The Force of Personality

When we speak of Parousia, we use a Greek word that indicates the arrival of royalty. The concept of "Christ as King", for those who do not know the distinction between Jesus and Christ, can be mistranslated into a form that elevates the personality of Jesus above the cosmic characteristics of the Christ-being, characteristics that transcend personality, though they can penetrate and, indeed, fill it. Jesus becomes the beneficent monarch who "understands", and loves, his subjects rather than the exemplar of the power of humanity to represent to one another the transcendent moral order whose Sovereign always demands no less than everything of His creatures.

It is in this quality of being demanding that one can come to discern the distinction between a Savior who "understands", and one whose Love consists precisely in the way He does not comprehend how people can be so willing to give up their conscience to the powers that oppose the imminent Kingdom. For the truly sublime nature of the love that brought about the deed on Golgatha is that it resulted, indeed, in one human personality being penetrated and filled with the quality of conscientiousness that does not and cannot yield to the impulse to sacrifice the highest imaginable Good to any concern for the conventions that make social life comfortable by making it predictable.* And it is the predictability of social phenomena that the powers opposing Michael want most passionately to secure for humanity, because the powers in question see in this predictability mankind's true "salvation."

This has to do with the fact that the cultivation of moral qualities does result, in a certain sense, in the moral individual's behavior becoming predictable: one can rely upon him or her to perform the deeds agreed upon in social contracts. The opposition to Michael consists in the effort by certain powers to take up into themselves the agency that, in the divine order of things, properly belongs within the human individual to conduct themselves in accordance with such contracts. Ahrimanic powers want to organize matters socially so that the predictability of human action is secured, not by human beings accepting what they can freely discern as the social demands of a coming Kingdom, but by the demands of "responsibility" being imposed through the enforcement of law with the aid of electronic systems of timekeeping and recordkeeping.

Their greatest ally in this pursuit is the love of ease that inspires the attitude that all pursuit of moral perfection is a sign of mental illness. There is an Opponent of Michael even greater than Ahriman; a force that makes Ahrimanic social organization possible by first of all crippling the human will to perfection, thus leaving the power of the impulse for perfection to a higher order of intelligence, one prepared to step into the vacuum created by this crippling as the divine beings honoring human freedom and potential would never do. It is Lucifer, then, who, seeing the opportunity provided by the work of this ultimate Opponent of Michael, tries to counter it by inspiring his own heroic view of human personality, inflating individuals' concepts of themselves. The antidote to these retarded or backward powers' confusion of their own ends with those of the powers properly guiding human spiritual evolution is a Michaelic conception of personality.

Such a conception can begin with the awareness that, although the path to perfection is an evolutionary one, the evolution of spiritual beings can only proceed out of their will, indeed, to develop towards perfection, by learning to face each moment as an opportunity to take steps towards the future condition hoped for but not yet seen. Without the hope for perfection, no perfection of spiritual beings is thinkable.

The antidote to Lucifer's inspiration of inflated conceptions of human personality is the thought of an evolution towards perfection that requires the conscious will in every moment to overcome the weaknesses of incarnation, which are bound up with the nature of material physicality as an obstacle to the realization of purely spiritual ideals.

Any conception of perfectibility brings with it, of course, as night follows day, the tendency to feel a form of stress connected to the threat of "failure." The antidote to the inspiration, from Michael's greatest Opponent, that leads certain "experts" to denounce all conceptions of perfectibility as "unhealthy" is the feeling of righteous indignation at this affront to human spiritual potential that can arise within when one considers correctly the relationship between the idea of "failure" and the reality of time:

Incarnation involves the descent of a timeless substance into a time-body: The very conception of perfectibility involves an awareness that this takes time, and that the descent of timeless spiritual characteristics into time-bound material ones is nothing more or less than the offering of opportunity-in-every-moment to the human spirit: opportunity for growth, which is change towards perfection. And the Scholastic thinkers had it right who conceived of evil, or failure, as "a lack of due perfection."

From this perspective, one's lack of the qualities one would expect of oneself in perfection is not a failure, is not evil; what is a failure, or evil, is the lack of a given quality of perfection in a moment by which one can discern objectively that one ought, after all, to have developed this quality by now. And the key to such considerations remaining "healthy"--i.e., to their forming a part of the organic and ever-growing interconnectedness of all beings and things--is the awareness that any effort on any being's part to suggest "failure" in another is an expression of a will to harm that is inconsistent with all healthy development so understood.

The antidote, finally, then, to Ahriman's pursuit of perfect predictability in human behavior is the will to resist every effort to interfere with personal freedom, a will, however, that has nothing whatever to do with political agitation, but concerns itself solely with such interference as it expresses itself in non-political ways, ie, in economic or cultural life. It is in these two spheres: that of economic transactions, and the one within which art, science, religion, education develop--that all predictability is an opposition force to life itself. Creative means for the cultivation of true human community and theories that can do justice to the potential of perfectible humanity can arise only when the political sphere, where law itself has its place, is prevented at all costs from encroaching upon thought about law (which includes artistic commentary on the social order) and upon economic practice. Such encroachment is always the expression of a will to power that wants to subordinate human creative potential in thought and deed to the effort to establish a predictability that satisfies feelingly base theoretical calculations about "security."

Can "Christ the King" understand such an impulse? He can and does because, through His Incarnation in Jesus of Nazareth, He discovered the weakness in the flesh that longs for security. However, Jesus' personality did not take this weakness upon itself; rather, the power of the Christ being's resonance with the fabric of the cosmos kept that human personality in perfect attunement with the source of all real security: the knowledge of God's providence.


*It is only in the final moments, precisely, of this Sacrifice that the Christ being Himself became capable of inspiring Jesus' words: "Forgive them, for they know not what they do."


Return to Table of Contents