Normally the word ‘sex’ is associated with the human act of having sexual intercourse. This is probably so because for most people this kind of sex stands the closest to their own experiences. However the principle of sex itself is not limited to solely a sexual intercourse of two humans. In this contemplation two other fields shall be explored. To make this principle in these other fields recognizable it must however first be made explicit in the generally well known field of human reproduction. After doing this the principle of sex can be pointed out in the other two fields, which regard the fields of mystic enlightenment and of cosmic creation.
Naturally human reproduction takes place by the means of what is normally indicated with the word ‘sex’. Nowadays of course sex is not absolutely necessary for reproduction of the human species. Science has developed artificial ways to fertilize ovums with sperms in laboratories, without the necessity of any physical contact between the man and the woman to whom the sex cells belong. Nevertheless, naturally, and not artificially, does reproduction take place by the means of sex. At the same time it is also not the case that all sex leads to reproduction. Men and women may be infertile, they may be using contraceptives, or they may have sex with those who belong to the same gender as themselves. Sex then simply is a means for experiencing pleasure. It is asserted here that sexual pleasure is not a true goal in itself and that the pleasure that sex generates is in function of the primary goal of reproduction. In another contemplation this assumption may be elucidated. So following the regarded assertion shall we here mainly focus on sex as a means for reproduction.
As said, in daily use the term ‘sex’ is mostly used to refer to sexual intercourse.1 It is used to refer to the physical interaction between bodies and their genitals. The mentioning of the genitals is important because physical interaction between people in which the genitals are not involved is generally not considered as sex. Now in another contemplation sex was indicated as the type of attraction that may exist between physical bodies.2 So this leaves us then with three different ways of indicating what sex is . These indications are; ‘sex as the means for reproduction’, ‘sex as sexual intercourse’, and ‘sex as the attraction that may exist between physical bodies’. These three indications may be different, but they certainly do not exclude each other. They even may be synthesized. Doing this, sex may be considered as the attraction that may exist between physical bodies that leads to sexual intercourse by means of which the species are reproduced. Thus the use of different indications in different contemplations need not lead to confusion or refutation.
So this sexual intercourse by means of which the species are reproduced is primarily an interaction between male and female genitals or organs of reproduction. These genitals are different from each other, but this in such a way that they are at the same time complementary to each other. They are complementary because both need each other to fulfill their shared main function of reproduction of the human species. The main difference between the male and the female genitals is that the first is mostly an external organ, whereas the latter is mostly an internal organ.3 These main features make them also complementary to each other. In the act of sexual intercourse the male external organ of reproduction enters the female internal organ of reproduction. The erect penis in the act of sexual intercourse visits the lubricant vagina, and the latter receives the first. We see here that the male organ of reproduction plays a more active role in sexual intercourse than does the female, which can be considered as more passive. This goes of course only for as far as visiting is considered to be more active than receiving. Nevertheless it is a general thought that the male principle is the active one and that the female principle is the passive one.4
These roles of the male and female reproductive organs during sexual intercourse (and the roles of men and women in their sexual interaction in general), are analogous to the roles that the male sperm and the female ovum play in the process of conception. In this process does the sperm visit the ovum within the female reproductive organ (at the fallopian tubes to be precise), and the ovum there receives the sperm. Just as the man enters the woman for a unification, and just as the penis enters the vagina to do the same, so does also the sperm enter the ovum for a unification by means of a fusion. With this fusion the conception takes place and eventually a child will grow in the woman´s womb. It is the woman´s system that further nourishes the fetus and the man has no biotic task to fulfill anymore.
So far the kernel of the biotic or physical relation and interaction between men and women was contemplated, and in this the male principle was given an active role and the female principle was given a passive role. In this contemplation sex has been given a place isolated from other types of attraction, such as romance and love. This not fully unrightly, because not seldom is it only the attraction that may exist between physical bodies that is taken in account when a man and a woman decide to come together. In general however, in the mainstream of sexual engagement, does the attraction that may exist between personalities also play an important role. Often this ‘romance’, by which term this attraction is indicated elsewhere,5 is even given a key role. The roles that the man and the woman play in this attraction between personalities is analogous to the previous mentioned roles of the bodies, the genitals and the sex cells. In the play of seduction is generally the female the passive and the male the active principle. If a woman is interested in a man she will naturally not be engaging in direct contact with him. She will tend to stay foot, and show him her receptivity and openness. It is then up to the man, if interested also, to step up to the woman and engage in interaction. The initiative in the interacting at the personality level is with the man. He enters, so to speak, actively the aura of the woman, which she has made receptive and hospitable for him.
In the above paragraph the male and female principles have been thematized as they occur in sex and romance. It can also be said that these principles have been thematized as they occur in human’s physicality and in its personality. However besides the attraction that may exist between physical bodies and between personalities, was elsewhere also the attraction thematized that may exist between souls.6 There the term ‘soul’ was used mainly to indicate a human transcendence of body and personality. So in humans we have bodies and personalities that are transcended by souls.
