mythologic bottomless pit
An abyss is a bottomless depth.
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- The way in which the antithesis is constituted in this ethical realm is such that self-consciousness has not yet received its due as a particular individuality. There it has the value, on the one hand, merely of the universal will, and on the other, of consanguinity. This particular individual counts only as a shadowy unreality. As yet, no deed has been committed; but the deed is the actual self. It disturbs the peaceful organization and movement of the ethical world. What there appears as order and harmony of its two essences, each of which authenticates and completes the other, becomes through the deed a transition of opposites in which each proves itself to be the nonreality, rather than the authentication, of itself and the other. It becomes the negative movement, or the eternal necessity, of a dreadful fate which engulfs in the abyss of its single nature divine and human law alike, as well as the two self-consciousnesses in which these powers have their existence-and for us passes over into the absolute being-for-self of the purely individual self-consciousness.
- G. W. F. Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit (1807) C. (BB.) Spirit, 464. (Translated by A. V. Miller)
- In this arrogance which fancies it has, by the gift of a meal, acquired the self of another's 'I' and thereby gained for itself the submission of that other's inmost being, it overlooks the inner rebellion of the other; it overlooks the fact that all restraints have been cast off, overlooks this state of sheer disruption in which, the self-identity of being-for-self having become divided against itself, all identity, all existence, is disrupted, and in which the sentiment and view-point of the benefactor suffer most distortion. It stands on the very edge of this innermost abyss, of this bottomless depth, in which all stability and Substance have vanished; and in this depth it sees nothing but a common thing, a plaything of its whims, an accident of its caprice. Its Spirit is a subjective opinion wholly devoid of essentiality, a superficiality from which Spirit has fled.
- G. W. F. Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit (1807), C. (BB.) Spirit, 519. (Translated by A. V. Miller)
- Thus possibility seems greater and greater to the self; more and more it becomes possible because nothing becomes actual. Eventually everything seems possible, but this is exactly the point at which the abyss swallows up the self. It takes time for each little possibility to become actuality. Eventually, however, the time that should be used for actuality grows shorter and shorter; everything becomes more and more momentary. Possibility becomes more and more intensive—but in the sense of possibility, not in the sense of actuality, for the intensive in the sense of actuality means to actualize some of what is possible.
- Søren Kierkegaard, The Sickness Unto Death (1849), C. The Forms of This Sickness (Despair)
- The first link in Bohme's theosophic train of thought is the unit which he designates as the Abyss where all as yet is in indifference. Here as yet there is no ground, cause, or basis, no centre, no principle, nothing defining or defined, because ground, cause or basis, can only appear when the different, the definite appears. Here there is neither light nor darkness, light nor fire, neither good nor evil; here there is neither height nor depth, great nor small, thick nor thin. Here is everything and nothing. For all is stillness, in which nothing actual stirs. In this stillness lies the whole Trinity, Father, Son, and Spirit, who have not yet come forth.
- Jacob Boehme: his life and teaching. Or Studies in theosophy by Hans Martensen 1885, 1808-1884; Evans, Thomas Rhys, tr p. 56
- But in the recesses of this abyss, this mysterium magnum there is a bottomless unoriginatcd Will, which Will, however, we are not to explore more closely, because it would disturb us, and fill us with confusion. We can readily comprehend that it would disturb us to search into this Night of Indifference, to seek conditions and varieties where no such things exist On the other hand, it is precisely this Will which Bohme desires to explore when it steps out of the night, determines itself to its own manifestation, and assigns to itself progressive conditions or determinations. In connection with this Will, Bohme also often speaks of a great, enormous Eye, in which all marvels, all shapes, colours, and figures lie concealed. But this Eye sees nothing, because it only looks out into an undefined, illimitable infinity, where it meets with no object.
- Jacob Boehme: his life and teaching. Or Studies in theosophy by Hans Martensen 1885, 1808-1884; Evans, Thomas Rhys, tr p. 57
- Whoever fights with monsters should see to it that he does not become one himself. And when you stare for a long time into an abyss, the abyss stares back into you.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil (1886), Aphorism 146