Beyond Individualism

The Psychology of Transformation

by Dane Rudhyar


PROLOGUE:
SYNTHESIZING MANKIND'S SITUATION

1. A Holistic Approach
to the Human Situation

In our age of compartmentalized knowledge and unrelated disciplines of thought, it is difficult for most minds to approach the human situation as a whole. This human situation is essentially twofold. A human being has to be considered both as an individual person and as a member of a collectivity.

Considered strictly as a biological and physical entity, a man not only belongs to the human species—a collectivity of organisms living in the Earth's biosphere—he also has many characteristics which differentiate him from any other human being. From a psychological and spiritual point of view, this man is a 'person' displaying a relatively autonomous character—a singular and self-defining way of acting and reacting, of feeling, thinking and making choices—and, to the extent that he does so, he (or she) can be said to be truly an 'individual'. Yet, however accentuated these differentiating traits may be, any individual is intimately related to the community within which he was born or is more or less permanently living. This state of relatedness does not refer merely to physical, organic and social activities; it has very deep and lasting, and in most cases ineradicable, features.

The life and personality of a human being can only be fully understood, and their characteristics defined, when considered not only from the point of view of individual selfhood, but also from that of collective being. A human being can and does operate in two ways. In some instances, he or she feels, thinks, and behaves as an individual; in others, as a member of a collectivity. He exists in two constantly interacting conditions. These can be separated only in intellectual analyses; in actual living they are not only inseparable, but interdependent. Like the Yin and the Yang of Chinese philosophy, these two conditions of human existence are polar opposites, yet they complement one another. If at any time and in a particular situation, one of the two is very strong, the other has to be weak. Yet even if one appears to dominate the field of consciousness and exclusively to dictate behavior, the other still operates in what the depth-psychologist calls the unconscious, ready to surge again into objective manifestation.

This dualism apparently is a fundamental feature of all modes of existence. The modern physicist discovers it at work in dealing with light. Paradoxically, light behaves in some situations as if made of "particles", in others, it propagates itself in the form of a "wave". If a human being is considered an individual self— or at a more metaphysical level, a "monad"—the particle-aspect of his existence is emphasized at the expense of the wave-aspect—that is, of his collective being. If for a time in a mob situation, a person feels, acts or thinks under the sway of mass emotions, what happens is that the collective aspect (or polarity) of his nature has forced the power of his individual selfhood to vanish; but, when the person has returned home, this power may once more emerge into the field of consciousness, and what was done as part of a mob is repudiated and perhaps even considered an episode of temporary insanity.

Modern psychologists are well aware of this existential dualism, and of the conscious and unconscious aspects of the human personality. Some psychologists approach the situation mainly from the point of view of individual selfhood; they deal with the problems arising from the fact that the individual self—and in most cases they mean the ego—tends often to be overwhelmed by the power of collective images and impulses. Some of these urges and impulses result from the release of biological stimulants such as hormones; others take a social and cultural character. When Carl Jung spoke of the collective unconscious, he should have differentiated between the generic unconscious based on biological energies, and the socio-cultural unconscious which refers to the innate dependence of an individual upon the great images and symbols of the culture, the family and religious tradition which molded the development of his mind when a child and adolescent. On the other hand, there are psychologists who emphasize the social factors in the consciousness of the human being and who tend to see a person as mainly the product of his environment and his culture.

The type of psychology which is mostly preoccupied with the development of the individual naturally considers the collective polarity in man as something to emerge from, thus as a psychic womb or a social matrix. The psychologist following such an approach in his therapy or counseling tends to give a negative meaning to the term "collective." He primarily associates it with unconsciousness and, even worse, with automatism and the identification of the consciousness with a traditional rigidly determining thinking, feeling and behavior. His task is to assist his client, confronted with the nearly inevitable crises met at various stages of "the process of individuation", to overcome the pull of his collective being. When experiencing these crises, the individual—or should we not rather say, the would-be individual— may feel so distraught, or at least so confused, that he tends to slide back and "return to the womb"—whether it be the psychically enfolding presence of his mother (or a substitute mother) or the collective matrix of cultural-social normality. How to deal with such a situation, or its indirect consequences, is the function of "individual psychology", which primarily means psychotherapy.

