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VOL. XVI., No. 6. HAMILTON, AUGUST 15th, 1935 Price 10 Cents
GEORGE WILLIAM RUSSELL - AE.
April 10, 1867-July 17, 1935.
Wisdom is justified of her children, and if there be no more than one sole begotten in this war-dreary age of ours, George William Russell has justified the Theosophical Movement, and borne the banner aloft, that Helena Petrovna Blavatsky handed on to him.
Out of the Dublin Group of which he was the chief light, and without disparagement of his friends Charles Johnston or Daniel Nicol Dunlop or others of that little band who contributed out of their own measure to the establishment of new ideals and new principles and new methods of life in our time, it is to his credit that he led the way in many paths of action, and as a literary man, a poet, a journalist, an artist, and finally as an economist and a statesman, he built up the model of a national life in which the national spirit could embody itself without debasement, bringing all its varied resources into play, giving liberty to those who lived under it to evolve their own soul-structure, and attain outwardly the spiritual stature of their own inner Selves; enabling all to live in that concordant harmony which so enriches social life; encouraging those less mature mentally, yet allowing them an independence of development which is the basis of true manhood.
In many respects the Irish people would have more warrant to sing they "never, never shall be slaves," than their compatriots across the Irish Seas. The English have never quite understood this, and continue to pray Britannia to rule the waves, while Irishmen would be content to rule their own land. A certain deference to authority, if not servility, makes government in Britain easy. In Ireland there is much civility, but no servility, and as it has been said only a Kelt can understand a Kelt, so George Russell had an advantage in understanding his own people that made it less difficult for him to approach them as a reformer. His innovations were in the tradition of the ancient life of Ireland under pre-Christian forms, and they appealed as they would appeal anywhere to the natural instincts of the people, yet in no way hindering the highest and noblest emotions of religion, charity, and sacrifice.
It has been a taunt flung against Theosophists (that their views were not practical, meaning that they did not provide for the life that men must live in physical bodies. George Russell removed that taunt
or the occasion for it, and showed that Theosophy when properly understood can be applied to all kinds of life socially and politically, promoting a nobler sense of right living, while recognizing that the life of the flesh is but a transit experience. It has been the deep marasmus that entered Adyar and still obtains there that they chose to follow a Leadbeater rather than Russell, and worshiped mirages which inflated the importance of personality instead of devoting themselves to the common life of humanity for which Madame Blavatsky labored, and to which Russell gave his service.
Nor was his an ordinary service, but one which entailed the cultivation and happy surrender of the highest gifts and talents which a man may command. Russell toiled unremittingly with body, mind and spirit, to carry on his self appointed task and if ever a god labored with men and for their benefit, Russell's body was the cross on which it was lifted up. Yet he was the humblest, the most modest of men. He looked for no leadership, no elevation, no homage. He did his work and has gone to his peace. He has evoked the passionate love of all who knew and understood him. He is a monument to Theosophy, and his name should be honored in the annals of the Movement while it continues to inspire the world.
We have gathered together in such time and space as was available some tributes from those who knew him, men and women who met him intimately, and also from this press, anonymously, from those who only knew him by reading his books, seeing his pictures, hearing his lectures, or even by the report of his doings, that came to them through others. It may be evidence to those who know little of him otherwise, of what influence he possessed, what mountains he moved, what light he spread abroad in a world of darkness. And beyond all, what a power of love of his fellow men flooded his great heart, a heart loyal only to Eternal Law.
- A. E. S. S.
By P. G. Bowen
"Dr. George W. Russell, the distinguished Irish poet and Economist died at the Bournemouth nursing home where he had been undergoing treatment, at midnight on Wednesday, July 17th."
George William Russell, whom the world knew better by his pen name "AE" has passed from this objective plane. His friends and more especially for those who knew the real man, and his real work, his going leaves a blank not easy to fill. He had many friends (he had NO enemies) made during the course of his worldly activities, who can speak of him appreciatively as a writer, economist, or statesman; but he had few, and these for the most part inarticulate, who knew the real man, understood his aims, and were recognized by him not as acquaintances of the day, or the single life, but as souls linked with his in the immortal life. Of these few, I who write, am the last who he contacted and recognized in this present life. We met but little over two years ago, and "Ah, a very old friend, I think", were the words with which he greeted me. That these were no unconsidered words he gave me speedy proof, for he pointed to links existing in what to me had hitherto been the worlds of dream and imagination, but which to him were realms far more real than this world of sense.
Before all else, AE was a Theosophist. With the crystal sincerity, and childlike simplicity which at all times distinguished him, he revealed to me that his aim in life overriding all else was to bring knowledge of the World of Spirit "where all hearts and minds are one" into the clouded sphere of human thought. He sought to bring it to Ireland, his own country, first and foremost, not because he ever forgot the equal needs of the rest of the world, but because he held, and held rightly, as every true Theosophist will agree, that we should cultivate the field which lies nearest to hand with the tool which stands most con-
venient. His literary pursuits were not followed as a way leading to gain and fame, things to which he was supremely indifferent, but because they furnished a ready channel created by "the instrument built up by many lives," (his personal selfhood), through which might flow "something of the rhythms of the ONE Life", and with their touch "restore to some sort of tune the jangled strings of human consciousness". It is a dullspirit that can read his poems without feeling that they do just this.
So also with his purely worldly work. To him it was an instrument which he used to demonstrate in practical form that individual gain comes not through each man working for self, but through each working for all. Before I met him the following anecdote concerning his work for the farmers' Co-operative Movement was related to me by a country priest. One of AE's, innumerable addresses on co-operation to the peasant farmers happened to coincide with one of the lesser known Church festivals, and the result was that a large number "missed Mass". When chidden by the Curate for their lack of devotion, one of them replied in all seriousness, "Shure, an' wasn't we doin' just as good as to be at Mass, listenin' as we was, to Jarge's sermon down to Ballymascanlan?"
"And in the name of God, I think they were", my informant commented. In preaching practical co-operation, AE always spoke out of his own certain consciousness of the unity of all things in spirit.
AE belonged to none of the great Theosophical societies. In his early youth he had been a member of the Dublin lodge of H.P.B.'s T.S. At the time of the "Judge split", he and the whole lodge followed Judge, but after the death of the latter he resigned, feeling that under the new regime the spiritual light so evident in earlier times in the society had become somewhat clouded. It is not so generally known perhaps, that from 1898 down to 1933 when he left Ireland, AE kept alive in Ireland a nucleus of genuine students under the name of the Hermetic Society. As he himself put it to me, he held it a sacred duty as one who had become conscious of the truth of the Message brought by H.P.B. to keep, as she herself had adjured her followers, "the link unbroken".
The Hermetic Society was founded by Charles Johnston in 1886, and is therefore the oldest Theosophical body in Ireland. AE joined it on resigning from the Point Loma Universal Brotherhood in 1898, and
[[photo here of AE]]
led it from that time until he finally handed over his charge to myself in 1933. The society had no formulated objects, and was in character rather a free and easy club than an organized society. In an early letter to me concerning it AE says: -
"Sometimes it (The Hermetic Society) had a big membership, sometimes a small. It waxed and waned, and waxed again, people coming and going here and there; and I felt inwardly satisfied that they all more or less passed through a bath of Theosophical ideas.
"I had no private doctrine: nothing but
H.P.B. eked out for beginners by W.Q.J.; the Bhagavad Gita; Upanishads; Patanjali; and one or two other classics. I did what I could to keep always in line with the Message of H.P.B., and to preserve it from admixture with the ideas of imitators who I found could give me nothing.
"My own writing is trivial, and what ever merit is to be found in it is due to its having been written in a spiritual atmosphere generale by study of H.P.B. and the sacred books of the East. If it has given some temporary light to those that read it, I am happy . . . . . . . . ."
There speaks the real Theosophist which is equivalent to saying the real man. No words which another could speak concerning AE could reveal his quality half so surely as those brief unconsidered remarks of his own. They show like a lightning flash the great, simple, selfless spirit of the man which lives on, though the shape through which it manifested to our dull senses goes back to the dust that it was.
GEORGE WILLIAM RUSSELL,
POET OF THE INNER LIFE
By James Morgan Pryse
Announcement of the death of Russell, one of the dearest of my companions in the good old days of the T.S., came to me over the radio. By request of the editor of The Canadian Theosophist, I now write of my personal acquaintance with that greatest of modern mystical poets. Saddened by the loss of my friend, I cannot write a glowing eulogy setting forth his genius and his unselfish devotion to the cause of humanity, and so shall only record a few reminiscences.
I first became acquainted with Russell during his frequent visits to the London Headquarters of the T.S. At one time, when on a walking tour in Wales, while examining Druidic ruins on the Isle of Anglesea, I noticed a small steamer, the Shamrock, that was about to cross over to Dublin. I took passage on it and spent the rest of my vacation with Russell and the other members of the Dublin Lodge. In 1895 by advice of Mr. Judge and Dr. Keightley, I shipped the original H.P.B. Press, which belonged, to Dr. Keightley, to Dublin, joined the lodge there, and for over a year helped Russell and the others to get out the Irish Theosophist. I would have remained there for a longer period, but Mr. Judge, owing to his illness, insisted that he needled me in New York.
When Russell began the study of Theosophy he wrote several fine little poems; but when I rejoined him in Dublin I found him much depressed because his Muse had apparently deserted him. His every attempt to write verse resulted in failure; sorrowfully he said, "My bogy is dead." Perceiving where his difficulty lay, I explained to him that when new to Theosophy he put into verse his own ideas spontaneously; but that his study of the philosophy had filled his mind with new ideas, which he had not yet assimilated, and could not therefore, express naturally. When he had made these ideas his own, I assured him he would write better than ever, having widened his mental scope. To start him up, I proposed that we write poems, alternately for the magazine, an offer which he eagerly accepted. I had quit writing verse while still in my teens, and my only object in penning poems for the magazine was to get Russell going again. His, "bogy" rose from the death, and thereafter for many years literature was enriched by his many mystical poems. I put forward a favorite theory of mine that great poets, painters, etc., always are found in groups, as were the Greek dramatists, and those of Shakespere's time, as also the great Italian painter's and the Cremona violin-makers; they sustain one another like electric cells "coupled for intensity." Thus, ten cells, each of ten volts, when thus coupled have a current of a hundred volts. So we formed a little group of promising young Irish writers, who met weekly to discuss their work. I had to dropout when Mr. Judge recalled me to New York, but Russell
carried on the work for years to a splendid consummation, so that a number of brilliant writers brought about the remarkable Irish literary renaissance.
Russell had the faculty of clearly visualizing things psychically. Often when we were together in the evening (as we were almost every evening) I would say, "George, I saw something while meditating the other day" without giving him any clue to what it was, but visualizing it mentally. Closing his eyes, he would see exactly what I had seen, and then with colored crayons he would reproduce it on paper. I have had mesmeric subjects do the same; but with Russell, owing to his natural lucidity, mesmerism was never resorted to. Mrs. Lloyd, of the Blavatsky Lodge, had the same faculty to an even more marked degree. Both were artists. As Russell once wrote me: "Painting is the only thing I have any real delight in doing. Nature intended me to be a painter. I was never taught. I went into an office and wrote poetry. Then because I wrote good poetry I was taken from the office and sent out over the country to organize farmers. When I wrote one or two articles about farmers and their lives I was taken from organizing and put to editing an agricultural paper. When I had learned to do this I was dragged into politics, and now I edit a weekly review dealing with politics, literature and economics." This refers to his work with Sir Horace Plunket, and the editing of the Irish Homestead, which was later incorporated in the Irish Statesman. These activities interfered sadly with his painting and poetry, but were of great benefit to Ireland. A Theosophist to the last, though he quit the T.S. when it became unendurably cantankerous, he held firmly to the Blavatsky tradition.
For years I kept in contact witch Russell by correspondence. He sent me autographed a copy of each book he produced, and I sent him mine. Happily we met again when he was on a lecturing tour in the U.S. Certain educators and wealthy citizens who were apprehensive of revolutionary disturbances in this country had him deliver lectures on economics and his experience in organizing the agricultural population of Ireland. In a letter dated February 12, 1925, telling me that James Stephens was then in America, he wrote, "Perhaps sometime I may find my way over the Atlantic, but I see no chance of it now." But on January 27, 1928, he wrote me from New York, "My dear James, I have already come to your country - landed two days ago - and one of the attractions which brought me to America was the hope that I might visit the Pacific Coast and look you in the face again." But it was not until 1930 that we met. On the 1st of November of that year he wrote me from Missoula, Montana: "I expect to be in Los Angeles on the 17th of this month. I have two lectures to deliver, one in the morning, and the other in the afternoon. I shall seek you out that evening about 8 o'clock, and I hope to sea you again, dear James, after so many years." He was in Los Angeles three days, and each evening I rejoiced in his company from 8 o'clock till near midnight.
Shortly after his first volume of verse, "Homeward: Songs by the Way," was published Russell told me how he came to take the pen-name AE. I used that information in the dedication to him of my work on Prometheus Bound. When I submitted the dedication for his consent and approval before publication, he wrote me: "I am greatly moved, dear James, that you should remember our old friendship and honor me by dedicating to me your translation of Prometheus. I accept it with pleasure." I reproduce the dedication here as a feeble tribute to my dear comrade whom I shall meet no more on earth in this incarnation. After quoting a line from Euripides, "We hold traditions of our forefathers which are as olds as time," it reads:
Recall with me the days, old friend,
When, we in Eire pondered o'er
The old traditions, and you penned
Your earliest poems, but forbore
To write your name, and sought to sign
The name of Man when yet divine.
And from the ether of your heart,
Where yet the fire Prometheus brought
Inspires the ardent poet's art,
In meditation rapt you caught
A murmur, "AEon," naming thus,
Mankind, Gods-born and glorious.
