29 April 2005 | Draft
selected web resources on the challenge to comprehension
- / -
Group B: Disembodied reflection and insight
Group C: Experiential processes
Group D: Beyond fixed distinctions
Group A: Distinguishing endarkenment through projection
This is an exercise in detecting web resources referring in some way to "endarkenment"
("ensombrement" in French, or "Verfinsterung" in German).
These are marked below with ##. Within the quoted
phrases containing such a reference, "endarkenment" is placed
in bold font for convenience -- even though this was not done in the original
version. The resources were selected because of the insights into usage rather
than because they formed part of a comprehensive study of the question by a
recognized authority. The length of any quotation included is such as to give
a sense of context for the particular understanding of endarkenment.
The items selected are tentatively clustered into 10 different "modes"
of understanding of "endarkenment" as contrasted
with "enlightenment". These modes are further clustered into 4 "groups".
The clustering, discussed below, is also tentatively associated with the insights
into enlightenment and endarkenment offered by the 10 Zen Ox-herding pictures.
It is also tentatively related to the insights from depth psychology regarding
the alchemical process, notably that of the nigredo.
The modes below indicate how "light" and "dark" are variously
comprehended through their metaphorical equivalents (positive and negative,
good and evil, etc). They could be understood as stages in a learning process.
Any such separation into "higher" and lower" levels of comprehension
can however be a trap. The preference here is to treat them as modes of understanding
that may have greater or lesser value and appropriateness under particular circumstances.
However it is also the case that those who identify more particularly with one
mode may well perceive any other as a dangerous heresy. Those more distant from
any particular mode might be considered even more dangerous aberrations.
Each mode might well be considered characteristic of a particular "religious"
belief -- or a spiritual understanding within a "religious" belief.
Most references to endarkenment are associated with Modes 2 and 3.
Tentatively in each case, in order to relate to non-western styles of thought,a
possible comparison is suggested here to one of the ten classic Zen "ox-herding
pictures", whose black and white patterning could be understood as a meditational
challenge to comprehending the relationship between enlightenment and endarkenment.
These pictures have been the subject of extensive commentary and reflection
down the centuries. This could potentially enrich considerably the tentative
brief notes associated with each mode below. With regard to the extensive commentary
of Kubota Ji'un (Ten
Ox-herding Pictures with the Verses Composed by Kakuan Zenji, 1996)
to which the specific links are made, he notes:
Here, our essential self is compared to an ox. We seek the ox, grasp it,
tame it and finally the self which has always been seeking becomes completely
one with the ox. But this also is forgotten so that we now simply carry on
our ordinary lives.... The Ten Ox-herding Pictures have concretely
depicted the process in which the imperfect, limited, and relative self (the
little child) awakens to the perfect, unlimited, and absolute essential self
(the ox), grasps it, tames it, forgets it, and completely incorporates it
into the personality. But we must stress that these pictures and verses are
merely an indication of the way to practice and not an object for conceptual
The 10 modes of endarkenment identified have been tentatively clustered into
- Group A: These modes are concerned with
the developing recognition of endarkenment as "evil" -- as it is
to be found in others and in the environment perceived as
a threat (and provided one commits oneself appropriately
to the "good"). This group may be understood in terms of disengagement
from the world and the mundane -- notably facilitating the extremes of exploitation
of the latter.
- Group B: It is in these modes that recognition
emerges that, despite one's efforts, the seeds of "evil" are notably
to be found within oneself and those one believes to have been uniquely identified
as exemplars of the "good". The modes give form to the challenge
of how to reframe one's understanding of human endarkenment with compassion
and forgiveness, recognizing that differences in understanding have a vital
function in a healthy and meaningful society -- despite one's own problematic
engagement with it. This group may be understood in terms of disembodiment
-- disengagement from the body and its mundane implications -- to enable a
non-material "re-embodiment" as an affective or intellectual being.
This ensures a disassociation from the extremes of exploitation of the body,
whilst cultivating a belief in the quality of life and well-being.
- Group C: In these modes there is the engagement
in practice with healing processes (as a necessary consequence of the previous
group) associated with the "endarkenment" (namely what had been
repressed) as part of a larger cycle whose paradoxical and mysterious nature
becomes apparent. This group may be understood as a re-engagement with the
body -- a re-embodiment of the phenomenal body (if only for health reasons),
giving expression in practice to the quality of life for oneself, for others,
and for the entities of the environment.
- Group D: In this mode the polarity between
enlightenment and endarkenment is finally transcended experientially in such
a way as to give meaning to the range of modes as an expression of that understanding
-- whether through endarkenment or enlightenment. This group may be understood
as a re-embodiment of the world, taking responsibility for the quality of
the environment as one actually experiences and engenders it.
In avoiding the level trap, it is useful to explore the associations of the
different groups with different periods of time, preferably in a cycle, if
only metaphorically. This points to the recurrence of certain modes thought
to have been left behind, and the paradoxical and unpredictable emergence
of others. It also avoids the sense in which particular modes are considered
to be only accessible after forms of effort and discipline to which few may
believe they have access. The period associations are then:
- Group A might be metaphorically associated in time with the period in
the daily cycle from midnight to the experience of a new dawn, waking
up after the terrors of the small hours of the night -- or as the period
in the lifecycle from birth to adulthood.
- Group B might be metaphorically associated in time with the period in
the daily cycle from dawn until noon in which the "darkness
within" becomes apparent, despite the light without -- or as in the
period in the lifecycle of early adulthood.
- Group C might be metaphorically associated in time with the period in
the daily cycle from noon to dusk in which the perspective and ambiguity
associated with the experience of the darkness within enriches the actual
quality of life -- or as in the period in the lifecycle of late adulthood.
- Group D might be metaphorically associated in time with the period in
the daily cycle from dusk to midnight, interweaving light and darkness
meaningfully without attachment to either -- as in one's elder years
in the lifecycle. .
The only discipline to give serious attention to the processes associated
with "endarkenment" might be said to be depth psychology and its
attention to the challenge of integration of the "shadow" [more].
For depth psychology, the shadow is a part of the unconscious mind which is
mysterious and often disagreeable to the conscious mind, but which is also
relatively close to the conscious mind. It may be (in part) one's original
self, which is superseded during early childhood by the conscious mind; afterwards
it comes to contain thoughts that are repressed by the conscious mind. The
shadow is instinctive and irrational, but is not necessarily evil even when
it might appear to be so. [more]
Following the efforts of Carl Jung (Alchemical Studies, Psychology
and Alchemy, and a final volume Mysterium Coniunctionis), the nigredo
(or "blackening") is identified by depth psychology as the first
of the three stages in the alchemical process through which a fourth condition
It is therefore worth considering how those stages might be related to the
group of modes identified here. Three possibilities were considered:
Directly associating the alchemical stages with the groups:
Group A (nigredo), Group B (albedo), Group C (rubedo),
Group D (outcome). This best reflects the first awareness of the problematic
conditions projected onto the external world.
Associating the last three groups with the three stages:
Group B (nigredo), Group C (albedo), Group D (rubedo).
This reflects the awareness of the need for inner work starting in Group
Associating the last four modes with the alchemical stages:
Mode 7 (nigredo), Mode 8 (albedo), Mode 9 (rubedo),
Mode 10 (outcome). This best reflects the initiation of the therapeutic
process in Mode 7 in which there is a more engaged awareness of the need
The final option was selected and reflects the separation of the associated
understanding and symbolism from the earlier modes of understanding endarkenment.
It is also possible that there is a form of resonance between all the options.
Further commentary is called for in relation to various understandings of
endarkenment in symbol systems. For example in the I Ching ("The
Book of Changes"), hexagram 36 is specifically associated with "the
Darkening of the Light", on which it comments:
In adversity it furthers one to be persevering. The light
has sunk into the earth: The image of Darkening of the Light. Thus does the
superior man live with the great mass: He veils his light, yet still shines.
The approach here derives in part from much earlier involvement of the author
with the Committee for Conceptual and Terminological Analysis (COCTA), although
here the compilation is very preliminary and primarily intended as a trigger
for further reflection.
Group A: Distinguishing endarkenment through projection
This group is concerned with the identification of the nature of light and
its meaningful separation from dark. Understood metaphorically, this is extended
to positive vs negative, right vs wrong, etc.
These modes are concerned with the developing recognition of endarkenment
as "evil" -- as it is to be found in others and
the environment and others perceived as a threat, and provided one commits
oneself to the "good". This group may be understood
in terms of disengagement from the world and the mundane -- notably facilitating
the extremes of exploitation of the latter.
Metaphorically the group might be associated in time with the period from
midnight to the experience of a new dawn, waking up after the terrors of the
small hours of the night -- or as the period from birth to adulthood.
