Transpersonal Theory & the Astrological Mandala: An Evolutionary Model by Gerry Goddard
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An Astrological Narrative of Western Cultural History
Part III: The Postmodern Period


The Real Crisis: Our Evolutionary Imperative


By the twentieth century, the post-Newtonian relativistic and quantum cosmos 'opened up' revealing the vast and indeterminate space of the twelfth principle. Thereby was compelled a humbling of egoic confidence (6th pr) in the capacity of individual reason to disclose an articulable truth even as it reached its apogee of sophistication and technical brilliance as the sixth principle. In fact, it has been precisely the intensified, analytical, and critical sixth principle laser-mind that has disclosed the twelfth principle world as ultimately multidimensional, indeterminate and unsystematizable. At this threshold period, major movements in the first half of the twentieth century affirming the privileged nature of scientific objectivity—logical positivism of the Vienna group, behaviourism from Watson to Skinner to Ryle—staged a rearguard action to preserve modernist rational-objective certainty. With the gradual differentiation of the last of the six deep structures comprising the Outward arc, the carefully and proudly constructed rational modernist structures of the eleventh principle—progressive secular humanism and preeminent scientific universalism—began to dissolve in the radically relativistic and epistemologically ungrounded chaos of the twelfth principle. In the Piscean twelfth principle there is no vantage point, no purchase for values or for a critique of system. The twelfth is a breakdown of systems boundaries (including egoic and nation-state boundaries). There are no legitimating metanarratives to guide our way; no stable meta perspective; no set of axiomatic philosophical principles or precise distinctions (e.g. analytic/synthetic, concept/intuition, representation/represented). In the wake of collapsing structures and overarching frameworks, a condition of increasing doubt and uncertainty—clinging to past, recoiling from future—became pervasive.

Powerfully and richly exemplified in the arts and humanities especially of the first half of the twentieth century, the emerging angst was in part the response of the individual to the increasing authority of the disenchanted scientific cosmos, with its loss first of the divine (both traditional and romantic), and then the loss even of that rational humanist optimism, the European confidence in steady social-ethical progress linked to techno-economic advances. The inevitable failure (as yet) to accomplish a synthesis between the Romantic and Enlightenment-scientific perspectives from stage 5/11 has led to an even more deeply felt ontological chasm between a psyche hungry for meaning and purpose and a psyche which knows itself as contingently spat forth by a spiritually bereft cosmos. Not only would the utilitarian and liberal social vision begin to unravel—despite certain recognizable and important advances such as broadened suffrage, recognition of human rights and, in a qualified sense, widening affluence—but the optimistic Romantic impulse to rise above the split to re-unite with a living Nature in defiance of science and its soulless vision, would reveal itself as another frustrated human aspiration. Despite their protest, the arts and humanities were held to be, and in fact felt themselves to be merely subjective, to be emotionally compelling yet ultimately empty gestures within a material and indifferent universe: aesthetics, merely icing on the scientific cake of reality; morals, merely survival-driven social patterns in a Darwinian world. Notwithstanding earlier critiques of science such as Heidegger’s and later postmodern exposes of the nonrational and political undercurrents (12th) of the systematic scientific enterprise (11th) by Kuhn and Fereyabend, the conviction as to the legitimacy of science’s refutation of all premodern and non-naturalistic viewpoints became the unchallenged bedrock of the mainstream educated twentieth century mind. With a less than certain self esteem, the Romantic ethos rooted in the second quadrant self (the emergent Q2 Night force) was seen to be less veridical then the 'fathers' with their scientific view of nature and their epiphenomenal view of psyche. As Tarnas (1991), who has given us what may be the most insightful and nuanced account of the psycho-cultural dynamics of this particular period of history, eloquently puts it:

The Romantic's quest for spiritual ecstacy, union with nature, and fulfillment of self and society, previously buttressed by the progressive optimism of the eighteenth and ninteenth centuries, had met the dark realities of the twentieth, and the existentialist predicament was felt by many throughout the culture...Faced with the relentless impersonality of the modern world—whether mechanized mass society or soulless cosmos—the Romantic's only remaining response appeared to be despair or self-annihilating defiance. Nihilism in a multitude of inflections now penetrated cultural life with growing insistence. The earlier Romantic passion to merge with the infinite began to be turned against itself, inverted, transformed into a compulsion to negate that passion. Romanticism's disenchanted spirit increasingly expressed itself in fragmentation, dislocation, and self-parody, its only possible truths those of irony and dark paradox. (pp.389,390)

So as surely as Enlightenment rationalism met its denouement, the Romantic conception would meet its limits in the twelfth principle. As expressed by Taylor (1979): "A subjectivity which is inspired tirelessly to create new forms is one which by definition can never achieve integral expression, can never find a form which truly expresses itself"—in Hegel’a terms, a 'bad infinity'. And as Taylor describes the eventual darker face of the Romantic movement, we hear the subjective existential cry before the groundless space of the twelfth principle, for as in Hegel's view "there is an inner link between the Romantic subject's claims to boundless creativity and his experience of the world as God-forsaken..." (p.13)

Post-Romantic existentialism (from Kierkegaard to Sartre) came to embody and express the inherent tensions of this (6th pr) radically self-reflective experiential situation—man alone in a universe without ground, without centre, without direction, bereft even of his own nature (12th pr). Such an existential analysis and its accompanying angst was a response to the past, to the collapse of old structures, both religious and humanist, a psychological dislocation exacerbated by a persistant clinging to those past convictions. Even as the 6/12 structure begins to differentiate historically, most of us even now remain functionally rooted in the modernist paradigm, psychologically dependent on an existential bedrock that is no longer secure. In this sense, the existentialists—like Pascal and those who, nurtured within the cradle of the Ptolemaic cosmos, came to encounter the dizzying infinities of the Copernican revelation—were being reluctantly 'moved along' by history into the next stage or deep structure while still entangled within the conceptual webbing of the previous structure. They were impaled on the horns of Cartesian and Kantian dualisms even as they 'saw' into a 'void' which lay beyond the visions of both science and Romanticism. The sixth principle radical critique of objective scientific and positivist claims to truth—Heidegger, the later Wittgenstein, deconstructionist thinking from Derrida to Rorty—remained locked in androcentric fashion within the strictures of an imbalanced intellectualism and an incapacity to see beyond the tangible-physical second and the logical-linguistic third principles.

