Library:Hodson/Kingdom of the Gods/Chapter 2

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CHAPTER II SCIENCE, ANCIENT AND MODERN[edit source]

THE ATOM OF SCIENCE[edit source]

THE pronouncements of some modern scientists concerning the nature and construction of the material universe coincide very closely with the teachings of occult philosophy throughout the ages. The quest for truth, directed in this age by physical scientists, is leading away from the materialistic and towards the transcendental outlook. The mechanistic view of scientific phenomena is being discarded, and the method of explaining them by the construction of models has come to be regarded as a hindrance rather than an aid to understanding. In one generation physical science has turned its back upon the mechanistic view and upon such models. Sir James Jeans states:

“A review of modern physics has shown that all attempts at mechanical models or pictures have failed and must fail. For a mechanical model or picture must represent things as happening in space and time, while it has recently become clear that the ultimate processes of nature neither occur in, nor admit of representation in, space and time.” [11]

Within living memory, the foremost men of science were proclaiming that in matter was to be found the promise of life. That dictum has since been reversed. The atom as a material particle has itself been found capable of subdivision. All substance is now said to be composed of discrete units of electricity of differing polarities, like minute grains of sand. The structure of all atoms is at present regarded as being similar. Their shape can be taken as spherical and their mass is concentrated at their centre. This nucleus is composed of neutrons and protons, the former being neutral or uncharged particles and the latter being charged with positive electricity; it is surrounded by an electrical field formed of a planetary system of negatively charged particles, moving in round or elliptical paths or orbits and called electrons.

The relatively simple concept of the atom, in which all protons and neutrons are in the nucleus and all electrons are outside of it is by no means final. Evidence is appearing for the existence of other elemental particles. Whilst the whole universe is regarded as being composed of atoms and every atom known up to now has consisted of combinations of the above basic particles, other types of particles have been discovered. One of these is the positron or positive electron which has the mass of an electron. The neutron is suspected to be a proton-electron pair, a close combination of protons and electrons. The meson, throught by many to be the agent of cohesion in all substance, has been discovered in cosmic rays.

These discoveries of protons and neutrons in the nucleus are leading directly towards the view of occult science, that all matter is an extremely concentrated, “crystallised” or “frozen” form of energy. The Einstein equation, further evidence for the correctness of which was provided by the atomic bomb, is E = MC2, with E as the energy in ergs, M the mass in grams and C the speed of light in centimetres per second. Sir James Jeans in Physics and Philosophy, p. 200, writes:

“For the materialists, space was filled with real particles, exercising on one another forces which were electric or magnetic or gravitational in their nature; these directed the motions of the particles and so were responsible for all the activity of the world. These forces were of course as real as the particles they moved.

“But the physical theory of relativity has now shown that electric and magnetic forces are not real at all; they are mere mental constructs of our own, resulting from our rather misguided efforts to understand the motions of the particles. It is the same with the Newtonian force of gravitation and with energy, momentum and other concepts which were introduced to help us understand the activities of the world.”

Thus, the idea of the structure of matter becomes more and more abstract. The electron itself, for example, is not regarded only as a discrete, spherical body moving in geometrical paths. Another way of picturing particles is as waves which concentrate in volumes corresponding to or centred round the above paths. The concept is rather—strange though it appears to the lay mind—” more analogous to a noise which is spread throughout a certain region ... a kind of disturbance in the aether, most intense at one spot and diminishing very rapidly in intensity as we move away from this spot.” {The ABC of Atoms, Bertrand Russell.)

Occult science adds to this the existence of “but one indivisible and absolute Omniscience and Intelligence in the Universe, and this thrills throughout every atom and infinitesimal point of the whole Kosmos… There is design in the action of the seemingly blindest forces.” {The Secret Doctrine, H. P. Blavatsky, Adyar Edition, Vol. I, p. 320.) “Each particle—whether you call it organic or inorganic—is a life.” (p. 305) “The ‘breath of Heaven’ or rather the breath of Life. ...is in every animal, in every animate speck and in every mineral atom.” (p. 260). This breath of Life is defined as Cosmic. Electricity, the Force that formed the universe, the noumenon of such “manifestations as light, heat, sound, adhesion and the ‘spirit’ of Electricity, which is the Life of the Universe.” (p. 195) For the occultist the One Life is an objective reality: “We speak of a septenary scale of manifestation, which begins at the upper rung with the One Unknowable Causality, and ends as Omnipresent Mind and Life, immanent in every atom of Matter.” (p. 196)

UNIVERSAL MIND[edit source]

The occult teaching of the existence of a Universal, Directive Intelligence receives support from certain men of science, if not from all. Sir James Jeans in The Mysterious Universe writes:

“We discover that the universe shows evidence of a designing or controlling power that has something in common with our own individual minds. . . (p. 137)

“The Universe can be best pictured... as consisting of pure thought, the thought of what, for want of a wider word, we must describe as a mathematical thinker.” (p. 124)

“A thought or idea cannot exist without a mind in which to exist. We may say an object exists in our minds while we are conscious of it, but this will not account for its existence during the time we are not conscious of it. The planet Pluto, for instance, was in existence long before any human mind suspected it, and was recording its existence on photographic plates long before any human eye saw it. Considerations such as these led Berkeley to postulate an Eternal Being, in whose mind all objects existed. . . . Modern science seems to me to lead, by a very different road, to a not altogether dissimilar conclusion.” (pp. 125-6)

Sir Arthur S. Eddington has stated:

“Something Unknown is doing we don’t know what—that is what our theory amounts to. . . . Modern physics has eliminated the notion of substance. . . . Mind is the first and most direct thing in our experience. ... I regard Consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from Consciousness. . . . The old atheism is gone… Religion belongs to the realm of Spirit and Mind, and cannot be shaken.”

J. T. Sutherland, writing in The Modern Review (of Calcutta) for July, 1936, quotes the following[12]

Einstein: “I believe in God . . . who reveals Himself in the orderly harmony of the universe. I believe that Intelligence is manifested throughout all Nature. The basis of scientific work is the conviction that the world is an ordered and comprehensible entity and not a thing of chance.”

J. B. S. Haldane: “The material world, which has been taken for a world of blind Mechanism, is in reality a Spiritual world seen very partially and imperfectly. The only real world is the Spiritual world. . '. . The truth is that not Matter, not Force, not any physical thing, but Mind, personality, JS the central fact of the Universe.”

Kirtley F. Mather, geologist, Harvard: “The nearest approach we have thus far made to the Ultimate, in our analysis of Matter and of Energy, indicate that the Universal Reality is Mind.”

Similarly, in psychology the brain is no longer regarded as a satisfactory model of the mind, a mechanism of concrete particles which constitute the whole machinery of thought. The brain is now looked upon by many as an instrument, thought a separate energy which drives it.

Dr. Kennedy’s A. Walter Suiter lecture, Buffalo, April 29, 1941, published in the New York State Journal of Medicine, October 15th, 1941, contained the following, reproduced in Main Currents in Modern Thought,[13] November 1941:

“. . . The notion of ‘space-empty’ or ‘space-ethereal’ has today been abandoned, and Nature is now viewed as Energy, patterned into Worlds, patterned variously also for every stick, stone, or bit of life upon them. Man thus becomes one with his environment, which pervades him wholly and into which he extends himself hugely; born according to his manner, he holds his unique pattern as a momentary opportunity for experience; a stream of creative continuity, with aim.

“Anywhere where vitality exists, aim is found. A primitive consciousness exists as‘purpose’ in every living cell and organized itself as structure; this primitive mind becomes specialized, layer upon layer, super-segment upon super-segment, into complicated reflexes, later more complicated instincts, and later, still more complex emotional tones and feelings, integrated and channelled for expression through thalamus and hypothalamus. Finally, there has been added the neopallium, the new brain, more and more exquisitely integrated—a concatenation of such ordered representation and swift activity that through it primitive power can eventually appear even as the gift of critical discrimination. Slowly, too, this primitive cellular power is distilled into a sense of spatial, and temporal relationship. Up to the present of evolutionary time, the highest product of this captured, specialized, focused Energy of Cosmic Origin is our self-awareness, self-direction, power of surmise, the power of speculative imagination which almost denies the Universe itself for Boundary—all radiated, implemented, and sometimes disturbed, by Emotion.”

“Purpose is mediated by protoplasm. Our consciousness is an enormous amplification of early purpose as primitive as tropism[14], and it is raised to its highest form and focused for its greatest good by the contrivance of symbolism and imagery and the invention of the tool of speech. This distillate of consciousness is thus focused into self-awareness. Such achievement is nothing but the flowering of the aim, drive, and purpose, innate and part and parcel of every cell in our bodies.”

Referring again to J. T. Sutherland’s article, one finds the following quotations:

Robert A. Milliken, physicist. Institute of Technology, Pasadena: “God is the Unifying Principle of the universe. No more sublime conception has been presented to the mind of man, than that which is presented by Evolution, when it represents Him as revealing Himself, through countless ages, in the age-long inbreathing of life into constituent Matter, culminating in man with his Spiritual nature and all his God-like powers.”