Mode 1: Confused "agnosticism" -- ignorance
of where, when, why or what is light or dark
This mode might be compared to the first of the 10
Zen ox-herding pictures entitled: Seeking
## Tim Burlowski. New
word — Endarkenment, 2003
This word seems at the moment to have been used in rather
random ways on the web. Citations I found ranged from strange new agey religions,
to people talking about hair, to people complaining about rock and rolls afro-carib
roots. In fact as much as I like the sound of the word, I probably won’t
use it much as I don’t like the company this word seems to keep at the
Mode 2: Recognition of "badness" -- and the light
at the end of the tunnel of darkness
The apparently inimical forces of the environment are recognized as a source
of pain. Nature exemplifies badness. Through fear and suffering the possibility
of something else is articulated and recognized. It is an attractor under conditions
of despair and hopelessness. It is clearly easier to see the light from its
shadow than directly from within the light, and what about the light with which
This mode might be compared to the second of the 10
Zen ox-herding pictures entitled: Finding
## Lance Morrow. The
Real Meaning of Evil. Time Magazine, 18 February 2003:
But even if it's elusive and even if the term is used brainlessly,
evil is still there — a mystery, a black hole into which reason and
sunshine vanish but nonetheless ... there. Talk to the children with chopped-off
hands in Sierra Leone. It is as fatuous to deny the existence of evil as it
is to toss the word around irresponsibly. The children of the Enlightenment
sometimes have an inadequate understanding of the possibilities of the Endarkenment.
The question is how evil exists, how it works.
Mode 3: Embodied light contrasted with embodied
badness -- negative collective trends
As a result of identification with the values and conditions associated with
light, they are effectively embodied through a "conversion" process
-- possibly as a godly person, a person of righteousness, or an enlightened
person of "brilliance". The contrasting conditions are clearly seen
as embodied by "bad people" -- possibly even understood as under
the influence of demonic forces. The more clearly others are experienced as
"bad", the more powerfully any personal sense of "goodness"
is reinforced. The more darkness that can be distinguished in others, the
more light must necessarily characterize the perceiver. People see themselves
as belonging to a select group of the righteous ... those who have "seen
the light" -- to be contrasted with those who have not and may well be
This clear polarization into light and dark favours a process of associative
projection through which "others" are identified as bearers of badness,
darkness or even "evil". Any "difference" may be used
to justify this perception (eg women, homosexuals, handicapped, unemployed,
foreigners, etc). Those of dark skin, for example, may tend to be automatically
labelled as "bad". This has been evident in the attitude of Caucasians
to other races. It also evident in the ready association of terrorists with
those of Arab extraction. The clarity of the polarized separation makes any
suggestion of relativity deeply suspect. There can be no moral relativism.
Righteousness is absolute. Those "who are not with us are necessarily
against us". Enlightenment effectively becomes a religious monopoly.
A characteristic feature of this mode is that the "light" may be
seen differently by different groups -- who are then highly articulate in
labelling each other as representing demonic or satanic forces. Particularly
curious is that the historic period known as the "Enlightenment"
is now labelled by some as the Endarkenment -- now terminated
by the increasing political influence of Christian fundamentalists as bearers
of enlightenment. On the other hand, the impact of that same fundamentalism
has in turn been labelled as initiating a period of Endarkenment
following the so-called historic period of Enlightenment.
This mode might be compared to the third of the 10
Zen ox-herding pictures entitled: Catching
Sight of the Ox
## Edward Haskell. Framework
of the Periodic Table of Human Cultures (In: Full
Circle: The Moral Force of Unified Science, 1972)
In overcoming the dangerous medieval haziness of thinking
-- in carrying out the 18th century's response to that challenge, fatuously
called the Enlightenment -- these scientists created the twentieth century's
far more dangerous challenge: our deep Ensombrement, which Lippmann
calls The Eclipse of the Public Philosophy (Walter Lippmann. The Public
Philosophy--On the Decline and Revival of Western Democracy, I955, Chapter
VIII). This was not due to viciousness or stupidity, but to the structure
of evolution, inherent in the Systems-hierarchy, which poets have called the
darkness before the dawn.32
As late as the eighteenth century, men held what Lippmann calls the doctrine
of natural law: the certainty that there is law "above the ruler and the sovereign
people . . . above the whole community of mortals." But in the twentieth century's
Ensombrement there is "a plurality of incompatible faiths" and multitudes
of agnostic, existentialistic and nihilistic people. And far worse yet, there
are millions of ideologists in the totalitarian countries and infiltrated
throughout the egalitarian democratic states for whom strong Circles of Perfection
had been closed prematurely, and incorrectly, back in the 19th century: namely,
Marxists and fascists.
## Linda Deak. The
Endarkenment. onlinejournal.com, 27 October 2004
## Gary L. Morella. Catholic
Philosophy Responds to the Modernist Assault on Faith and Reason - A Detailed
Blueprint for Catholic Action
It is a shock to the people of Europe that this election is even a contest.
How can people in these times, in the Information Age, have their collective
heads in the sand and believe the nonsense that Bush spews on the campaign
trail? The truth is out there and has to be eschewed by people supporting
Bush.... exhalation of breath from the outside world when Kerry is elected.
The relief will be palpable and felt by all. We are all going to have to
help America come out of this Endarkenment. We are going to have
to start with media reform, election reform, business reform, tax reform,
healthcare reform, education reform and restoration of relationships with
our allies from around the world.
The crisis of modern civilization, which is the unprecedented
assault on faith and reason resulting in the total eclipse of reason, and
subsequent loss of faith, due to God’s eternal marriage of faith and
reason being divorced by man, has one underlying current. Its genesis is
rooted in the confusion of “genuine authentic freedom,” the
freedom to do what we ought, with “license,” the freedom to
do what we want.... Regardless of whether we are talking about radical sexuality,
feminism, literary criticism also known as deconstructionism, or any of
the other “radicals” as characterized by the worst excesses
of political correctness, this seminal truth that freedom is license for
the disciples of The Enlightenment, which in reality is better titled The
Endarkenment, becomes their “first principle” in ushering
in a new world order where the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is replaced
with the “god in the mirror.” This explains the animus of liberal
ideologues towards Holy Mother Church who makes them uncomfortable with
their vices by holding them to a higher Truth, Who is a Someone, not a something....
The command to suspend reason has not come from Sacred Scripture or the
Tradition of the Church but rather from the liberal disciples of The Endarkenment.
They tell us that truth is relative not absolute.
## Vishal Mangalwadi. From
Enlightenment to Endarkenment
The New Age Movement represents a widespread and influential
worldview and spirituality in the West as well as beyond. May we be challenged
to reach the numerous men and women who embrace this "Endarkenment."
May we reach them with the glorious light of the Good News of Jesus Christ
and usher them into true spirituality. (International Journal of Frontier
## Christopher Walker. Live
with Spirit, 2002
They claim we are in the age of enlightenment. No way.
This is the age of endarkenment, where truth is hidden from the
mass and models are sold as hawkers once sold snake oil remedies, from
people who have not even questioned their beliefs.
## P. G. Mathew. The
Holy Anointing, 29 April 2001
When we speak about spiritual enlightenment, we are not
speaking about the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century. That has nothing
to do with true enlightenment. In fact, to me such philosophies are endarkenment.
We are speaking about the Holy Spirit of God removing blindness from us,
regenerating us, and enabling us to understand the wonderful truth of the
## DancesWithAnxiety. Review
of A Refutation of Moral Relativism: Interviews With an Absolutist
by Peter Kreeft, 1999
The histrionics are interesting and important reading, though
not in a way Kreeft intends... This book is packed with insights into the
philosophical shibboleths of the contemporary religious right in America
and beyond. Early on, he tells us that the enlightenment should be called
the "endarkenment" since it privileged reason
over faith, and by the book's end, he has connected supposed errors in Ockham,
Hume, Kant, and others with the rise of deconstructionism, Nazism and...
the sexual revolution....No doubt the self-proclaimed ethical "absolutists"
in Tehran, Mecca, and Kabul would find plenty of common ground with Kreeft's
denunciation of the "endarkenment", and would
nod along with Kreeft's call to shun reason and get back to the prayer mats.
## Michael Lind. Red-State
Sneer. New America Foundation, 16 December 2004
Even the most appealing economic programme cannot save American
liberalism if it is associated with values that most Americans reject. Fortunately
for the Democrats, most Americans are found in the political and moral centre,
not on the far right. Bush's Protestant fundamentalist constituents may
despise the Enlightenment as the "Endarkenment",
but Bush and the Republicans won the election only by appealing to centrist
Americans on the basis of their Enlightenment republican values.
