Theosophical University Press Online Edition
“The question of questions for mankind — the problem which underlies all others, and is more deeply interesting than any other — is the ascertainment of the place which man occupies in Nature, and of his relations to the Universe of things.” — Huxley.
The world stands divided this day, and hesitates between divine progenitors — be they Adam and Eve or the lunar Pitris — and Bathybius Haeckelii, the gelatinous hermit of the briny deep. Having explained the occult theory, it may now be compared with that of the modern Materialism. The reader is invited to choose between the two after having judged them on their respective merits.
We may derive some consolation for the rejection of our divine ancestors, in finding that the Haeckelian speculations receive no better treatment at the hands of strictly exact Science than do our own. Haeckel’s phylogenesis is no less laughed at by the foes of his fantastic evolution, by other and greater Scientists, than our primeval races will be. As du Bois-Reymond puts it, we may believe him easily when he says that “ancestral trees of our race sketched in the ‘Schopfungs-geschichte’ are of about as much value as are the pedigrees of the Homeric heroes in the eyes of the historical critic.”
This settled, everyone will see that one hypothesis is as good as another. And as we find that German naturalist (Haeckel) himself confessing that neither geology (in its history of the past) nor the ancestral history of organisms will ever “rise to the position of a real exact Science,”* a large margin is thus left to Occult Science to make its annotations and lodge its protests. The world is left to choose between the teachings of Paracelsus, the “Father of Modern Chemistry,” and those of Haeckel, the Father of the mythical Sozura. We demand no more.
Without presuming to take part in the quarrel of such very learned naturalists as du Bois-Reymond and Haeckel a propos of our blood relationship to “those ancestors (of ours) which have led up from the unicellular classes, Vermes, Acrania, Pisces, Amphibia, Reptilia to the Aves” — one may put in a few words, a question or two, for the information of our readers. Availing ourselves of the opportunity, and bearing
* “Pedigree of Man.” — “The Proofs of Evolution,” p. 273.
in mind Darwin’s theories of natural selection, etc., we would ask Science — with regard to the origin of the human and animal species — which theory of evolution of the two herewith described is the more scientific, or the more unscientific, if so preferred.
(1). Is it that of an Evolution which starts from the beginning with sexual propagation?
(2). Or that teaching which shows the gradual development of organs; their solidification, and the procreation of each species, at first by simple easy separation from one into two or even several individuals. Then follows a fresh development — the first step to a species of separate distinct sexes — the hermaphrodite condition; then again, a kind of Parthenogenesis, “virginal reproduction,” when the egg-cells are formed within the body, issuing from it in atomic emanations and becoming matured outside of it; until, finally, after a definite separation into sexes, the human beings begin procreating through sexual connection?
Of these two, the former “theory,” — rather, a “revealed fact” — is enunciated by all the exoteric Bibles (except the Puranas), preeminently by the Jewish Cosmogony. The last one, is that which is taught by the Occult philosophy, as explained all along.
An answer is found to our question in a volume just published by Mr. S. Laing — the best lay exponent of Modern Science.* In chapter viii. of his latest work, “A Modern Zoroastrian,” the author begins by twitting “all ancient religions and philosophies” for “assuming a male and female principle for their gods.” At first sight, he says “the distinction of sex appears as fundamental as that of plant and animal.” . . . . “The Spirit of god brooding over Chaos and producing the world,” he goes on to complain, “is only a later edition, revised according to monotheistic ideas, of the far older Chaldean legend which describes the creation of Kosmos out of Chaos by the co-operations of great gods, male and female . . ” Thus, in the orthodox Christian creed we are taught to repeat “begotten, not made,” a phrase which is absolute nonsense, an instance of using words like counterfeit notes, which have no solid value of an idea behind them. For “begotten” is a very definite term which “implies the conjunction of two opposite sexes to produce a new individual.”
However we may agree with the learned author as to the inadvisability of using wrong words, and the terrible anthropomorphic and phallic element in the old Scriptures — especially in the orthodox Christian Bible — nevertheless, there may be two extenuating circumstances in the case. Firstly, all these “ancient philosophies” and “modern
* Author of “Modern Science and Modern Thought.”
religions” are — as sufficiently shown in these two volumes — an exoteric veil thrown over the face of esoteric truth; and — as the direct result of this — they are allegorical, i.e., mythological in form; but still they are immensely more philosophical in essence than any of the new scientific theories, so-called. Secondly, from the Orphic theogony down to Ezra’s last remodelling of the Pentateuch, every old Scripture having in its origin borrowed its facts from the East, it has been subjected to constant alterations by friend and foe, until of the original version there remained but the name, a dead shell from which the Spirit had been gradually eliminated.
This alone ought to show that no religious work now extant can be understood without the help of the Archaic wisdom, the primitive foundation on which they were all built.
But to return to the direct answer expected from Science to our direct question. It is given by the same author, when, following his train of thought on the unscientific euhemerization of the powers of Nature in ancient creeds, he pronounces a condemnatory verdict upon them in the following terms: —
“Science, however, makes sad havoc with this impression of sexual generation being the original and only mode of reproduction,* and the microscope and dissecting knife of the naturalist introduce us to new and altogether unsuspected (?) worlds of life. . . .”
