Lecture 9 19 January 1940
Last time we talked about the first part of the “Fundamentum,” and we’ll continue with that today.
You will recall that the main idea of the first sentence of the “Fundamentum” is expressed through the “Creatus est homo”.
The second sentence then continues, Reliqua vero supra terram sita, creata sunt hominis ipsius causa381
(The other things on the face of the earth are created for human beings)
From this sentence it becomes clear that in this view, not only is man something
that has been created rather than simply come about, but so are all other creatures and things that populate the world and are found on earth.
This statement can thus be extended to apply to the whole known universe— that things are not simply stumbled upon because they have come into being, but that they exist for a specific purpose.
Namely, they are there to serve, to serve mankind. In this way, man is granted central significance in the Creation: the human being is the pinnacle, as it were, the goal of the Creation, the reason for which all things were created.
Men are thus granted an exalted position here which they other wise, for example from the scienti1c standpoint, do not have at all.
From the standpoint of the natu ral sciences we can say that every thing has come into being, it exists.
It is certainly not to be understood that there should be any kind of purpose behind it, nor that it is somehow arranged around mankind.
We laugh at the old view, saying scornfully that one might just as well say how wonderful it is that there is a river next to every town, what a wonderful job the Creator did.
Of course it is easy to laugh at an idea like the “Creatus est homo.”
It’s always easy to mock something, but real understanding is rather more difcult.
We need not necessarily accept that man was created in the literal senfise and that the other things were created
for our benefit or to serve us.
Rather, this statement describes a psychological attitude, an as- if: as if man was created, as if the things on earth served us, although no claim is made about the essence of the objects per se. I’m just putting that out there for re4ection.
Now, supposedly all creatures are there to serve men, for a specific purpose.
All things are created, says Ignatius, ut eum ad 1nem creationis suae prosequendum iuvent[.]382 (in order to help them pursue the end for which they are created.)
That is, not in order to make their earthly existence possible, to ensure they have meat and bread and wine, and so on, but in order that they achieve the purpose for which they have been created.
And for what kind of purpose is man created according to this view?
We already heard the answer in the first sentence: namely, “ut Dominum Deum suum laudet”— to praise God and revere him: in order, that is, ultimately to reach the royal court and there to serve the king.
Of course, in a certain sense this is to be understood symbolically.
We therefore need to get into the spirit a little and picture how someone such as Ignatius would have imagined this royal
We have a lot of material from the Middle Ages to help us.
Art history gives us a lot of hints about medieval fantasies of the afterlife— because the royal court is the heavenly kingdom of God or the heavenly Jerusalem, where the Rex gloriae, the triumphant Christ, is enthroned, with the Trinity at the center, in place of the king.
There are countless such paintings, I’m sure you’ve seen some of them.
A particularly impressive depiction is found in the “Paradiso” part of Dante’s Divine Comedy. In the thirty-first and thirty- third cantos, there is a symbol that expresses this royal court, this special royal court of the Regina caeli, the Mother of Grace—it is the symbol of the white rose.383
In Dante’s vision, the angels and champions of God, the blood witnesses of Christ, the Church fathers, the saints, and so on arrange themselves as it were to form a wreath, and they form this heavenly flower in the center of which Dante finally also sees that threecolored circle which symbolizes the Trinity.
That is the image of the royal court.
You also find it in the medieval rose win dows in churches, where you see the Rex gloriae enthroned with the four Evangelists or their symbols, where Christ is enthroned on the four pillars of the four Evangelists.
These circular images are called mandalas.
And here we encounter a curious analogy between Eastern and eastern thought: namely the image of a mystic flower that is the seat of the Godhead.
We’ve already talked about that a great deal— about the padma, which means lotus, the lotus seat of the Buddha or some other Indian Gods.
This padma has a female character. It is actually a female womb— padma is the hieratic word for that.
You find the same thing in Dante, in the thirty- third canto, verses 7–9:
In your womb was lit again that love By whose warmth, in the eternal peace, This 4ower has germinated as it is.384
And this rose also refers to the mystic rose of the thirty- first canto, where it says,
In form then as of a shining white rose, The holy army of those whom, in his blood, Christ made his spouse, made its appearance to me[.]385
Thus here the whole of the church, the ecclesia sanctorum, the community of the saints, is depicted, and in its center, in a manner of speaking in
its womb, is contained the holiest of them all, namely the Godhead:
In the profundity of the clear substance
Of the deep light, appeared to me three circles
Of three colours and equal circumference;
And the first seemed to be re4ected by the second,
As a rainbow by a rainbow, and the third
Seemed like a flame breathed equally from both.386
Such images of the goal, of the Godhead, were very likely also present in Ignatius’s mind— because they are the same images that we see over and over again, throughout the Middle Ages, right up until today.
