Endgame – The Final Denouncement
by Mather Walker - Fall 2009
In the previous installment of this series I tried to show that not just the ending, but the entire play of The Tempest is a chess game. I would add here that a covert allusion, when Prospero discloses Ferdinand and Miranda playing chess at the end of The Tempest, clearly signals this. Prospero’s enemy, King Alonzo, believed his son, Ferdinand, was drowned in the tempest at the beginning of the play, and had spent the entire play grieving for him. When Prospero displays the lovers (his daughter Miranda, and Ferdinand) playing chess at the end of the play the king ceases to be his enemy - Prospero captures the king. This allusion to the end of a chess game expands the chess game from Miranda and Ferdinand to a larger perspective where Prospero, exponent of white magic, and the characters allied with him, are the white pieces on the board, while his enemy, King Alonzo, and the characters allied with him, are the black pieces on the board – thus the entire play is a chess game.
Francis Bacon designed his Shakespeare plays to exhibit models of his Novum Organum (New Machine for the Intellect) inquiring into the essential nature of some particular in nature. Anyone familiar with Bacon’s ideas knows that of all subjects his main interest was human knowledge. It should be no surprise then that the inquiry into the essential nature of all human knowledge was given first place and assigned to The Tempest, the first play in the First Folio. The tableau at the end of the play depicts the ‘form’ of all human knowledge. The meaning of this denouncement requires that the entire play be a chess game.
In 1620, using heat as the subject, in his Novum Organum, Bacon showed how, through the use of four tables (Presence, Absence, Variance, and Exclusion), it was possible to separate out the ‘form’, or essential law that distinguishes heat from all other particulars in nature. The Novum Organum did not reveal the ultimate ‘form’ of heat because it did not reveal the complete version of Bacon’s discovery machine. Bacon kept this secret. The Novum Organum only followed the process through the four tables and through what Bacon termed the ‘First Vintage’ that resulted from processing heat through these four tables. He stopped at that point without finishing the inquiry. In previous installments of this series dealing with The Tempest I have done the same. In the present installment I will follow the process of Bacon’s inquiry into the ‘form’ of all human knowledge all the way to the final denouncement - the tableau at the end of the play - the ultimate ‘form’ of all human knowledge.
Like the depiction on his 1620 Great Instauration of the ship of discovery sailing forth beyond the Gates of Hercules Bacon used the metaphor of a voyage of discovery for his inquiries. And he realized something scientists and philosophers have only glimpsed very rarely. Our consciousness is the canvas of our cosmos. All we know, all that we can know, exists within us. We only perceive our own perceptions. Thus in in his De Augmentis Bacon said:
“The justest division of human learning is that derived from the three different faculties of the soul,,,The faculties of the soul are well known: viz., the understanding, reason, imagination”
A prerequisite for each individual inquiry made by Bacon’s Norvum Organum was a synopsis of all the natures that existed in the universe of that particular inquiry. It is not difficult to construct an approximate anatomy of the soul of man as Bacon applies it in The Tempest. This anatomy supplies the prerequisite synopsis of all the natures that exists in the universe of the inquiry as it applies to the inquiry into the ‘form’ of human knowledge in The Tempest.
As the play begins we see the King’s party on a ship (the sailing ship of discovery) that, in the language of Bacon’s metaphors, has ventured forth upon the waves of experience. Bacon used this metaphor to describe the existing state of knowledge in his time, and he said that state of knowledge was threatened with a TEMPEST:
“I think (judging from certain fashions which have come in of late) to spread through many countries,- together with the malignity of sects, and those compendious artifices and devices which have crept into the place of solid erudition-seem to portend for literature and the sciences A TEMPEST. And no doubt but that fair-weather learning which is nursed by leisure, blossoms under reward and praise, which cannot withstand the shock of opinion, and is liable to be abused by tricks and quackery, will sink under such impediments as these.”