## Gray Brechin. The
Great Endarkenment 9/11 Inquiry, 26 March 2004
I said that the United States was the product of the eighteenth century
Enlightenment. What we are seeing in the twenty-first century is The Great
Endarkenment. Let me end, then, by going back to Mesopotamia less
than a year ago as U.S. forces shocked and awed Iraqis with a massive
bombardment and moved into Baghdad. In less than a week, Baghdad's National
Museum was looted and trashed. You heard about that. But did you hear
that Mosul's museum was also trashed, and that Iraq's universities were
sacked and burned, and that its great archaeological sites continue to
be looted? Moreover, the Iraq National Library and the Koranic Library
were looted and burned while American soldiers were ordered to guard the
records in the Oil Ministry...
There is a great deal that those who have taken over Washington do not
want you to know about what has been and is being done in your name, and
the great danger to which those actions are exposing us all in order to
get more energy, and to build yet greater fortunes for themselves and
their colleagues. That is why I call this period The Great Endarkenment,
and it is perhaps the greatest of all betrayals of the founding ideals
of this nation, and the monopolized mass media shares a great deal of
responsibility for propagating this giddy ignorance, and this justified
fear of what is to come.
Erich Neumann. Depth Psychology and a New Ethic, 1969
The shadow, which is in conflict with the acknowledged values,
cannot be accepted as a negative part of one's own psyche and is therefore
projected--that is, it is transferred to the outside world and experienced
as an outside object. It is combated, punished, and exterminated as 'the alien
out there' instead of being dealt with as one's own inner problem.
Group B: Disembodied reflection and insight
Having apparently successfully distinguished light from dark, positive from
negative, and right from wrong -- by separating out the unwanted and projecting
it onto others "without", the following group of
modes is faced with the challenge of why more complete enlightenment is inhibited
from "within", and why the constraints are to some
degree innate. Others are not the only carriers of darkness, and are not solely
to be blamed.
It is in these modes that recognition emerges that, despite one's efforts,
the seeds of "evil" are notably to be found within oneself and those
one believes to have been uniquely identified as exemplars of the "good".
The modes give form to the challenge of how to reframe one's understanding
of human endarkenment with compassion and forgiveness, recognizing that differences
in understanding have a vital function in a healthy and meaningful society
-- despite one's own problematic engagement with it. This group may be understood
in terms of disembodiment -- disengagement from the body and its mundane implications
-- to enable a non-material "re-embodiment" as an affective or intellectual
being. This ensures a disassociation from the extremes of exploitation of
the body, whilst cultivating a belief in the quality of life and well-being.
Metaphorically the group might be associated in time with the period from
dawn until noon in which the "darkness within" becomes apparent,
despite the light without -- or as in the period of early adulthood.
Mode 4: The inner challenge to enlightenment: "negative
The focus is increasingly on the light within and what constrains its recognition.
There is recognition of the constraints on the effective embodiment of enlightened
being, even by those convinced of its merits. There is acknowledgement of
personal fallibility -- "we are all sinners". Personal "badness"
is notably associated with the temptations of the body -- which must necessarily
be transcended. The functions of the body are then associated with endarkenment.
This recognition tends to be projected (typically by dominant males) onto
relations with the opposite sex -- considered to embody the temptations of
endarkenment. Any thinking that does not celebrate the positive, and
exclude the negative, is suspect of facilitating endarkenment. Holding
to the certainty of the light is a means of excluding the uncertainties of
the dark -- and the eroding effects of doubt.
This mode might be compared to the fourth of the 10
Zen ox-herding pictures entitled: Seizing
## Charles T. Tart. Mind
Science: Meditation Training for Practical People
Concentrative Meditation: A lot of people, including me,
are interested in reaching "enlightenment." Personally I know I’m
far from whatever enlightenment is, and I don’t really know what enlightenment
is, but I am an expert on endarkenment. I’ve had more than fifty
years of personal practice and professional study of endarkenment!
Knowing how to generate high levels of endarkenment, I figure that
the less of that stuff that we do, the less endarkenment we generate,
that moves us in the direction of whatever enlightenment is! If you don’t
make noise, it’s naturally quieter. So if you really have to cough,
cough. If you have to move, move (mindfully) and get it over with and then
go right back to the meditation practice, don’t worry about the fact
that you moved or coughed or whatever. Everything you add above what is simply
necessary to do the action and then come back to the practice is just that
much more distraction, that much more endarkenment.
## Charles Tart. Enlightenment
and Spiritual Growth: Reflections from the Bottom Up, 2003
A tendency to all-or-none thinking, you're either enlightened
or you're not at all enlightened, confuses our understanding of possible aspects
of spiritual growth. These ordinary state reflections begin with the difficulties
of defining enlightenment, showing how it is clearer to consider endarkenment
and work away from that all too common condition...... What altered states
of consciousness can a person access that are appropriate to various situations?
(How effectively are you using it?) ... A person might be relatively enlightened
with one particular state ... or a person might have access to many altered
states of consciousness but function neurotically in all of them...
## Greg Swann. peaceofmind.net,
Libertarians despair that there is nothing that they can do to forestall
an imaginary bogeyman, called "endarkenment" by some, but
one of the most vitally important things any libertarian can do to change
the world is to live, breathe and especially teach the values of the middle
class... I think I have established that the idea of an "endarkenment"
is absurd. History is driven by people, not by nebulous Hegelian trends....
The idea of "endarkenment" is inherently fatalistic. We
hear the word "fatalistic" and we think of "fatality,"
of a morose conviction in the inevitability of morbidity. But the root of
"fatalistic" is fatalis, fate. The opposite of fatalism
is not optimism. The opposite of fatalism is free will.... There is no "endarkenment",
and there is no justification for despair. The world gets progressively
better... What is professed to be an "endarkenment" is
simply willful self-destruction in an elaborate disguise. A correctable
malady, although the time lost to it is irredeemable.
## Liz Greene
You see the issue of the Shadow isn't a question of admitting
faults. It's a question of being shaken right down to your foundations by
realizing that you are not as you appear -- not to others, but also to yourself.
## John F. Haught. Dipolar
Theism: Psychological Considerations (Process Studies, Spring,
Part of the motivation for our refusal to assimilate the "shadow"
is the pervasive ideal of "purity," an ideal closely related to classical
Western theology. Going beyond Neumann here, we must note that often the ideal
of purity has meant the repression of ambiguity, duality, polarity, and internal
contradiction. This "purity" and a simplistic metaphysical dualism are intimate
associates. Immunity to the "imperfections" of multiplicity, temporality,
bodiliness, and relativity is the philosophical expression of this vacuous
purity and perfection.
Mode 5: Balance and complementarity
In this mode there is increasing understanding of the complementarity of the
functions associated with light and dark (exemplified by circadian rhythms),
positive and negative (exemplified by electricity), right and wrong (exemplified
by the stages of learning processes), male and female (exemplified by relationships).
In conventional spirituality it may be associated with forgiveness and compassion.
In religious terms this may be associated with gnostic beliefs or tantra
This mode might be compared to the fifth of the 10
Zen ox-herding pictures entitled: Taming
## Michael Ventura. Letters at 3 am: Reports
on Endarkenment, 1993
Comment: His opinion is that modern music forces physical expression of repressed
sexual forces in dancing and thus heals the mind-body split caused by Christianity
and western 'mental' emphasis. Though that idea resonates through his early
work, his later writing talks of a process of "endarkenment",
the fascination with evil which permeates much of American music and society.
We have only to look at who gets the most attention in the media and movies:
it is mass murderers, convicted felons, rock musicians, and corrupt politicians.[more]
Comment on the author's views: He considers that we're already into the new
day, albeit the darkest, scariest part of it. In Whole Earth Review
he wrote that we are living in an "age of endarkenment." What each
of us must do is cleave to what we find most beautiful in the human heritage
- and pass it on. The implied metaphor here links us with the monks of the
Middle Ages: when the endarkenment eventually ends, ...those precious things
we've passed on will still be alive. [more]
## Mark Domenic Amadeo Tripp Pesce. Interfaces
to the Sublime, 1995
From Enlightenment to Endarkenment: Decartes' Golem and Oroboros:
... We're entering an age which will see use of more emotional terms, like
de Chardin's Noosphere - defining the layer of being (thought, emotion, action)
which surrounds the planet. It's time to integrate our metaphors, especially
when discussing something as profound as the Noosphere.... So now we earnestly
seek not enlightenment but endarkenment. We know our lighter natures so well
that our darker sides could easily kill us. We must study the dark, because
it is also of us. As the yogi moves toward enlightenment, he achieves endarkenment,
and sees his worst nature outlined. This is purely natural and absolutely
upsetting. This is also one of the functions of art, particularly of sacred
The dark being of the enlightenment is the body. It's that which the Cartesian
nature would transcend to become wholly being without body. Yet, the further
we travel in our technological development, the more we understand that the
body has a transcendental nature which is absolutely vital to the being of
man; you can not discard it, any more than you can discard the brain. We are
not growing out of the body; we're finding out how to live within it. Like
Oroboros, the snake who consumes his own tail, we reach out for the essence
of the spiritual and come back firmly grasping our own flesh. This flesh is
the ground for a new articulation of the sacred.