But existentialist analysis, like radical moral relativism, rather than disclosing the ultimate nature of things as meaningless, reveals, through a kind of unintentional reductio ad absurdum, the limitations and contradictions inherent in the naturalistic-modernist paradigm, thus releasing us from existentialism's nihilistic verdict. The initial emergence of the 6/12 axis points to a radical failure, yet a necessary failure of that consciousness which had inevitably come to encounter its own limits, a developmental folly which itself has now become the teaching. Driven by a need for truth and for emancipation from individualistic isolation, both scientific reason and Romanticism searched in opposite directions—the former for an understanding of the universal law through systematization and objectification, the latter in an unbridled experience and freely subjective expression of Nature's source. Though dialectically in tension, rather than leading ultimately to diametrically opposed conclusions, they seem more and more to have now encountered a vast space pregnant with possibility, yet bereft of foundational structures or reliable guiding principles. The way 'in' to the interior and the way 'out' to the great cosmos (taking the 'outer' cosmos in both its macrocosmic and microcosmic directions) seem to have led to the same place, a place described by the polarity of the sixth and twelfth principles, a dimensionality apparently amenable to whatever perspective we choose from which to approach and view it. All this notwithstanding that within the terms of any particular perspective or epistemological approach, there are more adequate and less adequate articulations.

The twelfth principle as an archetype signifies the ethos of endings: the end of history, the end of philosophy1, the end of Man, the end of the self, the end of the subject, the end of certainty, the end of foundations, the end of the very basis for the Enlightenment moral progress narrative—even the end of the project of emancipation, the very project of Marx and Habermas. But according to Adorno and Habermas, the demand for social emancipation is an inherent feature of society; as a value it cannot be separated from what a social system objectively is—certainly a foundational feature of the sign Aquarius (11th pr). Yet as Marcuse (1964) maintains, "All liberation depends on the consciousness of servitude [6/12]...The distinguishing feature of advanced industrial society is its effective suffocation of those needs which demand liberation." (p.7) And expressing such a negative twelfth principle theme: “[the] absorption of ideology into reality does not...signify the ‘end of ideology’ a specific sense advanced industrial culture is more ideological than its predecessor, inasmuch as today the ideology is in the process of production itself....the products indoctrinate and manipulate, they promote a false consciousness which is immune against its falsehood.” (1964, 11,12)—the stupifying and pacifying mists of the twelfth principle.

Rather than a structure or dimension unfolding beyond the ninth, tenth and eleventh principles disclosing a totally new dimension, the twelfth principle, by general astrological agreement, reveals and in some sense includes (including the eleventh principle emancipation project as above) the entire cycle in a new way. As such, it aptly characterizes the postmodern situation where no single style dominates, where "every important element of the Western intellectual past is now present and active in one form or another," (Tarnas,1991, p402) where styles from other times and cultures and interweavings of textual references subsume the individual author or creator so that "the self no longer uses language to express itself; rather the language speaks through the person" and "the individual self becomes a medium [Pisces] for the culture and its language." (Kvali 1995) By immediate and direct experiencing, by our knowing and valuing of our freedom prior to abstract thought, the 'world,' rather than a meaningless and nihilistic void, becomes the ramified dimensionality and creatively responsive space of the twelfth principle. Self and world, subject and object, particular and universal are in a sense re-joined as an archetypal interpenetration of the space of the sixth and twelfth principles (the rebalancing of the Day and Night principles across the second and fourth quadrants).

The sense that individual and social are no longer demarcated but interpenetrating at the 6/12 phase is, of course, a profoundly different sense from that of the 4/10 phase where the individual is conventionally and socially defined and contained. With reference to Durkheim's notion of the ‘collective consciousness’, our twelfth principle world, to express it in Taylor's (2002) terms, is no longer a paleoDurkheimian world with its enforced political-religious unity, or even a neo-Durkheimian world where religion is still defined collectively and even nationally, but now voluntarily, but a post-Durkheimian world where religion has in James's sense become a strictly personal and radically individualistic experiential matter happily divorced from institutional dogmas. Hence we see the twelfth principle as multicultural and multidimensional while the corresponding sixth principle is the freely choosing individual who cannot be said to be shaped or conditioned by it in the 4th/10th paleo-Durkheimian sense.

In twelfth principle fashion, the boundaries of the increasingly secular nation state from phase 5/11—where the more simple though powerful dualistic tension between traditional religious authority and a rising science was salient—no longer define and contain one or two largely monolythic cultures (secular and religious) but rather contain a multitude of cultures both internally generated by increasingly individualized religious-cultural choices (6th pr) and formed by increasing global interconnections passing across previous boundaries through patterns of emigration and immigration. Twelfth principle multiculturalism leads to a resurgence of religion, though now as a pluralistic mosaic challenging the late 19th and earlier 20th century secular and scientific humanism. We are speaking here of a Piscean processive and noninstitutional religion, distinctly social rather than Protestant-inspired individualistic and subjectivist. We can see here the archetypal expression of the weakening Night force through the fourth quadrant, the lessening of social communion, meaning, not the breakdown into free-thinking secular Enlightenment individuals but the formations of a pluralistic fabric of cultural-religious groups—religion and culture no longer held and defined by the tenth principle Church, Government and historically constituted Nation-State. Remember that the Day force through the second hemisphere is not the individual (see chapter 10) but the smaller agentic social unit which is creating a milieu that is called to balance a cosmopolitan embrace of difference and a continuation of the self-preserving spirit of ethnocentrism yet now freed of national identity (i.e. in the sense of nation-state identity rather than tribal identity). This particular character of postmodernity, no longer absolutist yet neither fully relativist, is captured in this declaration of the prominent anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss:

We are doubtless deluding ourselves with a dream when we think that equality and fraternity will some day reign among human beings without compromising their diversity...all true creation implies a certain deafness to the appeal of other values...for one cannot fully enjoy the other, identify with him, and yet at the same time remain different....the great creative eras were those in which communication had become adequate for mutual stimulation by remote partners, yet was not so frequent or so rapid as to endanger the indispensable obstacles between individuals and groups or to reduce them to the point where overly facile exchanges might equalize and nullify their diversity. (Quoted in Clifford Geertz 2000).