Thus we see, at the beginning of the play, a depiction of the sailing ship of discovery caught in a tempest. In installment 101-4 of this series I showed in detail how Bacon’s tables, operating through the first 128 speeches of The Tempest, separates out Ferdinand. After four transits of the 32 compass directions are completed we are shown Ferdinand (speech 129). This speech has the acrostic message: NOVATUS (Latin ‘it begins again’), with, "it begins again" repeated in the text of the passage:
Thus the process begins again with the ‘First Vintage’ at this point (the 129th speech) and Ferdinand is that ‘First Vintage’. We remember from our chart of the faculties of the human soul that Ferdinand is the moving faculty. His name means, ‘to be bold, to venture onward’. The role of Ferdinand as the moving faculty, or as human industry, is also shown by the labor Prospero demands of him.
Prospero assigns Ferdinand the task of collecting some thousands of logs. The rationale of this is seen in Bacon’s final work. He collected a store of particulars from nature to be used in his New Machine for the Intellect. He gave these particulars the name Sylva Sylvarum, (Forest of Materials); these to be gathered, and stacked, no doubt, just as Ferdinand gathers and stacks the logs in the task assigned him by Prospero. As Bacon said:
“Now for grounds of experience-since to experience we must come-
we have as yet had either none or very weak ones; no search has
been made to collect a store of particular observations sufficient
in number, or in kind…”
Reason (Miranda) is beside Ferdinand willing and able to help. But the gentlemanly Ferdinand says, “No, precious creature. I had rather crack my sinews, break my back, than you should such dishonor undergo.” Miranda responds, “It would become me as well as it does you; and I should do it with much more ease.” If there is no concealed meaning, if this was merely a man and a woman, and a task of gathering logs that has been assigned to the man, how could the weaker woman possibly gather the heavy logs with much more ease than the man? But if this was an allegory of gathering a store of facts from nature, and the man is human activity while the woman is reason, it makes perfect sense that the woman could accomplish the task with much more ease than the man.
Ferdinand, the moving faculty, is the ‘form’ of the existing state of the Advancement of Learning. That ‘form’ is a tempest – motion - chaotic motion, chaotic activity, all that is left after knowledge, imagination, Reason, and Memory or Experience is excluded. When the particular in nature is processed through the four tables the First Vintage is a tempest.
Following the task he has set Ferdinand, Prospero tells Ferdinand, “You have strangely withstood the test.” Strangely indeed has human industry, which refused to avail itself of the assistance of reason, withstood the task of gathering data from nature. Prospero finds his point proven. It is absolutely necessary that human activity, or industry be joined to human reason. So he joins the two - he gives his daughter Miranda (Reason) to Ferdinand.
Bacon contrasted his knowledge he arrived at through the operation of his Norvum Organum, with the knowledge of the ancients, saying that while going the same road as the ancients he had something better to produce. Thus a major theme of allegory in The Tempest deals with the Eleusinian Mysteries generally considered by the peoples of antiquity as representing their highest knowledge. So we next see Prospero depicted as the hierophant at these Mysteries. C. Kerenyi tells us that:
“...strictly speaking, hierophantes means not he who ‘shows
the holy things’-that would have to be called hierokeiktes in
Greek-but ‘he who makes them appear,’ phainei. “
That is, the hierophant invokes them. And we are shown Prospero invoking the goddesses Iris, Ceres, and Juno. What Bacon depicts here is the actual initiation that took place in the Greater Mysteries of Eleusis. This was the great secret of Eleusis. Most of what we know about this comes from the Neoplatonist Iamblichus. Through the science of Theurgy the hierophant at the most secret part of the Mysteries invoked Beings, called The Higher Races by Iamblichus: Gods, archangels, and other Higher Entities - and the minds of the specially prepared initiates were joined with the minds of these higher beings in a holy and mystic communion. Iamblichus says:
“The Gods being benevolent and propitious, impart their light to theugists in unenvying abundance, call upward their soul into themselves, procuring them a union with themselves...”
The union of the minds of the initiates with the minds of the Higher Beings did more than just lift their souls upward; the union exposed their minds to the knowledge possessed by these Higher Beings. Clement of Alexandria said what was taught in the Mysteries at Eleusis concerned the entire universe, and was the completion and perfection of all instruction; wherein things were seen as they are, and nature and all her works were made known. It follows from this that while the minds of the initiates were united with the minds of the Higher Beings a torrent of information flooded into their minds - the entire panorama of things, and secret processes, that takes place in the universe, in the world, and in universal nature. Other testimony even tells us that the initiates also saw the world beyond this world, and viewed the entire process of the cycle of rebirth through which the soul passes here on earth.
