Signs of the Times


THE VARIOUS MATTERS DEALT WITH in the course of this study together constitute what n1ay, in a general way, be called the ‘signs of the times’ in the Gospel sense, in other words, the precursory signs of the ‘end of a world’ or of a cycle. This end only appears to be the ‘end of the world’, without any reservation or specification of any kind, to those who see nothing beyond the limits of this partic-ular cycle; a very excusable error of perspective it is true, but one that has nonetheless some regrettable consequences in the excessive and unjustified terrors to which it gives rise in those who are not sufficiently detached from terrestrial existence; and natura1ly they are the very people who form this erroneous conception most eas-ily, just because of the narrowness of their point of view. In truth ~­there can be many ‘ends of the world’, because there are cycles of very varied duration, contained as it were one within another, and also because this same notion can always be applied analogically at all degrees and at all levels; but it is obvious that these ‘ends’ are of very unequal importance, as are the cycles themselves to which they belong; and in this connection it must be acknowledged that the end now under consideration is undeniably of considerably greater importance than many others, for it is the end of a whole Manvant-ara, and so of the temporal existence of what may rightly be called a humanity, but this, it must be said once more, in no way implies that it is the end of the terrestrial world itself, because, through the ‘rectification’ that takes place at the final instant, this end will itself immediately become the beginning of another Manvantara.

While on this subject, there is yet one more point needing to be explained more precisely: the partisans of ‘progress’ have a habit of saying that the ‘golden age’ is not in the past but in the future; nev-ertheless the truth is that so far as our own Manvantara is con-cerned it is in the past, for it is nothing other than the ‘primordial state’ itself. There is a sense however in which it is both in the past and in the future, but only on condition that attention is not con-fined to the present Manvantara but is extended to include the suc-cession of terrestrial cycles, for insofar as the future is concerned nothing but the ‘golden age’ of another Manvantara can possibly be in question; it is therefore separated from our period by a ‘barrier’ completely insurmountable to the profane people who say that sort of thing, and they have no idea what they are talking about when they announce the near approach of a ‘new age’ as being one with which the existing humanity will be concerned. Their error, in its most extreme form, will be that of the Antichrist himself when he claims to bring the ‘golden age’ into being through the reign of the ‘counter-tradition’, and when he even gives it an appearance of authenticity, purely deceitful and ephemeral though it be, by means of a counterfeit of the traditional idea of the Sanctum Regnum; this makes clear the reason for the aforesaid preponderant part played by ‘evolutionist’ conceptions in all the ‘pseudo-traditions’, and although these ‘pseudo-traditions’ are still but very partial and very feeble ‘prefigurations’ of the ‘counter-tradition’, yet they are no doubt unconsciously contributing more directly than anything else to the preparations for its arrival. The ‘barrier’ recently allu~ed to, which in a sense compels those for whom it exists to confine them-selves entirely to the interior of the present cycle, is of course a still more insuperable obstacle to the representatives of the ‘counter-ini-tiation’ than it is to those who are merely profane, for the former are oriented wholly toward dissolution, and so they above all are those for whom nothing can exist outside the present cycle, and it is therefore more particularly for them that the end of the cycle must really be the ‘end of the world’ in the must complete sense that the expression can bear. This raises another related question on which a few words should be said, although an answer is really contained implicitly in some of the considerations previously dealt with, and it is this: to what extent are the people who most fully represent the ‘counter-initia-tion’ effectively conscious of the part they are playing, and to what extent are they on the other hand but the tools of a will surpassing their own and therefore hidden from them, though they be inescap-ably subordinated to it? In accordance with what has been said above, the limits between the two points of view from which their action can be envisaged is necessarily determined by the limits of the spiritual world, into which they can in no way penetrate; they may possess a knowledge of the possibilities of the ‘intermediary world’ as extensive as anyone cares to think, but this knowledge will nevertheless always be irremediably falsified by the absence of the spirit, which alone could give it its true meaning. Obviously such beings can never be mechanists or materialists, nor even partisans of ‘progress’ or ‘evolutionists’ in the popular sense of the words, and when they promulgate in the world the ideas which these words express, they are practicing a conscious deceit; but these ideas con-cern only the merely negative ‘anti-tradition’, which for them is but a means and not an end, and they could, just like anyone else, seek to excuse their deception by saying that ‘the end justifies the means’. Their error is of a much more profound order than that of the men whom they influence and to whom they apply ‘suggestion’ by means of those ideas, for it arises in no other way than as the consequence of their total and invincible ignorance of the true nature of all spiri-tuality; this makes it much more difficult to say exactly up to what point they may be conscious of the falsity of the ‘counter-tradition’ they aim at setting up, for they may really believe that in doing so they are opposing the spirit as manifested in every normal and reg-ular tradition, and that they are situated on the same level as those who represent it in this world; and in this sense the Antichrist must surely be the most ‘deluded’ of all beings. This delusion has its root in the ‘dualist’ error referred to earlier; dualism is found in one form or another in all beings whose horizon does not extend beyond certain limits even if the limits are those of the entire mani-fested world; such people cannot resolve the duality they see in all things lying within those limits by referring it to a superior princi-ple, and so they think that it is really irreducible and are thereby led to a denial of the Supreme Unity, which indeed for them is as if it were not. For this reason it has been possible to say that the repre-sentatives of the ‘counter-initiation’ are in the end the dupes of the part they themselves are playing, and that their delusion is in truth the worst delusion of all, since it is positively the only one whereby a being can be not merely led more or less seriously astray, but actu-ally irremediably lost; nonetheless, if they were not so deluded they would clearly not be fulfilling a function that must be fulfilled, like every other function, so that the Divine plan may be accomplished in this world. This leads back to the consideration of the twofold, or ‘benefic’ and ‘malefic’ aspect of the whole history of the world, seen as a cyclic manifestation; and this is really the ‘key’ to all traditional explanations of the conditions under which this manifestation is developed, especially when it is being considered, as at present, in the period leading directly to its end. On the one hand, if this mani-festation is simply taken by itself, without relating it to a much greater whole, the entire process from its beginning to its end is clearly a progressive ‘descent’ or ‘degradation’, and this is what may be called its ‘malefic’ aspect; but, on the other hand, the same mani-festation, when put back into the whole of which it is a part, pro-duces results that have a truly ‘positive’ result in universal existence; and its development must be carried right to the end, so as to include a development of the inferior possibilities of the ‘dark age’, in order that the ‘integration’ of those results may become possible and may becmne the immediate principle of another cycle o~ mani-festation; this is what constitutes its ‘benefic’ aspect. The same applies when the very end of the cycle is considered: from the special point of view of that which must then be destroyed because its man-ifestation is finished and as it were exhausted, the end is naturally ‘catastrophic’ in the etymological sense, in which the word evokes the idea of a sudden and irretrievable ‘fall’; but, on the other hand, from the point of view according to which manifestation, in disap-pearing as such, is brought back to its principle so far as all that is positive in its existence is concerned, this same end appears on the contrary as the ‘rectification’ whereby, as explained, all things are no less suddenly re-established in their ‘primordial state’. Moreover this

