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The self

Tuesday, 13 September 2022 at 11:36

Saint Maximus on Dr John Dunn. The self is life after death, the resurrection and the creation

There is only Beginning. There is no chronology

The mystery is in the Beginning, and the mystery is Love


A reading of St Maximus helped me work through my own thoughts on the self.

I refer in the following re-issued blog to the self being a ‘gift from God’.

By the definitions elsewhere in my Thought Pieces and Archive, I could have said ‘the self is awakened by Love’.

I say this because when I used the expression ‘gift from God’ I was writing in the context of a reading of St Maximus.

I am aware, however that ‘gift’ has connotations of a handout from a presupposed entity who stands wholly apart from us. We thus fall again into the potential entrapments of idolatry.

Consider the self. What is it? It is that which is distinguished from what surrounds it.

Without the self there is nothing but the indiscriminate oneness in which the potential self is subsumed. It is death.

The gift of the self, or the awakening of the self introduces mind into the oneness, which introduces discrimination. Before the self there is nothing. With the self there is all past, all present and all future, i.e. everything.

The self is life after death, the resurrection and the creation.

Is there a divine intention for the self as St Maximus supposed?

An intention demands that there is a presupposed entity apart and beforehand giving rise to an intention about the future. There is a chronology; a before and an after.

I would argue that there is nothing before. (Which undermines the notion of the self being a ‘gift’.)

There is only Beginning. There is no chronology.

The mystery is in the Beginning, and the mystery is Love.

Which brings me back to my former statement.

The self is life after death, the resurrection and the creation.

I conclude that there is no divine intention as St Maximus supposed.

The blog that was a stepping stone to the thoughts above is re-posted below.
Dr John Dunn 2022


The self

Thoughts prompted by the writings of St Maximus

The essential characteristics of man are common at the universal, but never circumscribe one self, unless as a prison (I’ll come to this later).

For example, Peter, John and Paul are human beings and being a rational animal is an essential characteristic of such humanness. Rationality is essential for being the entity a human being; necessary, but not sufficient to be a self.

The essential characteristics are the forms which exist by themselves, while the self indicates a someone of those forms, i.e. someone, the self, who carries the forms in the concrete sense.

The individual has essential characteristics that are common, while in addition he has the personal characteristics of being that belong to himself.

The essence has only the essential characteristics of the species, whereas the individual has in addition that which shows the someone.

Peter is in all respects human being; there is nothing in Peter that is not human. On the other hand, to be human being is not in all respects to be Peter.

There is a distinction between being something and someone.

Let us move on from essential characteristics, which might be misinterpreted as being static, to modes of activity. The same principles apply.

There are modes of activity common to all. We are all active as being something. However when an individual gives form to a mode of activity, he manifests himself as a someone.

The character of being an individual is to give character to the mode of activity.

A human being is an individual when he assumes the modes of activity common to all, with a potentiality of power, in such a way that he gives form to those activities as belonging to himself, as a someone.

In order to be an individual an entity must be a someone who gives form to a mode of activity.

This condition is necessary but not sufficient.

A materialist would say that man is an essence with properties. Even if the properties are not unique to individual, the combination is unique. For example, one man differs from another because of the different time,place and circumstances in which they live. In this sense, man remains a something, an instantiation of properties, however unique.

But being something is to be distinguished from being someone.

In addition to being an entity, a something, distinguished by a set of properties, who gives form to modes of activity, each is created, not only as man, but also as a self.

Here we need the doctrine of man being created in the image and likeness of God. It brings with it a distinctive dynamics, but also a mystery, since what we are in our deepest self is hidden in the divine intention for our being, as a selves.

To be a self is not our achievement, but rather a gift from God

There is something to be achieved from our own effort, namely, how we give form to the modes of activity.

However,something is given before any activity occurs. The mystery of an individual’s selfhood is kept in the mystery of the divine being.

Whenever we act out the potential that we are given by God, we give form to the mode of action in accordance (or discordance) with the divine intention for our being, as a self.

It is possible to live as divinely intended, but one may also lead a life of delusions separated from one’s true purpose.* (He can of course be imprisoned within these delusions by others, but this must be dealt with elsewhere.)

