THEOSOPHY, Vol. 21, No. 8, June, 1933
(Pages 344-346; Size: 10K)
(Number 17 of a 57-part series)



AS A result of studies carried out on the psychological cycles in the human mind, Dr. Rex B. Hersey has offered the suggestion that business and industry might well be organized on a basis of cycles of some weeks to fit the alternating impulses to work and to "loaf" of the individual. Setting aside the practicability of finding simultaneous initial points for large enough aggregations of individuals, such a process would conduce toward loss of will and self-direction rather than otherwise. While it is not the part of a wise man to fight the innumerable cycles through which our lives flow, the proper use of them depends, not upon yielding to their tendencies, but upon correct evaluation of possibilities, and upon vigorous action along the most fruitful lines. A mere yielding to cycles of indolence, of depression, or passion, serves merely to strengthen those cycles, not to master them.

This cyclic action does not arise from the Imperishable in nature, but from the blind tendencies of matter as they exist on various planes. Regulating the nature of action by the opportunities offered, is alteration of direction, and must lead to understanding, thence to control of these blind forces.

An enormous number of the "mysteries of life" can be explained through the recognition that the course of mankind in the mass blindly undulates along the cycles set up by the unconscious tendencies of the "lives" composing the human principles, and especially the lower ones. "History repeats itself" is no poetic fiction. It is true not merely over centuries, but over months and weeks.

In the mundane affairs of American life, economists now suspect at least three types of cycle: the secular rise and fall of thirty years, the seven or eight-year "major" cycle, and the forty-month minor cycle. Some moreover hold that the extreme disastrousness of the present cataclysm was due largely to the conjunction of all three. They, of course, regard these cycles as being caused by purely mathematical and material financial operations, production shortage and surfeit, etc. The fact is, however, that such cycles arise from the inner mental cycles of the mass mind, not the reverse. Putting everything upside down and backwards according to custom, we conclude that the feeling of exaltation which accompanies a "boom" is produced by the material conditions of that "boom," and that the "blues" which accompany the resultant panic are caused by the panic. The case is exactly the reverse. The "boom" is caused by the psychological exaltation, and the panic by the corresponding let-down. A study of the facts in such cases is enough to show it; at the very moment when the "boom" of 1929 was beginning its sweep, the plain evidence of sure disaster was written all over the face of industry in cold figures.

An examination of the "booms" and panics of the whole history of America shows no exact regularity. However, since the beginning of this century there has been an unmistakable tendency for the cycles to consolidate into a regular seven-year cycle -- the significance of which will be lost on no Theosophist. Moreover, if we try to weigh the cycles with regard to violence, we will find them running very close to the 11-year solar cycle.

The shadow of another and vaster era enters this century. The history of all Western nations shows a three or four hundred year cycle which each time has produced a major change in government or social complexion. The United States is in the fourth century of its existence as a separate community. The business cycles since the beginning of this century show an increasing and sinister violence, both absolutely and relatively. Should we recover from the present débacle with our social order and business methods intact, there is the indication in the records that the next depression will be as much worse than this as this was worse than the last; and that it will be one in which social order will be violently disturbed.

If we turn to the findings of the Hoover Committee on Recent Social Trends, regarding crime, p. 1127 et circa, we find the complete destruction of the old myth that crime has any economic correlation. Yet this myth has been the very basis of thought of the social sentimentalist and the dreamer who would "change human nature" by "changing the environment!" When plotted against the business cycles -- a comparison neglected by the Committee itself -- we find that miscellaneous crime sometimes increases with hard times, but actually in the long run decreases more often with hard times! The crime waves rise and fall through the business waves with the most insouciant lack of any kind of correlation -- enough indeed to break the heart of any "economic determinist!"

What we do find, however, is that the major homicide cycle and the eleven-year economic cycle do have a close relation in the sense that each time murder reached a high point, a business boom was under way. This with the solitary exception of the immediate postwar period, where a sharp but brief rise in murder shows the effect of war psychology. Both miscellaneous crime and murder show signs of a sixty-year cycle culminating in both cases during the recent boom years, about 1926-1930. If this cycle is a true one, the last peak marked by it would be just after the Civil War! Is it not then highly probable that major war cycles, major business "booms," and major crime cycles, are produced by waves of psychological excitement outpouring in these natural directions? Morally, of course, there is little to choose between war, murder, and the business "boom." They differ only in intensity and not in quality. There is in each case the same reckless mob-spirit, the same blind greed or ferocity, the same recklessness of consequences, the same inhuman indifference as to what is happening to the less favored.

If we then carry this possibility forward, we will find the next culmination of excitability about 1985-1990, lying in the Theosophic cycle of that time. In the centennial Theosophical cycle of last century, the early '80's signalized the most bitter events of the Movement with the exception of the Great Betrayal of the '90's.

The world in general is to all appearance now generating enough economic and international trouble to give it a full supply for the remainder of the century. Shall we expect then to see in the last quarter of the century a major crime wave, a major war cycle, a major economic upheaval, all falling due with the Theosophic cycle of effort? If so, will not the Messenger of that day be in the position of inaugurating world-reforms in directions of international and national life?

In the purview of future centuries will it not be seen that the effort of 1875, great as it was, was but the laying of a corner-stone for the work to come, and that the strife of those days was but a skirmish compared with the soul-warfare which may set in some fifty or sixty years hence? And if so, is it not obvious that the responsibility resting upon Theosophists during the remainder of this century is in reality greater than they have yet dreamed, since upon their efforts depends the opportunity of the Messenger to cope with the turmoil of the future? It lies with them whether America will have reached serene and balanced ways, ready to be the international fulcrum of the new spiritual lever; or whether by that time she will be too much in need of help herself to be able to help others. We are Atlantis, reborn in chaos; our ways are as unmarked as our forces are unmeasured.

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