This website is dedicated to the works of Manly P. Hall, a great occult scholar, philosopher and sage,

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27 жовтня 2017 р.

Alchemy As a Key to Social Regeneration (FINISHED)

    Well, I'm certainly happy to see all here today, and you look very well-contented and everything, we hope we'll have here a nice day.

    This morning we have a subject that I think is of more or less vital importance in these times. But we have to begin by going back to one of the earliest concepts that we have in the world of science — and that is the transmutation of metals.

    We do not know where alchemy, as we call it today, originated, but the present word is derived from two comparatively recent terms: the word chemistry and the ancient Hebrew, and Greek, and Egyptian syllable el — "el-chemy". El is a name of Deity: Elohim and many others. Therefore, the term alchemy means "divine chemistry". It means something entirely different from the concept, or idea, of a materialistic transmutation of metals. But very early in China, even in India, later in Japan, in many parts of the European continent, chemistry rose laboring with the concept of the transmutation of actual physical substances. Today science does this every day, and from the beginning of time Nature did it every moment. Actually, to deny that it is possible to transmute or transform a substance, is not scientifically sound. Every moment transmutation is going on around us and within us. The total system of digestion, the nutritional problem faced by every living creature is a fine example of basic alchemy, a divine process of transforming substances until they serve the various utilities which are necessary for survival.

    Paracelsus von Hohenheim was a physician for the family of the Fuggers in Germany. They were the great mining family, with mines all over Europe. He was the doctor in charge of the possible accidents and sicknesses that afflicted the workmen. While there, he experimented and wrote considerably on the subject of alchemy. He pointed out, for example, that in the area where various metals were mined for the Fuggers, great orchards and vineyards stood upon the surface of the earth beneath which these mines were located — those mines [...] involved with gold had a peculiar circumstance involved in them: if you took the great vines that grew on the surface and burnt them, you would find gold. In other words, the roots of the plants were picking it out of the earth also.

    Years ago we had a character here in Los Angeles who was gone with blessed [...] reward, who was an alchemist, a naturally enough for an alchemist, he had to make a living, he was in the head of a cheese factory — which, by the way, if you study it carefully enough, is part of our story — but no-one thinks that far; but this alchemist one day showed me a little glass retort, about an inch and a half tall, about less than a size of a [...], but in this was a little rock, and on the rock was a tiny layer of gold. It looked under a strong glass like a little flower — but it was actually gold growing in a metrically sealed vessel. I tried to get the right to keep this as a preservation or as a proof of something, but I was never able to get it away from him. (Laugh) But anyway, he insisted that this little gold tree or a little gold-like vine leaf, [...] leaf-like thing, had actually grown in this bottle from this rock upon which it was still attached; that, actually, gold grows. Van Hohenheim also stated this: that areas where mining had exhausted all known gold supplies, a hundred years later gold was found again. In some way gold continued to reproduce itself from a kind of seed.

    So gold gradually came to be a symbol, and it was as a symbol that it was the most interest to the mystical alchemists of the 16th and 17th centuries. To them gold was simply a symbol of the human soul and the Divine Soul. Gold to them was a spiritual agent, it was a symbol of what man is as a mortal creature and how this mortal creature can be transformed into a divine, enlightened power. Gold in alchemy in the 17th and 18th centuries was a synonym for soul, it was that part of man's nature which combined the elements which we find today symbolically in the symbol of Mercury. The ancient system, or triad, for the production of Gold was Salt, Sulphur and Mercury; Salt being a symbol of body, Sulphur being a symbol of spirit and Mercury being a symbol of the binder, or the uniting substance, that which was capable of transmuting one into another. Therefore, the human being, in a sense, is spirit, soul and body; the spirit belonging to eternity, the body belonging to the earth and matter, and Mercury — a mysterious symbol to a combination, or union, of Heaven and Earth in the transmutation of life from a divided substance to a united essence.

    This type of thinking was the problem of almost all of ancient philosophy. Paracelsus and others warned the alchemists not to center their attention upon the transmutation of metals — but, as Von Welling tells us in one of his alchemical writings, "That which is true on a spiritual level must also be true on all other levels." And if it is possible to transform mortality to immortality in man, it is also possible in nature, it is possible in all the kingdoms of life and it is possible of all the substances which make up the created Universe. So Paracelsus did not deny the transmutation of metals — but warned that the acceptance of this as the primary factor in alchemy was a mistake, and that as a result of this mistake most alchemists failed, because they failed first of all to set up the transmutation within themselves by means of which the true understanding of the Mystery could be developed within their own consciousness. In other words, as another alchemist said, "There are seeds of life in everything." In India, in China, in Japan these are called "the Buddha seeds". They are the seeds of all essences and substances. All things grow from their own seed, root or cause, and the cause of immortality is in every created mortal creature. The seed of immortality is in man, the seed of all knowledge is within the human being, the seed of all hope, and of all life, and of all wisdom, and all understanding —— all these are locked within the individual, and they must grow as plants grow, they must gradually overcome the resistance of ignorance, they must day by day and year by year spread their life in all ways. The Tree of Wisdom grows from the human mind, the Tree of Love comes from the human heart, the Tree of God comes from the eternal seed within the consciousness of the human being.

