THEOSOPHY, Vol. 29, No. 3, January, 1941
(Pages 116-120; Size: 15K)
(Number 86 of a 103-part series)
SCIENCE AND THE SECRET DOCTRINE
A PROBLEM IN PROPHECY...we are assured by Archaic Scientists that all such geological cataclysms -- from the upheaval of oceans, deluges, and shifting of continents, down to the present year's cyclones, hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tidal waves, and even the extraordinary weather and seeming shifting of seasons which perplexes all European and American meteorologists -- are due to, and depend on the moon and planets; aye, that even modest and neglected constellations have the greatest influence on the meteorological and cosmical changes, over, and within our earth,... Modern Science denies any such influence; archaic Science affirms it. (II, 699.)FOR some years past, a Canadian civil engineer, Mr. Edgar C. Thrupp, has been developing a method of predicting earthquakes. It appears from correspondence that his theories have been rather definitely formulated, and that they rest upon two main points: (1) the influence of solar, lunar, and planetary conjunctions upon the crustal stresses in the earth; (2) some entirely new views of the operation of gravitation. Mr. Thrupp claims that the Newtonian equations are erroneous and that gravitation exists more in the form of pressures than of attractions.
To conclude on the question of gravity. How can Science presume to know anything certain of it? How can it maintain its position and its hypotheses against those of the Occultists, who see in gravity only sympathy and antipathy, or attraction and repulsion, caused by physical polarity on our terrestrial plane, and by spiritual causes outside of its influence? (I, 513.)
--The Secret Doctrine, 1888.
In all likelihood, the real nature of gravitation is beyond formulation by the human mind at its present stage; this may be the reason why H. P. Blavatsky, except for stating that "gravitation is but half a law," of which repulsion is the other half, and, making some enigmatic remarks about the "winds of space," did not go into details. In the case of the present theory, Mr. Thrupp's basic conceptions and their mathematical developments have not yet been disclosed, so that technical analysis must remain a task of the future. As his contacts with the "authorities" in this field have been anything but congenial, -- one of them remarking that even if the theory were proved, he still wouldn't believe it, -- the Canadian engineer is no doubt steering cautiously for the time being. The issue is nevertheless one of enormous importance for that portion of the human race which considers it significant whether or not one perishes in an earthquake; even though only a handful as yet know anything about the situation.
Mr. Thrupp's theory consists of two phases: the establishment at long range of danger periods, and the use of instruments which can predict immediate danger at specific spots. The latter method employs apparatus which measures the tilting of the surface of the ground. This, according to the theory, always takes place a few hours before a shock. The validity of the method seems to have been established by an experimenter who was able to give warning of the Imperial Valley earthquake of 1940.
The general accuracy of the predictions was also tested during that year. Mr. Thrupp anticipated danger periods from July 20 to August 5, and from October 20 to November 10. The fringes of such periods are presumed to extend some days beyond either limit. In correspondence with Californians, Mr. Thrupp indicated that Southern California should take special precautions, presumably because of the susceptibility of that region, as the theory itself does not localize the danger. Warnings were spread rather widely by those familiar with Mr. Thrupp's work. Some technical students of Theosophy studied the data rather skeptically, becoming convinced, however, that such precautions as might be practicable were in order.
As it happened, except for a few minor shocks, California rode the crust of the earth serenely through the period, while some of the extraordinary psychological manifestations resulting from publicity given to Mr. Thrupp's predictions lent decided point to the fixed policy of the wise in maintaining great reticence and caution regarding imminent disaster.
Actually, the shocks were happening elsewhere. A partial list follows:July 22 -- Slight shocks in South California.About 75 per cent of the disturbances, and nearly all the violent shocks, happened either underseas or where there was little civilization to be damaged. But as the public was thinking in terms of danger to human life, and in very local terms in California, the acceptance of the theory received a bad setback, and its opponents new ammunition -- a situation not unfamiliar, in other lines, to students of the Theosophical movement. It was useless to issue, in that state of affairs, further warnings for California.
July 25 -- Tremors in Armenia, Trebizonde to Kelkit. No casualties.
July 26 -- Great landslides and storms in Antofagasta District of Chile. 100 lives lost in one place.
July 27 -- St. Louis reported two groups of shocks, continuing for more than three hours, and described as one of the strongest recordings of the year. Estimated to be about 1,600 miles due south. That is off the coast of Central America near Salvador. Philadelphia recorded a moderately sharp quake 2,000 miles S.W., in fair agreement with the first group noted at St. Louis.
July 29 -- Several observers in South California recorded a considerable shock estimated to be undersea 3,000 miles or more south of California.
July 30 -- Quake in central plateau of Anatolia, killing 300 and destroying 12 villages. (The strongest record at Kew in July.)
July 31 -- More shocks in Anatolia.
August 1 -- Further quakes reported to have increased the toll in Anatolia to over 1,000 killed and many more injured, and 14 villages devastated.
August 1 -- The most violent quake of many years was registered in Italy, and estimated to be somewhere north of Japan. This was confirmed by the arrival of a great tidal wave on the N.W. coast of Hokkaido following the quake, and washing away 1,500 fishing boats.
