|Culture Transcending Education from a Theosophical Viewpoint|
Rudi Jansma, PhD, Theosophical Study Center, http://www.theosociety.org/
Theosophy literally means “the divine wisdom” which is the root and essence of all true human knowledge. It can be found at the heart of all great religions and philosophies. The basis of brotherhood among humankind lies there: not in the forms and dogmas of religions, however beautiful and helpful many of these are for our psychology, our mental and our social life. Religions should not “approach” “tolerate” or even “respect” each other, but they should find their common denominator of wisdom and compassion, or the True, the Good and the Beautiful – as Plato expressed it.
Fundamental in theosophical approach is the unbiased respect for the best products of human mind and spirit in each and every culture, ancient and modern. All genuine philosophy, religion and science of all times which has universal truth and the wellbeing of all as its sole aim, together form the proud heritage for all humankind, present and in the future. If we wish to lay a basis for education for all individuals and humankind of the multicolored global community, we can nourish ourselves through all the cultural roots which transported the nutrients we need for our evolution from all beginnings, through the past to the present.
One of the fundamental evergreen ideas which are greatly supported in Theosophy is that of reincarnation. Reincarnation means that every individual is a soul, a pilgrim on a cyclic and eternal path of evolution and growth. We build our own future – and not just for the limited period of one lifetime. These ideas, if accepted, have indeed a gigantic impact on our views on education.
No child is born as a tabula rasa. Every entity born in the flesh on earth has a very long history of experience and decisions taken as a result of past experiences. Every soul has the right to walk its own path unhampered by educational dogma’s, according to its own unique individuality, fulfilling its own unique position or dharma in the cosmos. Striving to listen to the silent voice within, every soul has succeeded and faltered many times, but all the same it has grown. Thus it evolved all its subsequent forms of existence, mentalities, emotional traits and states of spiritual awakening or relative blindness.
Education, as I see it, is a twin: one half of the twin consists of guidance and instruction of the newborn human being in the modern world in which he just took birth. He has to learn to handle his body, his psychology, the impulses coming from this new environment, and he has to be taught the skills particular to his society.
In our society reading, writing, math and the handling of technology are of paramount importance (though hundreds of millions are even today, happily and sometimes wisely, illiterate and destitute of modern technology). The quality of education in these fields is generally high – though improvement is always possible. We should not forget our physical education; through sports, athletics, yoga, martial arts or ballet, because the physical body should be an optimal vehicle for the soul during this entire incarnation.
But our mind does have other potential qualities than the linear and logic ways of thinking which are so much underlined in our culture. All that we recognize as beauty in the mind, in nature, in art is non-linear and non-logical. That part of the mind should equally be developed. Therefore schools and universities, from the basis upward, whether in South Bronx, a backward village in an economically poor country or those in suburbs of the intellectually or financially elite, in short, every school in every year should give ample attention to fine arts, fine music, fine ethics, good storytelling (mythology), dramatic expression and performance, experience of nature, to training in non-violence and compassion in nature as well as among men, and religion – not a religion, but at least some essential values of all religions. These things must be available for all, independent of whether the focus is on the humanities or sciences. Institutions of education should make time to teach students the specific beauties of their own culture. Every culture has its own gemstone to add to the grand mosaic of world culture. We never want to turn the world into a global grayness – an annoying dominance of particular styles and forms and color the world over. Thus children and adolescents will evenly develop their innate faculties and become real and happy citizens. In all education children and students should be stimulated to evolve themselves from themselves. Children and students will be eager to learn (in stead of being stressed or dulled), that is, they really like - their souls really yearn for - what they are given.
Competition, so prominent as a stimulus in our educational system should as soon as possible be completely banned, because it is based on the selfish desire to be or become better than others in stead of helping others to become beter. In the Oneness of humanity, or of Life, or of God, competition is an illusion created by our animal mind, and leads to much unnecessary suffering and sometimes even to suicide or murder. Competition awakens and stimulates selfishness, not altruism. Let us not stimulate the worst in human psychology, but the best, which is altruism and joyful cooperation.
