Considering that “final cause is pronounced a chimera, and the First Great Cause is remanded to the sphere of the Unknown,” as a reverend gentleman justly complains, the number of hypotheses put forward, a nebula of them, is most remarkable. The profane student is perplexed, and does not know in which of the theories of exact Science he has to believe. We give below hypotheses enough for every taste and power of brain. They are all extracted from a number of scientific volumes.
Current Hypotheses explaining the Origin of Rotation.
Rotation has originated:
(a) By the collision of nebular masses wandering aimlessly in Space; or by attraction, “in cases where no actual impact takes place.”
(b) By the tangential action of currents of nebulous matter (in the case of an amorphous nebula) descending from higher to lower levels,833 or simply by the action of the central gravity of the mass.834
“It is a fundamental principle in physics that no rotation could be generated in such a mass by the action of its own parts. As well attempt to change the course of a steamer by pulling at the deck railing,” remarks on this Prof. Winchell in World-Life.835
Hypotheses of the Origin of Planets and Comets.
(a) We owe the birth of the planets (1) to an explosion of the Sun—a parturition of its central mass;836 or (2) to some kind of disruption of the nebular rings.
(b) “The comets are strangers to the planetary system.”837 “The comets are undeniably generated in our solar system.”838
(c) The “fixed stars are motionless,” says one authority. “All the stars are actually in motion,” answers another authority. “Undoubtedly every star is in motion.”839
(d) “For over 350,000,000 years, the slow and majestic movement of the sun around its axis has never for a moment ceased.”840
(e) “Maedler believes that ... our sun has Alcyone in the Pleiades for the centre of its orbit, and consumes 180,000,000 of years in completing a single revolution.”841
(f) “The sun has existed no more than 15,000,000 of years, and will emit heat for no longer than 10,000,000 years more.”842
A few years ago this eminent Scientist was telling the world that the time required for the Earth to cool from incipient incrustation to its present state, could not exceed 80,000,000 years.843 the encrusted age of the world is only 40,000,000, or half the duration once allowed, and the Sun's age is only 15,000,000, have we to understand that the Earth was at one time independent of the Sun?
Since the ages of the Sun, of the planets, and of the Earth, as they are stated in the various scientific hypotheses of the Astronomers and Physicists, are given elsewhere below, we have said enough to show the disagreement between the ministers of Modern Science. Whether we accept the fifteen million years of Sir William Thomson or the thousand millions of Mr. Huxley, for the rotational evolution of our Solar System, it will always come to this; that by accepting self-generated rotation for the heavenly bodies composed of inert Matter and yet moved by their own internal motion, for millions of years, this teaching of Science amounts to:
(a) An evident denial of that fundamental physical law, which states that “a body in motion tends constantly to inertia, i.e., to continue in the same state of motion or rest, unless it is stimulated into further action by a superior active force.”
(b) An original impulse, which culminates in an unalterable motion, within a resisting Ether that Newton had declared incompatible with that motion.
(c) Universal gravity, which, we are taught, always tends to a centre in rectilinear descent—alone the cause of the revolution of the whole Solar System, which is performing an eternal double gyration, each body around its axis and orbit. Another occasional version is:
(d) A magnet in the Sun; or, that the said revolution is due to a magnetic force, which acts, just as gravitation does, in a straight line, and varies inversely as the square of the distance.844
(e) The whole acting under invariable and changeless laws, which are, nevertheless, often shown variable, as during some well-known freaks of planets and other bodies, as also when the comets approach or recede from the Sun.
(f) A Motor Force always proportionate to the mass it is acting upon; but independent of the specific nature of that mass, to which it is proportionate; which amounts to saying, as Le Couturier does, that:
Without that force independent from, and of quite another nature than, the said mass, the latter, were it as huge as Saturn, or as tiny as Ceres, would always fall with the same rapidity.845
A mass, furthermore, which derives its weight from the body on which it weighs.
Thus neither Laplace's perceptions of a solar atmospheric fluid, which would extend beyond the orbits of the planets, nor Le Couturier's electricity, nor Foucault's heat,846 nor this, nor the other, can ever help any of the numerous hypotheses about the origin and permanency of rotation to escape from this squirrel's wheel, any more than can the theory of gravity itself. This mystery is the Procrustean bed of Physical Science. If Matter is passive, as we are now taught, the simplest movement cannot be said to be an essential property of Matter—the latter being considered simply as an inert mass. How, then, can such a complicated movement, compound and multiple, harmonious and equilibrated, lasting in the eternities for millions and millions of years, be attributed simply to its own inherent force, unless the latter is an Intelligence? A physical will is something new—a conception that the Ancients would never have entertained, indeed! For over a century all distinction between body and force has been made away with. “Force is but the property of a body in motion,” say the Physicists; “life—the property of our animal organs—is but the result of their molecular arrangement,” answer the Physiologists. As Littré teaches:
In the bosom of that aggregate which is named planet, are developed all the forces immanent in matter ... i.e., that matter possesses in itself and through itself the forces that are proper to it ... and which are primary, not secondary. Such forces are the property of weight, the property of electricity, of terrestrial magnetism, the property of life.... Every planet can develop life ... as earth, for instance, which had not always mankind on it, and now bears (produit) men.847
An Astronomer says:
We talk of the weight of the heavenly bodies, but since it is recognized that weight decreases in proportion to the distance from the centre, it becomes evident that, at a certain distance, that weight must be forcibly reduced to zero. Were there any attraction there would be equilibrium.... And since the modern school recognizes neither a beneath nor an above in universal space, it is not clear what should cause the earth to fall, were there even no gravitation, nor attraction.848
Methinks the Count de Maistre was right in solving the question in his own theological way. He cuts the Gordian knot by saying:—“The planets rotate because they are made to rotate ... and the modern physical system of the universe is a physical impossibility.”849 For did not Herschell say the same thing when he remarked that there is a Will needed to impart a circular motion, and another Will to restrain it?850 This shows and explains how a retarded planet is cunning enough to calculate its time so well as to hit off its arrival at the fixed minute. For, if Science sometimes succeeds, with great ingenuity, in explaining some of such stoppages, retrograde motions, angles outside the orbits, etc., by appearances resulting from the inequality of their progress and ours in the course of our mutual and respective orbits, we still know that there are others, and “very real and considerable deviations,” according to Herschell, “which cannot be explained except by the mutual and irregular action of those planets and by the perturbing influence of the sun.”
