As is to be expected in ongoing research, this 1986
working paper contains errors. We have considerably refined, and
sometimes significantly changed, the hypotheses printed in the paper below.
(For example, the "3 1/2-turn" vortex referred to below is actually
a "3-turn" vortex. The vortex is the same; our counting convention
changed for mathematical consistency.) However, we have chosen to publish The Light in the Meeting Tent here in its original form, mistakes
and all, as an illustration of how a working hypothesis evolves and changes
Meru Foundation has never formally published or
distributed this paper until now. In 1986-7, we felt that publishing
this working research model would mislead the public, since the paper inevitably
would (and in fact did) contain ideas that we have since learned were inaccurate.
Now, ten years later, we believe that Meru Foundation's research has sufficiently
matured that release of The Light in the Meeting Tent is appropriate,
for those who enjoy following a line of research from its earliest origins.
The Light in the Meeting Tent contains the
original introduction of several ideas that are basic to our modeling process.
Here is where we first stated that the principle of a comparison between
symmetry and asymmetry could be represented by a tetrahedron and a special
corresponding vortex. This is also the first identification of symmetry
and asymmetry as a "Light in a Meeting Tent", and as a model
of a "Flame in its Vessel". To our knowledge, there is no prior
demonstration of this principle in any extant reference. There are, of
course, discussions of the Hebrew letters as relating to "flame",
but nowhere is there an explanation for how or why this should be so, or
how or why it could be meaningful.
The Light in the Meeting Tent contains our
original demonstration of how symmetry and asymmetry, tetrahedron and vortex,
light and vessel, produce the letters of a particular Hebrew and a particular
Arabic alphabet. It is also the first demonstration that the same type
font can be used to generate Hebrew and Arabic letters. In fact, The
Light in the Meeting Tent is the first demonstration of the generation
of an alphabetic type font – all the letters of a particular alphabet –
from a single, meaningful, 3-dimensional form, viewed from different perspectives.
Finally, please note that in the original document,
the following copyright line was printed on the bottom of each page:
FLAME.TXT Rev. 0.7 Copyr. 1986 SNT MERU FOUNDATION
7 Hillcrest Court San Anselmo CA 94960
MERU FOUNDATION'S ADDRESS IS NOW: MERU FOUNDATION,
PO Box 503, Sharon MA 02067.
--Levanah Tenen, December 1996
These qualities are complementary. They orbit, blend into, grow
from and through each other, and together they resolve and define a unity,
the Tao of their domain. When these complements are infinitely interpenetrating
they are one whole; as pairs, they are the essential defining distinction
of their whole. Each complement is dependent on and defined by its other.
The set of all these dualities can be elegantly modeled by the polar distinction
between total symmetry and total asymmetry. No complement is more separate,
nor more bound, than the order of symmetry and the chaos of nothing same.
In three dimensions the most elegant economical structure exhbiting
total symmetry is the tetrahedron. It has spin symmetry about all its elements:
4-corners (opposite 4-faces) --- Defining 4-tetrahedral radii
6-edges (in opposing pairs) --- Defining 3-"Cartesian" radii
Thus, the tetrahedron is completely defined by 7-radii/vectors (see
accompanying illustration). In fact, the tetrahedron is the minimum element
(quantum) of all structure. (These concepts are discussed at length in
"Synergetics" and other works by R. Buckminster Fuller.)
The tetrahedron is also a representation of the (symmetric) structure
of the minimum set of four logical elements that define the self-referential
The simplest 3-dimensional representation of the most asymmetric
form is less often recognized. We propose this simplest asymmetric form
as the corresponding defining element of the self-referential (reflexive)
PROCESS itself, complementary to the minimal logical STRUCTURE of the process
as described above. In fact, this most asymmetric form is the minimal (topologic)
form of any/all process which begins from the uniform homogeneous chaos
of nothingness/anythingness (Ain Soph, in Qabalah).
