At the Gates of the New Age - 7
Arnold Toynbee in his Study of History draws at length structural parallels between the development of what he calls civilizations or Societies. Each of these is shown to pass through a series of recognizable and most characteristic phases of growth, maturation and disintegration. If he had been able or willing to combine the astrological with the historical-structural method he might have pin-pointed even more definitely the timing of the whole process of growth and decay of our civilization. It may be dangerous — and, from the point of view of most of our contemporary historians trained in American universities, quite objectionable — to think in terms of historical analogies between events occurring at the interval of over two millennia; yet this can be very suggestive, provided one does not try to take a narrow, literal approach which considers concrete events rather than significant structural phases of the historical process.
In some instances the analogies are rather startling, even in terms of the appearances of great personages who have focused and embodied structurally inevitable trends of collective, cultural development. One of these analogies is the one paralleling the careers of Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) and Napoleon (1769-1821 AD) The city of Alexandria was founded in 332 BC and it became the great center of the Hellenistic culture, rivaling with Rome — even after the battle of Actium (31 BC) which achieved the political control of Rome over the whole Mediterranean world.
Of course Alexander and Napoleon were entirely different individuals, and the concrete, factual events of their respective periods were totally unlike; but I am not thinking here, I repeat, of concrete events but only of phases of a structural process. Besides, the dramatic Play of the transition between the Piscean and Aquarian Ages is performed on a much larger stage than that existing 2160 years before. Also, as the last Act of the drama is not yet revealed, one cannot help being rather unsure of what is exactly happening today if this Piscean Age is, as I stated, Phase One of the great 25,868-year cycle. What occurred during its twenty-one centuries cannot correspond exactly — even in terms of the over-all structural pattern of unfoldment — to what happened during the Phase Twelve (so-called "Arian Age") of the preceding Great Sidereal Year.
For instance, the appearance of Jesus as the Christ probably a century after the start of the new Great Year refers, I believe, to this greater cycle as a whole more than to only its Phase One. The same is no doubt true of the appearance of Gautama the Buddha (and other great Teachers) in the sixth century BC These two great Personages, Gautama and Jesus, when considered as impersonations or concretizations of the cosmic Images of Christ and Buddha, belong respectively to the seed-ending and the germinal-beginning of two Great Sidereal Years. Their significance transcends the narrower scope of the twelve precessional Ages. The same might be true of Baha'u'llah, though we may not have as yet a sufficient perspective on what he embodied in the evolution of mankind.
If we keep all this in mind, we can proceed with some degree of assurance in pointing out historical parallels which should help us to get a significant, even if largely tentative, picture of the meaning of our present historical moment. The parallelism, or the structural correspondences, refer to historical developments having occurred at an interval of about 2160 years. Thus the beginning of the transition between the Piscean and Aquarian Ages which occurred, as I stated, in and around 1846 AD parallels the beginning of the transition between the Arian and the Piscean Ages in and around 315 BC
Both Alexander and Napoleon died only a few years before the beginning of this transition (or "seed") period. They cleared up the ground for the new process, by radiating southward and eastward some of the basic achievements of, respectively, the Hellenistic culture (Alexander in India) and the French cultures (Napoleon in Egypt). Napoleon did not conquer the Anglo-Saxon world — and therefore this world (especially England) is still unfortunately saddled with obsolete types of measurements. Alexander did not conquer either Rome and her Italian realm; but it was Rome which soon after conquered Greece and lastly Alexandria; and today we see the United States, heir to the English tradition and basic characteristics, slowly extending its grip over Western Europe, in a perhaps unstoppable process in spite of de Gaulle's attempts or of efforts to consolidate Western Europe — efforts paralleling after the death of Alexander the unsuccessful AEolian and Achaean Leagues; the old antagonism between Athens and Sparta being at least partly responsible for this failure. (Compare with conflict between France and Germany, or in another sense, France and England).
By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1969 by Dane Rudhyar
and Copyright © 2001 by Leyla Rudhyar Hill
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