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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

Modern man is facing this crisis now. There is no solution which will really solve, at the level of "life", the multitude of problems arising from it. The only lasting and essential solution can be found by allowing the creative power of the spirit to act in our midst. This way of spirit is indeed the truly human way. The way of life is actually, for man, a prenatal or at least pre-individual way — the way of vegetable or animal man. Man becomes human, in reality and in "truth", only when he is on his way to becoming more-than-man. In this lies the essentially dynamic character of man; man is a transition, a movement toward that which, while retaining the human character and form, is nevertheless more than merely man.

It is for this reason that mere "production" cannot be the fulfillment of man; man can only reveal and demonstrate the truth of man in terms of creation. Man is truly man only when God speaks and acts through him; when the individualized person is, not merely potentially but in terms of actual deeds, a "son" of God. The son is invested with the powers and attributes of the father when he comes of age. It is this "coming of age" of man, this assuming of the inherited power of divine creativity by man, which is today the essential need of humanity; it is not only the need of a few special individuals, but the collective need of our society and our civilization.

The Christian civilization which we claim as ours is struggling against a spreading ideology which refers all social-political values to the "forces of production" and to the control of these forces by one social group or another. For this Marxist outlook we who are vocal in our protestations of Christianity should substitute a clear and concentrated effort to regenerate our civilization by a vivid and dynamic experience of relationship with the creative forces of the universe.

There are such creative forces active throughout the universe. They are gradually and consistently transforming the universe in order to make it more than it is. And what is meant by this "more" is a higher, rather than a larger universe; or more exactly, a universe coming ever closer to its divine Archetype through a periodic and cyclic change of level, and not a universe expanding in infinite space like a balloon.

Likewise, there are creative forces which are latent within every man and every human community. These forces we can experience, but we do not experience them while becoming fatter or more spread out in space; we do not experience them by eating more, or loading up our brains with more data and more technical devices. Indeed we drug our inherent creativity when we gobble up our neighbors by means of aggressive competition and imperialism. Creative forces are spirit in operation; they are God-in-act. And the basis of God's action is essential love, the will to wholeness and to harmony. God, spirit, creative forces, the process of human metamorphosis from the level of "life" and material-intellectual productivity to the level of "spirit" and creativity — these are all related terms. We need to make these terms real and potent in our personal experience. We need to incorporate them in our personality. We need to build a new civilization, with them as a dynamic center.

How can we work toward such an end? First, by believing with utter conviction that this end is not only possible, but ultimately inevitable; and this means by changing our mental pictures of the universe, of man, of the essential purpose of society, of God and man's relationship to God. A radical (i.e. from the root up) change of mind is demanded of us as the price of survival. This "change of mind" alone can provide a realistic and steady foundation for faith — faith in the creative action of the spirit, faith in the immanence and effective "Fatherhood" of God, the Creator.

To assume that faith in a redeeming Savior can of itself bring about a world at peace and a humanity "true" to God's idea of Man: this has been the tragic error of European Christianity. Such a belief naturally has been popular because it is the easy way out of man's basic problems; because it seems to make it unnecessary for man to welcome and to experience a "radical" change of mind. But only this change of mind can be counted as a direct and true creative experience. It is to it, no doubt, that Jesus referred when he, and presumably before him, John the Baptist, summoned men to metanoia — the Greek term badly translated as "repentance".

The essential "metanoia" is not an emotional repentance from so-called "sins" or transgressions against a traditional law. It is a "going beyond" (meta) our mental attitude. It is a transfer of the center of our attention and of our individualized consciousness from the level of the ego, filled with the urges and desires of "life", to the level of the soul, warm with the expectancy of the "birth of Christ" at the core of our harmonized being. It is man on his way to becoming more-than-man; man experiencing a deep, total catharsis (purgation, metamorphosis).

The way of crisis and catharsis is the way of the Cross. But more than this, it is the way that begins at the Mount of Transfiguration. The Crucifixion leads to the Resurrection only because there has been a Transfiguration. To seek for a crucifixion without having been able to experience at least a partial transfiguration or metanoia, is to indulge in a kind of spiritual masochism. This has indeed been prevalent in Medieval Christianity. Why? Because anything is easier than to experience a radical change of mind and to transfer one's center of consciousness from one level to another; anything — including martyrdom.

The "faith that moves mountains", the "faith of a grain of mustard seed" is a transforming, a creative faith. The topography of the ego, with its mountains of pride and inertia, must be transformed; the latent divine essence in the soul, the God-seed, must be awakened as a creative power. Only then can man build "new worlds" — his own new personality, and a society in which his children may find a decent "social climate" conducive to the unfoldment of their own creative powers. Humanity today needs that faith far more poignantly than it needs more machines and more goods. But who is able to arouse it, in our deeply confused and largely aimless generation afraid of using the very word "faith"?

The basic need here is for modern man to reconsider entirely his idea of creativity. Creativity is the keyword; but we must understand well what it implies and not mistake the tinsel of personal self-indulgence and self-exteriorization for the pure gold of true creative activity.

To be creative is to let the creative spirit, God's power, perform through oneself. This is possible only on the basis of: (1) a sense of individual selfhood and responsibility; (2) a positive attitude toward life and society implying a feeling of dedication to God and to the essential good of humanity; (3) a willingness to share and to love; and (4) a constant readiness to accept crises as processes of metamorphosis, together with faith in the inevitability of eventual rebirth at the level of the creative spirit and mind.

