MOTTO: Know you not that I must be about my mother's business

  • The explanation of key terms in the Glossary
    contextualises each word within the logic of
    the Sonnet philosophy.


    The Institute for the Quaternary Evolution in Shakespearen Thought
    The Quaternary Institute
    Quaternary Institute & Quaternary Imprint



    Roger Peters Copyright © 2005



    Judgment: In the natural logic of the Sonnets the Poet asks the Master Mistress* to make a judgment between the possibility of increase* and the consequences for humankind if all, like him, were not inclined to increase.
          The word judgment first occurs in sonnet 14, the last of the increase sonnets. The Poet* derives his capacity for judgment and hence his knowledge not from the heavenly stars or other forms of astrology, but from the ‘constant stars’ of the youth’s eyes*. The eyes of the youth are identified as the source of truth* and beauty* or the dynamic of ideas* and sensations* from which judgment arises. Moreover, if the logical relationship between increase (‘store’) and truth and beauty, or the processes of the mind*, is not acknowledged, then logically the youth’s death* would be the ‘doom and date’ of truth and beauty. If all human beings were like the youth and not willing to increase then there would be no human beings left in which truth and beauty could thrive. The sense of judgment, established in sonnet 14, is the basis for the use of the word a further 6 times throughout the Sonnets. Suggestions the word stands for the Christian* Judgment Day or Doomsday have no basis in the consistent philosophy of the Sonnets. By using the word in the Nature based context of the Sonnets, Shakespeare critiques the idealised claims made for it in male-based Judeo/Christian dogma.


    Kant, Emmanuel: The philosopher Emmanuel Kant (1724-1804) is one of the great apologists* for Christianity, albeit stripped of its customs and historical origins to the residual need for a male God as author of the world. Kant’s analysis of pure reason and his understanding of practical reason were fatally affected by his predisposition toward the priority* such beliefs accorded the male God over Nature.
          The inconsistencies and sheer difficulty in Kant’s philosophical writings are a direct consequence of his belief in the idea of the biblical God*. His undisclosed agenda in the Critique of Pure Reason led to the conceptual isolation of the means of understanding such as ideas* and sensations*, from the faculties of desire or will, which subsequently led to the re-introduction of ‘God, immortality* and freedom’ in his Critique of Practical Reason. The consistent philosophy evident in Shakespeare’s Sonnets reverses the priority typical of apologists. The natural world has priority over idealised beliefs or forms of understanding.

    Knowledge: In the natural logic of the Sonnets, knowledge is derived through the dynamic of judgment* between right and wrong.
          The word knowledge is first used in sonnet 14, the same sonnet in which the word judgment and the dynamic of truth* and beauty* are introduced. Knowledge is gained through the truth and beauty dynamic using the judgment of right or wrong. Knowledge involves ideas that can be expressed with certainty in the dynamic of language. The certainty of understanding for humankind is logically based on the sexual* division out of Nature and on the increase argument. In the Sonnet logic knowledge derives from the eyes* and not the starry heavens* or an imaginary heaven. Once the youth* understands the dynamic of truth and beauty is logically based in the possibility of increase* in Nature, he can appreciate the connection between the sexual eye and the mind’s eye. By their pervasive use of eroticism and the absence of the sexual dynamic, mythologies indicate that they are not founded on knowledge derived from judgments based in natural logic. An appreciation of the sexual/erotic distinction is the basis for the consistent* knowledge Shakespeare presents in all his poems and plays.


    Life: In the Sonnet philosophy* life is pervasive and is synonymous with Nature. It transcends the conventional distinction between inorganic matter and organic ‘life’. Life and death* are not opposites because death occurs within life.
          Birth and death are the beginning and end of a particular individual’s existence. The increase* sonnets are adamant that the persistence of human life depends not on idealistic expectations of otherworldly immortality* but on the logical requirement for female and male to beget offspring. Sonnet after sonnet reiterates the sense of persistence of life through natural increase*. Only through increase is the life of the human being sustained from generation to generation within the dynamic of life. The conception and birth of an individual begins their experience of life. The logical issue is not whether a particular individual increases or not. Sonnet 11 states that if no human being were willing or able to increase, then there would be an end to human life. Humankind would become extinct if it chose not to increase. To the last person alive all human constructs, such as a God* of ‘life and death’, would be revealed for the conceits they are, but Nature*, as life, would persist.