As an analogy, picture this nothingness/anythingness as a sort of
infinite "cosmic jello". The introduction of any disturbance
whatever into this "cosmic jello" is of indeterminately large
magnitude, compared to the previously undisturbed state. (This "first
cause" is the equivalent of Prigogine's dissipative flux.*) It results
in the reflexive flow of uniform isotropic "cosmic jello" through
itself as defined on the surface of a 2-torus (donut); sort of a "smoke-ring"
set into motion (puffed from the contraction-zimzum) by the dissipative
flux of first cause: "Fiat Lux", the introduction of light/consciousness
into the void. (This 2-torus form as the archetype of the self-referential
process is discussed in detail in "The Reflexive Universe" and
other works of Arthur M. Young.)
The 2-torus (donut) is invariantly defined by the 7-color map that
can be drawn on its surface; the 7-regions are cyclically arrayed on a
3 1/2-turn ribbon carved on this surface. (See illustration.)
We propose that the most elegant representation of total asymmetry
in 3-dimensions is one half of this ribbon: 1 3/4-turns of spiral vortex
extending from the singularity at the center of the donut up out and around
to its circumfrential rim. (If we model our 2-torus as a radial tire on
an infinitesimal wheel, then the spiral vortex unfurls from the axle hole
to the center of the tread.) Each view of this ribbon is unique; it is
completely asymmetrical in 2-dimensional (shadow) projection.
This complementary pair, the regular tetrahedron and the 1 3/4-turn
ribbon vortex, together represent the archetype that defines the distinction
between perfect symmetry and no symmetry at all. The defining elements
of each correspond one-to-one with the defining elements of the other (i.e.,
they map each other.) The seven radial vectors (axes of spin symmetry)
which define the tetrahedron correspond to the seven cyclically arrayed
regions (7-phases) of the 7-color map (on the 1 3/4-turn ribbon) which
defines the 2-torus. Further, the progression from the apex of the tetrahedron
to its three base vertices maps onto the eruption of the singularity of
the 2-torus to its rim; the three base vertices of the tetrahedron also
define the cyclic spin direction of the 1 3/4-turn ribbon as it spirals
out from "axle" to "rim". (See illustrations.)
The tetrahedron has the form of the meeting tent, the tabernacle
in Sinai; the vortex has the form of the Eternal Flame inside the tent.
They are the Same (symmetric) and the Different (asymmetric) of Plato (Timaeus);
the Urim (lights) and the Tumin (perfections), the jewels on the breast-plate
of the high priest; the Yin of cyclic feminine process and the Yang of
radial masculine structure. They are Spirit/Consciousness/Light in Matter/Body/Quantum.
This Flame in its Meeting Tent has many noteworthy properties and
applications; as a model known in the mythology and science of all cultures
(albeit in various guises and by diverse names) it can function as a unifying
center and speak to all with one voice.
It is taught that the twelve perfect jewels (Tumin) on the breast-plate
of the high priest in Sinai, in appropriate prophetic hands, could be used
as an oracle in interpretation of the Torah.
In the introduction to the Sepher Zohar (Book of Splendor), Rabbi
Simeon discusses the "lily among the thorns". The thorns are
like seed-husk/ structures; they are "particles" akin to the
tetrahedron. The lily (calla lily -- the "Easter Lily" to the
Christians) is flame-shaped, but upside-down (the candle-top is at the
open end of the lily; the smoke column from the tip of the flame is at
the flower's stem). The lily grows from within its thorn just as the flame
flares from within the tetrahedron.
The Sufis teach that the second letter of the second sura of the
Quran, the super-letter "Lah", is the source of all (Arabic)
letters. The Lah is a flame, the Light of Islam, and it appears in a triangle
(plane representation of a tetrahedron) on Moslem gravestones. It is a
symbol of Unity/Light/ Consciousness.