## Hanan A. Muzaffar. Feminist
Postmodern Disruption of the Patriarchal Systrem of Binary Oppositions Praxis
in Four Phases. Indiana University of Pennsylvania, August 2000
Trinh T. Minh-ha (Woman Native Other, 1989} also argues that theory
that relies on reason—man’s reason—cannot be used by women
to liberate them... She critiques the quest for a higher truth explaining
leads no more to openings than to closure. The idealized quest for knowledge
and power makes it often difficult to admit that enlightenment (as exemplified
by the West) often brings about endarkenment.... Theory
oppresses, when it wills or perpetuates existing power relations, when it
presents itself as a means to exert authority -- the voice of knowledge.
Here theory and knowledge, in their patriarchal sense presented as the only
valid theory, become problematic not just for women, but for any group working
outside the “existing power relations.” As the term “closure”
suggests, theory as “the voice of knowledge” closes the arena
for any critique that works from different perspectives
## Elaine N. Aron. Sensitive
Spirituality: HSPs, Meditation, and Enlightenment. Comfort Zone Online,
Identifying with the Self as archetype may be the most dangerous confusion
of an ego with an archetype. Acting from that position, the ego begins to
make serious mistakes, like thinking it knows how to make others enlightened
or how to change the world. It may even think it blesses others by having
sexual union with them, or by giving others the chance to merge their egos
with itself, becoming a sort of robot extension of the enlightened person.
(Jung said that the way to know you are in the hands of a cult is when the
leader tells you to dismiss your own dreams as unimportant, and forces you
to live out the symbolism of his or her dreams.) Suddenly enlightenment looks
like endarkenment. As Jung said, I believe, the brighter
the light, the darker the shadow. Or he should have said that.
## J Bull. Hither
and Yon, 6 April 2004
But in [Dane] Rudhyar's interpretation of the cycles ... Running time forward,
individuation moves toward enlightenment as a cycle moves from conjunction
to opposition. Still running time forward, a cycle moves from light into darkness
as it moves from opposition to conjunction. The second half... of a cycle
is about endarkenment - release of enlightenment.
## Shepherd Bliss. Celebrating
The Holidays During America's Dark Age. CommonDreams.org, 19 December
In a Dark Time by the late American poet Theodore Roethke
starts as follows: "In a dark time, the eye begins to see,/ I meet my shadow
in the deepening shade." Many of us have denied things about America for
too long, stuffing them into a "shadow." Now they are catching up
We are entering a time of endarkenment, which may eventually
evolve into enlightenment. Much can be revealed to us in the darkness about
reality and our real selves that can guide us into a better future.
We can look realistically at darkness, cope with it and continue to live
joyously and express gratitude for the many gifts that remain during these
holidays. We also have hard work ahead of us, which some resting during this
season can help prepare us to do.
## Unitarian Universalist Men's Network. The
Revolutionary Manifesto, 2002
To maintain spiritual and structural equilibrium, the Network encourages
its members to encounter the deeper demons and desires of existence, to be
mystical activists as well as discerning fools, to embrace life and consent
to die, to honor family and welcome the stranger, to delve deeply into poetics
as well as ethics, to cherish the treasures of endarkenment and enlightenment,
to confess our vulnerability while claiming our might.
## Jivanjili. Awakening,
5 July 2005
And yes, "enlightenment"... as long as you use a word, we talk
also about its opposite. As long as we say "day", there must be
a "night". So as long as we say "enlightenment", with
the notion of a "state of enlightenment", we're also talking about
"endarkenment". And in reality there is no such
a thing: how could it be?
The Shadow cannot be eliminated. It is the ever-present dark
brother or sister. Whenever we fail to see where it stands, there is likely
to be trouble afoot. For then it is certain to be standing behind us. The
adequate question therefore never is: Have I a shadow problem? Have I a negative
side? But rather: Where does it happen to be right now? When we cannot see
it, it is time to beware! And it is helpful to remember Jung's formulation
that a complex is not pathological per se. It becomes pathological only when
we assume that we do not have it; because then it has us!
Mode 6: Conceptual insight and explanation
The systemic relationships of light and dark in the development of human understanding
are articulated. Examples include recognition of the role of the "shadow"
in psychotherapy and the theoretical understanding of the needs for its integration.
Symbol systems such as alchemy (with its specific recognition of the nigredo)
may be used to hold the complexity of the processes which necessarily call into
question any simplistic logical analysis.
This mode might be compared to the sixth of the 10
Zen ox-herding pictures entitled: Riding
the Ox Home
## Christopher Reynolds. Intercede:
the Urrealist Manifesto.
Breton was never able to allow into Surrealism the idea that enlightenment
included endarkenment. Had he done so, Surrealism might have faired better
after the Second World War when the movement was eclipsed by the Existentialists,
who were not afraid to come to terms with human atrocity. Urperson, a wholeness
with its sense of inferiority and shadow is a paradox, an enigma that forces
a facet of life's mystery upon us; that we and our universe suffer chronic
evil, incompleteness, and division to remain whole.
## Andreas Goppold. The Logics of Endarkenment:
A complementary program to Rudolf Bahro's: "Logik der Rettung"
Logik der Verfinsterung: Ein Komplementärprogramm zu Rudolf Bahro's: "Logik
der Rettung"), 2002
of First Meeting, International Futures Forum, April 2001
The first enlightenment is usually characterised as being the age of reason,
meant to be the light of reason but there is also the shadow of reason. If
the light shines too strongly it actually produces an endarkenment
where there is enlightenment, and by that I mean the finer part of the mind,
the intuitive part of the mind, what is traditionally known as the intellect
in terms of being able to see things in their oneness not in their separation
is being obscured by concentration of reason, so my suggestion is the second
enlightenment is really about integration. Integrating these different sides
of the mind.
## Gary Heywood-Everett. Problem
Solving as Dats Generation in Educational Research, 1997
I do not need to rehearse the objections to positivism here. I would, however,
re-iterate Bohm and Peat's (Science, Order and Creativity, 1988) distinction
between positivist "endarkenment" and a type of research
"enlightenment" which is a reaction towards insightful change, is
active, and contributes to relevance, implementation and understanding.
## Arthur Colman. The
Dark Ecstatic and Collective Wisdom (Collective Wisdom Initiative Seed
So the more fragile ecstasies are redefined as “light” or “dark”
to use the simplest polarities, thereby entering the ego realm of divided
consciousness and fragmenting an experience whose essence is wholeness. The
author of the beginning of Genesis led the way. The first line in the Old
Testament states: “And God saw the light, that it was good: and God
divided the light from the darkness.” Through the filter of a consciousness
that divides, The Lord of Light and the Lord of Darkness become opposites,
then enemies. Light stands for heaven, for love and for “enlightenment,”
dark is synonymous with evil, hell, and damnation. There is no word “endarkenment”
but if there was, it would mean something very bad! ... And because ecstatic
knowledge feels true, it produces true believers for whom knowledge itself
is final and therefore limited, perhaps the most onerous form of polarization.
So we learn to discredit our own experience and honor the separating Gods.
The dark ecstatic, then, is that part of ecstatic experience which is edited,
repressed and excluded, then relegated to the unknowable and unredeemable.
Reveling in accessing what is eschewed by others; creative artists regularly
look toward the ecstatic darkness for inspiration.... In a very real sense,
these experiences I have categorized as the dark ecstatic have the most to
teach us for they deal with what our conscious culture has thus far excluded,
what we edit from our personal and societal consciousness, what is most mysterious
and unknown. One beautiful evocation of the dark ecstatic is referred to as
night of the soul" a psychological state of profound suffering familiar
to most of us that often brings powerful knowledge. The dark ecstatic like
the continent of Antarctica conjures a frozen place, but where else are the
stars so much like diamonds and the wilderness so untouched.... The dark ecstatic
is what can’t be learned from light, from brilliance, from quiet harmonies
and from a gentle child’s voice.
To find such states in ourselves and all around us is horrible, delicious,
and profound; but all is an ego illusion, a defense against seeing the unbroken
fabric of life, for in the ecstatic moment there is no darkness or light but
a larger whole which includes it all.
## William Irwin Thompson. Imaginary Landscapes,
Part of our process of endarkenment is to pose problems that are projections
of an inappropriate geometry. People who feel that they are trapped in, scream
to be let out; people who believe that power is at the top, struggle to climb
up; they focus on only the illusionary power of a king or president and fail
to understand the chaos dynamics through which a polity behaves and through
which a cultural change of directions unfolds without benefit of a political
leader. People who think in terms of centers and peripheries imagine that
culture is restricted to institutions like the church or university, and they
fail to see the actual creative process through which art, religion, and science
reveal themselves in a civilization. Part of the process of enlightenment
or discovery is, therefore, the projection of a new geometry which reveals
the life of the phenomena in question, be it Indra's Net or the benzene ring.