Can we, however, thoroughly and most meaningfully deal with this type of situation, so frequent in our period of human evolution, if we do not realize that what the human person on the path of psychological individualization experiences represents (or mirrors) in his brief personal life what humanity as a whole for many centuries has been experiencing, is still now experiencing, and undoubtedly will experience for millennia to come? The individual's crises, his helplessness when strong biological urges seize his consciousness, his frequent relapses into subservience to the unquestioned collective paradigms of his culture, his inability to stand as an individual in a mass-situation and his refusal to bow to the dictates of "fashion" in whatever field of activity it may be, all these reflect the crises, the periodic collapses and disintegration mankind has been experiencing during the few millennia of recorded history. The character of the collective factor operating in any human being is conditioned by that of the state of evolution of mankind at the time this person lives. This collective factor is in evidence in the primordial condition of living of human beings. Mankind is prior to individual men and women. Individuals emerge out of collective states of being —an often forgotten fact.

Human evolution is a tide that breaks into billions of small wavelets, cresting and troughing. Each wavelet is potentially an individual person. The condition of the shore on which the tide breaks, plus the influence of the wind and of deep oceanic currents, produce an immense variety of human situations, each of which may emerge as an autonomous person with a strongly individualized and unique consciousness of self and individual purpose. As these individualizing wavelets crest, we observe a human being beginning to think, feel, act and respond to life's challenges as an individual.

This symbolical analogy must evidently not be taken too literally; yet it can be revealing if we add that as the planetary tide of human evolution breaks upon the shore, the individualizing wavelet ceases to operate according to its wave nature. It acts as a "particle"—that is as a relatively independent entity —a living organism. As an animal this organism enters a new field of existential activity. In this field it would soon be destroyed by other entities or forces of nature, if it did not unite with other individuals in order to more securely and effectively meet the challenges of a new and totally unfamiliar life-situation. Uniting with other individuals means forming a group; and at that level of mankind, a collective consciousness emerges within the group, resulting from communal behavior, memories and expectations. As this happens, the collective factor in human nature finds itself re-energized; but it now operates within a socio-cultural frame of reference. This transformation occurs in the animal kingdom, but it reaches a most extensive stage at the human level of planetary evolution. It also becomes the foundation upon which a further evolutionary state of existence develops. The socio-cultural collectivity that almost totally controls the consciousness and the activities of human persons at the tribal and even post-tribal stage becomes the matrix out of which conscious and relatively autonomous individuals emerge. The individual polarity of human nature thus reasserts itself powerfully, and often destructively. Individualized men and women develop an acute feeling of separateness, and even alienation and isolation, which generates the many tensions, problems and traumas with which psychologists have to deal.

However individualized and separate modern men and women may be, the basic, yet almost totally forgotten fact is that their physical organisms, from which all forms of activities and all types of consciousness are primordially derived, are constituted mainly by sea water. It is the same kind of sea water, however different the races, cultures and personalities. The original oceanic state remains the foundation of life in every living organism, be it the body of the greatest genius, saint or 'perfect Master'. It is the primordial stuff out of which the generic unconscious develops. One might call it the foundation of the planetary life serving as a substratum for the process of generic differentiation of Earth-life into a multitude of animal species, with homo sapiens as the present apex of the differentiating biological evolution.