In the eastern traditions this model appears as the tortoise that
holds up the world. (The tortoise shell is the structural quantum, while
the hexagonal pattern on its back is an exact model of the cyclic 7-color
map that defines the 2-torus/donut.)
The tetrahedral Tripod was the seat of the oracle at Delphi.
The Oroboros (the snake that eats its tail), the Orphic Egg, and
the entwined serpents on the Caduceus are representations of the same 2-torus
When Yin and Yang interflow in the Tao, when Spirit is at home in
Matter, when mind and body are healed (whole) in one soul, when Urim is
in Tumin, when wave and quantum are light they then can all be represented
by the 1 3/4-turn ribbon vortex FLAME in the TETRAHEDRON.
It has been proposed by David Bohm (in his recent book, Wholeness
and the Implicate Order) and by other modern and ancient theoreticians
(including, of course, Plato in his famous allegory of the cave) that there
is a higher dimensional holodynamic plenum of which our world and all that
it contains is but a shadow projection. In modern terms, this holodynamic
plenum is understood as an interference pattern -- an interpenetration
of two (or more) beams of light-waves. (Cast pebbles into a lake and watch
their ripples intermix.) An ordinary hologram consists of the sea of intermixed
ripple-waves from a reference light and ripple-waves reflected from a (3-dimensional)
object whose pattern is frozen on a photographic plate. The least elements
of this hologram are the set of all possible phase combinations of the
interference of reference and object light waves.
Our flame is the defining element of a 2-torus/donut. Like a "radial
tire" , the 2-torus is a "wheel of wheels" (to paraphrase
Ezekiel). Each "wheel" is a 360-degree phase cycle. When the
tetrahedral frame is tipped through its symmetry set (discrete quantum
steps) and spun or rolled (cyclically) on its edges and axes, the flame
within exposes to view its set of distinct shadow projections. Each view
of the flame is unique. These natural symmetries of the tetrahedron cast
views of the flame which are the letters of the Hebrew, Greek (script)
and Arabic alphabets (see accompanying examples). When we view these intermixed
flame phase-wheels through all the symmetries of their tetrahedral "meeting
tent", we are in fact looking at the natural set of all the elements
of a hologram.
It is because the Hebrew, Greek and Arabic letters are this set
of elements that they are called "holy" (of the whole). As our
traditions have taught, they are the sacred elements out of which our reality
is actually formed. A sequence of these flame-letters can function as an
"oracle" (e.i. a tool for reading) to describe the motion of
the tetrahedron on or around any object, thus defining a static real object
or even a sequence of unfurling living forms. (See our paper on TetraFlame
Graphics and other discussions for a descriptions of the use of these letters
to read and write a holographic image, to read and write a "text-string"
letter sequence describing 2, 3, and 4-dimensional objects, and for how
the 22-letter Hebrew alphabet casts one archetypal turn of D.N.A. by rotation
of the tetrahedron as Fuller's tetra-helix.)
These letters are the natural (not arbitrary) elements of the logical
structure of the reflexive process of our self-aware consciousnesses. They
represent the natural quanta of all that we perceive of this reality: the
essential facets through which we view all that is. They bridge the archetypal
distinction of symmetry and asymmetry. They are the most economical, elegant
and universal set of letters of natural language: the eigen-values of life.
* "Order out of Chaos" 1984, Ilya Prigogine & Isabelle
** See additional discussion of Meruba in TORUS, the MERU Foundation journal,
We will consider the following supplementary
descriptions and detail the applications
mentioned below in future discussions.
The accompanying "LAH" drawing illustrates how the flame
corresponds to the embryonic growth process and the unfoldment of dimensionality
as modeled by the unfurlment of the Platonic regular and semiregular polyhedra.
