The word ‘realization’, derived from the word ‘real’, found its way into the English language through the Latin word ‘rēs’.1 Many meanings may be attached to this word,2 but generally and elementary does ‘rēs’ refer to the existence or occurrence of a certain given.3 With lesser nuance ‘rēs’ is often directly translated as ‘thing’.4 The deeper etymological layers of ‘rēs’ are somewhat obscure.5 Sometimes relations are made to the older Sanskrit ‘rāh’,6 ‘rai’ or ‘rās’.7 These carry meanings such as ‘property’, ‘possessions’, ‘goods’, ‘wealth’ and ‘gold’.8 These meanings are also still present in specific usage of the Latin ‘rēs’.9 The aforementioned Sanskrit words are in their turn derived from their root ‘rā’,10 meaning ‘to grant’, ‘to bestow’, ‘to impart’, ‘to give up’ and ‘to surrender’.11 Following the English word ‘real’ in this way back to the Sanskrit root word ‘rā’, may what is real, reality, be understood as a gift to which one surrenders. But the gift of reality is obviously not just any gift. It is the most rich and priceless gift, as is indicated in the meanings of ‘rā’. Taken all this in consideration may ‘realization’ be understood as the surrender for the priceless gift of reality.
Surrender and Gift
‘To give up’ is a good description to convey the meaning of the English word ‘surrender’.12 The latter comes from the Old French ‘surrendre’, which is a compound word consisting of ‘sur’ (meaning ‘over’) and ‘rendre’ (meaning ‘give’).13 So in a surrender one gives over. Three givens are in play in a surrender. First there is the one who gives over. Secondly there is the one to whom the surrenderer gives over. And thirdly there is the given which is given over in the surrender. So which are these three in the surrender that takes place in a realization? The surrenderer is the one who realizes. And the given to which the surrenderer surrenders is reality. In a realization does one surrender to reality. The given then which is given over in this surrender regards everything obstructing the acceptance of reality. And what obstructs the acceptance of reality is the appearance by which one is filled up.14 Giving over the appearances that fill one up then clears the way for acceptance of the gift of reality. Being full of appearances there is no place left in which reality can be received. It is thus only in the emptying of oneself through surrendering appearances to reality that one is able to receive the priceless gift of reality. This then is the deeper meaning of ‘realization’.
Inner Realization and Outer Realization
The English word ‘realization’ has in its daily usage two connotations. For the word is used to refer (or infer) to both an inner and an outer realization. Such an inner realization is in the dictionary thought of as the (act of) bringing vividly or clearly before the mind.15 Although the dictionary is not accurately in letting old, and perhaps even ancient, meanings resound in its definitions, can the idea regarding (the act of) bringing vividly or clearly before the mind be reconciled with what was explicated in the previous paragraph. For in the act of surrender of appearance by which the gift of reality may be received is reality vividly and clearly been brought before the mind.
Outer realization is in the dictionary thought of as the act of converting into real existence or fact.16 Here too the findings of the previous paragraph can be reconciled. Now not an emptying and giving over with regards to the realizer himself is the case, but the emptying and the giving over with regards to the realizer’s context and surroundings. What is not real on the outside is made real in outer realization. A clay sculpture for instance is realized by the sculptor, who is the realizer, out of a lump of clay. Facing the lump of clay the sculptor already has the sculpture in his mind, but in order to realize this sculpture in his surroundings the sculptor must give up the lump of clay. The lump of clay must be given over to the reality of the sculpture so that the gift of its reality may be received.
Abstraction and Concretization
The above two realizations take place by processes of abstraction and concretization. The English word ‘abstraction’, derived from ‘abstract’, comes from the Latin ‘abstractus’.17 This is a compound word consisting of ‘abs’, meaning ‘off’ or ‘away’, and ‘tractus’. This latter Latin word is derived from ‘trahere’, meaning ‘to draw’. Thus to abstract denotes an act of drawing away. And with ‘abstract’ being an opposite term to ‘concrete’,18 it shall be clear that what is drawn away from in an abstraction regards the concrete. This word ‘concrete’ also found its way into English usage through the Latin language. Eventually it can be traced back to the Latin ‘concrēscere’19 or ‘concrescō’, meaning ‘to be formed’, ‘to grow’, ‘to solidify’ and ‘to arise’.20 This word is compound of the prefix ‘com’ and the word ‘crescō’ (or ‘crēscere’). ‘Com’ means ‘together’21 and ‘cresco’ means ‘to arise’ and ‘to grow’.22 This latter word is again compound and consists of ‘creō’ and the suffix ‘sco’. ‘Creo’ then in its turn carries meanings such as ‘to give birth’, ‘to bring into being’, ‘to create’ ‘to cause’ and the like.23 Thus in a concretization something is created into solid being through a growing together (of certain elements).