Yet in this multicultural and multi-religious mosaic the individual is called to make the choice. The sixth/twelfth stage-structure calls us, in our moment of ‘choice’, to step outside of the cultural institutional milieu which has shaped us in order to develop as creatively participating individuals in communion with other individuals—but not all individuals, only those of common persuasion, for the universalizing principle belongs to the 5/11 stage. Society's evolving shape, its cultural and institutional structures, becomes ever more the intersubjective creation of such post 5/11 individuals rather than the 'given' (society), rather than the separate thing-in-itself. It is precisely in no longer offering the authoritative structures that conventionally inform the egoic self that twelfth principle society—i.e. the disclosed public world—catalyzes in many, apparently under the press of the most critical circumstances, an awakening of true individual autonomy and post-conventionality under the sixth principle. Such self-defining self-reliance of the truly autonomous individual is possible only in a collective matrix which, in the overarching sense, is free, undefined, and undefining. In this way, a fundamental and central truth of postmodernity most aptly symbolized by the sixth/twelfth axis, is that once the individual reaches that extreme of self responsible, self defining autonomy (in Virgoian 6th principle fashion), the 'world' which the person confronts, the world he or she is 'in,' is not and cannot logically be a world which is thoroughly 'other' with a nature in itself independent of the experiencing subject and imposed from outside. It is the traditional reification of human laws, institutions and practices that stands to be ever more revealed at this stage of history—most pressingly at present, the emphatic and largely disengenuous reification of the global marketplace as the controlling hammer wielded by hegemonic elites.

No longer can we legitimately define individual freedom as the Kantian era defined it, as necessarily over against natural inclination and social heteronomy. Yet such a condition of creative chaos at the edge of collapse constitutes a dangerous transition, an arduous test, a kind of new, yet now noospheric, 'survival of the fittest'. Such raises the ultimate question of whether homosapiens, those directly responsible for the biospheric disaster and still largely unselfcritically engaged in those destructive practices are 'fit' to survivewhere ‘fitness’ will be determined by entirely different criteria than the traditional. Deprived of our social props, we are either thrown back upon our own deeper existential resources or we suffer fragmentation and regression. Here is the inevitable result of the original project of individualism; namely, the responsibility of the individual, distinct from social definitions, to choose and shape his or her own self in relation to the archetypally corresponding twelfth principle world, a blank yet willing and participating canvas upon which to paint and express one's creative potentialitiesalong with everybody else.

The second quadrant subject and the fourth quadrant object—now the sixth principle self-critical ironic subject and the twelfth principle ineffable object—are still indeed distinct, but not as separate absolutes. So instead of inhabiting a divided universe consisting of two literally existent ontological realms or dimensions—the subject and the object, the self and the world, the individual and the society—we now inhabit a world where the subject/object distinction, although still real, is structured in a different way. That is, the subject and object are still necessarily distinct, but this polarity is the archetypal form of any and every experience, any and every identifiable 'entity', phenomenon, event. All is now contained in a unifying 'space' in which phenomenal event-patterns arise, a non-physical ‘space’ which is itself neither subject nor object. Our contemporary conditions are constituted by the very attempt to resolve the problems inherited from the late Enlightenment. Although we may not be able to achieve a deep resolution in terms of our present deep archetypal structure, especially at this early phase of it, there have been profound changes in the fundamental terms in which the essential issues are being experienced and proposed.

Postmodernity is a necessary clearing of the old as the precondition for creative renewal but it also manifests as a collapse of the old in the form of an intellectual nihilism (or radical pragmatism), a cultural-spiritual vacuum which has unfortunately encouraged a rejuvenated materialist-economic and religious 'fundamentalism' (‘nature abhors a vacuum’). Just as we have made significant gains in human rights, we are in danger of losing the intellectual and ethical authority for those rightsthe best of our Enlightenment heritagein a world increasingly ruled by a sociopathic and exploitative capitalism and a radical leveling of all quality and greater meaning in an orgy of globalized and vulgarized diversity that, through its spiritual bankruptcy, is giving rise to a misguided religious and mythic-tribal reaction. Yet just as in the Renaissance, where a cultural, intellectual, and spiritual rebirth occurred in the most dire social and political circumstances, this kaleidoscope of intersecting multiple realities forms a rich and open ground for a rebirth of larger meaning freed from old oppressive strictures. In the words of Richard Tarnas (1991),

[I]t is evident that the most significant characteristics of the larger postmodern intellectual situation—its pluralism, complexity, and ambiguity—are precisely the characteristics necessary for the potential emergence of a fundamentally new form of intellectual vision, one that might both preserve and transcend the current state of extraordinary differentiation. (p 402)

Here is where the 'karmic shadow' of the past is to be confronted, where we as a culture are called to become reconciled with the past, to redeem the past. In this spirit, the words of the cultural historian Morris Berman (1981) are especially appropriate for capturing an essential quality of the twelfth principle, pointing toward that 'hoped for' 'reenchantment of the world':

Holistic society is thus coming upon us from a variety of sources that cut across the traditional left-right political axis. Feminism, ecology, ethnicity, and transcendentalism (religious renewal), which ostensibly have nothing in common politically, may be converging toward a common goal. These holistic movements...represent the repressed 'shadows' of industrial civilization....If there is any bond among the elements of this 'counterculture', it is the notion of recovery. Their goal is the recovery of our bodies, our health, our sexuality, our natural environment, our archaic traditions, our unconscious mind, our rootedness in the land, our sense of community and connectedness to one another. (p279)

And conjecturing upon the possibility of a "reenchantment of the world":

The infinite spaces whose silence terrified Pascal may appear to men and women of the future as extensions of a biosphere that is nurturing and benevolent. Meaning will no longer be something that must be found and imposed on an absurd universe; it will be given, and, as a result, men and women will have a feeling of cosmic connectedness, of belonging to a larger pattern. (p280)

The richness of intellectual, cultural and spiritual possibilities at this stage is indisputable and the inevitable spectrum of culture, from its most sublime creations to its more simplified and popular forms, both its positive and its negative features—a cultural renaissance yet an increasing economic disparity, 'leading edge' or 'high' culture along with commercialized popular or 'mass' culture and an upsurge in spiritually misguided religious beliefs and practices—are to be understood as enframed within the same archetypal terms. So genuinely higher developments along with changes that might be deemed pathological, bear the signature of this deep structure unfolding in history. As said, in healthy or optimum development, some old forms are to be retained while others are to be modified; still others are to be entirely transformed or replaced by completely new and higher level structures. A dialectic between elements of earlier structures and newly emergent characteristics results in a complex of creatively evolving and devolving or regressive elements, the totality of which characterize our age.

