Beyond Individualism

The Psychology of Transformation

by Dane Rudhyar


PART TWO:
THE SOCIAL-COLLECTIVE MODE

5. The Pattern of Differentitation & Conflict

a. The Warrior and the Ruler

Whether we consider what seemingly occurred in ancient India when Aryan races swept down into what now is Pakistan, in Mexico when successive invasions by northern tribes conquered the more southern plateaus or the still lower regions where the Mayan culture once flourished, in China when Mogols and later Manchu 'barbarians' subjugated the coastal lands, or in Europe when Germanic tribes invaded the corrupt and tottering Roman Empire that controlled the entire Mediterranean region, we witness a basically similar pattern of development. A dynamic group of tribes, which very often (though perhaps not always) had been set in motion by climatic changes or the need for food for an expanding population, 'descend' from relatively northern regions upon the land occupied by a once flourishing but now effete and slowly disintegrating society.

The outcome of this encounter varies according to the character and the relative strength of the contending forces. In some cases, it would seem that the rough invaders are more readily absorbed into the old culture, which is thus revitalized and transformed, yet retains its fundamental character. This may occur when the conquered land has very powerful characteristics which compel the conquerors to accept basic ways of life and modes of thinking required for the survival of any society regardless of its particular culture and institutions. In other cases, the old culture is radically transformed, yet the basic values and symbols which structure the development of the new society, after the invaders have destroyed most of the outer institutionalized forms of the old culture, are nevertheless values and symbols that had originated within the last phase of the old society—its harvest of social and spiritual seeds.

In the well-known case of the transformation of the Greco-Latin Mediterranean into the Medieval European culture, the essential ideas-symbols inherited from the old by the new society can be condensed into two powerful worlds: Caesar and Christ. It is around these two archetypes that the European culture has evolved and become polarized. The first one refers to what I have called the Administrative Order; the other, to the Creative Order. However, during the first period of the European cycle, the Germanic chieftain was the dominant figure. He might lead a relatively large group of tribes or only a small band of restless people in search of land for survival. But in all cases wherever we can speak of the Warrior Type, we see it operating as a dynamic, muscular and willful power.

It acts at first as destroyer of a sclerotic and spiritually empty society which it had infiltrated through the device of mercenary service. Symbolically speaking, the Warrior chews and breaks down the forms of the past, releasing the human contents of these socio-cultural forms as 'chemicals' which will form a part of the humus of the future society. Cities are turned into ruins; aqueducts are destroyed or left inoperative; in many places the cultivation of the soil becomes nearly impossible; roadbeds break down; life becomes localized and disuniversalized. The land is divided into relatively small domains into which insecure men, women and children are herded under the protection of the Warriors' muscular power, and later of massive fortifications. In some instances, vestiges of the dying Roman culture briefly survive when Germanic chieftains try to imitate the mode of life of provincial Roman administrators.

This image of the powerful administrator, only distantly related to a central source of authority, begins to blend with the more primitive biological-tribal image of the chieftain as a powerful male supreme in war, and gradually a Ruler Type is formed. To such a type, the old imperial ideal of Caesar appears as a goal to strive after—and in Medieval European society, we see the prototypal personality of Charlemagne claiming a Caesarian type of position and being glorified and made into a myth by Medieval bards.

In other countries and societies, powerful leaders, as they come to such a position of power over disparate racial elements, claim the attribute of divinity—the Persian kings of the sixth century B. C. being perhaps the model that the Roman Caesars sought to imitate.(1) This claim should be considered a conscious or subconscious attempt to revive the archetypal image of divine king-hierophants. In our European culture-whole, a time came when the 'divine right' of kings was widely accepted, but the power of the Christian Church made it impossible for the kings to claim an actual state of divinity.

Whatever claim is being made to justify and sanction the position of ruler, and especially of absolute ruler, the psychosocial fact is that men of the Warrior class or caste (in India, the Kshattriyas), under the pressure of circumstance and in order to meet the developing need for centralization of command, emerge as exemplars of a higher form of the Warrior Type, the Ruler Type. What differentiates the latter from the former is the Ruler's ability to organize or administer the field of effective power that he has built or has inherited, often through murder or ruthless conquest. The Warrior Type has no characteristic ability for organization. His power is biological and strictly personal. He conquers; he does not really 'rule'. To rule is to measure, to establish stable patterns of relationship centered around a source of power which, though at first still personal, nevertheless implies some sort of innate destiny or vocation.

It was fashionable to speak of the English, and before them the old Romans, as a 'race of rulers'. The capacity to effectively rule demands an innate ability to manipulate people and to create favorable conditions for the growth of power. It therefore transcends the purely biological-physical level of activity, inasmuch as it requires for its successful operation a conscious or instinctive 'resonance' to the integrative power of the life-force; and at the physical level that power operates as the capacity to act as a focal point for the centralization of the varied activities of several organs, each representing a particular function.

The need for centralization compels any effective ruler to operate through a hierarchical chain of command—which means, in the most general sense of the term, a 'bureaucracy'. The Persian king, Darius, may have been the first outstanding example of a founder of an efficient bureaucracy of administrators (satraps), though he may have been influenced by previous Egyptian and Indian models. Perhaps more than any other absolute monarch of the Age of Differentiation and Conflicts, he represents the Ruler type in its most characteristic aspect—a ruler who by claiming to be 'divine', imitated the prehistoric king-hierophants of more-than-human origin. His support of the traditional founder of the Zoroastrian religion could be said to exemplify the dual manifestation of supreme socio-cultural power —the coupling of King and High Priest. In Europe this dualism of power took the form of Emperor and Pope. While the Pope theoretically embodied the Christ-Image and (through 'Apostolic Succession') the spiritual, transformative and redeeming power of the Son of God, the Emperor fulfilled the archetypal Caesarian role of ruler and integrator of an extensive culture-whole.

The appearance of the Ruler Type on a social stage indicates not only the collective need for administrative power-centralization, but the soon-apparent necessity of giving a superphysical religious sanction to absolute power. In the prehistoric period, if truly superhuman and at least quasi-divine beings were actually present and utterly dominated the human situation, this domination would have been, I repeat, a self-evident fact, so great was the difference of level of consciousness and potential activity between them and still very primitive human beings; but at the time of Darius, the claim for divinity could not be supported by factual evidence—the mere ability to conquer and build an empire being essentially different from the fact of belonging to a superior race. Thus the claim had to be 'sanctioned', i.e., made sacred. It had to be referred back to a creative moment of origin, thus to the ritualistic and symbolic life of a Prophet or Avatar. In the European culture-whole, this meant Christ. The ruler thus assumed the function of "Defender of the Faith." He had to be 'sacralized' by the Representative of Christ in this world, the Pope. This led to the complex ritual of a king's coronation by the Pope, or at least by the bishops in whom the power of the Apostolic Succession is said to dwell since their sacramental ordination.


11 The Persian model of an all-powerful quasi-divine king may be derived from the Indian ideal of the Universal Monarch or Cakravarta "pacifying mankind by incorporating under his sole sovereignty all the kingdoms." He was considered "equal in rank to those of the world-redeeming Buddhas ... [They both] manifest the same universal principle" on the secular and the spiritual plane respectively. This concept was reflected during the European Middle Ages in the dualism of Pope and Emperor—a most distorted reflection manifesting as a long and bitter struggle for supremacy. (Cf. Heinrich Zimmer, Philosophies of India, "The Universal King", p. 129ff.) Return

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