It seems that this was very high knowledge indeed. The greatest minds of antiquity were initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries. They all considered this the highest and most sacred of revelations, and they all spoke of the experience with the greatest reverence. But Bacon’s view of this seems quite strange. Bacon denigrates the experience. Prospero, while directing Ariel to summon his subordinate spirits to produce the vision, refers to them as Ariel’s, “meaner fellows”, and, “the rabble”, and he refers to the vision they produce as a, ‘vanity of my Art.’
We see the reason immediately afterwards. Prospero, strangely disturbed, says:
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air;
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
This is what we have seen throughout the play. It has continually depicted events on the island as such a continual alternation between sleeping and waking, and sleeping while waking, that the distinction between the two eventually becomes lost, leaving only a continual dream like quality, and a continual illusion. We must remember that the island represents our world. In Secret Talks With Mr. G.; George Gurdjieff, a man who possessed not only supernatural powers, but supernatural knowledge, while describing his search for truth, said:
I discovered quite by accident that all mystical states, trances and mediumistic abilities not just of my own arousal but also those of everyone I had known were no more than accidentally induced hysteria, even those concrete forms of vision associated with religious feeling and experience. In short, every experience of cosmos were projections triggered by one thing or another, having only an indirect foundation in reality.
The scene depicting the theurgic vision at Eleusis is in Act IV, Scene 1. Immediately before this in Act III, Scene 3 we are shown Ariel and his fellow spirits placing food on a table and then causing it to disappear before the members of the King’s party can partake of it. Some commentators have seen this as a communion meal, prohibited to evildoers. In addition to the seemingly endless other levels of allegory, The Tempest also deals with the Bible and with religious allegory (Steven Marx, Shakespeare and the Bible). The Roman Catholic Mass is a relic from the ancient art of Theurgy. The Mass invokes a higher being, and amazingly enough the invocation still works after almost two thousand years. When Bacon depicted the Epoptic vision in Act IV, Scene I, he was also alluding to the Roman Catholic Mass, and to the pagan origins of Christianity. Moreover, he was saying that, just like the epoptic vision at Eleusis, this, in the final analysis, was only an illusion.
Caliban and his cronies, Stephano, and Trinculo, are tested just as was Ferdinand. Prospero has them placed up to their chins in the filthy pool beyond his cell. This is an experiment to see if it is possible to raise their natures from the purely physical to the mental. Their heads above the pool while their bodies are totally submerged depicts this. Continuing the experiment Prospero directs that glittering garments be hung on the line outside his cell before Ariel releases them so he may see what happens when they continue with their plot to assassinate him. When they come to the showy garments they are diverted from their aim by the garments. This shows they cannot see beyond the surface appearance of things. Since they are limited to these things of the senses, the faculties of the vegetative soul, they are unable to participate in the final denouncement that exists only on a higher level.
The King’s Party is monitored by Prospero from the very beginning of the play, and as the journey of discovery continues we are shown them wandering lost, as if in a maze all around the island, until they finally arrive at what may be called the eighth rank on the chessboard. Here pieces can be exchanged for other pieces, and we see the pieces depicted by the King and the members of his party exchanged. Gonzalo, who affirms everything, is exchanged so he becomes more critical in his affirmations. Antonio, who denies everything, is exchanged so he becomes more critical in his denials. Sebastian is exchanged so his ambition seeks better ends. They are now ready to view the final announcement presented with the tableau of Ferdinand and Miranda playing at chess.
The revelation Prospero displays to the King’s party is the ultimate revelation yielded by the Journey of Discovery in the play. This is the revelation of the "form" of all knowledge. And what do we see? The First Folio says Prospero ‘discovers’ Ferdinand and Miranda playing at chess. In Bacon’s time ‘discover’ meant to uncover, or to unveil. Their speech is a significant element of the revelation:
Miranda. Sweet lord, you play me false
Ferdinand. No, my dearest love,
I would not for the world.
