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OCCULTISM

AN ALTERNATIVE TO SCIENTIFIC HUMANISM

by

Cyril Scott

OCCULTISM
An Alternative to Scientific Humanism.

A LECTURE GIVEN FOR


THE TRUTH FORUM
AT

THE CAXTON HALL


ON

JUNE 13t h , 1956


BY

CYRIL SCOTT

L. N. F O W L E R & CO. LTD., St. Martins House, 29 Ludgate Hill, London, E.C.4.

T pH E Victorian philosopher Herbert Spencer maintained: there is a principle which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance . . , and that is contempt prior to investigation. Now as I myself was at one time guilty of that same contempt where Occultism was concerned, it is not for me to criticise those persons who may adopt the same attitude towards it. But that is no reason why I shouldnt wish to dispel some of the erroneous ideas about it at this time, when an increasing number of people have become dissatis fied with the beliefs of their forefathers, whilst many others have no beliefs at all, and perhaps only wish they had. As to how and why, many years ago I finally came to study Occultism after having been a rabid agnostic that is immaterial. Suffice it to mention that the more I studied it in my spare time, the more did evidence come my way to convince me of its fundamental truth. Not that Victorian Agnosticism didnt have its value, and doubtless its latest variant, termed Scientific Humanism, has its value also. But does it provide any satisfying solutions to those baffling, basic problems: what are we; are we nothing but glorified monkeys; why are some children born to be geniuses and others to be idiots; what happens to us when we die; are we snuffed out or are we immortal as the religions maintain, though without furnishing proofs acceptable to sceptics? These, as I will try to show, are some of the vital questions which Occultism has answered for those people who have been open-minded enough not

to dismiss it with investigation/

contempt prior to

To begin with, let us be quite clear as to what Occultism really is. Although it covers a wide field, it is primarily the Science and Knowledge pertaining to the subtler aspects of Nature, as compared with ordinary Science, which is more concerned with its grosser ones. It is occult, mean ing hidden, simply because most people havent the faculties to be conscious of anything except what they can see, hear, feel, taste or smell. They may know of certain invisible things, such as wireless waves, by their effects; but no one is actually conscious of these waves, and in so far even they might be said to be occult. Nevertheless, Occultism, like Theosophy, is more than just the Science of the normally invisible, for it is also the synthesis of Philosophy, Science and Religions. No true occultist denies the proven facts of Science, though he may have reason to repudiate some of its unproven assertions or negations for even scientists are not infallible. If rightly under stood, far from being the enemy of Science, Occultism is its complement, as also that of Philosophy and Religion. But the question may be asked: How can one be sure that the assertions, tenets and doctrines of Occultism are true? The answer is that we obtain our knowledge from those in a position to know . . . And surely this is not unreasonable, for don't we do exactly the same thing where

material Science is concerned? For instance, astronomers tell us that the Great Nebula in Andromeda is so far away, that its light, travelling at a hundred-and-eighty-six-thousand miles a second, takes about eight-hundred-thousand years to reach our earth. This seems so incredible to the layman, that Bernard Shaw in one of his semihumorous moments described the whole statement as 4 4a stupendous lie ! And yet most of us believe it because we trust those men we think are in a position to know. These men we respect as great scientists, whilst those who correspond to them in Occultism are known as great Initiates. I will speak about them later. Let us start with the doctrine of Evolution, that natural and very gradual process of development from the simple to the complex. Not only do Occultists accept the principle of Evolution as a scientific fact, but they go even further; they maintain that there are several streams of evolu tion operating concurrently. I have no wish to strike 4 4the deep note " or harass my listeners with brain-teasing complexities, so I will only mention one of these streams, because of its bearing on folklore and legend. It is called the Deva Evolution; deva being a generic Sanscrit word which comprises beings ranging from the smallest nature-spirit to those entities of great power and radiance which Christians might call angels. True, they are not quite like winged humans, as depicted in old paintings, but they are all beings who have

their respective parts to play in the great Evolutionary Scheme. There are air-devas, waterdevas, fire-devas, sound-devas and other varieties too numerous to mention. If there were any children listening to me, they would be delighted to hear that there really are such beings as we westerners call fairies, leprecauns and the like, though they may not behave exactly as the fairy tale writers describe. I may mention en passant that several notabilities have firmly believed in fairies, the Irish poet, Yeats, for one, and the eminent writer Conan Doyle for another. All the devas are composed of matter too rareified to be perceptible to ordinary sight, but persons gifted with a certain degree of clairvoy ance are able to see some of them. The smaller ones have even appeared on photographs on those somewhat rare occasions when conditions have been favourable. In bygone times more people were clairvoyant than they are today, hence the many allusions to elves and fairies in folklore and to angels in religious legends. The fact is, that although we moderns may pride ourselves on our greater knowledge and enlightenment, what it really amounts to is that we know more about certain things whilst the ancients knew more about others. Nevertheless, according to Occultism, now that Man is again emerging from the trough of materialism in which he has been sunk, it won't be very long before more and more people will be clairvoyant as the natural consequence of the

Evolutionary Scheme. W hen this eventuates, we shall be nearer to Truth, with a capital T. And this brings us to the problem of Man himself. The occultists hold, as likewise did the ancients, that Man is not just a physical body, a sort of thinking machine, but a much more complex entity than even the Churches teach. For surrounding and interpenetrating the dense physical body are a number of subtler bodies composed of rarefied matter, these subtler bodies forming that luminous haze called the aura, about which many people have at least vaguely heard. In the Yoga philosophy, the theosophical and other occult schools, these subtler bodies have dis tinguishing names. (The so-termed astral body for one, is nowadays sometimes referred to even by non-occultists) . . . . But the point to be noted here is, that according to Occultism, the physical body, far from being the generator of consciousness, is actually a damper on conscious ness, and that, paradoxical though it may sound, a man is more alive when he is dead, so to say, than when he is alive. Just as a man feels freer when he has divested himself of a heavy overcoat, so does a man feel freer and happier when he has shed his rather cumbersome physical body and can function in one of his subtler bodies on the higher planes. Thus, the occultists as also the spiritualists say: to die is not a disadvantage, but quite the contrary. It is only a disadvantage in the case of persons whose interests and desires are so

exclusively centred on the physical plane that there is nothing to draw them to the mental or spiritual planes for that very reason . . . I may add that the aura can no longer be dismissed as mere fancy since the invention of the so-named Kilner Screens, which enable even non-clairvoyant persons to see what is invisible to normal sight. So we see how Science can eventually prove the statements of occultists . . And, by the way, its not only humans who have auras, but animals too, though obviously of a more rudimentary sort. Let us now consider the philosophical and metaphysical aspects of our subject . . . Last century that German scientist-philosopher, Ernst Haeckel, came to the conclusion that there is one Life pervading all the myriad evolving forms. In other words, it is not the forms which create Life, as some materialists believe, but the Life which has been responsible for the forms, indeed for all Matter. Sir James Jeans voiced the same conclu sion when he wrote: The material universe is derivative from consciousness, not consciousness from the material universe : a conclusion which is entirely in accordance with that of Occultism. True, Haeckel didnt believe in personal immor tality, but as its obvious from his books that he had never investigated the subject, that is irrelevant. W hat concerns us here is that the OneLife conception is so ancient that its to be found in the age-old Vedanta Philosophy of India, where it is called the Atman meaning the One Self,

Pure Consciousness which ever is, the great I-Am. Its parallel in The Gospels is obviously the Holy Spirit ; the word holy having been inaccurately derived from a word meaning complete", unimpaired , unsullied . Holy , in the sense of hallowed, is therefore misleading, and Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost should more correctly have been rendered, Pure Spirit , namely that which is complete in Itself and un sullied in any way. Incidentally, the spiritualists call The Supreme Being The Great W hite Spirit; a conception which tallies with that of the occul tists, W h y It is called white, is because white is the actual colour of the Pure, Formless Spirit; which is not nothingness as the materialists believe, but still matter, yet in its rarest aspect. However, metaphysics being a deep subject, I can't enlarge upon it in this short talk. Having briefly sought to show that Occultism, Philosophy and Science are not incompatibles, it is more important now to enlarge somewhat on that muchdebated question of immortality, in which not only religious people believe, but in which have believed such eminent scientists as Sir Oliver Lodge, Sir William Crooks, the French astronomer Flammarion, and other eminent thinkers, many poets included . . . But the vital question is: what proofs are there to substantiate mere belief? To begin with, there are the photographic proofs. Wishing to investigate this aspect of the matter, my friend, the late A. P. Sinnet, writer and

