THEOSOPHY, Vol. 31, No. 11, September, 1943
(Pages 509-513; Size: 16K)
(Number 6 of a 10-part series)
[Compiler's Note: All 10 articles have the same name.]
CYCLES OF PSYCHISM
NEW forms of psychism are evidenced by bizarre new arrivals in the field of religious cults. The newspapers teem with advertisements of swamis, yogis and "paramahamsas" who claim to be in touch with all manner of celestial beings and teachers, whose wisdom is now for sale, generally on the easy payment basis. Psychic apostles vie with one another in their claims of knowing the unknowable, doing the impossible, and revealing every last secret of the universe. The more fantastic the claim, the more are attracted as followers, it appears. We have lately been favored with incarnations of Saint Germain, Jesus, and George Washington. From Tibet comes a "white lama," formerly of Arizona, who promises to relieve the sophisticated of their ennui by instruction in Asiatic Mysteries never before made public. Others join religious with political appeals, and allege that a corps of statisticians and researchers are now perfecting the blueprints for a new "planned" (magic word!) society. Who can wonder that, a few years ago, when Orson Welles produced a Martian invasion on his radio program, listeners from Florida to Oregon rushed distractedly about, wondering how to protect themselves from these horrid visitors out of the sky, and even a college professor or two went out to look for them somewhere in the Jersey meadows!
In 1939, Walter Lippmann, with a wisdom he could hardly have himself understood, named the tragic victims of modern psychism "the spiritual proletariat of the modern age." They "hear all the latest news and all the latest opinions, but have no philosophy by which they can distinguish the true from the false, the credible from the incredible, the good from the bad." And, he adds, "the eruption of their volcanic and hysterical energy is the revolution that is shaking the world."
Here, in America, a great psychic mutation is under way, the full developments of which may not disclose themselves for scores of years. Now, at its outset, little more is visible than the paroxysms of the decline of an old order, the backwash and carnage of a world that has lost its sense of legitimate purpose. Modern writers have habituated themselves to think of this transition in political terms, founding their judgments of what the future holds on theories of society which had their beginning in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. But the change which the human race is entering upon is more profound by far than any mere political alteration. When it is complete, new concepts of reality will have emerged and won acceptance, and tomorrow's social order will have adapted itself to laws of human relations as yet only guessed at by the few.
The biological analogy of "mutation" is a good one, for this change, according to the Theosophical view, will mark a fundamental alteration in the inter-relation of the principles of man's psychic organism. One of its results will be general recognition that man is not merely a physical being, but is more essentially an embodied mind, embodied feelings, hopes, aspirations and desires. These principles, in the cycle to come, will be acknowledged as the primary attributes of human beings, and the orbits of scientific and religious investigation will thus attain new orientation. But, as with every realignment of the evolutionary forces, an epoch of confusion, of false starts and misguided attempts to anticipate the course of natural development, will inevitably precede the final adjustment of the race to this new period of human growth and self-expression.
Destruction and failure will seem to be predominant characteristics of the cycle, and despair the watchword of the many. For those whose horizons are circumscribed to the past, whose philosophies are rigidly committed to the old assumptions of western civilization, the change will seem to mark the "end of the world," and indeed it will, for them. Like the dreamer too suddenly awakened from his slumber, like the miser impoverished by a single miscalculation, like the child called upon to be and act as a man when he has neither the knowledge, nor the courage nor the strength, the opening of this new vista in human affairs will drive many into the current of efflux, where they will cling to the shattered fragments of the past as the only symbol they know of the life that was.
But for others, the epoch will be recognized as a mighty challenge to their moral resources and their self-reliance. The ascending torch of human intelligence will meet the intenser flame of egoic divinity in its descent to a more complete participation in the life on earth. An age of builders will dawn, of educators and healers, without precedent or comparison in the history of present humanity. This is the message and the prophecy of Theosophy, brought to the world to lighten the way to the "new order of ages," and to ease the travail of its birth.
Hence the warnings, the strict injunctions of the Teacher, H. P. Blavatsky. She took no morbid delight in spreading a Jeremiad doctrine of fear and retribution. She but repeated what she knew of the eternal law of cycles, upraised and proclaimed out of the lore of the perfected men of the race, whose wisdom and practical knowledge of cyclic evolution alone can bring humanity through the terrible dangers of the transition age. Speaking to American theosophists of the last century, she told of these dangers, and of the opportunities for service that are unfolding in the present:As the preparation for the new cycle proceeds, as the fore-runners of the new sub-race make their appearance on the American continent, the latent psychic and occult powers in man are beginning to germinate and grow.... Your position as the fore-runners has its own special perils as well as its special advantages. Psychism, with all its allurements and all its dangers, is necessarily developing among you, and you must beware lest the Psychic outrun the Manasic and Spiritual development. Psychic capacities held perfectly under control, checked and directed by the Manasic principle, are valuable aids in development. But these capacities running riot, controlling instead of controlled, using instead of being used, lead the Student into the most dangerous delusions and certainty of moral destruction. Watch therefore carefully this development, inevitable in your race and evolution-period so that it may finally work for good and not for evil; and receive, in advance, the sincere and potent blessings of Those whose good-will will never fail you, if you do not fail yourselves....There is nothing "evil" or "wicked" in the psychic nature itself. The evil results from lack of control, from the free indulgence of desire which, when unleashed and increasingly gratified, becomes insatiable in its demands. The more the powers of mind are developed, the more extensive become the responsibilities of man, and the greater the crimes of which he is capable. Misuse of mental powers, and here misuse means selfish use, is incalculably more far-reaching in its destructive effects than the abuse of physical powers.
