Atlantis

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After the Lemurians had existed for ages as beings not very different from the mankind of later times, yet more spiritual than intellectual, a gradual division took place into two well-marked sections, the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness. Selfish desire increased and the decline of the third race set in rapidly, but was not allowed to proceed too far. The law of progress prevented too great a downfall by the destruction of a large portion of the individuals through the breaking up of the Lemurian continent. Simultaneously with the decay of the third race civilizations, the beginnings of the new type of man, the fourth, began to appear, and new lands arose from the sea to take the place of the previous continent. Some of the islands of Polynesia are remains of some of the mountaintops of long-forgotten Lemuria, and the native traditions of a universal deluge, etc., greatly puzzled the early missionaries, who could not conceive how the ignorant savages, living in widely scattered islands, had obtained stories closely resembling those of the Creation and the Flood in the Bible. Australia and New Zealand are the largest parts of Lemuria now existing, but there are other portions, such as Ceylon or Lanka, which is a remnant of a northern highland of Lemuro-Atlantis, and the Polar lands, though the latter belong properly to the first and second continents.

Lemuria is said to have perished finally 700,000 years before the commencement of the Tertiary age of geology. The highest group of its inhabitants, the comparatively few “Sons of Light,” were not disturbed by the upheavals, for they had taken precautions and had moved away to safer regions; most of the small proportion of the average mankind that escaped centered towards land which is now under the waters of the North Atlantic. They formed the nucleus of the next root-race, the Atlantean, and from that land the coming great Atlantean civilization spread over the new continent that was rising. Nature never breaks the continuity of her processes, so no hard and fast line can be drawn as to when one race ends and another begins. For many thousands of years the first subrace of the fourth had been developing parallel with the culminating of the last subraces of the third, just as we see today a new subrace of our fifth root-race forming in America; so that the relic of mankind saved from destruction contained representatives in all degrees of advancement. It should be well remembered that it is not only mankind as a whole, but man as the individual ego, whose progress we are tracing. The races are the temporary vehicles of the larger life of the egos constituting them, and though they may perish when they have served their purpose, and before they have fallen too deeply into degradation, the immortal ego simply passes on to the next experience and will continue to do so until the succeeding manvantara or world period.

Atlantis gradually took form as Lemuria broke up under the turbulent disruptive forces of the adolescent period of earth’s growth, and as the portion of humanity which escaped the destruction spread afar, they peopled the newly risen lands and some of the old that were not submerged, with a race which subsequently touched the lowest depths of materiality that the world has seen. Since the Atlantean period man has been rising, though with many cyclic depressions, for the Atlantean civilization marked a turning point in the history of the Earth. Until then mankind was slowly descending into material conditions with a corresponding obscuration in spirituality. The Atlanteans stand as the apotheosis of matter, and it was in those far-distant days that the heaviest karma of the human race was generated, a karma which is holding us back from the advance we should otherwise make, and whose existence explains many of the difficulties and anomalies of life. Humanity reached its fullest physical development in the fourth race, the physical bodies themselves being much larger than at present. The old saying that “there were giants in those days,” was correct when applied to the Atlanteans. The curious decrease in the size of many organisms, which is so well marked in the case of the fearful saurians of the Secondary period — now represented by comparatively minute reptilian forms — also took place in the human kingdom; but as the practice of cremation was almost universal we are not likely to find many remains of gigantic human bones. Immense footprints have been found in the geologic strata of Nevada and Ohio, USA, which seem to be human, but geology has not definitely sanctioned the claim that they are so.

Legendary island of Atlantis.

The fourth race started under far less favorable conditions than the third, and towards its decline the story of Lemuria was repeated on lower levels; the same fight between the higher and lower natures within and without was waged, but more mercilessly; and as that was the age of passion and desire in excelsis and the eclipse of spirituality, the result was mainly in favor of the lower principles for a long time. But not forever, for, although the majority of the Atlanteans were not the descendants of the higher group of the third race, the “one third that remained faithful” fought such a good fight that they were enabled to escape before the Deluge from the lands that had been cursed by the evildoers, and to become the progenitors of the majority of our present humanity. The story of Noah’s Deluge is, in one of its aspects, a fanciful account of the great Atlantean submersion; but it also has deeper meanings, one of which allegorizes the primeval building of the world.