A LETTER FROM AE
Dear Smythe, It was most kind of you to send me what you had written about "Vale". You are very generous in your appreciation. No, it was not Lionel Johnson or W.Q.J. I referred to. The handsome youth was Edmund King, one of the Ely Place group whom I never met after the household broke up. The grey visitor was James M. Pryse who first instructed me in magic, conjuring up pictures in the astral light, and holding them before my inner eyes so that I could see initiation scenes, the evolution of the astral from the physical, the movement of cells and forces in the body. A good deal of what he wrote in the interpretation of the Apocalypse he showed me in the "glass". He was one of the few members of the T.S. who knew things for himself and had a good deal of occult power. He was really rather a mysterious person whose talk and writing had personal knowledge behind it. He, Judge, H.P.B., Subba Row, Damodar, and Jasper Niemand were the only members of T.S. who had their own sources of knowledge, as far as I can know. Most of the others wrote either out of intuition or retold what they had read: though Pryse said Archibald Keightley; who rarely wrote, knew a good deal. I am writing a second volume of Candle of Vision. It will be quite different, not dealing so much with dreams or visions as with ideas - the psychology of incarnation. I find it difficult to write as I have no predecessors in the line I am taking. After that is done I will try to complete a mystical tale, "The Avatars," which I began seven years ago, but my journalism did not leave me energy to continue it. If I can keep the remainder as good as the seven chapters I wrote, I think it should be readable. Everything in this island is quiet. On the whole we are better off than the English or Germans or Americans in the matter of unemployment. But the decadence of British industrialism is going to hit us hard and we shall have a bad time of it if our statesmen can't formulate and apply a new policy, and it is difficult to know exactly what they could do. I am dubious about Tariffs and become more socialistic in my dreams of the future. But I know no mechanism is going to solve the world's problems. Nothing will, except the spiritual life. With kind regards to any of my friends you may meet, Magee, DeLury, Yours sincerely AE.
17 Rathgar Avenue, Dublin,
20 Sept., '31.
Now you are gone you seem a visitor,
Something that haunted for a little time
The splendor of the evening, or astir
With bees in blooms of lime;
Or, at the hour when mothers tell old tales
To children, something passing through the gleams
Of cottage windows; or, on western gales
Riding, a king of dreams;
Or, about hawthorns lingering to greet
The earliest may among the blazing green,
Or, through the heather traveling to meet
Spirits we have not seen;
A lovely radiance of a passing star
Upon a sudden journey through the gloaming,
Lighting, low Irish dills, and then afar
To its own regions homing.
- Lord Dunsany, in the London Times.
DEAN DeLURY PAYS TRIBUTE
Dean Alfred T. DeLury, LL.D., one of his few intimates in Toronto, felt that in the death of AE the literary world would mourn the passing of one of its greatest personalities. They had known each other for many years.
"George W. Russell became known throughout the literary world in the middle 90's through publication of two remarkable little volumes of poems, Earthbreath and Homeward: Songs by the Way", Dean DeLury recalled. "At once, they were republished in America and students of poetry felt a new poet had come.
"In a reasonably long and very busy life, he did remain true to his gift of poetry, and each succeeding year would see several little poems of outstanding merit in the journals devoted to literature.
"A contemporary and very close friend of W.B. Yeats and later of John Synge, he was regarded everywhere as an outstanding figure in the very significant movement known as the Irish literary revival".
AE was also distinguished as an artist, being looked upon as one who brought something distinctive to the world of art, he said.
Authority on Agriculture
Proof of his versatility in an outstanding sense was the fact that Sir Horace Plunkett had called on him to be his chief aide when he was considering plans for the vital work of improving Irish agriculture.
"For many years, he edited and wrote the leading articles in the Irish Homestead, a journal quite new in that type of periodical. Later, the Homestead, being discontinued, he undertook the editing of the Irish Statesman. Through a long period of years this was one of the brightest of literary periodicals, which in addition to its literary side concerned itself with current political and social questions".
Early in the 20's, AE was induced to come to America on a lecture tour, on which he was received with warmth and acclaim in the leading United States and Canadian cities. On that tour he lectured in Toronto on the personalities in the Irish literary renaissance.
"On that occasion here, he made an impression unequaled, perhaps, by any other man making public appearances", said the dean. "I have never seen an audience so completely spellbound". As a result, he was invited to visit again three years later, during which he again appeared in Toronto.
"About that time, the American Government, feeling more attention should be given to the development of interest in country life, invited him to speak on the cooperative movement in Ireland, and to make practical suggestions on which they might in time be able to act".
So universally was he appreciated, and such was the spell which he cast over those who met him, that his house in Dublin became a centre for celebrities from all parts of the world, said Dean DeLury. One evening each week he set aside when famed personages would come to commune with him, almost to worship him.
Dr. DeLury also writes: "I am very glad to know that you are devoting a number of your journal to the life and work (and their meaning) of AE. As you say, `he should, have died hereafter', but the Fates would not have it so. In him all the active nobilities met, and every one who met him caught a new impulse from his thinking and doing".
In the death this week of George William Russell, "AE," as he was known in the literary world, Ireland lost a great national mind and the world has lost one of its most prolific pens.
George William Russell was the son of a middle-class Irish family of County Armagh, and received only a public school education. His quality as a writer were the inherent imagination of his race, the unplumbed depths of the mystic, the un-
bounded mind of the dreamer and an intense national pride. Something of the power of those qualities when combined as "AE" combined them can be seen from the long life that has attended his works. His fist book of poems, "Homeward: Songs by the Way," published in 1894, has never really disappeared from circulation.
It was Ireland more than the Irish that Russell really loved. It was Ireland he painted - another highly developed natural talent, which he used as a "recreation" when words grew heavy and tedious to work with. And it was Ireland he sought to unify in a great national scheme of cooperative societies. For many years between two careers as an editor, "AE" buried his hatred for travel and toured Ireland, educating the farmers and the county folk along the lines of cooperatives effort, forming in various communities cooperative grocery stores, cooperative dairies and markets, and similar enterprises.
Among his outstanding literary adventures, there were terms of office as editor of the Irish Homestead, an agricultural journal; the Theosophist, which he wrote to a great extent all by himself under various, pen-names. [[the Irish Theosophist may be meant here, but is inaccurate - dig. ed.]] Frequently, when money was scarce, he would use pseudonyms to engage himself in a vigorous argument for the benefit and enlightenment of unknowing readers. His last editorial chair was with the Irish Statesman after its merger with the Irish Homestead, and for seven years until 1930 he managed to keep it alive despite an intensely high intellectual outlook.
As was the case with many of his characteristics, his wit was typically Irish, and he possessed a stinging tongue through which he invariably voiced his criticism of his friends, without, it can be said, losing any of them. A classical example still much quoted was This comment to George Moore, the Irish novelist, during a tea-hour discussion, of a new Moore novel. "You," "AE" told Moore, "are like a porcupine rubbing yourself against the bare legs a child, unconscious of what you do."
For "AE", in spite of the fact that he knew of the musical, qualities of his deep voice, and was intensely proud of it, one of the greatest ordeals was to read his own poetry. He disliked America because of having to read his poetry when he got there, more than because he had to travel to reach it. But it was through reading his poems that a great mass of his follower came to know him and to appreciate more fully what "AE" meant them to appreciate in all his praises of his one great love, his Ireland. - The Toronto Globe, July 19, 1935.
Its edges foamed with amethyst and rose,
Withers once morse the old blue flower of day.
There where the ether like a diamonds glows
Its petals fade away.
These four lines, among the most beautiful in English literature, are typical of the serenity with which so much of the work of George Russell, who wrote under the name " AE", was infused. His death removes from that galaxy of great Irish writers the most unusual, if not the most eminent figure. George Russell was closely identified with the revival of native Irish literature which accompanied the growth of political nationalism and which centred for many years around the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. Yeats, Synge, Lady Gregory, Sean O'Casey; Russell and others worked consciously toward a Gaelic Renaissance. Unlike the brilliant Irish writers of an immediately previous generation, Shaw and Wilde, they looked to the soil of Ireland and within the hearts of their own people for the material of their writings. - Hamilton Herald, July 18, 1935.
George William Russell was a typical Hibernian, a man with a mind perfectly attuned to the poetic, the mystical, the beautiful; but a man, too, with an eminently practical side to his nature. Such rare beings make an invaluable contribution to the spiritual and material progress of the race, for while their minds are in the clouds, their feet are planted firmly upon the solid earth. They make a universal appeal in their writings. "Man does not live by bread alone;" though the thoughts of society seem to be almost exclusively preoccupied with the needs of the body, the dreamer and the seer is sure of an audience if he has an authentic message to deliver. And AE had an authentic message. His was the voice of the inspired monitor, warning a world which was wantonly over
-emphasizing the pursuit of luxury, and sinking into the idolatry of mammonism.
His love of the countryside, his real sympathy with the husbandman, laboring at his ordained task, the cultivation of the soil, earning his living "by the sweat of his face" - his determination that greater justice should be done to the peasant and that they should not be sacrificed to the insatiable demands of the cities - in these earnest efforts the Poet became the reformer, which true poets always are. For poetry is not merely a sweet acquiescence in things as they are, but a Prophetic determination to make them better.
"The decay of civilization comes from the neglect of agriculture," he said; "there is need to create, consciously, a rural civilization." His was not the ordinary "back-to-the-land" mentality, which condemned civilization and all its works; but he would bring the benefits of urban life to the country; his land workers would be instructed, cultured, people in a completely congenial environment, with no urge to forsake the farm for the city. It is an ideal which is not impossible of fulfilment.
The results of planning and legislating for the development of cities, instead of for the welfare of the farms, are only too painfully manifest in these our modern times. Unless something effective is done to promote the ideals voiced by this great Irish poet, to whom like the poets of classical times, agriculture was of such vital import, it is to be feared that the "decay of civilization," which he so greatly deplored, will be progressive. - A. J. H., in Hamilton Spectator, Judy 19, 1935
FROM DR. SALEM BLAND
It is only a slender right that I have to pay a tribute to the variously gifted Irish poet and public man who passed away a few days ago. I had merely heard him lecture on his two visits to Toronto, and many years ago came under the spell of the little volume of mystical poems he published in 1894, but the impulse to express my obligations was too strong to be resisted. . . . . . I have for many years been interested in all the things in which my subconscious mind reveals itself as very much nimbler and more accurate than I am, that is, in my conscious mind. It was however to express my gratitude for the delight given me long ago by his mystic poems, "Homeward: Songs by the Way", that I was chiefly moved to pay my personal tribute to Mr. Russell. I came under this spell some forty years ago and was fond of turning to them, particularly on Sunday evenings, when the day's work was done. I was brought up in a mystical atmosphere and was for the first half of my life fascinated by the inward and mystical aspects of religion. Then the social aspects of religion began to interest me more and more absorbingly, and "Homeward: Songs by the Way", and much other mystical literature rather faded out of my life. I have not, I would fancy, opened the book for thirty years or more, nevertheless, I did not forget its beauty and the regretted passing of the poet aroused in me the desire to read it and perhaps introduce some readers of The Star to something unusual and worth knowing. - Toronto Star, July 27.
The following lines appeared in The Toronto Daily Star of July 19 from the pen of Mr. Reade, one of our most distinguished Canadian Rhodes. Scholars: -
Earth's wisdom is diminished',
Candle's vision is extinguished,
But oh, I count it gain
That I once saw AE plain,
Saw his genial smile, and heard
The deep music of his word!
Tumbling, like waters mountain reared,
From the forest of his beard.
Lover of beauty, wisdom, truth,
Sage who was always guide to youth,
Sweetest of Celtic singers, you
Lived years that were alas too few,
But henceforth, in Song's Heaven, your star
Flames as your country's avatar.
- R. C. Reade.
THE PRESS REPORTS
Bournemouth, England, July 18. - (CP) - One of the foremost among the group of distinguished modern Irish literary men, George William Russell, died yesterday in a Bournemouth nursing home, aged 68. A big, thick-set man with a patriarchal beard, Russell was better known by his curious pen-name of AE. He was first and foremost a poet, but he was also an essayist, an editor, a painter and a prime mover in the revival of Irish agriculture.
Love of Country
He was born in the little town of Lurgan, County Armagh, April 10, 1867. All his life he retained his love of the country. For years he went through the countryside forming cooperative societies and explaining to farmers the importance of cooperative creameries and cooperative credit groceries.
His first volume of poems, Homeward: Songs by the Way, was published in 1894. From then on there was a seldom interrupted flow of works from his facile pen. Most recent was The Avatars, in 1933.
Later he became active in the Irish Agricultural Organization Society and in 1905 returned to the editor's chair to direct The Irish Homestead. In 1923 this was merged with The Irish Statesman, which AE continued do edit. until 1930. Its high intellectual level, however, proved its own undoing, and it collapsed in the latter years.
New York, July 18. - (AP) - George W. Russell, "AE", considered cities "an actual danger to life itself," and United States cities as sharing in that danger.
On several visits to the United States, he warned that city life received too much emphasis and that American civilization was threatened by its lack of "a satisfying village life."
Russell was not only poet, painter and author, but for 25 years he was associated with the Irish Agricultural Organization Society, and it was chiefly on matters of this sort that he spoke when in the United States.
The deep-voiced, bearded Russell - the "sage of Ireland" - spent two months here early this year. He studied the "new deal" with special reference to agriculture, and conferred with President Roosevelt and Secretary of Agriculture, Henry Wallace, an old friend.
"The decay of civilization comes from the neglect of agriculture;" he said last March 1, as he sailed for home. "There is need to create, consciously, a rural civilization.
"You simply cannot aid the farmers in an economic way and neglect the cultural and educational part of country life, or else the children will continue to leave for the cities."
Had Many Interests
Although primarily noted as a poet, he was an energetic jack of many trades - a painter, business man, organizer, editor, and co-founder of the famous Abbey Theatre in Dublin.
He made a lecture tour in Canada about eight years ago.
Already ailing when he returned from the United States a few months ago, he suffered a setback in London during the first heat wave of summer. At that time he told a friend: "I feel cramped in London. I need the sea and mountains, and wide views of the sky."
Russell was in his late twenties when, in 1894, he published his first book of poems, "Homeward: Songs by the Way." The Yeats, "Celtic Twilight" cult had just achieved world prominence, and Russell, with his spiritual mysticism, was immediately taken to the hearts of poetry lovers. His last book, "House of the Titans, and Other Poems," appeared in 1934.
Born at Lurgan, County Armagh, Ireland in 1867, Russell was educated at Rathmines School, Dublin. He entered an accountant's office, but soon grew interested in agricultural cooperative associations, and in 1897 joined the Irish Agricultural Organization Society.
Thenceforward, journalism, literature, painting and agricultural organization divided his attention. He edited the Irish Homestead farm journal from 1904 to 1923, becoming editor of the Irish Statesman in that year. Critics have called the review the most skillfully edited in all Ireland.
Among Russell's published work were: "The Divine Vision, 1904; The Mask of Apollo, 1904; New Poems, 1904; By Still Waters, 1906; The Candle of Vision, 1919; The Interpreters, 1922; Midsummer Eve, 1928; Vale and' Other Poems, 1931; Song and Its Fountains, 1932; and The Avatars, 1933, most of them volumes of poems or philosophic musings.
