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Al Gore, Theosophy and the Cycle

Interesting Links Between Past And Present
Carlos Cardoso Aveline
This article was first published in
“Fohat” magazine, Canada, Spring 2007,
pp. 7-9 and 21-22.  It was then  updated
and published again by the monthly
electronical magazine “The Aquarian
Theosophist”, in its November 2007
edition, from which we reproduce it.
By mid-October 2007,  former U.S. vice-president Al
Gore was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, sharing it with
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC. 
The Norwegian Nobel Committee praised both “for their
efforts to build up and disseminate a greater knowledge about
man-made climate change”. Earlier in 2007,  Al Gore had
received the Academy Award  for Documentary Film for
 his “An Inconvenient Truth”.  Al Gore is not new to these
planetary issues.  Active in environmental discussions
since  the 1980s, in 1993 he  published “Earth in the
Balance”, a book which proposes a new worldwide
 ecological and social ethics,  and which is guided by a
 feeling of planetary citizenship and universal brotherhood.
“What has happened before will
happen again. What has been done before will
be done again. There is nothing new under the Sun.”
(Ecclesiastes, 1: 5-10.)
The Law of Cycles applies to everything in life. Not only events, but also ideas are often recurrent.  It is not an  extraordinary  event, therefore, that  something William Q.  Judge wrote  in his 1893 book “The Ocean of Theosophy” later became a central idea in Al Gore’s 2006 famous film and book entitled   “An Inconvenient Truth”.
Both William Judge and the ex-vice-president of the United States discuss the mechanisms by which a new Ice Age can suddenly spread over a large area of the planet. And this is a living possibility in the 21st century,  according to many scientists and quite a few governments.
There is a  specific paragraph by William Judge  which anticipates for more than one century an idea now defended by Mr. Al Gore in his well-articulated, worldwide effort for stimulating  planetary consciousness and  ethics.
Judge describes various aspects of geological and karmic adjustments into a new age or cycle.   The whole passage is significant, as climate-related events can only be understood in their dynamic unity and interaction:
“In regard to great cataclysms occurring at the beginning and ending of the great cycles, the main laws governing the effects are those of Karma and Reembodiment, or Reincarnation, proceeding under cyclic rule. Not only is man ruled by these laws, but every atom of matter as well, and the mass of matter is constantly undergoing a change at the same time with man. It must therefore exhibit alterations corresponding to those through which the thinker is going. On the physical plane effects are brought out through the electrical and other fluids acting with the gases on the solids of the globe. At the change of a great cycle they reach what may be termed the exploding point and cause violent convulsions of the following classes: (a) Earthquakes, (b) Floods, (c) Fire, (d) Ice.”  [1]
Judge goes on:
“Earthquakes may be brought on according to this philosophy by two general causes; first, subsidence or elevation under the earth-crust due to heat and steam, second, electrical and magnetic changes which affect water and earth at the same time. These last have the power to instantaneously make the earth fluidic without melting it, thus causing immense and violent displacements in large or small waves. And this effect is sometimes seen now in earthquake districts when similar electrical causes are at work in a smaller measure.”
“Floods of general extent are caused by displacement of water from the subsidence or elevation of land, and by those combined with electrical change which induces a copious discharge of moisture. The latter is not a mere emptying of a cloud, but a sudden turning of vast bodies of fluids and solids into water.”
“Universal fires come on from electrical and magnetic changes in the atmosphere by which the moisture is withdrawn from the air and the latter turned into a fiery mass; and, secondly, by the sudden expansion of the solar magnetic center into seven such centers, thus burning the globe.”
These various phenomena listed by Judge are not separate from one another.  For a number of years now,  factors like widespread man-made pollution and deforestation, as well as earthquakes, volcanoes, forest fires,  droughts and floods  have been combining to provoke a greenhouse effect on the planet. The great paradox is that the initial warming caused by such a greenhouse effect  may be but the triggering mechanism for a new Ice Age.
