Phase Twenty-Two

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The attributes of the Faculties when Will is at Phase 22derived frommodified byfromdescription
Will Balance between ambition and contemplation 22
MaskTrue Self-immolation 8?BF 8 The beginning of strength
False Self-assurance ?CM 22 Versatility
Creative MindTrue Amalgamation 8?BF 8 The beginning of strength
False Despair FCM 22 Impotence
Body of Fate Temptation through strength 22
Composite of Faculties
trueBalance between ambition and contemplation seeks to deliver amalgamation (modified by the beginning of strength?), from self-immolation (modified by the beginning of strength?), with the help of temptation through strength.
falseBalance between ambition and contemplation is misdirected to despair (modified by impotence?), bringing self-assurance (modified by versatility?), separated from temptation through strength.
The disposition of the FacultiesAttributes of Phase 22affectsmodifies
Will Balance between ambition and contemplation 22-
MaskT: Courage
F: Fear
Creative MindT: Versatility
F: Impotence
8 22 TM

22 FCM
Body of Fate Temptation through strength 22 8 FCM
8 TM

See AV B 105 & 96.

The modifications of the Mask and Creative Mind cannot really apply, since this Phase is neither primary nor antithetical, except in so far as its final tendency must be towards the primary; see True and False Faculties.

Flaubert, Herbert Spencer, Swedenborg, Dostoieffsky, Darwin, Marx

Yeats’s description of the phase from A Vision

The aim of the being, until the point of balance has been reached, will be that of Phase 21 except that synthesis will be more complete, and the sense of identity between the individual and his thought, between his desire and his synthesis will be closer; but the character of the phase is precisely that here balance is reached and passed, though it is stated that the individual may have to return to this phase more than once, though not more than four times, before it is passed. Once balance has been reached, the aim must be to use the Body of Fate to deliver the Creative Mind from the Mask, and not to use the Creative Mind to deliver the Mask from the Body of Fate. The being does this by so using the intellect upon the facts of the world that the last vestige of personality disappears. The Will, engaged in its last struggle with external fact (Body of Fate), must submit, until it sees itself as inseparable from nature perceived as fact, and it must see itself as merged into that nature through the Mask, either as a conqueror lost in what he conquers, or dying at the moment of conquest, or as renouncing conquest, whether it come by might of logic, or might of drama, or might of hand. The Will since Phase 8 has more and more seen itself as a Mask, as a form of personal power, but now it must see that power broken. From Phase 12 to Phase 18 it was or should have been a power wielded by the whole nature; but since Phase 19 it has been wielded by a fragment only, as something more and more professional, temperamental or technical.

It has become abstract, and the more it has sought the whole of natural fact, the more abstract it has become. One thinks of some spilt liquid which grows thinner the wider it spreads till at last it is but a film. That which at Phase 21 was a longing for self-conscious simplicity, as an escape from logical complication and subdivision, is now (through the Mask from Phase 8) a desire for the death of the intellect. At Phase 21 it still sought to change the world, could still be a Shaw, a Wells, but now it will seek to change nothing, it needs nothing but what it may call 'reality', 'truth', 'God's Will': confused and weary, through trying to grasp too much, the hand must loosen.

Here takes place an interchange between portions of the mind which resembles the interchange between the old and new primary, the old and new antithetical at Phase 1 and Phase 15. It is reflected, however, from the Wheel of the Principles I shall describe in Book II. The mind that has shown a predominantly emotional character, called that of the Victim, through the antithetical phases, now shows a predominantly intellectual character, called that of the Sage (though until Phase 1 has been passed it can but use intellect when true to phase to eliminate intellect); whereas the mind that has been predominantly that of the Sage puts on Victimage. An element in the nature is exhausted at the point of balance, and the opposite element controls the mind. One thinks of the gusts of sentimentality that overtake violent men, the gusts of cruelty that overtake the sentimental. At Phase 8, a blinded and throttled phase, there is not a similar interchange. I will return to this omission in Book II. A man of Phase 22 will commonly not only systematise, to the exhaustion of his will, but discover this exhaustion of will in all that he studies. If Lamarck, as is probable, was of Phase 21, Darwin was probably a man of Phase 22, for his theory of development by the survival of fortunate accidental varieties seems to express this exhaustion. The man himself is never weak, never vague or fluctuating in his thought, for if he brings all to silence, it is a silence that results from tension and till the moment of balance, nothing interests him that is not wrought up to the greatest effort of which it is capable. Flaubert is the supreme literary genius of the phase, and his Temptation of St. Anthony and his Bouvard and Pécuchet are the sacred books of the phase, one describing its effect upon a mind where all is concrete and sensuous, the other upon the more logical, matter-of-fact, curious, modem mind. In both the mind exhausts all knowledge within its reach and sinks exhausted to a conscious futility. But the matter is not more of the phase than is the method. One never doubts for a moment that Flaubert was of the phase; all must be impersonal; he must neither like nor dislike character or event; he is 'the mirror dawdling down a road' of Stendhal, with a clear brightness that is not Stendhal's; and when we make his mind our own, we seem to have renounced our own ambition under the influence of some strange, far-reaching, impartial gaze.