The true self is kept in God and the true principles contemplated by Him.

One’s self as a mystery is to be achieved in a stretching out for God

This self is not an autonomous entity, a collection of properties however unique, haunting a ready-made world; it is, rather, an entity that is realised in a life characterised by being in accordance with divine intention.

* (For my personal record) In future work I will relate these delusions back to Massimo Scaligero’s concept of disconnection from the Logos in reflected thought.

© John Dunn.

Living thought

Sunday, 11 September 2022 at 22:26

Image of God on Dr John Dunn. The deification of ‘reality’ is idolatry and the pre-Beginning stasis without the ‘I’

The Logos is not to be treated as an idol, i.e. as something outside of ourselves, to be found again, to be presupposed.


Logos is coterminous with Love, or God. I have also ascribed to each of these the term Originatory Principle, i.e. the mysterious Beginning that will have no explanation. Love will not and cannot be explained.

In this sense, the Originatory Principle is not something over there, separate and apart, waiting to be discovered. Such thinking would be leading us into idolatry. It would be a higher form of the pre-Beginning state of fallen man, who sees everything as pre-given, i.e. the ‘reality’ into which we are thrown and have our ‘being’. This would be life without the ‘I’. (See blog ‘Violation, disruption and overturning’.)

Whereas, acceptance of the light of the Logos, through us, and into the world, would be tantamount to the discovery of the ‘I’.

The question is, what must come first to awaken us to the presence of the Logos and the discovery of the ‘I’?

The answer is Love, which is present in the encounter, but not before, and is itself the Logos.

Think on these things as you read below.


Living thought

Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17.21).

Living thought at one with the Logos cannot be achieved by the type of thinking that used to see the Logos outside of itself, but rather that of thinking that draws on the light of life of the Logos within itself, thereby ceasing to be reflective.

Thinking that still sees the Logos outside itself is identical to what today sees and thus deifies matter outside itself.

To accept anything as pre-determined prior to the experiencing of it - be it the Logos, or the material world into which we are born - is nothing short of idolatry.

In truth, the purpose of the Logos on Earth is to overcome nature within the human being i.e. the Resurrection; but itis not to lead humanity back to the Divine.

The Divine is not something that was there once and is now lost and has to be found again.To think in such a way would be to present the Logos as something outside of ourselves, to be found again, to be presupposed, to be worshipped as an idol.


© John Dunn.

How He exists

Saturday, 10 September 2022 at 17:07

A Byzantine painting on Dr John Dunn. The Resurrection, the Logos and the ‘I’ are all connected to the Creation

Read on in such a manner that the Creation is, in itself, a metaphor for the self’s awakening from that which is before the Beginning, i.e. no being, i.e. death.

And was not the state of pre-being the fallen state? Are we not all born into a fallen state, from which it might be argued that most people never rise, i.e. to rise up from death, i.e. the Resurrection.

To be born fallen and to die risen is something to contemplate upon.

And the risen state, be it understood as the cosmic creation or the individual’s awakening, all turns upon the intervention of Love, what I have termed the Originatory Principle, the mystery that will have no explanation.


How He exists

I find that I am not concerned with the question of whether God (as a True Being) exists or not; rather my concern is how (in what manner or mode) He exists.

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)

I see Resurrection as the recovery of the content of ‘living thought’ at its inception, before it is almost immediately degraded into ‘fallen thought’, or ‘reflected thought’

This recovery is the result of action by the awakened will.

The thinking ‘I’ grasps the direction of the Logos within itself, which is the elevating of itself to its own pre-reflective moment.

The awakened will marks the insertion of the “I” into the process of thinking.

The corollary of this is that in normal everyday accepted modes of thought, i.e. reflective thought, the “I” is absent.

Thus the connection to pre-reflective, or ‘living thought’, before it falls,is not only a connection to the Logos, but also to the ‘I’.

This connection to the Logos and to the ‘I’ is tantamount to an encounter with the ‘source of life’.

The existence prior to the recovery of the content of ‘living thought’ at its inception equated to subsumption in the realm of Ananke, a state of non-being.

Thus the Resurrection as the connection to the Logos and the ‘I’ is also the Creation.

