Instructions on the Existence of Universal Wisdom
Mystery is the enemy of Truth.
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
(Note: The following was issued by the A.`.A.`. in Detroit, probably around 1925 e.v. anno xxi)
Since the invention of the European printing-press the civilized world has been flooded with literature emanating from a large number and variety of societies, organizations, brotherhoods and lodges, each claiming to be the guardian of a “secret doctrine,” a “sacred wisdom,” or an “ancient way,” which not only claimed to provide answers to many of the most difficult questions in religion and philosophy, and to confer certain magical powers on its initiates, but also usually claimed divine authority, oriental origin and great antiquity. At first some of these claims were taken seriously by leaders of Western thought.
A little book published anonymously in A.D. 1610, entitled: The Discovery of the Brotherhood of the Honorable Order of the Rosy Cross may truly be said to have convulsed the intellectual life of Middle Europe for years; until the subsequent publication by Valentine Andrea of an explanation that the work made wholly fictitious claims, brought into disrepute the general idea of a secret doctrine as such, and even struck a heavy blow against the Parascelsian occultism which has been gaining adherents since its promulgation a hundred and fifty years before. The rapid rise of the Cartesian philosophy, and the success which attended the investigations of experimental science, caused the speculative and practical savants respectively to regard all hidden teachings as ridiculous and contemptible.
Nevertheless there were still many who were willing to be lured by strange claims who carried on much of the old “hidden tradition” under various forms. Some systems derived their inspiration from theopathetics like Tanchelm, Gichtel and Kuhlmann and other passivist-quietist teachers; others from theosophists who applied the laws of the natural and ethereal world to the construction of a religious system, such as Boehme and Swedenborg; others again followed theurgic traditions such as those of Appollonius of Tyana, Peter of Alcantara, St. Julian of Norwich and others too numerous to mention, who claimed spiritual guidance and sometimes miraculous power through supernatural endowment rather than through magical arts.
The publication by H.P.Blavatsky (ob. 1891) of her greatest work, The Secret Doctrine, lead to the incorporation of a number of the traditional teachings of Hinayana Buddhism and Saiva Hinduism into the secret teachings of several organizations; and the circulation in Europe of the exposition of the Hebrew Kabbala called the Zohar, (reputed to have been written by the Rabbi Simon ben Jochai) added still another tradition to the already confused system of secret teaching.
All of these teachings and traditions have their modern followers and exponents, usually men and women of much zeal who spend the greater part of their lives in endeavoring to convince the world that this or that doctrine is the one great teaching, which holds the key to all the problems of religion, philosophy, and sometimes sociology, for which the world is seeking. Yet, in spite of all their energy and zeal, none of them has succeeded in gaining for his system the allegiance of the generality of the leaders of thought and science, philosophy, religion or sociology. And the spiritual and intellectual satisfaction which they offer has sufficed for very few of those who were in a position to investigate their systems by the methods familiar to genuine scholars of whatever school of thought.
Some of these systems required their adherents to accept a theory of origins and an eschatology which they were unable to reconcile with the most certain results of scientific investigation. Others required the devout and pious to sacrifice their spiritual beliefs and consolations for an astral materialism disguised as a dynamistic spiritualism. Others again seriously put forward philosophical conceptions which were shown by the best of ancient and modern philosophers to be untenable in their literal sense. Other systems were connected with subversive political and sociological doctrines and overridden with an extraordinary variety of fads and strange customs. Others required from their initiates promises and practices to which no honorable man could consent.
And yet, amid all this welter and confusion there was not one of these systems which had not to its credit something that was of value, some spark of truth that held it together for at least a time against the storms and attacks which every such system had to face during the nineteenth century. As a rule the more truth it possessed the longer it lasted and the larger the number of adherents it gained. But sooner or later most of these secret teaching succumb to the attacks of those who, wise enough to see their short-comings, are not wise enough to discover the precious ore hidden among the mass of worthless gangue.
The Principle of Identity on which all thought is based presupposes the unity of truth. So much all except the most extreme relativists will admit.
It follows that, if enough were known, it would be possible to construct a complete system of universal knowledge of which no one part could possibly contradict another. If any contradiction were present, even by implication, it could be demonstrated that the system was either incomplete or in some measure false. Therefore, if now or at any future time, a claim were made on behalf of any person or organization that such knowledge did actually exist and was in his or its possession, that claim, however suspicious and improbable, would not in its nature be inherently absurd or impossible. But before the truth of such a claim could be admitted the most careful investigation would have to be undertaken and the most stringent tests would have to be applied, to ensure that it was not partially or completely fraudulent.
These on whose behalf this paper is circulated most definitely claim that they are in possession of the outlines of such a system, in possession of something approaching to universal knowledge, and of a tradition not otherwise obtainable than through them.
They invite the interested reader of this paper to make application for such information as will lead to his becoming possessed of as much of this universal knowledge as he may require or be able to qualify himself for.
And in order to dispel suspicions, they offer to substantiate the genuineness of their offer by actually imparting this universal knowledge, and by superabundantly demonstrating its truth and any and every way that has as yet been imagined on earth. They declare themselves able to show conclusively that the dogma of the Relativity of Knowledge, when carried to the extremes of its foremost modern exponents, is false and obscuranist. And upon those who genuinely aspire to have the advantage of this teaching, they impose no very difficult conditions.
Love is the law, love under will.