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Intuitive Knowledge

“Pico della Mirandola Lodge No. 33” of Esoteric and Alchemical Research
27th October 2012
Most Worshipful Grand Master Bro. Fabio Venzi

 


When we spoke openly we did not say anything, but when we expressed in riddles and figures, there we concealed the truth
Geber
(Rosarium Philosophorum)

Explaining the Intuitive Knowledge is a difficult task, as explaining in words what can only be perceived seems like a contradiction in terms. However, we can try saying that the necessary condition to understand the Intuitive Knowledge is the ability of the individual to learn to think “esoterically”.
The intent is to perceive the essence of things, the metaphysical or "noumenal" reality that goes “beyond” the real and visible. In the “Intuitive Knowledge”, or “Intellectual Intuition”, it should therefore not be seen the intervention of reason or of discursive thought but “the organ of immediate knowledge, namely the “pure intelligence”, which goes beyond the simple reason , a “metaphysical” knowledge, supra-individual and supra-rational, in practice an operation of the mind through which the results of intelligence are obtained without the use of intelligence".
With the terms “Intuitive Knowledge” then, we could define that kind of gnoseological, cognitive experience based on the super-sensitive and super-rational perception of the “pure” Being, that is the reality as it is, even before the senses and reason make it appear divided into a variety of “things” and events with (but only for persons) a particular meaning.
The purpose of intuitive knowledge is to make us transcend the mind in order to join the Absolute, abandoning the relative and the composite to tend to the One.
Indian thought teaches us that the conditions of human suffering are caused by a wrong perception of reality, in fact, entering the phenomenal world (Samsara), which we perceive as real, men forget, and so they move away from their universal identity. The classic example of the jug is useful to make us understand the concept: if we take a jug and break it, the air that is inside rejoins indissolubly to the air outside, inevitably returning to its primordial state of inseparable unity, the air in the jug does not become “part” of the outside but “one” with its totality, it becomes, in practice, the same air. So when an initiatory path, whatever it is, hermetic, alchemical, Masonic, reaches its conclusion, the “liberation” has taken place, the idea of being “identified” souls leaves space for the expanded consciousness of not being in any way and for nothing different from God, that is being God itself, being one with Him, being one with everything and everyone.

The Masonic method, using that form of knowledge and perception called “Intuitive Knowledge”, should teach not to have constraints and to avoid using only the rational mind in order to pursue a knowledge of things which is an end in itself.
In fact, we know that if our mind is conditioned in seeking the Truth, if it is not completely free, it can only increase the information regarding one’s state, in a process of mere accumulation of data that will ultimately strengthen our own conditioning and prejudices. Thus, only a totally free mind has the potential to embark on a journey of initiation.

But let us see when and how the Intuitive Knowledge appears in our ritual, within the exposed progressive initiation teaching. In this short review we will try to show how from the outer physical fact the focus will shift gradually to the inner immortal oneself located behind the mind. The Masonic Ritual is “esoterically” conceived, and for this reason it is veiled by symbols and allegories, and the same images, because of their holism, represent the immediacy of perceptual knowledge and reflect the need of pure, naked, not-crushed-in-words thought.

In the First Degree we are told (in the Exhortation after the Initiation) that the basis of Freemasonry is the practice of every moral and social virtue. So the Degree of Apprentice, characterized by the "Principles of Moral Truth," could be defined as the degree of Ethics.
The VSL is the infallible guide to truth and justice and regulator of our actions. We are exhorted to behave in an exemplary way in fulfilling civic duties. It is recommended Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude and may Justice guide our actions. (The Cardinal Virtues). We are also invited to Discretion, Loyalty and Obedience (we abstain from discussions on politics and religion).

In the Tracing Board that refers to the Degree in question, we are reminded, symbolically, that Jacob's Ladder is made of steps or rungs indicating as many moral virtues, and especially the three main ones: Faith, Hope and Charity.
The “Intuitive Knowledge” does not appear in this Degree, in fact it is not even necessary because the intent is to form a good individual either personally and morally or in the social interaction.

