THEOSOPHY, Vol. 20, No. 4, February, 1932
(Pages 154-157; Size: 12K)
(Number 2 of a 57-part series)



THERE are in the United States six to seven millions of workmen and others -- even unto the ranks of capable leaders -- "able to work, willing to work, unable to find work." Numbered with their kin, they mass to some twenty millions or more, subsisting upon fast vanishing savings; upon borrowings which will render them unable to escape poverty for years or for life; upon inadequate, hastily and hysterically organized charity which day by day saps the self-respect, the vigor, the hope of them all. Increasing numbers rely upon crime -- and can we call truly "criminal" the man who robs to feed starving wife and child? Others avail themselves of mysterious sources of livelihood hardly to be guessed at; they are still in the land of the living for no visible cause.

Hardly less is stress in the ranks of the rich, the fortunate. The red specter of Communism stalks their bedsides at night; the hollow eyes of their loyal employees, turned off to shift for themselves, glare at them from the midnight darkness; in nightmare they clutch frantically at the running sands of their gold, dwindling under the incessant gnawing of rusting wheels, of taxes, of semi-forced expenditure of alms; their private fortunes gnawed by absurd extravagances assumed in more joyful times, and which they dare not resign, such being confession of fear and failure.

Cruel to remind the reader of the roseate optimism of a few months gone; of how the rulers of the land were set in place upon an undertaking of permanent and ever-increasing "prosperity"; of how "there was no other issue" in the balloting than that of "maintaining the highest standard of living in all history"; of how "please God we are in sight of the day when poverty will be abolished from America"; the days of a fatuous, arrogant, self-satisfaction, a callous indifference to the woes of other peoples -- created largely by ourselves -- such as never obtained before "in all history," so promptly followed by economic disaster unparalleled "in all history!"

And though the causes are as evident as the sun in heaven, our "authorities" repeat like parrots that "no one knows the cause of the business cycle." A short while ago they proclaimed loudly the knowing of causes and the ending of such cycles.

Yet some few are now found to agree promptly that the basic cause was a reckless selfishness. They will as promptly point out the quarters in which that selfishness exists. But as to why the iniquities of their competitors have produced such unprecedented results, they are in the dark still.

Initially with last century, the mind of the Western World, stirred by the impact of new Egos -- the returning Atlanteans -- was moved to regain "that knowledge which was its in former births." What was that knowledge? It was power and the lust of power; power to enslave Nature, to enslave man, to enjoy the megalomaniac sweep of will without responsibility. The Inner Will and its powers were seen inverted upon the great screen of Maya, the matter of the Universe; the idea of new powers for the manipulation of that matter dawned, and as triumph after triumph was achieved, each gave inspiration for a thousand others; invention grew like the Banyan tree, in geometrical ratio to its own progress. Immediately the lowly workers by hand were thrown into want by thousands, and there were grave disturbances. But economists pointed out that the needs of the machines themselves would create new occupations; and so it was. As the century passed on, a new vision dawned upon the lowly; the vision of indefinite gratification of desire, the vision of release from duty and labor; all by the will of the great God, the Machine.

Seizing upon this new vision, the exploiters of mankind began deliberately to stimulate the appetites of their victims; they invented new means of gratification, and machines to fill them, pouring into fat coffers the fruits of their pandering. Upon the huge mass of dull minds, moved only by desire, they worked great magic, until physical thrill, ostentation, change, ever-shifting variety, became the breath of life to the benighted masses -- who should have been led to see the hollow treachery of the material, the quiet impregnable joys of inner reliance.

The time came when jaded appetites faded; factories regulated for ever-increasing production of vitiating uselessnesses, dependent for profit on maintaining the production unabated, found their outlets becoming clogged. The new philosophers had been right in one thing; the desires of man are indeed insatiable unless conquered by deliberate will. But the flesh is weak where the passion is willing; men began to turn in childish, pettish weariness from the toys they had loved; and so ominous signs of glut appeared in the channels of trade. Then it was represented to the recalcitrants that a man by taking money from one pocket to put in another, waxed rich; that by buying freely he made his employers wealthy, who in turn could pay him still more wages. And many men of craft and will, equipped with devious arts, were sent out to labor directly upon the minds of men and women. And so stomachs already replete were forced still more full of indigestibles. The larder was stripped to buy glitter; the clothing of children grew thin that ostentation might wax thick.

The gullets of the people being choked with surplus, merchants turned themselves eagerly to the peoples of the world living in humble and simple labor of the hands; visions of ease they painted before their eyes also, stirring up in them too the insatiable Kama, inducing them to barter ease and food for trinkets, to exchange hard labor for ease-making machinery, the which created two motions of the body for one that went before. But our laws when offered the produce of field and forest in exchange forbade the free flow of commerce. Gold and naught else would they, gold, the metal of power, the wizard mineral of dominion. Shortly the foreigner came to the end of his purse, or pulled tight its strings in sullen resentment, the while many of ours starved for that which he had to barter. And so filled the last reservoirs of excess.

All this time the factory wheels spun unchecked to the inevitable end; when a machine was invented that displaced an hundred men, its product was not made an hundred-fold cheaper and more accessible. So increased the numbers finding no labor for their hands.

But gigantic profits inspired megalomaniac dreams; upon the basis of them, the master sold upon the exchanges shares in his business, with view to acquiring new powers of expansion, to gratifying new greeds. The people were inspired with dazzling visions of wealth without work, repose without responsibility; and the money yet remaining from the satisfaction of desire was flung upon the gambler's table. But at last it became apparent that the endurance of men had come to its limit; that they were sick of matter, stripped of money, destitute among playthings. It became visible to the wise that the heaping products of the factories were exchanging for money no longer, were piling to mildew in the storehouses. Men saw that the half of their spending was for things not needful, for satisfaction of false desire. The seen hollowness of things rang through their brains, giving vision of dearth of bread. What stores they had left, they clutched securely. And in proportion of goods produced beyond food, clothing, and shelter, factory lights went dark upon the moment. Their men went unprovided into the streets, and the clamor of their tongues sent terror throughout the highways and byways, so that all others held their stores yet tighter. Thus owners of warehouses bursting with goods faced the mobs, who having squandered their money could not buy; or possessing money, were moved by terrors of the unknown to refrain, unrealizing that despite fearful clutchings, their resources must dribble forth as the sands of the hour-glass run to finality. In this manner, trickling across a century and the face of a world, originating in the dark nooks and crannies of the human heart, came the twisted streams of selfishness to join at last in a roaring river of human misery.

What will the end be?

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:


... It is simply knowledge and mathematically correct computations which enable the WISE MEN OF THE EAST to foretell, for instance, that England is on the eve of such or another catastrophe; France, nearing such a point of her cycle, and Europe in general threatened with, or rather, on the eve of, a cataclysm, which her own cycle of racial Karma has led her to. The reliability of the information depends, of course, on the acceptation or rejection of the claim for a tremendous period of historical observation. Eastern Initiates maintain that they have preserved records of the racial development and of events of universal import ever since the beginning of the Fourth Race -- that which preceded being traditional. Moreover, those who believe in Seership and Occult powers will have no difficulty in crediting the general character, at least, of the information given, even if traditional, once the latter is checked and corrected by the corroboration of clairvoyance and esoteric knowledge. But in the present case no such metaphysical belief is claimed as our chief dependence, but a proof is given on what, to every Occultist, is quite scientific evidence -- the records preserved through the Zodiac for incalculable ages. --S.D., 1888, I, pp. 646-47.

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