Dialogue Between Adept and Novice
(Continued from Issue 1)
PUPIL: Can you give an example where Occult intervention would be necessary?
MASTER: You experienced the situation last year, when a man falsely claiming to be an Adept was made unable to continue with his pretensions.
PUPIL: But there are many people who make such claims and nothing ever happens to them. Why was this one different?
MASTER: Most of the self-styled Adepts get the followers they deserve. They and their followers manage very happily because they do not have the potential at that time to advance further. Some of them are aware of this and they are wise enough to accept it. A teacher will say to his or her pupil: ‘I have taught you all I can; now you must find a higher teacher.’ Some Occultists would rather be burned at the stake than admit that, it usually happens that their followers are not capable of progressing further. As I have said before, it is important to try every method, adapt the parts that appeal to you, discard the parts that do not. And then move on. That is useful experience, not wasted time, even if nothing about that particular aspect holds any meaning for you. A teacher, even if not very advanced, helps his pupils if he assists them to make progress in his methods but does not delude them into believing that this is the only way. In the incident last year, the phoney Adept who called himself Raoul Belphlegor was preventing people from reaching their true potential.
PUPIL: But wouldn’t it have been simpler to let him die? A few weeks after you realised that something had to be done, he was taken seriously ill – a condition which he had been ignoring for some time suddenly flared up. He was in Intensive Care, and you worked a healing for him. Why?
MASTER: He had to live with what he had done. If there was any chance of his deriving benefit from the lesson, he had to be given that chance.
PUPIL: You must have known that he could never benefit from such a lesson.
MASTER: Perhaps I knew it, but I am not concerned with judging him. All that was necessary was that he should be prevented from doing further harm. As a result of removing his followers, his sources of income were removed, but that was a consequence of his own actions.
PUPIL: You said earlier that there are some Occult teachers who are quite genuine, within their limitations, but they know that they have reached a certain level and cannot progress any higher. Did they choose to stop or why were they unable to go on?
MASTER: Nothing is for nothing. That applies equally to an intangible. Maybe they were unwilling to pay the price, or they did not have enough to pay the price.
PUPIL: Is an over-emphasis on ritual indicative of the teacher who has nothing valid to teach?
MASTER: No. It is not as simple as that. Ritual is valid as long as it has a meaning for the practitioner. You have participated in rituals where you felt that their purpose had been achieved, and others that were merely playacting. Ritual is more personal than your name. Whoever composed a ritual which meant something to you, that person – even if unknown to you – achieved a rapport with you in the same way that an artists who paints a picture effects a form of communication with the person who likes that picture so much that he buys it. But why waste time on the chance that someone else’s ritual will appeal to you? It is much more effective to put a ritual together yourself. However, the longer you go on, the less you will need ritual. When it ceases to have a point, abandon it.
PUPIL: I accept that ritual means nothing to you. Most of the time, I find it pointless, but I am not yet ready to abandon it altogether. Would you ever stage a ritual simply to impress someone?
MASTER: That would be most unlikely, but I will not answer unequivocally ‘no’ because it is possible that a circumstance may arise when that would be useful.
PUPIL: But you never seem to care about impressing anyone.
MASTER: ‘Never’ is too emphatic a term. There might be an occasion when I needed to convince someone of something, and ritual was the easiest way to do it. It is a very unlikely scenario – but nothing is impossible.
PUPIL: I have only known you stage a ritual on one occasion. There were three people present, you, me and Anne. Both Anne and I were new recruits. The purpose of the ritual was to aid Anne against someone she considered her enemy. You didn’t do that ritual to impress us, because it didn’t achieve its object.
MASTER: It didn’t do any harm to Anne’s enemy because it was not necessary that it should. The real purpose of the ritual was to examine another aspect of your abilities.
PUPIL: So you fooled us?
MASTER: Do you expect that, on every occasion, I shall tell you my real intentions?
