevated above the heavens and closer to the spiritual entities that it is joined to.

 Above this circle there is another, neater and purer golden circle, and through its purity and neatness the angels, or simply separated substances, nobler intelligences in no way bound to physical nature are elevated, by their greater nobility, to a higher degree of dignity than the rational soul.

 And the purest and most perfect gold of all, a gold of absolute purity, dwells infinitely and incomparably above the lower forms of gold, which stand far below it, as likenesses are inferior in their dignity to the thing they represent.  As there is a real difference between an image appearing in a mirror, and the thing that it represents, likewise, and infinitely more so, there is a difference between this purest gold of all and the other kinds of gold. As perfectly pure gold is different from a dye made with gall, which is only a very remote likeness of gold, so does God reach above all other things in his holiness and infinite dignity.

 Consequently, if among visible objects and among all kinds of beings, even the most base and vile, a natural order is found, rising in orderly fashion through the simple comparative degrees of great, greater and greatest, (as in inanimate bodies, where one stone can be naturally more dignified that another through its beauty, or virtue, or both; and also in inanimate artificial bodies, such as metals; and likewise in vegetation, plants, trees; and among more or less evolved animals as well). Among humans, the simple order of greater and greatest is discerned by reason. And in the world of  human activities, this can be observed in the respective worlds of the laity and the clergy and the way that they follow a certain order, as if compelled by some kind of necessity.

 And the same concept can be stated in other words, namely that in each and every class of being, something  primordial and supreme can be found, to which all other things of its own kind are reduced. So in this way, throughout the whole universe, a most natural and necessary order is found, among the positive, comparative and superlative degrees. The necessity of this order is visibly demonstrated by the orderly disposition of the elements, each in its place, ascending and descending along a vertical axis.

 The argument of Priscian, when applied to natural things, is a true and necessary one, although it is ignored by many, who do not know how to detect the natural order of things. They do not know how to face things as they really are, but prefer to cast a confused glance at only a few items, without considering likenesses and without finding any differences, and without making any orderly comparisons according to the majority, equality and minority that exist among all classes of natural beings. They easily jump to conclusions, and make pronouncements, as they deem that anything that they do not know, must be equally unknown to everyone else. Moreover, they suppose that no one else can possibly know or understand anything that they do not themselves know or understand, and that no one else can rise anywhere above the level of knowledge that they have achieved. And this class of individuals can be aptly described as being obstinate purely for the sake of obstinacy.
 Others remain obstinate in believing in some true authorities, whose true meaning they have not basically understood, because they prefer narratives and stories,  to intellectual debate. These folks have no scientific background, and as they realize their shortcoming, they are less likely to remain obstinate.

 Others still, remain obstinate in their false principles from false authorities, having been brought up and nourished and imbibed with sayings handed down from their predecessors. And these people do not want to understand anything that could make them improve their behavior, and refuse to suppose that anything could be different from what they say it is. It is boring to live and to contend with such people, and difficult to extirpate them from their persistent obstinacy, the only way is to gradually lead them along by applauding them from time to time, when they do happen to say something right. If they were truly rational human beings, wouldn't they want to know the truth!  But they suppose that they already know enough, if not everything, and see others, at all times, as ignorant.

 But let us come back to our previous thread of thought, and let us say that where sensual knowledge fails, the imagination takes over by reaching beyond the senses, and when the imagination fails, the intellect takes over and reaches above the imagination by attaining truths through rational discourse. Now in the same way, and much better, as a healthy and open eye, in the presence of an object set at a proper distance and in the proper light, so that no other color or object interferes, must see and cannot help seeing, thus, and much more so, an intellect that is naturally well disposed in a naturally well disposed human body, in the presence of its object, namely of a self evident statement or of some demonstration whose principles are clearly obvious to all, must understand the truth of these things, and cannot fail to understand it.

 Now as the truth of true statements presented to the intellect depends on the truth of objects existing outside the intellect or soul, and whereas that which exists in the intellect is not the object itself, but a likeness or a species of that object, if this species is truly governed by the object, the intellect truly attains the object by directing the true species or likeness to its appropriate object. And in this manner, it attains its object much better than the thing reflected in a mirror is perceived, supposing that the mirror is straight, clean and flat and of the right colors. Therefore a statement that states the truth about an object in this way, can be rightly said to express the truth regarding  the object, at least to the extent that it is possible to make a statement about anything by referring to the likeness which represents it.

