Divine Wisdom Brotherhood Occult Science
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Vol. XXIII., No. 8 Hamilton, October 15th, 1942 Price 20 Cents
TO YOUNG THEOSOPHISTS
I have received from the Federation of Young Theosophists in England several issues of their Youth Centre News with various communications, all of which urge me to have the Young Theosophists of Canada get in touch with their British brethren. All this is right and proper, if at the same time they and we learn to stand on our own feet. I have a very vivid recollection how my elders when I was a boy, exercized what they regarded not merely as a privilege but a duty, to "put it over" me in any way they thought proper. Now, perhaps in my second childhood, I am as determined as ever not to be treated in that way, or have other young people so treated. Jesus suffered little children to be brought to Him, and I still think it is a misuse of the word for Jesus did not suffer from the children in any sense. He was glad to have them, and they were glad to come. But our elders now-a-days appear to think that the children should regard them as a company of modern elderly Jesuses ready to bestow more or less tobacco-tainted blessings on their tender heads. Most grown-ups have forgotten their childhood. Dickens recalled the old prayer, "Lord, keep my memory green." Children should keep their childish memories green and they should take care to find things worth remembering. I spent years in learning to forget what my elders generously, as they thought, filled my susceptible head with. Fortunately I came in contact with the magazine Good Words for the Young in 1868 and for four years educated myself in good sound heresy, thus preparing myself for The Secret Doctrine, before which I am still a child, a very little child. So I hope that none of our Young Theosophists will be led away by anything that an older person may say, however positively or with whatever air of authority. Jesus, when He was a Young Theosophist, was found in the Temple, at twelve years of age, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing and asking questions: Your elders today may say, "O, that was Jesus." They imply that we should not imitate that model and exemplary life in any way. It would be a kind of reproach for those who had not tried to do so. The life of Jesus was for little children to follow, all the way, yes, to the very end. Jesus said that He and His Father were one. He did not mean Joseph, his earthly father, but the Father which called Samuel, another Young Theosophist, when the Old Prophet Eli had neglected his duty. It is a fault of Old People to forget what they were taught. Young Theosophists must test the teaching they receive by the Word in their own unselfish hearts. There is only one authority that can be depended upon,
the Law, the Good Law, the Law of Karma, which Jesus meant when he said we should be rewarded according to our deeds. The Good Law acts in and through and for us, and provides us with Life and Liberty and Wisdom and Love. But we must earn these by service willingly given to our fellows.
DEATH OF DR. de PURUCKER
Dr. Gottfried de Purucker died very suddenly at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning, September 27. Col. A.L. Conger wired the official intimation from Washington, which was relayed to Hamilton by Mr. Le Gros at Detroit. Col. Conger's message read: "Leader passed suddenly, peacefully, Sunday morning. Cabinet has taken official charge, following written instructions." Mr. Dewey of Los Angeles kindly sent the following clipping from that city's newspaper, The Examiner, which contains all the information available as we go to press:
Covina, Sept. 27. - Dr. Gottfried de Purucker, international head of the Theosophical Society, died of a heart attack early today.
Leader of the society since 1929, Dr. de Purucker had been actively engaged in Theosophical work since the early '90's - and was editor of "The Theosophical Forum," official organ of the society.
Born at Suffern, N.Y., on January 15, 1874, he was educated mainly in Geneva, Switzerland, and was a master of Sanskrit and Hebrew, besides speaking several other ancient and modern tongues.
Among his works, which are used as standard text books by Theosophical students, are "Fundamentals of the Esoteric Philosophy," "The Esoteric Tradition," "Man in Evolution," and "Golden Precepts of Esotericism."
Private memorial services for members of the society will be held in the Theosophical Temple near here Wednesday at 11 a.m.
The General Executive on the 4th inst., received the news from the General Secretary, who submitted the following resolution which was adopted on motion of Mr. Felix A. Belcher and Lt. Col. E.L. Thomson, D.S.O.:
"The General Executive of the T.S. in Canada desires to record its sympathy with its fellow Theosophists of the Theosophical Society (Covina) on their loss in the death of Dr. Gottfried de Purucker, whose consistent support of the teachings of H.P. Blavatsky and the traditions of the Secret Doctrine in general has been notable in a period when these ideals are too often lost to sight."
SHIRKING DUTY IS A SIGN OF THE INFERIOR MAN. He excuses himself with watching while waiting. He wants to see how other people do, finds fault with it and wants to prevent what is begun. A Superior Man does not watch, wait, criticize or prevent. He quietly does his duty, helping others to fulfil their tasks.
The duty of everyone is simple: Fulfillment of all promises to the utmost, finishing what is already begun, starting anything mutually profitable in a general sense, being useful and inimical to none. In this way an inferior man evolves into a Superior Man, being firm and correct.
Evading work is a well known trait of inferior men. In evading they ask, what is duty? Nothing is plainer. Keep promises. Finish what you have started. And stop evading. The people of the Middle Kingdom were peacefully undisturbed as long as quietly and faithfully doing their own duty. Heaven co-operated with Earth, as Nature with the seasons and Ruler with
the ruled. When the Son of Heaven shirked his duty, all classes did the same. So the Ruler was deposed and degraded and the common people lost its freedom and more - all for shirking duty. Heaven punishes Earth for disobedience.
Think always of work, not of shirking it. Pay debt to creditor in due time; give help where help is needed. Never do to others what you do not want others do to you. Do not exchange something worthless or inferior for higher value, thereby cheating. A Superior Man never cheats, the inferior man does.
True technique for advancement is the performance of one's duties. This is true ceremonial magic, real Raja Yoga, as Upasika also taught. Observe closely results of Dharma, the Way to Enlightenment.
In ancient times, doubt, disobedience and inaction kept the majority of men away from the Hall of Learning and held them back in the Hall of Ignorance. Among Gunas, the trimurti of Prakriti, doubt, disobedience and inaction is the work of Tamoguna, Inquisitiveness - Rajoguna - gradually dispelled doubt, disobedience and inaction, and more and more members of our humanity entered the Hall of Learning. Those remaining behind punish themselves by staying. For those there is Dugpa scavenger work until they change. Constructive Divine Will rules even the destruction. Happy are those who join that Will in free and eager cooperation! Can anyone find happiness without such free and eager cooperation? Would you prefer Dugpa slave labor? Surely not.
In ancient times, before the conquest of Mind in its mental labyrinth, no one was kept idle in the Hall of Learning. The use of Chitta (mental matter) was gradually made plain. Some kind of Yoga was taught to get out of the entanglement. The exit of the Hall of Learning and its labyrinth was discovered by following the Ariadne thread of brotherly kindness and cooperation. Then the Hall of Wisdom was entered, where cooperation with the Divine is the foremost rule.
There is a royal road to Knowledge and also one to Wisdom. There is a royal road for each and every Wise Man who acts. For whom else could there be such a road? No man lacking Wisdom will ever find it.
What is thinking? For the body it is the sixth sense, as Hindus call it. Chitta and Kama cooperate over the whole body. They are never separated there. The digestive organs think of food and crave it; the procreative system thinks of and craves procreative activity in a selective way; the circulatory and respiratory systems think and crave likewise. This is why Aryans call physical thinking Kama-Manasic. Buddhi-Manasic thinking through higher vehicles is not egotistical like that of bodily organs. This is according to universal law.
Truth is neither Lemurian nor Atlantean but universal. It is always the same and applied gradually as it is still done by Aryan born Superior Men. The teaching of Truth is always adapted to the comprehension of different kinds of humanity. The form of it is slightly changed to be adaptable but the essence is changeless.
Non-refracted light, called strong white sunshine, as it radiates over deserts and semitropical tracts of land, stops physical activity and retards the psychic. It has no effect on the spiritual. Somewhat subdued and properly refracted sunlight is best for all kinds of activity, and nirvanic connections
become immediate. Rainy and cloudy weather retards everything; it stops psychical manifestations. Light is Life and shines in Action. It is universal Law.
"All is Life, is Light, is Action." In the world of time and space only action is life and gives light and knowledge. You must know that you have your only circle of activity here in this world where life means Action and that we are here to verify the above sacred axiom, quoted from the words of the Buddha. Here is the lodge of training, your land of labor, your realm of activity. Rest is reserved for Nirvana, where the Real You resides always, enjoying bliss when its personality acts, doing its duty, in devoted cooperation. Help wherever and whenever and in whatever way you can. This is true cooperative action. You cooperate truly with every one that you help, and every one of those you help is helping you. Follow your initiative gladly. Thus you are guided by true intuition. Shunning initiative spells failure.
The Gunas are the three main qualifications of matter, a cooperative trinity. They are a repetition of the Trimurti in which Rajoguna plays the role of Will, the Initiator. Avoid rigid dogmatism which always occurs among the early mistakes in the Hall of Learning where the rules act as Tamoguna, trying to exclude Sattva guna. Do not ever prevent by dogmatism the gunas from cooperating, as they always do, but differently - and always in Samsara.
Some intuitive people have been wondering what the game of Chess has to do with Occultism. Among other things it was invented in early times as a means of teaching in its own way a lesson to young humanity. The lesson is a well known one that opposites are needed in every action, the necessary method of getting anything done. The 32 Paths, or pieces, are for such a purpose divided in twain; so are also the halves of these, and the cooperative actions of the opposites bring results, as they do in nature. Constant motion produces changes within the different octaves, and "winning the game," as it is called, the Gunas become fully cooperative, no one stronger than the others. Peace comes after strife; refreshment comes after ended labor.
Addition and multiplication belong to Pravritti Marga. Subtraction and division lead to Nirvritti Marga. Do not add and multiply your troubles, but subtract them, and divide your remaining pleasures with your fellow laborers. This is true brotherly cooperation .
The Solar Symbol
Many students find it hard to realize the fact that the heart is the centre of the human body, just as the Sun is the centre of our Solar system. The Solar symbol, a circle with a dot in the middle, is one of the most ancient symbols in the world. It symbolizes UNITY in duality, a centre and a circumference in the world of illusion, Samsara; it symbolizes LIFE surrounded with its expressions; it symbolizes LIGHT, with radiations extended; it symbolizes ACTION, within its own radius. Even in the lower grades of Esotericism this is pointed out and made a lesson. In ancient astrology it was demonstrated, that Light and Life and Action throughout the Solar system was symbolized by the Sun and its radiations. In the higher grades the question is asked: What does the Solar symbol signify to us? The answer is: LOVE IS THE LIFE AND THE LIGHT OF THE DISCIPLE AND MUST BE DEMONSTRATED BY CONSTRUCTIVE ACTION. In the physical world its shadow is seen. SAMSARA IS A WORLD OF SHADOWS, SYMBOLICAL OF REALITIES.
Symbols are teachings of truths and
facts, making the uninstructed multitude wonder and smile-but pointing out the Path to the few. The Path is not to look at and think of only; it is to be used by those whose aim is progress.