We understand, however, that there are, besides those little and accidental perturbations, continuous perturbations called “secular”—because of the extreme slowness with which the irregularity increases and affects the relations of the elliptic movement—and that these perturbations can be corrected. From Newton, who found that this world needed repairing very often, down to Reynaud, all say the same. In his Ciel et Terre, the latter says:
The orbits described by the planets are far from immutable, and are, on the contrary, subject to a perpetual mutation in their position and form.851
Proving gravitation and the peripatetic laws to be as negligent as they are quick to repair their mistakes. The charge as it stands seems to be that:
These orbits are alternately widening and narrowing, their great axis lengthens and diminishes, or oscillates at the same time from right to left around the sun, the plane itself, in which they are situated, raising and lowering itself periodically while pivoting around itself with a kind of tremor.
To this, De Mirville, who believes in intelligent “workmen” invisibly ruling the Solar System—as we do—observes very wittily:
Voilà, certes, a voyage which has little in it of mechanical precision; at the utmost, one could compare it to a steamer, pulled to and fro and tossed on the waves, retarded or accelerated, all and each of which impediments might put off its arrival indefinitely, were there not the intelligence of a pilot and engineers to catch up the time lost, and to repair the damages.852
The law of gravity, however, seems to be becoming an obsolete law in starry heaven. At any rate those long-haired sidereal Radicals, called comets, appear to be very poor respecters of the majesty of that law, and to beard it quite impudently. Nevertheless, and though presenting in nearly every respect “phenomena not yet fully understood,” comets and meteors are credited by the believers in Modern Science with obeying the same laws and consisting of the same Matter, “as the suns, stars and nebulæ,” and even “the earth and its inhabitants.”853
This is what one might call taking things on trust, aye, even to blind faith. But exact Science is not to be questioned, and he who rejects the hypotheses imagined by her students—gravitation, for instance—would be regarded as an ignorant fool for his pains; yet we are told by the just cited author a queer legend from the scientific annals.
The comet of 1811 had a tail 120 millions of miles in length and 25 millions of miles in diameter at the widest part, while the diameter of the nucleus was about 127,000 miles, more than ten times that of the earth.
He tells us that:
In order that bodies of this magnitude, passing near the earth, should not affect its motion or change the length of the year by even a single second, their actual substance must be inconceivably rare.
It must be so indeed, yet:
The extreme tenuity of a comet's mass is also proved by the phenomenon of the tail, which, as the comet approaches the sun, is thrown out sometimes to a length of 90 millions of miles in a few hours. And what is remarkable, this tail is thrown out against the force of gravity by some repulsive force, probably electrical, so that it always points away from the sun [!!!].... And yet, thin as the matter of comets must be, it obeys the common Law of Gravity [!?], and whether the comet revolves in an orbit within that of the outer planets, or shoots off into the abysses of space, and returns only after hundreds of years, its path is, at each instant, regulated by the same force as that which causes an apple to fall to the ground.854
Science is like Cæsar's wife, and must not be suspected—this is evident. But it can be respectfully criticized, nevertheless, and at all events, it may be reminded that the “apple” is a dangerous fruit. For the second time in the history of mankind, it may become the cause of the Fall—this time, of “exact” Science. A comet whose tail defies the law of gravity right in the Sun's face can hardly be credited with obeying that law.
In a series of scientific works on Astronomy and the Nebular Theory, written between 1865 and 1866, the present writer, a poor tyro in Science, has counted in a few hours, no less than thirty-nine contradictory hypotheses offered as explanations for the self-generated, primitive rotatory motion of the heavenly bodies. The writer is no Astronomer, no Mathematician, no Scientist; but she was obliged to examine these errors in defence of Occultism, in general, and what is still more important, in order to support the Occult Teachings concerning Astronomy and Cosmology. Occultists were threatened with terrible penalties for questioning scientific truths. But now they feel braver; Science is less secure in its “impregnable” position than they were led to expect, and many of its strongholds are built on very shifting sands.
Thus, even this poor and unscientific examination of it has been useful, and it has certainly been very instructive. We have learned a good many things, in fact, having especially studied with particular care those astronomical data, that would be the most likely to clash with our heterodox and “superstitious” beliefs.
Thus, for instance, we have found there, concerning gravitation, the axial and orbital motions, that synchronous movement having been once overcome, in the early stage, this was enough to originate a rotatory motion till the end of Manvantara. We have also come to know, in all the aforesaid combinations of possibilities with regard to incipient rotation, most complicated in every case, some of the causes to which it may have been due, as well as some others to which it ought and should have been due, but, in some way or other, was not. Among other things, we are informed that incipient rotation may be provoked with equal ease in a mass in igneous fusion, and in one that is characterized by glacial opacity.855 That gravitation is a law which nothing can overcome, but which is, nevertheless, overcome, in and out of season, by the most ordinary celestial or terrestrial bodies—the tails of impudent comets, for instance. That we owe the universe to the holy Creative Trinity, called Inert Matter, Senseless Force and Blind Chance. Of the real essence and nature of any of these three, Science knows nothing, but this is a trifling detail. Ergo, we are told that, when a mass of cosmic or nebular Matter—whose nature is entirely unknown, and which may be in a state of fusion (Laplace), or dark and cold (Thomson), for “this intervention of heat is itself a pure hypothesis” (Faye)—decides to exhibit its mechanical energy under the form of rotation, it acts in this wise. It (the mass) either bursts into spontaneous conflagration, or it remains inert, tenebrous, and frigid, both states being equally capable of sending it, without any adequate cause, spinning through Space for millions of years. Its movements may be retrograde, or they may be direct, about a hundred various reasons being offered for both motions, in about as many hypotheses; anyhow, it joins the maze of stars, whose origin belongs to the same miraculous and spontaneous order—for:
The nebular theory does not profess to discover the origin of things, but only a stadium in material history.856
Those millions of suns, planets, and satellites, composed of inert matter, will whirl on in most impressive and majestic symmetry round the firmament, moved and guided only, notwithstanding their inertia, “by their own internal motion.”
