Let us return to the biological correlates of the descent of the soul. The genetic material in the zygote governs the development of the fetus, including its brain. Therefore, the archetypal Ideas, which are implicit in the timeless pattern of the genome, come to be embodied in neural structures in the brain. That is, the archetypal Ideas become articulated in distinct information structures, although they are still timeless patterns, hidden unmanifest in the unconscious. They correspond to the νοερά (“intellectuals”), the articulated Ideas in the Logos of the Demiurge, or Second God, the “mediating dyad” who implants the Ideas into the womb of Nature (Chald. Or. frr. 8, 37). This “descent of the soul” is depicted in the following figure:
The left-hand side of the figure above depicts the descent of the soul in biological terms. The abstract genotype (represented by the letters “GATCAA…”) is embodied in the physical DNA molecule, which coordinates the development of the brain, including deep structures such as the brain stem, which is involved in unconscious processes, and the cerebral hemispheres, in which consciousness resides. The entire process, including the evolution of the genome and the delopment of the individual, is governed by the laws of mathematics, physics, evolution etc. The right-hand side of the figure suggests the corresponding structure of archetypal Ideas, radiating from the One down through the noetic and noeric levels.
This figure above represents the articulation of the archetypal Ideas, or gods, in the Logos of the Demiurge, by analogy with the refraction of white light into its constituent colors. Like the colors hidden in white light, the archetypal Ideas are an undifferentiated unity in the Primal Nous.
Syrianus, in his Commentary on Aristotle’s Metaphysics, noted that the innate discursive Forms (διανοητὰ εἴδη), which are placed in the soul by the Demiurge, serve two functions. For ordinary souls — those who have “fallen” in the Phaedrus myth — they function gnostically (γνωστικῶς), that is, as objects of recognition and contemplation that lead to ἀνάμνησις, the recollection of the archetypal Ideas. However, for divine and daimonic souls they function demiurgically (δημιουργικῶς), that is, they function as organizing principles in nature. The demiurgic function applies in particular to the ἄχραντοι (“pure ones”), who have incarnated for our benefit; their souls are daimonic not by nature (φύσει), but by condition (σχέσει). Thus we might say that daimonic souls, including the ἄχραντοι, do not merely contemplate the Ideas, they live them. By serving as living embodiments of the archetypal Ἄνθρωπος, or Ideal Human, they invite our projections and serve as living σύμβολα, constellating the archetypal Ideas in our souls. (See O’Meara 1989, chs. 6-7 on the discursive Forms and daimonic souls.)
It is important to remark that this developmental process is not independent of the environment. Even before birth the intrauterine environment has its effect, most obviously in cases such as fetal alcohol syndrome, but also in normal development, for there is accumulating evidence for other, subtler prenatal effects on the developing fetus. The significance of these observations is that, again, the archetypal structures encoded in the brain are not entirely determined by the genotype; under different circumstances, that is, different historical contingencies, a different phenotype would result. Therefore again, the gods will relate in a slightly different way to each person; there will be individual variation in the archetypal Ideas.(continue to next page)