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Esoteric Psychology I - Section Two - III. The Rays and Man

In the human family, owing to the presence within the human physical form of a thinking entity, called by us the Soul, the procedure followed in order to produce conscious control is that of adaptation. All forms in the three lower subhuman kingdoms are also subjected to the process of adaptation, but that is a group adaptation to environment, whereas in humanity we have the adaptation of the individual to his environment. The person who works consciously and intelligently at adapting himself to that situation and those conditions in which he finds himself is relatively rare. Conscious adapting of oneself to circumstances is the result of evolutionary development. The stages by which man arrives at this capacity may be enumerated as follows:

  1. That unconscious adaptation to his environment of the man who is primarily an unintelligent animal. Low grade savages are in this class, and many purely agricultural peasants who have not been subjected to modern education. The man at this stage is little better than an animal and is governed entirely by instinct. [323]
  2. An unconscious adaptation to environment carried on by the man who is beginning to evidence some faint flickers of mental perception. This is partly instinctual and is based on a growing self-love. There is more of the "I" consciousness in him, and rather less of group instinctual awareness. You find this growing self-realization in the low grade slum dwellers, for instance, and in the petty criminal who is instinctual enough and bright enough to live by his wits and to show quickness in reactions and deftness manually. It is the stage of animal cunning.
  3. A conscious and purely selfish adapting of oneself to the environment. In these cases, the man is definitely aware of his motives; they are consciously thought out and recognized, and the man makes "the best of his circumstances." He forces himself to live as far as possible harmoniously in his surroundings. In this there is really good motive, but principally the man is governed by a desire for comfort - physical, emotional and mental - to such a degree that he will discipline himself into such a condition that he fits wherever he may be and can get on with anyone.
  4. From this stage on the differentiations become so numerous that they are difficult to follow, being mixtures of pure selfishness (developed often to the nth degree), of a growing recognition of the group, of an awakening realization of the right of other people to a similar degree of comfort and harmony, and of a steady effort to adapt conditions of character and personality life, so that the purely selfish interests do no real damage to others, until we arrive at...
  5. The average really good man who is struggling to adapt himself to his surroundings, to his group relations and responsibilities in such a way that some measure of love [324] can be seen. I refer not here to that instinctual love for family and children and herd which men share in common with the animals and which often breaks down when the loved individuals assert themselves. The tie is not strong enough to hold, and the motive is too selfish to resist the pull. I refer to that motivated love which recognizes the rights of others and consciously strives to adapt itself to those recognized rights whilst tenaciously holding on to the rights of the personality.
  6. Then we have the work of adaptation as carried on by the aspirants of the world who are theoretically convinced of their group relation, of its paramount importance, and of the need of every personality to develop its powers to the fullest capacity in order to bring real value to the group and to serve adequately the group need. In true esotericism, there is no such motive as "killing the personality," or of disciplining it to such an extent that it becomes a dead poor thing. The true motive is to train the threefold lower nature, the integrated personality, to the highest demonstration of its powers, latent or developing, in order that those powers may be brought to the helping of the group need, and the personality of the aspirant may be integrated into the group. Thereby the group life is enriched, the group potency is increased, and the group consciousness is enhanced.
    What is therefore to be seen going on in the life of the true aspirant today (his developing recognition of group responsibility) can also be seen going on in groups, in organizations and nations. Hence the many experiments. A process is going forward whereby these groups, large or small, are being subjected to a housecleaning, to a discarding of the rubbish of old and worn-out ideas, and to a period of disciplining and training [325] which must precede all real group life. When this process is over, we shall have these groups approaching each other in a new and real spirit of cooperation, of religious fusion, and in an international attitude which will be new indeed. Then they will have something of a surer and greater value to offer to the whole. Within all these groups which are struggling towards this newer realization and integration, and which express what we might call "the sixth stage of adaptation," are those who are already at the seventh stage.
  7. Here we have complete unselfish adaptation to the group need and purpose. Those who have reached this point in their evolution are decentralized as regards their own personality life. The focus of their mental attention is in the soul and in the world of souls. Their attention is not directed towards the personality at all, except in so far as is needed to force it to adhere to group or soul purpose. These servers who are expressions of soul radiance and attractive power are knowers of the Plan, and in every organization they constitute the new and slowly growing group of World Servers. In their hands lies the salvation of the world.
  8. The final group in this scale of adaptation is that of the higher initiates, the perfected Elder Brethren and Great Companions. They are perfectly adapted to Their personalities, to each other and to world conditions; but as a group They are learning how to adapt the forces of nature, the energies of the rays and the potencies of the zodiacal signs to the world need and the world demand in a practical manner and at any particular time. It is here that the work of the disciples of the world, and of the higher types of aspirants, proves helpful [326] as a field of experiment, and it is in the new group of World Servers that the process of adaptation goes on.

I have endeavored to outline these stages of the process of adaptation in terms of consciousness, viewing the subject therefore philosophically and psychologically. It should be remembered that this process, as it goes on in consciousness, produces (surely and inevitably) corresponding changes in mechanism and structure, and in sense perception through the apparatus of the body. On these changes I lay no emphasis in this treatise, for they are beautifully dealt with by modern science, which is steadily forging ahead in the right direction. I lay the emphasis upon consciousness as the predisposing factor, and on the developed sense of awareness which produces an inner demand for improved equipment. The improving of equipment as a result of the demand of consciousness is the secret of the evolutionary impulse, down the ages. This inner demand in man awakens the centers, and the awakening of the centers determines the response of the endocrine system, governs the nervous system in its threefold capacity, and also the blood stream. Thus the outer form or mechanism is ever an indication of the point of evolution of the inner subjective and spiritual man.

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