Turning again to the the connection of the ‘I’ to the Logos; is it a reintegration? Or are the ‘I’ and the Logos to be thought of as one and the same entity.

Either way, the realisation of this reintegration or synthesis has been made possible through fall, incarnation, death, Resurrection and Creation.


© John Dunn.

Resurrected Creation

Friday, 9 September 2022 at 10:43

St Maximus on Dr John Dunn. St Maximus c. 580-662 AD

Resurrection makes sense of the Beginning

Resurrection is life after death.

In my Mythology, the part which is a cosmography, that which comes before the Beginning is the interminable and indiscriminate oneness, the unviolated equilibrium, of Ananke. In other words, that which precedes the Beginning is death

In the Beginning is Love. That which violates Ananke’s endless cycle is Love.

As I have concluded repeatedly before, the cosmic creation story is a metaphor for the individual’s experience. It is just that religionists have made a ‘reality’ a one-off start of things, describing it as an event apart from us, in our cosmic past, so to speak. (And I include the scientists of the Big Bang in with the religionists.)

Read the following with the above in mind.


Dr John Dunn 2022


Saint Maximus’ words in his Centuries on Theology and Economy(1.66): He who is initiated into the inexpressible power of the Resurrection apprehends the purpose for which God first established everything.

Resurrected Creation

We experience a relationship of sorts to the Logos at the very inception of thought.

The Logos is the flaming light, endowed with creative power. This light of fire is continuously extinguished in reflected consciousness. Reflected thought, ‘fallen thought’, has opposed the Logos.

The point is that here, where it is not yet reflected and it has its intuitive moment, it moves as the light of the Logos.

The logical consequence of this is that we must grasp the light before it flickers out.

The secret to healing the human being lies in perceiving the light of fire, of which thought pre-reflectedly burns.

Grasp the moment of thought’s inception and we can be re-born into the light of the Logos.

I am moving towards a position that sees the Creation as the Resurrection and vice versa.

From the moment the Logos incarnated and defeated death, we have had the possibility to think according to the Resurrection, insofar as the flaming light of the Logos lights up within each thought that we think. But to perceive this light, we must overcome the darkness of reflected thought.


© John Dunn.

Amidst whole congregations

Tuesday, 6 September 2022 at 21:32

Blake's Urizen on Dr John Dunn. William Blake's Urizen, dispenser of the laws rhetorical

Until there is Love we live rhetorically, in thrall to Urizen

Love is the awakening to freedom, which is the Beginning. The cosmic story, which is the metaphor for the individual’s story has Love as its Beginning. Love is what I have termed the Originatory Principle, the founding principle beyond which there is not even a metaphorical explanation. Love has no explanation. In the words of a correct translation of John 1 ‘In the Beginning is Love.’

Until there is Love we live rhetorically, in thrall to Urizen, and worship at every moment in the 'Synagogue of Satan’.


Dr John Dunn 2022


Amidst whole congregations

Disenchantment is the necessary precursor to freedom. This applies at an individual and the wider human level. There is no freedom without awareness of error, and in advocating this point I rehearse once more the Christian tradition of felix culpa, (happy fall) and the concept of Luciferic hindrance held by Rudolf Steiner.

The move towards the freedom that not even the angels possess has to occur in a world of error, where freedom can only ever be ‘rhetorical’, where to live ‘rhetorically’ is to be subject to the conventions of social life, rather than being in full possession of oneself

If the pure unheeded relation with the Logos controlled thinking, we would completely realise truth; we would not know error, nor consequently evil, but we would not be free. Each ofus would be an impeccable spiritual automaton, whose imperfect and distorted counterparts are the blind adherents to faith, holding us to laws, religious and scientific, that oppose and block the unseen impulse of the Logos on Earth.

The first steps to freedom will emerge from reflected thought’s adherence to the truth of the other, the mineral “appearing”, which separates subject from object, thought from life and man from God.

Before Love is known, man must take his seat amidst whole congregations in Urizen's 'Synagogue of Satan'.


© John Dunn.

Violation, disruption and overturning

Sunday, 4 September 2022 at 21:41

Weil quote on Dr John Dunn. Living thought. Logos and the discovery of the ‘I’

Well the ideas are coming together at this point, particularly with regard to the ‘I’
as presented in the following re-posted blog.