So little “unsuspected,” indeed, that the original a-sexual “modes of reproduction” must have been known — to the ancient Hindus, at any rate — Mr. Laing’s assertion to the contrary, notwithstanding. In view of the statement in the Vishnu Purana, quoted by us elsewhere, that Daksha “established sexual intercourse as the means of multiplication,” only after a series of other “modes,” which are all enumerated therein, (Vol. II., p. 12, Wilson’s Transl.), it becomes difficult to deny the fact. This assertion, moreover, is found, note well, in an exoteric work. Then, Mr. S. Laing goes on to tell us that: —
. . . . “By far the larger proportion of living forms, in number . . . . have come into existence, without the aid of sexual propagation.” He then instances Haeckel’s monera . . . . “multiplying by self-division.” The next stage the author shows in the nucleated cell, “which does exactly the same thing.” The following stage is that in “which the organism does not divide into two equal parts, but a small portion of it swells out . . . . and finally parts company and starts on separate existence, which grows to the size of the parent by its inherent faculty of manufacturing fresh protoplasm from surrounding inorganic materials.”†
* Vide Part I. of this volume, page 183, Stanza VIII.
† In this, as shown in Part I., Modern Science was again anticipated, far beyond its own speculations in this direction, by Archaic Science.
This is followed by a many-celled organism which is formed by “germ-buds reduced to spores, or single cells, which are emitted from the parent”. . . . when “we are at the threshold of that system of sexual propagation, which has (now) become the rule in all the higher families of animals” . . . . It is when an “organism, having advantages in the struggle for life, established itself permanently” . . . . that special organs developed to meet the altered condition . . . . . when a distinction “would be firmly established of a female organ or ovary containing the egg or primitive cell from which the new being was to be developed.” . . . . “This is confirmed by a study of embryology, which shows that in the human and higher animal species the distinction of sex is not developed until a considerable progress has been made in the growth of the embryo . . . .” In the great majority of plants, and in some lower families of animals . . . the male and female organs are developed within the same being . . . . . a hermaphrodite. Moreover, in the “virginal reproduction — germ-cells apparently similar in all respects to egg-cells, develop themselves into new individuals without any fructifying element,” etc., etc. (pp. 103-107).
Of all which we are as perfectly well aware as of this — that the above was never applied by the very learned English popularizer of Huxleyo-Haeckelian theories to the genus homo. He limits this to specks of protoplasm, plants, bees, snails, and so on. But if he would be true to the theory of descent, he must be as true to ontogenesis, in which the fundamental biogenetic law, we are told, runs as follows: “the development of the embryo (ontogeny) is a condensed and abbreviated repetition of the evolution of the race (phylogeny). This repetition is the more complete, the more the true original order of evolution (palingenesis) has been retained by continual heredity. On the other hand, this repetition is the less complete, the more by varying adaptations the later spurious development (caenogenesis) has obtained.” (Anthrop. 3rd edition, p. 11.)
This shows to us that every living creature and thing on earth, including man, evolved from one common primal form. Physical man must have passed through the same stages of the evolutionary process in the various modes of procreation as other animals have: he must have divided himself; then, hermaphrodite, have given birth parthenogenetically (on the immaculate principle) to his young ones; the next stage would be the oviparous — at first “without any fructifying element,” then “with the help of the fertilitary spore”; and only after the final and definite evolution of both sexes, would he become a distinct “male and female,” when reproduction through sexual union would grow into universal law. So far, all this is scientifically proven. There remains but one thing to be ascertained: the plain and comprehensively described
processes of such ante-sexual reproduction. This is done in the Occult books, a slight outline of which was attempted by the writer in Part I. of this Volume.
Either this, or — man is a distinct being. Occult philosophy may call him that, because of his distinctly dual nature. Science cannot do so, once that it rejects every interference save mechanical laws, and admits of no principle outside matter. The former — the archaic Science — allows the human physical frame to have passed through every form, from the lowest to the very highest, its present one, or from the simple to the complex — to use the accepted terms. But it claims that in this cycle (the fourth), the frame having already existed among the types and models of nature from the preceding Rounds — that it was quite ready for man from the beginning of this Round.* The Monad had but to step into the astral body of the progenitors, in order that the work of physical consolidation should begin around the shadowy prototype.†
What would Science say to this? It would answer, of course, that as man appeared on earth as the latest of the mammalians, he had no need, no more than those mammals, to pass through the primitive stages of procreation as above described. His mode of procreation was already established on Earth when he appeared. In this case, we may reply: since to this day not the remotest sign of a link between man and the animal has yet been found, then (if the Occultist doctrine is to be repudiated) he must have sprung miraculously in nature, like a fully armed Minerva from Jupiter’s brain. And in such case the Bible is right, along with other national “revelations.” Hence the scientific scorn, so freely lavished by the author of “A Modern
* Theosophists will remember that, according to Occult teaching, Cyclic pralayas so-called are but obscurations, during which periods Nature, i.e., everything visible and invisible on a resting planet — remains in statu quo. Nature rests and slumbers, no work of destruction going on on the globe even if no active work is done. All forms, as well as their astral types, remain as they were at the last moment of its activity. The “night” of a planet has hardly any twilight preceding it. It is caught like a huge mammoth by an avalanche, and remains slumbering and frozen till the next dawn of its new day — a very short one indeed in comparison to the “Day of Brahma.”
† This will be pooh-poohed, because it will not be understood by our modern men of science; but every Occultist and theosophist will easily realize the process. There can be no objective form on Earth (nor in the Universe either), without its astral prototype being first formed in Space. From Phidias down to the humblest workman in the ceramic art — a sculptor has had to create first of all a model in his mind, then sketch it in one and two dimensional lines, and then only can he reproduce it in a three dimensional or objective figure. And if human mind is a living demonstration of such successive stages in the process of evolution — how can it be otherwise when Nature’s Mind and creative powers are concerned?