    Logical multiplicity: The Sonnet philosophy exhibits the correct multiplicity between Nature* and human understanding.
          Throughout his philosophy, Ludwig Wittgenstein sought a way to represent the logical multiplicity between the world and language. He failed in his early work the Tractatus because he chose a model based on atomic physics. In his later philosophy he moved closer to finding the appropriate model in the processes of organic life. His residual idealism, though, prevented him from recognising the full significance of the biological metaphors that permeated his later work. Three hundred years previously Shakespeare’s philosophy took account of the logical multiplicity between human understanding and Nature, by presenting the logical relation between Nature*, the sexual* possibility, and the possibility of truth* and beauty*.

    Love: Shakespeare’s Sonnets are known as the greatest love sonnets in English literature. Their philosophy* of love transcends idealistic and romantic expectations.
          While the words ‘self love’, ‘lovely’, and ‘lov’st’, occur in the first few sonnets, it is not until sonnet 9 that the word ‘love’ appears in it own right. Sonnet 9 is one of the 14 increase* sonnets that logically link Nature to the dynamic of the mind in terms of truth* and beauty*. By introducing love in the increase sonnets Shakespeare identifies the germinal moment from which the possibility of love flourishes. Sonnet 9 states that if the youth* does not acknowledge the significance of increase then he can show no love toward others. Frequently throughout the Sonnets, when the Poet* addresses the youth’s inability to love truly, he returns to the logic of sonnet 9. Only after the Poet has argued for the true source of love in sonnets 1 to 9 does he personalise the debate in sonnet 10. Sonnet 10 introduces the Poet into the set in the first person in terms of I, my, and me. And it is no accident that sonnet 10 uses the word love three times, as well as the words beloved and lov’st. Once the basic condition for love is introduced, the Poet can then consider the many forms of love available to the idealistic youth and present the more balanced and realistic appreciation of love evident in his relation to the Mistress*. By basing his understanding of love in natural logic, Shakespeare is able to give voice to the complete range of possibilities for the emotion of love. The range of possibilities gives his Sonnets their unrivalled status as a love sequence. The traditional belief that sonnets 116 and 129, express absolute love and lust respectively, and so must be Christian* sonnets, greatly over-simplifies and misrepresents their meaning. While the two sonnets provide intense expressions of love and lust their meaning is established by considering the philosophy of the whole set rather than misrepresenting them as Christian sonnets.

    Lover's Complaint, A: The Complaint is a long allegorical poem, attached to the end of the Sonnet set, that expresses the content* of the set in a simpler form.
          It was not unusual for sonnet sequences to have a complaint appended. Shakespeare takes advantage of the device to express the kernel of his philosophy* allegorically. A maid, seemingly distraught at the loss of her virginity, concedes at the poem’s end that she would willingly submit again. This is a constant theme in the Sonnets and plays where vain displays of chastity and idealistic prejudice are subverted by a return to the logic of the sexual* dynamic. The number relationships in A Lover’s Complaint also tie in neatly with the numerological* system of the whole set.

    Love's Labour's Lost: This early play, for which there are no identified sources, is a straightforward expression of the Sonnet philosophy.
          Three idealistic* lords and their overly idealistic King, who imagine they can retire monk-like for a period of three years, are undone by four French ladies who then impose upon them a year of waiting for their folly. The natural priority of the female predominates in Love’s Labour’s Lost and determines the outcome for the hapless males. Berowne, the only one of the males aware of the illogicality of the King’s plans, recites speeches reminiscent of passages in the Sonnets. In particular he paraphrases sonnet 14. The play demonstrates Shakespeare had the rudiments of his philosophy* worked out quite early in his career as a playwright.

    Lust: Sonnet 129 is traditionally viewed as Shakespeare’s condemnation of the lust experienced in his relationship with a ‘dark lady’. But such a reading is prejudiced against the inherent logic of the Mistress sequence, and particularly sonnet 129 where the Poet addresses the evil consequences of prioritising an idealised ‘Spirit’ over Nature.
          The concern of sonnet 129 is the ‘expense of Spirit*’ (129.1) where false spirituality leads to the shame of wasting the sexual spirit of life. The capital S on ‘Spirit’ suggests the sonnet can be read as a condemnation of the idealising excesses of the Church* of Shakespeare’s day. The philosophy of the Sonnets considers the consequences when biblical faiths institute belief systems based on the priority of a male God* that usurps the role of the female. In sonnet 129, the logical consequence of the contradiction is a ‘heaven’* to be shunned as no better than a ‘hell’*. At their worst idealistic excesses prioritise a male-based or even celibate clergy over the natural logic of the female/male relationship. The inversion of natural values creates a hell on earth in which the natural process of increase* is considered an original sin. Sonnet 129 itemises the perversions that can occur if the female priority in Nature is cross-dressed as a male God and then idealised.