Most of those who belive in Reincarnation look upon it in the separative, samsaric way, not from the point of view of unifying Nirvana. Different incarnations are nothing but steps taken either forward or backward by one individual. No one retains his earlier incarnation. For instance: One who was Devadatta (a cousin of the Buddha. He became an Arhat.) or Timur (Tamerlane, the Terrible) in an earlier life does not remain Devadatta or Timur in succeeding incarnations. Only the old Karma remains, by which they deservedly gain or lose, as the case may be.
This is the rule throughout samsaric existence. But as long as a man is not sufficiently advanced along Nivritti Marga to have attained the nirvanic point of view, he will have an exaggerated idea of Individuality, the "coming of age." He will understand union and unit, but not Unity. He cannot yet understand how it is possible to reconcile the multiplicity of individuals in Samsara with the essential and fundamental Unity in Nirvana. Each esoteric grade, each new initiation confers greater insight into this problem, which is nirvanic, although it has to be given in dualistic words. For in samsaric activity duality can never be absent.
The Dhyan Chohanic Teachers came to the Earth from Venus, carrying the measure of time with them from there, linking the wanderings of their planet with that of the Earth's progress around the Sun. Venus was made to measure the entrance of Wisdom and the Sacred Year. The Sun on the other hand was the Life link, and its relations to the Earth and its physical productions gave rise to another measure and to the Civil Year. Upon these considerations the Mayan Calendar was built. The Hebrews had likewise a Sacred Year, beginning in the Fall, in September-October, and a Civil Year beginning in March-April. The Egyptians had similar calendars, with five extra days: being holidays and not counted in the Civil almanacs. No labor was done on any of these days. They represented Amenti, the invisible Underworld, which Masters call Devachan as well as Nirvana. It is called Devachan as part of the individual existence, as a station between periods of life in Samsara, and Nirvana as the Beginning and End, existing all the time as well as everywhere, or in Eternity as the proper expression is. Time and Space belong to Samsara, not at all to Nirvana.
Why is something called sacred and some other thing secular, temporal or civil? This must be better understood than it commonly is, or else Amenti, Heaven, Nirvana will remain unsolved mysteries to people. The secular, temporal and civil refer to Samsara, the physical world of space and time; the sacred refers to the non-physical, the realities of which are of a kind that samsaric senses are not aware of. In samsaric imagination that beyond the reach of senses is looked upon as empty space. There are surely spaces empty of samsaric objects. But in reality there are no empty spaces anywhere. Out of that which appears empty comes every samsaric illusion. Into apparently empty space these illusions finally return.
Sometimes empty spaces have been spoken of as "magnetic fields". Scientists assert that without these invisible magnetic fields nothing can be accomplished. They are right. They also assert that a perpendicularly acting
force in the magnetic field affects things outside of it; for instance, it moves the needle of a compass. Reader, how can it be, do you think, that "empty space" can move things without touching them? Think of this carefully, for here you have the Magical Key that everybody seeks on the Road to Perfection, and that everybody must have finally. Although hidden it is within reach of everybody. It is reached by Faith and by Action.
September 15, 1942
An Appeal to Reason
In the year 1925, Professor John McTaggart Ellis MeTaggart, who had been Lecturer on Moral Sciences in Cambridge University for 25 years, died while in the full maturity of his powers as a teacher of philosophy. One of the collections of his lectures, which has been published by Edward Arnold, London, England, is entitled Some Dogmas of Religion, and, in it, he defines Dogma as any proposition which has a metaphysical significance, quite apart from its acceptance on metaphysical or other grounds.
You may wonder why such a book should be brought to your attention, seeing that the official platform of the T.S. excludes all dogmas from the components of its Three Objects. But I am using it as a basis for my talk this evening because the Professor, in the section dealing with Human Immortality, examines at some length the probability of Human Pre-existence and, from this, he developes the corollary that neither can exist as a factor in any logical system of belief, without the inclusion of a system of plurality of lives in separate bodies.
This you will at once recognize, is the most valuable asset in our theosophical teachings and more familiarly known as "Reincarnation". The very unusual fact that a Professor of Moral Science, in so strong an orthodox Christian institution as Cambridge University, should come to this conclusion by a process of careful analysis and deduction, during his 25 years' experience as a teacher, is surely worthy of our best attention. And that fact is my reason for choosing "An Appeal to Reason" as the title of this attempt to present some of his arguments to your consideration.
There seems to be no need to offer at this time any arguments for Human Immortality. We know it is very widely accepted, although most people do so by the easy path of reliance on some other person's authority, rather than because we have examined for ourselves the bases of such authority and found them reasonable.
But there is an implication in the idea of immortality, of eternal life, which for some reason has been ignored by some teachers and denied by others. It is that any evidence which will prove immortality, will also prove pre-existence. It is so evidently a mutual contradiction to speak of an immortal being as having a beginning in time, that one can only place its continued authority in religion along with a belief in miracles and similar evidences of a blind faith that is not open to reason. But let us not make the mistake of condemning this limitation as a fault; it is one of many such in human evolution. For there is much to learn before we reach the status of a Master, and our capacities in any one life have to be directed into the channels of that life's purpose, leaving advancement in other directions for other opportunities, provided by other lives, in other circumstances.
It can be argued that a contradiction in the use of specific words can be remedied by changing them, but every
student of religious history knows that this remedy is not used, and for nearly 2,000 years this unreasonable statement has been more or less forced on us as a fact. But not without opposition from some prominent leaders in the early Christian Church. Origen argued for pre-existence, and Augustine - who condemned some of his teachings severely - agreed with him on this one.
I spoke just now of proving immortality, and this is not as impossible as it may seem. Proof is, first of all, a matter of the plane to which the problem belongs. Making artificial rubber is a chemical problem. Developing new types of vegetables, fruit, flowers and animals is a biological problem. To measure the orbit of a planet, so that an eclipse of the Sun, or a transit of Mercury, can be foretold to the minute, is a mathematical problem. All these, so different from each other, have physical factors, they are governed by time and experience, or memory.
There are also moral, intellectual, and spiritual problems, all of which have a metaphysical basis; they are super-sensual, not governed by time and experience - so far as the latter is a matter of present memory - and are therefore sometimes described as transcendental. In this class can be set this problem of an existence which uses successive physical bodies for its purposes, just as an artist sets many-colored beads on a string, to unite them into one design; or a weaver warps many colored threads into a web to show a pattern.
Just now I made a distinction between experience and memory but, actually, this would apply only in a temporal sense. Usually memory is thought of as a function of personality only; but experience teaches that we have two other sources of knowledge - subconscious memory and racial memory.
Sub-conscious memory is not confined to experience in the present personality which we have forgotten, such as details of our child life, it includes also personal experiences in past lives, which revive in our minds for our guidance on rare occasions, such as great joy, or great danger, or other emergencies.
Racial memory is seen in our inclination to live by different and more exacting standards than those of other races, whether mental, moral or physical. The phrase "to act like a white man" carries this meaning. While these standards have most certainly been built up by personal experiences in the centuries of our national history, they are too communal in character to be confined to any one man or woman, or even to any one family.
There is another way in which attempts have been made to prove immortality. This consists in demonstrating that the universe is the work of a benevolent Creator, or has a purpose harmonious with our ideals of morality, and then arguing that the absence of immortality would be inconsistent with the benevolence of such a Creator, or with such a moral purpose. Arguments of this type would prove immortality more readily than they could prove pre-existence. No wrong can be done to the non-existent, and it could hardly be made a reproach to the goodness of the universe that it had waited a long time before it produced a particular person. But, once produced, any person has certain moral claims, and if it could be shown that his annihilation was inconsistent with those claims, we could then argue from the goodness of the universe to the impossibility of his annihilation.
Arguments of this sort are called ethical because they involve the conception of goodness, but we cannot conclude from such goodness the impossibility of some evil, since we know such exists. The ultimate nature of reality,
then, is not incompatible with the existence of evil. If this is admitted can we hope for an a priori proof that any evil is too bad to be consistent with the nature of the universe. We must therefore reject all arguments which try to prove that something must be unreal because its existence would be evil.
Here I must differ from the learned Professor's conclusions, for it seems to me that what our standards consider as evil must, on the basis of Reason and the premise of ultimate goodness in Nature, be found to be due to the temporary and other limitations of such standards. On the physical plane we have the familiar aphorism that "Fire is a good servant but a bad master". We know it can inflict great pain in our bodies, and great disasters to our communities, but do we abstain from its constant use in daily activities. I suggest that fire has its analogies on metaphysical planes, and that what we call evil is rather a test of quality, a warning against danger, and a result of, or perhaps a remedy for, mental and moral disease. If we fail to pass the test or ignore the warning, what right have we to blame them for any sufferings we have to endure as a result. But our theosophical philosophy does not permit us to assume that because there are no morals in metaphysics, therefore our capacity to reason along metaphysical lines makes us superior persons, no longer bound by moral considerations, that would soon prove to be a more painful illusion than the opinion that the existence of evil is inconsistent with the goodness of Nature.
In this connection let me remind you of that text, so persistently ignored by Christian preachers, which is found in the Book of Isaiah, the 45th chapter and the 7th verse, which is translated in the King James Bible as "I form the light and create darkness; I make peace and create evil; I, the Lord, do all these things." It may be argued that the chapters from the 40th to the 48th which are concerned chiefly with the nature of deity, should be regarded as written in blank verse rather than prose, and entitled to the privileges of a poetic licence. This particular verse would then become merely a double couplet, showing two pairs of opposites for the sake of literary effect in the prophet's effort to express the greatness of his God, and so continued by the translators.
One of these pairs of opposites is I form the light and create darkness; the other is I make peace and create evil. If poetic license be admitted, the word evil would more appropriately be war or, at least, unrest, as the opposite to peace. But, in the Greek text of the Septuagint, these two words are eireeneen, meaning peace, and nothing else but peace, and kaka, meaning evil, not only morally but of every other sort, mental or physical. This is emphasized by eireeneen being a noun and kaka an adjective, therefore more comprehensive in its uses.
If we go back of the Septuagint to the Hebrew, we find that the word used for evil is a noun, RA, and just as specific in its application as eireeneen. It must be admitted that the poetic use is more apparent in the Hebrew, as each couplet is enlarged by the addition of the words "for the good" and "for the wicked" in their respective applications. But the fact remains that power is acknowledged, or claimed, for Jehovah to cause happiness or misfortune as may serve divine purposes. This is much more logical than any theory of an Omnipotent Deity, whose efforts to use his goodness are continually thwarted by a Satan, as presented, for example, in the Book of Job.
Dr. McTaggart next suggests that the most effective way of proving that the doctrine of pre-existence is bound up with that of immortality, is to show that the nature of man is such as to in-
volve at least one life before and another after the present one. "I do not see", he says, "how existence in future time can be shown as necessary in the case of any being whose existence in past-time is admitted to be unnecessary. If the universe managed without me one hundred years ago, what reason can be given for denying that it could still get along without me a hundred years hence. Or, again, if it is consistent with my eternal nature that its temporal manifestation should begin at some point in time, can any reason be advanced that the cessation of that manifestation at some other point would be inconsistent."
