Friday, August 3, 2012

Interview with Jorge Angel Livraga - Part 1

Interview given in 1987 to Delia Steinberg Guzman

DSG: Professor Livraga, I would like to begin by asking you what brought you to form New Acropolis - why and for what did you do it?

JAL: In order to answer, I will give a brief overview of my life, because the creation of New Acropolis was not a spontaneous action, nor the result of my will; it did not have a very definite objective.

I was born in a Catholic Italian family and spent the first five years of my life at the side of my paternal grandmother, who formed me in everything to do with life and religion with the simplicity of someone from a rural class, who, having arrive in Argentina, had moved up to the middle class, with a relatively low level of culture.

When I started going to school - in Argentina, the majority of schools are state-run, not private or religious -, things changed. And my father - an engineer, very interested in scientific advances - changed my ideas until I was converted into an evolutionist materialist who believed in an abstract, unknowable god. So what my grandmother had told me seemed to be fairy tales for uneducated people. This created a dichotomy for me: the uneducated people where those who had faith and the university-educated people were those who did not believe.

My father passed away when I was fifteen, and this left me very hurt and desolate. Although I was not lacking money, I felt alone, not knowing what to do, and I abandoned my studies. I went to a family property in the country and devoted myself to auto racing. I no longer believed in god or in anything. I abandoned any spiritual belief, the old teachings of my grandmother seemed ridiculous to me.

Once that phase had passed, I returned to Buenos Aires to take up my studies and begin university. I met a Mr. Smith, in theory by chance, since I only wanted to study languages; Smith had spent five years in Tibet and was acquainted with esotericists and alchemists, and was very interested in para-psychological phenomena. During the course of the English classes, and in order to demonstrate to me the notion of Maya (illusion in Sanskrit), perhaps using some form of hypnotism, he would place a pen on the table that would disappear between my hands when I reached out to pick it up. In this way, he taught me that things are illusory and that the senses are deceive us. He then quickly began to tell me about reincarnation, the laws of Dharma and my great surprise, all of these notions seemed as simple to understand as remembering something, and in a very short time, hours, in a few days, my life changed completely.

I sold my racing car, abandoned everything that I felt tied down to materially, and devoted myself to reading philosophical and esoteric works. I worked in the Theosophical Society and also in certain esoteric and spiritualist groups... My personal fortune allowed me to travel every time I heard of a medium or someone who could produce psychic phenomena, to see them and observe, and so I became familiar with all those questions.

Later, I began corresponding with Jinarajadasa and Sri Ram - both international presidents of the Theosophical Society - and decided to withdraw myself from the world. To this effect, I transformed the basement of my house into something similar to an Egyptian crypt in which I worked for nearly four years. During that time I also attended different faculties, Medicine, Philosophy, and Literature.

When I turned twenty-five, I left the crypt and on the counsel of the masters previously mentioned, I tried to form a group and publish a magazine aimed at young people. I got together with other university students who thought that the official curriculum could be complemented with subjects of a more esoteric nature. In searching for the sources, I studied Egyptian hieroglyphics and various forms of ancient languages, including cuneiform. I returned to my studies and the possibility of getting together with like-minded people to publish a magazine.

We printed the magazines ourselves; we sold it ourselves and put up advertisement posters. This brought more people and little by little, New Acropolis, without having planned it exactly, but rather following the advice of my masters and without a very definite idea of what would become New Acropolis; these ideas came later.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Let us begin by clarifying that the real ideological and etymological sense of the word "courtesy" comes from the old "Courts", places commonly used by philosophers, artists, writers, politicians, economists, judges, doctors and, in general, all professionals and distinguished people to whom it devolved to make the considerations and decisions in a State or Kingdom, in a congregation where, in the words of Plato, by their talents, knowledge and skills, they paid a public service to society; these were the ones who were in charge of the State, a word which in Latin became the "Res publica" (public concern), whence comes the word "Republic".

In all ancient cultures and civilizations that we know of, even partially, there was a "courteous" form of relations between people. In so-called the Middle Ages of the West, the customs of courtesy became configured in closed circles of communication between Ladies and Knights and among themselves, in training starting as Pages and culminating in Knighthood.

Unfortunately, with the passage of time, many of these healthy and useful traditions fell into disuse and even degeneration, promoting false and deceitful practices. This last image is the one that has come down to us at the level of mass media. And today, among the youthful generations, those who suffered the deformations of the post-war period, courtesy appears as a synonym for falsehood and inauthenticity.

We as philosophers want to rescue and generate forms of politeness that separate us from stupefying animality and the bestialisation of the purely instinctive.

Courtesy is both a form of generosity and love; a recognition of the universal brotherhood beyond all differences of class, ethnicity, gender, nationality, social and economic states. It is a humble but pleasant way to apply our First Principle:

Bringing men and women of all faiths, races and social conditions around an ideal of universal brotherhood.

Just as when we make a gift, however poor it may be, we usually cover it with papers and colored ribbons, so that before reaching the object itself, the recipient has the feeling that we thought about them affectionately and we have taken care to express our feelings of affection and good wishes to them; every word or action must be prudently wrapped in our ability to give and love.

Developing polite manners does not make someone less of a man or a woman. On the contrary, the most effective and enjoyable gentlemen or ladies are the ones that put a bit of beauty, love and courtesy in all they do. They greet with a handshake, hug or kiss according to the circumstances and actors; and by "actor" we must understand what the Emperor Augustus understood: active and effective participants in life ... someone who does something. The real "Actor," according to the Mystery Dramas, is someone who represents things; someone who presents them again, but now with a level of human interpretation that enhances, beautifies and ennobles, so that everyone can participate.

We should strive to avoid any gesture of anger and bitterness, hatred or rancor. This attitude, although it begins by being merely external, if sustained with fortitude and perseverance, gets to sink in deeper and, like the clown in fairy tales, by both smiling and making people laugh, his joy ends up rubbing off on himself and he finds consolation for the misfortunes of life.

