The Theosophical Forum – January 1937



The Rising Tide of Theosophical idealism in the outside world has just received a strong impetus from an unexpected source — academic science! Two of the most important scientific bodies in the world are actually turning their backs on one of their most cherished and time-honored positions and are walking in step with the Mahatmans, though they may not be fully aware of it! The orthodox position held by modern scientists, until this surprising revolution, was eloquently expressed by the Master K H in a letter written to A P. Sinnett more than fifty years ago. He writes

Exact experimental science has nothing to do with morality, virtue, philanthropy — therefore can make no claim upon our help until it blends itself with metaphysics (1) Being but a cold classification of facts outside man, and existing before and after him, her domain of usefulness ceases for us at the outer boundary of these facts, and whatever the inferences and results for humanity from the materials acquired by this method, she little cares. Were the sun, the great nourishing father of our planetary system, to hatch granite chickens out of a boulder "under test conditions" tomorrow, they (the men of science) would accept it as a scientific fact without wasting a regret that the fowls were not alive so as to feed the hungry and the starving yet you are content to spend your life in a work which aids only that same exact science. . . .

. . . The realistic science of fact on the other hand is utterly prosaic. Now, for us, poor unknown philanthropists, no fact of either of these sciences is interesting except in the degree of its potentiality of moral results, and in the ratio of its usefulness to mankind. And what in its proud isolation, can be more utterly indifferent to everyone and everything or more bound to nothing but the selfish requisites for its advancement, than this materialistic science of fact? . . what have the laws of Faraday, Tyndall, or others to do with philanthropy in their abstract relations with humanity, viewed as an intelligent whole? What care they for Man as an isolated atom of this great and harmonious whole, even though they may be sometimes of practical use to him? . . . — The Occult World

But the Earth does move, and science has awakened to its false position at last. Is it unreasonable to claim that the constant diffusion of Theosophical ideals by earnest students of Theosophy throughout the world for half a century has had some influence in this matter? We know that not a few scientists and popular writers have read and do read our literature, and the power of concentrated thought directed toward a worthy end must not be ignored. The new alinement in the American and British worlds of science is briefly summarized in the following extract from a long article on the subject in the Pathfinder, for September 26, 1936.

The religious and social-minded last week had much to think about as philosophers aired their opinions on the state of humanity in the modern era. . . . In Blackpool (England), the British Association for the Advancement of Science saw society in such dangerous straits that the social aspects of technical progress were questioned. In Cambridge, Mass., the Harvard Conference heard suggestions for a "supreme world court of wisdom" to save mankind from man's inhumanity.

Reports from England indicated that science itself was in revolt against the uses to which new discoveries have been put. . . . Scientists, said Prof. J. C. Philip at the Blackpool gathering, "are increasingly impatient at the extent to which their knowledge is made to serve inhuman ends." . . . The attitude at Blackpool was in decided contrast to science's traditional indifference to anything except pure research.

At Harvard four distinguished philosophers were detailed to study the possibility of forming a world court to exert a moral authority similar to that exercised by the church in the Middle Ages! Shall we have a new scientific religion? If so, it would be well to adopt Dr. Alexis Carrel's suggestion in his great book, Man the Unknown, and find out more about what man really is. This, of course, means study on Theosophical lines, and the ultimate discovery that the Masters of Wisdom already have solved the problem and have given as much of the answer as we uninitiated persons can be expected to understand.

In August, 1891, H. P. Blavatsky's The Blessings of Publicity was published in Lucifer and is now available in reprint. She quotes an attack on Theosophy in which the writer protests against anything whatever being withheld from the public, saying, "It is no longer necessary for Science to take the veil, as she was forced to do for security in times past." She replies that while "secrets of the purer and profounder life," mentioned by the critic, should be universally known, there is much that is so dangerous that unless a man "lives the life" he cannot be entrusted with them. She adds that this does not apply only to such things as explosives, but still more to secrets of occultism which can be far more terribly misused, and "neither the criminal hand, nor the immaterial, invisible weapons used, can ever be detected." Yet there are apparently sane people offering inducements to the utterly unprepared, morally, to dabble in so-called "occult arts" and magical practices! If the scientists set up a "supreme world court of wisdom" to protect humanity from the shocking evils they are beginning to recognise as the result of putting powder and matches into the hands of moral infants or imbeciles, let us hope that it will confess that the Wise Teachers of old were right in the extraordinary precautions they took before they admitted candidates into the Greater Mysteries. Science may not need to hide behind a veil in order to protect itself in these days, but it may have to put up a triple wall of brass to protect the world against the indiscretions of its votaries.


