Beyond Individualism

The Psychology of Transformation

by Dane Rudhyar


3. Seed Functions and Rites of Passage

c. Consecrating the Self to the Whole

A time comes during the process of development of the individualized consciousness when the human being who has striven so long after the satisfaction and aggrandizement of his ruling ego is compelled by sheer self-interest to learn to cooperate with other egos for the achievement of some common purpose. Cooperation in action is the foundation of socio-cultural activities, but at the early tribal level of society, and in the traditional family situation—which today often appears to be a thing of the historical past—the need to cooperate is instinctually recognized and unquestioned. It is based on a nearly compulsive sense of group-identification. The unity of the whole takes an uncontrovertible precedence over the desires and the opinions of individual members.

As a society becomes increasingly complex, especially in large cities, the 'citizen' acts primarily as an ego, even if not self-sufficient and self-motivated, at least claiming loudly and proudly the right to "do his own thing" regardless of the consequences to others and especially to the whole. When the value of cooperation takes hold of the consciousness, it presents itself to the ego-consciousness as self-interest. This is the underlying principle of 'democracy'. Individuals join together in order to achieve the much publicized purposes mentioned in the Preamble of the U. S. Constitution; they join strictly, or rather theoretically, as 'individual persons' whose individuality not only has 'worth and dignity' but is given in principle a quasi-absolute value—even if there are a great many instances when practice contradicts principle.

Even at the supposedly more idealistic level of ethics, people are enjoined to be 'good' in order to reach Heaven after death, or gain good Karma and be reborn in a high caste family, or simply because it supposedly pays to be good—in one form or another—while the opposite way of acting does not. What is considered optimal well-being at the biological level becomes personal happiness in societies in which the process of individualization has been not only operative, but glorified and sanctioned by philosophers and theologists worshipping an equally 'personal' God.

When cooperation and 'being good' are no longer matters of so-called free choice made by the ego, but have instead become an ineradicable part of the nature of an individual, one can say that the transition to the fourth order of functions has begun. When a man can decide not to do an evil act and perhaps some kind of pro and con argument about the matter occurs within his mind, this man is only 'good'. The person who operates fully at the level of functions of the fourth order cannot choose evil; there can be in him no inner pro and con argument, no private discourse about the value of goodness. His essential nature makes it impossible for him to act in any other way. He is no longer 'free' to be either good or bad. He is totally and unquestionably what he is; that is, he is irrevocably self-consecrated to the whole of which he knows himself indubitably to be an operative aspect or quality.

This kind of knowing is intellectually irrefutable because it is an inner fact of existence beyond intellectual as well as moral alternatives. We may call it 'intuition', just as we may call 'compassion' the type of realization through which a person feels so intimately one with all other persons (or even all other living entities), that the 'gift-waves' of an impersonal (or rather, trans-personal) love flows from him or her toward whoever needs such a power of compassionate Christ-love. There are evidently degrees of intensity in the development of this intuition and compassion; their actual operative field may be restricted or vast, yet the principle of self-consecration by an individual to the whole can be active whether the field is relatively narrow— because the person's experience is limited by physical conditions —or planetary in scope. Yet if there really is self-consecration of the individual to the whole, there first of all needs to be an 'individual'—a conscious, self-motivated person who has experienced the dilemmas created by freedom of choice in the past, and now has reached beyond them in the lucidity and inner certainty of transpersonal consciousness and spiritual being.

The word 'consecration' should be clearly understood. When an object is to be used by a priest, or any kind of officiant in a religious or magical ritual, and it is 'con-secrated', it is transferred from the level of the 'profane' to that of the 'sacred'. It is brought ceremonially—thus, with the assent or cooperation of a group of people—into the category or realm of what inherently possesses the character of the sacred.

In his book, The Sacred and the Profane, Mircea Eliade clearly shows that for the archaic mentality, the quality of sacredness belongs to the actions of the gods, as they set in motion the world as a whole, or at least a particular cycle of existence. The time of creation is a special kind of time which, in a sense, does not pass away. It remains always 'now'; and the purpose of sacred ceremonies is to re-attune the community to the quality of that original moment when a god creates.