There are many political and religious "ideologies" that have caused genocides and have made many people mourn. Let us do the opposite, let us bring joy, peace, harmony, prosperity. A philosopher who is saddened by banal circumstances is not a true philosopher, and even less if  they appear so and go sharing their pains to all their friends, showing signs of spiritual weakness, and parasitic helplessness.

Become accustomed to giving rather than asking.

Let us not judge others in the dim light of our newly growing insight, abundantly warped by our passions. Let us be strong and upright. In the world there are too many beggars ... Do not be one of them.

I refer not only to the economic activity, but also globally. Let us give with overflowing hands! Our energy, our kindness and goodwill to all. Let us work hard. Let us study, think and pray as needed ... but above all things, let us break our molds of selfishness, with Humility of Heart, which is not that of the body and rags. Let us be Courteous ... Let us really and every day make a new and better world ... and live in it.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

'Every man and every woman not only need to have clothes, food, and in the best of cases, a car, but also something which is more important: we need to have, you might say, a bit of dignity, a handful of glory. But today’s world and the crisis in force are tearing away that little handful of dignity and glory. Sometimes it doesn’t matter whether we are well dressed, nor eat like princes; but it is important to be happy with ourselves and to have that little bit of glory, that handful of inner satisfaction that is the only one that will allow us to assimilate the food that we have in our mouths, the thoughts that we have in our head, the emotions that we have in our heart. It is really urgent to know ourselves.'

from 'How and Where to Know Ourselves' , par. 16

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Prophecies for the year 2000, part 2

There will be comparative studies done of not only the current great religions, bit also of the religions of the past. Today, no one, if they have a university education and a certain level of understanding and study, can say that the ancient religions were dictated by the devil. Nonetheless, a hundred years ago, this was accepted.

Today we can no longer accept that. We can no longer accept in any way that the great Greek philosophers, like a Socrates or a Plato, were influenced by a kind of animal with big horns, a tail and hoofs, who whispered to them the principles of The Republic or the principles of Being and Existing. We can no longer conceive of an Aristotle that was possessed by demons just before expounding on his Dialectics.

Today we recognize, everyone recognizes, those of us who say so and those of us who don’t, that from the most remote antiquity there were enlightened men, men who thought, men who could delve into the important questions. And the comparative study of these men, between their thought, between their works, will give us a renewed strength, a new impulse and new optimism. Because if within those fraternities and small groups, men who lived and taught emerged, why can’t we do it today? Today they can emerge as well.

The study of the Chivalric Orders of the Middle Ages, for example, is going to become more and more important and meaningful. Up until now, what has been shown of the Middle Ages, especially to the children, is what? Well, that there would be a man holding a very big stick, like a staff, and another man holding a very big stick, like a staff, and they would meet on a bridge. They would then throw themselves into a head on collision and fracture each others skulls. This is more or less what the average person thinks of the Middle Ages. There’s also a lady who always wears this large hat, always peering out of a castle, waiting for a knight that will never arrive.

It is obvious that all of this no longer satisfies us and that the Middle Ages have a different message, a different force. The Orders of Chivalry were something more than two imbeciles breaking each others’ heads at a crossroad. We are beginning to realize that a series of veils have been placed over those elements. In order to see or in order to bear the present, the past has been smeared. The newer research will however will make the humanity that will reach the year 2000 realize and perceive the importance of the olds forms of culture and what can be extracted from them.

Today, the Martial Arts of the Ancient Orient are being studied. Do you think that one hundred years ago , in 1875, somebody in a university chair, in a public place, among the civilized people or Europe, would think that it was necessary to study the codes of Japanese or Chinese Martial Arts? No, on the contrary, this would have been a total aberration. Yet today we are studying them.

Today we recognize that beyond the modern forms such as Japanese Jiu Jitsu, there were very ancient schools that used to train monastic knights in the Far East. And today, there are thousands and thousands of young people who practice these principles, some in a better way than others. And many youths have been helped by these, because these teachings, despite that which the sensationalist movies want to show us with individuals who throw big punches at each other and with the exploits of 007 and 007 and a half who are fighting, today’s youngsters sometimes find in the simple salutation before a tatami, a mysticism that they may not find elsewhere. It’s certain that through the control of their own body, they are trying to assert themselves in a society that does not give them strength and that, in a way, has left them alone.

We will also have to review, in this progression towards the year 2000, our political forms, Many political forms have already been tried, and none of them has been found completely satisfactory; and I’m not saying completely satisfying for everybody, because we will never all be satisfied. It’s like this lecture or talk. Some will say that I didn’t speak well, others will say that I spoke even worse, and others will ask how come I didn’t talk about other subjects. Which means that you won’t agree with each other. In politics, it is the same. Everybody can’t agree with a specific form of government; everybody can’t agree on a specific form of policy; but everybody will agree about the fact that it is necessary to deeply investigate all forms because they have not generated what they could give or what they promised to give.

This deep investigation of politics will lead to a conversion of politics into a Science of Politics, where the one who is in politics holds a Doctorate in Politics, like today where someone who practices medicine holds a Doctorate in medicine; the same with engineering, etc. Which means that Politics will have to abandon, let’s say its primitive and pre-scientific stage of improvisation, so that the ones who talk about politics can be the ones who have studied and know what has been going on up to now, and who have knowledge and capacities, because of their serious preparation; in the same way as the ones who speak of medicine or engineering have necessarily studied and gone through a preparation in Medicine or Engineering.

Perhaps then the politicians will stop fighting with each other. Why is there fighting among Politicians? Because there is no Science. In the same way, doctors used to fight in the stage of pre-scientific medicine, when they were saying that such disease was cured with toad saliva, whereas others said that it was healed with iguana saliva. And such was the fighting between doctors.

Today there are some basic, elementary medicines recognized by all and that are used by all doctors. When Politics gets to this scientific stage where things become clear and stop being opinions and start to become judgments, then this perpetual political race will end. Politics will be converted into the “Art of the Just conduct of the people”.