At the oceanic sea-water stage, the One Life of the planet seems to be the only reality; but it moves to and fro in tidal activity. At the stage of animal existence, while there are many physically separate organisms, the individual specimens are only very slight variations on the one theme of the species. The generic collective factor almost totally dominates; yet the individual factor can already be seen on the rise. In primitive tribal mankind, a new element begins to operate the moment man gives a symbolic form to group-togetherness. Tribesmen not only actively cooperate in order to satisfy biological needs, they communicate in order to cooperate more effectively. They develop the ability to refer their experiences to a center and thus to give them a conscious meaning and purpose. At first this center is felt to exist outside of the physical organism. The whole tribe has a center and this center is deified, sacrificed to, and worshipped. The ability to survive, better cope with, and enjoy the experiences of human existence inherent in collective living is given an individual character. The tribe thus becomes a collective person. As tribes expand and interrelate, the ever-increasing complexity of interpersonal and intercommunal relationships calls for a centralized form of organization. It takes the form of a kingdom ruled from a large city where an all-powerful king is enthroned. This king becomes thus the embodied manifestation —or collective psychological 'projection'—of the principle of unity at the socio-cultural level of human activity and consciousness. He is at first worshipped as a god; later on, he is said to rule by divine right. Institutionalized religion sanctions his power, forcing the people to accept transcendental but rigid patterns of collective thinking and feeling.

The king, who at first was the wholesome embodiment of the ability to deal with neighboring tribes or nations and the holistic symbol of the centralized power of a national community, turns into a tyrannical force operating arbitrarily and arrogantly, and uses a formalistic and tentacular bureaucracy to bolster his control. A time comes when the power of the individual polarity in human nature must reassert itself in the rebellion of a few visionary and creative persons. Eventually the realization that every human being potentially has his own center, not only in terms of organic bio-social activity, but in terms of a vivid, deep, incontrovertible realization of individual selfhood and spiritual autonomy, leads to the Hindu ideal of spiritual 'liberation' and the Western concept of democracy and political freedom. Because spiritual liberation is not easily reached at our stage of human evolution, political liberty is sought as a material substitute.

Whether a human being strives first and foremost for spiritual liberation or for the political freedom associated with a type of society extolling—as a basic principle—the right to be and act as an individual, personal problems are bound to arise at the psychological level. India has her madmen whose psychic integrity collapsed during the crises of transformation on the path to liberation. The Western world, and particularly our American nation, contains an ever-increasing number of acute neurotics and psychotics in whom the tensions generated by the dialectic process of individualization out of the collective socio-cultural womb turned destructive of personal integration.

The approach a particular culture takes in dealing with psychological crises and the disintegrative consequences of the at least partial inability to meet them constructively and/or trans-formatively is always based on a set of implicit assumptions concerning man and his development. Hindu psychology is very often descriptive, listing a great number of emotions or psychic attitudes and their opposites; yet its seemingly empirical and experiential approach is firmly rooted in metaphysical concepts and assumptions on which the whole Hindu culture with its various branches is based. Euro-American psychology, which for a long time was the handmaid of theology and the servant of a religio-social type of morality intertwined with intellectual rationalism, has now accepted wholesale the empiricism and statistical methods of modern science.

The Western approach depends on the objective observation and study of an at least relatively vast number of particular cases, and on statistical generalizations derived from the raw data produced by research and experiments. Out of the correlation, classification and evaluation of 'significant' data, the psychologist hopes to see structural patterns emerging. These patterns guide him in assessing the character of psychological events, providing effective solutions to emotional problems, and dissolving complexes whose gyroscopic rigidity block the flow of 'psychic energy' (libido). Each school of psychology generates a more or less specific type of psychotherapy, analytical or integrative, meditational or actional, rationalistic or experiential.

No attempt will be made in this book to produce a new model for psychotherapy. The field is already saturated, and Dr. Assagioli's 'Psychosynthesis' presents the theoretical possibility of including any and all systems of therapy. What I am trying to do in this volume is to eludicate the nature of the human situation which forms the background of all psychological enquiries and analyses. It is to present a structural rather than empirical type of psychology, in which the collective planet-wide development of mankind as a whole provides an intensely significant, and indeed compelling background for the tension-generating and crisis-stimulating process of individualization out of various types of social 'wombs', and—in the Jungian sense—of personality-integration and individuation.

