George Spencer Brown
Only Two Can Play This Game

Bantam Books 1974

Note 1:
page 127

As Robert Graves records (p. 256) in The White Goddess, the Genesis story is archetypically false, having been corrupted by some early enemy of women. That Eve shouid be produced out of Adam is patently absurd.

Rival religions have produced different terminologies, and what was in any case difficult has become almost impossible to follow through a multiplication of names. Let me try to do some sorting out.

Space is a construct. In reality there is no space.
Time is also a construct. In reality there is no time.
eternity there is space but no time.
the deepest order of eternity there is no space. It is devoid of any quality whatever. This is the reality of which the Buddhas speak. Buddhists call it Nirvana. Its order of being is zero. Its mode is completeness. Its sex-emblem is female.

It is known to western doctrine, sometimes as the Godhead, sometimes as IHVH, or that which was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.

This way of describing it, like any other, is misleading, suggesting that it has qualities like being, priority, temporality. Having no quality at all, not even (except in the most degenerate sense) the quality of being, it can have none of these suggested properties, although it is what gives rise to them all. It is what the Chinese call the unnamable
Tao, the Mother of all existence.
It is also called
the Void.

In a qualityless order, to make any distinction at all is at once to construct all things in embryo. Thus the First Thing, and with it the First Space and the First Existence and the First Being, are all created explosively together.

This does not of course mean that the "big bang" theory that cosmologists suggest for the creation of the universe is the true one. The "explosion" into existence does not take place in time, and so from the point of view of time is a continuous operation. Thus the "big bang" theory and the "continuous creation" theory, like all famous "rival" theories in western culture, are both equally true.

This First Creation, or First Presence, is the order of which the Christs speak. Christians call it God. Its order of being is unity. Its mode is perfection. Its sex-emblem is male.

It is known to eastern doctrine, as it is to western, as the Triune God or Trinity. In western books of magic it is called The One Thing. In China' it is called the namable Tao. In Tibetan Buddhism it is called the densely-packed region.

This last name is most vividly expressive, it being the region of the creating or seeding-out of all qualities from no quality: it is, in other words, the place where every blade of grass and every grain of sand is numbered, the place where nothing is forgotten. It is the place where all is still "small" enough to be reviewed together. The quality of being in nascent existence, and as yet without any size, is what makes the densely-packed region the region of omniscience.

Unlike the Void, which is the place without quality, the densely-packed region is the place where all qualities can be seen at once to be capable of infinite variety and extension. How they may become extended is of course how, in some universe or other, they actually are extended. It is here that every universe is worked out from first principles, except that the "working out" does not take place mathematically step by step as it is done on Earth, or at the physical level of one of the other universes so constructed, but is all at once obvious and immediate, as there is no time. Hence the omniscience.

In Laws of Form, by the way, I took just the tiniest thread of one of these "calculations," and teased it out laboriously step by step just far enough to give some inkling of how the material of our own universe is created. It took me, down here on Earth, some ten years of the most unremitting and painstaking labor to get it right. Up in the densely-packed region it is all done in a jiffy, and this and every other possible universe are all constructed, maintained, known and every feature docketed before you can say ' flash."

Human beings who have entered this regIon, and then found their way back from it to the region of their ordinary humanity, report that in it one is indeed omniscient, but the knowledge one knows there cannot all be carried in a human frame.

A Buddha, of course, has to go through this region to reach the void. Other human beings who reported, like Dante, to seeing It from a distance, without actually entering into Its being, describe It as a point of the most dazzling brightness.(129) The reasons why lt must appear this way, although not complicated, are unsuitable for inclusion in a book of this informal character.

The Christian mystics, although they knew through simple insight that the One Thing, or First God, is a Trinity, were not, as far as I am aware, able to say why. The doctrine thus remained a mystery and a weakness in the armory of Christian apologists. I am not sure whether the Buddhists were able to explain it, although they knew it, of course, before the Christians did.

The explanation of the Trinity in fact turns out to be simple enough. When you make a distinction of any kind whatever, the easiest way to represent its essential properties mathematically is by some sort of closed curve like a circle. Here the circumference distinguishes two sides, an inside and an outside.

The two sides, plus the circumference itself, which is neither the inside nor the outside, together make up three aspects of one distinction. Thus every distinction is a trinity. Hence the First Distinction is the First Trinity.

We can even go so far as to identify, in this mathematical representation, which aspect represents what. The inside represents the aspect where the Void or IHVH remains undisturbed and undistributed. It is, in other words, the aspect of the Godhead in the God, and is called, when considered as an aspect of the Trinity, God the Holy Ghost. It is thus the senior member of this colossal triple partnership, and this is why, in Christian doctrine, a sin against the Holy Ghost is regarded as the most unforgivable.

