Except for the last statement, Papapete's logic is spurious and the fact that it requires the same mental and semantic gymnastics used by academics to argue for the whiteness of black and so forth should have given him pause. The Source
The article itself is neither here nor there (I think he's arguing about how the term 'fascism' in 'Islamo-Fascist' is a misnomer as the current global jihad bears no resemblance to Italian fascism, which is itself an academic point). This comment stuck out to me, because it got me to wondering, "WHY THE HECK DO WE SPEND SO MUCH TIME SCREWING WITH THIS TRIVIAL B. S.?"
Ah, but then I read Denning and Philips, and it all became clear:
The object of the earlier operations [in an alchemical process] in the series is simply to separate and purify the component parts of the initial substance. (p. 24)
All of this endless arguing and precision and steps to define and separate and isolate: it's all part of the process. Yes, we're existing in a unity, but we can't perceive that unity until we first separate out the initial substance. Until we know what we have, we can't combine it into an integral unity. And when people do this, they are simply trying to effect this first change in their lives, although they have no blueprint of the map.
The issue I see, is that if we stop at this stage of separation, that's as far as we get. In alchemy, there are other steps you must proceed to. For instance, it's impossible to 'walk a mile in another's shoes', until you have an idea if we're talking about $400 sandals or goodwill tennis shoes with holes in the sole. Unity is impossible without separation.
To expand on this, I do think that once you realize that this needs to be done, it is not necessary to take it to extremes. Monks of old would take vows of poverty, chastity, and what not, because it's EASIER to separate the material world when you have less to separate. It's sort of an elegant short cut: Cut out every part of life, and you only have a few parts left to separate out, and a few to integrate.
The modern magician arrogantly and optimistically assumes he can do it in his apartment with his DVDs and computer around him. And he may be correct in his assumption. The problem he faces is that he can get caught in that separation stage, and never proceed to the unity.
As examples: We've been talking about time on the PTG. Everyone seems to have their own definition. Everyone seems to be willing to argue their point. I even posted a mathematical description.
In the words of Patsy, "It's only a model."
No matter how precise and personally meaningful these descriptions are to us, THEY ARE MODELS. They bear as much resemblance to the reality of time as an inkblot. We can make useful models (A person can be defined in physical coordinates as x + y + z + ti), or personal ones (Time is that boundary between past and future, time is the illusion that there's a past and future when there is only now). Ultimately, the separation of the model is only useful to point us towards the ultimate reality, through that alchemical process of integration. We must adopt the model or not, as it is useful. Gnosticism, and magic, is ultimately about what's pragmatic in attaining the Great Work. Any of the ceremonial options we do (sacraments, magick rituals, etc.) are directed toward that unity with the divine which we seek, that unity with our higher self. All our models are used for this purpose.
Another example has been the Gnostic Animals thread, which gets into soul/spirit/body distinctions as well as the division between animals and humans. WE'RE ALL ONE, GET IT? But we can't get it until we've done our separations into component materials, and then we can begin the work of integration.
Just don't forget: Integration is the end goal, not endless separation.