theosophist, some years ago tested out a spirit photographer, in the following manner: First of all he bought his own plates, then having taken them to the photographer concerned, they never left his sight for one moment until the process of development and printing was completed. On the finished photographs there was a spirit^bodij. Another case may be cited. An ordinary photo grapher who unknown to himself possessed mediumistic gifts, went to a clairvoyant friend of mine and told him he was in serious trouble because he could not take a single photograph without an " extra M (viz. a spirit-form) appearing on the plate. M y friend was sympathetic, but could only advise him to give up photography altogether, seeing that he was obviously mediumistic and that the spirits appropriated some of the matter from his aura so as to materialise. Now one thing is certain; all knowledge (unless derived from calculations, which are never in fallible) must be based on experience, somebody's experience. For instance, how have we come to know about certain remote regions of our world? W hy simply because some explorer has discovered them and then described them and their inhabi tants. " Thats all very well/ our scientific humanists might say. But who has ever explored the so-called heaven-world? The answer is, many people. There are the yogis of India to begin with. They have developed a technique by which they can leave the physical body for a time at will

and function on other planes. Many occidentals have done and can do the same thing. Moreover they tell us that the higher the plane they can reach, not only the more vivid their consciousness, but what is more important at the moment, that on some of those planes they can contact the spirits of people they have known, and with whom they have established the bonds of affection. All this accords with the teachings of the spiritualists and theosophists . . But not so with the beliefs, or better said disbeliefs of the agnostics and scien tific humanists, who argue: if human beings con tinue to live somewhere and somehow after death, they must have bodies of a kind; and as a body occupies space, how could there be room enough for them all even in the whole Universe, consider ing the countless numbers of persons who have lived and died ever since the Cosmos came into being? This argument, nevertheless, may strike one as a little naive, seeing that space is so vast, that even the nearest star is twenty-five-millionmillion miles away, so the astronomers calculate. In any case, the argument leaves out one thing and that is reincarnation as a factor in the Evolutionary Scheme. Not only does the doctrine of reincarnation, re-birth or pre-existence obtain in the Eastern religions, but many thinkers, philosophers and poets have accepted it as a truth. Now although there are ladies who like to think theyve been Cleopatra or some other notability, many people (including myself) dislike the idea of

theosophist, some years ago tested out a spirit photographer, in the following manner: First of all he bought his own plates, then having taken them to the photographer concerned, they never left his sight for one moment until the process of development and printing was completed. On the finished photographs there was a spirit-body. Another case may be cited. An ordinary photo grapher who unknown to himself possessed mediumistic gifts, went to a clairvoyant friend of mine and told him he was in serious trouble because he could not take a single photograph without an extra (viz. a spirit-form) appearing on the plate. My friend was sympathetic, but could only advise him to give up photography altogether, seeing that he was obviously mediumistic and that the spirits appropriated some of the matter from his aura so as to materialise. Now one thing is certain; all knowledge (unless derived from calculations, which are never in fallible) must be based on experience, somebody's experience. For instance, how have we come to know about certain remote regions of our world? W hy simply because some explorer has discovered them and then described them and their inhabi tants. Thats all very well, our scientific humanists might say. " But who has ever explored the so-called heaven-world? The answer is, many people. There are the yogis of India to begin with. They have developed a technique by which they can leave the physical body for a time at will

and function on other planes. Many occidentals have done and can do the same thing. Moreover they tell us that the higher the plane they can reach, not only the more vivid their consciousness, but what is more important at the moment, that on some of those planes they can contact the spirits of people they have known, and with whom they have established the bonds of affection. All this accords with the teachings of the spiritualists and theosophists . . But not so with the beliefs, or better said disbeliefs of the agnostics and scien tific humanists, who argue: if human beings con tinue to live somewhere and somehow after death, they must have bodies of a kind; and as a body occupies space, how could there be room enough for them all even in the whole Universe, consider ing the countless numbers of persons who have lived and died ever since the Cosmos came into being? This argument, nevertheless, may strike one as a little naive, seeing that space is so vast, that even the nearest star is twenty-five-millionmillion miles away, so the astronomers calculate. In any case, the argument leaves out one thing and that is reincarnation as a factor in the Evolutionary Scheme. Not only does the doctrine of reincarnation, re-birth or pre-existence obtain in the Eastern religions, but many thinkers, philosophers and poets have accepted it as a truth. Now although there are ladies who like to think they've been Cleopatra or some other notability, many people (including myself) dislike the idea of

