In a post in another discussion (found here ), I made some comments that could understandably be perceived as flippant or even irrelevant, regarding the place of UFOs in the Theosophical worldview, especially when it comes to the Masters. I thought it would be interesting to open a separate discussion, first to further explain the thinking underpinning those suggestions, and second to explore with others any possibilities that come to mind because to me it's actually quite interesting and relevant.
That there's something substantial and unexplained going on with UFO phenomena is, in my opinion, not even up for debate. People aren't just seeing swamp gas, ball lightning or the planet Venus. I am sure of that, but I am not fixed in my ideas about just what is happening.
So why is it relevant to Theosophy (and by using the capitalized title here, I am referring specifically to Blavatsky's dispensation and its various offshoots)? Because the SD deals with the nature of the cosmos itself, a very big place--and yet it is also so very anthropocentric. Anthropogenesis is all about us and our own solar system. If I remember correctly, I think Blavatsky even stated such in a way that suggested that there are or could be other such systems but that she was focusing on this one--but without explicitly saying there are others. In other words, the door was left open and it seems like it was done intentionally.
So what about the Masters? What makes me think they could be connected with UFO phenomena? Simply put, if everything we read about them in The Mahatma Letters alone is true, that they are the Elder Brothers keeping watch over humanity's progress and evolution, then extraterrestrials would seem to be a very important thing for them to be keeping an eye on. If UFOs are connected with beings from elsewhere in the universe, clearly more advanced than humanity along certain evident lines, then their involvement, influence, or even interference in humanity's affairs would be important to the Masters, would it not? What would they have to say about it? How does karma play into this? Did the Masters know they'd be coming? Is it written in karma somehow? If the Masters are as prescient as is claimed, I would think they would have to have known, and would possibly even be involved in the phenomena somehow.
What about the Masters actually being a manifestation of UFO phenomena? How do we know they're not? Is that where their knowledge and wisdom about humanity and the universe really comes from?
Anthropogenesis tells us the story of humanity's development as a sort of grand "project" involving higher beings from other spheres of existence. The connections to UFO lore seem obvious to me.
All of this material came to us well before World War II, a major tipping point in the occurrence of UFO sightings, so I'm not surprised to see a lack of references to them in the literature. But it's happening now, and these questions about humanity's place in the cosmos are on the minds of many millions of people who have never even heard of Theosophy. It seems important to me to fit these things together. If Theosophy is to be a comprehensive source of wisdom about what it means to be human and to be a conscious participant in the evolution of the cosmos, and if the Earth is in fact being visited by other "humanities," there is a need for integration between these two fields of inquiry.
In closing, I want to be clear about what I am not doing in this line of inquiry: I am not applying a reductionist, theoretical UFO motif attempting to explain the SD away as the story of space aliens visiting and shaping humanity. Ancient Astronaut theory does this, writing off all mythology and religious tradition as simply ignorant misinterpretation of technologically superior beings and how early humanity saw them, and I think this is far too simplistic. Anyone who studies Theosophy knows of its depth and know that mythology has much deeper meaning than any such theory can ever explain.
What I am suggesting is, in fact, that the UFO phenomenon may be a whole lot deeper and more complex than most modern media referring to it is letting on. Given the metaphysical complexity illustrated in the Secret Doctrine, we have a lot of food for thought when it comes to these lights in the sky, these crop circles, and these close encounters--we know of other planes of existence which need to be taken into account, and we know of lines of development far deeper than the technological and the civil on which these visitors may be more advanced than us. Though they may be biologically different from us, do they have Atma/Buddhi/Manas too? Have they transcended their own kama-manas? Do they see us letting our own kamic nature running away with us and look on us with compassion, remembering when they were at that same stage? Do they have some kind of karmic obligation to help us while at the same time allowing us to do with our own karma what we will? Is that why they don't just land already and say hello?
Does anyone else see where I'm going with this?
