At the Thresehold of Occult Knowledge - 1
The impetus given by a quantitative mathematics has led to the development of a quantitatively minded world; it is an essential task for the future to develop the qualitative aspect of mathematics, so that the generations to come may in time achieve a true science of the living, conscious aspect of the world.
Emerson College Sussex, England
Author of Projective Geometry, etc.
In this century, the main focus of the transformative process is the mind. It was to "change the mind of the twentieth century" that — as she herself stated — H. P. Blavatsky was sent among the proud and egocentric individualists of our Western society by those who were able to work through her. From 1775 to 1875 the basic change in the physical and social way of life had already begun to occur in its initial germinative developments. But at the mental level these hundred years represent essentially a spiritually negative, because materialistic phase dominated by a narrow and inflated sense of cultural-intellectual and racial superiority. That phase was meant to destroy the foundation of the European Medieval order with its religious dogmatism and obscurantism; but it also fostered a dogmatism of its own. It produced a somewhat fanatical reliance upon the empirical method exclusively concerned with sense-data totally dominated by an Aristotelian rationalism and an intellectual equalitarianism according to which no fact was admissible unless it could be validated by the laboratory experiments of any trained observers whenever and wherever performed.
As matters today stand, the collective mentality of our Western peoples and of all other races which have accepted Western indoctrination (which of course includes also all Communist countries) is still deeply conditioned by the basic concepts and methodology of nineteenth century science. These concepts and methods still determine our present "official" approach to knowledge; they determine not only our education, but also our academic priorities and governmental regulations of many sensitive professions allowed to control basic social and biological processes. Recent discoveries and electronic technology, on the one hand, have given far more power and virulence to the Establishment's ability to control these processes and various aspects of our individual lives; on the other hand, these new discoveries, especially in atomic physics, biology, and psychology, have compelled the most progressive scientists in many fields to at least tentatively develop various "meta-sciences" which are leading to the very threshold of occult knowledge.
It is not the purpose of this book, nor do I feel qualified, to discuss in any detail what has been happening in many fields of scientific research, as well as of philosophical or psychic speculation attempting to explain all the data revolutionizing last century concepts and our "common sense" view of the world. It seems necessary, however, to point to perhaps the most fundamental changes having occurred in Western man's approach to knowledge and the methods for obtaining that knowledge, because it inevitably is in response to these changes and to the possibilities that have opened up that a new influx (or "descent") of occult knowledge will take form, granted that such an influx is to be expected during the next two decades.
It was in response to what the Industrial Revolution and science and technology developed between 1825 and 1875 that H.P.B.'s message was given its particular form, from Isis Unveiled to The Secret Doctrine. It was in response to what had been achieved by the pioneering and critical minds of the Enlightenment and the Masonic Lodges that the new American nation and the French Revolution took their respective forms; and the apparent failure of the work of Mesmer and others was conditioned by the narrowness of the official eighteenth century rationalism. We now may think that we have already witnessed a great transformation of Western man's collective mentality, but actually what has occurred. even in the most advanced scientific fields is only the prelude to the expectable transformation which will come as an answer to the ineffectual because biased approach to knowledge which has characterized and still officially characterizes our new globally spread Western civilization.
In spite of recent developments the most basic characteristic of our modern scientific approach is still a rigid empiricism which refuses to admit as evidence anything but perceptions based on sense data, augmented now by an immense variety of instruments. Sense data are accepted solely as facts-proving or disproving theories; and these theories are structured along strictly quantitative and rationalistic either/or lines. The analytical and reductionistic mind with its atomistic outlook is still in control of by far the larger body of official thinking, even though a holistic way of thinking (and of feeling or intuiting) concerning man and his relation to the universe has recently spread among progressive scientists. These scientists nevertheless form still a relatively uneasy minority, usually on the defensive. In order gradually to convince the old guard of official thinkers in control of most social and educational processes, and particularly of the distribution of grants for research, they feel obliged to compromise and tone down their direct intuitive realizations by using indirect techniques in order to quantitatively and empirically prove the validity of their hypotheses. References to metaphysical principles unfamiliar to the European tradition are avoided. What this actually means is that the equally undemonstrable postulates on which much of our Western science has been based since Bacon early in the seventeenth century remain unchallenged. They constitute the sacrosanct paradigms of our European type of culture.
The type of knowledge characterizing true Occultism — which I repeat is not to be confused with what popular magazines and many psychics today call occultism — is essentially based upon the realization that a realm of energy undertones, directs, controls, or guides the phenomena, events, and changes which we perceive with our senses and which the Western mind attributes to a physically material world of objective entities. In The Mahatma Letters this occult realm is called "the world of force." It is the dynamic world which opens to the consciousness of the individual who either is led into it through Initiation or, of his own accord and at his own risks (and dangerous risks they are!) manages to force his way into it. What we feel and perceive as our ordinary physical world is the concretized and material projection of such an "occult" realm of forces.
The Secret Doctrine asserts that "the Universe is worked and guided from within outwards." (The Secret Doctrine II:274) The intuitive American philosopher, Oliver Reiser, speaks in all his books of "guiding fields" which pervade, sustain, and control every material body and, at the cosmic level, the whole universe itself. Occultists — and the popularizers who often confuse terms and materialize concepts — speak of an "etheric body" permeating and directing the functional activities of all living organisms. In the early days of The Theosophical Society it was often spoken of as the "astral" realm, using the term astral in its original meaning, the world of light and radiations. This is really the more adequate term which can be related to the Sanskrit word, akasha, the essence of which is "vibration" or, as Hindu philosophy asserts, SOUND (in its inaudible far more than in its audible form). By developing the concept of field modern physicists actually have begun to think of the universe in astral terms. The atomic physicist hardly thinks of matter any longer, but only of energy and of their equivalence according to the famous Einstein formula, e = MC2, where c represents the speed of light which is supposed to be a constant. (Is it necessarily constant in all phases of cosmic evolution if we give to light its broadest meaning?)
The physicist faces various difficulties if he considers energy as an ultimate. Acting through, and in a sense "beyond" (a confusing term), the astral fields of energy is the realm of what the word Mind can only awkwardly suggest. In its ultimate sense, The Secret Doctrine speaks of "Cosmic Ideation" (also in Sanskrit, Mahat) and states that "the whole Kosmos is guided, controlled and animated by almost endless series of Hierarchies, each having a mission to perform . . . (as) the agents of karmic and Cosmic Laws." What this means is that we are confronted in the universe, as in man, with three fundamental levels of being: mind, life-energy in all its modes of operation (prana, now spoken of in scientific research as bioenergy), and molecular substance (matter).
The atoms of modern science probably are only condensations of astral energy according to laws of formation which follow universal principles of harmonic relationship resulting in specific wave-patterns. Where the waves interfere (nodes) matter appears and takes geometric shapes. What we call atoms may thus belong to the world of forces and have correlations with transcendent or semi-transcendent sound formations, or chords of energy. A scientist, Donald Hatch Andrews in his book The Symphony of Life, said that the universe is not made of matter, but of music — linking modern thought to the periodically revived ideas of Pythagoras, some twenty-five centuries ago.(1)
This type of thinking in terms of principles of harmony and form is often found expressed in many articles in the excellent and highly respected magazine Main Currents in Modem Thought
founded by F. L. Kunz and now directed by Dr. Henry Margenau, a prominent physicist and "philosopher of science" who taught at Yale University.
By permission of Leyla Rudhyar Hill
Copyright © 1975 by Dane Rudhyar
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