The nineteenth century Theosophist and founder of the modern theosophical society, H.P. Blavatsky, pleaded for education thus:
Children should above all be taught self-reliance, love for all men, altruism, mutual charity, and more than anything else, to think and reason for themselves. We would reduce the purely mechanical work of the memory to an absolute minimum, and devote the time to the development and training of the inner senses, faculties and latent capacities. We would endeavor to deal with each child as a unit, and to educate it so as to produce the most harmonious and equal unfoldment of its powers, in order that its special aptitudes should find their full natural development. We should aim at creating free men and women, free intellectually, free morally, unprejudiced in all respects, and above all things, unselfish.
The second, in the long run more important twin half of education is to help the soul to develop its inner qualities which are of a less evanescent character, those qualities which will serve the individual through a far longer future, who build his deeper character, and bring him closer to understanding and unity with his divine essence – the divine soul which in reality he is. This is true for the individual, but also for humankind. It involves the qualities of the reincarnating entity which is the core of the human being. Such as the intuition (not the knowledge) of what is just, beneficial, beautiful, universally true, what is The good for the good’s sake (not for a limited purpose). This education is not for one life, but for a kalpa as Hindus call it, a grand cycle of the soul, the fruit of which are the seeds for kalpas to come.
For present day higher education, I mean on university level, this implies that the curricula should not only involve the mental, material and practical sciences, but also offer opportunities for the development of the fine qualities of the soul. This means indeed training in the higher and finer faculties of our being which go beyond the mental and emotionally moral faculties on which our mainstream culture is now based. ALL good aspects of the human should be given a chance. Then universities will become Universities.
Individual, perhaps small and seemingly (from a quantitative and material point of view) insignificant organizations can play a major role in this. They sow the seeds. We should offer curricula which contain seeds to be sown and harvested in and from the soil of the soul. These should be of the highest quality, and the teachers should be wise and ethical rather than only learned. In the lecture some proposals will be briefly presented and explained. Outside the lecture they can be discussed and initiated.
For practical purposes I will very briefly work out a few possible curricula, each of which alone could fill enough (or too many) international conferences. These are:
And perhaps many more.
1 Non-violence and non-violent conflict resolution
Non-violence has been mentioned as paramount ethics by many great thinkers and founders or revivifiers of religions. Studies of such high orders as intended would demand more from students than mere intelligence and abilities to write papers, give lectures and teach before classes. Apart from studying the scriptures of the world, such students should practice non-violence, be mandatory vegetarians, abstain from alcohol and drugs and abstain from all killing or causing suffering to conscious beings. Their training, besides mental, should be to observe their thoughts and emotions and train themselves to become non-violent in all aspects of their being. Only then can they understand what non-violence actually means and what practical difficulties this involves.
Such may be weird in the context of mainstream universities, but in this way only those students will be attracted who are willing to bring personal sacrifice and strengthen their character. Non-violence is a science and a method, but also a human character which should be developed. Of course nonviolence and nonviolent conflict resolution can also be taken in by “normal” universities without such demands, and this would indeed be very useful. But if we wish to breed “great souls” among humanity such sacrifices, disciplines and dedication are absolutely needed.
Learning to meditate both in mental serenity and stable analyzing and spiritual absorbance of the many aspects of non-violence must be part of their training, so that from the depth new initiatives can be born.
Their practical work should also be to involve themselves actively in conflict resolution, either on the individual psychological level, on the political level, or in business.
Ethics can not be based on any dogma, because it is by nature beyond dogma. Ethics is practicing divine law, as perceived by the heart and applied with the help of the mind. Students in this field would study the great systems of ethics of all cultures, such as those of the eastern religions, but also those of Native American, and Greek culture, and peoples living close to Nature, ancient and modern, such as Druids and Australian Aborigines. Then they would, with mind and heart, develop their own ethics and practice it fully, into the direction of perfection. Such students will in their inner being be monks, but without robes, and without specific religious (dogmatic) affiliation. Ethics is naturally the highest study, because it connects with the subtlest aspects of the divine and has the deepest influence on human well-being for long periods in future. Ego and self-interest of the subtlest kind will have to be abandoned during this (sometimes painful) training.
Politics exists to strive to make existence fruitful and joyful for every living being on earth. Because society is ever changing and evolving, politics should be accordingly pliable. Political systems don’t help us, as we have experienced many times in history, and become a burden for humanity. Active politics, as also economics, could be based on continuous contemplation and brainstorming on universal ethics and its manifold manifestations for the wellbeing of all beings of the global community – not for the interests of particular countries or groups. Leaders, up to presidents of countries, should never base themselves on emotional, exclusively national or popular interests. In stead they would be, or be intimately advised by, philosophers without dogma of self-interest (not even financial self-interests) who have thoroughly asked themselves throughout life whether their heart stream is genuinely motivated by love for humanity.
