OCCULT OR EXACT SCIENCE?
ECCE Signum! Behold the sign foreseen
in a brighter future; the problem that will be the question
of the forthcoming age, that every thoughtful, earnest father
will be asking himself with regard to his children's education
in the XXth century. And let it be stated at once, that by "Occult
Science" neither the life of a chela nor the
austerities of an ascetic are here meant; but simply the study
of that which alone can furnish the key to the mysteries of nature,
and unveil the problems of the universe and of psycho-physical
man--even though one should not feel inclined to go any deeper.
Every new discovery made by modern science vindicates the truths
of the archaic philosophy. The true occultist is acquainted with
no single problem that esoteric science is unable to solve, if
approached in the right direction; the scientific bodies of the
West have as yet no phenomenon of natural science that they can
fathom to its innermost depths, or explain in all its aspects.
Exact science fails to do so--in this cycle, for reasons
that will be given further on. Nevertheless the pride of the age,
which revolts against the intrusion into the empire of science
of old--especially of transcendental--truths, is growing every
year more intolerant. Soon the world will behold it soaring in
the clouds of self-sufficiency like a new tower of Babel, to share,
perchance, the fate of the Biblical monument.
In a recent scientific work on Anthropology,1 one can
read the following: "It is then given to us, at last, to
know (?), to grasp, to handle and measure the forces through
which it is claimed, that God proceeded.... We have made electricity
our postman, light our draughts-man, affinity our journeyman,"
etc., etc. This is in a French work. One who knows something of
the perplexities of exact science, of the mistakes and daily confessions
of her staff, feels inclined, after reading such pompous stuff,
to exclaim with the malcontent of the Bible: Tradidit mundum
ut non sciant. Verily --"the world was delivered to them
that they should never know it." How likely the scientists
are to succeed in this direction may be inferred from the
fact that the great Humboldt himself could give expression to
such erroneous axioms as this one: "Science begins for man
only when his mind has mastered MATTER!"2 The word "spirit" for "matter" might
perhaps have expressed a greater truth. But M. Renan would not
have complimented the venerable author of the Kosmos in
the terms he did, had the term matter been replaced by spirit.
I intend to give a few illustrations to show that the knowledge
of matter alone, with the quondam "imponderable" forces--whatever
the adjective may have meant with the French Academy and Royal
Society at the time it was invented--is not sufficient for the
purposes of true science. Nor will it ever prove efficient to
explain the simplest phenomenon even in objective physical nature,
let alone the abnormal cases in which physiologists and
biologists at present manifest such interest. As Father Secchi,
the famous Roman astronomer expressed it in his work,3 "If but a few of the new forces were proven, they would necessitate
the admission in their domain (that of forces) of agents of quite
another order than those of gravitation."
"I have read a good deal about occultism and studied Kabbalistic
books: I have never understood one word in them!"--was a
recent remark made by a learned experimenter in "thought-transference,"
"color-sounds," and so on.
Very likely. One has to study his letters before he can spell
and read, or understand what he reads.
Some forty years back, I knew a child--a little girl of seven
or eight--who very seriously frightened her parents by saying:
"Now, mamma, I love you. You are good and kind to me to-day.
Your words are quite blue" . . .
"What do you mean?" . . . asked the mother.
"Your words are all blue--because they are so caressing,
but when you scold me they are red . . . so red! But it
is worse when you fly in a passion with papa for then they are
orange . . . horrid . . . like that" . . .
And the child pointed to the hearth, with a big roaring fire and
huge flames in it. The mother turned pale.
After that the little sensitive was heard very often associating
sounds with colors. The melody played by the mother on the
piano threw her into ecstasies of delight; she saw "such
beautiful rainbows," she explained, but when her aunt played,
it was "fireworks and stars," "brilliant stars
shooting pistols--and then . . . bursting" . . .
The parents got frightened and suspected something had gone wrong
with the child's brain. The family physician was sent for.
"Exuberance of childish fancy," he said. "Innocent
hallucinations . . . Don't let her drink tea, and make her play
more with her little brothers--fight with them, and have physical
And he departed.
In a large Russian city, on the banks of the Volga, stands a hospital
with a lunatic asylum attached to it. There a poor woman was locked
up for over twenty years--to the day of her death in fact --as
a "harmless" though insane patient. No other
proofs of her insanity could be found on the case-books than the
fact that the splash and murmur of the river-waves produced the
finest "God's rainbows" for her; while the voice of
the superintendent caused her to see "black and crimson"--the colors of the Evil one.
About that same period, namely in 1840, something similar to this
phenomenon was heralded by the French papers. Such an abnormal
state of feelings--physicians thought in those days--could be
due but to one reason; such impressions whenever experienced
without any traceable cause, denoted an ill-balanced mind,
a weak brain--likely to lead its possessor to lunacy. Such was the decree of science. The views of the piously inclined,
supported by the affirmations of the village curés, inclined the other way. The brain had ought to do with the
"obsession," for it was simply the work or tricks of
the much slandered "old gentleman" with cloven foot
and shining horns. Both the men of learning and the superstitious
"good women" have had somewhat to alter their opinions
Even in that early period and before the "Rochester"
wave of spiritualism had swept over any considerable portion of
civilized society in Europe, it was shown that the same phenomenon
could be produced by means of various narcotics and drugs. Some
bolder people, who feared neither a charge of lunacy nor the unpleasant
prospect of being regarded as wards in "Old Nick's Chancery,"
made experiments and declared the results publicly. One was Théophile
Gautier, the famous French author.
Few are those acquainted with the French literature of that day,
who have not read the charming story told by that author, in which
he describes the dreams of an opium-eater. To analyze the impressions at first hand, he took a large dose of hashisch. "My
hearing," he writes, "acquired marvelous capacities: I heard the music of the flowers; sounds,--green, red and
blue--poured into my ears in clearly perceptible waves
of smell and color. A tumbler upset, the creaking
of an arm-chair, a word whispered in the lowest tones vibrated
and resounded within me like so many claps of thunder.
At the gentlest contact with objects--furniture or human body--I
heard prolonged sounds, sighs like the melodious vibrations of
an Æolian harp . . ."4
No doubt the powers of human fancy are great; no doubt delusion
and hallucination may be generated for a shorter or a longer period
in the healthiest human brain either naturally or artificially.
But natural phenomena that are not included in that "abnormal"
class do exist; and they have at last taken forcible possession
even of scientific minds. The phenomena of hypnotism, of thought-transference,
of sense-provoking, merging as they do into one another and manifesting
their occult existence in our phenomenal world, succeeded finally
in arresting the attention of some eminent scientists. Under the
leadership of the famous Dr. Charcot, of the Salpêtriere
Hospital in Paris, several famous men of science took the phenomena
in hand--in France, Russia, England, Germany and Italy. For over
fifteen years they have been experimenting, investigating, theorizing.
