The Salvation of Mankind

Go to chapter I II III IV V VI VII VIII

I have had various unbelievable experiences in my life, such as e.g. that I, as a novice in geological research – it was in Greenland – should discover what one of the leading geologists of that time, Professor T. C. Chamberlin – who turned, as I have done, to cosmology in the latter years of his life – had maintained was precisely not to be found in that research area. (See my essay in vol. 14 of Meddeelser om Grönland). Also worth mentioning is my geological research here in Iceland, for some of what I have found has been so extraordinarily unlikely, and beyond what the research of outstanding minds had indicated was likely to be found here. And I could mention more, from another source, although for obvious reasons I will allow this to suffice, as an introduction, in order to establish my reliability as a scientist, and help my readers to understand how unlikely it is that I will speak any nonsense. Such confidence, and application of intelligence will be most necessary, as I recount some events which have great significance for my attempts to understand existence, and to learn to value what philosophers, prophets and scientists have contributed, in such a way as to support such experiments.

Nothing that has happened to me has been so far from what I would have expected to experience, as what I shall now recount. It should be pointed out that, when it occurred, I had hardly begun to explore mystical writings, and had absolutely no interest in religion.

As I sat, an overwhelmingly strange and incomprehensible sensation came over me, that some massive task was being carried out, without my knowing where or how. But when I looked up I saw in the distance a light, or rather a luminous, spot. And then suddenly there was a being in human form, but with as great a difference as between the ugliest of apes and the most beautiful of humans. The being shone with such majesty and beauty, that even the most beautiful images of gods I have ever seen can give no idea of it. And as I watched the god, entranced, suddenly a wide, bright ray shone from his lips towards me, and I heard a strange and alien, yet indescribably beautiful, voice say: brother. For a while – I did not think, of course, to measure the duration – the being stood and looked at me, before disappearing. Before long another being appeared, very like the one which had vanished, yet so clearly different that it did not occur to me for a moment that it was the same being. The being looked at me for a time, like the other, but without speaking a word. But then, strangely and unbelievably, I felt that the splendid being standing there was I myself. After a short time the being also vanished. I sat there, in a state of astonishment, not of course understanding anything of what had happened to me. Both beings were accompanied by a sound, indescribably beautiful, which was a little reminiscent of the most beautiful singing I have heard, yet far superior.

For a long time I had no idea what to do about what had happened to me. It remained in my mind, without any progress in understanding it. But what never occurred to me, was that this vision had been nothing but imagination, or what people call a hallucination. It was entirely obvious to me from the start that it was too foolish an idea to deserve any attention, that this beauty and grandeur, which so far exceeded anything I had ever heard or seen or thought of, could be a mere delusion. And some time later I had a similar experience, although the beings which I then saw did not have such an overwhelming appearance of power and glory. It was one evening at dusk, when I lay on a couch at home, awake and with my eyes open. I was alone in the room. Suddenly at my feet a cloud of light appeared, from which a clear human figure took form. The being did not seem to say anything, but the word Goethe appeared in my mind, without my thinking it. With some practice, one can easily learn to detect such phenomena. There was no doubt, that the word was transmitted to me. At the turn of the century I had devoted considerable time to reading the work of this leading German writer and great sage, who had also studied nature. A day or two later the same happened, at the same time of day: the human figure was not the same, and the name sent to me was Descartes. This great French sage, who may be deemed one of the fathers of geology, shared my birthday, 31 March. He was born in 1596, and died in Stockholm in 1650. Another few days passed, and then one day around noon, a whole group of people appeared to me. They seemed to be standing on a hill, bathed in brightness. They all looked towards me, while a little way away from them stood a woman. She did not look at me, but turned her left side to me, and around her was this undulated light, which resembled more than anything else some of the forms the Northern Lights may take on. I did not see such light around the men on the hill, although they were in a bright light. This was before I had made any study of people’s ideas about auras, and before I had grasped, or made any attempt to grasp, that the life-force of a woman is greater than that of a man. What now came up in my mind was that these people were wise men who had lived here on earth in various centuries, but of the woman I was “told” nothing. I watched for a while, and my astonishment was more than I can describe in words. I felt that I was aware of the departed sages trying to express some message to me; for a time they did not succeed. But finally I clearly perceived the words: Sei gesegnet. Later I felt that I understood that the sages had tried to express to me some words in Icelandic, but failed, because the Icelandic attitude towards me did not permit it. They had to use German to send me their blessing. I believe this may be attributable to the fact that I had, not long before, gained some repute among German scientists, so that there had even been discussion in the leading scientific society in Germany – founded by the philosopher Leibnitz – of providing funding for my research in Iceland, in a manner which would, had it come to pass, have revolutionised my circumstances.

