The Theosophical Forum – December 1939


Our path in life is mostly determined by what we call chance or accident. But if laws of cause and effect are universal, there can be no such thing as chance or accident. True, we may use such words for convenience, to denote events whose cause we cannot trace; but chance in the real sense of the word would mean an effect without a cause, which is impossible by the hypothesis.

Hence we must accept the conclusion that even the most casual events come under the general law of causation; and we dare not take refuge in the argument that, because we cannot explain a thing, therefore it does not exist.

If I toss a coin to decide which of two things to do, it is usually said that I am leaving the decision to chance. But what can this mean? What is it that determines whether the coin will show heads or tails? The same with cards and many other such things. Divination is based on this. Those who practised divination knew that the fall of the cards, etc., was not due to mere chance, but that it was governed by law.

There is a whole universe of unexplored territory here waiting investigation. We do not discern the connexion between events: events seem to us like physical atoms, separated from one another by empty space. Yet we know the atoms can act on one another, so our idea of the empty space must be wrong.

Scientific discovery is continually extending the range of our knowledge respecting the connexions between things: the connexion between sanitation and epidemic disease, between mental habits and insanity, between what goes on on the sun and what goes on on the earth, between what the moon does and what the fishes do, and so on. And where or why should we set a limit? The possible cannot be made to end just at the point where our knowledge at any given date leaves off. Astrologers know the connexion between planetary positions and terrestrial events, between a natal figure and a character. What is an omen but an indication which someone has been able to read, and based on one of these invisible and unexplored connexions?

It has been said of modern science that it is after all but a very narrow selection of subjects for investigation, affording at every point clues that lead off in every direction, but the vast majority of which are ignored because they would conduct the investigator off the beaten track. It is not very likely that the science of the ancients would follow the selfsame beaten track. They probably followed up other clues and discovered things in Nature of which we have not obtained so much as a glimpse. For what is Nature to us but just so much of the world as we are able to see? How very much more there may be that we cannot see. There may be other planes, but before we begin soaring to them, why not learn a little more about the one we are on? All this seems to show that knowledge has not much to do with book-learning, and that it is the height of folly to pay fees to someone who offers to teach us, and that the gates of infinite knowledge lie open to anyone who can find in himself the keys to unlock them.

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