One might as well mistake the erratic swirl of foam upon an incoming tide for the mighty surge of the tide itself, as to mistake the scum and confusion of present world conditions for the swelling tide of the new age now upon us, indeed at our very doors.
Plato taught that it was the universals rather than the particulars which were substances and things. In other words, the real is the spiritual essence which from its nature and habit is interwebbed and merged in the one Universal Reality. A true realist was one who understood the spiritual and universal laws underlying all existence.
In recent years a realist has come to mean, not one who knows the inner laws governing life, but one who sees only the obvious and often only the sordid, material character of life. Law and purpose in nature is denied, and as a result understanding is in confusion.
The great need today is for Spiritual Realism which will help men to see that the universal laws upon which the fabric of all Nature is woven are in very truth, realities.
What are these laws, we may ask? They are the fundamental truths taught today as Theosophy — the essential divinity of man, reimbodiment, karman, the law of cycles, universal brotherhood as a law in nature; and many others. We as Theosophists may have studied these doctrines for many years; we may quote chapter and paragraph. Oh, yes, we may think we know all about them. But to what extent are these wonderful truths actual living realities to us? To what extent do we rely upon them when the pinch comes?
The spirit of the new age challenges us, calls us from intellectual refreshment to labor, demands that we give an accounting of the spiritual treasures we have received. It is asking us "Have these precious truths for which the Teachers gave their lives that you might receive entered into your very life and consciousness governing your every act and thought? Or are they merely intellectual abstractions, interesting topics for lecture or discussion? When faced with what you consider a personal injustice, do you fight back and seek to justify yourself before the world, or do you forgive and leave it to the good law to adjust"? There is the test.
The significance of the present time, and our answer to its challenge, may be of far more importance to ourselves and to the race than is commonly supposed.
The fate which overtook Lemuria and Atlantis will soon be upon us, for in some 16,000 years our own Fifth Root-Race will be cut in two by great cataclysms. Large areas of land will sink beneath the sea, other lands will appear, and climates will change. We are apt to think of these events as occurring many thousands of years in the future, but in terms of reincarnation and the span of life on earth they are only two or three lives ahead. It is this which makes right action today so urgent, for our actions and thoughts now, may very well determine our success or failure then; they may even be our final testing.
Evidence shows that great changes of land and climate have already commenced so that the pattern of things to come, is even now becoming apparent.
A careful study of tide gauge levels throughout the world, shows that due to a combination of causes sea levels between the latitude of the Canadian border and the corresponding Southern latitude are slowly rising. On the other hand, in Alaska, Canada, and Scandinavia sea levels are falling and over large areas the land is rising at the astonishing rate of two to three meters per century. This rapid rise of the circumpolar regions is said to be largely responsible for the (at present) slow submergence of the middle belt of the earth, where a summary of records from 71 stations shows an average rise of sea level of 12 cm., or a little over 4½ inches per century.
The rise in sea level per century for a few of these stations is Atlantic City 34 cm., San Diego 17 cm., New York 23 cm., San Francisco 12 cm., Galveston, Texas 48 cm., Hawaii 22 cm., the Azores 9 cm., Cherbourg, France 11 cm. (1)
For the last 50 years glaciers throughout the world have shown a constantly increasing shrinkage. Another interesting development is a new mountain range, the Sierra Madre del Sur, which is rapidly rising over a distance of 1,500 miles, along the West coast of Mexico and Central America. At the same time a "deep" is forming on the sea bottom parallel to the range.
These are a few of the many indications showing the commencement of earth changes even more momentous than those taking place in the social and political worlds.
The earth is indeed a living being, and undergoes changes which proceed step by step with changes in the plant, animal and human life whose home it is. All Nature thrills to the coming of dawn, whether it be that of a day, a year, or of a new race.
1. Figures are from Changes in Sea Level, Postglacial Uplift, and Mobility of the Earth's Interior, by Beno Gutenberg. Bulletin of the Geological Society of America, May, 1941. (return to text)
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