Problems and conflicts should be seized with the will to reach all that is possible, in which the wellbeing of all involved is the sole dominant motivating force. It is very important for politics to study the highest ethical systems concerning wellbeing, justice, compassion and forgivingness.
Military means should focus more and more on defensive systems which are water-tight but harmless and no offensive threat to an inimical nation or group. It does not belong to the human duty to cause suffering to any conscious being, human or otherwise.
4 Nature experience and Nature respect
Science as taught at schools and universities provides an ever increasing amount and detail of information of the workings of the natural world, which is very inspiring as well as useful. Nature, however, has much and much more to offer which can be understood only when we use other faculties than our thinking mind. As religions say, every individual has, or is, a Soul, with a far wider purpose and expression than the physical aspect. Every plant, or even stone, has a lot more to communicate to us of their ancient experience than can be understood on a mental level alone. Scientists like Goethe Paracelsus or Rudolph Steiner understood that. Curriculi could be developed in which students with refined attunements could study and train themselves to gain a deeper access to the essence of nature and its creatures – far and far beyond the level of sentimentality. Let nature tell her own stories in subtle languages.
On the scientific side the refined magnetisms and their encoded information of living organisms should be studied, and the influences of magnetic fields of distinct organisms on each other.
“Respect for nature” is a phrase we all know. Definitely we should teach our children respect for every living soul, for insects, for plants, the earth below our feet, for birds and mammals, and for Mother Earth – the super-ecosystem of which we are a part. It is really one of the most important practical trainings from kindergarten to high school and up. It goes hand in hand with nature experience and nature philosophy. Only teachers who themselves have shown love and have some heart-felt understanding of nature can to guide the children – whatever formal degrees they may have. On the level of higher education students should study attitudes and philosophies of the refined cultures of the earth with regard to nature.
In fact this would apply to all biological subjects, such as evolution, ecology and even agriculture. In India, if a land destined for human use contains trees, the owner sometimes replants each one of them to another place so that they do not have to be cut and killed. Let us learn from them – or from the Australian Aborigines who teach their children to put a natural stone back on the spot from where it was taken, because every form in the nature and the landscape was formed according to the ‘dream’ of their divine ancestors.
Long after completing my academic education I became aware that the rational mind is not the only way to approach Truth. I wondered why so many cultures had phrased their knowledge and wisdom in a way which seemed from a logical point of view absurd: transformations of animals and humans. Impossible jumps through space and time, and personifications of natural forces such as the thunder, of the four directions of space. So I decided to try to develop mythological thinking next to rational thinking. Things should not be seen in their physical and quantitative reality. One should develop a fluid intuition for the several layers of meaning in the genuine mythologies and even fairy tales given to people by wise preceptors, often of the far past. Myths contain guidelines and road maps for many generations. Of course the object used may have a culture-bound significance, but the inner message is valid for any human soul of whatever time and culture. Often myth contains esoteric significance or hints. Study and understanding of esotericism may reveal many a truth for the intuitive listener or reader. But the meaning of things can never be understood by the classifying and deductive mind alone. Mythological events can only be understood if one recognizes them as the principles and their movements of his own soul. Students can choose myths from any culture and try to understand them from any possible entrance – not only and in the first place the rational one – meditate on them and apply them in their lives – that means under inspiration of the values they perceive in the myths. This will refine his or her mind as well as feeling, and his perception of inner nature. Eventually a student would write his own myths – but he may need a lifetime to accomplish that. Real universities know no time limit.
6 Occult movements
There have always been organizations, meeting places or founded societies the participants of which dedicated themselves to deeper knowledge than the merely physically and worldly applicable knowledge. In Europe there were or are Alchemists, Rosicrucians, Martinists, Theosophists, Anthroposophists, Freemasons, Druid orders and more. By the universities and established religions of the last few centuries these have been regarded and despised as mere oddities, as fantastic expressions of the ignorant. Even a prominent modern philosopher like Ken Wilber just ignores them. Still, why did a genius like Newton write many more pages on alchemy than he did on physics? The influence of such movements has been huge because they always attracted the intellectual elite of the society. The products of their minds should be thoroughly studied. Valuable gems may be hidden between much rubbish, making the “rubbish” valuable, and add some things to our understanding on which we have been missing out thus far.