Next we have the "line" of distinction itself— the circumference of the circle in the mathematical representation. This line (it is only a line in mathematics, of course, not in reality: like a line that exists in a drawing, but not in the thing drawn) —this line is actually the "seeding» of the densely-packed region, the embryonic outline of all things.(130) In the Christian Trinity it is what is called God the Father: first in creation, second in seniority.

Finally we have the outside. The first distinction may be regarded as cleft into and projects out of the Void, and this outer projective region, before it becomes further differentiated, as it does in the rest of creation, is the aspect known to western doctrine as the Word or First Message. In the Trinity it is the junior partner, God the Son.

At this point, before we carry the story further, it is I think appropriate to recall Blake's couplet to God, which runs,

If you have made a Circle to go into,
Go into it yourself and see how you would do

The story of creation can of course be protracted indefinitely. To cut a long story short, it turns out that
there are five orders (or "levels") of eternity,
four of which are existent (although not of course "materially" existent, this comes later) and one of which is non-existent.

The non-existent order is of course the inmost, the one the Greeks called the Empyrean. In the mathematIcs of the eternal structure the five orders are plainly distinguishable, and it is a fact of some interest that the early Greek explorers, who were not so well equipped mathematically as we are today, nevertheless confirmed from observation alone, that the number of eternal regions or "heavens" stands at five.

At the next level, travelling outwards from within, an extraardinary thing happens. As we come into the sixth level (i.e. the fifth order, recollecting that the first-level is of order zero) by crossing the fifth "veil"— mathematically speaking a "veil" is crossed when we devise an "outer" structure that embodies the "rules" of the structure next within— when we cross this fifth veil, a strange thing happens. We find that we cannot in fact cross it (i.e. it is mathematically impossible to do so) without creating time.

The time we create first, like the first space, is much more primitive and less differentiated than what we know in physical existence. The time we set our watches by is actually the third time. The first time is much less sophisticated. Just as the regions of the first space have no size, so the intervals of the first time have no duration. This doesn't mean, as it might suggest in physical time, that the intervals are very short, so short that they vanish. It means simply that they are neither short nor long, because duration is a quality that has not yet been introduced into the system. For the same reason, all the heavenly states, although plainly distinguishable from one another, are in reality neither large nor small, neither close together nor far apart.

Everything reflects in everything else, and the peculiar and fundamental property of the fifth order of being reflects itself all over the universe, both at physical and metaphysical levels. An interesting reflexion of it in mathematics is in the fact that equations up to and including the fourth degree can be solved with algebraic formulae. Beyond thIs a runaway condition takes over making it impossible to produce a formula to solve equations of the fifth or higher degrees. A similar "runaway" condition applies, as we shall see in a moment, when we cross the fifth "veil" outwards into the first time.

It requires only a moment's consideration to see that what we call time is in fact a one-way blindness, the blind side being called "the future". Once we proceed into any time, no matter how primitive, we come out of heaven, i.e. out of eternity, out of the region where there is no blindness and where, therefore, in any part of it, we can still see the whole. And as we proceed further and further out into each successive and crossing is recompounded. It is thus easy to come out, hard to find one's way back in.

For those who do find the way back in, the procedures and the crossings all have to be reversed.
When in my roview of the Commedia I stated that I thought Dante's vision of God was genuine, this was not irresponsible guesswork on my part. It was the result of a caretul checking of his account with the known holocosmic principles. For example, before arriving at a place where he could see God, Dante reports to suffering two successive "deaths of the eyesight." Actually there are three, but the first is not usually experienced so notIceably as the other two.
On the first stage of the journey inwards, we cross the seventh veil, arriving in what is known as the subtle world. By the way, when going inwards the veils are usually counted the other way, so that the seventh veil becomes the first, the sixth the second, and so on. The subtle world is in fact another material world, although the material is not physical. It looks very like the physical world. Going there is what is known to many penple as learning to see with "the third eye"

Perhaps I should say a little more about this closest of all of the non-physical existences, as so many poople these days are familiar with it. Mediums generally learn to see it as part of their discipline. Things in it look much the same only brighter and sharper. People appear very much brighter and sharper. Most people appear roughly the same age, shape, etc., as their physical appearance, but some appear different. For example a physically young man might have the subtle body of a very old man. This is not an illusion. Everybody else using the "third eye" sees exactly the same. Some women, although this is comparatively rare, have the power to assume whatever age and shape they please. This accounts, of course, for the well-known cases of witches who

approach young men looking as hideous as they know how, and proposing marriage. When the young man demurs, they promise that, when married, they will change into whatever shape he likes. The story makes sense because when in love or closely related with a person, we tend to see the subtle body rather than the physical, and this is often why lovers are unable to describe the physical appearance of the loved one. Love is, indeed, the most powerful of all agencies that can transport us to the deeper levels. And what better example of it than Dante?

In the subtle world you see things in whatever direction you turn your physical eyes to look at them, and so it may be some time before you realize that you are not using your physical eyes to see them with. The first time I learned to use subtle vision, it took me about an hour, and several experiments, to convince myself I wasn't using my eyes. Dante himself could well have missed noting this first and subtle "death of the eye-sight.".

