The State of Æscir

A Spiritual Calculus           
   Allen, Speaker  ÷   Jan 4 1997; Nov 12 2000
          
          

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You don't need to be a mathematician to read this!
Even so, it does take a bit of work.
Still, it answers a couple of important questions that many people have, so please give it a go!

Part I

Mystics are fond of saying that The Mysteries are just that - mysteries, that can't be expressed by limited minds with limited tools. But is this true wisdom? Or could this be just another one of those sayings that derive their complement of truth from their popularity more than anything else? In other words, is the saying true, or do we just accept it as true because "everybody says so"?

A saying is only as true as its assumptions. There are two assumptions to be concerned with here. (Three actually, but we'll let stand the lesser assumption, that these things are mysteries, since anything not yet known can be called a mystery.) The assumptions to be considered are One, limited minds, and Two, limited tools. Are both assumptions true? Is truth in only one of them enough to prevent the expression of Truth? Which one is more important, if either?

There is also the question of the quality of each assumption's truth. Is the truth of both, or either, absolute or qualified? An absolute truth would be final, wouldn't it? But a qualified truth is only true where its qualifications make it so.

For example, the assumption of limited minds may be a qualified truth, or not: the minds in question may have enough capacity to understand only so much and no more. But limiting qualifications may be remediable. What limits the minds in question? An evolutionary impasse? An inadequate endowment? Lack of the necessary tools?

We take the position that the limited minds assumption is a qualified truth, and that it is only true to whatever degree because of a lack of the necessary tools. We reject the evolutionary impasse, the idea that we are simply not yet evolved enough to see reality, as completely unfounded. As to inadequate endowment, well, endowment is a spectrum along which any given individual's position is not a restriction to that of someone else; some are inadequately endowed, it is true, but that is not proof that all are. We believe that some, in fact most people, are adequately endowed to understand the so-called mysteries. And more than a few are well-enough endowed to express them.

What's missing are the "tools"--the words and structure necessary to accomplish the expression. Without them, the most brilliant minds through the ages have struggled, and ultimately failed, to express the mysteries in a manner that made them immediately accessible to the common person. Many have seen the light and explored the ecstasies, but few have even come close to being able to say just what it was they saw and experienced. So far as we know, no one has completed the task.

Seen in this light, and in answer to the earlier question of what (dis)qualifies the limited mind, the answer is, Lack of the necessary tools. This means, in fact, that the limited-minds assumption is a red herring - a lie that misdirects our inquiry into Truth.

So the problems of the classical Quest, of expressing Truth, transmitting understanding, and inseminating enlightenment, are all consequences of not having the tools necessary to the task. This is what the philosopher/mystic Aldous Huxley meant in The Perrenial Philosophy when he wrote,

     Nobody has yet invented a Spiritual Calculus
   in terms of which we may talk coherently
   about the divine Ground
   and of the world conceived as its manifestation....
     So far, then, as a fully adequate expression
   of the Perennial Philosophy is concerned,
   there exists a problem in semantics
   that is finally insoluble.

Despite the conclusion of many to the contrary, Huxley did not say that the expression of truth was an absolute impossibility. A careful reading reveals that he recognized only that it was impossible in the absence of a "spiritual calculus"--a "qualified" impossibility, if you will. Yet his statement has become the "given", the reason for not attempting the expression and for leaving it at that. It is amazing that he should so well define the problem, thereby directly indicating its solution, and yet most people, instead of pursuing the solution, abandon the quest. Yet never forget that he did say, "So far...."

Why "Calculus"?

"Calculus" has to do with a specialized form of description. But let's work our way into that one. We'll begin with the story of mathematics.

The word, mathematics, comes out of an Indo-European root, *mendh-, to pay attention to; be alert. This is much the same as being mindful, an application of mental faculties--the word "mental" also comes from *mendh-, from the earlier base *men-, which means, variously, to project; to think: mind. (Perhaps this explains why mathematicians are so often accused of being cerebral, or "mental".) Coming forward from *men- we find the Greek menos, which means spirit; force, and the Latin mens, mind. By a leap of linguistic development, this is all integrated into the Greek word mathema: what is learned; and, mathematicos: inclined to learn; until, finally, we get the Latin "mathematicus".

Mathematics is defined as the group of sciences dealing with quantities, magnitudes and forms, and their relationships, attributes, etc., by the use of numbers and symbols. Mathematical, in addition to referring to something being of, having the nature of, or concerned with mathematics, refers to rigorously exact, precise, accurate, etc., (measurement or examination). Together, these definitions describe a process or intention in the nature of or concerned with rigorously exact, precise, and accurate, etc., description and measurement of quantities, magnitudes and form, and their relationships and attributes, etc., by the use of numbers and symbols.

