The Archetype of Reversal: On Light and Thought

“The intellectual light dwelling in us is nothing else than a kind of participated image of the uncreated light…”

—Thomas Aquinas

On the trans-temporality of thought:

What is the duration of a thought? If the duration is infinitesimal, then how do we become conscious of it? If the duration is infinite, then how does one thought pass into another? If it possesses a duration of its own that is neither infinite nor infinitesimal, then against what—if not thought—do we measure “duration” in order to derive the concept? 

The hypothetical phenomenon known as “the wormhole” is a theoretical bridge that would link two disparate points in spacetime without the necessity to traverse the physical distance between them. Whatever may be said about the reality of these speculative physical structures, it is clear that thought accomplished this function in its ordinary operation. This can be grasped in an attentiveness to the intentionality or “aboutness” of thinking.


On thinking, light, and matter:

Thinking is like    l i g h t    in that a condition for its becoming conscious to us is its extinction. Thinking extinguishes itself in thought as light dies in opacity. To the latter we give the name “matter” and to the phenomenal experience of light’s extinction in matter we give the name “sight.” Light is the principle of sight but is not itself visible. For light to become visible, it must transform into colour. “Colour” is the bridge between light and matter, as these elements have been defined above. Goethe called these elements Licht and Finsternis, respectively. 

The speed of light is known, following Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity, as “the universal constant”, or C. The speed of light represents the upper limit of physical velocity, according to Einstein’s relativistic theory of spacetime. What is the speed of thinking? Whereas light requires 13.8 billion years to traverse the visible universe, the entire span can be comprehended in an instant in thought. Hence, while the speed of light is maximal, the speed of thinking is super-maximal. Light cannot travel faster than it does because at that speed, time dilation is infinite and hence distance receives no determinate quantity. Light, then, does not travel in the ordinary sense because travel is defined as a function of rate and time (distance = rate x time). Time, in this case being infinite, a distance of ∞ will always instantaneously compass the finite universe in its entirety. The inverse of the above is a phenomenon for which time has been arrested and which, ergo, also has no velocity. In this case, the phenomenon cannot be capable of travel because the product of any null value will also be null. Hence, it can be observed that matter tends towards inertia. As a matter of definition, “physical space” encompasses those measurable phenomena that subsist between the null and the infinite values on the above spectrum. As it can be seen, both extremes overcome time and hence the opposites tend towards convergence. If the principle is further pursued beyond the boundaries, it can be gasped how time is reversed in (etheric) counterspace and hence how thinking may outstrip the speed of physical causality and appear to operate in a dimension orthogonal to physical space. What we call “light” on one side of this limit we call “thinking” on the other. We equate the speed of light to the speed of causality. This is a quantitative designation. Thinking is identical to the essence of causality, which is a qualitative designation.


On the reversal between ordinary and transcendental consciousness:

In normal consciousness, we must seek to identify the objects that are given to consciousness through the senses. If we reflect on this activity of identification, it will be discovered that what we are seeking for is the intelligible essence that each given sense-percept embodies. The percept is an aspect of a concept in the form that it must appear to visual perception. Every object possesses a core of thought, whose content was not given but rather first produced by active thinking.

In transcendental consciousness, the inverse holds: the content of thought is given but the consciousness of it must be produced by the I. We can learn about this through the Rückschau (deliberate invocation of episodic memory in sequence that is the reverse to the order in which the events transpired) by attending to the fact that memories are “there” but not yet “there for us” until we perform the right attunement of thinking that is necessary in order to bring them to consciousness. 

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Appendix

Aquinas on light: “The reality of things is their light” (Commentary to Liber de causis 1,6).

“First, then, he shows that the first cause is not known in the first way, namely, through a cause, when he says that the first cause does not cease to illumine its effect, while it is not illumined by any other light because it is itself the pure light above which there is no light. To understand this we should realize that it is through corporeal light that we have sense knowledge of visible things. So we can speak metaphorically of that through which we know something, as if it were a light. Now the Philosopher proves in Book 9 of the Metaphysics 22 that every single thing is known through that which is in act. Therefore, the very actuality of a thing is, in a certain way, its light. Since an effect is such that it is in act through its cause, it follows that it is illumined and known through its cause. The first cause, however, is pure act, having no admixture of potentiality. Therefore, it is itself pure light, by which all other things are illumined and rendered knowable. From this the author further concludes that the first cause alone is first in such a way that[…]”

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