Concrete Irrational: Negative
This stage equally starts with a dramatic peak experience of spiritual intuition.
However far from being a pleasant experience this is extremely dark and harrowing throwing into clear relief the misery of the ego based self.
Intuition itself has two binary states. Illumination is revealed in brilliant light and experienced as union (1). However the complementary state - developed through intense purgation - is concealed in dense darkness and experienced as nothingness (0). In more advanced spiritual states, these two aspects coincide simultaneously in a pure state of transformation.
So just as all information processes - in computer terms - can be represented through one (static) binary system (where 1 and 0 are separated i.e. 1 0), all transformation processes - physical and psychological - can be represented through a complementary (dynamic) binary system (where 1 and 0 are fully complementary i.e. 1=0).
Reality in the fullest sense - at all levels - can be represented as the continual interaction of both information and transformation processes which can basically be represented by a (dynamic) double binary system.
We now have the development of negative structures whereby the renewed undoing of remaining internal sense knowledge takes place (active night of sense in St. John's terminology). However, the radical undoing of the irrational supersensory knowledge of the previous stage also takes place. The key problem in the spiritual life is that of possessive attachment. At the linear level (positive direction) one becomes directly attached to phenomena. The subsequent negative direction is necessary to undo this attachment.
At the circular level (positive direction) one becomes indirectly attached to phenomena. Though symbols serve as archetypes of a spiritual holistic order, one tends to identify meaning too rigidly with the objects employed. The subsequent negative direction of understanding is thus necessary to undo attachment to these (subtle) concrete irrational structures.
This is what St. John refers to as the passive night of the senses. It is a time fraught with much difficulty. Psychosomatic conditions typically develop and one is prey to neurotic symptoms perhaps culminating in a temporary breakdown.
There then follows a deeply existential phase whereby one learns to translate internal reality in a new relative fashion. These are the (internal) concrete irrational structures (in a positive direction).
All emotional decisions are now subject to uncertainty. At the rational level one tends to take refuge in second hand conventional notions of objective truth, which lessen the need for true responsibility of choice. However one now faces a terrible freedom, where every decision is unique and taken in accordance with a deeper innate notion of meaning.
Here again at a micro personal level we have the complementarity of opposite poles. Every decision involves a unique dialectical relationship of a (subjective) self and an (objective) situation. It is necessarily relative, subject to uncertainty and must be exercised in faith. This time one attempts to translate poles - which are separate at the one dimensional phenomenal level - into a higher two dimensional reality (where both are united). In other words one attempts to transcend through faith - which is intuition exercised in darkness - one's limited personal circumstances.
This phase once more has two associated aspects. There is the affective phase where existential realisation in relation to emotional feeling is intense. There is then a later more detached cognitive phase whereby one is enabled to clarify intellectually the existential position.
Passive undoing of these internally based structures is not likely to take place at this time.
Again we have complementary "low level" (micro) physical understanding at this stage related to interpretation of quantum particle reality.
The existential decision - as we have seen - is born out of deep awareness of a fundamental psychological uncertainty principle. Subject and object interact in dynamic terms. If one seeks to make the objective situation absolute, then subjective responsibility is reduced with behaviour becoming mechanical and dutiful. If however one seeks to maximise moral freedom (i.e. fix the momentum of a decision), then - in the absence of conventional rules - decisions can be become too unrestricted and "vague".
The uncertainty principle in complementary terms is the very cornerstone of quantum physics. One can attempt to measure precisely the position or the momentum of a particle but not simultaneously.
Also the irrational - in the form of complementary aspects of a relationship - is inherent to quantum behaviour.
Thus the observer (subject) and what is observed (object) are inextricably linked in quantum experiments. This is really the recognition that matter at this level has two directions (i.e. positive and negative).
Also we have the "same" phenomenon such as light manifesting itself in complementary particle and wave form.
Thus the irrational experience of this stage is invaluable in terms of providing the appropriate intuition with which to interpret key findings of quantum physics.
In order to offset too much introversion the later phases of this stage are likely to signal a return to more active involvement. This involves a renewal of the more linear rational purgation in the exercise of worldly responsibilities (which one now finds burdensome and difficult).
In mathematical terms this irrational (supersensory) stage - which relative to the preceding stage has a negative direction - can be denoted by (-2)1.