Occultism and Western Science

We have seen the triumphant development of physical science over the last several hundred years, exploring the mysteries of the creation of the universe, atomic (and subatomic) particles, genetics and the electro-magnetic spectrum. Science has enabled us to develop physical powers of observation, communication and action far beyond those enjoyed by people at any time in the historical past. We observe events anywhere in the world. We communicate with people at the ends of the earth. We transport ourselves and our material goods with ease anywhere on the planet. We launch satellites into space. We harness solar and nuclear power. We develop vaccines to disease scourges that have ravaged mankind for millenia. An impartial but non-scientific observer would call this magic. We call it science because we have been able to systematise this knowledge and put it to work for our perceived needs.

It is interesting to note that Western science owes a serious debt to the occultists of the past, individuals who recognised that there were hidden and unseen powers and forces at work to create the world, to develop all the symbiotic and interactive life processes and life forms, and to allow us to grow in our knowledge and wisdom. These occultists explored the heavens, researched the science of seeds and began to also test the powers of the mind in ways that are still being developed as they are uncovered. The processes of hyponotism represent a first attempt at gaining access to powers of the mind, and it is interesting to note that under hypnosis individuals have detailed memory that they do not exhibit in their normal waking consciousness. Thus, the observation and storage of events and facts takes place, but in our normal consciousness we do not access this. We therefore have a clue that there remain still many powers, processes and expansions of knowledge waiting for us as we move beyond the purely physical elements of science and enter the domain of the inner being, the hidden powers of life, mind, and the gradations of consciousness beyond mind.

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 24, “The Evolution of the Spiritual Man”

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