In addition he published several volumes of essays and a three-act play, "Deirdre," besides pamphlets concerning cooperative farming.
Halifax, July 18. - (CP) - Here is a word portrait of George William Russell, Irish writer and painter who died in Bournemouth, England last night, as he appeared on his last visit to Canada and United States:
" 'AE's' eyes are like well-springs in a wildwood of hair and beard. There is a brook-like hypnotism in his voice. It runs on easily without beginning or ending. Like the others of that modern triumvirate of the spirit, Tagore anal Einstein, this Irish giant is mossy, mossgrown if you will, but his smile refreshes, because like those other two he is acquainted with sorrow yet celebrates beauty."
It came from the pen of Kenneth Leslie, Nova Scotian poet who spent a few hours with "AE" on a liner in Halifax harbor last Christmas and found him "as ready to talk of fat cattle and creamery butter as of Keats and Lady Gregory."
AN ANTE MORTEM STATEMENT
Lord Castlerosse in the Sunday Express of July 21 quoted Senator Gogarty who had come over from Ireland:
"I was very fortunate," said the Senator, "in finding that Russell had a moment's consciousness a few hours before his death. He recognized me and said, `How delightful of you to come.' I asked him if he were in pain, and if he were breathing easily. He said, `Yes, I am not in pain.' I brought him messages of affection from friends in Ireland. He said very calmly and slowly, `I have realized most of my ambitions. I have had an outstanding interest in life. I have got friend's. What more does a man want?' Then his eyes darkened suddenly and it seemed as if he was falling asleep. Senator Gogarty paused here, and continued: -
"An English poet said of Mr. Russell, `He stood apart and stammered golden things.' But he did not stand apart. His personality was rich enough to suffer no mirage nor aloofness. He was the most amiable and magnanimous soul that Ireland has ever had. His love of Ireland consisted of more than the antithesis of a hatred of England, and therefore it may
be some time before he comes into his own".
James Stephens contributed an obituary notice filling a column of the Observer, London, July 21. Among other things, he said that AE had told him that he was not originally robust physically or intellectually, nor of a fundamentally decided character, nor of an especially psychic nature. That he made himself over from very little by a gradual increasing interest in and application of the thought and methods of the Vedanta. He held that to meditate on the ideas of the Bhagavad Gita and to practice the psychological disciplines systematized by Patanjali must astonishingly energize any person, and that these ideas and this discipline had transformed him from a shy, self-doubting youth to the cheerful, courageous personage he certainly became.
Pamela Hinkson in the same journal contributed half a column of reminiscence saying that the first thought was that one could not imagine Ireland without AE. She recalled her mother's long intimacy with him, remarking that she was a devout Catholic, and he professed at one time to worship pagan deities. Yet they met on a common mysticism, and she regarded him a s a saint.
The Manchester Guardian had a sympathetic article on July 18.
Robert Lynd, in the London News-Chronicle described Russell as the practical mystic of his nation, always a passionate believer that the future would make up for the miserable present. "Magnanimity is the rarest of the virtues, and AE contrived to distribute it to every one of the many controversies in which he took part. He was a champion of freedom, of freedom of mind no less than of political freedom, and a champion of the poor and defenseless at all times.
FROM ERNEST A. BOYD
Those who wish to consult the more permanent memorials, embodied in printed volumes may be referred to Darrell Figgis's volume in the "Irishmen of Today" series entitled "AE". This is less a biography than a biographical study and deals especially with the economic work of which Russell was the exponent in Ireland.
Ernest A. Boyd, in his Appreciations and Depreciations, writes a most appreciative criticism of his poetry, giving him due credit for his influence as a Theosophist, as he does more particularly in his larger book on the Irish Literary Renaissance, where he devotes a chapter to the Dublin Theosophical group.
It is one of the curious things about our modern journalism that in none of the official newspaper obituaries is there a word about his Theosophy, though he himself attributed to Madame Blavatsky all he was and all he did.
Lloyd R. Morris in "The Celtic Dawn," regards Russell as most closely related among all the English poets to Wordsworth. But Wordsworth could never discern such an individualism of life in Nature as Russell did. Russell was more devoted to the sea than Wordsworth. One remembers in 1912, taking a journey with some Tyrone friends to Port-na-blagh, in the north of County Donegal, where he had and has been in the habit for the past twenty years or more of spending his Summers. Here he painted, composed, and meditated, communing with that Nature which was vital and alive in all its aspects, as man is alive and vital in all his members. Transportation was not so easy as motors and buses have made it since, and we had only an hour to spend with him, but it was the longest interview we had with him since 1898, and it was refreshing to meet and sense and know once more the largeness of his mind and outlook, sweeping like the sea breezes across the world, and continuing pure and lofty above all its experiences.
"AE", says Mr. Boyd, "came forward primarily as an exponent of mysticism, though in such an early pamphlet as Priest or Hero? one can discern the later polemicist on behalf of intellectual freedom. With `John Eglinton' (W.K. Magee), Charles
Johnston, W.B. Yeats and Charles Weekes, he was one of a group of young men who met together in Dublin some 20 to 25 years ago (1917), for the discussion and reading of the Vedas and Upanishads. These young enthusiasts created in time a regular centre of intellectual activity, which was translated in part into some of the most interesting literature of the Irish Revival. Their journals, The Irish Theosophist, The Internationalist, and The International Theosophist, contained, a great deal of matter, which has since taken a high place in modern Anglo-Irish literature. It was in the pages of those reviews that the first poems of `AE' were published, and to them we owe a great number of essays afterwards collected by John Eglinton under the title Pebbles from a Brook. Of all who contributed to that intellectual awakening few remain in the Hermetic Society, as it is now called. But `AE' is still the mystic teacher, the ardent seer, whose visions and eloquence continue to influence those about him. One no longer enjoys the spectacle described by Standish O'Grady, of the youthful `AE', his hair flying in the wind, perched on the hillside, preaching pantheism to the idle crowd. His friends Johnston and Weekes are elsewhere, the heroic days of intellectual and spiritual revolt have passed; but `AE' may yet be seen in less romantic surroundings, constantly preaching the gospel of freedom and idealism".
From that Dublin group which included W.B. Yeats, John Todhunter, T.W. Rolleston, as well as those already mentioned, and also Fred J. Dick and his wife, "the slender-lovely candle of the Lord" of his poem, "How?", his own wife, Violet North, who died in 1932, Daniel N. Dunlop, Kenneth Morris, Arthur O'Dwyer, Paul Gregan, and subsequently J. M Synge, and Lady Gregory in their literary capacity, there came what is known as the Irish literary revival.
In 1898 I was in Dublin and had the opportunity on many occasions of meeting most of these, both at the headquarters,
just then transferred to Eustace Street from Ely Place, and had also the sad experience of seeing the last of those lovely and unique creations of Russell's artistic genius and occult knowledge which decorated the walls of the Ely Place rooms, which were being dismantled, and in the hands of masons and plasterers who were busy destroying these priceless tokens of a new age. It was usual for some of this group of a Sunday to go up into the Dublin hills south of the city, and on one of these, Kilnashee, the Church of the Fairies, we would gather and commune with a Nature that was purer than it could be found in any structure of stone and mortar. Alaya, the Master-Soul, was the only leader recognized there, consequently there was no room for envy, jealousy, malice nor any of the uncharity that disturbs the councils of those who insist on following some earthly leader and despot.
What transpired from those talks and communings on Kilnashee is largely enshrined in The Irish Theosophist, but the atmosphere and the memory of those days is a hallowed memory for all who entered into their peace. Little wonder then, that after his American tour early this year, on returning to London, when the first heat wave of this summer fell upon the great city, he told a friend: "I feel cramped after a time in London. I need sea, mountains, and wide views of sky". Kilnashee and Port-na-Vagh no doubt were in his mind, the Ireland he was not to see again.
WHAT GEORGE MOORE SAYS
In George Moore's three volumes, Hail and Farewell, there are vivid pictures of Russell, and an affectionate portrayal of him as no doubt Moore knew him in his heart. He describes Russell's boyhood as he heard it from his friends.
"Yeats had told me how a child, while walking along a country road near Armagh, had suddenly begun to think and
in a few minutes the child had thought out the whole problem of the injustice of a creed which tells that God will punish him
for doing things which he never promised not to do. The day was a beautiful summer's day, the larks were singing in the sky, and in a moment of extraordinary joy AE realized that he had a mind capable of thinking out everything that was necessary for him to think out for himself, realizing in a moment that he had been flung into the world without his consent, and had never promised not to do one thing or do another. It was hardly five minutes since he head left his aunt's house, yet in this short space, his imagination head shot up into heaven and defied the Deity who had condemned him to the plight of the damned because - he repeated the phrase to himself - he had done something which he had never promised not to do. It mattered nothing what that thing was - the point was that he had made no promise; and his mind embracing the whole universe in one moment, he understood that there is but one life: the dog at his heels and the stars he would soon see (for the dusk was gathering) were not different things, but one thing. " 'There is but one life,' he had said to himself, `divided endlessly, differing in degree, but not in kind'; and at once he had begun to preach the new gospel."
Moore says he does not include a personal description of Russell, for "All I remember are the long grey pantheistic eyes that have looked so often into my soul and with such a kindly gaze. `Those are the eyes,' I said, `that have seen the old Keltic Gods'." Moore's second volume in this series, Salve, is largely filled with George Russell. He tells how Russell found him a house to live in, and again and again how he consulted him on this subject and on that and always with the successful result of cheerful helpfulness and modest disclaimers. One could quote pages of this record, but the reader must get the book himself. "Everybody in Dublin thinks he is like AE as everybody in the world thinks he is like Hamlet".
"You love the Druids," I said, looking into his calm and earnest face. "When you were earning fifty pounds a year in Pim's shop you used to go to Bray Head and address a wondering crowd. Standing on a bit of broken wall, all your hair flowing in the wind, you cried out to them to return to the kind compassionate gods that never ordered burnings in the marketplace, and I don't see why, AE, we should not go forth together and preach the Danaan divinities, north, south, east, and west. You shall be Paul. Barnabas quarreled with Paul. I'll be Luke and take down your words!" "It would be your own thoughts, my dear Moore, that you would be reporting, not mine;" is the reply Moore puts in his mouth.
Moore reports another saying. "The fault I find with Christianity is that it is no more than a code of morals, whereas three things are required for a religion - a cosmogony, a psychology and a moral code".
In another place he remarks: "Everybody should cultivate a kindly patience, imitating AE, who while going his way can watch others going theirs, without seeming invidious or disdainful. But AE was born with a beautiful mind, and can pass a criticism on a copy of bad verses, and send the poet home unwounded in his self-respect".
On the last page but two of this volume he observes: "I was writing for an hour and went out in search of AE: it is, essential to consult AE on every matter of importance, and the mater on which I was about to consult him seemed to me of the very highest". In the third volume, Vale, he returns to this point. "AE forgets what he gives, but it is difficult for me to believe that Stephens did not benefit enormously, as much as I did myself. How much that was I cannot tell, for AE was always helping me directly and indirectly," and he tells of an incident in case. "As well as anything I can think of this anecdote shows how we run to AE in time of need, and never run in vain;" yet he relates how Russell found fault with him for representing him as blameless as the hero of a young girl's novel.
In spite of the anger of over-quotation we must give one more paragraph, Moore's tribute to Russell's wife. "AE's life is in his ideas as much as Christ's, and I will avouch that his wife has never tried to come between him and his ideas. As much cannot be said for Mary, whom Christ had to reprove for trying to dissuade him from his mission, which he did on many occasions; and if Christ had not chosen to remain a bachelor it is open to us to believe that he would have chosen a Violet Russell rather than a Jane Carlyle."
FROM KATHERINE TYNAN HINKSON
Mrs. Hinkson has written four volumes of delightful reminiscences and there are references in each of them to AE, but our space will not permit more than one extract from these intimate recollections. She knew Mr. Russell from early days and her opinion of him never changed. Consequently, this early impression carries with it the authority of a familiar friend, and the admiration of a skilled writer and judge of character. In the first of these autobiographical volumes, Twenty-five Years, the following passage occurs:
"But to return to the Johnstons and Theosophy. Their most considerable recruit - apart from W B. Yeats, who I think, was so passionately absorbed in literature as to have only a transient and hardly sincere interest in other matters - was George Russell, whom we know now as AE, our George then, the world's now. I find this entry in my diary for a day in December, 1887: `W.Y. brought a boy, George Russell, with him. Fond of mysticism, and extraordinarily interesting. Another William Blake!' George Russell was very boyish when I first saw him - shy, gentle, incapable of the lightest form of insincerity, a most lovable creature, as he is today. He is of the world, unworldly - the world's stain has never touched him - without religion, yet profoundly religious; the peace of God which passeth understanding lies all about him now as it did then. He was brought up in the narrowest tenets of Irish Evangelism. I remember when his family was sorely distressed by his association with Willie Yeats. Leaving behind him the narrow and ugly creeds to which he was born, he has adopted no other form of Christian religion: he finds gods in the earth and the air - rather I would say, he finds God; and his life unconsciously has cast incense on the altars of the Unknown God.
"I have known in my time some few undoubted geniuses, three certainly in literature - W.B. Y eats, Francis Thompson, and George Russell. To which I believe I have a fourth in James Stephens. In none of these have I found the beauty of genius as I find it in George Russell. His flame has always burnt upward clearly. There is no room in him for any of the small mean nesses of humanity. There is something strangely benign about him. He keeps his image of God undistorted, undefaced, as few of us have kept it. When I am struck cold, remembering that such and such a one, something uniquely previous of God's making, is no longer of this world, I turn to think upon George Russell, that untroublesome genius. I am glad that in all probability he will survive me, for of him more than anyone else I have ever known, I would say: `We shall never look on his like again'.