This is a thought which is very prevalent also in mysticism. Both Eastern and Western mysticism are in general characterized by the consideration of a trinity. This trinity is thought to consist of a relative self, an absolute self and an absolute as such (or an absolute absolute). This relative self may be considered to consist of body and personality. The absolute self transcends this relative self, and may thus be taken as that which in this contemplation is indicated by the term ‘soul’. A soul which in its ground is one with the transcendental absolute as such. Now it is the goal of the mystic to become one with the absolute as such through a unification with his absolute self. Thus the mystic, endowed with a body and a personality, strives to shift his identification from the relative self to the absolute self. It is this unification of the relative self with the absolute self (and with that with the absolute as such) which is referred to with the term ‘mystic enlightenment’. This unification with the absolute (individual and as such) is however not something that can be forced by the mystic himself. The only thing that he can do in his striving is to make himself receptive for the absolute to enter. Eventually the relative self does not enter the absolute, but the absolute enters the relative self. This mystic endeavor may be illustrated by Meister Eckhart’s mysticism.
Although the above presented idea is clearly present in Eckhart’s mystical works, is his terminology somewhat different from the one that is used in this contemplation. For Eckhart uses the term ‘soul’ not solely to indicate an absolute self that transcends a relative self. Indeed, also in Eckhart’s thought is the soul in its ground one with the absolute as such, one with God.7 However this does not go for the soul’s faculties and powers, such as reasoning and perception. These are directed outwards, towards creatures and earthly things. And it is with these powers, with the exception of knowledge and will, that the soul is also closely connected to the physical body.8 So Eckhart’s use of the term ‘soul’ seems to encompass both the personality and the soul as these terms are used in this contemplation. ‘The ground of the soul’ in Eckhart’s mysticism can then be compared to ‘the soul’ in this contemplation, and ‘the powers of the soul’ in the first can then be compared to ‘the personality’ in the latter.
Now according to Eckhart it is the goal of a human to empty the soul of all earthly things. In doing this the soul will make itself receptive to receive God. This empty state of the soul is for Eckhart however not the highest attainable. It is virtuous to receive God, but it is even more virtuous for the soul to let God be fruitful in it. The emptying of the things of the world by which God is received makes the soul pure as a virgin, but it is for the soul more noble to be wife and mother by bearing Gods son, Jesus Christ.9 Christ, according to Eckhart, is born by the union of soul and God. God makes the soul fruitful of Christ, and in turn does the soul bear Christ in the heart of God. This birth of Christ in the soul can be compared to what is indicated in this contemplation as ‘mystic enlightenment’. Because it is this birth of Christ in the soul that transforms the soul to a true son of God itself. The human becomes an enlightened human.
The analogy of Eckhart’s mystic enlightenment with a sexual union is obvious. The ground of the soul is the pure virgin. In its emptied state the soul is the receptive and female principle. It is receptive for receiving God, who as the active and male principle may grace the soul with impregnation. The soul, having thus become the wife, then, as the mother, bears the son to God the father. Thus we see illustrated how the principle of sex is not solely bound to the attraction that may lead to a unification of a male and female body, resulting in the birth of a new human body. It is also present in the attraction that may lead to a mystic unification of a human with the divine, resulting in the birth of an enlightened human.10
In the previous paragraph the relations between the relative self, the absolute self and the absolute as such were thematized. As an alternative for the term ‘absolute as such’ was mentioned the term ‘absolute absolute’. What both these terms have in common is that they are self-relational. In the term ‘absolute as such’ the predicate ‘as such’ relates back to the subject ‘absolute’, and in this way the term ‘absolute as such’ relates to the absolute as being absolute. The same goes for the term ‘absolute absolute’. Here the predicate ‘absolute’ refers to the subject ‘absolute’ as being absolute. Now these terms have been chosen very consciously, exactly because of their self-relation. Where the concept of relation is concerned, there are three types of terms to be distinguished. These are non-relational terms, relational terms and self-relational terms. Non-relational terms are subjects without predicate. ‘The absolute’ is a non-relational term. Relational terms are predicated subjects, where the subject is related to something other than itself. ‘Eckhart’s absolute’ is a relational term. The absolute here is being put in relation to Meister Eckhart. Self-relational terms are predicated subjects, where the subject is related to itself. ‘The absolute as such’ and ‘the absolute absolute’ are self-relational terms. The absolute is being put in relation to the absolute, thus to itself. The use of such self-relational terms is very useful for indicating a one without another. Indeed a mere non-relational term such as ‘the absolute’ does not indicate anything other than the subject itself also. However it keeps its being one without another implicit. Self-relational terms on the other hand make the being one without another of the subject explicit. They relate, but in relating they relate back to the subject. And with this they explicate their being one without another. More could be written about non-relational, relational and self-relational terms, but for the present line of contemplation this elucidation must suffice. So the terms ‘the absolute as such’ and ‘the absolute absolute’ were consciously chosen to explicate the absolute as one without another.