We are also going to encounter a new expression of Art; that’s to say we’ll find a new expression for Art that will try to transmit a message to people. The era of improvisation will also disappear little by little in the field of Art by the year 2000. This era of confusion when for instance, it doesn’t matter if a frame is set upside down; this will also fade away. Today, sometimes we don’t know if a frame is set upside down or not, because it only represents a formless mixture impossible to decipher. The forms of snobbery will also disappear in the face of a tighter and more open society; a society where gossip will have less importance.

In the face of this new Society, pseudo-artistic forms won’t survive. Today, when we attend an art, music, or painting event what happens? Well, sometimes while looking at a painting, trying to be like everyone else, we wonder “and this, what is it?” but of course trying not to let our bewilderment show on our face! We can see quite often, when we go to the movies or to one of those documentary films, the man hosting the film saying “And here, we can see the wonderful artwork of the painter Don Juan de los Palotes. Look how magnificent it is! And you see six stripes and a big spot. With this he wanted to represent “The Battle of Teruel”. And then everybody saying “Hum, very nice indeed…” But all we see is a big patch and it seems that we are the dumbest person in the world, who doesn’t understand a thing about painting. It is the same thing when, in a concert hall, we are presented avant-garde music that the specialized magazines have glorified, wherein a man gives a few strokes on the keyboard of a piano and the piece’s title is “Variations on a theme from Mozart”.

We are surprised about the general public opinion that considers that such painting, such sculpture or such piece of music conveys a great richness, an artistic message, when in reality, it is only a confused, deformed and sick reflection of a mind that is also sick and contaminated. Yet, everybody seems to agree that this is Art. Therefore, we often ask ourselves whether it’s because we were born so dumb, so stupid or because we picked up a hereditary flaw from a great grandfather, considering that faced with such music, such painting, such politics, we don’t understand anything.

This feeling of rejection that we are made to feel propels us towards a year 2000 where we can strive to live better. And such demanding and seeking of professionalism, such seeking of reliability, authenticity and truth, because we are tired of hearing lies, lies of all kinds; and because we want things to be clear and straight; this will bring a feeling of human fraternity; but a human fraternity that is real and not a human fraternity that is made up, that exists only in lightly spoken words, when for instance we say “I never forget my donation for the poor children of Africa!”. And then, later on, while we are eating a sandwich, drinking a glass of wine, reading in the newspaper “56,000 people starving in India! Imagine that, those poor people!”, and then we keep on eating our sandwich.

This means that in reality, our fraternity is not a fraternity of heart, but something simply theoretical. We talk of fraternity between men of different worlds, of course, but we don’t talk about fraternity with our janitor, we don’t talk of fraternity with our own brother, we don’t talk of fraternity with our friends.

The fraternity we need, the fraternity that would form the basis of the art of living together for the year 2000, is not a theoretical fraternity applied on abstract masses but a real living fraternity. It is Concord. The fraternity between a man and another man, between a woman and another woman, between a man and a woman. More then anything we need to learn to be good to our dog before being good to the Martians.

We need to learn to live with ourselves, to tolerate our own faults, to admire our greatness’, to put up with our pettiness’, to speed up our slowness’, to elevate all that is valuable within us, as an inner construction.

We need to accomplish a great inner work; that great inner work which is the great liberation of man.

That’s why New Acropolis proposes, for this launch towards the year 2000, the recreation of a new humanism. It proposes the formation of cores of Philosophical Fraternities where Men can meet each other, look at each other in the eyes and do what they think, with no violence, no fear, with the authenticity to say this, to think that; to have the courage to assert and proclaim our own convictions.

New Acropolis proposes the comparative study of Religions, Sciences, and Arts in order to arrive at the real understanding of that which underlies all of these things. Because we are getting tired of the superficiality. Because we can’t live on varnishes. Because we want to breath and drink air and water that is purer and deeper.

New Acropolis proposes the investigation of the unexplored laws of Nature and of the inner Man. That’s to say the knowledge of where I come from, who I am and where I am going. But without being told; I must see it for myself; to be able to somehow live it; I must feel something, experience it, feel it and live it even though I can’t explain it to myself in a rational way. I have to feel, like I feel when touching a column and say “Here, there is a column”. And not something rationalized, something Byzantine like saying for instance “Could it be possible, dear friends, that a column exists at this place? Let’s see, who believes so and who doesn’t agree?” In this world of opinions, we are all going crazy. We can no longer unite through the lower dimension; we need to do it like columns that unite together in the heights where their capitals bloom; there , in the highest part. The multiple and vain opinions are of no use to us; what we need is to put the hands of the body on corporeal things, and the hands of the soul on things of the soul. That’s to say to arrive at the perception, the direct contact, to face these fundamental truths. And then will come a year 2000 that won’t be only new, but that will also be better.

What we propose in this pyramid of evolution in which we live, is to scale our own side of the pyramid, always trying to go upwards and ahead; always trying to go to the highest part and not to the lowest; trying not to poison Nature, trying not to ruin the souls of other people, trying not to exploit the weak, trying not to hurt the ones who live around us.

We want to reach the year 2000 trying to build a New Acropolis, a new High City that does not cut us from the Past, that does not cut us from the Future. A High City that gives us the possibility to leave this stifling present; that allows us to feel that behind us there is something, that our past is noble, that we have not descended from a race of apes neither from decadent or degenerated beings, but that we have descended from men who sought the stars like we do and that ahead of us, there are generations who will know how also seek the valid aspects of Life and Death; generations who are going to investigate, who are going to try to encounter God in every way and who will try to encounter themselves.

From there, what we see for the year 2000, is not only a World that is New but also a World that is Better, and This, will be the result of the work of each of us. May no one say “I can’t”. We all can; in one way or another; at one level or another; in society or in an individual way, we can all say “I can do what I want, what my Will dictates to me”. That’s to say that we all can, in a certain way, meet ourselves. To do whatever little good action a day or a week; investigate what we want to know; enter into contact with the people we want to know.

We can already be living this year 2000, because I say to you that we are all contemporaneous, but we don’t live the same Time. That’s to say we all live in the same year, but mentally, we don’t live the same psychological year. If we can make this effort of consciousness; if we can reject the varnishes I was speaking of earlier; if we can deepen and reach the vein in the wood of History; if we can remove form the surface of the water the impurities that fell in and darkened it and mange to drink the deep, clear waters, then we are already living in the year 2000! We can all manage to live this year 2000, psychologically, fraternally, even if we should die tomorrow.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Prophecies for the year 2000, part1

First of all, I would like to clarify that, for those who are very young, who will live to see the year 2000, who will be able to live in that New and Different World, and for those of us who are not so young and might not live to see it but are nevertheless interested because of our children, our disciples, our loved ones or for the work we leave behind, I would like to clarify for everyone before anything that we have chosen the year two thousand as a point of reference. I do not believe that in the year two thousand, something different is going to happen; because the year two thousand is according to the Christian chronology. If we took the Muslim chronology, for example, we would have to deduct six centuries; if we used the Hebrew chronology, we would have to add several millennium; and if we used the Buddhist chronology we would have to add on another half a millennium, etc. To say that we are in this or that year is basically a chronological arrangement that is determined amongst groups of people and does not really contain any form of dramatic prophecy as is generally seen in those prophecies that announce “the end of the world”.

Everyone knows that around the year 1000, a lot of prophecies were given; there were people who committed suicide or left all their belongings to the Church or to their friends, thinking that some strange comet will come and blow up the Earth, or that some wicked angel will exterminate everyone on the planet.

It is that feeling of fear, of terror, that we must rid ourselves of. It’s true that we are in a kind of “turning point in History”, but this turning point will not arrive as punctually as when we say that in a certain year or on a certain date such and such thing will happen. The premonition of the end of the world or the destruction of humanity is an almost infantile terror that is found in the collective subconscious.

It is obvious that humanity is very old. Archaeological and historical investigations show us that an advanced and civilized humanity, a humanity who thinks - perhaps not the technological mankind that we know, but yes, a mankind who manipulates basic tools, a mankind who loves, who suffers and who dies, has existed for millions of years and will very probably continue to exist for millions more.

We may ask ourselves, nonetheless, what will humanity of the year 2000 be like? First of all, it’s important to understand that History, the course of History, like all things, is cyclical; and the study of History, like all things, teaches us that mankind is part of Nature.

It has been demonstrated that Space is circular. Everyone knows the laws of Einstein that state that not only is Space circular but that Time is also. Everything develops in a circular form. We know that the constellations travel on circular paths; that the Earth, the planets, etc., also function under that law, by the law of eternal return.

Therefore, to project the present time into the future time of the year two thousand would be a mistake; a mistake equivalent to what a futurologist of fifty or sixty years ago, who thought that in 1975, the world would be a projection of what had developed in the preceding century. However things did not happen like that ; great changes occurred.

The person in the year 1000 who tried to visualize what the year 2000 would be like, would have thought that maybe in the year 2000 or in this year, 1975, in many respects, it would be the same, we would all be engaged in a pilgrimage. For the Muslims it would be to the Mecca, for the Christians to the Holy Land, etc. However today, fortunately or unfortunately, nobody is very preoccupied about going on a pilgrimage to the Mecca or to the Holy Land. Today, interests are different; because the interest’s of every age are completely different .

People living in the year 2000 will have interests, will have inclinations completely different from ours as well.

Let’s analyze the possibilities, let’s analyze the trajectories in order to see what we can say about that period that we have fixed at the year 2000 and in what manner we can be part of that current of History.

It’s obvious, for example, that there are a series of studies currently being done in various fields that are going beyond what we could call official science. Everyone knows that official science is muddled in a certain inertia. If mankind would had followed official science (I will give a give a few examples) perhaps Columbus’ ships would not have arrived in America. Because according to the official science of the day, America did not exist and according to the official science of the day, the Earth was not round.

And if we would have left things to official science, we would not have airplanes either, because the universities of the last century maintained and “scientifically” demonstrated that objects heavier than air could not fly; only objects lighter than air could. We would not be able to split atoms either; nor would we be able to communicate over distances by radio and telephone, because official science has, in general, always opposed these innovations; it has always maintained a kind of inertia that looks more towards the past than towards the future.
There are investigations being carried out today that official science practically ignores. Let’s look at some of them, such as the problem of Parapsychology, for example.

The word parapsychology itself doesn’t mean anything, since as you know, it means “that which is beyond Psychology”. And how can we study something that we can’t even define? If you asked me “What is behind this door?” and I were to answer “Ah! What is on the other side of this door is that which is beyond the door”. In reality, that wouldn’t explain anything. But if I where to say that behind the door, there’s my office, there’s a desk, an electric typewriter, a filing cabinet, etc., then you would have an idea of what is behind the door; whereas by saying that what is behind the door is that which is behind the door, I wouldn’t be saying anything.

In the same manner, Parapsychology deals with things that are beyond common psychological phenomena, but an in-depth investigation of this phenomena has not been developed. There has been more development in the investigation of the tricks that could be done to fake this phenomena and therefore prove that this phenomena is not real. Which means that we go back to the same mentality as when it was denied that the Earth was round; there was the attempt to deny the rotundity of the Earth based on speculations. And it is the same with this.

There are a number of investigations and observations pertaining to the fact that there is more than what we understand to be simple Psychology; there are miles of archives that record cases of telepathic communication between two people; of people who have lifted themselves from the ground by way of a phenomenon called levitation; people that accomplish very strange phenomena, such as Mr. Uri Geller, who bent spoons or adjusted watches from a television stage, etc. Some say that they really occurred, others say that they were faked. Nevertheless, there is no serious study, and the studies that depend on testimonies do not arrive at an agreement as to the conclusions, which demonstrates a lack of scientific method. Because if I tell you that water is composed of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen, we all agree, no one will come and say “No, it’s three parts hydrogen”, and someone else who would say “actually, water is made up of chlorine” or “it’s really made of fluoride…” Why? Because we have arrived at an agreement that two parts hydrogen with one part oxygen forms water, that is, we have arrived at an observation; the composition of water has become what we can call a “scientific truth”.

