Temet Nosce

Jul 23, 2020 | | Say something

An alternative view on cause and effect was presented in the chapter A Cause for Every Effect. The Principle of Cause and Effect is outlined in the Kybalion:

Every Cause has its Effect; every Effect has its Cause; everything happens according to Law; Chance is but a name for Law not recognized; there are many planes of causation; but nothing escapes the Law.

The Kybalion goes on to propose that (paraphrasing) those who understand this principle can avoid the adverse effects imposed by the collective. And that they achieve this by surrendering themselves to the ‘causation of the higher planes’ thereby being absolved of the causation of the lower planes. On the chessboard of life they become ‘movers instead of pawns’.

How does our attention become fixated upon the profane affairs of men, why do we become enthralled by politics and games? The mind is naturally curious like a child. And so it can be easily baited; like when you dangle a string in front of a cat. From our vantage point as ‘puppet master’ it seems daft for the cat to become overly agitated by the string. The cat is engaging its reflexive and hunting instincts no doubt; and the buttons we press to trigger these instincts capture the entirety of its attention through the process of fascination.

And so we also become agitated by the strings that dangle enticingly before us; our attention absorbed by the profanities of the collective. Notice how the term ‘profanity’ is being used here also as bait; for it is loaded with negative connotation. Noone wants a profane self-image, so in persuasion terms we are ‘thinking past the sale’. By targeting their vanity, the target audience is being covertly persuaded to disassociate with anything profane; and so we lead them along like a pied piper. The intellectual elite thus develop a strong aversion to ‘bread and circuses’. And they are ‘right’ of course.

A desire for perfection can be instilled by appealing to a higher state of being; how to be ‘the perfect version of you’. People will naturally struggle to achieve this. They may experience perfection for an instant or two and then inevitably regress; and having tasted success they will thirst for it even more. Having been baited now they are hooked. The danger of harboring aspirations for purity is that it can augment feelings of self-loathing when you regress. It is a diabolical path to follow. A more measured approach would be to dabble in the profane – enjoy the games and argue the politics if thou wilst – AND also watch how you feel about yourself for doing so. It is the middle path.

Our lives are conditioned by things outside of our control so it is perhaps natural that we should long for an idealized state of being. The past is purged for the betterment of the future. In this future projection we are purified of everything that is not good according to our self image. Therefore any doctrine that appeals to this innermost desire is on to a good sale; and it robs us of the present.

Neo-Platonism (and Plato before it) bought into the idea of the ideal; but that might be the misinterpretation. For the integration of light and dark is also a light but of a different quality. To then assert this ‘integrated light’ as the ultimate light is to revert back into duality for now there is also a wrong like of light. This has been discussed with reference to numerology in One Begets Two.

The Emerald Tablets of Thoth (aka Hermes) is a collection of poetic instruction on how to find the light.


List ye, O man, to my voice,
telling of pathways to Light,
showing the way of attainment
when ye shall be One with the Light.

~ Emerald Tablets of Thoth, Tablet VIII


It is a ‘good’ instinct to seek the light and this instinct should not be repressed. But for a serious seeker of truth, one must realize that the struggle for purification of the self, of the world, inevitably becomes a self-defeating doctrine.

The ideal can be represented symbolically as the light that casts no shadow. This is the overhead sun that beats down upon our heads. It is pure, intense and sterile. There is however a more sublime quality of the light when the sun is lower in the sky casting a shadow. Under this shadow the austerity of the midday sun is tempered by playful abandon. The setting sun invites intimacy with nature. The human affinity to this quality is innate; not something that is learned. The adept who never laughs, who holds himself aloft, only isolates himself from the world. Just as the sun revolves around the earth, casting its long and short shadows, so does one’s inner sun revolve around the self. Any sense of personal accomplishment must crumble. For nature flourishes from the soil of the deceased; the living and the dead are reconciled. Nature IS the unifying principle; you won’t find it through a false doctrine of self purification.

From the initial quest to find purity, to purge the self of doubt, the initiate discovers that it is the integration of light and dark, of spirit and matter, that will restore balance to the world and to his own self. The profane is no longer something to be avoided for being crass. Politics and games can be integrated with finer aspirations; not denied. The essence of godhead can be seen in a dog turd. One should practice one’s dharma to keep one’s house clean and in order – both literally and figuratively – but without the haughty condemnation of those who do not.

The call for purity is a sales trick; maybe with the right intentions. But as the saying goes, the path to hell is paved with good intentions. It is not that purity is right or wrong; for that would pander to the ideal of purity. It’s that the consequence of striving for purity is to augment impurity; it is an entrenched psychosis that continually reaffirms its own conviction it is on the right path. There is no bargaining with such people. And it is by their deeds you shall know them.


But that shadow has been serving you!
What hurts you, blesses you.
Darkness is your candle.
Your boundaries are your quest.
You must have shadow and light source both.
Listen, and lay your head under the tree of awe.

~  Rumi


A question one can ask oneself is: who do you serve? There is no ‘right’ answer to this; just an honest one. The ‘profane’ man might be deluded enough to reply, I serve no master! Or he might say the truth or… king and country. The answer reveals his persona: the mask or avatar by means of which he interacts with the world; and the filter through which he perceives it. And he is inevitably restricted by the specific skills and limitations of this avatar.

