The Four Crucial Phases of the Cycle of Being - 2
The Creative Process
before and after "the beginning"
Human beings today trace the cause of the beginning of a human body to the act of copulation of a man and woman providing the two different kinds of cells needed for the formation of an embryo. Behind and driving this act of copulation, some people idealistically assume, is the human couple's "desire to create." Theologians thinking anthropomorphically extend this concept of desire to God's creation of the universe: a supremely transcendent Godhead "fecundates" His/Its infinite Potency (Mahashakti
) which, separating itself from the Godhead, becomes the source of the creative process (however this process is formulated). Yet no explanation can be given for the Godhead's (or Parabrahman's
) "desire to create," which indeed is incomprehensible and "absurd" if God is the changeless One without any attributes or division, and without the evident incompleteness and lack always implied by a desire.
In fact, it goes without saying that the act of sexual impregnation in a human couple frequently has nothing to do with the desire to create a child. From a biological point of view, the copulating man and woman act merely as carriers
of sperm and ovum; "life" uses them for its own purpose. In homo sapiens, the cycle of "life" operates in this hominal manner, while in vegetable species it works through the seed process. Such a process clearly reveals that the end of one cycle of vegetation becomes
the beginning of a new cycle; the seed that falls from the dying plant becomes the germinating seed. Thus there is no break in the continuum of the biological vegetable cycle. Neither, actually, is there a break in the continuum of the human biological cycle; the sperm and ova of human beings are living cells (parts or rather subwholes) within the bodies of living human organisms.
There is also no break in the Movement of Wholeness — no break in the cycle of being in which the full development of mankind occurs and Man (archetypally considered) performs a crucial function. What human beings interpret as the "beginning" of the universe — our
universe — and the start of the process culminating in the state of being human (homo sapiens), can be symbolized by the germination of the seed. It is not a beginning "out of nothing," but a critical turning point in a predominantly subjective process gradually becoming
more objective. It is not caused by a "causeless Cause" external to the cycle of being, God, but by a series of prior changes during the Night period of the cycle. As the principle of Unity is then stronger than the principle of Multiplicity, the changes leading to the beginning of the new cycle are predominantly subjective.
These changes refer to a process operating at the level of mind
— of a pre-cosmic type of mind, for the cosmos (the material universe human senses perceive and react to) is not yet in existence when they "occur." Cosmic existence begins when the principle of Multiplicity reaches a degree of intensity equaling that of the long dominant but waning principle of Unity. This is the case at the symbolic Sunrise, which is the final consummation of the series of subjective (but objectivizing) changes lasting between Midnight and Sunrise.
During this Midnight-to-Sunrise period, an almost total Oneness of being (symbolized by the Godhead state) gradually becomes manifold. Such a manifold of being takes the form of collectivities of beings who are still deeply unified in activity and consciousness and assuredly non-physical as yet. Occult traditions and religious theologies (and theodicies) speak of them as creative Hierarchies
which become decreasingly unified and increasingly differentiated as the moment of Creation (the symbolic Sunrise) approaches. In their totality and togetherness, these Hierarchies are
the creative God, Ishvara, the Word (or Logos,) Elohim (a plural noun in Hebrew). One may think of them as a descending series of subjective, pre-cosmic "Hosts" of beings. They have been called cosmocratores
, "builders of the cosmos"; yet they do not "build" the material universe. Rather, they produce increasingly complex and differentiated archetypes or formulas of being
— clearly defined sets of potentialities of existence, systems of organization to be used by the many elements of physical matter as structural foundations for concrete existence.
As the process of formation of archetypes reaches its final culmination at the symbolic Sunrise, the potential energy that had been "stored" during the Night period of the cycle is progressively released. It is released with extreme intensity at the symbolic Sunrise, when the principle of Multiplicity not only equals the strength of the principle of Unity but emerges as a dynamic, aggressive factor. For theologians of all religions, this release is the Act
of Creation. But the Movement of Wholeness reveals it to be a particularly focused phase in the process
of Creation: the continuum of change, never interrupted during the Night hemicycle but operating mainly subjectively, begins to produce objective, physical manifestations, according to the archetypes that had been formed (subjectively) between the symbolic Midnight and Sunrise. In this sense, Creation evokes the potentiality of time, for inherent in each archetypal form (which will be actualized as the physical universe develops) is a particular way of reacting to and eventually experiencing and interpreting the continuum of change.
As cosmic existence begins at the symbolic Sunrise, energy is being depotentialized. It is kineticized in discrete steps, as cosmic quanta, because the principle of Unity is still relatively powerful and compels the release to occur in units
, at first according to simple cosmic forms (archetypes), such as whirlpools, which eventually become spiral galaxies. In accordance with these archetypes, powerful forces marking the initial triumph of the principle of objective existence (Multiplicity) over the principle of subjectivity (Unity) move, churn, and whirl what between Midnight and Sunrise had been an immense (but indeed non- measurable) "expanse" of inert, undifferentiated materials or protomatter (the "dark waters of space" referred to in Genesis 1:1). While I shall define the nature of this protomatter more precisely in the next chapter, let us say for now that it refers to a state of nearly total fragmentation, nonrelatedness, and inertia produced by the failures of the preceding cycle — or, symbolically, that it corresponds to the chemicals and waste-products released in the soil year after year by the decay of leaves and other materials.
After the symbolic Sunrise, what I have spoken of in previous writings as a "two-way evolution" coordinates the involution of spiritual forces animating archetypal forms with the evolution of the protomatter of "chaos" (the "dark waters of space"). At first the archetypally defined forms into which protomatter is whirled are very simple; they become progressively more complex as galaxies, star-systems, planets, and various kinds of atoms and molecules.