Notwithstanding the religious-cultural complexity that characterizes postmodernity, through 5/11 and early 6/12 the underlying thrust has been an increasingly strong rejection of the transcendent and religious, an iconoclastic demolition necessary for building the institutional and constitutional structures of secular liberal democracy. Such a strong secularist humanism which broke the hold of primal stage-level I provoked the development of the self-reliant citizen-individual of stage-level II. Now, rather than witnessing the simple bankruptcy and inherent limitations of the essential ideals of liberal humanist democracy, we are, in the world's pathologies, seeing the failure as yet of secular yet religiously tolerant humanism to evolve sufficiently both nationally and internationally. This phase at the end of the Outward arc concerns the further maturation of the individual who has questioned tradition and mythic dogma (including scientistic dogma) and who is now in position to find a grounding in a more satisfactory cosmology and spirituality appearing as the 7/1 telos of higher level II developments. The spiritual hiatus through the 5/11 to 6/12 transition produces among many of the less educated and among those overly influenced by the economically driven media, a fall into consumerist ennui or a reactionary return to mythic religion and right-wing politics (earlier levels of 2/8 & 4/10). Also appropriate to the twelfth principle is the current upsurge in apocalyptic thinking; not the rational concern about the destruction of the biosphere through the exploitation of nature but the resurgence of premodern mythic belief systems mediated by modernist propoganda techniques (e.g. televangelism). But our model shows that there is life beyond 6/12 if we can learn its lessons.

Many of the more educated seek greater meaning beyond mechanism, scientism, and consumerist materialism in the new ideas and new discoveries presently emerging. Some take up Level III transformative practices, undergoing epistemic shifts which allow a genuine agentic/communal balance. But it is not until level III that consciousness can be experienced as grounded in a dimensionality no longer identified with a disenchanted material nature, with the simple sensory-hedonic body, or with the productions of language and thought. Paradoxically, such a reawakened relationship to the 'Other', to that total natural Presence that had become lost through the Outward arc, involves a new experience and full embrace of the bodilythe body woven into the larger body of nature. The challenges and struggles of the 6/12 stage are leading us, but now from a much larger and fuller dimensionality, toward the rediscovery of that which had become lost through the Outward arc.

It is the archetypal character of this stage which has revealed, within the scientific field, the world’s essentially indeterminate complexity and chaos, a chaos which nevertheless spontaneously brings forth new and higher level orders. The Piscean twelfth principle itself denotes pure process; the interpenetration of wholes with permeable boundaries, interconnecting flowing patterns that exemplify the coming into balance of the Day and Night forces. The twelfth stage indeed marks a developmental leap for science from mechanistic atomism and positivism to more holistic and systems perspectives. Actually, we may understand twentieth and twenty first century science more precisely as a higher level development of the rational fabric of the eleventh principle as it goes on developing in terms of the early differentiations of the 6/12 structure.2 In the early eleventh principle science is atomistic for 5/11 is just emerging out of the decisive subject/object differentiation of 4/10. It is later in the 11th (i.e. 5/11), still in accord with the meaning of Aquarius, where 'systems science'both the hard and soft sciencesis introduced. Systems theory and holistic approaches in science occurred as leading edge culture moved from 5/11 to 6/12. But they actually express higher levels of the Aquarian 11th principle possible only after the next deep-structure was emerging (as explained in the latter part of chapter 6). In the development of post-positivistic structuralism and early systems theory we see a movement from the eleventh to the twelfth principle. Post-structuralism (postmodernism) is more deeply twelfth principle. Chaos theory in particular expresses this emergent twelfth principle and its scientific understanding as a continuation of the eleventh principle scientific project which went beyond the earlier mechanistic atomism. We see here the tensions between the concept of individual integration and greater autonomy of the fifth to sixth principles and the structuralist and systems views of the eleventh to twelfth principles which imply the end of the subject. Actually, our model points to the obvious complementarity and incompleteness of both views which need to be better seen as different faces of the same 6/12 holonic coin.

In this sense much of the new science remains immune to the extreme postmodern critique that would level science to purely cultural narrative. The Anthropic principle connecting cosmic origins and higher life forms; complementarity, indeterminacy and nonlocality in quantum theory; the Gaia hypotheses as an integral grasping of the evolutionary synergy of geosphere and biosphere; Sheldrake’s morphic fields giving a scientific basis to William McDougall’s 'group-mind;' 3 Jung’s collective unconscious—all resist that extreme reductionism which is, in light of the fact that every human production is necessarily given birth within a cultural context,4 simply tautologous. While such developments in science on the one hand and developments in critical postmodernism on the other begin to converge in their common rejection of materialist reductionism and over rationalist systematization, the 6/12 axis itself does not indicate, even in its highest mode, an ultimate experiential resolution of the inherent problems of duality—subject and object, self and world, soul and cosmos. 6/12 is the culmination and possibility of the maturation of the mental and noospheric level, not a new trans-egoic or transpersonal level which lies beyond it. Rather, 6/12 prepares the mental ground or cognitive foundation for such a total and experientially integrative resolution; it clears the decks so that such a resolution becomes a possibility. We can understand this emergent 6/12 dimension as a gradual re-balancing and preparation of a type of consciousness that must take place at the end of Stage II before we can begin to cross the boundary of the original or primal separation (D/A). So the sixth/twelfth space is not itself a realization of the transcendent, or a resolution of the problems of endless contextuality, but the individual/collective 'mind-space' necessary for increasing numbers of individuals to make the journey beyond into 7/1 and ultimately, into the transpersonal.

