Saturday, February 28, 2009

"Women in Boxes": A Pythagorean Perspective

A magician's assistant is sawed in half. One woman, two parts. The phenomenon recalls those mystical Greek philosophers, the Pythagoreans. They would have recognized in the magician's assistant the principle of the female Dyad—the boundless number Two, governess of the concept of separation. Without an assistant, you see, the magician (who the Pythagoreans would've called the Monad—the Primordial One) is one-sided and therefore dimensionless. It takes the Dyad to establish dimensionality, just as a 3-D film is composed of two images, one for each eye, that lend endless perspective. So the Dyad takes the one flat surface the magician has to offer, and—voilĂ —out pops a 3-D box. Sure, she can fit inside any box, but she can't truly be contained. She can be cut in half, but she's ultimately unbreakable. The Dyad is our path to the infinite, since she introduces the property of boundlessness. She's a crucial contrast to the strict limit of the magician's Primordial One.

The Pythagoreans called the Dyad "the Goddess of Primordial Matter" because her formless fertility provides the foundation of creation—the generative source of being. She is the pregnant Silence which precedes the magic Word. Whereas the Monad is "something," the Dyad is "the limitless power to be anything." This power of plurality was also named Rhea ("The Ever-Flowing," hence our word "rhythm"), because through her tension of opposites she governed recurring motion and thus created a fluid, demarcatable presence known as Time out of the Monad’s monolithic, immeasurable Eternity.

The magician's assistant—the great number Two who brings infinite dimensionality to life. Three cheers for "Women in Boxes"!

No comments: