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A Philosophy of
Operative Wholeness
by Dane Rudhyar

First Published in
The Glass Hive

in eight parts, 1930-31.
Part One - November 1930.

Part Two of the series A Philosophy of Operative Wholeness introduces cosmological principles and processes which, while rooted in the cosmology of the Ancient Wisdom and in Blavatsky's The Secret Doctrine, are given much greater precision and philosophical consistency by Rudhyar. Here we see a key feature of Rudhyar's philosophy and metaphysics of Wholeness in its early formulation: there was never, and never will be, a cosmic condition of absolute unity or oneness, nor is there ever a condition of absolute multiplicity. The cosmos continually and eternally oscillates between the principles of unity and multiplicity. This cosmological premise places Rudhyar's philosophy and metaphysics of Wholeness as the most significant and well-formulated philosophy and metaphysics formulated during the 20th century.

Today, when we hear and read much of so-called "wholeness," unity and oneness, it is unfortunate that virtually everyone speaking in these terms - from physicists to spiritual teachers - labor under the illusion that absolute unity is the supreme state of being to which we should aspire. Rudhyar fully develops the cosmology of the Movement of Wholeness in Rhythm of Wholeness.

Part Two

Spirit is Life in the condition of absolute unity. In such a condition, which is one of pure subjectivity, the One is without a second, without any thing against to know itself, without a mirror in which to witness itself. It is metaphysically and actually an impossible condition. It is an ideal but an unattainable goal. It is the great illusion which leads men to sleeping and dying, to throwing off half of life the body in order that the other half may dream that it is alone and absolutely one. It is not alone, for the body is always there. It may disintegrate as a life-form; but the substance of it is indestructible; and even during the deepest cosmic night, when all things are reabsorbed into the undifferentiated sea of universal energy (the noumenon of matter), the memory of the deeds enacted during the day of manifestation remains recorded on this sea of cosmic light.
      Spirit, as pure energy, is thus a mirage. Likewise, matter, as the condition of absolute multiplicity and atomicity, is never actually reached by life. Pure matter is unthinkable, as much as pure spirit, for to think presupposed some degree of integration and a certain permanent sense of unity which is the manifestation of spirit. Spirit and matter are two impossibilities. Life may come at times very close to the condition of spirit and to that of matter; but it can never reach either one. Life must include both spirit and matter, simultaneously and everlastingly.
      Life is wholeness in operation. It is spirit stamping cyclically its "I-am-ness" upon whatever masses of matter it can integrate. It is matter always breaking away from the "I-am" realization and into inchoate extension of space. Form is the power that binds, either momentarily or permanently, matter to spirit, and thus concretizes the two impossible absolutes into two actual tendencies operative at the core of every living entity on any plane.
      In form ,spirit and matter act and interact. Out of this interaction arise vitality and tone, consciousness and soul. The power which produced form is Mind, or Karma. Karma is, we might say, the involutionary aspect of the eternal principle of formation, the evolutionary aspect of which is Mind. However, this principle of formation is often referred to as the Universal Mind.
      Form implies limitations. Yet it is the one condition for the realization of wholeness, which comes out of the fulfillment of limitations. Without limits or boundaries no integration is possible, thus no consciousness of being a whole. Form is the result of the operation of unity (the "I-am") upon scattered material particles. It brings together these particles under a certain pattern-arrangement. It induces in their behavior a certain periodicity. It manifests in chaos as order and rhythm.
      When this rhythm becomes so established that it can preserve its character in the midst of chaos, a certain boundary-line begins to appear which separates the rhythmic from the non-rhythmic. This becomes the ring of Saturn, the outlines of the form. Within this ring the material particles become more and more subject to the integrating power of spirit and in time reach certain permanent types of differentiated behavior. The form becomes organic. It becomes whole. It can maintain itself by assimilating less organized substances in its neighborhood. It can reproduce itself. Soon it evolves a sense of form-permanency, a sense of self-identity. It reaches the human stage of self-consciousness.
      This stage, however, is reached by a complex process of integration which not only organizes perfectly the substance within form-boundaries of the cellular unity, but leads to the formation of colonies of such cells, which grow into highly differentiated organisms. The more complex and efficiently organized the form, the greater the integration and the closer the "marriage" of spirit and matter; in other words, the vaster the material field stamped with the seal of the "I-am" and the deeper the impression.
      Man, in the absolute sense of the term, is the consummation of the perfect marriage of spirit and matter, the perfect equilibrium between the forces of unity and multiplicity. This equilibrium in actuality, however, is not permanent. Man is the highest point of harmonization of the life-polarities, but it is so only for a more or less brief moment. For Man belongs to the realm of becoming. He can only stop the constant process of change for a time; at most, for an aeon. But the form must break and with it the consciousness which was its flowering.
      Yet one cannot possibly conceive of Life without form. Form is the central element in the indestructible trinity of life (or abstractly speaking, of the Absolute). Spirit, Matter and Form are co-eternal. When spirit is as far apart from matter as can be imagined, form becomes universal. Matter has become homogeneous energy, or prae-nebular ether. It fills the whole of space. The universal form is the absolute form of space, the cosmic egg, one might say, the seed of the future universe. It is the World-Soul or Universal Mind.
      The consciousness that arises within this all-encompassing form of Space is permanent, for it encompasses the Whole. Within this whole, myriads of whirlpools are constituted during the day of manifestation; galaxies, solar systems, planets and men. These may swarm and swarm endlessly. They produce a sort of feverish condition in the Universal Mind. We call this condition Karma. Then the fever subsides. This means peace, bliss, Ananda. But the form of the Whole remains permanent. The wholeness of Universal Mind is indestructible, constant and timeless.

Read Part Three.

Copyright © 2000 by Michael R. Meyer.
All Rights Reserved.

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