ever returning to this strife-ridden world. And yet, according to Occultism, reincarnation is not only a fact but a logical one at that. For it disposes of the idea that every time a baby is born, a new soul has been created by God, and hence the number of souls goes on accumulating ad infinitum. Further, it disposes of the idea that a just God could be guilty of favouritism, seeing that some souls are born to be geniuses or saints and others to be primitive savages, felons, deaf-mutes or what not. The esoteric truth is, to quote The Bible, As a man sows, so shall he reap, which is the poetical way of expressing the great law of cause and effect carried to its logical conclusion. The seeds are a mans desires and strivings, the fruits are their fulfilment or their achievement. There is also the impetus of the great Evolutionary Scheme; and evolution is a slow process. Now in the name of logic, could, say, a savage born in the back of be yond reach the stature of a Shakespeare, or a St. Francis of Assisi in one short span of life? Surely the only explanation of a phenomenon like Shakespeare, a saint like St. Francis, or an infant prodigy like Mozart is by the doctrine of rebirth? Hence do the occultists say that genius in whatever field is the end-result of efforts made in former lives. As to why only the high Initiates can accurately recall their past incarnations or their other-plane experiences between them, that is be cause every child born is, needless to say, born with a new brain, and its simply the new brain which cant register the memories. Such is not the case,

however, with the Initiates, for they have acquired soul-consciousness; and it's the soul in which such memories are stored. These high Initiates, of whom, in conclusion, I shall now speak, are what the yogis call liberated souls. This means that they have reached a stage of evolution in which they do not need to remain in incarnation or to reincar nate. Nevertheless some of them choose to be in carnate, the better to serve humanity. Although in the theosophical literature they are referred to as The Masters ", they modestly prefer to regard themselves as The Elder Brothers Indeed, they emphatically maintain that the difference between other humans and themselves is not one of kind, but merely of degree of development. And now, what is the nature of their work and activities? They are members of what is called The Great W hite Brotherhood or, more briefly, The Hierarchy; and part of their work is to inspire by means of telepathic suggestion, the best in Science, Philosophy, Religion, Ideologies, Thera peutics and the fine Arts. Those members who are incarnate are of various nationalities, and live in various parts of the world. But as they can all function in their spirit-bodies, and also are adepts at telepathy, distance is no obstacle to communi cation. At the head of The Hierarchy is the very High Initiate we in the West call The Christ and in the East is called The Bodhisattva. It was He who some two thousand years ago inspired the Religion which bears His name, as a type of Faith

especially suited to the western world, and one in which Brotherhood and mutual Love is stressed as the prerequisite to Peace and security. (Brotherhood means working with instead of working against, unity in diversity instead of separateness). Nevertheless, in the new religion were incorporated some of the tenets of several more ancient Faiths this fact is known to students of Comparative Religions. And here an important point must be empha sised: The Masters may only guide and suggest, but never compel for its against the Divine Law to interfere in any way with free will. Although a truism, had we humans not been endowed with a measure of free-will, we would all be auto matons, and automatons we would still be if Men of Power could control our thoughts and actions. And yet our free-will would not have been a mixed blessing if only we had used it wisely. As it is, because it gave us the option of choosing either good or evil, we have chosen a large proportion of evil. In consequence and here is the salient point many of the religions, cults and so on which the Masters espoused have fallen very far short of the ideal; hence the birth of untenable dogmas, distortion of texts and their meanings, bigotry, wranglings and other inordinations. As for the unchristian behaviour of the Christian nations, the only thing that can be said is: if there hadnt been any Christian Religion at all, human conduct might have proved even still more

