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"Three Parts of the Wisdom of the Whole Universe"
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The All (also called The One, The Absolute, The Great One, The Creator, The Supreme Mind, The Supreme Good, The Father, and The All Mother) is the Hermetic, pantheistic, pandeistic or panentheistic view of God, which is that everything that is, or at least that can be experienced, collectively makes up The All. One Hermetic maxim states, "While All is in The All, it is equally true that The All is in All." The All can also be seen to be androgynous, possessing both masculine and feminine qualities in equal part.
The universe understood in relation to the All
The following is commentary on possibilities about The All but not anything necessarily accepted by Hermeticists in general.
According to The Kybalion, The All is a bit more complicated than simply being the sum total of the universe. Rather than The All being simply the physical universe, it is more correct to say that everything in the universe is within the mind of The All, since the ALL can be looked at as Mind itself. In effect, the universe is partially existent on the Mental plane, and we may in fact all be parts of The All's psychological makeup, representing parts of The All in its dream or meditation.
The Three Initiates (see The Kybalion) strongly caution that we restrain from simply declaring "I am God" for oversimplification purposes. Though you are a part of The All, you are but one small piece of that puzzle. You cannot be equated with God any more than your toenail can be equated with you. You have the potential for perfection and to rejoin God, but you are not the totality of God. However stating "God is me/I (us)" is a more accurate statement.
The All's mind can be seen as infinitely more powerful and vast than any of us could hope to achieve. Therefore, it may be capable of keeping track of each and every particle across the expanse of the Universe, as well as maintain symbolism that applies to many lesser entities such as that seen in astrology and numerology.
Because of this view, some Hermetics also practice theurgy. If the universe is completely a mental construct, then the mind must be able to mold it and shape it, in an experience that can become closer and closer to lucid dreaming as skills improve.
Explaining why The All acts
The All has something to gain by acting
Some Hermetics believe that The All acts so that it may gain something from the action, for it must have a reason for acting, for having created the universe and our own existence. Critics of this idea argue that there is nothing outside of The All for it to gain, it is All. Meanwhile, proponents argue that the critics fail to recognize inner growth that allow the All to change by acting upon itself.
The All is compelled to act
Some Hermetics believe that The All acts because it is internally compelled to do so out of creative urge that is innate. Critics claim that The All is absolute and if this urge were to compel The All then it instead would be absolute.
The All acts because it acts
The Kybalion claims simply that "THE ALL ACTS BECAUSE IT ACTS." (cf. Actus purus) There is no reason but The All itself, therefore its action, itself, and its reason for action are all the same thing.
Commentary on the All referred to as "The Father"
Though sometimes referred to as The Father, The All is not simply male. In this aspect, The All is called The Father for its active, masculine part in the creation of what is, not because of its physical sex. Similarly, that what it was created out of, is represented as The Mother, for its passive, feminine aspect in that same process. For example, we say Mother Earth and Mother Nature.
Different aspects of
The story describing The All here is not meant to be taken literally, but rather has symbolic meaning. Hermetics do not ever claim that the creation story used for this information is to be taken literally. The All has three aspects which are known as The Father and the "Sons of God," put forth in the Corpus Hermeticum:
Nous bridges the gap between The All and its contents, and is described having taught Hermes Trismegistus his initial knowledge on God and the divine in Book 1 of the Corpus Hermeticum. Manly P. Hall translates Nous differently, instead calling it "Thought (Thoth)", an Egyptian god generally seen as synonymous with Hermes. The terms Great Dragon, and Eternal Teacher also pop up for Nous in his translation.
Nous is claimed also to be the Father of the Word, and only comes to pious and religious men. Nous claims to be God while the others are "sons of God" It was Nous who is said to have created Man, both male and female (or hermaphroditic; some translations claiming "bisexual" used in a way to connote hermaphroditic), 7 of them, which were later broken up into separate men and women after falling in love with Nature, its shadow, and actually merging with Nature, or, in other words, incarnating.
"Poimandres had spoken a Word. The Word was Reason" and Reason is given to The Workman, The Master-Builder, and The Maker of Things. Nous and Reason are truly one, according to the Hermeticum, and their Union is Life. The Word is also known as The Logos.
The Word is used, by inhabiting the elements, to create destiny, the "seven governors" (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn of astrology) and was used to organize Chaos. The leaving of Reason from the elements is said to give rise to the lower creatures, who were created without Reason. See also Logos.
Anthropos (called the third son of God, while others see Nous—one of these sons of God—as the Father of the other two, and truly being God) is essentially the human soul which comes from God, and is destined to return to God. It is the part of man that is not material, the spiritual part of Man as opposed to the man's body (physical) or nous/mind (mental). It is further said that God is made up of innumerable souls, and if they conduct themselves properly, being true to themselves, they may become Powers of God, which would lend credit to "The All has Something to Gain" theory for action.
Kybalion's ideas of God
The Kybalions interpretation of The ALL is that of a Substantial Reality, and transcends names and terms and in essence is unknowable. It can be said that this corresponds to the ideas of or about the Tao, with respect to the interpretation of an all encompassing force above all other. There is little room in this view for a "god", for it is stated that the ALL transcends names and terms. For reasons of logic, the Kybalion goes further in stating that there can be nothing existing outside of the ALL, else the ALL would not be The ALL. Anything finite, changeable, fleeting, and conditioned cannot be The All.
Those seeking a deeper understanding of life will ask the question, "Where did The All come from?" Some Hermeticists, strong adherents of The Kybalion, go no further than to state "THE ALL must be INFINITE, for there is nothing else to define, confine, bound, limit or restrict THE ALL. It must be infinite in Time, or ETERNAL,-- it must have always continuously existed, for there is nothing else to have ever created it ... if it had ever 'not been,' even for a moment, it would not 'be' now."
In 1975, Summum, an esoteric organization whose philosophy also includes the natural principles described in The Kybalion, put forth an explanation behind The All's existence and claims the explanation came from "Summa Individuals", beings who appear to be what The Kybalion describes as "Unseen Divinities" that intervene and assist with human affairs. Summum rewrote The Kybalion to include its explanation along with additional information. Summum refers to The All as "SUMMUM," a Latin term meaning "highest" or "greatest", and in the context of the Summum philosophy means, "the sum total of creation". The explanation Summum offers is based upon what it calls the "Grand Principle of Creation," and via this grand principle, The All (SUMMUM) exists. In summary, according to the Summum philosophy, The All is a union between Nothing and All Possibility, the ultimate opposites, and the nature of that union is without beginning or end for these two opposites automatically and simultaneously create each other. The result is a "cosmic copulation" whose effect is an infinite, living mind.
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- (Three Initiates pp. 98-9)
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|Wikiquote has quotations related to: The All|
- http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/sta/ — Online Version of Manly P. Hall's The Secret Teachings of All Ages
- http://www.gnostic.org/kybalionhtm/kybalion.htm — Online Version of The Three Initiates' The Kybalion
- http://www.levity.com/alchemy/corpherm.html — Online Version of the Corpus Hermeticum, version translated by John Everard in 1650 CE from Latin version
- http://www.kybalion.org — The Kybalion Resource Page
- http://www.summum.us/philosophy/kybalion.shtml — Summum and The Kybalion