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Theosophical Tenets: Involution and Evolution

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    ModeratorTN
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    Involution/Evolution

    The whole of antiquity was imbued with that philosophy which teaches the involution of spirit into matter, the progressive, downward cyclic descent, or active, self-conscious evolution. . . . One and all, they allegorized and explained the FALL as the desire to learn and acquire knowledge — to KNOW. This is the natural sequence of mental evolution, the spiritual becoming transmuted into the material or physical. The same law of descent into materiality and re-ascent into spirituality asserted itself during the Christian era, the reaction having stopped only just now, in our own special sub-race.

    — H.P. Blavatsky, The Secret Doctrine, Vol I, pp. 416-7

     

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    • ModeratorTN
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      ModeratorTN

      From the writings of H. P. Blavatsky
      Definitions from the Theosophical Glossary
      Emanation, the Doctrine of. In its metaphysical meaning, it is opposed to Evolution, yet one with it. Science teaches that evolution is physiologically a mode of generation in which the germ that develops the foetus pre-exists already in the parent, the development and final form and characteristics of that germ being accomplished in nature; and that in cosmology the process takes place blindly through the correlation of the elements, and their various compounds. Occultism answers that this is only the apparent mode, the real process being Emanation, guided by intelligent Forces under an immutable Law. Therefore, while the Occultists and Theosophists believe thoroughly in the doctrine of Evolution as given out by Kapila and Manu, they are Emanationists rather than Evolutionists. The doctrine of Emanation was at one time universal. It was taught by the Alexandrian as well as by the Indian philosophers, by the Egyptian, the Chaldean and Hellenic Hierophants, and also by the Hebrews (in their Kabbala, and even in Genesis). For it is only owing to deliberate mistranslation that the Hebrew word asdt has been translated “angels” from the Septuagint, when it means Emanations, Æons, precisely as with the Gnostics. Indeed, in Deuteronomy (xxxiii., 2) the word asdt or ashdt is translated as” fiery law”, whilst the correct rendering of the passage should be “from his right hand went [not a fiery law, but] a fire according to law”; viz., that the fire of one flame is imparted to, and caught up by another like as in a trail of inflammable substance. This is precisely emanation. As shown in Isis Unveiled: “In Evolution, as it is now beginning to he understood, there is supposed to be in all matter an impulse to take on a higher form—a supposition clearly expressed by Manu and other Hindu philosophers of the highest antiquity. The philosopher’s tree illustrates it in the case of the zinc solution. The controversy between the followers of this school and the Emanationists may he briefly stated thus The Evolutionist stops all inquiry at the borders of “the Unknowable”; the Emanationist believes that nothing can be evolved—or, as the word means, unwombed or born—except it has first been involved, thus indicating that life is from a spiritual potency above the whole.”

      Evolution. The development of higher orders of animals from lower. As said in Isis Unveiled: “Modern Science holds but to a one-sided physical evolution, prudently avoiding and ignoring the higher or spiritual evolution, which would force our contemporaries to confess the superiority of the ancient philosophers and psychologists over themselves. The ancient sages, ascending to the unknowable, made their starting-point from the first manifestation of the unseen, the unavoidable, and, from a strictly logical reasoning, the absolutely necessary creative Being, the Demiurgos of the universe. Evolution began with them from pure spirit, which descending lower and lower down, assumed at last a visible and comprehensible form, and became matter. Arrived at this point, they speculated in the Darwinian method, but on a far more large and comprehensive basis.” (See “Emanation”.)

      Rings and Rounds. Terms employed by Theosophists in explanation of Eastern cosmogony. They are used to denote the various evolutionary cycles in the Elemental, Mineral, &c., Kingdoms, through which the Monad passes on any one globe, the term Round being used only to denote the cyclic passage of the Monad round the complete chain of seven globes. Generally speaking, Theosophists use the term ring as a synonym of cycles, whether cosmic, geological, metaphysical or any other.

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