"He was a shy awkward boy, with the benignity and the genius shining from him. He adored Willie Yeats and Charles Johnston. He extended his friendship to me. He joined those Sunday parties at Whitehall, and we met elsewhere. He was then an accountant at Pim's, the big draper's in George's Street, Dublin. During the day he wrestled with the prices of blankets and carpets, or perhaps he did not wrestle, for he has a preposterous gift for business of a sort or says he has - afterwards he made poems and stories, and he painted, painted, painted, putting the most lively things on canvas, quite oblivious of how he cast them down and where; not caring greatly what became of them when they were done - feeling, perhaps, that the spilt oblation on
the altar of the Unknown God is more precious than the hoarded one. He painted the walls and ceilings of the Theosophical Society's rooms with his wonderful angels and fairies, his mystical dreams and fancies; for he is a mystic to the lips and further as much akin to the Eastern as to the Christian mystic, although the teachings of his youth, arid and bitter, have closed the door for him on these last. If you go to see him today at Plunkett House, Merrion Square, where his business life, which is never without its golden and purple patches, is lived, you will find yourself surrounded by his angels. He told me the other day that he destroyed all his pictures which did not satisfy him; just as he sells them for a wholly inadequate price because he would keep them within reach of the poor man who was minded to give himself a luxury while he would think it dishonest to charge the rich man more".
FROM "CO-OPERATION AND NATIONALITY" (1912)
The list of AE's works includes, The Candle of Vision, Collected Poems, The Interpreters, The National Being, Imagination and Reveries, Voices of the Stones, Vale and Other Poems, Song and Its Fountains, The Avatars, all of these having been published by the Macmillans. His little pamphlet; Co-operation and Nationality published by Maunsel of Dublin, is now out of print, and a few selections from its pages may indicate to the reader what the drift of his mind was in dealing with such urgent and practical matters. These paragraphs are taken almost at random: -
Civilization in historical times has been a flare-up on a few square miles of brick and mortar.
In the New England States there are at the present time about 26,000 derelict farms once held by freeholders. They had everything and more than everything we are trying to give our Irish farmers, and where are they now? The cities nodded and beckoned to the children of the farm and they went, as they are going, and will go, in spite of small holdings, land acts, laborers' plots, and the rest, if the miracle is not wrought and the countryside made a place where a man can enjoy the fullest and freest development of his spiritual, intellectual and social powers. Can this miracle be wrought? It is this question I
will try to answer.
The organized industries, the organized communities, are always wresting any surplus from the unorganized.
In congested Ireland every job which can be filled by the kith and kin of the gombeen kings and queens, is filled accordingly, and you get every kind of inefficiency and jobbery. They are all publicans, and their friends are all strong drinkers. They beget people of their own character and appoint them lieutenants, and non-commissioned officers in their service. All the local appointments are in their gift, and hence you get drunken doctors, drunken rate-collectors, drunken J.P.'s, drunken inspectors - in fact round the gombeen system reels the whole drunken, congested world, and underneath this revelry and jobbery the unfortunate peasant labors and gets no return for his labours.
No country can marry any particular solution of its problems and live happily ever afterwards. Life is an endless struggle, and every nation will have perpetually to adjust itself to new conditions.
A man is not human in the true sense of the word unless he fits into humanity. A disorganized society is like a heap of bricks. Brief may be made but there is no reason for their existence unless they are to form part of a building. . . . The worst thing that can happen to a social community is to have no social order at all; where every man is for himself, and the devil may take the hindmost. Generally in such a community he takes the front
rank as well as the stragglers. The phrase "Every man for himself", is one of the maxims in the gospel according to Beelzebub. The devil's game with men is to divide and conquer them. Isolate your man from obligations to a social order, and in most cases his soul drops into the pit like a rotten apple from the Tree of Life.
About 100,000 Irish country people are already members of co-operative societies and their trade turnover this year will be close on three million pounds. The total trade turnover of the movement from its inception till the present, is over twenty-five million pounds . . . . . . . The opposition to this work of agricultural organization had its origin in the little country towns which, for the most part, produce nothing and are mere social parasites.
The Irish country towns only develop mental bogs about them. We have grown so accustomed to these arid patches of humanity that we accept them in a hopeless kind of way, whereas we should rage and prophesy over them, as the prophets of ancients Israel did over Tyre and Sidon. And indeed, a lordly magnificence of wickedness is not so hopeless a thing to contemplate as a dead level of petty iniquity, the soul's death in life, without ideas or aspirations. The Chaldeans - they who built up the Tower of Heaven in defiance of Heaven - had so much greatness of soul that the next thing they might do would be to turn it into a house of prayer; but lives filled with everlasting littleness, fill one with deep despair and madness of heart.
Sometimes one feels as if there were some higher mind in humanity which could not act through. individuals, but only through brotherhoods and groups of men. Anyhow, the civilization which is based on individualism is mean, and the civilization based upon great guilds, fraternities, communes and associations is of a higher order
INTRODUCTION TO THE PHILOSOPHY AND WRITINGS OF PLATO
By Thomas Taylor
(Continued from Page 188.)
We have said that discipline awakens the dormant knowledge of the soul; and Plato considered this as particularly effected by the mathematical discipline. Hence, he asserts of theoretic arithmetic that it imparts no small aid to our ascent to real being, and that it liberates us from the wandering and ignorance about a sensible nature. Geometry too is considered by him as most instrumental to the knowledge of the good, when it is not pursued for the sake of practical purposes, but as the means of ascent to an intelligible essence. Astronomy also is useful for the purpose of investigating the fabricator of all things, and contemplating as in most splendid images the ideal world, and its ineffable cause. And lastly music, when properly studied, is subservient to our ascent, viz. when from sensible we betake ourselves to the contemplation of ideal and divine harmony. Unless, however, we thus employ the mathematical discipline, the study of them is justly considered by Plato as imperfect and useless, and of no worth. For as the true end of man according to his philosophy is an assimilation to divinity, in the greatest perfection of which human nature is capable, whatever contributes to this is to be ardently pursued; but whatever has a different tendency, however necessary it may be to the wants and conveniences of the mere animal life, is comparatively little and vile. Hence it necessary to pass rapidly from things visible and audible, to those which are alone seen by the eye of intellect. For the mathematical sciences, when properly studied, move the inherent knowledge of the soul; awaken its intelligence; purify its dianoetic power; call forth its essential forms from their dormant retreats; remove that oblivion and ignorance which are con-
genial with our birth; and dissolve the bonds arising from our union with an irrational nature. It is therefore beautifully said by Plato in th 7th book of his Republic, "that the soul through these disciplines has an organ purified and enlightened, which is blinded and buried by studies of a different kind, an organ better worth saving than ten thousand eyes, since truth becomes visible through this alone."
Dialectic, however, or the vertex of the mathematical sciences, as it is called by Plato in his Republic, is that master discipline which particularly leads us up to an intelligible essence. Of this first of sciences, which is essentially different from vulgar logic, and is the same with what Aristotle calls the first philosophy and wisdom, I have largely spoken in the introduction and notes to the Parmenides. Suffice it therefore to observe in this place, that dialectic differs from mathematical science in this, that the latter flows from, and the former is void of hypothesis. That dialectic has a power of knowing universals; that it ascends to good and the supreme cause of all; and, that it considers good as the end of its elevation; but that the mathematical science, which previously fabricates for itself definite principles, from which it evinces things consequent to such principles, does not tend to the principle, but to the conclusion. Hence Plato does not expel mathematical knowledge from 'the number of the sciences, but asserts it to be the next in rank to that one science which is the summit of all; nor does he accuse it as ignorant of its own principles, but considers it as receiving these from the master science dialectic, and that possessing them without any demonstration, it demonstrates from these its consequent propositions.
Hence Socrates, in the Republic, speaking of the power of dialectic, says that it surrounds all disciplines like a defensive enclosure, and elevates those that use it to the good itself, and the first unities; that it purifies the eye of the soul; establishes itself in true beings, and, the one principle of all things, and ends at last in that which is no longer hypothetical. The power of dialectic, therefore, being thus great, and the ends of this path so mighty, it must by no means be confounded with arguments which are alone conversant with opinion: for the former is the guardian of sciences, and the passage to it is through these, but the latter is perfectly destitute of disciplinative science. To which we may add, that the method of reasoning which is founded in opinion, regards only that which is apparent; but the dialectic method endeavors to arrive at the one itself, always employing for this purpose steps of ascent, and at last beautifully ends in the nature of the good. Very different therefore is it from the merely logical method, which presides over the demonstrative phantasy, is of a secondary nature, and is alone pleased with contentious discussions. For the dialectic of Plato for the most part employs divisions and analyses as primary sciences, and as imitating the progression of beings from the one, and their conversion to it again. It likewise sometimes uses definitions and demonstrations, and prior to these the definitive method, and the divisive prior to this. On the contrary, the merely logical method, which is solely conversant with opinion, is deprived of the incontrovertible reasonings of demonstration.
The following is a specimen of the analytical method of Plato's dialectic. Of analysis there are three species. For one is an ascent from sensibles to the first intelligibles; a second is an ascent through things demonstrated and subdemonstrated, to undemonstrated and immediate propositions; and a third proceeds from hypothesis to unhypothetical principles. Of the first of these species, Plato has given a most admirable specimen in the speech of Diotima in the Banquet. For there he ascends from the beauty about bodies to the beauty in souls; from this to the beauty in right disciplines; from this again to the beauty in laws; from the beauty in laws to the ample sea of beauty (to polu pelagos
tou kalou); and thus proceeding he at length arrives at the beautiful itself.
The seconds species of analysis is as follows: It is necessary to make the thing investigated the subject of hypothesis; to survey such things as are prior to it; and to demonstrate these from things posterior, ascending to such as are prior, till we arrive at the first thing and to which we give our assent. But beginning from this, we descend synthetically to the thing investigated. Of this species, the following is an example from the Phaedrus of Plato. It is inquired if the soul is immortal; and this being hypothetically admitted, it is inquired in the next place if it is always moved. This being demonstrated, the next inquiry is if that which is always moved, is self-moved; and this again being demonstrated, it is considered whether that which is self-moved is the principle of motion, and afterwards if the principle is unbegotten. This then being admitted as a thing acknowledged, and likewise that what is begotten is incorruptible, the demonstration of the thing proposed is thus collected. If there is a principle, it is unbegotten and incorruptible. That which is self-moved is the principle of motion. Soul is self-moved. Soul therefore (i.e. the rational soul) is incorruptible, unbegotten, and immortal.
Of the third species of analysis, which proceeds from the hypothetical to that which is unhypothetical, Plato has given a most beautiful specimen in the first hypothesis of his Parmenides. For here, taking for his hypothesis that the one is, he proceeds through an orderly series of negations, which are not privative of their subjects, but generative of things which are as it were, their opposites, till he at length takes away the hypothesis that the one is. For he denies of it all discourse and every appellation. And thus evidently denies of it not only that it is, but even negation. For all things are posterior to the one; viz. things known, knowledge, and the instruments of knowledge. And thus, beginning from the hypothetical, he ends in that which is unhypothetical, and truly ineffable.
(To Be Continued.)
"NOTES ON THE BHAGAVAD GITA"
This invaluable book by Subba Row which has been a treasure to all who wish to understand the spiritual virility of the Gospel of India, has been reprinted by The Theosophical University Press, Point Loma, in a pleasing form with excellent type and paper and neatly bound, and should prove to be the standard edition. It contains 127 pages, and an additional 42 pages of a Glossary-Index, a most useful appendix to such a book. We observe, too, that Dr. de Purucker has not insisted in his unusual spelling of Karma in the text. Editorially, the book is more complete than the first Indian edition, which had several omissions; corrections by the learned author which appeared in volume viii of The Theosophist have been incorporated in the third lecture.
Subba Row's advice is always practical. He says: "Do not rely on a host of commentaries, which will only confuse you, but try to interpret the text for yourselves as far as your intelligence will allow; and if you think this is really a correct theory, try to follow it up ands think out the whole philosophy for yourselves. I have found that a good deal more is to be gained by concentration of thought and meditation, than by reading any number of books or hearing any number of lectures. Lectures are utterly useless, unless you think out for yourself what they treat of. The Society cannot provide you with philosophical food already digested, as though you were in the ideal state of passivity aimed at by the advocates of the Sankhyan philosophy; but every one of you is expected to read and study the subject for himself. Read and gain knowledge, and then use what you have gained for the benefit of your own countrymen."
THE CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
THE ORGAN OF THE THEOSOPHICAL SOCIETY IN CANADA
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Will members who have not paid their dues please note that under Post Office regulations this will be the last issue of the magazine they will receive until they have paid their dues for the current year. Those who cannot remit the full amount at once, may send One Dollar on account. Those who put away Five Cents a week have no difficulty in remitting the $2.50 on July 1st, yearly.
We had intended presenting Dr. G. de Purucker's White Lotus Day Address as a suitable homily this month in connection with the Fraternization Convention, but unexpected pressure on our space due do the death of George Russell has unfortunately made this impassible.
In the article in the department of "Theosophy and the Modern World" entitled: "Any International Language." there is mention of Esperanto. The Secretary of the Toronto Esperanto Society is Mr. David R. Pook, C.A., 277 Salem Avenue. There is an Esperanto Lodge in the T. S. and also a T.S. Magazine published in this language.
The interest in the last instalment of Thomas Taylor's Introduction to the Philosophy and Works of Plato seemed to warrant its separate issue, and this has been done with the portrait of Taylor in a small pamphlet which may be had for Five Cents or Ten for 25 Cents. It is entitled "The Vast Empire of Deity".
A joint picnic held at Hidden Valley, a few miles east of Hamilton, by the Toronto, Kitchener and Hamilton Lodges, with members from St. Catharines, Welland, Fonthill, was attended by some 125, and was so successful that next year the Kitchener members wish to repeat it in their city. They hope to interest the London Lodge in the project.
The recently chartered Lodge at Kitchener has elected its officers as follows: President, Alexander Watt; Vice-President, Daniel Shantz; Secretary, Harvey L. Burkholder; Treasurer, Carl Speaker; Librarian, William Schroder; Chairman of Women's Auxiliary, Mrs. Mary Watt. After the summer suspension, work will be resumed in September, when earnest work will be inaugurated.
On learning of the death of George W. Russell, the General Secretary cabled Capt. Bowen and wrote to Mr. James M. Pryse by air mail asking for articles from them for the Magazine. They very kindly complied and both contributions arrived on July 29. We are greatly indebted to these friends for contributions which add greatly to the interest of the record which we have endeavored to make of one of the greatest lives of our time, and their prompt and generous compliance is gratefully acknowledged.
The Orpheus Lodge with great regret has to report the death on Feb. 13th of one of its charter members, Mrs. Allan Taylor. For twenty-one years Mrs. Taylor, had been an active member of the Orpheus Lodge and had endeared herself to all its members, not only as the result of her naturally friendly and very lovable nature but by the consistent allegiance she has always given to Theosophy and to the Great Theosophical values.
