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Those purely secondary causes of differentiation, grouped under the head of sexual selection, natural selection, climate, isolation, etc., etc., mislead the Western Evolutionist and offer no real explanation whatever of the “whence” of the “ancestral types” which served as the starting point for physical development. The truth is that the differentiating “causes” known to modern science only come into operation after the physicalization of the primeval animal root-types out of the astral. Darwinism only meets Evolution at its midway point – that is to say when astral evolution has given place to the play of the ordinary physical forces with which our present senses acquaint us. But even here the Darwinian Theory, even with the “expansions” recently attempted, is inadequate to meet the facts of the case. The underlying physiological variation in species – one to which all other laws are subordinate and secondary – is a sub-conscious intelligence pervading matter, ultimately traceable to a REFLECTION of the Divine and Dhyan-Chohanic wisdom. 1 A not altogether dissimilar conclusion has been arrived at by so well known a thinker as Ed. von Hartmann, who, despairing of the efficacy of unaided Natural Selection, regards evolution as intelligently guided by the UNCONSCIOUS (the Cosmic Logos of Occultism). But the latter acts only mediately through FOHAT, or Dhyan-Chohanic energy, and not quite in the direct manner which the great pessimist describes.
It is this divergence among men of Science, their mutual, and often their self-contradictions, that gave the writer of the present volumes the courage to bring to light other and older teachings – if only as hypotheses for future scientific appreciation. Though not in any way very learned in modern sciences, so evident, even to the humble recorder of this archaic clearing, are the said scientific fallacies and gaps, that she determined to touch upon all these, in order to place the two teachings on parallel lines. For Occultism, it is a question of self-defence, and nothing more.
So far, the “Secret Doctrine” has concerned itself with metaphysics, pure and simple. It has now landed on Earth, and finds itself within the domain of physical science and practical anthropology, or those branches of study which materialistic Naturalists claim as their rightful domain, coolly asserting, furthermore, that the higher and more perfect the working of the Soul, the more amenable it is to the analysis and explanations of the zoologist and the physiologist alone. (Hæckel on “Cell-Souls and Soul-Cells.“) This stupendous pretension comes from one, who, to prove his pithecoid descent, has not hesitated to include among the ancestors of man the Lemuridæ, which have been promoted by him to the rank of Prosimiæ, indeciduate mammals, to which he very incorrectly attributes a decidua and a discoidal placenta. 2 For this Hæckel was taken severely to task by de Quatrefages, and criticised by his own brother materialists and agnostics, as great, if not greater, authorities than himself, namely, by Virchow and du Bois-Reymond. 3
Such opposition notwithstanding, Hæckel’s wild theories are, to this day, called scientific and logical by some. The mysterious nature of Consciousness, of Soul, Spirit in Man being now explained as a mere advance on the functions of the protoplasmic molecules of the lively Protista, and the gradual evolution and growth of human mind and “social instincts” toward civilization having to be traced back to their origin in the civilization of ants, bees, and other creatures, the chances left for an impartial hearing of the doctrines of archaic Wisdom, are few indeed. The educated profane is told that “the social instincts of the lower animals have, of late, been regarded as being clearly the origin of morals, even of those of man” (!) and that our divine consciousness, our soul, intellect, and aspirations have “worked their way up from the lower stages of the simple cell-soul” of the gelatinous Bathybius – (See Hæckel’s “Present Position of Evolution” Notes) – and he seems to believe it. For such men, the metaphysics of Occultism must produce the effect that our grandest orchestral and vocal oratorios produce on the Chinaman: a sound that jars upon their nerves.
Yet, are our esoteric teachings about “angels,” the first three pre-animal human Races, and the downfall of the Fourth, on a lower level of fiction and self-delusion than the Hæckelian “plastidular,” or the inorganic “molecular Souls of the Protista“? Between the evolution of the spiritual nature of man from the above Amœbian Souls, and the alleged development of his physical frame from the protoplastic dweller in the Ocean slime, there is an abyss which will not be easily crossed by any man in the full possession of his intellectual faculties. Physical evolution, as modern Science teaches it, is a subject for open controversy; spiritual and moral development on the same lines is the insane dream of a crass materialism.