The liberal humanism of the Enlightenment—Locke, Rousseau, Condorcet, Paine—was grounded on the idea of the social contract between prior individuals conceived through an unhealthy skewing toward the distinct individual pole of thought where society, in true nominalist spirit, is an abstraction derived from and serving the individual. Collective thinking, embodied in the philosophies of Hegel and Marx challenges this view, positing the collective as the primary reality where the individual is an abstraction which serves society or the State. Actually, individualism and collectivism are polar principles which are interpenetrative as in, to use James Ogilvy’s terms, the 'conformist individualism' of the American fifties and the 'non-conformist collectivism' of the sixties. According to Ogilvy (1992a), both accounts are abstractions:

Rather than seeing the individual and the collective as ontologically given and concrete, individuality and collectivity can be recast as equal and opposite abstractions from the concrete life of everyday communities [my italics]. No individual is ever completely isolated, and no actual community has ever extended its reach to the entire species. Both individuality and species-being are abstractions from the concrete, day to day reality of life in limited communities. Both individuality and collectivity are biographical and historical achievements [rather than starting points]. (p.229-231)

This necessary interconnection of individual and society (a recognized Aquarian issue seeking resolution in 6/12’s approaching marriage of the Day and Night principles) is well expressed by Bellah:

There is a fear that institutions threaten individual freedom—freedom as the right to be left alone. This set of beliefs leads us to think of institutions as efficient or inefficient mechanisms...But "Freedom must exist within and be guaranteed by institutions, such as the right to participate in the economic and political decisions that effect our lives. What is missing in the classical liberal view of society? Just the idea that in our life with other people we are engaged continuously through our words and actions in the creation and re-creation of the institutions that make our life possible. So what the liberal idea tends to forget is that institutions are not only constraining but also enabling. They are not just neutral mechanisms but the substantial forms through which we understand our own identity and the identity of others as we seek cooperatively to achieve a decent society. (p158-160)

Distinct from the pathological form of individualistic self interest that has taken shape in the modern world in hand with the frenetic pace of technological development, there is also an evolutionary archetypally natural and healthy form of individual development within the matrix of an awakening culture. This optimum expression of the archetypal picture points toward the development of a thoroughly autonomous and responsible, critical and astute, self reliant, mature post-conventional person well symbolized by the sixth principle archetype. Being post-conventional, such 'individuals' are necessarily moving beyond society's institutions but are not thereby alienated from their fellow human beings. In their maturity, they realize their essential social and interconnected nature; this is, the mental and moral ecology, the 'we-are-all-in-the-same-boat' situation of the twelfth principle. The mature individual recognizes (as we now recognize, but without reductionism, the social-linguistic nature of the individual), his or her essential interconnection with society. Otherwise, the sixth manifests as 'only the fit survive'—only those individuals who can qualify in our present meritocracy can join the technocratic and managerial elites (using ‘fitness’ in the social Darwinist sense). Society must be healed before we can set about the task of intentionally healing the biosphere; as long as humans go on despising and destroying other humans, the heart of our Great Mother is being destroyed and the biosphere cannot be healed.

It is interesting that the increasing interpenetration of individual and collective at the 6/12 phase manifests in a concrete way as the increasing erosion of privacy. The traditionally valued distinction between public and private spheres is challenged by the current reality of ubiquitous surveillance cameras, the blatant sharing of previously private personal details on popular TV talk and reality shows, personal internet blogs, cell phone cameras, and the ease of broadcast of graphic details real or fake on the internet. In the lesser unconscious sense, all this reflects the increased commingling of the private and public spheres symbolized by the coming into balance of the Day and Night forces at this phase.

The Real Crisis

Despite the elements of an intellectual, psycho-social and cultural renascence already present, and against the larger background of the cultural tensions between secular liberalism and religious conservatism which have today reached a crescendo in Arabic/Western relations and within countries such as the United States, our present age is suffering a crisis—an ecological and socio-political crisis of global proportions. Through cultural deprivation and marginalization, the masses who had barely differentiated beyond 4/10, fall down into the mindless state described by a later and sadly more pessimistic Berman in his Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire, signifying—in the sense that the twelfth principle signifies dissolution and the end of any cycle—the collapse of the American Empire in particular. Psychologically speaking, 6/12 self knowledge and self improvement takes place in response to crisis, to sickness—the mental and bodily result of bad habits, the karma of ‘wrong’ living. A true evolutionary development to a next and 'higher' stage is by no means certain. As a global collective constituted of a majority still entrenched at religious 4/10, secular-modernist 5/11 and ironic-relativistic 6/12 levels, it is unclear how we, in actual practice, are going to meet—even if we are going to meet—our present evolutionary challenges. Socially, politically and economically, in the day-to-day global infrastructure in which we find ourselves, the present crisis has two equally disturbing concrete manifestations which demand integrated solutions: one, the continued industrial exploitation of the environment producing global warming, contaminated air and water, destruction of forests, extreme loss of species diversity, and two, social and cultural deterioration through an increasingly all powerful anti-democratic and profit-driven global marketplace driving an economic wedge between have and have-not peoples and nations while increasingly intermixed with, and constantly inflaming, reactionary, tribal and fundamentalist religious movements.5

The twelfth principle dimension (not a subjective state of mind but a plastic psycho-social, political, biospheric reality) which we are struggling to realize in its highest possibilities against the entropic gravity of certain socio-political realities, reveals itself in a jarring play of discordant yet related archetypal manifestations. As global society reaches a crescendo of complexity there are number of characteristic postmodern terms which also apply to the twelfth principle archetype: The increasing permeability of humanly constructed divisive boundaries, both personal and national, leads to a lowering of psychological, ethical and cultural autonomy and an invasion by primitive and destructive forces; The welcomed dissolving of 'inhuman' bureaucracy, fueled by the neoconservative agenda, becomes an uninformed populist revolt against taxes and 'big government' programs for the redistribution of wealth and guarantor of social justice, those structures which are the only possible voice of the very naive people who are calling for their devolution; Deconstruction becomes deregulation, allowing self-legitimizing corporations more freedom to amass profits by shamelessly exploiting people and the environment; Through an absence of intellectual discrimination (6th), openness and tolerance becomes naive gullibility, victimizing and brainwashing people by corporate propaganda and advertising; Diversity and choice become qualitative blurring and homogenization along with a trivialized pluralism, a “harmonizing pluralism where the most contradictory works and truths peacefully coexist in indifference” (Marcuse1964, p61)—thus neutralizing the power of dissent and social/cultural critique; Decentering becomes decentralization supported by corporatists who can then escape local and national social-environmental controls; Reactionary fundamentalist religious movements—decadent expressions of the twelfth principle Neptunian archetype—seek unsuccessfully to recapture the 'solid ground' of the past only to become mired in the intellectual and moral quicksand of the twelfth principle.

