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Dane Rudhyar's Fire Out of the Stone. Image Copyright 2007 by Michael R. Meyer.

A Reformulation of the
Basic Images of the
Judeo-Christian Tradition

by Dane Rudhyar, 1962

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This title was first published by Sevire, 1963.

Cover for the online edition copyright © 2008
by Michael R. Meyer.

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"Thy God is a cosumming fire."
Duet. 4:25

"He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Matthew 3:11

"I am come to send fire on the earth."
Luke 12:49

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"And another said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.

And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
Luke 9 : 61, 62

Whosoever acts by, for, and as the spirit, does so in order to provide basic answers to the "need of the times". Because of this the way to a realization of the spirit is, at any time, the way from and through the need to the solution of this need. It is often a tragic way, but it is the human way.

By experiencing the need in the poignant immediacy of one's own life, yet not being overwhelmed or defeated by it, the individualized and conscious person who seeks consistently to establish his attunement to the rhythm of the creative spirit will, in time, find the answers to this need. In and through these answers he will come to experience also the spirit, from which come all solutions to essential needs; he will witness the active reality of the spirit and the healing Presence of Christ. He will know God, the Creator, through his experience of the creative spirit, as spirit creates in and through him whatever the "need of the times" requires.

However, these needs, whether of society as a whole or of a single person, must be real and essential needs, if one can rightly expect them to evoke an answer from the spirit. Thus the first problem is how to discriminate between these real needs and the superficial desires or demands of the bodily, emotional and intellectual life. The "new Image of God" which we seek to evoke and condense into objectivity in this century of ours will be a spirit-born Image only if it answers to the essential needs of modern man. If we feel emotionally that we need "redemption" from our tragic sense of guilt and failure, then God may have to take the form of the Redeemer. If we are physically hungry, deprived of necessities and yearning for physical comfort and abundance, then we may conjure up the Image of God as the supreme Producer. Yet these may not be the Images with the most essential value today, because the needs which these Images evoke may not be needs of the most supreme and most central significance, their generalized appeal, past or present, notwithstanding.

What then are the essential needs of modern man and of our modern society? Are they the much publicized needs for personal "normality", for more material goods and more gadgets, for greater intellectual achievements and more specialized techniques?

No, these are not the most essential needs of modern man, however imperative they do seem to be in our age of wars and of emotional and financial insecurity. They are not our most essential needs because it should be clear to anyone acquainted with the history of past civilizations which have risen and fallen that these things, which seem so needed today, of themselves do not bring what they claim to bring to the peoples who so eagerly strive for them. The search for security and peace at all costs defeats its own end and leads, at best, to an inert contentment and stagnation, soon followed by inner disintegration. Material achievements pursued for their own sake cast a mental shadow upon the inner life; and the great intellectual triumphs which are not geared to, and impelled by, a spiritual purpose eventually turn destructive of bodily health and of the natural harmony of the personality. Thus a society in which the pursuit of material and intellectual achievements is valued above all else in time faces moral and spiritual collapse.

These are facts of the spiritual history of humanity; and these facts confront us today with tragic acuity. Yet most of us are blind to them, for if we dared to face them with fully opened eyes, mind and soul we would have to do something about them.

We would have to act in a new way — the Way that Christ has shown. We would have to think differently on the basis of a new approach to truth — the Truth that Christ lived. We would have to transform our life and live with one single great purpose: to experience, in however small a degree, the Transfiguration — our transfiguration.

So to live, to think and to feel is very difficult; it takes extraordinary courage, intellectual honesty, and faith or purity. It is very difficult because the collective achievements of our civilization are great — as was great the wealth of the man who asked of Jesus what he should do to gain eternal life, and yet was loath to "sell his possessions" (Matt. 19:21-23).

Modern man is facing a similar situation. His material and intellectual achievements have been most remarkable, particularly during the last 500 years. We are impressed by their greatness. Indeed every schoolboy is trained to consider them as uniquely great. He is also made to take for granted their value and the absolute character of this value. Anyone who takes the greatness of his achievements for granted courts spiritual disaster. Anyone who stops inquiring into the value and the purpose of the achievements which establish his claim to greatness becomes, sooner or later, a slave to dogmas and fanaticism. When faced with a serious challenge, such a man, or nation, tends to become hysterical with subconscious fears or to seek refuge in drugs or insanity.

Material achievements mean principally the ability to produce goods, to release and make available physical energy, to control and train forces of nature to serve the will of man. These accomplishments require intellectual skill and the specialized use of the mind. Our Western society has demonstrated these skills masterfully. It has invented myriads of refined techniques and complex tools. It has multiplied itself immensely and stamped its character upon the whole globe. This is human greatness. But it is real and spiritual greatness only provided man and his civilization have an equally great and significant purpose in achieving these material and intellectual feats.