But not the next two. They are much more striking. For example St. Paul was physically blinded for several days after unintentionally crossing the next veil but one.

Dante's description of God is consistent, it seems to me, with that of someone who has found his way, or been guided, to one of the outer heavens.

Both naturally and supernaturally, space is female and time male. It is indeed the intercourse of a multidimensional space with the always singular dimension of time that brings about the conception of the lower (i.e. more outward) orders of existence.

That space is female and time male is a fact (not a fancy or a speculation or a theory or a tradition or a guess) so obvious to a poet that he may forget that it is something that ordinary educated people have to be told. The process of western education consists of so coarsening the inner

sensibilities thae one bebomes`pendent on the outer (ie. physical) senses , and the spectacle of the man of science demonstrating with huge, lengthy, and costly experiments what may have been quite obvious in the first place; is part of the price we all have to pay if we are to enjoy the undoubted material advantages that such science brings in its service.

I remember not so many years ago, when the sexedness of all things was just beginning to dawn on me, finding it confirmed in Blake. What he says is again worth recalling.

"Allegories are things that Relate to Moral Virtues. Moral virtues do not Exist; they are Allegories & dissimulations. But Time & Space are Real Beings, a Male & a Female. Time is a Man, Space is a Woman, and her Masculine Portion is Death.”

Eternity does not of course mean "going on forever," which is a mere extension in time, but is simply the place where time does not exist. The male elements here are not temporal: they are formal.

We see from all this that at every level of being, eternal or temporal, the male element emerges from the female, rather than the other way round. So if the Genesis account of the birth of Eve were true, something would indeed have gone very wrong with the universal archetypal law, As above, so below, and its particular reversal. As below, so (in some respect) above. How things are is a strict result of how things can be, and the knowledge of how things can be has never been denied to mankind, although he frequently chooses to cut himself off from it.

As I paint out in the text, the reason why this innate knowledge of how things can be is called divine, is because it has to be dug for or divined. It is not what is apparent on the surface. In respect of the question, how deep is divine,(135)
the answer is as deep as you care to go. As far as Nirvana, that is. There is no place deeper than this.

By way of comparison, the Freudian unconscious consists largely of personal elements that must be made conscious and purified before it is safe to proceed deeper. Jung's racial memories and archetypes constitute the next stage, although their initial manifestations are still outside the eternal regions. The deeper we go, the more they are the same for everybody. The deepest level is the same for all.

How long does it take to get there? Well, counting only from the year when he dropped out, it took the Prince of Kapila a total of six years to find Nirvana.

I know of no safer way of exploring the divine than through the experience of total love. The cleft of the First Distinction can see its own outline as male on the one side and female on the other. By pretending successively to be one side of itself and then the other, it can make out to itself that its one outline is in fact two persons, thus engineering the huge love-partnership that is Heaven's First Family Joke. It is a very happy joke, and one which is quite available to human lovers who proceed far enough into themselves to find the place where they meet. It is available in any total love-experience between a male and a female.

I think I should warn the reader that there are two major confusions she, or he, is likely to meet in other books. The first is a seriaus one. In many western texts, be they of magic, occult science, religion, or the most profound theological doctrine, there is some confusion, and often gross confusion, between the two original orders of being, i.e. between the Zero and the Unity, the Godhead and the God, the Female Constant and the Male Constant, the Yin and the Yang. In eastern texts there is seldom such confusion, they either get it right or don't get it at all. (136) But in western doctrine God and the Godhead are frequently mixed up, and the sex of the Godhead is often omitted, or even mistaken, thus making out God to be homosexual. Most frequently, of course; the Godhead is just not mentioned at all. In other books the confusion extends over unity and zero, such books often speaking of "the One" when they mean "the Void". This, I think, is partly a failure to distinguish between ordinal and cardinal numbers. Order zero (the Void) is the first order we count. Just as note zero is the first note in this book. But the confusion over sex, or the missing out of the female reality altogether, I put down to our severe cultural neurosis, especially in Christianity and Judaism, concerning women.

The other confusion, though just as prevalent, is not so serious. Because the heavens are supposed to be exalted, but we have to dive deep to find them, there is confusion in all the literature as to whether the divine is up or down. It is, of course, in every direction and in no direction at all, because it is here with us now at the very centre of things, as well as everywhere else which, when we get there, we find is the same place.

If we imagine this "centre" of it all surrounded with layers like a pearl or like an onion ("onion" and "union" are the same root, as you might have guessed), then in this analogy the divine is what is relatively deep and the mundane is what is relatively superficial. This way there is no confusion.

"Above" as in "heavens above" properly refers to the order of priority of a given office in the total residence of the divine family and its kingdom, just as we say on earth that one rank is "higher" than another without meaning that its office is higher up the building.

G. Spencer Brown Only Two can play this Game