THEOSOPHY, Vol. 31, No. 3, January,
THAT Truth must be consistent in order to be true is an axiom. That Theosophy is a philosophy consistent throughout is a fact. In the case of a fact, its consistency with other facts known to us is the greatest proof of its verity. But we need to apply this principle to more than just isolated facts. We must apply it to theories based on facts, and to philosophical systems based on theories. To illustrate. Recently, Maynard Krueger, Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, and National Chairman of the Socialist Party of the U.S., asserted in a radio forum:
The modern researches in biology reveal no scientific basis whatsoever
for the notion that there are any natural inborn desires for self-enrichment
or for self-abandonment or for self-advancement. The kind of ambitions
that people have and the kind of desires that people have are the
product of the society in which they live.
Now, the layman in biology may not be familiar with the (questionable) biological "evidence" for this theory. But must he therefore take the assertion on blind faith? Can he not examine the statement, for instance, in the light of his own knowledge? Can he not compare it with the prevalent theory of evolution subscribed to by these same biologists? If biological research has uncovered no evidence of desire for progress in the human kingdom, would not a natural question be, Whence comes the motivating power that transformed primordial slime into Civilization? Are these two theories consistent, one with the other? Does the principle of fortuitous progress have a universal application? If not, how are we to demonstrate its truth? If so, why should the human kingdom be exempted from the common will to grow up and out of present conditions?
It is not required that a man know all about all the sciences, arts, philosophies and religions extant in the world, in order to maintain an intelligent view of life. Knowledge is not a hoarding of facts and details, but understanding, a comprehension of principles and their applications. When we learn mathematics, we do not memorize every combination of figures that could possibly be added, subtracted, multiplied or divided: we learn the principles of addition and subtraction, and the multiplication table, and practice applying them. Once we have solved an arithmetic problem, we do not sit down to memorize problem and solution. The understanding of the principle involved in that problem is all we needed to learn from the exercise. Once the formula to be applied is understood, the problem can be resolved at any time, as can any other problem based on that same formula.
According to the Third Fundamental, every being in the universe is engaged in evolving through all the degrees of intelligence, from the lowest to the highest Manas(1).What is the Monad to discover by this pilgrimage? It is stated that each Ego has been through every possible type of experience on the human plane. What do we remember of all those lives we have lived, and all those evolutionary stages? The essence of them.
Somewhere in our nature the details of our past experiences are recorded, precisely and in full. We are not conscious of that memory, and why not? Is it not reasonable to assume that if the Ego needed a waking memory of his past he would have it? But is such a memory necessary? Do we not have the important, the valuable part of our past always with us, in our present knowledge, powers and character? They are the principles we have learned. That is the active essence of our past experience.
To teach honesty, we do not require that the "honor" student memorize the honest way to act in every conceivable situation in which honest action is required. (Even if any mortal could imagine every such case!) We teach honesty itself as a law of nature, present its rational basis and ethical necessity, and leave the individual to practice honesty for himself, when and as the opportunities for such practice are perceived by him.
If we master the fundamental factors in any one circumstance, we have a basis for understanding other circumstances of a like nature, without actually meeting them. Anyone who walks, knows the principle not only of walking, but also, by extension, of running, hopping, skipping, and jumping. Some men and women lead many lives in one, because they attend to the essential elements in their experiences, and observe their application in the lives of those around them. With the great avenues of communication open between nations and individuals all over the world today, there is no man who could not thus broaden his own life to include many.
A Teacher said, "It is not what is done, but the spirit in which the least thing is done, that is counted." Or, as the ancient Scripture suggested, Naught but Spirit can adhere to Spirit. No man but is a Thinker with an endless past behind him, and an eternity before him. Matters not on the plane of Spirit, of reality, whether he is presently licking stamps or digging ditches, or giving orders or taking them, any more than it matters how wide his cuffs are. It is the spirit in which he does his work that makes that work a great or a small part of what we call "civilization" and "progress." Present humanity has reached that point in race evolution where it is living in feelings and thoughts. Therefore, these unseen qualities of physical action should receive our primary attention.
If Theosophy were merely a "philosophy," in the narrow sense of that term, a theory on which to speculate in classroom or study; if it were merely a "religion," to believe in, but not necessarily to act upon; or just another "science," to add to the flood of hypotheses that threaten to sweep away the last strongholds of common sense and human reason: -- it were better to hide its light under a bushel, and set forth again in search of Truth. But Theosophy is a knowledge of the laws which govern the physical, astral(2), psychical and intellectual constituents of nature and of man. Theosophy is the complete and consistent Truth. Its principles are not for limited use. They are not patented, copyrighted or exclusive to one field of human interest, or one grade of intelligence. Theosophical principles are universals, that is, of and for universal application.
There are not different basic principles for education, for the work of social reform, for scientific research, for philosophical discussion, and for religious inspiration. There are but Three Fundamental Propositions in the Science of Life, and they are exactly the same as the basic principles of the Art of Living. When we realize the identity of Source, Law and Being under all forms, as at the root of all beings, we shall have reminded ourselves of that anciently universal Wisdom-Religion we once knew. Knowing then the laws of the Universe, or the Law of Universality, we shall be Universal Beings.