THEOSOPHY, Vol. 19, No. 12, October, 1931
(Pages 548-552; Size: 17K)
(Number 8 of a 10-part series)




AT the time the Ocean of Theosophy was published, three views of population were generally held. One, that a race is an immortal entity. Another, that all races of the globe are increasing at the same rate as those of the Westerners. Third, that the human race as a whole is a comparatively new development on the planet, and that its then numbers are the greatest ever known. It was taken for granted that expansion would proceed at a mathematical rate until the globe could no longer support the drafts made on it for sustenance.

This latter fallacy roused great alarm, and in the hands of Malthus, led to the doctrine of "birth control." Malthus, a clergyman, held that the future welfare of the race depended upon a slackening of the population increase by self-control in marriage. This idea was speedily taken up by more scientific thinkers who pointed out that Malthus' näive idea of modus operandi was quite unnecessary; that science had provided means to the same end which allowed of a continuance of comfortable sensuality. At the present day "birth control" is winked at if not encouraged in most Western nations, though no one is now concerned about world overcrowding.

In point of fact, however, it is a curious karmic study to note that it has had but little influence on population other than would have been supplied by some other means or simply by a natural decrease in fertility. In other words, the birth rate has been reduced by its use in Western nations; yet the countries which have not used it have shown commensurate decreases; and mathematical curves of population which were worked out many years ago without reference to the practice show the same law as though "birth-control" had never been discovered.

Before analyzing the typical growth curve -- which shows that a population is a living, mortal, biological entity as much as is a human body --let us examine the latest figures available. According to the Bureau of Vital Statistics, the births in California fell off nearly 2000 in 1929; for the nation, 3.6%. In Los Angeles the birth-rate decreased 40% in the five years prior to 1929, reaching the lowest in ten years.(1) The bureau of education at Washington announces that in 1920 there were 4,320,000 children in first grade at school. In 1926, in spite of a population increase of 10%, there were only 4,000,000. In other words, the lowering in the number of children born per year was equal to the population of a good-sized city. At this rate, in 75 years, there would be no more births, and in 150 years no population left! This of course is a temporary break in the smooth curve of growth, and due, perhaps to the fact that birth control became particularly popular during those years, as it is now. Now during that identical time, the birth rates of Russia and India rose at an alarming speed. The population of India rose by 30,000,000. The Russians are now increasing at the rate of 3,500,000 per year, faster than any other country in the world in proportion to population. What is the cause? Can we see no connection between a falling birth rate, due to artificial practices, among the Western Aryans, and an unexplained increase in other Aryan stocks? An Ego of Aryan Skandhas cannot find incarnation in another race; but if forced out of one Karmic line it must enter another. Thus, if an Ego is due to incarnate in a certain racial stock, and is prevented by deliberate action, it must find the next best fitted place in another of the same blood. One wonders what the sleek, self-satisfied American woman, who refuses to bear children for her own social convenience, would say to her true Karmic offspring toiling in the muck and filth of Hindu fields, or laboring upon Russian steppes? It is a speculation worth her consideration; along with the Karmic consequences which must accrue to herself as a result thereof.

What is true of America is true of other Aryan nations also, though probably far more as a result of natural decline. The American birth-rate has been decreasing since 1880, a large part of her population increase being due to immigration which is now practically stopped. A stationary population is expected ere long.(2)

In spite of Governmental efforts to the contrary, the most fertile country of Europe, Italy, is following the same trend. In many of her cities not only the birth-rate, but the population, is declining.(3) In Germany, the excess of births over deaths is half that of the times before the war. The average present birth rate is 10% too low to preserve the present population.(4) The Government of Portugal has been worried over the decreasing birth rate.(5) There has been a continuous fall in the birth rate of London since 1921. The rate in England and Wales is now the lowest on record, and births and deaths are nearly equal. In the last quarter of 1929 these regions actually lost 14,112, as against an increase of 31,611 at a corresponding time in the previous year.(6) As to lesser races, a sociological census is being conducted in New Guinea to determine and counteract the causes of depopulation which have been working in that country.(7)

All this has led to some serious general considerations. The Health Section of the League of Nations predicts that the population pressure in western and central Europe will have ceased in twenty years.(8) Prof. Ezra Bowen thinks that the present population growth is so slow as to need explaining. Why, he asks, do populations increase at all? And why don't they increase more rapidly?(9)

The statistician of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company remarks that the chief characteristic of the European populations during the last decade is "a precipitate decline in fertility."(10) Dr. Wilhelm Ropke says that it is a problem, the "international birth strike" being one of the gravest menaces of the day. Most people, he says, think the world to be over-populated; whereas the next phase of history will be an actual diminution.(11) Prof. Wm. Ogburn says that the Slavic races will cease their rapid increase with the use of birth control, though they and the Orientals are now increasing. On the whole, an actually declining world population is a possibility.(12) Prof. E. M. East, of Harvard, calculates that in the year 2500 the population of the world will be about 3500 millions, or twice what it is now, and that from then on there should be little increase. Prof. Crew, of the University of Edinburgh, says that there is nothing alarming or ominous in the decline. It is, he says, merely the sign of the approaching end of a growth cycle, and the growth of every living thing follows the same law.(13) Prof. Fay-Cooper Cole, of Chicago, says that in the light of history, claims to racial superiority are folly. Races succeed each other, decline, and die out, and none is exempt from the law.(14)

It has been long recognized that population growth followed roughly the form of a logistic, or "ogee" curve. The form of this shows a relatively slow rise at the beginning of the civilization, followed by a rapid and rather prolonged increase. This slackens and by degrees the increase ceases, after which the population is stationary for an indefinite period. Few races have been studied throughout their cycle; some appear in history in the initial stages; others in the stationary period, and some in the declining days. It would seem that history is to furnish us shortly with numerous samples of the latter.

