Essays by Stan Tenen

Dini's Surface: Mt Sinai, the Tree of Life,
and the Great Chain of Being; and The Human in the Gorilla Suit
©1997 by Stan Tenen

The Human in the Gorilla Suit
©1997 Stan Tenen

Dini’s surface is extraordinary in that it represents a space that unfurls generation after generation in one sense even while all parts of the surface also project from, and connect back directly to, the origin in the infinitely distant "past."

In order for Dini’s surface to continue to unfurl and project, it must get out of the way of itself. If the generational unfurlment is not trimmed, it clings ever more tightly around itself in a way that sufficates future growth.

The generational unfurlment and the direct projection from the origin occur at right angles - the two expansions are orthogonal (mutually independent.)

Since every generation, no matter how far from the origin, also connects directly back to the origin, each generation - and all parts of Dini’s surface - must have been implicit in the origin. Given that the origin is infinitely far distant, there is no difference in distance from the origin from one generation to another. The origin is always equally infinitely distant from all generations.

Each new generation appears to blossom from within the previous generation. Cutting away generations does not get us closer to the core or to the origin - it just exposes generations in an earlier stage of development that will blossom later. Compared to the infinitely distant origin, all generations are equally deep and far away. Implicit within any generation are layers and layers - like the layers of an onion - representing future development. - The "future" (of consciousness) is always "inside."


The deepest origin is connected to the deepest layers and it is the most central part of Dini’s surface (or of the onion.) If we want to examine the future evolution of Dini’s surface we needn’t go forward in time, nor do we need to anticipate novelty. We merely go towards the center. This unveils the forms of future growth.

Last week in an attempt to regain a measure of sanity, we visited the San Francisco Zoo. The primate center has a display showing human and gorilla skulls. The gorilla skull is larger, the muzzle is protruding, there are prominent brow ridges and ridges over and on the sides of the brain case. Close examination leads one to notice that the gorilla skull is a grosser and cruder version of the human skull. In fact, within the gross features (the brow ridges and protruding muzzle, etc.) there is the outline of a finer form - a slightly undersized normal adult human skull! It is as if within the gorilla skull there is a human skull. The human appears to be implicit in the gorilla - but at a deeper layer, closer to the center. Just as with Dini’s surface, the next evolutionary form is NOT in the future, but in the present, only closer to the core of being.

Perhaps we have been looking at evolution inside out. Perhaps the gorilla does not evolve into a human by virtue of survival of the fittest - a teaching that is used to justify social Darwinism - but, rather, the human is and always has been within the gorilla from creation. The gorilla is merely the physical husk around the finer form. To reach the human from the gorilla one does not have to evolve by fighting better and mastering the physical world better - it is NOT a competition for physical survival at all. Rather one must approach the origin and source at the deeper spiritual center if one wants to find the human. Survival is in spiritual refinement, NOT in physical efficiency and viability. We do NOT grow by conquering the earth. That only makes us more gorilla like because it moves us away from the center. Instead we grow by moving closer to the center from wherever and whenever we are. Not in the future; not in the past; not by force; not for survival. The human emerges when we circumcise the outer, grosser, physical gorilla and expose the inner, finer, center closer to our spiritual core and to the origin of all.

Dini’s surface also helps us to see why Jewish descent must be from the mother, while only males are circumcised.

Well before a female fetus is born it contains, fully formed, all of its eggs for the next generation. The female line connects back to the origin directly, umbilus to umbilus, and egg to egg - directly back to the origin. All future eggs for all future generations exist potentially within the first egg. Only eggs that descent from the children of Israel are Jewish. A convert’s egg must also, ultimately, find its way back to the Jewish chain, for their soul to be Jewish. (That is why conversion to Judaism must be deep and deeply heartfelt.)

Males split off at each generation. There is no chain of umbilic cords stretching back to the first Eve. For the male line to continue it must proceed in each generation from the female. Yet it must also be circumcised or it will suffocate future growth. Circumcision of the male line is projected as circumcision of the male organ, exposing a finer - more sensitive - layer. (This occurs physically and in brain organization. Circumcision at 8-days is just at the time when neurons and neural connections are growing and ablating rapidly. Stimulation of some neural paths by the trauma of circumcision sets up the conditions for later spiritual growth. -see discussion of the neurophysiology of circumcision in discussion elsewhere.)

Dini’s surface is an example of a mathematical-geometric model whose properties match one-for-one with traditional Kabbalist and spiritual teachings in Judaism. It has both HaShem and Elokim - inner and outer - properties in coherent relationship. Dini’s surface can help us to understand some of the implications of the Sh’ma which states that HaShem and Elokim are Echod - One.

If this analysis has merit, it can help to demonstrate that the Halacha of Jewish matralineal descent and the requirement of male circumcision are effective means by which we can shed our grosser physical limitations in the world (the vessel of our gorilla nature) and become spiritually finer - more human - by drawing closer to HaShem. When we do this, we will observe moshiach in the world.


This essay is an incomplete DRAFT.


Contents of this page are ©1989, 1996 Stan Tenen, and licensed to Meru Foundation, POB 503, Sharon, MA 02067 USA.
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