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Balance: The Key to Joy

The main thesis of the Lemurian Philosophy is balance--which involves the taking of all things into account and assigning to them proper values in one's quest for Egoic growth and control of self and environment. Other philosophies of life are usually constructed around one of two mainstreams of thought--the Rational and the Cosmic. These two contrasting views are also referred to as Western and Eastern; Apollonian and Dionysian; Pfree and Katholi. The adherents of each of these two views traditionally regard them as mutually incompatible, and two divergent camps have thus arisen. Either view when carried to the extreme is proof to its opponents of the very real horrors lurking in the other system; so any part of the opposite view must be vigorously cast out of one's own philosophy. But both views are correct and are essential to human balance.

The genuine searcher for Truth must take both views into account to find the path to sanity and reality. There are brilliantly intelligent men who are firm adherents of the scientific method and yet they also deeply believe in God. Different forms of thinking--all valid--are available to us for perceiving reality in its many forms. Indeed, the two hemispheres of each person's cerebral cortex divide it into two functions: the left side specializes in reason, logic, analysis, and language; whereas the right side specializes in intuition, imagination, spatial relationships, and holistic synthesis. The concrete and the abstract, the practical and the artistic, the rational and the fantastic, and physical and spiritual percepts may all be simultaneously real. For a person to be a whole human being, he must touch upon the whole Universe. His brain and body are creating tools, but they are also sensitive receivers of all the messages streaming from the far corners of Creation as well as from life near at hand. Certainly we must look to outer space for information, but perception of our own body's inner space will reveal great wonders also.

The following paragraphs compare Apollonian and Dionysian views by devoting the first half of each paragraph to the former view and the second half to the Dionysian. These names are derived from two gods of the Greek pantheon: Apollo--the god of reason, order, light, and boundaries; and Dionysus--the god of wine, excess, fantasy, and metamorphosis. It may be divisive to describe the opposing values of two different world views and line them up into two camps; yet analysis is valuable to see the patterns and tendencies of our own ideas. Remember, however, that both views are right, and the sage incorporates both views concurrently within himself. The two views were never meant to be separated. Practical, idealistic, and mental attributes, when blended into a balanced whole, are symbolized by the equilateral triangle of the Initiate in the Brotherhoods.

The history of a people, the nature of their natural environment, and their mode of competition with others all influence their philosophy and mythology. Greek influence or Christian thought emphasized separation between God and the world, spirit and flesh, mind and matter, and higher value was placed on spirit and mind as sacred aspects of man which were at odds with his physical needs. Man, therefore, is seen as divided with himself, separated from God (by sin), and in contention with Nature, which threatens to overwhelm him. The Rationalist regards the Universe as a chaos of random physical forces held in check by one another. Human society is formed by a social contract to control man's natural aggression and territorial instincts which otherwise would tend toward total warfare. Eastern philosophies see unity in human mind and body, and God exists in every aspect of His Creation. Unity underlies the appearances of plurality, continuity exists between all life forms, and the Cosmos is an integration of intelligent life in graduated planes. The Universe is order, and things occur in it by intelligent design. Human community is a single, organic whole, and the various functions of social structure are a harmonious outworking of the fulfilling of man's needs.

Western man sees himself as an intelligent force bringing rationality and order to the world. He molds his environment and exploits it for his own purposes. He makes valuable and useful objects out of raw matter, and he finds dignity in work, seriousness, realism, intellectualism, devising good laws, and imposing boundaries that keep disorder from overwhelming the culture. Eastern man regards himself as but another cog in the great wheel of life. His individuality is apparent, but he is merged like a drop in the cosmic ocean of life. Every entity is a manifestation of the free play of a single divine substance. Man is supposed to partake of and enjoy the caprices of life. Work is a matter of necessity. Human dignity resides in humor, fantasy, love, play, and spontaneity.