I do go quite a bit into the HPB/Masters paradigm here--actually spent quite a bit of time writing within it.I see that, and stepping outside the situation after seeing the response to it, I understand how it looks. But in the original post that I reference at the beginning of this one, I actually brought up the UFO connection because it is one that, to me, the Masters paradigm does not adequately address. Now I feel kind of foolish for writing the post, because it was essentially a long and convoluted way of going about making the point that the paradigm has some important weaknesses, by way of a sort of thought experiment exploring how the UFO phenomena might look when viewed through that particular lens.
Theosophy addresses what is usually deemed "paranormal," from psychic phenomena to ghosts/spirits and the afterlife, and to a great extent, validates and explains their existence. To my mind, if it does all that, but doesn't tackle UFOs, that's a problem. I suppose that's all I'm really saying.
The problem with HPB's Theosophy is that it isn't so much a theosophy. Rather it is a set of doctrines and loosely connected statements. There is no true esoteric philosophy present. There is no Theosophical epistemology, no coherent heirarchy of beings, forces and relationships. Inassuch the door is open to making any number of assertions on whatever basis one chooses. That may not be a bad thing, however if one is only allowed to stay within the confines of the established literature in HPB's tradition then the exercise of imagination, regarding aliens, UFO's or anything else is severely limited.
I think that HPB might have been very careful in her presentation of Theosophy for precisely the reason that if you hand someone a ready-made teaching, with everything bound together in a rigid logic, you risk defeating your own purpose should some important "fact" in that system eventually be disproven. Then, all the important, relevant stuff one said gets chucked out the window when one becomes classified as "discredited." Blavatsky does make certain claims that she holds as factual, such as the rise and fall of Atlantis and the existence of Masters--but to me these aspects are not really important. The bulk of what is given in the SD is fruitful whether or not certain facts are true. As I study Theosophy, or any such teaching, I take into the account the human fallibility of the person presenting it, just as I take my own fallibility into account. People can be wrong about some things, and right about other things. In fact, this describes pretty much everybody.
Further, I think it is neither possible nor helpful to approach Theosophy from the level of the analytical mind. Instead, true coherent, synthetic comprehension is required in order to understand and then apply what HPB was saying. In this sense, yes, Theosophy does seem to be a set of loosely connected statements, but in practice so far I have found this to be true only in the sense that HPB does not hold our hands and connect the dots for us. Instead, the idea is that we develop our own faculties of intuition and holistic mentation in order to come to our own, individual synthesis of what is given.
A truly all-encompassing teaching would have to also make room for the subjective aspect of truth, an aspect that academia has yet to admit has relevance, and could never be wholly transmitted via purely objective statements. This is one reason that putting Theosophy under the academic "microscope" can only bring one so far. One cannot simply "learn" Theosophy. In order to understand it, one must experience it and live it. This means that a mind unwilling to do that also has no ground for dismissing it, a fact which is often used on its own merit to discredit what someone is saying in academic circles.
For the above reasons, I find it difficult to understand why "magical thinking" would be discouraged when dealing with these subjects, because theosophy--whether HPB's dispensation or anyone else's--requires the exercise of that faculty called "magical thinking" by those academics who look down their noses at it. You can't have a theosophy without it. It's part of the package. What you have without "magical thinking" is a theoretical framework, not a theosophy. (I am not sure if what I am saying here is true according to the site's official definition of what "a theosophy" is, so my apologies of that is breached here). The idea put forth over and over by Blavatsky and many others is that esoteric wisdom can only be understood by beholding it from a level beyond the rational mind. The problem with this, from the viewpoint of a skeptic standing outside that perspective, is that they do not have the ability to distinguish between the super-rational and the sub-rational.
