Key 14 – Temperance

“The Twenty-fifth Path is the Intelligence of Probation, or Temptation, and is so called because it is the primary temptation, by which the Creator trieth all righteous persons.” – W. Wynn Westcott, The Sepher Yetzirah

According to “Book T” – Combination of forces, realization, action (material effect, good or evil).

Temperance rises like an arrow from the sphere of Yesod to the sphere of Tiphareth, piercing the Portal between conventional linear reasoning and post-conventional understanding. Two different effects are represented by this path. The path leads from a mental impulse of Differentiation to one of Integration.

The sphere of Yesod is the center of the ego, the Differentiating Mind. It is a realm of differences: “I am different than you.” It is a realm of separation: “This is mine, that is yours.” The conventional mind operates by defining “OR” relationships: this OR that; me OR you. The sphere of Tiphareth is a realm of commonalities, where differences complement each other in an interdependent fashion. The post-conventional mind operates by observing “AND” relationships: this AND that; me AND you. A great example of the progression from differentiation to integration is shown by the shift between Adam Smith’s capitalistic economics and Robert Nash’s dynamic economics. In the movie, “A Beautiful Mind” a young Nash explains this using an example of four men competing for a beautiful woman. If the men use the competitive viewpoint described by Adam Smith, if they think only about their own greater good, then one man gets one woman, and everybody else loses. If, however, the men think of the greater good of all of the men, none of the men compete for the one woman and all of them succeed. The side effects of this kind of approach are staggering: four men and four women’s needs are met, resulting in the probability of an exponential population expansion.

Temperance represents the long march from living an “OR” life to living an “AND” life. The Sepher Yetzirah refers to this journey as the primary temptation because this journey is fraught with an increasing awareness of “side-effects.” A classic is the temptation of a very rich personal life, whether the richness is power, wealth or familial contentment. The temptation arises from Yesod with the dawning awareness of the Tiphareth mindset,  much like the appearance of the beautiful woman in John Nash’s story.

The terrible lesson of Tiphareth is that in order to experience unimaginable success you have to give up chasing these temptations.

The only way to do this is to make a Leap of Faith.

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