Full personal responsibility came to the man of the Atlantean period, and although the last or final choice between spiritual advancement on the one side, and materialism or personal aggrandizement on the other, “good and evil,” has not yet come for the mass of humanity, and will not until the next round, a long step in that direction was taken by the Atlanteans. But nature is merciful, and the world is not destined to perish ingloriously; so before the mischief had become irreparable, “the law that moves to righteousness” again arrested further degradation by giving a shock which allowed the egos to start anew with a fresh opportunity, upon new lands not soaked through with the evil memories of past sins. The majority of the Atlantean evildoers perished finally amid indescribable terrors, and the ocean soon obliterated all remains of that proud civilization which had misapplied greater powers than any with which we have since been entrusted. The last large destruction took place towards the close of the Meiocene age, when the Alps were upraised. Most of those then destroyed were of the giant race; but mankind was already diminishing in size, and when the final destruction of the few remaining islands upon which Atlanteans still existed took place, only about 11,000 years ago, men had long before assumed their present proportions. It was the latter destruction to which Plato refers when he handed on the tradition that the gods had caused the wicked Atlanteans to perish 9,000 years before his time. Airships of great perfection were used by the “White Adepts,” and the measures taken and the weapons spoken of illustrate a much deeper knowledge of natural forces — magic — than science has yet suspected, fortunately for us in this age of selfishness!

The fifth or Aryan race had started some time before the last destruction of Atlantis. Descended from the more spiritualized and better class of Atlanteans, a few had preserved the knowledge of their ancestors and were ready to revive it when the race demanded it. The institution of the Mysteries in all countries at a later period was an effort, and fortunately a successful one, to preserve the ancient wisdom from the profanation it had suffered in Atlantis. An example of the profound knowledge of the Atlanteans is shown in the astronomical computations of Indian astronomy, which are based upon a little that was permitted to escape from the guardianship of the Mysteries.

It was in Atlantis, too, that language took its inflectional form, after having passed from the stage of musical nature-sounds in the second race, to monosyllabic speech in the later third, and then to the agglutinative form in the fourth. Of course writing was well known to the fourth race, for during its long career it possessed civilizations higher than were those of Greece or Rome in their palmiest days, and even far higher than our own civilization today, though it may have been lost to the world at large during the period of confusion when the first subraces of the fifth were forming. The traces of writing in the “Stone Age ” (which belongs to our epoch) are not conclusive; and yet it is strange and entirely unexplained by modern science, that Palaeolithic man could draw animals upon antlers and cavern walls, etc., in a style that would not disgrace a good draughtsman of today, and which is certainly superior in accuracy to that of some of the Egyptian conventional representations of animals, or to the crude drawings of the famous Bayeux tapestry which was woven perhaps five hundred thousand years after the time of the supposed brutal “primitive” man — a savage that we are told was nearly on a level with his hypothetical ape-grandfather! Palaeolithic (ancient Stone Age) man was in reality carrying on some memories of the perished civilizations, as his artistic talent shows; the Neolithic (new Stone Age) man who followed him had lost this power, although he was improving in some other respects. The Palaeolithic drawings show no resemblance to the scrawls of children, but display concentrated observation and high technical skill — in other words, qualities of advanced civilization!

With this gradual break-up of the fourth race civilizations, which were varied and numerous, the dawn of what is known to science as the human period, begins. In actual years the distance is enormous from the first subrace of the fifth race to the present day, and what is generally supposed to be the whole history of man “does not go back. In the brief space at our disposal, only the most cursory reference can be made to the progress of humanity during the fifth race.