These basic qualifications are actually implied in the message of the Christ. He gave this message to a society which needed it as much as we need if today. Yet our need today is different because the collective mind of our society has developed in new directions and modern man is obsessed by new problems. Our need for creativity has acquired a particular character by virtue of our newly won ability to think intellectually and to produce an ever more abundant crop of machines and wares. Such an ability can mean, and does to some extent mean, the use of the creative power. It does so insofar as the original source of the creative, transforming activity is concerned, that is, the man who had the vision, the dynamic urge and inner "genius" to transform man's environment or to heal heretofore incurable diseases.

On the other hand, the products of the activity (the machines, the ever-multiplied gadgets and means to make life "easier" and knowledge more "popular") and even more the social climate and the collective mentality which these products are in turn producing tend increasingly to destroy the creativity of man. They enslave man who gave them birth. It is a subtle kind of enslavement; yet, because its very subtlety often makes it unrecognizable, a most dangerous one. The worst bondage is a bondage which makes man unable to want to become free, as well as unaware that he is bound. And the worst enemy of creativity is the pseudo-creativity which assumes the mask of "inventiveness", and is merely the ability to produce endless variations on a traditional theme. This ability is an intellectual kind of proliferation and self-multiplication along set grooves of thought. It cannot be considered as the true creativity of the spirit.

The inevitable results of such an intellectual production, and what is more mass-production, are wholesale automatism and conformity to a collective norm. These two factors dominating our modern society are the worst possible obstacles to the creative life — and to real spirituality. At the end of the process over which they rule stands the man-robot, the "mass-mensch" turned into an automatic performer of psychologically meaningless and utterly un-creative actions, forever repeated in an atmosphere of inhuman tension, noise and strain. Such a type of partially de-humanized human being unconsciously calls for a totalitarian state, whether or not he rebels against its crushing controls once it is established. Such a human type cannot be the foundation of a true democracy, in the spiritual and creative sense of the term.

Democracy, as Walt Whitman sung of it and as Jefferson and Lincoln envisioned it, postulates inwardly free individuals; men who are "free" because they are able to stand up as individuals with the positiveness, spontaneity and creativeness of the spirit within. They are men who, to quote Lincoln, refuse to be masters of slaves because they refuse to be slaves of any masters; individuals who are established in their own selves, and whose essential goal is not to absorb other men or the properties of other men, but to unite with other individuals in an attitude of personal companionship and of sharing of value.

To be an individual, to produce in terms of a spiritual purpose born of a creative vision, to share value and the results of achievements with all one's "neighbors", and through such sharing which is true love in action, to build in cooperation a spiritual community of values and culture — these are the foundations of a real democracy. These are also the social premises of essential Christianity. They are the standards for the evaluation of anything that our Western society, or any society calling itself democratic or Christian, has brought forth.

It is by comparing with these standards the actual facts of our daily living and the concrete realities of our civilization that we can see how acute and crucial modern man's needs are. And there is no solution or consolation to be found in that other fact: that totalitarian societies, ancient or modern, present an even worse picture; especially if we consider that the main totalitarian society of our day has become what it is by adopting an ideology, social techniques, and the machinery originally produced by our very own Western and nominally Christian civilization! The need indeed, is with us and we must face it. It is the need for an altogether different and basic approach to man, to society and to the creative forces of the universe whose fountainhead is God, the Creator — the forever creating Creator. This approach is not essentially new or unfamiliar. It is Jesus' approach. It is the way to Christhood; but this way should be translated in terms of the needs of modern man if it is to be fully convincing to him.

Jesus did not face a people turned into near-automatons in factories and offices, haunted by the urge to produce more and always more, their minds distracted by propaganda, advertisements, screen-glamour, and "knowledge made easy" in ten short lessons, money back guaranteed if you are not satisfied! The kind of conformity to the norm Jesus had to deal with was what remained of a set tribal culture and ritualistic religion — something very different from the intellectual and emotional standardization of the city-bred man and woman of today. Jesus faced and sought to transfigure customs and values rigid with age. The man of spirit today deals with new achievements, with new and still chaotic ways of life, with the pseudo-individualism of the man who will fight to death for his right to have an opinion . . . which he has passively absorbed from his habitual newspaper and magazine, his radio or TV program.

Seemingly the typical modern man has a choice of opinions and points of view. But, spiritually speaking, what counts most is not the fact of the choice being there, but the fact of a different order, that men able to choose as individuals are, or are not, present in the society. Men able and willing to assume, as individuals, the responsibility for their choices regardless of the pressures of a collective norm are necessary if there is to be a real democracy and a dynamic Christianity. No man can ever be the conscious agent of the spirit and thus partake in the creative activity of God, except as an individual. No man can receive the Visitation of the spirit as an indistinct part of a crowd, as a mass-mensch. God speaks only to individuals who are distinct, whose light shines and reveals them to God. To this all great religions have testified. Jesus enjoined his disciples to "be separate", to leave father and mother and to follow him, the incarnate Christ. He enjoined them to take up their Cross, symbol of the individualization of spirit and of the social results of this individualization, and to dare to be positive and utterly dedicated agents through whom the Holy Spirit would focus itself and irradiate society.

This requires positiveness and courage. The way of Christ, which is as well the way of any true spiritual democracy, demands of individuals the courage to be what they are as individuals; to evaluate clearly what is essential and what is non-essential, and to gaze without illusion or sentimental attachment at the shifting scenes of the world of "life", both in their own psychic natures and in the natures of loved ones and adversaries. The way of Christ demands of the individual that he assume the responsibility of being an origin, a "source" — which often means the responsibility of washing away the pollutions and refuses of many a "city" built upon the banks of the river born of this source.

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

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