    Mallarmé, Stephane : The French poet Stephane Mallarmé (1842-98) was the first writer after Shakespeare to express, through the aesthetic achievement of his highly symbolic poetry, a consistent philosophy* of life*.
          After Mallarmé experienced what he called the ‘abyss’, when he rejected his Catholic faith, he broke through to the natural philosophy underlying life. His poems, derived from an intuitive appreciation of the priority of the sexual* process over the poetic, are erotically precise. They are fully aware of their status as written objects, which are crafted about a single image of great symbolic power. Mallarmé was an aesthete who avoided the ethical*. So his work does not have the range and profundity of Shakespeare’s complete philosophy that operates above symbolism at the mythic* level. Mallarmé had a profound influence on the French artist Marcel Duchamp*, who took Mallarmé’s symbolic achievement in aesthetics* and elevated it to the level of the mythic.

    Malone, Edmund : The Reverend Edmund Malone’s achievement was to publish Shake-speares Sonnets in the 1790s as a complete set, after nearly 200 years of neglect. His travesty was to emend the meanings of over 50 words and alter punctuation because the original words and punctuation made no sense to his Christian* sensibility.
          Malone’s unnecessary interference in the text of the 1609 edition was most likely driven by the prejudice of his Christian sensibility. He fostered an attitude, which persists to the present, of regarding the Sonnets as variously pirated, incomplete, un-Shakespearean, uneven, embarrassing, etc. His conversion of the Sonnets to conform more closely to an idealised image of a titled young man is contrary to the natural philosophy evident when the text of Q is respected. Malone, along with Samuel Johnson, John Dryden, and many others over the last 200years, have felt empowered to convert Shakespeare’s works to a paradigm contrary to the Sonnet content*. They do so under the pretence of recovering the true Shakespeare.

    Masculine: The biological derivation of the male from the female has the logical consequence that both female and male have feminine* and masculine physical traits and corresponding mental traits.
          The Sonnets consider the consequences of deriving the male from female. The derivation characterises both human physiology and the workings of the mind. In the set of 154 sonnets, the female/male division, with its feminine/masculine interrelationships, is structured into two sequences dedicated to the male (126) and female (28). The masculine and feminine dimensions of the mind are presented as personae* of the Poet, the Master Mistress*, and the Mistress*. The meaning of the whole set cannot be appreciated without taking account of the contiguity of the physical types and the mental types. The interconnectedness is expressed frequently throughout the set and is encapsulated in the numerological* arrangement of the Dedication*.

    Master Mistress: The youth* of the Sonnets is referred to as the Master Mistress in sonnet 20 to indicate his logical relation to both the Mistress* and the sovereign mistress* or Nature*.
          In order of priority, Nature, the sovereign mistress, gives rise to the Mistress, or the female form of the human being. The male or Master Mistress then derives from the Mistress. The sovereign mistress as representative of the whole of Nature does not require a proper name; hence her name is in lower case. The words Mistress and the Master Mistress refer specifically to human entities and so are accorded capital letters as proper names. The term Master Mistress captures both the physical derivation of the male from the female and the male’s double nature of exhibiting masculine* and feminine* traits. The Mistress as the source of the male possibility also exhibits both traits, but because she is the originating entity she is known simply as Mistress.

    Mind: In the Sonnet philosophy, Shakespeare restores the logical priority of the body* over the mind. The dynamic of truth (judgment* and knowledge*) and beauty (sensation*) occurs in the embodied mind.
          Over evolutionary time the human mind has developed in a body logically conditioned by the sexual dynamic of increase*. The evolutionary influence of the sexual* dynamic of the body forms the logical basis for the operation of the truth and beauty dynamic within the mind. The mind receives the sensory input from the outside world and generates ideas expressible in language according to the logic of sexual differentiation and increase*. The influence of the sexual dynamic on the mind is evident in the erotic logic at the heart of mythological expression in a culture. In the symbolism of the Sonnets, the eyes as the organs of sight or seeing* stand archetypically for the various forms of sensation that enter the mind. The eyes, as argued in sonnet 14, are the source of truth and beauty, and are metaphorically associated with the logic of thoughts and sensations generated in the mind. Effectively, the mind is accessible through the eyes* so that in eye-to-eye contact the Poet ‘sees’ into the mind of the Mistress* or the Master Mistress*. The mind is then connected to the heart* or the seat of the emotions or unarticulated sensations. A consequence of the formation of internal sensations of the mind is the ‘imaginary soul*’ that generates phantasms, such as idealised gods and goddesses, before the ‘minds eye’. The circle is completed with the connection of the heart to the eye of the sexual* organs. The natural priority of increase over truth and beauty, established in sonnet 14, enables the Poet to represent the mind as a faculty logically determined by its relationship to the dynamic of the body.

