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Third Mansion - TO KNOW

The third mansion through which the individual must pass on his quest for wholeness and operative mastery is that of knowledge. I know is the natural sequence to "I am" and "I own"; for it is only out of the conflict between these last two elements of being that the third arises: knowledge. It is only as the ego senses the inadequacy of that which he owns — his body and his inherited mechanisms of action — in his efforts to express what he inherently is, that the need to know the whence, how, and whither of these possessions is made imperative.

Knowledge is ever born out of fundamental and irreducible oppositions. It is because spirit (the Self) is never adequately expressed by matter (the body and all the ancestral past of any newborn entity) that man, individually or collectively, becomes the thinker, the knower. And the search for knowledge is endless, for there never will be any material aggregation which will satisfy the needs of the spirit. There can be no material organism — be it the most cosmic or divine — that ever will be an absolutely adequate vehicle for the "I am" who is to dwell therein. Therefore there will always be "divine discontent" and the need for knowing what may be done about it. There will ever be restlessness and motion and search; and ever new ways will have to be devised for the "I am" to operate adequately through what he owns by birthright. And the worlds will keep on whirling; and the demon of speed will dizzy universes and men; and intellects will search feverishly for the eternally elusive secret of perfect adequacy of matter to spirit. Such is the mystery of the third mansion — the eternal Gemini.

The twain will never meet. They will stand for all eternities like Greek columns, Doric and Ionic, in the frigid ecstasy of knowing that they are ever inseparable and ever unsatisfied. It is this dualism and this subconscious despair that make minds reel in the search for God — the Integrator, the Harmonizer, the Perfect Solution of the irreducible dilemma. But perhaps there is no Integrator to be called upon or searched for in empyrean loneliness — save it be that one perpetual effort which links the twain, in conflict, in love, in sorrow and compassion. That effort is intelligence. It is the power to see a situation whole, and thus to make it whole. It is the power to refuse ever to stand still, ever to admit incapacity — yes, it is even the power to laugh at the two stupidly eternal columns facing each other in mysterious inadequacy. For even laughter can be a solution — perhaps an escape, perhaps also a chant of triumph, as O'Neill has shown in his sublime epic, Lazarus Laughed, the drama of the confrontation between eternal renewal (spirit) and eternal decay (matter); between the future and the past.

Between these two columns, past and future, something may happen: the present. And the present is "intelligence". Intelligence is the power to bring the past performance up to the new demands of the future — the ideal. Intelligence is the Initiate of old, standing between the two columns and by his power bringing to the candidate integration, operative wholeness. And how wonderful are these old myths! The Initiate who has failed and turned destructive is Samson, who, betrayed by matter (Delilah), stands between the two columns of the Temple and pushes them apart, hurling death at himself and at the betrayers.

In these symbols rests, for those who know how to read symbols, the secret of the intellect: divine, yet devilish where the would-be god is betrayed; integrating knowledge which projects into all organic behavior the power to improve itself and to cope with new situations — or the disintegrating worship of formalism which turns every creative performance into dead routine and clever automatism.

In the man of the first birth the third mansion means nerve-coordination and instinctual intelligence. It refers to essentially self-protective and self-reproductive mechanisms. Man is the creature of his heredity; he lives, a material being, surrounded by brothers, sisters, and all his blood-relatives. His life-performance is easily integrated and wholesome, for it is relatively adequate to the as yet feeble demands of the individual self. The latter is barely able to assert itself through taking advantage of the situation provided by communal and tribal living. By playing brother against brother, this against that, he acquires power. At any cost the individual must find ways of asserting himself against the collective, against the parents. The present moment for him is centered round the urge to free the future from the inertial domination of the past. Cunning, restlessness, lies, bribery are the first stages. By constant repetition, habits are formed; the performance is improved. Competition, self-interest, cleverness, superficial brilliancy, sophistry are developed. Formalism is the ideal, for the self being more collective as yet than individual, the forms needed are stable and communal, generic and not individual. Individuals perfect the technique; but the creative power resides in the tribe, in the blood.

When mankind as a whole has reached a relatively high stage of civilization; that is, when the earth-substance itself — the raw materials of human endeavor, physiological and psychological — has become refined and thoroughly leavened by the mental operations of many generations, then the forms of knowledge may be very high. Yet, for the man of the first birth, this knowledge remains collective. It is merely assimilated intellectual foodstuff; not the result of creative thinking, of the fecundation of ideas. Thus today a child is born with the inherited power to deal at ease with cars, radios and machines in general, this power implying no creative thought or originality on his part.