The specific paragraph in Judge’s book whose idea has been adopted and expanded  by Al Gore, is:
“Ice cataclysms come on not only from the sudden alteration of the poles but also from lowered temperature due to the alteration of the warm fluid currents in the sea and the hot magnetic currents in the earth, the first being known to science, the latter not. The lower stratum of moisture is suddenly frozen, and vast tracts of land covered in a night with many feet of ice. This can easily happen to the British Isles if the warm currents of the ocean are diverted from its shores.”
While keeping these ideas in mind, one might make a pause  to ask oneself:  1) Can we do anything about these planetary events?  2) Are we human beings  more than just passive spectators  and victims of this process?  3) Have our civilization and its citizens, therefore, some definite responsibilities over what happens to our planet?
Conventional science has finally got to a situation in which it can answer “yes” to these three questions. As to Theosophy, it has never ascribed the causes of human and planetary events to the personal will of  any man-made Gods.  Both Theosophy and Science tend  to say that human relationship  to environment must be one of  the major causes in many a big and small cataclysm.
Blavatsky students know - and some scientists suspect - that physical events are unseparable from spiritual realities.   Esoteric Philosophy goes further and recognizes the Sun as being the “storehouse” of  both spiritual and physical energy for our planet and its inhabitants.  Our  star is the visible vehicle for the Logos, the “Verbum”, or Ishwara,  whose name is AUM  according to the Aphorisms of Patanjali (I-23-28).  Taking these facts into calm consideration, one might see a deeper meaning,  occult  in this sentence of  Gore’s book:
“We are dumping  so much carbon dioxide into the Earth’s environment that we have literally changed the relationship between the Earth and the Sun.” [2]
Indeed the “greenhouse effect”  has been provoking a growing obstruction in our planet’s relation to the Sun’s vital energies.  It interrupts the free exchange of energies between the Earth and its own “higher atmosphere”.  It also leads to a climate change that will allow the planet to recover its balance. Of course, only a deep and  radical change in our civilization can remove many man-made causes of  the  “greenhouse effect”;  yet there is no other path to go,  and procrastination will not help us. Thinking of deforestation, for instance, H.P. Blavatsky  wrote as soon as 1879:
“We need only glance at the pages of history to see that the ruin and ultimate extinction of national power follow the extirpation of forests as surely as night follows day. Nature has provided the means for human development; and her laws can never be violated without disaster.” [3]
H.P.B. was well aware of the fact that the environmental impact caused by industrialized society was already a powerful cause for climate change in her own time. She could see it would get much  worse in the future, for she ironically wrote in 1888  in one of her “Unpopular Philosopher Notes”:
“The outlook for the British Isles is hopelessly depressing. (…..)  India is exporting her superfluous ‘monsoon clouds’ to Europe via Port Said, and the rain-God seems to have permanently established his sprinkling machine over Great Britain. Siberia sends her hyperborean frosts to the southwards, and herself flirts with the tropics. Kangaroos have appeared in Surrey; and parrots may soon be heard warbling their saw-filing staccato, and birds of paradise sun their jewelled plumes on palm trees in Archangel. Everything evidently is upside down, the times are out of joint, and the screws of the Cosmic ‘Carpenter’ are working loose. In vain our men of Science waste their Greek and Latin over the problem. What is it, what can the matter be? What makes all this sidereal and terrestrial ‘tohu-bohu’ à la mode, of Chaos? The Globe is shrinking, we hear; and the firmament thickening with foreign matter of all sorts. The ceaseless soot and smoke from millions of chimneys, furnaces, railway engines and other fires may perchance have angered the Powers above. Naturally enough, for they must object to being smoked out of their Svargas and Valhallas and other pleasant detached Elysiums, by the products of incomplete fuel-combustion. As for our poor mother Earth, what with the ever extending mines, canals, and tunnels, aqueducts, drains, sewers and subways, her venerable hide is becoming so honey-combed as to resemble the skin of a morphiomaniac addicted to subcutaneous injections. How long she will suffer her robust flanks to be thus scarified, who can tell?  (…..)  For myself I confess my utter incapacity to know where this exact line will be drawn.” [4]
During the first half of the 21st century, we are very much in  the same situation - only with more speed and danger, and still accelerating.
