Daäth—Knowledge—is not a Sephira. It is not on the Tree of Life: that is, there is in reality no such thing.
Of this thesis there are many proofs. The simplest (if not the best) is perhaps as follows:
All knowledge may be expressed in the form S=P
But if so, the idea P is really implicit in S; thus we have learnt nothing.
And, of course, if not so, the statement is simply false.
Now see how we come at once to paradox. For the thought “There is no such thing as knowledge,” “Knowledge is a false idea,” or however it may be phrased, can be expressed as S=P: it is itself a thing known.
In other words, the attempt to analyse the idea leads immediately to a muddle of the mind.
But this is of the essence of the Occult Wisdom concerning Daäth. For Daäth is the crown of the Ruach, the Intellect; and its place is in the Abyss. That is, it breaks into pieces immediately it is examined.
There is no coherence below the Abyss, or in it; to obtain this, which is one of the chief canons of Truth, we must reach Neschamah.
For this there is another explanation, quite apart from the purely logical trap. S=P (unless identical, and therefore senseless) is an affirmation of duality; or, we may say, intellectual perception is a denial of Samadhic truth. It is therefore essentially false in the depths of its nature.
The simplest and most obvious statement will not bear analysis. “Vermilion is red” is undeniable, no doubt; but on inquiry it is found to be meaningless. For each term must be defined by means of at least two other terms, of which the same thing is true; so that the process of definition is always “obscurum per obscurius.” For there are no truly simple terms. There is no real intellectual perception possible. What we suppose to be such is in fact a series of more or less plausible conventions based upon the apparent parallelism of experience. There is no final warrant that any two persons mean precisely the same thing by ‘sweet’ or ‘high’; even such conceptions as those of number are perhaps only identical in relation to practical vulgar applications.
These and similar considerations lead to certain types of philosophical scepticism. Neschamic conceptions are nowise exempt from this criticism, for, even supposing them identical in any number of persons, their expression, being intellectual, will suffer the same stress as normal perceptions.
But none of this shakes, or even threatens, the Philosophy of Thelema. On the contrary, it may be called the Rock of its foundation. For the issue of all is evidently that all conceptions are necessarily unique because there can never be two identical points-of-view; and this corresponds with the facts; for there are points-of-view close kin, and thus there may be a superficial general agreement, as there is, which is found to be false on analysis, as has been shewn.
From the above it will be understood how it comes that there are no Trances of Knowledge; and this bids us enquire into the tradition of the Grimoires that all knowledge is miraculously attainable. The answer is that, while all Trances are Destroyers of Knowledge—since, for one thing, they all destroy the sense of Duality –they yet put into their Adept the means of knowledge. We may regard rational apprehension as a projection of Truth in dualistic form; so that he who possesses any given Truth has only to symbolise its image in the form of Knowledge.
This conception is difficult; an illustration may clear its view. an architect can indicate the general characteristics of a building on paper by means of two drawings—a ground plan and an elevation. Neither but is false in nearly every respect; each is partial, each lacks depth, and so on. And yet, in combination, they do represent to the trained imagination what the building actually is; also, “illusions” as they are, no other illusions will serve the mind to discover the truth which they intend.
This is the reality hidden in all the illusions of the intellect; and this is the basis of the necessity for the Aspirant of having his knowledge accurate and adequate.
The common Mystic affects to despise Science as “illusion”: this is the most fatal of all errors. For the instruments with which he works are all of this very order of “illusory things.” We know that lenses distort images; but for all that, we can acquire information about distant objects which proves correct when the lens is constructed according to certain “illusory” principles and not by arbitrary caprice. The Mystic of this kind is generally recognized by men as a proud fool; he knows the fact, and is hardened in his presumption and arrogance. One finds him goaded by his subconscious shame to active attacks on Science; he gloats upon the apparent errors of calculation which constantly occur, not at all understanding the self-imposed limitations of validity of statement which are always implied; in short, he comes at last to abandon his own postulates, and takes refuge in the hermit-crab-carapace of the theologian.
But, on the other hand, to him who has firmly founded his rational thinking on sound principles, who has acquired deep comprehension of one fundamental science, and made proper paths between it and its germans which he understands only in general, who has, finally, secured the whole of this structure by penetrating through the appropriate Trances to the Neschamic Truths of which it is the rightly-ordered projection in the Ruach, to him the field of Knowledge, thus well-ploughed, well-sown, well fertilized, well left to ripen; is ready for him to reap. The man who truly understands the underlying formulae of one root-subject can easily extend his apprehension to the boughs, leaves, flowers, and fruit; and it is in this sense that the mediaeval masters of Magick were justified in claiming that by the evocation of a given Daimon the worthy Octinomos might acquire the perfect knowledge of all sciences, speak with all tongues, command the love of all, or otherwise deal with all Nature as from the standpoint of its Maker. Crude are those credulous or critical who thought of the Evocation as the work of an hour or a week!
And the gain thereof to the Adept? Not the pure gold, certes, nor the Stone of the Philosophers! But yet a very virtuous weapon of much use on the Way; also, a mighty comfort to the human side of him; for the sweet fruit that hangs upon the Tree that makes men Gods is just this sun-ripe and soft-bloom-veiled globe of Knowledge.