THEOSOPHY, Vol. 21, No. 1, November, 1932
(Pages 18-22; Size: 15K)
(Number 41 of a 103-part series)



Part III

THE wonderful but misused art of symbology has its counterpart in Nature -- every human idea and predilection being a constricted edition of some plan embedded in Universal Ideation. Students of that art realize for themselves what Madame Blavatsky said of it -- namely, that ideas which would take infinite time and energy to unfold in common language can be contained in a few characters on a palm leaf. Though in truth it is not the ideas which are contained in the characters, but the characters which act as arousers of infinite, though unrecognized memories. Those who do not have channels in their minds partly open already to the mysterious storehouse of those memories, can read no true symbology; can read no symbology truly, albeit anyone whose interest is caught by a hodge-podge of strange signs can read into them some meaning or other -- as note the astonishingly contradictory but very self-confident interpretations made of prehistoric scripts. Desire being the father of thought with the man who has not become proficient in the Divine Discipline, the wording of the transliteration follows the mold in which it is hoped that the truth may be cast.

In nature every object when seeingly regarded bears on its front its whole history recorded in a few brief and simple figurations. All Nature therefore, while furnishing an ever-fresh and unfailing library of historical wisdom to those taught to read aright, furnishes likewise a never-drying fountain of fallacies for those whose desires lead their ideas by the nose. Among the latter are to be found all men whose views of causation are materialistic.

No more remarkable palimpsest of this kind is to be found, than that recorded in the bone-shapes, the muscle-anchorages, the pulsating inwards of the living man. Its right reading unfolds the most arcane periods of creative history, and unseals the story of a buried crime which must be exhumed, understood, and knowingly expiated before the soul of man ever finds mastery in its own house. Its wrong reading, because of the deceptive twist given it by that same crime, places man on a level with the beasts, empties his sky, sets a period to his eternal future, and bids him grovel for the ephemeral husks of life trampled by his Atlantean predecessors.

The frame of man bears everywhere the marks of his kinship with the Great Apes. With those marks we need not deal in detail, since that has long been done by hands assiduous to magnify the putative ancestral tale. No word of that story has failed to be dressed up ad infinitum and ad nauseum by those whose delight it is to tickle the clerical nose with the Adamic caudal appendage. It is the vital misconception as to man's destiny, resulting from misunderstanding of his origin, which needs clarification.

It is deeply significant, and in time must bring its compelling message, that the more the ape is found like unto man, the less is he found like the other animal species. For instance, Dr. Carl Landsteiner,(1) experimenting with various classes of blood, found that the ape has blood almost identical with that of man -- a far closer relationship than exists between ape and monkey. But the real "missing link," is the jump from direct or simple intelligence to "symbolic" intelligence. The latter is defined as the ability to recognize an object by a symbol thereof, as a man recognizes a given thing by the printed name of it, which in no way resembles the original. Now a little reflection will show not only that a transitional stage between these two types of intelligence is unknown; but also will show that it is unthinkable. Symbolic intelligence implies a wholly new factor in the ladder of evolution; an intrusion or invasion of a foreign element into the simple animal consciousness. Theosophists, knowing well the story of the Reincarnating Ego, find no difficulty in understanding how symbolic intelligence entered into human nature.

Verily, the occluded egos of that mysterious race which was lost to human evolution in the night of prehistory, are still able to shine from time to time through their hairy shells! And perhaps not so hairy, either. Dr. Adolph Schultz, of Johns Hopkins Medical School, shows that the "hairy ape" need not turn ashamed away from the face of man. For the latter has on his head more hairs than thirteen varieties of ape. Gorillas are less hairy-chested than many men, while chimpanzees practically suffer from pectoral baldness. Peculiarly enough, the Hawaiian human is far less hairy than the Caucasian and the Chinaman least hairy of all.(2) If, agreeably to theory, these types of man are more "primitive" than we, and therefore closer to the ape, advancing evolution is marked by increasing hairiness!

Dr. Schultz concludes that man's relative hairlessness is merely an expression of the tendency toward hair reduction in all the highest primates. This is his interpretation, since there is no evidence of any kind that either fossil apes or fossil men were more hairy than the present varieties. The presentments met in museums are, as regards such details, demonstrably the products of the loving fancies of those engagingly childlike and most incurable romancers, the reconstructors of fossil relics.

The logical deduction would be that man and ape are more closely related than man and other species. Dr. Schultz has said that upon the evidence of extensive studies, the African gorilla was becoming more like man than it formerly was; therefore the similarity may be partly accidental.(3)

This tendency on the part of the ape is deeply significant to the Theosophist, who has weighed the Secret Doctrine statements on the subject:

...the anthropoids of our day have not existed at any time since the middle of the Miocene period; when, like all cross breeds, they began to show a tendency, more and more marked as time went on, to return to the type of their first parent, the black and yellow gigantic Lemuro-Atlantean. To search for the "Missing Link" is useless. (Secret Doctrine, 1888, I, 184).
The vanished Egos caught in this bastard Race, it is taught, will reappear again in mankind at the close of the present cycle of evolution. It is fitting that their forms as presented during this particular period should exhibit this atavism. As they become more and more human during future times, will that phenomenon be recognized in its true light? Or will the scientists of the future point it out as a replaying of the drama supposed to have been staged by Man himself?

