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Weekly Theme for Contemplation: The Cell

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    Weekly Theme for Contemplation: The Cell

    “The cell is the structural and functional basis of the uniqueness of every living organism.” — Aquarian Almanac

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Weekly Theme for Contemplation: The Cell

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    April 29, 2017 Weekly Theme for Contemplation: The Cell

    Every monad is a mirror of the universe. — Wilhelm von Leibniz

    Magnetic property may be stored up, concentrated and transported.
    — Franz Anton Mesmer

    • This reply was modified 6 months, 3 weeks ago by Profile photo of ModeratorTN ModeratorTN.
  • Profile photo of Odin Townley
    Odin Townley
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    Profile photo of Odin TownleyOdin Townley

    “For him [Leibnitz] matter was a simple representation of the monad, whether human or atomic. Monads, he thought (as we do), are everywhere. Thus the human soul is a monad, and every cell in the human body has its monad, as every cell in animal, vegetable, and even in the (so-called) inorganic bodies. His atoms are the molecules of modern Science, and his monads those simple atoms that materialistic Science takes on faith, though it will never succeed in interviewing them — except in imagination. . . .

    And as Leibnitz explains, “All the portions of the Universe are distinctly represented in the Monads, but some are reflected in one monad, some in another;” but a number of monads could represent simultaneously the thoughts of the two millions of inhabitants of Paris. . . . — may be separated into three distinct Hosts, which, counted from the highest planes, are, firstly, “gods,” or conscious, spiritual Egos; the intelligent architects, who work after the plan in the Divine Mind. Then come the Elementals, or Monads, who form collectively and unconsciously the grand Universal Mirrors of everything connected with their respective realms. Lastly, the atoms, or material molecules, which are informed in their turn by their apperceptive monads, just as every cell in a human body is so informed. (See the closing pages of Book I.) There are shoals of such informed atoms which, in their turn, inform the molecules; an infinitude of monads, or Elementals proper, and countless spiritual Forces —

    The Secret Doctrine 1:630-632

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
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    May 1, 2017 Theme for Contemplation: The Cell

    Everything is the product of one universal creative effort; the Macrocosm
    and man (the Microcosm) are one. — PARACELSUS

    In humility is the greatest freedom. As long as you have to defend the imaginary
    self that you think is important, you lose your peace of heart. As soon as you
    compare that shadow with the shadows of other people, you lose all joy, because
    you have begun to trade in unrealities and there is no joy in things that do not
    exist. — THOMAS MERTON

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
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    April 30, 2017 Theme for Contemplation: The Cell

    The whole human body is….. a vast sounding board, in which each cell bears a long record of impressions connected with its parent organ, and each cell has a memory and a consciousness of its kind, or call it instinct if you will.
    — H.P Blavatsky

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
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    Profile photo of ModeratorTNModeratorTN

    May 1, 2017 Theme for Contemplation: The Cell

    Everything is the product of one universal creative effort; the Macrocosm
    and man (the Microcosm) are one. — PARACELSUS

    In humility is the greatest freedom. As long as you have to defend the imaginary
    self that you think is important, you lose your peace of heart. As soon as you
    compare that shadow with the shadows of other people, you lose all joy, because
    you have begun to trade in unrealities and there is no joy in things that do not
    exist. — THOMAS MERTON

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
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    May 2, 2017 Weekly Theme for Contemplation: The Cell

    Once more we are lightened of our burden, through virtue become spiritual,
    and move through Spiritual Wisdom to the Supreme. — PLOTINUS

    I am myself and what is around me, and if I do not save
    it, it shall not save me. — JOSÉ ORTEGA y GASSET

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    May 3, 2017 Theme for Contemplation: The Cell

    No great improvements in the lot of mankind are possible until a great change
    takes place in the fundamental constitution of their modes of thought.
    — JOHN STUART MILL

    The only object of the Initiate is the enlightenment
    of the human race. — BHAVANI SHANKAR

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    May 4, 2017 Weekly Theme for Contemplation: The Cell

    With thy multiple compassion,
    Unify my heart.
    — ISAAC LURIA

    Fix thy Soul’s gaze upon the star whose ray thou art, the flaming star that
    shines within the lightless depths of ever-being, the boundless fields of the
    Unknown. — THE VOICE OF THE SILENCE

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    May 5, 2017 Weekly Theme for Contemplation: The Cell

    Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what comparison shall
    we compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the
    earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth; but when it is sown, it groweth
    up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches.
    — JESUS

    • Profile photo of Kate Blalack
      Kate Blalack
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      Profile photo of Kate BlalackKate Blalack

      A seed has a purpose, and it becomes something more than just itself. So does a cell, and all the manifestations of life — here to be builders. Those are my thoughts. – Kate

      • Profile photo of Grace Cunningham
        Grace Cunningham
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        Profile photo of Grace CunninghamGrace Cunningham

        I like your idea a great deal. Every person, every cell, every molelcule has a purpose, something that it needs to do, a duty or a dharma. In the case of a human being that purpose must be discovered because we are self-conscious beings. For the kingdoms below us purpose is dictated by instinct. At the human level it is self-defined.

        • Profile photo of Kate Blalack
          Kate Blalack
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          Profile photo of Kate BlalackKate Blalack

          Thanks, Grace. I was thinking about how amazing it is that a human fetus develops into a human. All cells start out almost the same.

          • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
            Gerry Kiffe
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            Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

            We just had a new baby arrive in the family and seeing how small this little child’s body is takes your breathe away. To think that the development of a mature physical form should start with just a couple of cells is nothing short of amazing as you say.

            • Profile photo of Kate Blalack
              Kate Blalack
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              Profile photo of Kate BlalackKate Blalack

              Congratulations, Gerry!!! 😀

            • Profile photo of Kirk Marzulo
              Kirk Marzulo
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              Profile photo of Kirk MarzuloKirk Marzulo

              Grandchild?
              Can we call you ol’ grand-pappy now?

              • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
                Gerry Kiffe
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                Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

                You (or I) have blown my cover. Correct, grandchild. With a developing physical form with several million cells, and when fully developed several trillion. Mind blowing isn’t it. Think of the complexity, think of the underlying divine wisdom necessary to design and build such a vehicle. And this is merely the grossest division of the human constitution. What I noticed about this child, and perhaps I was not looking for it before, is that she appears to looking out upon a world she has seen before and been dreaming about. There is both a look of familiarity and a look of bewilderment.

                Thoreau said mysteriously, ” I never was as wise as the day I was born.” Think about that one.

  • Profile photo of Grace Cunningham
    Grace Cunningham
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    Profile photo of Grace CunninghamGrace Cunningham

    In biology what role does the nucleus play in the cell? And what does it mean to form a nucleus of universal brotherhood?

    • Profile photo of Kate Blalack
      Kate Blalack
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      Profile photo of Kate BlalackKate Blalack

      Grace, I think it has to do with creating a central charge, where our collective energy fosters a deep connection with others. Also, does the TS have an egregore? These are just some ideas. – Kate

    • Profile photo of Peter
      Peter
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      Profile photo of PeterPeter

      Just by way of information. I notice in our recent discussions over the last weeks that when we quote the first object of the TS we repeatedly use the phrase ‘to form a nucleus….’ The original object is stated slightly differently and repeated by HPB many times in her writings. It may well be an important difference.

      (1) To form the nucleus of a universal brotherhood of humanity, without
      distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or color. (emphasis added)

      ~~

    • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
      Pavel Axentiev
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      Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

      In response to the first question (“In biology what role does the nucleus play in the cell?”) I can answer as a biologist: The nucleus is the storehouse of genetic information, i.e. 1) this is where the cell’s heritage is kept, which it has inherited from all the eons of evolution; and 2) it plays an organizational role in the cell, largely determining the processes going on in the cell as well as its functions in relation to the surrounding cells.

      • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
        Ramprakash ML
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        Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

        Does the nucleus of the cell shadow forth something in cosmos and man ? Science does not know it because it avoids ontological investigation and reasoning, and, therefore, wholly unaware of the Law of Analogy and Correspondence.

        • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
          Pavel Axentiev
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          Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

          I would say that with the development of information science, there is a new incarnation of the “Law of Analogy” in science. It, perhaps, amounts to recognition of patterns in otherwise dissimilar objects, that arise on a certain level of abstraction and, to be called scientific, require some kind of mathematical modeling.

  • Profile photo of ModeratorTN
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    May 5, 2017 Weekly Theme for Contemplation: The Cell

    Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what comparison shall
    we compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the
    earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth; but when it is sown, it groweth
    up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches.
    — JESUS

  • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
    Ramprakash ML
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    Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

    Peter, the definite article THE used in the text of the first object is indeed significant. So it seems to me. It seems to have its raison d’etre in the well proven fact by millennia of experience, expressed in the maxim ” Many are called but FEW are chosen,” which is repeated in the 3rd verse of the 7th chapter of the Bhagavadgita.

    It is very easy to talk of Brotherhood but to live it out is another matter, and that’s where we fail. History of the TM is full of the illustration of it.

    Finally, it is only THE FEW, (to whom the Voice of the Silence is dedicated) can really form the nucleus.

    Master M wrote to HPB in London in 1884 : “It is a hard task to combine so much poor material into a strong and perfect organization….” (Jinarajadasa edition of Letter from the Masters of Wisdom).

    Intellectual Theosophy flourishes, but it is the Heart Doctrine alone that matters, and that is difficult to come by.

    “Great sifter is the name of the Heart Doctrine, Disciple.” (Voice)

    • This reply was modified 6 months, 2 weeks ago by Profile photo of Ramprakash ML Ramprakash ML.
    • This reply was modified 6 months, 2 weeks ago by Profile photo of Ramprakash ML Ramprakash ML.
  • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
    Ramprakash ML
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    Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

    Yes, I remember to have seen a report somewhere that configuration of worlds in the galaxy exhibit a remarkable resemblance to pattern of arrangement of cells in the tissues of the body – or, somewhat to that effect.

    David Bohm speaks of implicate order.

    Can you give some examples ?

    How does this differ from the law of analogy used in occult philosophy ?