Realization through Abstraction and Concretization
We contemplated abstraction to be a drawing away from the concrete, and concretization to be the creation into solid being through a growing together (of certain elements). Taking the two mentioned realizations in consideration can inner realization be thought of as a process of abstraction and outer realization as a process of concretization.
Inner realization was considered as a surrender of appearance by which the gift of reality may be received vividly and clearly before the mind. And the process which may lead to this inner realization may considered to be abstraction, or the drawing away from the concrete. Now the concrete is that which can be grasped, either by the senses or by the mind. What is concrete appears before our eyes and our other senses, or before our mind. And what appears is appearance, so it is well to contemplate the concrete as appearance and as the graspable.24 Now in abstraction one draws away from that concrete and that graspable. This means firstly that one draws away from what is sensuous, which regards the outer world. The outside surroundings which are so easy to grasp with our senses are given up and given over to what cannot be grasped; reality. And this then also goes for what is grasped with the mind. To abstract means to give up what the mind clenches tightly in its grasp and to give it over to reality, which also by the mind cannot be grasped. The outer peripheral attention is drawn away towards the inner centre. The concrete awareness is abstracted into an abstract awareness. It is in this inner centre of abstract awareness that an inner realization may take place and that reality may be received.
Outer realization was considered as a surrender of appearance by which the gift of reality may be received in a creation. And the process which may lead to this outer realization may considered to be concretization, or the creation into solid being through a growing together. Now something which has solid being is graspable, and it was already been made clear that the concrete is the graspable. In an outer realization then something is made graspable for the senses or for the mind. The movement here is from the centre where abstractness dwells towards the periphery, which may in this contemplation be considered to regard the realm of concreteness. A certain inner reality is solidified by molding existing outer elements together into something graspable. Now the abstract conceived inner reality has been solidified into a real outer existence.
In this paragraph shall the spiral of realization be drawn and elucidated. For this a step by step process shall be followed. This process shall lead us through three characteristics or dimensions of realization. Each of these dimensions shall be touched upon by a short elucidation and a drawing. These then shall be taken along to the next to be explicated dimension, thus building up the spiral of realization in its, for this contemplation important, dimensions.
Polarity of Abstraction and Concretion
Of the above mentioned three characteristics or dimensions is the polarity of abstraction and concretion the first to be explicated. To start this explication it may be recalled that in the previous paragraph inner realization was thematized as a process of abstraction and outer realization as a process of concretization. Now with ‘abstract’ being set opposite to ‘concrete’ they form together a polar pair. And what the two processes of abstraction and concretization have in common is that they both move within this polar pair, move between abstraction and concretion. Inner realization moves from concreteness to abstraction and outer realization moves from abstraction to concreteness. Now it should be emphasized that it is not possible for abstraction and concretization to take place between the same concrete and abstract given(s) at the same time. Such a thought would be symbolized as in figure 1.
There symbolizes point cφ the concrete given(s) and point aφ the abstract one(s). Arrow Cφ there shows the process of concretization from aφ to cφ, and arrow Aφ shows the process of abstraction from cφ to aφ.
Distinction of Abstraction and Concretization
Regarding figure 1 it is noticeable that this figure is not showing two processes of abstraction and concretization, but that these two are considered to be one process (symbolized by a single double arrow), taking place at the same time between the same two givens. Inner and outer realization according to this figure happen at the same time. However it was emphasized that these two do not happen at the same time, and thus is figure 1 not adequate in symbolizing inner and outer realization in one figure. The polar opposition between abstraction and concretion is set adequately with points aφ and cφ, however the arrows Aφ and Cφ, symbolizing the processes of abstraction and concretization must be drawn with separate lines.