I did not understand then, though I have since clearly understood, why it was that the gods and the departed sages undertook that indescribably difficult task which it must have been, to appear to me here in the fog of ignorance and indifference to this matter of more importance than any other. There can be no doubt about what it was that induced these strange beings to make such efforts to encourage me and raise my spirits. For it was undoubtedly with their assistance that I managed to see the world and life from a higher vantage point than had previously been attained here on earth, and discover more important truths than had previously been discovered. And the blessing they conferred upon me was most certainly needed. For he who has been allotted the role of bringing to mankind the truth that it most needs to know, finds himself in greater difficulties than anyone can imagine, who has not experienced it. Sluggishness and lack of empathy are not the only obstacles.

There was, alas, no continuation of the events of which I have given some account here. The gods and departed sages did not appear to me again. But there was some alteration, which I later learned to attribute to the beings I saw being more able than before to support my quest to understand existence. Gradually, various matters of which I had had little or no understanding became more clear to me. I came to understand, for instance, the essential nature of the dream-life, the nature of telepathy; and then it was no longer incomprehensible that a ray of the consciousness of the god who appeared to me could manifest itself in my own mind, so that I felt that I myself was that glorious being. It also ceased to be mysterious – to which I had admittedly prior to that time not devoted much thought – how Jesus could have said words such as “I and my Father are one,” and “if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.” And I no longer needed to be in any doubt that it might be, and probably was, correctly quoted. The fact that the god who first appeared to me addressed me as “brother” also led me to recall Jesus’ familiar words. But the wide, strangely shining ray which shone to me from the mouth of the god led me to consider a previously incomprehensible place in the Revelation of St. John, chapter 19, which tells of Faithful and True. “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations.” It is interesting to note that the Greek word used is not xifos, the short, broad sword, but hromfaia, which means, a long, narrow sword. The words of the Revelation become understandable if one assumes that the writer had seen something similar to the ray I observed. Dr. R. H. Charles, an erudite English theologian and churchman, has written a most interesting two-volume book on the Revelation of St. John, where he writes (I, p. 30): “The sword which emerges from the mouth of the son of god specifically signifies his power to judge. Artists in the service of faith have been mistaken, depicting these metaphorical words literally, as a sword emerging from the mouth of Christ.” But it is safe to say that both theology and art have failed here; and the words are very hard to understand, for those who have not themselves seen some similar phenomenon. What I saw, however, contains a most interesting indication that the author of the Revelation was not confabulating – as some learned men have maintained – but was seeking to describe what had appeared to him. But it is quite natural that, in his account of the extraordinary sights he saw, diverse misinterpretations were unavoidable, as I have explained to some extent in my essay: Opinberun, Völuspá og stjörnulíffræði/ Revelation, the Prophecy of the Seeress and Astrobiology.

I mentioned before the wondrously beautiful sound which accompanied the gods when they appeared to me. I have never, in the many intervening years, seen any mention of anything similar in accounts of mystical phenomena or the so-called spirit world, until I received Collyer and Dampier’s book When We Wake. This is a most remarkable book. It recounts the story of the “spirit” of a deceased person named Arthur, who says “I detest this nonsense about the spirit-life,” and thus “I waste no time therefore on spiritual spheres, I do not believe in them.” (pp. 42-3). Spiritualists pay less attention to such information than they should. And the book is also most enlightening because one of the leading scientists of his time, Sir William Crookes (1831-1917) appears, trying to put the same point as Arthur. In other words, supporting my theory of life after death, cp. my article in Light, 2 December 1937. Crookes says that he lives on a planet, but in a different galaxy from this one. He urges that more attention should be paid to the planets, as various other “spirits” have done in recent times. On p. 207 he is quoted as saying: “outer space on its spiritual side contains a curious, lovely light expressed by symphonic chords, like ecstatic music,” and “the light symphonies are like music.” Here we learn that somewhere in a universe, far away from us here on earth, light is seen accompanied by something like exquisite singing. Another publication I read at about the same time as When We Wake, the Book of Gerontius, specifically describes rays of light passing messages from higher to lower places, just as it seemed to me that the ray of light from the mouth of the god brought me the word brother. But an especially interesting indication that the beautiful sound that seemed to me to accompany the gods was not an illusion is found in The Day after Tomorrow by Sir Philip Gibbs, which I read only last spring (1940); it tells of the discovery that every visible object has its own resonance and that it is possible, when certain operations are performed, to discover that some faces have a clearly unpleasant resonance (Gibbs, p. 36).