 From all this, it is obvious that a stone or a thing is not in the intellect, even though it is an object of  the intellect. It is only a species or likeness abstracted by the active intellect, and it is self evident that this species is something far removed from the truth of the externally existing object. So it is clear that intellectual truth manifestly depends on real truth. This is why any statement containing the reality of a thing is said to be true, if it affirms this reality, and false if it negates it. It is also clear that our own affirmations do not add anything new to the reality of the object, nor can they modify it.

 And from all this, it is clearly obvious that a real object contains more real truth that does anything that the intellect can draw from it. Reasoning can vary, as it can freely affirm or deny, and can announce or express things differently from what is in the mind, which is commonly known as lying, and the thing or the object does not change but permanently remains in its true reality.  And the real thing, in its truth, surpasses and transcends the truth understood about it by the intellect, to the extent that a likeness differs from the thing that it represents, as the intellect does not reach to the real object, and the real object does not reach out to the intellect, but only the species through which it understands. And there is yet another degree of distance, because the intellect, as it uses the species that it holds within itself as a sign or likeness of the object or of the thing objectified by it, this sign that is held in the human mind cannot be expressed or pronounced unless it be through a further sign of this impression or likeness that exists in the soul, namely through a meaningful vocal expression, which designates the mental concept, and thus, voice is a second sign following upon the first.  An in this way,  the likeness of a thing begins to emanate from the thing itself, and then it is multiplied as the active intellect attracts it, until the sign is finally imprinted in the passive intellect. And after this, from the passive intellect, the sign of the mental concept  and not the concept itself, is reproduced  as it is carried by the voice that expresses it, and it stands as far away from the sign first received in the passive intellect, to the same distance at which any likeness stands from the real thing it simulates.

 As a meaning is received in the ear through a vocal sign or meaning, and subsequently imprinted upon the mind or the passive intellect of the listener, it is imprinted upon two things. First, in the speaker, from the immediate likeness or species of the external object. Secondly, it is received by the listener through some sign which conveys the meaning or the concept that the speaker has in mind; and this mental concept was previously the immediate species or likeness of the external object, and now this originally conceived species or sign is detected by the listener through a sign that is not taken straight from the object, but from a species previously derived from it. And this second sign is carried by the speaker's voice all the way to the ears of the listener, and the listener attracts  the meaning of the voice and knows that this meaning comes from an object, namely through the distance of two intervening steps, as explained. However, as the listener refers and directs the meaning of the voice to the real object from which it first arose, then, if this meaning is properly expressed by the voice that conveys its intimate sense, it is sufficient to provide for a good understanding of what is meant. Now we cannot cannot understand things any better than this, as we cannot always carry them around with us or even point them out with our hands. We can only designate them with meaningful vocal expressions, and these are merely signs of yet other signs previously imprinted on the passive intellect.

 The expression of meaning therefore presupposes understanding, and understanding presupposes being. And understanding depends on real things,  and the conveying of meanings depends on the intellect, or on the act of understanding. Therefore it is most necessary to express mental concepts with the vocal signs that convey the most intimate reality of the object in the most intimate and vehement manner. Thus we can see at this point, how necessary it is to have a good knowledge of what is said when naming things and using vocabularies, for clearing up doubtful questions both substantial and accidental. Accidents do play a large role in knowing what things are, so that terminological disputes can be avoided. This is why anyone ignorant of the meanings of words, can easily go astray in their logic, the cause of their errors lies in the fallacies which are latent in words. And it follows, that even though all voices do not sound the same,  nonetheless, when their meanings are understood, the meanings do not stray from the things meant by them.
 Coming back again to the Figure, or to the root from which we have digressed to make the above useful comments,  let us now consider the order of the universe. And first, as we descend from the top in orderly fashion, let us see how creatures descend from GOD in an immediate way, following their greater likeness to GOD, and then let us descend from greater likenesses to lesser ones, and from more subtle, pure and lucid likenesses to ones which are less subtle, pure and lucid, and thus proceed through a process of involution through the spiritual planes, until finally we arrive at a nature which is simply of another order, namely physical nature.

 The involution of created spiritual substance takes place in the rational soul, which stands at the lowest horizon of intelligences, as the dregs of spiritual being with respect to the angels above it, as it is seen to be in touch with physical nature, without being physical in itself , but only endowed with an aptitude for entering into composition with a body, and as one of two parts of a compound, to produce thereby a third entity. Thus the rational soul is one one hand, lowest in the scale of intelligences, and on the other hand, it stands immediately above, and in continuous contact with the body of heaven, or the universal astral body. Therefore the rational soul is in touch with this prime universal body, which is subtler than any of the heavenly bodies.

