“Pythagoras and his followers wrote the precepts of their doctrines in cubical arrangement,” we read in Vitruvius’ De Architectura (Book V, Preface), “the cube containing two hundred and sixteen verses, of which they thought that not more than three should be allotted to any one precept.”
Notably, 216 is the result of 6 raised to the third power. Ever since the ancient Chaldeans, the number 6 represented the act of creation, so it was considered to be the perfect number. Again, among the Platonic Solids described in Timaeus is the Cube, a congruent and regular six-square-face polygon, is representative of “Earth” though with a deeper significance.
Why would this be relevant to the people today, an age?
Symbolically, the “foundations of the earth” — the inner core of the human hero — is a regular cube-shaped stone. (Such symbolism appears in both Freemasonry and alchemy.) It is the prime matter where the Promethean seeds of aristocracy are sown and reaped — aristocracy in its radical implication of one that has excelled above the masses.
Whether the author of the Book of Revelation in the Christian Gospels was John the Evangelist or John the Presbyter (of Patmos), it seems clear the goat-headed “Beast from the earth” was an imperial power, although there is no name mentioned other a numerical value, 666. So, the “human number” is really a name to be despised: Caesar Nero.
Based on the notion of submission to the omniscient, Christianity was a system of thought completely foreign to the European peoples of that time, including the Romans, who believed in human will and power, and cooperation with the gods.
Alexander Pope wrote “Placed on this isthmus of a middle state, A being darkly wise and rudely great…He hangs between…In doubt to deem himself a god or a beast.”
The man who seeks to be independent, fiery and to perfect himself like a cubic stone: He performs feats of will with vigilance, force, and dynamism, and without resentment. The cubic stone is a symbol of construction, personal and societal, where, in principle, self-awareness must reside. It is a symbol of the truly sacred and the great work of overcoming.
One thought on “For it is a Human Number”
Great insights into the cube, thank you! I hadn’t personally made the ‘six’ sided cube connection before, and the added Masonic symbolism, it gives me quite a bit of food for thought. Also, the article image of Dürer’s Melancholia is spot on. One of my favorite pieces of esoteric art!