Miranda. Yes, for a score of kingdoms you should wrangle,
And I would call it fair play.
Ferdinand and Miranda are human activity and human reason playing on the game board of human experience. This depiction has a very significant allusion. In this tableau the whole world of human experience is depicted as having no basis in reality, it is only a construct of the human mind and the human consciousness - like a game of chess. And like a game of chess the rules of the whole world of human experience exists only ad placitum. In The Advancement of Learning Francis Bacon said:
“But yet it holdeth not in religion alone, but in many knowledges both of greater and smaller nature, namely wherein there are not only posita [*fixed and not subject to argument] but placita [*as you please or open to choice]; for in such there can be no use of absolute reason. We see it familiarly in games of wit, as chess, or the like; the draughts and first laws of the game are positive, but how? Merely ad placitum [by general consent], and not examinable by reason; but then how to direct our play in the game is artificial and rational.”
This is why it was necessary for the purposes of Bacon’s final denouncement that the entire play depicts a chess game. The island in the play represents our world. The whole world of human experience has the same basis in reality as a chess game.
Chess, that was a microcosm of the European world at the time it was invented, is the perfect example for Bacon’s purposes. On the game board two kingdoms, complete with King, Queen, Bishops, Knights, Castles or Barons, and foot soldiers, war against each other. The chessboard is a miniature model of the kingdoms that war in the great world. The black and white squares, and the black and white pieces are those Two Principles, the array of opposites that runs throughout the world. The two periods that ended at the point this tableau was unveiled (the twelve year rule of darkness of Sycorax, followed by the twelve year rule of light of Prospero, and the lesser twelve hour period of darkness of night, followed by the twelve hour period of the light of day displays the cycles within cycles that these Two Principles run through in the panorama of the world).
It is significant that it is Lovers we see playing the game. In Bacon’s system of thought Love was the primary force that moves all the pieces on the board. This is the emblem of all nature; this is the emblem of the primary postulate, of the fount from which flows all motions in Great Nature. And this, in connection with the game on the board, is also a depiction of Love and War, the two opposites that operate through all of universal nature.
So in this emblematic depiction we are shown the whole world. Beyond that we are shown the whole universe. The black and white squares on the chessboard, along with the opposing black and white pieces represent the ancient doctrine of The Two Principles that was viewed as omnipresent in the world, and in the universe.
A theory, termed Biocentrism, promulgated in recent years by Robert Lanza and Bob Berman in their book, “Biocentrism – How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe” throws some light on Bacon’s denouncement in the tableau at the end of The Tempest. Lanza and Berman who contend each biological organism creates its own reality, put forth the following in support of their theory:
300 or so years ago George Berkeley pointed out that the only thing we can really perceive is our own perceptions. That is, our cosmos is our consciousness, and exits only inside our heads. For centuries Berkeley’s ideas were not given much weight. Then in the 1920s quantum physics experiments began to support this idea. These experiments demonstrated results depend upon whether anyone is observing. An example is the famous two-slit experiment. When no one watches a subatomic particle or a bit of light passing through the slits, the particle exhibits the behavior of a wave that can inhabit all possibilities including somehow passing through both slits at the same time. On the other hand, if someone is watching the particle behaves like a bullet, passing through one hole or the other.
Quantum mechanics is the most accurate model physicists have for describing the world of the atom. But this model implies that an unobserved sub-atomic particle-an electron or photon-has no well-defined location or motion until it is observed. It is only a wave function, a mere possibility. When observed it switches from possibility to reality, or as some physicists say the wave function collapses.
Experiments suggest the mere knowledge in the experimenter’s mind is sufficient to collapse a wave function and convert possibility to reality. A strange example of this is the case of particles created as a pair - for example, two electrons in a single atom that move or spin together. Physicists call them entangled. Due to their intimate connection, entangled particles share a wave function. When one of the particles is measured, thus collapsing its wave function, the other particle’s wave function collapses instantaneously. If one photon has a vertical polarization (its waves all moving in one plane), the act of observation causes the other to instantly go from being an indefinite probability wave to an actual photon with the opposite, horizontal polarity - even if the two photons have since moved far away from each other.