Zoroastrian” upon ancient philosophies and exoteric creeds, becomes premature and uncalled for. Nor would the sudden discovery of a “missing-link”-like fossil mend matters at all. For neither one such solitary specimen nor the scientific conclusions thereupon, could insure its being the long-sought-for relic, i.e., that of an undeveloped, still a once speaking man. Something more would be required as a final proof (vide infra, Note). Besides which, even Genesis takes up man, her Adam of dust, only where the Secret Doctrine leaves her “Sons of God and Wisdom” and picks up the physical man of the Third Race. Eve is not “begotten,” but is extracted out of Adam on the manner of “Amoeba A,” contracting in the middle and splitting into Amoeba B — by division. (See p. 103, in “The Modern Zoroastrian.”) Nor has human speech developed from the various animal sounds.
Haeckel’s theory that “speech arose gradually from a few simple, crude animal sounds . . . .” as such “speech still remains amongst a few races of lower rank” (Darwinian theory in “Pedigree of Man,” p. 22) is altogether unsound, as argued by Professor Max Muller, among others. He contends that no plausible explanation has yet been given as to how the “roots” of language came into existence. A human brain is necessary for human speech. And figures relating to the size of the respective brains of man and ape show how deep is the gulf which separates the two. Vogt says that the brain of the largest ape, the gorilla, measures no more than 30.51 cubic inches; while the average brains of the flat-headed Australian natives — the lowest now in the human races — amount to 99.35 cubic inches! Figures are awkward witnesses and cannot lie. Therefore, as truly observed by Dr. F. Pfaff, whose premises are as sound and correct as his biblical conclusions are silly: — “The brain of the apes most like man, does not amount to quite a third of the brain of the lowest races of men: it is not half the size of the brain of a new-born child.” (“The Age and Origin of Man.”) From the foregoing it is thus very easy to perceive that in order to prove the Huxley-Haeckelian theories of the descent of man, it is not one, but a great number of “missing links” — a true ladder of progressive evolutionary steps — that would have to be first found and then presented by Science to thinking and reasoning humanity, before it would abandon belief in gods and the immortal Soul for the worship of Quadrumanic ancestors. Mere myths are now greeted as “axiomatic truths.” Even Alfred Russel Wallace maintains with Haeckel that primitive man was a speechless ape-creature. To this Joly answers: — “Man never was, in my opinion, this pithecanthropus alalus whose portrait Haeckel has drawn as if he had seen and known him, whose singular and completely hypothetical genealogy he has even given, from the mere mass of living protoplasm to the man endowed with speech and a civilization analo-
gous to that of the Australians and Papuans.” (“Man before Metals,” p. 320, N. Joly. Inter. Scient. Series.)
Haeckel, among other things, often comes into direct conflict with the Science of languages. In the course of his attack on Evolutionism (1873, “Mr. Darwin’s Philosophy of Language”), Prof. Max Muller stigmatized the Darwinian theory as “vulnerable at the beginning and at the end.” The fact is, that only the partial truth of many of the secondary “laws” of Darwinism is beyond question — M. de Quatrefages evidently accepting “Natural Selection,” the “struggle for existence” and transformation within species, as proven not once and for ever, but pro. tem. But it may not be amiss, perhaps, to condense the linguistic case against the “Ape ancestor” theory: —
Languages have their phases of growth, etc., like all else in nature. It is almost certain that the great linguistic families pass through three stages.
(1) All words are roots and merely placed in juxtaposition (Radical languages).
(2) One root defines the other, and becomes merely a determinative element (Agglutinative).
(3) The determinative element (the determinating meaning of which has long lapsed) unites into a whole with the formative element (Inflected).
The problem then is: Whence these roots? Max Muller argues that the existence of these ready-made materials of speech is a proof that man cannot be the crown of a long organic series. This potentiality of forming roots is the great crux which materialists almost invariably avoid.
Von Hartmann explains it as a manifestation of the “Unconscious,” and admits its cogency versus mechanical Atheism. Hartmann is a fair representative of the Metaphysician and Idealist of the present age.
The argument has never been met by the non-pantheistic Evolutionists. To say with Schmidt: “Forsooth are we to halt before the origin of language?” is an avowal of dogmatism and of speedy defeat. (Cf. his “Doctrine of Descent and Darwinism,” p. 304.)
We respect those men of science who, wise in their generation, say: “Prehistoric Past being utterly beyond our powers of direct observation, we are too honest, too devoted to the truth — or what we regard as truth — to speculate upon the unknown, giving out our unproven theories along with facts absolutely established in modern Science.” . . . . “The borderland of (metaphysical) knowledge is best left to time, which is the best test as to truth” (A Modern Zoroastrian, p. 136).
This is a wise and an honest sentence in the mouth of a materialist. But when a Haeckel, after just saying that “historical events of
past time . . ” having “occurred many millions of years ago,* . . . are for ever removed from direct observation,” and that neither geology nor phylogeny† can or will “rise to the position of a real exact science,” then insists on the development of all organisms — “from the lowest vertebrate to the highest, from Amphioxus to man” — we ask for a weightier proof than he can give. Mere “empirical sources of knowledge,” so extolled by the author of “Anthropogeny” — when he has to be satisfied with the qualification for his own views — are not competent to settle problems lying beyond their domain; nor is it the province of exact science to place any reliance on them.‡ If “empirical” — and Haeckel declares so himself repeatedly — then they are no better, nor any more reliable, in the sight of exact research, when extended into the remote past, than our Occult teachings of the East, both having to be placed on quite the same level. Nor are his phylogenetic and palingenetic speculations treated in any better way by the real scientists, than are our cyclic repetitions of the evolution of the Great in the minor races, and the original order of evolutions. For the province of exact, real Science, materialistic though it be, is to carefully avoid anything like guess-work, speculation which cannot be verified; in short, all suppressio veri and all suggestio falsi. The business of the man of exact Science is to observe, each in his chosen department, the phenomena of nature; to record, tabulate, compare and classify the facts, down to the smallest minutiae which are presented to the observation of the senses with the help of all the exquisite mechanism that modern invention supplies, not by the aid of metaphysical flights of fancy. All that he has a legitimate right to do, is to correct by the assistance of physical instruments the
* It thus appears that in its anxiety to prove our noble descent from the catarrhine “baboon,” Haeckel’s school has pushed the times of pre-historic man millions of years back. (See “Pedigree of Man,” p. 273.) Occultists, render thanks to science for such corroboration of our claims!