You perhaps already know from Dante that the whole of heaven consists of a series of circles, and at the very top or the innermost, so to speak, is the white rose [Fig.(3].
This corresponds precisely to the Eastern mandala, where we also fithe lotus in this central point, surrounded by the magical circles.
Funnily enough, I recently saw a picture, a Catholic work of modern art, depicting the birth of Christ and the Christmas mystery. It shows a snowy landscape with mountains in the background and a few houses.
In the foreground, in the snow, a plant is unfurling. It has four buds, and in the middle is the calyx of the flower from which the Christ child is emerging, standing in the lotus [Fig.(4].
As far as I know, this kind of depiction is quite new.
It could possibly also be a syncretic attempt to incorporate the lotus symbolism of the East into Church iconography.
In any case, we know that this basic notion of an archetype of the finis was common throughout the Middle Ages, namely the goal of entering this royal court, of reaching this 1gure which represents the king.
Because Christ is this king, and he is so because of the mediation of the feminine, specifically of the great intercessor, the Mother of Grace, the Mater Dei.
It is as if the Rex gloriae were surrounded by the love of the Mother of Grace, so that anyone who penetrates the various circles or spheres of heaven from outside, like Dante, plunges into the first sphere, which is spinning rapidly and successively advances as far as the innermost vision.
This in turn corresponds exactly to the Eastern concept whereby the creator God— that is, Shiva—is in the center, surrounded by his female counterpart, Shakti.
Here, curiously, the central mystic conceptions of the East coincide with those of the West.
As far as I know, it is not pos si ble to prove that any direct contact took place which would enable us to say that the ancient Indian images had an in4uence on this central image in the West.
It is unlikely, because we 1nd such images not only in India and Europe, but also in the Mayan culture—to be precise, under the altar in a temple in Chichén Itzá, a second older altar was discovered, completely intact, and inside it a limestone vessel.387
In this was a wonderful rose picture, a mandala, with four snakes guarding the horizon, which was made of three thousand
This is obviously the central mystery of this temple, which is in the shape of a teocalli, a terraced pyramid.
At the deepest point in the inner sanctum is the mystery, the secret.
So, in a way it is an image of the mysterious kingdom of God, which has exactly this structure, and in the center of which is this image.
So if this is the end toward which the efforts of a person undertaking the exercitia spiritualia are directed, it is quite obvious that the exercitant is striving for approximately the same thing as an Indian Tantrist or Lamaist: namely, to reach that seat of the Buddha in the center of the mandala, which is a symbol of the âtman, of the self.
And all things are created for this purpose, that one might get there.
That means one has to regard every thing as if it only existed to enable this fruit to ripen: that is, that this self come into being and reach its place, the attainment of which is also a development pro cess of the psyche. It follows from this that all
things are created to this end, and as Meister Eckhart says,
All cereal nature means wheat,
all trea sure nature means gold,
all generation means man.388
This expresses the same idea. The consequence to be drawn from this, says Ignatius, is utendum illis vel abstinendum eatenus esse, quatenus ad prosecutionem 1nis vel conferunt vel obsunt.389
(that one must use other created things in so far as they help towards one’s end, and free oneself from them in so far as they are obstacles to one’s end.)
Thus he derives from it an ethical mode of conduct or, we could say, a philosophical mode of conduct toward the world and toward the created things.
Namely, Ignatius then says, Quapropter debemus absque differentia nos habere circa res creatas omnes (prout libertati arbitrii nostri subjectae sunt, et non prohibitae)390
(To do this we need to make ourselves indifferent to all created things, provided the matter is subject to our free choice and there is no prohibition.)
This means: Ignatius infers from this necessity that man is created for a purpose, that all things are also put at man’s disposal for this purpose, and one can only freely make use of them if one is indifferent to them, if the things actually mean nothing to one.
You could almost imagine that this is a kind of Buddhist attitude to the world.
You know already from my earlier lectures about how this attitude is cultivated:391 interest is withdrawn from the world.
The world is not just explained as mâyâ, but experienced as such, and the whole emotional relationship to the world
becomes introverted, withdrawn into the individual, in order to there experience the maturation toward this center.
This attitude in Ignatius, however, is not Buddhist, but more like a Stoic one: namely, nihil datur.392
One should not let oneself be impressed by anything, but should ensure one maintains indifference, aequanimitas,393 equanimity.
Ignatius also says, and we know from this that he didn’t mean it in the Buddhist sense, that ex omnibus ea demum, quae ad 1nem ducunt, eligere ac desiderare.394
(We should desire and choose only what helps us more towards the end for which we are created.)