Programmes of the Blavatsky Lodge, Hollywood, California, may lend suggestions to other Lodges looking for subjects to interest their audiences. Some of the subjects during May and June were Mme. Alexandra David-Neel; A Reincarnated Tibetan; Science, and the Divine Mind; The Atlantis Mysteries among the Ancient Britons; Secret India and Her Modern Yogis; Chinese Philosophy and the Influence of Confucius; Ancient Egypt ands Her Mystery Cults; Sane Occultism.
Toronto Lodge reports that the Sunday evening lectures during July were given by Mr. A.E.S. Smythe who spoke on "The German Creed"; Mr. Leslie Floyd on the second Sunday spoke on "The Esoteric Character of the Gospels"; on the third Sunday Mr. G.I. Kinman lectured on the "Powers latent in Man"; and on the last Sunday Lt.-Col. E.L. Thomson spoke on "The Oracle of Delphi". One new member was admitted during the month, Mrs. C.E. Sword of Toronto. The local committee are busy making final arrangements for the Theosophical Convention to be held here August 23rd to 25th, and inquiries are being received from intending visitors.
The International Psychic Gazette for June, in reviewing Mrs. C. N. Williamson's book "The Inky Way", quotes from her Spiritualistic adventures the following: "At another sitting the sister of Algernon Blackwood, the famous writer of ghost stories, was present. She was evidently very bitter against her brother for not playing his part as a soldier in helping his country against its enemies. The table spelt out that `Lillie' had something to tell Miss Blackwood. At first she could not think who `Lillie' was. Later it proved to be the Duchess of Manchester who was related to Miss Blackwood. The Duchess reproached her for not having faith in her brother. She said that Algernon was not in a position to defend himself, as he was obliged to keep silent, being in the Secret Service. After the war it was made clear that this was the truth." Algernon Blackwood is a Charter member of the Toronto Theosophical Society. His mother was a former Duchess of Manchester, widow of the sixth Duke.
Among all the honors distributed in this Jubilee Year of the British monarch the omission of the name of Rudyard Kipling can be regarded only as adding a more shining lustre to his fame. Theosophists and mystics generally owe him much, and
perhaps this is one of the reasons that the powers that be pass him by. The unrivaled variety of Kipling's writings perhaps divides the allegiance of his readers, but the cultural mind excludes nothing that is excellent, and Kipling is rarely unworthy. The loveliness of "The Brushwood Boy," the picturesque humanity of "An Habitation Enforced," the undying pathos of '"They," the marvels of the "Jungle Books", the humour of "Soldiers Three" and their companions, the stouthearted history of "Puck of Pook's Hill" and its sequel, the mystical wisdom of "Kim," and the splendid chronicle of the Irish Guards in whose ranks his son fell in France, mark some of the many roads in which the judicious reader is glad to follow him. His poetry, too, has a measure of the Ancient Wisdom which runs like a golden thread through nearly all his work.
MR. BELCHER'S WESTERN TOUR
Two days were spent in Vulcan where Mr. Guy Denbigh did all that could be done to secure a hearing for the Secret Doctrine. We had a nice group on the second night, and much interest was evinced, the meeting lasting till midnight.
Four days were devoted to Calgary. On Sunday morning there ways a joint Secret Doctrine class held by the Calgary and Krishna Lodges. A lecture in the evening was an Outline of Theosophy. Monday, July 1, being a holiday, was devoted to a picnic and motor drive which included a visit to the most remarkable public garden that I have seen, remarkable for its size, its site, the landscape effects achieved and for the bewildering variety of flowers and shrubs in bloom. There were lectures in the Public library on two evenings that were well attended and elicited many questions. Mr. and Mrs. Glover were my hosts, and were very kind and helpful.
The short stay at Banff was really a vacation, and a delightful one, for there are none besides our good friends Mr. Paris and Dr. Ashton who are interested. Moreover, it was their busy season, and can well be excused for not neglecting it.
My visit to Salmon Arm was a busy and enjoyable one. Mr. and Mrs. Gardner were as keen as ever, and managed to get two well attended meetings. Here, as in Calgary, political interest is at fever heat. Communism, C.C.F., Douglas' Social Credit, etc., all get ardent following, but their rivalries are intense. They will not unite so as to pool their undoubted strength.
Vancouver was under the spell of the holiday season but some Theosophical work was done. Many old friendships were renewed and new ones made. Miss Hesson, my kind hostess, was very helpful. Mrs. Buchanan had a breakdown through overwork and is taking a trip to Scotland to recuperate. We may well send her our wishes for complete recovery, for Theosophically, she will be sorely missed. My greatest thrill in Vancouver was a half-hour interview with Tom MacInnes, author of many poems and - notably for me - "The Teachings of the Old Boy". He is physically very ill, due in the first case to the death of his wife and to his too strenuous political activity.
I am glad to record that our good friend Kartar Singh, who has had a very difficult time, is now in much happier case, the tide having turned for him. Nothing seems able to quench his geniality, his cheery smile, his readiness to be helpful. I expect to have some interesting news concerning Vancouver in my next letter, as Mr. A.J. Harrison, General Secretary of the Canadian Federation Lodges, and President of Hermes Lodge has invited me to pay a return visit as his guest. One joint meeting of the three Lodges is being arranged for, and doubtless there will be other activities.
My stay in Victoria is drawing to a close. Here, too, the holiday season interfered with proposed activities but I was able - thanks to Mr. Sidney Carr's generosity - to visit Mr. and Mrs. W.B. Pease in their summer home and talk over the idea of having a joint Secret Doctrine class where all the different brands of Theosophy could find common meeting grounds. There is to be a small group meeting tonight at the home of Mrs. Griffiths; and tomorrow Geo. Hobart will take me up to his home in Cedar, near Nanaimo. I am glad to be able to report that his affairs are progressing well. He expects to establish his home in Victoria and, hopes the Secret Doctrine class will become a fact.
- Felix A. Belcher.
33 Government St., Victoria, B.C.,
July 24, 1935
OUR JUBILEE FRATERNIZATION CONVENTION
As nearly as possible everything has been completed for the International Inter-Theosophical Jubilee Fraternization Convention in Toronto, August 23-25, and all that remains to 'be done is to receive all the visitors that care to come. We trust that no one will stay away through any misapprehension that they may not be welcome. All who desire to know Theosophy or to have others know it ar, of the fit and proper order to attend. They may have nothing to contribute but their presence, but that is much, for it carries influence and encouragement, and we need all these things.
Theosophy is the aim of the Theosophical Society, which was established in 1875 with the object of establishing a nucleus of Universal Brotherhood, and of spreading the teachings of the Masters, who inspired its foundation. Madame Blavatsky, who was its Corresponding Secretary, never made any secret of her object and what she regarded the chief duty of the Society. She wrote many books expounding Theosophy - - - the only "straight Theosophy" the world is aware of, and it should be the aim of this Convention to illustrate such Theosophy in its addresses and discussions, always keeping in mind that its study is only possible to those who possess "a clean life, an open mind, a pure heart, an eager intellect, an unveiled spiritual perception, a brotherliness for all, a readiness to give and receive instruction, courageous endurance of personal injustice, a brave declaration of principles, a valiant defense of those who are unjustly attacked, a constant eye to the ideal of human progression and perfection which the Sacred Science depicts" - - - or at least the desire to possess these characteristics, and certainly these are the best credentials for any visitor to a Theosophical Convention.
The broad tolerance involved in such qualities must be inherent in the student of Theosophy, for many minds take many varying views of the same teaching. Consequently a rare impartiality and a generous attitude towards those who may differ with us are necessary to successful investigation.
The Scientific Congresses are notable for their divisions of opinion, yet they meet together and discuss the most adverse theories in a charming spirit of detachment and anxiety to discover the Truth. Theosophists cannot do less in their deliberations.
It has unfortunately come to pass that Theosophists have been divided into bodies with different conceptions and in some respects opposing theories of interpretation and action. Of course, there can be only one Truth, and earnest students seek that goal in spite of any deterrents and every barrier. It has been said that it is impossible for such students to meet together, and that even if they did meet the result would be nugatory. It is for this Convention as in the previous two, to show that this is an erroneous conclusion.
It is believed that three important bodies will be represented by visitors and delegates. The Adyar Society takes precedence in point of seniority, the Point Loma Society came later, and the United Lodges of Theosophy are third among the more important groups. But members of all societies who pursue the study of the Secret Doctrine are cordially welcome.
Features for Visitors
Arrangements have been made for the comfort and convenience of visitors, and the subjoined programme will indicate the general outline of the meetings. Committees have been organized to look after Reception, Rooming and Lodging, both in hotels and in private premises; a City Tour for Sunday morning for those so inclined; and literature will be on sale in the Hall. The Theosophical Hall, 52 Isabella Street, is fairly central and within range of all important points. Those
who desire to visit the Canadian National Exhibition may do so in the mornings of the Convention, or they may continue their visit into the following week.
The Exhibition has many attractions, but the special one this year is an extensive exhibition of pictures by the finest modern artists from Great Britain. These will include the originals of many pictures known all over the world, and the occasion presents an exceptional opportunity. Another local attraction is the Royal Ontario Museum, one of the finest in the world. Its collection of Chinese archaeological treasures, including a great tomb occupying a whole wing of the vast building, renders the collection almost unrivaled. The same may be said of the Egyptian and the Mexican antiquities, both collections being of special interest to Theosophical students.
Railway Fares, Etc.
The Canadian railways have arranged that visitors to the Canadian National Exhibition can travel on a fare basis of current one-way ordinary first class fare-and-one-quarter for the round trip. This covers all stations in Eastern Lines territory, but not west of Grant, Jellicoe or White River. Going dates are from Thursday, August 22nd, till Saturday Sept 7. Visitors to the Convention may take advantage of these rates as they will in most cases attend the Exhibition. For United States passengers application must be made to the U.S. Railway authorities for rates, as it has not been possible to ascertain them here. Bus rates are held to be cheaper for all distances up to 400 or 500 miles. Those with motor cars will find it cheaper to drive, especially over moderate distances.
Hotel Rates, Etc.
Hotel rates vary from $1 a night up to $4 at the Royal York. Almost any purse can be accommodated. In private lodgings, of which there are a variety near the Hall on Isabella Street, the rates are usually from 75c a night upwards. Rates with breakfast are also available. The Committee will be able to furnish information to visitors about this matter.
On Saturday at one o'clock a luncheon will be served at Cole's Galleries, 28 College Street, opposite Eaton's new store. His Worship the Mayor of Toronto has accepted an invitation to be present and greet the visitors. Mr. Allan Wilson, the well-known radio tenor, will sing. Tickets, 60 cents, should be applied for at once. The toasts will include The King and the President; Brotherhood responded to by The Mayor; Religion, Philosophy and Science, Mr. Bingham; The Secret Doctrine, Dr. Kuhn; Our Neighbours, Miss Mayme-Lee Ogden.
The Luncheon menu provides: Pine-apple Juice Cocktail; Olives, Almond's; Chicken Salad, Sliced Tomatoes, Lettuce, Mayonnaise; Buttered Rolls; Fresh Peach Ice Cream; Cookies; Square Fudge Cakes; Tea, Coffee. Also a Vegetable plate. Salad will be prepared for those who are not zoophagists.
- 10 a.m. till 1 p.m. Registration of visitors, signing roll, getting badges, locating lodgings, etc.
- 2 p m. Calling to order of Convention by Mr. J. Emory Clapp, Boston, Temporary Chairman.
Election of Permanent Chairman and Vice-Chairman.
Chairman's Address. Election of Committees. Addresses and Papers - - - -
"Some Facts, in Botany Viewed Theosophically": Mrs. Gertrude Knapp, B.A., Fonthill.
"Theosophy and Health": Emilie P. Arnold, Toledo, O.
"The Circle and the Point": Olive Harcourt, Vice-pres't., Bristol Lodge, England.
Scientific Paper: Mr. W.F. Sutherlands.
Theosophy and Mental Hygiene" Mr. Evelyn G. Mitchell, Boston. Discussion. Collection.
- 5-6 p.m. Informal Reception.
- 8 p m. Address "Theosophy and Economics": Mr. F.B. Housser. Questions. Collection.
- 1 p.m. Official Luncheon. Tickets 60c. Programme as given above..
- 3 p.m. Addresses - - - -
"Enemies of Fraternization": Mr. Cecil Williams, Hamilton.
"Bogeys and Brotherhood Among Theosophists": Mr. Iverson L. Harris, National Vice-president, Point Loma. "As Buddhist and Theosophist": Mrs. Salanave, San Francisco. Discussion. Collection.
- 8 p.m. Address: "Philosophy: the World's Need": Mr. Alvin B. Kuhn, Ph.D., Columbia College, New York.
- A.M. Tour of the City.
- 2 p.m. Addresses - - - -
"The Purpose of the Theosophical Movement": Mr. Robert Hughes, Hamilton.
"Ahimsa": Mr. R.C. Bingham, Ceylon.
- 4 p.m. Reports of Committees: On Resolutions: Selection of Next Meeting Place. Close of Official Business.
- 5-7 p.m. Reception of Visiting Delegates and Members.
- 7.15 p. m. Song: Mr. Allan Wilson.
"Theosophy and the Study of Comparative Religion": Mr. G. Rupert Lesch, Buffalo, N.Y.
Other paper and addresses that have been spoken of but have not come to hand as we go to press will be placed on the
programme whereever time permits.
THROUGH THE GATES OF GOLD
A FRAGMENT OF THOUGHT
By Mabel Collins
CHAPTER IV. - THE MEANING OF PAIN
Look into the deep heart of life, whence pain comes to darken men's lives. She is always on the threshold, and behind her stands despair.
What are these two gaunt figures, and why are they permitted to be our constant followers?
It is we who permit them, we who order them, as we permit and order the motion of our bodies; and we do so as unconsciously. But by scientific experiment and investigation we have learned much about our physical life, and it would seem as if we can obtain at least as much result with regard to our inner life by adopting similar methods.
Pain arouses, softens, breaks, and destroys. Regarded from a sufficiently removed standpoint, it appears as medicine, as a knife, as a weapon, as a poison in turn. It is an implement, a thing which is used evidently. What we desire to discover is who is the user; what part of ourselves is it that demands the presence of this thing, so hateful to the rest?
Medicine is used by the physician, the knife by the surgeon; but the weapon of destruction is used by the enemy, the hater. Is it then, that we do not only use means, or desire to use means, for the benefit of our souls, but that also we wage warfare within ourselves, and do battle in the inner sanctuary? It would seem so; for it is certain that if man's will relaxed with regard to it he would no longer retain life in that state in which pain exists. Why does he desire his own hurt?