I graduated in natural science in January 1897, then went that spring to Greenland, spending six months on that trip. The following winter I started to study philosophy, beginning with a history of philosophy by my tutor Höffding, the renowned psychologist. I continued with those studies off and on. I foresaw that, if I wished my studies to be as scientific as I wanted, I must read the philosophical writings of the Greeks and Romans in the original languages, and that cost me no inconsiderable effort; for although I had earned the highest grades in both Greek and Latin in my matriculation examinations, my command of the languages had grown rusty, especially Greek. It is not easy to gain such a command of that language as to be able to read it profitably. At last, however, I was more or less able to read the works of Greek philosophy. I have found it most useful, and I even hope that I may be able to contribute to these ancient works being more justly valued than before. For people have not yet fully understood the direction of the ancients, and thus they have not derived from them all the benefit they could in expanding our understanding of the world and life. I have, for instance, never seen in any history of philosophy that Pythagoras taught that the souls of humans and animals come from the stars (tas psykhas ton zoon apo ton astron feresthai). And completely consistent with that is Plotinus, who speaks of life as empowerment or charging of the body. And in the writings of this excellent philosopher, and his biography by his pupil Porphyry, I found something which threw a most interesting light on that strange event I had experienced; and I would not have fully understood it without that experience. Porphyry recounts – p. 16 in the first volume of the writings of Plotinus, Volkmann edition, Leipzig 1883 – how an Egyptian priest came to Rome, where Plotinus was teaching in the third century AD, and had a group of pupils around him. The priest became acquainted with the philosopher, and asked whether he might show him his own (Plotinus’) daemon. Plotinus was more than willing: the being was to be invoked in a temple to the Egyptian goddess Isis in Rome. According to the priest this was the only place in the city which was sufficiently pure. The invocation took place, and the being which appeared was not a daemon in nature as expected, but a god. The Egyptian then said that Plotinus was fortunate to be accompanied or guided by such a being. The god stayed for a brief time, and they could ask him nothing. Porphyry attributes this to a friend of Plotinus who was present having killed birds entrusted to his care (probably having misunderstood, and believed that he was to sacrifice them). The birds were to have been used as intermediaries to enhance communication with the god. It tends to support my hypothesis that Mrs. Gillespie quotes Crookes (Light, 1939, p. 343) as saying that the principal obstacles to communication with life on other planets may be overcome “by means of animal magnetism, using the two forces in combination – the human and the animal.” Birds are in many ways beings more godlike than humans, and more perfect receptors of some divine emanations, as seen in their sensitivity which enables them to follow spring and summer all over the globe.

After this vision in the temple of the Egyptian goddess, Plotinus wrote a most remarkable treatise on the daemon or leader guiding us (peri tou eilekhotos hemas daimonos), and it is interesting that only there, and nowhere else in his writings, does the philosopher state that human souls go after death to the stars. And this is certainly consistent with the philosophy of Plato (see above) – whom Plotinus calls the divine – in placing the daemon (the guardian spirit) in the context of the stars. And we find some additional information on this remarkable subject from the author of De Mysteriis, who lived a few decades after Plotinus, who states that “emanations from the stars bring us the daemons” (homos he apo ton astron aporroia aponemei ton daimona, De Mysteriis, 9, 4, Parthy edition). The ancient philosophers were in these matters far more advanced than latter-day mystics, spiritualists and others. But we cannot follow the scientific path in these matters until we begin to understand how the creative energy forces its way farther and farther out into the field of imperfection, seeking to bring it to the path of perfection. But everything in these matters remains unclear while we fail to understand the connection between life here on earth and the planets, and how more advanced beings on other planets are seeking to enhance that connection and bring us closer to themselves. Yet there is a great risk of a stronger connection to evil places, as has clearly emerged in recent times. And I shall return to this in due course.

