“The nature of god is a circle”

“The nature of god is a circle whose center is everywhere
and whose circumference is nowhere.”

While some theorise this phrase as an Hermetic axiom, variations of it can in fact be found in the works of many writers and philosophers throughout history. Below I have listed many who the quote claims to have come from.

Empedocles BCE 490-430,
born and died Italy

St. Augustine 354-430 AD,
Christian theologian, philosopher,
born and died Algeria

Marius Victorinus 4th cent. AD,
Neoplatonic philosopher, rhetorician, grammarian,
born Africa, died Rome?

Alain de Lille 1128-1203,
theologian, poet,
born and died France

a text entitled The Book of 24 Philosophers
which is supposedly dated 1200 AD
and attributed to ‘Hermes Trismegistus’

Meister Eckhart 1260-1328,
theologian, philosopher, mystic,
born Germany, died France

Thomas Bradwardine 1290-1349,
archbishop of Canterbury, physicist, cleric, scholar, mathematician, courtier,
born and died England

Nicholas of Cusa 1401-1464,
philosopher, theologian, jurist, astronomer,
born Germany, died Italy

Giordano Bruno 1548-1600,
Dominican friar, philosopher, mathematician, poet, astrologer,
born and died Italy

Baruch Spinoza 1632-1677,
born and died the Netherlands

Voltaire 1694-1778,
writer, historian, philosopher,
born and died France

Gilles Deleuze 1925-1995,
born and died France.

There is also an entire publication surrounding the theme of wholeness and spheres entitled ”Unendliche Sphäre und Allmittelpunkt, Beiträge zur Genealogie der mathematischen Mystik” 1937, by one Dietrich Mahnke 1884-1939, philosopher and historian of mathematics, born and died Germany.

Jorge Luis Borges wrote Pascal’s Sphere in 1951,
an essay expounding on this very quote.
It describes how Xenophanes railed against this mystical figure
of ‘Hermes Trismegistus’.
He also went into detail about the attributions of Bruno, Spinoza and Copernicus
but ultimately deciding
“[p]erhaps universal history
is the history of the various intonations
of a few metaphors.”

“All that we see in of the creation,
is but an almost imperceptible streak
in the vast expanse of the universe.
No idea can approximate its immense extent…
This is an infinite sphere,
the center of which is everywhere,
but its circumference nowhere.
In short, it is one of the greatest sensible evidences of the almightiness of god,
that our imagination is overwhelmed by these reflections.”

~ Blaise Pascal 1623-1662,
mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer, Christian philosopher,
born and died France


Portrait of Pascal

Pascal of course is known for, among other things, the idea of Pascal’s wager, the idea that you might aswell believe in the idea of god because even if you don’t, what is there to lose? Or something to that effect.

The importance of this quote is the fact that  while it is indeed a quasi-Hermetic axiom the fact that all of these authors are supposed to have in some way quoted or recited a similar quote gives much credence to the idea that the Hermetic philosophy and the ideas which came out of that period of history are indeed much more prevalent than any scholar has posited before.

It is also important to note that the idea itself is a very mathematical idea, that of the universe being somewhat of a circle – the all-encompassing idea of god. We will come to mathematics in later posts.

5 thoughts on ““The nature of god is a circle”

  1. Each day I live (be and become) within the meaning and mystery of the Infinite’s (panENtheistic) BEing and Love.

    “What if one day 

    you come to the realization
that you never again have to explain
yourself away to anyone anymore, 

    or that you no longer must carry
the burden of another’s false perception
    of you 
or your own perceived inadequacies 

    and you could relax, finally, in knowing 

    you’re incredible in the light you are
standing in at this moment. 

    And what if you go on to not care
about the judgments someone 

    else might have—that your life is 

    not full or amazing enough—or that 

    you no longer feel the need to endlessly 

    apologize for being human?

    That day 
has been graciously 

    waiting for you
to begin swimming in
its warm waters of love 

    and acceptance.”

    by Susan Frybort, 

    from ‘Open Passages’

    Liked by 1 person

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