THEOSOPHY, Vol. 24, No. 6, April, 1936
(Pages 253-256; Size: 13K)
(Number 64 of a 103-part series)

SCIENCE AND THE SECRET DOCTRINE

THE "LIVES" IN THE MINERAL KINGDOM

OF all the seven kingdoms of nature, the mineral is the most dense, yet none the less is Life imbued with and sustained by the One Omnipresent Spirit. "Stones, minerals, rocks and even chemical 'atoms' are simply organic units in profound lethargy. Their coma has an end and their inertia becomes activity." (S.D. I, 626). This is shown by simple facts of common experience. All minerals (a) have the power to reflect, or transmit, or otherwise are affected by light; (b) when heated intensely by friction, fire or electricity, they become very active electrically, chemically and physically; (c) they are affected by moisture, liquid or vaporous substances in one way or another; and (d) even physically they show the greatest tensile and compression strengths, forces of inertia, momentum and the like.

The Occultist will not admit these qualities or attributes as self-existent and without cause, knowing they belong to and were produced by beings and various classes of beings. Moreover, "Occultism says that in all cases when matter appears inert, it is the most active. ... its particles are in ceaseless eternal vibration which is so rapid that to the physical eye the body seems absolutely devoid of motion; and the spacial distance between those particles in their vibratory motion is -- considered from another plane of being and perception -- as great as that which separates snow flakes or drops of rain." (S.D. I, 507-8). At one time this was derided by science, but now is accepted and demonstrated as when it is pointed out that the relative distances between the so-called particles are like the relations between suns, stars and planets, and that matter, however eternal in essence as Theosophy teaches, is ever changing through a process of transmutation in form and organization. It is the action of life. Coincident with this transformation, whether perceptible or invisible, there is a continual transfusion of natures going on. It is now demonstrated that not only gases, but light, heat, sound, electricity, and even unknown forces, are evolved from and absorbed by metals, especially heated metals, thus exhibiting their permeability.

All these processes of life are due to the actions and influences of living beings, conscious intelligence and vital natures. This is often sensed, if not understood, by virtue of the fact that any successful "results" in the use of materials depends upon the care and understanding of the nature of the material used. Particularly is this evidenced in those fields where electro-chemical or like forces are applied. In other words, no material can be rightly used without being helped according to its nature. This is a practical demonstration of the interdependence of all life. Whatever may be the motives for doing anything, nature cannot be cheated, and requires the help and co-operation of higher intelligences, that the life imprisoned within may pursue its upward journey of soul evolution. The mineral kingdom is as much soul and spirit in its degrees of evoluting energy as the highest beings are in theirs.

Materialism fails to recognize the true significance of the simplest observations and discoveries. "It has been known for many years that hot bodies possess the property of imparting a charge to conductors placed in their neighborhood."(1) "In fact, it has been known for over one hundred years that when a metal is brought into a state of incandescence the air in its neighborhood becomes a conductor of electricity."(2) Shall we see in this naught but the action of blind force, matter and motion, merely the mechanics of physical nature? Or shall we look to the soul of things and see the manifestation of evolving life under eternal and immutable law?

There is every evidence toward the coming of a truer understanding of nature. "M. Faraday showed vapour arises from mercury both in vacuo and in spaces filled with air, as shown by the 'silvering' of gold-leaf kept for two months confined over mercury; consequently, at common temperatures, even in the presence of air, mercury is always surrounded by an atmosphere of the same substance." Others have "noted the volatilization of mercury at ordinary temperature ... at 12°, mercury vapour rises above a metre, and even at 8°, it has no limited atmosphere."(3) Just as the qualities or attributes of any one substance have been found to exist in greater or less degree in others, so it is true in this case also. The significance must be deeper than appears on the surface, and shows in a material way the essential unity of all forms of matter, or it might be said, of life -- for all is Life.

The natural beauty of crystallization and crystalline forms in the mineral kingdom has been emphasized increasingly in book and periodical, especially with the development of micro-photographic investigations. Such are evidences that nature geometrizes. More rare it is to find these phenomena linked up with manifestations of light and electricity, yet such is the fact in nature. "Light is Life." "Both are electricity," wrote H. P. Blavatsky in Isis Unveiled (I, 258). The elemental kingdoms imbue the mineral kingdom, as likewise the life in the mineral again emerges to inform the vegetable, yet all the time the root of all being is the same One Life.