† This seems a poor compliment to pay Geology, which is not a speculative but as exact a science as astronomy — save, perhaps its too risky chronological speculations. It is mainly a “Descriptive” as opposed to an “Abstract” Science.
‡ Such newly-coined words as “perigenesis of plastids,” “plastidule Souls” (!), and others less comely, invented by Haeckel, may be very learned and correct in so far as they may express very graphically the ideas in his own vivid fancy. As a fact, however, they remain for his less imaginative colleagues painfully caenogenetic — to use his own terminology; i.e., for true Science they are spurious speculations so long as they are derived from “empirical sources.” Therefore, when he seeks to prove that “the origin of man from other mammals, and most directly from the catarrhine ape, is a deductive law that follows necessarily from the inductive law of the theory of descent” (“Anthropogeny,” p. 392) — his no less learned foes (du Bois-Reymond — for one) have a right to see in this sentence a mere jugglery of words; a “testimonium paupertatis of natural science” — as he himself complains, calling them, in return, ignoramuses (see “Pedigree of Man,” Notes).
defects or illusions of his own coarser vision, auditory powers, and other senses. He has no right to trespass on the grounds of metaphysics and psychology. His duty is to verify and to rectify all the facts that fall under his direct observation; to profit by the experiences and mistakes of the Past in endeavouring to trace the working of a certain concatenation of cause and effects, which, but only by its constant and unvarying repetition, may be called a Law. This it is which a man of science is expected to do, if he would become a teacher of men and remain true to his original programme of natural or physical sciences. Any side-way path from this royal road becomes speculation.
Instead of keeping to this, what does many a so-called man of science do in these days? He rushes into the domains of pure metaphysics, while deriding it. He delights in rash conclusions and calls it “a deductive law from the inductive law” of a theory based upon and drawn out of the depths of his own consciousness: that consciousness being perverted by, and honeycombed with, one-sided materialism. He attempts to explain the “origin” of things, which are yet embosomed only in his own conceptions. He attacks spiritual beliefs and religious traditions millenniums old, and denounces everything, save his own hobbies, as superstition. He suggests theories of the Universe, a Cosmogony developed by blind, mechanical forces of nature alone, far more miraculous and impossible than even one based upon the assumption of fiat lux out of nihil — and tries to astonish the world by such a wild theory; which, being known to emanate from a scientific brain, is taken on blind faith as very scientific and the outcome of Science.
Are those the opponents Occultism would dread? Most decidedly not. For such theories are no better treated by real (not empirical) Science than our own. Haeckel, hurt in his vanity by du Bois-Reymond, never tires of complaining publicly of the latter’s onslaught on his fantastic theory of descent. Rhapsodizing on “the exceedingly rich storehouse of empirical evidence,” he calls those “recognised physiologists” who oppose every speculation of his drawn from the said “storehouse” — ignorant men. “If many men,” he declares — “and among them even some scientists of repute — hold that the whole of phylogeny is a castle in the air, and genealogical trees (from monkeys?) are empty plays of phantasy, they only in speaking thus demonstrate their ignorance of that wealth of empirical sources of knowledge to which reference has already been made” (“Pedigree of Man,” p. 273).
We open Webster’s Dictionary and read the definitions of the word “empirical”: “Depending upon experience or observation alone, without due regard to modern science and theory.” This applies to the Occultists, Spiritualists, Mystics, etc., etc. Again, “an Empiric — One who confines himself to applying the results of his own observations” (only)
(which is Haeckel’s case); “one wanting Science . . . . an ignorant and unlicensed practitioner; a quack; a Charlatan.”
No Occultist or “magician,” has ever been treated to any worse epithets. Yet the Occultist remains on his own metaphysical grounds, and does not endeavour to rank his knowledge, the fruits of his personal observation and experience, among the exact sciences of modern learning. He keeps within his legitimate sphere, where he is master. But what is one to think of a rank materialist, whose duty is clearly traced before him, who uses such an expression as this: —
“The origin of man from other mammals, and most directly from the catarrhine ape, is a deductive law, that follows necessarily from the inductive law of the Theory of Descent.” (“Anthropogeny,” p. 392).
A “theory” is simply a hypothesis, a speculation, and no law. To say otherwise is only one of the many liberties taken now-a-days by scientists. They enunciate an absurdity, and then hide it behind the shield of Science. Any deduction from theoretical speculation is no better than a speculation on a speculation. Now Sir W. Hamilton has already shown that the word theory is now used “in a very loose and improper sense” . . . . “that it is convertible into hypothesis, and hypothesis is commonly used as another term for conjecture, whereas the terms ‘theory’ and ‘theoretical’ are properly used in opposition to the term practice and practical.”