There is much to be said for the idea that a plurality of lives, would be the most probable alternative, even in a theory of immortality which did not include pre-existence. We do not know what is the cause which produces the limitation of our present lives by birth and death, but a cause which produces so important an effect is one which must take a great part in our existence as long as it continues to act.
If we accept immortality and reject a plurality of lives, we must hold that this cause which operates on each of us so as to cause death once, will never operate again on any of us through all future time. While this is not impossible, the true nature of death may be such that there is neither need nor possibility of such repetition. But there does not appear any reason to think this even probable.
It is quite clear that a life which stretched unendingly would be enormously different from our present lives. Even an attempt to imagine how our present lives would be transformed, if there were no future chance of death, will make this evident. A belief in immortality which denies, or holds as improbable, the plurality of lives must include, or regard as probable, that the death which ends the present life will change profoundly and permanently the conditions of all future life. And for this there appears no justification.
If we are immortal, now, the value of our existence either remains permanently about its present level, or rises or falls after death. In the first case, we have no reason to suppose that it was so changed that death would not recur. For when any being has a particular characteristic, the presumption is that, if that being continues to exist, such characteristic will not suddenly change. Such presumption is not proof, but it is strong enough to offer the probability that any characteristics of periodic mortality will not be left behind at the end of present lives.
The denial of the plurality of lives is generally based on the belief that our lives do not remain at the same level after death. It is not held that because, men have died once they cannot die again. The denial is caused by the belief that after death they are in heaven or hell, one much above the level of earthly life, the other much below it. It is contended that the change effected makes further deaths improbable, especially with regard to heaven.
It could be admitted that a state of absolute perfection would render further deaths improbable. But even the best of men, when they die, are not in such a state of intellectual and moral perfection as would fit them to enter heaven immediately, if this means such a state as renders any further improvement unnecessary and impossible. This is generally admitted and a choice of two alternatives has been adopted to meet the difficulty. One is that some tremendous improvement, out of all proportion to any which can ever be observed in life, takes place at the moment of death - at any rate in the case of those who die under certain conditions; but no reasonable arguments are advanced for this. The other, and more probable, is that a process of gradual
improvement can go on in us after the death of our present bodies.
If, then, our state immediately after death is still imperfect, and a period of improvement follows, then it has not reached that perfection which would make future deaths improbable. And the natural inference from this is that this life will be followed by others, each separated from that which has gone before by death and rebirth. Otherwise we are limited to the hypothesis that a process of development, begun in a single, limited, life would be continued in an indefinitely long life, undivided by birth and death at all. And this cannot be supported by any reason within known experience. On the other hand, in the case of those who suffer a great degradation, what reason is there for excluding death from their future. Even if death is incompatible with perfection, it has no characteristic which can be suggested as incompatible with the opposite extreme. Besides, it could be urged that if, in the case of the change to heaven at the moment of death, such a theory is unreasonable, then it is equally unreasonable to suppose such a change to hell. So that even if complete degradation excludes death, there is no ground for thinking that the process to that end would not be broken by it.
However, leaving heaven and hell to the imagination, let us consider life as we know it. We are aware that processes begun in this life are sometimes left unfinished. We continually find that death leaves a fault without retribution, without repentance and preparations without achievement; while in other cases where life has been longer such processes are completed between birth and death. If we survive death, we must expect that these unfinished processes will be worked out in future lives. And if the content of our existence after death is so similar in essential features with our present lives, the presumption is increased that they will not have changed so far as to have shaken off the necessity for periodical death.
There seems, therefore, no good reason for regarding plurality of lives as improbable, even if we accept immortality without pre-existence; if it is accepted then the case for plurality becomes that much stronger, and death is no longer a unique event. It was necessary before my present life could begin and will be necessary before I pass to the next one. Plurality of lives can be rejected only if there were reason to suppose that an event which happened twice in a man's existence could never happen a third time.
But while it could be argued that there are details about death which make it probable only once in a man's existence, it is difficult to see any grounds for the suggestion that having happened twice, it could never occur a third time. We can only accept immortality and pre-existence, and reject plurality if we hold that the causes which end life, after remaining dormant from the beginning of our existence, can act twice within an interval of anywhere between five minutes and a hundred years, and then never act again throughout all future time. This is even less reasonable than plurality could ever be.
Having finished his argument by metaphysical reasoning, the Professor begins a new one which may be considered as biological in these words: - "there are various features of our present life which can be explained more satisfactorily on the theory of pre-existence, than on any other, although this is not, in itself, any proof of such theory. The most important of these is found in our human relations. Two persons who have seen but little of each other are often drawn together by a force equal to that which is generated in other cases only by years of mutual trust and assistance.
The inner significance of this is often missed entirely and any explanation, if one is attempted, is ascribed to the caprice of sex. But this is quite inadequate, because the fact to be explained is found with equal frequency in frienships which have no connection with sex.
On the theory of pre-existence such relations would naturally be explained by the friendships of past lives. The love, which comes at first sight, and the love, which grows up through many years in this life, would be referred to causes whose similarity would account for the similarity of their effects. Each would have arisen through long intimacy; the only difference between them is that in the former such intimacy had been interrupted by death.
As one grows up certain qualities become apparent, which cannot be entirely due to environment, for they often differ widely in people whose environment is, or has been, very similar. We call these "natural character" and assume that we came into life with them. Such qualities, since they do not originate in anything which happens after birth, may be called innate so far as the present life is concerned.
When we examine these natural characters, we find they possess - in many cases - qualities strongly resembling those which, we know, can be produced in the course of a single life. One man starts with an inability to resist a particular inclination, which exactly resembles the inability produced in another man by continual yielding to the same inclination.
Again, a man has through life a calm and serene virtue, which another gains only by years of effort. Others have innate powers of judging character, or of acting with decision in emergencies, which give them - while apparently still young and inexperienced - advantages to which others attain, if at all, only by the experience of years. If we hold the doctrine of pre-existence, we shall naturally explain these as being the condensed results of an earlier life.
But it may be argued that these features of a present life can be explained equally by the theory of heredity alone. In the case of personal relations it is not clear that heredity would be any help; the attraction may be due to some factor in the character of the two persons affected, even though in many cases just what this can be does not appear. While it might be produced by this means there is nothing in heredity to make it likely to produce this result rather than some other. The abstract possibility that both characters were produced entirely by heredity is not increased. On the other hand, the theory of pre-existence admits a cause more likely to produce this effect than any other, since it would originate with relations formed in an earlier life.
Heredity does, however, afford a proveable explanation for innate aptitudes, as has been recorded many times in matters of technical skill, both manual and mental. But my ancestors cannot - if pre-existence is false - have loved my friend; therefore there is nothing in my inheriting some skills from them which will account for the attraction formed between us.
Whether acquired qualities can be inherited or not, there is no doubt as to the tendency to resemble one's ancestors, not merely in their bodies but in their characters. This may be thought an objection to the theory of pre-existence but, if a man's character is determined by his previous lives, how can it be also determined by the characters of the ancestors of his body.
These two ways in which character in any life can be said to be determined are not inconsistent since they cooperate in such effects; inherited tendencies modifying the character as it was left at the end of the previous life.
This may help us to see that a man
whose nature held certain characteristics when he was due to be reborn, would take on a body descended from ancestors of a similar mold, and this similarity would determine his being born in that body rather than in any other. It may be asked just how each person would make connections with this appropriate body. The familiar analogy of chemical affinities suggests the method involved. We know that various substances which have such mutual affinities, will meet and combine, separating themselves from other substances with which they had been combined, in order to do so. We do not find anything strange, or paradoxical, in their doing so; we call it a law of Nature. There seems to be nothing more strange, or paradoxical, in holding a similar process to account for human persons finding the bodies best fitted for their new uses.
The final barrier which Professor McTaggart finds against his theories of both pre-existence and of a plurality of lives, is seen in memory - or rather the lack of it when we are reborn. And if we have lived previously and forgotten it, there seems no reason to expect that we shall remember this life when we take up future ones. An existence cut up into separated lives without any links of memory between them, may be thought to have no practical value, and it has been asserted that such an existence would not be immortality at all.
If, indeed, each life had no continuity with its successors, and no effect on them, there would be little meaning, if any, in calling them the lives of the same person. But we cannot suppose this could be actual. If the same self passes through a series of lives, any change which happens to it at any time must affect its state in the future. Death and rebirth may be able to modify a character considerably, but they could act only on what was already present, they do not appear able to destroy identity, since they are both physical processes.
Then, as to the value of immortality without memory, if this life has value for us, without any memories of past ones, why should not future lives have values without such memories. In any case a man will be better off for his immortality, since it will give him an unlimited existence instead of a very limited one. And to the extent of his belief in immortality, he would have a greater expectancy of a desirable future than if he did not believe in it. While there are those who claim they have as little interest in their own post mortem fate as in that of a stranger, most of us find the prospect of a continued existence, even without memory, still to seem desirable. Progressive improvement would not be affected by loss of memory, if each new life starts with the results of previous ones as its equipment. How many of us would claim to have complete memories of all details of our present lives, yet we have not lost progress by forgetting them.
The Professor examines at some length the functions of memory under three heads, wisdom, virtue and love, but it would be more profitable for you to study them for yourselves, as his book can be found in our library, than my abstract of them. He concludes his chapter by saying that pre-existence renders more probable a plurality of lives, with their attendant conflicts, dangers and griefs. Death is not a haven of rest, but a starting point for fresh labors.
But if the trials are great; so is the recompence. We miss many good things in any one life, by our folly, or by unfavorable circumstances, or by sheer incompatibility. In any one life we cannot learn all the lessons, but they are all good to learn; is it not then worth much to be able to hope that what we miss in one life we shall attain in another.
While it may be that the change, the struggle, the recurrence of death is endless, it may also be true that this process will eventually destroy itself by merging in a perfection which transcends all time and change. In any case if the way is long, perhaps endless, it can be no more wearisome than a single life. For with death we leave behind memory, old age and fatigue. Surely death acquires a greater value, if we regard it as part of a continually recurring rhythm of progress, as natural and as benevolent as sleep. We have merely left behind us our youth, as we have left the sunrise at noon tide. But they will both come back to us and they do not grow old.
- N.W.J. Haydon.
SECRET DOCTRINE STUDY
The first essential for this study is a determined will to learn as far as possible the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth, so help us our Higher Self. With this constantly in mind one may and will go far. One important result will certainly develop - Discrimination. Important, because the Secret Doctrine is being increasingly found to be reliable judged by its ability to stand the test of modern research. But no blind faith, the world has had plenty of that. The history of the Theosophical Society has proved how dangerous it is to accept unquestioningly the interpretations of the Secret Doctrine made by the leading exponents of the various Theosophical Societies when put on pedestals by their too faithful followers. Brilliance and accuracy are not synonyms. Discrimination will prove useful also in all the affairs of life.