Value and purpose: these constitute the primary issues. What is modern man's scale of values? What does he value most? What inherent and fundamental purpose does our society make its characteristic way of life and achievements serve? How significant and valid is this purpose and how true to the spirit of Christ and to the essential destiny of man? And what does our society hold the essential destiny of man to be?

It is upon the answers to these questions that the fate of our Western civilization depends. And we have to give answers now — clear and definite answers — whether or not we like to do so. We must give answers because we are being challenged. We must give answers which are true to the spiritual destiny of man, or we must fade out of history as so many civilizations have done before. To refuse to give positive answers is merely to give a negative answer, for it is to deny man's supreme power, which is the power to establish a purpose and to give a conscious, self- determined value and meaning to his activity and his very existence on earth.

What then is man's purpose and essential "truth" for him consciously to realize, deliberately to accept, and perseveringly to work for and manifest? To this question Christ answers: to become more than man. Not merely a normal man, a mature and cultured person, but more-than-man; that is, a being in whom "human nature" is not only relatively perfected, but integrated with a divine essence, and in some cases with a divine entity. The essential truth and reality of man is that he is, potentially, a divine human being. God descends to meet man, as man ascends to reach God. The "soul" is the Holy Place where the union of heaven and earth occurs. Out of this union is born the "more-than-man", the "Christed" man. He is born in a new realm or dimension of being and consciousness, according to a new rhythm of existence. His activities are no longer altogether subject to the blind compulsions of "life" and life-instincts; they manifest a new quality — and, as a secondary result, new powers. This man indeed partakes, in however small a measure, in the creative activity of God, Creator and Father. Hesitantly at first, he finds himself belonging to a new order, the Creative Order, which is "heaven". Though living on earth and in a body of earthly substances, he is "in heaven", and heaven is within him.

This state of integration of God and human nature in the "more-than-man" is, for all but a few men here and there, still very much in the future. We may call it the next stage in human evolution, if we seek to conform to the picture outlined by Western science. But the motive power of this evolution is to be found, from the point of view of Christianity and of all great religious traditions, not in chance or in the principle of adaptation to the environment, but in a progressive "descent" of the spirit. The present state of man evolves into the future condition of the more-than-man, because this future comes to meet the present. The future always draws the present to itself and away from the past. The future takes form and incarnates in the present; otherwise the inertia of past habits and the memory of past failures would pull the present backward to the past and no progress would be possible.

This is the essential meaning of a divine Incarnation. The incarnate Christ dwells among ordinary men of the everyday present to reveal to them what they should, and eventually will, be in the future. Christ, as Jesus walking among men, summons these men to their future state of more-than-man. He is man's future become flesh and blood; and only by assimilating (i.e. becoming similar to) this future can man become more-than-man in the image and likeness of the God-man.

This is the true meaning of the Redemption. The future "redeems" man's present from the somber weight of his past errors and the shadow of his "sins". Christ liberates men from their haunting memories, their sense of guilt, and from their ancestral ways and attitudes of mind which have become deep ruts thwarting any swift advance on the way to the meeting with God. He reveals to them the fact that there is a meeting ahead. This meeting and union with God is the "truth" of man. Granted it is a truth which today yet remains to be demonstrated by "normal" man; but the demonstration is possible. Jesus, transfigured by Christ, Christ incarnated as Jesus — this is the demonstration. This establishes in a concrete livable manner man's one and only essential purpose. All other are secondary, however necessary they may have been and may yet be "on the way" — the way of which Jesus was, and is, for us, the Exemplar.

Our Western society, though Christian in name, has not geared its energies, its "heart's desire", its basic sense of value to this driving purpose of human transfiguration. The ideal which it actually worships, in intention and in substance, is not the more-than-man, the Christed man, but rather the "bigger and better man", the man able to demonstrate material or intellectual power and prestige, the socially successful person. The difference between these two human ideals is essential. In both cases, it is true, the goal desired and striven for implies expansion — a becoming more. But the levels at which the process of expansion operates differ utterly in each case.

At the level of "life" and life-instincts, expansion is sought in terms of an increase in circumference. Life wants to conquer space. It needs always, or feels that it needs, more life-space — the lebens-raum of German geopolitics. When faced by a crisis, life as such always imagines that the crisis can be solved by absorbing other lives and stretching over more space. More and more should accrue to me: this is life's policy of expansion, its way of becoming greater.

"Spirit", on the other hand, moves onward by transferring the center of being from one level to the next. Symbolically, this has been defined as a "vertical" expansion and as reaching greater height, in contrast to life's striving after greater width or circumference. Yet growth at the level of spirit is rather to be considered as expansion in what we may call a "fourth-dimension" of being.