Sir James Arthur Thomson (The Great Design.) “Throughout the World of Animal Life there are expressions of something akin to the Mind in ourselves. There is, from the Amoeba upwards, a stream of inner, of subjective life; it may be only a slender rill, but sometimes it is a strong current. It includes feeling, imagining, purposing, as well as occasionally thinking. It includes the Unconscious.”

Of the nature and origin of these forces science as yet says little, but the movement of scientific thought is away from the concrete and towards the abstract. This is parallel with the evolution of human intelligence, the direction of which is through the analytical and concrete towards the development of the faculties of synthesising and abstract thinking. As an illustration of this, the idea is beginning to dawn that time itself is typical of the kind of material of which the physical world is built. In thus probing external phenomena to their depth, the scientist and the mathematician fall back upon symbols and equations as their only means of expressing their discoveries. Solid substance has melted into a shadow. Only mathematical equations and flowing forces remain.

What is the next step likely to be? The latest pronouncements, as indicated by the above quotations, show that certain men of science—admittedly not all—are beginning to postulate mind as the ultimate reality. Sir James Jeans in his book The Mysterious Universe also says (the italics throughout being mine):

“To my mind, the laws which nature obeys are less suggestive of those which a machine obeys in its motion than of those which a musician obeys in writing a fugue, or a poet in composing a sonnet. The motions of electrons and atoms do not resemble those of the parts of a locomotive so much as those of the dancers in a cotillion. And if the ‘true essence of substances’ is forever unknowable, it does not matter whether the cotillion is danced at a ball in real life, or on a cinematograph screen, or in a story of Boccaccio. If all this is so, then the universe can be best pictured, although still very imperfectly and inadequately, as consisting of pure thought, the thought of what, for want of a wider world, we must describe as a mathematical thinker. (pp. 123, 124)

. . in the stately and sonorous diction of a bygone age, he (Berkeley) summed up his philosophy in the words:

“‘All the choir of heaven and furniture of earth, in a word all those bodies which compose the mighty frame of the world, have not any substance without the mind. ... So long as they are not actually perceived by me, or do not exist in my mind, or that of any other created spirit, they must either have no existence at all, or else subsist in the mind of some Eternal Spirit.’” (p. 126)

“Today there is a wide measure of agreement, which on the physical side of science approaches almost to unanimity that the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter; we are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter—not of course our individual minds, but the mind in which the atoms out of which our individual minds have grown exist as thoughts. . . .

“We discover that the universe shows evidence of a designing or controlling power that has something in common with our own individual minds— not, so far as we have discovered, emotion, morality, or, aesthetic appreciation, but the tendency to think in the way which, for want of a better word, we describe as mathematical. And while much in it may be hostile to the material appendages of life, and also is akin to the fundamental activities of life; we are not so much strangers or intruders in the universe as we at first thought. Those inert atoms in the primeval slime which first began to foreshadow the attributes of life were putting themselves more, and not less, in accord with the fundamental nature of the universe.” (pp. 137, 138)

This, if the concept be added of individual Intelligences, Archangelic and angelic embodiments of the “great thought”, might well have been written by an exponent of occult philosophy. It is, however, but just to quote also Sir James Jeans’s further words, “that everything that has been said and every conclusion that has been tentatively put forward, is quite frankly speculative and uncertain”, (p. 138)

THE SOURCE OF KNOWLEDGE[edit source]

The position of the occultist, on the other hand, is somewhat different. The age-old teachings of occult science are founded, not upon speculations but upon the continually repeated, direct observations of highly trained occult investigators. With the inner eye itself fully operative and the technique of its use fully developed as a result of training under their Adept seniors in evolution, these seers perceive direct the phenomena of Nature on all planes of existence and corroborate the findings of their brother seers who have gone before. For this reason, “to the Occultists who believe in the knowledge acquired by countless generations of Seers and Initiates, the data offered in the Secret Books are all sufficient”.[15]

The assertions of occult science are “made on the cumulative testimony of endless series of Seers who have testified to this fact. Their spiritual visions, real explorations by, and through psychical and spiritual sense untrammelled by blind flesh, were systematically checked and compared one with the other, and their nature sifted. All that was not corroborated by unanimous and collective experience was rejected, while that only was recorded as established truth which, in various ages, under different climes, and throughout an untold series of incessant observations, was found to agree and receive constantly further corroboration.

“The methods used by our scholars and students of the psycho-spiritual sciences do not differ from those of students of the natural and physical sciences. Only our fields of research are on two different planes, and our (Theosophical) instruments are made by no human hands, for which reason, perchance, they are only the more reliable.” [16]

Even so, such teachings of occult science as are offered to the general public are invariably presented as ideas for consideration, and never as dogmas representing final truths. Above all things, free enquiry is insisted upon by those who practise and teach the methods of occult science.