Crises of Transition - 1
Life, culture, and personhood
In order to understand in a constructive manner the general situation which humanity is facing, and to deal effectively and sanely with problems it has been creating, it seems necessary to give an uncommon interpretation to the words life
, by referring them to definite periods of the great cycle of being. However, what occurs during these periods first has to be clearly understood, and to this end a very brief review of previously outlined processes now will follow.
The reader should look again at the diagram
which pictures in an abstract manner the essentially circular dynamic structure of the Movement of Wholeness — a basic frame of reference for the interpretation of all humanly definable situations, be they predominantly objective or subjective, material or spiritual. This circular pattern represents the sequence of phases of the cyclic relationship between the principles of Unity and Multiplicity. This cyclic process is symbolically referred to the twenty-four-hour Day period during which the consciousness of a human being normally passes through a relatively complete gamut of experiences in states of wakeful activity in an objective material world, and in sleep — sleep with dreams and beyond dreaming.
Four great moments in the cycle of being are indicated. At the symbolic Midnight the principle of Unity is as powerfully active and the principle of Multiplicity as weak as they ever can be. At Noon the situation is reversed. Moreover Sunrise symbolizes the phase of the cycle when the two principles are of equal strength, but with the trend toward multiplicity and differentiation as a rising, aggressive power. At Sunset the two trends of the Movement of Wholeness are also of equal strength, but the principle of Unity is now the positive, ascending factor in all situations. At Sunrise what we perceive as the material universe is "born." At Sunset it dissolves into conditions of being of a predominantly subjective character.
The half-cycle extending from Midnight to Noon refers to an involutionary process. What was envisioned at Midnight in the Godhead state, as a potentially effective Solution to all the situations left by the failures of the long-ago concluded period of human activity, has to pass from a condition of subjectivity to one of objective and concrete realization duplicating the state of existence in which the failure occurred. The ideal has to become a concrete reality; it has to pass through a process of involution
It does so in several stages: first, within the divine Mind during the period from the symbolic Midnight to
Sunrise and in terms mythologized by the actions of Celestial Hierarchies, builders of archetypes; then, after Sunrise, through the differentiation of a tremendous release of potential energy (the Act of Creation) into a variety of explosive whirling motions, stabilized by the still powerful principle of Unity until it eventually becomes the matter which the human senses perceive and whose laws the human intellect discovers in order to satisfy implicit, if not at first explicit, human desires. At last a stage of differentiation is reached when a new level of differentiation and expansion becomes operative, to which the name "life" is given.
The appearance of life on a planet simply means that a further stage of the drive to multiplicity and differentiation has begun. In living cells, molecules multiply and they fulfill numerous specialized tasks. Complexity increases; the potentiality of variations which may lead to eventual failures appears. The processes of life-multiplication, however, reach their maximum of development at the symbolic Noon in the super-tropical biosphere of a planet teeming with trillions of biological variations on a relatively few basic archetypal themes. Then, a reversal of the cyclic motion of being occurs. In terms of the cyclic process as a whole, involution ends; evolution begins. The orientation of the Movement of Wholeness now points to the ultimate goal of Oneness. The tide has turned. Life is no longer the dominant factor.
At the spearhead of the forward thrust of the cosmic Movement, a new factor has appeared: personhood
. The place occupied by life — the end-product of the domination of the drive toward Multiplicity — is now taken by the progressive development of personhood. This development increasingly becomes the most important factor in the half-cycle during which the evolution of composite entities is powered by integrative forces, and a drive toward a simplification of relationships eventually operates. Personhood, however, requires a formative matrix for the unfoldment of its potentialities. A culture provides such a matrix, giving a specific character to the togetherness and the interactions of a more or less large number of specimens of the homo sapiens type. The period of the great cycle between Noon and Sunset refers to the evolution of personhood from a collective stage, still dominated by biological forces, to an individualized state. In that state the personal desires and free will of a "subject" considering itself exterior to the situation it experiences are crucially important factors in the approach to karmic situations, and finally to a process of transmutation of desires and transformation of mind leading to the stage beyond personhood, the Pleroma.
Personhood requires a living organism as a basis for its operations. But this living body in turn needs the activity of material molecules as a foundation for its existence. Both matter and life belong to the involutionary hemicycle of the Movement of Wholeness, while personhood belongs to the evolutionary hemicycle. Personhood therefore develops in a direction opposed to that of life. This development either fulfills the karma-neutralizing function which the Godhead intended, or if negative, deepens the karmic tracks. It may also incite attempts to escape from the path of individual dharma into a subjective dream state, perhaps even leading to a determined and violent regressed state — a state in which the principle of Multiplicity and the energies of life it dominates actively war against the new factor, personhood.
The evolutionary development of personhood would perhaps be, if not impossible, then at least inconsistent and ineffectual, even after the reversal of the cyclic motion at the symbolic Noon, if a mysterious situation did not take place within the Earth-being. This is the concrete presence of the Supreme Person as a radiant embodiment of the Godhead's Midnight vision. The term embodiment
, however, does not refer to the formation of a body of the dense kind of matter that human senses can perceive. As said before, the Supreme Person's body has substantiality at the highest etheric levels of the physical matter of the earth. But, though this substantial body may not be perceptible except in supernormal instances as human evolution progresses, its presence in the planetary field operates as a powerful catalyst It is intuitively or psychically experienced by Avatars whose human nature becomes totally pervaded by the power of the Presence, and who henceforth act as channels for its radiance. They themselves become catalysts for the coming together of a few fascinated disciples who in turn father forth a culture.
By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1986 by Leyla Rudhyar Hill
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