Continued from Part One . . .
AT: In your opinion, what will be the evolution of the socio-economic structure of the Western world in the next 100 years?
At this particular time, which is obviously a time of crisis, when a culture is breaking down, it is absolutely impossible to ascertain to what extent there will be a radical and difficult breakdown; or whether a relatively smooth transformation from the old to the new is possible. I don't believe anybody can predict, certainly not by any rational knowledge, what the condition of humanity will be in 2050. I feel certain that we will witness some basic transformation of society and of mankind as a whole probably before 2000, and perhaps quite soon. Some definite change can be expected around 1990. Exactly what those changes will be, I don't think anybody can say. It is more than socio-economic; it refers to the very structure of our civilization and of mankind in general. There may be a big nuclear war which for a while may destroy or pervert life in two-thirds or nine-tenths of the earth; there may be some cataclysm which will change the shape of several continents. If the ice of the poles melted suddenly, or even gradually within ten years of so, all the big cities on the coasts would be flooded, and practically everything depends on those cities at the present time. It's impossible to say.
AT: What do you perceive to be the major symptoms of the current "apocalyptic" transition period through which the planet is moving?
Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the shape of human life has changed all over the world except for extremely few places which have remained more or less the same. Dramatic changes have occurred in social and interpersonal relationships, in the way people live, in the way they think, behave, and feel about so many things — in the education of human beings, in their mobility, the fact that they are no longer limited to closed localities and ancestral areas but move constantly from one place to another. TV and radio have enabled every human being to be more or less aware of what groups of human beings all over the earth do. This is what I mean when writing about the planetarization of consciousness; we have moved from a local frame of reference to at least a potentially global frame of reference.
We don't really understand too much what that global frame of reference is, and we certainly don't like it too much. We are still clinging desperately to our own little frames of reference, whether it is our community, our class, our nation, our language, our culture, our religion, or any particular type of organization.
We are bound by them; but they tend to break down rather fast, to lose their meaning. More and more people begin to see that these old frameworks have not much meaning at the present time; they begin to grope and to look for something else. They don't know what it is, and the certainly don't like too much what most people tell them it should be, because that would mean a complete change of behavior and attitudes, and hardly anyone likes to do that.
AT: What do you know about the "relocation" of the Tibetan brotherhood — and its work — to the Andes Mountains of South American?
What I have heard from some sources is that, a number of years ago, the great beings who can be considered the guides of humanity moved as a whole from the Himalayan region to the Andes, probably foreseeing what was happening in Tibet and central Asia at the time. That, of course, probably does not affect the Adepts or Masters who are definitely concerned with a particular region like India, or China, or Tibet, or Persia; but only the ones who deal with humanity and the planet as a whole. Some people have talked a great deal about the vicinity of Lake Titicaca in Peru. The Andes, next to the Himalayas, are the highest and most impenetrable mountains in the world. They are not too impenetrable today, but still there are probably sections which can be easily, or more easily, protected. The man who was the first to say this was a man by the name of Landowne who had a group in Florida and used to publish a little magazine. He was the one who started the rumor, let us say. Then there was a book that came out, entitled The Secret of the Andes
by Brother Philip, which purports to give all sorts of information about that center; but I would take this information with a large grain of salt. I once met and was close to a person who seems to have some direct knowledge of those matters, and who confirmed the fact that the move to the Andes was true, but that's not my personal knowledge.
AT: In what specific form do you perceive the new Impulse from the Hierarchy during the last quarter of this century?
There are certain things that one can say, for instance, from an astrological point of view. If we look at the astrological relationship between Neptune and Pluto and Uranus — the great transformative agents that act as intermediaries between the limited, small solar system and the large galaxy of which it is a part — we can see that this relationship, and other related factors at work during the last quarter of this century, are very different from those which prevailed during the last quarter of the last century. In 1891-2 there was a conjunction of Neptune and Pluto which open a 500-year cycle. This was the time of the discovery of X-rays, radium and radioactivity; practically all the concepts upon which a new type of physics and a new type of psychology have been based had their roots during the 1890's. This was obviously the start of a planetary cycle which astrologically, can be said to last about 500 years, the length of the Neptune-Pluto cycle — or the time separating their successive conjunctions.