Western man glorifies himself as a strong, aggressive, disciplined ego. Being able to cope is the highest ideal. To force the body and the emotions under the total control of reason is a lifelong aim. A mature person should be able to work and love, but responsibility comes before love. The ambiguities between science and faith are seen as a perpetual, tragic conflict; but to seek a life without conflict is unrealistic and a flight from responsibility. Strong central government is his political ideal. Eastern man shies from egocentricity. He tries to purge his head of calculation and allow instinct and compassion to govern him. Wondering awe and childlike innocence is his way to stay in touch with God. Aggressiveness is vanity, and anyway, contradictions eventually are resolved by higher synthesis. To force the head to dominate the body is to subvert one's creative powers and to spawn insanity. Pure democracy is his political ideal.

In traditional Western medicine, the physician acts as an objective, professional expert who takes charge and intervenes with chemicals or surgery. In the East, the therapist acts more like a guide with loving empathy than as a scientist. He searches for sources of imbalance, and emphasis is placed on allowing the organism to naturally achieve a state of harmony between mind, body, and cosmos. Intervention is minimal. Therapies are designed to diminish the head's busy dominance and thereby return the center of being to the body.

Apollonian thinking flourishes in male-dominated, pyramidally structured societies where masculine traits (practicality, rationality, aggressiveness, authoritarianism) permeate the culture. Dionysian thinking is native to matriarchal societies and planting cultures where the cycle of the seasons and the dependency on Mother Nature is the basis of existence. The feminine virtues of surrender, trust, and nurturance are regarded highly.

Within an Apollonian culture, any activity which depends on surrender of personal control is resisted. Play, leisure, mysticism, ESP, poetry, and fantasy tend to be repressed because they are threatening to the work ethic. Such cultures usually make their citizens ashamed to experience ecstasy and the sublime. They find it difficult to see the humor of life. Apollonians must always be doing and making and changing things. They have a hard time just being and enjoying. The romantic imagination of Dionysians makes it difficult for them to work, to decide, to recognize the value of conflict and anger, to be efficient, and to deal with the realities of evil and suffering. How to use power, plan social change, and work within institutions are difficult for them. They find it easier to flow along and to immerse themselves in emotions, fantasy and mysticism. It seems unnatural to them to make commitments, accept discipline, recognize limits, and become responsible, individuated persons.

The people who live out their lives exclusively in accordance with either of the two world views above are severely crippled by their one-sidedness. Moreover, they are dangerous since both views tend toward fanaticism when separated from the counterbalancing of the other view. Unfortunately, this imbalance applies to almost everyone on the planet. It is important for members of Adelphi as Americans to understand that their cultural preferences are the result of their having been a part of Western Civilization. Several centuries ago Europeans were agrarian people who worked closely with the land and were in tune with the diurnal impulses of nature. We turned from that maternal, life-giving emphasis of nature consciousness to materialism and ownership. This was brought about by the rise of the merchant middle class followed by the industrial revolution. Emphasis on boundaries and acquisition promoted separateness and covetousness. The masculine militaristic and patriarchal traditions of Western society came to the fore to organize and channel human energy into disciplined nationalism.

A closely integrated economy is needed to play down individual ownership and acquisitiveness in order to encourage restoration of a balance between practicality and ideality. There is a basic human appetite to devote oneself to a worthy effort transcending self-indulgence. Many satisfactions are derived from working for the common good of many other people and coincidentally helping to build something greater than oneself with which one can identify. The private enterprise profit motive is still alive, but it has been acquiring a conscience. People willingly serve within a large organization to effectively accomplish mutual goals because their prime reasons are not personal monetary reward or acquisition of power. This is being proven in Adelphi as well as in many other organizations. If a person does not share the American immigrant's hunger for ownership of real estate, he is not driven to exhaust himself gathering possessions and fighting to get to the top income brackets. He can then feel free to cooperate rather than compete with his fellows, and the whole basic attitude of what is important to him begins to change.

Efficiency and ecstasy are both important in their related spheres of activity. Learning to combine them in a balanced mix is a task of the next few generations. The Nation of God must be comprised of such men and women who are living the whole human experience.

 

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