In Hegel's concept of Aufhebung, we see that any sort of development from one stage to the next occurs in such a way that the 'lower' or previous stage-structure is both preserved and annulled in the next and higher stage-level. To the degree that the institutional structures of the tenth and eleventh principles define, nurture and protect the freedom and autonomy of the individual against the rule of non-democratically legitimated power, they must be preserved. This very issue becomes salient in the postmodern era as certain democratic nationally-based gains are in danger of being lost. What is called for is a trans-national, humanistic transformation of all parochial, ethnocentric, chauvinistic, sexist, racist, classist and exploitative forms. This transformation demands individualized, autonomous, post-conventional, morally responsible and self-determining sixth principle individuals whose social milieu is multidimensional, creative and indeterminate (12th pr.). The present world crisis is a crisis of hegemonic power, not of traditional elites, aristocracy and bureaucratic government, but primarily of the market place. The private sector has slipped the moorings of liberal humanism and participatory democracy, influencing and controlling government which even if not engaged proactively in numbing and deadening the common mind, simply neglects to educate the citizenry. The 'citizen' has become the 'consumer'. Robert Bellah writes,

[T]he greatest threat to our genuine human happiness, to real community and to the creation of a good society comes not only from a state whose power becomes too coercive...but from an economy that becomes too coercive, that invades our private and group lives and tempts us to a shallow and competitive individualism that undermines all our connections to other people.(p.157)

Economic hegemony is actually the end result of the development of radical individualism. Corporate power poses as the 'collective' power of our day as it masses everyone together; but it is not a genuinely collectivizing force. Following the unlimited freedom of absolute individualism (never intended by its Enlightenment authors, John Locke nor even Adam Smith), it acts as if it is collective, but its 'collectivizing' increasingly serves only the interests of the few. There is nothing more antisocial, antidemocratic and socially irresponsible than today's too-large corporations committed solely to the profit of managers and shareholders. In fact, in the United States in particular, corporations have been defined as individuals with all the rights of individuals which has allowed them to function largely as sociopathic pragmatists rather than ethically guided persons. This is the institutionalization of a particularly primitive notion of the individual, namely, individual self interest. Such a notion is based on instrumental reason, a narrowly hedonistic interpretation of the utilitarian ethic and an interpretation of individual freedom as freedom from any sort of restraint against the individual's absolutely self-interested competitive drive. In fact, it can be argued that such a radical individualism expresses the victory of one pole of a profound dialectic which has shaped the modernist period, a dynamic polarity of viewpoints which Wilber calls the 'ego' and the 'eco' and which, as we have seen, Taylor identifies as the primary challenge of the Enlightenment—a tension between the autonomous ego of Enlightenment rationalism and the urge for self expression and communion with nature of the Romantics. In terms of our astrological model, corporatism could be described as an aberrant syncretism of Q1 individualism and Q4 collective power. Despite the over emphasis on radical individualism, in reality more and more individuals, while experiencing alienation, are becoming less and less autonomous. As the central ego (4th & 5th) is challenged and fragmented in the postmodern mentality, so also is the centrality of public power (10th and 11th). Consequently, there is an undermining of the power of the individual who is then defenseless against those more primitive forces (from without and from within) which the Enlightenment had contained, yet through its materialism, instrumental reason and hedonistic utilitarian emphasis, it had also spawned. The separation of church and state, a major democratic development of the last few centuries, has given way to the marriage of government and market place (and now, at the time of writing, in the Republican ruled United States, church and state are once more being woven together).

Thus, the people lose power and the individual drowns in an amorphous sea of more 'primitive' structures—psychologically regressive and non-democratic greed-driven corporations which, because of weakened increasingly decentralized national governments, have been able to slip through the web of previously hard won democratic legal controls. The Enlightenment democratic gains of the eleventh in relation to the tenth principle governments which brought government more and more into accord with the individual and local community is now being lost. As Taylor (1979) sees it, the "ideology of participation...cannot cope with the complexity and fragmentation of a large-scale contemporary society. Many of its protagonists see this, and return to the original Rousseauian idea of a highly decentralized federation of communities. But in the meantime the growth of a large homogeneous society has made this much less feasible....homogenization has undermined the partial communities which would naturally have been the basis of such a decentralized federation in the past." (p. 116)

The emerging 7/1 and 8/2 individuals and subcultures at present appear unable to rescue societies at large from their tribal, reactionary and raw capitalist entrenchments. Nevertheless, the highest developments in 6/12 unfold toward the telos of D/A or 7/1, such a movement being pulled forward by the goal already lived and expressed through 7/1 exemplars who function as a compass for optimal 6/12 integrative developments. But as optimum developments in higher level II are possible and even necessary for the individual as preparation for the adequate incorporation of transcendent and deep rebirth level III experiences, so to does the collective (i.e. a sufficient number of the world's nations and peoples) have to undergo in socio-political and economic-environmental terms, a corresponding and challenging preparation. It is open to question whether it is valid to speak of a new spirituality actually bringing humanity beyond its Level II problems into a level III rebirth like Aurobindo's envisioned material-collective transfiguration through a 'descent of the supermind.' The hope for humanity as a whole is to move from an immature psycho-social level II to a more mature level II over the next decades and possibly centuries—yet a maturity that appears at this point to be possible only through an extraordinary degree of hardship. Only a level II which is more mature than at present is capable of grasping and translating, in a concretely developmental way, the experiences and deep perspectives of early level III. (I’ll pursue further the issue of collective evolutionary possibilities of the transition from level II to level III at the end of chapter 17.)

