Form is defined as "the shape and structure of an object, the figure; the essence of something, the mode in which a thing exists, or manifests itself; kind."

Form is the principle of concrete reality or expression, a law of being. Form is Light at its outermost point of solidity, held together by the universal law of Mind. Form follows function:

"All things in nature have a shape, that is to say, a form, an outward semblance, that tells us what they are, that distinguishes them from ourselves and from each other.

"Unfailingly in nature these shapes express the inner life, the native quality, of the animal, tree, bird, fish, that they present to us; they are so characteristic, so recognizable, that we say, simply, it is "natural" it should be so. Yet the moment we peer beneath this surface of things, the moment we look through the tranquil reflection of ourselves and the clouds above us, down into the clear, fluent, unfathomable depths of nature, how startling is the silence of it, how amazing the flow of life, how absorbing the mystery! Unceasingly the essence of things is taking shape in the matter of things, and this unspeakable process we call birth and growth. Awhile the spirit and the matter fade away together, and it is this that we call decadence, death. These two happenings seem joined and interdependent, blended into one like a bubble and its iridescence, and they seem borne along upon a slowly moving air. This air is wonderful past all understanding.

"Yet to the steadfast eye of one standing upon the shore of things, looking chiefly and most lovingly upon that side on which the sun shines and that we feel joyously to be life, the heart is ever gladdened by the beauty, the exquisite spontaneity, with which life seeks and takes on its forms in an accord perfectly responsive to its needs. It seems ever as though the life and the form were absolutely one and inseparable, so adequate is the sense of fulfilment.

"Whether it be the sweeping eagle in his flight, or the open apple blossom, the toiling work-horse, the blithe swan, the branching oak, the winding stream at its base, the drifting clouds, over all the coursing sun, form ever follows function, and this is the law. Where function does not change, form does not change. The granite rocks, the ever-brooding hills, remain for ages; the lightning lives, comes into shape, and dies, in a twinkling.

"It is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic, of all things physical and metaphysical, of all things human and all things superhuman, of all true manifestations of the head, of the heart, of the soul, that the life is recognizable in its expression, that form ever follows function. This is the law." – Louis Sullivan, The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered

Edna Lister on Form

Form encases and enfolds Light. One form is destroyed to allow life to manifest in higher forms. – Edna Lister, The Sacredness of All Life, April 12, 1935.

Mind can create form any time anywhere. Mind can direct Power to condense Substance into form, then use the finished form as the instrument through which to proclaim, "Let there be Light," to open a Day of Manifestation. We are portions that God sent to take form. – Edna Lister, A Design for Ascension, 1941.

You use Substance to build your body into the form your consciousness dictates in exactly the same way as you formulate the ideas and patterns that you use for your business affairs. – Edna Lister, A Design for Ascension, 1941.

God composes the whole manifest universe of one Substance, called life sparks, which are infinitely variable in their combinations. These combinations determine the different forms that Substance takes in this material world of form. To discover why Substance has assumed some alien physical form, we must look for the answer in Mind and its operation within the individual consciousness. – Edna Lister, A Design for Ascension, 1941.

The great principle of form is the outer combination of Light, color, tone, number and name, the Logos. The principle of form is the source of your physical body sheath, which protects all other higher body vehicles. The living soul has permeated all these vehicles. Form holds them in one perfect whole so you may gain experience in this lifetime. Form is your instrument for holding and using your creative abilities, the instrument of expression of your five physical senses, each a God-given ability. – Edna Lister, A Design for Ascension, 1941.

When the seed of desire has been planted, imagination builds the form, a creative mold. Faith then releases the substance, which is now ready. – Edna Lister, Vivid Imagination, May 27, 1941.

Every thought you think, you send into the atmosphere as a vibration that has a definite form. Every time you picture something, it builds a form in another grade of substance. Every time you send forth emotion, it does the same thing. Three grades of substance make a composite form in the invisible. These may be soft little white doves or sturdy black crows, but return to you they must. Our grandmothers knew this, for they always said that our "chickens come home to roost." – Edna Lister, Life in a Nutshell, "Chickens Come Home to Roost," 1942.

In physical form, one is self-conscious. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, May 16, 1942.

