Tuesday, September 6, 2011
The Law of Analogy: As Above So Below
THE LAW OF ANALOGY: AS ABOVE SO BELOW
Let us first look at proposition 2: “That which is below is like that which is above: and that which is above is like that which is below, for performing the miracles of the one thing.” This statement, which most of the time is rendered in the shortened version “as above so below” is the key to the hermetic philosophy. It implies that the same laws rule everywhere in this universe, above as below, “in heaven as on earth”, in macrocosm and microcosm, on all planes of manifestation.
Let us look at it in relation to human perceptions. We can encompass in our area of perception only a section of a continuum. We can see only a small part of the light spectrum, hear only the frequencies which lie within a certain field. Some animals can perceive sounds and colours which are inaccessible to man without the aid of instruments. We can only visualize relatively moderate dimensions: when something is very small or very large we may apprehend it in formulae, but we cannot visualize it. For example, we know today that a block of iron consists of space in which particles revolve. The distances between the actual particles correspond to the distances between the planets of our solar system. Even if we know this to be certain, it is difficult for us to visualize it as we look at a seemingly solid block of iron.
A virus is likewise too small for our capacity of visualization, whereas a distance of 10 million light years is too large. We are, in our perception, dependent on a “moderate” order of magnitude that is appropriate to man. All that lies beneath or above it is either accessible only by instruments or not accessible at all.
Here the ingenious formulation “as above so below” comes to our mind. It permits us to learn about the laws of the realm that is accessible to us and then to transfer our knowledge analogically to the other level which are inaccessible. This thinking by analogy gives man a marvellous freedom in learning to comprehend the entire universe. Analogical thinking is not based on cause and effect and can therefore seem strange to the modern mind. Later on we shall deal concretely with the use of this method, taking astrology as an example.
The analogy “as above so below” is applicable only if we are willing to recognize this universe in its entirety as a cosmos (Greek: kosmos = order). A cosmos, however, is governed by laws and there is no room for chance occurrence.
Chance occurrence, being something unaccountable and random, would transform every cosmos into chaos. When we build a computer it represents in itself a small cosmos: it is built according to laws and its functioning is dependent on the observance of such laws. If we solder into its circuit a few transistors, condensers and resistors which are not in accordance with the laws governing the circuit design, then these built-in random elements will transform its entire cosmos into chaos and the computer will stop working properly. The same applies to our world. With the very first random even our world would cease to exist.
Science also relies most of the time on the laws of nature, yet at the same time does not shy away from the concept of accident. If you drop a stone from a certain height it does not fall at random but in accordance with law. If this stone hits Mr X on the head, Mr X has not been hit at random by a stone, but also in accordance with law. Neither the fact that a stone falls on Mr X's head nor the time when this happens is accidental. And in fact, no one is ever accidentally ill, nor accidentally hit by a car, nor accidentally born to poor or rich parents and so on.
I repeat: there is no accident. Behind every event there is a law in operation. We may not always recognize the law at first sight, but this does not permit us to deny its existence. Stones fell even in the days when people had not yet discovered the law of gravity.
It is ironic that those professional defenders of accident, statisticians, actually prove with methodical precision how untenable their concept of accident is. A statistician believes that when you throw a dice it will be pure accident whether it shows 3 or 5 or any other number. But if you throw the dice often enough, the sum total of all numbers yields a law-abiding graph, which we call average distribution. What a miraculous phenomenon! The sum total of a series of individual random occurrences reveals a law-abiding structure. The trajectory of a body in motion is, after all, not composed of a succession of random movements. If the statisticians were right, then the following statement would be correct: the more often one miscalculates the more one arrives at the correct result. Similar logic is shown by Darwinists, who try to explain evolution as the sum total of genetic accidents.
The orderly pattern that emerges when you take a large number of instances clearly demonstrates that each individual instance is in itself governed by laws. At best we can say that a single throw of dice is too small an event to allow us to perceive immediately the laws behind it. We humans still need a certain minimum quantity of information before we are able to deduce a truth.
If we observe the world attentively we are bound to recognize that we are dealing with a cosmos in which accident plays no part. The word “accident” itself has a different literal meaning from the one we are used to. It derived from the Latin ad-cadere, meaning to “fall towards” and signifies that which befalls man in accordance with law. If the cosmos represents an orderly entity, then the same law structure must be present everywhere, in the great as in the small... as above so below.
This analogy justifies Paracelsus in equating man as microcosm, with macrocosm. Man in the faithful reflection of the macrocosmic univerve – we cannot find anything outside that is not by analogy inside man or vice versa. Therefore it is written above the temple of Delphi: “Know thyself in order to know God.”