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Re to Lewis

May 26, 1995 12:39 PM
by Jerry Schueler

Lewis: <It seems to me one of the basic tenets of the
theosophical movement was that science, religion and philosophy
had failed to solve the riddle of existence.  Science was
becoming more and more materialistic.  >

True during the last quarter of the last century when HPB wrote
all of her works (Judge as well).  Science was as dogmatic as
religion in those days.  The US patent office, for example,
closed up saying that there was nothing left to invent.
Scientists were certain that with just a few more equations they
could fully comprehend the universe.  Then, along came Einstein
with his energy=matter equation, and then Bohr and his quantum
mechanics all conspired to knock the wind of the the sails of
science.  Then Godel showed the limitations of mathematics, and
if this wasn't enough, chaos and complexity theories came along
to say that the small fudge factors used for years in
differential equations could no longer be ignored; that chaos was
alive and well and that complex systems encounter strange
attractors.  All in all, the 20th century did almost a 180-degree
turn in the field of science.

Today's scientists are no longer dogmatic.  They all freely admit
that our world is a lot more complex than they had thought, and
are no longer so smug about knowing everything.  Chaos theory
(the fact that relativity and chaos are still "theories" shows
just how much science has been affected by the shocks to its
collective ego in this century) for example, has expanded the
definition of entropy so that it now can be used with open
systems, and all living systems are open.  So, the atmosphere
surounding the scientific community is vastly different today
from what HPB confronted.  Now, science has yet to solve the
riddle of existence, but it is not as materialistic as it used to
be.  However, it still won't admit to higher planes except in the
mathematical sense and prefers to limit its observations to the
physical plane (except the concepts fields, morphic-resonances,
and quantum electro-dynamics which sometimes talks about
particles going backward in time, and other weird subjects, which
make some scientists stop and think a little).

Lewis:<Religion had lost the esoteric keys to its scriptures and
had fallen into a dead-letter interpretation, and philosophy was
stuck in an endless chase of its own tail! >

Unfortunately, these are still probably true today.  But in
fairness to philosophy, tail chasing is the natural condition of
the human mind.  Also, the concept of religion has expanded today
because we can now include Tibetan and Zen Buddhism, which were
little known in HPB's day.  Maybe you mean Christianity here?

Lewis:<If we are willing to accept such premises then shouldn't
what these discplines have to offer be held up against the
ancient wisdom rather than the other way around?>

This is pretty much a subjective call.  As theosophists, I
suspect that this is exactly what we tend to do.  But because
science has changed so much, and psychology (which for all
practical purposes did not exist in HPB's day) has come into its
own, I think that comparing the latest findings of science
against the ancient wisdom is fair.  But I have nothing against
going the other way around either.  Remember, many of today's
scientists would probably agree with most of the arguments HPB
used against the leading scientists of her day (dogmatism,
elitism, etc.).

Jerry S.

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