THEOSOPHY, Vol. 29, No. 6, April, 1941
(Pages 261-264; Size: 14K)
(Number 88 of a 103-part series)
SCIENCE AND THE SECRET DOCTRINE
(Part II of II)
THE scientific problem of finding the true parentage of the earth is bound up in many complex ways with the intricate question of the constitution of matter in space, in the earth, and in the other planets and the sun. More than this, it involves the nature of life and consciousness itself, though this latter phase is hardly suspected by scientists.
There has been much speculation as to whether other "man-bearing" planets exist. The tidal and planetesimal theories, discussed in Part I, suggest that the origin of our earth resulted from an occurrence of a very rare order -- the chance collision or near-collision of two stars. In this respect they place man in a position still more lonely and unique than that in which the nebular hypothesis left him; e.g., although there might have been many nebular condensations, it has been surmised that, under the two latter theories, "life" probably does not exist anywhere outside the Solar System, thus making man a peculiarly insignificant case of a "skin disease of a ball of dirt." The conclusion is due not only to a "chance" explanation of the origin of the system, but also to the rigid idea of "life" as restricted to a narrow range of carbon compounds.
Though it is well recognized that all life on earth depends upon the sun in a definitely chemical way, there is not yet the slightest suspicion of our real relation with that pulsating center of vitality, or, through it, with our sister planets."The real substance of the concealed (Sun) is a nucleus of Mother substance. It is the heart and the matrix of all the living and existing Forces in our solar universe. It is the Kernel from which proceed to spread on their cyclic journeys all the Powers that set in action the atoms in their functional duties, and the focus within which they again meet in their SEVENTH ESSENCE every eleventh year...." (The Secret Doctrine, 1888, I, 290.)In other words, the Solar System is an organism in the truest sense, and one even more complex than the human body. Once any substantial proof of this comes to science, all ideas of its origin by such simple means as postulated by the tidal or planetesimal theories will be blown out of the scientific heavens on a gale of laughter. But how is this ever to come about? Only by the gradual spread of Theosophic influence through future decades, doubtless much assisted by the perplexities involved in material discoveries, which will probably increase even more rapidly than they have in the past.
"The Sun is the heart of the Solar World (System) and its brain is hidden behind the (visible) Sun. From thence, sensation is radiated into every nerve-center of the great body, and the waves of the life-essence flow into each artery and vein.... The planets are its limbs and pulses...." (Commentary, S.D. I, 541.)
For the present, however, any scientific investigation of the constitution of matter outside earth's atmosphere is attended with enormous difficulties. Some of these are indicated in the following passages from The Secret Doctrine:...no earths or moons can be found -- except in appearance -- beyond, or of the same order of matter as found in our (solar) system. (I, 497.)This deceptive veiling effect became a matter of primary scientific concern during 1934-35. Profs. Stebbins and Huffer found evidence of a scattered layer of "dust particles" in the Milky Way which had previously caused astronomers to consider the stars about twice as far away as they really are (since such measurements are made with light).(1) Prof. Erich Regener(2) found the ozone layer in our atmosphere -- now a commonplace in astronomy -- which cuts off all ultraviolet waves below a certain length (and what else?). This effect is vitally important, for life on earth could not be pursued in its present manner if these rays were allowed to come through.
Auguste Comte's pessimism with respect to the impossibility of knowing some day the chemical composition of the sun, has not been belied thirty years later by Kirchoff, as claimed. The spectroscope has helped us to see that the elements, with which the modern chemist is familiar, must in all probability be present in the sun's outward robes -- not in the sun itself; and, taking these "robes," the solar cosmic veil, for the sun itself, the physicists have declared its luminosity to be due to combustion and flame, and have mistaken the vital principle of that luminary for a purely material thing, and called it "chromosphere." (I, 528.)
"The essence of cometary matter and of that which composes the stars is totally different from any of the chemical or physical characteristics with which Western Science is now acquainted. While the spectroscope has shown the probable similarity (owing to the chemical action of terrestrial light upon the intercepted rays) of earthly and sidereal substance, the chemical actions, peculiar to the variously progressed orbs of space, have not been detected, nor proven to be identical with those observed on our own planet" -- say the Teachers. Mr. Crookes says almost the same in the fragment quoted from his lecture, "Elements and Meta-Elements." (I, 597.)