We feel too that this man who systematised by but linking one emotional association to another has become strangely hard, cold and invulnerable, that this mirror is not brittle but of unbreakable steel. 'Systematised' is the only word that comes to mind, but it implies too much deliberation, for association has ranged itself by association as little bits of paper and little chips of wood cling to one another upon the water in a bowl. In Dostoieffsky the 'amalgamation' is less intellectual, less orderly, he, one feels, has reached the point of balance through life, not through the deliberate process of his art; his whole will, not merely his intellectual will, has been shaken. His characters, in whom is reflected this broken will, are aware, unlike those of Bouvard and Pécuchet, those of the Temptation even, of some ungraspable Whole to which they have given the name of God. For a moment that fragment, that relation, which is our very being, is broken; they are at Udan Adan 'wailing upon the edge of nonentity, wailing for Jerusalem, with weak voices almost inarticulate'; yet full submission has not come.

Swedenborg passes through his balance after fifty, a mind incredibly dry and arid, hard, tangible and cold, like the minerals he assayed for the Swedish government, studies a new branch of science: the economics, the natural history of Heaven; notes that there nothing but emotion, nothing but the ruling love exists. The desire to dominate has so completely vanished, 'amalgamation' has pushed its way so far into the subconscious, into that which is dark, that we call it a vision. Had he been out of phase, had he attempted to arrange his life according to the personal Mask, he would have been pedantic and arrogant, a Bouvard, or a Pécuchet, passing from absurdity to absurdity, hopeless and insatiable.

In the world of action such absurdity may become terrible, for men will die and murder for an abstract synthesis, and the more abstract it is the further it carries them from compunction and compromise; and as obstacles to that synthesis increase, the violence of their will increases. It is a phase as tragic as its opposite, and more terrible, for the man of this phase may, before the point of balance has been reached, become a destroyer and persecutor, a figure of tumult and of violence; or as is more probable - for the violence of such a man must be checked by moments of resignation or despair, premonitions of balance - his system will become an instrument of destruction and of persecution in the hands of others.

The seeking of Unity of Fact by a single faculty, instead of Unity of Being by the use of all, has separated a man from his genius. This is symbolised in the Wheel by the gradual separation (as we recede from Phase 15) of Will and Creative Mind, Mask and Body of Fate. During the supernatural incarnation of Phase 15, we were compelled to assume an absolute identity of the Will, or self, with its creative power, of beauty with body; but for some time self and creative power, though separating, have been neighbours and kin. A Landor, or a Morris, however violent, however much of a child he seem, is always a remarkable man; in Phases 19, 20 and 21 genius grows professional, something taken up when work is taken up, it begins to be possible to record the stupidities of men of genius in a scrapbook; Bouvard and Pécuchet have that refuge for their old age. Someone has said that Balzac at noonday was a very ignorant man, but at midnight over a cup of coffee knew everything in the world. In the man of action, in a Napoleon, let us say, the stupidities lie hidden, for action is a form of abstraction that crushes everything it cannot express. At Phase 22 stupidity is obvious, one finds it in the correspondence of Karl Marx, in his banal abusiveness, while to Goncourt, Flaubert, as man, seemed full of unconsidered thought. Flaubert, says Anatole France, was not intelligent. Dostoieffsky, to those who first acclaimed his genius, seemed when he laid down his pen an hysterical fool. One remembers Herbert Spencer dabbing the grapes upon a lodging-house carpet with an inky cork that he might tint them to his favourite colour, 'impure purple'. On the other hand, as the Will moves further from the Creative Mind, it approaches the Body of Fate, and with this comes an increasing delight in impersonal energy and in inanimate objects, and as the Mask separates from the Body of Fate and approaches the Creative Mind we delight more and more in all that is artificial, all that is deliberately invented. Symbols may become hateful to us, the ugly and the arbitrary delightful, that we may the more quickly kill all memory of Unity of Being. We identify ourselves in our surroundings - in our surroundings perceived as fact - while at the same time the intellect so slips from our grasp, as it were, that we contemplate its energies as something we can no longer control, and give to each of those energies an appropriate name as though it were an animate being. Now that Will and Body of Fate are one, Creative Mind and Mask one also, we are no longer four but two; and life, the balance reached, becomes an act of contemplation. There is no longer a desired object, as distinct from thought itself, no longer a Will, as distinct from the process of nature seen as fact; and so thought itself, seeing that it can neither begin nor end, is stationary. Intellect knows itself as its own object of desire; and the Will knows itself to be the world; there is neither change nor desire of change. For the moment the desire for a form has ceased and an absolute realism becomes possible.

(AV B 157-63)

Symbol of Phase 22: ‘Man beating self with flail’ (see YVP 3 400-01)

See a broader view of the Phase in the consideration of the Cardinal Phases.

The Faculties

The Wheel


The Phases in History


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