    So all of alchemy was primarily a release, or a revelation, a transmutation of ignorance into wisdom, a transmutation of death into life ever lasting — and all this was done by a very elaborate process: the seekers of transmutation, beautifully and symbolically set forth in a number of works, many chemists were deceived by the terms, however, and felt that the formulas were purely physical — but they were not. They were all keys to the release of the Infinite Life locked within existence itself. Transmutation was transformation, regeneration, resurrection, restoration, reflammation — all these things are releases of the seed of eternity within time, the seed of life ever lasting in the symbolic substance of illusional desintegration.

    So we take this point to move a little bit to study the subject which is of great concern to us at the present moment — the regeneration of human society. Now, there are many attitudes on this particular subject. Many feel, for instance, today in the great disillusionment, that their hope for restoration is far removed. Others doubted reality, just as scientists have doubted that gold could be made from base metals. Also politicians and diplomats doubt seriously that peace can be brought out of the confusion in human consciousness. Everywhere disillusion, division and mortality rule human relationship. This, however, is contrary to Universal Law, there is within humanity as a collective, also the seed of its own regeneration. Everything grows from seed, someone must plant the seed of peace — or there will never be seeds of peace in the world. In the Book of Revelation there is a tree that [...] which is for the healing of the nations. This tree represents a truth, a reality, a great revelation growing from a seed in human consciousness. Now, human beings today all have within them the seed of their own perfection. Perfection is not something added, it is something released; it is not bestowed, it is revealed through the internal structure of human consciousness.

    If we go back, for instance, to the period of Plato and Aristotle, we realize that when Plato died, there probably were not 20 copies of his Dialogues and Existence, and they were all hand-written by his disciples for their own use. So far as world knowledge, world recognition of Plato's contribution, in his own day there was none. What have we attempted to do, he did and when he finally passed out of this life, he left no institution behind him, he left nothing that endured, he left not even a solid codex of his own writings — and yet today he is better read, better known and better appreciated than ever before, because somewhere within the nature of his own labor there was the seed of restoration. That which was truth in his writings can never die.

    The same is true of the words of Christ. Those words were not printed in his own lifetime, only a few ever saw them or heard them or saw him — but that which is eternal, inevitable cannot die, and the true Tree of Life in us cannot die.

    Today we have many confusions in the world. We have a series of labors that have gone sour. We have attempted to do great things but they were not the things that were necessary. And in the effort to be great we have failed to fulfill the natural simplicity of ourselves. We have accepted the idea that fame and fortune are the answers to the human problem. But until fame and fortune are regenerated, until the true seeds within both fame and fortune are restored to their original scientific and spiritual dignities, we will never get anywhere with them. Every mistake, every sorrow, every problem that we have has within it the seed of its own solution, and also it is contributing to the ultimate perfection of ourselves, our world and our Universe. To find these things we have to begin to search for the keys to regeneration, the keys to restoration. Now, if how so happens that these keys have not been entrusted to the sky or the earth, they have been entrusted to man himself, because of those creatures existing on Earth today, the human being is the most evolved, having the greatest potentials, having the greatest equipment with which to accomplish major good in this world. The human being has the facilities, the mental abilities, the rational faculties by which he can take the seed of eternity within himself and release it, as described in the structure of Qabbalistic philosophy.

    So we have here today a world of people — nearly 5 billion, perhaps a little more — each one of which, whether he knows it or not, is immortal. Each one of these creatures has been endowed with a potential. In each human being the seed of Eternity has been sewn in the fields of time. The human being could not breathe, could not walk, could not think, could not exist if Eternity was not within him. The Eternal Life, the life of all things is that which gives man life. Each kingdom of nature unfolds its life according to its own rules and laws. Each kingdom of nature tries to expand its potentials. We see the gradual development of the plant kingdom, in which a small [...] somewhere gradually develops into a magnificent tree. We see all the flowers of the field, we also see all the beautiful crystals on the rocks — everywhere something of a divine nature is being revealed through kingdoms of nature. In the animal kingdom other values are revealed. We discover perceptions, reflected powers that we do not even take for existing, let alone take for granted.

    Then we finally come to the individual, the human being, who is the sum of all this evolutionary process. Here we have a being of which, for instance, we can mention such beings as Leonardo da Vinci, we can think in terms of Michelangelo, we can think in terms of Stradivarius or any of the great leaders of human arts, crafts and revelations. We can think of the saints and the sages, all of the different degrees of development and unfoldment that already are obvious in the human being. They are obvious because he is endowed with them, they are obvious because they are manifestations of the thing that makes him exist, and that is the Divine Seed of Life within himself. That which is within himself is his own immortality, it is also that part of him which functions in his daily life. It is that power within him which digests his food, keeps his heart beating, controls and regulates digestion and elimination, it is this same power that gives him the right to write a book, to make a great contribution in art, or music, or science, or philosophy — all of different departments of life arise from one tiny seed: the Divine Seed in man. It is this one divinity which is the unit, this is the monad of existence, this is the one from which all things come — and yet all things in their infinite divisions are still one. From one source all knowledge arises, for one purpose all knowledge exists — and that is the perfection and growth of living things.

    In our course of life, politically and socially, we have forgotten almost entirely that part of ourselves which alone can be solutional. We cannot solve with the mind unless the mind is inspired. We cannot create with the hand unless the hand is regulated and guided. We cannot create with the body until the body itself responds to a Divine Eternity within itself.