 And from this ninth heaven, and from the prime mobile sphere, the spheres descend in their successive involutionary order, although they all  consist of one and the same celestial or astral nature, homogeneous through the whole natural body of heaven down to the sphere of the Moon, which is more lumpy and gross than the spheres above it, as can be seen by looking closely at the body of the Moon, which is not uniform, but covered with stains and blemishes. For the lunar sphere is tinged with the likeness of the spheres immediately below it, namely the elements with their perturbations and impurities, generation and decay, all signified by the waxing and waning of moonlight.

 Next, in descending order comes the sphere of things subject to generation and decay, the confused disturbance and chaos of the elements, which likewise follows an order based on the nature of each element. Now fire is the element possessing the highest level of form, subtlety, rarity, actuality, and purity, and the least amount of physical matter, and it belongs in the first closest region to the heavens, as the element which comes nearest to reaching celestial nature. Fire is luminous, and extremely light, which gives it a natural tendency to rise toward the clarity and light of heaven; thus it belongs to the uppermost sphere closest to the heavens where it is joined to the concavity of the lunar sphere.

 After fire, in descending order comes air, which is more gross and less pure than fire. Thus it belongs below fire, and being lighter and more pure and subtle than water, it is found above water. And water is more subtle, pure and beautiful than earth, so it is above earth; and as water is more gross, compact and material than air, it is placed beneath air. And earth, as the dregs and involution of  the other elements is the most gross, thick, and impure of them all, and the elements can be considered as the dregs of astral bodies. Astral bodies can be considered, comparatively, as the dregs of the intelligences. And the intelligences are clean, pure creatures, sublimated above every kind of uncleanness.  As intelligences descend through involution, their dregs are found in the rational spirit, which does not exist as an end in itself, and has no  purpose on its own, and only finds rest in man, for whom it is ultimately meant.

 And as said above, GOD the Holy One projects away from Himself the effects which He derives from Himself, by putting a distance between Himself, and the things least similar to Him. And He has situated a place for the damned, in the nether abyss of earth, in the midst of the collective uncleanness of all creatures, in a place which is at the greatest distance from GOD, measured in every direction. And He has called His creatures back to Himself from the lowest element and from the place found furthest away from Him; having created them or caused them all to exist for Himself through the grace and generosity of His love. And so that His operations do not proceed in vain, He set a gradual ascending order among creatures, where they can finally and perfectly achieve the end of perfection for which they have been ordained, and find rest in this end. And thus, GOD has bestowed virtues on creatures,  through which their orderly ascent to their creator can be detected, for they have been created by the creator in a descending order, as stated above.

Therefore, let every creature rejoice and exult in Him, as creatures cannot possibly be ordained for a greater and more perfect purpose. And let the rational creatures rejoice and exult most of all, because they can understand and know this truth; and most of all man, as he is the medium through which this orderly ascent back to Godhead takes place, and as such, man is the focal point of all creation.

And this return to the Source takes place within a sphere full of disturbances, confusion and chaos, contrariety and corruption. As compared to other, higher creatures, it may seem like a divine condemnation; but such is not the case. Rather, it is a just action on GOD's part, whereby in his infinite wisdom, He creates the worlds for himself, and for making himself and his operations manifest, so that through his operations, GOD the supreme operator can make himself known, and reveal through his operations the purpose and final perfection of his divine work, which has, no doubt,  been  meant for rational creatures. He created confusion, so that order could better and more perfectly shine forth in contrast. He has placed order among similar and dissimilar things in the world, to create a medium for cognition and clear awareness and removal of doubt. And the reason why He has introduced into this place of exile, decay and confusion, this most excellent operation, and many other super excellent and supremely dignified operations, was to compensate for the exaltation and lofty situation of the higher creatures. Now He created all creatures equally with the same love, each and every one destined to one and the same end, and in this end, his entire effect, or world, is made perfect.

What a marvelous and supernatural, infinite operation it was, to create out of nothingness a great work, like the sensible world with its intelligences; and to make two things that are so naturally remote, and naturally so distant from each other, like spiritual nature which is GOD's greater likeness, and physical nature below it, which is entirely, essentially and naturally diverse and separated from spiritual nature. And also, within physical nature, to create two things so essentially different in nature, as are the perpetual celestial cycles, and the corruptible things made of elements?

Even more marvelous, was the conjunction or union of two such distant and diverse natural extremes, as the body, which is entirely subject do decay, and spirit, which can neither be generated nor corrupted, in such an entirely perfect composition, as to produce from them one, singular and natural substantial being, which is neither of the two said things, but something essentially different, while each of the two yet remain intensively what they are in themeselves, without any corruption of their own natures either in composition or in simplicity, and all this in the present valley of tears?