Shall we wonder, after this, if learned Mystics, pious Roman Catholics, and even such learned Astronomers as were Chaubard and Godefroy,857 have preferred the Kabalah and the ancient systems to the modern dreary and contradictory exposition of the Universe? The Zohar makes a distinction, at any rate, between “the Hajaschar [the ‘Light Forces’], the Hachoser [‘Reflected Lights’], and the simple phenomenal exteriority of their spiritual types.”858
The question of “gravity” may now be dismissed, and other hypotheses examined. That Physical Science knows nothing of “Forces” is clear. We may close the argument, however, by calling to our help one more man of Science—Professor Jaumes, Member of the Academy of Medicine at Montpellier. Says this learned man, speaking of Forces:
A cause is that which is essentially acting in the genealogy of phenomena, in every production as in every modification. I said that activity (or force) was invisible.... To suppose it corporeal and residing in the properties of matterwould be a gratuitous hypothesis.... To reduce all the causes to God, ... would amount to embarrassing oneself with a hypothesis hostile to many verities. But to speak of a plurality of forces proceeding from the Deity and possessing inherent powers of their own, is not unreasonable, ... and I am disposed to admit phenomena produced by intermediate agents called Forces or Secondary Agents. The distinction of Forces is the principle of the division of Sciences; so many real and separate Forces, so many mother-Sciences.... No; Forces are not suppositions and abstractions, but realities, and the only acting realities whose attributes can be determined with the help of direct observation and induction.859
Section V. The Masks of Science. Physics Or Metaphysics?
If there is anything like progress on earth, Science will some day have to give up, nolens volens, such monstrous ideas as her physical, self-guiding laws, void of Soul and Spirit, and will then have to turn to the Occult Teachings. It has already done so, however altered may be the title-pages and revised editions of the Scientific Catechism. It is now over half a century since, in comparing modern with ancient thought, it was found that, however different our Philosophy may appear from that of our ancestors, it is, nevertheless, composed only of additions and subtractions taken from the old Philosophy and transmitted drop by drop through the filter of antecedents.
This fact was well known to Faraday, and to other eminent men of Science. Atoms, Ether, Evolution itself—all come to Modern Science from ancient notions, all are based on the conceptions of the archaic nations. “Conceptions” for the profane, under the shape of allegories; plain truths taught during the Initiations to the Elect, which truths have been partially divulged through Greek writers and have descended to us. This does not mean that Occultism has ever had the same views on Matter, Atoms and Ether as may be found in the exotericism of the classical Greek writers. Yet, if we may believe Mr. Tyndall, even Faraday was an Aristotelean, and was more an Agnostic than a Materialist. In his Faraday, as a Discoverer,860 the author shows the great Physicist using “old reflections of Aristotle” which are “concisely found in some of his works.” Faraday, Boscovitch, and all others, however, who see, in the Atoms and molecules, “centres of force,” and in the corresponding element, Force, an Entity by itself, are far nearer the truth, perchance, than those, who, denouncing them, denounce at the same time the “old corpuscular Pythagorean theory”—one, by the way, which never passed to posterity as the great Philosopher really taught it—on the ground of its “delusion that the conceptual elements of matter can be grasped as separate and real entities.”
The chief and most fatal mistake and fallacy made by Science, in the view of the Occultists, lies in the idea of the possibility of such a thing existing in Nature as inorganic, or dead Matter. Is anything dead or inorganic which is capable of transformation or change?—Occultism asks. And is there anything under the sun which remains immutable or changeless?
For a thing to be dead implies that it had been at some time living. When, at what period of cosmogony? Occultism says that in all cases Matter is the most active, when it appears inert. A wooden or a stone block is motionless and impenetrable to all intents and purposes. Nevertheless, and de facto, its particles are in ceaseless eternal vibration which is so rapid that to the physical eye the body seems absolutely devoid of motion; and the spacial distance between those particles in their vibratory motion is—considered from another plane of being and perception—as great as that which separates snow flakes or drops of rain. But to Physical Science this will be an absurdity.
This fallacy is nowhere better illustrated than in the scientific work of a German savant, Professor Philip Spiller. In this cosmological treatise, the author attempts to prove that:
No material constituent of a body, no atom, is in itself originally endowed with force, but that every such atom is absolutely dead, and without any inherent power to act at a distance.861
This statement, however, does not prevent Spiller from enunciating an Occult doctrine and principle. He asserts the independent substantiality of Force, and shows it as an “incorporeal stuff” (unkörperlicher Stoff) or Substance. Now Substance is not Matter in Metaphysics, and for argument's sake it may be granted that it is a wrong expression to use. But this is due to the poverty of European languages, and especially to the paucity of scientific terms. Then this “stuff” is identified and connected by Spiller with the Æther. Expressed in Occult language it might be said with more correctness that this “Force-Substance” is the ever-active phenomenal positive Ether—Prakriti; while the omnipresent all-pervading Æther is the Noumenon of the former, the substratum of all, or kâsha. Nevertheless, Stallo falls foul of Spiller, as he does of the Materialists. He is accused of “utter disregard of the fundamental correlation of Force and Matter,” of neither of which Science knows anything certain. For this “hypostasized half-concept” is, in the view of all other Physicists, not only imponderable, but destitute of cohesive, chemical, thermal, electric, and magnetic forces, of all of which forces—according to Occultism—Æther is the Source and Cause.
Therefore Spiller, with all his mistakes, exhibits more intuition than does any other modern Scientist, with the exception, perhaps, of Dr. Richardson, the theorist on “Nerve-Force,” or Nervous Ether, also on “Sun-Force and Earth-Force.”862 For Æther, in Esotericism, is the very quintessence of all possible energy, and it is certainly to this Universal Agent (composed of many agents) that are due all the manifestations of energy in the material, psychic and spiritual worlds.
What, in fact, are electricity and light? How can Science know that one is a fluid and the other a “mode of motion”? Why is no reason given why a difference should be made between them, since both are considered as force-correlations? Electricity is a fluid, we are told, immaterial and lion-molecular—though Helmholtz thinks otherwise—and the proof of it is that we can bottle it up, accumulate it and store it away. Then, it must be simply Matter, and no peculiar “fluid.” Nor is it only “a mode of motion,” for motion could hardly be stored in a Leyden jar. As for light, it is a still more extraordinary “mode of motion”; since, “marvellous as it may appear, light [also] can actually be stored up for use,” as was demonstrated by Grove nearly half a century ago.
