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The Transition to the New Age
by Dane Rudhyar, 1969

First published under the title
Birth Patterns for
a New Humanity

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In this volume I have sought to extend and deepen the consciousness of the reader by integrating the present moment and his or her experience of change and radical crisis in vast historical as well as astrological cycles, and by relating local problems to the broad spaces of an Earth considered as an organized system of interdependent activities, and indeed of organic functions. But it is obvious that everything for an individual human being begins with his or her individual person.
      If it is necessary today to overcome the naive idea that society is made up of individuals, considered abstractly as free, equal, independent entities essentially external to their environment and the patterns of thoughts, feelings, behavior and language which conditioned, and largely determined their personalities, nevertheless it would be senseless to go to the other extreme and to make of individual persons only the products of social, economic or telluric conditions. What I have been saying is that the development of a human being into an individual person is conditioned by the frames of reference which he consciously or unconsciously accepts and accept he must, whether he admits the fact or not, for every single event or inner change can only acquire meaning and some sort of however imprecise purpose or value when related to an over-all frame of reference. Every man has a philosophy and a cosmology; he follows at any time a certain way of life and thinks in terms of particular language. If he is not aware he is doing so, and he has never consciously or deliberately thought about philosophical ideas or the nature of the universe, this simply means that he takes for granted the traditional approach and the frames of reference of his family, class, nation and civilization.
      As I stated repeatedly, by far the larger portion of mankind has so far used only or at least predominantly local frames of reference. Even its gods, as far as the bulk of mankind was concerned, have been until fairly recently (historically speaking) local gods. The concept of a universal God, after it developed in the human mind, was strongly colored with localism, or else it was so abstract and transcendent as to deny any significant reality and value to the world we live in. Indeed it operated in so many cases as a negative frame of reference; for the God-Idea, when personalized, embodied all that man felt unable to attain, even if he wanted so much to do so; for instance, omnipotence, omnipresence, perfect love, supreme untarnishable beauty, etc.
      A frame of reference against which you give meaning a more or less negative meaning to the facts of your existence is not a wholesome one. Thus mysticism developed on the basis of the striving for complete identification with God. If there is such an identification, any frame of reference loses any real meaning; but also existence as a separate individual loses its ultimate value.
      True, there is much beauty and significance in the mystic's aspiration to the "unitive state," just as there is great meaning to moments of pause and inward withdrawal in the midst of tense outer activity. But this aspiration constitutes only one side of the human situation. Unity implies multiplicity. The transcendence of God implies the condition of cosmic existence; and as Zen masters keep repeating to their aware disciples nirvana and samsara are one. It is as an expression of the everlasting relationship between nirvana and samsara, between One and the Many that frames of reference operate. They exist inevitably for all forms of consciousness. The only issue is how inclusive, how steady and shock-proof yet adjustable and extendable is your frame of reference as an individual person.
      My belief is that today the one truly operational frame of reference for man is the planet, Earth, considered as a cosmic type of "organism" within which humanity as a whole fulfills a basic function a function which, for lack of a more accurate analogy, we can compare to that of the cerebro-spinal nervous system in the human body. It is Man's function in the economy of the earth to transmute into consciousness the results of all that he collectively experiences as he comes in contact with all regions of the globe. And as really to understand anything objectively one must gain a more or less distant perspective on it, the recent acquired ability of mankind to place itself, directly or by T.V. proxy, outside of the globe has indeed great value, even if this was made possible by an essentially destructive (matter-destroying and Earth-poisoning) type of technology.

By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1969 by Dane Rudhyar
and Copyright © 2001 by Leyla Rudhyar Hill
All Rights Reserved.

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