In figure 2, while symbolically maintaining the polarity of aφ and cφ, this need is fulfilled. There abstraction Aφ between cφ and aφ is drawn separately from concretization Cφ between aφ and cφ. Together the two processes form a full circle.
Plurality of Givens and Processes
In figure 2 is the polar opposition between abstraction and concretion symbolized while the processes of abstraction and concretization are set as separate processes. Nevertheless is this figure on itself still not adequate. For following the arrows it will easily be concluded that the processes of abstraction and concretization are every round again identical to those of the former round, occurring every round again between the same static abstract and concrete given. This however is not the case. Every realization, be it inner or outer, is unique and stands by itself. And every abstraction and every concretization is equally unique. And this goes also for every abstract and every concrete given. All processes and givens occur only once in time and space.25 So the figure that actually should be drawn must contain the important characteristics of the previous figures, but must at the same time show in symbol all givens and all processes as different from each other. And this is what figure 3 shows. This figure shows different abstract givens in a1 and a2, different concrete givens in c1, c2 and c3, different processes of abstraction in A1 and A2, and different processes of concretization in C1 and C2. And all this while keeping the polarity of aφ and cφ. Together these givens and processes form a helix spiral.
It is clear that in this helix spiral the characteristics or dimensions of the previous figures are absorbed too. The arrows Aφ and Cφ in the spiral still indicate the up and down movement between aφ and cφ, as is also shown in figure 1. And these arrows in the spiral still indicate separate movements between aφ and cφ, as shows also figure 2. Thus has the spiral of realization been explicated through a threefold step by which it somewhat gradually could be build up.
Let us further elucidate what this spiral of realization in figure 3 shows through its drawn symbols. Following the direction of the arrows the processes of realization are followed. So figure 3 should be read from left to right. The first point from the left regards c1. This point is however preceded by a dotted arrow line. This line indicates that the first concrete given is the result of a process, for processes in the figures of this contemplation are symbolized by arrow lines. That the line is dotted and not named indicates an ungraspable stretch of the spiral backwards. It cannot be grasped where the spiral of realization found its origin. The first concrete given then, resulting from the foregoing process, is drawn as point c1. This is where we concretely start to follow the spiral. From c1 arrow line A1 is drawn, indicating the first accounted process of abstraction. Concrete given c1 is abstracted in A1. This process, away from the concrete, into the abstract, is indicated to lead to an inner realization at point a1, which symbolizes the first abstract given. The realizer has abstracted a concrete given and now realizes within himself, towards the centre of his existence, its abstraction. This abstract given however does not become a permanent dwelling place of the regarded realizer’s attention. For arrow line C1, symbolizing the first accounted process of concretization, brings his attention eventually to the second concrete given, here symbolized by point c2. At this point a second outer realization has taken place. The abstract realization of a1 led the realizer to concretize that abstract given and to realize it towards the outer periphery of his existence. This second concrete given c2 however is not identical to the earlier realized concrete given c1. The second concrete given may have similarities with the first, for this is indicated by the equal relative lowness of c1 and c2, but these two are nevertheless different from each other.26 The same story goes for the second process of abstraction A2. Abstracting now c2, which had similar aspects as c1 but was nevertheless different, shall A2 too be similar to, though still different from, A1. A2 then again leads to a second inner realization, indicated by point a2, which again is concretized through the second process of concretization of C2, leading then towards the third outer realization c3. After c3 again an unnamed dotted arrow line is drawn to indicate that the process of realization stretches itself out ungraspably, this time forwards.
So what we basically see is a continuous process of abstraction and concretization. A concretion which has its place somewhere towards the realizer’s periphery of existence is abstracted towards his centre of existence. There the inner realization of an abstraction with regards to the concretion takes place. And this abstraction then is given solid and concrete form again in a new outer realization. This new concretion has similarities with the previous concretion, but is enriched by what the inner realization has brought to the fore, and is therefore different and new. That the spiral shows an increasing frequency and a decreasing amplitude signifies that through the processes of realization the realizer comes ever closer to unifying inner and outer, comes ever closer to the reality where inner and outer are one.
With this elucidation may the spiral of realization be considered to be realized. Further realizations are to be expected.