disastrous. This was something The Christ must have foreseen*

It may be asked: if The Hierarchy does really exist, why is it not more widely known? The answer is that only within comparatively recent years would such a disclosure have been safe, that is, safe for those to whom it might have been made. Dont forget that at one time The Church was so despotic, that any person suspected of holding un orthodox beliefs was subjected to the worst kind of persecution. And so the Hierarchy and its work was not revealed except to the few, and they were careful to hide the fact from the profane. Granted that since those times things have changed, even so, when towards the end of last century, two of the Masters inspired the Theosophical Movement and used that remarkable woman, Mme. Blavatsky, as their willing instrument, she was denounced as a fraud and even accused of having invented The Hierarchy and its Initiates. Yet con sidering that many people have contacted the Masters, (a point to be noted) and still do so, the fraud-theory was far from convincing. During the present century mention of The Masters has been made in a number of books and journals, yet they still prefer to keep mostly in the background, for, apart from other considerations, they are alive to the unwisdom of personality-worship. They do not wish that anyone should believe a thing merely because they say so. The ideas they inspire are left for the recipient to size up and accept as

especially suited to the western world, and one in which Brotherhood and mutual Love is stressed as the prerequisite to Peace and security. (Brotherhood means working with instead of working against, unity in diversity instead of separateness). Nevertheless, in the new religion were incorporated some of the tenets of several more ancient Faiths this fact is known to students of Comparative Religions. And here an important point must be empha sised: The Masters may only guide and suggest, but never compel for its against the Divine Law to interfere in any way with free will. Although a truism, had we humans not been endowed with a measure of free-will, we would all be auto matons, and automatons we would still be if Men of Power could control our thoughts and actions. And yet our free-will would not have been a mixed blessing if only we had used it wisely. As it is, because it gave us the option of choosing either good or evil, we have chosen a large proportion of evil. In consequence and here is the salient point many of the religions, cults and so on which the Masters espoused have fallen very far short of the ideal; hence the birth of untenable dogmas, distortion of texts and their meanings, bigotry, wranglings and other inordinations. As for the unchristian behaviour of the Christian nations, the only thing that can be said is: if there hadn't been any Christian Religion at all, human conduct might have proved even still more

disastrous. This was something The Christ must have foreseen.

It may be asked: if The Hierarchy does really exist, why is it not more widely known? The answer is that only within comparatively recent years would such a disclosure have been safe, that is, safe for those to whom it might have been made. Dont forget that at one time The Church was so despotic, that any person suspected of holding un orthodox beliefs was subjected to the worst kind of persecution. And so the Hierarchy and its work was not revealed except to the few, and they were careful to hide the fact from the profane. Granted that since those times things have changed, even so, when towards the end of last century, two of the Masters inspired the Theosophical Movement and used that remarkable woman, Mme. Blavatsky, as their willing instrument, she was denounced as a fraud and even accused of having invented The Hierarchy and its Initiates. Yet con sidering that many people have contacted the Masters, (a point to be noted) and still do so, the fraud-theory was far from convincing. During the present century mention of The Masters has been made in a number of books and journals, yet they still prefer to keep mostly in the background, for, apart from other considerations, they are alive to the unwisdom of personality-worship. They do not wish that anyone should believe a thing merely because they say so. The ideas they inspire are left for the recipient to size up and accept as

reasonable or reject, as the case may be* Nor is belief, as mostly understood, always involved, but rather a change of heart. Plans for furthering the well-being of man both physically and spiritually on this our very backward planet are what the Masters are intent on putting through. For, according to them, our earth is still in process of evolving and has by no means reached perfection; as witness the cruelty of Nature, especially as regards the animal kingdom. Nevertheless, the days will come when, as the ancient prophets fore told, the lion will lie down with the lamb ", and the nations will beat their swords into plough shares The wishes and hopes and strivings of The Hierarchy have ever been to bring those days nearer, and so speed up the establishment of what in the Christian Religion is called the kingdom of heaven on earth And at that I must leave it for the consideration of the open-minded. Should they find Scientific Humanism or any other belief they may hold more suited to their temperaments than Occultism, if they feel disposed to study it, then well and good. After all, as a great Indian Swami once said: 4 4W hat is the use of any religion (or irreligion for that matter) unless it bring us peace?