"I have an uneasy feeling that the world is being slowly and surreptitiously taken over by an all-powerful elite." These are the words of New Zealand airline pilot Bruce Cathie in the foreword to his book The Pulse of the Universe. Harmonic 288, published in 1981. Mention conspiracies and almost everyone will associate to evil powers and groups. Today there are untold numbers of books, magazines and internet sites devoted to various dark conspiracies. As a somewhat heretic counterbalance I wish on this first day of the new year 2019 present a few sources giving a more hopeful and positive alternative – a benevolent conspiracy.
This idea is not only found among the naive new age mystics and cultists but seriously discussed as a hypothesis in many of the works of Jacques Vallee and Allen Hynek. To understand their fascination with this controversial topic it is necessary to know that both Vallee and Hynek have one foot in science and one foot in the Esoteric Tradition. This is especially evident in the co-authored The Edge of Reality (1975) and Forbidden Science I-III by Jacques Vallee. In the first volume of his diaries, Forbidden Science. Journals 1957 - 1969, Vallee discuss the theory of a hidden group of individuals, planetary guardians, working behind the lines to further mankinds progress: ”Has the future spiritual state of man already been achieved by some individuals? Have certain gifted men already achieved contact, on some plane, with those who may be guiding our psychic evolution?” (p. 80).
References to a hidden group of highly advanced individuals secretly guiding the evolution of man is found throughout history. Such a benevolent conspiracy is hinted at in Hermeticism, Alchemy, Kabbalism, Rosicrucianism and in many works of fiction. In his second novel Wilhelm Meister´s Apprenticeship the German author Goethe gives a vivid description of how The Society of the Tower become his secret mentors. But it was not until 1875 that the planetary guardians, the Higher Intelligence Agency (HIA) for the first time in modern history decided to reveal their existence and present fundamentals of the Science of the Multiverse, The Ancient Wisdom. The cultural impact of this ”disclosure” was profound and several scholars and academics began to realize that the Esoteric Tradition can be regarded as the third intellectual force or pillar in cultural history, alongside religion and science.
The woman chosen for this mission impossible was Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, who together with the lawyer, journalist and pioneer in psychical research Henry Steel Olcott founded the Theosophical Society in New York 1875. Blavatsky and Olcott had several meetings with and close cooperation with various representatives of the planetary guardians and came to understand that these individuals were no astral spooks but living men and women united in an ancient fraternity. In Old Diary Leaves Olcott narrates his experiences and doubts before he became head of the Theosophical Society. To his very sceptical friend Mr. A.O. Hume he tried to explain his decision in a letter September 30th, 1881: "... I would never have taken anybody´s evidence to so astounding a claim as the existence of the Brothers, but required personal experience before I would head the new movement... I got that proof in due time".
One of my favourite novels that reveal a deep understanding of esoteric philosophy and the complexities of the benevolent conspiracy is Lost Legacy by science fiction writer Robert Heinlein. Published in the November 1941 issue of Super Science Stories it was later included in the collection Assignment In Eternity. Three scholars from California University, interested in paranormal phenomena, decides on a road trip to Mount Shasta. One in the group falls on a slippery cliff resulting in a fracture of the schin bone. A tall, elderly man appears from nowhere and offer his help. The group is led through a passageway into the mountain where they find themselves in a living room, illuminated by indirect lightning… They are then introduced to the around thirty persons resident in several rooms, men and women of different ages and nationalities.
Step by step the group is informed that these mysterious men and women represent a branch of an ancient secret society, custodians of the Ancient Wisdom. The university scholars are also briefed on the hard work of the society, including the struggle against the forces working in opposition to human liberty and evolution, defined as: ”… the racketeers, the crooked political figures, the shysters, the dealers in phony religions, the sweat-shoppers, the petty authoritarians, all of the key figures among the traffickers in human misery and human oppression… the opposition can fight as dirty as it pleases, but we have to fight fair, or we defeat our own aims.”
With the advent of the ”flying saucers” a new element was introduced in connection with esotericism and the benevolent conspiracy - ancient Vimanas, used by both the planetary guardians and extraterrestrial visitors. This connection was documented by authors such as Desmond Leslie, Meade Layne and Riley Crabb. It was further explained by UFO contactees Millen Cooke, Paul M. Vest, Daniel Fry and Howard Menger. Millen Cooke´s article Son of the Sun, published in Ray Palmer´s magazine Fantastic Adventures, already in November 1947, is remarkably prophetic of what was to come regarding UFO contacts in the 1950s: "We are alrady here, among you. Some of us have always been here, with you, yet apart from, watching and occasionally guiding you whenever the opportunity arose... We have been confused with the gods of many world-religions, although we are not gods, but your own fellow creatures, as you will learn directly before many more years have passed... Some of you have seen our "advance guard" already. You have met us often in the streets of your cities and you have not noticed us. But when we flash through your skies in the ancient traditional vehicles you are amazed... These are our mechanical means of transport. Now that the art of manufacturing plastic materials has reached a certain perfection among you, perhaps you can imagine a material, almost transparent to the rays of ordinary visible light, yet strong enough to endure the stresses of extreme rapid flight."
My favourite Fortean iconoclast, John Keel introduced the theme in Our Haunted Planet, commenting on H. G. Wells´prophetic novel Things To Come. In a world ravaged by war and misery a group of scientists and philosophers band together in an effort to restore civilization. They call their organization Wings Over the World (WOW): ”Much of the UFO evidence suggests that a real WOW has always existed. Maybe one of their members handed a caveman the first flaming brand and the first wheel, just as some unknown party alledgedly deposited the first compass outside that Mormon tent… The members of WOW are still watching as they have always done…” (pp. 18, 222).
In many blog posts I have asserted that accepting, as a working hypothesis, the reality of a multiverse as presented in the Esoteric Tradition does not imply irrationalism or a loss of intellectual integrity. Like Hynek and Vallee I see no problem in having one foot in empirical science and one foot in esotericism. In Forbidden Science, vol I, Jacques Vallee expound his view on this problem: ”To me there is indeed a fundamental reality of hermetic science…Everyone must find his or her own expression of it. The spiritual path I have chosen is that of intelligence tempered by the fire of love, but always applied to accessible, solid, consistent, calibrated facts.” (p. 82). This is esoteric philosophy, an aspiration towards the good, the true, and the beautiful.