In the second Degree we extend our research to the hidden mysteries of Nature and Science. The Order, we are told, is founded on the principles of Brotherly Love, Comfort and Truth.
The Grade of Fellow is characterized by the "Divine Science" and the relationship between man and his idea of the Divine. A Freemason is led to this Degree to "admire the intellectual faculty and to trace its development through the paths of heavenly science, up to the Throne of God Himself." We could define it as the Degree of Metaphysics with an intellectual meaning. The WM reminds us indeed as it is expected from the candidate to make Liberal Arts and Sciences its future study.
The “Intuitive Knowledge” still does not appear. Intellect, with all its faculties, although oriented in a metaphysical sense, is present and must be fortified through investigation and study.

The third Degree, through the “contemplation”, prepares us for the last hour of our existence, and when, thanks to this contemplation, it led us through the intricate paths of this mortal life, it teaches us, finally, how “to die”.
It stands out clearly as the Degree of Master is always characterized by the exclusive relationship God-man. It is no longer placed in a historical and social context, neither interpreted through the instrument of human reason, but rather as a “mysterious veil which the eye of the reason cannot penetrate”. In order to continue our journey, it is requested a new faculty: the contemplation from which the Intuitive Knowledge emerges.
Thus, in the Degree of Master, you cannot longer rely solely on moral and intellectual faculties as the ineffable is based on intuition and not on reason, on the perception of All and not of its parts.
You will enter in the sensitive field of mysticism, already introduced in the second Degree by the symbolism of the Throne of God (symbolism that we find in the Book of Ezekiel, in the Jewish mysticism of the Merkavah, in the apocryphal Book of Enoch) and the concept of death can be meant either as a physical death or above all as a mystical death, namely the dissolution of the thinking Ego.

From these premises, it stands out as the basis of our reasoning is that the “thought”, i.e. the logical-rational approach, does not allow us to see the whole of things, their true and ultimate nature, and should be abandoned, to a certain point of our way, in favor of contemplation that opens the door of Intuition and true knowledge.

The Indian philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti, masterfully tackles the problem of knowledge that is independent of the logical-rational form, explaining how it is possible to “know intuitively”. He focuses the process on pure “observation”, emphasizing how important it is in the observer awareness that our habitual thought form tends always and inevitably to overlap the observation itself, changing the result: “Is observation - to observe - the instrument of thought? You follow? Please go into this a little bit with me. To observe: does that involve the movement of thought? You may observe, then conclude, conceive, create through that observation. The creation, the activity through that observation is the movement of thought. That is what we generally do. I see that colour, one sees that colour, there is the observation of it, then like and dislike, prejudices, all those are the movement of thought. Right? Can one observe without any of the movement of thought? Does that require a kind of discipline? You understand? Discipline, the root of it, is to learn. To learn, not to conform, not to imitate, not to make the mind dull, routine - all that, but to learn. Now can one learn that the activity of observation, without the thought creating the image out of that observation, and acting according to that image. Right? Can one merely observe?”.
So, you can simply “observe”, you may know that object we are looking at by perceiving the nature, its true nature, without the superimposition of thought? And what is the purpose of this pure observation, not affected by logical –rational, above all temporal, conditioning and accretions?
The ultimate goal is the search for the Absolute, the Essential, the absolutely Incorruptible, for the alchemists it is the Philosopher's Stone, for Freemasons it is the Cubic Stone, for everyone the Truth, an experience that will lead, ultimately, to a lighting, to a transformation. In this human search for what reason cannot understand lies the value of intuition as the highest form of knowledge, in fact we could not look for what we do not know. Inside of us, beyond the mind, there must be a space in which resonates the Absolute and the Eternal and somehow, intuitively, we perceive them, otherwise we would not be constantly pushed towards them, despite the reason suggest us that they are external dimensions of our human and earthly existence.
In order to carry out this “work”, the alchemical opus, you must first be free from all illusions and conditioning that we carry (the metals in our symbolism), so that the mind cannot deceive itself. So we have to “observe”, without any kind of illusion, those illusions that the thought itself has previously created. In this way, clearing our mind from its own creations, we will make it lighter, unimpaired and honest. By this time then we can begin to investigate wondering if there is an existence without time, a timeless truth.
Above all, it is essential, in the act of pure “observation”, when we try to “know intuitively”, that there is a total “freedom” in the acting subject, in the observer: “From childhood we are trained, educated to control, to suppress. The controller is unnecessary, only observation is necessary. When you observe, there is no controller or the controlled, just observing. Observing your envy, say for example, envy, observe it, without naming it, without denying it or accepting it, just to see, the sensation, this reaction, which arises, which has been called envy, and to look at it without the word. Then when there is no word, because the word represents the past and when you use the word 'envy' it strengthens the past. Right? So there is a possibility of living without any sense of control and therefore no sense of conflict, no sense of division. That can only come into being when there is only pure observation.”
The “method” proposed by Krishnamurti looks like a genuine “mystical” approach tending to the “union” or “re-union” between observer and observed: “So we are going to discuss that, talk over that, to find a right kind of relationship with each other, with humanity. Right? First of all let's begin at a very simple level, which is, have you observed visually with your eyes, a tree? Have you? Just a tree. And when you observe the tree what is going on in that observation? There is that thing, and you call it a tree. You call it a tree because the memory has come into operation, and it is generally recognised, that thing is a tree. You give it a name, from recognition, and then the name, the recognition, the memory operates. Now can you observe the tree without naming it? Just look at the tree. Just look at it and see if you can look at it without the operation of a single word or memory, just look. Can you? It means that the word “tree” is not the actual fact. The word is not the thing. So a description of a tree is not the described. If the observer and the observed are not different there is only observation.”
Then we speak of an expansion of the Personality, in which the distance between the subject and the object seems to be deleted, any dimension canceled, in which the subject of the experience merges with the experienced object. Through this experience, a cosmic consciousness, in which the exterior and the interior are one, breaks into the individual consciousness.
It is a common experience that if there is division there is a conflict, the division makes us perceive ourselves as separate entities, it is me and my religion, my language, my nation, my Lodge, and so on. If we perceive reality and ourselves as separate, fragmented, isolated entities, there will be, apart from conflict, helplessness, frustration, and fear, all characteristics of human existence.
The problem, therefore, arises from the thought that creates division: “So thought itself is limited, so whatever it creates, it must be limited. Right? So in relationship with another when thought operates it must be limited… What happens if we know intuitively? Today scientists have discovered scientifically (after that the alchemists and esoteric experts had perceived it many centuries before, ed) that when you observe something without theory, without memories, through a microscope, what we observe undergoes a change, the observed thing changes, it is never the same. If we look at our “greed”, our “hate”, our “envy” in this way, it undergoes a change, looking at myself, the whole nature and structure of myself, looking without any association with the past, all this can lead to a change.”

