Towards the Light Essay

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Illumination is the theory that studies of the nature of light and the role it plays on mans sensory experiences or perceptions of reality. According to the theory of illumination, our knowledge of the tangible and visual world is only made possible when the objects that we are trying to perceive are illuminated by light. When that happens, the material object is illuminated, and the thing visible to our minds. Early attempts at explaining the nature of light produced several schools of thought, with the general consensus that light comes from the divine, and thus, is intrinsic to reality.

The duality of light and its protean behavior inspired models and theories about the nature of reality. Light acts as both a wave and a particle, and is unpredictable in its reactions with the material world. Such mystery has convinced philosophers to believe that light is the manifestation of the divine in our world. Light is the main guiding force of Illumination. By using light as an analogy, this philosophy tries to explain the relationship of God with His creation; that the nature of light is the very link that connects God to all of us.

As a result, reality as it exists for Illuminationists is a space where the physical reality is but a facet of the divine. That our world is directly connected to divinity, and all that we have to do to access the illumination is to learn to tap that continuum within ourselves. From a metaphysical perspective, illumination espouses that light directly comes from the One source. This idea came from the observation that light seems to disperse in all directions at once.

The ability of light to propagate instantly and occupy space became the venue for exploring the dynamics between the material world of the living, and the divine space of the Creator. Thus, the theory of Illumination became a powerful analogy to help explain the relationship of the Creator to His creation; that the Creator is the source of light from which all truth and goodness emanate. This is why most images of Gods and benevolent beings are represented with light or have an element of it in some form or another.

Even the word itself, illumination reflects how light is universally associated with truth and goodness. We refer to Buddhas discovery of truth as enlightenment or illumination, because in a sense, he was able to find the light that exists within himself. Thus, the metaphysical theory of illumination is all about finding truth or light in ourselves because it one sure way to connect with the Divine Creator. Ways of Seeing The theory of Divine Illumination is an offshoot of Metaphysical Illumination.

Divine Illumination as analogous to epiphany or a moment of grace and it believes that there are certain things in this world that we can only know through divine intervention. Divine Illumination espouses the idea that man needs a connection with the divine in order to function in his material reality. That connection with the divine is believed to come to us in the form of light. Whether it is a physical illumination, or a spiritual enlightenment, the main idea is that we are given a moment of clarity and we can truly see.

Illumination, as a formal school of philosophy or organized religion is believed to have begun in Persia around the twelfth-century. It is an important school of philosophy in Persian spirituality has gained popular following in the Islamic faith. Illumination is commonly identified with Islamic mysticism because it espouses a perspective of reality that is more relative than scientific. As such, followers of Illumination believe that intuition and faith is more important than the factual, exact world of science. (Ziai & Leaman, 1998)

The state of illumination is a physical state where one is believed to reach a heightened sense of awareness and openness to the universe. In the olden times, tribes induced this transcendental state through the use of hallucinogenic plants to seek the advice of the divine. It is believed that during this state, the individual is a direct conduit where people can communicate with their gods. One Light There are many offshoots and variants of metaphysical illumination. However, the truth is that they are all one and the same. Perhaps only modified to adapt to a way of religion or culture, but essentially remaining the same.

That light exists to make us see, is infinitely profound in meaning and consequence. When we become illuminated we see or become seen. Rosen once said, Every perspective, in order to do its work must be determinate and intelligible. (1995, 57) This means that truth must have some form in the material world for it to be recognized as such. Man must be able to perceive his God and truth in some way, and this is perhaps what light is truly all about.

Reference

Ziai, Hossein & Leaman, Oliver. Illuminationist Philosophy. Routledge. 1998. Date http://hcs.harvard.edu/~hrp/issues/1995/Rosen.pdf

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