Extending this concept or this feeling of awe and mystery when confronted by any creative act—creative because it initiates a totally new cycle of existence—we can see how any period of transition from one realm of being (or one level of consciousness) to the next is to be seen as the preparation for a sacred moment at which the new cycle or the new life is born. In the process of individual development, this period or preparation takes the form of 'the Path' that leads to Initiation. The disciple on that Path is being prepared to be a potentially sacred vessel or instrumentality into which a superpersonal power will become focused at the sacred moment of Initiation. In that moment, the disciple becomes 'con-secrated' by the Hierophant, priest, or medicine-man, and accepted as such by the community of those who have already become sacred. He becomes a participant in the field of activity of a larger whole.

This process of consecration can occur at any level; and there are levels upon levels of initiation. Any initiation, in the commonly used sense of the term, implies an initiator. As already stated, in archaic times, a true and major initiation in the occult-planetary sense represented the transfer of the power of an 'office' (an occult planetary function) from the initiator to his disciple, the disciple thereafter replacing the former who had bequeathed to him the power of the office. In more recent times— perhaps since the Buddha or the Christ—it now seems possible for human beings to consciously and deliberately generate the power to actualize in a self-determined and self-induced, yet natural, manner what for long ages had been in humanit only the potentiality of superpersonal and spiritual consciousness and activity. In this sense, it has become possible to consecrate oneself as an individual to a consciously recognized and at least partially understood super-individual kind of existence. I might over-simplify the matter by saying that in the past, it was the member of a guiding Hierarchy of spiritual planetary Beings who selected and tested his potential disciple for a definite 'functional' purpose, while during the last two millennia, it has been possible for any human being to develop as a self-motivated individual to the point at which he or she is impelled by an inner necessity of growth to seek a Teacher or spiritual Guide who may assist in the preparatory steps toward effective self-consecration. And self-consecration—in terms of the psychology of operative wholeness being outlined in this book— essentially implies an inner readiness and indeed a commitment to develop the functions of the fourth order through a process of 'ego-surrender' or rather, ego-metamorphosis.

Inner readiness and commitment, however, only constitute the first phase of a process which quite evidently is not completed until there has been a definite acceptance of the aspirant as a full-fledged member of the Spiritual Community of Humanity. Such a community should be understood as the perfect collective product of mankind's evolution. It represents the omega condition of the development of human consciousness and human society operative at a level of supremely conscious and differentiated unanimity (or 'multi-unity'). At this transphysical level, interpenetration has taken the place of separation, and the individual is so totally the servant of the whole that he has lost all sense of egocentricity.

The principle of individual selfhood implies that of centrality, and centrality in turn implies a circumference. The French philosopher Pascal (perhaps unconsciously repeating what had been said before him in the East) defined God as the circle whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere. This refers to what I have called the Pleroma state in which every unit-center is the whole, and the whole operates totally in every center. It is the state of perfect plenitude of being. We can think of such a state in an all-encompassing 'pancosmic' sense and call it God, but we should also realize that it can be understood to exist in a relative sense as the end-culmination of any large cycle of existence, especially at a planetary—and therefore all-human—level. It is all-human because, I repeat, Man is the conscious mind of the planet, Earth. As we know him today, Man is mind conscious of being conscious, because centralized in the experience of 'I am'. But Man is still in the making. Having reached the level of functions of the third order (which by blending with those of the first and second orders has deeply transformed them, mankind is now reaching a symbolical 'change of life' through which it becomes possible to develop, in a collective and publicly accepted manner, functions of the fourth order.

But this is only a possibility. It might not be actualized at this time, for an enormous majority of human beings today seem still unready and, indeed, incapable of consciously and effectively taking the great step of self-consecration to the whole of humanity. However, the present-day crisis offers an unparalleled opportunity for a 'creative minority' to rise from the disintegrating or inchoate masses and take their stand. Today, it is a private concern—or at best, a group decision, provided the group is a group of truly individualized, self-determined and responsible individuals, and not merely an aggregation of more or less fashion-influenced or emotionally distraught and egocentric personalities. But, who can tell what tomorrow might bring, particularly if we should have to face a planetary catharsis directly affecting every human being in body, mind and soul?

