THEOSOPHY, Vol. 42, No. 11, September, 1954
(Pages 503-506; Size: 13K)
(Number 5 of a 6-part series)

THE MYSTERY OF INDIVIDUALITY

V: THE APPROACH TO SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS

Every atom becomes a visible complex unit (a molecule), and once attracted into the sphere of terrestrial activity, the Monadic Essence, passing through the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms, becomes man. 

--The Secret Doctrine
THE pathway to self-consciousness cannot be conceived correctly as an obvious straight-line passage through the kingdoms. Consider, for example, the mineral "kingdom." That kingdom is not confined to rocks, liquids, and gases. Whatever we see with physical sight -- vegetation, animals, insects, or human bodies -- belongs to the mineral kingdom. Resolve these forms to their natural constituents and nothing remains, physically speaking, but so-called inorganic matter. The cycle for atomic and molecular substance is therefore a seemingly perpetual pilgrimage through all the kingdoms and back to its base. Innumerable forms of experience, gained through contact and combination with all degrees of intelligence, arouse latent instincts and powers. Atomic life becomes saturated with impressions and memories and slowly we have something more than just the activity of "mineral" monads. The crystalline stage, with the ability of monadic centers to hold together electrons and neutrons, is transcended; the advanced units are able to rise, perhaps, to the astral plane of consciousness, acquiring the power of drawing molecular compounds within the magnetic fields of astral matrices, called on the plane of illusion "protoplasmic cells." Life in the vegetable stage of unfoldment is entirely beyond the reach of sense observation. What has really happened, from a theosophical viewpoint, is that "life," from being an active one-principled center, has now two of its seven cosmic principles awake.

Just as mineral activity is not confined to the kingdom of that name, so the vegetable or cellular kingdom is not limited to expression as plant life. It also cycles through the kingdoms, wherever cellular life is to be found -- never returning below the vegetable state proper, of course, inasmuch as too much has been learned to permit its return to lower forms. Owing to varied experience in taking part in organic life throughout the higher kingdoms, these centers also become loaded with impressions and memories, and when sufficient intelligence has been awakened, eventually find themselves operating in a higher state, that of animal consciousness. One more principle is awake.

Thus, it would appear, does life spirally cycle upwards, reaching finally to the form of what is called in Theosophy "mindless man," a being whose four principles of physical, astral, prana, and kama, are not only active but combined in one, as an organized unity -- a potential individuality. Perhaps it is the activation of the germ of desire which brings this unity into existence, for through desire, the selective powers increase, an incipient form of reason and thirst to know develops, accompanied by an unconscious yearning for emancipation from enslavement to matter. The Monad has risen to the point where its fifth principle, or mind, can be aroused by those self-shining ones in whom the fifth, sixth, and seventh are all awake. "It is only in the actual midway Round" [the fourth], that man "develops in himself entirely the fourth principle as a fit vehicle for the fifth." (S.D. II, 161.)

If we view each atom as a certain rate of vibration, united everywhere with all other atoms of the same vibration, and forming a layer of consciousness working in that state of matter, the intelligence and experience of one being shared by the whole, it is easy to comprehend that when units learn to "vibrate" in higher ways, owing to contact with and impulsion from above, they enter new layers or streams of consciousness. Thus they eventually "become" molecular, cellular, organic (in the sense of being able to be the synthesizing consciousness behind a whole organism), human elementals, and finally human beings.

Of course it should always be understood that, of themselves, atoms, plants, and animals would forever remain as they are. It is the contact with higher beings that arouses them to imitate. Memory and intelligence in nature is thus endless repetition of creative impulses imparted by higher beings in this or former periods of evolution.

