THEOSOPHY, Vol. 20, No. 6, April, 1932
(Pages 262-265; Size: 13K)
(Number 37 of a 103-part series)



(Part I)

This second assertion of the Secret Doctrine is the absolute universality of that law of periodicity, of flux and reflux, ebb and flow, which physical science has observed and recorded in all departments of nature. An alternation such as that of Day and Night, Life and Death, Sleeping and Waking, is a fact so common, so perfectly universal and without exception, that it is easy to comprehend that in it we see one of the absolutely fundamental laws of the universe. (Secret Doctrine, 1888, I, 17).
AT the date of the above, some few daring scientists had observed cycles in every department. But for the orthodox, cycles were confined to mechanical motions, astronomical or otherwise, and to their immediate and obvious results. Even the eleven-year solar cycle, now so prominent in astronomy and geology, and then so much dwelt upon by H. P. Blavatsky, was scarcely noticed scientifically. As to cycles in human affairs, or the possibility that evolution itself is cyclic -- the idea was absurd. At this day a spiral course of human history is just now being noted by a few, the ortholinearity of scientific evolution having been heretofore as iron-clad as the orthodoxy of Rome.

In the Theosophical viewpoint every phenomenon whatever is a manifestation of life. The Theosophist sees the universe, not as etheric, mineral, vegetable, animal, but as an endless series of transformations of one sole principle possessing unvarying innate traits -- however seemingly differently expressed at every step.

Few readers can be unaware of the tremendous battle now raging in scientific circles over the real trend of the universe. The three principal views are represented by Prof. Jeans, who contends that the universe is running down to a "heat-death"; Dr. Millikan, who holds that matter is reconstituted in space as fast as dissipated in suns and planets; and by Theosophy. The mind of a child is capable of disposing of the Jeans' doctrine; illustrating the fact that there is a wisdom within wisdom which is not always a property of massive minds. Dr. Millikan's view is weak in this respect: it is founded upon precisely those physical phenomena to which the opposite interpretation is given by his opponents. Therefore the two scientific theories cancel each other. The Theosophist is armed all-sufficiently with Madame Blavatsky's famous query: "If the Universe is running down, why has it not long since run down, having had eternity to do it in?"

Nevertheless, Millikan is on the right track, and a huge mass of corroborative discovery is on its way to his aid. As an example of speculation on this line, Haviland Pratt(1) came very close indeed to a conception of Fohatic action in space as distinguished from the known scientific forces which are its offspring. Matter, he thinks, is not self-energized in the manner hitherto held, but has its energy provided by an universal ray, much as the sun warms a human body. This energy he conceives to be the basis of the reconstruction of matter. He does not make clear whether this is the same as Millikan's "cosmic ray." Dr. Hugo von Zeipel, of Upsala Observatory, Sweden,(2) believes that the sun is subject to a major cycle of ten million years or so, due to a periodical release of atomic energy inside it, which leaves it larger and hotter, only to decrease slowly again. This is a very close approach to the explosive major pralaya of Theosophy. It is certain that the sun is subject to many far greater cycles than the eleven-year period which is the only one generally admitted.

There is a distinction, as marked as that between "organic" and "inorganic" matter, between qualitative cycles and geometrical cycles. Nevertheless the two overlap and condition each other, precisely as do the two forms of matter. The most obvious case is the biological effects of winter and summer, which themselves are purely geometrical in origin. But there are greater cycles with corresponding effects, mostly unnoted because of their vast arcs, just as the rotundity of the earth escaped notice in former times because of its great radius.