The answer may at first sight seem to be that he primarily desires pleasure, and so is willing to continue on the battlefield
where it wages war with pain for the possession of him, hoping always that pleasure will win the victory and take him home to herself. This is but the external aspect of the man's state. In himself he knows well that pain is co-ruler with pleasure, and that though the war wages, always it never will be won. The superficial observer concludes that man submits to the inevitable. But that is a fallacy not worthy of discussion. A little serious thought shows us that man does not exist at all except by exercise of his positive qualities; it is but logical to suppose that he chooses the state he will live in by the exercise of those same qualities.
Granted, when for the sake of our argument, that he desire. pain, why is it that he desires anything so annoying to himself?
If we carefully consider the constitution of man and its tendencies, it would seem as if there were two definite directions in which he grows. He is like a tree which strikes its roots into the ground while it throws up young branches towards the heavens. These two lines which go outward from the central personal point are to him clear, definite, and intelligible. He calls one good and the other evil. But man is not, according ko any analogy, observation, or experience, a straight line. Would that he were, and that life or progress, or development, or whatever we choose to call it, meant merely following one straight road or another, as the religionists pretend it does. The whole question, the mighty problem, would be very easily solved then. But it is not so easy to go to hell as preachers declare it to be. It is as hard a task as to find one's way to The Golden Gate. A man may wreck himself utterly in sense-pleasure, may debase his whole nature, as it seems, - yet he fails of becoming the perfect devil, for there is still the spark of divine light within him. He tries to choose the broad road which leads to destruction and enter bravely on his headlong career. But very soon he is checked and startled by some unthought-of tendency in himself, some of the many other radiations which go forth from his centre of self. He suffers as the body suffers when it develops monstrosities which impede its healthy action. He has created pain, and encountered his own creation. It may seem as if this argument is difficult of application with regard to physical pain. Not so, if man is regarded from a loftier standpoint than that we generally occupy. If he is looked upon as a powerful consciousness which forms its external manifestations according to its desires, then it is evident that physical pain results from deformity in those desires. No doubt it will appear to many minds, that this conception of man is too gratuitous, and involves too large a mental leap into unknown places where proof is unobtainable. But if the mind is accustomed to look upon life from this standpoint, then very soon none other is acceptable; the threads of existence which to the purely materialistic observer appear hopelessly entangled, become separated and straightened, so that a new intelligibleness illumines the universe. The arbitrary and cruel Creator who inflicts pain and pleasure at will then disappear from the stage; and it is well, for he is indeed an unnecessary character, and worse still is a mere creature of straw who cannot even strut upon the boards without being upheld on all sides by dogmatists. Man comes into this world surely on the same principle that he lives in one city of the earth or another; at all events, if it is too much to say that this is so, one may safely ask, why is it not so? There is neither for nor against which will appeal to the materialist, or which would weigh in a court of justice; but I aver this in favor of the argument, - that no man having once seriously considered it can go back to the formal theories of the skeptics. It is like putting on swaddling-clothes again.
Granting, then, for the sake of this argument, that man is a powerful consciousness
who is his own creator, his own judge, and within whom lies all life in potentiality, even the ultimate goal, then let us consider why he causes himself to suffer.
If pain is the result of uneven development, of monstrous growths, of defective advance at different points, why does man not learn the lesson which this should teach him, and take pains to develop equally?
It would seem to me as if the answer to this question is that this is the very lesson which the human race is engaged in learning. Perhaps this may seem too bold a statement to make in the face of ordinary thinking, which either regards man as a creature of chance dwelling in chaos, or as a soul bound to the inexorable wheel of a tyrant's chariot and hurried on either to heaven or to hell. But such a mode of thought is after all but the same as that of the child who regards his parents as the final arbiters of his destinies, and in fact the gods or demons of his universe. As he grows he casts aside this idea, finding that it is simply a question of coming of age, and that he is himself the king of life like any other man.
So it is with the human race. It is king of its world, arbiter of its own destiny, and there is none to say it nay. Who talk of Providence and chance have not paused to think.
Destiny, the inevitable, does indeed exist for the race and for the individual; but who can ordain this save the man himself? There is no clue in heaven or earth to the existence of any ordainer other than the man who suffers or enjoys that which is ordained. We know so little of our own constitution, we are so ignorant of our divine functions, that it is impossible for us yet to know how much or how little we are actually fate itself. But this at all events we know,
- that so far as any provable perception goes, no clue to the existence of an ordainer has yet been discovered; whereas if we give but a very little attention to the life about us, in order to observe the action of the man upon his own future, we soon perceive this power as an actual force in operation. It is visible, although our range of vision is so very limited.
The man of the world, pure and simple, is by far the best practical observer and philosopher with regard to life, because he is not blinded by any prejudices. He will be found always to believe that as a man sows so shall he reap. And this is so evidently true when it is considered, that if one takes the larger view including all human life, it makes intelligible the awful Nemesis which seems consciously to pursue the human race, - that inexorable appearance of pain in the midst of pleasure. The great Greek poets saw this apparition so plainly that their recorded observation has given to us younger and blinder observers the idea of it. It is unlikely that so materialistic a race as that which has grown up all over the West would have discovered for itself the existence of this terrible factor in human life without the assistance of the older poets, - the poets of the past. And in this we may notice by the way one distinct value of the study of the classics, - that the great ideas and facts about human life which the superb ancients put into their poetry shall not be absolutely lost as are their arts. No doubt the world will flower again, and greater thoughts and more profound discoveries than those of the past will be the glory of the men of the future efflorescence; but until that far-off day comes, we cannot prize too dearly the treasures left us.
There is one aspect of the question which seems at first sight positively to negative this mode of thought, and that is the suffering in the apparently purely physical body of the dumb beings, - young children, idiots, animals, - and their desperate need of the power which comes of any sort of knowledge to help them through their sufferings.
The difficulty which will arise in the mind with regard to this comes from the untenable idea of the separation of the soul from the body. It is supposed by all those who look only at material life (and especially by the physicians of the flesh) that
the body and the brain are a pair of partners who live together hand in hand and react one upon another. Beyond that they recognize no cause and therefore allow of none. They forget that the brain and the body are as evidently mere mechanism as the hand or the foot. There is the inner man - the soul - behind, using all these mechanisms, and this is as evidently the truth with regard to all the existences we know of as with regard to man himself. We cannot find any point in the scale of being at which soul-causation ceases or can cease. The dull oyster must have that in him which makers him choose the inactive life he leads; none else can choose it for him but the soul behind, which makes him be. How else can he be where he is, or be at all? Only by the intervention of an impossible creator called by some name or other.
It is because man is so idle, so indisposed to assume or accept responsibility, that he falls back upon this temporary makeshift of a creator. It is temporary indeed, for it can only last during the activity of the particular brain power which finds its place among us. When the man drops this mental life behind him, he of necessity leaves with it its magic lantern and the pleasant illusions he has conjured up by its aid. That must be a very uncomfortable moment, and must produce a sense of nakedness not to be approached by any other sensation. It would seem as well to save one's self this disagreeable experience by refusing to accept unreal phantasms as things of flesh and blood and power. Upon the shoulders of the Creator man likes to thrust the responsibility not only of his capacity for sinning and the possibility of his salvation, but of his very life itself, his very consciousness. It is a poor Creator that he thus contents himself with, - one who is pleased with a universe of puppets, and amused by pulling their strings. If he is capable of such enjoyment, he must yet be in his infancy. Perhaps that is so after all; the God within us is in his infancy, and refuses to recognize his high estate. If indeed the soul of man is subject to the laws of growth, of decay, and of rebirth as to its body, then there is no wonder at its blindness. But this is evidently not so; for the soul of man is of that order of life which causes shape and form, and is unaffected itself by these things, - of that order of life which like the pure, the abstract flame burns wherever it is lit. This cannot be changed or affected by time, and is of its very nature superior to growth and decay. It stands in that primeval place which is the only throne of God, - that place whence forms of life emerge and to which they return. That place is the central point of existence, where there is a permanent spot of life as there is in the midst of the heart of man. It is by the equal development of that, - first by the recognition of it, and then by its equal development upon the many radiating lines of experience, -that man is at last enabled to reach the Golden Gate and lift the latch. The process is the gradual recognition of the god in himself; the goal is reached when that godhood is consciously restored to its right glory.
(To Be Continued.)
HIGHER SPIRITUALITY IN JUNG
Editor, The Canadian Theosophist: In your number of May 15th, 1935, there is an article called "The Psychology of The New Age," signed W.F.S., and in it a passing mention of Jung's psychology. It seems to me that the author cannot have studied Jung's latest works, or he would never have concluded his paragraph with such a depreciatory statement. Not only has the existence of "higher spiritual and mental realms" occurred to Jung but his psychology actually leads to parallels with the highest Chinese Yoga, as shown in his commentary on "The Secret of The Golden Flower." His concept of the "unconscious" seems to me parallel with the "anima mundi" spoken of by H.P.B. in The S.D. as follows, -
She says, (S.D. II, 511), "Akasa - the astral light, - can be defined in a few words; it is the universal Soul, the Matrix of the universe, the Mysterium Magnum, from which all that exists is born by separation or differentiation . . . . as the finite, in the Infinite, as regards manifestation, this light must have its shadowy side... which its actions draw upon humanity and which men attract and force to activity. Hence, while it is the universal Cause in its unmanifested, unity and infinity, the Astral Light becomes with regard to Mankind, simply the effects of the causes produced by men . . . that determines the unavoidable action and reaction of the great magic agent. It is mankind which has become the `Serpent of Genesis' and thus causes daily and hourly the Fall and sin of the `Celestial Virgin' - which thus becomes the Mother of gods and devils at one and the same time: for she is the ever-loving beneficent deity to all those who stir her Soul and heart, instead of attracting to themselves her shadowy manifested essence . . . .which kills and destroys . . . . .The Astral Light may be God and Devil at once - 'Demon est Deus inverses'. . . . . the `Holy Ghost' and `Satan' at one and the same time ...The manifested effects of the two who are one, guided and attracted by ourselves is the Karma of humanity".
"The Astral Light stands in the same relation to Akasa and Anima Mundi as Satan stands to the Deity - they are one and the same thing seen from two aspects" - (S.D., I, 197).
She says again: - "Alaya is literally the 'Soul of the World' or Anima Mundi, the 'Over Soul' of Emerson . . . . not only the Dhyani-Buddhas are one with Alaya in Soul and Essence, but even the man strong in the Yoga (mystic meditation), is able to merge his soul with it." (S.D., i, 48).
On page 59 she speaks, of "the prototypes impressed in the Astral Light - the lowest plane and world of Anima Mundi" which is dual and bisexual. (I, 196).
The, Logoi of all countries and religions are correlative. . . with the female Soul of the World, or the "Great Deep"; the deity, from which these two in one have their being, is ever concealed and called the "Hidden One". . . it can act only through the Dual Force emanating from the Eternal Essence.(S.D., I, 353).
Svabhavat is the mystic essence, the plastic root of physical Nature - "Numbers" when manifested; the Number, in its unity of Substance, on the highest plane. The name is of Buddhist use and a synonym for the four-fold Anima Mundi, the Kabalistic "Archetypal world." (S.D., I, 98).
Now the above is what Jung means by his concept of the "unconscious".
In "Psychological types," p. 271, he says: "The great problems of life. . . are always related to the primordial images of the collective unconscious. These images are really balancing or compensating factors which correspond with the problems life presents in actuality ..... Every great experience in life, every profound conflict, evokes the treasured wealth of these images, and brings them to inner perception; as such, they become accessible to consciousness only in the presence of that degree of self-awareness and power of understanding which enables a man also to think what he experiences instead of just living it blindly. In the latter case he actually lives the myth and the symbol without knowing it."
With regard to mythological associations Jung says (on page 616) . . . "Those motives and images . . . can spring anew in every age and clime, without historical tradition or migration. I term these contents the collective unconscious, just as conscious contents are engaged in a definite activity, the unconscious contents - so experience teaches us - are similarly active. (p. 264) I am myself so profoundly convinced of this homogeneity of the human psyche that I have actually embraced it in the concept of the collective unconscious as a universal and homogeneous substratum whose homogeneity extends
even into a world-wide identity or similarity of myths and fairy tales, so that a negro of the southern states of America dreams in the motives of Grecian mythology, and a Swiss grocer's apprentice repeats in his psychosis the vision of an Egyptian Gnostic."
Speaking of popular myth and legend, H.P.B. says, in the Secret Doctrine (II, 293): "The imagination of the masses . . . could never have conceived and fabricated ex nihilo so many monstrous figures, such a wealth of extraordinary tales, had it not had to serve it as a central nucleus, those floating reminiscences, obscure and vague, which unite the broken links of the chain of time to form with them the mysterious dream foundation of our collective consciousness."
Jung's concept of the collective unconscious is bound up with the problem of the pairs of opposites. In "Two Essays" (page 115) he says: "Through tension between the opposites, the collective unconscious brings forth images which as symbols make possible an irrational union of the opposites", (meaning that it cannot be done by brain reasoning). Our immediate life is only a world of images. All conscious imagination and action have grown out of these unconscious prototypes, and remain bound up with them.
In "Psychological Types", p. 577, Jung says: - Active phantasy, which brings the symbol to birth, "belongs to the highest form of psychic activity. For here, in a converging stream, flow the conscious and unconscious personality of the subject into a common and reconciling product. A phantasy thus framed may be the supreme expression of the unity of an individual; it may even create the individual by the consummate expression of its unity." (p. 144). Under normal conditions.... energy must be artificially added to the unconscious symbol, in order to. . .bring it to consciousness - this occurs. . .through a differentiation of the Self from the opposites... "this points to the separability of an individual nucleus". This detachment causes the energy to sink into the unconscious, where it automatically takes possession of the waiting phantasy material, which it activates and urges towards consciousness." The expression for the symbol "living form" is happily chosen, "because the phantasy material thus animated contains images of the psychological development of the individual in its successive states, thus providing a sort of model or representative of the further way between the opposites..... this function of mediation between the opposites I have termed the transcendent function. (p. 149). The positive something which results is the "symbolic determinant of the Will" .....