And what is the result? The sole explanation given to the public,
to those who thirst to become acquainted with the real, the intimate
nature of the phenomena, with their productive cause and genesis--is
that the sensitive who manifest them are all HYSTERICAL! They are psychopates,5 and neurosists6--we are told,--no other cause underlying the needless variety of manifestations
than that of a purely physiological character. This looks satisfactory
for the present, and--quite hopeful for the future. "Hysterical
hallucination" is thus doomed to become, as it appears, the alpha and the omega of every phenomenon. At the
same time science defines the word "hallucination" as "an error of our senses, shared by, and imposed (by that error) upon our intelligence."7 Now
such hallucinations of a sensitive as are objective the
apparition of an "astral body" for instance,--are not
only perceptible by the sensitive's (or medium's) "intelligence,"but are
likewise shared by the senses of those present. Consequently
the natural inference is that all those witnesses are also hysterical.
The world is in danger, we see, of being turned, by the end of this century, into one vast lunatic asylum, in which the learned
physicians alone would form the sane portion of humanity.
Of all the problems of medical philosophy, hallucination seems,
at this rate, the most difficult to solve, the most obstinate
to get rid of. It could hardly be otherwise, for it is one of
the mysterious results of our dual nature, the bridge thrown over
the chasm that separates the world of matter from the world of
spirit. None but those willing to cross to the other side can
appreciate it, or ever recognize the noumenon of its phenomena.
And without doubt a manifestation is quite disconcerting to any
one who witnesses it for the first time. Proving to the materialist
the creative faculty, the potency of man's spirit, naturalizing before the churchman the "miracle," and super-naturalizing,
so to say, the simplest effects of natural causes, hallucination cannot be accepted yet for what it really is, and could hardly
be forced upon the acceptation of either the materialist or the
believing Christian, since one is as strong in his denial as the
other is in his affirmation. "Hallucination," says an
authority quoted by Brierre de Boismont,8 "is
the reproduction of the material sign of the idea." Hallucination,
it is said, has no respect for age or for merit; or, if a fatal
experience is worth anything--"a physician who would give
it too much of his attention or would study it for too long a
time and too seriously, would be sure to end his career
in the ranks of his own patients."
This is an additional proof, that "hallucination" was
hardly ever studied "too seriously" as self-sacrifice
is not quite the most prominent feature of the age. But if so
catching, why should we not be permitted the bold and disrespectful
suggestion that the biologists and physiologists of Dr. Charcot's
school, have themselves become hallucinated with the rather
one-sided scientific idea that such phenomenal hallucinations
are all due to Hysteria?
However it may be, whether a collective hallucination of
our medical lights or the impotency of material thought, the simplest
phenomenon-of the class accepted and verified by men of
science in the year 1885--remains as unexplained by them, as it
was in 1840.
If, admitting for argument's sake, that some of the common herd
out of their great reverence--often amounting to ftich worship--for
science and authority, do accept the dictum of the scientists
that every phenomenon, every "abnormal" manifestation,
is due to the pranks of epileptic hysteria, what shall
the rest of the public do? Shall they believe that Mr. Eglinton's self-moving slate pencil is also laboring under a fit of
the same epilepsy as its medium even though he does not touch
it? Or that the prophetic utterances of the seers, the grand
inspired apostles of all ages and religions, were simply the pathological
results of hysteria? Or again that the ''miracles'' of the Bible,
those of Pythagoras, Apollonius and others--belong to the same
family of abnormal manifestations, as the hallucinations
of Dr. Charcot's Mlle. Alphonsine--or whatever her name--and
her erotic descriptions and her poetry--"in consequence of
the swelling with gases of her great bowel" (sic) ? Such
a pretension is likely to come to grief. First of all "hallucination"
itself, when it is really the effect of physiological cause, would
have to be explained--but it never has been. Taking at
random some out of the hundreds of definitions by eminent French
physicians (we have not those of the English at hand) what do
we learn about "hallucinations?" We have given Dr. Brierre
de Boismont's "definition," if it can be called one:
now let us see a few more.
Dr. Lelut calls it--"a sensorial and perceptive folly"; Dr. Chomil--"a common illusion of the sensorium"9;
Dr. Leuret--"an illusion intermediary between sensation
and conception" (Psychol. Fragments); Dr. Michéa--"a
perceptive delirium (Delusion of the Senses); Dr. Calmeil--"an
illusion due to a vicious modification of the nervous substance" (Of Folly, Vol. I) etc., etc.
The above will not make the world, I am afraid, much wiser than
it is. For my part, I believe the theosophists would do well to
keep to the old definition of hallucinations (théophania)10 and folly, made some two thousands of years back by Plato,
Virgilius, Hippocrates, Galen and the medical and theological
schools of old. "There are two kinds of folly, one of which
is produced by the body, the other sent to us by the gods."
About ten years ago, when Isis Unveiled was being written,
the most important point the work aimed at was the demonstration
of the following, (a) the reality of the Occult in nature; (b) the thorough knowledge of, and familiarity with, all
such occult domains amongst "certain men," and their
mastery therein; (c) hardly an art or science known in our age,
that the Vedas have not mentioned; and (d ) that
hundreds of things, especially mysteries of nature,--in abscondito as the alchemists called it,--were known to the Aryas of the premahabharata period, which are unknown to us, the modern
sages of the XIXth century.
A new proof of it is now being given. lt. comes as a fresh corroboration,
from some recent investigations in France by learned "specialists"
(?) with regard to the confusion made by their neurosis and psychomaniacs between color and sound, "musical
impressions" and color-impressions.
This special phenomenon was first approached in Austria in 1873
by Dr. Newbamer. After him it began to be seriously investigated
in Germany by Blaver and Lehmann; in Italy by Vellardi, Bareggi
and a few others, and it was finally and quite recently taken
up by Dr. Pedronoeau of France. The most interesting accounts
of color-sound phenomena may, however, be found in La
Nature, (No. 626, 1885, pp. 406, et seq.) in an article
contributed by A. de Rochat who experimented with a certain gentleman
whom he names Mr. "N. R."
The following as a short resumé of his experience.
N. R. is a man of about 57 years of age, an advocate by
profession, now living in one of the country faubourgs of
Paris, a passionate amateur of natural sciences which he has studied
very seriously, fond of music, though no musician himself, a great
traveler and as great a linguist. N. R. had never read anything
about that peculiar phenomenon that makes certain people associate
sound with color, but was subject to it from his very boyhood.
Sound of every description had always generated in him the impression
of colors. Thus the articulation of the vowels produces in his
brain the following results:--The letter A--appears to him dark
red; E-- white; I--black; O--yellow; V--blue. The double-vowel
letters; A i--chestnut color; Ei--grayish white; Eu--light blue;
Oi--dirty-yellow; Ou--yellowish. The consonants are nearly all
of a dark gray hue; while a vowel, or a double vowel forming with
a consonant a syllable, colors that syllable with its own tint.
Thus, ba, ca, da are all of red-gray color; bi, ci,
di ash colored; bo, co, do yellow gray, and so on.
S ending a word and pronounced in a hissing way, I like the Spanish
words los compos, imparts to the syllable that precedes
it a metallic glittering. The color of the word depends thus on
the color of the letters that compose it, so that to N. R. human
speech appears in the shape of many colored, or variegated ribbons
coming out of persons' mouths, the colors of which are determined
by those of the vowels in the sentences, separated one from the
other by the grayish stripes of the consonants. The languages
receive in their turn a common coloring from those letters that
predominate in each. For instance, the German, which abounds in
consonants, forms on the whole the impression of a dark
gray moss; French appears gray, strongly meted with white; the
English seems nearly black; Spanish is very much colored especially
with yellow and carmine-red tints; Italian is yellow, merging
into carmine and black, but with more delicate and harmonious
tints than the Spanish.
