Vastusutra Upanishad – The Essence of Form in Sacred Art

“Again, the common element which justifies the title Vastusutra Upanishad is the sacred geometry underlying sacrificial altars and so on (Sulva), anthropomorphic images and image-panels (Silpa) and sacred or secular architecture (Vastu). But here geometry is not merely a technical device, it is the very means by which to infuse inner meaning (bhava) into the work of art.

“In the case of image-making, the basic geometrical diagram is called panjara, ‘cage’ or ‘skeleton’, and it consists of lines, points, circles, squares, triangles and diagonals. More than mere geometry, all these basic forms are part of an organic view of the universe and the human body.”  Bettina Braumer p. xi


Mary Douglas (1921- ) Ring Composition

Mary Douglas is a symbolic anthropologist who examines how people give meanings to their reality and how this reality is expressed by their cultural symbols. She has believed that humans actively create meanings in their social lives in order to maintain their society. By analyzing these meanings, Douglas attempted to find universal patterns of symbolism.

The ring composition has been used in works ranging from books of the Pentateuch, Homer's "Iliad," Russian folklore, Persian mythology, Indonesian religious writings and medieval French histories. The highly structured form, "consists of a set of parallelisms," explains Douglas, "the last lines close the ring by returning to the theme of the beginning. ...
"If ring writing encounters various technical problems, so does reading like a ring," she adds. "Like unfolding a scroll from the two ends, the reader finds the message held in the very middle. The text radiates from the mid-turn in both directions; it has to be read synoptically, like a sonnet."





Glass Bead Game

Magister Ludi-the Glass Bead Game, was a novel written in 1943 by the German writer Hermann Hesse who was born in 1877 in Claw, Germany, and died in 1962 in Montagnola, Switzerland. In 1946 Hesse received the Nobel Prize in literature for Magister Ludi. In the archives of the Glass Bead Game it is written that Joseph Knecht was the Magister Ludi of the Glass Bead Game in a place called Castalia. Who among you remember Castilia?
"Castalia is a symbolic realm where all spiritual values are kept alive and present, specifically through the practices of the Glass Bead Game. It depicts a future society in which the realm of culture is set apart to pursue its goals in splendid isolation..." May 1969 - Theodore Ziolkowski
50 years later the parallels between the Glass Bead Game and the Internet are very similar. Capturing a complete description of the Glass Bead Game is not easy. Here is a sample taken from a letter written by Hesse's character Joseph Knecht:
"I suddenly realized that in the language, or at any rate in the spirit of the Glass Bead Game, everything actually was all-meaningful, that every symbol and combination of symbol led not hither and yon, not to single examples, experiments, and proofs, but into the center, the mystery and innermost heart of the world, into primal knowledge. Every transition from major to minor in a sonata, every transformation of a myth or a religious cult, every classical or artistic formulation was, I realized in that flashing moment, if seen with truly a meditative mind, nothing but a direct route into the interior of the cosmic mystery, where in the alternation between inhaling and exhaling, between heaven and earth, between Yin and Yang holiness is forever being created.”
Castalia was a protected institution set in the future, and devoted to intellectual pursuits. Castalia was run by the master of the Glass Bead Game. Sitting in a large room, Castalia members would explore magnificent associations of ideas and concepts. To what end? To keep alive knowledge in a world that had fallen apart spiritually, socially, and politically. Enter the internet, and the potential to continue what Hermann Hesse had begun with Master Ludi over 50 years ago. The internet allows each webmaster to play the Glass Bead Game. In a world filled with more information than is humanly possible to read, review, or to understand, the question arises as to how it is possible to develop an overview of human development into the 21st century? The Glass Bead Game thus takes on a new meaning, and a renewed capacity to understand the direction we are going.

Webmagister Ludi and the Glass Bead Game by Willard Van De Bogart

Herman Hesse's Nobel Prize Winning Novel, The Glass Bead Game lays the foundations for an Artistic/Conceptual Game, which integrates all fields of Human and Cosmic Knowledge through forms of Organic Universal Symbolism, expressed by its players with the Dynamic Fluidity of Music. The Glass Bead Game is, in Reality, an Age Old metaphor for what has been called, the "Divine Lila" (Play or Game of Life). This metaphor has been expressed by every great Wisdom Tradition known to man, and its players, the Magister Ludi (Masters of the Game), use as their instruments Ancient and Modern modes of Symbolic Wisdom traditionally presented through Sacred Art, Philosophy, Magick and Cosmology.


Matte Blanco (1908-95) The Unconscious as Infinite Sets

Psychoanalysts since the time of Freud have been able to identify several basic ways in which the unconscious operated differently, on a very fundamental level, than the conscious mind. Matte Blanco took this one step further, and deduced a set of axioms from which the logic of the unconscious seemed to follow. This he termed "symmetrical" logic, for one of its two basic precepts is the principle of symmetry: under symmetrical logic, a statement always implies its converse. This gains additional significance when considered in the light of Matte Blanco's second axiom, the principle of generalization. This states that the unconscious mind treats every object, person, or concept as though it was part of a more general class or set of things. Someone's father would belong to the set of fathers, which in turn would be a subset of the set of authority figures, and so on. Therefore, by combining these two principles, it follows that if John is an element, or subset, of the set of fathers by the principle of generalization, the principle of symmetry demands that the set of fathers thus be a subset of John. From this, Matte Blanco deduced that the unconscious mind can be treated as a collection of infinite sets, for this seeming contradiction, a set being placed in one-to-one correspondence with a proper subset of itself, is precisely the definition of an infinite set as put forth by the mathematician Dedekind .

It is clear that, operating under symmetrical logic alone, mental activity would become impossible. Carrying the principles of generalization and symmetry to their logical conclusion, every set would become identical to all its elements, and all of the sets that contain it. The unconscious would be unable to distinguish any two things from each other. Matte Blanco's model copes with this by specifying that the mind never operates using only symmetrical logic. Symmetrical logic coexists with asymmetrical logic in every situation, though as one delves "deeper" into the unconscious the symmetrical relations begin to play a larger and larger role. Hence, the mind is bi-logical, and the principles of symmetrical logic can be said to apply only under certain circumstances.   THE LIBRARY OF BLANCO by Luke Gutzwiller