Love on the Transpersonal Way - 1
Everybody speaks of love; but how few are consciously aware of the higher possibilities of the love between man and woman! There are many kinds of love; but we should at least distinguish two basic levels at which today love can operate. It may operate as an unconscious biological, social, and psychological compulsion, or else as a consciously acknowledged, polarized, and transfigured power, used by mature personalities, in the service of a freely accepted superpersonal purpose. As man and woman come to see and to evaluate one another in the light of new ideals of manhood and womanhood, as their sense of purposeful and productive participation in the social and universal Whole increases intensity and inclusiveness, the love which gives substance and fire to their togetherness must necessarily assume a new character, a new quality. This quality should be understood and defined today as clearly and vitally, as inclusively and convincingly as possible, for upon its cultivation and generalized expression in the New Age will depend on the fundamental quality of all basic human relationships, of marriages and social interchanges, of culture and manners. The essential quality of any human society is derived from the quality of the love which unites its men and women.
When the tribal law operates with unchallenged instinctual compulsion because there is no individuality as yet developed in the tribesman to challenge it — the union of man and woman is completely conditioned by biocultural purposes. The man tills the soil and is happy in the feeling of muscular release of energy and of fruitful work. The man likewise "husbands" the woman's earth-nature, and is happy in sexual release and in his progeny. He is deeply attached to the productive substance he fecundates with seed — be it the dark soil or the vibrant body. This attachment is functional and instinctual; it has deep roots in the collective unconscious of all human beings. It is a compulsive force operating at a level where there is no freedom of decision or choice, no personality. It is, nevertheless, a productive force. Its one goal is the fullest possible increase of seed and substance; and, at a later stage of social evolution, of usable wares and cultured products.
When transcendent ideals begin to superimpose themselves upon the goals of biological and cultural productivity, and eventually seek to reduce the latter to a low valuation — when the devotional intensity of the mystic or the saint feeds on asceticism and subliminal ecstasies or martyrdom — then a new type of love emerges which is given a "spiritual" valuation. Yet such a love remains essentially a compulsive type of emotion, even though it be the love of God, or some deified person or image. The passion for the beyond can be as tyrannical a force as the hunger for sex; its roots as deeply submerged in unconsciousness and fate. The green leaves of a plant are drawn irresistibly to the light of the sun ("heliotropism" — from helios, sun and trope, turning) in order that they may perform their vital function of photosynthesis (the conversion under their impact of light rays of the carbon dioxide of the air and water into sugars and starches). In a similar manner, the devotee turns his emotional nature toward a transcendent image in the "theotropism" of a love which aspires to capture the effulgence of divinity and to fix it in the "leaf-substance" of a humanity still far away collectively, from the condition of mature "seed-personality."
When, in a later period, the trend toward individualism asserts itself; when the rational intellect and its analytical outlook atomizes society and isolates every ego from every other ego; when, as a result, personal complexes, fears, and passionate yearnings toward some experience of union with, and self-loss in, others harrow the distracted soul, a new type of compulsive love develops. It is love based on psychological emptiness and need. It is the love of the romanticist; the love of adolescent egos frightened with the responsibility of conscious and productive selfhood. It is the "erotropism" of insecure personalities seeking to warm themselves at, or be consumed by, the fire of universalized and unpersonalized Eros. The initial purpose of this type of love is to stir the soul-substance into activity, to release emotional fire, to transpierce — as with lightning — the inertia of the flesh and of the unconscious earth-bound psyche. To vibrate, to feel alive and in a state of inner motion, in a flaming state: these are the needs of the adolescent type of personality, just as it is the need of the virginal soul of the devotee and mystic to experience the ecstasy of divine love, the glowing state of self-surrender to the inrush of universal light-substance.
In both cases, the purpose of the love is lost in the thrill or rapture of the experience of love. The participants are inwardly forced into the tormenting fire or the blinding light of such a love. Of conscious choice, there is practically none. The individual is in love with love. He does not consciously perform acts of love for, and together with, another being — be the being human or divine. He does not share, deliberately and purposefully, his fullness with another, simply because he is not yet a mature personality, because his love is conditioned by scarcity and bondage. It is a passionate and irrational attempt to compensate for a youthful, or later crystallized, egocentricity, to burn the binding structures of the individual ego, to become free from self and one with all life and, first of all, with the beloved. In some cases, it is a vehement rebellion of human beings seeking to assert their individual egos against the taboos of tribal life or the traditions, allegiances, and shams of society.
In any case, this love, which is the nature of fire, seeks liberation and emergence into a wider realm of power and activity. It consumes limits and boundaries; it is a revolutionary force, an emotional fervor which yearns for transcendent beyonds. It stands thus in sharp contrast against the tribal love of men and women which is the glow surrounding work well done in common, the natural perfume of common accomplishment in an instinctual-cultural sense, the happy feeling of joint participation in a collective organism, whose structural law is unquestioned and never felt as bondage. This biological-social love is an expression of the will to increased productivity. It serves and glorifies the seed. The love of the Christian mystic, or of Tristan and Isolde, or of Dante for Beatrice, is a consuming fire which stirs, uproots, liberates, and transfigures, or maddens men and women craving for freedom from ego and from social rules, yearning for the infinite sea of "cosmic consciousness."
The fire of this love surges, in most cases, from sex; but sex, here, must be understood not in terms of seed-producing functions as much as in terms of the release of a basic power, electromagnetic in essence and with very strong psychic overtones. It is not sex for the purpose of producing a progeny (procreative sex), but sexual union as a means to overcome differentiation and the polarized state, to stir in the soul the will to merge with another in a conquest of individual separativeness, personal isolation, and loneliness. Under the burning psychic "heat" produced by this sexual but nonprocreative love, the molecular and atomic patterns of individual selfhood become deeply altered. The personality can become "ionized," stripped of nonessentials, free to unite in ecstasy with other individuals under the compulsive power of the energies which surge from the common root in which all men are one in unconscious unity.
This ego-transcending and difference-obliterating love, when finally disassociated with the last thought of sex, can be interpreted and experienced as the urge for union with the One or, through a one, with the Whole. The transcendent lover may seek inward union with God, or an outwardly expressed communion with humanity. But whenever the former quest reaches its goal, it always must lead to the type of life exemplified by a Buddha or Christ. He who has become one with God must assume the spiritual burdens of a distracted and earth-bound humanity. He must forever strive to transform unconsciousness and the dark compulsions of instinct into conscious illumination. He must demonstrate the radiant charity which transfigures the service of the poor or the wounded into an act of love for all mankind.
Such a compassionate love is not productive of seed; but it gradually releases humanity as a whole from bondage to the thought of separateness and to the seeming inevitability of conflict and war. It is a unifying power. It integrates the essential realities of individuals, groups, and nations by consuming in its fire the nonessentials which produce division and hatred. It seeks to reconstitute at the conscious level of mature personalities the primordial unconscious unity of the tribe state, and to reconstitute it in total inclusiveness. Tribal unanimity was exclusive of all other tribes; but transcendent love is boundary-transcending, culture-transcending, creed-transcending. Its goal is the "One World" of a truly organized, global humanity. In this goal it finds itself a partner of modern science and technology, thanks to which world unity has become an actual, concretely experienceable fact that no honest and intelligent man can ignore.
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