Take an engraving which has been kept for some days in the dark, expose it to full sunshine—that is, insulate it for 15 minutes; lay it on sensitive paper in a dark place, and at the end of 24 hours it will have left an impression of itself on the sensitive paper, the whites coming out as blacks.... There seems to be no limit for the reproduction of engravings.863
What is it that remains fixed, nailed, so to say, on the paper? It is a Force certainly that fixed the thing, but what is that thing, the residue of which remains on the paper?
Our learned men will get out of this by some scientific technicality; but what is it that is intercepted, so as to imprison a certain quantity of it on glass, paper, or wood? Is it “Motion” or is it “Force”? Or shall we be told that what remains behind is only the effect of the Force or Motion? Then what is this Force? Force or Energy is a quality; but every quality must belong to a something, or a somebody. In Physics, Force is defined as “that which changes or tends to change any physical relation between bodies, whether mechanical, thermal, chemical, electrical, magnetic, etc.” But it is not that Force or that Motion which remains behind on the paper, when the Force or Motion has ceased to act; and yet something, which our physical senses cannot perceive, has been left there, to become a cause in its turn and to produce effects. What is it? It is not Matter, as defined by Science—i.e., Matter in any of its known states. An Alchemist would say it was a spiritual secretion—and he would be laughed at. But yet, when the Physicist said that electricity, stored up, is a fluid, or that light fixed on paper is still sunlight—that was Science. The newest authorities have, indeed, rejected these explanations as “exploded theories,” and have now deified “Motion” as their sole idol. But, surely, they and their idol will one day share the fate of their predecessors! An experienced Occultist, one who has verified the whole series of Nidânas, of causes and effects, that finally project their last effect on to this our plane of manifestations, one who has traced Matter back to its Noumenon, holds the opinion that the explanation of the Physicist is like calling anger, or its effects—the exclamation provoked by it—a secretion or a fluid, and man, the cause of it, its material conductor. But, as Grove prophetically remarked, the day is fast approaching when it will be confessed that the Forces we know are but the phenomenal manifestations of Realities we know nothing about—but which were known to the Ancients, and by them worshipped.
He made one still more suggestive remark which ought to have become the motto of Science, but has not. Sir William Grove said that: “Science should have neither desires nor prejudices. Truth should be her sole aim.”
Meanwhile, in our days, Scientists are more self-opinionated and bigoted than even the Clergy. For they minister to, if they do not actually worship, “Force-Matter,” which is their Unknown God. And how unknown it is, may be inferred from the many confessions of the most eminent Physicists and Biologists, with Faraday at their head. Not only, he said, could he never presume to pronounce whether Force was a property or function of Matter, but he actually did not know what was meant by the word Matter.
There was a time, he added, when he believed he knew something of Matter. But the more he lived, and the more carefully he studied it, the more he became convinced of his utter ignorance of the nature of Matter.864
This ominous confession was made, we believe, at a Scientific Congress at Swansea. Faraday held a similar opinion, however, as stated by Tyndall:
What do we know of the atom apart from its force? You imagine a nucleus which maybe called a and surround it by forces which may be called m; to my mind the a or nucleus vanishes and the substance consists of the powers m. And, indeed, what notion can we form of the nucleus independent of its powers? What thought remains on which to hang the imagination of an a independent of the acknowledged forces?
The Occultists are often misunderstood because, for lack of better terms, they apply to the Essence of Force, under certain aspects, the descriptive epithet of Substance. Now the names for the varieties of Substance on different planes of perception and being are legion. Eastern Occultism has a special appellation for each kind; but Science—like England, in the recollection of a witty Frenchman, blessed with thirty-six religions and only one fish-sauce—has but one name for all, namely “Substance.” Moreover, neither the orthodox Physicists nor their critics seem to be very certain of their premisses, and are as apt to confuse the effects as they are the causes. It is incorrect, for instance, to say, as Stallo does, that “Matter can no more be realized or conceived as mere positive spatial presence than as a concretion of forces,” or that “Force is nothing without mass, and mass is nothing without force”—for one is the Noumenon and the other the phenomenon. Again; Schelling, when saying that
It is a mere delusion of the phantasy that something, we know not what, remains after we have denuded an object of all the predicates belonging to it,865
could never have applied the remark to the realm of transcendental Metaphysics. It is true that pure Force is nothing in the world of Physics; it is All in the domain of Spirit. Says Stallo:
If we reduce the mass upon which a given force, however small, acts to its limit zero—or, mathematically expressed, until it becomes infinitely small—the consequence is that the velocity of the resulting motion is infinitely great, and that the “thing” ... is at any given moment neither here nor there, but everywhere—that there is no real presence; it is impossible, therefore, to construct matter by a synthesis of forces.866
This may be true in the phenomenal world, inasmuch as the illusive reflection of the One Reality of the supersensual world may appear true to the dwarfed conceptions of a Materialist. It is absolutely incorrect when the argument is applied to things in what the Kabalists call the supermundane spheres. Inertia, so-called, is Force, according to Newton,867 and for the student of Esoteric Sciences the greatest of the Occult Forces. A body can only conceptually, only on this plane of illusion, be considered divorced from its relations with other bodies—which, according to the physical and mechanical sciences, give rise to its attributes. In fact, it can never be so detached; death itself being unable to detach it from its relation with the Universal Forces, of which the One Force, or Life, is the synthesis: the inter-relation simply continues on another plane. But what, if Stallo is right, can Dr. James Croll mean when, in speaking “On the Transformation of Gravity,” he brings forward the views advocated by Faraday, Waterston, and others? For he says very plainly that gravity
Is a force pervading Space external to bodies, and that, on the mutual approach of the bodies, the force is not increased, as is generally supposed, but the bodies merely pass into a place where the force exists with greater intensity.868
No one will deny that a Force, whether gravity, electricity, or any other Force, which exists outside bodies and in open Space—be it Ether or a vacuum—must be something, and not a pure nothing, when conceived apart from a mass. Otherwise it could hardly exist in one place with a greater and in another with reduced “intensity.” G. A. Hirn declares the same in his Théorie Mécanique de l'Univers. He tries to demonstrate:
That the atom of the chemists is not an entity of pure convention, or simply an explicative device, but that it exists really, that its volume is unalterable, and that consequently it is not elastic [!!]. Force, therefore, is not in the atom; it is in the space which separates the atoms from each other.
