This is a guest post by my friend Bob.
Consciousness can be pure. This happens when we are just conscious, awake and internally focused, suppressing all thoughts, feelings and desires to act.
Consciousness can also be directed either at an external event or situation or an internal state. If we are conscious the latter is always there. If not, we are just a part of the external world. We are unaware of the fact that we participate in the world, at least by observing it.
Our internal state colors our consciousness. The complexity of an event or a situation creates a palette of colors. Patterns in the possible palettes can be grouped by numbers. Consequently, numbers are thereby related to qualities as far as they are caused either by a consciousness color or a palette of colors.
In this approach a number may refer to the complexity of an event or a situation, i.e. the total number of states which can be distinguished. It may, however, also refer to a particular state inside a given structure or system.
For instance, the number three can refer to a structure of three states, but also to the third state in an event of seven states. This is one of the reasons why a number cannot have a single quality.
The 7 states
While focussing on an event or structure we may discover that its complexity (the number of observable states) increases with observation and perception. For instance, we can be either in the house or outside. But, when considering these two states we will soon need to include the possibilities of entering and leaving the house, thereby creating events of three states (being inside, passing through the door and being outside). Between every two such states an additional one may be observed, giving rise to five states in total. The first and last state may also be split into two finer ones, which gives us seven states. These are:
1. Being inside, unaware of the door. Housekeeping.
2. Being inside, aware of the door. Finishing housekeeping.
3. Approaching the door. Opening it.
4. Passing through the door. Experiencing the threshold.
5. Leaving the door behind. Closing the door.
6. Being outside, remembering the door. Starting a walk.
7. Being outside. The door is no issue any more. Enjoying the walk.
This process may be continued depending on the sensitivity of senses and consciousness as well as the complexity of the event.
The circle of 12
After returning from a walk the same set of events can be experienced in a reversed order. Since the first and last states of the two events (going out and coming in) coincide, such a circle of events has 12 states (instead of 14).
If we define different states of consciousness as having a different internal color then approaching the door and opening it are in the same state as they both are related to a physical experience (walking, touching, opening). State no. 2, however, is entirely different as it refers to activities of the soul or mind: longing for a walk or planning to go out. In the state no.1 this element is not there, but it may also be non-physical as we may concentrate on housekeeping, reading a book or just sleeping.
This circle of 12 can be experienced as an event in time, but not only. Another interpretation is to perceive it as a geometrical circle passing through four directions (Being inside, Leaving, Being outside, Returning), each with a preparation and a finishing state. The logic of this example does not allow intermediate states between the Being inside and Being outside states different from the already given states of Leaving and Returning.
Let’s say we have four elements: air, fire (warmth), water and earth. If we consider all states built from and between the four elements, then we have for individual elements, six dyadic interactions (of two elements), four triadic interactions (of three elements) and one interaction of all four elements. This corresponds to the geometry of a tetrahedron: the four corners, the six edges, the four faces and the inside of the body, counting up to 15 states.
For example, each of these states may correspond to our experience for a particular holiday. The face of earth, water and fire stands for a holiday near a lake in the mountains in the summer, while thee dyad of water and air points to a sailing holiday anywhere, any season.
We can now consider more and more complex events or situations. The total number of states is limited by the richness of experiences our mind and soul can perceive as different states of consciousness.
For example, if instead of going for a walk, we will go for holiday or participate in a serious talk, such an event can be differentiated into 17 or 19 states.This can be understood as the 12 states on the circle enlarged with additional five or seven states. But now the beginning and end states might not be identical since there is a significant difference inside us before and after the holiday (or talk). We are changed.
So, what is the meaning of, say, the number four? In order to answer that we have to look at the frame of reference. Where is the four we are asking about? We may experience a situation with four states, we may look at the fourth state in an event of seven states or in an event of 19 states. The meaning will change accordingly.
The quality of numbers can not be discussed in an absolute sense. A number, similarly as a word in a language, conveys a set of possible meanings. The proper one has to be understood from the context.
The image above shows a beautiful quilt by Inge Duin. See more of her works on www.ingeduin.nl.