"The primordial image to which I refer is revealed in that growth of oriental thought which centres around the Brahman-Atman teaching in India, and in China found its philosophical representative in Lao Tze. (p. 151) ...... Tao is..... a middle road between the opposites, freed from them and yet uniting them in itself. The purpose of life is to travel this middle path and never to deviate towards the opposites." Such a wisdom presents what is the highest attainable to spiritual superiority. (p. 153) "For its achievement the highest moral effort, the greatest self-denial and sacrifice, the most intense religious earnestness and saintliness, are needed." (p. 244)
"The East has for thousands of years been familiar with this process, and has founded thereon a psychological doctrine of salvation which brings the way of deliverance within the compass of human intention - thus both the Indian and the Chinese religions, as also Buddhism which combines the spheres of both, possess the idea of a redeeming middle path of magical efficacy which is attainable through a conscious attitude."
Jung quotes the Kaushitaki Upanishad, 1-4, "like one who faring fast in a chariot looketh down upon the chariot wheels, so upon day and night, upon good and evil deeds and upon all the opposites doth he look down; but he, freed from good and
evil deeds, as knower of Brahman, entereth into Brahman."
On p. 266 Jung says of Tao: "Tao is an irrational union of the opposites, therefore a symbol which is and is not".... "The spirit of the valley is immortal; it is called the deep feminine. The gateway of the deep feminine is called root of heaven and earth".... - "Too withdraw oneself is the celestial way".... (quoting Lao Tze): "Therefore is he (the complete one) inaccessible to intimacy, inaccessible to estrangement, inaccessible to profit, inaccessible to injury, inaccessible to honor, inaccessible to disgrace." Being one with Tao resembles the spiritual condition of a child. This is the psychological attitude which is an essential condition of the inheritance of the Christian Kingdom of Heaven -.... The basic image and symbol whence proceeds the redeeming effect. (p 267): "Hence as a microcosm, uniting in himself the world opposites, man corresponds with the irrational symbol which reconciles psychological antithesis - . This root-image of man - accords with the symbol `living forms'." The opposites are two mutually contending tendencies, both striving to drag man into extreme attitudes and entangle him in the world.
Wu Wei, another Chinese concept, means "not doing and not doing nothing."
In this connection Jung quotes a Japanese philosopher, Nakae Toju - "Ri is the world soul, Ki the world matter, which are two aspects of the same thing. The individual also embraces the opposites." There is a universal Self and an individual Self which is a divine essence which Toju calls Ryochi. It is the universal Self in use (as Jung also says elsewhere: "The individual Self is a .... representative of something universally present in all living creatures.") Ryochi is the True Self - not the false self which is an "acquired personality arising from perverted beliefs." Ryochi is called "alone being," or "alone knowing." It is the self regulating function, this mediator of the pairs of opposites Ri and Ki; it is the "ancient Wise One who dwelleth in thy heart" - "in every heart there dwelleth a Sage; only man will not steadfastly believe it; therefore hath the whole remained buried."
In the "Secret of the Golden Flower" (p. 83) Jung says, "My professional experiences have shown me that in my technique I had been unconsciously led along the secret way which for centuries has been the preoccupation of the best minds of the East." The Chinese text shows striking parallels with the course of psychic development in European people. With them it is also a question of the way in which one may become what the Hindu terms Nirdvandva, free of the opposites - but the way is narrow as a knife's edge. He says: "This detachment is the therapeutic effect par excellence for which I labor with my students and patients." But he points out that this technique is only appropriate at a certain stage of development, and in the second half of life it must not be entered upon too soon. The instruction is only intended for him whose "light of consciousness is capable of freeing him from the powers of life, in order to enter into the ultimate undivided unity, into the "centre of emptiness" where "dwells the god of utmost emptiness and life," as the Chinese text says. This "centre" reminds one of what was said by a Master: "Desire only in your efforts to reach nearest the centre of life. (which is the same in the universe and in yourself). It is your divinity, it is the divinity we all share, which has within it, in its heart, a supreme and awful power."
Jung says: "This something, though strange to us, is yet so near it is altogether ourselves and yet unrecognizable, a virtual middle point. I have called this middle point the Self." In another place he says: "The psyche may be regarded as a mathematical point, and at the same time as a universe of fixed stars."
He says: "Obviously the veil of Maya cannot be lifted by a mere decision of reason, but demands the most thorough-going and wearisome preparation consist-
ing in the right payment of all debts to life... till then, there are real and relatively real figures of the unconscious."
Of Westerners Jung says: "We would like to climb the heights of a philosophical religion, but are, in fact, incapable of it. The best we can do is to grow up to it."
I think that the parallels given above prove that the "existence of higher spiritual and mental realms" has occurred to Jung!
76 Lancaster Gate, London, W.2.
THEOSOPHY AND POLITICS
Editor, The Canadian Theosophist: - In Your July issue a letter signed by E.K. Middleton assumes that Theosophy as such is inconsistent with patriotism and loyalty to the throne, or to whatever the form of government of one's country may be, and calls attention to social and economic questions as the business of Theosophists; all of which is diametrically opposed to the deeper issues of Theosophical tenets.
Existing conditions and widespread discontent and suffering no doubt show the need for change, but whatever outer remedies may be advocated it remains a fact that the Theosophical Messenger of our period taught that the only effective change must take place in the heart of man - a slow process, but one to which the whole Theosophical Movement was directed by Those who are devoted to the welfare of Humanity.
H.P. Blavatsky wrote:
"To seek to achieve political reforms before we have effected a reform in human nature, is like putting new wine into old bottles. Make men feel and recognize in their innermost hearts what is their real, true duty to all men, and every old abuse of power, every iniquitous law in the national policy, based on human, social or political selfishness, will disappear of itself . . . . . ."
Again, as against Socialism making of Theosophy a peg upon which to hang its political creed, we have H.P.B.'s unequivocal statement regarding the duty of the Theosophist in affairs governing physical man and his problems, given in "The Theosophist" for Sept., 1879, in an article entitled: "What are the Theosophists?":
"Unconcerned about politics; hostile to the insane dreams of Socialism and Communism, which it abhors . . . . . the Society cares but little about the outward human management of the material world. The whole of its aspirations are directed towards the occult truths of the visible and invisible worlds. Whether the physical man be under the rule of an empire or a republic concerns only the man of matter."
In an article in "Lucifer", November and December, 1887, entitled "Let Every Man Prove His Own Work" ** H.P.B. answers some specific charges laid against the Society of not tackling the so-called practical problems of the age, and of failing to strive to alleviate the terrible sufferings of physical man. All Theosophists who earnestly desire to be of service to their fellow men should study this article very carefully. H.P.B. points out clearly that the doing of good works is a truly dangerous path, only to be trodden by those who have purified their lower natures and have thus acquired clear vision, freed of all prejudice, pre-conceived ideas, and self. In her own words: -
". . . it takes a very wise man to do good works without danger of doing incalculable harm . . . . . Kindness and gentle treatment will sometimes bring out the worst qualities of a man or woman who has led a fairly presentable life when kept down by pain or despair. May the Master of Mercy forgive us for saying such words of any human creatures, all of whom are a part of ourselves, according to the law of human brotherhood which no disowning of it can destroy. But the words are true. None of us know the darkness which lurks in the depths of our own natures, until some strange and unfamiliar experience rouses the whole being into action. So with these
others who seem more miserable than ourselves."
The "Canadian Theosophist" for June, page 106, prints a letter from a Master (which, by the way, was not addressed, as stated, to W.Q.J.) which sums up the whole question in saying: "Lean I pray you in thought and feeling away from these external problems . . . . . . " and then proceeds, to show THE WAY.
- Edith Fielding.
235 Irvine; Rd., Victoria, B.C.,
July 22nd, 1935.
** The two articles have been reprinted in the U.L.T. pamphlet series, and are Nos. 22 and 31.
"TEMPLE OF THE STARS"
A book that will set many people wondering whether they know the ground they walk on has been published by John M. Watkins, 21 Cecil Court, Charing Cross Road, London, for Five Shillings. It is called "A Guide to Glastonbury's Temple of the Stars: Its Giant, Effigies described from Air Views, Maps, and from The High History of the Holy Graal." There are fifteen maps showing the ten mile breadth of country in County Somerset where this wonder is to be seen. It gives the Glastonbury legend a new force and sets its history away back prior too the Christian era. The Zodiac is portrayed on the face of the country, and aviators in recent days have photographed the ancient earthworks, some of them after the manner of the Serpent Mound in Ohio, so that the delineation of the ancient Signs is brought out quite clearly.
This part of Somerset, known as the Isle of Avalon, or Avilion, had a hallowed reputation long before the time when St. Joseph is said to have visited it and left there the Holy Graal. In fact, say the Present writers, it was this hallowed reputation that brought St. Joseph from Palestine. Blake's idea of Jerusalem being established in "England's green and pleasant land" had therefore been anticipated by some four or five thousand years. Only an examination of these survey maps, six inches to the mile, will enable anyone to make up his mind there is something in it, but possibly a visit with an airplane will be required to convince the average skeptic. Sixteen gigantic figures are presented as having been outlined on the earth's surface to establish forever the knowledge of the Signs of the Zodiac, that Bible of the Heavens that was familiar even to Job.
Besides the maps there are 116 large quarto pages in this book and it is impossible to summarize the evidence. The book itself is a summary, and leads to unknown corroborations. King Arthur ands his Knights are used to personify the effigy constellations called by other names. Sir Lancelot of the Lake represents Leo with one of the Twins - Gemini - the other having been slain, and the star, Pollux, falls in the mouth of the Lion and Castor by his nose. All these features are found on the ordinance maps and are, identifiable in the large plates given. At first it may require a little attention to do this, especially with the main outlines, but they are astonishingly convincing once recognized. The Bull is particularly plain. The Effigy Phoenix flying towards the sunrise and turning its head to drink of the Blood Spring in plate S is much more difficult.
In plate 10 the base of the triangle indicates the Equinox B.C. 2700, which may be a clue to the date of the laying out of these vast designs in Somerset. Yet we are told that there was no civilization in Britain before the Romans. "The High History of the Holy Graal" may be had in Dent's Everyman series.
"DID MADAME BLAVATSKY FORGE THE MAHATMA LETTERS?"
This question has been answered in a complete and final fashion in a series of articles originally appearing in The Theosophist, now reprinted in book form and furnishing an indispensable piece of evidence for those who wish to meet the criticisms of the unwise and the inexperienced.
The book is astonishingly irrefutable with its pages and pages of fac simile letters from six different Masters, and letters also from those who have been accused of forging them by the Christian missionaries who could conceive of no other solution to their problem. Letters from H.P.B., Col. Olcott and Damodar Mavalankar, the only persons who could possibly be accused of such a conspiracy, are given and show the absurdity of the charge. The accusations made by Richard Hodgson, the young man of 22 who trumped them up, instead of seeing Madame Blavatsky herself and others capable of explaining the circumstances to him, are demolished by Mr. Jinarajadasa, and the vacillations of Netherclift, the handwriting expert who swore that the Parnell forgeries of Pigott were genuine, are shown to be unreliable and influenced by considerations extraneous and biased. The book is a real addition to our literature, and Mr. Jinarajadasa is to be congratulated on such an important addition to our historical literature.
GIVES YOU A LIFT, BUT THAT'S NOT ALL
It is true that tobacco "gives you a lift" - but so do diphtheria, typhoid and asphyxiation; and the temporary "lift" which nicotine produces in the human system ameliorates the undesirable effects of tobacco not a whit more than a precisely similar "lift" helps you to enjoy serious diseases which produce it.
Such is one of the conclusions put forward in a thesis by W.J. McCormick, Toronto doctor, which appears in the current issue of the American Journal of Hygiene.
Dr. McCormick spikes the popular theory that creation of blood sugar by smoking is beneficial, with his contention that the increase of this sugar in the blood is nothing more than nature's machinery working to combat the nicotine poison.
The temporary relief from "that tired feeling" and the equally effective relief from hunger produced by a cigarette, are both admitted. In fact, Dr. McCormick agrees that smoking a cigarette and eating are both followed by an increase in blood sugar.
Robs Body of Glycogen
The difference, he says, lies in the fact that the cigarette is robbing the body of its glycogen store expelled into the system to detoxicate the blood, while food creates sugar in the alimentary processes, and sends it through the blood stream to be stored in the liver and muscles.
Eight of nine Flemish hares have fallen victims to Dr. McCormick's experiments to explode the theory that smoking was beneficial. Basing his research on the earlier discovery that nicotine increased the secretion of adrenalin in the body and produced temporary increase in the blood sugar, the doctor began feeding his rabbits gradually increasing doses of nicotine sulphate.
As the minimum lethal dose was reached in each case the little animals were seized with convulsions, and died within 15 minutes. The one remaining rabbit was given an injection of adrenalin before each lethal dose of nicotine. He showed marked effects of the poison but recovered from the doses, which were gradually increased to a point where they would have been enough to kill a dozen men.
Dr. McCormick, a product of Northern Ireland and graduate of the University of Toronto, has practiced in Toronto for nearly 30 years. He is responsible for the development of the High Park mineral baths and as a sideline has organized swimming clubs ands carnivals in the west end of the city. Since 1925 he has subordinated his practice to the operation of the baths and can be seen any day at the pools. Smoking is not prohibited at the baths, though he does complain that bathers are continually stepping on live cigarettes. On the other hand, no tobacco is sold in the shop which is run in connection with the pool. - Toronto Mail & Empire, July 27, 1935
THEOSOPHY AND THE MODERN WORLD
Conducted by F. B. Housser
AN INTERNATIONAL LANGUAGE
In the second half of the Third Root Race, when the "Sweat
-born" gave birth to the "Egg-born"; and when these instead of continuing as androgynous beings, began to evolve into separate males and females; and when the same law of evolution led them to reproduce their kind as reproduction is now carried on, then only was speech developed. But even then it was still no better than a tentative effort. T he whole human race at that time was of "one Language and one lip". So says the Secret Doctrine (II, p. 208) H.P. Blavatsky, going on to outline the development of monosyllabic, agglutinative and finally, inflectional speech.
"One language and one lip", - this has been for centuries the ideal of men here and there, who felt that by the application of intelligence, there might be evolved a common medium of speech and writing to facilitate communication between the various sections of the polyglot old planet. Many have been the attempts. Sir Thomas Urquhart (1653) produced a language called "Logopandekteison"; Leibnitz pondered over the idea in the seventeenth, and Bishop Scheyler made an almost successful attempt with his "Volapuk" - to mention three only out of manly hundreds.