But what is the Secret Doctrine? It is, of course the Book of that title, including - for the writer of this - the Third volume. But it is also most of the material that has come from the Masters whether directly, as in the "Mahatma Letters", or indirectly in books or articles signed "H.P.B." This will include Isis Unveiled, Key to Theosophy, Five Years of Theosophy, and a mass of scattered articles in books, pamphlets, etc. You may ask: Must we reject all that Annie Besant, Purucker, et, al. have written? Of course not. But it is asserted that such matter cannot be taken as unquestioningly as the foregoing.
There are two books that though not in-the H.P.B. category are of very great value as containing important testimony that it would be unwise to ignore. They are, Centenary number of the Theosophist Aug. 1932; and Vol, I. Old Diary Leaves. One need not apologize for mentioning these two books, for Col. Olcott's integrity, loyalty to the ideals taught by the Masters - as vouched for by themselves - are so well known.
Certainly the greatest work of H.P.B. was and remains the Secret Doctrine with its two volumes; and the third volume which contains much manuscript material that had not been published before H.P.B.'s passing. The Key to Theosophy, H.P.B.'s last volume, is a summary of material suited to enquirers who might be appalled by the more erudite volumes of the S.D.
A matter of supreme importance for the student is H.P.B.'s assertion that to simply read the S.D. from cover to cover "will end us in confusion". She suggests that the three great fundamentals as given in the Proem in Vol. I should be mastered first "even if it takes years" - Many students have made much progress by studying a variety of topics, none of which are exhausted in any one place, but are scattered through the volumes in a most distressing way to western readers. Yet the gathering of the fragments, piecing them together in some coherent form, usually results in a curious experience. The subject then frequently seems to be endowed with life; it is an entity, re-
lated moreover to all the other topics that are dealt with. Suppose you try a few such topics, not neglecting synonyms or related words. For instance: Karma, causation; Nemesis, fate, destiny; Reincarnation, periodicity, Metempsychosis, transmigration; etc., etc.
- Felix Belcher
RUSSIA AND RELIGION
Quentin Reynolds has written a book called Only the Stars are Neutral and the greater part of it is being serialized in the local papers in Hamilton, Toronto and elsewhere. We have reason to know that many of our members do not keep themselves informed about matters reported in current journalism and we are taking the liberty of reproducing Mr. Reynolds' account of a gathering in which Joseph Stalin gave expression to unexpected sentiments. Mr. Reynolds is a native of New York and is widely known as a newspaper man.
"When Stalin laughs he laughs with his eyes too. Stalin looks like the kind of man you would like to know better. But at that moment he looked very serious. He tapped his glass with a knife and then raised his glass. He spoke for perhaps 15 seconds and then Oumansky (who translated) picked it up.
"Comrade Stalin says," Oumansky began, "that he would like to propose a toast to the president of the United States. Comrade Stalin says President Roosevelt has the very difficult task of leading a country which is non-belligerent and yet which wants to do all it can to help the two great democracies of Europe in their fight against fascism. Comrade Stalin says may God help him in his most difficult task."
There was a stunned silence from us and then great applause from everyone. Harriman leaned over and gripped Stalin's hand, thanking him. Stalin wasn't smiling now. He had meant that toast. It was an amazing moment. Stalin the anti-Christ; Stalin who had divorced the church entirely from the state; Stalin who had acted on the communistic doctrine, "Religion is the opium of the people" - he was publicly, before the world, humbly asking Divine help for Roosevelt. And yet the Russians in the room were not surprised. I spoke to Lozovsky, Litvinoff and Oumansky about it afterward and they in fact were puzzled at our surprise.
The longer I stayed in Russia, the more I realized the terrific misconceptions we in America and Britain hold in regard to the Soviet Union. The trouble is that for years we have received our information about Russia from salesmen - not reporters. The writing salesmen were either trying to sell communism to us or to make us hate it. The truth which lay somewhere in between, never was able to grope its way out of either camp. I remembered that Stalin's wife had been buried in consecrated ground - in a monastery. A little Jesuit priest, Father Braun, said mass every day in his Moscow church. There was no anti-religion in Russia that I ever saw. In the czarist days the priests had a wonderful racket in Russia. They were paid by the state and collections taken up in churches went to the state. All Stalin did was to separate the church from the state. The church should be an independent organization divorced from the state. In short, he did the same thing we did in our country back in 1776.
People go to church in Russia; I've seen them. But they don't, through the church, pay tribute to the government. Their priests are no longer government officials who have almost the power of life and death over them. Their priests can be elected to parliament (under the constitution there is no ban on their running for office). Had any of us ever troubled to read the Soviet constitution (as vigorously upheld as our own) we might have got the true
picture of religion in the Soviet Union. I looked it up the day after the Kremlin dinner. I talked with Father Braun. I mentally apologize as a Catholic for the things I've thought about Russia's attitude toward religion.
WITHOUT DISTINCTION OF COLOR
Editor, The Canadian Theosophist: - May I call to the attention of any of your readers who have not read it the article on the front page of the Theosophical Movement for May, 1942, entitled "The Brotherhood of Colors". I wish it could be read all over the world and pondered over to an extent that is unfortunately impossible. Theosophical students, at the least, should not miss it. To quote from it:
"Unless prompt and stringent measures are taken by the proper authorities we shall have a sorry spectacle round the Peace Table, to which all are hopefully looking. And worse - unless checked now the beginning of a ghastly war between the 'coloured' and the 'non-coloured' will take place. Students of Theosophy should strengthen as well as increase their labors to overthrow the sin entombed in the term - the Color Bar.
We must beware of the bias of national pride and of racial prejudice. They blind our eyes to the good qualities in nations and races other than our own, and, especially to any recognition of superiority in any direction - quality or capacity, in races of a different color to our own. It may help us to stifle these separative feelings to remember that the Real Self in each one of us, "the Lord of the body", is not at all concerned with pride of birth - to it all nations and races are of equal value. The evolving Ego of a Canadian of today may choose for its terrestrial vehicle the body of a Chinese or of a negro "tomorrow."
Let us then continually endeavor to break down all color barriers by raising our brain-consciousness to an abiding sense of Universal Compassion and of our UNITY with all the races of the earth. The article ends with these words:
"To the eagle sight of the Heart there is neither East nor West, neither border nor breed, neither black nor brown. We have to learn and then promulgate all that is implicit in the words of H.P.B. which appear on our cover page of this issue."
The words referred to conclude:
"Humanity is a great Brotherhood by virtue of the sameness of the material from which it is formed physically and morally. Unless, however, it becomes a Brotherhood also intellectually, it is no better than a superior genus of animals - H.P. Blavatsky."
- W.B. Pease.
16th Sept., 1942.
THE THREE TRUTHS
There are three truths which are absolute, and which cannot be lost, but yet may remain silent for lack of speech.
The soul of man is immortal, and its future is the future of a thing whose growth and splendor have no limit.
The principle which gives life dwells in us, and without us, is undying and eternally beneficent, is not heard or seen, or smelt, but is perceived by the man who desires perception.
Each man is his own absolute lawgiver, the dispenser of glory or gloom to himself; the decreer of his life, his reward, his punishment.
These truths,, which are as great as is life itself, are as simple as the simplest mind of man. Feed the hungry with them. - Idyll of the White Lotus.
THE CANADIAN THEOSOPHIST
- The Organ of the Theosophical Society in Canada
- Published on the 15th of every month.
- Editor - Albert E.S. Smythe.
- Entered at Hamilton General Post Office as Second-` class matter.
- Subscription: Two Dollars a Year
OFFICERS OF THE T.S. IN CANADA
Wash. E, Wilks, 925 Georgia St. W., Vancouver.
Wash. E. Crafter, 57 Sherwood Avenue, Toronto, Ont.
D.W. Barr, 8 High Park Gardens, Toronto, Ont.
Felix A. Belcher, 250 N. Lisgar St., Toronto, Ont.
Edw. L. Thomson, 24 Crescent Road, Toronto, Ont.
William A. Griffiths, 37 Stayner Street, Weatmount, P.Q. George I, Kinman, 46 Rawlinson Avenue, Toronto, Ont.
Albert E.S. Smythe, 5 Rockwood Place, Hamilton. Ontario, Canada.
Mr. Julian Sale is the Grand Old Man of the T.S. in Canada. He is a member of the Toronto Lodge but has been residing with his daughter in Altadena, California. He has celebrated his 95th birthday and though not included in the Adyar list of Elders he is as worthy as any of them. He is our oldest Canadian member.
When in Toronto recently I asked a policeman where a certain street was, and looking in his "little book", which reminded me of Bunyan's Pilgrim, he obligingly gave me the information I wanted. Then he said, "you had lost your way and I was able to put you right. Perhaps you will pardon me if I show you another way. I found Jesus five years ago and I have been a happy man ever since." and he presented me with a tract about a Filopino who lost his hotel in Chicago and registered again in one next door to the first one and had to ask the police to find his baggage. I was in too big a hurry to do more than thank my policeman for his courtesy, but he is on a right line anyway, and will reach more truth as he lives what he has gained already. He ought to read II Corinthians xiii. 5.
Mr. Pease's letter "On Distinction of Color" might almost be taken as a slur on the Theosophical Society, as assuming, that such a suggestion should need to be made to its members. Unfortunately the need is greater than is generally admitted. Much of our war danger is due to color prejudice and its reactions as India, China, Japan and other countries can testify. In the United States color prejudice is terrible, though it is regarded as bad taste to say so. Negroes are astonished to find that in England they are treated like other human beings. France knows no color line. Canada is not quite sure of itself and is much inclined to follow its neighbor's bad example. There can be no peace while the Hitler doctrine of racial superiority finds support of any kind in other nations. It is only black souls that object to colored skins.
In a series of articles by well-known writers entitled "Roosevelt as I see him," Pierre van Paassen, in describing the extraordinary admiration and regard in which Mr. Roosevelt is held in Europe by those who look for liberation from the Hitler slavery, narrates an incident that occurred in the course of the evening service in the Reformed Church of Zutphen on the Sunday following the arrest of Dr. Colijn, the former Premier, by the Nazis. The minister preached a sermon that evening from the text: "And David went to Ziklag and strengthened himself in the Lord." From time to time, he said, King David
retired from the burdens and cares of state even as some modern statesmen do to find new strength in meditation and stillness. For instance, he added, "this week we learned through the press that Mr. Roosevelt, the American President, has retired to his home on the Hudson. Scarcely had the word Roosevelt been pronounced, when to my great surprise," the narrator continued, "I saw the elders rise in their seats, and then the whole congregation, and then suddenly a voice intoned the words of the familiar hymn, with our old organ breaking in: De Heer zal U steeds gades-aan en waar g'U heen moogt spoeden voor eeuwig U Behoeden - The Lord will constantly follow you with His eyes, wherever you may go. He will be with you always. "Certain strangers in our church that evening," the story continued, "looked on in uncomprehending amazement at this spontaneous outburst of song from the congregation,
many of whom wept unashamed . . ."
