The Marriage of Mind and Soul - 1
The basic concept of transpersonal astrology,
and also of a kind of psychology using the term transpersonal (in the sense I have used it), is that when a human being has reached a truly individualized and autonomous state of being and consciousness, he or she becomes a "place" at which two currents of opposite directions will eventually meet: the "descent" of spirit and the "ascent" of matter. These two currents answer a fundamental cosmic need which their union will solve. They are synchronous and essentially interdependent. They start operating at the beginning of a world-cycle when a "divine" creative Act occurs. What is then undifferentiated proto-matter
— the dust of previous universes, scattered through Space and totally inert — begins to react to the creative Impulse.
This Impulse operates at first in large, simple, whirling movements incessantly repeated. These gradually overcome the inertia of the proto-matter which begins to follow patterns of atomic organization in response to the rhythms of the Creative Impulse. In time the impulse differentiates and a variety of dynamic motions develop, each representing a particular aspect of the vast cosmic idea — the Word or Logos — that had caused the creative Act to occur. Synchronously, material systems progressively evolve toward more complex states of organization within which gradually higher, more inclusive forms of consciousness develop.
When seen from a broad, cosmic, cyclic point of view, the development of material forms of existence and consciousness can be considered symmetrical with the progressive differentiation of the original creative Impulse, but the material entities — though possessing a rudimentary kind of consciousness corresponding to their own level of organization and activity — are completely unaware of the presence of the spiritual forces that are involving
themselves into essences or archetypal qualities of being, while these material entities are evolving
toward ever more complex and sensitive modes of existence.
When the process of evolution reaches the human stage, the involuting spiritual archetypes have become
sufficiently differentiated for a one-to-one relationship between one of them and a particular human being to be possible
. This constitutes a basically new situation. The "downward" current of spirit and the "upward" current of material organization have become, as it were, close enough eventually to unite. Yet enormous difficulties have still to be met, as the type of consciousness existing in the very first races of human beings is a strictly generic type of consciousness totally controlled by biological forces. Matter has become alive, but in the first humans, "life" is the absolute ruler. A new power able to serve as a mediator between spirit and life has to manifest. The spiritual current, having broken up into a multitude of differentiated rhythmic units (archetypal qualities of being), and the evolutionary current having then produced human beings totally dominated by a biological type of organization, still operate in opposite directions and with basically different rhythms. They need not only an intermediary to correlate their activities, but a "place" in which a process of harmonization may be given a definite form, and the purpose of their integration may be made evident to both of them. This intermediary and this place of meeting is what we call mind
Mind simply represents the possibility for spirit and matter to unite within a definite area of experience, and by uniting to fulfill the purpose of the creation of a universe. The essential function of mind is to bring about and stabilize relationship
. But the work of establishing relationships between forces of opposite polarities is enormously difficult, when these forces are manifesting as an immense variety of forms and tendencies, each displaying a resistance to change. It has to proceed by stages; and real progress can all too often be made only when a disastrous total breakdown — the flying apart of spirit from matter or vice versa — is clearly seen as the only alternative to at least one progressive little step in the process of union.
Mind has to be developed through an associative and integrative process which leads to the formation of a culture fostering the development of collective forms of consciousness. Mind requires a language and the participation of a multitude of human bodies in collective acts; it makes use of man's ability to transfer the results of his experience from generation to generation — the "time-binding" capacity which according to Count Korzsybsky characterizes the human state.(1
) Mind requires the use of symbols that become, as it were, the "soul" — the binding factor — of a community. But besides the development of mind, another step is still necessary: the individualization of human beings as singular centers of consciousness and activity. Only a single individual can meet in a state of full, stable consciousness and offer a permanent foundation for an equally differentiated and individualized single manifestation of spirit.
After the final union — at first there may be only brief and temporary meetings — spirit as the positive factor determines the character and function of the being that results from the union of the two currents. This being presumably retains a human (male or female) form, but is now a transindividual
being. The energies of life still operate in it, though in a profoundly transformed manner, because as long as the organism is made up of chemical earth-materials, it still functions according to the basic rhythms of the biosphere. Yet the power of spirit not only can repolarize and dynamize anew the waning energies of life, but even, if necessary for a specific purpose, substitute for them.