Again we must draw attention to the spreading of fundamental teachings of Theosophy among our most learned and advanced scientists. One of the daring claims of the Ancient Wisdom is the ultimate unity of all things: that we cannot separate the working of the cosmos into independent or rival compartments such as ethical or spiritual laws, physical laws, biological laws, etc. The universe is One, and love, compassion, justice, beauty — forms of consciousness, are just as integral and inseparable parts of the whole, a "Living Universe," as suns and planets and the erroneously so-called "blind" forces. "Love is the cement of the universe," as G. de Purucker says.

Such ideas, however, have never been welcomed by orthodox, official science, which has been proud of its concentration on a mechanistic interpretation of Nature including an electro-chemical explanation of life and consciousness. What, then, can have aroused the distinguished Professor Dayton C. Miller, of the Case School of Applied Science, Cleveland, Ohio, to speak as follows at the fifty-second Commencement of that important scientific institution. Has he been studying H. P. Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine or G. de Purucker's Esoteric Tradition? The entire address is published in Science, October 2, 1936, to which our readers are referred as we have room for only a few sentences.

I am prepared to adopt as the realities which constitute the universe three manifestations of absolute value things which are eternally true — science, things which are intrinsically good — ethics, and things which are inherently beautiful — esthetics. There are not three different worlds of values, there is one universe of reality, a unity of the good, the true and the beautiful. And more, we must believe in the inherent and everlasting ability of mankind to progress towards an ultimate ideal or destiny, which requires that one's life be so ordered as to be in harmony with these eternal virtues. Such a life brings the greatest happiness and satisfaction. Such a system of philosophy is not new, in fact, it is one of the oldest systems.

The aim of life should be to secure the greatest development and manifestation of these qualities, and a life based upon such an ideal should bring the greatest happiness and satisfaction. Mere physical pleasure is a part of the reality of nature, and its pursuit is not only allowable but laudable. However, the foolish man often overlooks the fact that nature is scientific and ethical in its very essence, as well as esthetic and epicurean, and that sooner or later he must submit to the inevitable consequences of his actions the wise man knows that the most exquisite and satisfying pleasure comes to him who practices his enjoyments with regard to the unity and solidarity of universe does not keep its ethics in one compartment and its beauty in another, to be sampled as one selects, it is true throughout, it is beautiful throughout, and it is ethical throughout. Ethics is just as real and just as fundamental as science, but not more so. . . .

The aloof attitude of scientists which Dr. Dayton C. Miller does not share and which has begun to change, was intensified by their belief that such things as morality, love, and altruism were not basic either in nature or man, but arose from the "instinct of the herd" for physical protection, the crude "survival of the fittest group." In reality, this is a plain perversion, and science is beginning to suspect it.


Informed students of Theosophy are aware that the "Piltdown Man" or Eoanthropus (dawn-man), discovered in the South of England in 1912, has long been considered to be, as Sir Arthur Keith wrote in 1914, "the most ancient human remains yet found in England," and probably to belong to the very ancient Piltdown period, the oldest in which man has been supposed to exist (unless some disputed recent discoveries throw him back to the Miocene). Eoanthropus had a large brain, but also some marked ape-like features, and he was associated with the most primitive stone implements known, the "eoliths" (dawn-stones). It is now reported that a second and far more perfect Eoanthropus has been found in an undisturbed deposit of the "100-foot Terrace" in the valley of the Thames, which was laid down when the river was flowing at a level of about 100 feet above its present bed. This period is called the Acheulean and is far later than Keith's estimate for Eoanthropus No 1, and the Acheulean implements are of a very high order, showing great skill and artistic tastes. Eoanthropus II is stated to be only about 183,000 years old, but No 1, his predecessor may be at least 400,000. This great difference in the antiquity of nearly identical types (No II is somewhat lower though far more modern!) is of special interest in showing that other kinds of homo, not considered to be our ancestors — independent species almost — could linger on for tens or hundreds of thousands of years until far more intelligent races appeared (such as the advanced Acheuleans) from the unknown. We shall hear much more about this remarkable discovery, for, as the report in the Listener says, "from the standpoint of evolution, the Acheulean period is "but as yesterday," and the dating adds to the rapidly growing suspicion that, as sub-men lasted so much longer than was thought, so "man proper" may have a much longer past than the first evolutionists imagined possible " Just as is taking place in America, where highly intelligent man has at last been admitted to have existed at the time of the mammoth, 10,000 years ago, so the antiquity of "man proper" in Europe is being pushed back farther and farther into the night of time.


1. Sir William Crookes, the famous chemist, was a scientist who had a far larger outlook than the average into the "metaphysical" or super-physical aspect of life and nature, and he thereby earned the direct assistance of the Master M, when he took such an important part in initiating the new outlook in physics which destroyed the old materialistic creed (return to text)

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