The important thing at this critical point in the evolution of mankind and of each of the millennial cultures that control the masses of men, women, and children, is for philosophers and psychologists—and last, but not least, religious and political leaders jealously entrenched in age-old privileges—to become aware of new possibilities. The important thing is to be open to the acceptance of the supernormal, even if mixed with the abnormal. Such an openness should certainly retain its ability to discriminate, but it has to forego the desire or habit—characteristic in our Western culture—to fragment, atomize and analyze away what can only be understood as the structured development of an organic whole.

I have already spoken of the holistic mind, the mind able to see and encompass any situation or living organism as a whole of interdependent functional activities, and (as I defined the term) as a 'cosmos'—whether it be a microcosm or macrocosm, an atom, a human person, a solar system, or a galaxy. To so 'cosmify' existence in all its aspects, even the most menial, is to make use of the 'cosmogenic' function. It is also to sacralize all existential activities, and to transform the performance of all our functions in everyday social living into sacraments.

The sacralization of existence, if properly understood, takes a new character at the level of functions of the fourth order, because it is no longer—or at least not exclusively—referred to a divine Creation considered as the one sacred Act of God or gods; it is seen as the essential prerogative of mankind acting collectively and unanimously toward the full planetary actualization of the precosmic potential that the original divine Creation actualized only in germ. It is this 'germinal' Act that the creative gods performed. But prior to this germ and the rootlet that gave power to this rising tender germ was the seed. The seed is pure potentiality. The germ, from which roots and stem develop, is the beginning of the process of actualization of the seed-potentiality of existence.

In the Theosophical symbolism formulated for the nineteenth century mentality by H. P. Blavatsky in The Secret Doctrine, mention is made of a Root-Manu and a Seed-Manu. The concept of the Manu has been popularized and personified both in the Hindu tradition and the works of latter-day Theosophists; but H. P. Blavatsky makes it clear that Manu is meant to be, in one sense, the Archetypal Pattern (or divine Form) of an entire cycle of human development (to which the today emotionally confusing term 'Race' is given), and in another sense, the collectivity of the spiritual entities that will ensoul and incarnate into the human bodies operating during that cycle.

In terms of the functions of first and second orders (biology and culture), 'the sacred' occurred in the past—even though this past may, in a deeper spiritual sense, always be present and 'ever-young' during a large cycle of existence. In contrast (for the consciousness inherent in functions of the fourth order), 'the sacred' is a process leading to a future in-the-making; and this future is Man-the-Seed, the global Community of Perfected Men and Women. It is this in-the-making which is the sacred performance. The process itself—the whole of existence—is thus felt and visualized as a multifarious sacrament. The spiritual life is a life of consecrated selfhood realized in the sacramental performance of every activity—human, subhuman or transhuman. For the individual person, the goal of such an existence is—through the ever-repeated act of self-consecration to the Whole—the full development of the cosmogenic function, with its twin foundations of intuition (holistic mind) and compassion (Christic love). For any human collectivity and for mankind as a whole (once organized and having planetary consciousness), the one sacred goal is the development of the Pleroma of Perfected Human Beings—the omega state of planetary fulfillment, the "Seed Manu".

This is the ultimate goal of the planetary cycle of Humanity. It may, indeed, seem incredibly remote and its actualization nearly impossible. But this future is now being made. It is being made in every victory over the inertia of bodily automatism, of socio-cultural institutions and bureaucratic organizations, and of self-complacent and too often ambitious, greedy, and violence-prone egos; for we must not forget that the functions of the fourth order develop on the basis of functions of the first, second and third orders—that is, on the basis of biology, culture, and individuality.

Today all orders of function operate—or at least can operate— at once. They are all interdependent; each affects all, at least to some extent. The future seed is already implied in the tender vernal germ, even though the old seed yet remains, partially feeding the new growth. The leaves long for the flower; and the core of the flower is haloed by the latent image of the seed maturing within the growing protection of the fruit. The whole process of existence is sacred, once the holistic mind is able to perceive it as a beautiful performance. Beauty resides only in the whole. There is no integrity, no harmony, no peace except in the whole. To that wholeness, may all individuals consecrate themselves in the heroic performance of their own function, at their own place—their unique and sacred dharma.

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