Such a type of structural psychology unavoidably rests upon a metaphysical foundation, but actually, every kind of psychology implies a more or less clearly formulated philosophy, a particular Weltanschauung (world view). The psychologist usually does not question the validity of that philosophy, because it is sanctioned by the socio-cultural Establishment or by an age-old tradition. For instance, the empiricism which characterizes the scientific mentality of the Western world is based on a set of assumptions regarding knowledge and the validity of data and their statistical treatment. These assumptions can be considered 'true' in the limited field defined by a human's present sense-perceptions and the nature of the rationalistic processes characterizing the intellect (as we now understand this term); but, they certainly cannot be called absolutely true. They need not be considered valid for a consciousness that would operate in space-time conditions radically different from those found in the Earth's biosphere. The most progressive 'philosophers of science' of our day are aware of this,(1) but the mentality of the majority of scientists, school teachers, and psychologists has not yet been deeply affected by the new realities of atomic and nuclear physics.

The metaphysical concepts underlying a structural psychology such as this book presents can be very simply expressed because they are derived from a generalization of the most basic human experience, the experience of change. What is assumed is that change, and therefore some kind of motion, are unceasing and present everywhere. Moreover, when we speak of 'existence' we refer to processes of change occurring within finite 'fields' during equally finite time-spans. We also know that energy is released discontinuously in quanta (packages of energy). As it is released, it produces its own field. Within that field, definite types of activity take place. We speak of activity when motion (i.e., dynamic energy) and the changes it produces occur within a field or in the relationship between two or more fields.

Activity so understood does not necessarily imply an 'actor'. The concept of actor arises in our mind only when we realize that a particular kind of field of activity has a center which to some extent controls or guides, and in some manner is aware of the resulting changes. The degree of control and the quality of the awareness vary enormously. Yet the belief that some type of consciousness, however rudimentary and imprecise, exists in every centralized field of activity is gradually being accepted by the vanguard of Western thinkers. It has pervaded most ancient philosophies and the instinctual approach to existence of all archaic people. Consciousness and field-activity are inseparable.

A finite field of activity constitutes a whole. As Jan Smuts pointed out in his most important and seminal work, Holism and Evolution (London: Macmillan, 1926), our universe is a universe of wholes. Human experience deals with wholes and with the results of the interaction of wholes or of the disintegration of larger wholes into smaller ones. Moreover, we witnesse a hierarchy of wholes everywhere—any whole having parts which themselves are wholes having parts. Smuts considered evolution a drive toward more inclusive wholeness—calling such a drive, holism.(2) Unfortunately, the limiting field of his Western tradition and mentality made it seemingly impossible for him to envision a more inclusive whole than what he called "personality", and possibly a more primary whole than the atom. Neither did he seem to have as clear a concept of the inseparability of the state of existential wholeness and of consciousness as for instance his contemporary, Teilhard de Chardin.

In the philosophy I have presented, the principle of wholeness directly and inevitably manifests as consciousness.(3) Wherever there are finite fields of activity, there is consciousness. The atom is conscious, and so is the cosmos because the cosmos is a finite field of activity, a whole. Somewhere in between these two field-magnitudes—perhaps exactly at the mid-point—stands the human being, who is also finite and conscious. Only infinity —if we can really conceive of such a condition—would be unconscious.

Indian philosophy, particularly as reformulated by Sri Aurobindo, speaks of the two aspects of Brahman—manifest and unmanifest.(4) In his manifested aspect, Brahman is the Unity-aspect of the cosmos, Ishvara. In our Christian Western tradition, this original and originating One is called God—the Creator or the Logos who manifests in the world as a divine Trinity. The great Christian mystic, Meister Eckart, nevertheless introduced the utterly transcendent concept of "the Godhead" that corresponds to the unmanifested Brahman, also spoken of as Tat, and in China, Tao. All these terms refer to what must be considered ineffable, infinite, timeless, spaceless, changeless, and, we must add, 'unconscious'. Yet by so doing, we are merely accumulating meaningless negatives—various ways of denying the character of existential reality to that which is both being and non-being and transcends all dualities, including the contrast between unity and multiplicity, or spirit and matter. It seems that the most meaningful concept we can make is that of absolute or infinite potentiality. We can also figuratively speak of an 'Ocean of potential energy'; but energy simply means the potentiality of activity.

