The Trinity and Islamic & Jewish Questions (Part 6)

Consider merely material things. One acts on another. The action, or emanation, is entirely without: This ball hits that ball and conveys its momentum to it. This fire generates that fire. Etc. The “movement” or “emanation” is all without.

Consider a plant. Suddenly, we are at a new level of being. The plant is a whole and acts as a whole. It as it were “moves itself” to its act and is not just moved from without. Eventually, it produces seed. Thus, its movement is more interior.

Now consider an animal, with sense knowledge. Suddenly, there is an interior emanation. For in sensing other things, the dog has as it were within itself an image of the exterior reality. Through this image, it engages the exterior reality. Each of my eyes, in concert with my brain, produces an image that remains within me. Thus, there is an “emanation”, a “generation” of one from another – image from eye-brain – that remains within the agent itself.

Now enter your own mind. When you think conceptually about something, you are no longer merely in images. You rise above images, even though you use them at the same time. No man has seen a circle. Never! For a circle is defined by a “line”, and no line has any “breadth”. For a line is “breadthless length”. But you cannot see what has no breadth. You cannot see a point; you cannot see a line between points. BUT YOU CAN THINK IT! Yes, and you can deduce properties about it. You can very much think it, without ever getting its reality in your imagination. Therefore, we rational creatures rise above the merely imaginative sub-structure of the brain. Even though we need the brain as we do it. (The geometrician needs the imagined or sketched circle in order to conceive, beyond what he sees or imagines, the defined circle.)

The concepts that the mind produces are thus in-corporeal. They rise above the material, even what can be pictured by imagination. Hence, they are what we classically call “spiritual”. Not spiritual as in holy. Spiritual as in above the bodily. Products of mind, not merely of brain.

Now, the marvelous thing about the spiritual is that it can reflect on itself. The spiritual power can have itself as object. You can think your thinking.

Thus, in this way, the emanation can as it were “begin from within”. Not only does it end within (as does the imagined zebra, when I ‘picture it’ to myself). But it begins within, since the very object of the mind can be the very mind thinking.

But if this is the case, we have an instance of “emanation” in which what emanates, the concept, remains within the very source of its emanation, mind.