    So here we are, human beings, each with a different kind of destiny, each dedicated to some purpose, each one hoping, fearing, believing, each one living and dying within a peculiar situation in which the real reason for the whole thing remains unknown. We do not today believe or realize the power of this seed germ within ourselves. This seed germ is Eternity, hidden within the [...] and regions of time. This inside thing is that which has to be released, and the release of this is the great secret of transmutations and transformations. Everything depends for its survival upon this submerged, hidden source of life within ourselves. It is the spot of Eternity in us upon which we depend for everything, and when that leaves the body at death, it takes with it every activity, every process except disintegration. This is one of the reasons why it seems as though in this world there's been a great overlooking of something; we have been trusting each other our level which is not trustworthy. We have tried to work out our problems without bringing into focus the one solution that is possible — and that is the release of the Eternal Plan through ourselves.

    It is the same with nations. From the beginning nations have been compound individuals, they have existed with temperaments and dispositions, they each have their own peculiar specializations in life, they have their languages, their customs, their arts and [...] in their religions and their languages. All these are parts of a unit, and the unit of a nation is a kind of collective atom, for each atom is a personification of a racial, or a cultural, or a social problem or pressure. So in the atom problem we have the atom who is Greek, the atom who is Chinese — but we also recognize that each of these compounds is ensouled, each one of them exists as itself rather than falling into chaos, because the entire structure is embodying a principle. The development of humanity, the tree of races means that the life principle is flowing through all races, and these races become branches upon a great tree, and this tree is the Tree of Life itself. But every nation is part of that Plan, every individual within a nation is a leaf, or a twig, or a bud upon a tree, a living thing depending upon one life.

    Now, this means that, whether we realize it or not, there is only one life, and this is a thing which is difficult for us to understand. In our way of competition, in our way of self-centeredness each individual competes with another and tries to outdo others. In strangeness as it may seem, there is no-one to compete with because, actually, there is only one life, and all competition is a mistaken belief that this life can be controlled in one direction or another, when in the truth of the matter the creatures must be controlled by that life principle. The principle is not divided, there is no such a thing in the principles of things as the various structures we set up and defend so startly. We defend our politics without realizing that all government rises from a tree and that the root of this tree is in Eternity. We believe all arts and sciences have their sources in the various geniuses which created them and which we regard as their patreons; actually, however, painting, music, literature, architecture — all these are trees growing from one root. Life in all of its manifestations is one life, diversified through expression and through creation — but never actually divided. If one of these arts should actually die, all would die with it because it is part of one life.

    Now, these various plants and things becoming like individuals, nations develop characteristics, they develop likes and dislikes, they are influenced by longitude and latitude, and today they are influenced largely by lastitude (laugh), influenced by fable, by myth, by tradition, by irredity — all these things seem to divide these nations from each other. But as we find so clearly pointed out in the [...], every one of these various factors depends upon a common feeling, a common reality. If a child dies, does not its parent weep, regardless of race? If someone is killed in an accident, is another tragedy whether we know that person or not. If a nation destroys itself or tries to, is this not a catastrophe, regardless of what nation it is? Is it more beneficial to life for a small country to die than for a great one? All are one; there is only one nation — and that is humanity itself; there is only one art — the art of living; there is only one science — the science of salvation; there is only one religion — eternal hope of good.

    Now, if we can begin to get this oneness out to where we can see it, we can do a great deal with it. And yet to the average person this oneness is more or less obviously necessary — but no-one pays much attention to it. We think of each person coming into the world as an individual, free to do what they want to do, and that the life within them is bestowed in order that they may be able to do what they please. So the divine within us is used to advance the human material ambitions that we develop. Each person seems to feel that he can build a different structure upon the one life which made him alive. He seems to believe or think that he can create a destiny for himself using this one divine power as eternal life; that divinity is merely a fuel which permits him to do as he pleases; that, in spite of everything to the contrary, the individual is not responsible to anything for the use he makes of everything. This is a factor which we have never been able to completely overcome, but we are getting more and more into the situation where if we cannot understand it, we are going to be in a very bad way. We are still hoping that in some way, in some manner of our own conjecture, that we are going to be able to arbitrate these differences, that each individual will be able to continue to do as he pleases, but in some way the power to please in a destructive manner will be reduced.

    I think the answer to this is something for science to give a lot of thought to, because the first thing we need to know now is the thing that science can't tell us, and that is — what is life? What is the eternal energy that sustains things? What is the mysterious seed from which all life comes? In what ground is mortality planted? In what part or field of space does evolution move?

    Actually, we have to look very carefully to see what life is. Is life motion? Not necessarily. Is life ambition, hope? Is it tragedy or comedy? Is it contained within any structure that we have developed? The only sensible way that we can really approach this is the way we have never used, and that is to recognize that in substance all of these things are the same. They are all specializations within an indivisible reality. While we try to make separation real, while we are in a competitive relation with life, we cannot transmute our own activities and restore the unity which is necessary for survival. We have to gradually recognize this problem of alchemical transformation, but before we can really accept it, we have to have some psychological proof, some form of evidence to give us confidence that this is true. It is not enough just simply to say it. We must in some way become aware, completely aware of this inevitable reality, so aware and so conscious of it that we enabled to develop its resources within ourselves and share them with others.

    The alchemists in their working and in their laboratories were all looking for something. We find many accounts of them, and in several great European cities there are the old buildings called "the houses of the alchemists", famous even now, because at some time a mystical chemist lived there and labored to perfect his works. Now, if this alchemy of the problem is real, how are we going to find out about it? How can we transform this searching into a discovery?