In 1990, University of Geneva physicist Nicolas Gisin, sent two entangled photons zooming along optical fibers until they were seven miles apart. One photon then hit a two-way mirror giving it the choice of either bouncing off or going through. Detectors recorded what it randomly did. But whatever action it took, its entangled twin always performed the complementary action, and this relation between the two happened at least 10,000 times faster than the speed of light, implying that quantum news travels instantaneously, limited by no external constraints - not even the speed of light.
The conclusion from all this obliterates the idea basic to our sense of reality of space/time. Space exists only as a construct of our mind. Past and future exists only as a construct of our minds. This is exactly what Bacon implied in his Masculine Birth of Time:
“Nevertheless it is important to understand how the present is like a seer with two faces, one looking toward the future, and the other toward the past.”
The fallout from the strange results of the physicist’s experiments was varying degrees of confusion and consternation. But slowly another interpretation emerged that seemed to make sense of these results. Instead of a reality out there that has always existed, what we actually perceive exists is something that exists only in our own consciousness. Human consciousness creates its own universe and this universe would not exist without human consciousness.
Another ‘strangeness’ is the ‘Goldilocks paradigm’. In case after case the cosmos has been found to be ‘just right’ for the existence of human life. If the Big Bang had been one-part-in-a-million more powerful it would have rushed out too fast for the galaxies and life to develop. If the strong nuclear force were decreased 2 percent, atomic nuclei wouldn’t hold together and hydrogen would be the only kind of atom in the universe. If the gravitational force was decreased by a hair stars (including the Sun) would not ignite. This is only three of more than two hundred parameters essential for human life within the universe, that are so exact it strains credulity to suppose that they are random.
Francis Bacon said:
“...the true rule of a perfect inquiry is that nothing can be found in the material globe which has not its correspondence in the crystalline globe-the understanding...”
What he was saying is that everything that seems to exist out there in the material world must exist in the human consciousness otherwise it will not exist ‘out there’. That is, the ultimate ‘form’ of any inquiry is that anything that seems to exist out there must exist in the human mind. This implies an agreement with some, though not all, of the basic ideas of Lanza and Berman’s theory. Suppose we accept the idea that there is no ‘out there’ out there, but that it all exists within our own consciousness, we still have to explain how this inner theater comes to be shared with all others. If each individual biological entity creates its own world and the universe that it experiences how is it that this world and universe comes to be shared with others? Some other hypothesis is needed to explain the creation of the community of illusion that we all experience.
Although part of the phenomena seems to be explained by Lanza and Berman’s theory, other parts seem better explained by the ideas of Vedanta (systems of knowledge based on the Vedas). A main element missing in Lanza and Berman’s theory is the existence of souls. The existence of souls, and the fall of souls is also an element of Bacon’s system of thought. Unlike Christianity, which teaches Salvation, Vedanta teaches Realization. In Vedanta Brahma is the great magician who, by his power of maya (illusion), creates the universe in which the soul by illusion is bound. As sparks fly forth from a blazing fire so the individual souls flew forth from Brahma, and since each soul is a portion of Brahma, each soul possesses a portion of his power of maya (illusion). Since the souls are fundamentally united, as a result of their origin from Brahma, the illusion created by individual souls is pooled with the illusion created by all souls. When a soul attains to the realization that all is illusion only then will it be freed. According to Vedanta the physical world operates under the fundamental law of maya, or illusion. The soul caught in the illusion of maya is compared to a sleeping man who is caught in the illusion of dreams. When he awakens they vanish. So when the soul awakens the illusion will vanish.
Vedanta has been around for more than five thousand years. But its doctrine still contains some questions that need to be answered just as the parallel doctrine that Bacon displays at the end of The Tempest contains some questions that need to be answered. And it is curious Bacon left them unanswered. Or did he?
Several years ago when I first began a serious study of The Tempest in the process of reading the play I detected something that caused me to become curious as to its real nature. I experienced a curious phenomenon in regards to the play. The more I brooded upon it, the more it continued to unfold, with additional aspects of meaning continuing to appear in a very remarkable manner. This went on for several months. Then one night I had a very strange experience.