In the Scientific Monthly for November, 1931, Dr. Schultz goes into the ape-man relationships in further detail. In the absence of tail, man ranks with the Gibbons and the Anthropoids. He is close to them in hairiness; the difference between his smooth back and the back of the anthropoid is less than that between the latter and many monkeys. In early development the nasal cartilages of man and the apes are much alike, differentiation appearing during growth. This is regarded by Theosophy and science alike as a sign of common origin later diverged from. The free ear lobe is found only in man and a large part of the chimpanzees and gorillas.

Man's spine most closely resembles that of the anthropoids, and there are many similarities in the trunk of man and those of the three large apes. The gorilla and man are distinguished for stubby hands -- though the arboreal habits of the gorilla would indicate that it should be otherwise.

A striking diagram is given showing the foot of the adult male negro and the adult male of Australian Aborigine. This is especially significant in view of the Theosophic teaching that the former is an Atlantean, or true human, while the latter is half-animal stock.

But it is through the differences recorded by Dr. Schultz that light emerges. The chest shape of the apes changes but little during growth, while in man that portion grows more intensively in width than in depth. Most significant of all is the fact that the heads of the apes appear more human in their early stages than in their later stages of growth. The high forehead, prominent in both at birth, recedes in the ape but remains through life in man: sure evidence that both tribes originally enjoyed a cognate stage of development, and afterwards separated in their respective directions.

"It is evident, especially after the most fundamental principles of Darwinism, that an organized being cannot be a descendant of another whose development is in an inverse order to his own.... Consequently, in accordance with these principles man cannot be considered as the descendant of any simian type whatever." (de Quatrefages, "The Human Species," quoted in S.D. II, 646).

The respective developments of the human and Simian brains are referred to. "In the ape the temporo-spheroidal convolutions, which form the middle lobe, make their appearance and are completed before the anterior convolutions which form the frontal lobe. In man, the frontal convolutions are, on the contrary, the first to appear, and those of the middle lobe are formed later."

Lucae's argument versus the Ape-theory, based on the different flexures of the bones constituting the axis of the skull in the cases of Man and the Anthropoids, is fairly discussed by Schmidt ("Doctrine of Descent and Darwinism," p. 290). He admits that "the ape as he grows becomes more bestial; man ... more human," ... The writer evidently is not a little disquieted at the argument. He assures us that it upsets any possibility of the present apes having been the progenitors of mankind. But does it not also negative the bare possibility of the man and anthropoid having had a common -- though, so far, an absolutely theoretical -- ancestor.

What of the fact, stated by Sir Arthur Thomson, that man is a "museum of the past" full of vestigial relics of organs once needed in animal stages but now useless?(4) H.P.B. disposes of all this succinctly:
Thus Occultism rejects the idea that Nature developed man from the ape, or even from an ancestor common to both, but traces, on the contrary, some of the most anthropoid species to the Third Race man of the early Atlantean period. (S.D. II, 185).

...the "ancestor" of the present anthropoid animal, the ape, is the direct production of the yet mindless Man, who desecrated his human dignity by putting himself physically on the level of an animal.

The above accounts for some of the alleged physiological proofs, brought forward by the anthropologists as a demonstration of the descent of man from the animals.

The point most insisted upon by the Evolutionists is that "The history of the embryo is an epitome of that of the race." That "every organism, in its development from the egg, runs through a series of forms, through which, in like succession, its ancestors have passed in the long course of Earth's history. The history of the embryo .... is a picture in little, and outline of that of the race...."

This modern theory was known as a fact to, and far more philosophically expressed by, the Sages and Occultists from the remotest ages.

The summary alluded to is, however, only that of the store of types hoarded up in man, the microcosm. This simple explanation meets all such objections, as the presence of the rudimentary tail in the foetus -- a fact triumphantly paraded by Hæckel and Darwin as conclusively in favor of the Ape-Ancestor theory. It may also be pointed out that the presence of a vegetable with leaflets in the embryonic stages is not explained on ordinary evolutionist principles. Darwinists have not traced man through the vegetable, but Occultists have. Why then this feature in the embryo, and how do the former explain it? (S.D. II, 187).

This will appear absurd enough to science now, perhaps. But a time will come when the necessity of an archetypal basis for all evolutionary development of the heterogeneous from the homogeneous will be recognized, and with it the equal necessity of a succession of living transmitters in all stages, from the highest to the lowest -- transmitters metaphysical in nature, but whose functions can be recognized by some in the material world through the symbology of the various organisms in which consciousness is cased from age to age. And the arch-transmitter for the world as we know it is that mysterious phase of Being known collectively as Mankind.

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(1) Los Angeles Times, Nov. 1, 1930.
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(2) Science, Oct. 16, 1931.
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(3) The Week's Science, October 6, 1930.
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(4) The Week's Science, Sept. 21, 1931.
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