Two Kinds of Wisdom

H.P. Blavatsky

Theosophy HPB 2 319

St. James teaches two kinds of wisdom; a teaching with which we fully concur. He draws a strong line of separation between the divine or noétic "Sophia"—the Wisdom from above—and the terrestrial, psychic, and devilish wisdom (iii, 15). For the true Theosophist there is no wisdom save the former. Would that such an one could declare with Paul, that he speaks that wisdom exclusively only among them "that are perfect," i.e., those initiated into its mysteries, or familiar, at least, with the A B C of the sacred sciences. But, however great was his mistake, however premature his attempt to sow the seeds of the true and eternal gnosis on unprepared soil, his motives were yet good and his intention unselfish, and therefore has he been stoned. For had he only attempted to preach some particular fiction of his own, or done it for gain, who would have ever singled him out or tried to crush him, amid the hundreds of other false sects, daily "collections" and crazy "societies"? But his case was different. However cautiously, still he spoke "not the wisdom of this world" but truth or the "hidden wisdom" . . . which none of the Princes of this World know (I Corinth. ii.) least of all the archons of our modern science.

Read more: Two Kinds of Wisdom

Sowing Fresh Spiritual Seeds

Einar Adalsteinsson – Iceland

Theosophy EA 2 319

The author

I got THE CELESTINE PROPHESY in its first months and I liked it so much that I started a five-week introductory course into its ways of Self Culture or Spiritual Path at the TS in Iceland. There were in all three courses, before I got back to my old track [of Mind Culture Courses], but I still include one evening (two hours) going into the main points.

Of course there is nothing new under the sun, concerning the perennial wisdom, but we need ever new approaches to it, not because of the wisdom, but because of our nature of mental stagnation in the forms -- any forms.

It is therefore of paramount importance that we can speak the 'truth' in a fresh way at all times. So if you find the book to be of help, then use it as a platform into further study -- you will find it repeated and corroborated in myriads of ways in the scriptures, but it is the "gut feeling" that matters. To feel it working within, and spreading from there to the outer life, is what make it worthwhile. And the book is good for that.

Read more: Sowing Fresh Spiritual Seeds

The Difficult Truth

Tim Boyd – India, USA

Theosophy TB 2 319

Tim Boyd, a warm, dynamic and open-minded International President of the Theosophical Society, Adyar ... always building bridges. 

Photo: © Richard Dvořák 

There are two phrases, one a prayer, and the other a statement with which members of the Theosophical Society (TS) are familiar. The prayer is known as the Pavamâna Mantra: “From the unreal lead me to the Real. From darkness lead me to Light. From death lead me to Immortality.” For those TS members who were not raised in India, often the first time this prayer was encountered was on the page after the dedication of the little book, At the Feet of the Master by J. Krishnamurti. It is a prayer that predates Jesus the Christ and the Buddha, being 2,600 to 3,000 years old.

The second phrase is the motto of the TS itself: satyân nâsti paro dharma. Variously translated it says: “There is no dharma (or doctrine) higher than sat, (Truth).” There is no law, no study, no sacrifice, no religion, no ritual, nothing that is higher than sat — Reality. The preferred translation adopted for the TS is: “There is no religion higher than Truth.” The focus has always been to point ourselves in the direction of Truth, and to try to understand whatever our capacity permits.

Read more: The Difficult Truth

What do Theosophists Do?

Barbra Hebert – USA

Theosophy BH 2 319:

Barbara in “full swing" at Olcott 

A new member recently asked “What do Theosophists do? She continued to discuss the lack of dogma and the freedom of thought aspects of the Theosophical Society as being confusing. For instance, she asked if Theosophy accepted extreme views from various religious traditions, such as condemning certain groups of people. It had never occurred to me that the lack of dogma or the encouragement of open-minded inquiry might lead to this type of confusion.

We are aware that all members of the Theosophical Society are in sympathy with the Three Objects of the Society. This agreement is the one thing to which all Theosophists adhere. The Theosophical Society does incorporate a body of teaching, of course, but members are encouraged to do their own exploration both within and outside of these teachings.

Read more: What do Theosophists Do?

Why do we serve?

Tim Boyd – India, USA

Theosophy TB 2

Conventional Darwinian thinking emphasizes the survival of the fittest. From such a selfish, or evolutionary sense, service could be seen as a questionable activity. What is the advantage of serving, of being the one who bestows an advantage to another? Yet, it seems that we are hardwired with an inescapable urge to be compassionate. We cannot help it. Otherwise, why would it be that so much of our attention and effort is put into helping or aiding the very weakest among us? This is what we do instinctively, naturally.