Theosophy in its non-sectarian sense is the core and source of all human wisdom. It is through their theosophy - divine wisdom - that the gods, rishis, jinas, buddhas, bodhisattvas, avatars and messengers taught and teach men. In all genuine religions and religio-philosophical scriptures there is a layer of hidden truth, truths which can be read only by those who have evolved and trained to use the “wisdom eye,” also called “third eye,” of spiritual recognition and distinction. The gods or rishis or bodhisattvas, or whoever wrote these holy books or gave secret teachings to closed groups, as Gautama Buddha did in the saptaparna cave, have put much more in these teachings than even the best Brahmin pundit, Tibetan geshe or occidental scholar can ever get out of it if he has not got the keys. Just a small example: In her main work, The Secret Doctrine by the modern Theosophist H.P. Blavatsky, the Vishnu Purana is quoted some 200 times, and crucial points are compared and explained in such a way that facts about nature can be understood by humanity which never could be grasped before. Therefore, modern theosophical literature, and especially the works of H.P. Blavatsky and the later, less generally known but equally important Theosophist Gottfried de Purucker should be studied. Theosophy is not meant to replace any religion or philosophy or human wisdom in general, but is there to deepen each of these, to help us to develop distinction and sustain the highest standards in the human culture. It elevates us above superstition and thus guides humankind into a new era of growth and cultural expression. Theosophy in itself has no rules and no dogmas, no prescribed behaviors, no rituals, no idols and no temples. Its doctrines throw a light on humanity’s problems for those who have the willpower to use the best part of their heart and mind, and intellectual intuition to penetrate into higher worlds. But to be a good student this demands sacrifice, sacrifice of all that belongs to the selfish ego. Actually the best students will be those who besides a strong intellect have a motivation so great that he or she almost forgets to take care of him or herself, out of a feeling of compassion for humanity, and work at the causal side of human idea formation and at the destruction of the multifaceted ignorance which originally causes all our sufferings.
Astrology has evolved into high science in many independent cultures, such as those of ancient Greece, Tibet, pre-Columbian America and India. Today astrology has degenerated to a mere ego-superstition on which to base our personal choices as to when to marry or start a business on the most worldly level. But we can not suppose that the wise of the ages were mere moneymakers, happy to continue a superstition for the benefit of their class of merchants.
So it becomes time that we study astrology as it was originally meant: to understand the flows of energy and the cooperation of particular deities or cosmic powers, each with its own specific character. These deities, jyotiska or celestial bodies such as planets, each bear a relation with the stepwise and cyclic evolution of the cosmos and men (and all other beings), and appertains to the elements and principles of which we are constituted. In man, for example, it is the mind which receives the emphasis of evolution, but the mind has many aspects, and the dominating astrological influences of particular periods help us to develop these aspects through the divine scheme known as the harmony of the spheres. Humankind is innately connected with his solar system, not only with this physical earth. Not only physically, but more especially in his more spiritual aspects. Astrology is an exact science which introduces us to inner experience of the nature of the solar system as well as is a great help in understanding the dominating forces of historic or evolutionary periods, and of the cycles of influence in the future.
There seems to be an ongoing quarrel and competition in the world between the allopathic establishment and alternative medical practitioners, each party claiming successes and trying to sweep their failures under the carpet. All this does not serve the diseased for whom medicine are meant.
Let us investigate the roots of medical systems and not the results, so that we really understand fundamentally, rather than empirically and effectively, how medicines cooperate with the systems and wisdom of the body. If a shaman, for example, applies particular rituals, even if he often fails, let us try to understand and/or investigate the energetic streams of the invisible world which he tries to involve on a level more subtle than physical matter. What is the actual effect of vibrations produced when pronouncing mantras? How do the energies of life and health travel along meridians or along nādīs? When we understand the basics, we can further elaborate and evolve our systems, both in cooperation with all possibilities nature offers, and in harmony with the karmic path of the patient’s individual soul. The best medicine however, are applied on the causal side rather than on the diseases, which are but unavoidable consequences of “bad” causes, because this is how nature cures and purifies our mind. This causal or rather preventive medicine is known by the general term of “ethics,” i.e. living in harmony with the workings of the universe, and in sympathy with each other.