This is of course not a Buddhist attitude, as this attitude favors certain things and rejects others; certain things or people are latched onto because they are necessary to achieve the goal. In the Buddhist attitude, on the other hand, nothing is necessary because all is illusion, mâyâ.
We have now 1nished our preliminary examination of the “Fundamentum.”
Next we come to the actual Jesuit meditation on the “Fundamentum” as it is done in the exercises, and which Przywara describes very thoroughly in his book Deus semper maior.395
He also starts with the “Creatus est homo,” that is, more precisely, with the “homo,” and poses the question, “What is the human being?”
In the meditations, as you saw when we looked at the “Anima Christi,” almost every word is examined in great detail.
I would like to give you some examples here to show how Przywara proceeds: he already stops at “homo.”
He says that man is a union of matter and spirit, actually composed of polar opposites.396
Man is in a certain sense, as Przywara says, “the body become spirit,”397 and in order that body can become spirit, the spirit must descend into the matter.
Man is therefore also in a certain sense the “incarnation of the spirit.”398
We can’t just unthinkingly adopt this view wholesale. We have to ask ourselves, “Can we accept it? What does it mean: the body becoming spirit?
Is it something we can experience? Can we see anywhere a body that has become spirit?”
Yes, in the dogmatic tradition of the Church it is of course the case, because the corpus Christi has become spirit, the corpus Christi
has been transfigured, has become the corpus glori!cationis. In the same way Mary’s body— this view is not dogma, but is sanctioned by the Church—was directly received into heaven as corpus glori!cationis.
She is the only mortal, so to speak, to have this happen.399 The roots of this notion go back a very long way in the Church.
A notion such as Przywara’s naturally refers to this.
But if one does not share this point of view, one has to ask oneself the question, “Is there a psychological experience that would somehow make this notion seem possible to us?
Is there an experience that might underpin these assertions?”
And I have to say, I could not demonstrate anything, directly, that would make such a notion seem possible somehow.
I’m not talking about whether a body could actually transform directly into spirit, but about whether there is any kind of psychological occurrence or experience about which one could say, “It feels like that,” as if a body had become spirit.
True, we might say about a person that he has become very “vergeistigt,” overly spiritual or intellectual.400 But we don’t mean his body.
He only looks like that, a it pale and emaciated, and terribly interesting, but we don’t mean it literally.
So it’s not that kind of experience.
However, something we do know, in a quite quotidian and immediate way, is that man represents not the body becoming spirit [Geistwerdung], but a coming to consciousness [Bewusstwerdung] of the body: the person becomes conscious of the body.
We know from medical experience that there are very many people who are not aware of their bodies, or only to a limited extent.
They have no idea that they have some disease or physical ailment, or they do not even know what they look like.
Those are of course pathological cases, but there are people401 who have to see their face in the mirror before they can speak, or who can completely forget about themselves physically, which can lead to serious health problems—they don’t notice they’re cold, for example.
Or they are hungry but don’t realize and think it’s a psychological problem.
Or they have a terribly unhealthy lifestyle and don’t realize because they don’t care about such things.
So it is not to be taken for granted that a person is aware of their body.
These unusual people have never properly experienced their body in reality. They only know in theory that they have a body.
So when I become aware of my body to an extent, I translate the physical fact of the body into a mental experience.
I have an image of my body. Gymnastics teachers will con1rm that there are many people who have no idea about their musculature, or how they actually breathe.402
And yet these are very important functions.
Of course every one knows that they breathe, but they don’t know how wrongly they are doing it.
They don’t know that they’re only breathing up here.
Others know that. You can also see it in their posture. In the same way, many muscle groups are completely ungraspable
These people don’t know how to innervate them.
But that is by no means spiritualization [Vergeistigung]; here we encounter a very dangerous misunderstanding: namely, calling this process of conscious of the body Geistwerdung— “becoming spirit or mind.”
We think, in other words, that consciousness is the spirit, or we think that a conscious function, the intellect, for example, is the mind. Not a bit of it. Spirit, or mind, is something quite dif fer ent.
And we have indiscriminately adopted the three- part division of old: mind, soul, and body.404
The soul is in the middle and does something or other here; the mind is what happens up here; the body is the raw material.
Up there is your mind, as if consciousness were mind or spirit.
I would thus initially quite cautiously say that man is not the body become spirit, but that awareness of the body means that a person knows who they are, how they are made, what they are called. No animal knows that.
A dog does not know that it is a dog, just as the stars do not know their names. Their names were thought up by astronomers.
And vice versa: the assertion that man is also an incarnation of the spirit is inaccurate as well. It’s true that consciousness extends into the body and can have physical effects, but only to a very limited degree.
There is a whole range of bodily functions that are never, under no circumstances, reached by consciousness.