As we age and become weak and infirm, or as we become sick, the evolutionary advantage would seem to be to look out for yourself and move on, but that is not what we do. Our energies, our attention, are inevitably focused on the weakest among us.

In Buddhist terms, the word used is “compassion”. It has become a buzz word in the world today, and it should be. In Buddhism there is a very specific definition of compassion. They would say that it is “the desire to alleviate the suffering of others”. So when we are behaving in compassionate ways we are working to-ward alleviating the suffering of others

H. P. Blavatsky’s The Voice of the Silence presents another way to look at compassion. In that short book we find the enigmatic word: “Compassion is no attribute. It is the Law of laws”. This is a very broad statement which seems to be clear and unambiguous, but what does it mean?

What is the compassion that rises to this level, superseding every other law we are aware of – gravity, thermodynamics, karma? Clearly this is not limited to a behavior in which we are attempting to alleviate suffering. Conscious compassionate activity, which we name “service”, is a subset of this great compassion.

Read more: Why do we serve?

The Stages of Spiritual Development

Barbara Hebert – USA

Theosophy BH 2

In order to help us understand ourselves as human beings, a number of theories regarding growth and development have been formulated. Many of these are called stage theories because they discuss the development of individuals as they pass through various stages. Some of the better-known stage theories include Jean Piaget’s stages of cognitive development; Erik Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development; and Lawrence Kohlberg’s stages of moral development. These theorists imply that the stages are linear – passed through once and left behind forever – but this is not necessarily accurate. Individuals may vacillate between stages, given different circumstances in life. Some may skip a stage altogether.

Read more: The Stages of Spiritual Development

Co-Workers with Buddha

Nicholas C. Weeks – USA

Theosophy NW 2

There is an old saying which reveals a good motive for living nobly: “When one receives a drop of kindness, one should repay it with a bubbling spring.” H.P. Blavatsky's Guru mentioned the “debt of gratitude” as being “sacred.” Feeling grateful is nice, but is not really adequate. Especially since we are all a Unity and of One Life. We must not block circulation of the harmonious forces of compassion, sympathy and friendliness. “Ingratitude is a crime in Occultism.” (1)

Duty is that which is due to Humanity,... especially that which we owe to all those who are poorer and more helpless than we are ourselves. This is a debt which, if left unpaid during life, leaves us spiritually insolvent and moral bankrupts in our next incarnation. Theosophy is the quintessence of duty. (2)

Read more: Co-Workers with Buddha

Commitment and Detachment


Theosophy VIDYA 2 Comm

[The magazine Vidya , edited by associates of the United Lodge of Theosophists in Santa Barbara, USA, published the following article in its Summer 2018 issue; here is a slightly revised version.]

Commitment tethers one to a line of action, a person, an object or a value. Through commitment come depth, skill and understanding. It is through continued contact over a long period of time that real love and understanding develop in a relationship. It is only through return to the studio again and again that skill at the canvas or the piano flourish. Commitment is the way we get past surfaces and gain access to the depths. But before those depths are gained, commitment may feel an irksome confinement, a difficult subjugation of the wandering mind and heart to a rather small parcel of real estate. We may feel, as in the lyrics of a 1970s rock song, “That sweet devotion is not for me, just give me motion and set me free.”

Read more: Commitment and Detachment

Towards a Unified Mankind

 Boris de Zirkoff – USA

A Living Philosophy For Humanity

Volume VIII
No. 2 (44) - July-August 1951

Theosophy BdZ 2

[Original cover Photo: H.P. Blavatsky in her forties. (From Incidents in the Life of Madame Blavatsky, by A. P. Sinnett. 2nd ed., London: Theos. Pub. Society, 1913.)]

Face to face with the appalling conflict of ideas which rages on the historical stage of the twentieth century, the student of the Ancient Wisdom is in duty bound to refrain from taking sides and to try to appraise the existing situation in the light of ageless principles of thought.

This is no easy task. It is one indeed in which every student will find himself faltering at every turn of the road, and mistaking shadows for realities. He will be drawn by powerful magnetic attractions and impelled to become attached to one side or the other, and to espouse causes which, in their very nature, have no permanency at all. He will be called upon to transcend his personal predilections, and to penetrate behind the outward veil of the seeming, into causal factors which are ignored by the casual observer with no philosophy of life.