But modern Science puts an extinguisher on the latter statement, and mocks at the idea. Materialistic philosophers and Idealists of Europe and America may be agreed with the Evolutionists as to the physical origin of man — yet it will never become a general truth with the true metaphysician, and the latter defies the materialists to make good their arbitrary assumptions. That the ape-theory theme* of Vogt and Darwin, on which the Huxley-Haeckelians have composed of late such extraordinary variations, is far less scientific — because clashing with the fundamental laws of that theme itself — than ours can ever be
* The mental barrier between man and ape, characterized by Huxley as an “enormous gap, a distance practically immeasurable”! ! is, indeed, in itself conclusive. Certainly it constitutes a standing puzzle to the materialist, who relies on the frail reed of “natural selection.” The physiological differences between Man and the Apes are in reality — despite a curious community of certain features— equally striking. Says Dr. Schweinfurth, one of the most cautious and experienced of naturalists: —
“In modern times there are no animals in creation that have attracted more attention from the scientific student than the great quadrumana (the anthropoids), bearing such a striking resemblance to the human form as to have justified the epithet of anthropomorphic being conferred on them. . . . But all investigation at present only leads human intelligence to a confession of its insufficiency; and nowhere is caution more to be advocated, nowhere is premature judgment more to be deprecated than in the attempt to bridge over the mysterious chasm which separates man and beast.” “Heart of Africa” i., 520.
shown to be, is very easy of demonstration. Let the reader only turn to the excellent work on “Human Species” by the great French naturalist de Quatrefages, and our statement will at once be verified.
Moreover, between the esoteric teaching concerning the origin of man and Darwin’s speculations, no man, unless he is a rank materialist, will hesitate. This is the description given by Mr. Darwin of “the earliest ancestors of man.”
“They were without doubt once covered with hair; both sexes having beards; their ears were pointed and capable of movement; and their bodies were provided with a tail, having the proper muscles. Their limbs and bodies were acted on by many muscles which now only occasionally reappear in man, but which are still normally present in the quadrumana. . . . The foot, judging from the condition of the great toe in the foetus, was then prehensile, and our progenitors, no doubt, were arboreal in their habits, frequenting some warm forest-clad land, and the males were provided with canine teeth which served as formidable weapons. . . .”*
Darwin connects him with the type of the tailed catarrhines, “and consequently removes him a stage backward in the scale of evolution. The English naturalist is not satisfied to take his stand upon the ground of his own doctrines, and, like Haeckel, on this point places himself in direct variance with one of the fundamental laws which constitute the principal charm of Darwinism . . . ” And then the learned French naturalist proceeds to show how this fundamental law is broken. “In fact,” he says, “in the theory of Darwin, transmutations do not take place, either by chance or in every direction. They are ruled by certain laws which are due to the organization itself. If an organism is once modified in a given direction, it can undergo secondary or tertiary transmutations, but will still preserve the impress of the original. It is the law of permanent characterization, which alone permits Darwin to explain the filiation of groups, their characteristics, and their numerous relations. It is by virtue of this law that all the descendants of the first mollusc have been molluscs; all the descendants of the first vertebrate have been vertebrates. It is clear that this constitutes one of the foundations of the doctrine. . . . It follows that two beings belonging to two distinct types can be referred to a common ancestor, but the one cannot be the descendant of the other”; (p. 106).
“Now man and ape present a very striking contrast in respect to type. Their organs . . . correspond almost exactly term for term: but these
* A ridiculous instance of evolutionist contradictions is afforded by Schmidt (“Doctrine of Descent and Darwinism,” on page 292). He says, “Man’s kinship with the apes is not impugned by the bestial strength of the teeth of the male orang or gorilla.” Mr. Darwin, on the contrary, endows this fabulous being with teeth used as weapons!
organs are arranged after a very different plan. In man they are so arranged that he is essentially a walker, while in apes they necessitate his being a climber. . . . There is here an anatomical and mechanical distinction. . . . A glance at the page where Huxley has figured side by side a human skeleton and the skeletons of the most highly developed apes is a sufficiently convincing proof.”
The consequence of these facts, from the point of view of the logical application of the law of permanent characterizations, is that man cannot be descended from an ancestor who is already characterized as an ape, any more than a catarrhine tailless ape can be descended from a tailed catarrhine. A walking animal cannot be descended from a climbing one.
“Vogt, in placing man among the primates, declares without hesitation that the lowest class of apes have passed the landmark (the common ancestor), from which the different types of this family have originated and diverged.” (This ancestor of the apes, occult science sees in the lowest human group during the Atlantean period, as shown before.) . . . “We must, then, place the origin of man beyond the last apes,” goes on de Quatrefages, thus corroborating our Doctrine, “if we would adhere to one of the laws most emphatically necessary to the Darwinian theory. We then come to the prosimiae of Haeckel, the loris, indris, etc. But those animals also are climbers; we must go further, therefore, in search of our first direct ancestor. But the genealogy by Haeckel brings us from the latter to the marsupials. . . . From men to the Kangaroo the distance is certainly great. Now neither living nor extinct fauna show the intermediate types which ought to serve as landmarks. This difficulty causes but slight embarrassment to Darwin.* We know that he considers the want of information upon similar questions as a proof in his favour. Haeckel doubtless is as little embarrassed. He admits the existence of an absolutely theoretical pithecoid man.”
“Thus, since it has been proved that, according to Darwinism itself, the origin of man must be placed beyond the eighteenth stage, and since it becomes, in consequence, necessary to fill up the gap between marsupials and man, will Haeckel admit the existence of four unknown intermediate groups instead of one?” asks de Quatrefages. “Will he complete his genealogy in this manner? It is not for me to answer.” (“The Human Species,” p. 107-108.)
But see Haeckel’s famous genealogy, in “The Pedigree of Man,” called by him “Ancestral Series of Man.” In the “Second Division”
* According even to a fellow-thinker, Professor Schmidt, Darwin has evolved “a certainly not flattering, and perhaps in many points an incorrect, portrait of our presumptive ancestors in the dawn of humanity.” (“Doctrine of Descent and Darwinism,” p. 284.)
