This is a bit of a rambling post. I hope you’ll enjoy a few of the nuggets I’ve gathered together.
In classic theosophy it’s explained that one reason to assume there are wise sages is simply to extrapolate from the presence of wise people in general. Similarly: because our society is so obviously more advanced in some ways than those of our ancestors, our future must also be more advanced. This is a variation of 19th century optimism. It was not clear back then what possible catastrophes might be created by our lovely technology and science. Yet it was clear to those behind the Theosophical Society that mere ‘head knowledge’ was not the same as wisdom. That science was leading to a materialistic world view in which spirit was no longer a given and selfishness stimulated. This is now a sociological fact: there are whole parts of the (Dutch) population who live for nothing more than pleasure and amusement. Their communities are socially homogeneous: no access to other ways of thinking. No reaching out by pastors and teachers who know the parents and can help the best ones reach beyond themselves.
I’m not sure I’m summarizing that sociological research well enough. Perhaps I’m jumping to conclusions. However it is clear that in the past there was more connection in Dutch society between the educated and the working class. I say working class, but another uncomfortable fact is that there are now whole families without a connection to the working world. I’m not saying benefits should be reduced, but when whole communities live on benefits and kids don’t even see adults going to work, things do become very worrisome.
There was in the Dutch news the item that researchers had found that the end of the Mayan calendar was NOT to be 2012, but two hundred years later. Online the news is mostly in Dutch and German, but National Geographic has a short piece on it as well. Aside from the question whether this one scientist has it right, there seem to be a lot of uncertainties in the whole ‘2012’ calculation. For me personally the main point is that of course the world is not coming to an end. We all know that when a calendar ends a new one starts. I think a long calendar like this one ending may call for a big celebration, but that’s about it.
Many of the ancient peoples thought in cycles. One way to explain this is to start with the simple cycle of day and night. At night there’s a smaller cycle as well: in our sleep we alternate between REM an nREM. The cycle of the day is part of the cycle of the year. We’re nearing the end of our year right now, with the longest night coming up for us on the northern hemisphere. The cycle of the year includes the cycle of the seasons of course. The cycle of the year is smaller than the cycle of life: birth, death, ‘heaven’, rebirth (reincarnation). In human terms we’ve also created the cycle of the century. We’ve just started the 21st century and that caused many a panic – the most memorable one having something to do with the dates in our computers.
Blavatsky combined this cyclic vision with an idea of spiritual evolution. That is: there is a goal to all our lives and we’re learning in each new one. Ken Wilber similarly thinks human beings are at several levels of consciousness, though he leaves it up to the reader to include reincarnation in that scheme. While their schemes don’t exactly coincide they both stress emotion, thinking and intuition in their ideas about spiritual evolution.
Blavatsky sees most of mankind as being in the fourth round. Since emotion or kama is the fourth of the theosophical principles, the fourth round is the time when emotion is the leading principle in life. I think we’ll all recognize that as generally true for humanity right now. Within the fourth round our culture is in the fifth root race. The word race is a bit misleading here. What she means is simply that most people are developing the mind (manas, the fifth theosophical principle) and that it’s important in our culture. You can say that again: without mind this pc I’m typing on would not exist. Environmental problems would not be human made and war would be fought very differently. It was the hope of the masters behind the Theosophical Society that this developing of the mind might be turned a bit towards Buddhi, or wisdom, spiritual intuition and spiritual knowledge.
Blavatsky’s whole story of rounds and races includes Atlantis and Lemuria, subjects I have not studied and don’t know much about. I refer you to The Secret Doctrine to get to know what she says about them.
There is a very popular idea out there in the world that children born today are often very spiritual in nature. That when they’re autistic or have ADHD diagnosed that they are on a deeper level really very wise. That we’re seeing the birth of a new kind of humanity right now. These children are called Indigo children or Walk-Ins and Starseeds. I personally have my doubts about this. I mean, of course children are sometimes wise. But that does not mean they are not first and foremost children. Children simply need structure, a bit of personal attention, age appropriate freedom, not too much tv and sweets and enough exercise and fruit.
Back to my theme of spiritual evolution: is it all nonsense? What do you all think?