At the present time, Neptune and Pluto have come to a sextile aspect — which is to say that they are 60 degrees apart in the zodiac. During a few years, at each of its cycles of revolution around the sun, Pluto moves closer to the Sun than Neptune can ever be; thus it penetrates for a short time the orbit of Neptune and it moves faster than Neptune during that period. If at the time this happens the two planets are in a particular aspect, this aspect will remain the same for a long time. This situation began when the first controlled nuclear reaction occurred in Chicago, in December 1841. Neptune was entering Libra and Pluto just entered Leo so they were approximately 60 degrees apart. From that time on and until about 2035 — about a 90-year period — these two planets remain practically in sextile aspect. The most distance they go from forming a perfect 60 degree angle is about 8 degrees. Pluto being faster than Neptune while closer to the Sun overtakes Neptune; but when it gets out of Neptune's orbit, it is overtaken by Neptune. In fact, they keep changing speed (geocentrically) many times during those 90 years, but so slightly that they remain in sextile aspect.
In a certain sense the sextile aspect in the cycle between two planets marks a period of concretization (or practical application) of what was released at the time of the conjunction. What we are now seeing is the actualization of potentialities which were released in humanity during the 1890's
. . . and, of course, in a certain sense prepared by the theosophical movement on one hand, by the Baha'i movement on the other, and even by the Communist movement, all of which occurred between 1844 and 1875. It is always said that with the death of an Avatar — a Divine Manifestation in whatever form it takes place — a new cycle begins, because then the energy which was impersonated or locked in that being becomes released. Jesus said, "I must die so that the Holy Spirit can pervade you." Blavatsky died in 1891, Baha'u'llah died in 1892; the people who started Communist movement died in 1883 [Marx] and 1895 [Engels]. Those are all movements which deal with the promotion of the principle of the unity of mankind at different levels and in radically different ways. The Baha'i movement is a purely spiritual, religious movement; the Marxist Communist movement is materialistic, but also in a very real sense a religious movement, even if atheistic in principle. Both deal with humanity as a whole; so does the theosophical movement. It was the first time that movements were begun which dealt with humanity as a whole, definitely, purposely. We might say that in the 1890s, something started of which theosophy and other movements were the prelude. Now was only potential is becoming actualized, and to some extent popularized; but unfortunately popularization sometimes means materialization. What becomes popular to some extent loses something of its integrity; but it may regain it later on when a new generation comes in. At the present time, therefore, during these 90 years of the sextile from the beginning of the Second World War to the middle of the next century, we should witness the actualization of what was released as potential just before and after 1890.
The growing ideas of community
which we see in some New Age philosophical groups is another way of trying to bring the concept of brotherhood and humanitarianism into a concrete type of application. One of the troubles with many of those groups is that they depend too much on personalities, and lack a sense of principles, a sense of purpose. They come together because they like each other or because it is convenient to live communally; but this is not enough of a basic purpose for effectively cementing matters of interpersonal relationships. What is needed is some really essential purpose, an evident, convincing experience of presence of unity. The "Presence" of the divine being, or force, ensouling the group should be constantly felt as a living thing.
It may be that, this century, there won't be any single particular Avatar. It may be that it is the mysterious presence of the Christos or the Masters that will be experienced in a few significant groups. In some cases it may possibly be that Adepts will take incarnation in some of the leaders of those groups or "over-shadow" them. Those are all possibilities, but when they will occur, or whether they will occur . . . is too hard to say.
AT: How relevant are The Secret Doctrine and The Mahatma Letters to the New Age movement of the 1980's?
If I want to be consistent in what I said a moment ago, then this period of the [waxing] sextile of Neptune and Pluto is, in a certain sense, the final prelude which could precede the definite, practical actualization of many of the things which were released in the last 100 years. But one thing of great importance has to be realized. Any kind or form of knowledge depends on the knower. You cannot teach someone something that he has absolutely no response to.
