Chapter 6

Divine Paradox

by Three Initiates
"The half-wise see the comparative unreality of the Universe and imagine that they can defy its Laws. They are vain and presumptuous fools. They are broken against the rocks and torn asunder by the elements by reason of their folly. The truly wise know the nature of the Universe. They use Law against laws. The higher against the lower. By the Art of Alchemy they transmute that which is undesirable into that which is worthy and thus triumph. Mastery is not in abnormal dreams or visions. It is in using the higher forces against the lower, escaping the pains of the lower planes by vibrating on the higher. Transmutation, not presumptuous denial, is the weapon of the Master."—The Kybalion.

This is the Paradox of the Universe, resulting from the Principle of Polarity which manifests when THE ALL begins to Create.

To THE INFINITE ALL, the Universe, its Laws, Powers, life, Phenomena are like a Dream. Yet to all that is Finite, these are Real. Life, action, and thought are based on reality, although with an understanding of the Higher Truth, each according to its own Plane and Laws.

If THE ALL imagined that the Universe were Real, then there would be then:

  • there would be no escape from lower to higher
  • the Universe become a fixed
  • progress would become impossible.

If the half-wise acts, lives, and thinks of the Universe as merely a dream then it will be a dream him. He will:

  • stumble like a sleep-walker in a circle, making no progress
  • be forced into an awakening by his falling bruised and bleeding over the Natural Laws which he ignored.

Keep your mind ever on the Star, but let your eyes watch over your footsteps, lest you fall into the mire because of your upward gaze. Remember the Divine Paradox, that while the Universe IS NOT, still IT IS.

Remember ever the Two Poles of Truth the Absolute and the Relative. Beware of Half-Truths.

“The Law of Paradox” is an aspect of the Principle of Polarity.

The Teachers are constantly warning their students against the error of omitting the “other side” of any question. Their warnings are particularly directed to the problems of the Absolute and the Relative. These:

  • perplex students of philosophy
  • cause so many to think and act contrary to “common sense”

We caution all students to be sure to grasp the Divine Paradox of the Absolute and Relative, lest they become entangled in the mire of the Half-Truth.

The Universe is a Mental Creation of THE ALL.

The Universe and all that it contains is a mere illusion, an unreality.

The student’s instincts revolt against this idea.

But this, like all other great truths, must be viewed both from the Absolute and the Relative points of view.

From the Absolute viewpoint, the Universe is an illusion, a dream, as compared to THE ALL in itself.

Philosopher, metaphysician, scientist and theologian all agree with this idea.

From the Absolute point of view, there is nothing Real except THE ALL.

You should realize this fact thoroughly before you pass judgment on the Hermetic conception of the Mental nature of the Universe.

But the Absolute point of view shows merely one side of the picture—the other side is the Relative one.

Absolute Truth is defined as “Things as the mind of God knows them.

Relative Truth is “Things as the highest reason of Man understands them”.

To THE ALL, the Universe is unreal. But to the finite minds forming a part of that Universe, and viewing it through mortal faculties, the Universe is very real.

Remember that we are not THE ALL.

Matter “exists” to our senses. Yet science says that there is no such thing as Matter because it is just an aggregation of atoms which are merely a grouping of units of force, called electrons or “ions,” vibrating and in constant circular motion.

We kick a stone and we feel the impact. It seems to be real. But our foot, which feels the impact by means of our brains, is likewise Matter, so constituted of electrons, and for that matter so are our brains. Without our Mind, we would not know the foot or stone at all.

Then again, the ideal of the artist or sculptor, which he is endeavoring to reproduce in stone or on canvas, seems very real to him.

So do the characters in the mind of the author; or dramatist, which he seeks to express so that others may recognize them. And if this be true in the case of our finite minds, what must be the degree of Reality in the Mental Images created in the Mind of the Infinite?

To mortals, this Universe of Mentality is very real. To know it, we must be THE ALL itself.

The higher we rise in the scale—the nearer to “the mind of the Father” we reach—the more apparent becomes the illusory nature of finite things, but not until THE ALL finally withdraws us into itself does the vision actually vanish.

We should not dwell on the illusion. Rather we should:

  • understand its mental laws
  • use them in our upward progress through life, as we travel from plane to plane of being.

The Laws of the Universe are “Iron Laws” because of the mental nature.