can be applied analogically to all degrees, whether a being or a world is in question: in short, it is always the partial point of view that is ‘malefic’, and the point of view that is total, or relatively total with respect to the other, that is ‘benefic’, because all possible disorders are only disorders when they are considered in themselves and ‘sep-aratively’, and because these partial disorders are completely effaced in the presence of the total order into which they are finally merged, constituting, when stripped of their ‘negative’ aspect, elements in that order comparable to all others; there is indeed nothing that is ‘malefic’ except the limitation that necessarily conditions all contin-gent existence, and this limitation as such has in reality but a purely negative existence. The two points of view, respectively ‘benefic’ and ‘malefic’, have been spoken of earlier as if they were in some way symmetrical; but it is easy to understand that they are nothing of the kind, and that the second signifies only smnething that is unstable and transitory, whereas only that which the first represents has a permanent and positive character, so that the ‘benefic’ aspect cannot but prevail in the end, while the ‘malefic’ aspect vanishes completely because it was in reality only an illusion inherent in ‘separativity’. Nevertheless, the truth is that it then becomes no longer proper to use the word ‘benefic’ any more than the word ‘malefic’, for the two terms are essentially correlative and cannot properly be used to indicate an opposition when it no longer exists, for it belongs, like all oppositions, exclusively to a particular relative and limited domain; as soon as the limits of that domain are overstepped, there is only that which is, and which cannot not be, or be other than it is; and so it comes about that, if one does not stop short of the most profound order of reality, it can be said in all truth that the ‘end of a world’ never is and never can be anything but the end of an illusion.