10 Music and Arts
By nature true artists are those who seek to cross borders and transcend limits, either to reach spiritual heights never reached before in devotion to his god, or to investigate new areas of profundity which none have trodden before. In front of the gate of one of Holland’s leading museums of modern art is written that the duty of a true artist is “to reveal mystic Truth.”
Music is regarded as the finest of all arts because it relates to cosmic harmony through the most refined of our senses: the hearing faculty. Good music therefore touches the finest snares of our soul, and makes our soul co-vibrate with the message which the performer or composer wants to transmit. It can, for example, arouse our highest feelings of devotion and lift us, if we really listen, above the consciousness of everyday life. Music and other arts are taught at music and art schools. Universities can however teach higher ways of listening, and investigate the subtle beneficial powers of sound, melody, rhythm and harmony, and the formative powers of vibration created by the mind. As part of “sound-psychology” the subtle influence of sounds on our moods and feelings can be studied; as part of “sound-physics” the influence of sounds on sensitive materials such as fluids, gases and crystal formation can be studied. “Sound-biology” would study influence of sounds, for example, on plants. In the field of “sound-healing” we could, with today’s refined sound detecting and producing instruments, produce personalized sounds which in some cases may act more accurately and efficiently than chemical medicine, especially in the field of psychology. Also the power of repetition, and the permanency and progressiveness of repeated positive influences on health should be studied in much detail.
Education is the great inborn instinct of human beings to help each other. Continuously we educate and are being educated. Nature and the very gods of religions and mythology are our educators. Education means to bring the best potentials within us to the surface. We educate our children, our pupils, our friends, even our enemies if we have them. From birth we are continuously educated by our parents, other children, our teachers, by the elderly in our society, by nature, by our sacred texts. The best motivating forces for teachers is love, for our field of knowledge, and for those who yearn to drink our wisdom. Our common Great Teacher is Nature in its universal sense, of which we understand and apply our own bit, not just for ourselves, but for the benefit of others – constantly sowing seeds for the near and far future.
12. Higher education
One of the tasks of institutions of higher education is to educate professional educators. First let us investigate the educational of various cultures. Our culture is mainly mental, practical technical, but also artistic. Other cultures may have had an over-all more spiritual intention than today’s mainstream culture, and had developed their system or systems for their purpose. Again others were more helpful in learning how to relate to and be part of earth and nature and to cooperate with her powers. There are also cultures which traditionally seem more emotion-based than dominated by mind-born philosophy. Educational systems may be directed towards understanding one’s emotions and psychology, thus enabling people to be strong in handling the challenges of life. But above all this stands Higher Education in its real sense: the confrontation with immaculate Truth, thus training men and women to become the best that is potentially within them. Men are destined to become gods, say the scriptures. For this, purity of mind without any self-interest or bias is needed, as well as penetrating meditation. To the measure we are trained or train ourselves in this direction we reach a deeper understanding of the purpose and path of evolution of the human being in all his aspects. What is the meaning of all such systems and methods? How do they work? The result will be a wider scope of choice to develop all our innate potential faculties.
13. Occult and natural sciences, their relation and complementariness.
The natural sciences study the physical phenomena of nature; the occult sciences study the hidden side, the causal side of nature, for example what actually (i.e. scientifically) happens after we die; what the causes are behind physical manifestation; what the “soul” (jīva, monad) in reality is and what are its properties; what subtler forms of matter exist apart from physical matter and what are their properties; what the actually existing force of life is; how mind influences matter; how the soul of a being influences its physical expression (i.e. what forces and energies are involved and how they work); where and how the influence of the jīva (i.e. superphysical entity, the life essence) of a human being, a plant, or a cell etc. enters into its body; what our inner levels of being really are; what is the qualitative and energetic connection between spiritual intuitions, the mind, the emotions and the physical constitution; whether and how DNA in its constitution and/or its (temporary) specific activity is directly influenced by the jīva and the superphysical aspects of the human being.
An important field of science could be the study of subtle magnetism and light and its information carrying wavelengths in nature and in the human being. This may prove the actual existence of soul as a fact in nature.