The student will have to keep in mind the fact that none of the participants of the world-wide conflict of ideas is wholly right or wholly wrong. Their individual and respective causes and objectives have elements of both truth and falsehood, and their vehement and often violent actions are due, not to inherent evil, but to a lack of mutual understanding and absence of wisdom. It would indeed be an easy solution were it possible to limit all the evil-doing and all the blame to one or another party, and to eliminate this party from the world of men. But the complexity of human nature and the inextricable karmic web of past and present action necessitates that human problems be worked out on the basis of understanding, sympathy and self-forgetfulness - lessons hard for the aggressive, self-centered and conceited type of men to learn.

Read more: Towards a Unified Mankind

Cyclic Progress

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky

Theosophy HPB 2

Thus, as expressed in the Stanza, the Watchers descended on Earth and reigned over men – “who are themselves.” The reigning kings had finished their cycle on Earth and other worlds, in the preceding Rounds. In the future manvantaras they will have risen to higher systems than our planetary world; and it is the Elect of our Humanity, the Pioneers on the hard and difficult path of Progress, who will take the places of their predecessors. The next great Manvantara will witness the men of our own life-cycle becoming the instructors and guides of a mankind whose Monads may now yet be imprisoned – semi-conscious – in the most intellectual of the animal kingdom, while their lower principles will be animating, perhaps, the highest specimens of the Vegetable world.

Read more: Cyclic Progress

Human Regeneration – part twenty-three

Radha Burnier – India

Theosophy HR 2

[Recognizing regeneration as the kernel of all Theosophical work, the International Theosophical Centre at Naarden, the Netherlands, jointly with the Federation of Theosophical Societies in Europe, organized two seminars in July 1990, with a number of office bearers, workers and members of the Society from different countries as participants. Proceedings of the seminar were published as a book under the title Human Regeneration: Lectures and Discussion (Amsterdam: Uitgeverij der Theosofische Vereniging in Nederland, 1990). This chapter (discussions) is here slightly revised.]


One of the preliminary documents about these seminars proposes the creation of a European Federation of Young Theosophists, Is there any intention in the President's mind to promote such a division?

RB: The intention was not in the Presidents mind, because the President knew nothing about it.

CB: Perhaps we should not try to form a federation or to organize the work of the young; let them come and be with us. They will find their own activities which we need not organize.

Now we exchange letters as equals interested in the same things, To separate people just on grounds of age is just as wrong in my view as to separate them on grounds of race, creed, sex, caste or color and thus we should add age to our first object. Let there be no discrimination on any ground at all.

IH: I would disapprove heartily of any attempt to organize younger people as a separate group with their own meetings. I see no reason for it at all and regard it as divisive. As we have had some autobiographical discourses, I will add to them. I also began to read theosophical books at fifteen and on my sixteenth birthday I was given Life in Freedom, by Krishnamurti, During the following year, I, of my own sweet will became a vegetarian. This was very useful for the improvement of my French, because in my senior class at school we had a French lady who persuaded us to converse in French. So I seized the opportunity. I was a militant vegetarian and a militant reincarnationist and so I learnt to express myself on these subjects in French. I made no converts, but I continued in this way during my university years. Every meal became a debate about the virtues of vegetarianism. When I began to go to theosophical meetings, my mother was not too happy, not because I was officially a Roman Catholic, but simply because of the clothes that some of the old ladies wore! You may have seen some pictures of Dr. Besant, wearing what seems a hybrid between a sari and a nightgown! During the last twelve months, I have been able to admit to the Society two schoolboys. One was only fifteen when he first wrote. He had read a great many books on theosophy and kindred subjects.

More recently I admitted another schoolboy. Now we exchange letters as equals interested in the same things. To separate people just on grounds of age is just as wrong in my view as to separate them on grounds of race, creed, sex, caste or color and thus we should add age to our first object. Let there be no discrimination on any ground at all.

Read more: Human Regeneration – part twenty-three

In the Light of Theosophy


Theosophy ITLO 2

[This article appeared in the April 2019 issue of The Theosophical Movement. For more articles published in this excellent magazine follow this link: ]

Male and female differ in their behavior and abilities. For instance, it is believed that men are good at map-reading, but they are good at doing only one task at a time. Females, on the other hand, are good at multi-tasking, and are more intuitive and empathetic than men, but are poor at logical thinking. But it appears that men and women are distinguished also by their brains, so that women are not found suitable for certain kind of works. It is also believed that the differences between women and men in ability, behavior, temperament and even lifestyle choices are on the basis of genes, genitals and gonads. But such assumptions are questionable, because our brains are plastic, capable of being moulded in different ways. Early explanation of brain differences often centred on size and weight of the brain. Women’s brains, on average, being ten per cent or about 140 grams lighter than men’s, women were considered inferior. Later, the differences were based on specific structures of the brain. In the early 1980s, came the idea that the corpus callosum, which connects two halves of the brain being larger in women than in men, enabled her to access both the sides of the brain, almost simultaneously, and to this was attributed greater emotional awareness and the multitasking abilities in women.