A deep-toned voice impresses N. R. with a dark red color which
gradually passes into a chocolate hue; while a shrill, sonorous
voice suggests the blue color, and a voice between these two extremes
changes these colors immediately into very light yellow.
The sounds of instruments have also their distinct and special colors: the piano and the flute suggest tints of blue; the
violin-- black; and the guitar--silver gray, etc.
The names of musical notes pronounced loudly, influence N. R.
in the same manner as the words. The colors of a singing voice
L and playing depend upon the voice and its compass and altitude,
E; and upon the instrument played on.
So it is with figures verbally pronounced; but when read
mentally they reflect for him the color of the ink they are written
or printed with. The form, therefore, has ought to do with such
color phenomena. While these impressions do not generally take
place outside of himself, but perform, so to say, on the platform
of his brain, we find other sensitive offering far more curious
phenomena than "N. R." does.
Besides Galton's interesting chapter upon this subject, in his
"Inquiries into Human Faculty and its Development,"
we find in the London Medical Record a sensitive describing
his impressions in this wise: "As soon as I hear the
sounds of a guitar, I see vibrating chords, surrounded
by colored vapors." The piano produces the same:
images begin to float over the keys." One of Dr. Pedronneau's
subjects in Paris11 has always color impressions outside of himself. "Whenever I hear a chorus composed of several
voices," he says, "I feel a great number of colored
points floating over the heads of the singers. I feel them,
for my eye receives no definite impression; nevertheless, I am
compelled to look at them, and while examining them
I feel perplexed, for I cannot find those bright colored spots
where I look at them, or rather feel them."
Inversely, there are sensitive in whom the sight of colors evokes
immediately that of sounds, and others again, in whom a triple
phenomenon is produced by one special sense generating two other
senses. A certain sensitive cannot hear a brass band without a
taste "like copper in the mouth" during the performance,
and seeing dark golden clouds.
Science investigates such manifestations, recognizes their reality,
and--remains powerless to explain them. "Neurosis and hysteria" is the only answer obtained, and the "canine hallucinations" of the French academicians quoted in Isis, have remained valid to this day as an explanation,
or a universal solvent of all such phenomena. But it is
only natural after all, that science should be unable to account
at any rate for this particular phenomenon of light and sound, since their theory of light itself has never been
fully verified, nor made complete to the present day.
Let then our scientific opponents play for a while longer at "blind
man's buff" amongst phenomena, with no ground to stand upon
but their eternal physiological hypotheses. The time is not perhaps
far off when they shall be compelled to change their tactics or--confess
themselves defeated by even such elementary phenomena as
described above. But, whatever physiologists may, or may not say,
or do; whatever their scientific explanations, hypotheses and
conclusions at present or in the future, modern phenomena, are
fast cycling back for their true explanation, to the archaic Vedas, and other "Sacred Books of the East."
For it is an easy matter to show, that the Vedic Aryans were quite
familiar with all such mysteries of sound and color. Mental correlation of the two senses of "sight" and "hearing"
were as common a fact in their days, as that of a man in our own
seeing objective things before him with eyes wide open at noon.
Any student of Occultism, the youngest of chelas who has
just begun reading esoterically his Vedas, can suspect
what the real phenomenon means; simply--a cyclic return of
human organisms to their primitive form during the 3rd and
even the 4th Root Races of what is known as the Antediluvian
periods. Everything conspires to prove it, even the study
of such exact sciences as philology and comparative mythology.
From the hoary days of antiquity, from the very dawn of the grand
civilizations of those races that preceded our Fifth Race,
and the traces of which now lie buried at the very bottom
of the oceans, the fact in question was known. That which is now
considered as an abnormal phenomenon, was in every probability
the normal state of the antediluvian Humanity. These are no vain
words, for here are two of the many proofs.
In consequence of the abundant data gleaned by linguistic research,
philologists are beginning to raise their voices and are pointing
to some very suggestive, though as yet unexplained facts. (1) All the
words indicative of human representations and conceptions
of light and sound are found to have their derivation
from the same roots.12 (2) Mythology shows, in
her turn, the
evident law--the uniformity of which precludes the possibility
of chance--that led the ancient symbologists to represent all
their sun-gods and radiant deities--such as the Dawn, the
Sun, or Aurora, Pheebus, Apollo, etc.--connected in one way or the other with music and singing,--with sound in
with radiancy and color.13
If this is as yet but an inference, there exists a still better
proof in the Vedas, for there the conceptions of the words
"sound" and a "light," "to hear"
and "to see," are always associated. In Hymn
X, 71, verse 4, we read "One--though looking, sees not
the speech, and the other seeing--does not hear it." And again in verse 7th, in which a party of friends
is represented as emulating each other in singing, they are characterized
by the double epithet placed side by side: Akshavanta and Karnavanta, or "one furnished with eyes" and
"one furnished with ears." The latter is natural--the
singer has a good ear for music, and the epithet is comprehensible
in view of the musical emulation. But what sense can the Akshavanta have in this case, with his good sight, unless there is a
connection and a meaning in it that are not explained, because
probably the hymn refers to days when sight and hearing
were synonymous terms? Moreover, a philologist, a rising
tells14 us that "the Sanskrit verbal root ARC
is used to denote two meanings--(a) "to sing," and (b) "to shine," to radiate beams or rays.
The substantives rc and arka, derived from the root
ARC are used to signify ( 1 ) song, hymn, and (2) brilliancy, ray, sun.... In the conception
of the ancients a speech could be seen . . . he explains.
