Esotericism (ΙΙΙ): Crisis of the early 1930’s

Esotericism (ΙΙΙ): Crisis of the early 1930’s

- in Esotericism


1. In the Preface to the 2nd edition of A new Model… (1934) Ouspensky draws a distinction (valid in my view) between “higher mind”, which is generally unrecognised, and ordinary mind which has several gradations but in generally recognisable in people from street-cleaners to elect specialists in all academic and scientific disciplines; he draws a distinction between the “psychological method”, which accompanies higher mind, and the “logical method” which, accompanies ordinary mind. The former is connected with “esoteric knowledge «as distinct again from well-recognised ordinary knowledge in all spheres of human investigation and study.

O also mentions the existence of “defective thinking/method” which is responsible for superstitions, conspiracy-theories and various false notions that become current thinking for a period.

The psychological method sees the absurdities of “defective thinking” and the limitations of logical mind, accepts the existence of “higher mind” and strive to reach it.

2. On p XV he writes that logical mind at present (before 1934) looks for the causes of the economic and political crisis everywhere except where it actually is”. And what is the place/cause “where it actually is”?

“The causes of the crisis”, he wrote, “live in the existence of the Soviet government in Russia and in the recognition and support of this government by other governments”!

Such a claim is not merely wrong, it is preposterous!

If O had applied his psychological method, and more so his “esoteric method” (p xvi), which examines a room not only from every aspect within it (=psychological) but also its position in the entire building and the building in the wider community and environment, he would have realized that there had been economic and political crises long before any Soviet/Bolshevik government in Russia.

It is astonishing that he did not bother to examine this simplest of historical facts.

3. In the wider historical context, which would have corresponded to his wider social and geographical environment, there were economic depressions in the late 19th cent (though admittedly not of the magnitude of the 1929 crash), there were revolutions in 1848 and the Napoleonic wars earlier. There was moreover abysmal poverty afflicting millions in the richest countries (Britain and USA), due to the rapid development of Industry and Commerce after the cruel and disastrous land enclosures which drove the masses of common people to unemployment and starvation.

And the Soviet government was not in existence then. Even the notions of socialism and Marxism came after these horrific developments in the fast-advancing societies of Europe and the USA.

4. The cause of the 1930 crisis was ignorance of economic laws, greed for profit and for pleasure and arrogance. This triad is at the rood of every crisis throughout the known human history. This triad makes some people, cunning and unscrupulous, appropriate to themselves, by deceiving and exploiting others, goods that are given freely by the Universe and are meant to be for the common enjoyment of all.

The immediate cause of the 1929 crash was inordinate speculation in the Stock Exchanges (and wider Markets). But at the same time land prices were rising by leaps and bounds in Florida and other areas as the rent-seekers sought to capture the value of locations which was added by increase of population (after the war losses), the progress of technology and the advances in other aspects of social life.

Instead of examining the phenomenon in its historical and global context, O calls the Bolshevik regime “a plague” and points out that if you contact plague-ridden people, you will simply catch it yourself – which is self-evident.

5. Yes the Bolshevik coup had something of the nature of the plague but it did not explode suddenly inside a paradisiac Russia. If there had been no injustices, there would not have been so many warnings of unrest in the latter 19th cent. that eventually culminated in the 1917 coup.

Yes, the Soviet government from the days of Lenin caused, or tried to cause, trouble in many countries as far as Persia, India, and Korea (D. Volkogonov 1994 Lenin, N.Y., P 394-5, 400-1). But it never really succeeded in impacting the strong Democracies.

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