- Liberty, August 29.
Dr. Alvin Boyd Kuhn has sent us the following note on Semantics, which originally was concerned with the changing meaning of words, Archbishop Trench pioneering in this field in the last generation. Dr. Kuhn adds to his remarks a note of equal length in which he claims that his book The Lost Light "for the first time" interpreted the Bibles of the world on the basis of a "lost language of symbolism." We have no desire to reopen this discussion, and must omit the appendix to Dr. Kuhn's remarks which follow: - "It is not only of great general interest, but a matter of special moment to Theosophists, to learn of a sensational new development in the field of Philosophy now coming to a head. A few years ago several writers, notably Korzybski in his book Science and Sanity, began to expound a new science which they called Semantics, the science of meaning and significance. More recently other works have elaborated the theme, and now Harvard University is taking the lead in putting out a series of books dealing with the same interest. Perhaps most illuminating among these is Susanne K. Langer's fine work under the title of Philosophy in a New Key (Harvard Univ. Press.) This great new key to the whole of Philosophy (and therefore of Religion as well) is none other than - Symbolism! Naturally Theosophists can look upon this as another of the many - and one of the greatest - vindications of our Theosophy by advancing modern discovery. It is another evidence that the world of thought is catching up with us. Anyone acquainted with our great Blavatskian text, The Secret Doctrine, will be aware how largely symbolism has dominated esoteric interpretation. It revealed to us that most ancient sacred books or Bibles were written in a cryptic language, the characters of which were symbols."
AMONG THE LODGES
Winnipeg and Montreal friends will be glad to hear news of Mr. Thomas B. Lawrie, now in South Africa for some years. "Although so far away," he writes, "I continually look forward to my copy of C.T., which I find consistently maintains its high level of giving the best at the least cost. Although correspondence between us is irregular, my thoughts are with you always, particularly with regard to your staunch declaration of Theosophical ideals - and maintaining them."
Vancouver Lodge reports the resumption of class work, with renewed interest but with changes of those attending due to the western tendency towards change of residence. Mrs. Preston, one of the Lodge's most devoted workers, is recovering from a serious operation. Mrs. Jackson, a loved and earnest supporter, has gone to live with a sister in
California, and was presented with copies of The Song Celestial and The Light of Asia on her departure. A joint meeting of all the classes is held once a month, in the "get together" spirit, when a cup of tea assists the flow of soul, and the inner man, or is it the inmost man is nourished with good thought. Last year Emerson was chosen for reading and discussion; this year Shakespeare has been selected with The Merchant of Venice for a beginning. A visit from Dorothy Armstrong of Kamloops was a pleasant incident of the month. "It is always lovely to have our young people visit us from time to time." One of the young people, Mrs. Woodbury, employed in the offices of the Coastal Construction Co. at Tofino, was on a visit, home and surprised the Lodge by saying that Major Conn Smythe had been at the Camp, and was surprised herself to learn who he was. A nephew of Mrs. Buchanan, the president, is among the missing at Dieppe, and his brother is a P.O. air gunner.
Hamilton Lodge accepted Mr. J.T.S. Morris's offer to visit Hamilton during his holiday tour in eastern Canada. Mr. Morris proved to be a very amiable and agreeable young man with a fresh and active interest in Theosophy, though of The Secret Doctrine and Madame Blavatsky's and the Mahatma's Letters he had not yet had time to obtain a thorough grasp. His most laudable desire was to bring about a measure of cooperation with the National Society and the Federation. It was explained to him that we in the east had no objection to a member following any teacher, Leadbeater, Steiner, Lake Harris, or any other divergent teacher from the Secret Doctrine or the Mahatma Letters. All asked was the same liberty of thought and speech they claimed as their right. It was not we who refused free speech. We are fighting a war for the Four Freedoms and freedom of religion and freedom of speech are specified among these things we are fighting for. It is the neo-theosophists who take the Hitler policy of supression as their method. It is a poor cause that shuns open discussion. Mr. Morris had no objection to this view, nor can anybody who is not afraid of free discussion. He was given a free platform and quoted Leadbeater and Besant as special authorities without censure. He spoke on Monday evening, September 28 to a small though well advertised meeting. Had he come on Sunday evening the attendance would have been better, but he spoke on Sunday evening in Toronto. As he had to leave early on Tuesday evening it was decided to entertain him to dinner at six o'clock and after dinner an enjoyable discussion ensued, largely on the after effects of the war, and the influence of Theosophical ideas on the result. The following attended the dinner: Mrs. Mather, Mrs. Hambly, Mrs. Gordon, Mrs. Hepler, Mrs. Townsend, Mrs. Lakin, Mrs. Theo Morris, Mrs. Davis, Mrs. Stead, Miss Mabel Carr, Miss Alice Cooper, Miss Mary Lawson, Miss Annie Morris, Miss Edith Wilkinson, Mr. Hick, Mr. Bowerman, Mr. Smythe, Mr. Edgington.
THE GENERAL EXECUTIVE
A meeting of the local members of the General Executive of the T.S. in Canada was held on Sunday afternoon, October 4, at 52 Isabella Street, Toronto, Messrs. Wilks, Barr and Griffiths being absent. The payment of dues for the first quarter was regarded as favorable, being nearly 25% better than in last year's corresponding term. Employment being general it was hoped the Lodge officials would endeavor to get their members all paid up before Christmas. The magazine cannot be mailed to members in arrears. The General Secretary reported correspondence with Ottawa regarding a renewal of activity there, and Mr. Belcher sup-
plemented this with an account of classes being held and public meetings every second week. Activity in London was also reported on behalf of one of the kindred Societies and it was recommended that the National Lodge members cooperate with such workers, share the Lodge Library with them and assist in any way feasible. Mr. Kinman promised to see Mr. Emsley when in London as he expected soon to be and take up these matters with him and the local members if possible. The General Secretary reported the death of Dr. Gottfried de Purucker on Sunday morning, September 27, and submitted a resolution of sympathy which was adopted on motion of Mr. Belcher and Col. Thomson, D.S.O. Renewal of radio broadcasting was discussed but the financial difficulties were felt to be too steep. The next meeting will be held on February 7 unless called earlier for special business.
We believe that it is imperative to the progress of the humane movement that Walt Disney continue to produce pictures. Yet, on the eve of the release of Disney's newest picture "BAMBI" which depicts the history of an American White Tailed Deer, it is facing wide-spread protest and has drawn the wrath of sporting and conservation leaders to proportions bordering on boycott by sportsmen. They charge that it is unfair to the millions of sportsmen. It would seem that every humane minded person should write at once to Walt Disney - Hollywood, Cal. - with words of praise for the production of so beautiful a picture as "BAMBI" which instills in the hearts of all who see it the protection of our forest creatures. Remember, our praise must outweigh the condemnation of the opposition if we are to see the continued production of this splendid type of film. The Animal Protective League of Wisconsin called our attention to this matter. Let us all do our part by writing to praise Mr. Disney's efforts.
- The Theosophical Order of Service.
E. C. Renshaw, Chief Brother
Magazines received: Ancient Wisdom, August; Aryan Path, April, May, June; Lucifer, August, September; The Indian Theosophist, April, May, June; Theosophy in Australia, June, July; Bulletin, Mexican Section T.S., March-June; Theosophy in New Zealand, August-September; The Theosophical Worker, May, June; The Bombay Theosophical Bulletin, May, June; Y Fforwm Theosoffaidd (Wales), July-August; The Converted Catholic Magazine, September; The Kalpaka, April-June; Theosophy, September; The Theosophist, June, July; Theosophy in Ireland, April-June; The American Theosophist, September; The Theosophical Movement, May, June; The U.L.T. Bulletin, London, August.
In The American Theosophist Gerald Bole is given space in The Forum pages to state what he considers the Theosophical problem now before the world. He makes these three points: "1. The using of methods that are pathetically behind the times, and which are isolating the Society from the outer world, and reducing it to impotence and mediocrity. 2. The waste of talent and ability due to the conflict between Headquarters and the key-workers. 3. The centralization in the President to the extent that he is carrying out functions (the educational programme, for instance) for which he is not fitted instead of putting them in the hands of experienced and creative specialists."
The Theosophist for July is much above the average in interest. We may mention "World Reconstruction Through Theosophy," by Rohit Mehta; "The Pulse of the World" by F.J.W.
Halsey; "More Brotherhood," by J. Kruisheer; "Symbolic Murals in Dublin," by J.L. Davidge; "Karma in the Light of Some Basic Facts," by Ernest Kirk; and Jean Delaire's instalment III. of The Story of the Soul, "In the Mysteries of Jesus." Mr. Davidge's article, inspired by Professor Cousins has a special appeal for me personally, for I was just in time to see the murals painted by George Russell on the walls of the lower rooms being destroyed by the workmen who hammered the beautiful art work to pieces as they broke the plaster off the walls. I did not know that there were paintings in the upstairs rooms, but the vandalism that I saw was a grievous experience. That was in 1898 at 3 Ely Place, Dublin.
Buddhism in England announces a change of address from 37 South Eaton Place to 66 Queensway, London, W. 2, for editorial correspondence. bThe meetings of the Society are to be held at 58 Marlborough Place, St. John's Wood, N.W. 8, London. This September-October issue has a good article on Yoga, which says that Raja Yoga, Concentration, Meditation and Contemplation are "for the advanced Buddist, Theosophist and members of the Rosicrucian Brotherhood", but that "Yoga, occultism, psychism, mysticism, spiritualism and all magical practices are dangerous when the student has not conquered the lower self." Then the writer proceeds to give instruction in Hatha Yoga, and the article is to be continued. A memorial article on Mrs. Caroline Rhys Davids who died on June 20 at the age of 84. She married Dr. Rhys Davids in 1894 and succeeded him as an exponent of Buddhism to the West. "I suggest," remarks Mr. Humphreys, "that generations yet unborn will recognize her as the vital and historic link between mere scholarly translation and Buddhism as a living religion in the West. Translation alone is not enough; it is but the raw material of practice, even as the Christian Bible would be but a museum piece unless applied to life by living Christians . . . It needed a scholar who loved her subject to extract from the monkish dross and dreary negative ethic of the Canon a living Message which men would be disposed to obey."
The recent abortive visit of Henry Dreiser to Toronto attracted a great deal of attention, chiefly because he astonished everybody by his ignorance in making statements which were so obviously untrue. His folly in this regard might be passed over but for the fact that one hears similar statements
from time to time from Canadians who are not so prominent in the world as Mr. Dreiser but who contribute nevertheless to the general confusion which arises from misinformation. Mr. John Collingwood Reade, who was to have taken the chair at the meeting which Mr. Dreiser was to have addressed, has so ably dealt with the whole matter in his article in The Globe and Mail of September 22 that we take the liberty of presenting it to our readers. The war is of world importance and we cannot be too sure of our facts and our fancies about it.