The destruction of the spiritually degraded Atlanteans gave a shock to the survivors which resulted in the sinking of material civilization for a long time over the main portion of the globe; we are not yet told exactly what proportion of the world kept some vestiges of the past greatness, but it cannot have been large. Anyway, the effect of the fresh start was good, for it provided conditions under which the later comparatively unsophisticated tribes could be helped by advanced souls who incarnated among them and taught them the elements of the arts and sciences. In every tradition that has come down to us from antiquity a Golden Age is spoken of — the “Garden of Eden” in the Bible — and, although in some cases this unmistakably refers to the first, second, and the early third races, when rudimentary mankind had not fallen into materiality, it may generally be taken to mean the dawn of the fifth when mankind was again comparatively pure and happy, and was guided by semi-divine kings, adepts of wisdom and compassion. In Egypt the traditions of many dynasties of gods and heroes were recorded by Manetho, and have actually come down to us, though the lists of names have been mutilated. While no doubt the details of the Greek, Hindu, Egyptian, Central American and Scandinavian cosmogonies and primitive histories of mankind are largely allegorical, their general agreement is not due to chance. By degrees the same old process of materializing came into action; and as the “family” races, or smaller divisions of the subraces, differentiated into the nations of the later ages, we arrive at “historic” and present times, with the numerous red, yellow, brown, black, and white representatives of the complex developments of the great evolutionary process of human expansion. Although we have descended into an age of moral and spiritual darkness (not intellectual), as compared with the Golden Ages it must not be forgotten that in the great journey of the soul from spiritual conditions through the material and back to a higher point, it is subject to a continual series of smaller cyclic ups and downs, and that even in the darkest time necessary experience is being gained. As we have long since passed the densest materiality of the fourth race, every step onwards is leading to higher conditions, and although the road seems to cross many a hill and descend into dark valleys, its general tendency is upwards all the time.

Odd symplectic + Odd Poisson Geometry as a Generalization of Symplectic (Poisson) Geometry to the Supercase

A symplectic structure on a manifold M is defined by a non-degenerate closed two-form ω. In a vicinity of an arbitrary point one can consider coordinates (x1, . . . , x2n) such that ω = ∑ni=1 dxidxi+n. Such coordinates are called Darboux coordinates. To a symplectic structure corresponds a non-degenerate Poisson structure { , }. In Darboux coordinates {xi,xj} = 0 if |i−j| ≠ n and {xi,xi+n} = −{xi+n,xi} = 1. The condition of closedness of the two-form ω corresponds to the Jacobi identity {f,{g,h}} + {g,{h,f}} + {h,{f,g}} = 0

for the Poisson bracket. If a symplectic or Poisson structure is given, then every function f defines a vector field (the Hamiltonian vector field) Df such that Dfg = {f,g} = −ω(Df,Dg).

A Poisson structure can be defined independently of a symplectic structure. In general it can be degenerate, i.e., there exist non-constant functions f such that Df = 0. In the case when a Poisson structure is non-degenerate (corresponds to a symplectic structure), the map from T∗M to T M defined by the relation f → Df is an isomorphism.

One can straightforwardly generalize these constructions to the supercase and consider symplectic and Poisson structures (even or odd) on supermanifolds. An even (odd) symplectic structure on a supermanifold is defined by an even (odd) non-degenerate closed two-form. In the same way as the existence of a symplectic structure on an ordinary manifold implies that the manifold is even-dimensional (by the non-degeneracy condition for the form ω), the existence of an even or odd symplectic structure on a supermanifold implies that the dimension of the supermanifold is equal either to (2p.q) for an even structure or to (m.m) for an odd structure. Darboux coordinates exist in both cases. For an even structure, the two-form in Darboux coordinates

zA = (x1,…, x2p1,…, θq) has the form ∑i=1p dxi dxp+i + ∑a=1q εaaa,

where εa = ±1. For an odd structure, the two-form in Darboux coordinates zA = (x1,…,xm1,…,θm) has the form ∑i=1m dxii.

The non-degenerate odd Poisson bracket corresponding to an odd symplectic structure has the following appearance in Darboux coordinates: {xi, xj} = 0, {θij} = 0 for all i,j and {xij} = −{θj,xi} = δji. Thus for arbitrary two functions f, g

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where we denote by p(f) the parity of a function f (p(xi) = 0, p(θj) = 1). Similarly one can write down the formulae for the non-degenerate even Poisson structure corresponding to an even symplectic structure.

A Poisson structure (odd or even) can be defined on a supermanifold independently of a symplectic structure as a bilinear operation on functions (bracket) satisfying the following relations taken as axioms:

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where ε is the parity of the bracket (ε = 0 for an even Poisson structure and ε = 1 for an odd one). The correspondence between functions and Hamiltonian vector fields is defined in the same way as on ordinary manifolds: Dfg = {f, g}. Notice a possible parity shift: p(Df) = p(f) + ε. Every Hamiltonian vector field Df defines an infinitesimal transformation preserving the Poisson structure (and the corresponding symplectic structure in the case of a non-degenerate Poisson bracket).