## Chris Clarke. Exploring
the Inner Cosmos. (Review of The Essential David Bohm, 2003)
In the course of his exploration of the relation between matter and mind,
Bohm [Knowledge as Endarkenment, 1980] comes to see that each human
is trapped, through their cultural patterning, in a vicious circle of illusion.
Our basic assumptions lead us into conflict, conflict evokes emotion, and
the strength of the emotion seems to reinforce our basic assumptions. Yet
now "[humanity] is suddenly entering a situation where the whole idea
of this mode of life is evidently absurd." Individual intellectual activity
provides no way out of this trap. It is useless to say "‘I must
think about it to solve it’" because "thought is the problem."
Yet until one is freed from the multiplicity of these mental traps, all apparent
knowledge is "endarkenment."
## Doug Renselle. A
Review of Jeffrey Satinover's The Quantum Brain (2001), 2002
His dual phrase for our "Quantum Tsunami" is "The Quantum
Crisis". He tells us about this crisis in his Introduction. What modern
scientists call "The (French) Enlightenment" was actually an endarkenment.
Classical methods of thing-king and classical languages are impediments to
understanding quantum reality. Our crisis is to leave said endarkenment
and enter a novel (e.g., Quantonic) realm of genuine quantum understanding
and Quantum Lightings.
But in order to do so, we must first realize that quantum reality, as David
Bohm told us so many years ago, is NOT a mechanical reality! All our tools
and languages and thing-king methods, at Millennium III's commencement, are
mechanical, though. How do we rapidly evolve nearly all Earth's cultures away
from classical concepts toward novel and apparently paradoxical quantum memes?
## Kent D. Palmer. Orienteering
in a Clean Meta-system: A Spatial Metaphor Workshop Review, 2003
Still today where men seek enlightenment wise women such as Marion Woodman
instead seek the feminine counterpart of endarkenment. These two fourfolds
of the Mythopoietic inscribed in Myth and Epic of the Indo-European tradition
enter into a mysterium conjunctus to give our current metaphysical worldview
with its own nihilistic separation of aspects of Being into excrescent from
holoidal states. Within the Metaphysical era there is a conspiracy between
the nihilistic duals to hide nonduality of Primal Archetypal Wholeness. And
there is a conspiracy of the Non-dual Primal Archetypal Wholeness in its two
manifestations of the Dark and Dao to hide the inherent non-duality of the
duals themselves as they enter into yin/yang relations with each other despite
their separation and artificial radicality of opposition to each other. So
ultimately the nihilistic apparatus itself submerges into the sea of infinite
complementarities that we learn about by studying the meta-system. But this
negative background at the domain level within the fourfold of the world,
what Jung called the Quadralities in Aion reveals is manifestation of the
Sifat and nonmanifestation of Dhat or Sharia and Haqq from another perspective.
So these four schemas from General Schemas Theory are tied intimately together
by the structure of the non-duals which are socially constructed as the antidote
of the extreme and intensifying nihilism of the Western Tradition. Their nesting
is mutually elucidating and their inner coherence is mutually supportive.
And their implications for our understanding of our place in the world is
Erich Neumann. Depth Psychology and a New Ethic, 1973 (quoted by John
F. Haught. Dipolar
Theism: Psychological Considerations, 1976):
It is precisely when the dark side of life is accepted that possibilities
of new experience begin to open up -- not only in ethics but also in religion.
These possibilities run counter, it is true, to the old ethic and the old
type of religion associated with it; they have the advantage, however, that
they are in a position to combine the vitality of our new image of man with
the new and transformed image of God which is emerging....
The new ethic of appropriating, rather than casting off the "shadow side"
of human existence is in agreement with the original conception of Judaism,
according to which the Deity created light and darkness, good and evil, and
in which God and Satan were not separated from one another, but were interrelated
aspects of the numinous. This apparently primitive trait in the Jewish conception
of God implies that, side by side with the image of God the Father, God's
irrational power aspect was explicitly retained, as a matter of living experience....
Such an ambiguous ("impure") notion of God puts an end once and for all
to the naiveté of the traditional ethical conception that renders God's world
asunder into light and darkness, pure and impure, healthy and sick. The creator
of light and darkness, of the good and of the evil instinct, of health and
sickness, confronts modern man in the unity of his numinous ambivalence with
an unfathomable power, in comparison with which the orientation of the old
ethic is clearly exposed as an excessively self-assured and infantile standpoint.
As expressed by Sam Keen:
Depth psychology has presented us with the undeniable wisdom that the enemy
is constructed from denied aspects of the self. Therefore, the radical commandment
"Love your enemy as yourself" points the way toward both self-knowledge and
peace. We do, in fact, love or hate our enemies to the same degree that we
love or hate ourselves. In the image of the enemy, we will find the mirror
in which we may see our own face most clearly.
Group C: Experiential processes
In these modes there is the engagement in practice with healing processes (as
a necessary consequence of the previous group) associated with the "endarkenment"
(namely what had been repressed) as part of a larger cycle whose paradoxical
and mysterious nature becomes apparent. This group may be understood as a re-engagement
with the body -- a re-embodiment of the phenomenal body (if only for health
reasons), giving expression in practice to the quality of life for oneself,
for others, and for the entities of the environment.
Metaphorically the group might be associated in time with the period from noon
to dusk in which the perspective and ambiguity associated with the experience
of the darkness within enriches the actual quality of life -- or as in the period
of late adulthood.
Mode 7: Therapeutic processes
Here the focus is on the actual experiential processes and engagement in them.
The body is rediscovered and re-engaged. The disassociation is remedied.
This mode might be compared to the seventh of the 10
Zen ox-herding pictures entitled: Ox
Forgotten - Person Remaining
As noted earlier, with respect to the alchemical symbolism so extensively
explored by C G Jung and his successors from a depth psychology perspective
it is worth considering the relation of this mode to the first stage of
the alchemical process, the nigredo:
At the beginning is the so-called "dragon", the
chthonic spirit, the "devil" or "blackness". The nigredo,
as the initial stage, is either present as a quality of the prima materia
(or original substance), or else produced by the separation (solutio,
separatio, putrefactio) of the elements. Either way, the encounter
with "blackness" destroys the original form to produce chaos,
suffering or pain. [more]
Self-knowledge is an adventure that carries us unexpectedly
far and deep. Even a moderately comprehensive knowledge of the shadow can
cause a good deal of confusion and mental darkness, since it gives rise to
personality problems which one had never remotely imagined before. For this
reason alone we can understand why the alchemists called their nigredo
melancholia, "a black blacker than black," night, an affliction of the soul,
confusion, etc., or, more pointedly, the "black raven." For us the raven seems
only a funny allegory, but for the medieval adept it was . . . a well-known
allegory of the devil. [The Conjunction, Collected Works, vol 14, par.
As expressed by Bernard D S Butler:
In the Nigredo (black) phase, we start to become aware of
all those parts of ourselves of which we were hitherto unaware. Most of those
parts are bits we would dearly love to deny in ourselves and only see in others;
that is, they represent shadow material for us.... First, we realise that
we aren't the pure-living, decent rational person we imagined, so we become
understandably depressed. Second, because the ego represents not only our
idea of what we are, but is also bound up with our body image, we feel our
old attitudes dying, but may even feel our body itself is dying.... Many people
at this stage feel they are becoming rotten, repulsive, or loathsome, and
may often have persistent unpleasant images of death, graveyards, and dismemberment.
What is actually happening of course is that the previous neatly organised
personality is undergoing a process of breaking down, and we perceive that
process as if it were happening to our body, not just to our ego. If this
confusion between body and psyche persists, images come of being reduced to
a bare skeleton, which is then ground to dust, which is then cast to the winds.
That gives a measure of how completely the old personality has to be dismantled
before its new integrated version can form in its place. [more]
## Michael A. Harvey. The
Hazards of Empathy: Vicarious Trauma of Interpreters for the Deaf
A Jungian analyst, Jean Shinoda Bolen once led a group of women into an underground
cavern. They were told to sit still for hours without light or discussion.
Upon returning to the "light," nobody reported enjoying the experience
of darkness; everyone experienced degrees of terror. But they all reported
benefiting tremendously from the ordeal. The group coined the term "endarkenment"
to describe the archetypal wisdom that comes with going into the darkness
and coming back again.
Mode 8: Spiritual quest: enlightenment through endarkenment
Here the capacity to learn through the dark is engaged deliberately (through
variants of the Via Negativa) or through such experiences as the "dark
night of the soul".