The primary activity of mathematics is called calculation. On the surface, this word means simply to determine by using mathematics. One measures, describes, and compares things in terms of quantity and quality, using numbers and examining their differences and similarities from object to object, etc: calculate refers to the mathematical determination of a quantity, amount, etc., and implies the use of higher mathematics, as in calculating trajectories through space to the moon. This is often taken to be a higher order of application than mere computing, which suggests simpler mathematics and implies a determinable, hence precise, result, as in computing the volume of a cylinder.

Higher mathematics, simpler mathematics, whence leads all this?! Patience. We will get there, and maybe this time, the journey will finally have been the reward--the understanding necessary to understand something greater.

To lighten the topic for a moment, let's take a side trip to the earliest beginnings of mathematics. Among the earliest known mathematical "tools" were small stones carved from limestone. These stones were used in simple arithmetical functions such as addition and subtraction.

Let's say you used round stones for chickens, square ones for pigs, and oval stones with holes for cows. You could do some amazing things with your stones. If a cow was valued at the same level as 20 chickens or 2 pigs, then 20 round stones, 2 square stones, or 1 drilled oval stone all represent the same value. In fact, this makes it obvious that 10 round stones represents the same value as 1 pig. You can do some pretty sophisticated transactions and bookkeeping with such stones. And guess what? You've accidentally invented money!

"Lemme see, now.... I gave Bruce 23 chickens and I now have 13 of his round stones and 1 of his square ones.... I think I'll give 10 of the round ones to Mike for a pig.... That will leave me 3 round and 1 square stones --I'll need 7 more round ones to buy a cow, or another square one, which will leave me with a cow, a pig, and three chickens worth of round stones (in the bank).... Gosh, I'd better get to work!" (Sorry, but with the invention of money, it seems there must also be the invention of "jobs"!)

No, that's not the lightest point in this side trip. This is: the limestone that those stones were carved from was used because it is soft enough to be easily shaped without advanced tools. It is soft because its primary component is calcium. Which is why the stones were called "calx"--where the word calculate comes from. Don't ask me why I find that almost meaningless bit of trivia so interesting, because I'll tell you. I'll tell you anyway, because it leads right back into the answer to the question, "Why Calculus?"

The stones, the calx, each represented something else. And each in turn and in groups and combinations came to be represented by a number or numbers. Numbers are not things at all, but are symbols that represent quantities and degrees of qualities. This extends our earlier discussion of mathematics so that we don't need to make a distinction between numbers and symbols as was done by the dictionary: we can now say, "numbers and other symbols".

But wait, there's more. We know how to use money, a numerically graduated series of value-representing units, to conduct transactions. And we know that a ten-dollar note represents the same value as ten one-dollar notes. But do we ever realize the significance of the fact that the ten-dollar note, when used in a transaction, is a substitute for the ten ones that would normally represent the individual units, which are themselves substitutes for who-knows-what commodities? And so what, anyway?!

Think about it. We use quantities of quantities in our financial calculations. 1 cow equals 2 pigs equals 20 chickens, value-wise. Symbolically, whether we talk about a cow or a pair of pigs, we are discussing the same value. And we can substitute them for each other in a discussion of the value of large numbers of chickens. We can substitute them for each other and also for value-unit sets of 10 or 20 chickens each, so that extremely complex livestock transactions can be calculated. Better yet, if we use calx we can simplify the calculations, because once each animal has been symbolized by one or more calx-pieces, we can forget about the types of animal and, indeed, the animals altogether, and focus on the calculation of the values involved.

"Sure," you say, "but what's this to do with calculus? All this and you haven't even told us what it is yet!"

Actually, I have. I just didn't use the fancy words. But don't worry, I will tell you again, before I finally answer the original question. Just so you'll understand. So you'll know what you already know but never thought you would. Or as T.S. Eliot so eloquently warned (Four Quartets, "Little Gidding"),

   And the end of all our exploring
   Will be to arrive where we started
   And know the place for the first time.

And now....

Calculus is any system of calculation using special symbolic notations.

That's it. That's all it is. As noted above, it is using quantities of quantities in calculations. More specifically it is the substitution of symbols, one or more each, for entire pre-requisite result(s) in a secondary, more advanced calculation.

Whew! That may be short, but it's not elementary. Here's an example.