    Well, in the old alchemical system there was a mysterious being called Alias the Artist. Alias is the patriarch referred in the Bible as one who went to God without death. And this mysterious power, Alias the Artist, would come in the night to some alchemist who was considered worthy and would give him the secret or would give him perhaps a few grains of the Elixir of Life, of the transmutation; would stay a little time and then disappear and never be seen again. And in each case the Alias' power left some proof behind it, it left evidence to the chemist himself that there was an answer, that there was a solution and in some cases, as in the case of Sendivogius, this powder actually was used by him to transmute base metals; apparently, physically he relieved at least as accomplished this end. Or was it true that Sendivogius also knew and put it to symbolism what this powder really was: that it was not there to transmute base copper, or [...], or iron — but to transmute base ignorance, superstition or fear into the realization of Truth?

    I think we have to recognize that the Great Transmutation must be in some way justified by human experience itself. We should be justified by the mere fact that we are alive, because the very existence in which we live has never been explained adequately. We do not know where we actually came from long before there were stars, we do not know where we are going after the last star goes out, we do not know what we are made of except of substances that are held together by a strange magnetic chemistry. We know that we live from day to day upon life, we know that the very process of digesting food is an alchemical process. But we also must realize that this process goes to the acceptance and digesting of experience which is another kind of food, a kind of food that nourishes mind and understanding; that we must also experience the mystery of love, of divine acceptances of things — these are foods which must also sustain hope within the individual.

    Therefore, those things necessary for the attainment of the alchemical transmutation must be experienced within the person. He must become aware of these truths and he must be able to apply them socially upon the different levels or parts of his society. He must understand what governments are: the governments are nothing but the hollow, shadow or extension of a divine way of doing things, and that as long as any government differs from the archetype from which it came, it cannot fulfill itself. Therefore, governments must be regenerated, they must be reformed, revised and restored to their original purpose: namely the purpose of fulfilling the infinite unfoldment of the Divine Purpose in creation. While governments are defended entirely upon books, and codes, and creeds or laws that passed only by those who are themselves ignorant of what law is, or where it comes from, or why it is, or what it must be — we are in trouble. As long as we are willing to build our laws solely upon previous laws or upon the previous [...] in public office, we will never get to understand the final great fact: namely that all things obey except man, and out of this disobedience fell the angels. Every part of nature except man is incapable, by its own constitution, of actually violating Universal Law. It has no initiative, it has no free power to become a separate creature. Man is separate; he is separate because potentially he is capable of a greater advancement than any of a kingdom of nature on this earth. He is the leading power here, all previous embodiments on this planet have been leading toward him, they have been gradually releasing that part of his own potential which enables him to stand and proclaim his existence.

    This, however, is not to be the subject of great rejoicing, nor is he to become completely overwhelmed by his own egotism. The fact that he exists is a remarkable thing, the fact that he can exist well is a still more remarkable thing — and yet he ain't quite gotten there yet. But he is hoping, but his hopes have to be brought into some form or pattern.

    In the old time that we [find] in the Bible, they spoke of the Earth as a garden and considered that man was the gardener. Well, the gardener is one that takes care of the plants. We are not really doing that. As gardeners in the Garden of Life we are not protecting it, we are exploiting it, we are not doing all we can to preserve it, we are doing all we can to make it a servant of personal ambitions. So we may say that nearly all of that which is rooted in ambition has a tendency to be corrupt. It may not necessarily be wrong, but it can easily become so. We cannot by ambition of our own do that which only Eternity knows. We cannot solve problems that are greater than our insights or our understandings. But fortunalely we don't have to, we only have to come into a harmonious relationship with the Great Plan of Life itself, and this is what in a large way alchemy really represented. It told us through human digestion and the digestion of metals that there were processes going on that if we do not interfere with them, corrupt them or pervert them, are magnificently sufficient. The only thing we can do is cut ourselves off from life by the misuse of it. We can only destroy that which we have labored so hard to build: bodies, attitudes, institutions, nations, governments, parties and policies — all these things we have built up only to destroy them by our own selfishness. Now, we say that's a great tragedy. Yes — but unfortunately there is a still another point that is more important: namely if we can destroy them, they are not the thing we are seeking. Anything that can be destroyed is not part of the reality which is completely indestructible. Therefore, we have to gradually bring our own consciousness into relationships with things in which we become aware of the indestructability of Truth. Until we realize this, we will continue to destroy idols we have set up, false search we have deified — until finally we turn against them.

    Now, in the closing years of the present century many of the ancient esoteric arts have come back into focus. Fifty years ago an astrologer was considered to be mildly mad. (Laugh) Today he is becoming more and more interesting, and not only to humanity but to the sciences. And there are great many liberal thinkers who in the last generation would never permit themselves to study such matters. We came along with accupuncture which for two or three thousand years was used in China and scoffed by us — and all of a sudden we are interested in it. We are interested in the I Ching, we are interested in Yoga and Vedanta, we are interested in esotericism, psychism — every type of thing that was once important, then passed into submergence and now begins to come out again. Why? Because we are becoming more and more, if I might say, fearful. We are more and more aware that there has to be something we don't know, that there are some ways of doing some of these things better than we are doing them. So we are beginning to look for the people who did them better, and we suddenly realize that they are the ones we've been making fun of for centuries, because we believe so firmly in our own mistakes.

