THEOSOPHY, Vol. 22, No. 9, July, 1934
(Pages 404-405; Size: 8K)
(Number 57 of a 103-part series)

SCIENCE AND THE SECRET DOCTRINE

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A brief statement of the fundamental principles of Theosophy, and as briefly some articles of faith upon which Dr. William M. Davis believes "reverent science" is founded (Harvard Professor Explores "Reverent Science," The Literary Digest, January 6, 1934) may be set down in parallel columns:

The Secret Doctrine establishes three fundamental propositions:

(a) An Omnipresent, Eternal, Boundless, and Immutable PRINCIPLE on which all speculation is impossible, since it transcends the power of human conception and could only be dwarfed by any human expression or similitude. It is beyond the range and reach of thought-- ... "unthinkable and unspeakable." (S.D., I, 14).


According to Dr. Davis:

Reverent science devoutly refrains from assuming to know the nature and thoughts of a Supreme Being by imputing even the best of human thoughts and nature to Him. It stands humbly silent before the ever-expanding mystery of the universe.


(b) 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. (S.D., I, 17).

There is no miracle. Everything that happens is the result of law -- eternal, immutable, ever active. (Isis Unveiled, II, 587).


Reverent science has a secure faith in the persistence of natural law through time and space, because such persistence has repeatedly been shown to be in the highest degree probable. In view of this faith, certain reported events, known as miracles, which interrupt natural law, are discredited.

(c) The pivotal doctrine of the Esoteric philosophy admits no privileges or special gifts in man, save those won by his own Ego through personal effort and merit throughout a long series of metempsychoses and reincarnations. (S.D., I, 17).

...ethics are the soul of the Wisdom-Religion, and were once the common property of the initiates of all nations ... the ethics ... are the essence and cream of the world's ethics, gathered from the teachings of all the world's great reformers. (Key to Theosophy, 14, 48-49).


Reverent science believes that various communities or tribes or peoples have, through their purely human efforts, gradually formulated such rules of behavior, or codes of morals, or principles of ethics, as seemed fitted for their needs in the successive stages of savagery, barbarism, civilization or enlightenment. It is the clear duty of every one not only to live up to the code of his community, but also to try to improve it.

The Ego receives always according to its deserts. After the dissolution of the body, there commences for it a period of full awakened consciousness, or a state of chaotic dreams, or an utterly dreamless sleep undistinguishable from annihilation, ... These are the post-mortem fruits of the tree of life. Naturally, our belief or unbelief in ... that immortality as the property of independent or separate entities, cannot fail to give colour to that fact in its application to each of these entities. (Key to Theosophy, 165).

Reverent science accepts, without asking to know, whatever fate is in store for us after death, be it immortality or annihilation, in the complete trust that it is a fate fitting the part we have to play in the unfathomable mystery of existence.

We would that all who have a voice in the education of the masses should first know and then teach that the safest guides to human happiness and enlightenment are those writings which have descended to us from the remotest antiquity; and that nobler spiritual aspirations and a higher average morality prevail in the countries where the people take their precepts as the rule of their lives. (Isis Unveiled, II, 635).

Reverent science is much concerned with making our life on earth as good, as unselfish and as helpful to others as possible, not in order to receive posthumous punishment for not doing so, but in the convinced belief, based on long human experience, that in a life so conducted man finds his highest and deepest satisfactions and his fewest regrets.

Thus, in the great drama of evolution -- not quite as painted by science, but rather as traced in nature both visible and invisible -- there is a universal evolution and involution from the spiritual, through all stages or densities of matter, back to the spiritual condition again -- plus the experience gained. Hence, the welfare of the Soul is or should be the greatest concern.

The modern scientist is confessedly agnostic. The occultist is reverently and progressively gnostic. Prof. Davis is said to see a growing reconciliation between religion and science, with the ethical teachings of religion retained. This, indeed, is most desirable, and the only solution to the problems of both -- on the condition, however, that the true basis of philosophy and true ethics is arrived at. Theosophy as the Ancient Wisdom is the origin and synthesis of true science and true religion, as it is also the summation of all true ethics.


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