Notice that even or odd Poisson structures on an arbitrary supermanifold can be obtained as “derived” brackets from the canonical symplectic structure on the cotangent bundle, in the following way.

Let M be a supermanifold and T∗M be its cotangent bundle. By changing parity of coordinates in the fibres of T∗M we arrive at the supermanifold ΠT ∗M. If zA are arbitrary coordinates on the supermanifold M, then we denote by (zA,pB) the corresponding coordinates on the supermanifold T∗M and by (zA,z∗B) the corresponding coordinates on ΠT∗M: p(zA) = p(pA) = p(z∗A) + 1. If (zA) are another coordinates on M, zA = zA(z′), then the coordinates z∗A transform in the same way as the coordinates pA (and as the partial derivatives ∂/∂zA):

pA = ∂zB(z′)/∂zA pB and z∗A = ∂zB(z′)/∂zA z∗B

One can consider the canonical non-degenerate even Poisson structure { , }0 (the canonical even symplectic structure) on T∗M defined by the relations {zA,zB}0 = {pC,pD}0 = 0, {zA,pB}0 = δBA, and, respectively, the canonical non-degenerate odd Poisson structure { , }1 (the canonical odd symplectic structure) on ΠT∗M defined by the relations {zA,zB}0 = {z∗C,z∗D}0 = 0, {zA,z∗B}0 = δAB.

Now consider Hamiltonians on T∗M or on ΠT∗M that are quadratic in coordinates of the fibres. An arbitrary odd quadratic Hamiltonian on T∗M (an arbitrary even quadratic Hamiltonian on ΠT∗M):

S(z,p) = SABpApB (p(S) = 1) or S(z,z∗) = SABz∗Az∗B (p(S) = 0) —– (1)

satisfying the condition that the canonical Poisson bracket of this Hamiltonian with itself vanishes:

{S,S}0 = 0 or {S,S}1 = 0 —– (2)

defines an odd Poisson structure (an even Poisson structure) on M by the formula

{f,g}Sε+1 = {f,{S,g}ε}ε —–(3)

The Hamiltonian S which generates an odd (even) Poisson structure on M via the canonical even (odd) Poisson structure on T∗M (ΠT∗M) can be called the master Hamiltonian. The bracket is a “derived bracket”. The Jacobi identity for it is equivalent to the vanishing of the canonical Poisson bracket for the master Hamiltonian. One can see that an arbitrary Poisson structure on a supermanifold can be obtained as a derived bracket.

What happens if we change the parity of the master Hamiltonian in (3)? The answer is the following. If S is an even quadratic Hamiltonian on T∗M (an odd quadratic Hamiltonian on ΠT∗M), then the condition of vanishing of the canonical even Poisson bracket { , }0 (the canonical odd Poisson bracket { , }1) becomes empty (it is obeyed automatically) and the relation (3) defines an even Riemannian metric (an odd Riemannian metric) on M.

Formally, odd symplectic (and odd Poisson) geometry is a generalization of symplectic (Poisson) geometry to the supercase. However, there are unexpected analogies between the constructions in odd symplectic geometry and in Riemannian geometry. The construction of derived brackets could explain close relations between odd Poisson structures in supermathematics and the Riemannian geometry.

Oncontology

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In conventional oncological terms, the process of metastasis is the wild overgrowth of cells to the detriment of the body, resulting in either growths that are benign or malignant. Apoptosis (PCD) is the process by which the cell receives a signal to stop production at a previously prescribed genetic point. The process is twofold: to retain proper cell function integral to the organism, and to remove potentially harmful or lethal elements in the cell which could endanger the organism as a whole. There are only two ways by which cells perish: either by some external agent (e.g. toxic chemicals, fire, removal) or by being induced to perish (i.e. apoptosis). Firstly, apoptosis is necessary in the organism; for instance, the uterine wall sheds during menstruation; the surplus “webbed” tissue between the fingers and toes on the fetus; the fusing of bone plates when the growth period is at an end; the resorption of the tadpole tail in the development of a frog; and so on. Secondly, apoptosis is necessary for the destruction of cells injurious to the organism such as virally infected cells, cells with corrupt DNA, or damaged or cancerous cells. Apoptosis occurs in two ways: removing or blocking all positive stimulus to the cell necessary for the cell’s continuance (one can envision that apoptosis is a kind of siege-craft, cutting all supply lines to the cellular castle), and the inducement of negative signals such as increased oxidation in the cell, aberrant absorption of proteins, the release of particular molecules that bind to the receptors of the cell’s surface which activate the apoptotic process.

