Twelve Phases of Human Experience
AQUARIUS - Page 2 of 3
It is fashionable these days to sing the praise of the noble Aquarian. This is understandable because mankind is passing through a period of swift transition and social repolarization. The feudal and bourgeois structures of European civilization are being shattered by the attacks of aroused destroyers. People feel the need of the change, even if their conscious minds resist it desperately. That Capricornian conservatism is doomed, everyone in his senses knows; but the privileged class and the guardians of religious traditions cannot let go of the keys to an order, the destruction of which obviously must mean their destruction and temporary chaos. In Europe, war is achieving what revolution began; but in America the issue between reform or revolution seems still to be open. Reform in the hands of the finest Aquarians would mean a return to the breadth of vision of Sagittarian America, to her moral sense and her healthful eagerness for big adventures and religious dreams. Revolution would mean that Sagittarian values in America have become so crystallized in the hands of negative Capricornians, that nothing but the destruction of these shells can enable us to discover the "still, small voice" of the Christos, of the New Life.
Why "Sagittarian" values? Because it is in Sagittarius that universal Principles and social, religious Ideals are envisioned by the mind that soars beyond personal racial and geographical realms and into the sphere of the most distant connections and generalizations. And what is Democracy and the principle of a universal Brotherhood of Man if not the most extreme generalization which man can make about human relationship? Tribal Law — even in its expanded Nazi meaning — is based on proximate connections, on personal and emotional experience. But the Democratic Law does violence to our archaic instincts, rooted as they are in blood-exclusivism and cultural pride.
No wonder then, that, as the modern Sagittarian ideal of Democracy crystallizes into Capricornian politics, most of the old ancestral hatred and class-prejudices tend to regain the ground they have occupied for ages. With Democracy (and all it implies fundamentally in terms of human relationship, rather than superficially in terms of the parliamentary system) the Sagittarian mind reaches beyond the previous highest level of generalization represented by the universal Catholic Order. Catholicism
means etymologically, universalism. Christianity was based on the supreme human genralization that every human being was potentially a "Son of God." That generalization however became restricted and crystallized into a Church which set boundaries to spiritual salvation and provided hell-fires for all unbelievers. These Capricornian boundaries became symbolized by the Papacy and the medieval Roman Church — and they eventually called for reformers and rebels to break them down.
Democracy, in the broadest and deepest sense of the term, is a still vaster generalization because it is not limited to the religious and ethical sphere, but takes bold of every value of human behavior and repolarizes them until all blood distinctions, all emotionalism in human relationship, all sense of possessiveness based on ancestral connotations, are uprooted. Democracy, being an ideal, has to become concrete as an applied system of social-political organization. As this happens, Sagittarian values are superseded or dominated by Capricornian technique. Ideal Democracy becomes applied Federalism. What the United States has demonstrated during its 170 years of existence is a hesitant and unreliable sense of Democracy and a stubborn dependence upon the often twisted and perverted mechanisms of Federalism. We have taken for granted that parliamentarism means Democracy, that the respect for majority decisions in any elected group of representatives proves that Democracy operates. This is obviously naive, as all depends upon how elections are conducted and whether financial, social and psychological pressure is or is not applied to force a decision of the electorate.
With Capricorn, we see therefore the triumph of political machines, of personal dictatorship on the basis of special techniques of control of public opinion. We see the human personality, developed through the cycle of the ascendancy of the Day-force, now becoming the "forgotten individual": the man with a vote that can be bought or directed by emotional mass-appeals. And in Aquarius we see, on one hand, the constructive and destructive release of all the powers which modern city life can produce in the way of material comfort and technology, or in the way of mental confusion, moral pollution and physiological disintegration — and on the other hand, the many attempts of the "citified" man to reestablish his individual sense of values and his personal integrity by small or big rebellions, by eccentricities, by one-sided emotional fanaticisms, by allegiance to cults and specialized groups. In the name of "going back" to the "law of Nature" (vegetarianism, raw-foodism, nudism, etc.) or to the "law of individualistic Democracy" (anarchistic ideologies of one type or another), or to the "law of Universal Brotherhood" (spiritual, esoteric groups) the "citified" man seeks to revivify the Sagittarian vision which Capricornian metropoles and Capricornian power-groups have betrayed. Thus the Aquarian's yearning for the unfamiliar and the foreign, for the newest fads or for the movements which are supposed to revive and restore the "true" foundation of Democracy and human freedom.
In all such attempts toward liberation from the social machine and the domination of money and power-groups, the Aquarian displays most often a peculiar reliance upon the very social forces he would condemn. This must be so, because all he really knows is social action and social organization. His sense of personality is still very vague or most negative. In Aquarius, the "personalizing" energy of the Day-force is as yet very weak and barely able to operate. It operates at best fitfully and often through mere reaction against other personalities who are parts of a social situation.
By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1943 by David McKay Company
and Copyright © 1970 by Dane Rudhyar
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