What does the Esoteric Doctrine,--that universal solvent indeed
of all scientific difficulties and puzzles--say to this? It sends
us to the chapter on the Evolution of Races, in which primitive man is shown in his special evolution advancing on the physical
plane by developing a sense in each successive sub-race (of which
there are seven) of the 1st Root-race during the 4th Round on
this globe.15 Human speech, as known to us,
came into being
in the Root-race that preceded ours--the Fourth or the
"Atlantean"--at the very beginning of it, in sub-race
No. 1; and simultaneously with it were developed sight--as
a physical sense--while the four other senses (with the two additional--the
6th and 7th--of which science knows nothing as yet)--remained
in their latent, undeveloped state as physical senses, although
fully developed as spiritual faculties. Our sense of hearing developed only in the 3rd sub-races. Thus, if human "speech"--owing
to that absence of the sense of hearing--was in the beginning
even less than what we would call a whispered speech, for it was
a mental articulation of sounds rather than anything else, something
like the systems we now see worked out for the Deaf and Dumb,
still it is easy to understand how, even from those early days,
"speech" became associated with "sight," or,
in other words, people could understand each other and talk
with the help of only sight and touch. "Sound
is seen before it is heard,"--says the Book of Kiu-ti. The flash of lightning precedes the clap of thunder. As ages
went by mankind fell with every new generation lower and lower into matter, the physical smothering the spiritual, until
the whole set of senses--that had formed during the first three
Root races but one SENSE, namely, spiritual
perception--finally fell asunder to form henceforth five distinct
But we are in the 5th race, and we have already passed the turning
or axial point of our "sub-race cycle." Eventually
as the current phenomena and the increase of sensitive organisms
in our age go to prove, this Humanity will be moving swiftly on
the path of pure spirituality, and will reach the apex (of our Race) at the end of the 7th sub-race. In plainer and fuller language--plainer, and fuller to some theosophists
only, I am afraid--we shall be, at that period, on the same degree
of spirituality that belonged to, and was natural in, the 1st
sub-race of the 3rd Root-race of the FOURTH Round; and the second half of it (or that half in which we now
are) will be, owing to the law of correspondence, on parallel
lines with r the first half of the THIRD Round. In the words of one in whom t live Truth and Wisdom--however
often His words may have been misunderstood and criticized, not
alone by profane critics but even by some theosophists,--"in
the 1st half of the 3rd Round the primordial spirituality of man
was eclipsed, because over-shadowed by nascent mentality";
Humanity was on its descending arc in the first half of
that round and in the last half on its ascending arc: i.e., F "his (man's) gigantic stature had decreased
and his body improved in texture; and he had become a more rational
being though still more an ape than a Deva-man." And,
if so, then, according to that same law of correspondences--an
immutable one in the system of cycles--we have to infer the following:--that
the latter half of our Round,--as shown to correspond with the
1st half of the 3rd,-- [ must have already begun to be once more
overshadowed by renascent "primordial" spirituality,
which, at the end of the 4th Round, will have nearly eclipsed
our actual mentality--in the sense of cold human Reason.
On the principle of that same law of correspondences,--as shall
be shown and thoroughly explained in the forthcoming SECRET DOCTRINE--civilized humanity will soon begin
to show itself, if even less "rational" on the worldly
plane, at any rate more Deva-like than "ape-like"--as
we now actually are, and that in the most distressing degree.
I may conclude with the remark, that since our natural and still
"ape-like" propensities make us dread, individually
and collectively, to be thrown by public opinion out of that region
where all the smaller bodies gravitate toward the luminary of
our social solar system Science and her authority,--something
has to be done to remedy such a disastrous state of things. I
propose to show therefore, in my next, that as we are still only
in the 5th sub-race of the Parent race, and none of us shall live
to see the 7th--when things shall mend naturally,--that it is
just as well not to hang our hopes on science, whether orthodox
or semi-heretical. The men of science cannot help the world to
understand the rationale of phenomena, which for a little
while longer in this cycle it will be quite impossible for them
to account for, even to themselves. They can neither understand
nor explain it, any more than any one else can, who has not studied
occultism and the hidden laws that govern nature and rule mankind.
The men of science are helpless in this case, and it is
unjust to charge them with malice, or even with unwillingness--
as has been often done. Their rationality (taken in this
case in the sense of intellectuality, not of reason)
can never permit them to turn their attention to occult study.
Therefore it is useless to demand or expect from the learned men
of our age that which they are absolutely incapable of doing for
us, until the next cycle changes and transforms entirely their inner nature by "improving the texture" of their
It has already been remarked that neither the medical faculties, nor the scientific bodies of physicists, could ever explain
the primum mobile or rationale of the simplest phenomenon,
outside of purely physiological causes; and that, unless they
turned for help to occultism, they would have to bite the dust
before the XXth century was very old.
This seems a bold assertion. Nevertheless, it is fully justified
by that of certain medical celebrities: that no phenomenon
is possible outside of physiological and purely physical causes. They might reverse this statement and say no final investigation
is possible with the light of only physiological and physical
causes. That would be correct. They might add that,
as men of exact science, they could not employ other methods of
investigation. Therefore, having conducted their experiments to
a certain boundary, they would desist and declare their task
accomplished. Then the phenomena might be passed on to transcendentalists
and philosophers to speculate upon. Had they spoken in such a
spirit of sincerity no one would have the right of saying that
they had not done their duty: for they would have done the best
they could under the circumstances, and, as will presently be
shown, they could do no more. But at present the neuropathic physicians
merely impede the progress of real psychological knowledge. Unless
there is an opening, however small, for the passage of a ray from
a man's higher self to chase the darkness of purely material
conceptions from the seat of his intellect, and to replace
it by light from a plane of existence entirely unknown to the
ordinary senses, his task can never be wrought to a successful
termination. And as all such abnormal cases, in order to be manifested
to our physical as well as spiritual senses, in other words, to become objective, must always have their generating causes
inter-blended between the two spheres or planes of existence,
the physical and the spiritual, it is but natural that a materialist
should discern only those with which he is acquainted, and remain
blind to any other. The following illustration will make
this clear to every intellectual reader.
When we speak of light, of heat and sound, and so on, what do
we mean? Each of these natural phenomena exists per se. But
for us it has no being independently of our senses, and exists
only to that degree which is perceived by a sense corresponding
to it in us. Without being in the least deaf or blind, some men
are endowed with far less acute hearing and sight than their neighbors;
and it is a well known fact that our senses can be developed and
trained as well as our muscles by exercise and method. It is an
old axiom that the sun needs an eye to manifest its light; and
though the solar energy exists from the first flutter of our Manvantara
and will exist to the first killing breath of Pralaya, still,
if a certain portion of that energy did not call forth in us those
modifications that we name perception of light, Cymmerian darkness
would fill the Kosmos and we should be denying the very existence
of the sun. Science makes a- distinction between the two energies--that
of heat and that of light. But the same science teaches
us that the creature, or being, in which the corresponding external
actions would cause a homogeneous modification, could not find
any difference between heat and light. On the other hand, that
the creature, or being, in which the dark rays of the solar spectrum
would call forth the modifications that are produced in us by
the bright rays, would see light there, where we saw nothing whatever.
Mr. A. Butlerof, a professor of chemistry and an eminent scientist,
gives us many instances of the above. He points to the observations
made by Sir John Lubbock on the sense of color in ants. It
was found by that distinguished man of science, that ants do not
allow their eggs to remain subjected to light, and carry them
off immediately from a sun-lit spot to a dark place. But when
a ray of red light is turned on those eggs (the larvæ),
the ants leave them untouched as though they were in complete
darkness: they place their eggs indifferently under a red light
or in utter darkness. Red light is a non-existent thing for them:
as they do not see it, it is for them darkness. The impressions
made on them by bright rays are very weak, especially by those
nearest to the red--the orange and yellow. To such rays, on the
contrary, as light and dark blue and violet--they seem very impressionable.
When their nests are lit partly with violet and partly with red
rays, they transfer their eggs immediately from the violet on
to the red field. To the ant, therefore, the violet ray is the
brightest of all the spectral rays. Their sense of color is therefore
quite the opposite of the same sense in man.
But this contrast is still more strengthened by another fact.
