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A Treatise on White Magic - Introductory Remarks
5. Knowledge might be divided into three categories:
  • First, there is theoretical knowledge. This includes all knowledge of which man is aware but which is accepted by him on the statements of other people, and by the specialists in the various branches of knowledge. It is founded on authoritative statements and has in it the element of trust in the writers and speakers, and in the trained intelligences of the workers in any of the many and varied fields of thought. The truths accepted as such have not been formulated or verified by the one who accepts them, lacking as he does the necessary training and equipment. The dicta of science, the theologies of religion, and the findings of the philosophers and thinkers everywhere color the point of view and meet with a ready acquiescence from the untrained mind, and that is the average mind.
  • Then, secondly, we have discriminative knowledge, which has in it a selective quality and which posits the intelligent appreciation and practical application of the more specifically scientific method, and the utilization of test, the elimination of that which cannot be proved, and the isolation of those factors which will bear investigation and are in conformity with what is understood as law. The rational, argumentative, scholastic, and concretizing mind is brought into play with the result that much that is childish, impossible and unverifiable is rejected and a consequent clarifying of the fields of thought results. This discriminating and scientific process has enabled man to arrive at much truth in relation to the three worlds. The scientific method is, in relation to the [15] mind of humanity, playing the same function as the occult method of meditation (in its first two stages of concentration and prolonged concentration or meditation) plays in relation to the individual. Through it right processes of thought are engendered, non-essentials and incorrect formulations of truth are ultimately eliminated or corrected, and the steady focusing of the attention either upon a seed thought, a scientific problem, a philosophy or a world situation results in an ultimate clarifying and the steady seeping in of right ideas and sound conclusions. The foremost thinkers in any of the great schools of thought are simply exponents of occult meditation and the brilliant discoveries of science, the correct interpretations of nature's laws, and the formulations of correct conclusions whether in the fields of science, of economics, of philosophy, psychology or elsewhere is but the registering by the mind (and subsequently by the brain) of the eternal verities, and the indication that the race is beginning also to bridge the gap between the objective and the subjective, between the world of form and the world of ideas.
  • This leads inevitably to the emergence of the third branch of knowledge, the intuitive. The intuition is in reality only the appreciation by the mind of some factor in creation, some law of manifestation and some aspect of truth, known by the soul, emanating from the world of ideas, and being of the nature of those energies which produce all that is known and seen. These truths are always present, and these laws are ever active, but only as the mind is trained and developed, focused, and open-minded can they be recognized, later understood, and finally adjusted to the needs and demands of the cycle and time. Those who have thus trained the mind in the art of clear thinking, the focusing of the attention, and consequent receptivity to truth have always been with us, but hitherto have been few and far between. They [16] are the outstanding minds of the ages. But now they are many and increasingly found. The minds of the race are in process of training and many are hovering on the borders of a new knowledge. The intuition which guides all advanced thinkers into the newer fields of learning is but the forerunner of that omniscience which characterizes the soul. The truth about all things exists, and we call it omniscience, infallibility, the "correct knowledge" of the Hindu philosophy. When man grasps a fragment of it and absorbs it into the racial consciousness we call it the formulation of a law, a discovery of one or other of nature's processes. Hitherto this has been a slow and piecemeal undertaking. Later, and before so very long, light will pour in, truth will be revealed and the race will enter upon its heritage - the heritage of the soul.
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