    Now, the coming way of thinking has brought back a tremendous revival in alchemy. Alchemy is flourishing with new books, new publications, new exponents, new researches, new projects every day. But there is this one thing we have to be aware of, and that is, as Basil Valentine pointed out, the great chemist — "WOE ONTO THE GOLDMAKERS!" If we are going to use alchemy now to pay the national debt, we will be exactly where we were to start with. (Big laugh) If we firmly believe that we can use these superior sciences to protect our mistakes, we are wrong. We are only able to use these correctly if we are also dedicated persons. Unless the happy-go-lucky attitude which is neither happy nor lucky (laugh) that we are in now is changed, there is no form of learning that we can restore or create that we will not land in the same condition we are in today; because it is a valid pattern, we have to change the basic relationship between ourselves and life — this is the Great Transmutation, this is the secret of the Philosopher's Stone and the Elixir of Life. We cannot simply use these powers to take care of our present mistakes. We cannot use psychism to find out how to get out of being alcoholics — and then keep on drinking. (Laugh) We cannot say that we are going to use philosophy — and then keep on negging our neighbors and insulting each other. We cannot have enemies and be Truth seekers at the same time. We cannot go on supporting the policies with our minds while we are attacking them with our souls.

    So out of it all comes a necessity of starting with the basic element of alchemy, and that is the person. Boehme, the Rosicrucian group in Europe, many other systems have emphasized the point that regeneration begins with the individual; that only a person who has a proper internal relationship with life is willing to or capable of making the changes that are necessary. So somewhere in this process we must identify the pearl of great price — the seed soul in ourselves, something that is so mysterious, so minute that is like the [...] mustard seed that being the least among the seeds shall grow into a great tree; that search for the Seed of Life — and science should be seeking it, everything should be seeking to know that which is locked within something so small, so abstract that we cannot even distinguish it or analyze it — and yet from which flows all existence, all condition, all progress and all reality. Here is the tiny germ which is the greatest thing in the world, far greater than anything we know, and it's in us, and [there is] one thing we can prove that: we can prove it by the fact that we are here this morning, we can prove it by the fact that we can raise a hand, that we can drive a car, that we can enjoy a bad program on TV. (Laugh) All these things are proofs of something. The fact that we like one thing and dislike another, believe one thing and disbelieve another — these are all evidences of the presence within ourselves of a power, of a life reality, a germ of Eternity by which we exist. We are not the only ones: that germ is in everything, but in man it is a certain core, it is reaching further into the great world of needs. In other words, it is the basis of the Fruit of Life that we are all seeking. Here we are: able to think, able to play the piano magnificently, able to control and direct the actual forces that make up our civilization. All of these things are within our dispatch and within our area of possibility. We have already produced a great world, the modern world — but we have not ensouled it. The thing we have produced up to the present time is a robot. Our whole civilization is a robot, because it is simply an instrument for the fulfillment of our own ignorance, in the sense not of dispelling that ignorance but making it possible to live with it. We are trying to live with our own imperfections happily and permanently — and this cannot be. The only way we can get over the disasters is to get over the weaknesses and fallacies in our own minds and hearts. So the first thing the alchemist has to do is transmute himself. He has to make sure that he deserves greater power than he has. He must make sure that if he is appointed to public office, he will be incorruptable and will also vision clearly within himself the true needs of people. If he does not know what they need, why should he govern them?

    Leadership, as Plato[?] pointed out, must be rested in those who know, and those who know, know one thing primarily: that the entire Universe is subject to immutable laws; keep the rules and live, break the rules and die. It is as simple as that except you can't really die: death in this case means the destruction of the illusion, and if all you have inside of yourself is an illusion, then it may appear to be a hopeless end. But actually, that thing inside, that mysterious seed, the soul seed, does not die: it cannot. It can be delayed, it can fall upon bad ground, and it can be for some reason or [an]other taken away by the birds of the air. But the seed itself cannot cease.

    So somewhere we've got to make peace with reality. If we do not make peace with it, we are not going to get the results that are necessary. But how are we going to make peace with it whereas in the moment our entire life and thought is based upon transitory, impermanent and inconsequential attitudes? How is the average individual to become capable of ruling himself, let alone ruling anyone else? Well, this should be part of education — but it isn't. It should be part of everything that we do — but it is not. We are constantly being schooled to do things to perpetuate our mistakes. We have a standing army to perpetuate our hatreds. We have everything we can think of to perpetuate a kind of egotism, self-centeredness or hopeless and roughless ambition. We are not trying, really, to make any basic correction. We are competitively trying to prevent someone from doing to us what we have been long waiting to do to them. (Laugh) All this, we cannot solve anything.

    So comes a sacred art (maybe it was founded in the ancient temples of Egypt, perhaps earlier), an art which is recorded in the ancient Hermetic writings — the books of Hermeus Trismegistus, found in the scriptures or writings of all peoples — this mysterious secret art, secret science, a personal redemption, personal renovation of character and of life. And it means that certain changes have to come about.

    Now, in the Orient there was a very elaborate system of esoteric disciplines set up to help the individual to cure these deficiences in himself, to build up a personal integrated being — a personality, a character, a temperament, a disposition — a unit within himself by means of which he can gradually come into the realization of the soul potential locked within him. This type of discipline and so forth, however, has run into bad times here in the West, for the reason that it is being cultivated, at least in some cases, simply as a means of advancing the same ignorance as it is supposed to overthrall. It is not being done because the individual wants to understand Truth; it is because he wants to be wiser than someone else and benefit by it.