This mode might be compared to the eighth of the 10
Zen ox-herding pictures entitled: Person
and Ox Both Forgotten
Again, in terms of the alchemical symbolism explored by C G Jung from a depth
psychology perspective, this mode may be considered in relation to the second
stage of the alchemical process, the albedo:
In alchemical language, matter suffers until the nigredo
disappears and a new day dawns. The material slowly starts coming back to
life. The albedo, the second stage, was said to result from the washing
(ablutio, baptisma) of the products of this nigredo. Psychologically,
it represents the later stages of shadow integration within the intimacy of
the analytic "retort" -- the process of washing one's dirty linen
in public; it being in the gross matter or "shadow" of our worldly
affairs where contamination has taken place. [more]
## Rabbi Fern Feldman. Endarkenment as a
Spiritual Practice (Chevruta)
## Yossi Chajes. Jewish Religiosity and the
Quest for Endarkenment
The "Quest for Endarkenment" session is a chance to look at how
Jewish spiritual ideas may be very different from the religious ideals of
other spiritual traditions most of which seek "enlightenment" in
one way or another. It's meant to be something of a challenge to the Jewish-Buddhist
## The Jews of the Near East (the Donmeh)
who followed Sabbatai Zevi into Islam in 1666, as part of the Sabbatean
Movement, secretly continuing to practice Jewish rituals, instituted one
called "The Darkening of the Light."
## Mantak Chia. Darkness
Technology: Darkness Techniques for Enlightenment. Universal Tao Center,
All spiritual traditions have used Dark Room techniques in the pursuit of
enlightenment. In Europe, the dark room often appeared in underground form
as a network of tunnels, in Egypt as the Pyramids, in Rome as the catacombs,
and by the Essenes, near the Dead Sea in Israel, as caves. In the Taoist tradition
caves have been used throughout the ages for higher level practices. In the
Tao, the cave, the Immortal Mountain, the Wu San, represents the Perfect Inner
Alchemy Chamber. Meditating and fasting in the cave is the final journey of
spiritual work. The caves are the Earth Mother and its energy lines. Like
the hollowing bones, caves contain the earliest information of life stored
inside the Earth. Caves contain the vital essence of the Earth Power. The
Tao says: "When you go into the dark and this becomes total, the darkness
soon turns into light."
## Harbor Unitarian Universalist Congregation.
Negativa: Befriending Darkness, 30 January 2005 (Commentary on Matthew
Fox, Original Blessing):
Letting go of busyness is a true challenge for many of us. Fox coins an arresting
term in the following quotation: "If it is true that the ground of the
soul is dark, then the human race cannot continue to afford to flee the dark-ness
and to embrace an Enlightenment that does not include an Endarken-ment."...
Western Civilization has embraced the Enlightenment for the last several hundred
years. While it brought many blessings to our society, it also presents challenges.
Let us allow the idea of Endarkenment to mellow in our minds, to stir our
hearts, to inform our actions, and to bring balance into our living.
## Peter Collins (Secrets
of the Night) clarifies:
Though the "Dark Night of the Soul" is often used in a more loosely defined
sense, it is most properly associated with this stage which involves the intense
erosion of the deepest conceptual structures. In its extreme form this is
an exceptionally harrowing experience, which involves a kind of obscure anguish
and psychological distress with no real parallel in other experiences. Due
to the negation of all conscious phenomena one must learn to live entirely
by faith. (This is interior illumination - concealed as darkness - which incubates
for a long time in the spiritualized unconscious).
Collins usefully distinguishes five phases of the experience -- relating these
to the quadrant schema of Ken Wilber (An
Integral Theory of Consciousness, 1997). He also offers a formalization
in the light of his interest in holistic mathematics. He then explores at some
length a very interesting comparison -- in terms of "remarkable unrecognized
structural characteristics" -- between the "Dark Night" of psycho-spiritual
development and the Black Hole of Physics. He argues that in the "Dark Night"
... the structures of the personality collapse under a massive internal spiritual
gravitational pull. No light can escape and this explains the prolonged darkness
and the considerable difficulty with conscious communication. Also additional
psychic matter in one's immediate experience, is continually sucked inwards.
Anyone, who has gone through this stage, will recognize the powerful one-way
direction of experience, whereby it seems as if the whole world is drawn under
this intense "great attractor" inside one's psyche. Not surprisingly this
creates an enormous feeling of internal psychological congestion.
Kingsley (Reality, The Golden
Sufi Center, 2003), in an extensive description of a mystical tradition
at the roots of western culture, focuses on the role of Parmenides, conventionally
understood as the founder of western logic (in the light of much studied poem
of his), notes the following:
In short, the Daughters of the Sun have come along to fetch him from the
world of the living and take him right back to where they belong. This is
no journey from confusion to clarity; from darkness to light. On the contrary,
the journey Parmenides is describing is exactly the opposite. He is travelling
straight into the ultimate night that no human being could possibly survive
without divine protection. He is being taken to the heart of the underworld,
the world of the dead...
There was a specific and established technique among various groups of people
fo rmaking the journey to the world of the dead, for dying before you died.
It involved isolating yourself in a dark place, lying down in complete stillness,
staying motionless for hours or days. First the body would go silent, then
eventually the mind. And this stillness is what gave access to another world,
a world of utter paradox, to a totally different state of awareness.... And
there was a name that the Greeks, and then the Romans, gave to this technique.
They called it incubation.
## Ray Flowers (Incubation:
Within 2 Other Withins. San Graal
School of Sacred Geometry, 2002) provides further insight into the relation
between incubation and darkness, citing the biblical reference "And there
contained in the darkness is the Light, and the darkness knoweth it not."
The idea that Consciousness attains Self Awareness by going inside to see
what is outside is fundamental in approaching incubation. The Flower of Life
Geometries speak metaphorically of how mitosis and incubation occur, and suggest
great possibilities of what is inside and ultimately outside the Egg.
The geometric approach suggests a fruitful association between "incubation"
and "cube", namely the need to go through a cubically contrained space,
understood as darkness, in order for birth to occur into spaces characterized
by more complex geometries. Elsewhere Flowers also sees the cube as the ultimate
magic container: "It is The Box and the Incubator in which breeds the Putrefacation
of the seed of First Light, the concept by which we believe in death and resurrection".
There is a certain irony in the current widespread use of "incubator"
to refer to a business-research zone in which innovation is facilitated -- when
the architecture in such zones is typically cubic. More generally it might be
argued that the cubic pattern, characteristic of so much of modern architectural
and conceptual organization, could be understood as a place of darkness and
endarkenment through which new modes of understanding will
be born -- represented metaphorically by more complex cognitive geometries.
In this light modern civilization, and its associated thinking patterns, could
be understood as the cubification of the environment (cf Charles de Bovelles
on the cubification of the sphere) -- justifying its description as a process
of endarkenment. Given the mindsets typical of innovation incubators,
feminists might also explore the association with the "incubus"
of European folklore: a male demon (or evil spirit) who visits women in their
sleep to lie with them in ghostly sexual intercourse. The term derives from
the Latin for nightmare -- a tempting link to the first line of the Orphic poem
so extensively explored by Peter Kingsley
(cf The source of light
is at home in the darkness, 2003) in his studies of incubation (In
the Dark Places of Wisdom, 1999):
The mares that carry me as far as longing can reach rode on, once they had
come and fetched me onto the legendary road of the divinity that carries the
man who knows through the vast and dark unknown.
### Starhawk. (Dreaming
the Dark: magic, sex, and politics. Beacon Press, 1997, 15th ed.)
Mode 9: Embracing the dark
This is the mode most characteristic of nature religions. It is also the mode
most readily labelled as failing to distinguish appropriately the light from
the dark -- notably when its proponents indeed fail to do so, and embrace the
dark to the exclusion of the light. Just as there is a challenge associated
with "wallowing in the light", there is a corresponding challenge
with "wallowing in the dark". However it is this mode that has the
best articulation of the experiential relation to both light and dark as they
characterize the gestalt of circadian rhythms and the rhythms of human relationships.
This mode might be compared to the ninth of the 10
Zen ox-herding pictures entitled: Returning
to the Source
Again, in terms of the alchemical symbolism explored by C G Jung from a depth
psychology perspective, this mode may be considered in relation to the third
stage of the alchemical process, the rubedo:
To make the opus come alive into a fully human mode of existence
it must have "blood", or what the alchemists call the rubedo
or "reddness" of life. In this final stage, the white becomes united
with red through the raising of the heat in the fire. The white is associated
with the Queen and the red with the King, who now arise out of the mercurial,
tranformative "waters" of the unconscious to perform their coniunctio
oppositorum, the union of all opposites as symbolised by the conjunction
of the archetypal masculine and feminine in the "chymical marriage",
the hieros gamos.
The poet John Keats (Negative
Capability, 21 December 1817) is renowned for recognition of the essence
of maturity in terms of "negative capability". This is the capacity of
"being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching
after fact and reason".
## Rani. Enlightenment,
before, during and after. Sannyas News
Enlightenment comes to life when we embrace our endarkenment
in the very same way. We realize deeply that our human reality will always
be here, that pain will always be here, that suffering is an integral part
of human life. Either we suffer unconsciously or we do it consciously. We
realize that the freedom we thought we had found in the bliss and joy of the
Enlightenment high is not the real freedom at all. It is much deeper. It is
truly accepting what IS.