Thinking ahead of her time, HPB  also anticipated  the ethical viewpoint which the ecology movement would adopt  in the last quarter of the 20th century.  Al Gore, a long-time climate ecologist and  a sympathizer of  Fritjof Capra’s “Deep Ecology”,  has worked along similar philosophical lines.  A U.S.A. Senator for many years,  in 1993 he published his first book, “Earth in the Balance” (Plume Book), which anticipated much of his 2006 film and book.
Gore writes on  page 10 of  “An Inconvenient Truth”:
“The list of what is now endangered  due to global warming also includes the continued stable configuration of ocean and wind currents that has been in place since before the first cities were built almost 10,000 years ago.”
And then:
“The climate change also offers us  the chance to experience what very few generations in history have had the privilege of knowing: a generational mission; the exhilaration  of a compelling moral purpose; a shared and unified cause; the thrill of  being forced by  circumstances to put aside the pettiness and conflict that so often stifle the restless human need for transcendence: the opportunity to rise.  When we do rise, it will fill our spirits and bind us together. Those who are now suffocating in cynicism and despair will be able to breathe freely. Those who are now suffering from a loss of meaning in their lives will find hope. When we rise, we will experience an epiphany as we discover that this crisis is not really about politics at all.  (…..)  It is about who we are as human beings. It is about our capacity to transcend our own limitations, to rise to this new occasion. To see with our hearts, as well as our heads, the response that is now called for. This is a moral, ethical and spiritual challenge. We should not fear this challenge. We should welcome it. We must not wait. In the  words of Dr. King, ‘Tomorrow is today’.” (p. 11)
Gore discusses the process of heating now  taking place at the surface of our globe due to the ‘greenhouse effect’. Rising temperatures are caused by the rapidly growing excess of carbon  dioxide in the atmosphere. Based on the best available scientific data, he describes  the advanced process of ice-melting in the planetary poles.
As Theosophy students  know,  ice-melting in the poles may be linked to the periodical  Polar Shifts in our planet.  Polar shifts are discussed by HPB in “The Secret Doctrine”.  The large-scale ice-melting changes the whole distribution and balance of “weight” along the planet’s surface. It thus can help affect the poles’ orientation with regard to the Sun. The geological substance of our planet is more plastic and fluid and less “solid” than one could think at first sight.  Hard rocks are the exception; fluidity is the rule. The whole process is into a great extent electrical-magnetic.
The warming temperatures and large scale melting of glaciers in the poles are in fact but the initial effects of a much wider change in the physiology of the planet. Al Gore writes:
“Melting the Arctic could profoundly change the planet’s entire climate pattern.  Scientists call the global climate a ‘non-linear system’, which is just a fancy way the scientists have of saying the changes are not gradual. Some of them can, and have in the past, come suddenly, in big jumps.” [5]
He proceeds:
“These scientists say the  world’s climate  is best understood as a kind of engine for redistributing heat from the Equator and the tropics into the poles. Much more solar energy is absorbed by the Earth between the Tropic of Cancer [about 23 degrees North of the equator] and the Tropic of Capricorn [about 23 South of the equator]  because the Sun is directly overhead everyday all year long.”
On the poles, we have the opposite situation:
“By contrast, the Sun’s rays strike only glancing blows at the North Pole and the South Pole.  Each receives the sunlight for only half the year, during which the other is completely in darkness. The redistribution of heat from the Equator to the poles drives the wind and ocean currents - like the Gulf Stream and the jet stream. These currents have followed much the same pattern since the end of  the last ice  age 10,000 years ago, since before the first human cities were built. Disrupting them would have incalculable consequences for all  of  civilization. And yet, the climate crisis is gaining the potential to do just that.”
In the lines above, Gore mentions the well-known fact that we got back from an ice age  some 10,000 years ago.  It is interesting to note that, according to “The Mahatma Letters”,  some 11,500 years ago Poseidonis, the last  (and large)  island of Atlantis, went down in a  sudden way [6].  Was it because of a flood? Yes. Was the flood in its turn  caused by a quick, large scale ice-melting? Possibly yes.