PUPIL: No. This is part of the isolation which you mentioned earlier.
MASTER: Yes. An Adept has thousands of acquaintances but very few friends.
PUPIL: You have the power to make anyone do what you want. So why do you leave some of us free to make the choice, why do you take the chance that we might someday let you down or act against you?
MASTER: One cannot form a meaningful relationship, friendship or anything else, with someone who is not worthy, but if they are worthy, how could you justify taking away from them the thing that makes them special? There is no shortage of peasants to do my bidding when needed and, when they have served their purpose, they are returned to their blissful ignorance. They do not know or want to know anything about the Occult, they will never know that they have been used. A pupil must be free to make his or her own choice, otherwise they will sink to the level of those who are merely used.
PUPIL: How can you tell when someone is worthy, or simply usable?
MASTER: In the same way that I can tell everything else. Unless I guard against it, I have only to shake hands with someone and I know the day he will die and how. It is vital to shield oneself constantly against these impressions, but the shield is harder to put up if I am tired or ill or angry or upset.
PUPIL: But you never get angry or upset.
MASTER: Now you are beginning to see why.
PUPIL: When you were talking of time-travel, you said that the past exists only in our comprehension of it. Can you explain that?
MASTER: If humanity destroyed itself, if human beings had ceased to exist on Earth, would ancient Egypt have existed?
PUPIL: You said the past cannot be changed.
MASTER: If there is no-one to observe it, no knowledge of the past, did it exist at all?
PUPIL: But the artefacts of an ancient civilisation would still be there, even if no-one was here now.
MASTER: How can you be sure of that?
PUPIL: Are you saying that things exist only in the mind, to the extent that they depend on a reaction from the human mind to bring them into being?
MASTER: This is a very important question. The sound of one hand clapping. You understand how a tree can fall without making a noise?
PUPIL: Yes. If there is no-one within hearing distance. Sound is waves, it only becomes noise when it makes contact with someone’s ear. Sound exists only because of the human – or animal – reaction. But that’s an intangible thing – like light. No, that’s an invalid comparison because light is the only way we can know that the stars exist or used to exist.
MASTER: It is a valid comparison but you are too preoccupied with the physical. Although you cannot see light, you need light to see, therefore it exists. You have seen the statues and mummies in the Cairo Museum, therefore you believe that they exist. You cannot see sound, but my voice is real, though transitory. If you had never been to Egypt, there are other ways of establishing that the ancient civilisation existed, but all those ways depend upon your becoming aware of them. Take, for example, a hermit living in a cave in Tibet. If you described to him a computer, he would say no, such a thing does not exist. He would be just as certain that there are no such things as computers as you are certain that there are no such things as space-ships which can travel to other galaxies. I am not talking of admitting the possibility of such things existing in the future. Here and now, they do not exist because your mind has not comprehended them.
PUPIL: But here you are saying that things exist even if we are not aware of them. How does this relate to the question of whether ancient Egypt would have existed if we were not, here and now, aware of the artefacts, the book, the research?
MASTER: If I told you that, thirty million years ago, there lived in Antarctica a race of little green men with antennae, would you believe me?
PUPIL: I wouldn’t automatically disbelieve you, however incredible it sounded – at least I’ve learned that much! But if anyone, else whatever his scientific qualifications, made such a statement, yes, I would disbelieve.
MASTER: Leaving aside your personal attitude to me, you would feel that such a statement was not credible?
PUPIL: Yes. I don’t believe in them, therefore they did not exist.
MASTER: So the existence of an ancient civilisation depends on your belief in it? On a larger scale, the existence of ancient Egypt depends on the belief in it of the historians, archaeologists, scientists. Without their bringing it to you, you would not know of it, therefore you would not believe in it.
PUPIL: And if we didn’t believe in it, we would believe that it didn’t exist. This sounds like Alice in Wonderland saying to her attackers “you’re nothing but a pack of cards” and, as soon as she ceased to believe in their ability to harm her, they became just pieces of cardboard.