In the year 1859, one Louis I. Zamenhof was born in Bielostok, Poland, where the population contained four different elements - Russians, Poles, Germans and Jews, each speaking its own language and each on very bad terms with the other three. Doctor Zamenhof - he was an occultist by profession - was an idealist; he had been taught that all men were brothers, but everything around him made him feel that men did not exist; there existed only Russians, Poles, Germans and Jews. This set him thinking and he finally became convinced that one of the great, if not the greatest obstacle to friendship between these different sections, was the lack of ability to understand one another. Once this was realized, Zamenhof's life was dedicated to the problem of an international language. He soon gave up the idea of a universal language to be used as "one language and one lip" in everyday speech throughout the world, in favor of an international auxiliary language - a key language, which those who had need of international communication could use in addition to their mother tongue.
A New Language?
The problem as it first presented itself was this: is the international language to be (a) one of the dead languages, (b) one of the existing national languages, or, (c) a newly created artificial language?
At first the dead languages seemed very attractive, as they had the necessary quality of being neutral; but it was soon obvious to Zamenhof (himself a clever linguist) that the difficulty involved in learning such languages shuts out this proposal as a possible solution. True, Latin was used as an international language in the middle ages by well-educated men, but the possibility of attempting to revive Latin for modern use was investigated some years ago by a special committee appointed by the British Association for the Advancement of Science, which reported:
"The acquirement of Latin is relatively difficult to the average man. Its general use as an international, auxiliary language has been abandoned; its revival would entail the coining of a very large number of new words. There would be great difficulty in securing the adoption of a uniform pronunciation. The Committee is unanimous in its conclusion that the advantages of Latin as an international, auxiliary language are outweighed by its disadvantages."
One still hears the suggestion that one of the existing languages, such as French, a language which has prestige in diplomatic and other limited spheres; Spanish, which is the language of twenty-two countries; or better still, for you and me, English might be adopted for the purpose. But it is questionable whether any nation should be conceded the commercial and political advantages that would follow the acceptance of its own language as the official international language, even supposing that the average person had the time, patience and ability properly to master the intricacies of a foreign tongue.
A Problem at Geneva
After attending a polyglot conference at Geneva, a well-known English educationalist said: "With the best will in the world, from a social point of view, Geneva remained appallingly national. Very largely we consorted with those who spoke our own tongue. We could not choose to make friends where we were attracted to do so. Halting gestures of friendship died painfully on lips striving to mumble a few incoherent phrases in German and French."
In spite of its wonderful system of earphones and a staff of very clever interpreters, the sessions of the League of Nations supply ample evidence of the necessity of an international, auxiliary language of some sort.
To review even briefly the many schemes for establishing an artificial language would be beyond the compass of this article; so we will confine ourselves to a very brief statement of some of the qualities of Doctor Zamenhof's language, Esperanto.
In 1887 Zamenhof produced his first Esperanto grammar, which was so thoroughly prepared that very few alterations and these only of minor importance, were found necessary. The following are some of the characteristics of Esperanto:
(1) There area no exceptions to the grammatical rules.
(2) The pronunciation is simple, and follows the spelling.
(3) The tonic accent is always on the penultimate syllable of a word.
(4) The five vowels have theoretically one sound each; no ambiguity, therefore, occurs when in fluent and natural speech, these become lengthened or shortened according to the position.
(5) There are separate endings for nouns, adjectives, verbs and derived adverbs so that the parts of speech can be recognized at sight.
(6) All verbs are conjugated alike, and in the simplest possible manner.
(7) Words in a sentence can be placed in any convenient order which expresses the meaning in view.
(8) The number of ordinary root-words is comparatively small, other words being derived from these by combining roots or adding prefixes or suffixes.
Esperanto has made and is making rapid progress. There is an extensive and, growing literature consisting of both original works and translations. Each year hundreds of periodicals are published and hundreds of radio broadcasts are made in this language. It is taught in schools throughout the world and the University of Toronto has recently added it to its Extension Department curriculum. Twenty-six International Conventions have been held and the twenty-seventh is to be held this year in Rome.
A Common Language Coming?
To all Theosophists, an international language must be of interest as it would remove one of the obstacles to the growth of the idea of Universal Brotherhood.
It has been suggested by many Theosophical students that the human race in its progress through the 5th, 6th and 7th Races will pass through conditions corresponding to but on a higher scale than those prevailing in the 3rd, 2nd and 1st Races respectively. If this is so, then humanity in the middle and latter part of the 5th Race should evolve a language common to the whole world, corresponding to the "one
language and one lip" of the middle 3rd Race.
ECONOMICS AND ETHICS
"There are basic ethical conditions which must be met first, or no matter what else we do, we never can have prosperity. The foundations of a fortunate economy are laid deep in the moral attitudes of men."
The above are the introductory words of Harry E. Fosdick in an article called "The Ethical Foundation of Prosperity," which appears in the July copy of Current Thought, abridged from Riverside Sermons.
The article may be termed a sermon, yet it reveals a shrewd knowledge of existing conditions, and is particularly Theosophic in its estimate of the situation. The author proceeds to discuss what he considers the chief economic problem of mankind, namely, Maldistribution. Under capitalism, a productive system has been created capable of supplying anything that man may need, but there are not enough consumers able to buy what can be produced, so Maldistribution rises up to confound us.
Consequently we are starting on roads which should have been thought of before: a juster distribution of income, unemployment and old age insurance, and other methods to achieve security for all the people. Even though the traveling is hard, every civilized nation will have to travel such roads, one way or another. To quote - "The righteousness of the kingdom ref God first, or not enough to eat or drink or wherewithal to be clothed."
The Ethical Test
According to the author, the ethical test of every economic process is whether it is primarily devoted to making for a few, or to enriching the life of all. He describes one type of ingenious financial sleight-of-hand where the process is deflected from social welfare to private gain. It, he claims, is but one of sixteen major types being used today.
Full government control is not advocated - in fact the less government intervention in art, music, religion, and scientific research the better. He believes also that we should have freedom to say what we think; freedom of assembly and of protest even against the government and that we should retain the right to own homes and property.
In his opinion, the one way ultimately of keeping the government out of any area of business enterprise, is to prove that by some other means we can achieve the dedication of the economic processes, not to private gain, but to public welfare.
If capitalism is to live, it must adjust itself to present circumstances, to the welfare of all the people - even to the least of them. "If not", concludes Harry E. Fosdick, "there is nothing on earth that can save it, and nothing in heaven that will." This, he is certain, is the ethical estimate of the situation.
From a Theosophical viewpoint, no system can endure unless it is based upon the concept of Brotherhood. The true, concept, however, is much more involved than "a financial security for all the people", yet at the moment it would seem an "important part" that should not be neglected if we are to help on the evolution of humanity.
If "security" will improve the social conditions of the people, making it more possible for their bodies and spirits to be developed, then it is a Theosophical duty to do something about it. With reference to the subject H.P. Blavatsky, in the Key to Theosophy p. 194, says, - "As this development is one of the express objects of Theosophy, the T.S. is in thorough sympathy and harmony with all true efforts in this direction." Each member, however, must discern for himself the direction in which the "true efforts" lie.
Reverting to the introduction of Harry S. Fosdick's article - "There are basic ethical conditions which must be met first or no matter what else we do, we never
can have prosperity." To find how this allies itself with the Theosophical idea we turn to p. 194 in the Key - "To seek to achieve political reforms before we have affected a reform in human nature is like putting new wine into old bottles."
- R. S.
CHANGING ATTITUDES IN BIOLOGY
An amazingly comprehensive article entitled "From Units to Systems" appearing in the June copy of the Medical Review of Reviews by Edward J.v.K. Menge, Ph.D., Sc.D., deals with the change in outlook in the various sciences - Physics, Chemistry, Psychology, Physiology, Medicine, Zoology, Mathematics - affected during the past generation, from about 1890 onward.
The keynote of the essay is the change in Biology, from the Cell-Theory of Development, to what is called the Organismal Theory, as a source of explanation of living organism - the cell-unit -as the source of explanation for vital phenomena". It was thought that if the attributes of the individual cells could be learned, the nature of the organisms composed of these cells would be understood.
You can see what little room there could be in the cell-theory, which is purely mechanistic, for that "somiething always left over after all that is physical and all that is chemical has been analyzed". As H.P.B. says, (S.D. I, p. 685), "It is an abuse of the reader's intelligence, to write of blind indifferent cells, as does Haeckel, arranging themselves into organisms".
But, and a very big but, it was found on continuing this line of experiment, that a cell did not always react in the same manner when forming a part of an organism. The simile is given of the difference in the behavior of a wolf hunting alone or with the pack, in the behavior of a human being alone, or under the influence of mob Psychology.
The cell-theory thus proved inadequate to explain the nature of the organism, whose behavior could not be explained by a study of the cells of which it was composed.
We now come close, at least ins Biology, to that prophecy of H.P. Blavatsky, given in 1888, that between "now and 1897 there will be a large rent made in the Veil of Nature and Materialistic Science will receive a deathblow". (S.D. I, p. 677).
Organisms Are Individuals
From 1890 on the Cell-Theory began to give way to the "Organismal Theory" and in 1906 it was definitely stated by F.R. Lillie that "the cells are subordinate to the organisms which produces them and makes them large or small, of a slow or rapid rate of division, causing them to divide, now in this direction, now in that, and in all respects so disposes them that the latent being comes to full expression. The organism is primary, not secondary; it is an individual, not by virtue of the cooperation of countless lesser individualities, but an individual that produces these lesser individualities on which its full expression depends.
Now the present problem in Biology appears to be - what is it that motivates the organism? Seeing that all organisms are but protoplasmic substances, why is it that some are different from others? How and according to what rules have these changes occurred?
The writer of the article from which I have been quoting admits that "We are at this moment in Biology standing at a point where it is time for a complete overthrow of everything now taught, with the hope that both a declaration of independence and a new constitution, so to speak, for biological workers, must be brought about". But although the theories are numerous - mechanistic, emergent evolution, and so forth - all carefully avoid what is termed as "that metaphysical concept which is always creeping into any systematized body of knowledge".
This seems a great pity as Occult Science, as taught in the Secret Doctrine,
has given many clues as to the direction in which the solution of Biology's knotty problems lies. It says (I., p. 660), "There is a Vital Principle without which no molecular combinations could ever have resulted in a living organism". And again. (II., p. 685) "The, cause underlying physiological variation in species - one to which all other laws are subordinate and secondary - is a subconscious intelligence pervading matter, ultimately traceable to a reflection of the Divine and Dhyan-Chohanic Wisdom".
However as students of Theosophy we should realize that dogmatisqn is a losing game and we can only absorb and impart so much of the truth as we are capable of assimilating, and at that only a blurred reflection of truth. The theory of cycles may not be a tenet of Prof. Eddington's philosophy, but with him we agree that - "In each revolution of scientific thought new words are set to old music, and that which has gone before is not destroyed but re-focused. Amid all our faulty attempts in expression the kernel of scientific truth steadily grows; and of this truth it may be said - The more it changes, the more it remains the same thing."
A few years ago scientists were of the opinion that the earth was formerly a molten mass of rock, which over 2,000 millions of years or thereabouts, gradually cooled down, solidified and assumed its present form. It was recognized of course that certain of the records of the rocks indicated various, interruptions and rhythmic pauses in this cooling down process. But these were explained on the basis of an ever shrinking earth. For as it cooled, it grew smaller; the rigid crust being thus put into a condition of severe stress, which periodically was released by geological cataclysms in which new oceans were formed, new mountain ranges built up. It was also believed that the earth was solid to its centre. This older theory on the part of science was in violent contrast to Theosophical notions concerning the course of natural history and in particular it left no possibility of the existence of such early continents as that of Lemuria and Atlantis. Theosophy obtained its geophysical theories, largely from India, and it was there held that the course of the earth's history was a rhythmic one. Continents rose and fell. Warm ages came and went, cold ones likewise. The, geo-physicist, unwillingly was forced to accept Ice ages, since he found evidences of their occurrence as far back as the earliest geological era.
Of late, however, the scientist has come to a much more satisfactory and more Theosophical notion of the history of the earth due largely to the efforts of one man, the late Prof. John Joley, of Trinity College, Dublin. The results of his researches are contained in two books; one, The Thermal History of the Earth, written by himself, the other - Science for a New World, compiled by Sir J. Arthur Thomsom. This latter book contains a section by Joley entitled, The Vicissitudes of a Habitable World. Both books are well worth reading.
Joley says the discovery of radioactivity has completely changed previous conceptions of the Earth's history. For the earth is not only not growing colder, but is actually growing warmer at the present time. All rocks are radio-active and those composing the continents contain just about enough radio-active substances, to a depth of about 35 to 40 miles, to supply all the heat being thrown off into space at their surface.
The rocky matter composing the continents in general belongs to the granite series and is supposed to be underlain at this depth of 35 to 40 miles, by a different, and denser rock known as basalt. At various periods in the earth's history immense floods of basalt have poured out over the continents, to the extent of thousands of square miles and thousands of feet in depth.
This basalt is likewise radio-active and where blanketed by the continents and to a lesser extent by the oceans, grows hotter with each passing year. It finally melts and, as it does so, it expands and grows lighter. The earth's surface stretches, grows larger, and great rift valleys are formed, such as those of the Nile River, and the Red Sea. Whole masses of land slip down between the fault planes. The continents themselves, like ships leaving the ocean and entering fresh water areas, likewise sink, not much but enough to submerge vast areas, and in some cases, all their surface. They are also loosed from
their moorings, and slip easily around on the liquid core underneath. They take up new positions on the surface of the globe and conceivably polar lands might find themselves at the equator and vice versa.
During this time of intense geological activity, the basaltic ocean underlying both seas and continents cools down and eventually solidifies again. As it does so it grows denser; it weighs more. The continents now float higher and rise from the ocean depths. The earth grows smaller, new mountain ranges are formed and a new era is ushered in. The cyclic nature of the whole process is determined, one might almost say in an accidental way, by a peculiar property possessed by basalt. It solidifies at a temperature 100 degrees, or thereabouts, lower than that at which it melts. It apparently takes a good many millions of years for the radio-active substances in the rocks to make up this 100 degrees difference and during the interval a relatively stable condition exists.
If now some geo-physicist were to show that this process might be subject to minor rhythms of one kind or another, then the submergence of individual continents would be explicable and the sole remaining objection to the Atlantean-Lemurian hypotheses would be removed. It is significant that, as Joley points out, the bed of the Atlantic is not similar to that of other oceans, since it is underlain at the present time by rock of the nature found in continents, not ordinarily in ocean beds.
- W. F. S.
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