Such a dimension is characterized by a typical process of inter-penetration: that is, one becomes not only what one "is", but also, through an internal process of communication with others and identification in consciousness, more than oneself. This, however, does not mean the absorption of others, but instead an intimate sharing with others. One becomes "one with" other beings, one with a "communion" of beings; and ultimately one with God Who is the Harmony, Wholeness and Perfection of all, as well as the Source and Foundation of all.

The substance of this process of expansion in the spiritual fourth-dimension is . . . "love". It is the love of Christ, the divine love which He proclaimed as the "new commandment", the distinguishing mark of his disciples everywhere, if true to His trust. This love is the signature of man's unfoldment toward the more-than-man. Only through divine love can there be a change of level, a metamorphosis of ego into soul, and of the values of the realm of "life" into those of the realm of "spirit". Such a transfer of values is the key to essential Christianity.

This realm or level of spirit is the kingdom of heaven. "The kingdom of heaven is within you" said Jesus. It is within every individual who has been willing and able to transfer the center of his being — his desires and his thoughts — from the level of "life" to that of "spirit". Man, in order to become more-than-man, must accept the rhythm of spirit, the rhythm of the creative, of divine light and love. And to accept this rhythm is to accept "the way, the truth and the life" of Him who came, at the dawn of our Western society, as the Source and Exemplar of man's future.

Our Western society has not actually accepted this way in its collective heart and mind in spite of its protestation of faith in Christ. Only a few individuals, here and there, have responded to the summons and have deliberately, doggedly, lovingly trodden the path lit by the light of the Christ-purpose: becoming more-than-man. The vast majority have continued to seek for solutions, as well as for enjoyment and for an ever-eluding security, in the realm of "life" and of space-conquest. Men, eager to be normal people and social successes, have striven ambitiously and often ferociously to expand the circumference of their bodies or their intellects and their possessions by absorbing and digesting space and, in that space, their "neighbors". Thus there has been no end to greed and war, maiming competition and soul-stunting want, lust and crime, sickness and insanity. And there will be, there can be, no end to these tragic features of the realm of "life", because life is unconscious instinct and compulsive craving; life seeks to be and to remain itself, bigger and better, but not to overcome itself by becoming more-than-itself.

It is true that this search for the more-than-oneself does manifest occasionally among living organisms; but where it manifests, there spirit is at work. There a creative mutation appears and the kingdom of heaven finds anchorage. There divine love is foreshadowed, and in the momentary stilling of the beats of "life" a presentiment of the Christ is revealed. Only in man can the presentiment become actuality; for in man only, creative spirit can be expressed in a focused manifestation. As this occurs, man begins to be more-than-man, and not merely a bigger man proud of his immense productivity, his amazing intellectual skill, his control over natural forces, yet frantic with seemingly insoluble problems which poison his mind and cripple his body!

Productivity for the sake of being "bigger" is a goal that has value and significance only at the level of "life". It parallels the enormous power of reproduction found in the earlier forms of life on earth: the myriads of seeds, most of which never take root or grow to full tree-stature; the multitudes of potential fish which, if left to grow without being eaten up by bigger fish, would soon pack the seas solidly. This is proliferation, not creation. Life, and all that is in bondage to life, proliferates by unconscious instinct, driven by a compulsive urge to self-multiplication, stubbornly seeking safety and self-perpetuation through sheer numbers.

Modern man's productivity is very much of that order, especially under the stress of war or even competition. Food and munitions must reach across oceans; but the oceans are infested with enemy submarines. So, produce, produce . . . more ships, more wheat, more tanks! Even if sixty percent are sunk, forty percent will reach their destination. Likewise, what does it matter to the tree if but one seed takes root out of tens of thousands which fall upon the ground? The species must be preserved at any cost — so, more seeds, more seeds!

This is the rhythm of life's proliferations. And man today so proudly boasting of his millions of machines, his assembly-lines, his printing presses turning out millions of aimless and spiritually empty newspapers, magazines, books and treatises — yes, also of his colleges turning out tens of thousands of certified graduates by the year — man is indeed a slave to the rhythm of life's proliferations. All he has done is to add to his sexual reproductive organs another kind of reproductive mechanism issuing forth from his brain. Indeed, both reproductive activities are over-active! The human population of our globe has increased considerably, as man's mechanical-intellectual production also increased. More goods, yes, but more people to use them — a vicious circle! Where does it end? Like the wage-price spiral of inflation, it can only end in crisis.

This edition copyright © 2008 by Michael R. Meyer
All Rights Reserved.

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