The above-cited views, expressed by two men of Science of great eminence in their respective countries, show that it is not in the least unscientific to speak of the substantiality of the so-called Forces. Subject to some future specific name, this Force is Substance of some kind, and can be nothing else; and perhaps one day Science will be the first to reädopt the derided name of phlogiston. Whatever may be the future name given to it, to maintain that Force does not reside in the Atoms, but only in the “space between them,” may be scientific enough; nevertheless it is not true. To the mind of an Occultist it is like saying that water does not reside in the drops of which the ocean is composed, but only in the space between those drops!
The objection that there are two distinct schools of Physicists, by one of which
This force is assumed to be an independent substantial entity, which is not a property of matter nor essentially related to matter,869
is hardly likely to help the profane to any clearer understanding. It is, on the contrary, more calculated to throw the question into still greater confusion than ever. For Force is, then, neither this nor the other. By viewing it as “an independent substantial entity,” the theory extends the right hand of fellowship to Occultism, while the strange contradictory idea that it is not “related to Matter otherwise than by its power to act upon it,”870 leads Physical Science to the most absurd contradictory hypotheses. Whether “Force” or “Motion” (Occultism, seeing no difference between the two, never attempts to separate them), it cannot act for the adherents of the atomo-mechanical theory in one way, and for those of the rival school in another. Nor can the Atoms be, in one case, absolutely uniform in size and weight, and in another, vary in their weight (Avogadro's law). For, in the words of the same able critic:
While the absolute equality of the primordial units of mass is thus an essential part of the very foundations of the mechanical theory, the whole modern science of chemistry is based upon a principle directly subversive of it—a principle of which it has recently been said that “it holds the same place in chemistry that the law of gravitation does in astronomy.”871 This principle is known as the law of Avogadro or Ampère.872
This shows that either modern Chemistry, or modern Physics, is entirely wrong in the respective fundamental principles. For if the assumption of Atoms of different specific gravities is deemed absurd, on the basis of the atomic theory in Physics; and if Chemistry, nevertheless, on this very assumption, meets with “unfailing experimental verification,” in the formation and transformation of chemical compounds; then it becomes apparent that it is the atomo-mechanical theory which is untenable. The explanation of the latter, that “the differences of weight are only differences of density, and differences of density are differences of distance between the particles contained in a given space,” is not really valid, because, before a Physicist can argue in his defence that “as in the atom there is no multiplicity of particles and no void space, hence differences of density or weight are impossible in the case of atoms,” he must first know what an Atom is, in reality, and that is just what he cannot know. He must bring it under the observation of at least one of his physical senses—and that he cannot do: for the simple reason that no one has ever seen, smelt, heard, touched or tasted an Atom. The Atom belongs wholly to the domain of Metaphysics. It is an entified abstraction—at any rate for Physical Science—and has nought to do with Physics, strictly speaking, as it can never be brought to the test of retort or balance. The mechanical conception, therefore, becomes a jumble of the most conflicting theories and dilemmas, in the minds of the many Scientists who disagree on this, as on other subjects; and its evolution is beheld with the greatest bewilderment by the Eastern Occultist, who follows this scientific strife.
To conclude, on the question of gravity. How can Science presume to know anything certain of it? How can it maintain its position and its hypotheses against those of the Occultists, who see in gravity only sympathy and antipathy, or attraction and repulsion, caused by physical polarity on our terrestrial plane, and by spiritual causes outside its influence? How can they disagree with the Occultists before they agree among themselves? Indeed one hears of the Conservation of Energy, and in the same breath of the perfect hardness and inelasticity of the Atoms; of the kinetic theory of gases being identical with “potential energy,” so called, and, at the same time, of the elementary units of mass being absolutely hard and inelastic! An Occultist opens a scientific work and reads as follows:
Physical atomism derives all the qualitative properties of matter from the forms of atomic motion. The atoms themselves remain as elements utterly devoid of quality.873
Chemistry in its ultimate form must be atomic mechanics.874
And a moment after he is told that:
Gases consist of atoms which behave like solid, perfectly elastic spheres.875
Finally, to crown all, Sir W. Thomson is found declaring that:We are forbidden by the modern theory of the conservation of energy to assume inelasticity, or anything short of perfect elasticity of the ultimate molecules whether of ultra-mundane or mundane matter.876
But what do the men of true Science say to all this? By the “men of true Science” we mean those who care too much for truth and too little for personal vanity to dogmatize on anything, as do the majority. There are several among them—perhaps more than dare openly publish their secret conclusions, for fear of the cry “Stone him to death!”—men, whose intuitions have made them span the abyss that lies between the terrestrial aspect of Matter, and the, to us, on our plane of illusion, subjective, i.e., transcendentally objective Substance, and have led them to proclaim the existence of the latter. Matter, to the Occultist, it must be remembered, is that totality of existences in the Kosmos, which falls within any of the planes of possible perception. We are but too well aware that the orthodox theories of sound, heat and light, are against the Occult Doctrines. But, it is not enough for the men of Science, or their defenders, to say that they do not deny dynamic power to light and heat, and to urge, as a proof, the fact that Mr. Crookes' radiometer has unsettled no views. If they would fathom the ultimate nature of these Forces, they have first to admit their substantial nature, however supersensuous that nature may be. Neither do the Occultists deny the correctness of the vibratory theory.877 Only they limit its functions to our Earth—declaring its inadequacy on other planes than ours, since Masters in the Occult Sciences perceive the Causes that produce ethereal vibrations. Were all these only the fictions of the Alchemists, or dreams of the Mystics, such men as Paracelsus, Philalethes, Van Helmont, and so many others, would have to be regarded as worse than visionaries; they would become impostors and deliberate mystificators.
The Occultists are taken to task for calling the Cause of light, heat, sound, cohesion, magnetism, etc., etc., a Substance.878 Mr. Clerk Maxwell has stated that the pressure of strong sunlight on a square mile is about 3-¼ lbs. It is, they are told, “the energy of the myriad ether waves”; and when they call it a Substance impinging on that area, their explanation is proclaimed unscientific.