(Eighteenth Stage) he describes “Prosimiae, allied to the Loris (Stenops) and Makis (Lemur) as without marsupial bones and cloaca, but with placenta.” And now turn to de Quatrefages’ “The Human Species,” pp. 109, 110, and see his proofs, based on the latest discoveries, to show that “the prosimiae of Haeckel have no decidua and a diffuse placenta.” They cannot be the ancestors of the apes even, let alone man, according to a fundamental law of Darwin himself, as the great French Naturalist shows. But this does not dismay the “animal theorists” in the least, for self-contradiction and paradoxes are the very soul of modern Darwinism. Witness — Mr. Huxley. Having himself shown, with regard to fossil man and the “missing link,” that “neither in quaternary ages nor at the present time does any intermediary being fill the gap which separates man from the Troglodyte”; and that to “deny the existence of this gap would be as reprehensible as absurd,” the great man of Science denies his own words in actu by supporting with all the weight of his scientific authority that most “absurd” of all theories — the descent of man from an ape!
“This genealogy,” says de Quatrefages, “is wrong throughout, and is founded on a material error.” Indeed, Haeckel bases his descent of man on the 17th and 18th stages (See Aveling’s “Pedigree of Man,” p. 77), the marsupialia and prosimiae — (genus Haeckelii?). Applying the latter term to the Lemuridae — hence making of them animals with a placenta — he commits a zoological blunder. For after having himself divided mammals according to their anatomical differences into two groups: the indeciduata, which have no decidua (or special membrane uniting the placentae), and the deciduata, those who possess it: he includes the prosimiae in the latter group. Now we have shown elsewhere what other men of science had to say to this. As de Quatrefages says, “The anatomical investigations of . . . Milne Edwards and Grandidier upon these animals . . . place it beyond all doubt that the prosimiae of Haeckel have no decidua and a diffuse placenta. They are indeciduata. Far from any possibility of their being the ancestors of the apes, according to the principles laid down by Haeckel himself, they cannot be regarded even as the ancestors of the zonoplacental mammals . . . and ought to be connected with the pachydermata, the edentata, and the cetacea”; (p. 110). And yet Haeckel’s inventions pass off with some as exact science!
The above mistake, if indeed, one, is not even hinted at in Haeckel’s “Pedigree of Man,” translated by Aveling. If the excuse may stand good that at the time the famous “genealogies” were made, “the embryogenesis of the prosimiae was not known,” it is familiar now. We shall see whether the next edition of Aveling’s translation will have this important error rectified, or if the 17th and 18th stages remain
as they are to blind the profane, as one of the real intermediate links. But, as the French naturalist observes — “their (Darwin’s and Haeckel’s) process is always the same, considering the unknown as a proof in favour of their theory.” (Ibid.)
It comes to this. Grant to man an immortal Spirit and Soul; endow the whole animate and inanimate creation with the monadic principle gradually evolving from the latent and passive into active and positive polarity — and Haeckel will not have a leg to stand upon, whatever his admirers may say.
But there are important divergences even between Darwin and Haeckel. While the former makes us proceed from the tailed catarrhine, Haeckel traces our hypothetical ancestor to the tailless ape, though, at the same time, he places him in a hypothetical “stage” immediately preceding this: “Menocerca with tails” (19th stage).
Nevertheless, we have one thing in common with the Darwinian school: it is the law of gradual and extremely slow evolution, embracing many million years. The chief quarrel, it appears, is with regard to the nature of the primitive “Ancestor.” We shall be told that the Dhyan Chohan, or the “progenitor” of Manu, is a hypothetical being unknown on the physical plane. We reply that it was believed in by the whole of antiquity, and by nine-tenths of the present humanity; whereas not only is the pithecoid man, or “ape-man,” a purely hypothetical creature of Haeckel’s creation, unknown and untraceable on this earth, but further its genealogy — as invented by him— clashes with scientific facts and all the known data of modern discovery in Zoology. It is simply absurd, even as a fiction. As de Quatrefages demonstrates in a few words, Haeckel “admits the existence of an absolutely theoretical pithecoid man” — a hundred times more difficult to accept than any Deva ancestor. And it is not the only instance in which he proceeds in a similar manner in order to complete his genealogical table; and he admits very naively his inventions himself. Does he not confess the non-existence of his sozura (14th stage) — a creature entirely unknown to science — by confessing over his own signature, that — “The proof of its existence arises from the necessity of an intermediate type between the 13th and the 14th stages”!
If so, we might maintain with as much scientific right, that the proof of the existence of our three ethereal races, and the three-eyed men of the Third and Fourth Root-Races “arises also from the necessity of an intermediate type” between the animal and the gods. What reason would the Haeckelians have to protest in this special case?
Of course there is a ready answer: “Because we do not grant the presence of the monadic essence.” The manifestation of the Logos as individual consciousness in the animal and human creation is not accepted
by exact science, nor does it cover the whole ground, of course. But the failures of science and its arbitrary assumptions are far greater on the whole than* any “extravagant” esoteric doctrine can ever furnish. Even thinkers of the school of Von Hartmann have become tainted with the general epidemic. They accept the Darwinian Anthropology (more or less), though they also postulate the individual Ego as a manifestation of the Unconscious (the Western presentation of the Logos or Primeval Divine Thought). They say the evolution of the physical man is from the animal, but that mind in its various phases is altogether a thing apart from material facts, though organism (as an upadhi) is necessary for its manifestation.
Plastidular Souls, and Conscious Nerve-cells.