The most realistic idea we can have of the manifested aspect of Brahman is that of 'existences'. Existence includes activity and form (the principle of rhythm in time and finiteness in space). Activity within the structural limitation of form resonates as consciousness. This trinity of principles may be said to correspond to the Hindu trinity of Sat-Chit-Ananda. While this is usually translated as Being-Consciousness-Bliss, a more basic translation may be: Sat, activity; Chit, the principle of form, which implies relatedness; Ananda, consciousness, which when fulfilled and all-inclusive (i.e., holistic) produces a state of 'illumination' or 'bliss'.

A whole having a relatively permanent and existential character is structured; the term, structure, meaning here an internal arrangement and organization of parts. In any natural whole— any 'existent'—the relationship between these parts is dynamic and constantly changing. Within the existential whole—a finite field of potential as well as kinetic energy—activity differentiates into functions. Functions are categories of activity referred to the whole and serving its purpose—its dharma or 'fundamental nature'. All functions within the activity field are interrelated and interdependent. Moreover, there are several levels of functioning. Four such levels can be distinguished; some functions link one level to the next. We shall call them 'functions of transition' or 'seed functions'.

At the biological level of organization, where human beings operate as physical bodies, activity in its unitary aspect is called 'life' or the life-force—known as prana in India, chi in China, and by different names in different cultures at different epochs. The living organism in animals and human beings maintains itself and transforms and reproduces itself through the operation of some basic functions: nerve-communication, blood circulation, respiration, digestion, sense-perception, muscular response, memory, sex, and perhaps a power of transformation or mutation linked with sex—possibly the Hindu Kundalini.

Human beings do not act merely at the biological level; they also operate as social beings belonging to fields of activity within which a large number of human bodies are interrelated within a limited geographical space. These fields are called 'societies'; they are structured along quite definite lines by institutionalized processes and laws. These societies are therefore 'wholes' of a particular type. They use energy; they display collective rhythms, and they have a more or less definite span of existence.

At a certain stage of human evolution men or women, reacting in different ways to the pressures exerted by the social organism in which they perform (or fail to perform) various roles, develop a set of feeling-responses and a type of consciousness which bring them to a new state of relationship with their society and its tradition. They feel separate, isolated from the social community. They aspire to become, and strive to operate as independent persons—self-reliant and self-motivated. They try to actualize their own individual potentialities of action and consciousness in terms of an ideal of integral fulfillment and perfection.

This does not mean that these individuals (or would-be individuals) cease to operate at the biological level of activity; they obviously remain conditioned by their body-functions, their life-instincts, and some basic biopsychic drives. Neither do they necessarily break their contact with their social community, though some may do so in a more or less overt and radical manner; for instance, there is the Hindu yogi who leaves family and village to meditate for long years in a Himalayan cave. But the relationship of these autonomy-seekers to both their biopsychic organism and their social collectivity takes on a profoundly different character. In them the individual pole of human nature stands in conscious and determined polar opposition to the generic-collective polarity; and opposition not only produces conflicts, it also induces a state of spiritual isolation and, perhaps, a tragic sense of alienation. The conflict-situation breeds aggressiveness and, in many cases, violence. If outwardly and inwardly unsuccessful their drive toward a radical and absolute kind of individualism often leads to acute depression and various modes of escape, from drug addition to psychosis.

Whether successful or unsuccessful, the individualizing process has a particularly dynamic character. It forces a constant, or at least a periodic, facing of issues because however much a person may emphasize the individual pole of human nature, he or she remains, in an almost inescapable way, 'biologically human'. "Man's common humanity" (I used this phrase in my small book, The Faith that Gives Meaning to Victory; New York, 1942), is the root-foundation of 'personality'—the human flower. The state of society refers to the plant's green leaves.