    • This reply was modified 6 months, 1 week ago by Profile photo of Ramprakash ML Ramprakash ML.
  • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
    Pavel Axentiev
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    Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

    Great question, Ramprakash, that probably needs a book, or at least an article, written on it.

    Being far from an expert in either scientific cosmology or the math required to study it, I can perhaps only suggest that it all seems to come down to “networks” and the laws that govern them. See, for example, the article titled “Human Brain, Internet, and Cosmology: Similar Laws at Work?” (at ucsdnews dot ucsd dot edu). To quote:

    By no means do we claim that the universe is a global brain or a computer. But the discovered equivalence between the growth of the universe and complex networks strongly suggests that unexpectedly similar laws govern the dynamics of these very different complex systems.

    The article discusses a study (the full text of which is available via a “link”), which even states:

    Is there a connection revealing a mechanism responsible for the emergence of this structural similarity? Remarkably, the answer is yes. This mechanism is the optimization of trade-offs between popularity and similarity, shown to accurately describe the large-scale structure and dynamics of some complex networks, such as the Internet, social trust network, etc.

    So, in a sense, these fundamental laws are pretty simple (without going into the math) and easy for almost anyone to be grasped intuitively; yet there is something quite fascinating about them, providing at least a promise of greater understanding of the objects in the Universe, large and small, and the Universe itself.

    Not a bad book on the subject, that I was reading a while ago, is called “Linked”

    Or, maybe, all the above was not really necessary. The short answer to the question “What is the equivalent of the Law of Analogy in science?” could be just: MATH.

  • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
    Pavel Axentiev
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    Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

    “How does this (the scientific equivalent to the Law of Analogy-P.A.) differ from the law of analogy used in occult philosophy?”

    In short, science is rational, requiring strictly objective demonstration (i.e., using mathematical formulas), while occult philosophy is more intuitive. Intuition may be more effective in presenting hypotheses, which may then need to be confirmed using the scientific method.

    • Profile photo of Kate Blalack
      Kate Blalack
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      Profile photo of Kate BlalackKate Blalack

      I think the difference is that the scientific method describes the manifest, material universe, and the occult describes the part that has not yet fully manifested.
      So, yes, I agree with you that the occult knowledge would come before the manifested reality.

      • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
        Ramprakash ML
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        Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

        What then is the scientific method and how does it differ from the methods of Occult science ?

        • Profile photo of Kate Blalack
          Kate Blalack
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          Profile photo of Kate BlalackKate Blalack

          Well, science is a way of describing the material universe, so the scientific method is this: I have a hypothesis/idea about how something works, and then I have to test that hypothesis over and over…then a general theory can be adapted. However, a theory can be disproved. But, this would only be something reliable assuming the universe has a set of laws. If not, things my always be changing.

          I don’t know the methods of occult science, can you tell me them?

          • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
            Pavel Axentiev
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            Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

            Yes, the scientific method is no different from that of “occult science.” It’s only that we are used to call science only its positivistic, grossly materialistic branch.

            • Profile photo of Kate Blalack
              Kate Blalack
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              Profile photo of Kate BlalackKate Blalack

              Pavel, In occult science objective context seems to come more into play. Right?

              • Profile photo of Kate Blalack
                Kate Blalack
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                Profile photo of Kate BlalackKate Blalack

                I was also interested in the bottom of this letter :http://www.blavatskyarchives.com/hume1884.htm

                “Western Science has hitherto only dealt with the dead forces; it has never experimented with a combination of these and the living force, but the idea is in the air, and though I may not, indeed certainly shall not live to see it, as my time is short, the door is ajar, and some one braver and shrewder than the rest will within the next fifty years lead the way in.”

                I thought this was interesting.

        • Profile photo of Peter
          Peter
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          Profile photo of PeterPeter

          “What then is the scientific method and how does it differ from the methods of Occult science ?” (#5638)

          It is a system for acquiring and/or validating knowledge through systematic observation, measurement, experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.

          The hypothesis that is to be tested can be arrived at through any number of means such as current knowledge; previous research or experiments; experience or observation in general; analysis using induction or deduction; intuition, imagination, dreams or simply a hunch.

          Importantly, hypotheses need to be falsifiable. In other words, there must be a way to test a hypothesis in order to see if it is possible to prove it false.

          Research and/or experimental findings need to be repeatable. In other words, it should be possible for other people to repeat the same research or experimental methodology and yield exactly the same results. Knowledge can’t simply be a matter of somebody claiming something is true that no one else can verify. Ideally this leads to an ever growing, albeit adaptive body of knowledge that can be shared by and with society at large.

          While the scope, range and vision of modern science may be limited, such a methodology may not be too different to that carried out by Adepts in the inner realms, as yet unaccessible to science. See the following from the Secret Doctrine, for example:

          ‘It is useless to say that the system in question is no fancy of one or several isolated individuals. That it is the uninterrupted record covering thousands of generations of Seers whose respective experiences were made to test and to verify the traditions passed orally by one early race to another, of the teachings of higher and exalted beings, who watched over the childhood of Humanity. That for long ages, the “ Wise Men ” of the Fifth Race, of the stock saved and rescued from the last cataclysm and shifting of continents, had passed their lives in learning, not teaching. How did they do so ? It is answered : by checking, testing, and verifying in every department of nature the traditions of old by the independent visions of great adepts ; i.e., men who have developed and perfected their physical, mental, psychic, and spiritual organisations to the utmost possible degree. No vision of one adept was accepted till it was checked and confirmed by the visions — so obtained as to stand as independent evidence — of other adepts, and by centuries of experiences.’
          (SD I 272)

          ~~

          • Profile photo of Kirk Marzulo
            Kirk Marzulo
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            Profile photo of Kirk MarzuloKirk Marzulo

            Very helpful comments Peter.
            I would add the following notes in distinguishing methods of Occult Science from the currently practiced “scientific method,” at least as far as I understand them.
            a) Occult (in it’s latin root meaning “hidden” or “secret”), pertains to hidden laws, forces and planes, by defintion, unknown to current science. What is occult today, may have been once known and may again be commonly known in centuries to come.
            b) As you point out, the Adepts or Seers mentioned in the passage from the S.D. you have drawn our attention to, have developed inner faculties of perception and knowledge such that independent “testing and verifying” can occur on planes that most people have little or no conscious, stable, recollected or reliable access to; i.e.: astral and akashic.
            c) A fundamental law in the occult system is the moral law, the law of karma expressed as that of universal compassion, “the law of laws.” Wouldn’t this seem to be a critical realm of human knowledge and experience that current modern science leaves out of the vast majority of its concerns and calculations?

            • Profile photo of Peter
              Peter
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              Profile photo of PeterPeter

              Those are important points, Kirk (#5646). Thanks.

              In relation to your points ‘a’ and ‘b’ we might simply say that while the field of research and the means by which such research is conducted differ greatly, the overall ’scientific method’ of both modern science and occultism* is similar. (At least as HPB describes the occult scientific method in our quote from SD I 272.)

              With regards to your point ‘c’: How would science investigate the law of karma, given that it is said to encompass many lifetimes? For example, how might it test and verify the claim that causes in previous life time are the bases for the effects that in this lifetime constitute a person’s make up (skandhas), circumstances and life incidents? How would it conduct research into the claim (hypothesis) that compassion is ‘the law of laws’?

              Just because science is largely ‘materialistic’ that doesn’t mean it is devoid of compassion. There are areas of science where people do work to benefit humanity e.g., through medicine, health, environmental concerns, technology, agriculture & so on. Of course, there are areas of science that are based on self interest, showing no real concern for the welfare of others, but that’s true of all areas of life, even in spiritual and religious endeavours.

              While we, as students of theosophy, will likely feel frustrated by the vision and limitations of modern science perhaps we just have to be realistic as to what the science of our present day humanity is able to achieve while still holding to the scientific method. That doesn’t mean we should not seek to broaden the areas of scientific endeavour, of course.

              ~~

    • Profile photo of Gerry Kiffe
      Gerry Kiffe
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      Profile photo of Gerry KiffeGerry Kiffe

      It is important to remember that the whole concept of analogy has to do with parallel likeness and not one to one correspondence. Death is like a sleep but different in many other ways of course.

      • Profile photo of Kate Blalack
        Kate Blalack
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        Profile photo of Kate BlalackKate Blalack

        Gerry, Can you clarify by giving an example of a correspondence? How are they different than a likeness? Thank you!:)

  • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
    Ramprakash ML
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    Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

    Thanks Pavel I read the article you referred to.

    ” Structural and dynamical similarities among different real networks suggest that some universal laws might be in action, although the nature and common origin of such laws remain elusive.”

    Should remain elusive for ever unless science picks up enough courage and embraces universal axioms of Occult philosophy. For the Western mind the best point of departure from the Inductive logic, to which it has remain wedded, is the Platonic method of proceeding from the universal axioms and descend into particulars, so well illustrated in Perminides and Timaeus.

    “The human Monad or Ego is therefore akin to all below it and heir to all above it, by indissoluble bonds to spirit and Matter, “God” and “Nature.” The Attributes it gathers, and the faculties that it unfolds, are but the latent and dormant potentialities awakening to conscious life. The tissue cells constitute man’s bodily structure, but the order in which they are arranged, the principles upon which they are grouped, constituting the human form, is not simply an evolved shape from the lower animal plane, but an involved principle from a higher plane, an older world, viz., the ‘Lunar Pitris.’ ” (Judge’s article on ‘Synthesis of Occult Science,’ Judge article vol. I, p. 30-31)

    Lunar Pitris evolve the ethereal model of the human form on the perfect pattern of Heavenly Man, Adam Kadmon or manifested Logos (Mahat), over 300 millions of years in the earlier three Rounds, before our fourth was reached.

    Human Mind is an efflux from above, containing the potentialitiies of Cosmic Mind, and the human brain itself is formed after the pattern of Mahat. (Transactions of Blavatsky Lodge, p. 28)

    In every cell one can see the same universal pattern, the same laws that operate in cosmos.