The LAH-flame is the flower that blooms on every vertebra of the "Great
Chain of Being". In the Hebrew and Latin signs, the LAH is represented
by MER, "the sea", the elementary vortex of wave motion. This
is why the name of the Hebrew alphabet is MERUBA.**
The LAH-Swath represents simultaneously:
The embryonic growth process -- seed, stem, leaf, bud, flower....new
The geometric growth of dimensions -- point, line, surface, volume,
hypervolume....new "fiber bundle".
The unfoldment of the semi-regular and regular Platonic polyhedra
-- point (0), triangle (I.), tetrahedron (II.), double-tetrahedra (II.),
cube (III.), octahedron (IV.), icosahedron (V.), cube-octahedron/vector-equilibrium
(VI.), rhombic dodecahedron (VII.), ....(sphere).
The growth and unfurlment of the Meruba Hebrew (and perhaps Greek
and Arabic) alphabets....and the beginning of the Hebrew text of Bereshit
This pattern is hierarchical: notice that the lily-ribbon-vortex
"flame" seen unfurling on each face of the alphabet cube-octahedron,
and on the face of the Bereshit (Genesis) and calla-lily forms, is itself
a new embedded LAH.
In Bereshit (Genesis) the first distinction is between "Heaven",
the flame's spiral reaching, above, and "Earth", structured,
below. The first letter is Bet (B).
The sequence of flame-letters also follows the stages in the growth
of consciousness in a new-born child. The alef (A) is the first light of
birth, the as-yet undifferentiated whole. The bet (B), traditionally interpreted
as an archetypal "house", distinguishing in-ness from out-ness,
is also the first distinction in consciousness -- the infants's recognition
of the difference between its inside (where food goes) and the rest of
the universe (mother, the "other" from which the food comes).
This is the first component of personal identity. We expect that it can
be shown that this letter by letter unfoldment of personality continues
through the alphabet.
A program from the Public Broadcasting System series NOVA titled Life's First Feelings (Copyright 1986 by WGBH, broadcast in San
Francisco on 11 February 1986), which came to our attention the day after
the above was written, continues this alphabet/personality development.
In this broadcast, research is presented which suggests these six stages
of child personality development (Hebrew Alef-Bet correspondences added
Stage 0 -- BIRTH Innate interest in stimulus (sight, sound, etc)- -- -- -- ALEF
Stage 1 -- to 2 months Self-regulation Makes sense of the world - -- -- -- -- BET
Stage 2 -- to 4 months Falling in love Ties to others; need to interact -- -- -- GIMEL
Stage 3 -- to 8 months Communication Emotional dialogue; touch; trust/confidence -- DALET
Stage 4 -- to 18 months Complex self-sense Initiative/purpose -- -- -- -- -- HEY
Stage 5 -- to 24 months Leap Organized creation of ideas; emotional thinking;
"mind's eye" image of loved ones; acting out/make believe- -- VAV
Stage 6 -- to 48 months High-level sense of self and others
Elaborate fantasies; anticipation; cause/effect- -- -- -- ZAYIN
(Stage 7 -- 4 years + Human Beings-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- CHET)
Transcript of program available from NOVA, c/o WGBH Boston. (Ordering
information on videotape -- Beta III)
The Tetra-Flame is also an integrative interdisciplinary educational
tool. The same central image can be shown in all cultural contexts to inter-relate
The various alphabets -- showing commonality of heritage and its
source in unity -- (Tetragrammaton).
Comparative religions/cultural traditions
Computer theory and Artificial Intelligence -- self reference
Computer graphics -- TetraFlame graphics
Dance -- Laba-notation; Ribbon dance
Music -- "of the spheres"
Elementary particles in physics -- SU(3) set
Microbiology -- D.N.A. topology; reading genetic makeup as mature form
....and many others and at all levels (from the 3-R's to graduate
Most important of all is the potential of the TetraFlame -- the
Light in the Meeting Tent -- to heal. Our ability to see and feel how process
and structure are the essential complements of ourselves can show us the
means to balance our mind in our body, our spirit in our soul. This flame
can be the common light that unites our world of competing distinctions.