So only limited credence is to be given to this assertion.
I shan’t go further into this problem of spirit and matter for now, but will continue following Przywara’s contemplations.
He now says that the two intersecting directions of spirit and matter cause a con4ict, and refers to Galatians 5:17: “For the 4esh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would”405
The ancient opposition between pneuma and sarx.
He speaks of the “fall of the spirit into the chaos of the body.”406
He says the body should become spirit, and one asks oneself, whether in the end the spirit should also be body.
He continues and says that the spirit rebels against the body.
He even mentions an “uprising of the pure spirit against the humility of being bound to flesh,”407 as if the spirit were suffering from a degree of hubris or arrogance and would not entertain the presence of the physical matter.
He now actually switches to the antithesis: namely, whether the body also becomes spirit, and says that the matter of the body becomes God.
It achieves divinity, or already has it, because in the body divinity appears as matter, so that through these contemplations the antithesis is actually canceled out to a large degree.
Now of course we have to ask ourselves again: does this polarity somehow exist in real ity? Can we demonstrate it in psychological experience?
Actually, this con4ict does exist, between what we call mind or spirit, and what we call body.
That is a long- known fact. There is no moral conflict where we cannot prove it; but whether the pairs of opposites in this confl4ict can be called spirit and matter is another question.
We cannot, that is, directly experience spirit or mind. Initially it is simply the pro cess of becoming conscious.
The body is a mental something, nor can we experience matter directly, but would have to 1rst ask modern physicists what matter actually is.
We don’t actually precisely know.
You can read in the newspapers that matter consists of in1nite mathematical formulas, which are therefore extremely abstract and dif1cult to imagine.
Matter has disappeared into the realm of the inconceivable for us. It is no longer the density or weight of the corpus.
That is a naive, antiquated view. Matter is something toto caelo unknown. We can only get an approximate idea of it.
We have no idea whether modern physics has already progressed far enough to be able to make even an approximate assertion about the essence of matter.
And of course, the same is true of that which we call spirit or mind.
It is de1nitely not what we call intellect or consciousness. Even the word “spirit” doesn’t fully express it.
We will come to what it actually means in a moment.
We call something mental or spiritual when a psychological content has a certain quality that we designate as coming from the mind.
In the same way, we call a certain quality of psychological experience material or physical if it has its origins in the body.
What we imagine when we think of body or matter, and what we directly experience, is a psychic image.
We only experience psychic images.408
We have no direct experience of the things; that’s why we need all kinds of tools to be able to establish to some extent their objective existence.
All we have are psychological experiences of certain psychological conditions.
We see colors and hear sounds, but there are no actual colors and sounds. They are physical mechanisms.
There is the psychic phenomenon of the color, of the sound.
So what we refer to as mental or spiritual is a translation of any kind of mechanism about which we are not suf1ciently knowledgeable into a psychic phenomenon.
Namely, there are vari ous words for “Geist” which reveal the original specific notions behind it. You know that the word for “spirit” in the New Testament, where it is used a lot, is pneuma.
The original meaning of this word was simply “blowing,” “breeze,” “breath,” “moved air”; by extension also “breath of life.”
It appears very often in the Septuaginta,409 where it actually simply means “life.”
It is often synonymous with the word psyche, soul.
That has a similar origin: psychros, “cold,” or psychein, “cool down,” something that is “cooled down by a breath of wind,” but it also means “desiccate,” as the wind, when it is hot, can also dry things out.
It also shares roots with the German words pusten or blasen [blow], which are also connected with breath.
“Psychic” is that which breathes, so to speak.
Thus in the Old High German translation of the Bible, the word “Geist”, for example the Holy Ghost, is translated Atum, that is, Atem [breath].
Rightly so. It is a direct equivalent of the âtman in the East. That is also a breath, a sign of life.
The Latin word for Geist is spiritus. That also means “breath,” and by extension, “soul.” It comes from spirare, to blow, to aspirate.
Then there is another word for spirit, namely animus and anima— anima is simply the feminine form.
It fts with the Greek word ánemos, wind.
This word is then found again in other languages, for example in Gothic: usanan, exhale; in Latin: anhelare, exhale, wheezing, rattling breath [röcheln].
The German word röcheln is onomatopoeic. It indicates the sound.
Strangely, the same word is used for the sound dying people make when they breathe their last and exhale the soul [so “death rattle”].
In Swahili, the language of East Africa, it is called roho.
That is a loanword from the Arabic ruch: that is, soul, spirit. It is connected with rich, the wind.
These Latin, Greek, and Semitic words are simply different expressions for wind and breath.
With the word Geist it is dif fer ent. We’ll look into that next time. ~Carl Jung, The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius Loyola, Pages, 150-162