THEOSOPHY, Vol. 40, No. 6, April, 1952
(Pages 268-271; Size: 11K)


[Article number (5) in this Q&A Department]

WHY, as was strikingly illustrated by an article in This Week which related several "freak" incidents of thought transference or "coincidence," do some twins think alike and have the same answers? One example cited was of identical twin sisters who, according to the questionnaires they answered separately, had almost identical habits, tastes, hobbies, likes, and dislikes. Is not the Theosophic concept of individuality, commonly expressed in the proverb that not even two blades of grass are identical, refuted by this example?

To the second question, a categorical "no" can be given. For, as is so graphically stated in the final pages of Chapter VII of the Ocean, the true and only representative of individuality in man is Higher Manas or the reincarnating Ego, the immortal pilgrim traveling from life to life -- ever retaining the "I" cognition of identity. Indeed, the Theosophic conception would be immediately and thoroughly refuted, were it to identify individuality with Lower Manas, i.e., passions and desire; since the likes and dislikes, the pleasures and aversions of one person may be similar -- if not identical -- to those of another, due to karmic attractions generated in former lives.

Another incident told of in the same magazine article relates directly to the first question. Two twin brothers were given the same examination at school in different rooms; one of the twins was unintentionally delayed and during that interval his brother was unable to work on the test, although he was unaware of the other's actions. As soon as the first began with the exam, his brother immediately followed. Both fellows took the same amount of time to complete the test, gave the same answers, and made the same mistakes. Obviously some form of psychic communication occurred between them, call it thought transference, telepathy, or higher sensitiveness, which may have been instigated and maintained by the more dominant of the two natures.

This need not mean that one thinking ego can provide constant guidance for two vehicles, but, especially in the case of twins, and moderately so in the case of many other close relationships, one person may influence another directly with thoughts and feelings, being stronger willed and more positive. The duty of the latter, then, we might think, would be to curb too domineering a tendency and seek to draw out the independent manasic expression of the other.

How can young people in the Lodge reconcile their need for social life with their desire to play an active part in the activities of the Lodge? How can young Theosophists maintain their interest in Theosophy in the face of other attractions and at the same time perhaps interest other young people?

We can speak of social relations or "social life" from two points of emphasis, for both "time-conflicts" and the desires which cause them, as well as the extent that one is able to "reconcile" the two, depend on the meanings tagged to the term "social life." Emphasis can be placed either on the constant "doing" of things and "going places," or on the development of solid relationships in which we come to appreciate fine qualities in others; these, in turn, help us to perceive more clearly the potentialities in oneself. Of course, immediate difficulties arise in attempting to reconcile the desire, not the need, of stepping into the social "whirl" (regular movies, beach parties, dances, etc.) with Lodge activities because of the time-consuming nature of the former. Yet the maximum of enjoyment, actually, always comes from things done at the most auspicious time, without sacrificing other objectives. Undoubtedly a policy of only cultivating friendships and doing things wherever real values reveal themselves runs at a different angle from the attitude of conformity that comes from being "one of the gang," but so be it.

Young Theosophists who are able to act on principle, even when contrary to "gang-reactions," eventually should be able to develop such characteristics as self-reliance, wide-awakeness, and responsibility, and will also best be able to integrate and co-ordinate Theosophy with "social life." The ideal isn't a matter of isolating oneself from the activities of social groups, certainly, but instead a constant effort to determine the values and real enjoyment to be gained in any given program, wholeheartedly supporting only those which seem of evolutionary value. A certain amount of respect often is felt for the type of person who can do this, and those who become his friends may to some extent be interested in the practicality of everyday Theosophy -- and, finally, perhaps even more.

The "social life problem" appears to be a problem of "time," but is it? There is an old saying that if you want a thing done, ask a busy man to do it; for then it gets done. For the busy man carries the habit of concentration with him, whatever he attempts, and seems always to have time for everything he feels worth doing.

We wonder if it would not be profitable to sit down and consider how much time is presently carelessly wasted? How many of those things which must be done, are not done as efficiently as one can learn to know how? Perhaps, if one could only realize it, there is always the possibility of extra time -- time which could be devoted to some forms of truly re-creational social life, time which can suddenly appear, as if by magic, when one develops disciplined concentration.

"Social life" can focus either desirable or undesirable tendencies in our nature. Time spent enjoyably in the company of friends which benefits both them and ourselves, is good for the whole of our being and theirs. The undesirable tendencies focus on desires to be part of a certain "social set" for the purpose of prestige, etc.

If we place our main emphasis on worrying about our particular social status, we can easily forget other responsibilities, and also the perpetual obligation to ourself which is to make a consistent effort to learn. It is rare that we find a truly great thinker concerned about penetrating the usual society circles. It is, also, an obvious fact that if the greater part of our energy moves in a certain direction, there will be little left for concentration in any other direction.

Just what are and what are not "Theosophical activities?" There are certainly many activities possible for young theosophical students, adequately constructive for mind and body, and yet not composed of reading, writing or speaking Theosophy in the formal sense, which could fill "social needs" in our lives. For example, Theosophical Pathfinders can provide excellent opportunities for "recreation." [Note: "Pathfinders" is a youth program of "The United Lodge of Theosophists", or "ULT".--Compiler]

The most rewarding intimacy of all comes to pass from discussing ideas, and both Theosophic and "other" pursuits can be linked by ideas, whatever the different channels of interest individuals prefer. When Pathfinders co-ordinate their outside jobs with regular Lodge endeavors they are proving, are they not, that the same may be done with social relations? Meanwhile, the character of Theosophic activities demands regular participation if the greatest benefit is to be gained for oneself, and if one hopes to see opportunities for assisting the practical work of the Lodge. Yet attendance at meetings can provide a natural means of contact for those who can there come to enjoy each other's company. Such reflection should at least suggest the possibility that frequent time-conflicts between the "better and the dearer" are not inevitable.

What is meant by the statement that Nirvana is a state of "Unconditioned Existence?

Let us first note that "unconditioned" is defined in the metaphysical sense as pertaining to the Absolute or Infinite. However, there is a difference between an "absolute" that can be associated with either conditioned or unconditioned existence, and the "absolute" that is unthinkable, unknowable, limitless, etc. This is pointed out in The Secret Doctrine (I, 130):

Moreover, in Occult metaphysics there are, properly speaking, two "Ones" -- the One on the unreachable plane of Absoluteness and Infinity, on which no speculation is possible, and the Second "One" on the plane of Emanations.
Thinking about the meaning of this sentence suggests that it is conceivable that all manifestation is latent in the nirvanic state; the Active Forces of the Universe still are, yet are at rest, so far as the particular being who has "attained" Nirvana is concerned.

We may perhaps speak of those who are "free from illusion" as having reached the state of Nirvana. This would be exactly what "unconditioned existence" would be -- no illusion. When a man attains to Nirvana, we may say he is free from his animal desires, that is, he is not swayed by any of the four lower principles, and lives only as the "higher triad." This would not necessitate his being, in all senses, a "perfected man," but he would be a man free from those illusions characteristic of the physical plane of conditioned existence.

Next article:
(May 1952)
[Article number (6) in this Q&A Department]

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