Upon the basis of the 1910 census in America, the curve for the United States was calculated by Drs. Raymond Pearl and Lowell J. Reed.(15) It was vindicated by the succeeding censuses. It shows a limiting population for the United States of 197.27 millions; that 1930 was the beginning of the end of a period of rapid growth, and that about 1975 the decrease in growth will be rapid and definite. In 2100 growth will have become stationary. We must forego a consideration of the drastic social changes which will follow the cessation of growth in a people whose entire industrial system is based upon a constant increase, and deal with the underlying law, which W. Q. Judge gives as follows:

The economy of Nature will not permit the physical race to suddenly fade away, and so in the real order of evolution other and less progressed Egos come in and use the forms provided, keeping up the production of new bodies, but less and less in number each century. These lower Egos are not able to keep up to the limit of the capacity of the congeries of energies left by the other Egos, and so while the new set gains as much experience as is possible the race in time dies out after passing through its decay. This is the explanation of what we may call descending savagery, and no other theory will meet the facts. It has been sometimes thought by ethnologists that the more civilized races kill off the others, but the fact is that in consequence of the great difference between the Egos inhabiting the old race body and the energy of that body itself, the females begin to be sterile, and thus slowly but surely the number of deaths exceed the births.... (Ocean of Theosophy, p. 85).
Now this involves certain consequences as to the mental and psychic natures of races. Falling races are ensouled by lower and lower types. Conversely, rising races would be inhabited by a constantly changing stream. The remarkable increase in the intelligence of American children for many decades has been noticeable. Dean Herbert E. Hawkes, of Columbia, found that nearly half of the entering class of 1928 were ahead of the ordinary program of freshman studies.(16) In order to avoid injury to their development they had to be set to more advanced work. In California "problem children" in the schools consist as much of precocious children as of backward ones.

In any and all cases the race must run its cycle, flourish, and die. The average life of a civilization has been found to run from 1300 to 1500 years -- the incarnation cycle of the individual, as set forth in Theosophy long before the civilization cycle was scientifically discovered.

Now the United States is forming a family race, which in turn will develop a new sub-race; the Sixth of the Aryan, or Fifth, Root Race. Peculiar emphasis is placed upon that coming sub-race. Why? According to the law of analogy the roots of a major Race lie in the heart of a corresponding sub-race. In other words, we American fore-runners of the Sixth sub-race will be the direct physical ancestors of the Sixth Root-Race.

Meanwhile the present European -- and the present American -- races will have disappeared, except for degenerate fragments, in some 16,000 years more; but the mother-stock of the Aryan race, resident in India, will live until the end of the last sub-race of its kind, which will long overlap the great and at present inconceivable Sixth Root-Race. That mother stock will rise and fall with its daughters in succession.

A Mahatma states that of all the extant races it alone will rise again to its old heights of glory. There is a significant connection between the present ferment in India, and the fact that America is entering upon a wholly new era of her civilization. America is a spiritual colony of India; of ancient India and of the unknown ones within her who still represent her enduring Soul. America is about to build a new order of the ages upon the ancient truths, as yet half-felt. And like a dutiful daughter, seeing her Dharma even though dimly, has already set about raising her mother from her lowly estate, with the riches of spiritual experience gained on new and clean soil.

The reader may have wondered at our frequent use of Mr. Judge's explanations, rather than the more imposing periods of the Secret Doctrine. Judge, said H. P. Blavatsky, is the link, the antaskarana, between the Indian and the American spiritual minds, the Manases. He was Irish-American outside; and as some more than suspect, Indian inside. He was the vital germ of the inner, spiritual race which has to be established on American soil. Without the fulfillment and completion of his work, without full recognition of his nature, the new order in America would, and still could, die in the birth.

Next article:
(Part 9 of a 10-part series)

Back to the
series complete list of articles.

Back to the full listing containing all of the
"Additional Categories of Articles".


(1) City Health Department.
Back to text.

(2) Literary Digest, September 15, 1928.
Back to text.

(3) Los Angeles Times, January 27, 1930; Literary Digest, September 8, 1928.
Back to text.

(4) Science, October 4, 1929.
Back to text.

(5) Los Angeles Examiner, September 24, 1930.
Back to text.

(6) Los Angeles Examiner, September 15, 1929; Los Angeles Times, January 25, 1930; Science, December 14, 1928.
Back to text.

(7) Science, September 20, 1929.
Back to text.

(8) Science, November 16, 1928.
Back to text.

(9) Scientific Monthly, September, 1929.
Back to text.

(10) New York Times, September 14, 1930.
Back to text.

(11) Literary Digest, January 31, 1931.
Back to text.

(12) Scientific Monthly, April, 1931.
Back to text.

(13) Manchester Guardian Weekly, August 3, 1928.
Back to text.

(14) Literary Digest, August 2, 1930.
Back to text.

(15) Science, October 17, 1930.
Back to text.

(16) Literary Digest, November 16, 1929.
Back to text.

Main Page | Introductory Brochure | Volume 1--> Setting the Stage
Karma and Reincarnation | Science | Education | Economics | Race Relations
The WISDOM WORLD | World Problems & Solutions | The People*s Voice | Misc.