Occult science can not be separated from occult philosophy, because mind itself is part of the hidden side of Nature. Very much can be found, often as hints, in ancient oriental literature and modern theosophical literature. Deep study of such literature is of paramount importance as a basis for such studies.
14. Non-physical phenomena and their explanation
Non-physical phenomena and their explanation from different cultural backgrounds, taking these backgrounds as genuine ways to understanding, would provide us with a better type of anthropology than our efforts to describe external pattern of behavior of other cultures than our own. Many people have believed and do believe in unseen forces of nature: spirits, ghosts, synchronicities, intervention by local divinities in matters of personal interest, but also in greater divine forces and gods who provide the wise with intuitions and guidance. Such things can be categorized, and often rational explanations can be given within the framework of the rudiments of occult knowledge which exist among such peoples. If students at institutions of higher learning have acquired sufficient knowledge through the study of genuine occultism they may develop a clear classification and sound explanation of such things, which will then appear to be no longer “miraculous,” but only lawful phenomena of the thus far hidden side of nature.
15. Intercultural philosophy
At most universities “philosophy” encompasses only European philosophy, starting with post-mythological Greece. Other philosophies often fall under sinology, indology, anthropology, or other separate disciplines. But Philosophy, “the love for Wisdom” is basically universal, as the universal mind is universal. However, not all philosophies have meditated on and worked out all possible objects of mental activity to the same extent. Also some philosophies contain elements of a practical or of an emotional character which are or have been useful for particular cultures, but are of less than universal value. Some philosophical systems or individual philosophers have reached a depth of understanding which provided keys useful for cultures still to develop in the future. Examples are the concept of compassion in Mahayana Buddhism or that of non-violence in Jainism, or the concepts of creation and evolution in Purānic Hinduism or, for example, the Guatemalan Popol Vuh.
Particular geographical and geological theories concerning for example the position of lands and waters, the formation of mountains and shifting of continents are dominating, and have almost reached the level of a belief system in the scientific community and its followers. Nevertheless others have, throughout the ages, arrived at very different conclusions, based on different axioms. The earth may be regarded as a living system, with its natural cyclic and pulsating processes. Intelligence, and forces imperceptible for our present senses and instruments, may play a continuous role in geological events which for us appear “haphazard.” Others point to the blind forces of matter as the sole “cause” of geological events. We should seriously hold the modern facts (after having purified them as much as possible from assumptions, half-facts and prejudices) against the light of statements or hints found in mythological and ancient literature, and then decide what is valuable and what not. The moment we accept the possibility of different approaches we will also look for different field data, and the future of geology – or any science for that matter – may open up to unexpected horizons.
17. Cosmology and cosmography
The beauties and intricacies of the physical and semi-physical universe have in the last decades been revealed to us by science in a manner of which our ancestors only a few generations ago could not even have had the slightest idea. Nevertheless we find detailed descriptions and artistic representations of the cosmos in many ancient scriptures. But many of these look “absurd” from the modern point of view. Often the earth is depicted as a flat disc, or all stars are floating or fixed on some distance above the earth, etc. Thus it can easily be concluded that such descriptions are no more than fantasies, in which it is assumed that the artists or scientists of those days were too primitive to distinguish fantasy or visions or hallucinations from reality and sound reasoning. Nevertheless the philosophical treatises of such cultures clearly show that the people were aware of all these distinct potentialities and illusions of the mind. So “perhaps” the ancient and occult views on the cosmos do make sense. The point is that such teachings and descriptions are products of a different approach. Our modern pictures show the material and literal reality of the cosmos. But for more spiritually oriented and holistic cultures the visible cosmos is only the outer manifestation on one particular plane of being – the physical plane, which for them is the most evanescent and the least essential. It says nothing about the place of the soul, about the eternal pilgrimage of the vast hosts of beings within the cosmos, or about the living relation between the numerous planes of being which form the inner side of the cosmos. But the ancient teachings give many hints and show the cosmos as an all-encompassing ecosystem of beings and functions, forces and energies, of which most are invisible and physically imperceptible, but at the same time of more importance than the earthly human consciousness and its functions and forces. So it is very worthwhile to investigate the real meaning, the essential messages hidden in such cosmologies. If we do that, one day our universities will stand on equal level with those of the past.