    So wherever these exercises are given to help the individual to be greater than his neighbor, danger lurks. If these exercises are to release him from those things which he has never corrected in himself — it's bad. If, however, it is a simple desire to find Truth — not for self, but for the common good — then there is legitimate progress to be made. But all this progress begins with very simple things: we have these powers, we have within ourselves this seed of eternity, this tremendous dynamo, this enormous, incredible current of life; that just as a house is lighted by electricity from one great station, so our own individual magnetic fields are electric cells that are all fed by the energy from one eternal plant, and that eternal plant is the Divine Life. But that energy is living energy, conscious energy, wise energy, loving energy — and not simply blind force.

    So in order to manage and work over these problems, the individual must begin his own alchemical researches. Of course, as in the older days, he will be ridiculed, and in many cases the alchemist was persecuted, some of them actually died for their beliefs, there were martyrs in all fields of human regeneration. But still, regardless of all these things, we have to go on to try and find the way to reaffirm our own total unity, the unity of all that lives, that we are what Buddha called "a vast commonwealth", that we are a kind of cosmic commune in which all existing things are citizens of one-life principle, one-life world. Visibly we can't see it: it is so small. If we had the eyes of Boehme or Emmanuel Swedenborg, we would see it because it extends beyond all conception, it is about more vast than the vision of Dante, it is a tremendous situation in which, could we see this cause, it'd no longer be a tiny little thing that we can't find, it would burst into something that covers the Universe from end to end with eternal [...], fills everywhere with life, and meaning, and reality.

    Now, man, as St Thomas Acquinas has taught, is equipped to handle this. It is possible for the human being to become aware of the totality of the life of which he is a part. He must grow up to this, but until he grows up to it he must continue to pass through tragedies of ignorance. We are all going to make it — there's no question about that — but we can make it easier if we know what we're doing, and we can make it easier if we say to ourselves, for instance, that in our own inner life there is a stream of life, there is a mysterious river that flows out of Paradise, there is this mysterious source of life, this energy that we are going to use every day: we are going to use it to learn to walk, we are going to use it to learn to speak, we are going to use it to build a house, we are going to use it for all kinds of labors — this one great energy, and we are releasing it little by little, because if we released it all at once, it would destroy us; it would be far too great for this body to maintain the challenge of a wisdom far more perfect than itself.

    So we only gain a little insight at a time — but we can, by a little effort of our own, become aware that we have a responsibility to the fact that we are alive. Nothing is here for no reason, everything has purpose, each individual when he reaches maturity has become a custodian of life, he has become part of a great living mechanism, he has become part of a tremendous flow of energy, energy which he cannot master but which he can learn to use. As he uses it, he no longer abuses it. And when he gets to the point where he can transmute his own mistakes, where he begins to see the things he did not do well and tries to do them better. When he comes to this condition, he is already well on the way toward an enlightenment. Now, what are the immediate fruits of this enlightenment in terms of alchemy? Those who possess this power, this mysterious Elixir of Life, who are masters of the Golden Stone — these individuals still live here, just like everyone else. They are forbidden by the rules of their orders to even reveal that they are different; they live in this world — but not of it; they have a tremendous life inside themselves and are not dependent upon the encouragement of their neighbors for survival; they cannot be captured within the framework of a bad law — on the other hand, their wisdom of the inside shows them how they can live surrounded by laws that are not good and still be right themselves. Actually the alchemist is no longer just a citizen of the counrty in which he is born — this point was well made by the Greeks and by many of the ancient peoples: namely that is a mistake to assume that there are only certain realms in which the human being can function. Now, there are not only the gods above of the greeks and mortality below — there is something in between, this in-between thing has been in theology built into the hierarchies of the angels and the archangels and so forth. But in the classical times, there was a state between mortality and divinity — and this was the state of the heroes, the heroic state, or, as one Rosicrucian said, "There is a race that exists on a plane above us, made up only of those who have been born into it through their own wisdom, and they are called the servants of the Generalissimo of the world." So this race, so to say, this superior order, this heroic order is composed of those who in this world have achieved freedom from negation and have dedicated themselves, with those who have gone before, to the ultimate service of all that lives. These heroic powers, which we develop through our own integrities, become the basis of a release from the mistakes that have been made. Once we have these correct inside [...], we know why things happen to us, we are no longer moved by the things we call joy and sorrow, we live in a state of Truth in which all things have their own right and natural existence. We are not subject to any of the calamities that befall ignorance because we are no longer ignorant, and no matter what is done with civilization, no matter how many laws men pass to improve each other's condition, suffering, sorrow and death will endure as long as the causes of them have not been corrected within the plan of things.

    So in alchemy as we see it, we can face into a great many interesting and remarkable facts. We can say something that primitive people for some unknown reason have long sensed. Sophistication has been a blinding factor: when we began to overestimate ourselves, we underestimated everything else; and when we began to think of our own magnificence, we forgot that we are tiny pebbles along the shore of a vast ocean. So we have to gradually get back to a certain simplicity. Nearly all primitive peoples have encountered one level of relationship with life that is important. They don't understand everything, perhaps they are nearly shamanistic peoples, but most primitive people have a realization of the tremendous integrities of some power, something greater than themselves. On various levels they interpret this power: to some it's ancestor, to others it's totem, to some others it's, say, a beloved dad, to still others it is [...] or Great Ones who walk among the mountains. But in every case these people have a natural esotericism, they have natural mystical qualities which they have not outgrown by sophistication. Now, it's true that these faculties are genuine in many instances, and it is also true that they have gradually dropped out of sight. Well, the answer to that is also understandable: the reason why primitive psychism has gradually faded away is because it again became a [...]. Primitive psychism kept the individual from actually realizing the realities, it was a kind of protection, it was as though parents were taking care of children and the child turned to the parent for everything, or turned to the teacher for everything. But after a while the child grows up to the point where it must make its own decisions, it must no longer lean or depend, it can no longer depend for its survival upon some benevolent power beyond its understanding, it must actually learn to stand, to live, to become a being and transmute negative natural relationships into positive natural cooperations. It is not enough that we should believe in a summer land beyond the grave, it is that we should have the intelligence and the intellect to use all of our extrasensory perceptions as nature-intended service, to use them entirely to help to discover this divine reality which is the end and Gold of our search while we remain in the human stage of development.