Eventually cells develop in which the integrative potency of "life" begins to operate. A biosphere (a life-field) is set in operation the moment molecules evolve into living cells. Life animates the entire planet, not merely the cells themselves. When archetypes belonging to the systems of organization we call "life" begin to interact with the molecules of the matter of the planet, the whole planet becomes alive
. Living matter is still matter. It is constituted by atoms and molecules, but these are controlled by a more evolved and more differentiated type of structural organization characterized by its capacity to reproduce and multiply itself in a myriad of facsimiles.(1
In this type of organization, the principle of Multiplicity, which has continued to wax after equaling the principle of Unity at the symbolic Sunrise, is nearly over- powering. The principle of Unity can only maintain a power of integration able to some extent to control and contain the process of expansion, self-multiplication, and differentiation. From Sunrise to Noon, the principle of Unity operates at several levels; two of its manifestations are gravitation and the "binding force" holding subatomic particles in a stable state of relatedness. Another of its modes of operation during the symbolic Day-half of the cycle is the life-force (prana
in Sanskrit, chi
in Chinese), which keeps the myriad of cells of a living organism functionally active according to specific (archetypal) patterns of behavior. (During the second part of this Day hemicycle, from Noon to Sunset, the principle of Unity, then rising in strength, also operates as the power of psychism
which maintains tribal and societal integration.)
The evolution of biological species within the earth's biosphere eventually leads to the animal stage of life and to protohuman
races. As crystals and viruses may be transitions between complex inorganic molecules and living cells, and as intermediary forms of existence have been found between plants and animals, so fossil remains of protohuman primates found in various regions of the globe probably have to be interpreted as evidence of a gradual transition between animals and characteristically human
beings. All "passages" from one level of organization to the next require periods of transition and the development of intermediary or transitional evolutionary steps. This occurs because the principle of formation develops inertia; all existential forms (including institutions at the social level) resist change. Existentially
, any new system of biological organization emerges slowly from the preceding one, yet the archetypes
which both systems actualize are clearly distinct, each archetype giving form to a basically different quality of being
If the scientist believes in gradual material evolution and the occultist or theologian in the creation of distinct species by God, the seemingly contradictory beliefs arise because different types of persons view the same reality from different points of view. The fact of a continuous
series of physical transformations does not contradict the periodic
actualization of archetypal principles of formation. "Protohuman" races become increasingly "human" under the pressure of the involutionary descent of the archetype Man (Anthropos) when the inertia of animal nature has been at least partially overcome by the power of the new, fully human characteristics. Moreover, the beginning of a truly human stage has to take place in the biosphere of a planet being periodically (and in a sense continually) transformed; thus the appearance of homo sapiens — of human beings endowed with the potentiality
of self-consciousness and autonomous decision-making — could take place only when conditions became sufficiently hospitable to the new, presumably more sensitive and vulnerable type of human organisms. (According to some occult traditions, this occurred in several regions, not in a single locale.)
The "descent" of the archetype Man into the biosphere (and thus potentially
into every newborn human) is symbolized and dramatized in the myth of Prometheus. This probably follows the more complex and revealing Hindu story of the great beings called Kumaras, especially one of these beings identified as Sanat Kumara, who came to earth from another realm of being associated with "Venus" (whether or not this refers to the physical planet). The idea that the archetype of Man is "kept" within the thrice holy city of Shambhala in the deserts of central Asia may refer to the superphysical reality alluded to in such myths. In any case, all three myths can be considered highly significant evocations of a definite phase in the evolution of the earth, a phase during which a truly human type of beings appeared in a region particularly adapted at the time
(perhaps millions of years ago) to its concrete manifestation.
Exactly when such an event occurred in terms of our time measurements is probably not important today, if only because the rate of the flow of time — which simply means the speed of planet-wide changes measured by the revolution of the earth around the sun — may have been quite different then from what it is now.(2
) The importance of discussing such an event is to understand its place and meaning in the entire cyclic scheme in which humanity has a definite place, function, and meaning to fulfill within the earth and the universe as a whole. To realize such a meaning and to fulfill such a place and function in an all-human, global, and all-inclusive sense is the intrinsic purpose of that period of the cycle of being which, at least for human beings, constitutes "human history" — past, present and future: the period of the great cycle between the symbolic Noon and Sunset.
No rational basis exists for the modern scientific mentality's refusal to accept, even as a working hypothesis, the existence of spiritual energies mobilizing archetypal forms and "projecting" them on evolving earth-matter. According to the assumptions and paradigms of Western civilization, we should not have to have recourse to the "unnecessary" belief in archetypal forms if
we can explain the evolution of inorganic into organic matter (a very big if
indeed), because the latter explanation would be "simpler." This is a specious idea. It rests on the assumption that nothing is "proven" unless we can discover how
the process operates in terms the human intellect and its machines can measure
. Knowledge is thus limited to measurability — a limitation which is as much a "belief" as the belief in God, as the belief that mankind as we know it represents the highest system of organization of activity and consciousness on earth, or the belief that the earth is only a mass of matter. Return
The belief that the earth's motions (axial rotation and revolution around the sun) occur at the same speed throughout the whole period of the cosmos seems incredibly naive. It is tantamount to believing that the growth of a human body occurs at the same rate at age forty as it does at age thirteen. It is an assumption based on the unproved and unprovable belief that the cosmos is "nothing but" a mass of matter totally devoid of any living (and thus cyclic) characteristics. Astronomical theories — which have changed so often during the last one hundred years — reflect an extraordinary human hubris
: the belief (at times fanatical) that physical sense-data conveyed to the brain-mind (which then interprets these data) provides quasi-absolute knowledge of unchanging and universal cosmic processes. Return