    • This reply was modified 6 months, 1 week ago by Profile photo of Ramprakash ML Ramprakash ML.
    • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
      Pavel Axentiev
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      Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

      If I may be a “devil’s advocate” here, I think that the Platonic method you describe is contrary to the very nature of science and may, and frequently has, lead to dogma, which in turn, also frequently, results in bloodshed and other injustices.

      In fact, “science” has been wed quite well to the Platonic axiomatic presentation, to which we largely owe the Dark/Middle Ages (in Europe), the geocentric model, etc., etc.

      The main problem of “science” as we know it is, in my opinion, that it still limits itself to the positivistic outlook, i.e. restricts its very definition of ‘fact’ to the external senses only. This makes it ignore all inner experiences. Thankfully, there has been a slow but steady progress in this direction, most recently represented, e.g., by the stellar research of Dean Radin (former President of the Parapsychological Association, etc., etc.), who has demonstrated quite convincingly the reality of parapsychological phenomena. This is still hardly accepted by the mainstream “science.” But of course, we know their tricks since HPB’s times and further down the road.

      Another important area is still quantum physics. Despite what the “skeptics” argue, it leads quite logically to the conclusion that consciousness is a fundamental aspect of reality, which has been acknowledged by the major figures in the history of quantum physics, notably Max Planck.

      • Profile photo of Kate Blalack
        Kate Blalack
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        Profile photo of Kate BlalackKate Blalack

        You should both read this book if you haven’t yet, Physics of the Soul: The Quantum Book of Living, Dying, Reincarnation, and Immortality
        by Amit Goswami

      • Profile photo of Pierre Wouters
        Pierre Wouters
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        Profile photo of Pierre WoutersPierre Wouters

        Thanks for the links to the ucsdnew Pavel, very informative!

        Here’s some modern quantum physics perceptions as to the world(s) we live in. Science is indeed slowly progressing into the more esoteric side of nature, as HPB predicted and she also pointed out that it is not necessary for science to use theosophical terminology. They will have to form their own vocabulary. The task for students of theosophy will be to recognize that vocabulary within its proper context.
        The following quotes obviously need to be understood within the perceptive realm of the scientists.

        Anton Zeilinger: “One may be tempted to assume that whenever we ask questions of nature, of the world there outside, there is reality existing independently of what can be said about it. We will now claim that such a position is void of any meaning. It is obvious that any property or feature of reality ‘out there’ can only be based on information we receive. There cannot be any statement whatsoever about the world or about reality that is not based on such information. It therefore follows that the concept of a reality without at least the ability in principle to make statements about it to obtain information about its features is devoid of any possibility of confirmation or proof. This implies that the distinction between information, that is knowledge, and reality is devoid of any meaning. Evidently what we are talking about is again a unification of very different concepts. The reader might recall that unification is one of the main themes of the development of modern science.”

        John A Wheeler:
        “Useful as it is under everyday circumstances to say that the world exists ‘out there’ independent of us, that view can no longer be upheld. There is a strange sense in which this is a ‘participatory universe.’”
        “We are participators in bringing into being not only the near and here but the far away and long ago. We are in this sense, participators in bringing about something of the universe in the distant past and if we have one explanation for what’s happening in the distant past why should we need more?”
        “‘Elementary phenomena’ are impossible without the distinction between observing equipment and observed system; but the line of distinction can run like a maze, so convoluted that what appears from one standpoint to be on one side and to be identified as observing apparatus, from another point of view has to be looked at as the observed system.”

        Thomas Hertog: “String theory gives you a multiverse, an ensemble of universes with different laws of physics which coexist in the theory simultaneously and which have certain relative probabilities determined by the laws of physics. You can think of that quantum reality a bit like a tree. The branches represent all possible universes, and our observations – we are part of the universe, so we are part of that tree – and our observations select certain branches, and hereby give meaning, or give reality, to our past in a quantum world….Quantum theory indicates we may not be mere chemical scum. Life and the cosmos are, in the quantum theory, a synthesis, and our observations now give in fact reality to its earliest days.”
        All conditioned phenomena arise in dependence upon three factors:
        Prior causes and conditions.
        Their own constituent parts and attributes
        The conceptual designation of them.

        • Profile photo of Kate Blalack
          Kate Blalack
          Participant
          Profile photo of Kate BlalackKate Blalack

          I like the emphasis on recognizing theosophy in different contexts. Thanks, this is what I have been doing in my personal studies. 🙂

        • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
          Pavel Axentiev
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          Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

          Great, Pierre, thanks!

          I like the book “Biocentrism” by Robert Lanza, MD, for the clear and somewhat simplified presentation (of quantum physics). He presents his conclusions in the following form:

          First Principle of Biocentrism: What we perceive as reality is a process that involves our consciousness. An “external” reality, if it existed, would – by definition – have to exist in space. But this is meaningless, because space and time are not absolute realities but rather tools of the human and animal mind.
          Second Principle of Biocentrism: Our external and interal perceptions are inextricably intertwined. They are different sides of the same coin and cannot be divorced from one another.
          Third Principle of Biocentrism: The behavior of subatomic particles – indeed all particles and objects – are inextricably linked to the presence of an observer. Without the presence of a conscious observer, they at best exist in an undetermined state of probability waves.
          Fourth Principle of Biocentrism: Without consciousness, “matter” dwells in an undetermined state of probability. Any universe that could have preceded consciousness only existed in a probability state.
          Fifth Principle of Biocentrism: The structure of the universe is explainable only through biocentrism. The universe is fine-tuned for life, which makes perfect sense as life creates the universe, not the other way around. The “universe” is simply the complete spatio-temporal logic of the self. [Bolding mine. – P.A.]

          • Profile photo of Laura
            Laura
            Participant
            Profile photo of LauraLaura

            To sum it up. Separateness is an illusion created by the senses. Universal Brotherhood is a fact.

            • Profile photo of Pierre Wouters
              Pierre Wouters
              Moderator
              Profile photo of Pierre WoutersPierre Wouters

              Hi Laura,

              although “an illusion created by the senses” is the common understanding, in reality however, it is the mind that creates the illusion because of its interpretation and often misapprehension of the data provided by the senses. The senses are merely the recorders of raw data – which is not even information, as information requires the interpretation of the data by the mind, a mistake even made by renowned quantum physicists! – and they can no more than do their job, the transmission of raw external data, provided the senses are in good condition. It is the kama-manasic mind that interprets the data and usually weaves a story around it (the monkey-mind) based on its preconceived knowledge and its likes and dislikes. Of course, in theosophy, the lower mind is also perceived as a sense in and by itself, and from that perspective you are quite right.

              • Profile photo of KS
                KS
                Moderator
                Profile photo of KSKS

                Allow me to entertain a different approach to this very common idea, of “Separateness is an illusion created by the senses” – which I have come to currently understand is not provable what-so-ever. I only mention this because there is no evidence of claiming our reality- or I could say, the existence of Being in general- as an illusionary state contrasted with a “Ultimate Reality.”

                First- let us remember a fundamental;

                A) An Essential Reality, which as the SD states is “unthinkable and unspeakable… one absolute Reality which antecedes all manifested, conditioned, being. This Infinite and Eternal Cause…”

                Since we must accept this as being a philosophical foundation, we also must accept that anything manifest/created on any sphere/plane, has its existence because of this ‘Singular Essence,’ which being the underlining Essential Cause. Stated as this Essential Cause being Unitary, direct knowledge of it would be impossible for numerous reasons. In other words, an ‘essence’ of something cannot be known, as there can be only One Essence, One Essential Reality in all literal and metaphysical meanings. To know It in essence, would to qualify It and distinguish It from something else. Further, attributes and qualities cannot exist as something separate in a Unitary Reality- but yet we have direct knowledge of these things, they are tangible to many aspects of our senses, hence they do exist, no doubt. Adepts and Seers have spoken of highly complex attributes and unimaginable qualities that exist in matter far subtler than ours. Wherever there is differentiation, it is only a specific quality or attribute that specifies its ‘separateness’ (or better said; expression) as a qualified state. So everything that is tangible to the wide scope of our senses must necessarily have its root in the Singular Essence.

                However- and a very important however- to know the attributes and qualities which exist in all manifested realities, can only be known by the senses- the senses being in direct correspondence with an entire hierarchy of planetary/cosmic intelligences and forces. So manifested realities i.e. the countless number of attributes and infinite qualities are the expressions and expansion of latent potentiality inherently of the One Essence, One Reality, One Existence.

                Perhaps the senses, including mind and its ‘illusions,’ are the saving grace that might allow one to intuitively obtain some glimmer of the Truth of the Unity in many-ness… the Singular Existence amongst the infinite expanse of ‘separateness.’ I do not see how we can speak of illusion when the first fundamental speaks that there can be only One Essential Existence/Reality.

                … Words create concepts which color our reality. Change this annoying concept of illusion and perhaps the notion of separateness might change. Spirit cannot be divorced from matter just as fire cannot be divorced from heat. Just a thought.

                “The servant of self-will has run away from his Masters kingdom, but he cannot go outside of it, so he wanders aimlessly (within).
                The free man is he who owns all engendered things and is not owned by property or position.
                Were he to resist engendered existence, he would nullify his root in His Master’s kingdom.”