Porphyry does not mention that Plotinus felt, when the god, his leader, appeared to him in the temple of Isis, that he saw himself. Yet I think we may take this as almost certain, as I shall now try to demonstrate. In the fifth tractate of the fifth Ennead, chapter 8 (Enneads V, v, 8), Plotinus says that the intellect (nous) can see itself shining towards itself, and grown more beautiful. I believe there can be little doubt that this is in fact the same being as Plotinus saw in the temple, or a similar one, although it is nowhere stated that the sage realised this. And there can be no doubt that where he describes the beauty of the intellectual world in the eighth tractate of the same Ennead (Enn. V, viii), he is in truth describing life on a planet which is far more advanced than on earth, where the god, his leader, lived. And of course we have the connection between the sage and the god to thank for this description, which is so extraordinary. That relationship was in its nature very similar to that which inspired Jesus to speak of the Father, and the Kingdom of Heaven within men. But there is no doubt about how those words should be understood, if we take into account that Jesus apparently saw in his mind’s eye what the divine being with whom he communicated had before his eyes. This matter is all most enlightening. And a perfect proof of the connection between Plotinus and a divine being is seen at the beginning of the tractate on “the soul’s descent into the body” (Enn. IV, viii). The sage writes (admittedly it is not easy to translate it precisely, and much has been written with no understanding of the main point): “Often I awaken to myself from the body, am in myself, free of all else, see extraordinary beauty: and then I believe I will enjoy a good life, I feel fine, and I am actually living a divine life; and having my being in it, I attain divine energy and am lifted above all that is of the world of the mind. And when I, after this sojourn in the divine, depart from the (divine) intellect and down into logic (logismos), then I start to try to understand how I have gone downwards, and how it could ever be that my soul was in the body, its nature being what was now seen” (when it was temporarily released from the body).

These are interesting words, and make it quite understandable to us from what roots the most remarkable of Plotinus’ philosophy arose. But there is nothing in the sage’s writing to indicate that he understood the true nature of what he termed to awaken to himself. But what happened was that he fell asleep, and had a dream-giver far more advanced than mankind in nature, probably the same shining being which appeared to him in the temple of the Egyptian goddess, whom the temple-priest said was his daemon and guardian spirit, though more perfect and more godlike that such beings generally are. We must know of such a relationship in order to understand why Plato says (in his most important work, Timaeus, 47 B) that the philosophy he preaches is so important that no better has ever been, nor ever will be, as it derives from the gods. Also that there is some logic in what Philostratus says (in chapter 1 of his book on Apollonius of Tyana) that the philosopher Pythagoras had dwelt with the gods, and had received from them his ethics and natural science (which was in some ways thousands of years ahead of his time). Pythagoras appears to have benefited from this telepathic state at an even higher level than Plotinus. And it is safe to say that we cannot fully grasp how remarkable Greek philosophy is until we know of such states. There was no way to understand these matters until the nature of dream-life was discovered. We may thus also speculate on what an age of progress will follow, when success is achieved in arranging that the dream-giver or telepathic partner is always of a higher nature. An American physician, Dr. Bücke, who had once experienced a state something like this, has written a book about it named Cosmic Consciousness. Admittedly, it contains exaggerations, and it reveals that the doctor did not understand the nature of the connection.

According to Porphyry, Plotinus was in this state four times during the time he studied with him, and he states that he himself had this experience once when he was in his 68th year. I know the state from my own experience, although I have only experienced it once. My consciousness was far more remarkable and splendid than usual, or, to be more precise, hardly comparable. Hence I felt almost that I could do anything and know everything, and would descend very far when I awoke (cp. Plotinus’ account). But once I had understood the nature of the dream-life, somewhat later, I realised fully that the consciousness was not my own, but that I had been granted a share in the consciousness of a far higher being than we humans are. It was a dream of a kind, but unusual and remarkable because a god had become my dream-giver, and hence probably one of the two gods who had appeared to me, as I recounted above. I felt that I was high up in mountains, in indescribable brightness; but at the horizon a tuft was visible, and it seemed to me that the tuft was the universe as we humans see it, with billions of suns. It seemed to me that in the tuft was much which needed to be put right, while in my mind a feeling of invincible strength prevailed, and I was in no doubt that this tuft or twist in existence would be brought into conformity with perfection. It was undeniably to descend, as Plotinus says, and inconceivable, to awaken to oneself from such a state, and I have felt it a great pity never to have the chance to experience it again, in all the years which have passed. Yet I know quite well why it is. The divine assistance, which this state is, cannot come to anyone who does not have the sincere will to seek the truth. But that is still not enough. The law of nature I have termed the Law of Determinants, which I started to study in the summer of 1914, means that no god can grant any searcher for the truth the help required, unless the searcher has sufficient support, sufficient confidence from others that what he brings them will be the truth, and that it is vital for them to join forces with the attempt to reveal the truth. People’s indifference to the truth has proved to be the worst obstacle to life here on earth attaining the state in which it should be. This will be explained in due course.

Chapters IX through XVII omitted.