THIS post is not a review of Gunter Grass’ WWII novelistic memoir of the same title. It is about a much different struggle — of rescuing “consciousness” from the camp of reductionist science, where it had degraded and starved for decades.
This was to be the outspoken agenda of H. P. Blavatsky in her Secret Doctrine.
“—to rescue from degradation the archaic truths which are the basis of all religions; and to uncover, to some extent, the fundamental unity from which they all spring.”
“… the rejection of these teachings may be expected, and must be accepted beforehand,” Blavatsky wrote, and that “No one styling himself a ‘scholar,’ in whatever department of exact science, will be permitted to regard these teachings seriously.
They will be derided and rejected a priori in this century—but only in this one. For in the twentieth century of our era scholars will begin to recognize that the Secret Doctrine has neither been invented nor exaggerated, but, on the contrary, simply outlined…” (Introduction, p. xxxvii)
There was Frederick W.H. Meyers, whose book, Human Personality And Its Survival Of Bodily Death, came out in 1903. And Does ‘Consciousness’ Exist? (1904), by William James, the accredited father of modern psychology. In these two we sense the first glimmer of the scholarly recognition Blavatsky predicted.
Yet, “What consciousness is can never be defined psychologically,” Blavatsky wrote, cutting to the chase:
“We can analyse and classify its work and effects—we cannot define it, unless we postulate an Ego distinct from the body.”
Pam Reynolds’ Near Death Experience
One of the best documentaries made about Near Death Experiences, by the BBC. Featuring many top scientists that have studied NDEs and other related incidents.
The Consciousness Revolution
That postulate came decades later in 1975, the centennial of the Theosophical Movement, with the appearance of Raymond Moody and Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ Life After Life: The Investigation of a Phenomenon–Survival of Bodily Death.
The emerging “consciousness revolution” of the 1970’s, sparked, arguably, by the neuroscientist and Nobel laureate, Roger Sperry, witnessed the appearance of forefront organizations such as the Institute of Noetic Sciences, founded by Apollo Astronaut Edgar Mitchell in 1973.
It was IONS’ President Emeritus, Dr. Willis Harman, who recognized importantly that:
“[We] have previously acknowledged her [H.P. Blavatsky] as an integral part of our own origins.” … “[T]he modern scientific worldview is inherently flawed and misleading in ways vital to the well-being of individuals and societies, and inimical to the future viability of human civilization.”
More Thinkers Begin Peeling
Dozens of new frontier thinkers gradually gained momentum in the Twentieth Century.
Luminaries like I. M. Oderberg, Fritjof Capra, William Tiller, Ervin Laszlo, Charles Tart, Dean Radin, Amit Goswami, Rupert Sheldrake, Deepak Chopra, Bruce Lipton, Brian Weiss and many others — gathered around the idea that consciousness is not simply a by-product of matter or the brain—a teaching introduced in 1888 by Theosophist H. P. Blavatsky:
Theosophists…are the first to recognize the intrinsic value of science. But when its high priests resolve consciousness into a secretion from the gray matter of the brain … we protest against the doctrine as being unphilosophical, self-contradictory, and simply absurd, from a scientific point of view, as much and even more than from the occult aspect of the esoteric knowledge. (The Secret Doctrine 1:296)
Not to be outpeeled by science’s big new guns, in 1966 professional polygrapher Cleve Backster began his discovery of a new paradigm in science he called Primary Perception. Here, in some rare footage, Backster describes his thirty-six years of research in bio-communication:
The Mother Of All Onions
Expanding further in the light of Theosophy, consciousness is shown to be the very foundation of the universe. H. P. Blavatsky explains:
“The Boundless (absolute consciousness) can have no relation to the bounded and the conditioned. In the occult teachings, the Unknown and the Unknowable mover, or the Self-Existing, is the absolute divine Essence,” she wrote.