Metastasis and apoptosis do not exhaust one another in some sort of dialectical exchange toward finality. They are not a coupling unit, but processes by which we may name desire or ontology. To assert that they cancel one another out in equilibrium is to “gorgonify” the “cacophysical” reality of Being. In the realm of biological science, there is a moment of equilibrium in the body: a certain quantity of cells will match the creation and destruction ratio to achieve a brief period of “plateau” called homeostasis, but this is hardly measurable or significant, since it may last a matter of seconds in the life of any body, the duration of this perhaps inconsequential or even impossible. This is an abstract idealization issued from the laboratories of biological science that may be able to measure such equal ratios in the simplest of organisms and assume that more complex bodies will also follow the same rule, or to simplify the results according to approximations of equilibrium. But our notion of bodies is much more extensive and intensive – we include more than just the life of an “organism”; we include everything that can be said has being. This includes books, plants, rocks, radios, and  even cities. Metastasis and apoptosis are derelict forces, two faces of desire. It is not a measure of zombifying ontology with a series of empty concepts. Immobility is effaced by perpetual be-comings, announced by the manifest process of unlimited production and unlimited expiration, both what Spinoza would call “potentia” and Nietzsche would call “will to power” as the constant mobilization of differences. Thought crudely apopticizes bodies, whereas bodies succumb to a biological apoptosis. Thought thinks it hypostasizes being, but the true process underlying being is metastasis. These processes strafe through being and it is our thought that attempts to transcendentally retrofit being through clumsy and ashen installations meant to prolong the tradition of thinking through as many ages and bodies as “humanly” possible. We know all too well the DeleuzoGuattarian de/re-territorializations, and how Pynchon’s Pirate could do as such to the cuisine attached to the banana. We know the real rhapsodic geometries (a rhapsoid?) that inhere within phylo- and ontogenetics. But, in the end, as it functions for Derrida in the domain of language-meaning to which we are all condemned to pursue like the ever-reticent horizon, the law of necessarily probable failure inheres in ontology as well, and what remains is to commit considerable study to the mechanics of this “failure”. Even the functions of symbiosis (not to be confused with equilibrium) where bacteria provides a benefit to the body does not endanger what we say here about metastasis since we are considering the metastasis-apoptosis phenomenon without demonstrating a prejudice in favour of the sustainable functions of the body, but rather isolating the principle of metastasis as descriptive of the troubling philosophical concept of becoming.

Oncontology

Astrobiological Traces Within the Secret Doctrine.

पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवाशिष्यते

pūrṇasya pūrṇamādāya pūrṇamevāśiṣyate

‘From the Fullness of Brahman has come the fullness of the universe, leaving alone Fullness as the remainder.’

पूर्णमदः पूर्णमादाय पूर्णात् पूर्णमुदच्यते
पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवाशिष्यते
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ।

pūrṇamadaḥ pūrṇamādāya pūrṇāt pūrṇamudacyate
pūrṇasya pūrṇamādāya pūrṇamevāśiṣyate
oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ |

‘The invisible (Brahman) is the Full; the visible (the world) too is the Full. From the Full (Brahman), the Full (the visible) universe has come. The Full (Brahman) remains the same, even after the Full (the visible universe) has come out of the Full (Brahman).’