There is no justification for such an accusation. In no way—as already more than once stated—do the Occultists dispute the explanations of Science, as affording a solution of the immediate objective agencies at work. Science only errs in believing that, because it has detected in vibratory waves the proximate cause of these phenomena, it has, therefore, revealed all that lies beyond the threshold of Sense. It merely traces the sequence of phenomena on a plane of effects, illusory projections from the region that Occultism has long since penetrated. And the latter maintains that those etheric tremors are not set up, as asserted by Science, by the vibrations of the molecules of known bodies, the Matter of our terrestrial objective consciousness, but that we must seek for the ultimate Causes of light, heat, etc., in Matter existing in supersensuous states—states, however, as fully objective to the spiritual eye of man, as a horse or a tree is to the ordinary mortal. Light and heat are the ghost or shadow of Matter in motion. Such states can be perceived by the Seer or the Adept during the hours of trance, under the Sushumnâ Ray—the first of the Seven Mystic Rays of the Sun.879
Thus, we put forward the Occult teaching which maintains the reality of a supersubstantial and supersensible essence of that kâsha—not Ether, which is only an aspect of the latter—the nature of which cannot be inferred from its remoter manifestations, its merely phenomenal phalanx of effects, on this terrene plane. Science, on the contrary, informs us that heat can never be regarded as Matter in any conceivable state. To cite a most impartial critic, one whose authority no one can call in question, as a reminder to Western dogmatists, that the question cannot be in any way considered as settled:
There is no fundamental difference between light and heat ... each is merely a metamorphosis of the other.... Heat is light in complete repose. Light is heat in rapid motion. Directly light is combined with a body, it becomes heat; but when it is thrown off from that body it again becomes light.880Whether this is true or false we cannot tell, and many years, perhaps many generations, will have to elapse before we shall be able to tell.881 We are also told that the two great obstacles to the fluid (?) theory of heat undoubtedly are:
(1) The production of heat by friction—excitation of molecular motion.
(2) The conversion of heat into mechanical motion.
The answer given is: There are fluids of various kinds. Electricity is called a fluid, and so was heat quite recently, but it was on the supposition that heat was some imponderable substance. This was during the supreme and autocratic reign of Matter. When Matter was dethroned, and Motion was proclaimed the sole sovereign ruler of the Universe, heat became a “mode of motion.” We need not despair; it may become something else to-morrow. Like the Universe itself, Science is ever becoming, and can never say, “I am that I am.” On the other hand, Occult Science has its changeless traditions from prehistoric times. It may err in particulars; it can never become guilty of a mistake in questions of Universal Law, simply because that Science, justly referred to by Philosophy as the Divine, was born on higher planes, and was brought to Earth by Beings who were wiser than man will be, even in the Seventh Race of his Seventh Round. And that Science maintains that Forces are not what modern learning would have them; e.g., magnetism is not a “mode of motion”; and, in this particular case, at least, exact Modern Science is sure to come to grief some day. Nothing, at the first blush, can appear more ridiculous, more outrageously absurd than to say, for instance: The Hindû initiated Yogî knows really ten times more than the greatest European Physicist of the ultimate nature and constitution of light, both solar and lunar. Yet why is the Sushumnâ Ray believed to be that Ray which furnishes the Moon with its borrowed light? Why is it “the Ray cherished by the initiated Yogî”? Why is the Moon considered as the Deity of the Mind, by those Yogîs? We say, because light, or rather all its Occult properties, every combination and correlation of it with other forces, mental, psychic, and spiritual, was perfectly known to the old Adepts.
Therefore, although Occult Science may be less well-informed than modern Chemistry as to the behaviour of compound elements in various cases of physical correlation, yet it is immeasurably higher in its knowledge of the ultimate Occult states of Matter, and of the true nature of Matter, than all the Physicists and Chemists of our modern day put together.
Now, if we state the truth openly and in full sincerity, namely, that the ancient Initiates had a far wider knowledge of Physics, as a Science of Nature, than is possessed by our Academies of Science, all taken together, the statement will be characterized as an impertinence and an absurdity; for Physical Sciences are considered to have been carried in our age to the apex of perfection. Hence, the twitting query: Can the Occultists meet successfully the two points, namely (a) the production of heat by friction—excitation of molecular motion; and (b) the conversion of heat into mechanical force, if they hold to the old exploded theory of heat being a substance or a fluid?
To answer the question, it must first be observed that the Occult Sciences do not regard either electricity, or any of the Forces supposed to be generated by it, as Matter in any of the states known to Physical Science; to put it more clearly, none of these Forces, so-called, is a solid, gas, or fluid. If it did not look pedantic, an Occultist would even object to electricity being called a fluid—as it is an effect and not a cause. But its Noumenon, he would say, is a Conscious Cause. The same in the cases of “Force” and the “Atom.” Let us see what an eminent Academician, Butlerof, the Chemist, had to say about these two abstractions. This great man of Science argues:
What is Force? What is it from a strictly scientific stand-point, and as warranted by the law of conservation of energy? Conceptions of Force are resumed by our conceptions of this, that, or another mode of motion. Force is thus simply the passage of one state of motion into another state of the same; of electricity into heat and light, of heat into sound or some mechanical function, and so on.882 The first time electric fluid was produced by man on earth it must have been by friction; hence, as well known, it is heat that produces it by disturbing its zero state,883and electricity exists no more on earth per se than heat or light, or any other force. They are all correlations, as Science says. When a given quantity of heat, assisted by a steam engine, is transformed into mechanical work, we speak of steam power (or force). When a falling body strikes an obstacle in its way, thereby generating heat and sound—we call it the power of collision. When electricity decomposes water or heats a platinum wire, we speak of the force of the electric fluid. When the rays of the sun are intercepted by the thermometer bulb and its quicksilver expands, we speak of the calorific energy of the sun. In short, when one state of a determined quantity of motion ceases, another state of motion equivalent to the preceding takes its place, and the result of such a transformation or correlation is—Force. In all cases where such a transformation, or the passage of one state of motion into another, is entirely absent, there no force is possible. Let us admit for a moment an absolutely homogeneous state of the Universe, and our conception of Force falls down to nought.
