In writing the novel “Caius, the making of the Hero” I was faced with philosophical problems, which I believed Caesar also faced. These were, for instance, on the nature of Good and Evil, and of course, the motives of those who ruled, and of the society that they ruled. The culmination of which was the idea or representation of humankind as moral beings, since the nature of humanity is a theme, which Caesar had to tackle, in tackling the problems of his time. Here I present some more ideas along these lines, from my own past, which helped me to better evaluate Caesar and his times. It deals with symbolism, which many of the ancient religions and mythologies found to be very important.
Some years ago I got together with a friend of mine, for one of our usual get-togethers, and general bull sessions; we were still young, unmarried and sowing the wild oats of youthful years. But we were also sort of similar, in that we were on the whole rather bookish and philosophical in outlook. I was more concrete and visually oriented, but he was more poetic and musically oriented.
The conversation had turned to genealogy and lineage, and we began trying to describe to each other how we would design a “logo” or family crest that might describe the essence of our particular family. In the course of which we mused as to how ‘Adam’ the original ancestor of mankind might design a family crest for his family – humanity.
After some false starts, and rather ridiculous dead ends, we hit on a logo of sorts that might describe the family of the tribe known as humanity. Later on, when I wanted to create a bookplate for my personal library books, I used this same idea as a basis for what I came up with, adding to it some personalizations to distinguish me from the rest of humanity. I later discarded the whole plan as a rather trivial vanity of youth.
Later, upon recollection of these things, and opening a book in which I had pasted this bookplate. I mused as to how in many ways the ideas we made concrete that night really did represent humanity. So I will present this to you now.
This outline although seemingly Christian in presentation may well be applied, I believe, to those of any belief, heathen, Wiccan, agnostic, Jew, Muslim, Taoist and Hindu, (forgive me my ignorance if I have not mentioned all faiths) even perhaps atheist, if he allows a universal perfection to exist in the Universe.
Here, in Figure 1 is the representation, followed by the description:
Figure 1: The Family Crest for Humanity
First we drew a circle, which we said represented the perfection from which humanity originated, as the creator created Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, in his image, beings both pure and perfect. Next we drew within this, an equilateral, equiangular triangle, which represented the later fall of the human from the grace of God… humanity's mortal state, and with it, humanity's imperfect nature. Inside of this we drew yet another circle, representing the salvation of the human by the Christ (the redeemer, this may be any redeeming force or spirit, practically all religions have one). This circle represented the heart of a human, where Christ had instilled his word – the word made flesh. This perfection, at the core of humanity’s nature, (the heart) had been redeemed by God through the sacrifice of God's own Son. 1 Thus humanity’s core was again perfect and pure, although the human still resided within an imperfect body, surrounded by an imperfect world.
To each of the three sides of the triangle we gave a name, in Latin, to represent the different aspects of humanity’s mortal nature. At the base line we added the term: ANIMUS. This is SPIRIT in Latin, or what we might term a human’s life force 2 . It animates the animal part of a human, and resides in all living things, as opposed to inanimate matter. It unites a human with the rest of creation, and dies with that human, to go back to the earth with its mortal remains. It is under the control of the laws of nature and evolution, which shows that humans evolved into the beings they are, from the brutes of the earth, which are their mortal relations.
To the left-hand rising line of the triangle, we gave the name: SCIENTIA, which can be translated into knowledge, or rationality… the ability to reason, or, simply put, REASON. This is an ability, which is unique in a human, and allows the human to attain language and symbolic representation. It also allows the human to communicate with its fellows, and manipulate the earth for its own purpose. It gives to a human the ability to be a social being, and in turn form groups, societies, cultures and civilizations.
Finally to the right-hand rising line we gave the name: ARTIFICIUM, which in Latin means artistic works, crafts; but can also denote cunning or shrewd PURPOSE. This PURPOSE is a human’s WILL. It allows the human to give design to its thoughts, manipulations and creations of the world of matter. It is also the weakness, which allows a human to fall victim to the temptations of the imperfections it is born into.
This now brings us to the three angles of the triangle. Which support the three sides as a foundation supports the structural members of the building, and ties all these members together. But these angles also open out into spaces, which face the inner perfection of a human… the heart.
On the left side of the base line, joining SPIRIT with REASON is a picture of the fasces, the ancient Roman symbol of the Imperium or the authority of law, in other words, the Laws of Nature; for REASON must rest on the firm foundation of the rules and the facts of the mortal universe. All systems of humanity have as a basis certain assumptions, which cannot be denied; as for instance the assumptions, or postulates upon which Euclid built the structure of Geometry. So also all morality has assumptions, which spring from the heart of a human, and guide its reason, thus this angle opens out onto the heart from which these assumptions spring.
On the right side of the base line, joining SPIRIT with PURPOSE is the picture of the artist’s palate, with brushes and T-square. The palate contains the various choices (colors, or paints) from which a human makes its decisions, and thus forms its purposes or WILL. The brushes are the actual implementation details, while the T-square or ruler, allows a balance or harmony of the personal WILL with the WILLS of others. As with REASON, this side also opens onto the heart of the human, which reconciles these choices with the divine WILL of God, which allows reconciliation with all other wills. This is the outlook or view of the Good, about which I have spoken elsewhere.
Finally, within the pinnacle of the triangle or topmost angle lies the symbol of the tree of knowledge 3 (knowledge of Good and Evil)… humanity’s Freedom of the Will. The tree from which Eve ate the forbidden fruit, a tree upon which a serpent coils; at the top of which a hand stretches out to heaven; and at the left of which an open eye sheds tears - the symbol of humaniy’s past indiscretions, and arrogance; and of his ever-present weakness, and continuing temptation to rival his maker. This allows the human to freely choose its fate in the universe.
Thus like Freud’s symbolic structure of the personality, into various functional parts, the religious, moral and social aspects of humanity can be represented as an analogy, using symbols.
Thus the three external aspects of humankind’s mortal nature 4 , namely: Spirit, Reason and Purpose, are governed and tempered by the three agencies, which moderate them, and reconcile them with its perfect or immortal aspect, the heart. These agencies are namely: The Laws of Nature, The Good and Freedom of the Will.
[Author’s later thoughts on this essay: In this chronologically early essay I outlined the different parts that constitute man’s psyche, through an analogy. I later refined these early concepts into a more detailed picture of man’s reality and his place in the Universe. The reader will find this more detailed description in the Section I essays: “Formal Statement” and “A Cosmology for the Philosophy of the GOOD”.]
1 God had placed a perfect love within man's heart to allow man to return to God by his choosing to accept this love to unite him with all others.
2 Different religious sects interpret this in different ways, here we say this is an aspect of humanity’s mortal nature, therefore it dies with the human. While we interpret the heart as a perfect creation within which the human’s immortal soul resides.
3 The tree is the tree, which provided the fruit, which God forbad the innocents, Adam and Eve to eat from; which the devil, (in the guise of the serpent) tempted and got Eve to eat and also to thereby corrupt Adam. The hand stretching to Heaven is the arrogance of a human to presume to imitate God. The tearful eye is the loss of Paradise, or the inheritance of corruption which humanity has suffered as a consequence of its folly.
4 Some Chinese philosophy postulates two primal forces which mold humanity, the Yang force (perfection) or the force of heaven, represented by the Dragon, which is a heavenly potential which initiates creation; and the Ying force of the Earth (mortality), represented by the Mare, which complements the Yang in actually achieving, and nurturing the fruition of creation.
Originally Published:October 11, 2007
Revised:January 2, 2014