By Duncan Campbell
In our chaotic world hurtling towards an uncertain future, three kinds of responses have emerged. The fundamentalists are clinging to or going back to values of a distant past. The neo-fundamentalists, represented by global corporatism, are trying to substitute the reality of chaos and change by an artificial form of reality. Then there are Cultural Creatives, whose saner and evolutionary response is to forge a new, higher and integral synthesis
The universe is infinitely expanding. There is no escape from time. Matter in itself is eternally sacred and change is the only permanent principle. All of man’s inventions represent the masculine wind and fire energy.
The adolescent masculine energies in the form of global corporatism are trying to retain their control over the feminine energies to establish a hierarchical certainty. Those are the neo-fundamentalists, trying to substitute the reality of chaos and change by an artificial form of reality.
In sharp contrast, the Cultural Creatives (a term coined by Paul Ray, now the subject of a book and a movement that claims that there are over 100 million people in the USA and Europe who fall in this category) are looking for a new, higher and integral synthesis. Some modern biologists are proposing that biological evolution too follows dialectical progression.
Out of every predominant species comes a variation that stands antithetical to the prior, giving rise to a new and greater unity. All indigenous cultures had a unitive vision. Now holistic practices are once again coming to the fore everywhere.
As David Bohm puts it, behind the apparent chaos is an implicit order and there is a constant dance between the masculine and feminine forces. As complexities in the energy-harnessing techniques increase, people are more and more alienated from their spiritual basis. Paradoxically, for one culture to evolve further, it has to regress in time to reconnect to its primary sources.
The aspects that were overlooked at one stage contribute to rejuvenating the decaying over-specialised culture. In India I find many examples of a modern synthesis of visionaries in business with those in other fields to create wealth in its highest function. The spiritual inspiration and human dignity that reflect in the social structure is a contrast to the corporate America of the last decade.
As US companies try to improve their bottomlines, there are thousands of layoffs. This has given rise to much fear, which I call the ‘Titanic effect’. Titanic was a blockbuster because it represents the hidden fear of the people that this economy is not sustainable and that ordinary people are not going to benefit from it. Their standards of living will fall.
Look at the plight of software employees. Every story is a variant of four or five archetypal great stories of the human species, viz., Beowulf, Iliad, Odyssey and the Mahabharata.
They represent the fate of human beings confronting an uncertain destiny and draw upon the spiritual powers of the Universe as embodied in gods and goddesses to guide us in our way home. All these stories have educational or inspirational power. This was true for the first food-gatherers. It is equally true for the dotcommers.
Sita in the Ramayana represents the deep-rooted feminine strength. She maintained her integrity in the face of Ravana’s pressure. At the end, as a reward for her loyalty, Lord Rama comes to rescue her from the seductions of material wealth. In Titanic, the young hero, a penniless artist, falls in love with a suicidal girl who is engaged to a wealthy man she does not love.
He brings her back from the brink of death and saves her spirit. At the end, she becomes a survivor. Redemption comes only through love and not material wealth. I agree with Osho that the greatest proof of meditation is neither in the caves nor on the cushion but in the marketplace. The false dichotomy between the material and the spiritual has to be abolished.
But Osho gave a bad name to Indian gurus, who became a subject for scandals. This gave the American mind an impression that the East is not strong enough to withstand the forces of materialism and celebrity culture. Now the Cultural Creatives are going to the original wisdom of the ancient civilisations such as the Vedic, the Incan, the Mayan and the Celtic to forge a new tradition.
A planetary consciousness is emerging. International air travel, telecommunications and the Internet have made it possible for the layman to think of himself as a global citizen. Material communication will develop further, forging a kind of neural network of the world.
Sri Aurobindo believed that consciousness is a constantly evolving process. The Vedic insights, which were in their seed form, are now developing fully. James Redfield, in his Secret of Shambala, stresses on heaven, earth and man.
The Mayan tradition has the feathered serpent, which too is the symbol of bringing together the earth energy and the sky energy. In India you have the Ardha Narishwara. The Shivalingam is always embedded in the Yoni. We are moving towards a sacred marriage between the deep feminine and the deep masculine energies.
Ayurveda talks of the evolutionary manifestations of life from the five elements out of the primordial oneness. The wind and fire are masculine. Water and earth are feminine. Therefore, creation itself descends from the masculine to the hoop of the feminine.
Out of the mother matrix of Earth and water- saturated indigenous cultures came a masculine liberating emphasis, because one of the aspects of the matrix is that unless there is a movement in the life nurturing stage to a liberating and disintegrating stage, everything dies. If the feminine aspect provides the ground for creation, the liberating or the masculine aspect is absolutely necessary to hold the creation.
If the baby does not go out of the womb, both the mother and the baby die. I think India has the potential to give rise to a planetary culture. The adolescent male culture of global corporatism has to give birth to a deep Shiva-like fearless masculine attitude, which will give a call to the deep feminine aspect.
America is called the ‘Rome of today’. In Rome, the feminine aspect of intuition and imagination was repressed. To arrive at a synthesis, Christianity, along with its feminine Mother Church, was called into play around AD 312. Similarly, corporatism is the effort to absorb all the pre-existing cultures and turn them into a form of secular consumerism.
But the pioneers of renaissance such as Descartes, Copernicus and Kant were themselves deeply rooted in spirituality. They had to take the support of reason to break the hegemony of the Mother Church. But now in the age of global corporatism we have lost all our contact with the spiritual ground by over-emphasising reason.
Meanwhile, the adolescent masculine cultures are fearing the feminine. The West is fearful of eastern spirituality trying to control the spirit through technology. The East itself has left behind the unitive vision and has turned into spiritual escapism. This has left India materially crippled.
Fortunately, all world cultures are now gathering around a yagna-like fire. Each is offering its finest and highest gift to invoke the cosmic energy and bring it down into the domain of time. Together we have to bring out a synthesis between the mature masculine and the mature feminine.
We have to go from science to God without taking recourse to irrational belief. The final outcome will be a diamond-like consciousness where we shall be like facets of the brilliant illumination of a cultural communion.
-as told to Parveen Chopra
Duncan Campbell is a celebrated American TV and radio interviewer who has ‘dialogued’ with New Age personalities such as James Redfield, Deepak Chopra, Jean Houston and David Frawley. He is based in Boulder, Colorado, USA.
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