                • Profile photo of Odin Townley
                  Odin Townley
                  Participant
                  Profile photo of Odin TownleyOdin Townley

                  Yes, truly…

                  “Maya or illusion is an element which enters into all finite things, for everything that exists has only a relative, not an absolute, reality, since the appearance which the hidden noumenon assumes for any observer depends upon his power of cognition. To the untrained eye of the savage, a painting is at first an unmeaning confusion of streaks and daubs of color, while an educated eye sees instantly a face or a landscape. Nothing is permanent except the one hidden absolute existence which contains in itself the noumena of all realities. The existences belonging to every plane of being, up to the highest Dhyan-Chohans, are, in degree, of the nature of shadows cast by a magic lantern on a colourless screen; but all things are relatively real, for the cogniser is also a reflection, and the things cognised are therefore as real to him as himself. Whatever reality things possess must be looked for in thembefore or after they have passed like a flash through the material world; but we cannot cognise any such existence directly, so long as we have sense-instruments which bring only material existence into the field of our consciousness. Whatever plane our consciousness may be acting in, both we and the things belonging to that plane are, for the time being, our only realities. As we rise in the scale of development we perceive that during the stages through which we have passed we mistook shadows for realities, and the upward progress of the Ego is a series of progressive awakenings, each advance bringing with it the idea that now, at last, we have reached “reality;” but only when we shall have reached the absolute Consciousness, and blended our own with it, shall we be free from the delusions produced by Maya.” (SD 1:39-40)

                  • Profile photo of Kirk Marzulo
                    Kirk Marzulo
                    Participant
                    Profile photo of Kirk MarzuloKirk Marzulo

                    Perhaps another way to look at this point, is provided by the XIVth Dalai Lama’s commentary on the Heart Sutra.

                    “Form is emptiness, emptiness is form: form is not other than emptiness; emptiness is not other than form.”
                    Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya

                    “That a “form is emptiness” means that the final nature of a form is its natural lack of inherent existence; because forms are dependent-arising, they are empty of an independent self-powered entity. That “emptiness is form” means that this natural lack of inherent existence–which is the absence of a self-powered principle–makes possible the forms which are its sport or which are established from it in dependence upon conditions…Like two sides of the hand, when looked at one way by examining its deeper nature, there is the emptiness of inherent existence, but when looked at from the other side, there is the appearance of the phenonmenon itself. They are one entity…If you feel that everything is useless because it is empty, you are mistaking emptiness for nihilism. Properly understanding emptiness means realizing how we must rely on cause and effect. The natural and full understanding of emptiness means a profound understanding of the union of appearance and emptiness.” -Tenzin Gyatso, How to Practice, the Way to a Meaningful Life, p. 165-168

                    And from the Voice of the Silence, second fragment:
                    “Thou hast to study the voidness of the seeming full, the fulness of the seeming void.”

                • Profile photo of Pierre Wouters
                  Pierre Wouters
                  Moderator
                  Profile photo of Pierre WoutersPierre Wouters

                  Indeed Kristan,

                  it doesn’t prove the existence of a reality in and of itself, but it does prove the illusion. Our sensory perceptions only allow us to see the range of vibrations of which each sense is capable of, even science agrees with that, we know for instance that certain animals have sensory capabilities beyond the human range, so what we as humans see is only a sliver of relative reality.

                  What that “out there” (the vibrations) really is, remains in essence an open question. HPB mentions somewhere that there is no outside location, which seems to entail that everything happens within the mind. How that exactly functions we don’t know yet, although scientists (especially quantum physicists) seem to show an interest in that question.

                  • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
                    Ramprakash ML
                    Participant
                    Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

                    Pierre Wouters
                    May 14, 2017 at 3:51 pm #5618

                    So, our knowledge and perceptions, and conclusions we arrive at, our understanding of life and nature, even those of modern science, our values based on this, though legitimate and valid from conventional viewpoint, are, nevertheless, necessarily divorced from Reality, the latter being the WHOLE, or, as SD says, SUM TOTAL.

                    This partial view which our senses and lower mind give can, therefore, only be relatively valid. It is SAMVRITTI SATYA – relative truth, which the Voice says, is “the origin of all the world’s delusions.”

                    This is what, I suppose Shankara calls MITHYA, a Vedantic term, which does not mean non-existence, but means mistaken notion, like mistaking the rope for a snake. He says the whole manifested worlds is MITHYA, and SAT (Brahman) alone is SATYA.

                    To me it makes perfect sense, though I am not able to realize SATYA, but I know for certainty that deep in me is THAT, and I can Know IT — PARAMARTHA.

                    Interestingly, and paradoxically, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says to the effect that he who says he knows IT does not Know IT, but he who says he does not know IT, he knows IT.

                    It cannot be otherwise. Why ? – Because, you, I, are all THAT.

                    • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
                      Pavel Axentiev
                      Participant
                      Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

                      Well put and sums it up.

                      Nice correspondence between Brihadaranyaka Upanishad and Tao Te Ching.

  • Profile photo of barbara
    barbara
    Participant
    Profile photo of barbarabarbara

    It may be helpful if we define what we mean by “illusion.”

    Does it mean what we perceive has no real existence and it is only in our imagination? Does it mean that it has no independent existence and exists only relative to something else? Does it mean that it is not what we perceive it to be? Does it mean that we are perceiving only the peripheral features and not its essence? Does it mean that we are mistaking a symbolic representation to be the thing itself? Does it mean what we perceive keeps changing? Does it mean there are multiple layers and we are only perceiving the surface layer? Does it mean we are perceiving only the reflection?

    • This reply was modified 6 months, 1 week ago by Profile photo of barbara barbara.
    • This reply was modified 6 months, 1 week ago by Profile photo of barbara barbara.
    • This reply was modified 6 months, 1 week ago by Profile photo of barbara barbara.
    • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
      Pavel Axentiev
      Participant
      Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

      Barbara,
      I would say that most of your definitions would apply in some cases or other. The second one seems more appropriate for the term “emptiness” as defined by the current Dalai Lama and his Buddhist tradition. Ultimately, all activity of the “manas”-mind is probably illusion-forming. You may as well ask, “what is Truth?”

    • Profile photo of Peter
      Peter
      Moderator
      Profile photo of PeterPeter

      These are good questions, Barbara (#5613). They can all be used in one context or another. Another way to approach it is by asking ‘what do we mean when we say that something is real?’

      When we say that a thing, entity or being is real are we doing anything more than simply asserting that this thing, entity or being exists in some way? Reality and existence appear to go together. Can a non-existent thing be real?

      Perhaps we also need to ask what do we mean when we assert that something exists? What sort of claim – consciously or unconsciously – are we making about that thing?

      For example, does it exist in the way that it appears? Does it exist by way of its own power, completely independent of causes and conditions, or, does it depend for its existence entirely on causes and conditions? Is there any existing thing, entity or being that does not depend on causes and conditions for its existence? If so, what kind of existence might that be?

      Of course, the other aspect of this question is, ‘how do we know?’ Importantly, how can we be certain about our knowing?

      Reality, existence and knowing all seem to be interrelated.

      ~~

      • Profile photo of Laura
        Laura
        Participant
        Profile photo of LauraLaura

        Two thoughts to add to contemplation

        All beings are the same in kind and differ only in degree

        And All forms be they planetary or individual are made of an aggregate of beings.

        • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
          Ramprakash ML
          Participant
          Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

          And can we add to this one more axiom ? :

          “Highest sees through the eyes of the lowest” in the hierarchy of beiings.

    • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
      Ramprakash ML
      Participant
      Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

      Barbara
      May 14, 2017 at 2:10 am #5613

      Very thoughtful and probing questions ! Not easy to answer. Let me make an attempt :
      1. Does it mean what we perceive has no real existence and it is only in our imagination?

      Answer is YES, undoubtedly, if we put trust in the collective wisdom of Sages from time without beginning. Yet this trust in not blind faith, because it also is testable by reason, experience and analogy with what we know.
      Take the case of dreams. Images, pictures, emotional experiences, like fear, anxiety, pleasure, pain, etc. are seen and experienced, and these are real to the dreamer so long as the dream lasts. But they are seen to be mere imaginings when recollected in retrospect.
      Why not the same thing be said of waking experiences ? Why not ? It is perfectly not only analogous but more than analogy–it is the same ! What proof do we have of that ? We have proofs. A number of them. Even inductive science can verify the truth of this assertion.

      proof : Hypnotic experiments clearly demonstrate the verity that, though indirectly, that thought or mind is the cause (or producer) of external phenomena. The hypnotic subject can made to see, hear, smell, touch, taste anything by merely suggesting an idea to him by the operator, though there is no objective thing out there which is experienced.

      The subject need not be in hypnotic sleep to produce this phenomenon. He may be wide awake. Item 8 of the 10 propositions of psychology states that there are certain races who are gifted with various psychological, mediumistic, seership and magical powers, which they transmit from generation to generation. We find them in India, Africa, Latin America and other indigenous people.
      One such produce external phenomena to a wide audience by mere suggestion. They formulate a clear picture in the fertile image making power of their minds the phenomena they wish the audience to see, and project it into the minds of the onlookers, and lo ! it appears before them, as real as you see any object in your normal waking life. The famous Indian rope trick performed by certain communities is an example, which has been seen and testified to by thousands of practical, sober, no-nonsense Western peoples. They make wild animals, like tigers to appear and prowl about, growling, and scare people.

      So “objective reality” is nothing but projection of the modifications of our own mind. That’s precisely is a basic proposition of Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras. Stop the modifications of the mind by perfect control, then the universe disappears for the Yogi !

      Matter of our plane is an illusion. Spirit-Substance is the basis and the source, the beginning, the middle and end of all existing things.

      Says S.D. I, p. 239 :”In strict accuracy–to avoid confusion and misconception–the term “Matter” ought to be applied to the aggregate of objects of possible perception, and “Substance” to noumena; for inasmuch as the PHENOMENA OF OUR PLANE ARE THE CREATION OF THE PERCEIVING EGO–THE MODIFICATIONS OF ITS OWN SUBJECTIVITY–all the “states of matter representing the aggregate of perceived objects” can have but relative and purely phenomenal existence for the children of our plane.”
      And–
      “The pure object apart from consciousness is unknown to us, while living on the plane of our three dimensional world; AS WE KNOW ONLY THE MENTAL STATES IT EXCITES IN THE PERCEIVING EGO.”

      The Perceiver himself is an illusion, let alone the “objects” he perceives !

      So, what then is real ?

      “From the standpoint of highest metaphysics, the whole Universe, gods included, is an illusion; but the ILLUSION OF HIM WHO IS IN HIMSELF AN ILLUSION DIFFERS ON EVERY PLANE OF CONSCIOUSNESS…”

      Modern quantum physics is coming to realize this truism that “objectivity” is inseparable from “Subjective Self,” both being one contiuum;

      Only when the Ego merges with Absolute as the culmination of its ascending progression then only will it in its Nirvanic state know THINGS AS THEY ARE, as opposed too things AS THEY SEEM.