The cosmic creation story becomes the metaphor for the individual shedding of dead thought, the acquirement of living thought, and the discovery of the ‘I’; the common denominator between the individual and cosmic stories being Love.

Who would have living thought it? Read on below.


Dr John Dunn 2022


Violation, disruption and overturning

Our purpose is to recover the content of ‘living thought’ at its inception,before it is almost immediately degraded into ‘fallen thought’, or ‘reflected thought’ i.e. thought reflected back to us as though it represented an external reality with an external existence inherent to it.

To live through the eyes of reflected thought isto live before the Beginning, to live before the Creation, to be beholden to Ananke and worship Urizen; it is to exist before Love.

It is violation by Love, i.e. the Creation, in the Beginning, that awakens us to the Logos within ourselves, enabling us to grasp the content of ‘living thought’, which brings with it the transformative and shaping force of the Logos. The 'I' is inserted into the process of thinking.

The corollary of this is that in normal everyday accepted modes of thought the 'I' is absent. The connection to ‘living thought’, before it falls, is not only a connection to the Logos, but also to the 'I'.

This connection to the Logos and the 'I' is an encounter with the ‘source of life’. The Logos and the ‘I’ are coterminous at this point.

The Logos is incarnated in the ‘I’.

So the earlier statement that ‘out thoughts are not our own’, might be restated as our thoughts are from the ‘I’, which has broken free of the normal everyday accepted modes of thought, i.e. the ‘I’ which perceives thoughts at their originatory and uncontaminated source, whereas before it only saw the reflected ‘reality’ of Ananke.

Is the uncontaminated source the Logos or the ‘I’ or both?

A theme is emerging here again, and that is that the ‘I’ cannot achieve the break from Ananke by its solipsistic self, it needs the violation, disruption and overturning of equilibria by Love.


© John Dunn.

Root them out

Saturday, 3 September 2022 at 20:47

Bosch masterpiece on Dr John Dunn. The murderers of Love - Christ Carrying the Cross (Bosch)

The doors of perception must be opened, but who keeps them closed?

The metaphysical force would incarnate, but first there must be love. Who would prevent this? Who murdered Love and continues to do so?

We are playing around with metaphors here, largely because there is no other option.

But in answering the questions posed above, no metaphors are needed. There are clear answers to which relate to a material reality in our midst.

The goal of this material reality? Undifferentiated, indiscriminate oneness and sameness the world over, a return to the realm of Ananke, which was before the Beginning, which was before ‘be’ing, which was death.

Metaphors, questions and material realities, all have a bearing on a re-reading of the blog re-posted below.


Dr John Dunn 2022


Root them out

Union with the Divine seems impossible, because there is no identity between being and thinking

The conditions must exist for the metaphysical force to incarnate, but it does not have any other arouser and awakener than Love.

Once Love is found, the Logos is found. The Logos virginally fertilises the soul. This moment coincides with the Creation.

The presence of the Logos is realised because it is perceived.
The doors of perception are opened.

‘If the doors of perception were cleansed,’ William Blake once wrote, ‘everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.’

Love cleanses the doors of perception… for the elect that is. The rest, i.e.the innocents, are condemned to an existence in Beulah, from where rises the nauseating refrain ‘we just want to be happy…’

The murderers of Love contaminated the doors of perception, and continue to do so.

The followers of Ananke, the worshippers of Urizen, thePhariseesof every age, would have the struggle cease. Their goal? A world of undifferentiated oneness, forever, undisturbed and inevitable.

When the struggle ceases all is lost.

They that dwelleth without love, what are they?
The anti-Love; the masonry of hate; the children of Urizen.
Root them out, pleads Eros to the Innocents, root them out.
(From ‘Children of Urizen’, The Mythology)

You have been infected by the children of Urizen into Devil Worship.
(From ‘Thus spake’ in October’s Blog)

Man must and will have some religion; if he has not the religion of Jesus, he will have the religion of Satan, and will erect the Synagogue of Satan.
(William Blake)
The above piece was prompted by a re-reading of the blog Thinking = will, now transferred to Scaligero in 'Thought pieces'.

© John Dunn.
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