“There are good reasons to think that such studies are chasing shadows,” writes Gina Rippon, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Aston in Birmingham, United Kingdom. She points out that there is no evidence to suggest that bigger brains are better brains, because, for instance, human beings are cognitively superior to sperm whales and African elephants, that have far larger brains. Moreover, now it is accepted that our brains are the product of the lives we have lived, the experiences we have had, and our education, occupations, sports and hobbies. Any regular activity, be it playing a certain game, or learning juggling or origami, can change our brains. Thus, men or women’s ability for a particular activity will be determined based on which of them were more engaged in that activity. We need to challenge assumptions behind the hunt for differences between male and female brains, writes Rippon.

Read more: In the Light of Theosophy

Theosophy Is

John Algeo – USA

Theosophy JA 2

The author in a characteristic pose

Theosophy is a contemporary expression of the timeless Wisdom of humanity, a Wisdom originally derived from teachers greater than us in knowledge and insight.

That timeless Wisdom has had many expressions over time and across cultures, and it will have many more in the future. But contemporary Theosophy is an expression uniquely adapted to the concerns and needs of our time. Yet, as it was intended for a particular cultural milieu, it must adapt itself to changes in that milieu. It must be rearticulated for each generation in language appropriate to that generation, while preserving the essence of the underlying timeless Wisdom. Theosophy in its various articulations must indeed preserve the timeless Wisdom, but not in formaldehyde. Rather its preservation must be of the sort used for a living, growing, and therefore changing thing. All living things change, at the same time preserving their own inmost identity or dharma. And so must Theosophy.

Read more: Theosophy Is

What Theosophy Is ... And Where It Is Going

Joy Mills – USA

Theosophy JM 2

Joy speaking at a summer convention, probably around 1954

As is well known to all students, the word “Theosophy” has never been defined in any official document of the Theosophical Society, but this does not mean that Theosophy itself is simply an amorphous “something” nor is it a “catch-all” term for anything one wishes to believe. Rather, then, than saying what Theosophy IS, I prefer to suggest certain distinguishing characteristics of the term.

First, Theosophy as a word which can be explored either in terms of its roots or in terms of whatever has usually been understood as its content. Second, as a “doctrine” or “teaching,” a philosophy or a metaphysic embracing a specific worldview. And third, as a way of life, a mode of being in the world. Each of these characteristics may be examined separately or seen as interdependent, one leading to and including the others.

As a word, then, Theosophy is usually defined in terms of its Greek origins, THEOS and SOPHIA. Theos we consider as the basis for such words as god, the gods, divine, sacred, but when examined more deeply, we may note that its verbal root has the essential meaning of that which grows or expands from within, a creative energy or force. Sophia as wisdom or discriminative intelligence is then inherent in the creative process, and one may recall the Scriptural text that “By wisdom God created all things,” which by implication tells us that not only did intelligence or wisdom come first but that it inheres in all that exists in a manifested universe; hence all things are sacred. This has always been, for me, the fundamental premise of Theosophy: the universe and all that it contains is not only one substance, one “thing,” however diverse may be the forms through which that one-ness exhibits itself, but in its manifoldness is everywhere sacred, participating in the divine.

Read more: What Theosophy Is... And Where It Is Going

What Is Theosophy Actually?

Leon Maurer – USA

Theosophy LM 2

The author

Someone might say that theosophy is a method of dealing with life. True, but it also is a body of thought based on fundamental principles. It concerns the origin and genesis of the Cosmos, its reflection in the evolution of humanity, and the nature of being in general. One does not have to believe in it without thoughtful consideration, but rather verify it as a true synthesis of science, religion and philosophy. How does one do this? One looks within, studies the fundamental ideas about the actual metaphysical nature of reality, practices “living the life” and fulfilling one's duties – while also meditating on those truths in relation to one's own inner nature – all the time empowered by self-devised and self-determined efforts. Through these means, one finds and follows one's Teacher of the art of living and being that is one's own higher self – the direct reflection of the all wise and all-knowing universal soul. Otherwise, one might spend a whole life following the gurus and doing good works only to find in the end that the real teacher is within.

