Degree XVII — Question Set 3

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Related Essay(s):

Degree XVII Lecture
Mind and Consciousness by Dr R M Bucke
Three Dialogues by George Berkeley
The Devil

In the Indian doctrine, not only is the Supreme Being the real cause of all, but He is the only real Existence: all the rest is illusion. — Albert Pike

1. Consider the above sentence in the light of Bishop George Berkeley's Three Dialogues, and summarise your conclusions.

2. Consider the four "worlds" of the Kabbala: "emanation, creation, formation, and fabrication, one inferior to and one emerging from the other, the superior always enveloping the inferior". How, if at all, does this concept help you to understand the modus operandi of your familiar "world"?

3. Contemplate the words law, life, light, love. What is their significance in your personal life? Do they affect you primarily through your mind or through your body? How do you account for their importance in your society? Do they have any obvious material equivalents or expressions? What conclusions do you draw from your contemplation?

4. What "intermediaries" do you recognise as existing between yourself and the Ultimate Source of the Universe? What service does each of them perform for you? Could any of them be eliminated without detriment to your enjoyment of life?

5. What can you find out about Basilides? How, if at all, does Basilides' Gnosticism as described in the lecture satisfy your own criteria for a personal philosophy of life? What criticisms would you make of it?

6. Read The Devil, and then write a short essay on "Dualism", describing your own ideas about the relationship between mind and matter.

7. How, if at all, does this lecture increase your understanding of the Book of Revelation in the New Testament of the Christian Bible?

8. Why are initiates into this Degree known as "Knights of the East and West"? What qualities would you expect to be characteristic of such Knights? How do you think they would give expression to these qualities in the national and international politics of the twenty-first century CE?