I had been sleeping. At some time during the night I passed into a state of consciousness between sleep and waking. Then I became aware a strange process was taking place in my consciousness. A torrent of information was flooding into my mind. It was as if a movie reel, whirling at great speed in my consciousness, was depicting level after level of meaning in The Tempest. It was an utterly bizarre experience. This process continued with level after level of meaning flashing through my consciousness for an almost interminable time until there came a sensation of being caught up in an infinitude of levels for which there was no end.
Then I passed into another state of consciousness. My perception in this state was even stranger. It was as if my mind had joined with the mind of Bacon. Because my mind was joined with his mind I perceived the play as he perceived it. He was aware of the entire play simultaneously in one perception. And because my mind was joined with his mind I was also aware of the entire play in one perception. I knew I was in the mind of the author of the play, and that this was how he perceived the play. There was a unity to it's totality yet, at the same time, the play was an exquisite array of precisely counter-poised opposing entities; each precisely equal to its opposite, so that, overall, there was an absolute equilibrium of opposing entities; the two radical entities being darkness and light; and all the others arising from the opposition and struggle between these two. Suddenly there arose in my consciousness a kind of terror. This exquisite array was so exact, so inexorable, so implacable, it was terrifying in its unrelenting power. There was a terrible beauty to it like the "fearful symmetry" of Blake's tiger.
I had only a glimpse of this perception of the play before I passed into full waking consciousness. This was a very strange experience, and the strangeness did not end with the actual experience itself. Subsequent to the experience on several occasions I had the experience of spontaneously tuning into people’s minds as if a residual faculty persisted in my psyche as a result of the experience. In addition I noticed that the consciousness of the author of the play that I experienced during the experience was what Gurdjieff described as real consciousness. Gurdjieff had a detailed and specialized knowledge of the paranormal constitution of man. He said ordinary man does not possess real consciousness, and described real consciousness as a state in which man knows all at once everything that he in general knows. Very strange also was the fact that this hypnopompic experience supplied the data needed for a more comprehensive understanding of Bacon’s final denouncement at the end of The Tempest.
Two states of consciousness are contrasted here: ‘Real’ consciousness and ‘False’ consciousness. The Sufis say we are asleep in this world. Vedanta also uses analogy of ‘sleep’ and ‘dreams’ for ‘False’ consciousness. In ‘Real’ consciousness there is awareness of everything simultaneously. ‘False’ consciousness like sleep and dreams consists of only fragmentary perceptions. Thus, while time and space does not exist in real consciousness, the ‘parcel‘ effect of ordinary consciousness creates the illusion that it exists. Moreover, the parcel effect of ordinary consciousness also creates the illusion that there is a reality ‘out there’ whereas everything exists together. The end effect is that compared to real consciousness our ordinary consciousness imprisons us in a realm of sleep, dream, and illusion, and much of the illusion that we experience is a pooled illusion, a convention created by individual souls that is shared with other souls, just as the rules of a chess game is a convention shared by others.
The question that arises from all this is how does it happen that we are in this world of illusion, cut off from the real world? The Cathars had an interesting perspective on this. They had a strange theology built around the idea of The Exiled Evil God. This Evil God, who rules the world, has trapped the divine sparks from the celestial fire above in the prison of bodies made of matter, where they are doomed to go through the endless chain of transmigrations. The Cathars knew the Evil God as The Prince of darkness; Satan; Prince of the World; or Rex Mundi (The King of the World). According to the Cathars he was also the Jehovah of the Old Testament. For the Cathars a perpetual war was waged throughout all creation between two irreconcilable principles, and the Roman Catholic Church was a tool the Evil God had set up for the purpose of keeping imprisoned the human souls who the Evil God had enthralled into his control and trapped in the material world, and the Evil God uses illusion and mind control to keep the souls trapped here, for when the last one is delivered his kingdom, and the entire realm of illusion, will end.
