Phase Twenty

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The attributes of the Faculties when Will is at Phase 20derived frommodified byfromdescription
Will The concrete man 20 
MaskTrue Fatalism 6CM 24 Ideality
False Superstition BF 10 Humanity
Creative MindTrue Dramatisation of Mask 10CM 20 Domination through emotional construction
False Self-desecration BF 6 Enforced emotion
Body of Fate Enforced success of action 24 
Composite of Faculties
trueThe concrete man seeks to deliver fatalism, modified by ideality, from enforced success of action, with the help of dramatisation of the Mask, modified by domination through emotional construction.
falseThe concrete man is misdirected to superstition, modified by humanity, because self-desecration, modified by enforced emotion, is separated from enforced success of action.
The disposition of the FacultiesAttributes of Phase 20affectsmodifies
Will The concrete man 20-
MaskT: Justice
F: Tyranny
Creative MindT: Domination through emotional construction
F: Reformation
10 24 FM

20 TCM
Body of Fate Objective action 24 10 FM

See AV B 151-54 & 98 [‘construction’ is misprinted as ‘constriction’ in the tables].

Shakespeare, Balzac, Napoleon

Yeats’s description of the phase from A Vision

Like the phase before it, and those that follow it immediately, a phase of the breaking up and subdivision of the being. The energy is always seeking those facts which being separable can be seen more clearly, or expressed more clearly, but when there is truth to phase there is a similitude of the old unity, or rather a new unity, which is not a Unity of Being but a unity of the creative act. He no longer seeks to unify what is broken through conviction, by imposing those very convictions upon himself and others, but by projecting a dramatisation or many dramatisations. He can create, just in that degree in which he can see these dramatisations as separate from himself, and yet as an epitome of his whole nature. His Mask is derived from Phase 6, where man first becomes a generalised form, according to the primary tincture, as in the poetry of Walt Whitman, but this Mask he must by dramatisation rescue from a Body of Fate derived from Phase 24, where moral domination dies out before that of the exterior world conceived as a whole. The Body of Fate is called 'enforced success', a success that rolls out and smooths away, that dissolves through creation, that seems to delight in all outward flowing, that drenches all with grease and oil; that turns dramatisation into desecration: 'I have made myself a motley to the view'. Owing to the need of seeing the dramatic image, or images, as individuals, that is to say as set amongst concrete or fixed surroundings, he seeks some field of action, some mirror not of his own creation. Unlike Phase 19 he fails in situations wholly created by himself, or in works of art where character or story has pined nothing from history. His phase is called 'The Concrete Man', because the isolation of parts that began at Phase 19 is overcome at the second phase of the triad; subordination of parts is achieved by the discovery of concrete relations. His abstraction too, affected by these relations, may be no more than an emotional interest in such generalisations as 'God', 'Man', a Napoleon may but point to the starry heavens and say that they prove the existence of God. There is a delight in concrete images that, unlike the impassioned images of Phase 17 and Phase 18, or the declamatory images of Phase 19, reveal through complex suffering the general destiny of man. He must, however, to express this suffering, personify rather than characterise, create not observe that multitude, which is but his Mask as in a multiplying mirror, for the primary is not yet strong enough to substitute for the lost Unity of Being that of the external world perceived as fact. In a man of action this multiplicity gives the greatest possible richness of resource where he is not thwarted by his horoscope, great ductability, a gift for adopting any rôle that stirs imagination, a philosophy of impulse and audacity; but in the man of action a part of the nature must be crushed, one main dramatisation or group of images preferred to all others.

Napoleon sees himself as Alexander moving to the conquest of the East, Mask and Image must take an historical and not a mythological or dream form, a form found but not created; he is crowned in the dress of a Roman Emperor. Shakespeare, the other supreme figure of the phase, was—if we may judge by the few biographical facts, and by such adjectives as 'sweet' and 'gentle' applied to him by his contemporaries—a man whose actual personality seemed faint and passionless. Unlike Ben Jonson he fought no duels; he kept out of quarrels in a quarrelsome age; not even complaining when somebody pirated his sonnets; he dominated no Mermaid Tavern, but through Mask and Image, reflected in a multiplying mirror – he created the most passionate art that exists. He was the greatest of modem poets, partly because entirely true to phase, creating always from Mask and Creative Mind, never from situation alone, never from Body of Fate alone; and if we knew all we would find that success came to him, as to others of this phase, as something hostile and unforeseen; something that sought to impose an intuition of Fate (the condition of Phase 6) as from without and therefore as a form of superstition. Both Shakespeare and Balzac used the False Mask imaginatively, explored it to impose the True, and what Thomas Lake Harris,* the half-charlatan American visionary, said of Shakespeare might be said of both: 'Often the hair of his head stood up and all life became the echoing chambers of the tomb'.

At Phase 19 we create through the externalised Mask an imaginary world, in whose real existence we believe, while remaining separate from it; at Phase 20 we enter that world and become a portion of it; we study it, we amass historical evidence, and, that we may dominate it the more, drive out myth and symbol, and compel it to seem the real world where our lives are lived.

A phase of ambition; in Napoleon the dramatist's own ambition; in Shakespeare that of the persons of his art; and this ambition is not that of the solitary lawgiver, that of Phase 10 (where the Creative Mind is placed) which rejects, resists and narrows, but a creative energy.

* I quote from a book circulated privately among his followers. I saw it years ago but seem to remember it as now vague, now vulgar, and now magnificent in style.

(AV B 151-54)

Symbol of Phase 20: ‘White bird torn in half by wolf & leopard?’ (see YVP 3 400-01)

See a broader view of the Phase in the consideration of the Phase Triads.

The Faculties

The Wheel


The Phases in History


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