MASTER: So you can accept that it all depends on the state of your belief. And if there was no-one to believe or disbelieve, there would be no knowledge of this reality or myth that was ancient Egypt.
Pupil: If no knowledge of it existed now, it could not be known whether Egypt had existed or not. If there was no knowledge of it, the question of its existence would not be asked.
MASTER: We return to the original question. If there was no sentient mind to be aware of it, it would not exist now, but, in such a case, did it ever exist? If you subscribe to this philosophy, and I am not saying that I do, your mind is the only reality and, without that mind, nothing exists. This idea puts man back at the centre of the universe. All things depend on his existence to observe them.
PUPIL: Yes. I was just beginning to understand it and think I could accept it – then you slip in that bit about you’re not saying that you subscribe to this philosophy.
MASTER: One thing you should have learned by now is that I do not expect or want you to accept everything I say.
PUPIL: But I like that theory!
MASTER: Then hold to that theory, unless and until a better one comes to you. I will show you a lot of things to think about, but I will not tell you what to think. You must realise that, when a person subscribes or does not subscribe to a particular theory, his decision is based on everything that he already knows or believes or thinks. You cannot take it out of context. It is a bigger version of an individual asking how the hell do I know that I exist.
And how would the people going about their everyday business in ancient Egypt have felt if it became know to them that, in a thousand years’ time, Earth would not exist? How would they feel about their own existence, knowing that, no matter what they left behind, there would be no-one to see it? Then, instead of saying would ancient Egypt have existed if we were not here to see the remains, they could be saying do we really exist because there is no-one to come after us, is what we are doing real?
People involved in their everyday affairs in ancient Egypt would be faced with the same kind of decisions as someone trying to accept or reject this philosophy. Try to comprehend how they would have felt. The ancient Egyptians were dedicated to their belief in a life after death, they had a psychotic fascination with preserving the human form after death. Many people believe now that Earth is unlikely to survive for another thousand years or even another fifty years, not necessarily because of man’s inborn self-destructive urge but because a microchip controls the power to destroy.
PUPIL: If we knew without doubt that Earth was going to be destroyed, I think people would still go on acting in the same way they have always done. An individual would feel that nothing he could do would alter the course of events.
MASTER: That implies that, in his own mind, he is less important. The most important person is always “I”.
PUPIL: Yes, I agree with that. And yet, in a disaster, for instance, there are people who risk or even lose their lives to save others.
MASTER: Why do you think they do that?
PUPIL: I think they are carried away by the emotion of the moment. I can understand trying to save someone you love, but not a total stranger.
MASTER: Rescue is rescue and they are all motivated in the same way. Such Establishment words as “cowards” and “selfish” would be applied to one who concentrated solely on saving himself. These words were invented to make people believe that one form of behaviour is more acceptable than another.
PUPIL: But, when the ship’s going down, the sea is pouring in, there isn’t time to think about acceptable behaviour. Instinct must take over in such desperate circumstances. One person’s instinct impels him to jump into the lifeboat; another person’s instinct impels him to grab others and throw them into the lifeboat. What makes the difference?
MASTER: The difference is in each person’s attitude to life. The man who is a loser or who settles for breaking even, jumps for the lifeboat himself. The man who is a natural winner in life is the one who will save others. He is accustomed to winning, he believes in his own abilities. Because of the attitude he takes, he is used to getting double doses of trouble, and he believes that, even carrying someone else, he can make it.
PUPIL: So you are saying that the Establishment is right, even though for the wrong reason, in saying that the man who saves others is better than the man who saves only himself.
MASTER: The Establishment cannot be always wrong, just as the anti-Establishment cannot be always right. Every system of belief or ethics contains something that is wrong and also something that is right, even if its practitioners do not know the real reason why it is right.
From the Dark Lily Journal No 2, Society of Dark Lily (London 1987).