But in regards to Parapsychology, we have not arrived at a scientific truth. There evidently exists curative methods by way of forces that some call spiritual while others call them psychological or magnetic forces. Nevertheless, today , even among doctors, some make use of simple hypnosis while others do not. Some say that hypnosis comes from the use of will power, that is to say, from an animic force that is transmitted through the human organism to achieve the power of suggestion over another person; and others say that hypnosis is simply a sort of state of manipulation of a person being faced with someone who stares them in the eyes or moves something shiny in front of them.

It is obvious that in the years to come, towards the year 2000, the study of Parapsychology will be done more seriously. It is useless to place barriers in front of things that are evident.
It cannot be guaranteed, even though we know little about flying saucers, that something, from somewhere, does not exist, because there are testimonies regarding this. To be sure, they could be machines, they could be natural phenomena or secret weapons from Russia or North America, or atmospheric reflections of an unknown type; they could be natural micro-satellites that penetrate within our atmosphere, or the so-called St-Elmo’s fire, etc. Many theories exist, but in reality, something of the sort exists and that is what people see.

Science will also open up to these fields, that is, the field of knowledge of things that today are not official. In various institutions, chairs, institutes, laboratories will be created that will, in a serious manner, investigate that outer nature that we ignore as well as that inner nature which we also ignore.

Despite all the archaeological investigations that have been done and that have demonstrated that it is absolutely impossible that during antiquity, with a simple system of pulling with rope, huge rocks, like the great ruins of Egypt for example, could have been moved; yet official science continues to affirm this. Official science continues to maintain that the great masses of stones that can be seen at Tiahuanaco or at Machu Picchu have been transported, let us say “miraculously”, always pulled with a rope, because if it wasn’t otherwise it wouldn’t be considered scientific, across half of the Andes mountains. This statement is completely harebrained and yet regardless, they continue and continue to maintain it…

It is still maintained, for example, that to build the Pyramid of Keops, huge masses were lifted to a height of more than 145 meters, with a ramp. Besides the fact that the remains of this ramp were never discovered, it has been demonstrated that if this ramp had existed it would have had such a length and width as to be greater than that of the Pyramid itself. It has also been proven that in order to be able to transport these great masses pulled by ropes made from palm fibers, the ropes would have to have a thickness so large and a length so great that they would weigh almost as much as the rock, seeing as at that time they didn’t have either the plastic or the metal alloys that we have today. Furthermore, it can be deduced that the quantity of men needed to pull these masses would have been enormous; and since they had neither refrigerated trucks nor trains, nor boats, not aerial bridges, in order to feed these people, in order to sustain them, it would have required a greater multitude than Egypt had ever seen.

All these considerations continue to be kept quiet in the official chairs, or, in order to deal with them, they have become accustomed to attaching simplistic explanations to them.
Those phenomena that we have seen in archaeology will also be investigated in greater depth from other points of view as we approach the year 2000. And it is not because the phenomena has changed, what has changed is the vision of man, being able to explore different angles. If I wanted to know, for example, what is this small relief, I would not only have to look at it from the angle that I’m seeing it now, but also from the front, and from a different angle, from the top, from the bottom; I would have to detach it from the wall to see what it is made of, because just by looking at it, I won’t be able to find out if it’s made of bronze, of plastic or something else.
In that way, there will be an opening in Science towards a wider form of concepts. They will no longer consider things they do not know as “unscientific”, they will simply consider them unexplored. They will no longer make roundabout statements about the characteristics of man that have not as of yet been clearly defined. Science will apparently slow its progress, but it will be more like halting its dogmatizations, that is, making statements about things that have not been sufficiently tested. Science, in this apparent restraint, will open up, nonetheless, to new fields of man, of Nature and the relation between man and Nature, because we know that as we have distanced our lives from Nature, we have poisoned it.

People thought at first “Why should I care if Nature becomes polluted!”; but they did not realize that Nature is like a mirror and if we tarnish it, a time will come when our own image gets obscured or gets blurred. This means that the contamination that we have caused turns to our disadvantage and affects us biologically and psychologically. This is one of the points that we will be able to see more objectively as we gradually approach the year 2000.

There will also be a wider and more open investigation of religious problems. We will see that mankind, after the experimentation that began in the age of Enlightenment and the Cartesian experimentation, will little by little end up exhausting the experiments of a purely scientific-materialist type. Mankind has arrived at the realization that you cannot weigh or measure the soul; but in one way or another, we all know that the soul exists. Whether we believe in the immortality of the soul or not, whether we believe in a specific religious form or not, inside of every normal person, inside of every man, of every woman, especially if that person is young at heart, all feel that something exists beyond that which is simply material, we all feel that we have something inside ourselves that gives us an impulse and justifies us.

This interest, perhaps not for formal religions, bur certainly for mysticism, will also continue to develop. It is obvious that the current generation of young people have a greater interest in religious questions than the generation of young people of fifty or a hundred years ago. But that interest has to be properly channeled. It is logical that young people often tend to group together in a more or less disorganized manner, and so they begin to read books, and those books have a big influence over those who read them (the books with the greatest print run are generally the best sellers and are perhaps the most superficial) making many people feel that they guide them in their search. But the searching is there.

And we are certain that the cradles will be full of children who, more and more, will have need of this mystique, of a little solitude. Our great large cities, our megalopolis’ that we thought could arrive at a kind of image of paradise, in reality have become a reflection if not of a hell, then a kind of cemetery. The people, those who can, try to live outside of the big cities or if not, spend a few months of vacation outside of them, because in the big cities, on top of feeling alone, we feel crushed by the human mass.

Demographic growth, which is completely uncontrolled, and the methods to fight it, which we are unable to implement, force people to feel and perceive a sensation of being squeezed-in amongst the crowd of people. This is not some kind of theory, you know this. In the big cities, one only has to go out during one of the “rush” hours; where can I walk? Where can I park my car? And when I want to go in to drink a coffee, when I want to have lunch at a restaurant, I have to wait in line until others have finished before I can go in. And we all get the feeling, although we have money and live well, that we are in a kind of concentration camp where we have to be in line, one behind the other, waiting to get a bit of food.