Besides the rays of light, the solar spectrum contains, as every
one knows, the so-called heat rays (for red) and the chemical
(for violet). We see however neither the one nor the other, but
term both of them dark rays; while the ants perceive them
clearly. For, as soon as their eggs are subjected to the action
of those dark rays, the ants drag them from that (to us) quite
obscure field on to the one lighted by the red ray; therefore,
for them, the chemical ray is violet. Hence says the professor--"Owing
to such a peculiarity, the objects seen by the ants must appear
to them quite different from what they seem to us; those insects
find evidently in nature hues and colors of which we have not,
nor can have, the slightest conception. Admit for one moment the
existence in nature of such objects as would swallow up all the
rays of the solar spectrum, and scatter only the chemical rays:
these objects would remain invisible to us, while the ants
would perceive them very well."
And now, let the reader imagine for one moment the following: that there may be a possibility within the powers of man,
with the help of secret sciences, firstly of preparing an "object"
(call it talisman if you will) which, detaining for a longer
or shorter period the rays of the "solar spectrum" on
some one given point, will cause the manipulator of it to remain
invisible to all, because he places himself and keeps within the
boundary of the chemical or "dark" rays; and secondly--reversing
it, to become enabled to see in nature by the help of those dark
rays that which ordinary men, with no such "talisman"
at hand, can never see with their natural, naked eye! This may
be a simple supposition, or it may be a very serious statement,
for all the men of science know. They protest only against that
which is claimed to be supernatural, above or outside their Nature; they have no right to object to the acceptance of
the super-sensuous, if shown within the limits of our sensuous
The same holds good in acoustics. Numerous observations have shown
that ants are completely deaf to the sounds that we hear; but
that is no reason why we should suppose that ants are deaf. Quite
the reverse; for taking his stand on his numerous observations,
the same scientist thinks it necessary to accept that the ants hear sounds, "only not those that are perceptible to
Every organ of hearing is sensitive to vibrations of a given rapidity,
but in cases of different creatures such rapidity may very easily
not coincide. And not only in the case of creatures quite different
from us men, but even in that of mortals whose organizations are
peculiar abnormal as they are termed either naturally, or through
training.l6 Our ordinary ear, for instance,
is insensible to vibrations surpassing 38,000 a second,
whereas the auditive organ of not only ants but some mortals likewise--who
know the way to secure the tympanum from damage, and that of provoking
certain correlation in ether--may be very sensitive to vibrations
exceeding by far the 38,000 in a second, and thus, such an auditive
organ,--abnormal only in the limitations of exact science,--might
naturally enable its possessor, whether man or ant, to enjoy sounds
and melodies in nature, of which the ordinary tympanum gives no idea.
"There, where to our senses reigns dead silence, a
thousand of the most varied and weird sounds may be gratifying
to the hearing of ants," says Professor Butlerof,17 citing Lubbock; "and these tiny, intelligent insects could,
therefore, regard us with the same right as we have to
regard them--as deaf, and utterly incapable of enjoying the music
of nature, only because they remain insensible to the sound of
a gun, human shouting, whistling, and so on."
The aforesaid instances sufficiently show that the scientist's
knowledge of nature is incapable of coinciding wholly and entirely
with all that exists and may be found in it. Even without trespassing
on other and different spheres and planets, and keeping strictly within the boundaries of our globe, it becomes evident that
there exist in it thousands upon thousands of things unseen, unheard,
and impalpable to the ordinary human senses. But let us admit,
only for the sake of argument, that there may be quite apart from
the supernatural--a science that teaches mortals what may be termed
super-sensuous chemistry and physics; in plainer language--alchemy and the metaphysics of concrete not abstract
nature, and every difficulty will be removed. For, as the same
Professor argues--"If we see light there, where another being
is plunged in darkness; and see nothing there, where it
experiences the action of the light waves; if we hear one kind
of sounds and remain deaf to another kind of sounds, heard, nevertheless,
by a tiny insect--is it not clear as day, that it is not nature,
in her, so to say, primeval nakedness, that is subject to our
science and its analysis, but simply those modifications, feelings
and perceptions that she awakens in us? It is in accordance with
these modifications only that we can draw our conclusions about
external things and nature's actions, and thus create to ourselves
the image of the world surrounding us. The same, with respect
to every 'finite' being: each judging of the external, only by
the modifications that are created in him (or it) by the same."
And this, we think, is the case with the materialist: he can judge
psychic phenomena only by their external aspect, and no modification
is, or ever can be, created in him, so as to open his insight
to their spiritual aspect. Notwithstanding the strong position
of those several eminent men of science who, becoming convinced
of the actuality of "spiritual" phenomena, so-called,
have become spiritualists; notwithstanding that--like Professors
Wallace, Hare, Zollner, Wagner, Butlerof--they have brought to
bear upon the question all the arguments their great knowledge
could suggest to them--their opponents have had, so far, always
the best of them. Some of these do not deny the fact of phenomenal
occurrences, but they maintain that the chief point in the great
dispute between the transcendentalists of spiritualism and the
materialists is simply the nature of the operative force, the primum mobile or the power at work. They insist on this
main point: the spiritualists are unable to prove that this agency
is that of intelligent spirits of departed human beings,
"so as to satisfy the requirements of exact science, or of the unbelieving public for the matter of that."
And, viewed from this aspect, their position is impregnable.
The theosophical reader will easily understand that it is immaterial
whether the denial is to the title of "spirits" pure
and simple or to that of any other intelligent being, whether
human, sub-human, or super-human, or even to a Force--if it is
unknown to, and rejected d priori by science. For it seeks
precisely to limit such manifestations to those forces only that
are within the domain of natural sciences. In short, it rejects
point blank the possibility of showing them mathematically to
be that which the spiritualists claim them to be, insisting that
they have been already demonstrated.
It becomes evident, therefore, that the Theosophist, or rather
the Occultist, must find his position far more difficult than
even the spiritualist ever can, with regard to modern science.
For it is not to phenomena per se that most of the men
of science are averse, but to the nature of the agency said to
be at work. If, in the case of "Spiritual" phenomena
these have only the materialists against them, not so in our case.
The theory of "Spirits" has only to contend against
those who do not believe in the survival of man's soul. Occultism
raises against itself the whole legion of the Academies; because,
while putting every kind of "Spirits," good, bad and
indifferent, in the second place, if not entirely in the back-ground,
it dares to deny several of the most vital scientific dogmas;
and in this case, the Idealists and the Materialists of Science,
feel equally indignant; for both, however much they may disagree
in personal | views, serve under the same banner. There is but
one science, even though there are two distinct schools--the idealistic and the materialistic; and both of these are equally
considered authoritative and orthodox in questions on science.
Few are those among us who clamored for a scientific opinion expressed
upon Occultism, who have thought of this, or realized its importance
in this respect. Science, unless remodeled entirely, can have
no hand in occult teachings. Whenever investigated on the plan
of the modern scientific methods, occult phenomena will prove
ten times more difficult to explain than those of the spiritualists
pure and simple.
It is, after following for nearly ten years, the arguments of
many learned opponents who battled for and against phenomena,
that an attempt is now being made to place the question squarely
before the Theosophists. It is left with them, after reading what
I have to say to the end, to use their judgment in the matter,
and to decide i whether there can remain one tittle of hope for
us ever to obtain in that quarter, if not efficient help, at any
rate a fair hearing in favor of the Occult Sciences. From none
of their members--I say--not even from those whose inner sight
has compelled them to accept the reality of the mediumistic phenomena.