Mr. Reade's Story
"I held a telephone conversation yesterday afternoon with a man whom I had been prepared to welcome as the father of the modern American novel. Theodore Dreiser's claim to recognition lies in the fact that he wrote a series of novels, of which the most widely known is "An American Tragedy." Dreiser was one of thg first American novelists to depart from the romantic frivolous tradition and turn the American reading public toward critical self-examination. In a sense, Ernest Hemingway and John Steinbeck are his literary disciples.
"And so I telephoned Mr. Dreiser, the
novelist, to bid him welcome. But after a few minutes' conversation, I found myself unwilling to welcome a visitor who is prepared to accept only such factual evidence as will nourish his prejudices, whose avowed purpose is to give the weight of his prestige as a novelist to calumny, and who cannot take the trouble to verify his information.
"I first asked Mr. Dreiser whether he had been correctly reported in the evening paper of yesterday's date. While he professed to have said something different from what had been reported, it became quite apparent in the course of the conversation that no injustice had been done him whatever, and that the purport of his remarks had been accurately set down.
"By what right," I asked, "do you say that Mr. Churchill has no intention of opening a second front? You know that American parachute troops are being despatched to Britain, that British airborne troops are being trained and that assault craft are being transported from the United States and manufactured in Britain in great quantities."
He "Assumed" It
Mr. Dreiser replied that he assumed there would be no second front because there had been so much delay already. "For three years the British have done nothing," he said. At this point, the floodgates of his wrath burst open and he warmed to his subject. He had a list in his pocket of British defeats. I asked him if he would like a list of British victories, and inquired whether he had heard of the Battle of the River Plate, of the Battles of Taranto and Cape Matapan, of the Battle of the Skaggerak, of Narvik, or of the conquest of East Africa; I asked him whether he remembered the first Battle of Libya; if he had heard of the Battle of Britain, or realized what had been involved in the occupation of Syria, Iraq and Iran.
None of these names meant very much to Mr. Dreiser. In fact, the campaign in Abyssinia roused his scorn. That was only won, he told me, beause the Italians were busy somewhere else.
He was quite right; they were. They were busy attacking Egypt from the west as well, and keeping a large part of our pitifully inadequate force engaged. As a matter of fact, the British themselves were busier than we care to remember now, with the Germans encamped across the Channel, twenty-one miles away, bringing aircraft by the thousand to the advanced bases in France, whence they were to prepare for the conquest of the British Isles.
No one can say that Mr. Dreiser allows his mind to wander, or permits it to be influenced by what he considers irrelevant truths. He is the most single-minded person imaginable. He hates Britain, and reaches out greedy hands for any fuel which will nourish the flame of his hate, while impatiently rejecting any material, however, authentic, which does not minister to his consuming passion.
Dates War from Dec. 7, '41
So far as I can discover, Mr. Dreiser dates the war from Dec. 7, 1941. All he knows about the war has been published on the front pages of the Chicago Tribune and the New York News since that date. I asked him if he had been in Britain since the war began, and he said: "Oh, yes, indeed, I had been in Britain in 1938." I didn't see much use in pointing out that the war did not begin until Sept. 3, 1939.
The point is that Mr. Dreiser wants a second front in Europe to save Russia, which, he thinks, is the only nation worth saving. And he is convinced that the reason a second front has not been opened before now is because a handful of gentlemen who ride horses in
Britain would like to see the Russians destroyed.
It happens that Britain is not ruled by the landed gentry any more. The dominating figures in the Government today are all working men, including Mr. Churchill, who has always had to earn his own living.
And one of the principal reasons why the attack has been delayed is because half of all the armoured equipment which Britain produces is sent at great risk to the Russian front, while dozens of British units are still waiting to be equipped.
Mr. Dreiser's crowning insult was the suggestion that the British had been dependent entirely on American supplies, and that rather than fight themselves, they sent Dominion troops to their death.
Dieppe, Canadian Idea
It is no blame to the Americans, but as late as last summer the British were producing ten aircraft for every one they received from the United States. If Mr. Dreiser had taken the trouble to read about Dieppe, he would know that the entire project was conceived and planned by the Canadian staff and that a British assault force drawn from the Royal Marines went in ahead to silence the guns.
If the father of the American novel had thought it worth while to speak out of knowledge instead of prejudice, he could quite easily have discovered that casualties from the British Isles are nearly three times those of all the Dominions and colonies put together, exclusive of civilian losses in bombing raids. In other words, he would know that every member of the British Commonwealth of Nations, including the United Kingdom, pulls its own weight and that invidious comparisons are not only unpolitic but unwarranted.
Before terminating the conversation, I felt it necessary to point out to Mr. Dreiser that even a passionate anxiety for the salvation of Russia, which is very widely shared both here and in the British Isles, is no possible excuse for sowing dissension and trying to create a rift between Allies fighting in a common cause.
Mr. Dreiser may be the father of the American novel, as it developed in the "20's," but he is likely to become the problem child of Mr. Cordell Hull in the State Department if he continues to lend prestige of his literary reputation to malicious international gossip which has no foundation in fact.
AFTER 2,300 YEARS
History does repeat itself. The other day a lone Nazi air-raider attacked a boys' school in western England, killing many of the pupils. And a massacre at a boys' school at Mycalessus was considered one of the supreme horrors of the Peloponnesian war which was fought towards the end of the fifth century B.C.
The Athenian historian Thucydides described the event as follows: "The Thracians dashed into the town, sacked the houses and temples and slaughtered the inhabitants. They spared neither old nor young, but cut down all whom they met, the women and children, the very beasts of burden, and every living thing which they saw. They even fell upon a boys' school, the largest in the place, which the children had just entered, and massacred them every one. No calamity could be worse than this. None was ever so sudden or so terrible. Considering the size of the city, no calamity more deplorable occurred during the war."
More than twenty-three hundred years have gone by, but they have not eradicated blood-lust and cruelty. The butchery still goes on, and a supposedly civilized nation imitates the deeds which made Mycalessus a place of horror. - Toronto Star.
As we write Europe is seething with all the passions which fear, hunger, hatred, and slavery engender in men's hearts. The indecision which has appeared to slacken the efforts of the Allied Nations towards the launching of a continental attack on Germany during September has not quenched the incipient revolt that stirs among all the subjugated peoples. But the hope still remains that a Second Front will soon be opened. Winston Churchill has deprecated any enquiry or discussion of the subject in what he termed a "significant time."
The delay has strengthened the view held by some that Britain is not so eager for the establishment of a "free world" as her ruling authorities are for the preservation of the old capitalism. The Finance Lords have powerful influence in the United States, Canada and Britain, and people are wondering whether their armies are fighting for the Money-Lords or for the masses. The Archbishop of Canterbury, discussing the dominance of the five great British banks, declared that "money, or credit which does duty for money, has become in effect a monopoly," and added "it seems to me a primary political principle that wherever you have something which is universally needed, but which is governed as a monopoly, that monopoly should be taken over by the State." This point if it is to be settled in favor of the people and not of the money-lords, should be settled while we are fighting for our lives and liberties, and not after a peace has been won and usurped by the Lords of Finance as happened twenty-five years ago. Here we side with the Archbishop against the Arch-bankers.
A sign of the times regarding this issue is the attitude of Premier Hepburn of Ontario towards social questions. He has declared that this province will lead the world in social reform. He requested the release of the Communist group which had surrendered to the Federal authorities under the ban on Communism imposed by the Ottawa government. This having been granted "conditionally" Mr. Hepburn at once telegraphed Ottawa that the release should be unconditional, that the ban on the Communist party should be withdrawn. The old party politicians are quite unable to understand that they have been ushered into a new world where "all things are being made new." They cannot adjust themselves to the new conditions, or the Four Freedoms, and they actually fear the demands that the new world is preparing to make.
This new world is in all things opposed to all that Hitlerism means, and while the old line politicians do not generally approve of Hitler they are still looking for a compromize between Hitler and his polar opposite. These equatorial compromizers should remember Neville Chamberlain and Munich. Tim Buck is not a monster like Hitler, but a very clever, well-informed man, who could challenge any of the banking fraternity in humanity and good will. As a matter of fact we are all Communists in our hearts these days, but our heads have not thawed out yet from the commercial frosts that congeal the brains of even intelligent people.
The issue is really between the humanitarians and men like Herr Goering who has announced that Germans will eat though the rest of Europe starve. We are not so very far away from this issue in the Allied nations where wheat was said to be produced too plentifully though millions in Asia and elsewhere were starving for want of it. Coffee was taken out to sea and jettisoned, in order to keep up the price. Now we are rationing coffee. Cotton was burned and cotton plantations destroyed because cotton was too cheap. It is only a step from this to Goering.
Now we have philanthropists, who know the bountiful character of nature and the efficiency of our scientific agriculture with its labor saving machinery, proposing that the world be fed free. Thus at one stroke to achieve freedom from want. Are we big enough, divine enough, to accept that suggestion? What do the Bankers say? They are on the spot. All these things must be settled before the war can be said to be won. And they must be settled right. A few nights ago a broadcaster stated that the Germans had boasted that they would fight the war to the end. They always fought to the end. They fought till the end of the last war. They will fight till the end of this war. And then the broadcaster made the most definite assertion we have heard about the war - the end will be sudden, swift and inevitable.
Those who have studied the cosmic encounter going on between the legions of Russia in defence of Stalingrad and the dark levies of Germany who aim to sweep the freedom and spiritual power of Russia off the earth, must feel that aionian enemies have come to grips. Nature is never neutral. There is nothing neutral about a thunderbolt or an earthquake. Nor about a summer hurricane nor a winter freeze-out. Blessed is the man who knows what side he is putting his will behind in the struggle for the Volga, and is certain he is on the side of Liberty.
ON THE THRESHOLD
By the Dreamer
(Continued from Page 224)
I am really sorry to see that the Darkness has not lifted from your mind yet. Do not make any strenuous efforts to cast it off; but let the wave pass off quietly. (For these efforts, being personal, would only hinder the Transcendence of Being, which pain and darkness are intended to bring about. - D.) Do, for a time, suspend abstract meditation, or even image making. Fix your thoughts gently and lovingly upon all that is holy and sublime, upon such concrete events in your life or in the history of the saints and Avataras as evoke your highest admiration and esteem; and you will gradually regain the normal tone of your mind.
The loss of memory (of higher experiences) - its lapses, you complain of is only temporary; and you need not break your heart over any of the troubles which you have to face at the moment. Rest assured, if you retain your faith and earnestness, and do not cease to love the Good and the True, all will yet come on bright and fair in the end, and you will once more stand face to face with the Lords of Wisdom and Compassion.
