A. R. Orage

Gurdjieff International Review

My Note Book

by A. R. Orage

January 1934


Modern Knowledge and Ancient—Disappearance of Soul-Science—Coins—Conventional and Intrinsic Values—The Absolutely Intrinsic forever Unknowable—Bio-Chemistry in 600 A. D.—Men and Things Radio-Active.

[Friends and admirers of A. R. Orage, Editor of The New English Weekly describe him as a practical mystic, others as an impatient idealist; either way, he and his newspaper are forces to reckon with in the building of a new society everywhere. In this quarterly instalment of his “Note Book” he makes use of Analogy, which is the guiding law in Nature, the only true Ariadne’s thread that can lead us, through the inextricable paths of her domain, towards her primal and final mysteries.—The Aryan Path Eds.]

Suppose that the capacity to carry on the discipline of modern science were to atrophy in the world, but that our textbooks remained to be discovered by a future generation,—what would our remote descendants make of them? If they had reason, they could not but conclude that our scientific dissertations appeared to exhibit reason. And since many of them would appear to refer to practical results they could not but conclude that there seemed to be method in our unintelligibility. Ultimately, perhaps, or possibly through the agency of a few people who had preserved the traditions, our science might begin to be understood; and little by little, if all went well, our textbooks would be read as intelligently as they were written. I am often tempted to employ this parallel when reading the “ancient scriptures.” Nobody with reason can deny that, however indecipherable, fantastic and irrelevant they may appear, they have the form and formality not only of reason but of exact reasoning. And nobody, again, of any judgment can deny that at least they appear to be concerned about practical matters and about practical matters of obviously the very highest importance to the authors. Of relatively late years, moreover, the parallel can be carried into the field of interpretation and revival. Many of us remember, as one of our greatest experiences, the translation into modern language of some of the ancient texts by Madame Blavatsky. It is true that even Madame Blavatsky could not reduce the ancient wisdom to the level of our ordinary understanding; but without the smallest doubt she convinced many of us, first, that the ancient wisdom of the soul was once a science; secondly, that its disappearance from the world was not on account of its supersession by a superior science, but on account of some temporary occultation of the higher faculties of man; thirdly, that the tradition of the science remained and possibly continued to be taught by its masters and practised by its pupils; and, finally, that it was concerned with the highest values, without the realisation of which all our civilisation is doomed merely to creep, as it were, on the ground. What, and much more, the translation of the Rosetta tablet was to our knowledge of Cuneiform, Madame Blavatsky’s discovery of a key to the ancient science was, and will be, to the world’s knowledge of its own spiritual past and future. It is even unimportant to inquire whether Madame Blavatsky did anything else, or, indeed, was anything else than an inspired “reader” of the long-dead and forgotten language. In the history of values still to be realized she will rank as the great re-discoverer and initiator.…

[The complete text is available in the printed copy of this issue.]
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