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by Dane Rudhyar, 1985

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Crises of Transition - 9

The desire for making a situation change into another expected to bring comfort, happiness, wealth, professional prestige, or political power is a dominant factor in the process of individualization. At the collective stage of the development of personhood a human being acts much like a cell in a biological organism, fulfilling the function that he or she was born for a function determined by the conditions of birth as a human body. The individual stage of personhood develops when the character, the unusual capacities and/or performances of a person, singles out and brings him or her to a position of eminence.
       The less dependent upon strictly biological patterns of relationship and the more individualistic the society, the greater the possibility for a participant in the societal process to reach a position of dominant power. The mobilization of the person's energy, according to methods devised by the mind, assumes the character of ambition. What, in a normal happy childhood, had been the devotional will to please the parents, born of the desire to love and be loved, becomes the ambition to gain an individual position of power at one level or another of the society. It is still the same will, the same ability (or inability) to mobilize internal energy, or to control external forces and the situations they produce; but the level of operation and the quality of the subjective factor have to change if collective personhood is to evolve into individual personhood. The change, however, may be a smooth and easy process, or it may require a sharp and painful crisis of revolt and severance in order to pass from one level to another.(4)
      The relinquishment of the ambition motive usually results from experiences which reveal the inefficacy or illusive nature of situations which, a special condition of birth and education, or a tense ego-will able to control sociocultural and interpersonal processes, had produced. A buddha is shocked by the revelation of human situations he had never been allowed to know; an ardent and relatively successful leader of a political revolution is made to face the utterly disappointing results of changes his will had made possible; a man whose desires drove him to constantly repeated and ever cruder or more refined sexual experiences sees his life and the culture that spurred him on as totally empty. Faced by such a situation, a person may collapse into a state of indifference in which the exhaustion of his desires engenders a revulsion against all that mind has devised as a servant of desire and inventor of ever new procedures for the realization of ambition or more intense pleasure. The revolutionary may fall back with a more or less hidden sense of defeat to the anonymity of social and personal normality perhaps only a temporary step to regather a new sense of potency mobilizable when a new cycle of change begins, if it ever does. But something else of a positive nature may occur. An as yet unknown or long ago dismissed type of realization may make an unexpectedly strong impact upon the consciousness of the weary person ready to disavow his or her unique individuality; and a process of reorientation and repolarization of the subjective factor may begin, which should lead to a transmutation of desire and eventually to a new will.
      As a third factor inherent in experience, mind deals with procedures. It seeks to ascertain how the basic desires of a whole collectivity of people or an individual person can be satisfied. The procedures being sought evidently are based on the interpretation which the mind factor gives to the situation; but this interpretation assumes the validity of a subjective state of being. Consciousness, on the other hand, refers to the direct "prehension" (rather than comprehension) of the wholeness of the situation being faced. As I stated at the beginning of chapter four ("The Human Situation"), consciousness is an aspect of Wholeness or Beness. It operates at several levels as the emanation of the then-prevailing particular state of relatedness of the principles of Unity and Multiplicity. Thus one should not speak of the consciousness of a human person (or a plant), but rather of consciousness taking form within that person (and plant) as each meets at its own level a particular type of situation. Every situation in the vast cycle of the Movement of Wholeness implies the potentiality of a particular mode of consciousness. This type of consciousness is inherent in the subjective factor operating in the experience the situation makes possible.
      Consciousness, operating directly within (or, in a sense, as) the subjective factor in a human experience, is what should be meant by the much abused and misused word intuition. Intuition is a subjective awareness of the wholeness of a situation "seen" as a concrete manifestation of the possibilities inherent in a particular relationship between the principles of Unity and Multiplicity. Intuition opens the door, as it were, to the realm of Wholeness to the essential reality and meaning of what is, was, or will be. At the level of human situations, intuition is diffuse and imprecise revelation of the dharma of the person in whose consciousness it takes form. It reveals not only what a perhaps imminent situation may be, but also the meaning of this situation in terms of the basic evolutionary purpose of the state of personhood. Intuition suggests to the individual, perhaps vividly, the degree of acceptance or avoidance of a situation which best fits the purpose of his or her being a person; thus what the value of the desire related to it essentially is. Intuition may reveal the possible conscious use of the situation in the process of neutralization of past failures. It may also operate when the decision has to be made whether to carry further or delay awhile a series of successful moves along the Path of transformation.
