Monday, June 27, 2016

Robert Heinlein and esotericism

The novel, Lost Legacy, by science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988) has been one of my absolute favourite novels since I first read it many years ago. It was originally published in the November 1941 issue of Super Science Stories and later included in the collection Assignment in Eternity. I know of few novels that reveal such a deep and innate understanding of esoteric philosophy. An accomplished and erudite esotericist could hardly have done a better job. This novel is must reading for anyone seriously interested in the Esoteric Tradition.

The narrative centers around a trio from a California university, Dr. Philip Huxley, professor of Psychology, Dr. Ben Coburn, neurosurgeon, and Joan Freeman, student of Psychology. They discover psychic abilities in one another and theorize that all humans possess these faculties as potentialities. When their superiors at the university become aware of their heretic interest and activities they are immediately discouraged from pursuing such research. Dr. Huxley laments the situation: “Fat chance. I talked with the dean and he wouldn´t even take it up with the President. Scared that the old fathead will clamp down on the department even more than he has. You see, officially, we are supposed to be behaviorists. Any suggestion that there might be something to consciousness that can´t be explained in terms of physiology and mechanics is about as welcome as a Saint Bernard in a telephone booth”.

Dr. Huxley has been collecting data on all sorts of paranormal phenomena that run contrary to orthodox psychological theory: “I decided to forget about theories, to treat these outcast phenomena like any ordinary data, and see where it landed me…Very little of it has been duplicated in the Western hemisphere, which counts against it; nevertheless a lot of odd stuff in India has been reported by competent cool-minded observers – telepathy, accurate soothsaying, clairvoyance, fire walking and so forth.”

This trio of heretic academics decides on a road trip to Mount Shasta. Climbing the mountain Ben Coburn falls on a slippery cliff and receives a fracture of the shin bone. A tall, elderly man appears from nowhere and offer his help. The group are led through a passageway into the mountain where they find themselves in a living room, illuminated by indirect lightning. They spend the night in this room and in the morning Ben´s wound has mysteriously and completely healed. They are then introduced to the around thirty persons resident in several rooms, men and women of different ages and nationalities. Questioned how this community could exist without it being a matter of common knowledge the group is informed that: “We have taken certain precautions… to avoid notoriety. Our reasons, and the precautions they inspired will become evident to you.”

Philip, Ben and Joan are then briefed on the history of the community, their philosophy, inner powers and work in the world. They are custodians of the Ancient Wisdom and have for ages worked behind the scenes to further the cultural and spiritual evolution of man on planet earth. There are so many well formulated esoteric statements in Lost Legacy that I have often wondered whether Robert Heinlein was a student of the Esoteric Tradition? I have found no definite information on this issue but his second wife, Leslyn MacDonald, who held a master´ s degree in Philosophy, was said to have practised “white witchcraft” and her mother was a Theosophist. There is also indications that Heinlein was influenced by Gurdjieff´s disciple P.D. Ouspensky.

Here a few quotes from Lost Legacy with comments:

"We see the history of the world as a series of crises in a conflict between two opposing philosophies. Ours is based on the notion that life, consciousness, intelligence, ego is the important thing in the world." (p. 64, paperback ed. 1978).
This is the quintessence or central idea in esoteric philosophy, the science of the multiverse. Human self-consciousness, the illuminated window in the cosmic night, is to me a tremendous mystery. Simply defining man in material terms is presenting an incongruous flatland model of something infinitely greater. There is a quality in human self-consciousness that requires a different approach. I can never accept the proposition that a lump of matter randomly can form sentient beings, conscious, self-reflecting and capable of ethical decisions. That human beings have an almost unlimited capacity for evil, is something that we are constantly reminded of by reading global media. But what is really interesting and hopeful is that we can surmount harsh existential conditions and develop an almost limitless kindness and empathy. Here we find an indication that the deeper meaning of our existence is the transformation and evolution of our consciousness. We are a step in the evolution of consciousness in the multiverse.
This basic idea is summarrized by the Swedish esotericist Henry T. Laurency in Knowledge of Life Two: "What is lacking in all religions is the knowledge of the meaning of life: consciousness development. Christianity knows of nothing but eternal bliss in heaven. The yoga philosophy thinks that evolution has reached its final goal with man and what remains for man is to become god, to enter the “absolute”. It knows nothing of higher kingdoms, that man’s next goal is to attain the fifth natural kingdom." (7.1, p.1, online ed.)