      • Profile photo of barbara
        barbara
        Participant
        Profile photo of barbarabarbara

        “From the standpoint of highest metaphysics, the whole Universe, gods included, is an illusion; but the ILLUSION OF HIM WHO IS IN HIMSELF AN ILLUSION DIFFERS ON EVERY PLANE OF CONSCIOUSNESS…”

        Thank you, Ram, for sharing an important teaching on the subject of reality / illusions.

  • Profile photo of Kate Blalack
    Kate Blalack
    Participant
    Profile photo of Kate BlalackKate Blalack

    Well, science is a way of describing the material universe, so the scientific method is this: I have a hypothesis/idea about how something works, and then I have to test that hypothesis over and over…then a general theory can be adapted. However, a theory can be disproved. But, this would only be something reliable assuming the universe has a set of laws. If not, things my always be changing.

    I don’t know the methods of occult science, can you tell me them?

  • Profile photo of Kate Blalack
    Kate Blalack
    Participant
    Profile photo of Kate BlalackKate Blalack

    Well, science is a way of describing the material universe, so the scientific method is this: I have a hypothesis/idea about how something works, and then I have to test that hypothesis over and over…then a general theory can be adopted. However, a theory can be disproved. But, this would only be something reliable assuming the universe has a set of laws. If not, things may always be changing.

    I don’t know the methods of occult science, can you tell me them?

    • Profile photo of Odin Townley
      Odin Townley
      Participant
      Profile photo of Odin TownleyOdin Townley

      True Kate, and HPB was always laser focused on the subject. In Summing Up (SD 1:272-3):

      The Secret Doctrine is the accumulated Wisdom of the Ages, and its cosmogony alone is the most stupendous and elaborate system: e.g., even in the exotericism of the Puranas. But such is the mysterious power of Occult symbolism, that the facts which have actually occupied countless generations of initiated seers and prophets to marshal, to set down and explain, in the bewildering series of evolutionary progress, are all recorded on a few pages of geometrical signs and glyphs. The flashing gaze of those seers has penetrated into the very kernel of matter, and recorded the soul of things there, where an ordinary profane, however learned, would have perceived but the external work of form. But modern science believes not in the “soul of things,” and hence will reject the whole system of ancient cosmogony.

      It is useless to say that the system in question is no fancy of one or several isolated individuals. That it is the uninterrupted record covering thousands of generations of Seers whose respective experiences were made to test and to verify the traditions passed orally by one early race to another, of the teachings of higher and exalted beings, who watched over the childhood of Humanity. That for long ages, the “Wise Men” of the Fifth Race, of the stock saved and rescued from the last cataclysm and shifting of continents, had passed their lives in learning, not teaching. How did they do so? It is answered: by checking, testing, and verifying in every department of nature the traditions of old by the independent visions of great adepts; i.e., men who have developed and perfected their physical, mental, psychic, and spiritual organisations to the utmost possible degree. No vision of one adept was accepted till it was checked and confirmed by the visions — so obtained as to stand as independent evidence — of other adepts, and by centuries of experiences.

  • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
    Pavel Axentiev
    Participant
    Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

    Re: Kirk Marzulo, #5646

    I agree that Peter wrapped it up nicely; however, I disagree on Kirk’s points:
    a) Nothing stays the same, and what may have been occult in the times of HPB (or preceding those) may be more open now. Take quantum physics and modern parapsychological research.
    b) My deep conviction is that properly set discourse allows for the sharing of inner, esoteric experiences between people. A certain agreed-upon language is required, no more, no less. The Adepts of yester years may have used Buddhist or Brahmin terminology. We may do the same and expand our language to modern equivalents. Precise methods of achieving certain states is mainly what is at stake, imo. And these methods require pain-staking, moment-to-moment efforts that aim 1) at obtaining knowledge of oneself; 2) obtaining mastery of oneself. The Work proceeds in the most mundane circumstances.

    • Profile photo of Kirk Marzulo
      Kirk Marzulo
      Participant
      Profile photo of Kirk MarzuloKirk Marzulo

      Pavel–
      a) That is exactly what my intended meaning was. Perhaps it was clumsily stated!

      b) I did not mean to remotely suggest that there is no legitmate science being conducted in the world. I was speaking in very broad generalizations in regards to modern modes of scientific research in relation to the “hidden” sides of nature. My point is exactly aligned with what you yourself stated earlier in the week on this converstation: “The main problem of “science” as we know it is, in my opinion, that it still limits itself to the positivistic outlook, i.e. restricts its very definition of ‘fact’ to the external senses only. This makes it ignore all inner experiences.” -P.A.

      c) I am certainly open to being proved wrong, but from what I can tell (with some notable exceptions) the vast majority of “scientific” experimentation and testing being conducted and published today does not concern itself the underlying intent or moral implications of the work which as the voice tells us, is the essence of both true self-knowledge and self-mastery.
      “Self knowledge is of loving deeds, the child.” -V.O.S.
      In my mind, this is a fundamental distinction that goes largely unrecognized, which both H.P.B. and Judge lamented, which (in my mind) creates a vast gulf between white occultism (as opposed to the “black arts”) and modern science. If the Atlantean story is taken as given, we have lost access to the inner planes exactly because we used those forces and knowledge on behalf of a separative ego, instead of the spirit of unity common to all.

      • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
        Pavel Axentiev
        Participant
        Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

        You are of course correct in the latter part.

        I, however, think that the whole underlying structure of the modern world has changed, and no single element describes. it. Given the preponderance of information you can devote yourself wholly to any single area of research, art or science, and never reach the depths. Thus, while the mass media probably describe some significant portion of the reality, it is not wise to think that it’s the dominant portion.

        I’ve said once that in post-modern times, any music you are listening to right now is the most contemporary one.

        Perhaps, that describes a kind of singularity that the human community has reached in certain aspects of its culture, thanks largely due to the Internet.

        • Profile photo of Kirk Marzulo
          Kirk Marzulo
          Participant
          Profile photo of Kirk MarzuloKirk Marzulo

          I do often wonder if H. P. B. would find the scene all that different from what she saw in her own day. The surface of appearances can change dramatically, while fundamental issues related to human suffering and ignorance remain largely unchanged. I must admit it little interests me what new secrets science can uncover to corroborate ancient teachings, when with all our sophistication and access to knowledge bases, we still walk backwards in the moral realm and balance so wantonly close to ruining the very planet we stand on.

          “The environmental crisis requires not simply rhetoric or cosmetic solutions but a death and rebirth of modern man and his worldview…There must be the rebirth of the religious knowledge of nature, the traditional cosmologies and sacred sciences still preserved in many of the non-Western areas of the world…Without the rediscovery of this sacred science of the order of nature and the ethics of the environment, there is no doubt that what remains of order in the natural and human worlds will turn into further chaos…that can destroy all human life on Earth. To preserve the sanctity of life requires the re-sacralization of nature, not in the sense of bestowing sacredness upon nature, which is beyond the power of man, but of lifting aside the veils of ignorance and pride that have hidden the sacredness of nature from the view of a whole segment of humanity.”

          -Seyyed Hossein Nasr,
          Religion and the Order of Nature, p 6,7

          “The reason why the world lacks unity, and lies broken and in heaps, is because man is disunited with himself. He cannot be a naturalist, until he satisfies all the demands of the spirit. Love is as much its demand, as perception. Indeed, neither can be perfect without the other. In the uttermost meaning of the words, thought is devout, and devotion is thought. Deep calls unto deep. But in actual life, the marriage is not celebrated. There are innocent men who worship God after the tradition of their fathers, but their sense of duty has not yet extended to the use of all their faculties. And there are patient naturalists, but they freeze their subject under the wintry light of the understanding. Is not prayer also a study of truth, — a sally of the soul into the unfound infinite? No man ever prayed heartily, without learning something. But when a faithful thinker, resolute to detach every object from personal relations, and see it in the light of thought, shall, at the same time, kindle science with the fire of the holiest affections, then will God go forth anew into the creation.”

          -Ralph Waldo Emerson
          Essay on ‘Nature’

          • Profile photo of barbara
            barbara
            Participant
            Profile photo of barbarabarbara

            Kirk:

            I think what you are alluding to is the difference between head learning (science) and soul wisdom (occult science).

            “Search for the Paths. But, O Lanoo, be of clean heart before thou startest on thy journey. Before thou takest thy first step learn to discern the real from the false, the ever-fleeting from the everlasting. Learn above all to separate Head-learning from Soul-Wisdom, the “Eye” from the “Heart” doctrine.” VOS

          • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
            Ramprakash ML
            Participant
            Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

            Kirk,

            HPB would find the world of today, far worse than what it was during her time– in terms of social injustice and inequity, destruction of environment, poisoning of oceans, soil, genetic modification of life sustaining food grains and vegetable life, lethal weapons of mass destruction, and absolutely no-holds-barred pursuit of greed and amassing of wealth by the few, benefiting what she called the “upper ten” of society, but crushing out the helpless masses of poorer sections in millions. I see this happening in India, a heart-rending awful social injustice.

            She said in Theosophy – Rare Perspectives :

            “the ‘happiness’ you speak of will not come as long as moral progress slumbers in inactivity, paralyzed by the ferocious egotism of everybody, the rich as well as the poor.”

            Gandhi shows how wise Sages of ancient India cared and worked only for moral and spiritual progress, relegating material progress to its legitimate domain to be subservient to Dharma–the moral law.

      • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
        Ramprakash ML
        Participant
        Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

        Kirk Marzulo
        May 17, 2017 at 8:52 pm #5652

        I cannot agree with Kirk the more when he said :

        “the vast majority of “scientific” experimentation and testing being conducted and published today does not concern itself the underlying intent or moral implications of the work which as the voice tells us, is the essence of both true self-knowledge and self-mastery.
        “Self knowledge is of loving deeds, the child.” -V.O.S.”

