Following up on the idea of an imposter self, Louis Claude de Saint-Martin makes a similar point about the number two in the course of explaining the proper object of contemplation. While contemplating a higher truth about God, our lower faculties are suspended and we become one with the Creator. On the other hand, if we turn our gaze to ourselves, looking for some inner light originating from our self, there arise two centres of contemplation, one real, the other false. This is the illegitimate binary.
Tomberg then seeks for a legitimate binary based on the divine Breath and its Reflection. Then one is aware of the two aspects of reality simultaneously: the noumenal and the phenomenal. Keep these in mind because he will switch terms, using essence and substance, respectively, to mean the same thing. Thus his point is that two is the number of the reintegration of consciousness.
Tomberg then addresses in an interesting way the question of the fundamental nature of reality. There is no need to repeat it here, but comments on the writers mentioned would be appropriate. The binary nature indicates that Love is the fundamental principle, since it necessarily requires two. He addresses alternatives such as Being and the Good, although fundamentally the Good is the “abstract philosophical notion of the reality of Love.”
The idea of Being is morally indifferent, as it leaves out the experiences of the good and the beautiful. Being is passive and objective while love entails activity and subjectivity. You can experience being externally. However, the experience of love touches our inner life. The choice between Being and Love is an important question, even the most important question, facing us, since we find what we look for.
If you choose Being, there can only be the One and any second thing will be false, a mere illusion. Tomberg attributes this attitude to the Eastern religions such as the Vedanta and claims that on that path, “one loses the capacity to cry.” This path regards the divine union as the absorption of one’s being into the divine Being.
The other path sees the divine union as the experience of the breath, illumination, and the warmth of Divine Love. The human personality is not extinguished but is instead set ablaze. This legitimate binary quality is the union of two separate substances in one essence.
Tomberg holds to the traditional understanding that essence is the idea of something (the noumenal) and substance is its actuality (the phenomenal). God is essence as He is not an object in the world, thus no one has “seen God” face to face. Tomberg points to several documented experiences of God, but it is the Beatific vision that he is ultimately driving at. This can only occur in the domain of essence (or ideas); it is an encounter in which the human personality not only remains intact, but actually becomes truly itself. Since everyone was first a Thought in the Mind of God, we become fully what we were intended to be from all eternity.