Now we come to the square, the third of the three basic symbols of creation. As with the circle and the triangle, it’s best to get a feeling, in an energetic sense, of what the square symbolizes. And like the other two symbols, the diagram of the square itself has both literal and abstract meanings. It is as though symbols of this nature occupy the space between the physical and spiritual worlds, the interface between mind and matter. The popular definition of the word “metaphysics” is “beyond the physical.” Well, this study is beyond metaphysics. We are looking at where the abstract and the concrete intermesh.
Just a word about “abstract.” Some people, in the interest of practicality, tend to avoid anything they regard as abstract. This is the most impractical thing one can do. Let’s define “abstract” as a principle that applies to a number of seemingly different things in a way that let’s us see an otherwise hidden relationship among them. The square is an abstract idea, and it shows up everywhere in our lives. And specifically, as the title of this article promises, in the issue of authority.
First the square. Remember when we were talking about the feeling we get when we stand in a circle? You can feel the energy move. It moves up, it moves down, it moves right, it moves left. The keyword is that it moves. Well, the square is that same energy when it lands. Whereas the energy of a circle is transformative, the energy of the square is stabilizing and consolidating. The circle acts like a conduit, allowing energy to move from one state to another; the square is a fixed system. The energy still moves, but is conservative, in that everything it does is for the purpose of conserving its present configuration.
In politics, for example, conservatives seek to preserve time-honored traditions, where liberals (or progressives) look for innovation and reform. (This is a very broad assessment not intended to spark debate.) Obviously, you can’t have a viable system without both of these elements existing in dynamic balance with each other.
Another example is the human nervous system with its sympathetic and parasympathetic networks. One speeds up metabolism, and the other slows it down. Too much of either will kill us, but a dynamic balance between the two allows us to adapt to changing conditions. And adaptation is the hallmark of viability.
So, the circle and the square act in polar opposition in the act of creation, not in conflict but in balance – a dynamic balance. When we omit one or favor one over the other, we get out of balance. If all we want in our spiritual life is to experience the flow of God’s energy through us, that energy will eventually make it impossible to live in the world. On the other hand, if all we want is a belief structure with rules to follow, then the Spirit will wane, and we will become crystallized, not only spiritually but physically as well. The correct way to live is a middle path between these two, a path that meanders from side to side in a never-ending process of self-correction. In this way, we can evolve and at the same time consolidate the gains we make. It’s a perfect system.
Because we live in the physical world, anything that is “established” tends to take on an air of authority. Why? Because it exists. It has authority by virtue of the fact that it is here. This has obvious problems, as a hypothesis, but if we define it this way, at least for the moment, it will help us get a feel for what authority is all about. Once we have a feeling for it, then we can refine our definitions in a way that empowers us to function with it.
Have you ever tried to calculate the area of a circle? Very difficult (for non-math types). But almost anyone can calculate the area of a square or rectangle. The square lends itself to measurement in a way that no other shape can. It is natural, then, that we use the square as the basis for our most fundamental activities in life, most notably in the way we build houses and in the way we formulate laws.
Architecturally, square structures are efficient to build and are very stable. They allow for an orderly arrangement of furniture and storage. Domes are even more stable, but they are hard to build, and it is difficult to manage their interior space. Rooms in a dome house are usually pie sections, which are uncomfortable and inefficient. Without interior walls, domes can be inspirational and uplifting, because of the energies inherent in the circle, but the energies are fluid, not fixed, so the space is more conducive to music or legislative halls where the activity is always in flux.
Laws, on there other hand, are based on opposition – the squaring of accounts, the settling of disputes between opposing interests, the separation of various activities into their appropriate arenas. Laws allow for the dynamic coexistence of divergent groups; they allow for difference. Difference, as an abstract concept, is defined here as “diversity.” And diversity, as we know in biology, is essential to maintaining a healthy ecosystem. This is true for a societal ecosystem as well.
Authority, then, is any established structure, either physical or ideological, that has within itself a definite set of rules that are consistent with itself and that allow for the movement of energy in a way that is self-sustaining. In a house, the roof is supported by the walls, doors and windows allow access to the interior, and everything is proportional to its occupants — consistent, coherent, functional. In a body of laws, such as a constitution, the rules are “set in stone.” They provide a structure that allows for the ideological equivalent of a house.
The problem lies here: though each structure is consistent with itself, it may not be consistent with other structures. A house might be beautiful in an artist’s rendition but look ridiculous if it’s built in the wrong neighborhood. Laws designed for a free-market society won’t work in socialistic society. Rules on a racetrack are different from ordinary traffic laws. If we try to apply the rules governing one structure to another, we will create problems. A good example of this is the way the rules of capitalism are destroying the environment. It’s not that the rules of capitalism are bad, they are simply being applied in the wrong domain.
Authority in the physical world consists of established patterns made viable by the energy working through them. Each established pattern has internal authority over itself. When in other people’s homes, you are expected to abide by their rules. If you don’t like their rules, you leave. Whenever you have a set of rules that is more abstract, meaning that they allow for a greater level of diversity and yet apply to everyone equally, then you have a government—the Law of the Land. And, if you add yet another level of abstraction, e.g., an international body of laws, there is allowance for an even greater level of diversity (or should be) and many houses are brought under one roof. In order for this to work, however, there has to be yet another level of abstraction, one that recognizes certain inalienable rights that apply to human beings generally.
This, therefore, is the current challenge facing humanity — finding that which is common to us all and then instituting those principles into a code everyone can live by, at least when they are interacting with the global community. Who or what do we acknowledge as the highest authority? Who has written the Laws? What is the house we are actually living in, and how can we conduct ourselves so that we don’t get kicked out?
There is much to consider as we study the symbology of the Square. Next, we will go further into the principle of consolidation, and we will examine the cube and all the abilities it gives us to chart our way in the world.