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Image copyright 2003 by Michael R. Meyer. Drawing by Dane Rudhyar

THE ESSENTIAL RUDHYAR
An outline and an evocation
by Leyla Ral
1983



I. FOUNDATIONS
II. CONCEPTUAL FORMULATIONS
III. RUDHYAR'S
INTEGRATION OF
EXPERIENCE AND CONCEPTS

APPENDIX 1: Selected Poems
APPENDIX 11: Bibliography









II. CONCEPTUAL FORMULATIONS

14. THE NATURE AND FUNCTION OF MIND

For Rudhyar, the general goal of human evolution in the present era is the development of an individualized, stable, and focused mind, able to deal with archetypal principles and processes, able to give meaning to all facets of experience in relation to one another. Such a mind, which Rudhyar calls the mind of wholeness, is the "alchemical vessel" or meeting place necessary to contain or hold the "divine marriage" between spiritual Quality and human personality.
      In a broader sense, mind, for Rudhyar, is formed consciousness (consciousness in turn being inseparable from any kind of organized activity within a finite field). Mind operates at all levels as a universal formative principle. Form, however, inevitably divides existence into "inside" and "outside," self and not-self. As the formative principle, mind therefore deals with dualities. For Rudhyar, it is based on the interplay of two principles of being, Unity and Multiplicity (or Yin and Yang). This interplay must be cyclic and balanced (as long as we consider motion and activity as the foundation of being and the experience of change the inescapable reality of human existence). Therefore, in its highest (most inclusive) aspect, mind establishes and/or reveals the place and function of everything in relation to everything else.
      Thus in an overall philosophical sense, Rudhyar's conception of mind distinguishes his metaphysical outlook from others that can be considered ultimately dualistic. Much of the developing "new age" philosophical paradigm is based on a dualism (a reflection of the popularized Hindu view) between a supreme, transcendent, timeless, changeless condition (Reality with a capital R) and the illusion (maya) of the existential world. Such a dualism has been duplicated in the Platonic contrast between a realm of changeless archetypes and an existential world as unreal as flickering shadows projected on the wall of a cave; and in the Christian contrast between divine spirit and sinful human nature. But none of these dualisms is relieved or reconciled by anything "in between" by a mediating, integrating factor convincingly or purposefully relating the two opposite conditions or realms. For Rudhyar, by contrast, these two realms, orders, or dimensions of being are always to some degree interrelated and interpenetrating and mind is always the mediating, connecting factor.
      During the period of the universal cycle of being between Midnight and Sunrise, mind balances the principles of Unity and Multiplicity by focusing into broadly-defined archetypal forms and formulas of relationship the supreme compassion radiating from the Godhead state. Mind is thus involutionary and operates through various creative Hierarchies that religions call by various names (e.g., angels). Between Sunrise and Noon, the results of this cosmogenic mental activity serve as it "guiding fields" for the development of cosmic material systems (galaxies, solar systems, planets) and for the evolution of biological orders, families, genera, and species. After the symbolic Noon, the coming of Natural Man, and his mental fecundation through the avataric process which Rudhyar envisions as a projection of the Godhead's "vision-imaging" of a new universe into a "God seed" potential within human beings mind develops in its generic, cultural, individual, and superindividual human modes.
      At the biological level of human evolution, mind operates almost exclusively as the servant of instincts seeking to perpetuate life. It is a generic type of mind. As mind becomes sociocutural, it formulates words, language, religious symbols and myths, philosophical concepts, and a way of life. The function of this "mind of culture" is to give order and meaning to personal experience by referring it to the culture's collective frame of reference.*
      As the separative ego-will isolates the human person from its cultural matrix, mind also individualizes and tries not to refer personal experience to a collective frame of reference. At first, the individualizing mind is the critical, analytical, discursive intellect, glorifying the principle of measurement and quantitative calculations at the expense of qualitative values. The abstract concepts of reason, logic, and natural "law" (an ambiguous term) replace the traditional symbols, myths, and taboos of the culture. As the intellect analyzes complex realities, it reduces them to "nothing but" component entities and patterns of relationship. Eventually it analyzes away the organic wholeness of integral entities and processes. Unguided by qualitative values, the intellectual mind produces and wields a mighty technology which eventually runs amok; incalculable destruction and collective and individual suffering ensue.
      Eventually, mind begins to build frames of reference which, though having an individual character, are conditioned by a realization of belonging to a metacultural, metaindividual whole. The "mind of wholeness" beings to operate and to supersede the analytical intellect. Instead of reducing complex realities to components, the mind of wholeness deduces the meaning of situations from the interaction of several interpenetrating levels of activity. It begins to see the "ground" out of which particularities differentiate and their inherent interrelatedness. In another sense, Rudhyar calls this kind of mental activity "eonic consciousness" (eon meaning a cycle of time). It is required to disentangle several complex, interpenetrating patterns or sets of relations, but it retains an understanding of the whole without reductionary analysis. It sees, both, the whole of a cycle of development and its constituting phases and entities and their complex interrelationships. It is with this kind of mind that Rudhyar examines human history and evolution as these processes proceed within the planetary life-field of the earth.


* If spiritual teachers seeking to lead human beings to the Path of transformation have presented mind as something to be transcended even as "the slayer of the Real" it is because the forms mind builds have inertia. All sociocultural images and institutions resist change. When change is necessary, mind tends to resist it, to attempt to perpetuate unchanged the forms it had earlier engendered or revealed. The refusal to change when change is needed is always polarized by the catabolic activity of revolutionaries, political or spiritual: inertia and the rise of anarchy are two aspects of the same situation. Only by total nonattachment to any form, even if one inevitably must use forms of thinking and behavior, can one escape being caught up in the riptide of destruction dominating the last phases of a cycle, be it personal, cultural, or existential.  Return



By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1983 by Leyla Ral
All Rights Reserved.



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