नित्योऽनित्यानां चेतनश्चेतनानाम्
एको बहूनां यो विदधाति कामान् ।
तमात्मस्थं योऽनुपश्यन्ति धीराः
तेषां शान्तिः शाश्वतं नेतरेषाम् ॥

nityo’nityānāṃ cetanaścetanānām
eko bahūnāṃ yo vidadhāti kāmān |
tamātmasthaṃ yo’nupaśyanti dhīrāḥ
teṣāṃ śāntiḥ śāśvataṃ netareṣām ||

‘He is the eternal in the midst of non-eternals, the principle of intelligence in all that are intelligent. He is One, yet fulfils the desires of many. Those wise men who perceive Him as existing within their own self, to them eternal peace, and non else.’

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The Secret Doctrine of the Ages teaches that the universe came into existence through creative and evolutionary processes; and it demonstrates why both are necessary to explain our origins. It harmonizes the truths of science and religion, while showing that major assumptions of both Darwinism and Fundamentalist Creationism do not bear up to careful examination. By drawing our attention to the questions of why we live and die, of what is mind and substance, the Secret Doctrine helps us realize that wisdom begins with understanding how very little we really know. Yet it also affirms that the most perplexing problems can be solved; that of the progeny of one cosmos.

Evolution means unfolding and progressive development, derived from the Latin evolutio: “unrolling,” specifically of a scroll or volume — suggestively connoting the serial expression of previously hidden ideas. A climb from the bottom of the Grand Canyon reveals an unmistakable evolutionary story: of the appearance of progressively more complex species over a lengthy period of time. But how actually did this happen? The compelling evidence of nature contradicts the week-long special creation postulated by Bible literalists. Darwinian theory is also proving unsatisfactory, as a growing number of scientists are relegating its major claims to the category of “mythology. “Though not assenting to any metaphysical implications, Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould declared in 1980 that the modern synthetic theory of evolution, “as a general proposition, is effectively dead, despite its persistence as textbook orthodoxy.” Pierre-P. Grassé, former president of the French Academy of Sciences and editor of the 35-volume Traité de Zoologie, was more forceful:

Their success among certain biologists, philosophers, and sociologists notwithstanding, the explanatory doctrines of biological evolution do not stand up to an objective, in-depth criticism. They prove to be either in conflict with reality or else incapable of solving the major problems involved. Through the use and abuse of hidden postulates, of bold, often ill-founded extrapolations, a pseudoscience has been created. It is taking root in the very heart of biology and is leading astray many biochemists and biologists, who sincerely believe that the accuracy of fundamental concepts has been demonstrated, which is not the case.

While most critics readily acknowledge that natural selection and gene changes partially explain variation in species or microevolution, they point out that Darwinism has failed spectacularly to describe the origin of life and the mechanism of macroevolution: the manner in which higher types emerge.

Textbook theory asserts that life on earth began with the formation of DNA and RNA, the first self-replicating molecules, in a prebiotic soup rich in organic compounds, amino acids, and nucleotides. Robert Shapiro, professor of chemistry at New York University, wrote:

many scientists now believe that neither the atmosphere described nor the soup had ever existed. Laboratory efforts had also been made to prepare the magic molecule from a simulation of the soup, and thus far had failed.

Even if the purported soup existed elsewhere in the universe, and DNA were brought to earth by meteorite, comet, or some other means, there remains the enigma of how it was originally synthesized. Astrobiology.

In the first place, several mathematicians have shown the astronomical improbability of chance mutations “evolving” any organized system — neither complex DNA molecules nor higher organisms. The 10-20 billion year time frame presently assigned to our universe is far too short a period, given known mutation rates. Moreover, nothing in empirical experience suggests that unguided trial and error — i.e., random mutation — will produce anything but the most trivial ends. Research biologist Michael Denton writes that to “get a cell by chance would require at least one hundred functional proteins to appear simultaneously in one place” — the probability of which has been calculated at the negative figure 1 followed by 2,000 zeros — a staggeringly remote possibility, to say nothing of the lipids, polysaccharides, and nucleic acids also needed to form a viable, reproducing cell.

The same reasoning applies to the extraordinary number of coordinated, immediately useful mutations required to produce “organs of extreme perfection,” such as the mammalian brain, the human eye, and the sophisticated survival mechanisms (including inter-species symbiotic systems) of the plant and animal kingdoms. There is simply no justification, according to Denton, for assuming that blind physical forces will self-organize “in the finite time available the sorts of complex systems which are so ubiquitous in nature.” In observing the sheer elegance and ingenuity of nature’s purposeful designs, scientists like Denton can hardly resist the logic of analogy. The conclusion may have religious implications, he says, but the inference is clear: nature’s systems are the result of intelligent activity.