And if we have to make a transaction in whatever government office, we clash against an enormous bureaucracy. In front of us, there is a mountain of people; behind us, there’s another mountain of people. When we arrive at the counter, they tell us “when your number is called, present yourself”. And we think to ourselves “ah! I no longer have a name, I’m no longer a man or a woman; now I’m a number”. And then someone shouts “number 75!” and someone answers back “that’s me!”

All of this mass alienation and numerical pressure is destroying our sense of individuality; but we have inside of us the capacity to react and to search for a New World and a Better World. The big cities will no longer be able to continue growing; the mega-cities; that are beginning to slow down, will perhaps be in recession in the year 2000. Mankind needs to return to living with Nature; and many are realizing that if you go on vacation or if you go to the country, but you bring a portable TV, a radio, a typewriter, or a tape deck, then it’s the same as not having gone at all. Mankind is beginning to perceive the beauty of his surroundings: jumping into clean water, being able to see the fish in a pond, watching the birds fly, etc. Today mankind needs a fresh return to Nature. He needs to clear himself away from the multitude, he needs a bit of solitude. This search for solitude must be contemplated by all those who wish to interpret the new currents of History that will take us to that year 2000.

Translated from lecture transcript

Monday, March 16, 2009

How and where to know oneself, part 2

But then we are confronted with the problem of knowing ourselves. We won’t be able to know ourselves by looking at a photograph; it would be necessary but it isn’t enough. It would be, perhaps, as necessary as when someone is presented to us, for example, and we tell them: “Ah, it’s very nice to meet you!”, but the truth is that its just an expression since why is it so nice when I don’t know the person who is in facing me? Evidently the pleasure of meeting someone is not felt in the palm of one’s hands, and it’s the same if the pleasure is of a spiritual nature. However, we are used to talking in that way. We can know our physical aspect in terms of proportions, shape, face, body, etc., but we must also try to know ourselves on the other planes as well; and in this case, we have taken examples from the currents of India and Egypt. We must know our vital aspect, the why and how of our vital cycles; what happens inside of us, how and where the “life” inside of us flows. We must also look inside and see what part of ourselves emotes, why and at what level; the only way which we can master them, channel them is by knowing them. Sometimes we commit acts of injustice because we let ourselves be carried away by our emotions, our anger, with unthinking words that we often regret later on. How many times have we been deceived, defrauded, for no other reason than that someone has manipulated this imponderable factor. For example, the salesman who talks and talks, and manages to make us feel the need to own some book or sixteen-volume encyclopedia that we never thought we’d buy; but we are made to feel the almost physiological need to have it, the sensation that if we don’t own this book or encyclopedia, we are nothing but some uncultured beast or something. This, then, is the emotional part that we must investigate.

Through our concrete mind, with which we begin to speculate, to think, and to see how some things can be, how other things exist, we don’ realize if we are ourselves entirely, deeply, or if we are nothing more than a small part of ourselves. We must also look at what possibilities we have of being enlightened by God or by Nature; we can have some type of intuition, some way of penetrating the mysteries of life, the why and the how; we shouldn’t always be informed just by the latest books or magazines that are in style. And thus, we can finally arrive at the inner part of our soul, our inner self.

It’s urgent for us to encounter ourselves. Obviously, in order for us to encounter ourselves we must keep in mind that there are a series of elements which we must consider: elements of disappointed emotions, thoughts, dreams, illusions, hopes; and all of this has power inside of us modifying our lives; we are the age that we are, we are what we are, we have the money that we have, there are a series of imponderable elements that aren’t strictly physical but completely modify our life, our form of being, our relationship with others. We are facing a difficult world, a world in crisis, whether we look at it from a political, economical, etc. point of view. In many countries of the world, they have tried to solve things in one way or another. Nonetheless we can observe that the problems have not been solved, there is every time more delinquency, more hunger, more people without jobs or who are completely destitute. This is because none of the systems that we know of, when put into practice, succeed in establishing something that, in theory or experimentally, appeared to work.

Its obvious then that what we need is a stage of inner revolution. That’s to say, RE-EVOLUTION, a change from the inside, a great inner cleaning, a great encounter with ourselves. We need to be, as it where, stones or sand of that High City. We need to unite our wills, our dreams, and in some way, our hearts. As the philosophers of Rome say, achieving CONCORD, which means: heart to heart. As the right and left hands interlock, in order to pray, in order to grasp something- precisely because they have harmony by opposition- we, by knowing and mastering ourselves, can arrive at a concord, at a feasible hospitality between men. We all speak of hospitality, of peace, of love, and of human rights; but there is an increasing amount of hunger in the world, more people that are illiterate or are condemned to consuming pornography. There is an increasing number of students who attend University and who later cannot find employment in their field, and an increasing amount of retired people living in misery. Faced with these blights that are as real as the ground we walk upon, what use are abstractions, words, declarations? What we need is something as concrete as we are, like our thoughts, which are also as concrete as our need for existence, for hospitality, for peace, for warmth, and for beauty. Every man and every woman not only need to have clothes, food, and in the best of cases, a car, but also something which is more important: we need to have, you might say, a bit of dignity, a handful of glory. But today’s world and the crisis in force are tearing away that little handful of dignity and glory. Sometimes it doesn’t matter whether we are well dressed, nor eat like princes; but it is important to be happy with ourselves and to have that little bit of glory, that handful of inner satisfaction that is the only one that will allow us to assimilate the food that we have in our mouths, the thoughts that we have in our head, the emotions that we have in our heart. It is really urgent to know ourselves.