In our initiation process, therefore, we will refer to “Intuitive Knowledge” as a form of knowledge that is independent from the definitions, concepts, notions, mental processes and is rather a state of consciousness. On the other hand the same symbols and metaphors that we use are just direct to stimulate this form of knowledge or platonic “reminiscence”.
The first step is to change our look at the world and ourselves and directing our observation in the right direction: from the tendency to alienate ourselves in the multiplicity to the concentration on our inner life towards increasingly sophisticated stages of perception, up to the contemplation as the highest form of knowledge that is “Union”.
Interpreting “profanely” an initiatory path is misleading, we know that the “perfection”, the “transformation”, the “completion” are inner and spiritual, esoteric, and it should therefore not be sought out by ourselves.
The essence of a truly fulfilled life lies in the consciousness of one's own soul’s identity with the Universal Soul. The essence of life is pure consciousness.

 

conoscere-intuitivamenteIIn one of the magnificent illustrations of Atalanta fugiens, Michael Maier accompanies the 42nd Emblem with the phrase: “For those ones who apply themselves to chemical things, may nature, reasoning, experience and reading be the guide ,the stick, the glasses and the lamp”, meaning that carrying out a process of transformation and integral realization of the individual is not easy and in order to succeed, nature must serve as a guide and as a book of observation, the reasoning must be only the support , the glasses will help to discern the true from the false depending on experience and the lamp of knowledge will project constant light on the entire journey.
Without the “lamp” of “Intuitive Knowledge”, we wander around in a world of shadows, where every intellectual effort to understand the meaning of things is futile.

 
 
 
 
 
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Fernando Pessoa, Pagine Esoteriche, Adelphi, Milano, 1997, pag.53.
 

Massimo Scaligero, Dioniso, in Testimonianze su Evola, Mediterranee, Roma, 1973.

Jiddu Krishnamurti, In total silence the mind comes upon the eternal, public talk in Saanen, 1979.

Jiddu Krishnamurti, In total silence the mind comes upon the eternal, public talk in Saanen, 1979.

Jiddu Krishnamurti, Are we aware of this division?, second public dialogue in Madras, 1979.

Jiddu Krishnamurti, Are we aware of this division?, second public dialogue in Madras, 1979.