Suppose you want to know the best course to get from the moon to Jupiter and then the deep-space jump point to your home planet. But if you have to reinvent the spokes of the wheel, so to speak, you'll never get the ship off the ground. You don't want to have to do all the tiny little math things of figuring out the effects of gravity and velocity on course corrections. And you don't need to, because these things have already been worked out, and you can use symbols to represent their significant values.

Add to this a structure for using those symbols to describe the various events and forces involved and you have a plug-in "algorithm" (a set of formulas and/or steps) that will give you the answer you need. Of course the answer will come back in symbolic notation too, much the same as the way you plugged it in, and you'll have to interpret it, but that part should be easy, considering you got that far.

And then there's the magic: you can use that entire result, in all its complexity, as a single element in your calculation of The Definitive Tour of the Universe.

That's calculus. Well almost, and close enough for our purpose. And what was that purpose, again? Oh, yes. To answer the question, "Why 'calculus'?"

A Spiritual Calculus

Our quest has been to find an accurate description of the ultimate facts and processes of existence. This, despite the fact that so many people, famous, educated, and otherwise, have already sputtered in exasperation, "I just don't have the words!" And, in order for this to be a worthwhile pursuit, that description should be done using language in a way that can be understood by real people--a semantic solution.

If we are ever to express The Truth such that we can transmit understanding and inseminate enlightenment, we need to bring together all the definitions discussed above, assembling them into a definition of Spiritual Calculus:

   A system
   for the rigorously exact, precise, and accurate
   description and measurement
   of quantities, magnitudes and forms,
   and their attributes and relationships,
   by the use of numbers and other symbols
   (symbolic and/or linguistic notation),
   which can be applied to the subject of consciousness
   with the aims of
   expressing Truth,
   transmitting understanding,
   and inseminating enlightenment.

The theory section of the philosophy of Acceptance, known more precisely as Æscirology, is our continuously improving achievement in that quest.

Part II

Some Divisions Within Calculus

Not to further abuse the reader with the Calculus metaphor, but there are a couple of subdivisions within Calculus that can be discussed here, in order to make the connection between theory and substance as regards our Spiritual Calculus. These are the Calculus of Finite Differences and the Calculus of Variations.

The Calculus of Finite Differences is concerned with changes in a dependent variable due to discrete changes in an independent variable. This is to say that there are things that can be changed directly, and then there are things that change as a result of changes made to something else. If your trip to your home planet in our example above is going to be made at a different time of the month or year, we have to change the first part of the plug-ins that go into the algorithm that calculates your angle and speed of lift-off, or you won't get to the moon and your trip will fail. This is because the moon will be in a different place. The position of the moon is the independent variable, and the elements of the calculation are dependent variables: they depend on the location of the moon.

The Calculus of Variations tries to determine a function so as to satisfy special conditions and to maximize (or minimize) a quantity which depends on the function. (Explanations and examples follow.)

Remember, these are plug-in approaches to already-defined problems. That's what calculus is used for in mathematics, and it's also how the Acceptance Spiritual Calculus works. We've defined certain problems and then developed solution-descriptive procedures for them. All that remains is to plug in the client's indication items (fancy identifiers for specific problems and limitations), and we get back a set of values that define the resolution of the client's situation. That's how we know what to do. And what the result will be.

Using the Æscirian Spiritual Calculus in Life

(Our Mission to the general public is Æscian Service Consulates, ntc. A Link to its Home Page is located on the ASC Missions Group, ntc. Home Page.)

Remember, the Calculus of Finite Differences is concerned with changes in a dependent variable due to discrete changes in an independent variable.

A core belief can be considered an independent variable. You have it, and it is controlling over such things as your responses and reactions to situations that include the territory covered by the core belief. So your response or reaction to any given situation is a dependent variable. Whether its dependency is automatic (reaction) or reasoned (response) is a result of the nature of your core beliefs and what they are. Unexamined and unnoticed but intensely-held core beliefs dictate automatic reactions that can cause no end of trouble.

Suppose, for example, a person believes without question that it is dangerous to get noticed. That person will react negatively to recognition and advancement opportunities. He may even prevent those opportunities from becoming probable in the first place, by committing small ongoing acts of self-sabotage. This keeps him from getting noticed, but it can also make him a failure.

The Æscirian Spiritual Calculus point of application here is that one selects one's own experiential reality within standards dictated by one's most intensely held beliefs.

The first step in our program is to identify the area within the individual's life that is most likely to be troublesome to the individual, and to develop from that discovery a prioritized list of correction-items. This is done in the Individual Analysis & Strategy Consultation (TM), which is discussed in detail in other materials.