A warming leads to an ice-melting, and this leads to a new ice age,  which lasts sometimes 1,000 years (see the end of p. 149 in Gore’s book).
Thus the  “melting” which sunk Atlantis 11,500 years ago could be linked to the starting point of an ice age.  Dates seem to fit, since  broadly speaking  some 10,000 years ago we had the end of the ice age.  But one can see  that Gore is talking about 10,000 years with much flexibility: this could have been the time either  of the start,  or of the end of  the most recent ice age. 
Discussing the events which are  taking place right now,  Gore writes:
“And so all those wind and ocean current patterns that formed during the last ice age, which have been relatively stable ever since, are now up in the air. Our civilization has never experienced any environmental shift remotely  similar to this. Today’s climate pattern has existed throughout the entire history of human civilization. Every place - every city, every farm - is located or has been developed on the basis of the same climate patterns we have always known.”
What about the ocean currents mentioned by William Judge?  The former U.S. vice-president says: 
“According to scientists, one surprisingly fragile component of the global climate system is in the North Atlantic, where the Gulf Stream encounters the cold winds coming off the Arctic and across Greenland. (...) The currents of  the ocean are all linked (…..) in a loop called ‘The Global Ocean Conveyor Belt’.”
Then, referring to some colour drawings on a world map included in his book, Gore adds:
“The red parts of the loop below represent the warm surfaces, the best known of which is the Gulf stream, which flows along the east coast of America. The blue portions of the loop represent the deep cold-water currents flowing in the opposite direction. (...) Around 10,000 years ago, something happened that the scientists are worried could happen again. When the last glacial ice sheet in North America melted, it formed a giant pool of fresh water.  The Great Lakes are the remnant of that huge freshwater lake, which was held in place on its eastern boundary by an enormous ice dam. Then one day the ice dam  broke and the fresh water rushed out into the North Atlantic.  (...) The Gulf Stream virtually stopped. So Western Europe no longer received all of that heat from the evaporating Gulf Stream. Consequently, Europe went back into an ice age for another 900 to 1,000 years. And the transition happened fairly quickly. Some scientists are seriously worried about the possibility of  this phenomenon recurring.”
In order to make a direct comparison, let’s see now  again that key  paragraph by Judge. It says:
“Ice cataclysms come on not only from the sudden alteration of the poles but also from lowered temperature due to the alteration of the warm fluid currents in the sea and the hot magnetic currents in the earth, the first being known to science, the latter not. The lower stratum of moisture is suddenly frozen, and vast tracts of land covered in a night with many feet of ice. This can easily happen to the British Isles if the warm currents of the ocean are diverted from its shores.”  
Similarity of ideas is remarkable. This fundamental concept has not been completely forgotten between the 1890s and more recent years, for in September 1958 Harper’s magazine published in the USA  an article called “The Coming of the Ice Age”, based on research done at the Columbia University’s Geological Observatory. That article, which was discussed in “Theosophy” magazine, said:
“If they [researchers Maurice Ewing and William Donn]  are right,  the world is now heading into a new Ice Age. It will come not as a  sudden catastrophe, but as the inevitable culmination of a process that has already begun in northern oceans.   (…..) As Ewing and  Donn  read the evidence, an Ice Age will result from a slow warming  and rising of the ocean that is now taking place. They believe that this ocean flood  – which may  submerge large  coastal areas of the eastern United  States and western Europe –  is  going to melt the ice sheet which has covered  the Arctic Ocean through all recorded history. Calculations based on the independent observations of other scientists  indicate this melting could begin within roughly one hundred years. It is this melting of  Arctic ice which Ewing and Donn believe will set off another Ice Age on earth.” [7]
There  are also other viewpoints to look at environmental and cyclic changes, and they are perhaps complementary to this one.   Sooner or later, fires and volcanoes might play a major role in climate change, as HPB wrote, while commenting Eliphas Levi’s texts:
“Eliphas Levi refers to the secret tradition, among Occultists, about the great struggle that took place, in those far away prehistoric days of Atlantis, between the ‘Sons of God’ -  the initiated Adepts of Sambhala (…..) - and the Atlanteans, the wicked magicians of  Thevetat.  It is a well-established belief among the Eastern, and especially the Mongolian and Tibetan, Occultists that toward the end of every race, when mankind reaches its apex of knowledge in that cycle, dividing into two distinct classes, it branches off - one as the ‘Sons of Light’ and the other as the ‘Sons of Darkness’, or initiated Adepts and natural-born magicians or - mediums. Toward the very close of the race, as their mixed progeny furnishes the first pioneers of a new and a higher race, there comes the last and supreme struggle during which the ‘Sons of Darkness’ are usually exterminated by some great cataclysm of nature - by either fire or water. Atlantis was submerged, hence the inference that that portion of the mankind of the fifth race which will be composed of ‘natural-born magicians’ will be exterminated at the future great cataclysm by - fire.” [8]
If fire and water alternate each other in that role,  the third race must have found its crisis by fire, and indeed H.P.B  writes in  “The Secret Doctrine” about the time “when Lemuria was submerged, after it had been  nearly destroyed by volcanic fires”.  [9]
A fire scenario in climate change would be related to the excess of carbon dioxide and would include various factors such as:  a) deforestation;  b) growing fires in forests and other natural areas; c) a “withdrawal of moisture” as mentioned in Judge’s quotation above; d) ice melting in the poles, causing a change in the ‘structural weight’ distributed along the surface of the globe; e) this would then lead a number of  volcanoes into activity.  These combined factors could cause an artificial “winter”, since the excess of carbon dioxide and other air polluttants would block sunlight and prevent it from getting into  the earth’s atmosphere.  That could trigger a new ice age, too, a period of time which would correspond to a small and partial planetary  pralaya,  “a time for relative rest” in the life of our planet.
The complex transition to the new cycle evidently deserves much further  study, and on an interdisciplinary basis. We have a limited number of data and hints available so far, and  many of them are apparently contradictory.  Yet these fragmentary and incomplete data should be enough to stimulate us into research.
It is not  difficult to see that the theosophical doctrine of cycles helps us understand  something of the karmic challenges and opportunities we are facing right now.  Such a  study allows us to see under a brighter light the “dharma” and the duty of human beings, in the  next few decades and beyond them.
[1] “The Ocean of Theosophy”, William Q. Judge, The Theosophy Company, Los Angeles, EUA, 1987, 172 pp., see Chapter 14, pp. 123-124.
[2] “An Inconvenient Truth”, by Al Gore, published by Rodale, Inc., PA, USA, 2006, 328 pp.  See Introduction, p. 10.
[3] Quoted from  HPB’s  note “The Ruin of India”,  in “The Theosophist”, India, November 1879, p. 42.
[4] “From the Note Book of An  Unpopular Philosopher”,  in “Collected Writings” of H.P. Blavatsky, TPH, India, vol. X, 1988, 461 pp., see pp. 105-106.
[5] “An Inconvenient Truth”, by Al Gore, published by Rodale, Inc.  See pp. 148-149.
[6] “The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett”, TUP, Pasadena, California, USA, 1992, 494 pp.  One should see all of the letter XXIII-B and  examine more especially the answer to question  4.  The mention to Atlantis’ dates is at p. 155 (TUP edition) or 313 (Chronological edition). There, the Master also gives the pages in which the “partially veiled” story of Atlantis is narrated  in the book “Isis Unveiled”, by H.P.Blavatsky.
[7] “Theosophy” magazine,  Los Angeles, January 1959, p. 138. The article, spread as various notes in the section “On the Look Out”,  extends from p. 138 through p. 141.
[8] “Footnotes to ‘Gleanings From Eliphas Levi’ ”, by H.P.B., in “The Theosophist”, November, 1882, pp. 36-38. Also published at “Collected Writings” of H. P. Blavatsky, TPH, India, Vol. IV, pp. 262-263.
[9] “The Secret Doctrine”, H. P. Blavatsky, Theosophy Co.,  Los Angeles,  vol. II, p. 340.
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Al Gore, Theosophy and the Cycle

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