      Intuition is therefore a faculty particularly needed when the process of individualization leads to the possibility of making crucial choices which might increase the feeling of separateness and pride. It enables the individual whose over-defined subjectivity is functioning, as it were, outside the tide of Wholeness, to respond to the oneward thrust gaining strength as human evolution proceeds in the direction of the symbolic Sunset phase of the great cycle. Intuition, however, needs the support of two other essential factors during crises of transition: imagination and faith.
      In the precise sense of the word, imagination is the faculty mind possesses in varying degrees to produce images evoking the possibilities of relations and experiences which, under the pressure of circumstances or internal factors, may be desired, but are not actualized in the present situation. These factors may have been actualized in the past and the person may desire their revivification; they may be a play of the mind seeking to help the subject escape from inner emptiness and estrangement from the state of evolution and the level of thinking-feeling his or her environment features at the time. These images may also be evoked by an imprecise and confusing feeling-awareness (or intuition) of what might have been, and perhaps could still be, if the power inherent in the human state to disassociate oneself from a situation (as if it were happening to oneself as an external experiencer) had not been used. They may be presentiments of possibilities of situations already implied in the present phase of the Movement of Wholeness, as a full-grown plant is implied in the germ seeking to pierce the crust of the soil and experience sunlight. Imagination can be, in other words, the activity of a mind having been impelled to enlist itself at the service of intuition so as to give substance and concreteness to the intuitive revelations. It performs this service if another faculty operates alongside the positive kind of image-making function: faith.
      The word faith, however, is not used here in an ordinary religious sense, with reference to doctrines for which a specific divine origin is claimed. Faith rises in the consciousness which realizes that it is an aspect of Wholeness and that the whole meaning of any situation can never be revealed by the merely partial, local, and temporary interpretation the mind provides, nor by any desire which absolutely negates the value and meaning of its opposite. Faith implies an open approach to possibilities which are not included in the normal, natural response of the human organism as now developed on our planet, or which are not acceptable to the rational mind. Therefore, faith should not be considered to be mainly a product of a ritualized and/or institutionalized religious spirit. Human beings have faith in God and His revelation because, at the core of their whole being, they realize that the senses and (at a later stage of evolution) the objective, analytical, and rational mind do not and indeed cannot picture the wholeness of any being or any situation. The human person "intuitively" feels or realizes that the wholeness of whatever "is" includes more than he or she can be conscious of. This "more" can therefore be approached only through faith. Faith is the only possible approach not only to the non-rational and alogical, but to what the consciousness dimly feels to be beyond any sense-perceived reality.
      As it performs such a function, faith should readily accept the cooperation of imagination. It must do so especially when it attempts to transform the cultural paradigms and the popular material interpretations of human experiences which the collective mind had to create in order to produce a sense of security in the satisfaction of basic desires that most people can share. A vivid faith that what is imagined can be concretely actualized is needed if the dream or Utopia is to become a fact of human existence. When a religion postulates the existence of God as a changeless absolute Being whose nature and power are beyond the capacity for transformation of any limited and conditioned but evolving being, such a God can only be imitated. He or It absolutely transcends any conceivable mode of beingness. The theologian must therefore establish two categories of Beness, in metaphysics usually called "being" and "becoming." Man as a participant in becoming can imitate and dimly reflect the divine state of timeless and immovable being, but no evolutionary process, no series of crises of transformation, can ever make Man (whether as an individual person, or as the whole of humanity) such a theologian's God. The only possibility is that of a "dialogue" between God and Man. This is a super-aristocratic type of situation: the good servant allowed to speak of his problems or doubts to the all-powerful and unfailingly wise king and master, whose voice sounds faintly through layers of veils.

4. The section of the booklet Beyond Personhood entitled "Three Lines of Development of the Ego" discusses various possibilities of development of the feeling of being a "special" person within a sociocultural environment.  Return

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Copyright © 1986 by Leyla Rudhyar Hill
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