Theosophy alone can save the Western world from that selfish and unbrotherly feeling that now divides race from race, one nation from the other; and from that hatred of class and social considerations that are the curse and disgrace of so-called Christian peoples. Theosophy alone can save it from sinking entirely into that mere luxurious materialism in which it will decay and putrefy as civilizations have done. In your hands, brothers, is placed in trust the welfare of the coming century; and great as is the trust, so great is also the responsibility.
Uncontrol, which is the veritable root of psychism, leads to progressive stages of irresponsible exercise of powers, ending in brutal lack of concern for the welfare of others, if for no other reason than that the existence of those others has been forgotten during the ever more engrossing pursuit for satisfaction. The selfishness and narrow partisanships of a civilization founded on material and physical powers are as the petty sins of children when compared with the possible applications of psychic powers for selfish ends during the cycle to come. A point is reached in the union of desire with intellect and the subtler forms of psychic perception, when rationalization of selfishness becomes absolute. This is the death of all morality, and the beginning of a deliberate career in evil for evil's sake. The only protection against such a fate for the human race is the practice of moral discipline, and the study of Theosophy, the philosophy which will convince mankind that such discipline is both necessary, just and desirable. Comprehensive grasp of the hidden laws of nature, even intellectually, is not possible without thorough investigation of the Theosophical teachings as a whole.
For example, the cyclic character of psychic manifestations is dependent on the Theosophical teaching of the three lines of evolution, and the successive emphasis which the course of human development places upon the principles involved in these divisions. A passage from the Ocean of Theosophy will illustrate:We find Theosophy teaching that at the present point of man's evolution he is a fully developed quaternary with the higher principles partly developed. Hence it is taught that to-day man shows himself to be moved by passion and desire. This is proved by a glance at the civilizations of the earth, for they are all moved by this principle, and in countries like France, England, and America a glorification of it is exhibited in the attention to display, to sensuous art, to struggle for power and place, and in all the habits and modes of living where gratification of the senses is sometimes esteemed the highest good.The mysteries of psychic phenomena are to be accounted for by the as yet imperfect incarnation of mind, which is a progressive descent, and which requires a corresponding aspiration and striving on the part of mankind. It is because the full powers of mind are not yet active in the race that the scientist is wandering in the dark, confounded and confused by all that hypnotism and other strange things bring before him. Because these powers are withheld until the appropriate evolutionary cycle, the learned are compelled to speak of the "subconscious mind," the "unconscious," and the like. Hence, also, the bewilderment of both scientists and theologians, when, in the last century, the flood tide of psychism broke loose over the American continent. But, as in each cycle more and more of the higher powers of man will become accessible, greater knowledge, and power, too, will become possible. Finally, with full power and responsibility, with minds fully illuminated, all men will be compelled to choose between good and evil ways, the one leading to heights of spiritual achievement in the common brotherhood of man, the other path, dark with selfishness, to moral ruin. William Q. Judge's Ocean of Theosophy, written in 1893, ends with these words:
But as Mind is being evolved more and more as we proceed in our course along the line of race development, there can be perceived in all countries the beginning of the transition from the animal possessed of the germ of real mind to the man of mind complete. This day is therefore known as the "transition period," when every system of thought, science, religion, government, and society is changing, and men's minds are only preparing for an alteration. Man is not yet fully conscious, and reincarnations are needed to at last complete the incarnation of the whole trinity (the higher, spiritual man) in the body. When that has been accomplished the race will have become as gods.Now, as a century ago, the forces are slackening; for that reason the phenomena of spiritualism are lessening in number and volume; the Lodge hopes that by the time the next tide begins to rise that the West will have gained some right knowledge of the true philosophy of Man and Nature, and be then ready to bear the lifting of the veil a little more. To help on the progress of the race in this direction is the object of this book, and with that it is submitted to its readers in every part of the world.
COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:
While two-thirds of civilized society ridicule the mere notion that there is anything in Theosophy, Occultism, Spiritualism, or in the Kabala, the other third is composed of the most heterogeneous and opposite elements. Some believe in the mystical, and even in the supernatural (!), but each believes in his own way. Others will rush single-handed into the study of the Kabala, Psychism, Mesmerism, Spiritualism, or some form or another of Mysticism. Result: no two men think alike, no two are agreed upon any fundamental occult principles, though many are those who claim for themselves the ultima thule of knowledge, and would make outsiders believe that they are full-blown adepts. Not only is there no scientific and accurate knowledge of Occultism accessible in the West, but no one has any idea of what real Occultism means. Happy are those who escape from black magic as they have neither test nor criterion by which they can distinguish between the true and the false.
--H. P. Blavatsky
CYCLES OF PSYCHISM
(Part 7 of a 10-part series)
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