Dr. Halbert P. Gillette, a noted engineer and astronomer, who has spent many years upon the study of major weather cycles, found many different ones in the study of clay layers and other results of rainfall -- including tree growths. He ascribed these effects to unknown planets, one of them having an orbit of 221,600 years, and so down to one of 316.7 years.(3)

This feat, like Dr. Millikan's theory of the reconstitution of "matter" from "energy," seems to have been largely intuitional -- a recapture of "knowledge had in former births," for it was all worked out long before the astronomical discovery of the new planet Pluto. All this has a probable vital connection with the glacial cycles. These, as H.P.B. explains, have largely to do with polar shifts. But what shifts the poles? Glacial cycles are still a profound mystery to science. Incidentally, Gunnar Erdtman, of the University of Stockholm,(4) states that a return of the great glaciers may be expected in about 2,000 years, as a southward movement of the great forests of Europe is evident.

Turning from glaciation to vulcanism, we find cycles there also -- though earthquake cycles, being peculiarly baffling and their causes in such deep obscurity, have been little studied or accepted scientifically. Abbé Moreau, the world's foremost exponent of such cycles, published a series of prophecies in which he stated that 1928 would be a low cycle, with activity increasing through 1929 and 1930; 1931 was to begin a period of calm until 1934-35. As a matter of fact, the increased activity culminated in a record year of violence during 1930-31. However, at the present writing in December, 1931, the turmoil has almost wholly subsided. The Abbé is respectfully referred to the Theosophic teachings as to the explosive effect of human thought upon geological action, which is apt to distort otherwise mathematical cycles. A considerable degree of periodicity has been noted in the modern eruptions of Vesuvius, which occur about a year apart.(5)

Perhaps one of the most interesting of all actions of the fundamental law is the geometrical-biologic, as shown in the spiral twists of sea-shells, the spiral growth of plants, etc. In Science, May 22, 1931, occurs an interesting article by A. R. Cahn, who counted and tabulated the twists in cedars and pines. Out of 219 counted, 187 were right-handed -- a close correspondence with the twisting in shells. He noted that the twists were more common in large trees than in young, "indicating an environmental factor." This does not necessarily follow. Human physical growth is mostly made up of the successive emergence of innate factors, whose effects are seldom visible at first. So also for the mind. The spiraling of trees of course is a serious factor in the lumber business, and engineering specifications for piling take note of it.

Chemical changes in sea water are, for some unknown reason, periodical, which gives rise to an ever-fluctuating population of the ocean.(6)

In 1929, Mr. Elton, of Oxford, published the result of observations on the mouse population of Great Britain, which, he said, "ebbs and flows every four years like a gigantic animal tide."(7) It is probable, said he, that all animals have more or less regular ups and downs "instead of increasing steadily as the world's human population has done." It remained for the year 1931 to bring a flooding surfeit of fact (another illustration of cycles) supporting his true thesis as to animals, and confounding his fallacy (really an inherited superstition of Malthusianism) as to humanity.

(To be concluded)

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:


Question: Would you explain the meaning of the phrase "The highest looks through the eyes of the lowest"?

Answer: Every cell in the body has its own life and powers of perception; this includes all the cells of the body in their differing degrees. We as self-conscious beings perceive the physical plane through the perceptions of these collective cells. Hence we look through the eyes of the lowest. The same is true of the man as a whole in his perceiving. Higher beings than we contact this plane in part through our eyes, mental or physical, and may when necessary use a physical body on this plane of perception. Our contact on any plane of substance is by means of an instrument made up of the lives of that plane. Each of such lives is a sensitive point and reflects the plane to which it belongs in some degree. Sufficient of these lives of different degrees gathered together on that plane will give an embodiment of sensitive points which are capable of reflecting everything on that plane, so that on any plane the Highest sees through the eyes of the lowest. 


Next article:
XXXIV (Part II of II)
(Part 38 of a 103-part series)

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(1) The Week's Science, Dec. 16, 1929.
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(2) The Week's Science, Dec. 22, 1930.
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(3) Engineering and Contracting, November, 1930.
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(4) Science, Sept. 4, 1931.
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(5) New York Times, July 28, 1930.
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(6) Los Angeles Times, July 26, 1931.
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(7) The Week's Science, Sept. 16, 1929.
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