The theosophical experience leading to an understanding of Universal Brotherhood and its expression in relationships with others can only come about following a budding relationship with that true Master within. That is the only learning system of value in the end. “Theosophy is as theosophy does” and ”Physician, heal thyself” perfectly reflects this.

Read more: What Is Theosophy Actually?

A Theosophy for Tomorrow

Tim Boyd – India, USA

Tim Boyd

I would like to discuss the Theosophical Society, the organization that came into being as the vehicle for the communication of “Theosophy”, a word that has never really been defined. Sometimes it makes things a bit difficult for us when people ask what is Theosophy. On occasion I have thought that it would be nice to have a brief, concise answer. But we have not been given that, and probably, it is good that we have not.

This is not to say that certain definitions have not been put forward at different times, particularly by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (HPB). I am drawn to two in particular: the one where she speaks of Theosophy as being the “accumulated wisdom of the ages, tested and verified by generations of seers”. That sounds very specific and concise. Certainly, it addresses the experiential nature of Theosophy, because it is verifiable and can be tested. But then, the question arises, what is this “accumulated wisdom of the ages”? If we are not calling it “Theosophy”, we are calling it by some other name, but still leaving it undefined.

HPB also made the comment on one occasion that Theosophy is “altruism, first and foremost”. This takes it to a more practical level. The practice of conscious, compassionate activity, which we identify as service, might come close to defining applied “Theosophy”. By its very nature, Theosophy is limitless, not bound by time, by particular concepts, or the language by which it has been expressed throughout time. To some extent it is easier to speak about what Theosophy is not, than what it is.

Read more: A Theosophy for Tomorrow

Learning from Dissension

Barbara Hebert – USA

The author “in action” at Olcott

The first object of the Theosophical Society is “To form a nucleus of the universal brotherhood of humanity without distinction of race, creed, sex, caste, or color.” This object provides one of the most important tenets in the theosophical teachings and is one of the reasons for the founding of the Theosophical Society. In Letter #12 (chronological) of The Mahatma Letters to AP Sinnett, the Mahatma KH writes “The Chiefs want a ‘Brotherhood of Humanity,’ a real Universal Fraternity started; an institution which would make itself known throughout the world and arrest the attention of the highest minds.” Furthermore, the Mahatma KH writes in Letter #5 (chronological) “The term ‘Universal Brotherhood’ is no idle phrase . . . It is the only secure foundation for universal morality. If it be a dream, it is at least a noble one for mankind: and it is the aspiration of the true adept.”

Read more: Learning from Dissension

Sri Raghavan Iyer – A Tribute

We remember Sri Raghavan Iyer (March 10, 1930 – June 20, 1995)

Jan Nicolaas Kind – Brazil (compiler)

In previous issues of Theosophy Forward we’ve honored Theosophists such as Dr. Richard Brooks, Ianthe Hoskins, Einar Adalsteinsson, Shirley Nicholson, Paul Zwollo, Dora van Gelder-Kunz, John H. Drais, Dara Eklund, Geoffrey Farthing, Sylvia Cranston, Danielle Audoin, Victor Peñaranda and Ted. G. Davy. 

Sri Raghavan Iyer

As I mentioned on other occasions, it is imperative to work towards a future. One cannot simply live in the past or only care about the here and now. The present is our domain to create appropriate conditions for those who come after us, and who consequently will live in that “future.” Countless good people who lived in our past, and are no longer with us have left us precious tools with which we are able to build, create and deepen our understanding of the eternal truths that surround us. That is why TRIBUTES have their value, because by looking back we come to understand where we came from. When we have become conscious of that knowledge, we know where we stand now, and from that point onward we can build landing strips into the future. In this respect I must always think of what KH stated, it was a kind of hint, in that very first Mahatma Letter: “Madmen are they, who, speculating but upon the present, willfully shut their eyes for the past, when made already to remain naturally blind for the future.” (The Mahatma Letters, Nr 1)

Showing gratitude through honoring, highlighting and underscoring all good things that have come to us, best described as our sacred heritage, we learn, become aware and show our deepest respect.

Read more: Sri Raghavan Iyer – A Tribute

Death and Immortality

Raghavan Iyer – USA

[From Hermes, December 1975.]

