The Inevitability of Success and Failure - 2
The two basic causes of failure
The deepest roots of failure are formed at the two great turning points of the Movement of Wholeness — the symbolic Midnight (when the principle of Unity reaches its climax) and the Noon-hour (when the principle of Multiplicity is nearly all-powerful). At these two points, a reversal of the dynamic character and the duality of the motion must occur. The ever-changing relationship between the principles of Unity and Multiplicity had become either interiorized or exteriorized in and through forms. These forms have by then acquired inertia, and inertia inevitably presents an obstacle to the necessary repolarization and redirection of the motion. Whatever expresses or identifies itself with this inertia generates the seeds of failure.
At the level of ethical judgment, failure manifests as the direct or indirect source of "evil." But evil and failure are fundamentally the result of not taking the new evolutionary step. The original sins are actually "sins of omission." What is not done when the dharma demands that it should be done inevitably leads, sooner or later, to inherently destructive acts, to "sins of commission." Individuals (or collectivities of individuals) who do not go ahead with the Movement of Wholeness fall behind, to some extent blocking the path for those who come after them; they may even induce a contagious movement of retreat.
Because two great moments of repolarization occur in the Movement, two kinds of resistance are possible: resistance belonging to the Night hemicycle of subjective being and resistance belonging to the Day hemicycle human consciousness interprets as the objective, existential world. Metaphysicians and occultists thus have alluded to two basic kinds of failure and evil; "cosmic evil" and "existential evil."
Cosmic evil is rooted in the subjective resistance of centers of consciousness who refuse, as it were, to accept the crucial change at the symbolic Midnight, when the trend toward what seems to be the possibility of absolute oneness must be reversed by the outflow of Compassion calling for a new world dominated by the principle of Multiplicity. The "resisters" are so powerfully drawn toward what seems to them the goal of absolute oneness that they refuse to identify themselves with the Compassion of the Godhead state. In Mahayana Buddhism these resisters are called Pratyeka Buddhas, Buddhas of spiritual selfishness. The one-pointed, utterly concentrated will of these beings — the will to reach Nirvana (the state of oneness) — makes it impossible for them to "remember" the failures of the world in which they were able to reach a limited kind of Illumination — perhaps even in some cases using human beings who had a tendency to fail as means to reach their own spiritual goal.
Compassion in the Godhead state demands that all the failures, partial or total, of the half-cycle that began with the advent of Natural Man be collectively remembered. Condensed into an all-inclusive "memory," all the negative reactions to evolutionary charge that had occurred during the human period of the cycle have to be faced. Out of this confrontation total Compassion emerges. This gives rise to the subjective, supramental Idea of a new universe in which all that partially or totally failed in the old universe is to be given a "second chance" to reach perfect Illumination and the Pleroma condition of unanimous consciousness. Yet even as the Godhead state is reached and the direction of the Movement of Wholeness is reversed by a new rise of the principle of Multiplicity, some components of the Whole are so entranced by the ideal of absolute oneness that they do not allow Compassion to move them. They resist change in the direction of the new motion.
Thus are the seeds of "cosmic evil" planted. They affect the very foundations of the future universe, because they influence the divine Mind's formulation of the many archetypes that give form to the creative Word, the Logos. Many mythological narratives speak of "wars in Heaven." These symbolize various phases of the subjective process of formulation of archetypes during the period preceding the symbolic Dawn, before the Creation of the objective world. Because of "cosmic evil," the potentiality of failure is inherent in the Creation. It is actualized as human failure and human evil throughout the period of human evolution that follows Noon. It inheres in human nature as a mainly unconscious and compulsive subjective factor.
Existential evil, on the other hand, results from the objective resistance of biologically controlled human organisms and (later on) of individualized, self-conscious persons against whatever is inspired by and a release for the energy of the increasingly powerful drive toward Unity. The resistance is objective because it is rooted in the inertia of stable structures, be they biological, psychological, or sociocultural. The spiritual origin of existential evil can be traced to a negative reaction to the descent of the power of the Godhead and the concrete actualization of the archetype Man at and after the symbolic Noon, the turning point and "bottom" of the cycle. Man's refusal to accept the reversal and repolarization of the Movement of Wholeness is the refusal to become attuned to the energy of love and union. Similarly, esoteric traditions speak of the refusal of spiritual entities who had attained a relatively high state of consciousness (but not the Pleroma state) to incarnate in the animal-like bodies of beings which are protohuman until these spiritual entities incarnate in them.
As every Avatar represents a particular aspect of the archetype Man and is thus an Exemplar to which a particular race or culture (or even mankind as a whole) should become attuned, the resistance of a whole culture and of individual persons to the new essential Quality released by the Avatar is a source of existential evil. This resistance usually is focused by the inertial behavior of a particular social class of people, and it calls forth compensatory and usually violent revolutions. The situation is complex because the process of individualization is ambiguous. This process is a particularly tense and difficult stage of the relation between Unity and Multiplicity. At this stage of human evolution, serious problems are presented by the necessity to pass from cultures based on biological drives or the exclusivism of a religious and socio-political tradition believed to be superior to any other to a state of global civilization including all human beings and operating at the level of all-inclusiveness. This new level requires the integrated activity and (in a transcendent sense) the psychospiritual unification of truly autonomous, self- reliant individuals; but the development of such mature individuals at first involves the development of a separative ego-consciousness in which the principle of Multiplicity, which is waning yet still powerful, wages a relentless battle for supremacy with the waxing power of Unity. Any individual in whom the battle is lost finds himself or herself sliding into a dark abyss where great pride, anger, and lust gradually disconnect his or her struggling center of consciousness and will from the rest of the tide of all-human evolution and unification. The eventual end is the utter repudiation of the power of love and of any divine manifestation, and after ages of preying upon weak psyches in an attempt to regain ever-waning energies, a state of nearly absolute isolation.
This end — the end of what is traditionally called the "black" path because it is rooted in a negative response to the "light" of the Godhead — constitutes a state of total failure of human evolution. Yet it, too, represents a state of nearly absolute unity — the unity of a center without a circle, thus without substance and consciousness. Such a state is the opposite of the all-inclusive oneness of the Godhead state, which is an utterly condensed condition of nearly total unification of all the substance, power, and consciousness of a vast universal cycle of being. The state of nearly absolute darkness is one of nearly absolute indifference, because where there is no longer energy and substance, even hatred or conscious denial can no longer exist. It is the state of nearly absolute materiality, the ultimate of decay. Yet it is only nearly absolute, just as the Godhead is only a nearly absolute condition of all-encompassing oneness of being; for any absolute, by definition, denies the possibility of any relative state ever existing.
Even in the deepest darkness of "pure" matter and seemingly total indifference to being, an immensely dim longing for substantial existence must be and is present. Without it, there could be no reaction to the release of creative power at the symbolic Sunrise of a new cycle. This creative release has, however, repeatedly to "churn" the almost totally indifferent matter of the space it encompasses, because this matter initially almost totally resists the rhythmic movement of the creative energy of the divine Builders of the nascent cosmos. This need for constantly repetitive, rhythmic activity is reflected in the magic rituals of primitive societies; it also is apparent in the methods of modern commercial and political advertising and even in today's "meditation" or "minimal" music.
By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1983 by Dane Rudhyar
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