Another enigmatic problem is the absence in fossil strata of finely-graded transitional forms between major groups of species, i.e., between reptiles and birds, land mammals and whales, and so forth. Darwin himself recognized this as one of the “gravest” impediments to his theory and tried to defend it by asserting “imperfection of the geologic record.” Yet over a century of intensive search has failed to disclose the hypothetical missing links. Thus far only conjecture, or imagination, has been able to fill in how gills became lungs, scales became feathers, and legs became wings — for the record of nature on this point is still a secret.

Darwin also worried over one of nature’s most formidable barriers to macroevolutionary change: hybrid limits. Artificial breeding shows that extreme variations are usually sterile or weak. Left to themselves these hybrid varieties — if they are able to reproduce at all — revert to ancestral norms or eventually die out. In this sense, natural selection, environmental pressures, and genetic coding tend as much to weed out unusual novelties, as to ensure the survival of the fittest of each typea fact which is confirmed by the fossil record. Unquestionably, species adapt and change within natural limits; refinement occurs, too, as in flowering plants. But no one has yet artificially bred, genetically engineered, or observed in nature a series of chromosomal changes, micro or macro, resulting in a species of a higher genus. There are no “hopeful monsters,” except, perhaps, in a poetic sense. Trees remain trees, birds birds, and the problem of how higher types originate has not been solved by Darwin or his successors.

We do not give up our dogmas easily, scientific or religious. Obviously, ideas should be examined for their intrinsic value, not blindly accepted because somebody tells us “Science has proven” or the “Bible says so,” or again, because the Secret Doctrine teaches it. But with science’s recognized ignorance of first causes and macroevolutionary mechanisms, as well as the failure of scriptural literalism to provide satisfactory explanations, there remain the questions about our origins, purpose, and destiny. The answers to these questions are, in a sense, nature’s secret doctrines. Her evolutionary pattern suggests, however, that they are not hopelessly beyond knowing. Just as from the conception of a human embryo to a fully-developed adult, so from the first burst outward of the primordial cosmic atom, the progressive unfolding of intelligence is a natural and observable process. The whole universe seems bent on discovering itself and its reason for being.

The concept of the universe evolving for purposes of self-discovery and creative expression is found not only in modern European philosophy, such as Hegel’s, but also in ancient myths the world over, some of which sound surprisingly up-to-date. The Hindu Puranas, for example, speak of our universe as Brahma, and of alternating periods of cosmic activity and rest as the Days and Nights of Brahma, each of which spans over four billion years — an oscillating universe reminiscent of modern cosmological theory. In each “creation” Brahma attempts to fashion an ever-more perfected mankind, in the process of which he serially evolves from his own consciousness and root substance all of nature’s kingdoms: atoms, minerals, plants, animals, and so forth. Conversely, the stories allude also to the striving of mankind and, for that matter, of all sentient beings, to become Brahma-like in quality — i.e., to express more and more of the hidden mind pattern of the cosmos.

We often look down on ancient traditions as moldy superstitions. While this judgment may well apply to the rind of literalism and later accretions, concealed within and giving life to every religion are core ideas which bear the hallmark of insight. Biblical Genesis also, when read allegorically as is done in gnostic and kabbalistic schools, yields a picture of evolutionary growth and perfectibility, both testaments clearly implying that we are sibling gods of wondrous potential. But are the secret doctrines spoken of in these older traditions expressions of truth or simply romantic wish-fulfilling fantasy? Can they teach us anything relevant about our heritage and our future? It is to such questions that the modern book entitled The Secret Doctrine addresses itself. Impulsed by divinity and guided by karma (cause and effect), each of us has been periodically manifesting since eternity through all the kingdoms, from sub-mineral through human, earning our way to the next realm and beyond. Although seeded with godlike potential, we are not irrevocably fated to an unsought destiny. Karma is a philosophy of merit, and within our power is the capacity to choose — to evolve and create — our own future. We give life and active existence to our thoughts and, to a very large extent, we become what we think we are, or would like to be. This affects ourselves for good or evil, and it affects all others — profoundly so.