Our Evolutionary Imperative

In the popular mind, to make the claim that human life is collectively evolving is heard as identical to the claim that things are, generally speaking, getting better and better, at least for an ever greater number. In the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, a belief in such a global collective evolution seems to many naive. As even Aurobindo, the quintessential spiritual evolutionist, writes, "Even a philosophy admitting a soul or spirit or a spiritual terminus of the evolutionary movement...could very well deny the capacity for earth for a divine life." (p208). But evolution means the emergence of new deep structures each of which brings new evolutionary challenges which result in both higher and lower manifestations—new opportunities and dimensionalities along with new failings and pathologies. What is unique about the 6/12 phase is that the optimum mode is an intelligent and creative response to the reality of failure, the inevitable outcome of the level I dualistic split (Washburn's primal repression/alienation, the advent of patriarchy and the exploitation of the feminine as woman and nature). Since deep structures enframe both the individual and the collective, if one acknowledges the possibility and actuality of individual development and evolution, then by implication one must also acknowledge the possibility, though albeit a much larger and slower actuality, of wide spread collective development.

Many of the pathologies at any particular stage can be attributed to a stuckness at an earlier stage. To be 'stuck' at level 4/10, say, is not the same as being at 4/10 in an earlier stage of history. Stuckness at an earlier stage is evidence that a new structure and its conditions has emerged in the face of which an entrenchment in past and now outmoded conditions is the inadequate and destructive response. A salient example of this is the rise of reactionary fundamentalism, unapologetic imperialism amd social Darwinism in the most powerful of post-Enlightenment democracies—the United States. Such a regression—a deflection downward of the optimum trajectory through 4/10 to 5/11 to 6/12—is as much a reaction to the emergence of 6/12 internationalism and multiculturalism as a stubborn expression of 4/10 fear-driven conformity, 'law and order' and military might. Now that the world is being dragged kicking and screaming into the 6/12 dimension where, in terms of mother nature, the stakes have become extreme and the karmic results of Gaia's mistreatment are everywhere evident, a prolonged failure to meet these new 6/12 evolutionary challenges in a 'good enough' fashion will possibly end in disaster for humanity and the biosphere.

Despite developments in certain parts of the world beyond tribalism, sexism, and racism, we are faced with the overwhelming concrete reality of continued biospheric exploitation, increasing economic disparity and the marginalization of mounting numbers of people, not only deprived of their fair share of material security and well-being, but more importantly, bereft of cultural literacy and educational enrichment with a consequent increase in the worst forms of market-driven mass culture, propaganda from government and various subcultures, and a resulting degeneration of the democratic process itself.6 Either we will manifest this archetypal dimension with increasing conscious awareness where, unlike earlier forms of relativistic deconstruction, facing the truth becomes paramount, or we may face a devastating environmental and social collapse at the end of a great cycle which began with the advent of homospaiens.

Yet even a global collapse, rather than causing a simple regression back to the stone age, will likely impel a particular kind of learning appropriate to the evolutionary imperative of our time. If the human population at present levels cannot (or will not) learn these lessons in these earlier phases of the 6/12 stage, then a significantly reduced population in a severely compromised natural environment will be challenged and given the opportunity to do so in later phases of the 6/12 stage. I have difficulty believing as some New Age futurists and some transpersonalists envision, that a state of chaos produced by humanity's failure to adequately meet the 6/12 challenges, as it is called to do so through the archetypal meaning of Level II, is going to rescue us by the spontaneous emergence of a higher order a la Prigogene's dissipative structures. The level II work with its Virgoian archetypal flavour is not going to be done for us by any rising unconscious force which will save us from ourselves—of course, notwithstanding Piscean quantum leaps, new discoveries, unexpected breakthroughs and evolutionary serendipities. A new hope will be born when, in practical response to the environmental and social crises, a critical number of mature level II individuals intentionally and alertly, enter the portals of level III.

Along with the use of fewer nonrenewable resources it is necessary for profound modifications in technology to take place through miniaturization, alternate sources of power and biologically friendly technologies (bio-mimicry) that can save the biosphere from that total devastation which would result if the present trajectory is not altered. In the absence of appropriate and suffciently wide spread change, after an inevitable increase beyond present levels, the likely reality during this century and the next is a drastic reduction in the world's population through environmental disasters due to continued global warming and the failure to turn around the industrial-capitalist juggernaut. At this writing the evidence points toward such inevitable disaster that the eco-sensitive scientist James Lovelock as well as certain other noted environmentalists such as Patrick Moore and Stewart Brand have desperately resorted to promoting nuclear power as our only possible stop-gap salvation from global warming. But such a move, along with its paradigmatic link to biogenetic engineering, will create its own actual and possible dangers and disasters (Uranium mining, waste products, human error, terrorism, insecure nation states etc.), perpetuating what has become for Gaia intolerable—the momentum of an unbalanced masculinist, heroic, even Faustian 5/11 modernism. This suggested 'solution' supports the perpetuation of the very global system that is needing to be radically transformed. The question is, will such possible disasters in the long run 'select' for those traits and established values and practices which point toward stage 7/1? Will such terrible environmental outcomes (including the effects of such ‘solutions’ as nuclear power and biogenetic engineering of food supplies) lead to a loss of civilization and a rise of barbarity dooming humanity to eventual total extinction? Or will such a situation actually favour over the next few centuries co-operative, ingenious and responsible behaviours both physically and psycho-socially, so that through these crises the way is paved for the emergence of the cooperative and biospherically attuned 7/1 structure —with collective memory and know-how hopefully intact but within a new paradigm?

To learn these lessons demands from each of us an Olympian mobilization of our own psycho-spiritual resources, a maximization of our individual intelligence and moral responsibility, to open in faith to an infinitely open space which is our shared and mutually-to-be-created world. Awakening beyond the existentialist's initial call to nobly thrash around within a Void inventing futile 'meanings' and 'purposes,' we seek to attune in consciousness to the deep archetypal structure which is here to guide us. Now, as never before, it is incumbent on more and more individuals to awaken. The individualthe 'interior' pathis, as never before, the channel of the evolutionary impulse. But this is not the distinct, separate and self-interested individual. This interiority leads not to a solipsistic withdrawal from the collective and the reach of history; rather, it leads through the interior space to a deeper inclusive objective dimension of ever more subtle levels of Spirit. Individual expression, full self actualization and psycho-spiritual fulfillment no longer imply a necessary esoteric withdrawal from the conformist pressures of worldly societal life. Now more than ever, this mode of individual unfolding is profoundly socially and culturally participatory. The individual comes to know that his or her development is one with the community, with others, with the evolutionary advance of human culture as the matrix of further development. The present deep structure is a doorway to that Spirit, a preparation for the 'Return path'those levels of the transpersonal which still await us in our collective future.