Like plants which need water in periods of drought to bring them back to life, and like the birds that call to the morning light with their singing, we claim as a given right, that different life, that different world where not everything will be material, where there will be room for dreams, for spirit and that handful of glory, not that Napoleonic kind, but inner glory, inner dignity. We are asking for a different form of hospitality, a different treatment and a different courtesy, a different kind of man and a world that will not only be New but also Better; a world where Knights and Ladies can meet themselves and progress in that that current of life towards the New Man that will one day come. We mustn’t lose hope nor must we think that humanity is constantly progressing. Our problem is that our mechanical alienation has, obviously, made machines progress much more than man. We have, for example, a man who drove a chariot in Rome who went 40 km an hour; and today a man can fly a jet that goes 1 000 km an hour: the difference is in the machines, between the chariot and the jet, not between the men. Men continue to have problems, pains, deceptions, and continue to have needs.

Today more than ever we need to restore that ancient knowledge, to experience it again in an experimental, logical, current manner, with practical and sincere results. We don’t think that with this we are going to touch the sky with our hands. What we need to touch is the heart of man, and to once again arrive at a basic and human hospitality. That was what the old hospitality of our grandparents was like, when someone needed something, people would come and help out. Today, although we live in big cities, we live in a complete anonymity amongst ourselves and we don’t care in the least what may happen to our neighbor or to the man beside us or far away. We read in magazines, in the greatest of comfort, while we are having breakfast, that thousands of people have perished in a war or a catastrophe. We do it with a complete insensitivity, and that is because today’s world has rendered us insensitive. When we eat a bowl of soup, neither the spoon nor the bowl can taste the flavor of the soup, it simply contains it; and currently, we are containing a culture but we aren’t feeling its flavor, nor are we living it or being nourished by it. The materialistic elements must be replaced by natural ones. The material plane needs to be considered, although not as the totality, but rather as a crystallization of something superior, that is more spiritual, more lasting, something that can allow the Golden Aphrodite to rise in our heart, a kind of eternal youth where there is no sickness nor aging nor situations that change; we must be eternally young and eternally happy. But we will only achieve this by working hard, that is encountering ourselves, working on ourselves, and uniting ourselves with those who have the same preoccupations. One of the great fundamental problems of the day is that of ethics: traffickers and thieves are quick to unite and form a gang. Idealists, on the other hand, when they want to do something, when they want to promote culture, generally are divided and separated into a pseudo-individualism.

We must succeed then in changing that current of life; we must begin making the wheel of time turn, as if it were that of a windmill that is going to grind flour; that new flour that will feed that New Man that we all dream of.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

How and where to know oneself, part 1

We all need to know ourselves. Although it seems paradoxical, self-knowledge is one of the oldest founts of philosophy, one of the most difficult and, in certain ways one of the least explored in the natural and direct sense of the word.

We have all had little experiences in this regard; everyone has. How many times when looking at a picture that was taken of us, and I don’t know whether it’s because of vanity or some such thing, but we say: “Is that me?”. We see a face that we recognize as our own but it’s hard for us to believe it, it seems that we never look natural or that we look better or worse, or that it was out of focus or that, in one way or another, that face in the picture isn’t exactly the one that we imagine we have; as well, sometimes, when we feel that we are alone, looking into a mirror, it seems that the person in the mirror isn’t us, but rather some other person that is looking at me and although I know it’s me, in some way I also know that we are two: the reflection and myself. Another experience that everyone has experienced is recording one’s voice on a tape recorder: a speech, a conversation, the reading of a poem. Someone who hears this for the first time is really amazed to hear his voice, although he recognizes it, it sounds strange, it seems to have a higher pitch or it seems muted or something, but they don’t quite recognize their voice exactly; it isn’t the same voice that one hears when one is talking.

Even when dealing only with what is strictly physical, the outer aspect, it is very difficult to know ourselves because that implies a state of consciousness of reversion that not everyone can achieve very easily. I’m not going to broach this subject in technical terms. We are not going to make an analysis of psychoanalysis or psycho synthesis. Neither will we be dealing with the recent theories of for example the philosopher Levi, who delivered many lectures in Europe on non-conformity, the isolation of man in society or on the impossibility of man knowing himself because society, in one form or another, pressures him and deforms him to the point where it is impossible to recognize oneself. In other words, being faced with a paradoxical figure that disconcerts and creates an inner dichotomy. We are going to refer to something much older to later come back to our topic in current and practical terms.

We are going to see in what way some of the oldest peoples have dealt with this subject. We won’t be able to mention all of them, partly because we are lacking information and partly because the task would be too great. We’ll only discuss two great currents of thought: one that comes from India and another from Egypt. Egypt and India have left us documents that are sufficiently eloquent for us to see what they thought of man in his totality.

Man is not only that which we can see. What do we see of other people and what do they see of us? The truth is that we see the epithelial cells, a bit of hair, a mustache, clothes, shoes, but we don’t really see the man or woman that is in front of us. That masked and hidden reality that we have is much richer. That is the reason why our own face, which is external and material, can be altered many times by our inner life. No one will deny that we don’t have the same face when we are quietly reading a favorite book or with a friend, than in a moment when we are angered by whatever circumstance, by someone who has insulted us or because of some great injustice that has been done to us; that’s when the blood rises to the face. This medically demonstrates that there is a series of physiological changes, in the blood pressure or in the whole endocrine area, that becomes altered according to our relations with our surroundings, with the outside world, in such a way that we aren’t the same throughout the whole day; an easy thing to notice because, without being famous doctors, psychiatrists, or philosophers, we can realize that we are not the same in the morning, in the afternoon, and at night; there are days in which we wake up with a certain pessimism, a certain feeling that bad things will happen to us, that it’s not even worth the trouble of leaving the house; but it isn’t something rational, it’s something that comes from the inside. Other days we are euphoric: we sing while taking a shower, we leave the house singing, and we feel that everything is going to turn out well. It’s obvious that, physically, we aren’t the same when we are depressed than when we are euphoric but in what way? What is it inside of us that is euphoric or depressed? What makes us all of the sudden remember someone whom we have lost track of, and why do we remember at that particular instant? Why is it that at other times we practically don’t care at all about the life we have lived and the only thing that matters is the moment we are currently living? These are questions that we all ask on a daily basis at any time.