Thank you Daniel for expressing your thoughts out loud, which also summarize thoughtful opinions of other people, which are spread more widely across the Internet and indeed the world. Going to the heartland of these issues may I offer some insights which have partly come to me from wide reading and some degree of practical superphysical experience:
1) Many alien races have visited and are still visiting earth,not only from other planets in the Solar System but also from distant star systems. Most of course being far in advance of humanity both technologically and ethically. Their primary reason for coming here is in order to try and help us to reach a plateau level at which stage we can be accepted into a galactic federation and be freed up to travel between the stars. The positive gains to our evolution from such experience would be well nigh impossible to encompass by many people, mired as they currently are in human limitations. Indications that humanity is still at a primitive level on earth (allowing for occasional exceptions) are such things as the facts that we have not put an end to wars, allow two-thirds of our population to starve, and grossly mis-treat the animal kingdom. Moreover, through rapacious greed, we are in the process of making our planet uninhabitable by pollution and global warming.
2) The Alien visitors are not Adepts or Masters of the Wisdom from our own globe, but because of their advanced spiritual status - some are undoubtedly Adepts themselves, they are welcomed here by our own Adept Brotherhood and are allowed to function in a wholesome way to help in earth's evolution. There are certain features of commonality within the Cosmos, for example it is said somewhere in our theosophical literature that our own Brotherhood of Adepts - the Inner Government of the world - is modelled on the same sort of organisation on Sirius.
3) Although much is known about our Alien visitors by our govenments and attempts have been made by the Aliens for ambassadorial contact, the highest overtures have been blocked mostly due to the fact that meaningful technology transfer, especially in the area of free energy would prevent profits being made by the transnational companies. Likewise, if humanity put an end to wars, which are also very profitable enterprises, the armaments industry would go into decline. As I understand it: a) An end to wars on earth and b) the end to the weaponization of space are two important features that our alien visitors insist on before they can move further in helping us. Naturally, governments do not want their people's to know that they are being disadvantaged by their decisions, so a vast amount of disinformation is put out either by denial or putting people into an antagonistic mode regarding the Alien visitors who have really come to help them. But many insiders claim that we are dealing with something behind the scenes which is very well known and even an open secret.
Those are the basic principles upon which we are currently relating to the Alien visitors and their UFOs, but there has been a lot of consciousness raising by Dr. Greer and other brave souls, so attitudes may conceivably change in governments during the future. However, part of the problem there is that the information is compartmentalized and the real decisions are taken by a secret cabal representing the military/industrial complex, in some cases the President or Head of State is even kept out of the loop, or threatened with dire consequences if attempts be made to democratize the information.
Thanks Bill, that was a rather thoughtful reply, engaging the ideas from my post on their own terms. Thank you.
From what I've heard, Greer is one of the more interesting voices in Ufology, incorporating as he does many of the basic concepts also put forth in Theosophical sources. I started reading one of his books at the recommendation of a friend but I soon became busy and had to set it aside.
The outline you sketch here seems coherent from a theoretical standpoint. If, as is claimed by HPB along with many other prolific writers on such subjects, the ageless wisdom truly does speak of principles both eternal and omnipresent, then one would expect to see them mirrored elsewhere in the cosmos. There should be points of commonality between the evolution of one world and another. This would include the emergence of adepts on other planets, just as they are said to have emerged here. At a time when contact with other civilizations seems so feasible to so many people, a true test of Theosophy's relevance would be how well it makes the transition from an anthropocentric worldview to one that involves the development of self-conscious lifeforms elsewhere in the universe. Only a truly universal teaching can survive or facilitate such a shift in worldviews.
I would imagine that adepts from this planet would recognize adeptship wherever they see it, not just in humans but also in visitors from other planets (or even planes). If those visiting were seen to be adepts, it would stand to reason that they would be welcomed.