Furthermore, past as well as present daily experience teaches that no truth has ever been accepted by the learned bodies unless it dovetailed with the habitual preconceived ideas of their professors. “The crown of the innovator is a crown of thorns” – said G. St. Hilaire. It is only that which fits in with popular hobbies and accepted notions that as a general rule gains ground. Hence the triumph of the Hæckelian ideas, notwithstanding their being proclaimed by Virchow, du Bois-Reymond, and others as the “testimonium paupertatis of natural Science.”
Diametrically opposed as may be the materialism of the German Evolutionists to the spiritual conceptions of Esoteric philosophy, radically inconsistent as is their accepted anthropological system with the real facts of nature – the pseudo-idealistic bias now colouring English thought is almost more pernicious. The pure materialistic doctrine admits of a direct refutation and appeal to the logic of facts. The idealism of the present day, not only contrives to absorb, on the one hand, the basic negations of Atheism, but lands its votaries in a tangle of unreality, which culminates in a practical Nihilism. Argument with such writers is almost out of the question. Idealists, therefore, will be still more antagonistic to the Occult teachings now given than even the Materialists. But as no worse fate can befall the exponents of Esoteric Anthropo-Genesis than being openly called by their foes by their old and time-honoured names of “lunatics” and “ignoramuses,” the present archaic theories may be safely added to the many modern speculations, and bide their time for their full or even partial recognition. Only, as the existence itself of these “archaic theories” will probably be denied, we have to give our best proofs and stand by them to the bitter end.
In our race and generation the one “temple in the Universe” is in rare cases – within us; but our body and mind have been too defiled by both Sin and Science to be outwardly now anything better than a fane of iniquity and error. And here our mutual position – that of Occultism and Modern Science – ought to be once for all defined.
We, Theosophists, would willingly bow before such men of learning as the late Prof. Balfour Stewart, Messrs. Crookes, Quatrefages, Wallace, Agassiz, Butlerof, and several others, though we may not agree, from the stand-point of esoteric philosophy, with all they say. But nothing could make us consent to even a show of respect for the opinions of other men of science, such as Hæckel, Carl Vogt, or Ludwig Buchner, in Germany; or even of Mr. Huxley and his co-thinkers in materialism in England – the colossal erudition of the first named, notwithstanding. Such men are simply the intellectual and moral murderers of future generations; especially Hæckel, whose crass materialism often rises to the height of idiotic naivetes in his reasonings. One has but to read his “Pedigree of Man, and Other Essays” (Aveling’s transl.) to feel a desire, in the words of Job, that his remembrance should perish from the earth, and that he “shall have no name in the streets.” Hear him deriding the idea of the origin of the human race “as a supernatural (?) phenomenon,” as one “that could not result from simple mechanical causes, from physical and chemical forces, but requires the direct intervention of a creative personality . . . ”
1 The”principle of perfectibility“of Nägeli; von de Baer’s “striving towards the purpose“; Braun’s “Divine breath as the inward impulse in the evolutionary history of Nature”; Professor Owen’s “tendency to perfectibility, etc.,” are all veiled manifestations of the universal guiding FOHAT, rich with the Divine and Dhyan-Chohanic thought.
2 Vide infra, M. de Quatrefages’ expose of Hæckel, in § ii., “The Ancestors Mankind is offered by Science.”
3 Strictly speaking du Bois-Reymond is an agnostic, and not a materialist. He has protested most vehemently against the materialistic doctrine, which affirms mental phenomena to be merely the product of molecular motion. The most accurate physiological knowledge of the structure of the brain leaves us “nothing but matter in motion,” he asserts; “we must go further, and admit the utterly incomprehensible nature of the psychical principle which it is impossible to regard as a mere outcome of material causes.”
The Secret Doctrine, ii 648–652
H. P. Blavatsky