The crucial insight that we gain from Tibetan teaching is that immortality is not something to be achieved or won, not a prize to be awarded to a favored few. Immortality is nothing but another aspect of mortality. Even now we either live immortally or live mortally. We either die every moment or we live and thirst, depending on whether we are focused upon the nirvanic or upon the samsaric aspect of embodied consciousness. If we are constantly able to sift the meaning of experiences and to see our formal vestures for what they are and pass from one plane of perception to another, then indeed it may be possible, when blessed with the vision of clear, pure light – the great vision of sunyata – to enter straightaway into that vesture which enables us to remain free from the compulsion of return to earthly life. But this cannot happen unless it flows naturally out of the line of life's meditation. It cannot happen all of a sudden. It is not some kind of special dispensation. It is itself a product of the working of Karma.

Read more: Death and Immortality

My Talk with the Dalai Lama

Raghavan Iyer – USA

[Printed in the pamphlet: LONDON, EAST AND WEST LTD., lecture given in London, 1961.]

I must warn you at the very outset that I propose to speak to you this afternoon not as former President of the Oxford Union, nor as an Oxford don. I want to abdicate this role and speak to you as a seeker and a pilgrim, because that was the way in which I went to the Dalai Lama. That is the only justification for my trying to tell you what he said to me during that memorable and moving interview which he graciously granted me last March, exactly a year after his exile from Tibet into India. I feel that I must share with you my recollections of what he said to me, particularly in view of his own feeling about this country. He regarded England as a force for good in the world of today, as playing a most unique role in the West. He said that London was the spiritual and ethical centre of Europe and when I asked him whether this meant that many wise souls had begun to take incarnation in this country, he assented. He also stated that even the Government in this country was more aware of the position of Tibet than perhaps in any other country of the West. I feel, therefore, that I ought to tell a sympathetic audience of this sort, as faithfully as I can recall it, what the Dalai Lama said to me in answer to a number of questions that I put to him.

Read more: My Talk with the Dalai Lama

Universality and Sectarianism

Raghavan Iyer – USA

[October 8, 1971, Presidential Address - North American Theosophical Convention, Toronto. Published in Hermes, June 1976.]

Adepts, Mahatmas, and Universal Beings are not here to consolidate anyone's pet ideas, pet likes and dislikes, but watch over those who can appreciate and enjoy what is involved in the gait of a noble elephant, who will accept it like children, who will cling to nothing. Yet many people, because of fears that are understandable enough, want to save something and therefore there is sectarianism. Coleridge put the problem very well in regard to Christianity, but it is true equally in regard to Theosophy. He who loves Christianity more than every other religion will love his own sect more than every other sect, and in the end love himself best of all. There is a logical and psychological connection between egocentricity and claims on behalf of the uniqueness of institutions or of formulations. This much is by now clear in relation to each other's orthodoxies and isms, and every man is desperately wanting to get out of the problem within himself in some way. But there is no technique. Authentic solutions involve a redefinition of self, a breakthrough – from the realm of kama manas, the psychic self, with its elaborate and boring history of likes and dislikes, fears and personal memories – to the sphere of the noetic with its golden moments of freedom of awareness, which every human soul has and which may be threaded together on a single strand.

Read more: Universality and Sectarianism

The Politics of the Future

Raghavan Iyer – USA

[From Parapolitics].

Who cares for the fraternity of mankind? If some enlightened beings had not cared for the extension of freedom and had not shown the spirit of fraternity, there would have been no extension of liberty since the eighteenth century. All such extensions of political liberty re-enact parapolitical teachings and movements toward mental, psychological, and spiritual freedom. If some men had not been willing to meet the costs of commitment to extending opportunities to others, the process of equalization would never have begun.

Those few who had enough did much for many who had little. A few men worked for the freedom of women; a few who belonged to the ruling nations worked for the freedom of the ruled; a few members of the upper classes, aristocrats or anarchists, worked for the freedom of the very poor. Those who so labored were truly aristocratic in spirit, full of an inner confidence beyond the meanness and narrowness of the bourgeoisie. They appreciated the absurdity of external tokens. The wisest always recognized that Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité were sacred, but also saw that while their politicization and secularization in the realm of human limitations was necessary, it was liable to be costly and that many would come to be enormously disappointed with the resulting political infrastructure. That is exactly the point we have reached. We must recover the elements of transcendence in every notion so that we can see beyond “isms,” institutions, rules and roles, and especially see beyond the passing panorama of shifting shadows on the wall of the Cave.

Read more: The Politics of the Future

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