I don't think humanity has any business stepping out into the wider cosmos considering how our own planet is being managed. The thought of technology advanced enough to carry us to other star systems being put into our hands at this point is rather depressing to consider. Such an enterprise as interstellar travel seems to be doomed from the get-go when humanity is currently incapable of uniting itself on its own planet. It is scary that the idea of branching out into the cosmos seems in many cases to be motivated by the same thinking that is ruining Earth. For example, "let's terraform Mars before we burn up all the resources here on Earth, so we can go and take them from that planet once we run out." "Let's mine asteroids for metals we've tied up here on Earth in skyscrapers and vehicles devoted to the worship of commerce."
Totally agreed Daniel - I believe in time we will get our act together. More than likely the transnational companies will eventually come round to see it is in their own interests to act in concert with spiritual evolution rather than opposing it. If you have seen the interesting documentary "Thrive" you will note how at least one member of the family of one these dynastic companies has put his shoulder to that particular wheel.
May I offer my opinion on H.P. Blavatsky. Although she had a mix of abilities, her main one was to act as a lens for the members of the Adept Brotherhood to restablish certain principles of the esoteric tradition, at times people even saw her face overshadowed by that of her Adept teacher. Their doctrine particularly The Path Ideal regarding the perfectability of the human soul was stated in the most brilliant terms and inspiring English - and from someone whose native language was Russian. It was for others who came later to put these ideas into a more structured and comprehensible form, but for her was the honour and privilege to spearhead the teachings in our age. Just why she was chosen we cannot fully evaluate - her adept teachers said, "she was not the best, but she was the best available". I imagine her extreme loyalty to her teachers, her preparedness to bear the calumnies and lies that were told about her and resist the opposition of convential dogmatic religion all had something to do with it. She gave her life and health for what she believed in and I honour her for that. It is always easier for those who come after, but for the pathfinders often great pain has to be borne. The layperson might think, well why would anyone do it? But for someone on the path of hastened unfoldment there is really no other way to go.
Such an interesting string of comments to a very interesting initial commentary!
Dan, I have wondered the exact same thing about the UFO phenomenon - wondered if "they" were in some way linked to the "externalization of the hierarchy", to borrow a phrase from the Bailey books. Maybe not in a transparent direct way, but just in some way. I completely agree with what you said in your second paragraph. In fact, those words could be my own.
Of course this whole line of inquiry presupposes that one at least entertains the idea that there are such things as "the Masters", and various "hierarchies" or counsels, whether for Earth or Sirius or anywhere else. There are some who do not subscribe to this, yet who are theosophists.
For myself, I tend to think that there are indeed "Masters", if you want to call them that. At least Conscious Beings who function at a level of consciousness that is for the most part inaccessible to most human beings for whatever reason.
What form these Beings have or can take, is another question that I ponder. I do not have a conclusive opinion about that yet, but I'm not bothered about that. It's an open question still for me and I eagerly await further discoveries! Some of them may be of this Earth and of human lineage, so to speak. Others may be of another planetary lineage. In a way, this is a higher turn of the spiral, similar to discovering unknown kinds of people right here on Earth was centuries ago. And if they have advanced knowledge and abilities, or unusual bodies, I don't necessarily see this as magical, but based on something - some kind of physics or something - that we don't know or understand yet.
The Universe is a big place, and bound to be full of surprises. Blavatsky is not the only one to allude to this. I believe Jesus himself alluded to the same: And I have other sheep which are not of this fold: those also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one flock, one shepherd. John 10:16 He may have meant the people in the next town, or people on the other side of the Earth - or Beings on the other side of the Galaxy, or in another Galaxy, far far away, or all of the above! But inherent in that phrase is the unity of all. Naturally churches commandeered it for their own ends, but putting all that aside for a bit, in the broader scheme of things and from a theosophical point of view, it alludes to the existence other Lives somewhere else, and that gives me something to ponder.
And Bill, I agree very much with what you said:
It is always easier for those who come after, but for the pathfinders often great pain has to be borne. The layperson might think, well why would anyone do it? But for someone on the path of hastened unfoldment there is really no other way to go.
This is very true, even at more humble levels along the Way!