There are natural consequences to this. As it reinforces some neural pathways and neglects others, the persona is an obstruction to emotional fluidity; an inhibitor of vitality and imagination. If the rigid persona is that of an adept then its sun will always be at the zenith and never cast a shadow. The persona projects itself into the future – since it strives for immortality – and from this projection the affirmations are received to reinforce the persona. Both science and religion are thus self-affirming doctrines.

The future is created by the persona and in turn this future pulls the persona into it; a self-perpetuating loop in which the human organism slowly turns to stone. On the faces of the elderly are etched the stories of their lives. On the faces of the young you can see the preliminary carvings of the persona; and these lines become reinforced by the affirmations they receive through social interaction.

The diseases that afflict us are perceived by the profane as chance; sheer bad luck. To the so-called initiates this chance is seen as Law; it has nothing to do with luck. And so the treatment of disease is holistic not allopathic; it is necessary for the patient to repair his persona to restore vitality. Sometimes a complete shedding of the persona (such as a nervous breakdown) is necessary; like a snake will shed its skin to make a new one, lest it die.

There is also a supernatural element to the persona. The world view of our masked protagonist establishes and nurtures itself; this projects into a virtual realm of possibility. And it becomes realized over time as the actor is prompted by affirmations received from this virtual realm through the process of induction. In other words the actor that wears the mask of a scientist finds that his imagination flourishes with thoughts of science; and as imagination is quite addictive the actor is motivated to continue whatever he is doing. The same goes for all masks, all personas; and these personas appear to exhibit signs of consciousness through their efforts to perpetuate themselves. This consciousness is transmitted into the human host who is thankful to find himself with a purpose to his life. It is a symbiosis; a mutual contract through which the host merges with an artificial intelligence or AI.

The outward development of digital AI is merely a result of the inner biological AI trying to affirm its own existence. The reflection of Narcissus. To those that forsee the horrors of humans assimilating AI, the struggle must start with your own mask. To change the world you must transform the self. To avoid this step only encourages the material dominance of the AI.

There are non-canonical apocrypha like those in the Nag Hamadi that speak of the synthetic intelligence extraneous to organic life.


A veil exists between the world above and the realms that are below; and shadow came into being beneath the veil. Some of the shadow became matter, and was projected apart. And what Sophia created became a product in the matter like an aborted fetus. And it assumed a plastic shape molded out of shadow, and became an arrogant beast resembling a lion. It was androgynous, because it was from matter that it derived.

~ Hypostasis of the Archons II, 4: 93.30


All living things (including incorporeal quasi-living things such as thought forms and AI) struggle to live; this is the law of nature. As the Kybalion says, nothing escapes the law. Thus the Hermetic doctrine like all wisdom traditions encourages the individual to know himself – ‘temet nosce’ as it was written outside the Temple of Apollo at Delphi – in his/her plight against the adversary. To the Abrahamics this means begging their god Jehovah for deliverance from this adversary or shaitan (Satan). And Hermeticism with its neo-Platonic affiliation might have some sympathy with this view; a view whose pathological consequences have been well documented when monotheism swept the planet. And even now continue to do so under the guise of science and ‘woke’ politics.

In classical warfare, one must know a formidable enemy in order to defeat him; to just irrationally despise him is to invite defeat. To ‘know yourself’ means that you have to know your adversary. And to know your adversary means you have to identify with him; like a detective that might visualize himself in the role of the pathological criminal he is trying to track. And through induction he will intuit his adversary’s moves. This is to integrate the light with the dark; the persona with the shadow. It is uncomfortable. But it is also fun; for one is a mover not a pawn.


If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.

~ Sun Tsu


Without this integration of opposites the assertions of the persona will continually set in motion effects that will try to destroy the persona. On one hand the persona is regularly nurtured by the affirmations coming from its own projection; things will happen in the world to reinforce one’s self image. At the same time there will be ‘dark forces’ conspiring to destroy this self image and one will be left to rue one’s ‘bad luck’. And so there is this perennial battle between good and evil that balance each other out. Evil emerges from good; good emerges from evil. Every Cause has its Effect; every Effect has its Cause.

How can one rise above this cruel interplay of light and dark? To take a side is merely to reassert the persona, one’s self image, that will reinforce the drama. Protesting against tyranny is to reinforce tyranny. Neither side know this; neither the perpetrators of tyranny (the civil servants in their ‘humble’ service) nor the stone-throwing protestors. Both sides think they are on the side of the ‘light’’; the white hats. Some individuals do choose the side of the ‘dark’ but in this age of monotheistic ignorance (Kali Yuga) both light and dark workers are committing error (aka ‘sin’) that will set in motion adverse events in the plane of effects. To avoid these adverse events one must simply not take sides but integrate them. As to what that means specifically, it is for the individual to find out in his own way – because his persona and his filter on reality are unique to him. Noone else can reveal that to him; only a charlatan will pretend that he can.

How does someone who has integrated the dark with the light respond to the earlier question, who do you serve? The answer is easy: I serve my master! The question is a complex one as it ‘thinks past the sale’. To resist the question is to take a stance against it; and to try and interpret the question earnestly is to endorse it. The question is beautiful because it makes no sense. Like black lives matter? It requires a response of equal cunning.


Posted in: Esoteric, Philosophy, Psychology

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