Stifle the subtile and perfidious Ahamkara; (Which seeks to enjoy the pleasure of sensations and visions, - to kill out which the temporary loss of sight and memory came. - D.) surrender yourself to the Divine, and you have nothing to fear. What are earthly treasures and prakritic joys to the soul that seeks union with the Divine, that exists only for the service of the Lord? Fortune may come and go; friends and relations may cling or fall off; nay, the body itself may live or die: - what matters these to the devotee, who wants only his Lord, who knows no existence apart from Him, and lives and moves in Him and Him alone? Well has the poet said: - 'He in whose mind dwells Siva and Rama, he may or may not practise austerities or Yoga. He whose heart is full of compassion for all living things he may or may not make millions of gifts; it is all the same to him.' Wherefore, let your heart grow in Love that is pure, selfless and sublime: let your faith be firm in your mind, and devotion deep and steady; and you have no need of meditation, study or work. These you will do when these come
easily and spontaneously to you. But you must not fret and pine when they come not. For these are but the means and not the end; and when the end is ever in view and permeates the life, the particular means need not assume very great importance. So, take heart and go on as best you can, and never let despair take possession of you.
How much I feel for you, how my heart goes out to give you some strength and consolation, - some light which would soften the stings of suffering to which you are subjected. I wish I were in a position to help you; - but it seems that it is not to be; and you have to drink the chalice of venom to the very dregs. (Due to the solution of Ahamkara in the Life. - D.) My dear boy, how I wish you could see the Law and its workings, and from that vision obtain the peace of mind which no external comfort can bring. The Law must, at present seem hard and cruel to you: but let the personality sleep for a while, or even stand aside for just one moment, and you will see its beauty, its breadth, its extreme justice and mercy.
Look not for help up to this, that, or the other man; look only to Him from Whom all help comes, from Whom the whole world springs forth: and look up to Him with faith and devotion, with confidence and yet with contentment. Do what He shows to you to be your present duty. Lay aside personal considerations, and surrender yourself entirely to His feet.
I wish I could be of some help to you more palpably on all the planes of your life, and relieve you of the burden of your suffering to some extent. But that does not seem to be the will of our Beloved Lord, and so you must suffer with patience and even with content, remembering always that it means a speedy expiation of karmic debts and the equally speedy growth of the Life within, the Life which is the real and only life which we care for, at any rate, ought to care for if we are wise and aspire to the position of disciples. You know that no force is lost in this world, and that the energy of the lower plane may be transmuted into that of the higher by the attitude of the soul in dealing with that energy. For instance; suffering in the ordinary way may simply mean reaping the harvest of past sowings. Suffering very intensely and acutely, with many a misfortune crowding upon misfortune not the result of immediate misdeeds, - this means that the person has stepped into the threshold of the yogi life and is working out rapidly all the past karma that stands in the way of liberation. The endurance of all this pain and torture with patience, with contentment, without fretting, without complaint, means the exercise of a distinct force which spiritualizes the whole nature. (This force is the expression of the Unity of Life which is the same everywhere - of the `Peace which passeth all understanding.' - D.) The greater this force, the speedier the spiritual growth. Do not be stunned by apparent darkness or deadness. These too, help the growth, if the patience and the faith continue undiminished, and all is borne without less of virtue or principle. The real test of growth is the inner attitude towards the outer surroundings, no matter what be their nature. I need hardly say, that wherever you may be and under whatever circumstances, you are always dear to me, and my thoughts, like angels of love, go out to you and give you whatever solace and protection they have to give.
Why do you feel so helpless? You are not surely a soulless man; and the Lords of Compassion have not yet given up the human race as incorrigible and hopeless. Call your philosophy to your aid, if you have not devotion enough to
meet the situation. Devotion and philosophy are meant to supplement each other; and when one fails to give consolation, the other may be resorted to and so life's duties carried on. There is no conflict between Bhakti and Jnana as some foolish people think. They are both handmaids to one desirable moksha, and the wise man finds endless power in either. (Devotion is the realization of the aspect of Secandlessness of the Atman, while Gnanam is that of its Unity. - D.) Remember that the Lord Harishikesha (Technically - The Lord, The Sustainer of the senses - The Self as the Organizing Life seated in the heart referred to in Kato-panishad - ii. II. - D.) dwells in your heart, and that in your essence you are part and parcel of His Sublime Life, and so stand firm. Misfortunes touch only the fleeting senses. (The senses and the mind are the expressions of the Unity of the Divine Life in terms of the phenomena of any given plane. Hence they are called, that is, subject to flux and efflux; whereas the Self is indicated in and through everything. Gita xiii-14. - D.) The 'outer' gloom you complain of is only an illusion of the mind, it cannot affect the Self. Ever try to live in the Self, to realize that you are the Self and not the sheaths with which Atman is temporarily clad to manifest the glory of the Paramatman; and you will rejoice in the midst of what the world calls vicissitudes of fortune and the miseries of mundane existence.
It is the changing maya-colored personality that looks for comfort and happiness in external things. The Self, the Atman, rejoices in itself, in pouring out Its Life and shedding forth Its light all around, - and not in having a friend, a wife, or even a teacher embodied. I am not dosing you with cold Vedanta. Warm, all-embracing Love is an essential part of my philosophy. But this love has no cravings, and is not limited by ephemeral forms.
The world is passing through a great crisis, and the spiritual spheres are specially affected. So it is no wonder that all who have turned to the Path should have some trials and sufferings. All of us are more or less in the darkness; and our friends, (The Dark Powers) happen to be triumphant just at present. And so you must go in for your share of it. I know it is a heavy burden that has fallen on you; but that only shows that you are more important than many others who have an easier lot. At any rate, there is no other way but to surrender yourself wholly to the Lord in perfect submission of spirit and humility. If you can do this, all will go well.
Will it give you any strength or bring you any encouragement, if I repeat with all the force of my spirit that solemn and sacred verse of the Gita which crowns all Shri Krishna's teachings, - that supreme advice of the Lord, - 'Surrendering all Dharma' seek my refuge; I will free thee from all sins: therefore grieve not.' ('The word Dharma needs special attention. It is not religion but the sense of an organic Unity stringing up the isolated units which form the objects of the ordinary consciousness. Even this organic Unity in manifestation is the expression in Time and Space of the One Secondless Self, and hence even Dharma has to be surrendered at a certain stage. - D.) And must I also quote those pregnant aphorisims from the Light on the Path which throws so much light on the inner meaning of the verse? Ponder over these and take heart, - 'Though thou fightest, be not thou the Warrior. Look for the Warrior, and let Him fight in thee. Take His orders for battle and obey them.' (Warrior is 'The Silent Watcher', 'the Charioteer' of the Gita. - D.) Above all, know that the heart of things is sweet Eternal Rest, and the soul of all, Bliss, and therefore, be of
good cheer, and yield not to the illusions of pleasure and pain. Comfortable existence is not conducive to advancement; and the very essential condition of progress is pain and suffering. But, of course, brief respites, intervals of enjoyment, must intervene.
I have learnt that you have been helped to get over your impending troubles. If you do your own duty and leave the rest to the Almighty, you may be sure everything will work out properly. The darkness should lift a little by this time from your soul, and I shall be glad to hear that it has.
I never for a moment suspected that N's heart was affected, and I think I told you more than once that it was only his understanding that was clouded. But this has caused us no little pain and sorrow. I fear his illusions have spread over you to some extent . . . Therefore, be on your guard, and let not the devil tempt you. The Law is inexorable. The higher a person rises, the more rigid does the workings of the Law become. Hence, take care in time.
There is a Law which governs the suffering of the would-be-disciple, as there is a Law under which the disciple has to work in trying to mitigate his suffering; and it is never wise to transgress this Law even in the excess of pity. A kind of interference is permitted on exceptional occasions and no others.
Have patience. Don't be too eager, nor think that you are fallen or degraded because under the stress of the severe trials you are undergoing, your developed conscience perceives wrong where sometime ago it would notice nothing unnatural or reprehensible. Take failures calmly, and learn from them the lessons they are meant to teach. Think more of the world around, its misery and degradation on the one hand, and its wise ordering, its perfect organization on the other, and you will help your growth better thus, than by concentrating the attention too much on your own development. A subtle kind of selfishness is developed if the mind is allowed to ponder too much upon individual progress, even though it be of a spiritual nature. The word 'spiritual' is often misunderstood; and much of the present condition of our Brahmins (also of present-day theosophists) is due to this mistake, which lies in forgetting that true spirituality is concomitant with utter selfishness, and that it is not an exaltation of some of the inner powers and virtues of the Ego. Never place the little self at the centre of the Universe, and you will do more towards killing it than by aspiring for the light of Heaven and the ecstacies of Divine vision.
(To Be Continued.)
THEOSOPHY UP TO DATE!
- EVOLUTION: As Outlined in The Archaic Eastern Records Compiled and Annotated by Basil Crump.
- H. P. BLAVATSKY: A GREAT BETRAYAL
A protest against the policy and teachings of The Theosophical Society introduced since the death of Madame Blavatsky.
- H. P. BLAVATSKY: HER LIFE AND WORK FOR HUMANITY
A vindication, and a brief exposition of her mission and teachings.
- BUDDHISM: The Science of Life.
By Alice Leighton Cleather and Basil Crump.
This book shows that the Esoteric philosophy of H. P. Blavatsky is identical with the Esoteric Mahayana Buddhism of China, Japan and Tibet.
- THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE
Translated and Annotated by H. P. Blavataky.
A faithful reprint of the original edition with an autograph foreword by H. S. H. The Tashi Lama of Tibet. Notes and Comments by Alice L. Cleather and Basil Crump. H.P.B. Centenary Edition, Peking, 1931. Third Impression.
The above may be had from The H. P. B. Library, 348 Foul Bay Road, Victoria, B.C., or The O. E. Library, 1207 Q Street N.W., Washing-ton, D.C., or from The Blavatsky Association, 88 Bedford Gardens, Campden Hill, London, W. 8, England.
THEOSOPHY AND THE MODERN WORLD
Conducted by W. Frank Sutherland
THE DILEMMA OF MODERN TIMES
It was argued in a previous issue of The Canadian Theosophist, that our economy was rapidly approaching a saturation point, that production was gradually climbing upwards toward a plateau, after reaching which progress would cease. This is the maturation theory now being strongly upheld by certain economists, and just as strongly opposed by others.
Statistically, those favoring the hypothesis seem to be much better situated than those in opposition, for with each passing year further proof is forthcoming, an additional point on the curve can be plotted and with each belief grows more surely into certainty. Nor can the present up-surge of production for war purposes be adduced as argument in favor of continued expansion. For one thing production as a whole is not greatly in excess of that which is attained in normal times if conformity to the trend of production were maintained, and then, whatever excess there may be is forced by efforts not usually to be be found when production for peace and not for war is the rule.
Nevertheless, there remains an anomaly. One of the most cogent criticisms of the maturation hypothesis is that there seems to be no good reason why we should, as an economy, cease to grow. It is rather evident indeed that technological resources, new materials, and manpower seem to be available in such abundance as not to set early limitations on production, and certainly the majority are not blessed with an abundance of this world's goods.
