THE FIRST SERMON TO THE DEAD
The Effective and the ineffective.by "Basilidies" (Carl Gustav Jung)
The Dead came back from Jerusalem, where they found not
what they sought. They prayed me let them in and besought
my word, and thus i began my teaching.
Harken: I begin with nothingness. Nothingness is the same as
fullness. In infinity full is no better than empty.
Nothingness is both empty and full. As well might ye say anything
else of nothingness,as for instance, white is it, or black, or again,
it is not, or it is. A thing that is infinite and eternal hath no
qualities, since it hath all qualities.
This nothingness or fullness we name the Pleroma.
Therein both thinking and being cease, since the eternal and infinite
possess no qualities. In it no being is, for he then would be distinct
from the pleroma, and would possess qualities which would distinguish
him as something distinct from the pleroma.
In the pleroma there is nothing and everything. It is quite fruitless
to think about the pleroma, for this would mean self-dissolution.
Creatura is not in the pleroma, but in itself. The pleroma is
both beginning and end of the created beings. It pervadeth them, as
the light of the sun everywhere pervadeth the air. Although the pleroma
prevadeth altogether, yet hath created being no share thereof, just
as wholly transparent body becometh neither light nor dark through
the light nor dark through the light which pervadeth it. We are, however,
the pleroma itself, for we are a part of the eternal and the infinite.
But we have no share thereof, as we are from the pleroma infinitely
removed; not spiritually or temporally, but essentially, since we are
distinguished from the pleroma in our essence as creatura, which is
confined within time and space.
Yet because we are parts of the pleroma, the pleroma is also in us.
Even in the smallest point is the pleroma endless, eternal, and
entire, since small and great are qualities which are contained in it.
It is that nothingness which is everywhere whole and continuous.
Only figuratively, therefore, do I speak of created being as part of
the pleroma. Because, actually, the pleroma is nowhere divided,
since it is nothingness. We are also the whole pleroma, because,
figuratively, the pleroma is the smallest point (assumed only, not
existing) in us and the boundless firmanent about us. But wherefore,
then, do we speak of the pleroma at all, since it is thus everything
and nothing? I speak of it to make a beginning somewhere, and also
to free you from the delusion that somewhere, either without or within,
there standeth something fixed, or in some way established, from the
beginning. Every so-called fixed and certain thing is only relative.
That alone is fixed and certain which is subject to change.
What is changeable, however, is creature. Therefore is it the one thing
which is fixed and certain because it hath qualities: or as even a quality itself.
The question ariseth: How did creatura originate?
Created beings came to pass, not creatura: since created being is the very
quality of the pleroma, as much as non-creation which is the eternal death.
In all times and places is creation, in all times and places is death.
The pleroma hath all, distinctiveness and non-distinctiveness.
Distinctiveness is creatura.It is distinct. Distinctivness is its
essence. And therefore it distinguisheth. Wherefore also he distinguished
qualities of the pleroma which are not. He distinguisheth them out of
his own nature. Therefore he must speak of qualities of the pleroma
which are not.
What use, say ye, to speak of it?
Saidst thou not thyself, there is no profit in thinking upon the pleroma?
That said I unto you, to free you from the delusion that we are able
to think about the pleroma. When we distinguish qualities of
the pleroma, we are speaking from the ground of our own distinctiveness
and concerning our own distinctiveness. But we have said nothing
concerning the pleroma. Concerning our own distinctiveness, however,
it is needful to speak, whereby we may distinguish ourselves enough.
Our very nature is distinctiveness. If we are not true to this nature
we do not distinguish ourselves enough. Therefore must we make
distinctions of qualities.
What is the harm, ye ask, in not distingusihing oneself?
If we do not distinguish, we get beyond our own nature, away from
creatura. We fall into indistinctiveness, which is the other quality of
the pleroma. We fall into the pleroma itself and cease to be creatures.
We are given over to dissolution in nothingness. This is the death
of the creature. Therefore we die in such measure as we do not
distinguish. Hence the natural striving of the creature goeth towards
distinctiveness, fighteth against primeval, perilous sameness.
This is called the PRINCIPIUM INDIVIDUATIONIS.
This principle is the essence of the creature. From this you can see why
indistictiveness and non-distinction are a great danger for the creature.
We must, therefore, distinguish the qualities of the pleroma.
The qualities are PAIRS OF OPPOSITES, such as -
The pairs of opposities are qualities of the pleroma which are not,
because each balanceth each. As we are the pleroma itself, we also
have all these qualities in us. Because the very ground of our nature
is distinctiveness, which meaneth -
1. These qualities are distinct and seperate in us one from
the other; therefore they are not balanced and void, but are effective.
Thus are the victims of the pairs of opposites. The pleroma is rent in us.
2. The qualities belong to the pleroma, and only in the name and sign
of distinctiveness can and must we possess and live them. We must
distinguish ourselves from qualities. In the pleroma they are balanced
and void; in us not. Being distinguished from them delivereth us.
When we strive after the good or the beautiful, we thereby forget our
own nature, which is distinctiveness, and we are delivered over to
the qualities of the pleroma, which are pairs of opposites.
We labor to attain the good and the beautiful, yet at the same time
we also lay hold of the evil and the ugly, since in the pleroma these
are one with the good and the beautiful. When, however, we remain
true to our own nature, which is distinctiveness, we distinguish
ourselves from the good and the beautiful,therefore, at the same time,
from the evil and ugly. And thus we fall not into the pleroma,
namely, into nothingness and dissolution.
Thou sayest, ye object, that difference and sameness are also qualities
of the pleroma. How would it be, then, if we strive after difference?
Are we, in so doing, not true to our own nature? And must we none the
less be given over to the sameness when we strive after difference?
Ye must not forget that the pleroma hath no qualities. We create them
through thinking. If, therefore, ye strive after difference or sameness,
or any qualities whatsoever, ye pursue thought which flow to you
our of the pleroma: thoughts, namely, concerning non-existing qualities
of the pleroma. Inasmuch as ye run after these thoughts, ye fall again
into the pleroma, and reach difference and sameness at the same time.
Not your thhinking, but your being, is distinctiveness.
Therefore not after difference, ye think it, must ye strive; but after
YOUR OWN BEING. At bottom, therefore, there is only one
striving, namely, the striving after your own being. If ye had this striving
ye would not need to know anything about the pleroma and its qualities,
and yet would ye come to your right goal by virtue of your own being.
Since, however, thought estrangeth from being, that knowledge must
I teach you wherewith ye may be able to hold your thought in leash.
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