The mind of the transindividual being is even more transformed, at least in its deepest aspect, because it no longer needs the symbols which its culture had produced and forcefully impressed upon the child and maturing adult. The transindividual mind can use
these symbols, but it is now consciousness free from the psychic bondage to particular, symbols and the need to formulate experiences in words, images, or external actions. It is a consciousness that belongs to a level beyond not only the personal ego, but beyond the individual I-center of a closed mandala of personality. I have referred to such a consciousness as pleroma consciousness
— the Greek gnostic term pleroma referring to a superindividual and spiritual level of being which one could also characterize as "divine".(2
The mind that uses words and symbols according to the dictates of a particular culture — or today perhaps of a blend of several cultures — is actually responsible for the development and stabilization of the feeling-realization "I am". It gives to this feeling-realization a definite and often rigid form. Without this mind, the I-feeling would have no lasting power, somewhat as the President in the White House has power because of the administrative and decision-enforcing bureaucracy and police (or army) that supports him. In a very real sense, the "I" is a symbol created by the mind on the foundation of a biological feeling or organismic unity and well-being. By contrast, the ego is simply one of the many functions of the physical organism, when the organism operates under the conditions of family, social, religious, and cultural living: the function of insuring security and conditions of existence as stable as possible.
Yet, in another sense, the experience of "I am" — "I am a totally integrated being functioning as an autonomous, independent and responsible being" — means that the current of material evolution has reached its apex. Within the once scattered, inert, and indifferent units of matter, the universal power of integration, which I call ONE or SELF, is now a dominant Presence. But it is a power limited by the physicality
of what it has integrated. It is power at work in dark substance and always confronted with the violence of biological forces and the conflicts of the sociocultural world. It works through a mind bound by the very symbols it uses — symbols which refer to experiences in the biosphere of a dark planet. This mind as yet does not realize that in the cosmic scheme it is meant to be the consecrated place — a sacred enclosure, a temple — in which a basically different and far more crucial type of integration, that of spirit and matter, has to occur.
This temple, however, has to be built using the symbolic materials — words and ideas — of a culture that arose out of collective experiences. The mind had to be collective before it could be truly individual. It had to be rationalistic and logical in order to attain an objective consistency before it could become, the intuition and vision of a Seer. Therefore, when the individual stage of human existence is reached, great questions — which most individuals try not to ask — arise: What is this mind for?
What purpose are the psychic forms it has built to serve?
What makes the situation so difficult and confusing is that the mind itself has to formulate the answers to its own reluctantly-asked questions, for nothing else could
. Yet, if left alone, the mind would give either a collective, biological, and cultural answer or, by glorifying the I-feeling as the absolute culmination of the universal process of existence, it would close the door of the field of consciousness to the downflow of spiritual forces. A factor existing within the human psyche beside the mind has somehow to act directly upon the mind, or to serve as a hidden gate through which "inspirations" of a spiritual nature may enter and gradually transform the mind.
I have referred to this factor (Chapter 4, p. 88) as a force that can operate as a counterpart to the principle of individualization. From the point of view of the individualizing person and his or her conscious and objective mind, this force acts in a quite mysterious and dark area of the psyche which psychologists like to call "the Unconscious". This area is outside of the field of consciousness of such a person because this field is entirely occupied with either the process of dealing with the biosocial and cultural environment, or that of furthering individualization through the use of intellectual operations. Nevertheless, this area outside of the field of consciousness is an integral part of the whole person and is most likely linked in some way with a particular area in the body whose exact location seems to be a controversial subject.
This counter-individual factor might be called the "soul", but this word is confusing since it has been used in so many ways. What Jung called the "anima" can be related to it, but anima has a more restricted meaning and belongs to a different approach to psychology from the one I am developing here. As I see it, the function of the soul is to serve as a base of operation for the higher type of integration — the integration of spirit and matter — during the periods in which the mind is entirely occupied with the processes of cultural, personal, and individual integration.
Count Alfred Korzsybski, The Manhood of Humanity
. (Institute of General Semantics). Return
Yet the term divine
does not necessarily have to have a Judeao-Christian religious meaning, that is, to be applied only to the one end only God, Creator of the universe. In ancient religions, many gods are mentioned, who are different aspects of a supreme cosmic being. In his great book, The Life Divine
, Sri Aurobindo evokes the possibility that humanity may one day be composed of beings who could truly be considered divine. Return