    Mistress: In the natural logic of the Sonnets, the Mistress is derived from Nature*, the sovereign mistress*. The Master Mistress*, in turn, is derived from the Mistress.
          Shakespeare uses the term Mistress because it is the generic form of all such terms of female address. It has the added quality of representing the female of the sequence as both wife and mistress, as either possibility is capable of fulfilling the logical requirement for increase*. The female of the Sonnet logic is referred to as the Mistress throughout her sequence, and in keeping with the ubiquity of her reproductive cycle is given the number 28, the lunar number. As the originating entity for the possibility of the male, the Mistress has a unity corresponding to that of the sovereign mistress, or Nature. As the Mistress has priority over the male or Master Mistress, the Mistress sequence presents the logic of the beauty* and truth* dynamic. The first ten sonnets of the Mistress sequence (127 to 137) present the logical status of beauty while sonnets 138 to 152 consider the logical status of truth. In the Master Mistress sequence the word Mistress occurs twice, once at either end of the sonnets devoted to the truth and beauty dynamic. The Master Mistress appears in sonnet 20 and the sovereign mistress appears in sonnet 126. The traditionally preferred term for the Mistress, the ‘dark lady’, is a euphemism that destroys the integrity of the logical relation between the sovereign mistress, the Mistress, and the Master Mistress.

    Models of Inconsistency: The complete template* derived in the first 4 Parts of Volume 1 can be used to provide an instant critique of the apologetic justifications that have passed for philosophy* over the last 3000 or more years.
          Shakespeare’s Sonnets, particularly when represented as a logical template, provide a telling critique of the apologetic systems that have hindered an appreciation of the Sonnets complete and consistent* philosophy. The template graphically shows the illogicality of prioritising the male God over Nature, the mind* over the body*, the male over the female, and other contradictory articles of traditional dogma.

    Morals: The Sonnets do not present a code of morals, or moral injunctions, as is typical of systems of thought based on inconsistent philosophies, such as Christian* or Kantian* apologetics.
          In the Sonnets, the two modes of understanding, truth* and beauty*, represent all forms of language and all forms of sensation* respectively. As truth is any form of language then ethics* or morals are logically based in forms of language. The process of judgment* that leads to knowledge* is an ethical process regardless of the situation being debated. All thought and expression in language is logically moral. Language is the process of making moral determinations. This is possible in the logic of the Sonnets because the connection between Nature*, the sexual* dynamic of female and male and the logic of increase* establishes the pre-conditions for the consistent* and coherent function of truth and beauty. So long as none of the steps in the logical dynamic is confounded by contrary beliefs, then the exercise of language will logically bring about the appropriate understanding. This is the function of the Shakespeare’s Sonnets. They demonstrate how to act in the world consistent* with the logic of Nature. By adumbrating a consistent philosophy Shakespeare shows how he is able to write plays with an amazing moral force while not basing his writing on a predetermined code of behavior derived from inconsistent expectations as is evident in Platonism* or idealised religious beliefs. The logic of the Sonnets demands constant evaluation in changing circumstances according to the logical requirement to persist in harmony with Nature. If humankind decides not to persist then at least it determines not to, rather than claiming it wishes to persist despite having beliefs that harbour the eschatological wish to end Nature or humankind in Nature.

    Mother: In the increase sonnets 3 and 13, the youth* is reminded he had a mother and a father*.
          Even if he is unwilling or unable to increase*, the youth should acknowledge the logical significance of his own increase. His birth from his mother’s womb makes increase the determining characteristic of his life*.

    Mr. W. H.: Volumes have been written on the possible identity of Mr. W. H. in the Dedication* to the Sonnets. Ironically, the greatest of all mysteries in literature has a simple solution once it is realised the Dedication was intentionally arranged by Shakespeare to numerologically* encrypt the structure of the Sonnets.
          The whole and parts of the Dedication conform exactly to the numbering of the whole and parts of the Sonnets (154, 28, and 126), and to the numbering for the Poet (145). It is not surprising, then, that Shakespeare also incorporated the numbers 1 and 9, which symbolise the ability of the Poet to understand the logic of truth* and beauty*, to represent himself in the Dedication. As W and H are the first and ninth letters of ‘WILLIAM SHAKE-SPEARE’ then Mr. W. H. stands for Shakespeare as the Poet who begets the set. Other cryptic numerological features of the Sonnets, which conform to its logical dynamic, support the contention.