When man has passed the threshold of the second birth, when he has become ever so dimly aware of his true "I am" and has either revaluated what was his own or acquired new possessions, then there is no longer need for cunning. He is alone now, essentially. And within himself the psychological conflict now rages. He is spirit facing a consciously selected or repolarized matter. The inadequacy of the latter strikes him pitilessly. Then is born real "intelligence" — or the defeatist evasions of a soul too weak to face the mental pressure and no longer able to return to the low-tension field of tribal or collective living.

Then the concrete philosopher, the scientist, the experimenter, are born. Then also the creative artist, whose inspired works are essentially recorded patterns of integration — as for instance Dante's Divine Comedy; in other words, tales of successful psychological adjustment. Then the Great Mind is truly the Initiate. He stands between the two columns, his arms upraised. Spirit and matter become for a moment harmonized within him. He dies; but as an Examplar he lives in his performance wherever distracted souls cry for knowledge and yearn for that creative intelligence which can open vistas of divine splendor. Through intelligence the past is made into the future during moments consciously and lucidly lived.

Humanity now stands at the crossroads of the mind. The old physiological ideals of the first birth — the call of the blood to glorification of racial purity and blood-sacrifices, the tribal instinct — are spasmodically yet most widely re-energized. They have never died, and will not die for ages. The minds of most men today are as yet rooted in their blood; and when the blood gets heated the mind boils and "sees red". The scientist, the artist, the author, the inventor are yet too often like youths in a clan trying by cunning to get the better of their relatives. Their ideal is technical excellency and the formation of more perfect automatisms to further the ends of their groups. The intellect is used against something; to allay fears or safeguard for the ego his possessions. And so there is no peace among men; for mind is the slave of possessions and the ego is as yet identified with what he owns.

This war is not only between men, but within man the individual; for even though he begins to emerge as an individual, yet is he bound to the sense of power which possessions give to him. And the intellect is a tool to keep, solidify, and increase these possessions. Therefore it is "the slayer of the real" — as occultists say. Because the real is the ceaselessly new and the eternally creative. It is the ever-changing present: that "intelligence" which makes every performance nearer to the ideal of the spirit that is the Self. And in "intelligence" there is no cunning and no fear; but the joy and ecstasy of being born always and anew. For this is the mystery of the second birth, that it occurs in every moment fully lived in utter freedom from the thralldom of the past and the cravings of the blood.

How remote from such a creative, exhilarating "intelligence" is the "intellectuality" of our age, boasting of its glorious mechanical achievements! Such an intellectuality is not any more spiritual than the primitive efforts of early manhood living at the level of the soil and using its primitive tools for the fashioning of objects of beauty as well as of utility. Spirituality has not primarily to do with the level of efficiency of the intellect in mastering the forces of nature, but with the power in the individual to transform creatively his response to life and to use what his collectivity produces for nobler and more vibrant purposes.

In intellectuality there is no inherent nobility or vibrancy; because there is no real spiritually transforming purpose. The average scientist of today, and the readers of popular scientific magazines, are making no use of creative intelligence. They merely operate as collective beings at the level of the intellectual achievements accumulated by past generations and by the anonymous research of thousands of craftsmen in intellectual analysis. They are just as ready to make their high intellectual gifts operate at the command of national and tribal passions as the savage of old, fighting cunningly with sticks and arrows for the satisfaction of his instincts. Thus the intellectual level of a race has very little to do with the intensity and purity of the intelligence demonstrated by its individuals.

"Intelligence" is a quality of the free and creative spirit in man as an individual. It is not dependent upon the amount or nature of racially inherited intellectual possessions, but upon the use to which these possessions are put. Its true nature is revealed only as it integrates and synthetizes knowledge for the purpose of the Soul's development. And if the term "Soul" means anything, it is the free and spontaneous play of the total nature of man, of that essential wholeness in which spirit, mind and body are united in the joy and beauty of creative living: a wholeness not limited to the individual's boundaries, but rather geared to the glorious ascent of Man-the-whole toward that stage of perfect integration in which humanity is revealed as the microcosm of the universal Whole.

In intelligence we are whole, and yet parts of the greater Whole; because in it a quality of perpetual adjustment to life is shown at every moment. And in this adjustment there lies the secret of true freedom — and of real joy; the secret of the constant adaptation of means to purpose, of becoming to being, of possessions to selfhood, of substance to spirit. It is this power of adaptation alone which raises us from our natal environment to a greater environment, which after having made us fulfill the brotherhood of blood leads us to enter the brotherhood of individual souls, and eventually to move through patterns of cosmic relationship which sun-like beings only may know, whose lives are poems of ever-radiating light. It is knowledge lived in perfect adequacy of form to function. Such a knowledge transcends all dualities of knower and known, of subject and object. It is life fulfilled every moment according to the purpose of the Soul and in consideration of the materials at hand. It is life glowing forth as pure and radiant "intelligence".

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

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