Freelance-minded individuals may wish to use the do-it-yourself approach by obtaining a copy of the Individual Effectiveness Profile (TM) software program (Windows 3.1 & up only). Details are or will become available by way of the BlueFlame Impressions Home Page.

Beyond identifying troublesome areas in Life, is taking care of them, "fixing" them.

Remember, the Calculus of Variations tries to determine a function so as to satisfy special conditions and to maximize (or minimize) a quantity which depends on the function.

Here, the function is a set of counseling procedures. The special conditions that they satisfy are the elements of personal enlightenment. And the quantity that is maximized is the individual's ability to consciously create what he wants. It is also a quality in this case: the quality of the individual's life. The application of that set of procedures is called Semantic Adjustment, and its result is called Lucidity Enhancement. One receives Semantic Adjustment and experiences Lucidity Enhancement as a result.

This aspect of the Æscirian Spiritual Calculus is discussed in detail in the ASC Essay, "Lucidity". For even more information, read our book, Mind Matters - how thought becomes reality.

Using the Æscirian Spiritual Calculus in Business

(Our Mission to the business world is The Æscirian Institute for Articulate Management, ntc. A Link to its Home Page is located on the ASC Missions Group, ntc. Home Page.)

Again, the Calculus of Finite Differences is concerned with changes in a dependent variable due to discrete changes in an independent variable.

A company policy can be considered an independent variable. You implement it, and it is controlling over such things as company and employee responses and reactions to situations that arise within the territory covered by the policy. So a company's or employee's response or reaction to any given situation is a dependent variable. Whether its dependency is automatic (reaction) or reasoned (response) is a result of the nature of the policy. Unexplained incoherent policies dictate automatonic behaviors that can cause no end of trouble.

Suppose, for example, a CEO (Chief Executive Officer) believes without question that success depends on increasing sales. That CEO will demand constant growth. He may even push his VP (Vice President) of Sales into "opening markets" that are not valid for the company's products. This results in increased sales, but it requires a marketing campaign that is manipulative and a lot more expensive, and less than admirable sales tactics. Overall, this destroys the company's integrity.

The Æscirian Spiritual Calculus point of application here is that a business is a reflection of its leadership's thinking and operates within constraints defined by policy, culture, and the confusions of its personnel.

The first step in our executive consulting / management training program is to identify the area within each key person's operation that is most likely to be troublesome, and to develop from that discovery a prioritized list of correction-items. This is done in the Professional and Composite Analysis & Strategy Consultation(s) (TM), which are discussed in detail under the Articulate Management Home Page.

Companies wishing to enhance their in-house training and troubleshooting programs may license the Professional Effectiveness Profile (TM) software program (Windows 3.1 & up only). Details are available by way of the Articulate Management (TM) Home Page.

Once again, the Calculus of Variations tries to determine a function so as to satisfy special conditions and to maximize (or minimize) a quantity which depends on the function.

Here, the function is a pair of consulting procedures. The special conditions that they satisfy are the elements of corporate self-definition, and enlightened personnel management. The quantity that is maximized is the company's ability to intentionally succeed on its own (honorable) terms, as the business it wants to be and delivering the products it believes are right, rather than as an accident-driven crisis-management-addicted and befuddled disaster manifesting ultimately as a morally bankrupt enterprise. There is a maximized quality in this case as well: Business as an enterprise of Benevolent Commerce rather than one of Mercenarial Mercantilism, giving rise to a broad-band contribution to the quality of society wherever those businesses operate.

Where client individuals encounter internal performance barriers ("blocks"), Semantic Adjustment is available to uncover and clear out the cause. Information on Semantic Adjustment is available via the Acceptance Services Center Home Page (Link on the ASC Missions Group Home Page).

The set of procedures we apply to business are called Affirmative Direction (TM) and Consensus Adjustment (TM), and Semantic Adjustment (TM). Affirmative Direction is a management method covering ethical corporate self-definition and mutual-respect objectives-aligned personnel management. Affirmative Direction is delivered as the substance of the Articulate Management (TM) consulting program. Consensus Adjustment is initiated during the consultation program, and its methods remain licenced to the client company for internal use by executives and managers, to preserve the alignment benefits of the program after completion. Semantic Adjustment is available as-needed per the client individual's request. (Due to its "confessional" nature and the law governing such things, an individual cannot be required to undergo Semantic Adjustment. More, Semantic Adjustment does not work unless the client individual is both willing and interested.)

The business applications of the Æscirian Spiritual Calculus are presented in greater detail on the Articulate Management Home Page.

 
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ASC Missions Group, ntc., Sovereign Ecclesiastical Trust

The State of Æscir
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