Therefore it becomes evident that the Force, which Materialism considers as the cause of the diversity that surrounds us, is in sober reality only an effect, a result of that diversity. From such point of view Force is not the cause of motion, but a result, while the cause of that Force, or forces, is not the Substance or Matter, but Motion itself. Matter thus must be laid aside, and with it the basic principle of Materialism, which has become unnecessary, as Force brought down to a state of motion can give no idea of the Substance. If Force is the result of motion, then it becomes incomprehensible why that motion should become witness to Matter and not to Spirit or a Spiritual essence. True, our reason cannot conceive of a motion minus something moving (and our reason is right); but the nature or esse of that something moving remains to Science entirely unknown; and the Spiritualist, in such case, has as much right to attribute it to a “Spirit,” as a Materialist to creative and all-potential Matter. A Materialist has no special privileges in this instance, nor can he claim any. The law of the conservation of energy, as thus seen, is shown to be illegitimate in its pretensions and claims in this case. The “great dogma”—no force without matter and no matter without force—falls to the ground, and loses entirely the solemn significance with which Materialism has tried to invest it. The conception of Force still gives no idea of Matter, and compels us in no way to see in it “the origin of all origins.”884
We are assured that Modern Science is not Materialistic; and our own conviction tells us that it cannot be so, when its learning is real. There is good reason for this, well defined by some Physicists and Chemists themselves. Natural Sciences cannot go hand in hand with Materialism. To be at the height of their calling, men of Science have to reject the very possibility of Materialistic doctrines having aught to do with the Atomic Theory; and we find that Lange, Butlerof, Du Bois Reymond—the last probably unconsciously—and several others, have proved it. And this is, furthermore, demonstrated by the fact, that Kanâda in India, and Leucippus and Democritus in Greece, and after them Epicurus—the earliest Atomists in Europe—while propagating their doctrine of definite proportions, believed in Gods or supersensuous Entities, at the same time. Their ideas upon Matter thus differed from those now prevalent. We must be allowed to make our statement clearer by a short synopsis of the ancient and modern views of Philosophy upon Atoms, and thus prove that the Atomic Theory kills Materialism.
From the standpoint of Materialism, which reduces the beginnings of all to Matter, the Universe consists, in its fulness, of Atoms and vacuity. Even leaving aside the axiom taught by the Ancients, and now absolutely demonstrated by telescope and microscope, that Nature abhors a vacuum, what is an Atom? Professor Butlerof writes:
It is, we are answered by Science, the limited division of Substance, the indivisible particle of Matter. To admit the divisibility of the atom, amounts to an admission of an infinite divisibility of Substance, which is equivalent to reducing Substance to nihil, or nothingness. Owing to a feeling of self-preservation alone, Materialism cannot admit infinite divisibility; otherwise, it would have to bid farewell for ever to its basic principle and thus sign its own death-warrant.885
Büchner, for instance, like a true dogmatist in Materialism declares that:
To accept infinite divisibility is absurd, and amounts to doubting the very existence of Matter.
The Atom is indivisible then, saith Materialism? Very well. Butlerof answers:
See now what a curious contradiction this fundamental principle of the Materialists is leading them into. The atom is indivisible, and at the same time we know it to be elastic. An attempt to deprive it of elasticity is unthinkable; it would amount to an absurdity. Absolutely non-elastic atoms could never exhibit a single one of those numerous phenomena that are attributed to their correlations. Without any elasticity, the atoms could not manifest their energy, and the Substance of the Materialists would remain weeded of every force. Therefore, if the Universe is composed of atoms, then those atoms must be elastic. It is here that we meet with an insuperable obstacle. For, what are the conditions requisite for the manifestation of elasticity? An elastic ball, when striking against an obstacle, is flattened and contracts, which it would be impossible for it to do, were not that ball to consist of particles, the relative position of which experiences at the time of the blow a temporary change. This may be said of elasticity in general; no elasticity is possible without change with respect to the position of the compound particles of an elastic body. This means that the elastic body is changeful and consists of particles, or, in other words, that elasticity can pertain only to those bodies that are divisible. And the atom is elastic.886
This is sufficient to show how absurd are the simultaneous admissions of the non-divisibility and of the elasticity of the Atom. The Atom is elastic, ergo, the Atom is divisible, and must consist of particles, or of sub-atoms. And these sub-atoms? They are either non-elastic, and in such case they represent no dynamic importance, or, they are elastic also; and in that case, they, too, are subject to divisibility. And thus ad infinitum. But infinite divisibility of Atoms resolves Matter into simple centres of Force, i.e., precludes the possibility of conceiving Matter as an objective substance.
This vicious circle is fatal to Materialism. It finds itself caught in its own nets, and no issue out of the dilemma is possible for it. If it says that the Atom is indivisible, then it will have Mechanics asking it the awkward question:
How does the Universe move in this case, and how do its forces correlate? A world built on absolutely non-elastic atoms, is like an engine without steam, it is doomed to eternal inertia.887
Accept the explanations and teachings of Occultism, and—the blind inertia of Physical Science being replaced by the intelligent active Powers behind the veil of Matter—motion and inertia become subservient to those Powers. It is on the doctrine of the illusive nature of Matter, and the infinite divisibility of the Atom, that the whole Science of Occultism is built. It opens limitless horizons to Substance, informed by the divine breath of its Soul in every possible state of tenuity, states still undreamed of by the most spiritually disposed Chemists and Physicists.
The above views were enunciated by an Academician, the greatest Chemist in Russia, and a recognized authority even in Europe, the late Professor Butlerof. True, he was defending the phenomena of the Spiritualists, the materializations, so-called, in which he believed, as Professors Zöllner and Hare did, as Mr. A. Russel Wallace, Mr. W. Crookes, and many another Fellow of the Royal Society, do still, whether openly or secretly. But his argument with regard to the nature of the Essence that acts behind the physical phenomena of light, heat, electricity, etc., is no less scientific and authoritative for all that, and applies admirably to the case in hand. Science has no right to deny to the Occultists their claim to a more profound knowledge of the so-called Forces, which, they say, are only the effects of causes generated by Powers, substantial, yet supersensuous, and beyond any kind of Matter with which Scientists have hitherto become acquainted. The most Science can do is to assume and to maintain the attitude of Agnosticism. Then it can say: Your case is no more proven than is ours; but we confess to knowing nothing in reality either about Force or Matter, or about that which lies at the bottom of the so-called correlation of Forces. Therefore, time alone can prove who is right and who is wrong. Let us wait patiently, and meanwhile show mutual courtesy, instead of scoffing at each other.
