Evolution, Jung, and Theurgy:
IV. Some Implications for Neoplatonism

F. Whether the Soul Descends Completely

Another perennial problem in Neoplatonism is whether the soul descends completely, as Iamblichus, Syrianus, and Proclus say, or whether a part of it remains “above” in the noetic realm, as Plotinus says.  Our account of the biological correlates of the archetypal Ideas provides a basis for addressing this issue.

On the one hand, our genes do not directly produce conscious experience.  Thus the genome, and even the individual genotype, remain “above,” like the Ideas in the noetic sphere, where, in their undifferentiated form, the νοητά are inaccessible to our minds.  The Chaldean Oracles call them κρυφίων (“hidden”) and say,

        … the Father snatched himself away,
and didn’t close his fire in noeric power. (fr. 3, my tr.)

On the other hand, the articulated noeric images of the archetypal Ideas are represented in our brains in the structures subserving archetypal behavior.  The noeric Ideas are unconscious, that is, not directly accessible to our conscious egos, but under appropriate circumstances they manifest (incompletely) in consciousness, and we can know them in this way.  This may happen spontaneously, when something, such as an external stimulus, triggers the activation of an archetype, with a resulting synchronistic coordination of inner, psychical and outer, physical phenomena, or it may be arranged by theurgical practices, directed toward establishing contact with the noeric Ideas, as explained later.  Thus, from this perspective, we may conclude that our souls remain rooted in the noeric, or demiurgic sphere, but are cut off from direct connection with the noetic realm.   Nevertheless, although we cannot apprehend the νοητά, the Demiurgic Nous contemplates them.  Therefore, by means of the illumination of the Demiurge, as mediating Logos, we may obtain σωτηρία (“salvation”) by living in accord with the Πρόνοια (Providence) of the Paternal Nous.

(continue to next page)
Go to table of contents

Return to MacLennan’s home page

Send mail to Bruce MacLennan / MacLennan@cs.utk.edu

Valid HTML 4.01!This page is www.cs.utk.edu/~mclennan/papers/EJT/IVF.html
Last updated: 2006-04-22.