Praise fills the invisible form of our creation until it becomes visible. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, September 29, 1942.

Law is the only expression of God as man upon earth. Man is law, the Word made flesh. To bring a cell together means law acting as a harmony and under cohesion, drawing Light together into form. From the tiny particle of Light in the beginning to a body of man or a universe, all is law, acting. Any minute deviation from law causes disharmony from cells on up, which causes an unbalance in body, heart, mind and soul, with all affairs reacting instantly to the first deviation from perfect law. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, February 22, 1945.

Selfless prayers of joy and praise release the higher substance for your earth creations. It is substance so given for your true service, and it returns to you not void, but stamped in the full form of your desires. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, February 8, 1946.

We come to outer manifestation at the point where God said, "Let there be Light," which contains the five great principles: Light, color, tone, number, name (Logos or Word) and form. You cannot have form without incorporating these five principles. Every time you speak, you use Light. Light is primary substance, which we call life sparks. Tone and color have substance, number, name (Logos) and form. The cellular physical body has twelve cosmic divisions called glands and plexus centers. Cells are composed of molecules that form the desire body, which is also "solid." The soul is the essence of Light, the fire body is color, the mental body is tone, the desire body is number, the physical body is form. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, May 26, 1947.

No form can exist in the central heart of Light. This heart is ever formless, only Mind. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, July 6, 1947.

Every prayer builds form, which you must then fill by praising God. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, September 20, 1947.

Light, color and tone create harmony. Number, form and the spoken Word create equilibrium. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, November 13, 1947.

When you say, "This is good," you number and name your creation, and the pure color, tone and form of God make it so. – Edna Lister, Jesus, the Descended God, December 12, 1954.

Light contains all Emanations of the Godhead. Just before "Let there be Light," all is void, with life sparks whirling to generate potential energy for form. Color is the first principle of personalized action, the electronic atomic substance of which God forms the Oversoul. Tone is the second vibration of personalized action; it contains equilibrium, balance and harmony, three specific substance principles of atomic action. Number is the third vibration of personalized action, the molecular substance used in soul expression. Number is the foundation of all physical form. Form is the fourth vibration of personalized action. The spoken Word calls cohesive Power into action to fill form. The spoken Word calls the five senses into action. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, December 16, 1954.

All general action proceeds from Light to color to tone to number, until it reaches form, which manifests on the spoken Word. The Word, when spoken, starts the personalized vibration of creation in manifestation. – Edna Lister, Four Phases of the Word, February 1, 1955.

Light, color and tone carry universal personality, and when it takes on form, you have individual personality. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, June 18, 1956.

Light, color and tone form three inner vibrations. Number, name and form take on outer form. It takes the first three vibrations of Light, color and tone to make number; it takes the first four to make name, and it takes all five to make form. – Edna Lister, Numbers and Names: Twelve Cosmic Magnitudes, July 10, 1956.

Every life spark contains Mind, Substance and Power. God created form for you, and every cell of your body contains Mind as intelligence, Substance as form, and active Power as energy. You can have faith in these principles. – Edna Lister, Ten Commandments and Beatitudes, November 4, 1958.

God manifests as Light. Light is God. God is Light and a fire that is all-consuming. Light has no outer form. – Edna Lister, Ten Commandments and Beatitudes, November 4, 1958.

Universal substance is everywhere evenly present and available as life sparks of Light. We have One God as one substance in all, through all, as all. The One substance of God, the universal substance of faith forms everything. As above, so below. Every cell in your body is universal substance. You are immortal now through this universal substance. – Edna Lister, All Substance Is Universal, May 12, 1959.

God gives substance the power of becoming what the living soul declares and stands upon. Substance condenses from its universal state into the form of your desire. – Edna Lister, All Substance Is Universal, May 12, 1959.

The name principle (form) comes under the number principle as a subsidiary idea, since number is a designation and name makes an explanation. Your parents name you here on earth, but God numbers you in heaven. Number is the source of name, thus number is the source of form. – Edna Lister, The Kabbalistic Four Worlds, May 26, 1959.

Mind thinks and plans the molds for all expression through form. Mind is the thinker, planner and builder of form. – Edna Lister, God as Personality and Principle, June 9, 1959.

