The Theosophical Forum – December 1949

SCIENTIFIC AND OTHER NOTES — Charles J. Ryan

Intelligences Guide the Universe

ore and more closely is scientific research dealing with the problems of mind and its direct relation with matter and life. Duke University is becoming noteworthy on this line. Recent experiments with the very primitive single-celled pond-animal called paramecium are unmistakably in favor of the remarkable fact that the human mind can strongly affect the behavior of that tiny brainless and structureless bit of jelly, which normally, however, can use its own will and power of choice. The Duke bulletin reports that in 927 out of 1495 experiments, Dr. Richmond was able to make a paramecium move in any desired direction by will power alone and without any physical contact or influence, which would be expected by chance only once in billions of such attempts! In each case he spent fifteen seconds in willing the direction that the paramecium should move. The importance of this to us is that it comes from a recognized scientific source, but other examples of the power of a trained will could be drawn upon. Snake charming is one, not the commonplace tricks of the Hindu or Egyptian jugglers who exhibit their trained and fangless reptiles before the gaping tourist, but the strictly practical activities of the few real experts whose lives are devoted to the discovery and destruction of poisonous snakes that hide in obscure holes and cracks and have to be lured into the open by the will power of the snake charmer. The amazing feats in this line of the celebrated Egyptian Sheik Moussa are fully described in A Search in Secret Egypt by Dr. Paul Brunton, who had exceptional opportunities of studying the subject. He insists that there can be no shadow of doubt that Moussa (and others) could not only discover dangerous snakes hidden in inaccessible places but possessed complete control over them and could handle them with perfect impunity.

The paramecium experiment is of significance in support of one of the teachings of Theosophy, according to which living beings are largely aided in their evolution and protected by superior beings known as "angels" or "archangels," etc., in Christian literature, and in India as "Dhyani Chohans," and in lesser order "Devas," etc. They are widely known elsewhere by other names, such as demi-gods, Fravarshi, Principalities, Powers, Messengers, etc.

H. P. B. says they are Guiding Intelligences, the Creative Powers or higher Causes that generate "Elementals" or semi-intelligent Nature Forces as active agents on lower planes. They were formerly men but are now at a stage far surpassing human consciousness and only our modern materialism prevents our belief in the existence of such minor but very potent "gods," all descending in hierarchies of different stages or grades. Ill-informed critics may say that such beings are purely imaginary or they would be visible, but this is a very poor argument, for many recognized physical agencies are invisible and can only be detected by the effects they produce. The Secret Doctrine makes it clear how necessary such active intermediaries are in carrying on the work of "Mother Nature." The queer and generally invisible entities, "nature spirits," so called, that produce sounds or other effects in haunted houses, the Irish and other fairies, and the like, are among the lowest orders of such hierarchies, nearest the physical plane, and are demonstrable to any one who approaches the subject with an open mind. To a certain degree, such phenomena demonstrate the existence of mind and will-control over matter by semi-intelligent entities which in other lines is now being demonstrated by the Duke experiments with the paramecium, etc.

In a measure this brings up the problem of instinct, a most convenient but unexplained word to use for one of the greatest mysteries in nature. Yet when once the reality of conscious or semi-conscious Deva-control and general protection over evolving forms of life is realized to be a fundamental and indispensable part of the hierarchical working of the Divine Plan of the Universe, light is thrown upon all such problems.

Mud or Mason Wasps

Take the mud wasps for example, not at all a high form of animal life. By his studies of their habits the great French naturalist Fabre, "threw a monkey wrench" into the ingenious but purely mechanistic interpretations of Darwin's valuable discovery of Natural Selection — so useful when kept in its place as a minor factor, and not strained to explain the causes of evolutionary variations. Fabre showed that the improbabilities demanded by Natural Selection alone to explain the establishment of these complex habits were so enormously large as to make them unthinkable. Recently further discoveries have been made by Dr. G. D. Schafer of Stanford about the mud wasps" domestic affairs still more damaging to the mechanistic theories, but all in favor of some kind of intelligent, or spiritual, if you prefer the word, guidance and protection.

For the preservation of one species of mud wasp by carefully protecting the single egg from marauders, eleven different processes have to be performed by the mother wasp, each of which, if she was a human being, we should say showed reasoning, choice, good judgment, skill and training. Yet the wasp has had no teaching; its mother died before it was hatched! But it knows exactly what to do, and, as Fabre remarks, "There is no apprenticeship in this trade. Every action must be complete and perfect or — the egg dies." And some of them are highly technical and would require special knowledge on the part of a man!

These remarks were aroused by Dr. Schafer's new discovery that in addition to the known marvels of the mason or mud wasp, the little cell in which the young wasp grows to maturity is furnished with a first class sanitary arrangement by which all effete matter, instead of poisoning the air by its effluvia, is carefully disposed of until the hibernation period when the young wasp is fully closed in, and there is no reason for precautions! How could this mechanism in the cell be evolved by the slow process of "blind Natural Selection"?

The mud wasp affords only one example of direction acted upon from a superior mind, but thousands of others exist. In view of such evidence are we not justified in accepting the world-wide teaching of the ancient world that some kind of Higher Intelligences exist and help to keep the wheels of Nature moving? Do not forget that this belief was held by the greatest philosophers and wisest men throughout the ages until the tide of skepticism and spiritual darkness swept over the earth, especially the West.

Evolution Not a Haphazard Process

Today scientists are discovering facts and putting forth bold hypotheses that can be shown to be perfectly harmonious with the point we are considering. Dr. R. Goldschmidt of the University of California, one of the leading biologists of the world, has concluded from three years' research that heterochromatin, one of the principal substances found in the genes, those minute agents of heredity found in the germ cells, can suddenly produce marked changes in the evolutionary development of higher animals. But why, is another matter. Dr. Goldschmidt is famous for his anti-Darwinian theory that evolution is not a slow process, moving along by a very gradual accumulation of accidental changes which finally result in a new species but takes place with almost explosive suddenness by a new combination of the genes, the elements of heredity. Such a theory obviously leaves plenty of room for the Guiding Intelligence to call upon the physical means (such as heterochromatin) to come into play at any period found suitable for a new step in terrestrial evolution. We have previously drawn our readers' attention to the attitude of Dr. Goldschmidt in this most significant matter, for it is one of the definite proofs of the truth of H. P. B.'s statement in the Introduction to The Secret Doctrine that the 20th Century would see a strong and increasing approach by scholars to the Ancient Wisdom in spite of all the apparent dominance of materialism. And we are only half way through yet!

Recent demonstrations of the power of the human will mentioned above make the "accidental coincidence" theory still more unlikely; particularly so in relation to the problem of weather control by collective or mass wishful thinking. Can prayers or intense desire for rain or fine weather be answered without interfering capriciously or "miraculously" with the orderly processes of nature?

Less than ten years ago Mr. E. L. Hawke, Secretary of the British Royal Meteorological Society published many examples which support this. During Queen Victoria's reign the expression "Queen's Weather" became proverbial, because with hardly an exception her numerous outdoor ceremonials were graced by brilliant sunshine, not too frequent in England. Her death was followed by specially violent and widespread storms. Swedenborg, a scientist as well as a mystical theologian, is cited as having first suggested the idea of mass thought affecting the weather, but it is said to be mentioned in the Vedas. According to The Mahatma Letters (p. 161) rain, wind and storms are produced by affections of the earth's magnetism. The Secret Doctrine speaks of "the mythical Dragon, the actual Adept," who "has the power of influencing the weather" (II, 280, ftn. 555), and several significant references are made in Volume II on page 615, etc., to the Maruts or storm gods who are connected with human emotions.


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