But one can never see the end of such wonders with Haeckel and his school, whom the Occultists and Theosophists have every right to consider as materialistic tramps trespassing on private metaphysical grounds. Not satisfied with the paternity of Bathybius (Haeckelii), “plastidule souls,”† and “atom-souls” are now invented by them, on the basis of purely blind mechanical forces of matter. We are informed that “the study of the evolution of soul-life shows that this has worked its way up from the lower stages of the simple cell-soul, through an astonishing series of gradual stages in evolution, up to the soul of man.” (“Present Position of Evolution,” p. 266.)
“Astonishing” — truly, based as this wild speculation is on the Consciousness of the “nerve cells.” For as he tells us, “Little as we are in a position, at the present time, to explain fully the nature of consciousness,‡ yet the comparative and genetic observation of it clearly shows that it is only a higher and more complex function of the nerve cells.” (Ibid, note 22.)
* Of course the Esoteric system of Fourth Round Evolution is much more complex than the paragraph and quotations referred to categorically assert. It is practically a reversal — both in embryological inference and succession in time of species — of the current Western conception.
† According to Haeckel, there are also cell-souls; “an inorganic molecular soul” without, and a “plastidular soul with (or possessing) memory”. What are our esoteric teachings to this? The divine and human soul of the seven principles in man must, of course, pale and give away before such a stupendous revelation!
‡ A valuable confession, this. Only it makes the attempt to trace the descent of Consciousness in man as well as of his physical body from Bathybius Haeckelii still more humorous and empirical, in the sense of Webster’s second definition.
Mr. Herbert Spencer’s song on Consciousness — is sung, it seems, and may henceforth be safely stored up in the lumber room of obsolete speculations. Where, however, do Haeckel’s “complex functions” of his scientific “nerve-cells” land him? Once more right into the Occult and mystic teachings of the Kabala about the descent of souls as conscious and unconscious atoms; among the Pythagorean monad and the monads of Leibnitz — and the “gods, monads, and atoms” of our esoteric teaching;* into the dead letter of Occult teachings, left to the amateur Kabalists and professors of ceremonial magic. For this is what he says, while explaining his newly-coined terminology: —
“Plastidule-Souls; the plastidules or protoplasmic molecules, the smallest, homogeneous parts of the protoplasm are, on our plastic theory, to be regarded as the active factors of all life-functions. The plastidular soul differs from the inorganic molecular soul in that it possesses memory.” (“Pedigree of Man,” Note, p. 296.)
This he develops in his mirific lecture on the “Perigenesis of the Plastidule, or the wave-motions of living particles.” It is an improvement on Darwin’s theory of “Pangenesis,” and a further approach, a cautious move towards “magic.” The former is a conjecture that certain of the actual and identical atoms which had belonged to ancestral bodies “are thus transmitted through their descendants for generation after generation, so that we are literally ‘flesh of the flesh’ of the primeval creature who has developed into man in the later . . . period” — explains the author of “The Modern Zoroastrian” (in “Primitive Polarities,” etc.). The latter (Occultism) teaches that — (a) the life-atoms of our (Prana) life-principle are never entirely lost when a man dies. That the atoms best impregnated with the life-principle (an independent, eternal, conscious factor) are partially transmitted from father to son by heredity, and partially are drawn once more together and become the animating principle of the new body in every new incarnation of
* Those who take the opposite view and look upon the existence of the human soul, — “as a supernatural, a spiritual phenomenon, conditioned by forces altogether different from ordinary physical forces,” . . . “mock,” he thinks, “in consequence, all explanation that is simply scientific.” They have no right it seems, to assert that “psychology is, in part, or in whole, a spiritual science, not a physical one.” . . . The new discovery by Haeckel (one taught for thousands of years in all the Eastern religions, however), that the animals have souls, will, and sensation, hence soul-functions, leads him to make of psychology the science of the zoologists. The archaic teaching that the “Soul” (the animal and human souls, or Kama and Manas) “has its developmental history” — is claimed by Haekel as his own discovery and innovation on an “untrodden (?) path”! He (Haeckel) will work out the comparative evolution of the soul in man and in other animals. . . . “The comparative morphology of the soul-organs, and the comparative physiology of the soul-functions, both founded on Evolution, thus become the psychological (really materialistic) problem of the scientific man.” (Cell-souls and Soul-cells, p. 137, “Pedigree of Man.”)
the Monads. Because (b), as the individual Soul is ever the same, so are the atoms of the lower principles (body, its astral, or life double, etc.), drawn as they are by affinity and Karmic law always to the same individuality in a series of various bodies, etc., etc.*
To be just, and, to say the least, logical, our modern Haeckelians ought to pass a resolution that henceforth the “Perigenesis of the Plastidule,” and like lectures, should be bound up with those on “Esoteric Buddhism,” and “The Seven Principles in Man.” Thus the public will have a chance, at any rate, of judging after comparison which of the two teachings is the most or the least absurd, even from the standpoint of materialistic and exact Science!
Now the Occultists, who trace every atom in the universe, whether an aggregate or single, to One Unity, or Universal Life; who do not recognize that anything in Nature can be inorganic; who know of no such thing as dead matter — the Occultists are consistent with their doctrine of Spirit and Soul when speaking of memory in every atom, of will and sensation. But what can a materialist mean by the qualification? The law of biogenesis, in the sense applied to it by the Haeckelians — “is the result of the ignorance on the part of the man of science of occult physics.” We know and speak of “life-atoms” — and of “sleeping-atoms” — because we regard these two forms of energy — the kinetic and the potential — as produced by one and the same force or the one life, and regard the latter as the source and mover of all. But what is it that furnished with energy, and especially with memory, the “plastidular souls” of Haeckel? The “wave motion of living particles” becomes comprehensible on the theory of a Spiritual one life, of a universal Vital principle independent of our matter, and manifesting as atomic energy only on our plane of consciousness. It is that which, individualized in the human cycle, is transmitted from father to son.