Dr. Henry Norris Russell has listed some of the difficulties encountered in trying to study the atmospheres of the planets.(3) One of these is the obstruction of the ozone layer mentioned above. Another is the blocking of rays at the opposite end of the spectrum by water vapor. The range thus lost is small, but falls exactly in the wrong place. (Incidentally, Dr. Russell remarks in the same article that no really satisfactory theory of the origin of planets had yet been offered.) According to the Literary Digest,(4) some five years ago large-scale experiments were being devised to try to solve the problem of what really happens to light in the earth's atmosphere. A curious biological connection with this research appears in the findings of Drs. Bunker and Harris.(5) They believe that most of the light which is medically valuable has to be of artificial origin because these wave-lengths are sifted out of the solar rays by our atmosphere. From which arise several questions: since the higher the altitude, the more of beneficent sunlight, is there here an explanation of the fact that the traditional habitat of true occultists is always in regions of great elevation -- such as Tibet, the highest community of size on the earth? Is the earth's atmosphere generally denser in this literally "dark cycle" than at other times? And what is the Karma of the increased densification and pollution of the air around industrial cities?
The first use we have noted of the term "forbidden light" (now more generally "forbidden radiation") appeared in Science News Letter for August 3, 1935, where Dr. I. S. Bowen discussed indirect ways of studying the real nature of light from the stars -- i.e., as it exists before entering our atmosphere. In 1934, Dr. Paul W. Merrill thought that we would not know the true nature of stellar radiation unless we could establish an observatory far beyond the atmosphere, say, on the moon. (It may be suspected, in view of the peculiar occult relation between earth and moon, that one would have to go farther than that!)
No doubt many new scientific discoveries are on the way, which indirectly will clarify these problems a little. Yet what could astronomy learn from the fact that, out in space, spectroscopic analysis of starlight would show many lines corresponding to no known element on the earth? What could it guess of the nature of those elements, and their relation to life?
The situation must indeed remain hazy until true occult learning, which makes use of more effective means, comes into its own. But science has achieved a new eminence, a new step in real progress, in the recognition and admission of its own ignorance. From this much may follow.
Meantime, lest the relations between science and Theosophy become too amiable to be interesting, let us close with a note particularly annoying to astronomers. In Science for December 27, 1940, recounting the notable events of the year past, is the sentence: "The five naked-eye planets, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, were lined up in the Western sky in a strange formation." On page 30, Volume II, of The Secret Doctrine is the sentence:Venus is the most occult, powerful, and mysterious of all the planets; the one whose influence upon, and relation to the Earth is most prominent.And on page 656, Volume I, is the following:Thus what Kepler said, as a great astronomer, becomes comprehensible. He recognised the grand and universal importance of all such planetary conjunctions, "each of which" -- as he has well said, -- "is a climacteric year of Humanity." The rare conjunction of Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars has its significance and importance on account of its certain great results --in India and China as much as it has in Europe for the respective mystics of all those countries.... The reader has to bear in mind that the phrase "climacteric year" has more than the usual significance, when used by Occultists and Mystics. It is not only a critical period, during which some great change is periodically expected, whether in human or cosmic constitution, but it likewise pertains to spiritual universal changes.The "great changes" for Europe and China are evident enough; India -- waits. How long, and for what, who can say?
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:
THE ANCESTOR OF SCIENCE
When Theosophy and its principles are once known, it will be demonstrated that our philosophy is not only "a near relation of modern science," but its ancestor, and far surpassing it in logic; that its "metaphysics" is much broader, more beautiful, more powerful than all others emanating from a dogmatic cult, for it is the metaphysics of Nature in her chaste nudity, physical, moral and spiritual, the only one capable of explaining apparent miracles by natural and psychic laws, of completing the ideas purely physiological and pathological of Science, and of killing forever the anthropomorphic Gods and Devils of the dualist religions. No one, more than Theosophists, believes surely in the Unity of Eternal Law.
--From Le Lotus
SCIENCE AND THE SECRET DOCTRINE
THE RIDDLE OF THE SPHINX
(Part 89 of a 103-part series)
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FIVE (5) FOOTNOTES LISTED BELOW:
(1) Science, October 4, 1934.
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(2) Science, October 19, 1934.
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(3) Science, January 4, 1935.
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(4) December 21, 1935.
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(5) Science, August 2, 1935.
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