> Dear Jonathan
> I note and agree with your comment on page 229 of your book
> that "in the secret history the hermetic... writings... are
> understood as the first written down, systematised expressions
> of ancient and largely oral traditions."
> Amongst the Hermetic texts one of my favourites is the
> Asclepius, and within the Asclepius, the famous passage known
> as the Lament, where it is prophesied:
> "O Egypt, Egypt, of thy religion nothing will remain but an
> empty tale, which thine own children in time to come will not
> believe; nothing will be left but graven words, and only the
> stones will tell of thy piety...
> "And in that day men will be weary of life, and they will cease
> to think the universe worthy of reverent wonder and worship.
> And so religion, the greatest of all blessings… will be
> threatened with destruction; men will think it a burden and
> will come to scorn it...
> "Darkness will be preferred to light, and death will be thought
> more profitable than life; no one will raise his eyes to
> heaven; the pious will be deemed insane, the impious wise; the
> madman will be thought a brave man, and the wicked will be
> esteemed as good."
> In this remarkable document it seems to me that "Egypt" stands
> for much more than the land of the Nile, and that the prophecy
> is not simply a forewarning of the demise of ancient Egypt four
> or five centuries after Christ but rather of developments that
> have only reached fruition in our own time -- here, now and
> today in the West in the 21st century after Christ.
> In particular I note this passage (Walter Scott translation):
> "As to the soul, and the belief that it is immortal by nature,
> or may hope to attain to immortality, as I have taught you, -
> all this they will mock, and even persuade themselves that it
> is false.
> "No word of reverence or piety, no utterance worthy of heaven,
> will be heard or believed.
> "And so the gods will depart from mankind, - a grievous thing!
> - and only evil angels will remain, who will mingle with men,
> and drive the poor wretches by main force into all manner of
> reckless crime, into wars, and robberies, and frauds, and all
> things hostile to the nature of the soul."
> What you refer to as "the Dawkins tendency" in our society
> seems to be working incredibly hard, and I must say quite
> successfully (witness the popularity of Dawkins' recent book
> "The God Delusion", and of the Hitchens volume "God is not
> Great"), to persuade us that beliefs about the soul are indeed
> false and worthy only of mockery ("not simply laughable but
> even illusory" as the more recent Copenhaver translation of the
> Asclepius puts it).
> Similarly the world fashioned by Western technology and
> materialist science does indeed seem to be one from which the
> gods have departed and in which "only evil angels remain",
> mingling with humankind and engineering the collective
> homicidal and kleptocratic madness that is so evident
> everywhere we look today.
> After this manner, the Lament continues, "will old age come
> upon the world. Religion will be no more; all things will be
> disordered and awry; all good will disappear.”
> The blind faith in materialism, and the characterisation of
> spirituality as “not simply laughable but even illusory” that
> dominates contemporary society is, historically, a relatively
> new development; but who can doubt that it is taking humanity
> far away from the ideal of mind before matter that you argue
> has always been championed by the secret societies? The Lament
> suggests that there were those amongst the ancients, connected
> to the secret tradition, who foresaw such a turn of events. My
> question: what measures have the secret societies taken – if
> any – and what measures could they take, to countermand this
> disastrous trend?
> Or is that left to Cosmic Mind to sort out?
It would interesting to read Justin Deering's comments on Graham Hancock's post above... it seems very relevant to what's being discussed this month...