## Anna. Nurturing
Magic: Restoring the concept of 'Black' to its rightful place.
I used to go around on the workshop circuit years ago, when there was even
more talk about enlightenment and the glory of white and the light and people
wanting to get in touch with their higher selves and all that, then there
is now. I had fun offering some workshops in 'endarkenment' and 'consciousness
lowering'. It's not that I think there is anything wrong with 'white' and
'enlightenment', but I felt that the old black womb needed someone to speak
kindly about her. I feel still deeply that the colour and concept of 'Black'
needs reclaiming by all of us as an essential complement of 'White'. Without
the two of them being equally valued, we can never achieve balance and harmony
within ourselves or society.
## Bonnie Hoag. Chiaroscuro: In
Defense of Darkness (extract from Snake Medicine, 2001)
Imagine, now, with me, how our overall health could improve if we could
release our “addiction” to light. Imagine how the land could rest
again at night, without the creeping light of cities, shopping malls, prisons.
Imagine the possible implications of welcoming the darkness, of dwelling in
it, returning to a rhythm which allows night, and darkness. I would feel safer
in a world that does not sanctify light above darkness. The production of
electricity, our main defense against the dark and fear, is costly in many
ways. Imagine the desirable consequences for our air, water and land if we
did not fear the dark but learned to work with it and to sleep and dream when
the earth and sky called us to do so.
We seek enlightenment. When will we also seek endarkenment? Darkness is the
dreamtime, whether at night cozy in our beds or when entering the journey,
the alpha state of what is called non-ordinary reality. Darkness is what was
feared in women, the very womb as replicated in the tradition of the sweat
lodge, and in the moon, coming and going through its phases, dropping us sometimes
into total darkness. In many cultures the moon is symbolic of woman. Is it
the darkness in woman that has led to her oppression around the earth? Is
it something so primal in us as fearing the dark mystery, the potential of
## Hyun Kyung. ZH
Interviews. Zion's Herald, September/October 2003:
Western logocentric enlightenment was very one-sided in its development of
human life. It valued only light -- light skin, white people, white people’s
science, white people’s philosophy. I think in order to really heal
the world we need the “wisdom of darkness.” This can be the Third
World, dark people, women, or our “shadows,” to use Carl Jung’s
term -- all the things we do not want to confront within ourselves, so
we project them onto others and call them terrorists. So, I think that we
need “endarkenment” for awhile, not enlightenment,
to heal the world.
## Lauren Raine. Death
- Rebirth Oracle Painting
In the beliefs of the pagan peoples of early Europe, lives revolved around
the wheel of the year, the spiral dance of the natural world. Everything
arose from the Earth, from Mater Dea (or matter) and eventually returned
to the dark womb of the threefold Goddess. Agrarian people knew that everything
must die beneath the snows of winter in order to be reborn in the spring.
This was the original reason the dead were buried in the ground. They were
thus returned to the generative womb of the Earth. Halloween, traditionally
the end of the agrarian year, comes at the time of the last harvest and
the first frost, and was once called "The Witch’s New Year".
In Germany, this last month belonged to the Goddess Hell or Hella, Goddess
of the underworld. In Mexico, November 1st is still celebrated as "the
Day of the Dead"
- a time when the veils between this world and the other worlds are thin,
a time to honor the ancestors.
Today we tend to be "afraid of the dark". We speak of "enlightenment"
- but there is another way of knowing, another kind of wisdom, that might
be called "endarkenment". This is the journey into night, into formlessness:
into the Great mystery from which everything arises, passes away, and holds
the promise of rebirth.
## Deborah Hoffman-Wade. Endarkenment:
The Celebration of Being with the Dark, 2004
Mystery and Reflection: Endarkenment is the mystery of
inner reflection and renewal. This is the time we spend becoming one with
our shadow. Again we equate our shadow sides as those parts of us we keep
hidden or are afraid of. Instead I look to find those parts of my self that
are essential for the development of my inner self. Learning to balance the
things that have not been part of my life which could contribute to my development
is part of inner reflection.
Mystery is unclear. Mystery is just that, unexplainable, obscure, ambiguous,
vague, and deeply spiritual. We, as a people, are constantly trying to solve
the mystery, make clear the unclear and explain every detail. Endarkenment
revels in the mystery. In contemplation of the sweetness of not ever knowing,
endarkenment is celebration. It is taking some things on faith. It is resting
in the presence of not knowing. It is mystery. It is the time for endarkenment.
(Re-formed Congregation of the Goddess, International, 2004)
## Maze. Kinesthetic
Enlightenment is the attainment of a pure Yang energy. The
enlightened direct what they are doing, and know where they are going, and
how to get there. The enlightened usually arrive where they are Heading. The
energy is one of potential, of movement, of creativity. It is the active force
in the matrix. Endarkenment is the attainment of a pure Yin energy.
The endarkened finds something to do, and knows how to [literally] ride the
flows of energy in the matrix. There is a powerful intuition attainable with
endarkenment. The energy is one of acceptance, of being moved, of inspiration.
It is the passive force in the matrix.
## Connie Zwieg and Jeremiah Abrams (Eds) Meeting
the Shadow, 1991
Like Beauty embracing the Beast, our beauty is deepened as our beastliness
is honored. The poet Rainer Maria Rilke realized this when he said he feared
that if his devil's left him, his angels would take flight as well.
## F. David Peat. Art
and the Environment in Britain
The English artist Anish Kapoor, whose extremely powerful work also has roots
in sacred Hindu art, is particularly concerned with the creation of sacred
spaces. His work involves powerful forms, voids to be inhabited by energies
and powers, dark sculptural absences in which the mind can reach "endarkenment".
His concern is with the dualities of the universe, yoni and lingam, light
and dark, presence and absence, the power for creation held by Kali, Goddess
Group D: Beyond fixed distinctions
In this mode the polarity between enlightenment and endarkenment is finally
transcended experientially in such a way as to give meaning to the range of
modes as an ecxpression of that understanding -- whether through endarkenment
or enlightenment. This group may be understood as a re-embodiment of the world,
taking responsibility for the quality of the environment as one actually experiences
and engenders it.
Metaphorically the group might be associated in time with the period from dusk
to midnight, intgerweaving light and darkness meaningfully without attachment
to either -- as in one's elder years.
Mode 10: Enaction: "Laying down a path in walking"
This mode is closely associated with the first. However the ignorance of the
first here takes a form of conscious "unknowing". This may be exemplified
by so-called "crazy wisdom" or the themes of enactivism
(as used by Bateson, Maturana,
Rosch, Thomson, and Varela to label
their theories). It is exemplified by the much cited-verse of T.S. Eliot's Little
Gidding (the last of the Four Quartets):
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was in the beginning...
This mode might be compared to the tenth of the 10
Zen ox-herding pictures entitled: Entering
the Marketplace with Arms Hanging Loose. The understanding that the unknowing
of the transcendent darkness is actually the true knowing of the transcendent
truth has been known to many mystics, notably of the West.
Again, in terms of the alchemical symbolism explored by C G Jung from a depth
psychology perspective, this mode may be considered in relation to the outcome
of the third stage of the alchemical process associated with the previous mode:
This results in the grand climax, the achievement of the goal -- the lapis
philosophorum, the hermaphrodite embodying the united King and Queen.
This is the so-called "third thing", the "Rebis", the
phenomenon of the union of love and soul itself, the soul that is engendered
through love - this "divine birth" symbolising a re-awakening of
psychological reality, a new ruling consciousness. [more]
## Jules. Locked
into fear, we hate, not recognizing that the thing we hates is also us.
There is no answer to the question what is enlightenment and there is no
answer either to the question of what is darkness. "Endarkenness"
we could say. For both states of consciousness, enlightenment and endarkenness,
are just expressions of the one mind that exists in all of us and what we
get to do is to see what is the true mind of God in all cases and that of
course we call enlightenment, and what is its function and its description
is the whole of this book. And what is endarkenment is everything else.
## Giuliano Di Bernardo. Enlightenment
from the Ritual. Freemasonry Today
The masonic path may therefore be viewed as an ascending ( raising ) staircase
of Light, with seven steps. The first light is the light man receives with
initiation, in which the visible darkness is overcome, while the last is the
light preceding the mystic union with God, when non-visible darkness is reached.
The seven steps can be described as : perception, examination, reflection,
knowledge, understanding, wisdom and truth.
When the mason achieves mystic union with God ( in an allegorical sense ),
the light-darkness duality ( the chequered floor ) disappears. The union can
no longer be described. The Great Architecte of the Universe becomes the En
Sof of the Cabalist: the unknowable, alogical Depth which appears to
man's unenlightened mind as an impenetrable darkness. Fiat lux! Let
there be light!