Both the Hindus and the Cathars were devotees of deep meditation. Both derived their knowledge from the revelations they gained while in their states of deep meditation. And it may be noted that in many aspect the Cathar story is similar to the Vedanta perspective. The difference is that the seers of ancient India imparted no tint of evil to Brahma, while in the Cathar version the God of illusion becomes the God of Evil. Perhaps the seers of ancient India had a higher illumination, or perhaps, the difference lies in the conditions the Hindus and the Cathars operated in. Perhaps also, it was a matter of basic temperament. But in any case the theology of the Cathars throws a new light on The Tempest.
Prospero means ‘he who prospers.‘ His story is the story of the man on the ascending path who succeeds in escaping from the prison of the world. The play tells us that ‘rapt’ in secret studies Prospero was exiled to the island. Rapt is derived from a Latin root meaning ‘to be seized’, or ‘to be carried away’. Prospero realizes the island (our world) is a realm of illusion, and even uses this illusion for his own purposes, but later he realizes he must repudiate all connection with illusion. He does this. He effects changes to the parts of his being that keeps him imprisoned in the illusion of the world. Having accomplished this we see him at the end of the play where it seems his escape is assured - that he will leave the island the following day, but even at this point something else is needed, hence the Epilogue. At one level the Epilogue is merely a conventional address at the end of a play by an author eager to please his audience. At another level, with the words, “Pardoned the deceiver”, the epilogue alludes to the Cathar doctrine of the souls kept entrapped in the prison of the world by the deceiver, Rex Mundi. At another level the words, “Unless I be relieved by prayer /Which pierces so, that it assaults/Mercy itself” point to another Neoplatonist, Proclus, who, adding to the ideas of Iamblichus, said prayer was a necessary aid in obtaining release from this lower world.
FRANCIS BACON REVISTED
The hypnopomic experience I described above merits another look. It took me a long time to understand the implication of this experience, but I believe now I have. My conclusion is that this experience was actually an initiation, an alternate initiation to the initiation at Eleusis. Instead of my mind joining with the minds of those higher beings to which the minds of the initiates were joined at Eleusis, my mind was joined with the mind of Francis Bacon, and this provided the necessary glimpse of ‘real’ consciousness needed to understand the contrast between reality and the illusory world we are imprisoned in.
An additional parallel to the initiation at Eleusis was the experience included the phenomena of torrents of information flooding into my mind just as must have been the case with the initiates at Eleusis.
I believe this experience resulted from my study of The Tempest, that the play was designed with the potential to cause this experience. This belief is supported by another case connected with the play. In my article, “The Secrets of the First Folio” I described the case of a woman who had a similar experience connected with studying The Tempest. She experienced the sensation of a torrent of information flooding into her mind. And following this she had experiences that indicated some type of psychic energy had been downloaded into her body and mind. In that article I described the role that the psychic energy I call ‘psi-plasma energy’ plays in psychic experiences.
The Tempest depicts Prospero as possessing great magical powers. Moreover, it has commonly been noted that in the character of Prospero the author depicts himself. My conclusion from the foregoing is that Bacon constructed this play (that deals with the initiation at Eleusis, and with the ultimate form of human knowledge) so it has the possibility of causing an alternate initiation to the initiation at Eleusis that provides parallel data needed for understanding the true nature of the ‘form’ of all human knowledge depicted in the play. Of course, the objection to this would be, “Why should you have had this experience, and not the scores of academic and literary professionals who have studied the play?” In my opinion, the obvious answer lies in the dilettantism of these ‘professionals’. I mean, if these people are not even capable of realizing that Bacon was the author of Shakespeare Plays then their understanding must be ridiculus mus, indeed, completely incapable of rising to the level of anything real. And, as for the Baconians, they seem to be more interested in trying to add to the mountains of evidence that supports Bacon’s authorship of the Shakespeare plays, rather than trying to understand the plays themselves.
A being capable of constructing a play that, while containing a comprehensive allegory of the mysteries at Eleusis, can produce in the mind of the reader an alternate initiation experience, is beyond our illusion bound, ‘false’ conscious minds. In one of the Old Time Radio program the protagonist was referred to with a question that was repeated over and over again in the various episodes of that program, “Who was that masked man?” Thanks to the contributions of generations of Baconians this question has been answered over and over again. That masked man was Francis Bacon. However, a greater question remains that may never be answered.
What was that masked man?