But to do this requires a boundless love of truth and the surrender of that prestige—however false—of infallibility, which the men of Science have acquired among the ignorant and flippant, though cultured, masses of the profane. The blending of the two Sciences, the Archaic and the Modern, requires first of all the abandonment of the actual Materialistic lines. It necessitates a kind of religious Mysticism and even the study of old Magic, which our Academicians will never take up. The necessity is easily explained. Just as in old Alchemical works the real meaning of the Substances and Elements mentioned is concealed under the most ridiculous metaphors, so are the physical, psychic, and spiritual natures of the Elements (say of Fire) concealed in the Vedas;, and especially in the Purânas, under allegories comprehensible only to the Initiates. Had they no meaning, then indeed all these long legends and allegories about the sacredness of the three types of Fire, and the Forty-Nine original Fires—personified by the Sons of Daksha's Daughters and the Rishis, their Husbands, “who with the first Son of Brahmâ and his three descendants constitute the Forty-nine Fires”—would be idiotic verbiage and no more. But it is not so. Every Fire has a distinct function and meaning in the worlds of the physical and the spiritual. It has, moreover, in its essential nature a corresponding relation to one of the human psychic faculties, besides its well determined chemical and physical potencies when coming in contact with terrestrially differentiated Matter. Science has no speculations to offer upon Fire per se; Occultism and ancient religious Science have. This is shown even in the meagre and purposely veiled phraseology of the Purânas, where, as in the Vâyu Purâna, many of the qualities of the personified Fires are explained. Thus, Pâvaka is Electric Fire, or Vaidyuta; Pavamâna, the Fire produced by Friction, or Nirmathya: and Shuchi is Solar Fire, or Saura888—all these three being the sons of Abhimânin, the Agni (Fire), eldest son of Brahmâ and of Svâhâ. Pâvaka, moreover, is made parent to Kavyavâhana, the Fire of the Pitris: Shuchi to Havyaváhana, the Fire of the Gods; and Pavamâna to Saharaksha, the Fire of the Asuras. Now all this shows that the writers of the Purânas were perfectly conversant with the Forces of Science and their correlations, as well as with the various qualities of the latter in their bearing upon those psychic and physical phenomena which receive no credit and are now unknown to Physical Science. Very naturally, when an Orientalist, especially one with materialistic tendencies, reads that these are only appellations of Fire employed in the invocations and rituals, he calls this “Tântrika superstition and mystification”; and he becomes more careful to avoid errors in spelling than to give attention to the secret meaning attached to the personifications, or to seek their explanation in the physical correlations of Forces, so far as these are known. So little credit, indeed, is given to the ancient ryans for knowledge, that even such glaring passages as that in Vishnu Purâna, are left without any notice. Nevertheless, what can this sentence mean?
Then ether, air, light, water, and earth, severally united with the properties of sound and the rest, existed as distinguishable according to their qualities, ... but, possessing many and various energies and being unconnected, they could not, without combination, create living beings, not having blended with each other. Having combined therefore with one another, they assumed through their mutual association, the character of one mass of entire unity; and, from the direction of Spirit, etc.889
This means, of course, that the writers were perfectly acquainted with correlation, and were well posted about the origin of Kosmos from the “Indiscrete Principle,” Avyaktânugrahena, as applied to Parabrahman and Mûlaprakriti conjointly, and not to “Avyakta, either First Cause, or Matter,” as Wilson gives it. The old Initiates knew of no “miraculous creation,” but taught the evolution of Atoms, on our physical plane, and their first differentiation from Laya into Protyle, as Mr. Crookes has suggestively named Matter, or primordial substance, beyond the zero-line—there where we place Mûlaprakriti, the Root-Principle of the World-Stuff and of all in the World.
This can be easily demonstrated. Take, for instance, the newly-published catechism of the Vishishthâdvaita Vedântins, an orthodox and exoteric system, yet fully enunciated and taught in the XIth century890 at a time when European “Science” still believed in the squareness and flatness of the Earth of Cosmas Indicopleustes of the VIth century. It teaches that before Evolution began, Prakriti, Nature, was in a condition of Laya, or of absolute homogeneity, as “Matter exists in two conditions, the Sûkshma, or latent and undifferentiated, and the Sthûla, or differentiated, condition.” Then it became Anu, atomic. It teaches of Suddasattva—“a substance not subject to the qualities of Matter, from which it is quite different,” and adds that out of that Substance the bodies of the Gods, the inhabitants of Vaikunthaloka, the Heaven of Vishnu, are formed. That every particle or atom of Prakriti contains Jîva (divine life), and is the Sharîra (body) of that Jîva which it contains, while every Jîva is in its turn the Sharîra of the Supreme Spirit, as “Parabrahman pervades every Jîva, as well as every particle of Matter.” Dualistic and anthropomorphic as may be the philosophy of the Vishishthâdvaita, when compared with that of the Advaita—the non-dualists—it is yet supremely higher in logic and philosophy than the Cosmogony accepted either by Christianity or by its great opponent, Modern Science. The followers of one of the greatest minds that ever appeared on Earth, the Advaita Vedântins are called Atheists, because they regard all save Parabrahman, the Secondless, or the Absolute Reality as an illusion. Yet the wisest Initiates came from their ranks, as also the greatest Yogîs. The Upanishads show that they most assuredly knew not only what is the causal substance in the effects of friction, and that their forefathers were acquainted with the conversion of heat into mechanical force, but that they were also acquainted with the Noumenon of every spiritual as well as of every cosmic phenomenon.
Truly the young Brâhman who graduates in the Universities and Colleges of India with the highest honours; who starts in life as an M.A. and an LL.B., with a tail initialed from Alpha to Omega after his name, and a contempt for his national Gods proportioned to the honours received in his education in Physical Science; truly he has but to read in the light of the latter, and with an eye to the correlation of physical Forces, certain passages in his Purânas, if he would learn how much more his ancestors knew than he will ever know—unless he becomes an Occultist. Let him turn to the allegory of Purûravas and the celestial Gandharva,891 who furnished the former with a vessel full of heavenly fire. The primeval mode of obtaining fire by friction has its scientific explanation in the Vedas, and is pregnant with meaning for him who reads between the lines. The Tretâgni (sacred triad of fires) obtained by the attrition of sticks made of the wood of the Ashvattha tree, the Bo-tree of Wisdom and Knowledge, sticks “as many finger-breadths long as there are syllables in the Gâyatrî,” must have a secret meaning, or else the writers of the Vedas and Purânas were no sacred writers but mystificators. That it has such a meaning, the Hindu Occultists are a proof, and they alone are able to enlighten Science, as to why and how the Fire, that was primevally One, was made three-fold (tretâ) in our present Manvantara, by the Son of Ilâ (Vâch), the Primeval Woman after the Deluge, the wife and daughter of Vaivasvata Manu. The allegory is suggestive, in whatever Purâna it may be read and studied.
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