18. Other occult sciences
A major mistake by our culture is that we think that the way we approach things – our scientific approach – is the only legitimate approach. Often we regard our intellectual accomplishments as the acme and summum bonum of a linear process of evolution of the mind (and even of ethics), and our sense organs with its technological extensions as a benefit humanity never possessed before. This has led to extreme arrogance towards ancient, occult and non-occidental teachings in general. Though we may have these technical helps, there is no reason to suppose that the human mind has recently evolved in a big jump; more probably the process of development of the brain and of intellectual capacity has taken millions of years, and the difference between now and some thousands of years in the past or the future can only be marginal. Moreover many cultures have stressed that evolution is cyclic and repetitive, purposeful and goal-oriented. This would imply that our present culture and state of evolution represents only one particular phase in the complex cyclic processes through which the soul acquires the essence of knowledge and wisdom from each “corner” of the universe, each element of space and time, both physically and occult, i.e. hidden for the narrow-minded.
Genuine philosophers and scientists of other cultures were at least equally serious and truth-oriented as we are today. We should do everything, firstly to completely respect, and secondly to try to understand their conclusions and teachings through their eyes, through their purity of mind and motivation.
Almost all cultures have believed – or rather knew – that humankind has always been, and still is, guided by greater souls who openly taught or gave hints to guide our thought, our mental and our spiritually intuitive evolution. The result was that deductive knowledge (i.e. from the general to the particular, from teacher to pupil) for them was at least as important and reliable as our (would-be) exclusively inductive approach, which is but trial-and-error through thesis-antithesis-synthesis.
Therefore, in our approach towards archeology, anthropology, chemistry, and medical sciences and so on, in fact towards every discipline we recognize in modern science, it will prove very useful to study all ideas in depth, even if they seem “weird” at our first look.
The origin of ourselves and our living brethren, and our development towards what we are now, and the question to what purpose we are here and where we are going, are eternal questions. Darwin of our times gave but one answer among many possible ones, but is very limited in scope because it only discussed the physical side of matter. Darwinism is no more than a beginning awakening out of the rigid, crystallized and misinterpreted creation story of the bible, and the popular “intelligent design” theory does not rise far above that. Let us put the tremendous amount of facts which science had collected in the light of the wider views of mythology and especially Purānic Hinduism, and see if we can derive new insights and theories, and new paths along which to search for our facts.
Mahāvīra, the great Jain spiritual conqueror who lived some 26 centuries ago, declared that all beings in the universe are connected and that all beings are there to help each other. This is not just a sentimental statement. It is a scientific and philosophical statement. But what means “connected” and what means “help” in a scientific sense? On which planes of our being are we connected and do we influence each other? Or is the universe a mere totality of individuals whose only relation is competition or compulsory coexistence? But if they build an actual unity, then how are all beings connected, in which sense are they equal and different, and how do the help (or obstruct?) each other? These answers can definitely be pondered and answered if we investigate the invisible levels of matter, including those now in the field of parapsychology, energy, and information-bearing frequencies.
Why do creatures consume each other? Is this cruelty? Is it a necessity of nature or could nature exist in peace? Are creatures aware of each other’s existence – apart from being food or non-food? Do they cooperate – either consciously, or as unconscious parts of a conscious wholeness? And why? These are the real questions of a more universal ecology – the doctrine of “living together in the same house.”
Through time, modern science has collected innumerable facts that do not seem to fit in any existing theory. Work has been done to collect such oddities, notably by William Corliss http://www.science-frontiers.com/, and many others. Usually such facts are put aside, disregarded and forgotten, or labeled “measuring mistakes” due to unreliable sources, unrepeatable fantasies. No doubt many so-called facts are no facts, but mere misinterpretations, perhaps (un)consciously due to wishful thinking. But others should be taken serious, and can become supportive of theories still to be developed. Students could search for such oddities in different fields and look at them from refreshed viewpoints.
Small (and also big) institutions can sow the seeds for a sustainable evolution of humankind even into that very far future. As I said earlier, privately initiated, perhaps small, organizations can play a major role in this. Such studies enhance the quality of studies on or above the normal academic level, but it does not lead to “rewards” in the form of money, “super diplomas” or other status indicators. Quality is a property of the soul, not of a piece of paper. The practical point is to attract he right teachers, write the right curricula, and to build such a well-organized institution or organization on a sound and sustainable economic basis.
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