    Muse: The Muse symbolises the dynamic of truth*. She represents the many forms in which language occurs, such as verse*, argument*, thought*, and words.
          The word Muse occurs 17 times throughout the sequence to the youth* and each time the M is capitalised. The Muse does not occur in the Mistress* sequence because the Mistress is the source of the logic of truth. The youth, by contrast, because of his secondary derivation as the Master Mistress* from the Mistress, has components missing from his understanding. The Poet is at pains to inculcate into the youth the need to complement his 9 Muses (the traditional 9 associated with inspirational achievement) with an additional one. The additional Muse is the possibility of language out of the increase dynamic, inherent in the Mistress, which the youth can acquire only by addressing the issue of his separation from the female and the logical requirement for his reunion with her. The logical requirement is met by the tenth Muse, the one needed to bring the youth’s 9 to a unity (see sonnet 38).

    Music: Sonnets 8 and 128 are the two specifically music sonnets in the set. One occurs in each sequence, both carry the number 8, and both mention the word ‘music’ twice in the first line.
          As Shakespeare would have been aware that the octave in music is a naturally occurring pattern in Nature*, he created a subsidiary structure for music in the Sonnets that encompasses the whole set. While sonnets 8 and 128 introduce the music structure in each sequence, it is possible to see in the unique 8 syllables per line of sonnet 145 a deliberate indication of the source of the pattern of 8’s throughout the set. The punning reference to Anne Hathaway in sonnet 145 indicates that the Mistress is the source of music. The position of sonnet 145 in the set of 154 sonnets conforms to a regular spacing of 8 sonnets from the beginning and end of the set. The logical relation of music to Nature is appropriate because music, however elevated, is logically an aesthetic* or sensory experience. It differs from the conventional concepts of hours and minutes devised for the measurement of time*.

    Mystic Addition: A system of numerological* calculation in which the individual numerals of a number are added together to generate a number with symbolic significance.
          Mystic addition has long been used in astrological determinations. More specifically, poets and sonneteers of Shakespeare’s time who wished to arrange a series of poems to conform with the basic elements of their experiences or beliefs, used mystic addition as a structuring device. The classic instance is Dante’s Divine Comedy of 1323. Dante used the number 100 to give his cantos a ‘divine unity’ (100 = 1+0+0 = 1). Shakespeare’s contemporaries Sidney* and Daniel* used a numerological structure based on mystic addition in their sonnet sets. Such sets of numbered sonnets had the advantage of demonstrating the close connection between literacy and numeracy. Of all the poets, Shakespeare was able to devise an arrangement of numbers that precisely counterpointed his consistent philosophy.

    Mythic, mythical, mythological: A distinction is drawn in these volumes between the mythic, the mythical and the mythological.
          The word mythic refers to the logical conditions for the possibility of myth where myth is the erotic expression in language of the relation of Nature and human nature. Shakespeare’s Sonnets would seem to be the only philosophic text in the literatures of the world that articulates consistently the logical conditions for any mythic possibility. The Sonnets provide the logical criteria for the conscious mythic expression in his plays. The mythical refers to understandings derived from myths that fulfill some of the conditions for being mythic. They usually include descriptive or psychological material that detracts from a consistent mythic expression. The mythological refers to traditional understandings of the Nature/human relationship expressed in terms of gods, goddesses and other mythical beings that constitute a myth or systems of myths. Because myth is a form of expression in language, it accepts as a logical given the relation of sexual* species to Nature* and the logical inability of mythic expression (and so any expression) to be a substitute for sexual reproduction. The erotic* logic in all mythic expression acknowledges the priority of the sexual. Any system of belief that claims a mythology faithfully represents the world is logically inconsistent. Mythology becomes mythic when it both acknowledges the sexual conditions for its status as myth, and gives conscious expression to its erotic status. A literary or artistic work that does not address human origins in Nature or does not meet the self-referential sexual/erotic criteria for myth, may still achieve at a lesser symbolic, legendary, or folkloric level of expression.

    Mythical Equation: In Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being Ted Hughes derives what he calls the mythical* or tragic equation.
          Rightly acknowledging that Shakespeare’s system of thought* is based in the female, Hughes attempts to apply his mythical equation to 14 or so of the later tragedies and romances and to the Sonnets by interpolating mythological* figures from the early poems. He fails to acknowledge, though, the significance of the increase* argument in the Sonnets. Because he considers the ‘marriage’ sonnets ‘the persuasion of hired labour’ he is fatally constrained in his attempt to present the mythic dimension in the plays by his inability to relate the logic of increase to its erotic* function in myth.

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    Roger Peters Copyright © 2005

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