Power must disintegrate the form of substance in order for new forms to manifest. – Edna Lister, The 33 Degrees of Soul Conquering, November 3, 1959.

Number and name are essential laws of creation; you must name and number every life spark you use in your creations. You apply five basic principles in the process of creating: 1. Light, everything is made of Light. 2. Color is the next lower vibration from Light. 3. Tone is the next lower vibration from color; you hear on the vibration of tone. 4. Number, you must number the creation, singular, plural or multiple. 5. Name or form, you must name what you have and your future creations properly, naming them as what you want to see. You number the substance you release in prayer, but it results in form according to how you have named it, good or bad. You must derive all substance from pure Light to have perfect form. Thus, you step Light down into outer expression as form. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, April 1, 1960.

Mind planned the governing and controlling body of principles for supplying the substance of which God forms all things. I AM THAT I AM is the great principle that descends Light directly from the Source into relative, concrete, solid, form. – Edna Lister, How Can I Help Myself, May 31, 1960.

The only way to condense substance into visible form is to add one and one. 1 + 1 = 2 = the first physical form through which Spirit operates. 1 is the creative principle added to 2, the transmutative principle, to equal 3, the expressive principle. The creative principle must forever multiply and increase. The transmutative principle must forever change its form. The expressive principle must forever pour forth and press forward as the Spirit of the Living God. Spirit, expressing through form, must evolve and ascend as higher perfected personal expression. – Edna Lister, Is it Right to Ask for Myself, June 14, 1960.

Love is the adhesive, cohesive power of the universe that brings together the life sparks and inflates them to become solid, visible form. Nothing becomes visible without love. – Edna Lister, Is Faith Enough, June 21, 1960.

Light is the Mind that creates and the substance that becomes the form of Creation. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, March 26, 1967.

As you descend, you condense from Light to color to tone to number and to name (form). As you ascend, you refine name, the physical form, into number, the desire body. – Edna Lister, Unpublished Papers, May 6, 1968.

Form is Light at its outermost point of solidity, held together by universal law of Mind. – Edna Lister, Undated Papers, 1933-1971.

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Plato's Doctrine of Forms

As Socrates had proposed in the Meno, the most important varieties of human knowledge are really cases of recollection. Consider, for example, our knowledge of equality. We have no difficulty in deciding whether or not two people are perfectly equal in height. In fact, they are never exactly the same height, since we recognize that it would always be possible to discover some difference – however minute – with a more careful, precise measurement. By this standard, all of the examples we perceive in ordinary life only approach, but never fully attain, perfect equality. But notice that since we realize the truth of this important qualification on our experience, we must somehow know for sure what true equality is, even though we have never seen it. (Phaedo 75b)

Plato believed that the same point could be made with regard to many other abstract concepts: even though we perceive only their imperfect instances, we have genuine knowledge of truth, goodness, and beauty no less than of equality. Things of this sort are the Platonic Forms, abstract entities that exist independently of the sensible world. Ordinary objects are imperfect and changeable, but they faintly copy the perfect and immutable Forms. Thus, all of the information we acquire about sensible objects (like knowing what the high and low temperatures were yesterday) is temporary, insignificant, and unreliable, while genuine knowledge of the Forms themselves (like knowing that 93 ‑ 67 = 26) perfectly certain forever.

Since we really do have knowledge of these supra‑sensible realities, knowledge that we cannot possibly have obtained through any bodily experience, Plato argued, it follows that this knowledge must be a form of recollection and that our souls must have been acquainted with the Forms prior to our births. But in that case, the existence of our mortal bodies cannot be essential to the existence of our souls – before birth or after death – and we are therefore immortal. – Garth Kemmerling

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Etymology of form: Latin forma, "form, contour, figure, shape; appearance, model, pattern, design; sort, kind condition."

Form is a law of being.


Kemerling, Garth. "Plato: Immortality and the Forms" Philosophy Pages, October 27, 2001.

Sullivan, Louis H. "The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered," Lippincott's Magazine. J.B. Lippincott Co., Philadelphia, March 1896, 403-409.

The Compact Edition of The Oxford English Dictionary: 2 volumes. E.S.C. Weiner, editor. Oxford University Press, 1971.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

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