This is but natural. Whatever they be, they are men of the modern
science even before they are spiritualists, and if not all, some
of them at any rate would rather give up their connection with,
and belief in, mediums and spirits, than certain of the great
dogmas of orthodox, exact science. And they would have to give
up not a few of these were they to turn Occultists and approach
the threshold of THE MYSTERY in a right spirit of inquiry.
It is this difficulty that lies at the root of the recent troubles
of Theosophy; and a few words upon the subject will not be out
of season, the more so as the whole question lies in a nut-shell.
Those Theosophists who are not Occultists cannot help the investigators,
let alone the men of science. Those who are Occultists work on
certain lines that they dare not trespass. Their mouth
is closed; their explanations and demonstrations are limited.
What can they do? Science will never be satisfied with a half-explanation.
To know, to dare, to will and to remain silent--is so well
known as the motto of the Kabbalists, that to repeat it here may
perhaps seem superfluous. Still it may act as a reminder. As it
is, we have either said too much or too little. I am very much afraid it is the former. If so, then we have atoned
for it, for we were the first to suffer for saying too much. Even that little might have placed us in worse difficulties
hardly a quarter of a century ago.
Science I mean Western Science--has to proceed on strictly defined
lines. She glories in her powers of observation, induction, analysis
and inference. Whenever a phenomenon of an abnormal nature comes
before her for investigation, she has to sift it to its very bottom,
or let it go. And this she has to do, and she cannot, as we have
shown, proceed on any other than the inductive methods based entirely
on the evidence of physical senses. If these, aided by the scientific acumen, do not prove equal to the task, the investigators
will resort to, and will not scruple to use, the police of the
land, as in the historical cases of Loudun, Salem Witchcraft,
Morzine, etc.: The Royal Society calling in Scotland Yard, and
the French Academy her native mouchards, all of whom will,
of course, proceed in their own detective-like way to help science
out of difficulty. Two or three cases of "an extremely suspicious
character" will be chosen, on the external plane of course,
and the rest proclaimed of no importance, as contaminated by those
selected. The testimony of eye-witnesses will be rejected, and
the evidence of ill-disposed persons speaking on hearsay accepted
as "unimpeachable." Let the reader go over the 20 odd
volumes of de Mirville's and de Mousseau's works, embracing over
a century of forced inquiry into various phenomena by science,
and he will be better able to judge the ways in which scientific,
often honorable, men proceed in such cases.
What can be expected then, even from the idealistic school
of science, whose members are in so small a minority. Laborious
students they are, and some of them open to every truth and without
equivocation. Even though they may have no personal hobbies to lose, should their previous views be shown to err, still
there are such dogmas in orthodox science that even they would never dare to trespass. Such, for instance, are their axiomatic
views upon the law of gravitation and the modern conceptions of
Force, Matter, Light, etc., etc.
At the same time we should bear in mind the actual state of civilized
Humanity, and remember how its cultured classes stand in relation
to any idealistic school of thought, apart from any question of
occultism. At the first glance we find that two-thirds of them
are honey-combed with what may be called gross and practical materialism.
"The theoretical materialistic science recognizes nought
but SUBSTANCE. Substance is its deity, its
only God." We are told that practical materialism, on the
other hand, concerns itself with nothing that does not lead directly
or indirectly to personal benefit. "Gold is its idol,"
justly observes Professor Butlerof18 (a spiritualist,
who could never accept even the elementary truths of occultism,
for he "cannot understand them.")--"A lump of matter,"
he adds, "the beloved substance of the theoretical materialists,
is transformed into a lump of mud in the unclean hands of ethical
materialism. And if the former gives but little importance to
inner (psychic) states that are not perfectly demonstrated by
their exterior states, the latter disregards entirely the inner
states of life.... The spiritual aspect of life has no meaning
for practical materialism, everything being summed up for it in
the external. The adoration of this external finds its principal
and basic justification in the dogmas of materialism, which has
This gives the key to the whole situation. Theosophists, or Occultists
at any rate, have nothing then to expect from materialistic Science
Such a state of things being accepted for the daily routine of
life,--though that which interferes with the highest moral aspirations
of Humanity cannot we believe live long,--what can we do but look
forward with our hopes to a better future? Meanwhile, we ought
never to lose courage; for if materialism, which has depopulated
heaven and the elements, and has chosen to make of the limitless
Kosmos instead of an eternal abode a dark and narrow tomb, refuses
to interfere with us, we can do no better than leave it alone.
Unfortunately it does not. No one speaks so much as the materialists
of the accuracy of scientific observation, of a proper use of
one's senses and one's reason thoroughly liberated from every
prejudice. Yet, no sooner is the same privilege claimed in favor
of phenomena by one who has investigated them in that same scientific
spirit of impartiality and justice, than his testimony becomes
worthless. "Yet if such a number of scientific minds,"
writes Prof. Butlerof, "accustomed by years of training to
the minutes observation and verification, testify to certain facts,
then there is a primd facie improbability that they should
be collectively mistaken." "But they have and
in the most ludicrous way," answer his opponents; and this
time we are at one with them.
This brings us back to an old axiom of esoteric philosophy; "nothing
of that which does not exist somewhere, whether in the visible
or invisible kosmos, can be reproduced artificially, or even in
"What nonsense is this?" exclaimed a combative Theosophist
upon hearing it uttered. "Suppose I think of an animated
tower, with rooms in it and a human head, approaching and talking
with me--can there be such a thing in the universe?"
"Or parrots hatching out of almond-shells?" said another
skeptic. Why not?--was the answer--not on this earth, of course.
But how do we know that there may not be such beings as you describe--tower-like
bodies and human heads--on some other planet? Imagination is nothing
but the memory of preceding births--Pythagoras tells us. You may
yourself have been such a "tower man" for all you know,
with rooms in you in which your family found shelter like the
little ones of the kangaroo. As for parrots hatching out of almond
shells--no one could swear that there was no such thing in nature,
in days of old, when evolution gave birth to far more curious
monsters. A bird hatching out of the fruit of a tree is perhaps
one of those countless words dropped by evolution so many ages
ago, that the last whisper of its echo was lost in the Diluvian
roar. "The mineral becomes plant, the plant an animal, an
animal man," etc.--say the Kabbalists.