        No doubt modern science has made astounding progress in conquest of outer space but being amoral, unspiritual, lower-manasic-centric, its discoveries and inventions cannot but be self-destructive to the civilization, the premonitory symptoms of which are already evident.

        • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
          Pavel Axentiev
          Participant
          Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

          Let us not miss, in our well-founded criticism, the positive elements that may be coming of age. What is happening in science is a major turn from the materialistic, positivistic outlook, which HPB fought against throughout all her works.

          “Re-sacralization of nature” Kirk mentions (in a quote) is promoted, in part, by the new “religion” of Wicca.

          I really don’t think that simple blind following of “traditional cosmologies and sacred sciences” will do any good at this point. The scientific culture of the the age of Enlightenment (as it was called by the French encyclopedists of the 18th century) has developed the rational part of humanity to a considerable degree, like it or not. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, especially, perhaps, if one can turn it inward, as well as outward.

  • Profile photo of barbara
    barbara
    Participant
    Profile photo of barbarabarbara

    Peter,

    Yes, reality, existence, and knowledge appear to be interrelated. #5630 Reality and illusions are two sides of the coin. It is hard to speak of one without intimating about the other. Broadly speaking, it seems anything we can conceive of has a certain degree of reality, meaning that it exists on some level. We may be wrong about the nature of the object we perceive and draw the wrong conclusion, like a mirage in the desert. If everything exists in the Universal Mind, how can we imagine anything that has no existence? Whatever state of consciousness we are in is the reality for us at that moment. Dream is very real when we are dreaming; physical existence is very real when we are awake. Knowing is a faculty of our mind. We can only be certain about our knowing through experience and corroboration by others. Whatever enters into our sphere of awareness, our mind immediately establishes a relation with the object, we being the perceiver, the object perceived, and the perception. Reality and perception are intimately intertwined and the ability to perceive truth depends on our “power of cognition.”

  • Profile photo of Kirk Marzulo
    Kirk Marzulo
    Participant
    Profile photo of Kirk MarzuloKirk Marzulo

    Peter–
    Thanks for your comments.
    Of course we have all benefited by many of the successes of modern science and technology. This electronic exchange being one of them! But I have been looking for that line from H. P. B. where she says in one of her articles (paraphrasing) “show me one modern contrivance or invention that has worked to the true benefit of humanity” as opposed to being used as a means of profit-making, oppression of the weak and advantage over the unwary, if not outright war-mongering. If someone knows where to find that quote, I would appreciate it.
    Part of the question I meant to raise is this: Long before we expect science to dip further into the unseen for us or to “verify” the immortality of the soul, isn’t it part of theosophical work to begin envisioning the re-alignment of the direction and intent of science (and yes…as of all fields of research and thought) with the “sanctified common sense,” the metaphysical pre-suppositions and ethical injunctions of ancient teachings? Isn’t this part of what is referred to as “dianoia?” Wouldn’t the moral realignment be one of the pre-conditions of the deeper intuitive insights that might result?
    The question brings to mind Buckmister Fuller’s “100% solution.” Should we not begin to imagine the arts and sciences as eventual sisters and servants to fundamental verities such as the causal and underlying interdependent unity of all things?
    And yes…what if more of scientific and psychological research took reincarnation as a hypothesis? As Judge demonstrates, it has an inherent logic to it that explains unanswered questions on many fronts. Would not that be part of the fundamental awakening that theosophy is meant bring about?

    • Profile photo of Peter
      Peter
      Moderator
      Profile photo of PeterPeter

      Kirk – hello again. What you say makes a lot of sense. I think there are two issues underlying our discussion which may be getting mixed up. The first is, ‘what is the scientific method?’ This is the initial question to which I offered an answer for consideration. It is also the scientific method (as far as it can be used by modern science) that I was referring to when I said we students of theosophy need to be realistic in our expectations as to how and where it can be applied.

      The other issue or question, which you quite rightly raise, is ‘What are the main aims of modern science? Are they broad enough? Shouldn’t they encompass other aspects of nature, especially the moral and spiritual dimensions of life and being & so on?” To which the answer is, yes, the aim of science should be as broad and as encompassing as possible to include those other important dimensions of life.

      The scientific method is one thing; the current aims of modern science is another. The fact that the whole of the scientific community does not share our theosophical beliefs and aims does not lessen the value of the method. That said, even if it the majority of the scientific community did share our beliefs it would still be problematic when it comes to applying the scientific method to the areas of life (inner planes, consciousness, the soul, reincarnation, moral laws & so on) deemed important to theosophists and spiritual practitioners in general.

      There are scientists who do seek to include those dimensions of life and who wish to explore ways to apply research to those areas. See, for example, just one community of scientists that I know of personally, based here in the UK – The Scientific and Medical Network – https://explore.scimednet.org
      There’s also progress being made in the field of psychology.

      I worked in the field of transpersonal psychology and psychotherapy for around 30years. I know of a good number of people in the USA, UK and Europe working in the field of psychology and science who are conducting research into consciousness, mystical experience, spirituality, compassion in relation to health and healing & so on. The British Psychological Society (the professional body for psychologists in the UK) even has a section dedicated to Transpersonal Psychology. ( see: http://www.bps.org.uk/networks-and-communities/member-microsite/transpersonal-psychology-section).

      Quite often the people working in all these areas of research have beliefs and/or experiences that go beyond the modest aims of their organisation, sections or fields of inquiry. That’s because the scientific method is not simply about what you believe, it’s also about what you can actually research, test and verify.

      So, I would say that while science and research in general still has a very long way to go let’s not give up hope. I would also ask that we students of theosophy refrain from making such bleak and damning sweeping generalisations of everybody working in that field of endeavour. It just creates an air of negativity. It adds nothing positive to the debate. It doesn’t help the people of similar minds to ourselves who are working in the field.

      ~~

      • Profile photo of Kirk Marzulo
        Kirk Marzulo
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        Profile photo of Kirk MarzuloKirk Marzulo

        Peter–
        No doubt there are good, altruistic and earnest efforts being made everywhere, every day, mostly unseen and unnoticed. To suggest otherwise would indeed be bleak. Some of my dearest lifelong friends whom I trust and admire greatly (and who are also devoted students of Theosophy) teach or practice in scientific fields.
        I am thrilled to hear of the organizations to which you refer and I look forward learning more about them.

        • Profile photo of barbara
          barbara
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          Profile photo of barbarabarbara

          Even though there are many limitations in the current scientific approach, notably, the reliance on empiricism and its positivism stance, modern science, nevertheless, has achieved stupendous success in many of its discoveries and inventions. The biggest change we experience in our present lifetime is the advancement of technology and the ways it has altered our lives. The digital revolution, inadvertently and imperceptibly, has changed our Consciousness. It has forced us to acknowledge our interdependence, that we are not isolated individuals or countries, that we are parts of a larger Whole, that we are indeed “One Humanity.” Even though I doubt this was the motive of implementing the internet, yet it is one of the paramount effects.

          The speed of hearing others’ thoughts, almost like clairaudience, across the globe was unimaginable at one time. The world is getting smaller and the global effect is getting larger, and it will expand to include other planets and the solar system. Currently, there are so many studies and investigations into the fields of the unknown and some discoveries will usher us into another new era of major changes. True, each new invention brings in new problems, just like the sun shines on the virtuous as well as the wicked, fertile soil feed the plants as well as the weeds. Yet, we must recognize some of these future innovations, to name a few, like, artificial intelligence, telemedicine, mental and physical health integration, outer space explorations, quantum physics, genome sequencing, and many more, will take humanity closer to the door of occult truths and some might even lead us to question things that have taken for granted. Looking at it from a different level, we can say all these are unfoldment of the power of the “Divine.”

          “Humanity is ever changing, physically and mentally and perfecting itself with every Race more, as you know we are acquiring learning, perception and knowledge that we did not have before. Therefore, the science of today is the ignorance of tomorrow.” SD Dialog pg 6

      • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
        Ramprakash ML
        Participant
        Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

        Peter
        May 19, 2017 at 5:51 pm #5678

        “In essence Transpersonal Psychology seeks to integrate non-scientific spiritual insights with observations and models associated with the rigorous methodological approach of psychological science.”

        That is a great advance made towards open mindedness and admission of reality of the potentialities of higher consciousness of man, and a willingness to investigate “transpersonal” psychological phenomena with scientific method, so far as the former are amenable to empirical analysis.

        I suppose it can be said that this is the limit of scientific method, and beyond that science has to step beyond empiricism enter into metaphysics, and adopt ontological principles, and also adopt science, philosophy and ethical practices of Yoga (method of Patanjali or its equivalent in Buddhism) for development of psychic and spiritual senses.

        It is inevitable. Both psychology and quantum field physics have already landed in the Occult world. Both are mutually complementary.

        There lies a great danger. We are warned by Teachers that unless Higher Manasic rules and guides the pychic, the latter will lead to worst results.

        • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
          Pavel Axentiev
          Participant
          Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

          Ramprakash ML
          May 20, 2017 at 10:10 am #5680:

          “I suppose it can be said that this is the limit of scientific method, and beyond that science has to step beyond empiricism enter into metaphysics, and adopt ontological principles, and also adopt science, philosophy and ethical practices of Yoga (method of Patanjali or its equivalent in Buddhism) for development of psychic and spiritual senses.”

          I may be wrong, but I’ve been prophesying the belief that the scientific method can be equally applied to the study of the inner world. I mean one’s personal study of one’s own inner world. There are no ontological constructions necessary to begin it.

          In my opinion, the methods of multiple observations and experiments are required to arrive at any kind of true knowledge on our, human level. I believe that the Adepts, of which it is taught that they have compared their observations until there was no doubt that they are correct, have used a similar method. There is nothing in the scientific method that precludes its use in the study of the inner world.

          Curiously, the rational nature of man is also expressed in philosophy. And history of philosophy is replete with discussions of moral nature, starting with Plato and continuing to this day.

          Perhaps the rational nature may lead one to a more conscious, more moral approach to one’s environment and one’s fellow beings, thus being the foundation of the practices that lead deeper into the recesses of the psychic and spiritual.

          • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
            Ramprakash ML
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            Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

            Pavel,

            I see no way science as we have today, founded on empiricism and inductive method, can ever make significant progress in unveiling the mystery of being.

            It is admirably suited to ascertain the laws of physical phenomena that falls within the cognitive range of the five senses and the mind, by observation, gathering, collating facts, and arrive at generalization through hypotheses, further observation and experimentation.

            But empiricism — meaning admitting only that which can be experienced by the senses and rational analysis–cannot unveil deeper realms of mind and spirit, because they transcend the limitation of senses and mind.

            Such inductive method, valid as it is within the limited circle of physical world, cannot transcend it. “Objective reality” with which science concerns itself is the veil which conceals the niumenal essmce of things. That veil is the senses and the mind.

            To apprehend Reality one has to, with the awakened Will — the power of the Spirit — has to paralyze independent involuntary actions of senses, brain and mind, free the Soul, the Perceiver, from their influence, and direct the Soul-gaze in the state of Samadhi to apprehend the true essence or soul of things.

            Without such conscious deliberate separation or isolation of the Soul from the turbulence of lower nature no true knowledge can ever be reached.

            First acion Of Occult science is “Mistrust thy senses, they are false.”

            • Profile photo of Kirk Marzulo
              Kirk Marzulo
              Participant
              Profile photo of Kirk MarzuloKirk Marzulo

              “Student.—How is one to know when he gets real occult information from the Self within?
              Sage.—Intuition must be developed and the matter judged from the true philosophical basis, for if it is contrary to true general rules it is wrong. It has to be known from a deep and profound analysis by which we find out what is from egotism alone and what is not; if it is due to egotism, then it is not from the Spirit and is untrue. The power to know does not come from book-study nor from mere philosophy, but mostly from the actual practice of altruism in deed, word, and thought; for that practice purifies the covers of the soul and permits that light to shine down into the brain-mind. As the brain-mind is the receiver in the waking state, it has to be purified from sense-perception, and the truest way to do this is by combining philosophy with the highest outward and inward virtue.”

              -W.Q. Judge
              The Path, “The Power to Know”

  • Profile photo of Pierre Wouters
    Pierre Wouters
    Moderator
    Profile photo of Pierre WoutersPierre Wouters

    Is this the ref you were referring to Kirk?

    Conversations on Occultism: The Kali Yuga—The Present Age
    The Path, April, 1888

    Student.—What are the characteristics to which you refer, by which Kali-Yuga may be known?
    Sage.—As its name implies, darkness is the chief. This of course is not deducible by comparing today with 800 A.D., for this would be no comparison at all. The present century is certainly ahead of the middle ages, but as compared with the preceding Yuga it is dark. To the Occultist, material advancement is not of the quality of light, and he finds no proof of progress in merely mechanical contrivances that give comfort to a few of the human family while the many are in misery.

    • Profile photo of Ramprakash ML
      Ramprakash ML
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      Profile photo of Ramprakash MLRamprakash ML

      Pierre Wouters
      May 19, 2017 at 2:56 am #5667

      ” To the Occultist, material advancement is not of the quality of light, and he finds no proof of progress in merely mechanical contrivances that give comfort to a few of the human family while the many are in misery.”

      Lethal effects–moral, social and environmental–of progress of soulless science in service of all-material civilization, as ours, is brought out clearly by HPB in her article, “Death of Art and Beauty,” (HPB article vol I, p. 148), and “Theosophy : Some Rare Perspectives,” p. 19-22

      it is worth studying these. Such is the views of Mahatmas.

      I was struck by the convergence of the views of Gandhi with HPB’s on the question of civilization (Ganhi’s 1908 work, “Hind Swaraj)

      It is so dehumanizing that VOS says, “Even Ignorance is better than head-learning with no soul-wisdom to illuminate and guide it.”

      HPB Article vol. III, (p. 314) on “Progress and Culture” :

      “But what are really culture and civilization ?…….Real culture is spiritual. It proceeds from within outwards, and unless a person is naturally noble-minded and strives to progress on the spiritual before he does so on the physical or the outward plane, such culture and civilization will be no better than whitened sepulchres full of dead men’s bones and decay.”

    • Profile photo of Kirk Marzulo
      Kirk Marzulo
      Participant
      Profile photo of Kirk MarzuloKirk Marzulo

      Pierre–
      The quotation you offer is very similar and will do for the purpose.
      Thank you also Ram, for adding in important additional references.

  • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
    Pavel Axentiev
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    Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

    Ramprakash ML
    May 21, 2017 at 6:47 am #5689

    I mean exactly that: that one should look within and take one’s inner experiences as facts, to which one would apply the scientific method of analysis, but not trying to explain everything from the materialistic points of view, rather explore the inner world (including feelings towards oneself and other people) on its own grounds.

    How does one come to the altruistic outlook? Does one need a guru, to believe everything that says on face-value? I think not. Gurdjieff is known to have said that no belief is necessary (for the Inner Work), maybe only a little bit of trust in the beginning.

    If we (as the world culture today) assign more meaning to our inner experiences, then that will be a major step forward, would it not?

    Of course, to properly achieve the results we talk about in Theosophy, one needs a certain training. But that training is primarily in the basic skills, such as learning to still the mind, and learning to observe oneself (internally).

    Given those conditions, one should be able to proceed, applying critical thinking (i.e. scientific method) to anything one hears or receives from others, as well as to one’s own inner experiences.

    In other words, Ramprakash, I think that you misunderstand me and my idea of the scientific method by seeing it as equivalent only to the study of the “objective reality” of the senses.
    No, no, no. You apply it to anything that may be considered facts, and your own inner experiences are as much facts for you as any sensory input. The imaginary boundary between the latter two (perhaps, originating with Descartes) is the problem with how ‘science’ is currently understood, – not the scientific method per se.

    • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
      Pavel Axentiev
      Participant
      Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

      The goal of the scientific method (in the broad sense) is not merely the search for “knowledge” (in which it may be not very effective), but protecting oneself from lies. False information abounds in the spiritual realm, both on the mundane human level, and in the lower astral. One needs rely on one’s experiences, coupled with the rational approach, to separate what is potentially useful (True) from what is potentially harmful. If this is not what a large part of HPB’s Theosophy was about, then I’ve never read The Secret Doctrine, or Isis Unveiled.

      • Profile photo of Kate Blalack
        Kate Blalack
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        Profile photo of Kate BlalackKate Blalack

        That’s why I think the occult method is more closely related to deductive reasoning (like detective work),than it is related to a scientific approach.

        • Profile photo of Kirk Marzulo
          Kirk Marzulo
          Participant
          Profile photo of Kirk MarzuloKirk Marzulo

          “Raj Yoga encourages no sham, requires no physical postures. It has to deal with the inner man whose sphere lies in the world of thought. To have the highest ideal placed before oneself and strive incessantly to rise up to it, is the only true concentration recognized by Esoteric Philosophy which deals with the inner world of noumena, not the outer shell of phenomena.

          The first requisite for it is thorough purity of heart. Well might the student of Occultism say with Zoroaster, that purity of thought, purity of word, and purity of deed,—these are the essentials of one who would rise above the ordinary level and join the “gods.” A cultivation of the feeling of unselfish philanthropy is the path which has to be traversed for that purpose. For it is that alone which will lead to Universal Love, the realization of which constitutes the progress towards deliverance from the chains forged by Maya (illusion) around the Ego. No student will attain this at once, but as our Venerated Mahatma says in the Occult World” :—

          The greater the progress towards deliverance, the less this will be the case, until, to crown all, human and purely individual personal feelings, blood-ties arid friendship, patriotism and race predilection, will all give way to become blended into one universal feeling, the only true and holy, the only unselfish and eternal one, Love, an Immense Love for Humanity as a whole.

          In short, the individual is blended with the ALL.

          …all that we see in this manifested world are the effects, the causes of which are to be sought after in the noumenal, the unmanifested, the “unknown world : ” this is to be accomplished by meditation, i.e., continued attention to the subject. Occultism does not depend upon one method, but employs both the deductive and the inductive. The student must first learn the general axioms, which have sufficiently been laid down…What the student has first to do is to comprehend these axioms and, by employing the deductive method, to proceed from universals to particulars. He has then to reason from the “known to the unknown,” and see if the inductive method of proceeding from particulars to universals supports those axioms. This process forms the primary stage of true contemplation. The student must first grasp the subject intellectually before he can hope to realize his aspirations. When this is accomplished, then comes the next stage of meditation, which is “the inexpressible yearning of the inner man to ‘go out towards the infinite.’” Before any such yearning can be properly directed, the goal must first be determined. The higher stage, in fact, consists in practically realizing what the first steps have placed within one’s comprehension. In short, contemplation, in its true sense, is to recognize the truth of Eliphas Levi’s saying :—

          To believe without knowing is weakness; to believe, because one knows, is power.

          -D.K. Mavalankar, “Contemplation” from Five Years of Theosophy, pp 46-48.

    • Profile photo of Shen Rampersaud
      Shen Rampersaud
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      Profile photo of Shen RampersaudShen Rampersaud

      Pavel Axentiev
      May 21, 2017 at 10:52 pm #5694

      Qualitative scientific research in the social sciences legitimatizes the subjective experience. And so the possibility remains…

      I agree that the scientific method is not quite the problem. In response to your last sentence, Pavel, the way that science is perceived indeed limits its study and judgement of inner knowing.

  • Profile photo of Kate Blalack
    Kate Blalack
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    Profile photo of Kate BlalackKate Blalack

    In fact it seems to be largely concerned with changing the way that we think….this

  • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
    Pavel Axentiev
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    Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

    Kate, it’s interesting you write about this, for I have just recently read somewhere that the method of Sherlock Holmes was erroneously called deduction, while being, actually, induction (from the particulars to the general, right?). I think both have their place, but the problem with deduction (from the general to the particular), when it is indiscriminately applied, is that you base all your knowledge on some dogma, which you probably have inherited from somebody else. This is exactly what has been happening with Christianity, and to which we owe the Inquisition, the burning of heretics and witches, the Crusades, the Catharic genocide, etc., etc.