Now Haeckel, modifying Darwin’s theory, suggests “most plausibly,” as the author of the “Modern Zoroastrian” thinks, “that not the identical atoms, but their peculiar motions and mode of aggregation have been thus transmitted” (by heredity).
If Haeckel, or any other Scientist, knew more than any of them does of the nature of the atom, he would not have improved the occasion in this way. For he only states, in a more metaphysical language than Darwin, one and the same thing. The life-principle, or life energy,
* (See “Transmigration of the Life Atoms,” “Five years of Theosophy,” p. 533-539). The collective aggregation of these atoms forms thus the Anima Mundi of our Solar system, the soul of our little universe, each atom of which is of course a soul, a monad, a little universe endowed with consciousness, hence with memory (Vol. I., Part III., “Gods, Monads and Atoms.”)
which is omnipresent, eternal, indestructible, is a force and a principle as noumenon, atoms, as phenomenon. It is one and the same thing, and cannot be considered as separate except in materialism.*
Further, Haeckel enunciates concerning the Atom Souls that which, at first sight, appears as occult as a Monad of Leibnitz. “The recent contest as to the nature of atoms, which we must regard as in some form or other the ultimate factors in all physical and chemical processes,” he tells us — “seems to be capable of the easiest settlement, by the conception that these very minute masses possess, as centres of force, a persistent soul, that every atom has sensation and the power of movement.”
He does not say a word concerning the fact that this is Leibnitz’s theory, and one pre-eminently occult. Nor does he understand the term “Soul” as we do; for, with Haeckel it is simply, along with consciousness, the production of the grey matter of the brain, a thing which, as the “cell-soul, is as indissolubly bound up with the protoplasmic body as is the human soul with the brain and spinal cord.” (Ibid.) He rejects the conclusions of Kant, Herbert Spencer, of du Bois-Reymond and Tyndall. The latter expresses the opinion of all the great men of science, as of the greatest thinkers of this and the past ages, in saying that “the passage from the physics of the brain to the corresponding facts of Consciousness is unthinkable. Were our minds and senses so . . . illuminated as to enable us to see and feel the very molecules of the brain; were we capable of following all their motions, all their groupings . . . electric discharges . . . we should be as far as ever from the solution of the problem . . . The chasm between the two classes of phenomena would still remain intellectually impassable.” But the complex function of the nerve-cells of the great German empiric, or, in other words, his Consciousness, will not permit him to follow the conclusions of the greatest thinkers of our globe. He is greater than they. He asserts this, and protests against all. “No one has the right
* In “The Transmigration of the Life-Atoms,” we say, to explain better a position which is but too often misunderstood: — “It is omnipresent . . . . though (on this plane of manifestation) often in a dormant state — as in stone. The definition which states that when this indestructible force is disconnected with one set of atoms (molecules ought to have been said) it becomes immediately attracted by others, does not imply that it entirely abandons the first set (because the atoms themselves would then disappear), but only that it transfers its vis viva, or life power — the energy of motion, to another set. But because it manifests itself in the next set as what is called Kinetic energy, it does not follow that the first set is deprived of it altogether; for it is still in it, as potential energy or life latent,” etc., etc. Now what can Haeckel mean by his “not identical atoms but their peculiar motion and mode of aggregation,” if it is not the same Kinetic energy we have been explaining? He must have read Paracelsus and studied “Five Years of Theosophy,” without properly digesting the teachings, before evolving such theories.
to hold that in the future we (Haeckel) shall not be able to pass beyond those limits of our knowledge that to day seem impassable”; and he quotes from Darwin’s introduction to the “Descent of Man” these words, which he modestly applies to his scientific opponents and himself: “It is always those who know little, and not those who know much, that positively affirm that this or that problem will never be solved by Science.”
The world may rest satisfied. That day is not far off when the “thrice great” Haeckel will have shown (to his own satisfaction) that the consciousness of Sir I. Newton was, physiologically speaking, but the reflex action (or minus consciousness) caused by the peri-genesis of the plastidules of our common ancestor and old friend, the Moneron Haeckelii. The fact that the said “Bathybius” has been found out and exposed as a pretender simulating the organic substance it was not; and since, among the children of men, Lot’s wife alone (and even this, only after her disagreeable metamorphosis into a salt pillar) could claim the pinch of salt it is, as her forefather — will not dismay him at all. He will go on asserting, as coolly as he has always done, that it was no more than the peculiar mode and motion of the ghost of the long-vanished atoms of our “Father Bathybius,” which, transmitted across aeons of time into the cell-tissue of the grey matter of the brains of every great man, caused Sophocles and AEschylus, as well as Shakespeare, to write their tragedies, Newton, his “Principia,” Humboldt, his “Cosmos,” etc. etc. It prompted Haeckel to invent Graeco-Latin names three inches long, pretending to mean a good deal, and meaning — nothing.
Of course we are quite aware that the true, honest evolutionist agrees with us; and that he is the first to say that not only is the geological record imperfect, but that there are enormous gaps in the series of hitherto discovered fossils, which can never be filled. He will tell us, moreover, that “no evolutionist assumes that man is descended from any existing ape or any extinct ape either,” but that man and apes originated probably aeons back, in some common root stock. Still, as de Quatrefages points out, he will claim as an evidence corroborating his (the evolutionist’s) claim, even this wealth of absent proofs, saying that “all living forms have not been preserved in the fossil series, the chances of preservation being few and far between,” even primitive man “burying or burning his dead” (A. Wilson). This is just what we ourselves claim. It is just as possible that future should have in store for us the discovery of the giant skeleton of an Atlantean, 30ft. high, as the fossil of a pithecoid “missing link”: only the former is more probable.