    So we have to keep on working with this problem. When we have lunch, we eat something, and this something mysteriously gets absorbed, transformed. We don't tell the stomach what to do; sometimes we put it in a position where it can't do anything (laugh), on such a condition it becomes a little resentful (laugh), then we bring out the bicarbonate of soda (laugh). But all the processes of the body, from the beating of the heart to the nutrition of cells — everything that happens within this [...] of our skin is incredible, it is a miracle upon miracle every moment. There seems to be no way in which we can explain the wisdom of body cells, that we can actually realize that conscious cooperation of tissues. We cannot understand these things because in some mysterious way our mind [has] a sort of outgrown being a small cell, and we are now interested in trying to be a greater cell somewhere else — but actually, the miracle of existence is present to us every moment, it is present to us in the birth of every child that comes into the world, it is in us in every proof of the continual principle of life that is transferred from one generation to another, how — we do not know. We can see only certain physical symptoms, symbols, procedures — but the Great Transmission of life is beyond human understanding. Therefore, we have a little world, a little island of thoughtfulness in a great ocean of the unknown. We are constantly seeking to know more, but because of the peculiar dulling of our instruments we have gradually turned away from the search for the unknowable to the gradual refinement of things that we do immediately see some value coming from. But actually, this one thing that we don't see is the only thing that is important. It is the basis of law, within it is the absolute way in which everything has to be done, within it is the proof of human growth, within it is the release by which the individual gradually, step by step, actually grows up into a divine nature. And sometimes in the infinite of things may be a God in its own right. But all these things are based upon an energy, what the alchemists called the spirits, or souls, of the metals — the souls of the metals can be brought together, and here is a very interesting point. Von Welling in his Opus Cabbalisticum points out that no metal can be combined with another metal in its present state. One gross metal cannot be amalgam to another gross metal in terms of alchemy. Before an element can become mingled with another element, it must be sublimated itself and its own individuality overcome, it must cease to have separateness before it can be united with anything else. Therefore, the essences of the metals can be combined — but the bodies of the metals cannot be combined. To form, that is, they can be combined on the physical level for purposes of hardware — but not in terms of mystical understanding.

    So before any form of knowledge can be united to another form of knowledge, both of these elements must be subjected to and reduced to their principle. Therefore, we have to go behind what is known, we have to break through knowledge in the sense of tradition, we have to break through knowledge in the sense that it is a binding power. When we say, "I know", and what we really do in this quoting from a text from Harvard or Oxford — this won't do it. None of the knowledge that comes from the outside in its natural outside form can be united with any other form of knowledge on the outside. Therefore, before knowledge can be united with another form, it must be reduced itself or elevated to the state of a soul principle, it must be transmuted in itself from body to soul. Souls can mingle — bodies cannot. Therefore, all knowledge, before it can mingle with other knowledge, must lose the errors in itself, it must be relieved of the traditional limitations which the mind has placed upon it. We can no longer defend schools of thought because these thought schools can never be reconciled, but a thought can be rescued from schools, it can mingle with other thoughts.

    It's the same as true in religion: we cannot take one religion and impose it upon another because the separatenesses are all artificial. We take two great religions, we study them, we discover that in substance and essence their teaching is relatively identical. We realize that the Ten Commandments are everywhere in the world, and as long as we think of them as principles, we can understand and imply them. But the moment we limit that pattern to a religion and another religion disagrees with this, though believing the same, we then come in to religious hostility and persecution. We cannot worship God separately and be at the same time one in our religious consciousness. When we, however, get over the sectarian fact and face into the Divine Reality, all religions can meet. We can all meet upon a level of certain principles — but never after these principles have been embodied in various creedal and sectarian patterns until they have become practically mummified in them, died as they died in the sectarianism which destroyed their power to be one. So if we wanted to get one religion in this world, a religion in which all Truth is available, and for the in-forever of the problems caused by religious differences, there'd be no more inquisitions, no more crusades, no more fighting even in family life over religious memberships. If we really have religion, we're safe; if we have theology, we're in serious trouble.

    And this is the same with everything else: languages — we need more languages, but we need to realize that some day we are going to have to find what the ancient [...] people found 10,000 years ago: that there is a root language, and when we understand and know that root language, we can all communicate with each other. It isn't necessary to take lessons in a dozen languages to become a great linguist; it is only necessary to find the common root of communication. There is one — but we haven't found it yet. There always has been; in medicine there is only one art — the art of healing. There are all schools of medicine, there are all opinions, much of it developed by laboratory research, much of this is useful — no-one denies it — but nearly all of it is limited to fighting the problems of the body. We take sickness and try to cure it. If we had the common understanding of the alchemy of healing, we would not have to cure it because we would not cause it. We are fighting constantly to get over our own mistakes, but if once somewhere along the line this principle of unity can take over and we can find in oneness of character and conduct a great release. We get a shadow of this, of course, even now, in the things that are happening. We are being warned against certain indulgences and certain mistakes. Medical sciences: if you don't take on cocaine, you are not going to have to suffer from the consequences. Well, this is perfectly true. But there should be something else deeper that prevents the individual from even considering the use of cocaine. It is not a matter of curing against the whole public mass of people who want to do as they please — the problem is that there is one right way, and that right way transmutes all the mistakes that are dependent upon that particular right way.

