Jul 28, 2008 04:57 PM
by Cass Silva
This is only an extract. full article can be viewed at site.
- Is this the gateway to the next Plane?
By Geoff Harrod
A talk at the Brisbane Theosophical Society, May 2002
I hope you don't expect me to explain all about Quantum Physics in 45 minutes or so? What I want to do is show how scientific discovery today is heading into the margin between the physical world and the next realm of existence, perhaps what we refer to as the Planes in Theosophy. As it moves into this new territory, science is looking increasingly at questions formerly regarded as outside its ambit - the purpose of life, what is the life-force, what is the nature of God, if there is a God. I want to show that the antipathy toward science that has long been prevalent in the Theosophical Society, is completely outmoded. Science is a good ally for the occultist in the 21st century.
First, a bit of the history of science and the TS... The Theosophical Society was founded in the late 19th century, at a time when science had become smugly satisfied with its achievements - with some justification. It was confidant that it had sorted out all the laws that govern our world. But it was a totally materialistic, mechanistic view of our world, with no room for any concept of God, spirit, or life-force. It is no wonder our founders denounced science as it was.
In the opposite camp, and poles apart, was the religious community, and in particular the Christian establishment. Remember, that before the Renaissance, the all-powerful Catholic Church forbade any attempt to find out how the world worked. That was God's province alone. So they exterminated anyone who persisted. A more likely reason was because they knew that their mediaeval dogmas would not stand investigation, and if even only a few basic points were to be proved wrong, the entire faith-system would crumble, as it now has, to a large extent. Meanwhile, fortunately, science had survived via the Islamic world. We must never forget the huge debt today's Christian world owes the Moslems, especially the Moors of Spain.
Neither side seemed to be concerned that each other's view left some things unanswered. Where did life and consciousness fit in? Blavatsky and Olcott energetically sniped at both camps from their middle ground in no-man's land. They kept on trying to provoke science to broaden its scope and consider more than the strictly material, and to show that there must be some common ground between physical and spiritual topics.
After Blavatsky and Olcott, Annie Besant turned the TS onto a quite different path, causing various groups to split off to pursue the original orientation. Annie Besant led a flurry of writing based on clairvoyant observation. Although such a method of investigation had value and interest, it lacked any sort of control or corroboration. Therefore, anyone inclined to rely upon it must do so with the same sort of blind faith that the Church demanded of its own notions. Rarely was there even a second opinion obtained from another clairvoyant! The observations were of great interest, whether true or not, but the method was far too open to mistake, delusion or fraud for science to take it seriously. The Church also rejected it, but for the dubious reason that it considered itself to have a monopoly on miracles and therefore it must all be either fraud or else the work of the Devil.
Such was the influence of Besant and Leadbeater in the TS, and the degree of uncritical enthusiasm with which that those writings were accepted, that even today, any criticism of their statements is vigorously denounced by what might be called 'old guard' members in some lodges. Fortunately that is not a big issue here in Brisbane. It seems that people liked the definite statements and clear answers those writings provided, rather than the deep and confusing philosophy of the earlier writings. Annie Besant's legacy, whether her intention or not, was in effect the establishment of a dogma for this society - a society that had been founded as anti-dogma.
So part of the original purpose of the Theosophical Society was discarded and it was left to science to evolve in its own way. Fortunately, science did change its outlook. Quite possibly, the introduction of Eastern metaphysical ideas to the West, to which the TS made a major contribution, may have influenced the thinking of scientists to make it possible for them to break away from a purely mechanistic outlook.
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