True, true, without doubt, certain:
The below is as the above, and the above as the below, to perfect the wonders of the One.
The Hermetic maxim, so often repeated but so seldom analyzed and understood. What is the ‘above’ and what the ‘below’? How are they ‘as’ each other, and what is this One so full of wonders? Let us start at the end and work backwards.
A friend wrote me last week asking for some advice. While not an orthodox Taoist he has been studying the tradition for many years, and finding himself in a difficult living situation, turned to the I-Ching oracle for assistance. He found the response puzzling and had difficulty reconciling it with his understanding of the Taoist philosophy. He wrote:
“The Zang Zi seems to advise that rulership as such is a lost cause, one should aspire to the nature of the sage, and then without doing, the kingdom will be in order. It cautions against differentiating between that which is good and that which is bad.
the 44th hexagram in the Yi, encourages a ruler to weed out the evil influence in his court.
How are these reconciled?”
Today I graduated from the Marcus Aurelius School of the College of Stoic Philosophers. The following eleven aphorisms were written by me during my final quarter. We call this practice hypomnemata, a term perhaps best translated as “remembrances”. More than simply well wishes, or expressions of hope, hypomnema are records of struggle. Each “remembrance” is an application of Stoic dogma to a real problem we encountered in our day. I hope you enjoy them.
I wrote this piece during my 3rd term of the Marcus Aurelius school. My goal was self-instruction through dramaturgy, to capture the voice of Seneca’s excellent letters on virtue. Seneca wrote these letters to various friends and confidants expressing the principles of Stoic philosophy in practical terms. The largest extent collection we have is his letters to Lucilius. Rather than insert myself into this venerable and enlightening conversation, I invented an imaginary interlocutor, Pugilius. Anything the reader finds enlightening in this exercise can be attributed to the Stoic school and the wisdom of the imitated author Seneca. Anything that grates on the ear or rings false is the fault of the actual author.
M: I’m curious why you’ve broken with Heidegger in your last post.
A: Before I admit to breaking with Heidegger, which I may or may not have done, why do you accuse me of doing so?