“And thus being Absolute Consciousness, and Absolute Motion- to the limited senses of those who describe this indescribable- it is unconsciousness and immoveableness…
“Consciousness implies limitations and qualifications; something to be conscious of, and someone to be conscious of it. But Absolute Consciousness contains the cognizer, the thing cognized and the cognition, all three in itself and all three one.”
The Global Consciousness Project
Now, Princeton Scientist, Dr. Roger Nelson, and IONS Senior Scientist Dr. Dean Radin, after decades of experimental research, scientifically demonstrate the existence of what appears to be a universal consciousness:
If H. P. Blavatsky were writing The Secret Doctrine today, many of our century’s fearless thinkers would be included in its pages.
Sir John Eccles
Theosophical writer, David Pratt, describes Nobel Prize winning neuroscientist Sir John Eccles’ “theory of mind.”
“Over the course of several decades, partly in collaboration with the philosopher of science Sir Karl Popper,” Pratt explains, “Eccles has developed an alternative theory of the mind, known as dualist-interactionism. His basic philosophical starting point is one with which theosophists can wholeheartedly agree:”
“I maintain that the human mystery is incredibly demeaned by scientific reductionism, with its claim in promissory materialism to account eventually for all of the spiritual world in terms of patterns of neuronal activity. This belief must be classed as a superstition. . . . we have to recognize that we are spiritual beings with souls existing in a spiritual world as well as material beings with bodies and brains existing in a material world.”
Dean Radin, Ph.D on Quantum Physics
“While mechanistic science concentrates on reducing things to basic material building blocks,” writes Pratt (Theosophy and the Systems View of Life” – Sunrise magazine, April/May 1991,) “the emerging holistic paradigm recognizes that systems are integrated wholes whose properties cannot be reduced to those of smaller units.”
“The two fundamental themes of this systems view of life,” Pratt maintains, “are the universal interconnectedness and interdependence of all phenomena, and the intrinsically dynamic nature of reality, seen in dynamic processes and interrelationships as well as principles of self-organization.”
Peter Russell: “From Science To God”
In her first work, Isis Unveiled, H. P. Blavatsky describes how a trained yogi could, “through the entire subjugation of the matter of his [physical] system,” purify himself and become “nearly freed from its prison.” He can “produce wonders,” she says, and “a simple desire of his has become creative force, and he can command the elements and powers of nature.”
“His body is no more an impediment to him; hence he can converse ‘spirit to spirit, breath to breath.’ Under his extended palms, a seed, unknown to him … will germinate instantly, and push its way through the soil.
“Developing in less than two hours’ time to a size and height which, perhaps, under ordinary circumstances, would require several days or weeks, it grows miraculously under the very eyes of the perplexed experimenter, and mockingly upsets every accepted formula in Botany.”
“Is this a miracle?”
“By no means,” she assures her readers.
“His magnetism, obeying his will, drew up the akasa [spiritual force] in a concentrated current through the plant towards his hands.”
And concludes: “by keeping up an uninterrupted flow for the requisite space of time, the life-principle of the plant built up cell after cell, layer after layer, with preternatural activity, until the work was done.”
A Qui Gong Master Demonstrates
“In 1888, Blavatsky’s explanations of the creation of the Universe, of physics and metaphysics,” writes forensic psychologist Christopher Holmes, Ph.D, “offered a viewpoint totally incomprehensible in terms of what were the fashionable scientific viewpoints and theories.”
“The Secret Doctrine was bound to be ignored and dismissed,” Dr. Holmes continues: “As it happens however… a century of scientific advances and the profound ‘new physics’ and cosmology of twenty first century are beginning to vindicate Blavatsky’s utterly awesome work on cosmic origins and ancient wisdom teachings.”
“Ancient mystical maxims and modern scientific theories can be placed side by side to draw comparisons. When it comes to the ultimate questions of the origin of the Cosmos and understanding the laws of nature, it turns out that science and mysticism are not such a world apart-except in the interpretation of the data and the theories of science.”
“Science is beginning to arrive at those levels of reality spoken of by the mystics who penetrate the Heart and soul to the grounds of Being.“