"Free will is the primary good of the Cosmos". (p. 58)
The most important law of life in esotericism is the law of freedom. In all ages and nations humans constantly strive for freedom from religious and economic oppression, war, totalitarian rule. Henry T. Laurency devotes a chapter to a detailed exposition of this law in his book The Philosopher´s Stone: "Divine right is individual sovereignty. Man is a potential godhead. No power has any right to take away the freedom that life grants to the individual. The individual has an inalienable, divine right to think, feel, say, and do whatever pleases him, as long as, in so doing, he does not violate the right of anybody else, does not infringe the equal right of all to that same inviolable freedom. (3.9, p. 9, online ed.) www.

"... the forces that killed enlightment in the rest of the world are spreading here. Little by little they have whittled away human liberty and human dignity. A repressive law... a blind dogma, to be accepted under pain of persecution... You see, sir, our antagonists don´t wait. They are active all the time. They´ve won i Asia, they are in the ascendancy in Europe, they may win here in America... With the aid of the archives they (Philip, Ben, Joan) learned the techniques byt which the brotherhood of adepts had interceded in the past when freedom of thought and action in America had been threatened." (p.p. 65, 88-90)

In Lost Legacy Robert Heinlein makes it very clear that orthodox religion is, and have been, one of the largest impediments to human progress and happiness. The perfect tool for the "forces of darkness". In earlier centurys Christianity represented oppression but today it has been moderated by the ideas of The Enlightenment, humanism, science and The Modern Project. Freedom and democracy are today instead threatened by global islamic fundamentalism. Islam as a world religion has not passed through the evolutionary stages and philosophical moderation as Christianity and because of this stagnation represent a grave danger to the free world.

The custodians of the Ancient Wisdom have many times pointed out this problem to humanity. In the classic The Mahatma Letters to A.P. Sinnett the adept K.H. give this view on the history of religion: "... the chief cause of nearly two thirds of the evils that pursue humanity ever since that cause became a power. It is religion under whatever form and in whatever nation. It is the sacerdotal caste, the priesthood and the churches; it is  in those illusions that man looks upon as sacred, that he has to search out the source of that multitude of evils which is the great curse of humanity and that almost overwhelms mankind... It is belief in God and Gods that makes two-thirds of humanisty the slaves of a handful of those who deceive them under the false pretense of saving them." (Letter no. 10, pp. 57-58, 1979 ed.).

Interestingly we find the same information coming from some of the first generation UFO contactees. Howard Menger was warned by his "venusian" contacts about the opposition to their work: "My friend, this earth is the battlefield of Armageddon, and the battle is for men´s minds and souls... You don´t know, Howard, that there is a very powerful group on this planet... This group has been infiltrating religious organizations to dupe your peoples into a distorted concept of truth which enveloped your planet thousands of years ago. They are using the credulity and simple faith of many people to attain there own ends." (Howard Menger, From Outer Space to You, 1959, pp. 143-144).

Even the controversial UFO contactee George Adamski presented a similar view in his last book, Flying Saucers Farewell. Adressing the community of priests in a fictional form he writes: "You no doubt consider yourself a true prophet, a messengers of God, but even you, you and thousands of other oppointed ministers and teachers of Truth are actually messengers of Satan. You have perverted the laws of the Cosmos even as the so-called criminal element of the world has done... It was religion that withheld the right of free thought, crying "heresy" to the works of scientific minds such as Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler and hundreds of others... religion as it has been taught and practised stands only as a symbol of oppression." (pp. 180-181).

