The Search for Spiritual Security:
The One, the Whole, and Wholeness - 5
The question raised by the concept of a hierarchical series of wholes is:
Can one conceive of an end to the series? Is there a greatest
whole of which there would be no greater? This is an intellectual and abstract problem because living experience
presents to human consciousness, only levels
of wholeness — spheres and cycles of being which are either to some degree higher (more inclusive) or lower (less inclusive) than the ones in which human beings function. The degree of magnitude or inclusiveness changes as the human capacity for perceiving and experiencing reality increases. Significantly, the size of a human body stands about midway between the largest and smallest wholes human beings can perceive (metagalaxies and subatomic particles). As these perceptions increase in the direction of the greater almost simultaneously they extend in the same degree in the direction of the smaller. Only the intellectual mind ever has to deal with the abstract possibility of "greatest" or "smallest," neither of which has a realistic meaning.
Reality is where one stands. Inevitably it is finite because human experience is finite. A super
human being no doubt would live in a more inclusive reality; but when human beings experience any organized system of activity and consciousness — that is, any whole of being — the nature and scope of the experienced whole inevitably reflects the particular character and limitations of the human
state. All wholes project their limitations upon their experience and understanding of the greater whole of which they are component parts. Thus the human capacity for perceiving and experiencing other wholes is not only limited but essentially affected by the difference of level
between the experiencer and the experienced. Both knowledge and truth are conditioned by the character of the knower and relative to his or her position at the moment.
Metaphysicians and mystics speak of knowledge through "identification" of the knower with the known. Instead of identity, they should speak of resonance. The resonator vibrating when a particular tone sounds does not "know" the nature and principle of organization of the emitter of the tone to which it resonates. Sympathetic resonance deals with activity
(rhythmic motion), not with consciousness. The consciousness of the resonating whole remains its own when it is set into vibration. If the resonating whole is a human mind, it can make only intellectual deductions concerning the nature of what it resonates to.
Wholeness in any whole can resonate to the wholeness in any other whole. But the form
(the mental consciousness) this resonance assumes in the resonator's min is essentially a projection of what is already inherent in that mind — which is always a finite mind, since all wholes are finite if they are to be called wholes. But Wholeness is undefinable. It is "transfinite" in the sense that it can only "be" through wholes — any and all kinds of wholes operating at any and all levels of wholeness. Thus in the philosophy this book presents, there is no room for absolute truth or for the absolute value of knowledge. Knowledge has value only to the extent that it meets the need
of the person or society to which it is given and by which it can be assimilated, at least gradually.(7
These problems refer to epistemology; while they cannot be discussed extensively here, neither can they be ignored. They will be discussed again at the close of this book, after Parts Two and Three provide a frame of reference to which the traditional philosophical mentality of the Euro-American intelligentsia is not accustomed — a frame of reference founded upon the dynamic aspect of Wholeness, which I call the "cycle of being." After that, these problems should be seen in a new light.
For a discussion of two basic types of knowledge and the relativity of truth, see my book The Planetarization of Consciousness
(Aurora Books, New York, 1970), Part Three, Chapter 8. Much that is relevant to these issues also is implied if not directly stated in my book Culture, Crisis and Creativity
(Quest Books, The Theosophical Publishing House, Wheaton, Illinois, 1977). Return
By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1983 by Dane Rudhyar
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