All, except THE ALL, are bound by them. What is IN THE INFINITE MIND OF THE ALL is REAL in a degree second only to that Reality itself which is vested in the nature of THE ALL.

We are all HELD FIRMLY IN THE INFINITE MIND OF THE ALL. Nothing can hurt us. We do not need to fear anything.

There is no Power outside of THE ALL to affect us. So we may rest calm and secure. There is a world of comfort and security in this realization when once attained.

Then “calm and peaceful do we sleep, rocked in the Cradle of the Deep”—resting safely on the bosom of the Ocean of Infinite Mind, which is THE ALL. In THE ALL, indeed, do “we live and move and have our being.”

Matter is Matter to us while we dwell on the plane of Matter.

Nor does Matter become less Matter, when we follow the inquiry still further, and learn from the Hermetic Teachings, that the “Force” of which the electrons are but units is merely a manifestation of the Mind of THE ALL, and like all else in the Universe is purely Mental in its nature.

While on the Plane of matter, we may control Matter by applying the higher forces. We may deny its mastery over us. But we should not attempt to ignore it in its relative aspect as long as we live on its plane.

We overcome the lower laws only by applying still higher ones. But we cannot escape Law or rise above it entirely. Only THE ALL can escape Law because THE ALL is the LAW itself from which all Laws emerge. Even the most advanced Masters must bow to the Law, and be as Nothing in the eye of THE ALL.

Those Masters have such power because they know that the Laws are Mental in nature, as Mental Creations of THE ALL.

The governing Laws of THE ALL are not to be defied or argued away. The Universe exists by these Laws which form its framework and which hold it together.

The Hermetic Principle of Mentalism says that all is Mental. It does not change the scientific conceptions of the Universe, Life, or Evolution.

In fact, science merely corroborates the Hermetic Teachings. The latter merely teaches that the nature of the Universe is “Mental,” while modern science has taught that it is “Material” or “Energy”.

Herbert Spencer

Herbert Spencer had a basic principle of an “Infinite and Eternal Energy from which all things proceed.” The Hermetics recognize in Spencer’s philosophy the highest outside statement of the workings of the Natural Laws that have ever been promulgated. They believe Spencer was a reincarnation of an ancient philosopher who lived in ancient Egypt thousands of years ago, and who later incarnated as Heraclitus, the Grecian philosopher who lived B. C. 500.

  • His concept of “Infinite and Eternal Energy” is the same as the Energy of the Mind of THE ALL.
  • His teachings on Evolution and Rhythm almost perfectly agree with the Hermetic Teachings regarding the Principle of Rhythm.

So the student of Hermetics does need to abandon scientific views on the Universe. He should understand that “THE ALL is Mind; the Universe is Mental—held in the mind of THE ALL.” The other 6 Principles will “fit into” his scientific knowledge and clarify obscure points.

This is not to be wondered at, when we realize the influence of the Hermetic thought of the early philosophers of Greece, upon whose foundations of thought the theories of modern science largely rest.

The acceptance of the First Hermetic Principle (Mentalism) is the only great point of difference between Modern Science and Hermetic students, and Science is gradually moving toward the Hermetic position in its groping in the dark for a way out of the Labyrinth into which it has wandered in its search for Reality.

The purpose of this lesson is to impress upon the minds of our students the fact that, to all intents and purposes,

The Universe and its laws. Its phenomena are REAL.

But (note the other pole of the truth) under the same hypotheses, we are compelled to ACT AND LIVE as if the fleeting things were real and substantial. With this difference, always, between the various hypotheses—that under the old views Mental Power was ignored as a Natural Force, while under Mentalism it becomes the Greatest Natural Force.

This one difference revolutionizes Life, to those who understand the Principle and its resulting laws and practice.

The half-wise become hypnotized by the apparent unreality of things. It makes them wander about like dream-people dwelling in a world of dreams, ignoring the practical work and life of man. They end up broken against the rocks and torn asunder by the elements.

You should instead “use Law against Laws; the higher against the lower; and by the Art of Alchemy transmute that which is undesirable into that which is worthy, and thus triumph.”

Remember always that “Transmutation is the weapon of the Master.”

We should use the Laws to rise from lower to higher—living on, doing the best that we can under the circumstances arising each day, and living, so far as is possible, to our biggest ideas and ideals.


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