The similarities in message and philosophy in the Esoteric Tradition and from some of the UFO contactees is very detailed, as I have have been trying to demonstrate in this blog and other writings. It is therefore reasonable to assume a common source or purpose. Hence the Esoteric Intervention Theory. Heinlein´s Lost Legacy is a treasure trove of esoteric philosophy. An excellent choice for summer reading.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Field investigation in Sweden

Every autumn UFO-Sweden arranges a weekend seminar for field investigators. Since 2013 at the charming Föllingen Hotel situated in the southern part of the Swedish province Östergötland. Weekend seminars for field investigators was introduced already in 1977 by former UFO-Sweden chairman Bevan (Thorvald) Berthelsen. This was an important innovation in the history of our national UFO organization, aiming at improving the quality of empirical data and documentation of Swedish UFO-reports. These annual weekend seminars are also important and pleasant social gatherings, a meeting place for old and new ufologists. A newsletter is also produced, Rapport-Nytt, with Swedish UFO cases, articles and organizational news for the active field investigator.

Håkan Ekstrand and Clas Svahn at Föllingen Hotel 2013

Beginners at the seminar recieve basic training in field investigation techniques, misidentifications, witness psychology, UFO-history, UFO-Sweden ideology and policy and often a lecture on a specialized theme by an invited guest speaker. With my 40+ years of active involvement in the UFO movement I have often pondered on the best way to introduce new field investigators to the exceedingly complex and controversial world of ufology. How do we inspire and motivate new field investigators to seriously begin their own research and documentation of UFO encounters?

Launching of Chinese lanterns during seminar 2011

In his third book Tefaten är här (The Saucers are Here) 1972, the grand old man and pioneer of Swedish ufology, K. Gösta Rehn, gave this advice to the new generation of young ufologists: "Concentrate on the close encounter cases". This is a message I have for many years tried to convey to new and old field investigators at the UFO-Sweden seminars, lectures, articles, blog and books. With the stubbornness of a drunken old parrot I have reiterated: concentrate your efforts on detailed investigation and documentation of close encounter cases with much empirical data and forget the ordinary misidentifications of simple lights, digital camera effects, sensational YouTube movies etc. – or ufology will get nowhere. It is with a certain sadness and frustration I notice all the very intriguing close encounter and contact cases found in the UFO-Sweden/AFU files, but only briefly mentioned and not thoroughly investigated. It is these cases that represent the real scientific and intellectual challenge – the true UFO enigma.

K. Gösta Rehn

There is also a psychological aspect to this problem. When I began serious field investigation at the beginning of the 1970s I was immediately catapulted into the fascinating underground world of close encounters; landings, observation of humanoids, physical contact claims etc. If I would only have been confronted with investigating mere lights in the sky or undetermined objects caught on cameras I would probably have lost interest in ufology. Instead I was confronted with the controversial claims of a.o. Sture and Turid Johansson, Sten Lindgren and Richard Höglund. These cases inspired me to really try to find out the truth behind all these observations, experiences and claims.

In UFO-Sweden we have often given new field investigators simple and easily explained cases as a start up. Based on my own experience I would advice quite the opposite - let the new field investigators begin with a really complex close encounter. This will function as a stimulating intellectual challenge, besides being very exciting. Much more so than studying misidentifications of Chinese lanterns, planets or airplanes. If no new cases are aviable hundreds of older close encounter reports can be found in the UFO-Sweden report archives.

The extensive UFO report archive at AFU

A close encounter that would be a good start for any field investigator is the Siw Fester landing and humanoid observation at Haverdal, near the city of Halmstad, August 21, 1983. Several UFO observations were reported in the area during the same night and there is also rumours of a second landing. A re-examination of this case would probably yield more and relevant data. As often happen during field investigations one case will lead to another. 

Illustration of the Siw Fester landing case

Another case that would be a real challenge for a new field investigator is the Sören Broman close encounter and contact experiences. I interviewed Sören Broman on October 23, 1994 but here is a case with many dimensions: close encounters with several witnesses, abductions, physical contact with Nordic type alien, messages and claims of aliens among us. A thorough study and documentation of this case is simply waiting for a bold field investigator.

Sören Broman visiting AFU on October 23, 1994

There are hundreds of challenging close encounters and contacts briefly mentioned but lacking investigation and documentation in the UFO-Sweden report files at AFU in Norrköping. This is the real UFO enigma. I can but repeat the words of K.Gösta Rehn to Swedish ufologists: Concentrate on the close encounters!