Speaking of the evidence and the reliability of senses--even the
greatest men of science got caught once upon a time, in not only
believing such a thing, but in actually teaching it as a scientific
fact--as it appears. "When was that?" was the incredulous
question. "Not so far back, after all; some 280 years ago--in
England." The strange belief that there was a kind of a sea-fowl
that hatched out of a fruit was not limited at the very end of
the XVIth century to the inhabitants of English sea-port towns
only. There was a time when most of the men of science firmly
believed it to be a fact, and taught it accordingly. The fruit
of certain trees growing on the sea shore--a kind of Magnolia--with
its branches dipping generally in the water, had its fruits,--as
it was asserted,--transformed gradually by the action of salt
water into some special Crustacean formation, from which emerged
in good time a living sea-bird, known in the old natural histories
as the "Barnacle-goose." Some naturalists accepted the
story as an undeniable fact. They observed and investigated it
for several years, and "the discovery was accepted and approved
by the greatest authorities of the day and published under the
auspices of some learned society. One of such believers in the
"Barnacle-goose" was John Gerard, a botanist, who notified
the world of the amazing phenomenon in an erudite work published
in 1596. In it he describes it, and declares it "a fact
on the evidence
of his own senses." "He has seen it himself,"
he says, "touched the fruit-egg day after day," watched
its growth and development personally, and had the good luck of
presiding at the birth of one such bird. He saw first the legs
of the chicken oozing out through the broken shell, then the whole
body of the little Barnacle-goose a "which begun forthwith
swimming"19 So much was the botanist
convinced of the truth of the whole thing, that he ends his description
by inviting any doubter of the reality of what he had seen to
come and see him, John Gerard, and then he would undertake to
make of him an eye-witness to the whole proceeding. Robert Murray,
another English savant and an authority in his day, vouches
for the reality of the transformation of which he was also an
eye witness.20 And other learned men, the contemporaries
of Gerard and Murray--Funck, Aldrovandi and many others, shared
that conviction.2l So what do you say to this
--Well, I would rather call it the "Gerard-Murray goose,"
that's all. And no cause to laugh at such mistakes of those early
scientists. Before two hundred years are over our descendants
will have far better opportunities to make fun of the present
generations of the F. R. S. and their followers. But the opponent
of phenomena who quoted the story about the "Barnacle-goose"
is quite right there; only that instance cuts both ways, of course,
and when one brings it as a proof that even the scientific authorities,
who believe in spiritualism and phenomena, may have been grossly
mistaken with all their observation and scientific training, we
may reverse the weapon and quote it the other way; as an evidence
as strong that no "acumen" and support of science can
prove a phenomenon "referable to fraud and credulity,"
when the eye-witnesses who have seen it know it for a fact at
least. It only shows that the evidence of even the scientific
and well trained senses and powers of observation may be in both
cases at fault as those of any other mortal, especially in cases
where phenomenal occurrences are sought to be disproved. Even
collective observation would go for nought, whenever a phenomenon
happens to belong to a plane of being, called (improperly so in
their case) by some men of science the fourth dimension of space;
and when other scientists who investigate it lack the sixth
sense in them, that corresponds to that plane.
In a literary cross-firing that happened some years ago between
two eminent professors, much was said of that now for ever famous
fourth dimension. One of them, telling his readers that while
he accepted the possibility of only the "terrestrial natural
sciences," viz., the direct or inductive science, "or
the exact investigation of those phenomena only which take place
in our earthy conditions of space and time," says
he can never permit himself to overlook the possibilities of the
future. "I would remind my colleagues," adds the Professor-Spiritualist,
"that our inferences from that which is already acquired
by investigation, must go a great deal than our sensuous perceptions.
The limits of sensuous knowledge must be subjected to constant
enlargement, and those of deduction still more. Who shall dare
to draw those limits for the future? . . . existing in a three
dimensional space, we can conduct our investigations of, and make
our observations upon, merely that which takes place within those
three dimensions. But what is there to prevent us thinking of
a space of higher dimensions and building a geometry corresponding
to it? . . . Leaving the reality of a fourth dimensional space
for the time being aside, we can still . . . go on observing and
watching whether there may not be met with occasionally on our
three-dimensional world, phenomena that could only be explained
on the supposition of a four-dimensional space." In other
words, "we ought to ascertain whether anything pertaining
to the four-dimensional regions can manifest itself in our three-dimensional
world . . . can it not be reflected in it . . . ?"
The occultist would answer, that our senses can most undeniably
be reached on this plane, not only from a four-dimensional but
even a fifth and a sixth dimensional world. Only those senses
must become sufficiently spiritualized for it in so far
as it is our inner sense only that can become the medium for such
a transmission. Like "the projection of an object that exists
in a space of three dimensions can be made to appear on the flat
surface of a screen of only two dimensions"--four-dimensional
beings and things can be reflected in our three-dimensional
world of gross matter. But, as it would require a skillful physicist
to make his audience believe that the things "real as life"
they see on his screen are not shadows but realities, so it would
take a wiser one than any of us to persuade a man of science--let
alone a crowd of scientific men--that what he sees reflected on
our three-dimensional "screen" may be, at times, and
under certain conditions a very real phenomenon, reflected from,
and produced by "four-dimensional powers," for his private
delectation, and as a means to convince him. "Nothing so
false in appearance as naked truth"--is a Kabbalistic saying,--"truth
is often stranger than fiction"--is a world-known
It requires more than a man of our modern science to realize such
a possibility as an interchange of phenomena between the two worlds--the
visible and the invisible. A highly spiritual, or a very keen
impressionable intellect, is necessary to decipher intuitionally
the real from the unreal, the natural from the artificially prepared
"screen." Yet our age is a reactionary one, hooked on
the very end of the Cyclic coil, or what remains of it. This accounts
for the flood of phenomena, as also for the blindness of certain
What does materialistic science answer to the idealistic theory
of a four-dimensional space? "How!" it exclaims, "and
would you make us attempt, while circumscribed within the impossible
circle of a three-dimensional space, to even think of a space
of higher dimensions! But how is it possible to think of that,
which our human thought can never imagine and represent even in
its most hazy outlines? One need be quite a different being from
a human creature; be gifted with quite a different psychic organization;
one must not be a man, in short, to find himself enabled to represent
in his thought a four-dimensional space--a thing of length, breadth,
thickness and--what else?"
Indeed, "what else?"--for no one of the men of science,
who advocate it, perhaps only because they are sincere spiritualists
and anxious to explain phenomena by the means of that space, seem
to know it themselves. Is it the "passage of matter through
matter?" Then why should they insist upon it being a "space"
when it is simply another plane of existence,--or at least
that is what ought to be meant by it,--if it means anything. We
occultists say and maintain, that if a name is needed to satisfy
the material conceptions of men on our low plane, let them call
it by its Hindu name Mahas (or Mahaloka)--the fourth world
of the higher septenary, and one that corresponds to Rasatala (the fourth of the septenary string of the nether worlds)--the
fourteen worlds that "sprung from the quintuplicated elements";
for these two worlds are enveloping, so to say, our present fourth-round
world. Every Hindu will understand what is meant. Mahas is a higher world, or plane of existence rather; as that plane
to which belongs the ant just spoken of, is perchance a lower
one of the nether septenary chains. And if they call it so-- they
will be right.
Indeed, people speak of this four-dimensional space as though
it were a locality--a sphere instead of being what it is--quite
a different state of Being. Ever since it came to be resurrected
in people's minds by Prof. Zollner, it has led to endless confusion.
How did it happen? By the means of an abstruse mathematical analysis
a spiritual-minded man of science finally came to the laudable
conclusion that our conception of space may not be infallible,
nor is it absolutely proven that besides our three-dimensional
calculations it is mathematically impossible that there are spaces
of more or less dimensions in the wide Universe. But, as
is well expressed by a skeptic--"the confession of the possible
existence of spaces of different dimensions than our own does
not afford us (the high mathematicians) the slightest conception
of what those dimensions really are. To accept a higher 'four-dimensional'
space is like accepting infinitude: such an acceptation
does not afford us the smallest help by which we might represent
to ourselves either of these . . . all we know of such higher
spaces is, that they have nothing in common with our conceptions
of space." (Scientific Letters.)