Postmodern epistemology—this perspective on perspectives—is hardly the last word. It is not inevitable that we remain lost in conceptual space. Like any developmental stage, the next step is contained implicitly within the order of things and awaits its natural birth. Relativistic postmodernism is a phase within a stage within an overarching evolutionary process containing numerous dimensions and sub-stages. It is indeed a stage of momentous significance that heralds a fundamental archetypal change of direction in the grand trajectory of consciousness. The 'heroic' thrust of history—Tarnas' Promethean principle, the dominance of the assertive and individualizing force, the painful 'triumph' of the patriarchy over the original matriarchies—has reached a necessary extreme, the developmental limit of the 'Outward path' of evolution. All the essential biological and mental structures are in place; further differentiation and complexification, fueled by the 'causal' drive, the 'force from behind,' simply adds ever more endless variations on a now dying theme. A teleological principle is pulling us forward to a new path, urging us to seek integration, the ending of duality, awakening us to the profound depths of our original separation and ultimately to a union with all of nature from the place of soul and spirit. Here we are being prepared for the path of awareness, of opening, responding, allowing—moving toward a new integration of mind and body, self and other, male and female, creature and creator. No longer 'knowing', fluid and open, sensitively aware of 'difference'—not naively, but keenly self aware, self critical, cognitively fully developed—we are now called in a new direction. That this comes through a crisis, a particular stage of illness and healing, is the message of Virgo and Pisces.


1. Embodying this twelfth principle ethos (yet expressed with the precision of the critical and pragmatic sixth principle) is the philosopher Richard Rorty who argues that the "quest for understanding" should no longer be run together with the "unatural quest for certainty." He calls for philosophy to give up its fruitless quest to ground human knowledge and to realize itself as an "edifying conversation" thoroughly social and historical. Rather than mind mirroring objective nature, we encounter the holistic and foundationless character of the twelfth principle: "A thoroughgoing holism has no place for the notion of philosophy as 'conceptual, as apodictic, as picking out the 'foundations' of the rest of knowledge, as explaining which representations are 'purely given' or 'purely conceptual,' as presenting a 'canonical notation' rather than an empirical discovery, or as isolating 'trans-framework heuristic categories,'(1979, pp 170,171).
2. In Stage II the basic logical-empirical methodology grounded in quadrant one (2nd and 3rd pr) is taken up into the eleventh principle. Here is the social and intersubjective grounding of science first cited (in part) by the twentieth century philosopher of science Karl Popper. With a faith in the critical rationality of scientific methodology (first introduced by the early Greek thinkers), Popper can be situated at the end of the 5/11 stage in that he breaks with the notion of pure empiricism and the method of induction, introducing the more open intersubjectively grounded falsification principle in place of the positivist verification principle. Verification is associated with the positive subject/object consciousness of 5/11 and the confident declarative flavour of Leo. By contrast, the falsification principle carries the more critical and negative Virgoian character. This break with positivism was further extended by Kuhn and Feyerebend, leading more decisively into the multifaceted twelfth principle perspective. Remaining more a transition figure from 5/11 to 6/12 as he defended the capacity of critical reason and discussion to overcome, at least in principle, fundamental paradigm differences, Popper (1994) argued against the notion of incommensurable conceptual frameworks which was characterizing the emerging twelfth principle perspective: "[T]he fact that observations are theory impregnated does not lead to incommensurability between either observations or theories." (p58).
3. William McDougall. The Group Mind (1920/1972) see: <>
4. The developmental progress of science through the modern age is only possible through 11th principle (i.e. 5/11) socio-cultural developments. But to point out that science is based on the extra-scientific does not reduce science to the hermeneutic or social intersubjective 11th principle. According to the structure of our model, the Dilthean differentiation of the methodologies of the physical and human sciences (explanation and understanding) remains at least partially intact against, not only positivist reduction of the human sciences to a physical sciences objectivist model (including Popper's view of critical reason as applying equally to both the physical and human sciences) but also to postmodern hermeneutic levelling (i.e. the story that science is just another story). Physical science as much as human science is constituted by human concepts and values, but the ontology of its subject is situated at a level beneath the noospheric which does not, however, resurrect the Kantian Noumenon since scientific knowledge expresses a particular relationship of levels C&B with N where N is in part constitued by C&B and which cannot be characterized as a subject perceiving an object (mediated or otherwise). The human sciences have as their subject the same level in which they are conceptually situated (levels I and II of the noosphere)
a radical self reflexivity which in terms of methodology and evaluative and legitimizing criteria drives it deep into the 6/12 structure.
5. The primary form of warfare of the current age is terrorism and the so-called endless “war on terrorism’
no longer a straightforward nation state against nation state but an internal state of paranoid disorder and rumoured threats from ’secret enemies (one of the traditional meanings of the twelfth house). This is a kind of global class struggle between haves and have-nots, the dominators and the dispossessed. The so-called ‘enemy’ operates by engendering chaos (12th), an enemy difficult to tease out of the general underbrush of society having no distinct shape and size like national armies (10th and 11th pr). Seeking to maintain their 10th and 11th principle status quo without the self-critique of the 6th principle, nation states destroy innocents in the name of moral right while creating a sorcerer’s apprentice situation, the threat becoming ever more extensive and ever more elusive (12th). These are the symptoms, the karmic result of injustice, classism, oppression, ethnocentric blindness; the only response, the evolutionary imperative of our time, is self awareness (6th), an overcoming of our earlier tribal identifications and separations in a mature twelfth principle global milieu of enlightened individuals.
6. The US has seen the collapse of its democratic franchise. See Kennedy’s paper on the stolen 2004 election.

Continue to Chapter 16