In summation of this phase of the discussion, the following valuable observation is taken from The Theosophical Movement 23: 12:

Some day all this which we now call dust will become sensitized matter and stay that way ... It won't slip back. All this that we now call the sensitized matter which makes up our nature, physical and metaphysical, will some day become self-conscious, be able to act of its own will, as we act of our own will.... Every use of our will makes an impression on them, and if the will is strong enough, if the repetition is frequent enough, after a while that dumb flesh begins to be able to act of its own will.... Some day, then, those impressions will become self-germinative and behold! we have a new Thinker. That's why it is that the flesh of our bodies and the life in the mineral kingdom will some day become self-conscious Thinkers. [See The Ocean of Theosophy, p. 62.]
We now approach a most important question: When is the transition made between the state of mindless man and self-consciousness? It is not, at least in any obvious way, being made now; for one reason, mindless man is at present an extinct species. Was it made eighteen million years ago at the time of the lighting up of mind? Strange to say, Theosophy seems to teach otherwise. Certainly, Theosophically speaking, it is correct to say that the Monad or center of life now expressing itself here in the man-form once found its expression through less developed forms. But it appears that the transition did not take place during the latest period of evolution.

First, it should be made clear that the present higher animal life, which in the next great planetary chain may find itself in the human stage, has still before it three and a half rounds of progress and experience before the close of the seventh Round, and undoubtedly will undergo innumerable transformations before a new race of "mindless men" will be evolved. Consequently it will not be our present type of gross mammalian life that will "become" human at all. Speaking of the mammalians, The Secret Doctrine states: "There were none before man, and they will be extinct before the Seventh Race develops" (II, 263) -- and this is only the Fourth Round! At each Round, it would appear, there are fewer and fewer animals, the latter evoluting into higher transitional forms, and during the Seventh Round, it is said, men will have become Gods, and animals intelligent beings. Theosophy proposes the interesting theory that all the forms and types to be found in the lower kingdoms are actually the cast-off clothing or patterns used in the evolution of the human type during this and prior rounds. If this be true, we can presume by inference that man's present as well as future forms will in due course serve as types for the life in the advanced animal stage to some day use and energize.

That great changes are in store for our present higher animals appears implicit in the following statements of William Q. Judge. He answers the question of what happens to the monads of those animals who have exhausted the experience offered by our present animal types, the door to entry to the human kingdom being now closed:

Animals cannot have Manas so much developed [as man does], and so cannot be self-conscious in the sense that man is.... The animals ... being devoid of developed Manas, have no Devachan and must be forced onwards to the next planet in the chain. This would be consistent and useful, as it gives them a chance for development in readiness for the time when the monads of that kingdom shall begin to rise to a new human kingdom. (THEOSOPHY XXIX: 540, 542.) [Note: This reference is to the article by William Q. Judge entitled "Reincarnation of Animals". A link to it, as well as the paragraph numbers that the excerpts are taken from, has been placed at the end of this article. --Compiler.]
A statement from The Secret Doctrine is especially pertinent to this discussion:
...the Monads which had not reached the human stage ... will, owing to the evolution of humanity itself, find themselves so far behind that they will reach the human stage only at the close of the seventh and last Round. They will, therefore, not be men on this chain, but will form the humanity of a future Manvantara and be rewarded by becoming "Men" on a higher chain altogether, thus receiving their Karmic compensation. (I, 173.)
The great period of preliminary transition, then, between the high type of animal called, for lack of better words, "mindless man," and human self-consciousness, would appear to take place at the close of the Seventh Round. Apparently, at that time, the prologue is enacted for all that will occur in the ensuing manvantaric evolution -- during the period of initiation into the mysteries of human consciousness called "the lighting up of Manas." In that new evolution, the builders of the human form are in reality these very human elementals, called Lunar Pitris in The Secret Doctrine, who had reached the human form in the preceding Seventh Round and were therefore fully equipped to repeat what they had previously accomplished. They were not yet wise enough to prevent being caught in "the vortex of a new primordial evolution through the lower Kingdoms."

The term Lunar Pitris, no doubt, includes, in addition to the entities referred to above, all those lives humanly used in the preceding evolutionary period and not yet permanently elevated to the plane of "the Thinker." The seven classes of Lunar fathers, or human progenitors, will be touched upon briefly in the last collation of this series, when the discussion will center upon that all-important psychological mystery, "the lighting up of mind."


[Note: Here is the link to the article entitled "Reincarnation of Animals", by William Q. Judge, that was quoted from by the Editors in the above article. The article has a total of six paragraphs, counting both indented and regular ones. The quoted excerpts were taken from paragraphs 2 and 6. --Compiler.]

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THE MYSTERY OF INDIVIDUALITY
VI: ENTERING THE HUMAN KINGDOM
(Part 6 of a 6-part series)

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