Now the word ‘absolute’ on itself wants to indicate just that. It wants to indicate a one without another.11 At the same time the word itself however is not absolute. The word ‘absolute’ as a word is relative. It is relative because ‘absolute’ is opposed to ‘relative’. And being an opposition it is related to something else, and thus not absolute. So for so far as the absolute is opposed to the relative, the absolute is relative. And here we find another reason to use terms like ‘absolute as such’ and ‘absolute absolute’. Because where the non-relational term ‘absolute’ may just as well indicate the absolute as it is opposed to the relative, there does the self-relational term ‘absolute absolute’ leave no room for such indications. ‘The absolute absolute’ indicates the absolute beyond opposites. Thus distinguishing between the relative absolute and the absolute absolute, the latter was consciously chosen as the most proper term to indicate that which it indicates. Because ‘the absolute as such’ indicates the same as ‘the absolute absolute’, but is easier to accept without explanation, that first term was predominantly used in the previous paragraph. In other contemplations the term ‘the absolute’ may simply be used. Usually this will be done to indicate the absolute as such, however the context of each contemplation should make this understandable.
So far the distinction between the absolute absolute and the relative absolute was thematized. However to be complete also the distinction between these two and the absolute relative should be given attention. The absolute relative comes in view at the same moment that the relative absolute steps in. As we have seen above does the relative absolute indicate the absolute as opposed to the relative. However this relative is not just any relative. It is the relative as opposed to the absolute. And this being the case this relative should be indicated as ‘the absolute relative’. For nothing can be more relative than the relative that is opposed to the absolute. So now we have come to the consideration of a trinity. We have the polar pair of the absolute relative and the relative absolute, both encompassed by the absolute absolute. The question if the absolute absolute may also be indicated as ‘the relative relative’ shall be left to be contemplated somewhere else. Here we will continue with the three terms as mentioned. And these three may be described as the utter most encompassing and primal unity and the utter most encompassing and primal duality.
Now the thought of a unity that is, so to speak, cut into a duality was also thematized in another contemplation.12 There it came to thought while contemplating sex etymologically. Eventually the lines of the contemplation led to a consideration of sex as an urge for a reunion by a duality that once was one. Now in that contemplation the unity, cut into a duality, urging to reunite again, was thematized at the human level. However the principles that result from a cut unity, namely attraction and an urge for a reunion, must apply to all levels. After all; elsewhere attraction between two poles is thematized as a law.13 Thus the aforementioned principle must apply to the cosmic level also. A cosmic unity that gets cut into a cosmic duality must lead to an attraction between these two cosmic poles and to an urge for a reunion.
The absolute absolute, being cut into the duality of the relative absolute and the absolute relative, must necessarily lead to an attraction between the two latter. This thought is worked out in many cosmogonies, for cosmogonies deal with absolutes. The general (and not the specific) use of the word ‘cosmos’ indicates all that is, and with that indicates a one without another, an absolute absolute. And in these cosmogonies the cosmic duality is often referred to with opposite terms like ‘spirit and matter’ and ‘life and form’.14 In this, spirit is considered to be the male principle, and matter is considered to be the female principle. This is so because of the way in which these two relate to each other in their eternal attraction. Matter is considered to be the passive and receptive principle and spirit is considered to be the active principle. And in their cosmic intercourse does spirit enter matter. In this intercourse matter is being fertilized by spirit, so to speak, leading to the birth of a third. This third is the manifest universe. Thus on a cosmic level the manifest universe is the son of father spirit and mother matter.15 So cosmic creation starts from a unity beyond duality and thus beyond manifestation and non-manifestation. This unity separates into the duality of spirit and matter. Between these two there is an attraction, an urge for a reunion. Then the spirit enters the receptive matter. A cosmic seed is sown and this eventually grows into the manifest universe. Thus the universe is born from the unification of spirit and matter. So in such cosmogonies we see the principle of sex active on a cosmic scale. Cosmogonies are large subjects, and other contemplations must be undertaken for a further elucidation. The present elucidation however serves the purpose of indicating the principle of sex in cosmic creation.
The goal of the present contemplation was to explore the principle of sex as it is present in mystic enlightenment and cosmic creation. To make this principle recognizable in the forementioned fields it had to be explicated first in the way it is generally known to be present in the field of human reproduction. There the principle was recognized in the unification of the human duality, in the unification of the active man and the passive woman, leading eventually to the birth of a third human. This same principle was brought to the fore in the field of mystic enlightenment. There the absolute (individual and as such) was thematized as the male principle entering the receptive female principle of the relative self, leading to the birth of the enlightened human or, in Eckhart’s mysticism, Christ. Finally the principle of sex was elucidated in relation to its being present in cosmic creation. The male and female duality there was thematized as the relative absolute and the absolute relative, and as spirit and matter. Spirit being the cosmic male principle enters matter as the cosmic female principle, sowing the seed that will eventually grow into a manifest universe.