    So in politics and in all these problems we have to realize that there is a Divine Government. There is a Government of Realities, there is a Government which we have all been seeking for a long time, and to gain it we have to realize that this Government is the same thing exactly as that which we must impose upon ourselves. Our own bodies contain more living units than inhabit the Earth at the present time by many, many times. And we have no great problems with them because they are occurring within a disciplined pattern.

    The same may go if we have to discipline society. There has to be a relationship between man and nature. What we should try, therefore, every moment is to find the ways by which all complications are resolved. This is the transmutation process. Selfishness must be transmuted; it is not destroyed, it is given a form of idealistic regeneration. Every fault that we have is a virtue misapplied, it is something which should be done differently; but we don't destroy energies, we simply give them an opportunity to express the best of themselves.

    So this alchemy, probably, is going to go on for a little while, during the present century and into the century that is yet to come. We are beginning now, and while it's not easy, we are beginning to realize that we cannot do exactly as we please. But if we insist on trying to succeed at the expense of everyone else, we will all fail together. This is not the way it is done. It is not that we are here to get all we can — we are here to give all we can. We are not here to dogmatize — we are here to learn, and education is the problem of the gradual search for the sovereign reality, and this sovereign reality has always been a matter of the highest spiritual development. It is something in which, here and there, one will arise, born or cultivated, but who by his own or her own inner values becomes aware of the facts, and maybe not yet has anyone been aware of all the facts, but we are gaining step by step the first big lesson: that is, that there are rules in the game of life and these rules are not made by human beings, these rules are inherrent in the life principle itself. We cannot misuse life without sorrow. We cannot take something that is intended for the common good and try to apply it only to ourselves, so that we may have special profit — this will not work.

    So we watch around us, we see things that a lot of people feel very unhappy about — but we also realize, gradually, that our own fumbling is becoming unendurable. We are in trouble every minute. We are in trouble because we have gradually complicated our mistakes. When we were a small group of people living on a large planet, our mistakes sort of faded away, everyone took his mistakes to the grave with him. Now, however, these mistakes are being circulated through one nation and to another. All of a sudden we are one vast family, we are in one humanity, in conflict and stress with parts of our own family. Everywhere the struggle for survival has been multiplied in its intensity, and the survival ideas have been lost - we are all struggling not for survival but for domination over others.

    So this keeps on going, and all of a sudden it looks pretty bad. We can see now what we couldn't have seen 25 years ago — and actually, this is growth. We are now bewildered, we are intimidated, we are at loss, we do not know what to do next, we do not know where to turn for instruction — but we are, therefore, in the condition of the prodigal son who has wasted these substances in rioted living and is now repented and is trying to find his way back to his father's house. And this is what we are all doing, whether we realize it or not. We are all trying to find the way to correct the mistakes that exist, and the mistakes exist are scientifically controllable. If science would gradually try to find out exactly how the great sovereign energy works, why it works and what Universal Life is attempting to do. If science would give this more thought and could find out just even a little more about what the purpose of things is and get over the idea that man has been hopelessly isolated and must find out everything for himself and must build the world according to his own desires in the Universe ruled by immutable Law which can never be broken. Anything that attempts to break a law, is broken by it. If science knowing its exactitudes and being able now to make ships that will go to the Moon, headed for Mars almost immediately, if someone can bring this point home: that the one great answer that we must find is why we are here, what we are here for and how we can work together to fulfill a purpose that we can never dominate, but we can venerate, recognize and cooperate with. We can only realize that there are not many ways of doing it right. We never have the freedom of choice that we think we have. For each individual, finally, there is only one possibility of choice — and that is to choose what is inevitable.

    This understanding can also begin to work in our lives. We can get over a lot of the pressures of family, a lot of the inconsistencies and inharmonies of daily existence if we try to the best of our ability to live according to the life within us, and this life says: this is only one and all others have it. When we speak of another, we are speaking of another self, we are speaking of our-selves.

    I remember a little story from Japan, when I was there talking to a Japanese and we saw two men bowing frantically to each other in the lobby. And the friend with me says, "You know, the [...] man over there [that] is bowing is a nice fellow, and this other man he is bowing to is a rogue." (Laugh) "And why should a good man bow to a rogue?" "Well," my friend said, "there are two reasons: first, this man is a rogue — but behind that rogue is God, regardless of what he does. Because if the God wasn't there, he would drop dead of his tracks. Therefore, there is a divinity in him, and this is respected even if his conduct is not. And," he says, "there is the second reason also: bowing is good for the stomach." (Big laugh) So the least you get out of it is a little help. (Laugh) And with a little help like that we'll go a great way, and by gradually trying at least to bow to the Truth as we confront it, and making every effort to overcome every dividing factor in our lives and trying according to the best of our ability to recognize that with us always is a Power that we should respect and venerate, that this unseen gas is the source of ourselves; and we may not see it for a long time but we know its presence; and the more we know about it, the more we respect it; and out of respect comes love, and out of love comes obedience. So if we all work it out the best we can, the Universal Transmutation will take place.

    Well, that's it, folks.

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