I think this was made very clear in some of The Mahatma Letters
, for instance. In one of them, KH says to Mr. Sinnett, "Don't forget that all those words like 'cycle,' 'round,' 'race,' rootrace,' I got from your
mind;" or something to that effect. These words which KH could find in Sinnett's mentality seemed then
to be the most apt to say something about what the Master was trying to convey to his correspondent's typically English mentality. People today so often think of such a kind of transcendent communication between two worlds
of mind as "dictation." But even if the Master can be said to dictate, he does so not only in the language of the person to whom it is dictated, but according to what the recipient can comprehend
; therefore that person is indeed a collaborator with the person who does the dictation. He is partly responsible for what he receives. An interpenetration and interplay of consciousness occurs. Therefore if today Blavatsky, or anyone like her, were in a body and active in public, The Secret Doctrine
would certainly not have many of the long discussions and arguments about science and theology which was necessary to include last century. In that sense some passages in The Secret Doctrine
have become relatively obsolete; because, while the principles
stated are as correct as ever, the form they were given 100 years ago was determined by the mentality of the people of the period, particularly the Anglo-Saxon mentality of Western Europe during the Victorian Era. For this reason and in this particular sense, The Secret Doctrine
or The Mahatma Letters
cannot be understood entirely if you take them away form the context of the mentality of the nineteenth century.
I think that much in these book could be reformulated in terms of a philosophical approach, which would be a little different from the one that they had to adopt at the time because of the mentality of the people. And, don't forget that, essentially, an occult
approach was necessary. It had to be brought to a humanity, especially to Western humanity, which being so proud, so full of itself, and thinking that it was superior to everybody else, had to be fascinated
by mysterious phenomena. These books tried to bring a completely new view of mankind as a whole and of knowledge as a whole. They claimed the existence of a primeval Revelation having come from another planet (or another plane of existence, however you want to interpret it). They asserted that this Revelation, or cosmic connection, had been kept alive ever since; that its power was operative now as always. Such claims could only be made convincingly by mans of striking occult experiences or phenomena. And this produced a situation
which we find embodied by HPB.
All the essential values of these original theosophical writings could be reintegrated and reformulated in terms of a basic philosophy of existence that would be responsive to the new human mentality, yet not bound to the latter's limitations and new biases, whether these are scientific, religious or sociocultural; and ethical. What is needed is a basic philosophy, a philosophy of occultism, stressing the essential rather than occult facts, personifications and names. Whether someone will come to do this kind of work or whether one or several groups of people will perform it, each one in a different way, I have no idea.
AT: If you were solely responsible for determining policy for The Theosophical Society, what would you emphasize — in what direction would you proceed?
The only thing I would say is to try to see the need of the present time and to try, not on the basis of a popularization of theosophy but on the basis of the essential, archetypal concepts to be found in the earliest
writings of the movement, to see how much all of it can be used and reformulated in order to help change the mentality of our present period. Blavatsky said that the great task of the Theosophical Society was to change the mind of the twentieth century. It has done a little of that, but not too much of it. We are still faced with the same situation. We have to prepare for the change of mentality that is needed for the twenty-first century, and we find a tremendous interest in psychology, consciousness integration, psychic phenomena, parapsychology, paraphysics, and all these areas. These areas of modern thought are now chaotic, very confused. On the basis of what one can find implied in The Secret Doctrine
one should be able to present a in new form the essential principles HPB sought to reveal and to apply them to our present day movements, just as in 1875 Blavatsky tried to use spiritualism because this was the only way she could get a foothold in the mentality of the race. The "foothold" became very slippery, and she fell on it. But in some way, recent movements like the consciousness and human potential movements, and also astrology, can be used to try to bring in a new type of consciousness, a new sense of archetypal order and practical organization.
In Blavatsky's time, Western thinkers were beginning to be interested in various cultures and religions of the past. But she brought them to a focus by giving this interest a completely solid basis. The same principles she applied can be used in relation to the concepts and ideal which are popular today in our modern world. That, to my mind, would be the most creative approach. Of course, the idea of preserving the original doctrine intact is very valuable. There is room for various kinds of groups — some are purely preservers and do very good work, except that they usually tend to become highly dogmatic and difficult to deal with; nevertheless they serve a particular purpose. But there are also the more creative people who can re-create (we never create, but we formulate), who can give a new formulation to archetypal truth, and
this could well be the creative destiny of the new theosophical movement of the twentieth century, whatever form it may take - and perhaps is already taking, whether or not we are aware of it.