The subject of temples and their architecture covers an enormous terrain, with an array of intentions and implementations. It will be strictly necessary, in order not to get lost, to stay close to our mission of indicating traces of four-fold influences. This choice does, undeniable, have an eclectic nature. It is better to admit this fact at the early beginning of this short survey. There are simply too many temples all over the world and throughout history to choose from and any particular attention to a specific detail will have a subjective ring to it, and will leave out other features.
However, since temples are the physical representatives of a belief, we can assume that most of them reflect some sort of reference to that belief. Therefore, the architecture of a temple can be seen as a blueprint for contemplation, which can lead to an insight in the state of division. Most temples are built with the intention to search for a unity with divinity or to accommodate the godhead on earth. The oppositional setting of the supernatural coming from one direction (mostly from above) making contact with a worshiper coming from another direction (mostly from below) is a frequent theme in all beliefs.
The quadralectic inquiry hopes to find the interconnections of visibilities within the various quadrants (as points of view) and not (only) the oppositional setting of the Third Quadrant. Contemplation, as an internal act of visualizing ideas, is essentially a Second Quadrant activity, but it runs through the whole specter of visibilities. The significant accomplishment within this process of (self) search is the definition of division thinking. Where do we reach this all-important insight? And is this definition of a particular form of division-thinking a ‘choice’ or does it already exist – in the Freudian parlance of oppositional thinking – in an unconscious phase? These questions reach into the greatest mysteries of life.
The question of the origin of division thinking is clearly stated in the quadralectic philosophy. The simple, oppositional context (like above and below and conscious versus unconscious) is abandoned and replaced by a new awareness of different forms of visibilities, which follow each other in time. The ‘choice’ of division-thinking takes place at the boundary of the First and Second Quadrant, but can only be realized – in the ‘unconsciousness’ of lower division thinking – after the first quarter of the Second Quadrant. A further period with emphasis on the visible visibility follows (in the Third Quadrant) leading to the boundaries of oppositional thinking. The result is an increase of mental tension. The earth looses its boundaries and the sun has to give up its central place in the universe. The release comes when the four-fold way of thinking is ‘discovered’ and the whole process can be placed in perspective.
Every visibility has to go through this cycle, at least from a quadralectic point of view. The temple can be positioned in either the First, Second, Third or Fourth Quadrant and has a different meaning and expression in these four settings. The temple-as-place-of-worship can be placed in the First Quadrant, because it deals with the invisible invisibility of a belief. This setting is the most mysterious as far understanding is concerned. All types of division thinking are present (or none at all, for that matter), because no boundaries are yet defined. This area within a communication is often – and for a good reason – dedicated to the deity. All options are open for the godhead, which is certainly not the case for the human being realizing its existence.
The temple-as-idea is situated in the Second Quadrant. Now, after the first boundary is drawn, there is a here and there, there is a difference, there is opposition. A temple at the beginning of the Second Quadrant is still not a building of mortar and brick, but it symbolizes a relation between the believer (observer) and the godhead. This relation has the choice of division thinking formalized into an idea. It is here that the complex of valuations reaches its first visibility. The temple of thoughts is probably the most indicative building there is. The great distinction between single god (monotheistic) and different gods is being made here. The pantheon of visible invisibilities is being created in this early stage of the communication.
The temple-as-a-building is a Third Quadrant entity, because of its visible visibility. Most people reckon that this type of empirical visibility, even if the building is old and in ruins, is the only form of presence, which really matters. Let the stones tell the story, let the facts speak. This credo seems to convince, but the words of the stones have to be interpreted and understood, otherwise there is no story or history. An important adagio of the quadralectic world view is the statement that facts are born in an oppositional environment, but their relevance should be placed in a wider context to give them meaning. In other words: let them speak in an understandable language.
The temple-as-a-multiplicity fits into the understanding of the Fourth Quadrant. All the earlier meanings and interpretations come together in a new viewpoint. Now, in this ‘final’ stage of the visibility cycle, it is the shear quantity of information, which tends to blur the vision. This magnification means that modern measures are necessary to come to a balanced view. The mind needs spectacles. They are provided in the quadralectic philosophy with its formal descriptions of the historical phases of visibility. The quantity of temples and shrines, all over the world, are seen as an architectural entity. They are the collective expressions of the relations within the context of a given type of division thinking and its subsequent interpretation.
It is fair to say that the tension between the various forms of visibilities, which is present in a sense in all buildings, comes to ahead in a temple. The temple is a functional building with the deliberate intention to promote the invisible aspects of a communication. Invisibilities are often transferred into visibilities as part of a sacred act of worship by the sacraments. The depiction of the divinity allows people to be devote, to contemplate, pray or bring gifts, all with the purpose to set a communication with an invisible being in motion.
Temples, and their four-fold contents, are a storehouse of intentions. They can be used for a communication with the godhead, but they are also ready to be seen, collected and validated in the sphere of the empirical. Temples form, in their overwhelming presence, a book of knowledge, which can be opened at any time and in different ways. Only a glimpse of this universe can be viewed in this book. This fact has to be accepted. The message is worthwhile if a different approach to architecture becomes clear.
This overview will deal with the general setting of temples in the old cultural areas. Egypt, Greece, the Roman Empire and to some of the highlights of the Mid- and South American cultures, the Hindu and the Buddhist temples are encountered. The temple in Jerusalem deserved special attention, because of its importance in the cultural history of Christianity and its subsequent influence on certain European architectural ideas. Furthermore, some unusual, partly imaginary, temples and shrines are mentioned at the end of this chapter, pointing to the enormous richness of ideas within the context of this subject.