That mind and matter have gained facility of action and continue to do so is shown in many interesting ways. Among these are the rapid strides being made in the use of metals, not only in their more crude but in their finer forms. The use of aluminum flashed in vacuum on telescope mirrors, a process developed by Dr. John D. Strong(4), emphasizes the remarkable reflecting powers of the metals, at the same time demonstrating the teaching of Theosophy that minerals are crystallized light. He is said to have followed some leads found in Edison's work(5), who once derived inspiration from Theosophy and his association with the Theosophical Society. This process had already been used in the flashing of "getters" in vacuum tubes that are to be traced back to the work of Edison and of Crookes.

The extraction of gold in small quantities and other products in larger quantities from sea water, and the rapid development of uses for products once regarded as waste, through knowledge of chemistry, illustrates the infinite variety of permutations and combinations to be found in nature. Development of new alloys such as "alnico", a combination of aluminum, nickel and cobalt with its peculiar and strong magnetic properties, shows there are countless so-called properties of minerals perchance little guessed at even now. The illustrations are countless, but every one of them, particularly in electrical appliances, is a confirmation to the Theosophist of the fundamental unity of all life, spirit, matter, force and form in whatever kingdom of nature.

Many inventions having nothing but a commodity value interest to the commercially inclined, nevertheless have other stories to tell those who can read them. The development of sodium vapor lamps, the possibilities of a new capillary mercury lamp and others by the General Electric Company are experiments in exciting the latent light in electricity and metals. Dr. Langmuir has "proceeded to study films on liquids. He found that the atoms had heads and tails and that sometimes they stood head down in water, as, for instance, when a drop of olive oil spreads. But always the atoms stood shoulder to shoulder like solidly arrayed soldiers."(6) This reminds one of the various instances in which the action of electron tubes has been explained by assuming the electrons to behave like so many imps. In fact, this very method of illustration has been used to explain the operation of the telephone.(7) Often they are almost uncanny approaches -- some innate or instinctive perception of the existence of the countless lives of which the Secret Doctrine teaches:

"The worlds, to the profane," says a Commentary, "are built up of the known Elements. To the conception of an Arhat, these Elements are themselves collectively a divine Life; distributively, on the plane of manifestations, the numberless and countless crores of lives." (S.D., I, 249).
Men want to see results, and usually all in a hurry, but the research worker knows that nature cannot be hurried, and that his job must be thorough to accomplish or achieve any work as it should be. If the true nature of things were better understood and the laws governing them as well as life as a whole, there would be not only less hurry, rush and harsh straining, but more happy relations and more efficient work in every way. There would be far better discrimination regarding the uses to which inventions are put and no such corruptions as Lindbergh's new artificial heart preservers, Marconi's new secret micro-wave radio, nor any of the modern "civilized" war inventions.

Strange as it may seem, the source of modern knowledge of chemistry is Egypt, the land of Chemi, whence the very word chemistry. The very processes of extraction and refinement of metals, used to this day, have been found on rock carvings in Upper Egypt and on Egyptian papyri. Every fresh archaeological discovery reveals some skill of the ancients in the Americas as well as in the Eastern hemisphere. The ancients knew that which the moderns have mostly lost sight of; that is, that the mineral kingdom is full of varied manifestations of life represented in symbolic forms that conveyed also deeper mysteries of the one sustaining world of Spirit. It is such knowledge to which Theosophy gives the key of understanding that man may come to a truer self-realization.


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SCIENCE AND THE SECRET DOCTRINE
THE "ATOMS" IN THE KINGDOMS
(Part 65 of a 103-part series)

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SEVEN (7) FOOTNOTES LISTED BELOW:

(1) The Thermionic Vacuum Tube, by H. J. Van Der Bijl, 1920, page xii.
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(2) Op. Cit., page 30.
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(3) A Comprehensive Treatise on Inorganic and Theoretical Chemistry, 1923, by J. W. Mellor, Vol. III.
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(4) Personalities in Science. Scientific American, July 1935.
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(5) New York Times, September 29, 1935 on Science.
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(6) Scientists Reveal New Aids to Man, New York Times, October 22, 1935.
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(7) The Magic of Communication, published by the American Telephone and Telegraph Company.
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