    I can’t recall any definition of the “occult method” you speak of. What do you mean by that?

    • Profile photo of Peter
      Peter
      Moderator
      Profile photo of PeterPeter

      Deduction and induction can be used in research or in logical reasoning.

      RESEARCH:

      1. Deductive method starts with a general theory from which an hypothesis is formed which will be used in the research to test the general theory. Experiment or observation follows, which either confirms or contradicts the hypothesis.

      The process goes from the general to the particular via the following steps; general theory (or principles) – hypothesis – observation – confirmation (or not).

      2. Inductive method starts with observation and looks to identify, for example, any particular patterns in the data. If there are, then a tentative hypothesis is formed which may eventually (after more research?) lead to a general theory.

      The process goes from the particular to the general via the following steps: observation – patten recognition – tentative hypothesis – general theory.

      LOGICAL REASONING

      The key difference between deductive logic and inductive logic is that in a valid deductive argument if the premises are true then it is impossible for the conclusion to be false. In an inductive argument, if the premises are true the conclusion is probably true, but there is always the possibility that it could be false.

      1. Deduction (a well know argument).

      Premise 1 All humans are mortal,
      Premise 2 Socrates is a human,
      Conclusion Therefore Socrates is mortal.

      If it is true that all humans are mortal and that Socrates is a human, the conclusion cannot be false.

      2. Induction:

      Jane reasons to herself that:
      Premise: Over the last five years, whenever I have left my house in the morning at 7.00am I have always caught the train to work and arrived on time.
      Conclusion: If tomorrow l leave my house with at 7.00am I will arrive at work on time.

      Having repeated this method successfully over the last five years there is a high probability that Jane will arrive at work on time. There is also a probability that she may not. Something may hold her up on the way to the station; the train may be cancelled & so on.

      ~~

      • Profile photo of Peter
        Peter
        Moderator
        Profile photo of PeterPeter

        ps: apologies for spelling mistakes and incorrect words that always appear in my messages. I can never get the better of the spell checker!

        ~~

      • Profile photo of Peter
        Peter
        Moderator
        Profile photo of PeterPeter

        A lot of the time in Sherlock Holmes’ stories he is operating in the field of Inductive Research i.e. he gathers observations and facts together to see how they connect (pattern recognition). From this he generates a tentative hypothesis (often one he doesn’t share with Watson or the reader) which finally leads to a definite theory as to ‘who-dunnit’.

        There may also be times when having formulated a theory out of his observations Holmes seeks to test it in some way, perhaps by setting up an experimental situation, perhaps a lure or trap of some kind, to see whether what happens next confirms his theory. In this instance he is then using research based Deduction to prove his case.

        ~~

      • Profile photo of Pavel Axentiev
        Pavel Axentiev
        Participant
        Profile photo of Pavel AxentievPavel Axentiev

        Thanks, Peter, for your illuminating explanation. It is much better than I could have attempted. I intuitively grasp the value of both methods (deduction and induction), but yet fail to clearly explain it, which indicates lack of mastery over the subject.

        In regards to our application of these ideas to the “Occult Science,” my own experience tells me that one begins with others’ ideas (e.g., Patanjali’s, Buddhism’s, etc.) which seem to slowly grow in one’s mind until one is ready to challenge the common worldly notions – but for that one needs some verifications!!! It is not wise to rely on faith alone. 🙂 I am sure that most of us here have used the same method, whether deliberately or not. It’s simply a given with a certain level of intellectual development (although, perhaps, it doesn’t mean that some ignorant shadows may not still linger in our reasoning, if its methodological depths are not thoroughly illumined – hence my interest in the scientific method and its logic).

        • Profile photo of Peter
          Peter
          Moderator
          Profile photo of PeterPeter

          Thanks, Pavel (your #5726) – apologies for the delay in responding. I know all too well what you mean by the lack of mastery of subjects that we feel we intuitively understand. I have a long list of my own.

          I think part of the difficulty is that in our general usage of the term deduction we simply mean an explanation arrived at after considering ‘all the facts’. Even though we invariably call this deduction, the method is actually one of induction i.e an explanation or theory generated out of the evidence gathered and previous knowledge available to us. This is exactly what Sherlock Holmes does. Much of how we live our daily lives is based on the inductive method and inductive logic.

          People often use Plato’s approach as a clear example of deductive logic – reasoning from universals (general theory or principle) to particulars. But it isn’t that straight forward when we look at Plato’s theory as developed through the dialogues of Socrates, which is largely our only means for knowing Plato’s thought directly. It is certainly the case that Plato draws a dividing line between the visible realm we perceive through the senses and the Intelligible realm we apprehend with the mind or soul. For Plato, truth lies in the Intelligible realm of the Forms (the abstract ideal realm). The objects in the visible realm of the sense, while not a complete illusion, reveal only a shadow or partial version of the ideal Forms in the Intelligible Realm. Things in the visible realm are said to reveal things in the Ideal realm the closer they approximate to or partake in them.

          How, though, does Plato establish his theory of the existence of an Ideal Realm of the Forms? Mainly by the inductive method. For example, see ‘The Republic’ where Socrates and his interlocutors try to work out what is Justice. Remember that Socrates forever reminds us that he is ignorant, but at least he knows that he doesn’t know. Thus whatever the truth of any matter, it must be determined through analysis and reasoning, out of which the truth (definition or general principles) will hopefully arise. In the dialogue that follows Socrates uses the empirical method and Induction. Many examples and instances of what might constitute justice or exhibit its qualities are examined along with innumerable analogies in order to discover what they have in common. Here they are looking for a pattern or underlying theme with the eventual aim of generating an overall theory and definition of Justice.

          (Argument by analogy is also a form of inductive logic. We take what we know of one thing and infer – hypothesize – that it will be true of another thing with which is has something in common.)

          After looking at many examples relating to individuals, Socrates suggests that perhaps if they looked at examples of Justice in the perfect State that might give them a clue as to what qualities the individual would need to live a just life. (If they can do that it might provide a chance to reason from the general to the particular – the deductive method). Once again the empirical method and inductive reasoning are used to build up a view of the Ideal state.

          After analysing Justice in the State, his companions doubt that such an ideal state could ever be realised. But Socrates points out that when they started out on their investigation, it was the ideal pattern of Justice they were seeking for, along with knowing what would the perfect individual be like who would act justly. While we in the world are not perfect, the closer we approximate to the Ideal the more we share its nature, even though in the visible world we may never be able to achieve it fully. It is with this notion of an ideal and perfect form of Justice and our approximation to it in the empirical world that Socrates (and thereby Plato) lays the theoretical basis for the two realms of things – the Ideal and the actual, or, the Intelligible and the visible. The next part of the book, explores that more fully. The method of getting to this point in the work has been mainly through the empirical method and induction, something we find a lot in Plato’s works via the Socratic Dialogues.

          Apologies for the length of the post and the detail. I just wanted offer the group some more food for thought in relation to Induction and Deduction. We may well use the former in our search for understanding and spiritual practice more than we realise.

          ps: apologies also for the mis-spelling, wrong words and missing words that I won’t notice until after it’s too late to edit this post. 🙂

          ~~

  • Profile photo of Kate Blalack
    Kate Blalack
    Participant
    Profile photo of Kate BlalackKate Blalack

    It’s kind of a gray areas…I think Sherlock used deductive reasoning in most cases. He made a hobby of studying types of fabric, types of grass and kinds of butterflies, etc., and he published pamphlets on them. 🙂 So based on his extreme knowledge minute details…he has more “known” truths than the average person.

    Deductive reasoning can be very faulty though, as you say, when basing a “known truth” on a structured set of mystical beliefs, as in religious dogma.

    That’s very interesting, and thank you for bringing that up, Pavel.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 4 weeks ago by Profile photo of Kate Blalack Kate Blalack.
    • Profile photo of Kate Blalack
      Kate Blalack
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      Profile photo of Kate BlalackKate Blalack

      By “occult method” I mean I don’t think we investigate the occult they way that scientific studies use the scientific method.:)

  • Profile photo of Peter
    Peter
    Moderator
    Profile photo of PeterPeter

    The scientific method. Just a few more thoughts on background, as I understand it. (Not sure where to add this post, so put it in new thread.)

    The scientific method, so called, emerged in Europe around 1200ce and reached fruition in the late 1600s with Isaac Newton. Up until this time, what counted as knowledge and truth throughout those lands was largely determined by the Church of Rome and based largely on revelation. The Scholastics and medieval universities at that time were dominated by the christian priests and monks who had managed to integrate much of Aristotle’s teachings into christian dogma. Aristotle’s notion of the earth being the centre of a closed system in which the planets and stars rotated around the earth was a central part of christian theology. To question Aristotle’s teachings risked being labelled a heretic (Galileo was imprisoned by the Pope in Rome for steadfastly holding to the view that the earth circled the sun, not vice versa.) The problem became that claims of knowledge and truth based on authority and revelation didn’t seem to be supported by empirical evidence, which is what Corpernicus, Galileo and many others were discovering.

    The scientific method and what came a little later and is referred to now as the Age of Enlightenment grew out of this dissatisfaction with truth based solely on authority. That said, it was as much a dissatisfaction with the teachings of Aristotle as it was a questioning of the authority of the christian church. The search for knowledge based on reasoning and evidence began to replace the acceptance of knowledge based on authority and revelation. Out of this age of questioning arose people like Isaac Newton, Rene Descartes, Leibniz, Spinoza, John Locke, Kant & many others. Students of the Secret Doctrine will also be familiar with such names.

    Kant’s call to arms was “Sapere aude!” – latin for “Dare to know!”, from the opening paragraph to his article ‘What is Enlightenment’ (1784):

    ‘Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one’s understanding without guidance from another. This immaturity is self-imposed when its cause lies not in lack of understanding, but in lack of resolve and courage to use it without guidance from another. Sapere Aude! “Have courage to use your own understanding!”–that is the motto of enlightenment.’

    ( http://www.artoftheory.com/what-is-enlightenment_immanuel-kant/ )

    ~~

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