And the most marvelous of all, was to see infinite being assume finite being in such a manner, as to make a single substantial being without any composition, as each of the two remains what it was, what it is, and what it shall be; through this operation GOD became everything while making everything over to himself, as He made the creator into a creature, and the creature into the creator! Is it any wonder, for rational man to desire most ardently and fervently to know about this?

I do not intend to deal here with the things that I have just mentioned, nor to delve into their causes, so as to leave some room for wonderment and thirst for knowledge. However, I do intend to delve into the source and origin of all knowable causes, as there can be no science if the principles are ignored. And since the principles of knowledge are identical to the principles of being, and being precedes knowing, we can first gaze upon the world as it is in its goodness, and in its greatness, and admire its order and beauty. As we admire the world in this, and many other ways, which we cannot grasp or comprehend through the senses and imagination, we are moved by reason to say that the world is not its own cause. If the world had existed before coming into existence, it would have existed even before existing, and it would have existed even then, when it did not exist, and thus it would have both existed, and not existed at the same time, which is simply an impossibility.

Therefore, we say that the world has a cause, and a maker. Should not an effect that is so good, so great, so durable, so powerful, with such wisdom and instinct,  such will and appetite, such virtue, such truth, delight and glory, should not such an effect optimally have a maker Who has always been, and now is supremely good, great and durable, powerful, wise, willing, virtuous, true and glorious, eminently above and beyond the effect produced by Him?

Didn't Aristotle, the philosopher, in the beginning of  "The Heavens and the World"  clearly declare, that all things are threefold, and can be divided into three dimensions?  And all the Pythagoreans likewise say, that all reality is encompassed by three dimensions, namely the end, the middle and the beginning; and this number applies to all things, and signifies the threefoldness of all things. And the Philosopher immediately goes on to say: "And so, having taken these three from nature as (so to speak) laws of it, we make further use of the number three in the worship of  one God, our Creator, Who eminently possesses all the properties of all created things".

Therefore, as any effect as such must necessarily be finite, since it precedes nothing else, but proceeds from something else, so any effect is either nothing at all, or something that follows upon something else. Therefore it must necessarily follow, that the being which stands above effects and fininteness, must itself be infinite, otherwise it would not stand above finite being. So whatever stands above and beyond finite being, must either be infinite, or nothing at all. Therefore, infinite goodness stands eminently above created goodness, through its infinite magnitude, duration, power, wisdom, will, virtue, truth and glory.

This is really the original location, in which and from which Raymond Lull first began to contemplate, as can be seen in his Biography, and seek out the true causes of all knowable truths. And the Lord by divine grace, suddenly , through  an unknown shepherd who told him many great and wonderful things about the Creator and his creatures, totally enlightened his intellect. And from that moment on, he never stopped inquiring and writing, so that GOD might act through him as an instrument, and so that by GOD's action, and with the Art given by GOD as an instrument, he could extirpate the errors, opinions and falsehoods that have always existed, and still exist in this rational world,  by the grace of GOD and with pure and simple truth applied with the Art.

How sad it is to see in our times, that whatever is said to be most true and necessary, is also most deeply ignored, and most remotely hidden away from the wise of this world! How many periods of history have passed in their ceaseless search, and nonetheless truth is still more and more a matter of opinion, without anyone daring to stand up and determine, or assert the truth, or say anything more than: "Here is what others think of it", and this is where it stops. And these errors exist for a cause: namely ignorance of causes, or the principles of causality. But to be called wise, or knowledgeable, you must be able to use your intellectual virtue with assurance on your own for attaining difficult subjects and their causes. And we consider that we really know something, once we are sure of its causes. Knowing something is nothing more nor less than knowing the causes of its effect, in a way that cannot possibly be otherwise.

As Proclus put it so well in the beginning of his Book on Causes, "The prime cause has greater influence on its effect, and is more of a cause than the immediate, or secondary cause, for whatever is the cause of another cause, is also the cause of what is further caused, and so we can say that 'whatever operation is performed by a second cause, is performed by the first cause to an even higher degree'.  For the first cause operates from a more elevated and sublime level. And when the second cause is removed from what it has caused, the prime cause is not removed, because the prime cause adheres to a thing more greatly and more vehemently than does the immediate cause; and the effect of a cause cannot be caused without the participation of the prime cause. And this is because while the second cause is not producing any effect in an object, the higher prime cause influences the object with its virtue adhering vehemently to it and serving it". And he gives the example of rational man: the first cause produces being, the second cause: life, and the third cause: reason. He says: "If reason is removed from a man, what is left is no longer a man, but merely a living, breathing and sentient being. And if life is taken away, then although no longer alive, the thing still has being, and being is not removed from it, since a cause is not removed by removing the effect it has caused."

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