Beyond roots, leaves, and flowers, and constituting the alpha and omega of the plant's cycle of existence, we find the seed. With this symbolical seed we reach a fourth level or 'order' of functions. At this level, transcendental processes of activity and consciousness operate. In our Western civilization, we still know very little concerning the nature of these processes, but in Hindu philosophy and yoga or what generally may be called the 'esoteric Tradition', this fourth level of activity is dealt with extensively. In a sense, it is a human level but it could be more significantly called trans-human. It is also trans-personal. For it to achieve human manifestation, the prior development of a culture and its "Prime Symbols" (Spengler) as a psychomental foundation is required. It is also transpersonal because the functions of the fourth order operate through the personality and across its psychic boundaries. They relate in individual persons in terms of a fourth dimension whose keynote is INTERPENETRATION.

A holistic structural psychology has to deal with all the four levels of activity at which human beings can, but usually do not, operate. It has to understand the character of the most basic functions in which, at each level, human activity is differentiated, as human beings proceed in their long multimillennial evolution on this planet, Earth, in which mankind operates as a functional system of activity. It has to recognize the critical nature of certain functions which, though belonging originally to one level, serve as agencies to induce or catalyze the development of the next higher level. For example, we shall see that, though at first the manifestation of a purely biological need, sexual activity serves as a starting point for the development of social processes and culture. A certain kind of mental activity likewise makes possible a shift from the second order of functions (social level) to the third order (personal-individual level).

In the next two chapters, the four orders of function and the functions of transition will be discussed. In so doing, I shall concern myself almost solely with the operation of some of the most basic among these functions in the lives of human beings considered as single persons. Thus I shall approach the human situation from the point of view of the individual polarity of human existence. This is the approach we generally associate with psychology—particularly 'individual psychology' and 'humanistic psychology', or, I might say, person-centered psychology.

Psychotherapy is more or less inevitably based on such an approach, because it deals with the problems and mental illnesses of individuals. Yet no individual is ill in a vacuum. All individual disturbances occur in the context of the evolution of humanity as a whole. Socio-cultural conflicts and pressures—including those experienced within a modern type of 'nuclear' (or atomistic) family—form the background of any personal disturbance, whether its symptoms are psychological or biological; and they are usually both. It is, therefore, imperative for the psychologist to become clearly aware of the stage in its evolution at which mankind as a whole stands today. Yet, few psychologists have a clear understanding of history. This is not entirely their fault because, throughout their education from elementary grades through college, history has been presented to them in a piecemeal, fragmented, events-oriented, un-holistic manner. Interesting as the collected data may be, they do not provide a deeply human understanding of the overall evolutionary meaning of the present world-crisis affecting all human beings and even all kingdoms of nature. Sensitive people are ill, and disturbed persons become psychotic, in relation to this world-crisis.

One can endlessly argue whether the individual or society comes first. At the level of physical manifestation, an individual person is born within, and emerges out of, a society whose collective values mold his or her behavior and consciousness. Society comes first—not the individual. The individual can be said to be prior to society (the collective factor) only if we assume the pre-existence of a soul (or monad) in a transcendent realm of being. But it is questionable whether the concept of essentially separate monads or spiritual Soul-centers is absolutely valid, regardless of what Leibnitz and the philosophers of the personalistic school assert, and what a popular approach to spirituality and occultism usually makes us believe. Nevertheless it is relatively valid and, therefore, have been emphasized even by 'spiritual Teachers', because humanity is at the stage at which the main need of mankind has been to complete and make more thorough and radical the process of individualization—the emergence of individuals out of the womb of physical nature, the collective Earth-mother.

