It is not only art that offers us a window to our soul, a way to transcend states of consciousness. It is also mathematics.
For so long the consensus understanding of mathematics has been nothing more than disheartening for me. I’ve always revelled in the deepest places of my being its language has taken me to, wishing the same experience for others, knowing it is accessible to all – part of our divine birthright. Unfortunately the current curriculum has pretty much reduced the discipline to a shallow limitation of the possibility.
In his article “The Spiritual Function of Mathematics and the Philosophy of Franklin Merrell-Wolff”, Thomas McFarlane says that “mathematics, perhaps the most subtle and rigorous form of thought, traces its origins back to Pythagoras and Plato, for whom mathematics is first and foremost a spiritual activity”. He continues, “mathematics, according to Wolff, functions as a bridge between the relative and transcendent states of consciousness .. (and) because of its very abstract nature, mathematics can carry one to the utmost limit of subtle form where the leap to the Transcendent is relatively small.
“The activity of mathematics, thus is a powerful method for training the mind to be receptive to subtle forms and, consequently, formlessness …. When we enter the realm of mathematics, we transcend the realm of the personal human and enter a realm of universals.”
How to grasp this formlessness when all you’re exposed to as a child is a mere fragment of what mathematics is? A shallow attempt at unravelling the extents and capabilities of the human mind to traverse the abstract realms of the discipline?
Let the child follow its curiosity. Let calculators calculate the basics. Let the human mind free from right and wrong, testing and ranking. And bring in the intelligence of the HEART! As McFarlane says, “the transformative power of mathematics lies not only in its form and logic, but also in its soul where it is felt with the heart … Here, feeling, in the best sense, must fuse with thought. The thinker must learn also to feel his thought, … surrendering himself to Truth, claiming for himself no rights save those that Truth herself bestows upon him …He who would become one with the Eternal must first learn to be humble. He must offer, upon the sacrificial alter, the pride of the knower. He must become one who lays no possessive claim to knowledge or wisdom.”
In this way there’s a sacredness to the discipline just like ANYTHING. However, one must be open to the sacredness. He quotes, “Sacredness implies self-giving, while secularity implies self-withholding.”
So next time you reduce the discipline to a mere scientific, intriguing yet pointless endeavour devoid of sacredness, consider the possibility that if you had actually had a deeper more heart-felt exposure to it, if you gave into the mystical abstract journey of the mind it promises, you would have understood what humble mathematicians with heart-based intelligence understand – that real mathematics takes you ‘there’.