Certainly productive potentialities are far in excess of our use of them. The Brooking's Institute, taking industry just as it was, found that in 1929 the volume of production could have been expanded 19 per cent; whereas, for the same year, the New York Housing Authority found that its budget requirements of 152 per cent. of realized production could easily have been attained, and this without any great expansion of existing facilities. In many fields the possibilities for further production were found to be virtually unlimited. In the "Chart of Plenty" which accompanied the report of the Authority, no limit was set to the attainable production in practically all lines of consumption goods; a value of 200 per cent. of 1929 levels was, however, indicated as being easily attainable.
In a more recent publication of the United States Government, Technological Trends and National Policy, it is indicated that potentialities are relatively so great that the continuing growth of technology constitutes a hazard that does not take them into consideration.
As for manpower, it is patent that the vast pool of the unemployed now being drained for the armament industry could furnish us with sufficient labor and skills to give us a much more enhanced level of production for peace-time commodities. Paul Ackerman, a Canadian Engineer, has estimated that it would be entirely feasible to do all of America's work by utilizing the labor power of the population between the ages only of twenty-five and forty-five. In this short span of two decades, the worker could pay back to society at large all the social expense of rearing him to maturity, and could establish a credit which would enable him to retire for the rest of his life on full wage or salary.
So much for the productive aspect of
the economy. When we turn to consumption we find that while here also our present system is heading toward saturation, it is doing so long before consumer wants are satisfied. We note, in substantiation, that the conclusions of the Housing Authority were to the effect that an income per family of $4,370 would not only have been feasible in 1929, but that it was also necessary
to maintain a decent standard of living. In contrast, the Brooking's Institute found that in 1929 something like 19.5 million families had less than $2,500 per year and that some 11.65 million families had less than $1,500. "In general, it can be stated that in 1929, 40 per cent. of our people had incomes which provided a level beneath the accepted standard of health and decency, and another 40 per cent. existed close to poverty. Only some 9 per cent. possessed over $5,000. per year, and 2.3 per cent. possessed $10,000 per year or
One notes also that subsequently in 1935, some 23 million persons in the United States descended to the relief level. If resources, manpower and markets be available, why cannot we distribute the goods we even now are equipped to make? And why cannot we go on from here to make more tools and more goods? Why are there all the signs of stabilization at a level far below the satisfaction of our ultimate wants, below even the necessities of adequate subsistence for some?
II. Dives and Lazarus
Apologists for the present system contend that if all the incomes of all in society were levelled off, the average would still be low, lower than that required for comfortable living. There is truth in this contention and it is well supported statistically. This does not mean, of course, that a more equitable distribution might not be desirable, nor feasible, but simply that a mere redistribution by itself would not raise the production level appreciably. Whether or not it might do so indirectly is another matter.
It can be held indeed that luxurious living does not take away from the comfort and well-being of society, as a whole. There results only a direct and an enhanced satisfaction to the fortunate, which, if at all, only to a degree diminishes the well-being of those less fortunate. The wealthy are in the same position (insofar as their personal spending is concerned) as are those in the service occupations and the like. Useless spending would not appear to reduce the production of real wealth, for this spending ultimately resolves itself into wages paid for labor rendered, wages paid to butler and servant, craftsman and artisan, painter and artist. According to the more or less generally accepted theory, expenditures on consumption goods, even though the wherewithal be not earned, count for as much as does any other item in trade and commerce. And, of course, this is largely, if not wholly, true. The captain and the crew of a private yacht do not contribute much to the progress of society at large, nor does the foolish extravagance of the wealthy anywhere, yet it all results in purchasing power in the hands of the masses. Likewise, philanthropies ultimately reduce themselves to purchasing power, and they frequently result also in the creation of other forms of wealth as well as that of the transitory physical. They pay dividends in the forms of health, education, and the like; things which, in our economy, are otherwise often hard to come by.
III. The Arts
In any case, provision for the arts, philosophies and sciences, must enter
into any economic system, for they are all forms of wealth leading to the satisfaction of wants on the part of mankind. It is true, or course, that they may receive scant attention in a primitive society having little marginal production over and above that providing for the bare necessities, but in more highly
organized societies, or in societies in which certain groups of individuals achieve fairly high standards of living, oftentimes at the expense of their less-favored brethren, these pursuits flourish and rightly so.
One problem in any society is, to secure these benefits to all without detriment to some. In cultures of limited productive capacity, such as that which formed the basis of the City State in Plato's Republic, this is not always possible. Cities now, as in Plato's day, have ever been the centres for the pursuit of the higher things of life; and in the measure that these things contribute to the happiness and well-being of mankind, and it is in great measure that they do, provision must be made for them in any economy. But in a society of limited productive capacity where labor is a commodity, and a limited commodity, they may lead to limitation in a material sense, since the artist, musician, philosopher, and scientist are outside the productive chain itself, though requiring its products for their sustenance. Something similar can be said for any of the so-called non-productive arts or crafts.
We can well afford the crusts we now throw to such as these out of our present abundance.
It has been said from time to time though, that the arts, literature and the philosophical pursuits are but efflorescences on the rotten dunghills of decaying civilizations and perhaps it is true that these have flourished in the past during such periods of decadence. If true, however, it is only by reason of some in such periods having acquired wealth and leisure beyond the necessities. With access to abundance, all may soon participate and the glories of both past and present may be but dim fore-shadowings of a new that is yet to be.
Some say though that creative talents are hard to come by, few in any time and place possess them; some say also that the masses ever will have to be led by leaders wise and benevolent. Perhaps so, but one is inclined to think that of the natural resources we have tapped the least is that of man himself. The problem of nature versus nurture is as yet unsolved, and will remain so until mankind is placed in the environment suitable for its true development. In the meantime one is inclined to place one's hope for the future in humanity at large.
IV. Willful Waste, Woeful Want?
While all these may quite easily be considered as necessities in varying degrees, according to personal preference, in any society which has arisen above the mere subsistence level, and in which manpower is reasonably abundant, there are other elements in society which can hardly be so classed. They are usually lumped together under the heading of "economic waste" and are considered as something to be avoided, something dangerous, at times, to the continued welfare of society. Acts of God, and wars, the willful destruction of natural resources, changing fads and fancies, and inefficiencies in production and in distribution seem to cover the major forms of such waste - waste which leads to greater effort and less leisure.
It has long been something of a mystery why man should blame the putative Author of all good for his calamities, unless it be that it is only his way of avoiding responsibility for the things he cannot avoid. Wars, however, are
clearly man's own responsibility and there is little to choose between storms and floods, earthquakes and fires, and the destruction wrought by war. That all such result in the destruction of real wealth is not to be denied. But once the damage has been repaired, society resumes the wonted tenor of its ways with little or no permanent hurt. Nature assists in hiding the scars she herself or man has made, and the society of man shows a surprising resiliency on its own account.
Great calamities and wars do lead us to draw heavily on the bank of natural resources, something we are prone to do in any event, but this spoilzation has little or no immediate effect. It may indeed lead to an acceleration in progress, even though in times to come increased effort and a decreased standard of living may be the result.
Inefficiencies in production and in distribution are legion, and some of them are avoidable. Indeed, the whole of the plant and services required for the distribution of goods is sometimes considered as an evil, though a necessary one. And while, strictly speaking, this may be so, yet such of plant as is required and the services of those in trade and commerce are necessary to the continued functioning of the economic machine.
One is faced with the fact, though, that as production grows, so grows the machinery of distribution. Gains on the one hand are frequently offset on the other. Waste in centralization is quite apparent at times. There is undeniably waste in hauling raw materials long distances to plants, and again in hauling finished products long distances to markets. The more self-contained any community, any state, any nation is, within the limts of mass production and technology, the better.
This Way Lies Fascism and Failure
All the foregoing are now of no importance under peace-time conditions, important as they are for the moment, when democracy is fighting for its very existence and for its right to evolve into a still better social order. All these which have been enumerated place a burden on society as a whole it is true, sometimes a useful burden, more often not; yet we have been maintaining ten per cent. of our population on relief, and the remainder of us have not been worked unduly hard. The burden is not onerous. Those in non-productive or wasteful occupations spend money just as do the usefully employed; they purchase goods and services; they form an integral portion of the existing economic system; and any reduction in their ranks, under peace-time conditions, today would only swell the ranks of the unemployed. In older times, such of these as were then present might well have had more serious effects than now, but when we consider that our economic system is geared up to produce much more than we consume, and when we consider that unemployment has been rife, it becomes quite apparent that such elements are not the primary cause of the present impasse.
Such indications are not now in evidence.
These opinions are contrary to those held by many who advocate planning as an economic panacea, and they are also contrary to those opinions held by others, who in their advocacy of parsimony as a remedy oppose the extension of social services and the like. The first would release vast numbers to swell the ranks of the unemployed; the second would lower the standards of living of the majority of the population as well. The effect of both would be seen in the increasing stratification of society, in the preservation of vested interests for a time, but only for a time, and in a reversion to a feudal status, wherein an elite would benefit and
wherein mass production and the resources of technology would cease to be of the slightest importance. This way lies collapse.
Observations by Rauschning are apropos:
"To the outside observer it is simply inexplicable how captains of industry and financiers, used to careful and unemotional consideration allow themselves to be deceived as to the true nature of the dynamic revolution, and still see in "Fascism" a patron of order and security which will restore the ability of trade and industry to show profit. The restoration of "order", the disciplining of workers, the ending of politically fixed wages and profit-destroying social services, the abolition of the worker's freedom of association, and the replacing of short-lived parliamentary governments by a stable political system that permits long-range calculation - all these things tempt leaders of industry and finance and of society to shut their eyes to the fundamental difference between the true motives with which the dynamic dictatorships are set up and the motives which lead the conservative elements to support them."
With all hue deference to Rauschning, one suspects that the "difference in motives" of which he speaks is neither great nor fundamental. The rationale of Fascism, if indeed it have any, is that of the corporative state, - of a totally planned economy, preserving as nearly as may be possible the existing stratification of society as we see in the results of the Spanish revolution. Coupled with this crystallization of things as they are is the endeavor to overcome difficulties through regimentation and the elimination of the so-called nonessentials, even sometimes of the unfit by euthanasia.
The theory underlying the outward manifestations of Fascism and prompting those who support it would seem to be this: that by increasing the pressure toward production, the "productive potential" of this volume, through the augmentation of productivity by planning, and by regimentation, productive levels will be maintained, cost lowered, profits enhanced, and competition destroyed.
Fascism, however, in any of its variants, Italian, German, Japanese, American, Canadian, or other, is not "the wave of the future", but the backwash of the past. It is a return to feudalism, without even the feudal recognition of responsibilities to those low in the social order.
For while it is true that some of the measures which have been advocated would lead to an increase in the productive potential of society, concurrently these same measures would lead also to an increase, and one in proportion, in the resistance of the economy to the internal flow of goods. Consequently, no great increase in production for the home market could ensue, and the net result would be that of creating an economic pressure tending to burst the barriers of international trade, peacefully or otherwise, to flood foreign markets. Needless to say, the grandiose schemes of the German, Italian and Japanese economies for world conquest are illustrative of the point.
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