Unfortunately, the evolutionary drive toward individualization has led in many places, especially in the Western world, to a disharmonic over-emphasis of individualism—a violently egocentric and exclusivistic kind of 'rugged individualism'. One polarity of human nature has been stressed against the other; and there can be no wholesome development where the 'against' attitude prevails, legitimate as it seems to be at first. What is required is a counterpoint type of growth. The newly developing faculty should find its expression in the upper melodic line which gives its essential meaning to the whole; yet the line forming the bass voice is also significant. At a further stage of development, a still higher line of unfoldment appears which takes as its basis the combined values of bass and tenor. That higher (which really means 'more inclusive') manifestation presents itself to man's consciousness as a melody of colored light.

The entire process of human evolution has a dialectical character. To the thesis, represented by the tribal stage of relatively unconscious (because compulsive and instinctual) collective existence, succeeds the antithetic phase of individualization. Antithesis produces conflicts, because the drive toward individual and group differentiation requires the formation of an elite (an aristocracy) along whatever line of development is needed at the time. Conflicts engender crises; and, out of crises successfully met and lived through, a new level of consciousness and a more inclusive type of feeling and behaving is reached. It is reached, at first, by a very few human beings. In some of them, unfortunately, the newly released awareness and energy are captured by an as yet unpurified ego; other individuals accept to become truly 'servants' of a 'higher' superpersonal collectivity. In these 'servants', through them, the discordant Babel of individual voices becomes transmuted into the cosmic collectivism of what we symbolically call 'light', or in another sense, the true fourth dimension of being and consciousness which manifests as harmonic interpenetration and radiant co-activity.

This cyclic historical or evolutionary process will be briefly discussed in the second part of this book. It must be discussed if psychologists are to meet, with inclusive understanding and creative lucidity, the problems forcing themselves upon the men and women of our time. These problems, and the excruciating tensions they produce, cannot be approached with full satisfaction by merely collating empirical data and from them making statistical generalizations and intellectual theories along strictly psychological lines. Our modern Western culture is sick with fragmentation and specialization. Techniques alone can never go to the roots of any human issue. The interpenetration of individualized consciousness alone can change the quality of human relationships, and, therefore, gradually the quality of social processes. This is why Oriental cultures stress the need for a guru-chela relationship. Not primarily for the purpose of conveying knowledge, but in order to allow two minds to interpenetrate, making it possible for the narrower and more rigid field of activity and consciousness to resonate to the wider, more open and more inclusive one. True education is co-penetration and fecundation of minds. Spiritual living implies openness of the dis-egoized individual consciousness to the radiance and the 'gift-waves' of a higher collectivity. It is transpersonal living—a focusing of diffuse collective light through the lens of an individual, yet translucent, mind.

As a result of such a focusing, activity reaches a point of transforming creative intensity. Whether the spiritual-mental heat thus generated will warm and inspire those who surround the focalized radiance, or produce in them ego-withdrawal and emotional insecurity, depends not only upon the character of the persons being touched, but of the state of the neighboring collectivity—thus of the timing and place of the release. For this reason, the effectiveness of psychotherapy, as well of any spiritual teaching, should not be considered only an individual matter. The whole of humanity is involved in the responses of every individual.


1. Cf. particularly, a remarkable recent book by Fritjof Capra, The Tao of Physics (Berkeley: Shambhala Publications, 1975) and a French work by Robert Linssen, La Spirilualite de la Maliere (Paris: Editions Planete, 1966).   Return

2. The contrast between the 'holistic' and 'atomistic' approach to knowledge and reality has been discussed by a few modern thinkers, particularly by Lancelot L. Whyte in his significant book, Accent on Form (New York: Harper, 1954), pp. 46-68. Yet while the adjective, holistic, is now currently in use in science, philosophy and psychology, Jan Smuts' book is hardly ever mentioned. The words, holism and holistic, (from the Greek olos, meaning 'whole') may have been used before General Smuts used them, but it certainly was his book which introduced them to a wide public.   Return

3. Cf. my The Planetarization of Consciousness (New York: A. S. I. Publications, second edition, 1977), p. 111, "Consciousness, Wholeness and Relatedness."   Return

4. Cf. his beautiful Commentaries on the Isha Upanished (Arya Publishing House, 1914).   Return

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