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THE NECESSARY SILENCE
THE practitioners of occult science in the east tell us of certain dwellers in the solitudes of Thibet and the Himalayas, Initiates, Masters, heirs to the wisdom of the "Sons of Light," or the "Seven Primordials," who possess the seven keys which enable them to understand the sacred prehistoric texts. They are said to be the silent depositories of the secret of the intermolecular or interetheric forces, by the aid of which the races of beings who preceded man upon this earth used to transport to enormous distances monoliths of more than five hundred tons' weight, which have no relation to the stones that surround them and whose arrangement and astronomical orientation manifestly reveal the intervention of an intelligent and even a highly scientific mind.
These monoliths are sometimes carved, as for instance the famous colossal idols in the valley of Bamian, in Afghanistan, of which one is 173 feet high, or the five hundred and fifty monsters of Easter Island, in Polynesia, which, we may observe in passing, remain one of the most insoluble and perplexing riddles in the world. Hewn out of basalt, reclining or standing erect upon their platforms, these sculptures, one of which measures over 90 feet in height, are undoubtedly the most ancient human effigies to be found upon our earth. Official science ascribes to them an antediluvian origin, while esoteric tradition regards them as portraits of the giants of the last Atlantean race, which became degenerate and lapsed into witchcraft shortly before the disappearance of the mysterious continent whereof Easter Island is supposed to be merely one of the loftier summits to-day emerging from the lonely Pacific.
I have before me as I write the photographs of some of these haunting giants; and I do not believe that in our most oppressive nightmares it would be possible to imagine faces more formidable, more impassive and unfeeling, more eternally ferocious, more coldly supercilious, more pitilessly disdainful and icily omnipotent. Are they Selenites or Martians, with their tightly-closed, implacable mouths and those eyes of theirs, hollow, like wells of malediction, or protuberant and framed in an airman's goggles? They are not in any way simian, as one might have supposed, but rather represent demoniacal and abstract entities, such as evil, doom and fatality. They seem not so much inhuman as prehuman or posthuman; and they bear a horrible relation to certain ancestral memories which slumber in the marrow of our bones, warning us that such faces undoubtedly once existed.
But let us return to our great Initiates. They are, it appears, reputed to be the guardians of the irresistible and incommensurable sidereal force, the force which supports and directs the worlds and which is capable, if it were misused, of destroying in a moment the whole human species, all that lives upon the earth and this very earth itself; but it is also capable, if it were wisely tamed, of ensuring man an ultimate royalty, perhaps access to other heavenly bodies and, in any case, a power so great that the Golden Age which existed of old, thanks to the subjection of this force, might flourish once more upon our planet.
All this is possible; and, for the moment, we need not go into the matter. But that, possessing the secret of this force and of many others, transmitted from Hierophant to Candidate, or, as they say "from mouth to ear," the experts in occult science do not divulge it and place it at the service of humanity: this is the great reproach brought against them; and for all those who are not aware that the end of Initiation is not power and material happiness but wisdom, development and the uplifting of the inner being it is the best proof that they are cheats and impostors. It may be that, driven into a corner, they are silent because they have nothing to tell us; but the argument is not so unanswerable as those who avail themselves of it are inclined to think. We shall perhaps see this before long. It is indeed not impossible that one day some accident of knowledge will place one or other of our scientists in a position analogous to that of these Masters or Initiates. To him also the terrible question of the necessary silence will then present itself. We have but lately witnessed in this war the insensate and demoniacal use which man has made of certain inventions. What will happen if other energies are placed in his hands, energies far more formidable, which we seem to be on the point of discovering and releasing?
Man is not ready to know more of such matters than he now knows. The safety of the species is at stake. Humanity, which is hardly emerging from its infancy, or has only just attained the dangerous period of adolescence (it would be about sixteen or seventeen years of age, according to Dr. Jaworski's well-supported and striking historic parallel), has already passed the limit of the inventions which it is able to assimilate or endure without incurring the risk of death. Almost all of them, from the subjection of steam and the still dubious taming of electricity, have done it incomparably more harm than good. Explosives, for example; which have helped it to build a few roads -- a work which the Romans, for that matter, did quite as well as we do -- to open up a few mines, to pierce a few tunnels, have cost it millions of young lives.
Perhaps it is time, not to check the investigations of science, but to control its discoveries and to reserve, as the occultists wisely did, for a select circle of Initiates, rigorously tested and bound by inviolable oaths, the secret of those too perilous energies around which we are feeling our way and which are on the point of revealing themselves and becoming public property.
Our moral evolution is several centuries behind our scientific evolution; and it is more than probable that the latter, being too swift and too intensive, may disastrously impede the former. It will profit no one to travel in three hours from Paris to Pekin, from Pekin to New York and from New York to Calcutta, if these repeated and miraculous journeys leave those who take them in the same frame of mind on their arrival as on their departure. We are more or less in the same position as Russia, whose heart and spirit were not steadfast enough, not resolute enough, to bear what the head had too quickly and too artificially stored up. Nothing is more quickly disseminated or more readily assimilated than the results of science; nothing, on the other hand, is more slow, more painful or more precarious than moral evolution; and yet it is upon this alone, as we are realizing more and more clearly, that man's happiness and future depend.