"Our conception"--means of course the conception
of materialistic Science, thus leaving a pretty wide margin
for other less scientific, withal more spiritual, minds.
To show the hopelessness of ever bringing a materialistic mind
to realize or even conceive in the most remote and hazy way the
presence among us, in our three-dimensional world of other higher
planes of being, I may quote from the very interesting objections
made by one of the two learned opponents,22 already
referred to, with regard to this "Space."
He asks: "Is it possible to introduce as an explanation of
certain phenomena the action of such a factor, of which we know
nothing certain, are ignorant even of its nature and its faculties?"
Perchance, there are such, who may "know" something,
who are , not so hopelessly ignorant. If an occultist were appealed
to, he would say--No exact physical science has to reject
its very being, t otherwise that science would become metaphysical. It cannot be analyzed--hence explained, on either biological
or even physiological data. Nevertheless, it might, inductively--as gravitation for a instance, of which you know no more than
that its effects may be r observed on our three-dimensional earth."
Again (1) "It is said" (by the advocates of the theory)
"that we live unconditionally in our three-dimensional
space! Perchance" (unconditionally) "just because
we are able to comprehend only such space, and absolutely incapable,
owing to our organization, to realize it in any other, but a three-dimensional
(2) In other words, "even our three-dimensional space is
not something existing independently, but represents merely
the product [of our understanding and perceptions."
To the first statement Occultism answers that those "incapable
to realize" any other space but a three-dimensional one,
do well to leave alone all others. But it is not "owing to
our (human) organization," but only to the intellectual organization
of those who are not able to conceive of any other; to organisms
undeveloped spiritually and even mentally in the right direction.
To the second statement it would reply, that the "opponent"
is absolutely wrong in the first, and absolutely right in the
last portion of his sentence. For, though the "fourth dimension"--if
we must so call it--exists no more independently of our
perceptions and senses than our three-dimensional imagined space, nor as a locality, it still is, and exists for the
beings evoluted and born in it as "a product of their understanding
and their perceptions." Nature never draws too harsh
lines of demarcation, never builds impassable walls, and her unbridged
"chasms" exist merely in the tame conceptions of certain
naturalists. The two (and more) "spaces," or planes
of being, are sufficiently inter-blended to allow of a communication
between those of their respective inhabitants who are capable
of conceiving both a higher and a lower plane. There may be amphibial
beings intellectually as there are amphibious creatures terrestrially.
The objector to a fourth dimensional plane complains that the
section of high mathematics, known at present under the name of
"Metamathematics," or "Metageometry," is being
misused and misapplied by the spiritualists. They "seized
hold of, and fastened to it as to an anchor of salvation."
His arguments are, to say the least, curious. "Instead of
proving the reality of their mediumistic phenomena," he says,
"they took to explaining them on the hypothesis of a fourth
dimension." Do we see the hand of a Katie King, which disappears
in "unknown space"--forthwith on the proscenium--the fourth dimension; do we get knots on a rope whose two ends
are tied and sealed--again that fourth dimension. From this standpoint
space is viewed as something objective. It is believed that there
are indeed in nature three, four and five-dimensional spaces.
But, firstly, by the means of mathematical analysis, we might
arrive, in this way, at an endless series of spaces. Only
think, what would become of exact science, if, to explain phenomena,
such hypothetical spaces were called to its help. "If
one should fail, we could evoke another, a still higher one, and
Oh, poor Kant! and yet, we are told that one of his fundamental
principles was--that our three-dimensional space is not an absolute
one; and that "even in respect to such axioms as those of
Euclid's geometry, our knowledge and sciences can only be relatively
exact and real "
But why should exact science be thought in danger only because
spiritualists try to explain their phenomena on that plane? And
on what other could they explain that which is inexplicable if
we undertake to analyze it on the three-dimensional conceptions
of terrestrial science, if not by a fourth-dimensional conception?
No sane man would undertake to explain the Dmon of
Socrates by the I shape of the great sage's nose, or attribute
the inspiration of the Light of Asia to Mr. Ed. Arnold's
skull cap. What would become of science--verily, were the phenomena
left to be explained on the said hypothesis? Nothing worse, we
hope, than what became of science, after the Royal Society had
accepted its modern theory of Light, on the hypothesis
of an universal Ether. Ether is no less "a product
of our understanding" than Space is. And if one could be
accepted, then why reject the other? Is it because one can be
materialized in our conceptions, or shall we say had to be, since
there was no help for it; and that the other, being useless as
a hypothesis for the purposes of exact science, is not, so far?
So far as the Occultists are concerned, they are at one with the
men of strict orthodox science, when to the offer made "to
experiment and to observe whether there may not occur in our three-dimensional
world phenomena, explainable only on the hypothesis of the existence
of a space of four dimensions," they answer as they do. "Well"--they
say--"and shall observation and experiment give us a satisfactory
answer to our question concerning the real existence of a higher
four-dimensional space? or, solve for us a dilemma unsolvable
from whatever side we approach it? How can our human observation
and our human experiments, possible only unconditionally within
the limits of a space of three dimensions, serve us as a point
of departure for the recognition of phenomena which can be explained "only if we admit the existence of a four-dimensional a space?"
The above objections are quite right we think; and the spiritualists
would be the only losers were they to ever prove the existence
A of such space or its interference in their phenomena. For see,
what would happen. No sooner would it be demonstrated that--say,
a ring does pass through solid flesh and emigrate from the arm
of the medium on to that of the investigator who holds
the two hands of walls; and that, therefore, owing to certain
exceptional conditions, matter can pass through matter,--no sooner
would the men of science get collectively convinced of the fact,
than the whole theory of spirit agency and intelligent intervention
would crumble to dust. The three-dimensional space would not be
interfered with, for the passage of one solid through the other
does nothing to do away with even metageometrical dimensions,
but matter would be probably endowed by the learned bodies with
one more faculty, and the hands of the materialists strengthened
thereby. Would the world be nearer the solution of psychic mystery?
Shall the noblest aspirations of mankind after the knowledge of
real spiritual existence on those planes of being that are now
confused with the "four-dimensional space" be the nearer
to solution, because exact science shall have admitted as a physical
law the action of one man walking deliberately through the physical
body of another man, or through a stone wall? Occult sciences
teach us that at the end of the Fourth Race, matter, which evolutes,
progresses and changes, as we do along with the rest of
the kingdoms of nature, shall acquire its fourth sense, as it
acquires an additional one with every new Race. Therefore, to
an Occultist there is nothing surprising in the idea that the
physical world should be developing and acquiring new faculties,--a
simple modification of matter, new as it now seems to science,
as incomprehensible as were at first the powers of steam, sound,
electricity. But what does seem surprising is the spiritual stagnation
in the world of intellect, and of the highest esoteric knowledge.
However, no one can impede or precipitate the progress of the
smallest cycle. But perhaps old Tacitus was right: "Truth
is established by investigation and delay; falsehood prospers
by precipitancy." We live in an age of steam and mad activity,
and truth can hardly expect recognition in this century. The Occultist
waits and bides his time.
H. P. BLAVATSKY
Theosophist, April, May, 1886