HarshaSatsangh. Nonduality Salon Highlights, #1090, 31 May 2002
I don't use the word enlightened anymore; it's a buzz word, it's a word which
is a very, very tricky one, and I don't say I'm enlightened and you're endarkened.
I do not say that. In fact, I don't feel that way. I don't feel myself to
be enlightened in a world of endarkened people. I'm not familiar with the
reasons why certain Teachers deny their capacity. For example, Tenzin Gyatso
prefers to be referred to as a "simple monk" (hahaha). Perhaps it's
a matter of finessing the students' entry onto the spiritual path. One result
of denying one's enlightenment to would be students is to remove the "illusory"
distance between enlightenment and endarkenment.
## Sharon G. Mijares. Message.
A Lesson to Learn, 9 January 2005
One famous Zen quotation is: "Before enlightenment: chopping wood, carrying
water. After enlightenment: chopping wood, carrying water." The same
could be said for endarkenment, the negative experiences
States of Jhana (Samatha Meditation). Dhamma collections from Buddhism
Lastly, the meditation practices that the Buddha and other enlightened persons
practiced after the enlightenment. After their liberation through voidness
(Sunnata-vimokkha), they had no more truths to be liberated so they concentrated
on the void (Sunnata-samadhi) as a kind of practices. This may be similar,
as saying that in meditation, there is only reality and no experience of (more)
truths. Emptiness is absolutely emptiness not because of there is nothing
but there are no human’s words in any dictionary to represent the emptiness
and condition of this level. Only the person who attains this level will understand.
There is a kind of emptiness but it is from Moha Samadhi (Fake and not Right
Meditation). This kind of practice should be avoided because it starts from
no concentration or concentration on nothing then ends at no awareness. It
likes day dreaming with blank mind that gains nothing. It may be called the
process of endarkenment.
## John Sherman, I
Know Nothing At All. River Ganga Foundation, Public Meeting, 8 June
When I considered enlightenment, I thought maybe enlightenment might be something
different. It sounds like something different. You know, realization doesn't
seem to have a counterpart: unrealization... Enlightenment does seem to have
a counterpart: endarkenment, ignorance, or something of this
nature.... It seems that these experiences of beauty, and peace, and clarity,
and connection, and oneness come unbidden, not as the result of anything whatsoever
I can do... .So I gave up on "enlightenment". And I advise you to
do the same.... But in any event, the outcome of all of my investigations
of a spiritual nature is that I don't know anything at all. So far as I can
tell, there is nothing at all to be known.
There is another way of putting this, which is "I am already radiant,
full, clear consciousness" and therefore, anything that I do to try to
attain that is a moving away from that. Anything I do to try to seek
knowledge and understanding of my identity, my being, is nothing more than
suffering itself. But it seems somehow simpler to say that there
is nothing to be known. There is nothing to do. If there is nothing to
be known, and there is nothing to be gotten... the only thing standing between
you and self-realization is the belief that you are not already fully realized,
just as you are. So, if this is in fact the case, then there is nothing
to be done.
## The Sunyatayana
Of Samantabhadra: The Way of Voidness of the Primordial Ultimateless
The suchness which is written here has never really been written, nor has
it ever needed to be written, spoken, known or thought of. Suchness is more
immanent than the most primordial, beyond all implications of absolute ultimate
transcendence, yet it is unexceptionally ordinary. Suchness is such that high
indifference and complete absorption are equally void. Suchness is such that
oneness and allness are equally void. Suchness is such that multiplicity,
duality and nonduality are equally void. Suchness is such that nothing is
knowledge or ignorance, consciousness or unconsciousness. Suchness is such
that there is no one to be and not be. Suchness is such that enlightenment,
endarkenment, dreaming and awake are equally void.
## Gregory of Nyssa (Life of Moses,
1978), as quoted by Andrew Louth (The Origins of the Christian Mystical
Tradition, 1983) with reference to the "divine darkness" of Christianity
as the final stage of the soul's journey, notes:
The progress is a progress from light to deeper and deeper darkness. The
initial stage is the removal of the darkness (skotos) of error by
the light of the truth. But, from then on, the farther the soul progresses
the deeper is the darkness into which it enters, until eventually the soul
is cut off from all that can be grasped by sense and reason....
It thus leaves all surface appearances, not only those that can be grasped
by the senses but also those which the mind itself seems to see, and it keeps
on going deeper until by the operation of the spirit it penetrates the invisible
andthe incomprehensible, and it is there that is sees God. The true vision
and the true knowledge of what we seek consists precisely in not seeing ,
in an awareness that our goal transcends all knowledge and is everywhere cut
off from us by the darkness of incomprehensibility. Thus that profound evangelist,
John, who penetrated into this luminous darkness, tells us that "no man
hath seen God at any tine" (John 1:18), gteaching us by this
negation that no man -- indeed no created intellect -- can attain a knowledge
## A H Almaas (The Inner Journey Home; soul's
realization of the unity of reality. Shambhala, 2004) considers that the
concept of enlightenment and liberation has become the focus of the Eastern
traditions, while that of union and annihilation in God has become that of the
Western -- namely going from knowing to the darkness of unknowing. Unknowing
is then merging with the divine darkness, while enligtenment is the clarity
and light beyond mind. He notes:
It is interesting that the more we recognize the indeterminacy of the absolute,
the deeper is its darkness, and the more luminous. We go further into the
unfathomable depths as we accpet its mysteriousness. Such darkness is pure
bliss and realization, for even though it is the absence of all being and
knowing, it is enlightenment. Its darkness is luminous and brilliant; it is
the spiritual midnight sun. This darkness bathes us, caresses us, melts us,
dissolves us, annihilates us, until we are all gone; there remains only the
majesty of the luminous crystal night. We realize then that this darkness
of being and knowledge is God's knowledge of Himself. It is not normal knowledge,
it is pure basic knowledge before any discrimination, before any conceptualization.
It is nonconceptual knowledge, which is not what we ordinarily call knowledge.
Thus the indeterminacy of the absolute is the same as the divine darkness,
the inscrutable nature of the divine, the ultimate essence of Being.
## Henry Corbin (The Man of Light in Iranian
Sufism, 1971) quotes a Persian Sufi, Lahiji:
I saw myself present in a world of light. Mountains and deserts were iridescent
with lights of all colours... I was experiencing a consummate nostalgia for
them; I was as though stricken with madness and snatched out of myself by
the violence of the intimate emotion and feeling of the presence. Suddenly
I saw that the black light was invading the entire universe. Heaven and Earth
and everything that was there had wholly become black and, behold, I was totally
absorbed in this light, losing consciousness. Then I came back to myself.
## Lee Rosenthal. Getting
Up By the Same Ground By Which We Fall. Vista View Newsletter Online,
Buddha's enlightenment must be preceded by "endarkenment." The
Law of Change must be seen within the context of our "mind." Once
done, we cannot but help to see our deludedness. The ground by which we fall
is the same ground by which stand.
This thing of darkness I acknowlege mine. There is nothing more confining
than the prison we don't know we are in. William Shakespeare
The real meaning of enlightenment is to gaze with undimmed eyes on
all darkness. Nikos Kazantzakis
Abdalhaqq Bewley. The Darkness of the Enlightenment [text]
Peter Collins. Secrets of the Night, 2005 [text]
Charles Hartshorne. The Divine Relativity. Yale University Press,
Thorkild Jacobsen. Treasures of Darkness. Yale University Press, 1976
- Being Positive Avoiding Negativity: management challenge -- positive vs
negative, 2005 [text]
- Varieties of Rebirth: distinguishing ways of being "born again", 2004 [text]
- En-minding the Extended Body: Enactive engagement in conceptual shapeshifting
and deep ecology, 2003 [text]
- Authentic Grokking: Emergence of Homo conjugens, 2003 [text]
- Global Strategic Implications of the Unsaid: from myth-making towards a
wisdom society, 2003 [text]
- Psychology of Sustainability: Embodying cyclic environmental processes,
- The "Dark Riders" of Social Change: a challenge for any Fellowship
of the Ring, 2002 [text]
- Discovering richer patterns of comprehension to reframe polarization, 1998
Peter Kingsley. In the Dark Places of Wisdom. GoldenSufi Press, 1999 [review]
Thomas J. McFarlane. Quantum Physics, Depth Psychology, and Beyond, 2000 [text]
Erich Neumann. Depth Psychology and a New Ethic. Harper Torchbooks. New York:
Harper and Row, 1973.
Royal Roussel. The metaphysics of Darkness: a study in the unity and development
of Conras's fiction. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1971
Anne Williams. Art of Darkness: A Poetics of Gothic, University of Chicago
Press, 1995 [summary]
Connie Zweig and Jeremiah Abrams (Eds). Meeting the Shadow: The Hidden Power
of the Dark Side of Human Nature. Los Angeles, CA: Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc.,