The men of India and Egypt of a thousand years ago who were philosophers, not the current ones, undertook an in-depth investigation of mankind as it existed in ancient civilizations; these men had different values from or own. You are aware that every civilization has its prejudices, a series of beliefs, a different way of life, which gives importance to certain things. Today we wonder how the Romans, the Greeks, the Egyptians or the Incas managed to live in the way that they did, with their social, political, economical and religious organization. If an Egyptian or an Inca would walk through this door today, and if we had the courage to refrain from getting up and leaving in a hurry, if we were able to converse with him, he wouldn’t understand us either, he wouldn’t understand our economical and political systems, nor our way of living, nor would he recognize things that today we consider entirely immoral but would appear to him, however, completely natural. And, on the other hand, things that they would look at with sincere indignation, we do every day like it was the most natural thing in the world.

We are therefore going to look at what those two great currents of thought that we have chosen, one from India, the other from Egypt. I will insist once again, so there won’t be any confusion, that I’m not referring to the India or the Egypt of today, but rather to ancient India of thousands of years ago, the one called the Aryavarta, and to the old kingdom of Kem which the Greeks rebaptized with a name that resembles the one that we use today-Egypt-and which means “that which is unknown’. These people thought that the complete man, the holistic man, isn’t made up strictly of his physical aspect, but that he had other elements interrelating in different dimensions.

We could compare it to the peels of an onion, although it isn’t exactly like that. In fact, they thought that it was like different dimensions, like the dimensions of time and space today. They considered that there exists in man a body, that the ancient Hindus called Stula Sharira which means: “a cover that one can hit, that one can touch, that one can seize with one’s hand.” The Egyptians called it Chat. In the Egyptian hieroglyphics one can often see it represented by a cube with a human head, that is to say the material part, the concrete part that we can hold, the part that is evidently physical.

Next, in a higher plane of consciousness, there was a kind of vital or energetic body that the Hindus called Prana Sharira, which is the part of that ancient Prana or energy of the great life of nature that we have in each one of us. That is, in each one of us there is a vitality that has been crystallized that is like that which is in all things and has taken a definite form: one for human beings, another for vegetables and another one for animals. The Egyptians represented this part with the Ankh, the old key of life. Today it has come back in style and many people wear it around their necks; the Ankh is the figure of the living man, the figure of the standing man.
In another dimension, a higher one, say the Hindus, there exists that which the current translators call the Astral Body. They call it Linga Sharira or “body that one cannot touch”, “luminous body”; this parts corresponds to the emotional plane of the individual, the sum of all the emotions. We would therefore have, following this line of thought, a body that encompasses in some way all our emotions, our feelings, and our sensibilities. The Egyptians represented it by the Ka or the double, the phantom; we could say that it is this invisible counterpart within us that gathers all the feelings, all the emotions.

The Hindus place above this, Kama Manas, which means, literally translated, “body of mental desires”. That is to say, it would be the part of our mind in which desires spring; not the higher mind but the speculating one, the one that measures, the one that sees what advantages I may gain, what disadvantages might others have, how may I buy things at the lowest price and sell them at the highest price. This part of the mind is the Ab-Hati of the Egyptians. They represent Ab-Hati and Bai, which signifies the mind as well, as two brothers. Ab-Hati has a very showy appearance, and Bai, on the contrary, generally appears very humbly dressed or simply naked before the light of Amen or the light of Amon, the Universal Light the everything bathes in. By analogy, that which Bai represents for the Egyptians was known in India as Manas (from the root Man = man) and characterizes human beings. As human beings, we have the characteristic of possessing, on top of a concrete speculative mind, a higher mind that even transcends us, that dreams, that progresses towards the future; a mind that imagines a Better World and a series of Archetypes.

According to the Hindus, this mind or Manas is illuminated by Budhi (from the root Bud, light, illumination): it is that which gave the Buddha his name - Siddhartha Gautama- which means : “the enlightened” and is the equivalent of Christ, which in Greek also means “the enlightened”, different from Chrestos, which means “he who will receive the light”. In Egypt, this plane was called Cheybi and was represented by a bird resembling a swallow that symbolized the resurrection to the light and all the higher things. The ancients said that this is where our power of intuition comes from, since man, in some way, can sometimes see things that are going to happen or are happening far away. There is a modern science, called Parapsychology that is undertaking great investigations in this field; the name itself obviously means nothing, because Para-Psychology signifies “that which is beyond Psychology”. It’s like the old term Meta-Phyiskae or Meta-Physics, which signifies “that which is beyond what is physical”, which also signifies nothing. It’s like if someone where to ask: “What is behind the wall that I see?”, and someone answered: “Oh, it’s the Metawall”; that is, that which is beyond the wall; merely an abstraction. When we are dealing with abstract terms it’s very difficult to speak concretely; the great difficulty for man is not in perceiving and understanding these things, since any man who has a little spirituality can easily manage it; the real problem is to seize it, placing it on a human level and being able to apply it to daily life and within ourselves successfully. Lamentably, the serious problem of many currents of “spiritualism” - or whatever you want to call it-is that they practice a series of exercises, of abstinences, of mutilations of daily life that don’t always give practical results. Which is why we see, as you know, that in many parts of the world there are people who are straining to realize their potential, to increase their memory, to be able to gain intuition, control their bodies, their emotions; and nevertheless, we see little difference between someone who doesn’t do any exercises and doesn’t study anything and someone who devotes several months of effort to this difficult task.

And finally, we have the superior part of man, which the Hindus name Atma. Atma is undefinable; it could be called the Spirit. In Egypt it is called Shu or Atmu, which is also the superior part, and which the Egyptians-with their figurative penchant-represented by a man of great height, as seen in the papyrus of Ani, from the British Museum. It’s a giant, a man with the height of a god, who has arrived at this divine dimension. It is in this way then, that they explain that man not only has a physical body, but other bodies as well, those other zones of living or points of consciousness inside of ourselves.

Lecture transcript - 'Como y donde conocerse a si mismo'