Mr. Thrupp's next series of disasters, which could as well have befallen California as any other location, actually struck in Europe. Within, and a little before, the predicted period, from October 20 to November 10, the following seismic events occurred:October 11 -- Shocks in Los Angeles.Mr. Thrupp has a list of further predictions for 1941-42. Special danger periods are: January 20 to February 10; June 25 to July 10; August 20 to September 10; December 15 to January 10, 1942.
October 17 -- Damage in central Italy around Radicofani.
October 22 -- Medium damage in Rumania.
October 27 -- Heavy shocks in Costa Rica.
November 10-11 -- The catastrophic Rumanian earthquakes. A number of lesser tremors occurred in many other parts of the world.
(This list is compiled from newspaper reports, and is doubtless incomplete.)
It is curious to note that of late the actual possibility of prediction is gaining recognition by a sort of creeping process, working from the outer fringes of science -- particularly in that curious "no-man's land" of pseudo-scientific fiction -- toward its center. The many prophecies of Nostradamus and Albertus Magnus are gaining prestige, if only because they seem to bear so clearly on the present world crisis. Meanwhile, H. P. Blavatsky, whose prophecies are more far-reaching, as well as more directly to the point, immediate and verifiable, is carefully and sedulously ignored -- as yet. Why? This neglect is in part due to ignorance of her works, for which Theosophists are themselves responsible. But another consideration is that her statements, which come from one almost a living person in the eyes of the historian -- statements vitally alive in the growing Movement -- are too important, too "dangerous," in their implications. Her prophecies are not the coldly fatalistic announcements of foredoomed events such as given by the historical pessimists, but are coupled with advice as to causes, and instructions as to how this thing might be avoided, how that thing may be brought to pass. They are, in short, too practical because they demand moral action.
There is no "magic" in true prophecy, whether of Albertus, Nostradamus, or H. P. Blavatsky. Said H.P.B. herself:Yet in the prognostication of such future events, at any rate, all foretold on the authority of cyclic recurrences, there is no psychic phenomenon involved. It is neither prevision, nor prophecy; no more than is the signalling of a comet or star, several years before its appearance. It is simply knowledge and mathematically correct computations, which enable the WISE MEN OF THE EAST to foretell, for instance, that England is on the eve of such or another catastrophe; France, nearing such a point of her cycle, and Europe in general threatened with, or rather, on the eve of, a cataclysm, which her own cycle of racial Karma has led her to. The reliability of the information depends, of course, on the acceptation or rejection of the claim for a tremendous period of historical observation. Eastern Initiates maintain that they have preserved records of the racial development and of events of universal import ever since the beginning of the Fourth Race -- that which preceded being traditional. (S.D. I, 646.)Probably the most mysterious thing about true prophecy is the obstinate unwillingness of the modern mind to investigate the now overwhelming evidence of the truth claimed for archaic wisdom and observation. But what of Karma -- the impossibility of any man receiving other than the consequences of his past deeds, in this or other lives; his equal inability to avoid such consequences? What good is prophecy if man is already foredoomed?
Knowledge of coming events need not be thought of solely in terms of inescapable destiny. The unseen Karma of a man's past is even as water held back by a dam. Some day, somehow, in some way, the waters will reach the sea, whether the dam be rent, or the waters be poured forth gradually to give life to the green fields; whether it bursts forth in destruction and ruin, or is channeled productively through waterwheels. Even if the dam is allowed to wear down and vanish gradually over the ages, good Karma and evil Karma are of equal energy and certainty; it is for the Soul whose strong hands grip the levers of the floodgates to order the manner of its use.
A man may be warned that earthquakes threaten. What shall he do? Calmly, he can take the simple precautions dictated by common sense and expert instruction, and await the issue with interest but without fear. Shall he flee the city and die in a traffic accident? Sleep outside and "catch his death of cold"? Neglect his duties and worry himself into nervous prostration? Quite certainly, if a series of danger-points such as have been given were universally and seriously received, catastrophic dislocations of normal living would occur, which might be much more serious than any probable destruction by the quakes themselves. Ignorance of cycles is thus a natural protection against psychological disaster, so long as the race mind remains in its present irrational and unbalanced state.
If a European be warned that disaster is fast overtaking Europe, what shall he do? Fix himself a safe nest in a foreign land -- and perhaps die at sea reaching it? Sell European securities "short" -- and too soon? Or set to work among his people to teach them the necessary consequences of actions and policies, himself in no way reluctant to share the Karma -- which is his -- of those among whom he was born? Or shall he laugh, as Europe once laughed at H.P.B., the "impostor"? As Europe in most part still would laugh, were there now room on its face for aught but tears!
COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:
Karma operates to produce cataclysms of nature by concatenation through the mental and astral planes of being. A cataclysm may be traced to an immediate physical cause such as internal fire and atmospheric disturbance, but these have been brought on by the disturbance created through the dynamic power of human thought.
Egos who have no Karmic connection with a portion of the globe where a cataclysm is coming on are kept without the latter's operation in two ways: (a) by repulsion acting on their inner nature; and (b) by being called and warned by those who watch the progress of the world.
--Aphorisms on Karma
SCIENCE AND THE SECRET DOCTRINE
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